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Autocross Advice


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Took my 1974 '02 autocrossing yesterday. My first time. (Don't know about the car's as I've only owned it about two months.)

The car is a rolling restoration project and knockabout daily driver. Stock cam, new valve guides, Weber 32/36, MSD ignition, big brakes and 5-speed.

My question is more an appeal for advice and the benefit of all your experience: What are the good upgrades for autocrossing, and how do those affect street performence and drivability? I was amazed at how much body roll and squirminess I could generate on the track, even in a car that feels pretty taunt on the street.

So, springs, shocks, sway bars and strut towers. Suspension settings. Tires and wheels. What makes sense and still works on the road? (Two cars really isn't an option. Changing tires and wheels for events is.)

I know the biggest component to upgrade is the old dude behind the wheel, and will work on that. For the rest, I seek the benefit of your experience. Thanks.

Steve E.

Avery, CA

Steve E.


1974 Sahara 2002

1974 R75/6 (Sold!) :(

This is a fertile land, and we will thrive. We will rule over all this land, and we will call it…This Land

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Guest Anonymous

one of the biggest things i found that helped was the front coilovers to allow some negative camber in the front wheels. how are the bushings on your car? shocks, stock sways? i would say at minimum fresh bushings if needed ans a good set of shocks and struts with sways to follow

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I was going to upgrade my shocks (Bilstein HD's) and springs (stock). But - bought the Ireland Engineering swaybars (front and back), and body roll is way way down.

Best upgrade I've done.


FAQ Member # 2616

"What do you mean NEXT project?"

-- My wife.

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Which class you planning on? It makes a big difference....

Besides shocks/springs/bushings/sways/R-tires, an LSD can make a huge difference. For a long time I was simply spinning the inside tire on every corner, until I put in a LSD.

Also, pulling off the huge bumpers makes it a lot more fun for free, but only legal in EP or higher classes...

Bring a Welder

1974 2002, 1965 Datsun L320 truck, 1981 Yamaha XS400, 1983 Yamaha RX50, 1992 Miata Miata drivetrain waiting on a Locost frame, 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser

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You dont need big springs for low speed complex turns, body roll IS good, and is relative to the speed of the car, the corner, and so many other factors.

Sticky tires, and adding negative camber to the front will help quite a bit.

getting a set of the stiffest lowering springs available (nothing over 300 pound rates) and revalving the shocks make the world of difference, big springs with big sway bars the inner tire will want to lift...thats a no-no for autocross.

Im building my E28 into a track car, its not a 2002 but im running 600F and 750R springs and its built to run at high speeds, trade off for everything but definitely sucks for low speed corners.

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body roll IS good

Not really. It unhooks your front contact patch. And as noted above,

you can't really use the rear suspension to fight roll, or you lift your inside

driving tire, so you're stuck stiffening the front end. On a 2002, body roll = understeer...

all else being equal.

My first step was to ST bars, springs, and KYB shocks. It was a good step

for a still- streetable fun car. But front camber was probably the most effective...


"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

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