E46Fanatics - View Single Post - Got to know my E46 a little better. (Autocross)
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:24 PM   #38
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 2,928
My Ride: '12 135i Dinan S2
Originally Posted by fiveightandten View Post
I was talking about the numbers on your car. There aren't any markings on it.

Are you sure it's your bearings? It's probably unlikely that they got notably worse from one autoX event (though it depends on how bad they were to begin with). Though, you probably heat cycled your tires more than they've ever seen before, which will definitely make them louder.

You know me, I haven't had my 330 for long. But i've been thrashing, and I mean absolutely thrashing, my E36 out on the autoX course for years and never had a single problem with. You can definitely put some wear on the engine if you don't heat it up properly. But it sounds like your runs are so frequent that you don't have to worry about the car cooling down. I would recommend letting the car idle for a minute or 2 before shutting it down after a run though. If you've introduced any air into the lubrication system from partial starvation (oil sloshing away from the pickup tube), it will evacuate it. Otherwise, you could get lifter noise (ie. friction) on the next startup. I know you're thinking about your cooling system. But it'll be fine. Don't pop the hood inbetween runs. Conserve all the residual heat you can. It will keep your oil warm so it circulates. It's not like a track even where the oil can overheat. The runs aren't long enough.

Anyways. Be mindful of your rear floor pan too. But other than that, i'd just have fun and enjoy the car. If you're getting understeer, you can do a few things:
-Increase your rear tire pressures relative to the fronts.
-Drive around it. (see below)
-Modify the car or change your alignment specs. Pop the pins out and max out the camber up front. Reduce the camber in the rear.

For driving around it, get your braking done before you turn. You hit the brakes, the car lunges forward and shifts weight onto the front tires. A tire can only do so much. If you ask them to turn while braking, you're often asking too much. If you plow the front end, you're loosing speed. The car is fastest being driven consistently *at* the limits of the tires. If you exceed the grip and the car steps out of line, you asked too much and lost time because of it.

Anyways...back to weight shift. Also keep in mind that when you hit the gas, the car lunges back and takes weight OFF the front tires. If you do this while trying to turn out of a corner, you may find the car isn't as responsive to change direction. In the tight stuff, you have to grab it by the scruff of the neck and swing the rear end out to point the car in line. The car has a long wheel base. It's very stable. But it can't change direction at low speeds as easily as those Miatas.

The key is finding the balance for every corner...knowing when to brake, and when to get back on the gas. As a general rule, i'd start braking earlier than you think you need to (or better yet, brake at the same time, but brake harder), and getting on the gas earlier than you think you can.
This is solid advice. You definitely know what you're talking about. I wouldn't consider myself too experienced with autocross, but I have found the biggest thing that really helped me when I first started was remembering to keep my head up and look through the course. For some reason, this always made for a better time and fewer cone strikes. Things just seem to flow a lot better when you're looking ahead.

Past: 1999 Techno Violet Metallic M3
Present: 2012 135i DCT Dinan S2
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