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Author Topic:   Tough Question on Driving
posted May 05, 2002 11:45 PM
Can anyone describe how they would drive on a 3/8 mile semi-banked dirt track? I absolutely cannot get my car to handle, and I think it is because I am not entering the corners properly. In order to get through the corner, I have to let off early, jam on the brakes and turn the wheel just to get it to turn. I have always thought you should be able to stay on the gas while you turn, and at the apex let off a little, apply some brake and then get back on it. I have read books and articles on how to drive a paved track, but I have never seen anything written about dirt track driving. Can anybody describe their style?

posted May 06, 2002 07:23 AM
I think what your saying is your driving problem is really a handling problem!!
If your car is pushing so bad that you need to lift before your even into the corner, its the first place id start. Post some #'s like corner weights, springs, shocks, gears, track info. What ever you have to help solve the problem. Youll get a ton of advice here, This place rocks!!

posted May 06, 2002 01:19 PM
like wide said we need more info on your setup and the type of track banking sweeping turns or realy tight ones and stuff it does sound like you have a realy bad push and need to address that. myslef i like to run on the top mostly and get about 3 or 4 car lingths out and breathe the throttle twitch the wheel to the left mash it again and then feather it the rest of the way around till i can get on it again but i like my car set up on the loose side i feal it's better for me anyway to beable to control the tail with the throttle then try to get it to keep from plowing up into somebody or the wall because it's to tight

posted May 06, 2002 07:41 PM
I should have included this information, sorry. I have a 1400 on the RF, an 1100 on the LF. The back has two 225 pound multi-leafs. (79 nova) For shocks, I have a 77 on the RF, a 76 on the LF, and 96 on both rears. The rear springs are new, as are all the Pro WB shocks. My front shocks have the proper travel, but I think the right rear travels too much, as much as seven inches.ns on the track are kind of in the middle, not real sharp, but not exactly sweeping either. I am also having problems getting the proper caster and camber in. I was thinking of milling some material off the a-arm mounting bar to get more movement. Anybody ever try this?

posted May 06, 2002 09:10 PM
your front spring rates sound very high to me. I run 1000rf, 800lf and handle pretty well.

posted May 06, 2002 11:26 PM
i would try lighter spring rate on the front maybe 1000 on the right and 900 0n the left 1400 0n the right sound a little stiff

posted May 07, 2002 11:18 AM
Lets start with you ride heights!!
What is your ride height at in the front. Are your lowers level? Whats the angle of your uppers? what size tires are you running. Those shocks and spring all seem more suited for a big high banked track, especially the left side ##'s. You say yor having problems getting caster and camber in, i think id start with my ride heights,

Did you buy the car used, dont assume it to be race ready, with correcct parts!!

Keep the info coming, youll be haulling gas in no time!!

posted May 07, 2002 08:48 PM
My rules call for 5 inches clearance minimum, so I set the ride height at 5 1/4 inches. The tires are spec tires around 84 inches. The car is pretty heavy at 3600 pounds. I built the car myself, and I am just learning how to set up the front end. The front springs are out of a used camaro I ran for a few years, it ran pretty good, so I just put those springs in my Nova. I took them out tonight, and will have them tested tomorrow to make sure of their rating.

I really appreciate all the input, I want to get this car up to speed. It has been pretty embarassing lately.

posted May 07, 2002 09:22 PM
I usually run 18 pounds in the rights, and 14 pounds in the left. As soon as I can afford it, I will buy a beadlock rim for the right rear so I can lower the pressure some. I have thought about cutting the mounts off and re-locating them, I'm just not sure I have what it takes to get them in the right spot!

posted May 11, 2002 08:53 AM
Well, after reading everyones replies, I decided against milling those mounts. I used a longer bolt for the RF and got about three degrees of positive caster. The left front is about zero, and I am not sure how I will improve that yet. I bought two new front springs, a 1000# for the RF, and a 900# for the LF. I was going to try them out tonight, but it looks like rain. I hate rain.

posted May 11, 2002 09:53 AM
bigyellow what are your aligment specs now and what are to trying to get them at

posted May 11, 2002 02:56 PM
yellow you might not have enough split now on the front 1100 might work better than 1000 i had mine with 100 split once and the front end wanted to hop and bounce all over the place

posted May 12, 2002 02:19 PM
My alignment specs now are 3 degrees positive caster in the RF, and zero caster on the LF. I have 3 degrees negative camber on the RF and 1 degree positive on the LF. Just going by one of the Steve Smith books, I was trying to get 4 degrees positive caster in the RF and 2 or 3 degrees positive in the LF. I also wanted more camber, 4 degrees on the RF, and 2 degrees on the LF. I am bottomed out as far as the a-arm mounts, there just isn't any more room. I guess I will need a shorter upper a-arm on the RF, and a longer one on the LF. Or maybe move the ball joint in the lowers. I don't really know what to do.
I was worried about the amount of split also. I will try this, but if it doesn't work, I still have the 1200# spring I could put in the RF. Or, I will have to shell out more money and get an 1100#.

posted May 13, 2002 12:44 AM
I think you need to give up on makin a nova handle i know a good friend that tried it for years, he got a monte carlo now and is leading the points so far this season.

posted May 13, 2002 09:35 PM's my theory, for what it's worth. Start with the tires. Set ALL of them to the same pressure 15lbs. and run a tape around them. Now increase the pressure to 20lbs. Tape them again. write it on the sidewall, I'm assuming you run a locked rear-end so you want to stsrt with somewhere between 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" rear stagger.Bigger on the right-smaller on the left. Select the two tires which will fit most closly into this catagory. Then put your biggest leftover tire on the right front and the smallest leftover on the left front.
Crawl under the rearend and REMOVE one leaf from the right spring-the one which is about 18" long. Now set your ride heights to where the rt front is 1" higher than the left, The left rear is 1/2 higher than the rt front and the rt rear is 1" higher than the left rear.
You may have to make shims up front and use lowering blocks in the rear, But this is important! If you want your car to work-you have to make it work!
On a tacky track--
You want to drive the car all the way into the corner. Full tilt. As you lift you'll feel the car roll up onto the right side and "set" At this point get back into the throttle and drive her on out of the turn-did I say anything about brakes? Like they say in NY "fagettaboudit!"
On a dry track- Back off while you are still going straight--before you ever get into the corner. Let the engine slow the car as you turn in. Apply the brakes with a soft foot and you'll feel the car respond Put that egg under the accelerator and bring it on out of the turn. wfo on the straight
Concentrate on being smooth and consistant! If your car is erratic and won't react the same on two different laps-check it for binds!
BTY Steve Smith is a little excessive on the camber setting. Try 2deg. on the rt front. and 1 1/2 on the left. Easy way to get that left side is with a Chrysler ball joint and sleeve--move it in about 3/8ths .
Good luck! and have fun!

posted May 14, 2002 02:33 AM
Thanks for all the info! When measuring ride height in the rear of a leaf spring car, where exactly do you measure to? I am guessing the pad that the springs and shock mount to, but I am not sure.

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