Autocross in a 'Burb

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fozzi58

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Just wanted to tell everyone about my experience. Friday I took the Suburban to Autocross school at the Meadowlands (MetLife Stadium). Obviously I was a true oddball since most of the cars were meant or built for this type of driving. Surrounded by Miatas, BMWs, Vettes, and a few Stangs, stood tall the Suburban. I was one of a few people that never autocrossed before but most of the people at the school had only done a handful of events. It was definitely an experience.

The initial concerns from the instructors about this being a possible rollover issue quickly melted away once I started listing the mods and when I rolled through tech inspection. Overall it was a great experience and while I am sure a few people didn't take me seriously, I mostly got a lot of positivity. All the suspension mods I did paid off. Honestly it was the most fun I ever had in the truck.

I rode with an instructor the first heat and was able to drop my track times from 92 seconds the first run to about 71 the 6th. He was so impressed with the truck, that on the 2nd heat he had another instructor ride with me to feel the truck. On the second run, that instructor asked me to drive. WOW - talk about a driver mod. He really pushed the burb to near limits...to the point that he got so overconfident in its abilities he drove over 2 cones in the slalom. My best lap was a tick under 69 seconds. For comparisons sake, there was a Carerra GT running 49s. 20 seconds is a big gap in lap times but I guess I can't complain since the Porche was MADE for that type of driving and the Burb is definitely not.

Overall I plan on doing it again. Might take the TA next time until I can get some better tires or maybe a smaller wheel (20'S might be better with a better tire for AutoX).

What I learned:
Besides the obvious related to AutoX, I learned a big SUV with the right mods can do a lot of what a car can do. My truck is WAY more capable of what I thought I was doing on the street - I am instantly a better driver knowing I can push the truck's limits to avoid hazards or a potential accident if the need arises. I learned I'm a better driver than I thought I was, and I've improved over that from this experience.

I also learned I need a bigger trans cooler; lowering the front with drop spindles vs control arm/spring mods is not the best choice; 24s are NOT a great wheel size for any type of "athletic driving".

Lastly, I need to find a way to put a manual trans in this thing!

Overall, great experience. Tons of fun. Got all my adrenaline out on the track and kept it calm on the streets. I'd def recommend trying it to anyone that's an enthusiast. I'm sure a few of the member here do AutoX, but probably not in their big rigs. I'm sure I wasn't the first, probably won't be the last, but if anyone is interested in building an AutoX full size SUV, I def have some advice to give. Thanks for listening.
 

Doubeleive

Wes
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Just wanted to tell everyone about my experience. Friday I took the Suburban to Autocross school at the Meadowlands (MetLife Stadium). Obviously I was a true oddball since most of the cars were meant or built for this type of driving. Surrounded by Miatas, BMWs, Vettes, and a few Stangs, stood tall the Suburban. I was one of a few people that never autocrossed before but most of the people at the school had only done a handful of events. It was definitely an experience.

The initial concerns from the instructors about this being a possible rollover issue quickly melted away once I started listing the mods and when I rolled through tech inspection. Overall it was a great experience and while I am sure a few people didn't take me seriously, I mostly got a lot of positivity. All the suspension mods I did paid off. Honestly it was the most fun I ever had in the truck.

I rode with an instructor the first heat and was able to drop my track times from 92 seconds the first run to about 71 the 6th. He was so impressed with the truck, that on the 2nd heat he had another instructor ride with me to feel the truck. On the second run, that instructor asked me to drive. WOW - talk about a driver mod. He really pushed the burb to near limits...to the point that he got so overconfident in its abilities he drove over 2 cones in the slalom. My best lap was a tick under 69 seconds. For comparisons sake, there was a Carerra GT running 49s. 20 seconds is a big gap in lap times but I guess I can't complain since the Porche was MADE for that type of driving and the Burb is definitely not.

Overall I plan on doing it again. Might take the TA next time until I can get some better tires or maybe a smaller wheel (20'S might be better with a better tire for AutoX).

What I learned:
Besides the obvious related to AutoX, I learned a big SUV with the right mods can do a lot of what a car can do. My truck is WAY more capable of what I thought I was doing on the street - I am instantly a better driver knowing I can push the truck's limits to avoid hazards or a potential accident if the need arises. I learned I'm a better driver than I thought I was, and I've improved over that from this experience.

I also learned I need a bigger trans cooler; lowering the front with drop spindles vs control arm/spring mods is not the best choice; 24s are NOT a great wheel size for any type of "athletic driving".

Lastly, I need to find a way to put a manual trans in this thing!

Overall, great experience. Tons of fun. Got all my adrenaline out on the track and kept it calm on the streets. I'd def recommend trying it to anyone that's an enthusiast. I'm sure a few of the member here do AutoX, but probably not in their big rigs. I'm sure I wasn't the first, probably won't be the last, but if anyone is interested in building an AutoX full size SUV, I def have some advice to give. Thanks for listening.
cool
did you have it in drive the whole time?
or more like m3? maybe even m2? (makes a difference)
some halfway decent sport tires can help to
without any trans cooling options then yes doing that will heat it up pretty good, what were your temps?
 

iamdub

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Just wanted to tell everyone about my experience. Friday I took the Suburban to Autocross school at the Meadowlands (MetLife Stadium). Obviously I was a true oddball since most of the cars were meant or built for this type of driving. Surrounded by Miatas, BMWs, Vettes, and a few Stangs, stood tall the Suburban. I was one of a few people that never autocrossed before but most of the people at the school had only done a handful of events. It was definitely an experience.

The initial concerns from the instructors about this being a possible rollover issue quickly melted away once I started listing the mods and when I rolled through tech inspection. Overall it was a great experience and while I am sure a few people didn't take me seriously, I mostly got a lot of positivity. All the suspension mods I did paid off. Honestly it was the most fun I ever had in the truck.

I rode with an instructor the first heat and was able to drop my track times from 92 seconds the first run to about 71 the 6th. He was so impressed with the truck, that on the 2nd heat he had another instructor ride with me to feel the truck. On the second run, that instructor asked me to drive. WOW - talk about a driver mod. He really pushed the burb to near limits...to the point that he got so overconfident in its abilities he drove over 2 cones in the slalom. My best lap was a tick under 69 seconds. For comparisons sake, there was a Carerra GT running 49s. 20 seconds is a big gap in lap times but I guess I can't complain since the Porche was MADE for that type of driving and the Burb is definitely not.

Overall I plan on doing it again. Might take the TA next time until I can get some better tires or maybe a smaller wheel (20'S might be better with a better tire for AutoX).

What I learned:
Besides the obvious related to AutoX, I learned a big SUV with the right mods can do a lot of what a car can do. My truck is WAY more capable of what I thought I was doing on the street - I am instantly a better driver knowing I can push the truck's limits to avoid hazards or a potential accident if the need arises. I learned I'm a better driver than I thought I was, and I've improved over that from this experience.

I also learned I need a bigger trans cooler; lowering the front with drop spindles vs control arm/spring mods is not the best choice; 24s are NOT a great wheel size for any type of "athletic driving".

Lastly, I need to find a way to put a manual trans in this thing!

Overall, great experience. Tons of fun. Got all my adrenaline out on the track and kept it calm on the streets. I'd def recommend trying it to anyone that's an enthusiast. I'm sure a few of the member here do AutoX, but probably not in their big rigs. I'm sure I wasn't the first, probably won't be the last, but if anyone is interested in building an AutoX full size SUV, I def have some advice to give. Thanks for listening.


I don't autoX mine, but I like it to handle well enough that I could if even for simple fun on the streets or control during an emergency maneuver. A sizable drop using sport-tuned struts and shocks, big solid sway bars front and rear (all poly bushed) and decent tires have transformed my lumbering beast. It's still plenty comfortable on the highway. I would LOVE a manual trans. It's more doable than a 6L80E swap (mines a 4L60E).

You have Belltech spindles?


I have Nolathane bars:

img_e3895-jpg.jpg

img_e3897-jpg.jpg


Had to modify the panhard mount for sway bar clearance:

img_3959-jpg.jpg


Relocated the front frame mounts and made really short end links:

img_4454-jpg.jpg

img_4456-jpg.jpg
 

Bigkevschopshop

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I don't autoX mine, but I like it to handle well enough that I could if even for simple fun on the streets or control during an emergency maneuver. A sizable drop using sport-tuned struts and shocks, big solid sway bars front and rear (all poly bushed) and decent tires have transformed my lumbering beast. It's still plenty comfortable on the highway. I would LOVE a manual trans. It's more doable than a 6L80E swap (mines a 4L60E).

You have Belltech spindles?


I have Nolathane bars:

View attachment 401126

View attachment 401127


Had to modify the panhard mount for sway bar clearance:

View attachment 401128


Relocated the front frame mounts and made really short end links:

View attachment 401129

View attachment 401130
MASSIVE BARS... I DIG IT FOR SURE!!!!
 
OP
OP
fozzi58

fozzi58

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@Doubeleive
Heat 1 I was in D. Trans temps climbed to 248 by the time I got to the 6th run. It was 90+ Friday here and even my intercooler temps were hitting 150 which is not typical. Heat 2 I put the truck in L2. I lost a bit on the launch depending on if I punched it or eased into it but that kept the temps down and only went as high as 212. My best lap was 2nd run of heat 2 so L2 keep the RPMs up a bit more which allowed me to accelerate in the straights better instead of having the rpms bounce everywhere through the gears.

I do have a trans cooler but it was a small cheap amazon job. I may have to look into one of those Morimoto (name?)

@iamdub
I went with Eibachs cause they were one of the fattest bars availabel for our trucks - 38mm front and 32mm back. There are a couple compatible units out there but I would probably pick the Hellwig's since they are adjustable over the Eibachs. I also have those DJM rear sway links which make a big difference over the oem links. Adding in the Spohn components really planted the rear. I mentioned in one of my other threads that the ride is a bit harsher than I was hoping for, but the trade off in rear end control is head and shoulders above what it was with the factory panhard and UCAs and LCAs.

I do have the Belltech 2" drop spindles up front and when Tony NorCal was a sponsor, he set me up with a 2"-4" drop - using the spindles and spring kit. Looking back I would have passed on the Belltech drop spindles and went with the DJM lowing front upper and lower control arms. I think having that adjustability and being able to tune in the geometry better, would improve the handling up front a lot more...plus having poly bushing would be beneficial as well.

Definitely need to look into a set of 20's. The smaller wheel opens up tire options. Trying to find sport class tires for 24's is hard enough. I am lucky mine are V rated so they are good to 149MPH but they a noisy as hell. I want a set of Pirelli or Hankooks for track days.
 

Doubeleive

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I thought you probably had the 6 speed, with the 4spd blackbear can help you out with a special tune using the tow button.
a deep trans pan and trucool or mori cooler would help, might want to add a push or pull fan those temps are too much
I drive the piss out of mine in hotter temps and never have had temps quite that high but I addressed that issue right away after seeing temps over 220 just driving. (my version of driving anyway) lol
I would flush the trans after that, might not be burnt but better safe than sorry
 

iamdub

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@iamdub
I went with Eibachs cause they were one of the fattest bars availabel for our trucks - 38mm front and 32mm back. There are a couple compatible units out there but I would probably pick the Hellwig's since they are adjustable over the Eibachs. I also have those DJM rear sway links which make a big difference over the oem links. Adding in the Spohn components really planted the rear. I mentioned in one of my other threads that the ride is a bit harsher than I was hoping for, but the trade off in rear end control is head and shoulders above what it was with the factory panhard and UCAs and LCAs.

I still have the [probably original] factory rear control arms. I'm glad to know upgrading those would yield even more notable improvement. Plans are to get new lowers, extend them about 1/2" to center the rear and give the driveshaft more breathing room lost during lowering and box 'em in. I wanna keep OE style bushings for ride comfort. Uppers will be fabbed from tubing and with poly bushings. They'll be adjustable to match the lengthened lowers and to dial in the pinion angle. I have the Spohn panhard already.


I do have the Belltech 2" drop spindles up front and when Tony NorCal was a sponsor, he set me up with a 2"-4" drop - using the spindles and spring kit. Looking back I would have passed on the Belltech drop spindles and went with the DJM lowing front upper and lower control arms. I think having that adjustability and being able to tune in the geometry better, would improve the handling up front a lot more...plus having poly bushing would be beneficial as well.

I don't know if you know already, but the BT spindles are a lot taller than the factory ones. This really affects the control arm geometry. The McGaughy spindle is much closer to, if not the same height (from ball joint surface to ball joint surface) as the factory spindle. They accomplished this by it "only" being a 1.75" of drop instead of the full 2" and by using a stud and nut for the top hub mount instead of the bolt that goes in from the back side. I've broken that stud about three times now. I think twice on the driver side and once on the passenger side. Apparently, the specified torque is extremely critical here. But, it's very difficult to torque the nut on the stud as it's behind the hub flange. I was VERY careful and methodical when I replaced them broken studs the last time and haven't had any problems since. But, if you only want a 2" drop, you can easily get by with any of the other methods and have plenty of adjustability for proper alignment.
 

MrMonte

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I also learned I need a bigger trans cooler; lowering the front with drop spindles vs control arm/spring mods is not the best choice; 24s are NOT a great wheel size for any type of "athletic driving".

Playing on a track is fun for sure. I go to the Ridge in Washington, it's a 2.5 mile track. Haven't taken my Yukon (6.2L 10 speed) to a track yet but living in Oregon I have many curvy backroads I drive on daily. The combo of massive Hellwig swaybars & the Belltech 2"(spindle) front & 3"(spring) rear drop has transformed the handling. Now I want bigger brakes & better tires.

Curious about the pro/cons on the front drop spindles vs control arm/springs. What tires/rim width were you running?

My 2018 Yukon
2018 Yukon.jpg
 
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