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Last Post 01 Jul 2014 06:57 PM by  sjfehr
Electronic shock electronics question
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sjfehr
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02 Sep 2013 06:53 PM

    SCCA Solo rule 13.5 permits non-electronically controlled shocks to replace electronically controlled shocks, but isn't clear how the electronic bits are to be handled when the electronic shocks are removed, or the associated option package installed.

     

    Where electronically controlled shocks have external electronic control units dedicated to the shocks and serve no other purpose, are they considered part of the shock assembly, with all that implies?  I'm thinking they'd fall into the same general category as remote reservoirs and be treated in the same way, but wasn't sure.  Are there any tech bulletins or precedent on this?

     

     

    cashmo
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    02 Sep 2013 10:32 PM
    The SAC has been discussing the subject. Does disconnecting the shock set a code? Does the mfg have a documented way to turn off said code? Can you plug in a cable/chip to fool the computer into thinking it's still there? Would that even be legal per current rules? Unfortunately we have more questions than answers right now.
    Audii-Dudii
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    03 Sep 2013 12:15 AM
    While the SAC is addressing this issue, what happens if the electronic shock option also includes different spring rates ... does one get to keep the different springs when replacing electronic shocks with non-electronic shocks? As the rule is presently written, this appears to be legal to me, but others I've discussed this with disagree...
    sjfehr
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    03 Sep 2013 05:45 AM
    Throwing a code is a very good question. For Porsche PASM, I believe it's just a matter of the dealer hooking up their computer and unchecking the "PASM" option, but will have to verify.

    The reason I'm asking is PASM is a unicorn option for Boxsters; it's simply not readily available on the used market. I've been looking 12 months for a properly optioned car and have come up dry. So I'm looking to buy one without PASM (Option I475) and retrofit. Or, more specifically, I want to retrofit the stiffer springs and sway bars that were part of the option package while installing more conventional 2-way adjustable shocks. The only other parts unique to this package are the control module, accelerometer, bracket to mount them on, and the cockpit switch. None of it is large or heavy, but it is all very expensive. Believe it fits with the philosophy of the class to consider the expensive electronic bits as part of the shock and not require they be retrofit, but wanted to be sure before I committed. If Caymans and Boxsters become popular for street class, this could be an important ruling.
    Audii-Dudii
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    03 Sep 2013 09:50 AM
    And in case it wasn't clear, the reason I am asking my related question is because my Cayman S already has the PASM option, which comes with stiffer springs, and I would like to keep them if/when I replace the fairly expensive OEM electronic shocks on my car (~$3k for all four corners!) with non-electronic ones.

    Obviously, I'm approaching this rule from the other side than is sjfehr, but I agree with him that this needs to be clarified, especially in view of the new Street class rules, which may encourage greater participation from Boxster and Cayman owners (or may not, as it depends upon how the Corvettes in AS perform on street tires ... we shall see, eh?)
    edfishjr
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    03 Sep 2013 09:17 PM

    Putting PASM springs on a non-PASM car: not legal without further clarification, but should be.

    Unless you do a complete option swap, which would have to include electronic modules, special wiring, etc. during which time you could change the shocks based on shocks being free and disconnect all that stuff. Seems kinda stupid, don't it?

    Keeping PASM springs on a PASM car when replacing the dampers: gotta be legal now.

    -If you start with a PASM car and replace the dampers based on shocks being free, there is no requirement to remove any other pieces, such as electronic control modules. In fact, I don't think you are allowed to change anything else, unless we get that ruling that those unique pieces are part of the shock, in which case they would all have to come out, hacking up the car!

    If non-contiguous pieces were ruled as part of the damper, then a weird thing happens. It creates the effect of a car with PASM springs, aftermarket shocks and no other hardware. If that configuration were legal, then you could take any non-PASM car and just add the stiffer PASM springs to produce an identical configuration, which is, I think, what sjfehr wants. Many would call this an incomplete option swap. But, it should be legal, in my opinion.

    With earlier models, you could install the sport suspension option on any car that wasn't optioned with it, as long as you did it completely, but then you wouldn't actually do it completely because you'd use the shock freedom to use different shocks.

    The modern sport suspension option is PASM and someday (C7?) might be magnetic ride on Corvettes. These systems may implement stiffer springs for better roll control but use the electronics to deliver a good ride by reducing shock forces. Adding a wire to a shock shouldn't make it impossible to implement the sport suspension mechanical bits for autocross use on a car without that wire.

    The SCCA should make it clear that ancillary wiring, sensors, electronics whatever that go along with actively controlled dampers should not have to be added and are illegal to remove. Only this will allow both low-option and high-option cars to be equally competitive as it was in the past with the ability to convert standard to sport suspensions. We want folks to be able to change the shocks in Street class and leave the other bits in so that the car can be restored to the delivered condition. We don't want people to not autocross future cars because they would have to hack it up just to implement the free shock rule. We also want the low-option car to be able to be upgraded to match the performance of the high-option car so more car choices are available within the same class for reasonable money.

    What we don't want is that only a high-option car can be competitive in a particular class. That's similar to the old "best of breed" argument that has done so much harm to the sport, only now we are talking about options instead of models, which is even worse.


    hanhenze
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    11 Sep 2013 12:14 PM
    And to add to the confusion over Porsche struts... I've heard conflicting views of the stock ruling on struts. You can change the dampener (shock) but not the strut itself. Effectively leaving OEM spring perch and strut tube. But others tell me you can change the complete strut, as long as you use the OEM spring perch and spring (cutting off the OEM perch and putting it on an aftermarket tube). And still others have told me you change everything but the OEM spring as long as your aftermarket spring perch is the same elevation as OEM. I took the safe route and loaded my Cayman S front struts with dual adjustable Konis (after some serious butchery) and have been pleased with the results. I will read with interest regarding the PASM aspect of this rule and what latitude that gives mid-engine Porsche drivers. I looked into retro-fitting my Cayman S with a PASM set-up but although you could find the used struts/springs fairly inexpensively - the associated CPU and wiring was tough to find used and REALLY expensive from the dealer. 
    sjfehr
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    11 Sep 2013 06:29 PM
    I think (would hope) that the "reasonable man" approach would apply here- though the damper may be very strut-like, it's still a damper with a tab on it. No reason you couldn't replace it with another damper with a tab on it.

    I'm going to write a letter requesting clarification of this rule. I'm going to recommend the following language (in italics) be added to 13.5. Clarifying with "may be removed" should cover both directions: both allowing upgrade of packages without having to install otherwise useless wiring harnesses and control modules, and to allow deinstallation of electronic shocks without having to remove them. I believe it's fully within the spirit of the rule and the spirit of the class. Since there is so little weight involved, it's unlikely to be abused.

    13.5.A.5. Electronically controlled shocks may not be used on vehicles not originally equipped with such units. Vehicles originally equipped with electronically controlled shocks may use the standard parts or non-electronically controlled alternative shocks subject to all the requirements of Section 13.5. Non-standard electronically controlled shocks are not allowed. If electronically controlled shocks are replaced with non-electronically controlled shocks, components of the electronically controlled shock system that serve no other purpose; including electronic control modules and wiring; may be removed.
    sjfehr
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    01 Jul 2014 06:57 PM

    Well, Fastrack answered this: e-bits can't be removed when e-shocks are replaced with non-e shocks. Which makes PASM springs a very expensive set of springs.  If I'm going to drop that much dough to get PASM, I'd actually like to actually have PASM push-button capability.


    Q. Aftermarket e-shocks are not permitted. If aftermarket e-shocks are unplugged, though, and no longer electronically controlled- do they at that point become considered non-electronic shocks?   And OK for SCCA Street class?  What I'm asking is could I get Bilstein B6 PASM shocks and just unplug them for autocross?

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