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Cadillac CTS First Generation Forum - 2003 - 2007 Discussion, Auto-x in Cadillac CTS Coupe, Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon Forums; Is there anyone here who has experience doing auto-x? Id like some guidance setting my car up for this......
  1. #1
    concorso is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Auto-x

    Is there anyone here who has experience doing auto-x? Id like some guidance setting my car up for this...

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  3. #2
    dgaf is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Auto-x

    I was into auto-x for quite some time with my audi. Do you know which class you are going for?

  4. #3
    concorso is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Auto-x

    You were the one who mentioned when you joined that you auto-x'd right?
    What categories can I run in? It looks like Stock or STX are the only choices?

  5. #4
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    Re: Auto-x

    you need better suspension, put on eibachs.
    you need light weight ris and not to look like they are small...get 19 staggard setup with 8.5 front and 9.5 rear
    change your drive line fluids to redline or royal purple.
    turn off your stability sys and track control by pushing and holding the button.
    pull out the back seats for during the race, you can better hear what your back tires are doing.

  6. #5
    odthetruth's Avatar
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    Re: Auto-x

    Be careful what you do and don't mod... nonstock suspension parts can disqualify you from being eligible for certain classes.

  7. #6
    AAIIIC's Avatar
    AAIIIC is offline Moderator
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    Re: Auto-x

    2011 SCCA Rules
    I run with the Washington DC Region of SCCA and they've got a couple of good basic primers on auto-x. There's an About Solo page and a Solo FAQ, both of which have some good info.

    For actual setup information, as a beginner probably the only thing you need to worry about it is your tires. What size/model tires are you running? Pretty much regardless of the answer, for a street tire I would advise you to start with your cold tire pressure up in the 40-42# ballpark (for the fronts) and go from there. The rears you can probably keep down in the mid 30s to aid straight line traction a bit coming off the slow corners. The biggest concern with a street tire, particularly for a beginner, is that you'll overdrive the tires and roll over onto the sidewall. By jacking up the pressures you'll stiffen the sidewall and make it a little harder to roll them over.

    Firming up the damping on the KWs, both compression and rebound, will help with quick transitions. Just don't run them with the adjustments turned to full stiff, as doing that can damage the valving adjustments. If you decide to stick with this and do some more events you can play with the damping a bit at each end of the car to see how you can tune the handling a little. For instance, you may find that the front end "digs in" better if it's set a bit soft rather than setting it all the way to firm. You can also reduce understeer a bit by having the rear stiffer than the front. Having the rear too stiff might make it hard to put the power down coming out of corners, though, so there's a balance there.

    Quote Originally Posted by concorso View Post
    You were the one who mentioned when you joined that you auto-x'd right?
    What categories can I run in? It looks like Stock or STX are the only choices?
    Assuming this is what you're working with - "06 CTS Performance/Appearance pkgs. cai/exh/tune/KWSport3's" - you can't run in Stock (because of the KWs and the tune). CAI/exhaust/tune/KWs are all legal in STX, so it seems like that's the best fit for you to start out.

    If you decide to buy R-compound tires at some point you could run in ESP (E Street Prepared) under one of the catch-alls, since the car isn't otherwise classified in Street Prepared. (If you look in the Appendix for the Street Prepared class break-downs, at the end of the ESP section you'll see "American 6-cyl & V8 sedans & pick-ups not otherwise classified" - that's what would put you in ESP.)

    If you decide to go hog wild with modifications there's also STU (street tire) and SM (R-compounds). Those two classes are pretty wide open, and are basically the same other than the tires allowed.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettomike View Post
    you need better suspension, put on eibachs.
    Again, I'm assuming that's his list of current mods under "Drives", in which case he's already got KW V3s. Going to stock struts on Eibachs would be a big step backwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettomike View Post
    you need light weight ris and not to look like they are small...get 19 staggard setup with 8.5 front and 9.5 rear
    Uhhh... no. Lightweight wheels are nice and all, but hardly necessary for someone just starting out. Not sure why "not to look like they are small" would even be a consideration. STX doesn't allow 9.5" wheels (only up to 9" wheels for 2WD cars). And nobody runs 19s, unless they're running in a Stock class and 19s is what came on their car. 19x8.5/9.5" wheels would pretty much be the opposite of lightweight wheels. If concorso chooses to get serious about this I would recommend he try to find some 16x9" or 17x9" wheels.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettomike View Post
    change your drive line fluids to redline or royal purple.
    A good idea, but again not really necessary. Actually, the one fluid I would strongly recommend changing to synthetic would be the power steering fluid. I killed my V's PS pump after a couple of auto-x events, had it replaced under warranty, have run synthetic ever since and haven't had any issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettomike View Post
    turn off your stability sys and track control by pushing and holding the button.
    Definitely true. Can the non-Vs go to "Stability System Off" like the Vs can?

    Quote Originally Posted by ghettomike View Post
    pull out the back seats for during the race, you can better hear what your back tires are doing.
    Completely unnecessary, and not allowed in STX anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by odthetruth View Post
    Be careful what you do and don't mod... nonstock suspension parts can disqualify you from being eligible for certain classes.
    That is true, but it really depends on what one's goals are in participating. I've always modified my car to have fun with it on the street, and to make it capable for track days, and whatever class that puts me in for auto-x, well, so be it. My Subaru is my auto-x car; basically the first thing every Subaru owner does for handling is sway out the rear sway bar, and that's what I did - made a huge difference in the way the car felt. But that one simple thing immediately knocked me out of Stock class. Oh well.

    The CTS is never going to be a particularly competitive car, so if were concorso I would approach it the same way.
    neurotictim and neurotictim like this.
    '05 Stealth Grey CTS-V, Hyper Silver Linea Corse Venetos w/Continental ExtremeContact DWs (summer), black Team Dynamics ProRace 1.2 wheels with 275/35-18 R-compounds (track), Hyperblack Rota Torques (winter), KW Variant3s, V2 front brakes, Hotchkis rear sway bar, EPS cam, TEA-ported 243 heads, FAST92 intake w/LS2 TB, JBA Camaro/G8 1-3/4" shorty headers w/JBA cat pipes, Corsa exhaust, UUC motor and tranny mounts, UUC shifter, MAPerformance trailing arms, Specter cradle bushings, etc...

  8. #7
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    What you do to your car depends on serious you are goin to run. Most guys do all this prep work because they are competing. I don't do any prep. But I just go out there to have fun and learn my cars limits. And i was only about 4-6 seconds offthe pace of similar cars with race tires.

  9. #8
    Storz is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Auto-x

    Do nothing to your car. I was heavily envolved with autox for a long time and everyone thinks you need to modify the hell out of your car to do good, its 99% driver. Go to as many events as you can and learn your car, play with tire pressures etc. Leave it STOCK and have fun

  10. #9
    concorso is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Auto-x

    Quote Originally Posted by Storz View Post
    Do nothing to your car. I was heavily envolved with autox for a long time and everyone thinks you need to modify the hell out of your car to do good, its 99% driver. Go to as many events as you can and learn your car, play with tire pressures etc. Leave it STOCK and have fun
    'Everyone' isnt me. I have no interest in being competitive, no need to prove myself. I simply want to have fun driving it however its modified. I modify it for how I like it as a daily driver. I want to take that setup, and tweak it as much as I can to make it work on an auto-x course. Unless Sebastian Vettel is driving, a CTS won't be competitive anyhow.

  11. #10
    concorso is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Auto-x

    Quote Originally Posted by AAIIIC View Post
    For actual setup information, as a beginner probably the only thing you need to worry about it is your tires. What size/model tires are you running? Pretty much regardless of the answer, for a street tire I would advise you to start with your cold tire pressure up in the 40-42# ballpark (for the fronts) and go from there. The rears you can probably keep down in the mid 30s to aid straight line traction a bit coming off the slow corners. The biggest concern with a street tire, particularly for a beginner, is that you'll overdrive the tires and roll over onto the sidewall. By jacking up the pressures you'll stiffen the sidewall and make it a little harder to roll them over.
    Im running 245/45/18 Bridgestone RE050a Pole Positions on the stock 18x8 rim. I run 36 psi F/35 psi R on da streetz. So Ill just bump the fronts up to 40-42, and see what happens. (Seeing what happens with small changes is really the fun Im after...)
    Quote Originally Posted by AAIIC
    Firming up the damping on the KWs, both compression and rebound, will help with quick transitions. Just don't run them with the adjustments turned to full stiff, as doing that can damage the valving adjustments. If you decide to stick with this and do some more events you can play with the damping a bit at each end of the car to see how you can tune the handling a little. For instance, you may find that the front end "digs in" better if it's set a bit soft rather than setting it all the way to firm. You can also reduce understeer a bit by having the rear stiffer than the front. Having the rear too stiff might make it hard to put the power down coming out of corners, though, so there's a balance there.
    My problem is figuring out the relation between bump and rebound. Im assuming I want to set compression first, and then fine tune the rebound? Or the other way around?
    Quote Originally Posted by AAIIC
    Assuming this is what you're working with - "06 CTS Performance/Appearance pkgs. cai/exh/tune/KWSport3's" - you can't run in Stock (because of the KWs and the tune). CAI/exhaust/tune/KWs are all legal in STX, so it seems like that's the best fit for you to start out.
    I also have the factory STB, a combination of CTS-V and Eibach sways bars, and slotted rotors (stock size) What about brake pads? What would you suggest? I want a high performance street pad.
    Quote Originally Posted by AAIIC
    If you decide to buy R-compound tires at some point you could run in ESP (E Street Prepared) under one of the catch-alls, since the car isn't otherwise classified in Street Prepared. (If you look in the Appendix for the Street Prepared class break-downs, at the end of the ESP section you'll see "American 6-cyl & V8 sedans & pick-ups not otherwise classified" - that's what would put you in ESP.)
    If concorso chooses to get serious about this I would recommend he try to find some 16x9" or 17x9" wheels.
    Id love to get the RE11's, but Id want to wait until I got lightweight wheels. Any suggestion? I know weld makes a wheel 17x9 5x115, but I dont know if the offset works. What offset am I looking at? I could use these for drag racing too.
    Quote Originally Posted by AAIIC
    A good idea, but again not really necessary. Actually, the one fluid I would strongly recommend changing to synthetic would be the power steering fluid. I killed my V's PS pump after a couple of auto-x events, had it replaced under warranty, have run synthetic ever since and haven't had any issues.
    Ive got synthetic PS fluid allready...That was one of the 1st things suggested to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by AAIIC
    Can the non-Vs go to "Stability System Off" like the Vs can?
    You can turn stabilitrak off, but it feels like it still engages even if the DIC screen doesnt acknowledge it. You can just unplug the ABS sensor, afaik.
    Quote Originally Posted by AAIIC
    That is true, but it really depends on what one's goals are in participating. I've always modified my car to have fun with it on the street, and to make it capable for track days, and whatever class that puts me in for auto-x, well, so be it. My Subaru is my auto-x car; basically the first thing every Subaru owner does for handling is sway out the rear sway bar, and that's what I did - made a huge difference in the way the car felt. But that one simple thing immediately knocked me out of Stock class. Oh well.
    The CTS is never going to be a particularly competitive car, so if were concorso I would approach it the same way.
    I have the same thoughts on everything. This is a daily driver and will be for a few years, although I actually plan to keep it indefinitely. A CoupeV is planned for the fall, but thatll never be a daily driver for me, my daily drive consists of less then 20 mins total driving if I go straight to and home from work.
    I want to have fun, mainly. If I run in a faster class because of my modifications, Im ok with that. My satisfaction will come from improving my own times.

  12. #11
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: Auto-x

    Quote Originally Posted by concorso View Post
    'Everyone' isnt me. I have no interest in being competitive, no need to prove myself. I simply want to have fun driving it however its modified. I modify it for how I like it as a daily driver. I want to take that setup, and tweak it as much as I can to make it work on an auto-x course. Unless Sebastian Vettel is driving, a CTS won't be competitive anyhow.

    You answered your own question. Leave it as is, go out, and have some fun!

    The only mod you really need is lots of sunscreen. Trust me on that one.

  13. #12
    concorso is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Auto-x

    For right now, I will keep it mostly how it is. I want to change the brake pads, tho. I had planned to do that anyhow, tho.

    Sunscreen? Really?

  14. #13
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: Auto-x

    Assuming it isn't overcast, remember you will be standing in the sun for 6 hours or more (Your seat time will be a grand total of 10 minutes if you are lucky). I looked like lobster after my last autox. It was supposed to be overcast and raining (I was actually looking forward to dodging some cones on wet pavement) so I didn't bother with sunblock. It turned out to be clear and hot. Damned weather.

  15. #14
    AAIIIC's Avatar
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    Re: Auto-x

    Quote Originally Posted by concorso View Post
    I'm running 245/45/18 Bridgestone RE050a Pole Positions on the stock 18x8 rim. I run 36 psi F/35 psi R on da streetz. So Ill just bump the fronts up to 40-42, and see what happens. (Seeing what happens with small changes is really the fun Im after...)
    Sounds good.

    Quote Originally Posted by concorso View Post
    My problem is figuring out the relation between bump and rebound. I'm assuming I want to set compression first, and then fine tune the rebound? Or the other way around?
    Compression then rebound is the way to go, but honestly, unless you get to do some sort of test 'n' tune day where you could do a lot of runs, it's going to be hard to really dial things in. On the bottom half of this page is guidance on adjusting Koni double adjustables - same principles apply to the KWs. Adding to the difficulty in tuning is that the KWs aren't terribly easy to access for adjustment in between runs.

    Quote Originally Posted by concorso View Post
    I also have the factory STB, a combination of CTS-V and Eibach sways bars, and slotted rotors (stock size) What about brake pads? What would you suggest? I want a high performance street pad.
    There are a variety of aftermarket aggressive street pads that should do the trick just fine. Ferodo DS2500s, Hawk HP+, Carbotech AX6, Stoptech Street Performance, Porterfield R4-S, EBC Redstuff, etc. I don't know which of those are actually available in your pad shape, so you'll have to do some homework there. Looks like Carbotech shows they have pads for both the regular and "sport" package, which I assume is the optional larger rotor setup. This page shows pictures and dimensions of all the different FMSI numbers (D921 and D1019 in this case, from what I can tell) so you can confirm what you've got.

    Quote Originally Posted by concorso View Post
    Id love to get the RE11's, but Id want to wait until I got lightweight wheels. Any suggestion? I know weld makes a wheel 17x9 5x115, but I dont know if the offset works. What offset am I looking at? I could use these for drag racing too.
    My 18x9" track wheels are +38mm offset, so something in that ballpark should work. Weld wheels are typically pretty lightweight drag wheels, I'm not sure I'd trust those with sticky tires and auto-x duty. Finding a 17x9 wheel with 5x115mm bolt pattern will probably be very difficult unless you go with something like Diamond Racing Wheels or other custom wheels.

    Quote Originally Posted by concorso View Post
    You can turn stabilitrak off, but it feels like it still engages even if the DIC screen doesnt acknowledge it. You can just unplug the ABS sensor, afaik.
    I would definitely NOT pull the ABS fuse. ABS is a life saver (and tire saver) in an auto-x environment. Not to say that you can't auto-x without ABS - there are plenty of cars out there that don't have ABS at all - but it will take a very skilled driver to be quicker at an auto-x without ABS vs with ABS. I would just put the Stabilitrak in the least intrusive mode you can put it in and see how that works.

    It sounds like you're approaching this the right way. I think you'll have fun, and you'll learn a lot about what your car can and can't do. My first event in my Subaru was a real eye-opener, and I haven't looked back since!

  16. #15
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: Auto-x

    You can tell the guys who don't have stability control, because most of them spin out on at least one of their runs.

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