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Old 02-08-2009, 08:34 PM   #1
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autox'g the s197

Wow, after searching I finally found this site that has some folks that autocross the s197. I have a few questions please for those that have autox'd the late model mustang.

I've purchased a used 07 GT and I need advice in setting up the car for autox. I've autox'd on a local level for about 8 years with a bmw 328. It was rear wheel drive, but not high horse power like the GT. I plan on staying in stock class per the SCCA solo II rules. Right now all I can put on the car is tires for this year. Next year will be shocks/struts and a front sway.

That said, I need advice on tire pressures and if there is any adjustment on the car to allow more negitive camber adjustments on the front end. I know that Sam Stano autox's a healthy Mustang, so the car is competetive.

I'm planning on running a set of 275 victoracers on stock 17x8 wheels. That's about the best bang for the buck I can afford right now. ANY words of wisdom would be welcome here. I'm looking for any advice on tire pressures, brake pads and such. Also need to know if you can late brake the mustang. I had to early brake the 328, otherwise it would push in the turns. The 328 was true to the term, slow in, fast out. Don't know how balanced this car is from the factory; I know that all stock cars will push, but at least I can throttle steer this one.

I also notice this car has a saddle bag gas tank. Is there any starvation issues? How low of a tank of gas can you run before there are pick up problems?

OK, last but not least. I like the way the car sounds and not really interested in making it louder, but would like to make it breath better. For my class, I can change the air filter and cat back. I'm running a K&N up front, but the cat backs are spendy. I've seen some of the X pipe replacement kits that get rid of the H pipe. Anyone have any information on whether or not this aids in exhaust flow?

That's all I have for now. If you have any autocross wisdom to provide on the s197 cars, I'd appreciate in hearing what you have to say.

Thanks....
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:51 PM   #2
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Re: autox'g the s197

PM sent...Give me a shout sometime and I will be glad to discuss the car and setup with you
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:37 PM   #3
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Re: autox'g the s197

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PM sent...Give me a shout sometime and I will be glad to discuss the car and setup with you
Reply PM sent. Thank you....
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:05 PM   #4
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Re: autox'g the s197

I think any real track person will tell you the number one thing you can do to make your car faster is track time. You already have it in another vehicle so you should get up to par much quicker in your new ride. Just get out there and see how far you can go and slowly work towards making it better. Different drivers like different things, there is no pure formula for making the best autox car

I can tell you that lowering it to the right level and such will help, these cars sit WAY to high stock
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:18 PM   #5
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Re: autox'g the s197

He can't lower the car by stock class rules
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:50 PM   #6
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Re: autox'g the s197

seat time, seat time, seat time. then get some koni yellows with a good front bar, tires (victo's are good) and a good alignment.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:43 AM   #7
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Re: autox'g the s197

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I think any real track person will tell you the number one thing you can do to make your car faster is track time. You already have it in another vehicle so you should get up to par much quicker in your new ride. Just get out there and see how far you can go and slowly work towards making it better. Different drivers like different things, there is no pure formula for making the best autox car

I can tell you that lowering it to the right level and such will help, these cars sit WAY to high stock
Thanks for the feedback. Like Y2E0L0L5OGWT said, I can't change out springs and stay legal in my class. I'm not much of a track person, although I do like the HPDE's. I'm more into autocrossing for my habits right now. With both sons at college at ECU, autocrossing is more affordable right now. Track events are more money than than I care to spend right now.

I agree with seat time. I'm in my 8th year of autox'g, so I have a fair idea of what's going on for car dynamics. I just need to know how to set up the car, that's why I'm asking for input from those that have experience. Makes my learning curve shorter. As for a "pure formula" for setting up the car, no I agree there is no absolute, but in general all cars that are quick have close to the same setup. The variable is alway the driver. I have no asperations to be a national level driver, I enjoy a very healthy competition on a local level that supports my need for speed.

thanks SpectorV
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:50 AM   #8
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Re: autox'g the s197

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seat time, seat time, seat time. then get some koni yellows with a good front bar, tires (victo's are good) and a good alignment.
From an alignment standpoint, what do you run? On my 328 w/ camber plates, I ran 1/8" toe out front and 1/16" toe in rear when on course. Since I'm not running camber plates on the GT, I was thinking of setting the front toe to 0, but I'm open to any suggestions you have and why you set them. I'm still learning this car.

Thank you....
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:18 PM   #9
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Re: autox'g the s197

This is my setup for your reference:

'05 GT - Borla Catback, Koni Adjustable Shocks/Struts, Hawk HP+ Brakes all around, Steeda Front Sway Bar & End-Links, Hoosier A6's (275/40/17) on Enkei RPF1 Race Wheels, Royal Purple Fluids....

Being that you have an 07, I would suggest scrapping the 17" wheels and going with 18" wheels and a 275 or 285 Kumho V710 or Hoosier A6 (both are much better than a Victoracer if you can afford them)...The 18" wheels will give you signicantly shorter sidewalls which results in less flex and better response on turn-in...The 18" wheel option was not availabe until late model 06's and on, so I cannnot run them as I have an 05...

As for tow, I run 0 all around, and -1.6 degrees of camber up front...The Ford service manual allows for camber adjustment by slotting the mounting points on your front struts and installing Ford Camber bolts (i have the part number somewhere)...The factory strut tubes have markings on them which tell you how much you can slot them...The two biggest shock/strut brands for S197 cars are the Tokicko D-specs & Koni Sport Yellows...I have been running the Konis...The Tokicko's do have the slot markings on them, but the Koni's do not so you kinda have to "eye-ball" how much you can slot them...The average camber most have been able to get is between -1.5 and -2.0 degrees depening on how much you want to push the limits of slotting...

Call me later tonight and I can go more in depth with you on setup and driving and all that good stuff...It's entirely too much to type and I am lazy...
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:58 PM   #10
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Re: autox'g the s197

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As for tow, I run 0 all around, and -1.6 degrees of camber up front...The Ford service manual allows for camber adjustment by slotting the mounting points on your front struts and installing Ford Camber bolts (i have the part number somewhere)...The factory strut tubes have markings on them which tell you how much you can slot them...
THAT!! is GOOD information!!! A factory legal camber adjustment. I like that. I can go over my reasons for being cheap, and it's pretty damn good at that. I'll give you a buzz this evening.

Thanks!!!
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:15 PM   #11
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Re: autox'g the s197

As soon as I saw the thread title I was gonna tell you to call chris lol. He's the guy you wanna talk to on Autox'ing a S197.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:21 PM   #12
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Re: autox'g the s197

Thanks to Chris for the information and the phone call for options on setting up the car. I did forget one item. I need to purchase a factory service manual, not the haynes style tech book. Didn't know if there is another good source on line to buy the manual other than the dealer. I'd appreciate any advice.

thanks....
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:28 PM   #13
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Re: autox'g the s197

check out the thread for your service manual

http://www.mustangevolution.com/forum/t92363/
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:04 PM   #14
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Re: autox'g the s197

lol or i could repost them here.
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Old 02-19-2009, 11:13 PM   #15
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Re: autox'g the s197

the s197 is definitely an autocross beast compared to the sn95 platform. i'm jealous of the shelby GT's stock handling.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:32 AM   #16
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Re: autox'g the s197

Well, I have 2 events under my belt now in the S197. First event was a disaster, throttle management is new to me coming from the 328i! With an event w/ 120 folks, I place mid pack in both raw time and PAX. I had the tires, but no alignment. On to the second event.

Much better the second time autocrossing. To preface the mods, I'm running 275/40x17 kumho victoracers on stock wheels and now have a proper alignment. I was able to gain 1.6 neg degrees camber and running zero toe. I will say the brake pads are next, stock pads not quite cutting it on course. As for tire pressures, I played w/ several setting and liked 40f/38r the best.

Out of a field of 105 drivers in the second event, I placed 8th overall on both raw and PAX times. First time in my 9 years I've ever done this. Even with this, I placed 2nd in class. What's interesting, on my last fun run at the event I relaxed and actually shaved off 2 seconds on my run. That would have placed me 3rd in raw time and would have won my class. Lesson learned here is to trust the car and the tires. This is my first time out on r-comps and I'm holding back.

Speaking of class runs, all 3 mustangs running this past weekend placed in the top 10 raw. All are running in FS. I think that's pretty impressive considering we had vette's, G8's, 135's and an M5.

My impression of the car is great. It has the power and even w/ r-comps, the car is predictable when it starts to break out. If you're not autocrossing one, you should be!!
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:45 AM   #17
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Re: autox'g the s197

by the way forgot to give you my aligment settings (dont know if this is good for the s197 platform) but i run 2.25 neg camber, 4.5 caster, and 3/16 total toe out.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:50 AM   #18
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Re: autox'g the s197

fun fun, sounds like you had a great time
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:36 PM   #19
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Re: autox'g the s197

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by the way forgot to give you my aligment settings (dont know if this is good for the s197 platform) but i run 2.25 neg camber, 4.5 caster, and 3/16 total toe out.
I assume you're running camber plates to get all that neg camber and toe out. If that's a static setting, then you must be buring up some front tires w/ all of that toe out. I was very hapy to get the 1.6 neg camber on my car. This seems to be the standard for the factory adjustments.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:53 PM   #20
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Re: autox'g the s197

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I assume you're running camber plates to get all that neg camber and toe out. If that's a static setting, then you must be buring up some front tires w/ all of that toe out. I was very hapy to get the 1.6 neg camber on my car. This seems to be the standard for the factory adjustments.
ACTUALLY the tires arnt really chewing up that bad at all, but i dont dd it either. and yes i have the mm camber kits.
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:47 PM   #21
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Re: autox'g the s197

While I'm planning on one more year in FS for autoxing, I'm looking to 2011 to run in STX. I can't afford the yearly tire budget for r-comps. I figure I can get 2 years out of a set of streets and that will allow me to buy a few go fast parts for the mustang.

That said, has anyone autox'd w/ the Roush stage 2 suspension parts? Been doing some web reading on Roush and I have to say I like his attitude and race heritage. I don't want to go over board w/ the suspension. I'd rather have a static setup rather than coilovers so I can set and forget. I was thinking about a set of Bilsteins and H&R lower springs like I had on my e36 BMW328. Nice solid package that took MANY miles of abuse. I'm not a Koni fan. Some of the guys in the local club installed and within months had a leak.

Anyway, has anyone used the Roush stage 2 to autox? Looking for feedback.
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Old 04-04-2010, 12:35 AM   #22
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Re: autox'g the s197

threads kinda old but where do u autox that has 100 ppl show up? that awesome!
and def get new brake pads made a ton of difference on mine
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:27 AM   #23
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Re: autox'g the s197

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threads kinda old but where do u autox that has 100 ppl show up? that awesome!
and def get new brake pads made a ton of difference on mine
our club is in Raleigh NC and we have 4 places where we run. We're setup to run about 120 drivers per event w/ 4 runs each. There is a core group of folks that setup the bus, timing equip, run groups and worker assignments and we running by 10:15. It's a well polished group and I'm very proud to be a member of the Tarheel Sports Car Club
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Old 04-04-2010, 01:35 PM   #24
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Re: autox'g the s197

man thats awesome
i went to one with like 50 cars and i thought that was a ton lol
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:07 AM   #25
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Re: autox'g the s197

Hey Olds, Glad to hear you're still auto-xing the S197...I feel you on the expense of R-comps...I made the switch to STX last year, and well, it was an experiment that actually worked REALLY well on the regional level; however, it stunk against national competition...

The only thing I had on the car was HTR Race Springs & ran Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Specs in a 245/45/17...you can run all the way up to a 275 on a 9" wheel though in STX...you can look at the nationals results from 2009 on the scca website & see where I finished in STX, around 40th-ish, which sucks, however, I was running against guys with thousands & thousands of dollars worth of design work in their cars...

With some design time & some serious input into the car, I think the S197 could be rather competitive even nationally in STX...Will it ever win a national title, not a chance, but I would be willing to bet you could finish in the top half at least...The problem is that all that time & development & parts needed costs a lot of money up front, even though the tires are a lot cheaper in the long run....

IMHO, the STX route is a good idea if youre wanting to keep it to the local circuits, but if you have bigger aspirations of succees, FS will still be the best for the money, even though the tires cost more...The S197 is truly made for FS or ESP...

Which reminds me, I have a set of H&R Race Springs for sale for the S197 if you're interested...
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:04 PM   #26
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Re: autox'g the s197

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Hey Olds, Glad to hear you're still auto-xing the S197...I feel you on the expense of R-comps...I made the switch to STX last year, and well, it was an experiment that actually worked REALLY well on the regional level; however, it stunk against national competition...

The only thing I had on the car was HTR Race Springs & ran Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Specs in a 245/45/17...you can run all the way up to a 275 on a 9" wheel though in STX...you can look at the nationals results from 2009 on the scca website & see where I finished in STX, around 40th-ish, which sucks, however, I was running against guys with thousands & thousands of dollars worth of design work in their cars...

With some design time & some serious input into the car, I think the S197 could be rather competitive even nationally in STX...Will it ever win a national title, not a chance, but I would be willing to bet you could finish in the top half at least...The problem is that all that time & development & parts needed costs a lot of money up front, even though the tires are a lot cheaper in the long run....

IMHO, the STX route is a good idea if youre wanting to keep it to the local circuits, but if you have bigger aspirations of succees, FS will still be the best for the money, even though the tires cost more...The S197 is truly made for FS or ESP...

Which reminds me, I have a set of H&R Race Springs for sale for the S197 if you're interested...
thanks for the vote of confidence! As it turns out, I've changed direction once again. In looking at the cost of tires vs running the car in true STX trim, I decided to take advantage of a different class our club allows. We run a TIR class where everyone runs against PAX. All classes that run r-comps can run in TIR class w/ street tires. That allows me to run a set of the 265 Z1's and still stay in stock trim. It's really the best route for me right now and keeps me from spending a ton of green backs.

So for mods, I'm running just a set of carbotech bobcat front pads, the Z1's, Tekico d-specs (konis were unavailable), K&N filter, front crash bolts for some neg camber w/ zero toe and set of Stillen axle backs. That's it. Having fun dialing in the car and beating the hell outa the tires. Still plenty of tread wear, so I'm thinking 2 years on this set is not out of the question.

I'll look for you in the national rankings! Keep up the work on setting up the car in STX. Once I win the lottery and have some free cash, I'll catch up w/ you and steal your setup
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