newbie check in

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1 year 9 months ago #3012 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 created the topic: newbie check in
Good morning everyone,
My name is Doug. i have a 2014 dodge charger R/T AWD that i have taken to the drag strip a few times. also this past year i was apart of the Michigan gumball rally which let us go out on ginger man raceway. i fell in love with it and am looking to do more track days this coming summer. the sponsor stickers are off now but the blue accents are still there.
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1 year 8 months ago #3013 by Red06
Red06 replied the topic: newbie check in
Welcome Doug. The web page has been a little slow lately... :whistle: I'm Joe, one of the 3Balls instructors.

What have you done or are planning to do to prep your car for the track? Have you downloaded and gone over the tech inspection form? It's a good reference for getting your car ready.

I'm not that familiar with the Michigan Gumball Rally, do they require helmets? If not, you'll need to pick up an SA2010 or later helmet.

I haven't been in a Charger in a long time. Does it have a seat belt with a sliding clasp? If it does, I'd recommend looking into purchasing a CG-Lock to keep the belt tight across your lap www.cg-lock.com/index.html . They can be purchased on line, are pretty inexpensive and makes a huge difference by keeping your butt behind the wheel. I had one for both driver and passenger in my previous car.

I can give you more suggestions once I know what you've done already.

2004 Corvette Z06 - Torch Red

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1 year 8 months ago #3014 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
mostly performance mods to the car so far:
ported 392 intake manifold swap
ported throttle body
carbon fiber cold air intake
american racing long tube headers w/ high flow cats
zoomers cat back exhaust
custom dyno tune

i have also just upgraded my tires, went from a 235 to a 255 and went with continental extreme DWS 06 tires.

michigan gumball Rally is mostly on the street but at the track they recommend helmets. i already have an approved helmet that i have to use at the drag strip so i'd assume i can use it on the track.

it does have a sliding seat belt clasp, never heard of the CG-Lock but i will look into them thank you :)

i also am more than likely going to need rear brakes soon so i will be upgrading to the HD police package rear brakes for my car.

i have already purchased a solid police rear sway bar, going to pick up the matching front sway bar and i'm looking either into coilovers or just lowering springs to finish off the suspension but don't think i'll get to those mods this season. i will download and look at the inspection form today.

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1 year 8 months ago #3016 by Red06
Red06 replied the topic: newbie check in
While performance mods are great, us instructors like safety mods... On a road course, the driver and the brakes are the two most important component of your car. You have to be aware of track conditions and other drivers on the track plus, the end of every straight is a turn. You will want to change your brake fluid to a good DOT 4 fluid in the spring before going to the track. ATE TYP 200 and Motul RBF 600 are popular choices and are priced reasonably. Brake fluid picks up moisture from the air which lowers it’s boiling point. You should always start the year with fresh brake fluid. I've been getting my Motul fluid from Racer Parts Wholesale (on-line).

Is the HD Police package just brake pads or a caliper upgrade? A Charger is a lot of car to woah down. You may want to consider some beginning track brake pads like Hawk HP+ and keep the street pads as backup. I'm not sure how handy you are, but you can drive to and from the track on the HP+ no problem or change to them at the track. Just remember they don't stop like street pads when cold (they need some heat to stop properly) so you'll want to watch your distance on the highway. They will squeal so you'll probably not want to keep them on around town. If you do use the street pads, bring a spare set in case you go through the ones on the car. If you are at the track for the weekend, bring a jack, jack stands, tools and fluid to the track to bleed at least the front calipers Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

If you want to continue tracing your Charger, look to see if anyone makes a front brake cooling kit for the front brakes. It’ll help keep the calipers, pads and rotors cooler which will help brake system performance and increase their life span.

Make sure your fluids (oil, transmission, differential coolant) are full and fresh before going to the track. Clean out your radiator & AC fins (with water or compressed air, from inside the engine compartment towards the front of the car) to remove any dirt or debris that will impede cooling.

Back to the CG-Locks, one of problems with the stock seats in most cars is they don’t lock your butt in place. Therefore, you need to use your arms and knees to brace your body to keep behind the wheel. This creates two problems, you get tired and it makes it harder to focus on your driving. When I had my Mustang, I kept them on all the time because I liked the feeling of being planted in the seat when driving on the street. I didn’t notice any wear on the belts after five years of use, but I only drove it in the summer. I always pushed down on the cam lever when tightening the belts which makes it easier on the belt material.

If you want to do some reading, Ross Bentley has a good series of books called “Speed Secrets, Professional Race Driving Techniques” (I have the first two) which are good quick reads and will help acquaint you with race track driving dynamics. He has some for purchase and free e-books on his web site: Speedsecrets.com. Another book I have is “Going Faster, Mastering the Art of Race Driving” by the Skip Barber Racing School which is good but more technical. Racelogic had a free e-book that you could get from their web site called “Advanced Circuit Driving” but I’m not sure if it’s still available.

2004 Corvette Z06 - Torch Red

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1 year 8 months ago - 1 year 8 months ago #3017 by Grog
Grog replied the topic: newbie check in
I couldn't agree more with RED06.

I drive at the other end of the weight and horsepower spectrum: A 92 Miata with a stock 1.6L 115 HP engine.

ALL my mods are for safety, braking and handling.

Including
- Roll bar (although my next car will have a full cage)
- Racing seats. FIA Approved
- Six point harnesses
- Fire bottle with nozzles under hood, both side of passenger compartment, and trunk

Handling and Braking
- Upsized rotors and calipers from later model and upgraded pads
- Upgraded (stiffer) suspension (springs, sway bars)
- R tires

On the track I also wear
- SA2010 Helmet
- Race suit
- Race gloves
- Race shoes
- Fire retardant socks
- Balaclava
- Wrist restraints (more important with a small or open car)

My goal was to improve my driving skills and make it home intact every time. So far this has been the case.

FWIW, I started 12 years ago and have driven 54 track days to date and over 5000 on-track race miles.

Regardless, this hobby is addictive. Have fun. Be safe.

92 Miata (~92 whp)
Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.
Last Edit: 1 year 8 months ago by Grog.

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1 year 8 months ago #3018 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
the police rear brake kit takes the rear 12.5" solid rotors and replaces them with 13.6" vented rotors, so it's replacement caliper brackets and larger rotors.

i have also looked into razors edge front and rear 4-point strut bar braces for next mods as well.

also i did try and download the tech inspection form but when i click the link nothing shows up, just an FYI. I will look into the DOT4 brake fluid, a few friends with challengers that took their cars out to M1 concourse this past summer said they needed to change their fluid because they burnt it up after 1 day on the track.

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1 year 8 months ago #3019 by Grog
Grog replied the topic: newbie check in
The brake upgrade sounds like a good plan. Does it require an BCM flash for the stability control?

Any nice kits to improving the cooling to the front brakes?

Tech inspection download: I found the same on three browsers. (Chrome, Firefox, Safari.)

92 Miata (~92 whp)
Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

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1 year 8 months ago #3022 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
when you guys say brake cooling do you mean something that forces air onto the brakes to keep them cool? or slotted rotors instead of standard rotors to keep them cool longer? also can't get it to open in chrome or microsoft edge, will try on my work computer tomorrow which still has windows 7.

my charger is heavier than most chargers ( commonly nicknames boats) due to a front axle and transfer case. i am sitting pretty at about 4500lbs. she is a big girl! while i agree i need to do something better with brakes i am probably going to try my luck with bigger rear brakes and maybe upgrade to slotted rotors first before dropping big money into it. Baer brakes makes a kit for my car. but we're talking $6k for front and rears. way out of my current price range.

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1 year 8 months ago #3024 by HeadBall
HeadBall replied the topic: newbie check in
We will get the tech form back up. We must have lost it when we did the upgrade.

Thanks
Ken

When two just won't do...

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1 year 8 months ago - 1 year 8 months ago #3025 by Grog
Grog replied the topic: newbie check in
Yes, the former. Typically you would have openings in your air dam that feed air into ducts that then route the air to your brakes.

4500 lbs is a heck of a lot of weight to stop and turn. It can be done, absolutely! Others do. Just know that stopping and turning a heavy car can be expensive. Tires & brakes, (and gas) can add up pretty fast.

My opinion is this: Come on out to a track day with your car as-is (except brake pads*) and see what you think.

If you like it enough to continue doing, and before you spend $6k on a brake kit (yikes!), decide if you want to continue with your car, or if you are better served by getting a lighter dedicated track car.

The advantage to a dedicated track car is that you don't make so many compromises to your daily driver. And, if your track car breaks, you still have a car to get you to work on Monday.

C5 Corvettes are a great choice if you want the power but less weight. (~3300 lbs, I think). They require less mods to run on the track and there is a ton of support for them.

If you can live with (much) less hp, there are other good choices from FWD econoboxes (like Neons, Focus's, Civics, and Golfs) to various RWD cars (like 3-series BMWs, S2000s, and Miatas). Some of these can be bought and setup for the track for under $10k and can cost much less to run. (My Miata is stupid cheap to run. But this may not be your idea of fun.)

*For a first time out, get really good high performance brake pads and a spare set of rotors to run a full track day.

Come have fun and see what else is on the track. Talk to the owners and ask for rides too.

92 Miata (~92 whp)
Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.
Last Edit: 1 year 8 months ago by Grog.

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1 year 8 months ago #3030 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
thats my plan. new pads and see how it goes. the 6k would upgrade calipers, pads, and rotors to a 6 piston caliper... overkill but thats what the "big brake kits" cost for us mopar guys. i would probably upgrade to good pads and rotors way before i did all of that. was debating on the EBC slotted rotors and one of their yellow stuff or red stuff pads ( i don't remember which one it is. but i would love to come out to your guys first track days and see how it is. am also thinking about heading over to M1 concourse as well. do you guys plan on going there at all?

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1 year 8 months ago #3031 by HeadBall
HeadBall replied the topic: newbie check in
$6000 will buy a complete, ready to run, race car with a cage. You could literally use the Charger to tow the race car to the track. And yes, I'm serious.

Of course, you probably bought the Charger to use, so slap some pads on that thing and bring it to the track. :evil:

When two just won't do...

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1 year 8 months ago #3032 by Grog
Grog replied the topic: newbie check in
Absolutely... come out to a track to just meet and greet. Come early enough to sit through a drivers meeting, and see how things are run.

This is a really great group with a wide range of participants.. Hardcore fanatics and causal track day fans. It is also family friendly, so bring them with you if you wish.

Our first event is at Gingerman Raceway, in April. This track is really the best track for a newbie. Tons of runoff and not much to hit. But still fun and challenging.

But if you aren't ready to drive, there are a bunch of other events at Grattan Raceway and other tracks that you can run at later.

See you there!

92 Miata (~92 whp)
Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

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1 year 8 months ago #3034 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
I'm definitely going to try and make it out to gingerman with you guys. Like I said in my original post I got to go on the track there back in August. I probably did a total of 10 laps on the track and am excited to do it again.

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1 year 8 months ago #3035 by jaymsu
jaymsu replied the topic: newbie check in
Welcome~~~! You'll love this group. Very friendly and helpful guys. Best track organizer you'll find in this area for sure - not too many restrictions but keep the event very safe, and make it fun for everyone.

About the CG Lock that Joe mentioned: I've been using it for a year now, and I highly recommend it. (1 minute install at track and you can remove it in 30 sec. when you are leaving track) Sure it'll never be as good as 5 or 6 point harness, but if you are keeping stock seat/belt setup, this works pretty good to lock your bottom down on seat so you don't have to try to hold your butt in place too hard.

If this is your 2nd track day event, I would recommend to flush the brake fluid to some nice DOT4 (like Motul that Joe recommended) and maybe better pads, and gradually upgrade as you find out what you really need, instead of dropping ton of money into something right now - I mean, it's nice to have bigger brake kits (especially when your car is heavy) but you may find out later you want to upgrade only fronts instead of all corners or you may find inexpensive ways to cool your brakes better and just put better rotors/pads.....

Keep coming to track, and talking to these guys - they will share all kinds of knowledge you want to get, and with that, you'll make smarter choices for upgrading your car.
The best upgrade you can make to your car is 'the nut behind the wheel', and 3 Balls will definitely help you with that.

Look forward to meeting you on track. :)

2006 Corvette w/ Z51 package: TOY4JAY III
2007 Corvette Z06 (550whp monster): TOY4JAY II
2002 'almost' stock Corvette coupe: TOY4JAY I
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1 year 8 months ago #3037 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
i'm pretty geeked to come out and see you guys and get involved in this.

i do have a question for everyone though. lowering springs vs coilovers?

theres a few hundred dollar price difference between the two and i know that coilovers will be much better on the track but with me driving on the street as well i'm wondering if the price difference is worth it? lowering springs and my solid sway bars should help my cornering alot but if lowering springs vs coilovers are still a night and day difference maybe i should save up for the coilovers?

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1 year 8 months ago #3039 by HeadBall
HeadBall replied the topic: newbie check in

dasbury1989 wrote: i'm pretty geeked to come out and see you guys and get involved in this.

i do have a question for everyone though. lowering springs vs coilovers?

theres a few hundred dollar price difference between the two and i know that coilovers will be much better on the track but with me driving on the street as well i'm wondering if the price difference is worth it? lowering springs and my solid sway bars should help my cornering alot but if lowering springs vs coilovers are still a night and day difference maybe i should save up for the coilovers?


Why do you say coilovers will be better on the track?

When two just won't do...

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1 year 8 months ago #3041 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
i'm guessing because they're adjustable? it's moreso what i was just told.

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1 year 8 months ago #3042 by HeadBall
HeadBall replied the topic: newbie check in

dasbury1989 wrote: i'm guessing because they're adjustable? it's moreso what i was just told.


If you're seeing coil overs and lowering springs close to price, I would avoid those coil overs. There is not built in performance advantage to a coil over setup. They do offer a great packaging improvement, because you use the same attachment points for the shock and the spring. Of course, when you put coil overs on a car built with a separate spring and shock, you are drastically changing the loads going into the shock mount and need to be concerned about durability of that mounting point.

In either configuration, you have a shock and a spring. The issue with lowering springs is that you are now changing the length of the shock at curb height. It's possible this means you will be bottoming the shock out. A decent coil over "SHOULD" be designed to eliminate this, and it "SHOULD" have a bumpstop for the times you do bottom it out.

A good adjustable shock is expensive. The other thing they are, is frustrating when you don't know how to adjust them. Spend enough time around people who are actually trying to use the adjustments, and you will see lots of guys wishing they had stayed with a non-adjustable.

It's a huge can of worms if you are really trying to improve the car.

When two just won't do...

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1 year 8 months ago #3043 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in

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1 year 8 months ago #3044 by Grog
Grog replied the topic: newbie check in
The Coilovers state that they are 14kg(/mm)

The lowering springs don't give a spring rate. That would be nice to know.

Also, I would want to know what the stock spring rate is.

If the H&R springs are at least 20% stiffer than stock, I would get them. If they are much more than that, I would say you need stiffer shocks. Anything less is probably not worth the cost.

As Ken said, all else being equal, I would avoid the coilovers. This is one of the (many) cases where stock (configuration) is better.

92 Miata (~92 whp)
Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

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1 year 8 months ago #3047 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
i can't seem to find the spring rate of the springs but i've heard of H & R before and if i remember correctly they're up there and quality. the issue with my car ( not really an issue) is that the AWD models are tall. figured a 1.5" drop would level the car out and make it look a lot better and maybe help with the body roll as it's very "boaty" in the corners. who knows. maybe the front and rear solid sway bars will take care of that and i won't have to worry about it anymore.

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1 year 8 months ago #3051 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
so after a long week of debating with myself and fighting with the dealership. i ended up trading in my AWD charger for a 2016 challenger scat pack. and it has most of the things you guys were talking about before which are the 4 piston brembo brakes as well as slotted rotors, and front brake cooling ducts.

while i'm going to definitely miss the charger i think this was a step in the right direction and should do me well at the track for the next coming seasons.
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1 year 8 months ago #3052 by Red06
Red06 replied the topic: newbie check in
Nice looking car, Congrats! At just over 4000 lbs it's still a lot of car to slow down. You will still need to change to DOT 4 brake fluid in the spring and I still recommend some Hawk HP+ pads (or at least spring for an extra set of front stock pads in case you burn through them).

Most beginners ride their brakes too long putting way too much heat into the brakes and calipers. What I mean by that is that they start breaking too early, realize it and let up on some pressure, then ride them through the brake zone. Do this lap after lap and you'll boil your stock DOT 3 brake fluid. It gets real exciting when your foot goes to the floor in a brake zone. On track you need to get on the brakes and get off as soon as possible. Going to DOT 4 is cheap insurance (although it is possible to boil DOT 4).

2004 Corvette Z06 - Torch Red
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1 year 8 months ago #3053 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
Always hating on the fat mopars hahaha just kidding. i did plan on switching to the dot 4 in the spring. but would the hawk pads be better than the brembos?

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1 year 8 months ago #3054 by Grog
Grog replied the topic: newbie check in
That was fast. Nice car, too! Sounds like you made a nice upgrade.

I don't know enough about the stock pads. But, since everything is a compromise... Dodge probably didn't give you race pads that will hold up to a true track day. So, you probably do want to get the race pads and fluid change. And a spare set of rotors while you are at it. If nothing else, bring it with you in case you find you need them.

One more thought: Your car insurance probably won't cover you on the track, so consider getting Track Day insurance. The deductibles are higher, but at least you are covered against a catastrophic loss if things go really wrong. It doesn't happen often with newbies, but it does happen...

See you in April

92 Miata (~92 whp)
Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.
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1 year 8 months ago #3056 by jaymsu
jaymsu replied the topic: newbie check in
Congrats!! Great looking car. Not a typical choice for track days but I'm sure they would be fun. (I'm running heavy muscle car on track myself)

Red06 wrote: Nice looking car, Congrats! At just over 4000 lbs it's still a lot of car to slow down. You will still need to change to DOT 4 brake fluid in the spring and I still recommend some Hawk HP+ pads (or at least spring for an extra set of front stock pads in case you burn through them).

Grog wrote: T
I don't know enough about the stock pads. But, since everything is a compromise... Dodge probably didn't give you race pads that will hold up to a true track day. So, you probably do want to get the race pads and fluid change. And a spare set of rotors while you are at it. If nothing else, bring it with you in case you find you need them.


^^^ This.
DOT4 is a must.

To answer your question on Brembo pads:
OEM pads have to do many things to satisfy various customers - shouldn't make too much dust, stop cold, shouldn't squeal like pig, last long enough....
My Camaro came with 4 piston Brembo as well. The pads are pretty good for OEM pads - they stopped decent and didn't melt away after 1 day at Gingerman. That being said, having little better pads for track will be better for long run.(something like HP+, Powerstop Track Day pads, EBC Yellow or Bluestuff... Those are not full track pads like DTCs, but inexpensive yet usable on track) I put on HP+ night before the track day, and change out to OEM pads afterwards. (that helps with longevity of both pads)

If you want to get a feel for your new car, and don't want to do too much just yet, just get brake fluid flushed with DOT4, and bring an extra set of brake pads to track.
I'm quite positive your OEM pads will last at least couple of track days if not more, but you don't want to drive home with zero pads left, so having an extra set would be a nice insurance.

2006 Corvette w/ Z51 package: TOY4JAY III
2007 Corvette Z06 (550whp monster): TOY4JAY II
2002 'almost' stock Corvette coupe: TOY4JAY I
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1 year 8 months ago #3057 by dasbury1989
dasbury1989 replied the topic: newbie check in
so when i google the HP+ pads i can only find the front pads for my car, nothing for the rears.

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1 year 7 months ago #3066 by Red06
Red06 replied the topic: newbie check in
Depending on how your stability control works, you will burn through front pads faster that rears. Given that, as a bunch of us C5 owners found out, the C5 stability control worked by using the rear brakes (even in "track mode"). We ended up eating rear pads and cracking rear rotors until we figured out that the TCS mode off was how to run.

You'd probably be better with HP+ pads on the front and stocks on the rear (and having your stock pads as spares to drive home on, if needed) than having stock pads all around. That being said, I have no experience with Mopars so your mileage may vary... ;)

2004 Corvette Z06 - Torch Red

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