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Old 03-26-2010, 01:21 AM   #251
Butt Dyno
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(English/grammar disclaimer: my verb tenses are all over the place. It happened in the past, but it's not all written that way.

Setup stuff (front/rear):

550/500 # springs
26mm/0mm swaybar
-3.5 little toe / -1.5 0 toe
235-40-17 AD08s, 38 psi/36 psi


Thursday: day 1

Shane and I got to the site plenty early to get caffeine/food before our work assignment. We worked during XP, DS, and I forget what else. Those ITRs look fun.

Then we swapped tires and headed over to grid. We ended up next to Mihai (treicoiae) and Derek Punch. It was interesting checking out everyone else's setups. We were literally the only WRX in the grid that was not on silver RPF1's. (The Enkei Tarmacs I have are dimensionally the same and the same weight, but 100x better looking, not to mention incredibly rare) Some ideas popped up for next year, like 10mm spacers. (Koni 28's would be nice, but I don't think it's in the cards). Among others we met Karl Coleman and Ron Bauer, Mike V (i forget your sn, platinum something?), the two folks who were running Aaron B's old car, Russ (STX E36 from GA) and a bunch of other folks. Oh yeah and swooning at Chris Conant's E30 M3. That car is gorgeous.

I picked a crappy number. Normally being first out in the class isn't a big deal, but at the national events there is that damned sweep car that has to go out twice per run to pick up the corner worker sheets. Not to mention re-runs for DM. I ended up either following the sweep car or following a rerun every time. It's annoying. One of my least favorite things that happens at autocross is getting stuck on the line ready to run, and than you have to shut it down and wait for something to happen. Icing the kicker, if you will. I'm not good at it

After a bunch of coursewalks, I had most of a strategy. I wasn't sure quite yet what the line was in 3-4 of the corners and figured that between feel and datalogging I'd figure it out. I went out, and noticed a few things. a) the car was tighter than it had been at Toledo, and required a little more muscling to make it rotate right b) there is wayy more grip out here than any site I'd ever driven on c) this course is really, really long and fast with plenty of opportunities to make mistakes.

I had what felt like a pretty decent run, and then got my time. 65.3... doh. OK, technically, I was leading the class, seeing as I was the first one across the line. But I knew it wouldn't be for long I knew the ST folks were down in the 60-61 range and I was going to have to find time. I had some ideas. Shane came in after his first run with a 62.3... plus three. Minor cone trouble, but a good line otherwise. We compared the runs on our MaxQData Veqtr setup. There were a couple of the tightish sections in the first section where Shane had a much better line than me. He was utterly destroying me on the big really fast lefthand sweeper. It was such a long sweeper, with a lot of free space for you to choose a poor line if you desired, that I just did not have a strategy for it.

OK, run 2. I get waved up to the line and then... uh, hold on a second, we have to do the DM reruns Great... OK... pull *back* out of line, let the DM cars go through. Wait for the sweep car. OK... you can run now. I had a better run in some spots, but not in others... only a tenthish faster. I still did not have a strategy for the lefthand sweeper. Shane got faster, 62.4 ... plus *five*. The walloms at the top of the course were his nemesis again.

Third run... time to fix some of this crap. I get in line, the starter is ready to let me go and.... more DM reruns
Starter: Ah, well, we're just tryin to mess with ya
Me: It's working

I had a much better run, really nailing the last 1/4 of the course. 64.0, good improvement, but only good for 27th place.

Video:

I still couldn't get a handle on that sweeper. I think that is the longest sweeper I had ever driven, and it was fast - I am just not used to looking ahead for one single corner for that long, or having that much room to choose my own line. [Indiana Jones]I chose poorly.[/Indiana Jones]

Shane had to back off a bit, especially in the wallom, and ended up with a 62.772 clean. I think this left him in 13th (one spot out of the trophies right behind Mihai), can't remember though.

So, what had I learned at this point?
-I start off too many sentences with "So, "
-The car has the goods, even if I don't. Shane's times, esp. the raws, were right there with the fast WRX times - .7 off Ron, but .5 or less within everyone else. And this was our first Nationals, and maybe even Shane's first national event ever (I forget). We could see on the datalogger where we were losing time - it's good to know that the car has it in it.
-I need to have a better plan for long sweepers. Maybe a vision point, or some sort of marker. Pretty much every run, I got 2/3 of the way through it and then realized "oh crap! I'm supposed to be over *there*".
-I am trying to get on the gas a little too early considering the car is a little bit pushy.
-I need to either pick a different number, or let my codriver run first, or figure out a better mental strategy than stressing out, when I am sitting on the line and can't run yet. As discussed earlier, it's a very mental sport - and my mental game was not there.

I was 27th (I think) out of 42. Not terrible, but not great either. I walked the other course five or six times until I had it solidly memorized, and then back at the Comfort Inn we watched video with some of the other WDCR folk to get a good hint for the key elements. I felt like I had a plan... just needed to execute.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:22 AM   #252
Butt Dyno
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Friday: day 2

My goal for Nats was pretty much to have runs where I looked at them afterwards and said "hey, that was a good run!" Really, that's my goal for most events. If I have a good run I'm pretty much happy, even if other folks have better runs.

I didn't get there on Thursday. I would have needed to nail the sweeper at least once to have said that. They were OK runs only, definitely not good. So, yeah, let's try for "good" today!

My first run I got behind early, in the top right hand corner of the course. I then proceeded to dive into the wall too fast, and take out two cones. This was one of my problems all year - going into braking zones too hot and not giving myself a chance. This is the #1 thing I want to work on next year. Better to take a little off the top speed and have some room for error in braking - easier to add the speed back later. From the end of my first run on day 1, when I felt good but my time was way off the pace, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to be all-out EVERYWHERE thinking "ZOMG, it's concrete and I am not taking advantage of it and everyone else is and I totally need to try really hard". Not the ideal mindset Final time was 66.2, +2 cones.

Shane's first raw was good - 62.3 - but with a cone.

My second run I just went out trying to fix some stuff. I fixed a lot of stuff - dropped almost two seconds and was clean. But I was still off the pace by a bit. Here's the run:

YouTube- project:BDR: John W: #7 STX: 2009 SCCA Solo Nationals, Lincoln NE
And the MaxQData comparison of the two runs:



As you can see looking at the red speed line vs the blue speed line, I made up a ton of "area under the curve" in the fast slalom (the bottom of the graph). I took two very different lines through the sweeper, but that was actually a wash despite all the extra distance on my 2nd run. Not good considering my 2nd run was clean and my first run wasn't! I came out of the tight corner in the middle (about 50% of the way through the course) a lot better and gained a lot of time there. The third quadrant of the run was roughly a wash. But I made up another .3 by staying close in the last lefthander.

So, I had a clean run to sit on at least, but I still hadn't taken the first 1/3 of the course very well.

Shane went out and ran a 61.8... +1 again though. So he went into his 3rd run needing to stay clean.

For my 3rd run I was looking to clean up a couple specific spots: the first hard left hander (getting behind the key cone), the sweeper, and the uber slow pinch cone. I did not do any of that I was late on the first left hander, and then blew my run in the same way I blew my 1st run, overcooking the braking zone trying to push too hard. I was pretty frustrated at the time, enough that I don't feel comfortable posting the video Just take my word for it.

Shane backed off a little bit and still came in with a 62.5, clean.

After 10 minutes or so of being emo annoyed John I returned to "hey, this is mostly fun" John. (thanks to Shane, Justin and Edwin for talking me off the ledge)

I ended up 33rd, and slid up to 31st later when one of the BMW's failed its emission test. Shane finished 17th, but had the raws to be riiight there for the last trophy spot. His 61.8 raw was also only .4 off Ron Bauer and stimpy's best time (61.4) and they were the fastest two WRX drivers. Shane = fast in anything. Me, ehh, not there yet. But it is good to know the car has the goods. Also nice to know that we could load it full of gear, drive it 1200 miles to Nebraska, put 30 runs on it, and drive it back, with no drama. It has been an awesome car to own.

I definitely have a lot of improving to do before I come back to Nationals. The vast majority of it is mental... staying "zen" and just focusing on improving versus trying to use 101% of the car's grip all the time. I also need a little more time on concrete. The car is quite good but will have a few small tweaks next year.

Two events to go...
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:48 AM   #253
Butt Dyno
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Event #15: Autocrossers Inc @ Fedex, 10-10-2009

Setup stuff (front/rear):

550/500 # springs
26mm/17mm swaybar
-3.5 little toe / -1.5 0 toe
235-40-17 AD08s, 38 psi/36 psi

So at some point, Travis drove Justin (Caelorn)'s wagon and thought that throwing a small rear bar back on the car would be a good idea. I was worried that with the car feeling as good as it did, that any rear bar would make the car snappy. This turned out not to be the case. We put a 17mm rear bar from an old RS or something on the car, with some Energy Suspension bushings since the ones that the bar had wouldn't work with the Cobb brackets (which I was too lazy to remove from the car).

Anyway... experiment successful! The car was excellent.

*WDCR site fails, but fortunately the results are stored here*
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...&postcount=359
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...&postcount=360

I had a raw of 54.0 which would have pax'd me 21st but somewhere, no clue where, I hit a cone. I ended up getting a best of 55.6 on my 1st run. I think there was weather involved? I forget. I think I only beat Travis when there is weather involved.

My friend Slava (MicaCeli) was announcing early on, and did the whole thing in his Russian voice... hilarity ensued. Here's some of AJ's video to give you an idea of the course and a sample of the announcing (starting at 1:08):

Event #16: WDCR/SCCA @ Fedex, 10-11-2009


Setup stuff (front/rear):

550/500 # springs
26mm/17mm swaybar
-3.5 little toe / -1.5 0 toe
235-40-17 Dunop Z1s, 38 psi/36 psi

We were too lazy to change tires and the Dunlops had been fast in late August so we just ran them instead.

This was the first pure dry day with the 17mm rear bar. And it was great. More rotation than no rear bar, but never too much. Just right. This is probably the best the car has handled in the time that I have owned it.

Bonus: I beat Travis in the dry for the first time all year (excluding times when he was scrubbing in tires). I also pax'd 21/213, percentage wise my best WDCR finish all year.

Wrapup

And now, my final thoughts for 2009.



I had my best driving at a national event ever (2nd in DC and had some clutch runs).
I got my first trophy at a Tour (3rd at Finger Lakes).
My car won its first national event ever (Scooby921 winning STX by a lot at Toledo)
My car also showed that it's capable of a trophy at Nationals in the right hands (thanks Shane!)
I have a lot of mental work to do.
I have a little car work to do but not much.

Overall I was definitely happy with the year.

Last edited by Butt Dyno; 04-08-2010 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:56 AM   #254
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2010 prep stuff

Nothing crazy. The car was working really well at the end of 2009. Here's what is on my agenda:

* Two new sets of tires.
** Summer/lazy/wet: I have 15K on my Dunlops, but still have 6/32" left... they are going to heat cycle out at some point, or cord from the camber. I'm really amazed how well they have worn considering. I want another set for this purpose.
** Dedicated autox: Travis won 3 free Yokohamas for being the fastest Yoko driver at the AI events this year. It's hard to beat free, so I will probably opt for shaved 245-40-17 AD08s as the dedicated tires this year. stimpy was quite fast on them and they are wiide.

* I want to start weighing stuff. I have to get my shipping scale fixed first though. This is for two reasons:
** Make sure that the seats, headlights, etc are actually heavier or the same as the stock parts just in case it ever matters.
** See what I can make lighter.

* I want to do the rear bushings. Not sure about Grp N vs poly. Grp N is harder to install but should make no noise and last a long time. Poly is much easier to install and is thus overall cheaper.

* I'd like a lighter/louder catback. My car was one of the quietest cars in STX. That's gotta change

* I want to fix some of the aesthetic stuff. The front lip has had the everloving **** kicked out of it, plus lots of cone marks, scuffed side skirts, etc. I want it to be as nice as Josh's garage queen! This is unlikely to happen.

Other than that... just want to keep driving.
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:00 AM   #255
Butt Dyno
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Offseason

After the first snowstorm (12-14) I drove my M3 to the carwash and parked it for 3 months. The car was a California/Texas car before spending a little while in Utah, and it really hasn't seen salt. I feel like I would be doing the car a disservice to drive it in snow as a result. So I drove the WRX for the winter months.

This took a toll on the front bumper (which was already a mess) the front lip (which is now 75% ripped off the car) and the rear lip (backed into what I thought was a snow pile but it turned out to be ice). ****! I also had the front left fender liner get ripped out. So I have this and some other annoying little issues to fix.

In addition to that, since my wife and I have moved back to VA we have been super busy unpacking and moving and I haven't had time to do anything to the car. So it's on ramps right now, awaiting the coilovers (I take them off during the winter). Then I need to get it aligned, get last year's Dunlops re mounted... ugh.

So for this Sunday's season kickoff I will either be codriving or understeering in the M3. TBD

And that catches us up to the present!!
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:22 AM   #256
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So you hold off on posting any of this stuff for months on end, then decide on an excessively late and random Thursday night that you should go ahead and give us an update?
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:37 AM   #257
Butt Dyno
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Correct!

I had actually staged it on another forum in a non public area and it was mostly done, but I hadn't gotten the video/MaxQData stuff done, because I wiped my computer and had to reinstall everything. That was the last piece I needed.
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:17 AM   #258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtDyno View Post
So for this Sunday's season kickoff I will either be codriving or understeering in the M3. TBD

And that catches us up to the present!!
I was hoping to run against you and Travis on Sunday. I guess I'll have to wait until Points #1...

-Chike
"Mr. Rotary Goodness"
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:29 AM   #259
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[threadjack] So where's your build thread Chike? [/threadjack]

Looking forward to watching the STX battles. I'm kind of wondering if I should go pick up another Sentra.
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:46 AM   #260
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piknockout View Post
Looking forward to watching the STX battles. I'm kind of wondering if I should go pick up another Sentra.
If you did that, I would hurt you. Seriously.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:01 PM   #261
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piknockout View Post
[threadjack]So where's your build thread Chike? [/threadjack]

Looking forward to watching the STX battles. I'm kind of wondering if I should go pick up another Sentra.
No real build thread, but my current set-up is listed here: http://www.rx8club.com/showthread.php?t=193171

I have just over 4.5K in my build, and I have another 2-3K I'd want to invest before doing any major national events with the car -- I'm still on the stock seats, stock brakes, stock headers, stock ECU, and some non-optimal spring rates. I have at least another 50lbs I can drop out of the car easily, and I'm leaving 20+whp/10+wtq on the table right now...

I did my first STX event in the car last weekend with my local Blue Ridge Region.



Results link: http://www.brr-scca.org/20100321.htm

Fastest car in ST*, 2nd in PAX, and 4th in Raw. However, I coned away FTP at that event (had a 54.404 +1).

P.S. LOL @ the sentra comment Josh! (or should I call you Sam Worthington since seeing you on the big screen in Avatar!!! )
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:03 PM   #262
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piknockout View Post
[threadjack] So where's your build thread Chike? [/threadjack]

Looking forward to watching the STX battles. I'm kind of wondering if I should go pick up another Sentra.
And I would get my E30 M3
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:17 PM   #263
Butt Dyno
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And I would buy you as many tires as you wanted to codrive
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:26 PM   #264
Butt Dyno
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiketkd View Post
I was hoping to run against you and Travis on Sunday. I guess I'll have to wait until Points #1...

-Chike
"Mr. Rotary Goodness"
Well you could run against one of us Any interest in a codriver?

I am leaning towards running the M3 because I have no idea how it really handles, but I don't know if Travis has lined anything up yet.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:44 PM   #265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtDyno View Post
Well you could run against one of us Any interest in a codriver?
I saw the co-drive requests for you and Travis in the MAIC thread. I really can't commit to offering one, as I'm not sure I'll even be there. If there's a good amount of rain in the forecast, I'm staying home. I wouldn't want anyone depending on me to show up, and then be a no-show.

I have a 2.5hr drive (one-way) to Fedex, and when it's raining, that drive time has doubled in the past (Beltway traffic/accidents).
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:49 PM   #266
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Event #1: WDCR/SCCA test n' tune @ Fedex, 3-28-2010

My WRX isn't even remotely ready for the season:
* Still on stock suspension
* Still haven't mounted Dunlops
* Still need to clean the air filter, change the rear diff fliud, switch back to the STX map... ugh
* Still needs a driver's side front fender liner

Moving from PA back to VA has been a killer, plus there's the whole job and living a normal life thing.

So I was going to run my M3 in STU, but after a very unfortunate lost circlip I couldn't run that.

I came to Fedex in the WRX with the old Yokos, but my goal was to find a codrive. I wasn't sure if the fender liner missing would cause me to fail tech (exposed metal + tires = bad). Vell (Soulive) said sure (with rain a strong possibility I wanted to stick with AWD). So I ran STU. Josh was busy in California, getting ready to make us all hate him, so no pesky panda STis to run against.

Vell's car is an '04, with KW V3s, I think 500/400 spring rates, and -3/-2, with last year's shaved Dunlops. I drove his car once at a test and tune day in 2008 but I couldn't get over how tall the seat was (I forgot to adjust it down ). This time I remembered the seats are adjustable. Some quick feedback:

* The 04-05 hoodscoop is ****ing HUUUGE.
* The 04-05 seats suck. (Well, really, all 04+ seats suck equally except for the WRX TR seats.)
* Vell's car drove wayy more RWD'y than I thought. I was getting on the gas really early at corner exit, like I do in my car (among other things, to overcome lag). And it was causing the car to get squirrelly. I was getting power oversteer, something that has never happened in my bugeye with its crappy viscous diffs. It was pretty neat.
* Vell's car is set up quite well.

I spent the first 3 runs getting used to it, but generally still being sloppy: 63.4 clean, 63.3+4, 63.5+5 Sorry Vell, seriously

After the 63.5+5 I was feeling pretty confused. I went out for my 4th run and my goal was simple: just be patient, don't get on the gas so early. That's it. And try to stay clean. Well, this worked... 59.9, good for 1st in the class (out of 12). It put me ahead of five M3s, possibly the universe's way of telling me to not even consider running my M3 at an autocross

If I can get video/MaxQ logs I will post em.

I am trying to get the WRX ready for the 4-11 AI event. This means, minimally:
* Coilovers installed
* Fender liner
* Alignment

Hopefully:
* Bodywork done (making the front bumper stay on the car, rolling the rear fenders, among other things)
* Rear lateral link/trailing arm bushings

We'll see how it goes.. I still have to get the M3 going again
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:56 PM   #267
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Let me know if you need a hand. I work in Lorton now, so hitting Alexandria (is this where you are now?) in the evening isn't terrible.

Also let me know when you figure out how to redeem the tires I "won"
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:57 PM   #268
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Eric K said the vouchers were in the mail from Yokohama... I'll email them again to make sure they get in touch with you.

<- needs to get the damned BMW out of the garage
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:37 PM   #269
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Glad to hear you had a good time in the STi John! I still owe you a codrive (or two, three, four...), possibly best to collect at an A.I./Philly event when Shane can't drive.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:39 PM   #270
Butt Dyno
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I can always run BSP! Or if there are events that don't run by class.
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:54 AM   #271
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Sounds like a plan then.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:07 AM   #272
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ZOMG! Finally prepping the car! Almost!

Since we are still in the middle of moving from PA back to VA, the garage is full of boxes and stuff... because we have no other place to put them.



So I headed over to Travis's place with the WRX so that we could swap the suspension on and do a garage alignment, just enough to get the car readyish for the first events. I carefully loaded the car with all the tools I would need to do one side of it while Travis worked on the other side, you know, maximizing productivity and all that.



After getting the rear OE struts off, Travis asks me, "so, where are the coilovers?"



In all the hecticness of getting the house ready, trying to find zip ties for the brake lines, and all that, I had forgotten to dig under the 7 tons of boxes to get the coilovers

So we finished removing the OE suspension and I borrowed a totally sweet Saturn wagon to drive home. Tomorrow: part 2 of this suspension install saga.

Rear strut tip: Use the 19mm open end on the strut nut, and use a socket wrench on the strut bolt. This helps force the bolt out. Once the strut bolt is most of the way through the strut, you can use a hammer with a punch, or if you don't have a punch, a screwdriver or socket extension will do. (Craftsman flathead screwdrivers are great for this. Lifetime warranty!) It helps to remove the two 14mm bolts that hold the rear brake caliper on, so that you have free access to hit your punch with a 5 lb hammer.

For the rear tophats, a 12mm (or 13mm depending on your strut tops/camber plates) GearWrench (or equivalent) is a great way to save time. The resolution of the Gearwrenches is pretty nice for working in the strut top area where you don't have a lot of room.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:27 AM   #273
dodwrx
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LOL at forgetting the coilovers.

I need to put mine back on one of these weekends. When I swapped the stock struts in before winter the strut bolts were totally stuck. I think they was enough rust in the knuckle to be a major PITA. I couldn't even turn the frozen bolts. I'm going order all new bolts and hope it goes better removing them.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:11 AM   #274
piknockout
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Ouch, that blows, but sounds like you still have time to get it ready before Sunday. Just don't forget the coilovers tonight.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:18 AM   #275
Caelaorn
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You know, pretty soon you're going to realize the err of your ways, sell the wrx and m3 and join the Saturn fraternity.
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