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I have an 84 Rabbit that I got for $250. He's a good car but I can't leave well enough alone. I would like to keep it street legal but also use it for the "occasional" autocross. Where do I start on the stock chassis and stock engine? Suspension? (I'm on a junk yard budget, so keep it simple and functional!)
Thanks!
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (vrrmVW)

basically its a start from the bottom up. Tires first, like a set of Falcon Azenis, then move on to a rear sway bars\ from a scirocco then brakes from a scirocco. After that start in on suspension, I would say shocks, springs then strut bars all round (the lower front I would personally do first before anything else). Once you have that all done, start on the engine. Its amazing how many people out power their suspension! I know I've done it more than once.
Other than that make friends with the other local VW autoX people. You'll find most to be very knowledgeable and happy to help. Some might even have some old part to sale cheap.
Good Luck... you got a fun road ahead ya!!
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (dextervw)

it really depends on how much you want to spend, and how often you'll autocross. the mods dexter listed will throw you out of stock fairly quickly.
starting with a stock car, here are a few options
- budget: $0 - drive it the way it is....
- budget: small - get a set of performance tires
- budget: smallish - get a set of spare wheels + falken azenis
- budget: medium - one of the above and get a larger front swaybar (can't change the rear in stock!)
- budget: medium-ish - get some better shocks. anything's better than stock. the best (without going to big, big dough) would probably be koni yellows.
- budget: large - get a few above items
- budget: unlimited - get spare wheels (light!) with hoosiers, get a larger front swaybar (the biggest you can find), get koni double adjustables, get a catback exhaust, k&n air filter, and a factory service manual -- so you can start doing all of the factory allowed adjustments, etc...
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (vrrmVW)

Shocks first before Sticky tires. A good way to end up on your head is to put sticky tires on a car with old shocks.
First thing to do is to make sure the car is in excellent stock mechanical condition before starting to adding any upgrades.
The most bang for your buck in Autocross is seat time, seat time and then some more seat time.
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (vrrmVW)

Assuming you'll first and foremost make sure the car is safe to drive on the street, esp. in the area of tires and brakes, ....don't spend another penny on any so called "autocross mods"!!!!
Investigate what local clubs there are in your area and inquire about any autocross schools that may be scheduled. Then get as much seat time as you can, with the car in stock trim.
Work on yourself first, before you look at changing the car. Later on, you'll have less of a "fog" when it comes to understanding what effects mods have on your car. You''ll be more confident and comfortable in the car as well. Besides, a well-driven early GTI will be a good choice for HS or HST.
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (TechEd)

Oh yes... i forgot that! Schools Schools Schools Schools Schools..... more the better.. plus they are fun fun fun!!!
The stock class is fun but if you aren't worried about going to another class because you are doing it for fun then don't worry about the mods just have fun. I started in ESP.. I haven't been competitive till now so I really haven't cared what class I'm in and build all my cars for fun on the street! (thats the way I look at it, built for the street, autoXed for fun!)
Other than that have fun and just be smart about what mods you do, look around the Internet and talk to as many people as you can, try to get a ride or a spin in their car to get a feel for what you want.
And never put a bigger front bar without a bigger rear bar or playing with spring rates or ...... its big complicated.... choose one person to listen to whether it be Shine or Eurosport or a really good long time local autoXer, they are all trying to get to the same place they just all have different paths that if crossed could be bad.
good luck!
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (vrrmVW)

An old friend once provided the best advice I'd ever heard - Don't do anything until YOU know what needs to be done. In other words, drive it like it is and don't succumb to peer pressure to "mod" your car until you know which mods you want/need to fit your driving style.
The first mod will probably be shocks. Unless you want to compete in an SP class, leave the springs alone until you're ready to make other SP-legal mods like sway bars and 13" wheels.
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (mgyip)

Althought I generally agree with the work on yourself part, in this case you probably need to do some things to the car first. Being old, I would imagine the shocks are pretty much blown. A set of tokico non-adjustables would do fine. You probably have a set of econo tires on it. Falken Azenis are cheap and sticky.
Too bad your in the bay area. Although you are right smack in the SF region, I race in the SoCal CalClub. We have some of the best autox instructors in the country, and there is another school coming up in october. But I'm sure there are some knowldgeable VW up in SF. I'm actually planning to run an event or 2 up there next season if the rally program that I'm trying to put together falls through.
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (mgyip)

Great advice, thanks guys! I've been wrenching on old '57-'63 aircooled's for about eight years. I've stepped up and have taken the watercooled challenge. Now, of course, I want to race!
I did a AutoX race at the Duel at De Anza with a GTI and won the FSP class. It was great! With a 69.7, well below others with their 72's and up! (Not bad for my first race.)
So yes. Personal knowledge is the best, isn't it? No body knows your car like you do, isn't that right!!! Maybe the best way to get started is to take her into the hills and see what screams out at me.
Thanks! I'll get right on it this weekend... vrrm, vrrm...VW - Samantha
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (vrrmVW)

Get the basic suspension working right first with new shocks. Check the mechanically condition of the CV joints, braking system, wheel bearings, etc. for reliability. Then just have fun and get some seat time. Cheers, WWR.
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (John A)

Quote, originally posted by John A »

- budget: medium - one of the above and get a larger front swaybar (can't change the rear in stock!)
- budget: unlimited - get spare wheels (light!) with hoosiers, get a larger front swaybar (the biggest you can find), get koni double adjustables, get a catback exhaust, k&n air filter, and a factory service manual -- so you can start doing all of the factory allowed adjustments, etc...

Ok question on your FRONT SWAYBAR saying get the largest???
I thought with the VW you want the biggest in the rear. I thought most Autox dont even use a front bar.
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (Fst'N'Frs)

That only applies of you are changing spring rates. If you start putting in real strong springs, the front bar can come off. All good suggestions here, research the people who are winning in rabbits and GTIs and see what works for them. Good Luck and have fun!
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (Fst'N'Frs)

Quote, originally posted by Fst'N'Frs »

Ok question on your FRONT SWAYBAR saying get the largest???
I thought with the VW you want the biggest in the rear. I thought most Autox dont even use a front bar.

all of these mods were listed as 'stock class' since that's whati assumed she'd be running. if you have to build a vw to win at a stock class, then you can't mess with the rear bar, and have to work around it.
i personally run no front bar, and 2 rear bars.
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (John A)

Lots of good advise.
I'll add: Give me a call.
The shop I'm at is authorized to do free NASA tech inspections for track days. We have a TON of track/autocross experience. And, we're in your neighborhood. (well, San Jose anyway)
Talk to me and we'll give it the "calibrated eyeball" for you. (408)926-8830
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (vrrmVW)

Girl to girl ... do yourself a favor. Don't change ANYTHING on your car until you decide what class you want to end up in. One of the worst mistakes I've seen people make is to modify the car before they even know where doing that would put them.
Someone suggested Scirocco brakes ... well that would put you right out of Stock, STS or FSP and put you in probably the most competitive class in autocross right now ... Street Mod.
Most importantly, get some seat time!!! It was 6 months before I got sticky tires for my car. A year b4 Koni adjustables. Now I am in my second year and finally have a plan on what class I want to compete in, and what my car needs to be competitive. (Still in stock, going into SP next)
-Bridgette
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (MissMouse)

dont listen to miss mouse... she only placed third at the pro solo this weekend while i was sitting on the sidelines wrenching on a 337 GTI that placed 15 of 16 in his class.

if you want to get better, start in a stock class doing only mantinence repairs and freshening to the car. spend time on street tires and decide if you like it, then move to R compounds. stay in stock until you get tired of it and want to mod something, or stay in a stock class until you want to move up for better competition. keep your R compounds because your going to need them in prepared, or Street Mod.
from a purely skill level, should i be racing in STS? hell no. but you've got to start somewhere, and i'm a stunna who cant keep his hands off the car. think about mods you want to do, and then read the rules and decide whether you want to actually do the mod or not based on your competition locally... especially in the beginning it isn't going to matter, since no matter where you go your going to get your ass kicked, it's more a matter of deciding who you want to beat you down... just pick a class that's cheap to get into and stay in, and gradually move your way up.
this time next year, i'm going to be dominating SM (because the KA24E in my car right now is on it's last legs...). the WRX's and other 240's are going down to the overdriven cracker of doom!

... oh yeah!



Modified by nmap at 1:42 AM 7-24-2003
 

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Re: Where should a girl start??? (nmap)

Ahhh, the age old argument of skill vs. how deep one's pockets are....
Funny thing is, every single autocross I've competed in since I started rallying, road racing and soloing way back in 1977, has had at least one competently-driven Stock Class vehicle be quicker than modified iterations of the same vehicle that are driven by a newbie in a fog.
Well, so what.... "they're not in the same class so that doesn't count". The point is, a disproportionate number of newbies assume that throwing a ton-o-money at the car will make them quicker, or cover up so-so driving skills. Here's your choice:
Would you rather spend maybe $30-$40 for a local club's spring solo school in a Stock Class vehicle, and be 3-4 seconds quicker over a 40 second course afterwards? (most of my students improved by at least 2 seconds, and were 3-4 seconds quicker by the end of the season).
or
...spend hundreds, or several hundreds on hard parts that you really don't understand what they do ....or how, with your current skill level, are able to figue out how to adjust them, and be only 1-2 seconds quicker?
The "newbie fog" is so thick at our recent events..... well, as an old fart in the sport, it really bothers me sometimes.
just my $.25 worth.
J.
 
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