Archive for June, 2017

1998 BMW 318ti

Posted: June 16, 2017 in Rants

I paid more for my last suit than I did for this car.

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I used this car throughout the winter as a fun little runabout, and as soon as Spring came around I swapped out the all-seasons on stock wheels for some Rival S 1.5s on ultra-light flow formed D Force wheels in 17×9 at all four corners.

In preparation for some casual autocross and light DE use I slightly lowered the car, added some slotted rotors with Hawk DTCs and had an alignment performed to my specifications.  They also performed a slight paint correction which really brought this 20 year old car back to life.

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I had it at Watkins Glen for the first time in June 2018.  It was SUPER soft and squishy, and could definitely use some stiffer suspension.  The brakes were fine for 5 laps or so.  The car hit a wall at 110 mph – nothing left at that point.  Otherwise fun, easy to drive – a pleasure actually.

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1998 Subaru Outback Sport

Posted: June 8, 2017 in Rants

I purchased this car for my wife to learn how to drive.  No, I didn’t marry a child.  She’s from a place where people don’t need to drive.

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It was a completely rust free example from a less than reputable local dealer.  Of course as soon as I drove it off it had a check engine light and multiple small issues, but I didn’t pay much for it and I was prepared to deal with them.

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As I tend to do, I immediately debadged the rear and took the stickers off the sides.  I installed swaybars, adjustable shocks (with stock springs) and taller snow tires for added ground clearance.  Of course I did the obligatory DIY autozone air intake and an APEX’i N1 cat back exhaust.

For the summer, I used BFGoodrich g-Force Sport Comp tires, which are a solid summer tire for street use.

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For the winter, I chose Firestone Winterforce.  These are studdable which means they have a slightly stiffer sidewall than a standard snow tire, although I never studded them (because a studded tires performs worse on all surfaces other than ice).

I went an entire winter without plowing or shoveling my driveway.

Here’s the thing with Subaru’s AWD system – its schizophrenic.  It understeers on entry, oversteers on exit, and arbitrarily switches between the two during sweepers and transitions.  Now, obviously this car isn’t an autocross (or even a rallycross) car – but the lack of predictability from the AWD system was infuriating in my daily driving.  As you know, flat out – that is how I drive.

The nail in the coffin for this car wasn’t the haphazard handling.  Rather, it was the deplorable build quality.  This thing was built like a tin can.  I simply did not feel safe putting my child in the car – and I’m notoriously cavalier about my children’s safety.

2008 Honda Civic SI

Posted: June 4, 2017 in My Cars

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In anticipation of the birth of my first child, I picked up what I thought was a reasonable, reliable family vehicle.  Four doors and modern safety met a sport suspension, 8,200 rpm, and a front limited slip differential.

I quickly proceeded to do what any self respecting owner would do and removed the VTEC stickers and Civic badge from the car.

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And then I started to race it.

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Competing in the “G Stock” class, I cut my teeth with a fat, torqueless, understeering pig of a car.  It taught me nothing about driving but I had fun.

Once I acquired an actual race car I bought some wheels and lowered the car slightly.  I was really disappointed with the Eibach springs and this would teach me that aftermarket spring manufacturers design their springs to create even more understeer so that the car is “safe.”  From here on out I would consult an engineer and customize my spring rates when possible.

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During my ownership the car never broke, but it did develop a rust spot on the rear passenger fender.  Honda refused to cover this under warranty because the rust hadn’t worn a hole through the fender.  Accordingly, this was the last Honda I ever drove.