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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since there has been some interest here, I will begin posting my autocross blog here also for people to follow. I am pretty new to this forum.

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My name is Duane. I am from the mountains of Western North Carolina, and I am going to try and qualify for the 2011 SCCA Tire Rack Solo Nationals next September in a 1999 Saab 9-3.

This will be my blog that will follow my attempt to qualify including results from events, updates to the car, etc.

My car is a 1999 Saab 9-3 with lots of parts from Jak Stoll and Taliafero Imports mainly. The following is a list of my current modifications:

- Taliaferro Imports Cold Air Intake System w/ heat shield
- Taliaferro Imports 22mm Rear Anti-Roll Bar
- OEM Saab 24mm Front Anti-Roll Bar
- Taliaferro Upgraded Poly Front ARB Bushings
- JZW Custom Autocross STXC Class ECU Tune
- Taliaferro 2-point Front Subframe Brace
- OEM Saab Viggen Intercooler
- JSP 3" Custom Downpipe
- JSP 3" Complete Aluminized Exhaust System
- OEM Viggen Bosch BPV
- KONI Sport Springs
- KYB GR-2 Shocks - Front (soo crappy for autocross)
- Koni Adjustable Sport Shocks - Rear
- Hawk HPS Brake Pads
- 16 inch Pontiac G6 Steel Wheels (17 lbs)
- 225/50-R16 Falken Azenis Tires

Recently I switched from DSP and I will now be running in the Street Touring Xtreme class against cars like the BMW 328i and Subaru Imprezza. Because the Saab is a front wheel drive, a lot of work is going to have to be done to make it competitive.

Here is a copy of the SCCA rule book if anyone is interested: http://www.scca.com/documents/Solo_Rules/2010_scca_solo_rules.pdf

My SCCA region is the Central Carolina's Region with events based around the Charlotte, NC area. I currently travel to races in NC, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Virginia, hopefully I will hit a Nationals Tour event or two later this year.

I'm constantly working on upgrading the car and this will be updated to reflect those changes. I'm also looking for sponsorship as I am a student in college paying my own way right now so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

Thanks for reading and any suggestions, tips, or advice would be appreciated!

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Anyone who wants to follow the first posts of the blog can do so here: http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=184756. Its been updated frequently since May . . . I will update both concurrently from here on out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just wanted to show a few quick pics of some mods coming soon to the car . . .


- 17x8 ASA AR1 Wheels


- 255/40-17 Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec Tires

And more . . . and more . . . and more . . . to come!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
JZW Tuning STX Autocross ECU Installed!!!



After getting home today from a long weekend of racing I was happy to see two large packages at my door

In those boxes were my custom STX autocross tuned ECU done by John Z. Williams and my OEM Viggen Intercooler!!!

The ECU was installed this evening and after a few test pulls I can only say WOW!!!!!!!!!! The car pulls a lot more evenly and puts the power to the ground REALLY well. It feels about the same as my Stage 4 version of this car, if not fast to the top of 2nd gear . . . where almost all an autocross is used.

For those of you not familiar with the SCCA Street Touring Xtreme Class, NO changes to the stock boost maps are allowed . Soooooo that means that a lot of time went into tweaking the air/fuel ratio and timing to get more horsepower. After testing the car out over the next week or so, the car will get run on a dyno for testing and the ECU will be sent back to JZW for re-adjustments. Our goal is 220whp . . . hopefully soon we will know how close we are!

Coming soon will be a recap of this past weekends action at the Dixie Classic where I got the chance to have some instruction and ride with two of the top drivers in the nation!!!

Tomorrow night will be the first test for the new autocross tune. Its the local HSCC Night Series and I'm running in the Tire Class under STX so I will be running when its light outside.

Ill recap with picture and video after tomorrow!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Suspension Plans

So because when I originally got the car, and I went though the typical stage of wanting a fast road warrior, I built it to Stage 3+ with ZERO suspension mods. Looking back now, I really wish I would have done all the suspension first, then added the power because on the autocross course, its really bitting me in the rear.

So . . . finally I am sorting out the plans for my suspension. The ultimate goal will be to have poly bushings everywhere possible, coilovers and stiff rears, and to have if necessary in front roll bars: 19mm, 22mm, and 24mm, and in rear bars: 19mm, 22mm, and 25mm. This way I can fine tune the car to my liking or adjust based on the course.

I currently have a VERY lacking suspension setup. Due to my budget, I have had to do work a piece at a time. I have Koni Sport Springs all around, which are not stiff enought for racing. I have on the fronts some KYB-GR2's. An okay shock for street use, but a terrible race shock. On the rear I have Koni Sport Adjustables, perfect for autocross and racing and should work well with an upgraded spring in the future. I have a STX legal 2-point subframe brace and new front end links from Eeuroparts and Nick's poly front ARB bushings. This is NOT enough.

So, my plans are to put all mods except for suspension on hold because I believe that no other mod could make as large of a difference as a complete suspension package.

My plans are to, in conjunction with Nick at Taliaferro Imports, use his data he has collected from his autocross days and my data to do a complete autocross setup for the car.

In the rear, I will keep the Konis Sport Adjustables, but I will go with a much stiffer rear spring.

In the front, I will first install some poly filled hardened mounts:



Going with the mounts will be some Koni Double Adjustable racing shocks. Nick talks about these on his TrollTuner blog here: http://trolltuner.com/?p=564.

These will be matched with his X Coilover Kit:



Along with much stiffer springs.

Hopefully if we can get the front springs right, then I can play around with the rear ones since they are much easier to switch out.

All this should make the car competitive, hopefully on the National level. For now, at events with my current suspension, I am around 4 seconds off National Tour winners in my class, so hopefully I can gain that ground with this change.

I'm saving my pennies, its gonna be a while before I get this, but I'm already excited!!! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

2010 Virginia Autocross Championship

Looks like I have added another major event to the schedule. The 2010 Virginia Autocross Championship will be held on August 21st & 22nd, 2010 at Littlecreek Amphibious Base (ACU-4) in Norfolk, VA.

This will be a huge event and the 2 day cost is low for an event of this caliber, only at $60.

This event replaces a one day event I was going to do in Laurinburg, NC with this being a two day event, its a definite plus!!! Not to mention the beach . . .

Here is a pic from the event a few years ago:



You are literally right on the ocean!!!

And here is a video from one of the runs:

If any Saab guys are from that part of VA, please come out and offer some support for the SAAB!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is the subframe brace legal... I was under the impression it's not.

Just want you to double check!

Good luck!
As per the SCCA Rule book:

"H. Longitudinal (fore-aft) subframe connectors ("SFCs") are permitted
with the following restrictions:
1. They must only connect previously unconnected boxed frame rails
on unibody vehicles.
2. Each SFC must attach at no more than three points on the unibody
(e.g. front, rear, and one point in between such as a seat
mount brace or rocker box brace).
3. SFCs must be bolted in place and not welded.
4. No cutting of OE subframes or fl oorpan stampings is permitted.
Drilling is permitted for mounting bolts only.
5. No cross-car/lateral/triangulated connections directly between the
driver's side and passenger's side SFCs are permitted. Connections
to OE components such as tunnel braces or closure panels
via bolts are allowed and count as the third point of attachment.
No alteration to the OE components is permitted.
6. SFCs may not be used to attach other components (including but
not limited to torque arm front mounts or driveshaft loops) and
may serve no other purpose."

So from that it looks like the two point brace is legal, but the 6-point is not. I have the two point.
 

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As per the SCCA Rule book:

"H. Longitudinal (fore-aft) subframe connectors ("SFCs") are permitted
with the following restrictions:
1. They must only connect previously unconnected boxed frame rails
on unibody vehicles.
2. Each SFC must attach at no more than three points on the unibody
(e.g. front, rear, and one point in between such as a seat
mount brace or rocker box brace).
3. SFCs must be bolted in place and not welded.
4. No cutting of OE subframes or fl oorpan stampings is permitted.
Drilling is permitted for mounting bolts only.
5. No cross-car/lateral/triangulated connections directly between the
driver's side and passenger's side SFCs are permitted. Connections
to OE components such as tunnel braces or closure panels
via bolts are allowed and count as the third point of attachment.
No alteration to the OE components is permitted.
6. SFCs may not be used to attach other components (including but
not limited to torque arm front mounts or driveshaft loops) and
may serve no other purpose."

So from that it looks like the two point brace is legal, but the 6-point is not. I have the two point.
Fair enough, I have the 6-point so that's probably what I am thinking of!

And definitely good luck, you are gonna need it against the BMW's and Subbies!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes thanks.

Thankfully the car should be competitive if I can get the weight down and the power up. I will be looking at my weight coming up to try and get an accurate reading and goal as well as going to the dyno soon to get some base HP numbers.

The national guys in STX were really excited once I told them a little about the car. They were very optomistic that this car could be very succesful . . . if I learn how to drive LOL.
 

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What is allowed as far as weight reduction? How much of the interior can you strip?

We totally gutted our NG900 race car and with a cage it was still 2,666 lbs (no hatch either). Cage was under 100lbs. We didn't skin much but I'm not sure there is lots to gain by doing that.
 

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After getting home today from a long weekend of racing I was happy to see two large packages at my door

In those boxes were my custom STX autocross tuned ECU done by John Z. Williams and my OEM Viggen Intercooler!!!

The ECU was installed this evening and after a few test pulls I can only say WOW!!!!!!!!!! The car pulls a lot more evenly and puts the power to the ground REALLY well. It feels about the same as my Stage 4 version of this car, if not fast to the top of 2nd gear . . . where almost all an autocross is used.

For those of you not familiar with the SCCA Street Touring Xtreme Class, NO changes to the stock boost maps are allowed . Soooooo that means that a lot of time went into tweaking the air/fuel ratio and timing to get more horsepower. After testing the car out over the next week or so, the car will get run on a dyno for testing and the ECU will be sent back to JZW for re-adjustments. Our goal is 220whp . . . hopefully soon we will know how close we are!

Coming soon will be a recap of this past weekends action at the Dixie Classic where I got the chance to have some instruction and ride with two of the top drivers in the nation!!!

Tomorrow night will be the first test for the new autocross tune. Its the local HSCC Night Series and I'm running in the Tire Class under STX so I will be running when its light outside.

Ill recap with picture and video after tomorrow!!!
I would have a place do a custom IC in the stock dimensions. It would be huge benefit if you had a more Bar and plate style over the tube and fin style.

http://www.ericsaabsite.com/Upgrades/Stage5/Intercooler.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What is allowed as far as weight reduction? How much of the interior can you strip?

We totally gutted our NG900 race car and with a cage it was still 2,666 lbs (no hatch either). Cage was under 100lbs. We didn't skin much but I'm not sure there is lots to gain by doing that.
Here are the main weight saving options for STX class:

1. Exhaust (Must still meet emissions rules)

2. Wheels / Tires

3. Front Seats (25lbs minimum including all mounting hardware)

4. Battery

5. Lose bits in the trunk (spare, spare cover, battery box cover - stuff that can't be secured)

6. Brakes (though you must remain stock rotor size or larger if swapping rotors / brackets / calipers)

7. Run less fuel

I will be weighing the car tomorrow to give myself a kinda base number to go by, and then I should be able to estimate just how low I can get it.
 

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NOT allowed. Has to be OEM part from Saab, either up or down the production line of the 9-3.

Soooooo, the Viggen IC is the only realistic option.
Stock Dimensions and stock location yet its still illegal?

How is that any different if you break the oil cooler and use an aftermarket one in the same space with same dimensions and a benefit is just more efficient cooling? Thats what happens with technology. Koni shocks wouldn't keep improving if it there wasn't a constant innovation and refinement.

http://www.extremeintercoolers.com/customs.html

^This company could do an OE replacement IC. Tube and Fin from what I've read is better than Bar and Plate when you need fast cooling and lower weight for Auto-X. I would double check with the rulebook and/or officials you are friends with and ask about it. A higher quality and lower weight tube and fin IC could help alot over the cheap mass produced factory part.

Did you port out your stock delivery pipe yet? You may want to rebuild the injectors depending the mileage on your vehicle. Also cleaning the IAC valve, Throttlebody, and Intake may benefit you. Do a boost leak test before you send back the ecu to JZW for more tuning. Anything he may squeak out could be robbed by a boost leak. Check your EVAP line off the TB. If that has a leak your no faster than 98 Taurus with a Duratec....

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
2010 Dixie Classic Results

Getting caught up on the results here finally . . .

On Sunday, the 11th of July I was in Winston Salem, NC for the TRIAD Dixie Classic at the Dixie Fairgrounds.

It was a great venue, very wide open with times just under 50 seconds for the top guys . . . It just so happens to be that the top guys are also the top guys in the Nation in a few classes. Dave O'Malley, winner of multiple National Tour events in ST and Chris Cline, winner of national tour events in my class, STX were in attendance. The TRIAD region as a whole is very competitive, as they sent 18 people to Nationals last year.

I was trying out the Falken Azenis tires for the first time. Even though they are not on the level of the Bridgestone RE-11's or the Dunlop Star Spec's, they are a HUGE improvement over the terrible toyo's I use to have on this car.

It took me a few runs to get re-used to street tires, and I was NOT driving very well at all the first few runs. So, I grabbed Dave O'Malley and asked him to ride with me and help me out. Dave really helped me get my focus down and choose the right line. I was carrying too much speed into the corners and not using the brakes enough.

The bad part about the day was that my first run, where I was just learning the course and shaking things out, ended up being my fastest because I killed cones the rest of the afternoon. I was focusing on getting my line right, and I ended up messing up the turn in many times. My 4 runs looked as follows:

56.809
55.015+3
55.257+1
54.708+3

My last run was by far my best, and even then I left a lot out on the track. I still have a lot of driving left to learn about and thankfully I have plenty of time to do it. If I would have not hit any cones on my last run, I would have been a lot higher up. But, since I hit so many, my first run's time put me in the lower half of competitors. I was not too happy, but atleast I know I can do a lot better.

Even Dave commented on how he thinks the car has a lot of potential, but the stock suspension is killing it . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Potential New Car & Nationals News!!!



Its been a while but A LOT of very exciting stuff is going on with FTD GRIFFIN RACING!!!

First off some very exciting news is that even though the Saab is not ready for Nationals yet, I may be co-driving another car in the 2010 SCCA Tire Rack Solo National Championship!



We are looking at maybe competing in the F-Street Prepared class and hopefully competing for the Rookie of the Year honors!!!

I will have more information as it becomes available.

In other information, FTD GRIFFIN RACING is currently working on acquiring a new car . . . the SAABARU!!!



We are in the process of getting another car, this time AWD and pretty much a Subaru, but the 9-2x has possibilities of being very competitive in a wide range of classes.

We are shooting for a 2006 model and we have two choices with the engine (both being the same ones from Subaru). We can choose between the 2.5L, flat four-cylinder engine "Linear", or a 2.0L, turbocharged, flat four-cylinder engine "Aero". The 2.5L H4 in stock form makes 176hp and 166lb·ft of torque. The 2.0L turbocharged makes 230hp and 235lb·ft of torque in stock form.

Each car has its advantages and disadvantages. The "Linear" model with the 2.5L engine has autocross class possibilities in: G-Stock, Street Touring, Street Touring Xtreme, and D-Street Prepared.

The "Aero" badged 2.0L turbo engine would be eligible for D-Stock, Street Touring Xtreme, and E-Street Prepared. In addition, this version of the 9-2x could be used to perform a complete engine swap to the WRX STI engine and used in the Street Modified class!!!

There are A LOT of possibilities with these cars! Some planning and research is underway . . .
 
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