We are going to be trying something a bit new in this space. Each month, we will have a guest author discuss something they are particularly knowledgable or passionate about, and share their knowledge with the auto-x community. Stay tuned for some excellent features over the coming year!
This month, Zack Morgan of PRE (Performance Race Engineering) will share some tips and tricks on getting your race machine into top form for the coming season. Enjoy!
Race season is almost upon us! Here are some tips and tricks to get your car going and make sure it stays fast all season long.
For the Stock guys, you don’t have a lot to worry about. However, that means what little you can do with your car is critical to get an edge over the competition.
Alignments on stock cars are very important, and should be done at the beginning and halfway through the season for best performance. It is a very good idea to mark any eccentric bolts on your cars suspension with a paint pen stripe, this allows you to immediately see if something has gone amiss and you can get in and get it fixed! It is also important to mind any of the bushings that contribute to camber and toe compliance. These bushings take a pounding, and even though you can’t upgrade, stock replacements might be in order to keep your car fast and save your tires from premature wear.
Street prepared, street touring, you guys have a lot more to look after. This is the perfect time to re-grease those poly bushings and replace the ones that are showing wear. These bushings do wear! Damage to the control arms or other things can happen if left alone too long, and of course the performance you get from them goes right down the drain without proper maintenance.
All clutch type limited slips should have fluids changed twice a year, sometimes more if you happen to have a FWD or AWD car that has a differential in the transmission. The material from the wearing plates can wreak havoc on synchros and bearings.
I always recommend getting the ride height, corner weight, and of course get your alignment checked before the start of every season. This especially applies if it is still a daily driven vehicle.
The rest of us. We probably should have entire checklists of things to look at on our Street mod and prepared cars. Spherical rod ends are high on the list of things to check and clean. Marking jam nuts after alignments is solid practice, and dis-assembly of struts should be done to check that they are still operating smoothly.
Hopefully your car wasn’t stored with a full tank of E-85, if it was you may consider getting some fresh stuff in there before putting the hammer down!
A couple closing notes and things I see done incorrectly all the time. Sway bar installation sounds easy, but screwing it up can really hurt the performance of your car. With your endlinks off, the sway bar should move with very little effort. If you seem to need a lot of force to move it after verifying it’s greased properly, consider shimming the mounts until the bushing bind is released.
Tires are the absolute king in auto-x, proper care is important. Do not overheat them or let them freeze, and they shouldn’t sit on any porous surface such as concrete or asphalt! Buy a pyrometer, learn how to use it. You can learn a ton about your setup, when to spray your tires down, and more.
Having a fast car at the track comes down to the 90% of the work you do before you get there, be prepared!