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piknockout's STU Auto-x Build Sponsored by Agile Auto: 8/23 Update - WDCR #7
piknockout's STU Auto-x Build Sponsored by Agile Auto: 8/23 Update - WDCR #7
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Old 05-05-10, 09:35 AM   #111
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (4/26 Update)

WDCR Event #2 at Fed Ex Field on May 2nd, 2010

Results: User Log In

Video: YouTube - WDCR Autocross Event #2 at Fed Ex Field on May 2, 2010



After not being able to really test out the new setup due to the very slick conditions of the last event, it was time to see what the new setup would do with grip. Apparently Dan Snyder didn't like what we did to his newly sealed lot and we have been relegated to the B Lot at Fed Ex Field. The good news is that the lot is sealant free. The bad news is that it's significantly smaller than either the E/F Lot or the A Lot. Luckily we have some excellent course designers who can maximize the space. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty good sized lot, just not as great as what we had. But back to the grip...

The course was a lot of fun with some very high speed on the back side and fairly sweeper intensive. While not too technical, there were definitely a few spots where you could get caught out if you weren't in position. Because of the high speed, I was able to experiment with shifting points and continue to get more comfortable with it. It was definitely what would be considered a "power course" with a minimal amount of transitions and a decent amount of open space. A minimal amount of cones too and the course was flowing and easy to follow.

My co-driver for this year couldn't make this event either, so I had an open seat. Another competitor and NASIOC member Mark (mla163) needed a ride and so I offered it up. I need to get used to the routine and time crunch of having a co-driver...and he bought my lunch. I like food, so we had a deal.

STU ran in the last heat of the day, so we had some times to use as a basis of the times we should be running in STU. Ian Baker ran a 42.5 in STS and John Willemin (ButtDyno) pulled out a 42.6, with Sam Strano dropping a 40.9 on the FS field. Sam's times are a great gauge because: 1) Umm, yeah, he's kind of fast 2) FS and STU PAX factors are pretty close. My guess was that a mid 41 second time would be the initial target. Setup wise I left everything where it was from last year except for tire pressures: 44/40 instead of last year's 44/44.

First run I decided I would push it just to see what the car would do (understeer/oversteer) and the car felt fantastic! It did everything that I wanted it to do. The only real "issue" I had was not being able to put down the power as well as I wanted, but I'll work on that later. It wants to step out on throttle a little too much. I also overcooked one of the key sections and had to go WAY off line to get it back around. I shifted into 3rd on the back side and downshifted at the end of the back stretch which seemed to work well. Finished with a 42.191 so I was already raw timing Ian...yes!

Second run was more of the same, just trying to tidy up the section that I overcooked on the first run and decided to try a different point to downshift and waiting until I had to brake coming down the hill into the left hander before the right hander to the finish. The problem was that I didn't really brake properly and slowed down too much in the process. I was turning in a little too early at the finish and wasting time/distance as well, but still managed to post a 41.575 which was still good enough for 1st in STU.

For the third run I decided to go back to downshifting into 2nd at the end of the back stretch, but before that I went a little deep in the first 180. I also messed up the finish and completed the run with a 41.809, so no help there.

The final run, time to try and get it right. Hit the first 180 well, get a good run on the back stretch, hit my downshift well, come down the hill...and the downhill off camber bit me a little bit. I turned in too early and went down a little too quickly and the rear end started to slide out a hair. I tried to straighten it out just a hair but then had to turn left again for the corner up ahead. As I did, the rear end came out more and turned me in at just the right angle and I manage to save section without too much loss in time. I had to slow down overall more than I wanted, but got through it cleanly, had fun in the process, and still ran a faster time: 41.357 and good enough for the STU win! Little did I know that Clint Boyd came through on his last run with a 41.872 in his E46 M3, the only other STU car in the 41's. That guy just keeps getting faster in that car, something to keep an eye on.

Results: 1st Place in STU and 13th in PAX of 205.

So far a great start to the year with two first places in STU to lead the class, a pretty decent PAX finish, and the car feels great. Still more changes to come in the next few weeks. I now have the extended studs and lugnuts and will be making/buying 8mm spacers for the front soon. I'm hoping this should give me some better front end grip and allow the rear to rotate more easily, which in turn means I can drop the rebound down in the rear, which in turn I "think" should improve on throttle traction in the rear. We'll see though. Also, my DPT's are at Bimmerworks in West Chester, PA right now getting some Dunlop Z1's mounted and I should be picking them up tomorrow with some pics on Friday. This will be the rain and local event wheel/tire setup with some shaved Z1's on the FN01RC's once the Stones are toasted...which isn't too far off.

Next event will probably be with Autocrosser's Inc. on May 23rd at Fed Ex Field, a week before the Northeast Divisionals at the same location. There's also a school being held that weekend, so I'm hoping I can hop on over and get some more testing runs with the spacers/tires.
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Old 05-06-10, 06:35 PM   #112
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (5/5 Update)

Great driving and thanks for the tips !

TJ
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Old 05-07-10, 06:11 AM   #113
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (5/5 Update)

Thanks TJ, same to you! From what I saw riding along, you're definitely driving the car well, it's just underprepped. I may have to let you take my car out for a spin some time, although you could end up pulling a Shane on me and start beating me in my own car...I don't need to see that happen.
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Old 05-16-10, 07:18 PM   #114
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (5/5 Update)

I'd love to be a tire warmer anytime ya need one! I don't think you have to worry there on times, every time shotgun with you is a learning experience. Happened to be in Columbus this past weekend and attended the local autox there, got to again watch the 1st place STU car not only trump me by a second, but again, a white sti being well driven by Aaron Rich. You guys throw down fast times your first runs where I seem to still gain 2 or 3 seconds by the last run. I need some more driver mods still!
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Old 05-16-10, 07:27 PM   #115
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (5/5 Update)

I saw your car today down at the Autox in Philly. Looks real good man. It was sick watching you drive the thing and seeing how it handled.
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Old 05-17-10, 10:18 AM   #116
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (5/5 Update)

Thanks, although my codriver did a better job of driving it than I did. We spent the day trying to break in the new tires and make setup changes to work with the Dunlops. I felt like Ken Block on my first run sliding the car around (video to come ).

TJ, get more parts and you'll be there. I think your biggest issue is having an underprepped car. Being fast right out of the box is helpful as well. It comes down to course walks (I get at least 3-4 walks) and picking out the key cones/sections during those walks. Then if you know what your car can do and what it's going to do, you can go out and throw it down on the first run.
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Old 06-11-10, 08:17 PM   #117
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (5/5 Update)

piknockout, what is your ride height set to hub to fender here?

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Old 06-14-10, 10:04 AM   #118
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (5/5 Update)

It's somewhere between 13.5"-14.0" give or take. I haven't adjusted it since then so I can always check at some point when I get home.
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Old 06-16-10, 04:57 AM   #119
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (5/5 Update)

Okay, time to get caught up on the last few events. I know I’ve been behind, way too busy lately.

Philly Region Holbert Memorial (Day 2) at Citizen’s Bank Park on May 16, 2010

Results: http://www.phillyscca.com/solo2/results/2010/SO051610.shtml

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoIuZ9eX0KM

I finally got my Rota DPT’s after waiting about a month and a half, which meant some new rubber to go with them. Picked up some full tread Dunlop Direzza Z1’s which will be used as daily/rain wheels/tires. I’ll be ordering some shaved Z1’s to replace the Bridgestones on the FN01RC’s soon enough. So with fresh tires that only had about 75 street miles on them, it was time to properly break them in. We also needed to do some testing to figure out tire pressures and shock settings. My codriver Shane was able to make this event, so we needed to work on our codriver routines as well. I’m so used to driving on my own that I forget the numbers half the time!

Needless to say, first runs were essentially throwaways. Iman (bdi) made the claim that the Dunlops were fast right out of the box…my azz they were! We started off the day with pressures at 36f/32 rear. There were only the three of us to compete in STU, although we were there more for testing than for competition…but we all know that the competition is fun! Shane took the first run and the car was sliding everywhere, same for me on my first run. I came back from my run with many complements on how awesome it looked – that is, doing my best Ken Block impressions – but it wasn’t the fast way around the course. I will say that it was fun though, 4 wheel drifting some sections. First run came in with a 52.362, a couple of tenths behind Iman, so not too bad. Luckily for Shane there was a downed cone in the slalom, so he got a rerun. We made no setup changes as we were waiting for the tires to get scrubbed in a bit before trying to figure it out.

My second run was just a waste, other than scrubbing the tires in a bit more. I drove a little too aggressively and spun the car through the offsets, but kept the car moving the whole time…more Ken Block-ness. And you know what they say: If you can’t be fast, be entertaining. Finished with a 57.740 but DNF. Shane’s run was a throw away as well, but for good reason – another downed cone. So at this point, Shane has two looks at the course and no timed runs. This worked out well for us so that we could get more runs on the tires and try to adjust the car more. At this point we decided to increase the front pressures to 38psi from 36 and left the rear alone. Iman coned a 51.3, nearly a full second improvement in raw time. There’s a lot of time being left on the table.

Shane finally gets a timed run on his 3rd/1st official run with a 52.065 to take the STU lead. The car’s still not quite right. On my 3rd run I was over aggressive (again) and ran a 53.034 +1, but in addition to that I can’t seem to get any solid grip. The car is gripping initially and then sliding around. Time to start making some aggressive changes. After 6 runs on the tires, the car is not doing what we want. While I’m no suspension setup master, and I don’t claim to know a ton, I “think” I know enough to make some educated guesses. At this point I start thinking about the Dunlops vs. the Bridgestones and how the Dunlops have a much stiffer sidewall. I also think about the fact that I recently installed stiffer bushings all around. Is it possible that the tires are getting overloaded too quickly? Perhaps, so we dropped the rebound down 4 clicks at all four corners. Let’s see what happens. Also, Iman coned away another 51.x run, so Shane was still sitting in 1st.

Shane was the first to go out with the setup changes and he said it felt significantly better…even though his time of 53.150 +1 didn’t reflect it. The car got a little loose on him through the offsets slowing down the run, but he mentioned that he finally had some real grip. Success! Time to see what I can do. Going through the first half of the course the car felt wonderful, everything felt on point. I’m balling through the slaloms, slow down enough at the end of the slaloms…and then this is when I got impatient. I turned in too early, pushing wide and getting a terrible angle for the next right hander, which in turn got me pushing too hard everywhere for the remainder of the course. Despite being terrible for half the course, the time came in at a 51.904 and good enough to (temporarily) take 1st. But that wasn’t important, what mattered is that the car finally felt great again. Iman was able to clean up on his last run and eeks my time out by 0.147s with a 51.757 and takes the lead. At this point, Shane has two runs to make us both look bad, thanks to getting two reruns for downed cones.

After my last run, I came into grid and told Shane that there’s easily a full second out on course. I knew there was time based on running a decent time despite an excessive number of mistakes. On his first rerun, he’s looking good and the car looks good…but not good enough to take 1st: 51.782 and only a few hundredths behind Iman. One more run to get it done. After 5 looks at the course, he better do something! And in typical Shane fashion, he knocks it out of the park. He’s hitting the limiter hard in several places and I can tell that he’s flying. The final run takes the win with a time of 50.904, EXACTLY a second faster than my time.

Final Results: Shane’s last run was good enough for the win in STU and 8th in PAX out of 107, while I languished back in 3rd (of 3) in STU and 21st in PAX after my mistake riddled final run.

At the end of the day we got what we went there for – some solid setup testing and tire break in. I was happy with the car and it was obviously working. Next up was the Northeast Divisionals at Fed Ex Field and the car seemed ready for the task…or so we thought. Tune in next post for the exciting conclusion!
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Old 06-16-10, 05:01 AM   #120
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Default Re: piknockout's STU Autocross Build - 2006 STi sponsored by Agile Auto (5/5 Update)

SCCA Northeast Divisionals at Fed Ex Field on May 29-30, 2010

Results: http://www.wdcr-scca.org/SoloAutocross/EventsAX/NortheastDivisionalChampionship/NEDivSoloChampionshipResults/tabid/1663/Default.aspx


Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe8iIlV6xig

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MiUwsmvW40


Friday

Shane and I arrived at Fed Ex around noonish on Friday, plenty of time to get there to do the Practice course to hopefully further improve the car setup and also register and work tech so that we didn’t have to work the rest of the weekend, in addition to being able to walk the course a few times. While we were pretty comfortable with the setup the way it was after doing Day 2 of the Holbert, along with some runs after one of the autocross schools (where we dropped rear pressures down to 28psi for more on throttle grip on corner exit), we still wanted to tweak as needed. I took a set of 4 runs on course with some decent times, but the car was just crazy loose EVERYWHERE! Loose on turn in and loose on throttle, it was tough to manage. We made some tweaks to rebound, but still the problem persisted. Shane took some runs and had the exact same issues…and he drives less aggressively than I do.

After sitting around in grid and talking with Iman (bdi), Travis (ProDarwin), and John (Butt Dyno), one of them noticed when looking at the passenger rear that there was no camber to be found, and it was supposed to be at -2.0 degrees. Look at passenger side, then drivers side, then passenger side…what do you know, there isn’t any camber. That could be an issue as one of the bolts in the rear slipped (T2’s come with slotted upper holes that connect to the knuckle). With some limited time before practice closed, we took the car back to paddock and removed both wheels, checked where it was set on the driver’s side, and adjusted the passenger side accordingly. Sat it back on the ground, and while it wasn’t as cambered as it needed to be, it was close enough. Went back out on the practice course and dropped my time by nearly a half second…much better! We’re ready for the weekend! I’m not sure when the bolt slipped exactly, but the car has been pretty loose most of the year.

Also, Shane FINALLY received the MaxQ that was ordered back in February, FINALLY got the unlock code to access all the features, but unfortunately couldn’t get it to see the satellites until after all of our runs on the weekend. He did get it to work after our runs and we practiced using it on other cars. Having the MaxQ should really help us figure out how each of us can improve our driving, especially considering our close times with drastically different driving styles. More on that in the future.

Saturday

Time for Day 1 of competition. Unfortunately Justin Lau and John Winchester couldn’t make the Divisional, but there was still the usual local crew with Iman and Yury from Philly Region expected to provide a great battle. STU was privileged enough to have first dibs on the course and ran 1st heat to clear it for the afternoon crews. Of course we’re fighting for class honors, not PAX, so it’s not entirely relevant as we all had to deal with the same stuff. I’ve decided that I prefer to run 2nd when it comes to driving duties, letting Shane take the initial cold tire/course sweeper duties. We a bit of a surprise during the driver’s meeting that we would be getting 4 runs on both days due to the lighter turnout (187 cars). I would have preferred three runs to get used to running under those circumstances, but I do enjoy having more runs. Oh well, we’ll just have to deal with it.

On his first run, Shane took full advantage of the cold tires and dirty course and manage to slide the car sideways on multiple occasions, in addition to destroying five (yes 5) cones in the process. But he was the first STU driver to provide some sort of data on what kind of ballpark times we could expect, finishing with a 59.158 +5. Perhaps not a great proxy, but things happen. At least the tires were warmed up now. For my first run I just wanted to get an idea of how the car felt and what the course was like. Nothing real crazy, not pushing the car excessively hard, but trying to get an idea of some of the tricky sections of this fantastic Lee Piccione designed course. No real issues other than not quite getting the left hander after the showcase just right, but it wasn’t too bad (this time…more on that later). First run was a 56.023, but +1 on that run. I believe I hit a slalom cone somewhere, but that’s an easy fix…in theory. We’re all aware of my coneage issues from last year. The raw time was good enough for 1st with Yury at a 58.5 +1 and Iman putting down a 56.5 to put him in 1st.

Shane went out on his 2nd run and laid down a smoking fast time with a 55.188, but unfortunately coned that run away. Have I passed on the coneitis to Shane? Knowing that I left a lot of time on course, I really wanted to lay down a solid 2nd run so that I had a fall back to really push in the later runs. Everything on this run felt on point, I nailed the slalom up the hill, didn’t get caught out by the tricky top left section (really offset, slow, then very interesting sweeper), come flying down the hill into the showcase turn, feeling great, slightly off going up the hill…and then it happens. I apparently just zoned out for a split second, wasn’t thinking, didn’t look ahead, and ended up not getting to the right enough (at all) to make the left hander after the showcase. Went in too fast, too tight, pushed WAY out, then had to fight back for the next gate which threw me off for the final left hander into the finish. That was THE run, I knew it, and I completely blew it (as you can see in the video – just slightly frustrated, but edited for our family friendly audience). Finished with a time that wasn’t bad at all, 55.426 to push me into the lead, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough and I knew that I had just wasted an excellent opportunity. I lost so much time in that spot. On second runs, Yury finished with a 56.4 clean and Iman with a 55.6 but +1. The heat is on.

During 3rd runs, Shane decided to lay down the gauntlet with a 54.921 to vault him into the lead, but a time that I knew was very attainable after screwing up the prior run. Time to do it myself. Going up through the slalom everything is going well, cut across the top and everything’s great, slow down for the slow, offset left/right complex…and hit the cone while making the right. Stupid cone to hit. To make matters worse, since I knew I hit it, I checked the rearview to confirm (I know, I know) and then when I looked up another cone was right in front of me so I hit that one as well. Just stupid. I did manage to handle the left hander after the finish a lot better and ended the run with a 55.197 +2, so the time is there, I just need to get my head out of my arse. Both Yury and Iman dropped their raw times significantly, down to a 55.6 and 54.8, but Yury coned and Iman went off course somewhere. I was still sitting in 2nd with Shane in 1st.

Shane didn’t get any help on his 4th run with another coned run, not that the raw time would have helped anyways. Door open, time to walk through…or shall I say, hit the side of the door and just fall over. I’ve said it before, but this sport is a very mental game and I crumbled under the pressure again. Coming down the hill into the showcase I got a bit too aggressive and the rear end started coming around on me. I wasted a lot of time trying to get it back in line, slowing me down quite a bit. Finished that run with a slow 56.070, with multiple expletives being heard outside the car. In the mean time, Yury had been able to land a fast, clean 55.3 run to move himself up into the 2nd position, bumping me to 3rd, while unfortunately Iman had another coned run of a 55.280. I know I can make up the time to take back 2nd place, but it’s going to take some help to make up a half second to get Shane.

Day 1 Results: Shane 1st in STU and 25th in PAX and Josh 3rd in STU and 42nd in PAX.


Sunday

With multiple mental breakdowns on Day 1, I really needed to get it done on Day 2. I had to do something, even if it meant playing dirty. Shane informed me that he was going to go out dancing with a lady friend on Saturday night. I begged him to give me her number so that I could ask her to keep him up all night long. No luck getting the number, but I think she must have somehow read my thoughts. Shane showed up a bit tired, but in a really good mood. Time to find out how distracted he got. The course on Day 2 was essentially Day 1’s course in reverse with a few tweaks to some slalom cones and drove much faster than Day 1.

After a cone filled Saturday, Shane bounced back with a day full of primarily clean runs. His first run of a 51.8 was solid, but would be beaten by Yury with a 51.7 to take 1st in STU, who would go no faster on the day and would finish in 3rd overall. Iman had a decent first run of a 52.5, but would be clean all day and eventually improve to a 51.6 to claim 4th place overall after a cone filled Saturday put him in 7th and hurt his chances to compete for the overall win.

Knowing I needed to be fast today, and knowing I would have a really tough time clawing back half a second, I concentrated on trying to win the day and just drive. No real pressure really, the pressure was all on him not to screw up. If I were lucky enough to win the class, great, but the likelihood of that happening with Shane’s driving was minimal at best. So I went out on my first run and essentially ran just about everything as well as I could on a first run. Coming through the showcase and into the walloms was absolute money…and the best line through that section all day. You know how you’re told to set your hands in a corner, don’t move your hands and use the throttle to get where you need to be? Yeah, exactly like that and something I probably won’t repeat any time soon. I was actually hitting the rev limiter right around the second wallom cone. I wasn’t as clean on the slow “S” section as I should have been and had to wait to get on the gas going across the top, but it would be a spot I could hopefully improve. Then coming down the hill into the long slalom, again I started banging the limiter by the second slalom cone. Through the finish and complete the course with a very solid 51.002 to take the lead in STU.

Knowing that I was hitting the rev limiter hard in a couple of spots, I tried to use 3rd instead. Unfortunately it just got me going too fast for the slalom sections and getting out of control. It’s almost as if the speed I was hitting at the rev limiter was just right for the slaloms I was going through. I’m sure there was a little more there had I short shifted and worked it properly, but I just couldn’t get it right. Ended up DNF’ing on the 2nd run, then on subsequent runs tried keeping it in 2nd and maximizing a couple of spots I could improve on. But alas my final two runs were both 51.0xx’s and no improvement from my first run.

Meanwhile in our story, Shane still has three more runs to go. His 2nd run would produce a solid 51.362 to retake the overall STU lead and the win by a mere 0.145 seconds. His following runs were both slower, with one being a coned run. Neither one of us could improve on our later runs. I did however win the day at least, a small victory, but Shane was apparently awake enough to squeak out the win.

Day 2/Final Results: Josh finished 2nd in STU for the weekend (0.145s behind 1st) and 30th PAX overall, 1st in STU and 20th PAX on Day 2. Shane finished 1st in STU for the weekend and 25th PAX overall, 2nd in STU and 29th PAX on Day 2.


Overall I’m very happy with the car and glad to know that it can compete. It feels good overall and the competition was great going against Shane, even though he did get the better of my by just a hair. But while the car seemed to feel pretty good, I noticed an issue with the driver’s side camber while walking back to the car at the end of the day after trophies. Apparently the camber had slipped on BOTH of the driver’s side wheels. The front had moved from about -3.0 to roughly -1.0, while the rear had slipped from -2.0 to about -4.5 or so. Yeah, that’s a problem. I’m not sure when this happened during the runs, but could perhaps explain why we couldn’t improve. Luckily Shane was still around and Ian Baker lent us a jack and some tools in order to try and reset everything before I drove it home.

Messed up camber from the rear.




Correct camber (mostly) on Passenger side



Looking back when the alignment was done, we had never taken the wheels off the car to really super tighten the bolts on the car, and this is the result. Fortunately the guys at GT Performance are fantastic and realigned the car for me at no charge. And this time we took off the wheels and secured everything down solidly. I expect that the car should handle better in the future with an alignment that’s correct and doesn’t move.
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