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Old 03-10-2008, 01:10 PM   #1
Turn in Concepts
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Default When to say when...

In the joy and pain of modding a car it is very very easy to go overboard. After a while the question becomes when do you stop?

While the answer will be different for all involved here are some simple guidelines to keep in mind in all of this.

First off - do not put yourself into the poorhouse modding your car. Listen, despite your best efforts 99.9999% of these cars are going to depreciate in value. That's just the way it is, but then again that's not really why we do this. Despite the best effort to have fun and enjoy your car more than you do already putting yourself into debt is not the way to go.

Keep in mind the old saying - if you want to make a small fortune then start with a large one and get into auto racing.

Second off - the parts. Between braces, bushings, springs, struts, coilovers, roll bars, endlinks, bearings, uprights, rotors, pads, fluids, gearing, power and any other thing you can think of in way of performance it is easy to go overboard. It is easy to get stuff you'll never use to its full potential.

Think about what you are doing. Is the part right for what you want. Will the part solve a problem you are having or, in the case of timed events go faster, or, in the case of just daily driving the car, still allow you to enjoy the car.

There is an envelope.


First off that envelope involves you, and whether or not you can use the part. Hopefully, you won't be a better driver than the part allows because if you add the part you want it to help not leave you where you started. It doesn't do much good if you exceed the capabilities of the part right from the get go. If you're already outdriving the new part from the beginning then you didn't get the right part for your needs.

Second, there's taking a part too far. There is a performance envelope that when you start to take things too far you'll actually start to hurt yourself.

As an example lets look at springs -
  • For a daily driver and the way that springs go the stockers really aren't that bad. Sure a good number of people can exceed what they offer, so they step up in stiffness (I'm leaving dampers out of this for now as to keep from muddying up things).
  • So, folks are beyond what the stockers will allow and they feel it's time to move up to something a little stiffer. No problem - there's a TON of good springs on the market that will meet the needs of this example quite handily.
  • BUT lets say that's not enough. Now you start to get into the higher end of spring rates for the car, and you're looking at 7,8, 9K rates with the travel you feel you need. Now to really make use of these you're going to be driving hard, and you know it. Typically, you're looking at competition environments beit autoX or road race.
  • So you get to thinking - if 7,8 or 9K rates are so great why don't I just say screw it and get myself some 14K springs and never have to worry about it again. BANG! You've just exceeded the performance envelope that the car can offer. At that point adding more and more is actually going to hurt your performance. The car just does have the downforce, has too high of a CG, and you can't get the tires sticky enough to take the best advantage of a 14K rate. At that point in time you're going to start to see performance drop off. (diminishing returns and all).

So, here's what we have so far -
  • Don't kill yourself financially doing this
  • Look at what you realistically can do, and what the car realistically can do. You are not Mario, and your car is not an F1 car. In fact, those of you with pre-2008 cars are gonna be in for a surprise once folks have figured out the rear suspension on the 2008's. That'll be in about a year to 18 months.
  • Understand that more is not always better. You are looking for balance between maximizing your skill and the car being able to take it and offer a little more without being too much.

So, at what point do you know when to say when.

Follow these steps:
  • Identify the problem you are having. This is key. If you're having trouble figuring out if it's something like chassis flex, or spring rate, or rebound rate or any number of other things then ask for help and get second opinions. Take people for a ride, describe what is happening, describe your theory, discuss it with others.
  • Identify the parts that will address the problem. In doing this ask yourself - are they enough? Are they too much? Will I ever take advantage of them?
  • Understand the performance envelope.
  • Read and research. Not just here, but everywhere.

How do you tell when you've gone too far?
  • First, get it out of your head that if you spent money on it then it's great. Think of it this way - if someone gave you the part would you put it on your car, and why. People spend money on stuff all the time, and they are disappointed in what they have. I have an old playstation 1 that I haven't used in years, and when I did use it it wasn't that much. In the end it did nothing for me, and I should not have spent the money on it. Stupid me.
  • Second, if you add a part and your lap time drops off quite a bit, and you can't make it up by altering small parts of your driving style then start to think about the last things you changed. For daily driven guys - the girlfriend, wife or significant other will tell you long before you realize it. If you don't have a girlfriend or significant other then get one. Although, the pick up line of "Hey baby, let me take you for a ride in my car even though you don't know me, and you don't know where we're going" will not work, and I certainly hope there's nobody out there dumb enough to actually try it. If you do I will not be bailing you out of jail because you creeped someone out.
  • Talk to others.
  • Think about what you're doing. Do not think that just because someone else says "You have to get this!!!" That you should. Man up and make your own decisions, and make them based on knowledge and understanding.

So, you've got all this stuff, but you can't even begin to drive the car to its potential. Now what?
  • Rather than spend money on more parts spend money on seat time!!!!
  • Get an instructor.
  • Listen to them.
  • Understand that after 2 lessons you will not be a professional race car driver.
  • ALWAYS keep learning. I guarandamntee you that every single instructor while he is instructing you is thinking about the track and the best line to take. They learn from you just as you learn from them (and I bet Myles pops in here within 24 hours to back this up).
  • Recognize how far you can and are willing to drive the car (wrecks happen, not if, but when and can get expensive). Understand that if you build up the ultimate time attack car, but can't even begin to approach what it can do then you've just made an expensive car and that's it. And woe be to you if you wreck it.

Yeah - this is yet another one of those posts by me. I'm betting someone chimes in here by the end of the first page to tear it apart. Bottom line is this - we all know this, and this is not anything new. If you sit down and think about it you'll say "well, duh. Clint you're a dumbass and wasting bandwidth by posting this." Yeah, I may be a dumbass, but I also know how easy it is to forget this commonn sense when you have money in your pocket, and a car you want to go faster in.

-Clint
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Old 03-10-2008, 02:16 PM   #2
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"if someone gave you the part would you put it on your car, and why"

I like this bit of advice. I have parts sitting in the garage that will be alot of work to install and the biggest reason I have to do it is because I paid for them...not that they will make me any faster.
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Old 03-10-2008, 02:21 PM   #3
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I was actually kind of excited when I saw the title of the thread, and who had posted it. great post. There's a lot of people who dumb crazy amounts of money into their cars, and never drive it anywhere near their potential. not that there's anything wrong with it, but you dont have to spend thousands of dollars to take your car to the track and have a good time while learning tons about driving and your car at the same time
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Old 03-10-2008, 02:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Look at what you realistically can do, and what the car realistically can do. You are not Mario, and your car is not an F1 car. In fact, those of you with pre-2008 cars are gonna be in for a surprise once folks have figured out the rear suspension on the 2008's. That'll be in about a year to 18 months.
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misterwaterfallin View Post
I was actually kind of excited when I saw the title of the thread, and who had posted it. great post. There's a lot of people who dumb crazy amounts of money into their cars, and never drive it anywhere near their potential. not that there's anything wrong with it, but you dont have to spend thousands of dollars to take your car to the track and have a good time while learning tons about driving and your car at the same time
BINGO!!! You're one of the ones that gets it!!!


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Sorry John. No matter how hard you try or how many Pepboy wings you slap on that MR-2 it will never be an F1 car.
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:10 PM   #6
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You never know... F1 might standardize on 2.2L Camry engines someday...
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post
In fact, those of you with pre-2008 cars are gonna be in for a surprise once folks have figured out the rear suspension on the 2008's. That'll be in about a year to 18 months.
I usually agree with you guys 100%.. but this I Just can't force myself to agree with..

MAYBE if they built a Sedan STi.. It would be easier to swallow..


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... guarandamntee ...
Nice temesis!!! you get points!!
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:52 PM   #8
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I'm not convinced. The evo's had a multi-link rear forever and it's not head end shoulders better than the 02-07 STI in handling.

I like the post. What I notice about modding is, most people mod with no real purpose. They're not trying to accomplish any goal, they just slap parts on and call it a day. For me, my goal is clear, make a track car that's at least as fast as my last one with the potential to be faster. People who want to do track days for instance, slap parts on before they've even been to the track once. Why not wait, drive it at the track and address the shortcoming you find when you actually drive the car.
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:43 PM   #9
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"When" is when you can't justify the change from your current setup. The tuning should be a build process. It should be well thought out, done in steps, and with frequent tests and contemplation in between. The forward progression of the build should be done intelligently and with reason. "When" is the point where there is no next, better step. Just realize "better" is a relative term and will vary by goal, purpose, preference, etc.

I've gone through several modifications of my car in steps. Everything was done for a purpose and with a specific final goal. I haven't bought anything I didn't want and didn't modify my tune for the better. Everything is chosen from research and contemplation. Each step is still a learning process and a bit of exploration. When installed, one tests and gets accustomed to the new hardware. Is it right? Is it a good fit? Can I do better by going slightly one way or the other? Through testing, you figure this out. I've come to certain conclusions of my current hardware, and have chosen future changes that would better fit my goals. At some point down the road, I will implement those changes and test again?
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post
[*]So you get to thinking - if 7,8 or 9K rates are so great why don't I just say screw it and get myself some 14K springs and never have to worry about it again. BANG! You've just exceeded the performance envelope that the car can offer. At that point adding more and more is actually going to hurt your performance. The car just does have the downforce, has too high of a CG, and you can't get the tires sticky enough to take the best advantage of a 14K rate. At that point in time you're going to start to see performance
There are some race cars running 14k even 15k springs with success.
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STi-MAN View Post
There are some race cars running 14k even 15k springs with success.
Are they Subarus?

I hear about Hondas running crazy spring rates all the time... but it's not analogous.
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:58 PM   #12
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much of this is real simple

many of the kids of today think that buying and putting race car parts on their cars makes them and the car
cool or some such descriptive
and will result in some sort of benifit above and beyond what actually learning how to drive will accomplish

this whole thought process must be crushed at the onset as being fallacious and is the root of all of these kinds of issues that the vast majority of those looking to
mod
anything
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:52 PM   #13
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wow that was one of the best post i have ever seen. thanks for the advice i am as my name gives it away new to the subie. i had a ae86 that i used for drifting and autox but i am looking to use my wrx more for daily and once and a while a laping day at miller. i just wanted to ask what you would recomend for a brake set up i dont mind chaging out my pad and rotors when i go but i dont want to do anything extreme. any advice would be nice. thanks
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:34 AM   #14
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a set of decent pads and dot 4 fluid should be enough to prevent brake fade, and help you feel safe/confident on the track. assuming you are on street tires, they will get slimy before the brakes start to fade.

and love the thread TiC. this is a problem i fight with every day, and i actually have defined goals for both subarus. i am nowhere near "enough" yet, but i am limited by current funds...i need to do my taxes ASAP.
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:36 AM   #15
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I think a lot of folks think suspension tuning is like making horsepower, where more = better and money fixes everything.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:13 AM   #16
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What is this anti-American, anti-economy, hate America first, non-frivolous spending crap I'm hearing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post
If it fits on your car and it's on the website http://www.turninconcepts.com, not only do you need it, but you're considered a broke ass chump unless you get it. Oh, and you'll never get laid sucka.

-Clint
Fixed!








On a more serious note. I agree with a lot of this. However, I wish it was easier to get track time and driving lessons here in Washington. Out here it's only easy if you have a BMW or a Porsche or something. I guess it's just more of a lack of information and/or advertisement.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post
In fact, those of you with pre-2008 cars are gonna be in for a surprise once folks have figured out the rear suspension on the 2008's. That'll be in about a year to 18 months.
Don't the 2008s have rear double wishbone?
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtDyno View Post
Are they Subarus?

I hear about Hondas running crazy spring rates all the time... but it's not analogous.
yes subarus. but these are straight race cars..
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Old 03-11-2008, 08:46 AM   #19
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Clint can predict the future?

It didn't take long for people to pick a single sentence and try to rip things apart. The point is pretty simple and doesn't apply to everyone on here. I wish many of you would stop and think before you defend yourself vs. the rest of the community. The overwhelming truth is that the majority of people on this forum don't have a clue what we talk about in here. Its the same reason why there are 100000000 threads about coilovers and they all end the same way.

What Clint wrote is basically a public service announcement and isn't intended to tear down those of us who can and do use cars to their full ability and are constantly tweaking things to find those extra couple tenths. Its meant to educate the general public and inspire people to think before they waste a lot of unnecessary money. Its pretty obvious that a "race car" can use a 14k spring. When you strip, cage, and lower the car the CG gets lower. When you add big fat race tires you significantly increase cornering forces. You know that just as well as we do. Don't use that one point to be an ***. Keep quiet and be happy with the fact that you are a step ahead of the majority.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby921 View Post
It didn't take long for people to pick a single sentence and try to rip things apart. The point is pretty simple and doesn't apply to everyone on here. I wish many of you would stop and think before you defend yourself vs. the rest of the community.
i don't think people ripped apart Clint's post...in fact, it seems to me that there is overwhelming agreement in here. it didn't take long for you to point out that one person pointed out that 14k spring rates can be usable, which was clarified as being on a fully prepped race car.

it was a well-written post to make people stop and think before their next set of mods, and that is why there are so many of us on here agreeing.

Last edited by growling_boxer; 03-11-2008 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:46 AM   #21
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Oh yeah, I'm adding this to the Suspension sticky.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:48 AM   #22
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You mean buying stuff for the sake of having mad tyte JDM stuff isn't a good idea?

Seriously though, I am very much an advocate of locating problems and fixing it. The first obvious problem is always the lack of driver's training. Buying parts to fix it can patch up the problem for a little while, or at least make you feel better. But in the end, you always need to go back to school.
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:54 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post

There is an envelope.


First off that envelope involves you, and whether or not you can use the part. Hopefully, you won't be a better driver than the part allows because if you add the part you want it to help not leave you where you started. It doesn't do much good if you exceed the capabilities of the part right from the get go. If you're already outdriving the new part from the beginning then you didn't get the right part for your needs.
This probably applies before the car purchasing phase... a WRX, especially a freakin' STI, are among the more capable cars on the road, and I would wager that a vast majority of people driving these around don't really have the experience or talent to be able to "use the part". Especially on public roads, nonetheless.
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:20 PM   #24
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I just posted a link to this over in the regional forum @ NWIC. Seems like the madtyte JDM'ers seldom feel like venturing into the "tech" forums, and I get tired of all the I wanna get coilovers for my DD questions.
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Old 03-11-2008, 01:07 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuikWgn View Post
I just posted a link to this over in the regional forum @ NWIC. Seems like the madtyte JDM'ers seldom feel like venturing into the "tech" forums, and I get tired of all the I wanna get coilovers for my DD questions.
If you see those, please report them so I can add them to the Knee Jerk Coilover Response Hall of Shame.
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