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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Results of our First Track Day w/ Our 24 Hours of Lemons Thunderbird

All:
I'm happy to report to all you folks that our first track day shakedown of the tbird went exceedingly well. While we were by far the slowest car with our V6 on the straights (well, except for a Fiat X1/9), our willingness to heed our instructor's yells and aim straight for the trackside marker/curbs compared to those in much fancier cars proved quite entertaining for us and actually allowed us to annoy a few of the wussier 911 drivers babying their cars. We even managed to pass a few people... although a few were overheating/running out of gas Not bad considering that all of us on the Lemons team were track virgins.


I had a few technical questions I'd like to run by you folks:



Non-Issues/Planned Changes with No Need for Additional Feedback
Tire/Suspension Status
1) By far the biggest performance limiter we encountered tracking this car were the tires. Those 215/70-R15 goodyears we got with the car were crying through the corners. After a particularly enlightening conversation with an automotive engineer who was looking over our car, the gameplan is to run some tires recommended by either tbird/heavy car lemons veterans with a minimal ride height drop considering the angle of our front lower control arms now. We don't plan on mucking with the front suspension any further to raise up the ride height 1/2" as was recommended. I was originally going to spring for Dirazza Star Specs (Spec Miata tire) but it looks like those might put the roll center too far below the plane of the
ground resulting in even further degraded handling. I think we've got this handled here in this category but i could use your inputs on the items below.

Brakes
I can't speak highly enough about the PBR Brake upgrade. They worked quite amazingly for this car. I personally stomped on the brakes pretty hard several times (triggering ABS because I decided to brake really late to the horror of our instructor) and even after the track day, the Warner Severe Duty Fleet Pads (recommended by another heavy car Lemons Veteran) look almost new. We'll spring for fancy pants Porterfield R4e pads for Lemons but it's good to know that our backups are awesome.
- No additional mods planned here.


Need Tips on additional Cooling
Please see here...
http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.php?t=135609

Need Feedback on AT Shifting on the Track (Doesn't like to Upshift on Straights)
http://forums.tccoa.com/showthread.php?p=1378695

Thanks again for your feedback on the Cooling and AT.
Regards,
-g

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 03:35 PM
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What size tires were you looking at running? Something for the stock 15" wheels? Won't be much in performance oriented tires that are tall enough to suit the car. Maybe look for a set of cheap SC wheels or something, at least in 16" you will have some more choices.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 03:46 PM
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Gunn, if you want I have a set of 16" SC wheels off my lemons cougar that you can have, just pay for shipping. We just converted to the mustang bolt pattern, so I have no need for these anymore. If you want them, PM me and we'll work out the details.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Let's not worry about the tires folks. I concentrated on what was available for Miatas (like Dirazza Star Specs, etc.) and I was planning on going with Falken Zeix 912 in 225/50-R15.

This is a 1.22" smaller diameter tire and will result in a .61" drop. Approx 4.54% smaller in diameter so that will help with acceleration.

Thanks for the offer on the 16" Wheels, Mike. I will confer with the team but we already picked up another set of 15" fanblades for $100 locally.

Regards,
-g

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 05:20 PM
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Hi, Sounds like you were at a meet on a road course. I would be very interested in something like that ????

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Don Pfau View Post
Hi, Sounds like you were at a meet on a road course. I would be very interested in something like that ????
I know various clubs rent out tracks and then split the cost amongst the attendees. I work for a publicly traded company and one of the stock analysts that tracks our stock rents out Thunderhill annually for a) his own entertainment and b) to entertain clients. Our director of investor relations wrangled me an invitation which was totally awesome.

It was definitely pretty cool to run my car among a bunch of porsches, ferraris, BMWs, a Noble M400, and some serious race cars (vintage Lola chassis, some ex Nascar vehicles, etc). Compared to those cars, when viewed from the paddock it looked like our little tbird was just puttering around (it's quite a different experience from INSIDE the car, BTW).

Depending on your locale, track days w/ your own car run ~$200-$500 just to show up. Amazingly enough, our tbird consumed 8.27 gallons/hr of fuel. There's also hotels and food depending on how far you are from the track. Also, while we were there, 4 other cars had to be towed home. Depending on how far away the track is it could be pricey (M5 with burnt clutch, NSX blowing oil out on the track, two dead Spec Miatas). There's a reason that I took my Accord as the chase car (instead of the S4) to remove the temptation of "just seeing how it would do" for a lap or two.

I know BMW CCA does this pretty regularly as High Performance Driving Events. It's not racing as no times are kept but you do beat the snot out of your cars. It helps to have a car you don't care as much about (we'd aim straight for the marked apexes of turns when others in much nicer cars would timidly go around them. ).

-g

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
Let's not worry about the tires folks. I concentrated on what was available for Miatas (like Dirazza Star Specs, etc.) and I was planning on going with Falken Zeix 912 in 225/50-R15.

This is a 1.22" smaller diameter tire and will result in a .61" drop. Approx 4.54% smaller in diameter so that will help with acceleration.

Thanks for the offer on the 16" Wheels, Mike. I will confer with the team but we already picked up another set of 15" fanblades for $100 locally.

Regards,
-g
If any of you folks care, we've narrowed our tire choice down to two options. Both are superior choices to the ZE 912.

1) Toyo Proxes 4 (PX4) 205/55R15: $529.80
- Best overall tire for our PERFORMANCE needs but the price is higher
- 300TR insures the tire will last for the race
- Lowers car 1.495 inches below optimal wheel center (closer to original size best)
- Contact patch will be larger than stock (8.9" vs 8.4" section width)
- Effective gear ratio 3.68:1 (compared to stock 3.27:1)
- Governed Speed 95.97MPH

2) Dunlop Direzza DZ101 205/55R15: $450.34 on the car
- BEST VALUE
- Not as good as the Star Specs in stickiness but cheaper and have a TR of 300 vs 200. Addresses a lemons concern that super sticky tires won't last as long on heavier cars (recommendation is 300TR or higher)
- Lowers car 1.485 inches below optimal wheel center (closer to original diameter is best)
- Same Contact patch size as stock (8.4" vs 8.4" section width)
- Effective gear ratio 3.68:1 (compared to stock 3.27:1)
- Governed Speed 96.05MPH

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
Let's not worry about the tires folks. I concentrated on what was available for Miatas (like Dirazza Star Specs, etc.) and I was planning on going with Falken Zeix 912 in 225/50-R15.

This is a 1.22" smaller diameter tire and will result in a .61" drop. Approx 4.54% smaller in diameter so that will help with acceleration.

Thanks for the offer on the 16" Wheels, Mike. I will confer with the team but we already picked up another set of 15" fanblades for $100 locally.

Regards,
-g
You guys really got raped on a set of fanblades, ouch.

Mine are probably on their way to becoming pop cans by now.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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You guys really got raped on a set of fanblades, ouch.

Mine are probably on their way to becoming pop cans by now.
Perhaps I was "raped" by the cost standards of South Carolina but keep in mind that:
1) I live in San Francisco, CA. The Bay area is one of the highest cost areas in the country. This extends far beyond housing and into even consumer goods. A beer at a typical bar is considered a "deal" if you can get it for $5.

2) Furthermore, mid-nighties domestics aren't exactly as common-place in CA as you would see in other regions of the country (I've sold quite a few parts and they were almost exclusively for folks outside of CA). You do see tbirds on the roads but the vast majority of them are just old bone stock commuter cars. People willing to put money into upgrading their tbirds (and therefore having fanblades available for sale/scrap) aren't nearly as common. The few times I found compatible wheel sets for sale in the Bay Area, they were always ~$100. Some dude even wanted $350 for a set of Cougar wheels with "fresh" tires. Ha!

3) Have you even priced out the cost of shipping on wheels? Add in the minimum amount of cash to make it worth someone's time to ship rims and you quickly reach $80-100.

I'm sure if I built up this Lemons car in another area (like back in Texas), I could have done it for FAR cheaper -- but that's the price to pay for living out here. You don't even want to know what the rollcage cost us. Is that reason enough to move? Nope. Not for my family and I.

-g

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
Perhaps I was "raped" by the cost standards of South Carolina but keep in mind that:
1) I live in San Francisco, CA. The Bay area is one of the highest cost areas in the country. This extends far beyond housing and into even consumer goods. A beer at a typical bar is considered a "deal" if you can get it for $5.

2) Furthermore, mid-nighties domestics aren't exactly as common-place in CA as you would see in other regions of the country (I've sold quite a few parts and they were almost exclusively for folks outside of CA). You do see tbirds on the roads but the vast majority of them are just old bone stock commuter cars. People willing to put money into upgrading their tbirds (and therefore having fanblades available for sale/scrap) aren't nearly as common. The few times I found compatible wheel sets for sale in the Bay Area, they were always ~$100. Some dude even wanted $350 for a set of Cougar wheels with "fresh" tires. Ha!

3) Have you even priced out the cost of shipping on wheels? Add in the minimum amount of cash to make it worth someone's time to ship rims and you quickly reach $80-100.

I'm sure if I built up this Lemons car in another area (like back in Texas), I could have done it for FAR cheaper -- but that's the price to pay for living out here. You don't even want to know what the rollcage cost us. Is that reason enough to move? Nope. Not for my family and I.

-g
Even raped by Chicago standards, as I've only been down here since May

California seems to be the only area of the country far ahead of Chicago in expenses, it was terrible by any standards.

I realize that shipping is usually more expensive than murder-for-hire unless you use DHL or greyhound these days.

I had a job offer before taking the opportunity I chose to move to the San Diego area, and while it was tempting the atmosphere of the left coast vs the hospitality of the right coast wasn't much of a decision.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Even raped by Chicago standards, as I've only been down here since May

California seems to be the only area of the country far ahead of Chicago in expenses, it was terrible by any standards.

I realize that shipping is usually more expensive than murder-for-hire unless you use DHL or greyhound these days.

I had a job offer before taking the opportunity I chose to move to the San Diego area, and while it was tempting the atmosphere of the left coast vs the hospitality of the right coast wasn't much of a decision.
Chicago is actually a pretty cheap city by world metropolitan standards. I was shocked when I was there a few years ago and found that the place as quite reasonable. It was nice to visit in the summer as well (although I'm sure it's absolute misery in the winter with the lake effect snow and the winds cutting through the buildings).

A decent zoo w/ free admission? A nice concert in the park with Yo Yo Ma? I guess it helps to have the mob/monolithic political machine running the city.

Now, as for San Diego, it's a nice place to visit but unless you live on that thin strip of land next to the ocean where the climate is modulated by the sea (ex: La Jolla), the rest of the city is just like a desert (not as hot as Arizona).

IMO, unless you have a job that pays a significant premium and opportunities may be found in significantly high concentrations (read: semiconductors, dotcom, pharma, biomed, finance), it's quite hard to justify living out here.

If you have a job that is portable (read: teacher, doctor, nurse, cop, lawyer), I would personally find it hard to live out here unless there something else compelling you to live here like family.

I'm not sure if you were joking about the "hospitality" of the east coast but my experiences is that SC is more "southern" than east coast. I personally never liked the hoity-toityness or standoffishness of NYC or the NE states. Moving from TX to CA, I noticed that customer service isn't the same when you move out of the south. People can be rude out here but IMO is stems less from the regionality of the area of the US and more from the culture they were originally from.

Other countries simply don't place the same level of pride in customer service that we tend to have in the US (much more buyer beware). Try returning a consumer product to a store in Asia or the Middle East (including Israel). It's a whole different experience and practically a negotiation unto itself.
-g




-g

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 12:47 PM
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Chicago may be cheap to visit, but paying $240 for plates, $100 for a village sticker, and paying downright criminal gas prices. I'm not really a huge fan of the 10.25% tax on purchases either and moved out of our condo in Des Plaines to an apartment in Vernon Hills for literally half the price per month and more square footage.

In the summer, the weather is usually mild, but can become chaotic with highs over 100*, and that doesn't being to touch on winter weather

Even crime doesn't pay in Chicago with all the mismanagement and misappropriation of funding, so a free zoo is a moot point.

The job opportunity I had was with a major technology player and was at significant increase in pay, though I think it wouldn't have increased my purchasing power.

SC and Texas do have that in common, and most everyone I've met here has been great. I have zero complaints whatsoever.

I haven't traveled the globe, but the few places I've been required knowledge of the local language and understanding if they wanted you to haggle or not. Different cultures have different expectations.

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