Upgrading your pride and joy.

Country Bumpkin

Track Warrior
Points
187
From
Norfolk
Car
GTO T.T.
So often I see posts from young lads who ask for tips on how to make their car go faster. If I see them my standard reply is normally along the lines of making your first upgrades to the brakes, suspension and tyres etc.
There's a reason for this and it's not just because I'm a boring old fart who doesn't want to see you kill yourself or others due to having a dangerous car.
A car which can stop better, handle well and stick to the road is immediately a quicker car, especially on a nice twisty road.
Think about this logically for a moment before your first port of call is the auto tune shop for an upgrade to whatever chip and exhaust/filter system you've been recommended.
Most young lads who have saved up for their newly acquired car won't be buying a brand new item. It will generally come with several thousand miles on the clock and although it may well pass an M.O.T. with flying colours, the brakes and suspension components will be worn to a degree. They will be safe enough for normal use on a normal road, that's it, that is all they are expected to do because your car wasn't built to be a racing machine, nor has it been tested as such.
As for quality tyres, that should speak for itself. Cheap rubber will pass an M.O.T. as long as it is within specification, tyres have an age lifespan as well as tread etc. It will not pass the test of time on a wet road with an inexperienced driver trying to nail it round a bend while racing his mate. Better quality tyres will not only give you a better handling capability, they have a better chance of saving your life when you have pushed the car a bit too much.
Everyone thinks they are a good driver and that is one of the biggest problems out there. If we were all that good we'd have been signed up to race in F1, earn mega bucks and wouldn't need to ask about upgrades to a car which costs a few hundred or thousand quid.
Which brings me to my next point. Some of you will happily spend hundreds or thousands on engine upgrades and yes, you'll probably be able to race your mate in a straight line and think you're king of the road.
If you spent a %age of that money on proper instruction, not only would you be a better driver but a safer one too. That alone would give you a distinct edge over your peers out on the road.
Remember, the object of life is to enjoy it but to last as long as possible whilst still enjoying it.
 

andyalbone

Track Warrior
Points
162
From
nottingham
Car
Honda Integra dc5
well said was looking to turn the boost up on my car but looking at the brakes they are not the greatest so think they will be changed first
 

TommyTwinCams

Track Warrior
Points
42
From
Shelton, Connecticut, USA
Car
2004 Saturn Ion 2.2
This is the order I think a car should be modded in personally, and is the route I'm taking on the Saturn.
1: Wheels and tires
2: Struts and shocks
3: Springs
4: Sway bars
5: Miscellaneous suspension bits (On my Saturn, this means the rear axle, steering knuckles, and control arms)
6: Suspension alignment
7: Brakes upgrade (*make sure they fit inside your wheels)
8: Drivetrain (short shift kit, performance clutch kits, upgraded axles if needed)
9: Engine Intake/exhaust
10: Engine internals (if switching to forced induction), or head work (upgraded valve springs, valves, seats, camshafts, etc)
11: If not doing anything major on your car performance-wise, skip step 10, and get the computer mapped/flashed/tuned for best results. Otherwise this is still the last step done.
 

old-git

Moderator
Points
617
From
Essex
Car
Elan & Robin Hood
This is the order I think a car should be modded in personally, and is the route I'm taking on the Saturn.
1: Wheels and tires
2: Struts and shocks
3: Springs
4: Sway bars
5: Miscellaneous suspension bits (On my Saturn, this means the rear axle, steering knuckles, and control arms)
6: Suspension alignment
7: Brakes upgrade (*make sure they fit inside your wheels)
8: Drivetrain (short shift kit, performance clutch kits, upgraded axles if needed)
9: Engine Intake/exhaust
10: Engine internals (if switching to forced induction), or head work (upgraded valve springs, valves, seats, camshafts, etc)
11: If not doing anything major on your car performance-wise, skip step 10, and get the computer mapped/flashed/tuned for best results. Otherwise this is still the last step done.
Good list. I would put the brakes at the top, or at a minimum above springs.

But, as TTC says, driver tuition will make the most difference. A trained driver in a standard car will generally beat the "all the gear but no idea" driver in the same model in every type of racing apart from, possibly, drag racing.
 

HDi fun

TC ModFather
Points
637
From
Buckinghamshire UK
Car
Passat 2.0 TDi
Get everything aligned and working as it should in the first instance.

Fit a set of premium tyres.

Fit OEM discs and pads all round.

Then drive the car and decide if you actually need to do much more...

Car manufacturers are pretty good at sorting cars for road usage. Years of wear and tear, neglect by a previous owner perhaps, coupled with skin flint cheap bin parts all take their toll on the overall driving experience.

If you're cooking out a set of decent OEM brakes in road use you're possibly driving too savagely anyway.
 

TommyTwinCams

Track Warrior
Points
42
From
Shelton, Connecticut, USA
Car
2004 Saturn Ion 2.2
Good list. I would put the brakes at the top, or at a minimum above springs.

But, as TTC says, driver tuition will make the most difference. A trained driver in a standard car will generally beat the "all the gear but no idea" driver in the same model in every type of racing apart from, possibly, drag racing.
The reason I have suspension ahead of brakes is because I'm planning a 5 lug conversion on my Saturn and would have to change the brakes anyways. At that point, I'll be putting on the Brembo brakes from a Cobalt SS Turbo.
 

jac114

Wrench Pro
Points
6
From
horsham
Car
Mk1 mgf 1.8i
totally agree brakes before speed, sort out tyres, another great thing to do is polybush the car helps stiffen it up.. but to be honest i have not done that yet but it is on my list,
 

Mobrem

Wrench Pro
Points
13
From
Cambridge, UK
Car
BMW 318is
This is the order I think a car should be modded in personally, and is the route I'm taking on the Saturn.
1: Wheels and tires
2: Struts and shocks
3: Springs
4: Sway bars
5: Miscellaneous suspension bits (On my Saturn, this means the rear axle, steering knuckles, and control arms)
6: Suspension alignment
7: Brakes upgrade (*make sure they fit inside your wheels)
8: Drivetrain (short shift kit, performance clutch kits, upgraded axles if needed)
9: Engine Intake/exhaust
10: Engine internals (if switching to forced induction), or head work (upgraded valve springs, valves, seats, camshafts, etc)
11: If not doing anything major on your car performance-wise, skip step 10, and get the computer mapped/flashed/tuned for best results. Otherwise this is still the last step done.
Before 1..... should be 0. Insurance

... no point starting a project if you can't insure it!
 

bigbadjoe

Pro Tuner
Points
0
From
Elgin - Scotland
Car
Evo 8 @ 400bhp
Interesting thread.

But the problem is, kids don't have that much money. And what they ask, and what they want is a completely different thing.

''How to make my 1.2 faster?''

What they really mean is

''I'll have £180 at the end of the week, what can I buy to make my car sound faster and look faster''

We all know, a good set of tyres and brakes are key, but to someone who is looking to ''tune'' up a car, they can seem boring. What they want is for us to tell them to fit a K and N and a back box, along with one of them £25 switches from Ebay that make the car go faster.

Its not that they are not listing, its that they are asking the wrong questions.
 

HugoBoss

The Torque Meister
Points
77
From
Australia NSW
Car
r33 skyline gtst
Hahaha, still remember when I was in the exact same place, don't most of us start out that way, spending lots of money on cheap mods that don't mean squat.
 

TCJBOLDIE

Torque King
Points
662
From
Brisbane
Car
JB Starion
I would start with a full suspension check and replace factory bushes with poly items ,then better dampers springs if needed followed by an alignment with a bit if negative camber, better pads or a brake upgrade and hi performance tyres or semis on wider rims depending on what you are doing before increasing power.
 

old-git

Moderator
Points
617
From
Essex
Car
Elan & Robin Hood
I don't understand this obsession with polybushes on a road car. There is not a single one on my Elan.
 

TCJBOLDIE

Torque King
Points
662
From
Brisbane
Car
JB Starion
I don't understand this obsession with polybushes on a road car. There is not a single one on my Elan.[/QUOTE

The lotus is light compared to most sedans & coupes so I am thinking the loads on the bushes would be lower so the suspension alignment settings would stay closer to spec.
My thinking is that your Elan was made to handle first and comfort 2nd whereas the general everyday car comfort came first so the bushes are softer/bigger to help reduce noise & harshness.

Didn't Chapman say "for speed add lightness" or something similar and Enzo replied "that's for people who can't build engines" ?????????????

PS my DD has it's factory bushes BUT my road registered track car has polly bushes to tighten up the suspension
 
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