View Full Version : Balanced vs Excessive
12-06-2004, 07:52 PM
Why do we build our cars to the point of wretched excess?
Jody, did you ever hook up your ZL1 with the Pro-Charger?
Stuart, same question- Can you drive it daily, or is it a hand full of deadly metal that requires 110% attention at all times?
Where do we draw the line on what is 'enough' power? With tire replacement records? With speeding ticket numbers? When is it finally enough?
I know that we all love to drool over the car with a 806 big block with twin turbos feeding a 871 roots blower into a direct port Nitrous setup, but why the hell do we need that?
Tire adheasion should be our factor in power selection. What good is 935 hp if you burn off 500 miles of tire tread each time you hammer it off the line? I'd feel embarassed if I got spanked by a 2001 Camaro Z28 that could kill me from a dead start because I'm stuck at the crosswalk with a plume of smoke showing how much 'power' I have. Thankfully a stop light to stop light race rarely goes into the triple digit speeds required for a car with gobs of power to catch a car like the Z28 off the line. ( I don't endorse street racing)
What about suspension setups? Is there such thing as over the top in this area? Sure I could be driving a full race chassis with uni-lug spindle mounted rims, air jacks for lightning quick tire changes, and in car adjustable sway bars, but could I ever use a car like that to its full ablilty?
Why have a road race chassis if you don't intend to use it on the track?
I can think of a nice case of a balanced car-
It had a well designed chassis system (not exotic custom parts) balanced engine, decent sized tires (No mini tubbing) and was run at the One Lap Of America with very good results.
I'd like to see if the Mule can turn a faster lap time than the Thrasher.
I know I'm comparing Apples to Oranges, but let's break it down:
1969 Chevy Camaro
406 small block- 600 hp
T56 six speed
Stock front subframe with Global West Bushings, and 1" taller spindle, Landrum weight jacks, and Koni shocks
Landrum rear leaf springs with Global West bushings, Koni shocks and a Currie 9" ford rear with 3:93 rear gear
17x8.5 BBS rims (front) 18x9.5 BBS rims (rear)
1969 Chevy Camaro
Twin Turbo'd small block (1100+ hp in full trim)
T56 six speed
Wayne Due C4 front subframe with Global West bushings, and QA1 coil overs
Custom designed 4 link rear with Currie 9" rear end
18x9.5 Fikse rims (front) 18x12 Fikse rims (rear)
Very different setups on these cars, but I still feel that the Thrasher would turn a faster lap time due to its well balanced setup, and good power ratio. I think the Mule would spin tires out of corners, possibly creating oversteer, and slower lap times.
So Charley- Which do you think is faster?
What do you guys think on all this stuff? Should we build excessive cars to 'one up' the neighbors, or just build a balanced all around car that defines Pro-Touring? We are the ones that will shape this hobby in the future, so lets not go the way of Pro-Street- Where we can't back up our excessive, trailer queen show cars.
12-06-2004, 08:01 PM
You're forgetting one real important thing, as regards to turbos. You can control the boost. I have a computer controlled boost system which can ramp up by gear and rpm. It learns what gear you're in. I can start with no boost in low gear if I want and ramp it up to whatever the tires will hold; same with second , third, etc. So other than some time spent getting it figured out as far as what the tires will hold, it will act like traction control. Big difference is that on a track with a decent straight and the car hooked, would you rather have 600 HP or 1000? Which will be in front at the end of the straight?
Then if that isn't enough they make standalone traction control systems that are very sophisticated and can be installed on any of our cars.
The yellow car was driven every day that I wasn't upgrading it and the weather was nice. Could it hook? Not in the lower gears, but I'd race anyone from 50-55 mph up. It would pull from 55-130 in 3 seconds flat in 4th gear; had just enough load in that gear to not fry the tires. But yes, that car could bite you. It now is only running 7 psi of boost but still with a 540 it makes a ton of torque and I'd imagine traction is low.
12-06-2004, 09:37 PM
Good point about the traction control systems, and the boost controller.
I agree that on a straight section of track, we'd all like the extra 350 horses to power us to the front of the pack, but if you can only catch up in the straights, you'll get left in all the corners.
The Yellow car looked like it was a handfull to drive. I remember seeing a video in front of Clill's house that showed him burning tires through 3rd gear.
The only drawback to the standalone traction contol boxes is that most of them need a wheel speed reference. While it isn't impossible to retrofit a pick up for each wheel, it is not a bolt on item for most cars.
Just a question-
Do you think a 2800 lb car with 750 hp will beat the 3300 lb car with 1000hp to the end of the straight?
Plus, you've been in both the Mule and Thrasher (I think you were even lucky enough to drive them too), which would be the track king?
12-06-2004, 09:46 PM
The turbos wouldn't make you corner slower really, so the car with more power AND traction should win all the way around. That's assuming equal handling. The turbo car without traction would be slower out of the corners which gives the edge to the other car.
The controller I have is easy to set up, but the traction control deal is supposed very easy to set up also. It would need wheel sensors, but my friend claims it is easy to do. I won't be trying it unless I'm unhappy with the computerized boost controller.
I did drive both cars, but the Mule was pre-turbo, so it was giving up 100 HP to the Thrasher or so. It handled every bit as well as the Thrasher but was no match for speed. The Thrasher, as you noted, is a very well balanced car that would be fairly easy to drive fast.
You'll have to ask Charley his view of the Mule now; with the boost turned down as it is now to app. 700-750 HP I think it moves pretty well without getting you into trouble.
The yellow car was a handful at 15 psi of boost. The dyno video and driving video was on only 7 cylinders, there was a plug wire off when Charley was doing those videos. On 8 cylinders it was a thrill but not the fastest way around the track. My point was to build 1000 HP on 91 without intercooling and still be able to drive it and retain decent mileage. It actually got 19 mpg on the freeway at a 75-80 mph cruise.
12-06-2004, 09:55 PM
i don't think it is excessive or doing one up better then your neighbor. To me, it show's your true love for your car and what can be done if you truly take the time and work with um........i would also have to say, in the 1320, my money would be on the 1100hp car......not sure bout the street, that is alot different.....anyways, no big comment, just be greatful that you are able to do these kinds of things with your car's....most people only get to see them in magazines, if you know what i mean................hotwheels of turborides
You know, the best person to ask about the different levels of HP in the Mule (turbo and pre-turbo) and the Thrasher would be Mark. Maybe he will chime in. :)
12-06-2004, 10:59 PM
I'm with Scott. Charlie, give us some insite on this subject, please. These are questions worth asking. I for one would appreciate your input.
12-06-2004, 11:05 PM
I'll second Jody on the pre-turbo Mule vs. Thrasher, since I've also rode in both cars. Both handle very well (although I didn't get a "to the limits" cornering test, but both turned very confidently and predictably), although in pre-turbo form the edge in power definately went to the Thrasher. I've also rode in the Red Witch, and Charley pointed out that it took a more delicate right foot around the track as the greater low end torque compared to the Thrasher required a bit more care on corner exit technique.
The nice thing about underhood excess is that as long as you have a controllable powerband and good manners, the excess can be moderated without too much difficulty through either low tech means (right foot application) or high tech means (traction control, programmable boost controller, etc.) There is something to be said though about a well-developed combo that inspires confidence by not having you constantly on edge thinking "I hope this thing hooks..." every time you dip your foot into the throttle.
My car isn't on par with Jody's ZL1, but it isn't a slowpoke (expecting ~650 rwhp once I get the freshly broken rear end fixed and make it to a chassis dyno) and it does require attention to throttle input, especially in 1st and 2nd gear (both totally useless except for smokeshows) and occasionally in 3rd below about 65 mph depending on the road surface. So it's not a "carefree" drive at lower speeds and you have to use some caution in throttle application. However, it won't do anything stupid unless YOU stick your right foot in it. It is balanced though? I'd say yes. The powerband is nice and smooth and predictable and the engine's manners are excellent; it has no trouble at all putting around town with the A/C on, and so far I've seen a best of 24 mpg on the freeway going 80-85 most of the time. Just like Jody's ZL1 as long as the weather is OK and the car isn't apart for work I drive mine every day, either cruises out in the country or running errands in town. The car is perfectly happy doing either, although I'm much more happy out on open country roads. ;)
Given what's on the market today, it is most definately possible to have very high levels of horsepower and still have the car somewhat "balanced" because with modern technology it's easily to dictate how and when that power is delivered which goes a LONG way to the overall balance and controllability of the car. As Jody and others have proven it is possible to have very high HP levels that 20 years ago were unheard of for a true street car, and nowadays that power can be delivered in very smooth, controlled ways. A turbo'd or supercharged (centrifugal, lysholm, etc) 900 hp engine of today with modern EFI is leaps and bounds ahead of say a 900hp carb'd and roots-blown engine of yesteryear in terms of driveability, fuel economy, and good street manners. You can have lots of power with none or very little of the "bad" behavior which have typically been associated with high-HP powerplants even 10 years ago. I find this especially true for forced induction engines, as when built right they will be VERY tame and managable when "off boost." You can go pretty darn crazy even naturally aspirated with today's technology and still have things very manageable and street friendly-- look at any of the 600+ hp big inch LS1's running around out there in Vettes and F-bodys and the like.
Tyler, I do have to agree that at a point too much power is detrimental to the overall balance of the car. You can certainly overpower your tires (or chassis!) but there are electronic aids to help compensate at least for the traction problem. In a way this is good-- the electronics will always deliver the maximum amount of power the tires can effectively utilize. If you have 900hp on tap and the tires can only take 550hp at a given time, the electroincs will do all the hard work for you. However, this could also slow you down if the traction control device suffered from severe latency issues, was too aggressive on the initial retarding, or too slow in ramping the power back in. So once again there's an argument for building the "right" amount of power into your car. I guess in the end you get a really impressive dyno sheet showing what it could do if it could completely hook and you will be on a first name basis with your local tire dealer. Although, that seems to keep many (I'd say most of us) very happy. :D
In the end, it's completely addictive and very entertaining to have the excess available even though you can never really use it all. Can it affect the balance of the car? Yes, but given the controlled manner in which power can be delivered with today's technology and also newer developments in suspension and tire tech increasing traction and handling limits I think the proverbial "loose nut behind the wheel" is more of a detriment to a car's balance than the powerplant, "overpowered" or not. It still needs to be a reasonably sorted combo to have potential, but it's been proven time and time again that a good driver behind the wheel of a mediocre car can turn faster times than a mediocre driver behind the wheel of a good car.
However, nobody is going to be winning any races behind the wheel of an 86 Yugo GV. :p
12-06-2004, 11:39 PM
If you put me against me in the Mule and the Thrasher on the track, the Thrasher would win. Thrasher is a better balanced car. The power is managable. There is at least 200 lbs added to the front of the Mule because of the added turbos. Maybe a good driver like Mark could handle all the power of the Mule on a track but I doubt if I could. Thrasher has a 614 hp 427 smallblock that is a ball to drive on the street and the track. I watch all these supposed track cars being built that are gonna be 1000 hp+ and wonder who is gonna drive them ? How many have driven a 1000 hp car ? It is a handful. Tito... As per your other thread about twin turbos for 50-50. You need to get it finished. Do a LS1 or a C5R type 427 without turbos . Make 600 plus hp and you will be thrilled. I did the twin turbos on the Mule because I wanted more than the 525 hp it had and there were always twin turbos kinda planned for it. I think the car turned out killer and I love driving it but it is no longer the ultimate track car for a guy like me. I am fortunate enough to have enough money to piss away on several cars so I can try different stuff. Most of my driving is on the street and we have plenty of country roads around here so the excess of twin turbos is fun but for a track car that also sees street duty a 600 plus NA car will be a ball. Get the car finished Teetoe, without turbos and you will be done sooner and still have fun. If anybody wants a fun track car just copy the Thrasher.
12-07-2004, 12:00 AM
The ALUMN8R has less HP now, larger tires, and different gears than previously. When I drove the car from SEMA it felt tight, fast, and not loose in the rear. The changes made the car more stable, reliable and less stressful about loosing it.
When Kyle and Dave Henniger were mapping the fuel system at DSE, he was out by GM test site and a ZO6 pulled up and they went at it on corners and straights and he sais the camaro dusted the corvette.
I think a person can learn to drive their car better as time goes on and even add power as you become more comfortable. For me there has always been a point as I become more comfortable with the car that more power is needed, so having the ability to add power without changing weight means alot to me.
As Charley states about driving, no one is paying me to drive either so driving skill is probably a bigger point than all this other stuff.
12-07-2004, 12:03 AM
Thanks for responding to this. I am pleased to hear that 600hp is a blast for track days. I want a managable car for all around use, and I think I have the perfect combo. I for one have never driven a car with more than 550 hp, and that was INSANE.
I don't have any on track driving experince, so I want to be able to drive my own car for testing. I am sure the pleasure of having it done, along with loads of power to keep the competition at bay will be enough to make me smile for years to come.
Stuart- You responded as I did, so I needed to add you into this-
Did you drive the car before DSE got a hold of it? If so, is it easier to drive now that the power levels are lower? I would think not having to work 110% on keeping the car sticking to the pavement in the intended direction would be a good thing.
I agree about upgrading later- If I get used to the power of the car, and I feel it could use a shot in the arm, a set of turbos could be retro-fitted. Just look at the Mule. It has about 1/2 the room up front as I do in 50/50 (7" engine setback) and W2W still managed a great package that works as great as it looks.
Kurt at Wheel 2 Wheel will be handling my 302 crossram LS1 engine setup in house. I have no doubt in my mind that the engine will produce the power I want reliably.
What do you guys think about the chassis excess? Is there an over kill for a PT car?
12-07-2004, 01:10 AM
Stuarts Yellow car before detuning was a car you had to really pay attention to when playing with the throttle. Having Kurt at W2W do your engine is a great decision. I had a 02 ZL1 with a 600 hp C5R and it hauled ass and sounded great and got great mileage......And you have no track experience ? I'll race you....... :D
12-07-2004, 01:55 AM
What do you guys think about the chassis excess? Is there an over kill for a PT car?
I don't really think so, Tyler. Just as long as it isn't something that you really don't like the feel of, i think it's fine. Having tuneable parts is only something that you can learn to appreciate. After tuning the Koni's on my buddy's Honda, I really want to be able to adjust my chassis more. It's just another little thing that I'll have to learn to do. While I've only had the opportunity to drive upto 400-450 hp, that car could have done with more suspension. There are little things you can do on the street to make sure that you have a good setup. Jsut don't do it in traffic. I don't. Suspension and chassis excess can be fun, just as long as you know how to tune it.
12-07-2004, 04:24 AM
Get the car finished Teetoe, without turbos and you will be done sooner and still have fun. If anybody wants a fun track car just copy the Thrasher.
Oh look--The little voice is a chorus. :rolleyes:
12-07-2004, 06:41 PM
Tyler - I told you a long time ago that I donít see any point in twin turbos and 800 hp if you canít get traction and manage to keep the car under control. Iím not knocking turbos but I am knocking those who build their car so that they canít possibly control them. Build a bas ass car that can pull some numbers on the track and do it for a decent price and Öbada bing, we are all impressed. Iím impressed with Malitude, Thrasher, Mule, etc. because of the work that went into the cars. Show me a car that can keep up with them and drive 2k miles on a cruise and Iím messiní my drawers.
Hereís one for you. Upper control arms. I am a fabricator. I know the cost on these parts. I also know that negative chamber is the desired end result. Guldstrand modification also achieves this Ė for free. If you want the look and light weight of tubular a-arms go to the local speed shop and buy some for $45.00 each (Howe Ė I think is the mfg). Now I know Iím gona get fired at by saying that, but if the end result (to throw down some fast laps) is the desired goal and you only have so much to work with, whatís the harm in going this direction? It isnít cheep thinking itís all about going fast and having a blast doing it.
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