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Last Post 08 Mar 2013 07:44 PM by  PullG
Newbie Help: Will AutoX hurt my DD?
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djc225
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07 Mar 2013 10:54 PM

    I drive a g35x sedan. has 175K miles on it. I took it to an autocross once and loved it but have been hesitant to go back until i can afford another car due to not wanting to beat on my only car. I drive my three year old son around in the car alot so i dont want autocrossing it to somehow affect safety.

    if i continue to autocross it, what parts end up taking the beating the hardest? i want to be sure that they'd be things that i can afford to and know how to change myself.

    01 FS Z28
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    07 Mar 2013 11:46 PM
    Nothing safety related is going to happen. If anything it'll make things safer. You have to get through tech, which might not be the most grueling thing ever, but it's another set of eyes on the car. You'll be a better driver, and that's safer. There isn't really anything you do autocrossing that would cause something to fail that couldn't or wouldn't on the street. We aren't going 150 mph and cooking brakes. :)

    GlennAustin
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    08 Mar 2013 12:23 AM
    As an owner of another Z33, the only time that I have problems is when I totally baby my 350Z...
    Boxologist
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    08 Mar 2013 01:37 AM
    Hardest on tires and ego.
    NIFARES
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    08 Mar 2013 07:43 AM
    expect to break a ball joint or two.
    snaponbob
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    08 Mar 2013 09:08 AM
    Jun wrote:
    expect to break a ball joint or two.

    Seriously? Thirty years of solo, and only seen one (at a recent Nats on a burly prepared car).

    snaponbob
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    08 Mar 2013 09:09 AM
    Boxologist wrote:
    Hardest on tires and ego.

    The difference being one can buy new tires !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Scootin159
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    08 Mar 2013 09:31 AM
    Jun wrote:
    expect to break a ball joint or two.

    The only mechanical failures I've ever noticed at an autocross, seem to always be due to:

    1) A car that was modified with a "grassroots design" part (i.e. homebuilt, low end aftermarket), and the design just flat out wasn't strong enough

    2) A part that was already broken before the event, and just finally reached the catastrophic failure point at the event (i.e. the part was just as likely to fail on the drive to or from the event as it was at the event).

    In 10 years of autocrossing, I've never seen a stock car in reasonably good condition have any OEM part break. Not going to say it can't happen, or even hasn't happened already somewhere else... but it's just incredibly unlikely to happen. Autocross certainly does put increased loads through the suspension - but I would argue that hitting a pot hole on the street puts MORE stress through the suspension than autocross - and it's very rare to find a pot hole at an autocross event (unless you're driving a kart, in which case they seem to be everywhere).

    For a stock DD car, likely the only long term effects you'll notice is increased wear & tear on things like tires and brake pads - things that would wear out on the street as well, but you'll just notice that you have to replace them a little sooner than normal.

    djc225
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    08 Mar 2013 09:38 AM
    Thanks for all the replies. I guess that my main concern is that with 170K on my car, I likely have many parts that are on their way out. Was just wondering what parts autocross would be hardest on, likely pushing worn out parts to the end. Figured things like control arms, tie rods ball joints. Do i have to be worried about the high revs on the engine internals or transmission?
    sirele
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    08 Mar 2013 09:39 AM
    Scootin159 wrote:
    Jun wrote:
    expect to break a ball joint or two.

    The only mechanical failures I've ever noticed at an autocross, seem to always be due to:

    1) A car that was modified with a "grassroots design" part (i.e. homebuilt, low end aftermarket), and the design just flat out wasn't strong enough

    2) A part that was already broken before the event, and just finally reached the catastrophic failure point at the event (i.e. the part was just as likely to fail on the drive to or from the event as it was at the event).

    In 10 years of autocrossing, I've never seen a stock car in reasonably good condition have any OEM part break. Not going to say it can't happen, or even hasn't happened already somewhere else... but it's just incredibly unlikely to happen. Autocross certainly does put increased loads through the suspension - but I would argue that hitting a pot hole on the street puts MORE stress through the suspension than autocross - and it's very rare to find a pot hole at an autocross event (unless you're driving a kart, in which case they seem to be everywhere).

    For a stock DD car, likely the only long term effects you'll notice is increased wear & tear on things like tires and brake pads - things that would wear out on the street as well, but you'll just notice that you have to replace them a little sooner than normal.

    +1 That pretty much sums it up. The only other thing worth mention is cone damage to plastic parts. Most RX 8's front bumper, under tray and fender liners are held together by zip ties. BMW seem to also regularly drop expensive plastics after cone contact.

    So try to stay away from cones and take care of your car and you should be fine.

    Kylini
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    08 Mar 2013 10:56 AM
    The first thing that's worth mentioning: anything that breaks while autocrossing is 1) something that was going to break anyways, and 2) is better breaking in a parking lot than on the Interstate!

    As has been mentioned repeatedly, the biggest wear and tear will occur on anything attached to the wheels (tires, brakes, suspension components). Aside from the obvious need to replace your tires at an accelerated rate, you should pay more attention to your brake pad and rotor wear. Things may loosen in your suspension so if you hear any clunking, look for what came undone and retorque it down! Any other wear is easily managed by regular oil changes and actually having coolant.

    The best part about autocross is it makes you very aware of your car. Not only will you learn what your car does at and beyond the limit, you will notice when those limits *change* due to wear and tear. Any maintenance you do for autocross will also make your car safer for your kid. Bleeding or flushing your brakes will equally help at the end of straights as well as at those pesky stale green lights that change on you. Replacing your shocks will give you more level cornering when you're slaloming around cones, other cars, deer, etc. (plus, your ride will be smoother!). You'll learn what things are important and what things aren't. Go out and have fun!

    (By the way, I started autocrossing on my 2003 Dodge Intrepid with 130,000 miles. The only wear and tear that requires attention is my shocks are basically blown, something that, to be frank, was the case before I started!)
    djc225
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    08 Mar 2013 11:01 AM
    ok guys, you convinced me. thanks for all the input. looking forward to the season. I'm regularly in both Rochester and Syracuse NY if anyone wants wants to meet up at one of the events.
    Scootin159
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    08 Mar 2013 11:12 AM
    Derek wrote:
    ok guys, you convinced me. thanks for all the input. looking forward to the season. I'm regularly in both Rochester and Syracuse NY if anyone wants wants to meet up at one of the events.

    I'm regularly at both - pretty much a given that you'll find me at anything in Syracuse, and Rochester I'm probably at 1/3 of them or so. Make sure to stop by and introduce yourself sometime.

    PullG
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    08 Mar 2013 07:44 PM
    I ran last car to 220,000 miles before retiring it from autocross -- never broke anything on it due to autocrossing. Daily driving did more to hurt my autocross car than the other way around.
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