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944 Turbo suspension

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I have a Turbo with 180,000 miles. Runs great and am interested in upgrading the suspension and handling. Am considering trying some DE. What recommendations for shocks , tires and rims. Have had the recommendation to change to 8" fuchi front and 9" rear. Any advise. Also bought the Authority Stage 2 chips on Ebay but w/o instructions. Does any one have access to the instructions. Wrote authority w/o success.

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I have a Turbo with 180,000 miles. Runs great and am interested in upgrading the suspension and handling. Am considering trying some DE. What recommendations for shocks , tires and rims. Have had the recommendation to change to 8" fuchi front and 9" rear. Any advise. Also bought the Authority Stage 2 chips on Ebay but w/o instructions. Does any one have access to the instructions. Wrote authority w/o success.

I was in EXACTLY your position just over a year ago. Began with a stock 1986 with 132k miles, and have DE'd it heavily. You picked an AWESOME car to go DE'ing.

Suspension Recommendation: Ground Control - http://www.ground-control.com/. They have the best-priced adjustable (rebound and compression) race-level, adjustable-height strut and shock packages I found. They're customized so that you can lower the front without experiencing bump steer, and have a few little extras that nobody else has, such as a special rear eccentric bolt that allows you to lower the rear even more than the stock eccentric. Give them a call and tell them what you want to do, they'll steer you the right way. They have a 944 turbo specialist, and have track-tested their gear. Also, you should regrease the bearings - straightforward job, but it is a lot of work because you have to remove the calipers and carefully adjust the play when you reinstall them.

Bushings: If they've never been replaced, then on a car with your mileage, you will probably need to change most of them - control arm bushings, sway bar bushings, power steering rack, torque tube, etc. You can get away without doing this for now (I've never heard of a bushing failure causing a problem at the track), but put it on your list because it can significantly affect handling. You may want to go with rubber bushings, just so that you don't stress the other OEM components too much (plus they're much cheaper and new OEM rubber bushings will be just fine for your first years of DE). I'm not completely sold on all these highly-expensive solid spherical bushings, the standard rubber bushings absorb a lot of the stress. If you're going to race, fine, go with solid bushings, but then you're also going to need aftermarket fabricated high-strength control arms (required for NASA racing) anyway that can take the additional stress. The aluminum control arms on these cars are prone to failure around the ball joint, especially if the car is lowered. If you have gobs of money, get aftermarket control. That's my next big upgrade. For now, I'm holding off on the installation of my solid spherical a-arm bushings because they're going to put too much stress on the factory aluminum control arms. Until you do something like this, inspect your ball joints and make sure they're tight. You can replace the ball joints as a preventive measure, but it's an enormous pain.

Brakes: You didn't mention brakes, but you absolutely NEED to do something here. At the very minimum, you need ATE Super Blue brake fluid and track pads - you will see a very wide variety of recommendations for pads. I went with the proven Pagid Oranges, and they were awesome. If anything, they are too good for a stock brake setup because they will generate way more heat than the stock calipers probably ever expected to see, but I've never had a problem with the calipers. Some day, I'll put bigger brakes on all around, but for now, the only other mods I've done are brake cooling ducting (which I'm not convinced really helped that much) and stainless steel brakes lines. Stainless steel brake lines are a VERY easy mod to the front, a bit more challenging in the rear. You'll also need to get your own pressurized brake bleeder.

Tires & Rims - So many things you can do here. The Fuchs are very light and have a nice performance advantage, but you probably want to be more practical. Cheapest way to go by far is to get a set of used 17" 986 or 996 turbo twist wheels, they're not that heavy and they're practically throw-away wheels at the prices you can get them these days, so no worries if you ruin any of them (I've ruined two already from overly-aggressive curbing - albeit unintentional). You'll need some H&R spacers, but otherwise they will mount right up. Get the best tires you can afford. They will make the single biggest difference in your track experience. If you can, start out with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup - at least you can legally drive these to the track if need be, and they are unbelievable! Eventually, if the DE bug really gets you, you'll want to go with slicks.

Autothority Chips: Dump them. Way too many bad stories, and NO support. You NEED support so that you know EXACTLY what you have and are confident that they are matched exactly for your setup. Apparently Autothority was a very good company at one time, but were sold and apparently haven't performed near to the level as before. Get a set of 951Max chips from Russell Barry (these are the same chips that Lindsey Racing resells) or Vitesse Racing (http://www.vitesseracing.com/) chips. I personally have the 951Max chips because they came with the car, and I have been very happy with the chips and with Russell's responses to clarify exactly what the chips were designed to match up with (as far as any mods), but I've also heard numerous excellent feedback about the Vittesse chips.

Be sure to upgrade the driver too. :lol: Read up on proper braking technique at a minimum, learning to do threshold braking and how to enter and drive through the corners so that you can come out of the corners fast.

Lots and lots of other stuff you'll want to do for the track - not sure how mechanically aware you are, but I'll mention a few. Make sure to use a synthetic oil that's appropriate for the track. I use Mobil1 15W-50, as do some others, and that seems to provide adequate protection, but it doesn't contain a lot of the protective additives that the EPA has taken out of modern oils - some guys run motorcyle or racing engine oils so that they get those protective additives, as the engines are prone to oil starvation on rod bearing #2. Change the antifreeze and buy a new radiator drain plug (cheap) BEFORE you attempt the job, or you'll be sorry. Make sure you use the antifreeze that's approved for our cars - the antifreeze you'll usually find at large stores is not correct. I know it when I see it, but I don't happen to have a container around - sorry I couldn't be of more help. Change the transaxle fluid (can find it at Paragon). Get a short-shift kit - somewhat of a pain to install, but BIG difference, and I don't think it's that much harder on the transmission. Check your transmission mount - at that car's age, if it's never been replaced, it will be no good for the track. What I mean is that the transaxle has a single mount on top, and as a result allows the transmission to swing around. That's fine for street driving, but at high G's it's going to swing a lot. If you don't have a firm (or even a new solid) transmission mount, you could break a half-shaft. I haven't done it, but have read about a LOT of folks doing it. You'll see some neat custom mods on rennlist, but by far the cheapest and most commonly praised method is to get the solid trans mount. Replace all of your vacuum lines. Paragon sells a Lindsey vacuum line replacement kit. When you can, clean out your intercooler (just use gasoline) - with your car's mileage, you will be disgusted at what you get out of it. Check the rubber boots on your half-shafts. Most of all, inspect EVERYTHING.

As much as I love renntech.org for its civility and excellent source of info for my 996, rennlist.com's 944 turbo forum is the place to be for this car. Far more active and lots of great archived info. Many other sites you'll want to check out, such as Clarks Garage.

So much to do, so much to learn. But totally worth it! However, if I had all of this to do all over again, I would not start with a stock car. I started with a stock car because I wanted the learning experience and I wanted to know exactly what was done to my car outside of stock parameters. Highly upgraded 944 turbos, some which are totally ready for the track, can be found for many, many thousands less than all of the money you're going to put into this one. You could resell yours and grab a highly upgraded 944 turbo and save BIG. Good luck!

Edited by John Jones
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