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Discussion Starter #1
FE5 struts - OEM struts are at 90k and probably wouldn't hold up long anyway
Cobalt FE5 Struts and Shock Pkg FE5-S - Crate Engine Depot

Progress Springs (hopefully) otherwise probably Teins
http://www.sportcompactonly.com/Progress/Lowering-Springs/Lowering/Suspension/cart_c-38_b-100_p-9420.htm?pta=9420

Camber Bolts
Dezod Motorsports. Ingalls Engineering Front Camber Kit-Cobalt 05-06 & HHR 06 (1 Kit per wheel; up to +/- 1 degree of adj)

That should be all I need for parts to install struts & springs with an alignment after, right?

I plan on the coppertop brace and a rear sway bar for the future but those aren't in the budget right now.:mofo:
 

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uh...what kind of compteition or class do you plan to run in? are you trying to be competitive, or are you just going for the best handling RL you can make?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I were going for the best handling and had the money, I would go full coilovers and fe5 arms, spherical bushings, comp knuckle, etc.

I'm not sure if I'm actually going to participate in any Solo or Solo II events yet but know I do want to have the ability to "track" the car in the future.

I also expect to learn more about the class setups during the Learning Curve event.

Right now I'm just going for bang-for-the buck setup while still maintainning as a daily driver.

Hope that makes sense.
 

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rear sway bar is the best bang for the buck. it'll help reduce understeer.

better brakes are the next thing i'd do. if you can brake later, you can stay faster longer.

good rubber is always a must.

if you're going to do shocks and springs, do cobalt tc shocks and pedders springs. you will need to get spacers from 0ttp, but they sell the whole package. with 90k on the clock, you'll probably want to get new strut mounts too.

that's the order i'd do things in if i had to redo it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
rear sway bar is the best bang for the buck. it'll help reduce understeer.

better brakes are the next thing i'd do. if you can brake later, you can stay faster longer.

good rubber is always a must.

if you're going to do shocks and springs, do cobalt tc shocks and pedders springs. you will need to get spacers from 0ttp, but they sell the whole package. with 90k on the clock, you'll probably want to get new strut mounts too.

that's the order i'd do things in if i had to redo it.

hadn't thought about needing to replace the strut mounts, good info thx. Trying to convince the wife to increase the budget a bit so we'll see how that goes:)

Bought the car used and am told it has **** Stage 1 Axles, Powerstop slotted rotors...not sure what pads and General Exclaim UHP 225/45R17's on stock rims

Is the spring rate/build quality that much better on the Pedder's springs vs. others that are made for the RL? They seem pretty expensive plus I'd need to buy the adapter kit.

Thanks btw GC as I'm completely new to modifying for 4-cyl cars and specifically handling mods...trying to learn
 

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The rate is the perfect (so I'm told) match for the ss/tc struts. I have no reason to doubt the person who told me as I highly respect his experience both as a road racer and a builder.

Those exclaims will be your limiting factor in how your car handles currently.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
stuck between the practical side of me and the "fun" side. Practical side says 90k on OEM struts + autoX = blown strut so why not just upgrade and while I'm in there get new springs?

Fun side says new stickier meats and rear sway bar and take the risk of blowin a strut....which I suppose means could have a valid reason with the wife cuz then I'll NEED to get them.

Originally it was just gonna be $200'ish just for springs and $70 or so for an alignment...now we're talkin $700 plus more than likely.

Decisions, decisions:mecry:
 

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fwiw, i have B&G springs, rear sway bar, front strut brace, hawk hps pads, napa premium rotors, goodyear eagle f1 gs-d3 summer tires and my original struts at 106800+ and i just did a track day back in june with no extra mods other than air pressure adjustment.

my struts are not blown, but they are softer than new ones. they don't bounce all over.

for autocross, i think better tires and a rear sway bar are going to get you better results.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
fair nuff...I'm gonna need to make a decision soon...Learning Crurve is Apr 2nd & 3rd. Need to replace my IC pump first before anything...140-150 IAT2's on the street means real problems if I start to push.

Thanks again GC...I'll let you know what I come up with.
 

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If you intend to autocross, deciding what class to run in matters a LOT.

Stock - allowed mods include brake pads (rotors already put you out if they're slotted) only, shocks only (no springs), catback exhaust only, air filter only (no intake changes AT ALL). You can change or modify the FRONT swaybar only. You can run any wheel that is stock size +/- 6mm of offset, so any 17x7 with offset between 48 and 36 mm. Any DOT rated tire including DOT slicks like Hoosier A/R6, BFG R1, Kumho V710, etc. You may run a racing harness that connects to stock bolts only. THAT IS IT.

STX - this is the "street tire" class that the IRL goes into. Most bolt-ons are allowed, as wel as a few other goodies - but you lose the slicks, as the tires have to e treadwear 140 or higher. Suspension is mostly open but must use stock mounting locations, no drilling or welding. Sway bars, springs or coilovers, etc, fine. Brakes are more or less open, you may change the rotors, pads, even the calipers. You may change the intake but not the TB or anything past it. You may run headers and a full exhaust as long as the cat is +/- 6" of the stock location. you may run a tune - but boost levels may not be changed in blown or turbocharged cars, so no pulley. you may run a different battery and the battery may be relocated (not an issue for us, lol). Wheels size is open, tire size is limited to 265 width for 2wd cars in STX.

SMF - "Street Mod, FWD" - this is where the bigger boys play. Basically, if it bolts on without welding or cutting, it's legal. Engine internals may be changed, heads ported, even motor swaps are legal (at this time, engine must be from the same manufacturer - and that means Saturn, not GM). CF hoods and such and any boost mods will land you in this class, period. Tires must be DOT stamped, DOT slicks are legal.

Based on what you say you have and want to do, I'd start building an STX car. You'll never hang with the big boys there (the non-STi WRX, RX-8, and BMW 330i reign supreme in this class for the most part) but you'll have a blast and the mods are straightforward. Get CSS/t shocks all around, Pedders or Progress springs, a rear swaybar, some Hawk HPS or HP+ pads, and some decent tires and get started. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
If you intend to autocross, deciding what class to run in matters a LOT.

Stock - allowed mods include brake pads (rotors already put you out if they're slotted) only, shocks only (no springs), catback exhaust only, air filter only (no intake changes AT ALL). You can change or modify the FRONT swaybar only. You can run any wheel that is stock size +/- 6mm of offset, so any 17x7 with offset between 48 and 36 mm. Any DOT rated tire including DOT slicks like Hoosier A/R6, BFG R1, Kumho V710, etc. You may run a racing harness that connects to stock bolts only. THAT IS IT.

STX - this is the "street tire" class that the IRL goes into. Most bolt-ons are allowed, as wel as a few other goodies - but you lose the slicks, as the tires have to e treadwear 140 or higher. Suspension is mostly open but must use stock mounting locations, no drilling or welding. Sway bars, springs or coilovers, etc, fine. Brakes are more or less open, you may change the rotors, pads, even the calipers. You may change the intake but not the TB or anything past it. You may run headers and a full exhaust as long as the cat is +/- 6" of the stock location. you may run a tune - but boost levels may not be changed in blown or turbocharged cars, so no pulley. you may run a different battery and the battery may be relocated (not an issue for us, lol). Wheels size is open, tire size is limited to 265 width for 2wd cars in STX.

SMF - "Street Mod, FWD" - this is where the bigger boys play. Basically, if it bolts on without welding or cutting, it's legal. Engine internals may be changed, heads ported, even motor swaps are legal (at this time, engine must be from the same manufacturer - and that means Saturn, not GM). CF hoods and such and any boost mods will land you in this class, period. Tires must be DOT stamped, DOT slicks are legal.

Based on what you say you have and want to do, I'd start building an STX car. You'll never hang with the big boys there (the non-STi WRX, RX-8, and BMW 330i reign supreme in this class for the most part) but you'll have a blast and the mods are straightforward. Get CSS/t shocks all around, Pedders or Progress springs, a rear swaybar, some Hawk HPS or HP+ pads, and some decent tires and get started. :)
Well thought out and easy to understand response +1, Thank you!

Honestly, I'm too broke to track the car on a regular basis but for occasional runs (1-3 times a year) and spirited street driving, my goal is to have best handling car I can have to make up for driver mod, at least until I get some practice.

AutoX isn't the ultimate goal for me either, it would be a track day at a place like BlackHawk Farms, Autobahn or maybe even Road America but that's a ways down the road (no pun intended). Who knows, I'll probably go to Learning Curve and get bit by the bug.

I have been reading up on the driving piece in order to be more informed going into Learning Curve.

I'm picking up a Progress Rear Sway at the advice of GC (and others) and my next purchase will likely be better quality UHP street tires (heard and read good things about Falken Azenis, Hankook Evos, and Yok S). After that will be FE5 struts/Pedders springs and then maybe coppertop subframe.

Big problem right now is I noticed a rattle coming from my SC so immediately I'm thinking coupler or needle bearings...took it to the dealer because I bought an extended warranty with the car. They come back with fried IC pump (which I already have en route to replace myself), brakes need new pads and rotor deglaze/resurface and clutch is not "engaging correctly". The old clutch catch close to the floor issue I've had since I bought the car. So looks like I'm grabbing some Hawk Pads now too.

When I asked about the supercharger, they said there didn't seem to be anything wrong with it. Waiting to speak directly to the tech instead of the counter girl as a rattling supercharger is not a normally operating piece of equipment. I love dealerships (sarcasm).

Thanks again!
 

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It's the coupler. It's easy to fix - hell, I have the kit sitting here new in box if you want it cheap, lol. Got a new SC from another member who was turning his car in to the bank so I don't need it anymore.

Don't worry about the subframe brace, get the O T T P rotated mounts. In fact, that should be your first mod, period - getting rid of the wheel hop turns these into a completely different car in a good way - you can use first gear! Not to mention not snapping axles every few thousand miles, lol.

After that, swaybar and springs with Cobalt turbo struts and shocks. We have plenty of power, these mods will make it stick better in turns and help put the power to the ground.

Kumho XS, Hankook RS3's, and Dunlop Z1 star spec's are the best bang for the buck AND they rock for autocross, will handle track days okay, and stick like glue on the street - all for a reasonable price. Downside is they suck in winter (don't even bother) and are marginal in rain, and you'll burn through a set in 15k miles or so with regular rotation WITHOUT solo or track days. If you lower the car, get the Nitto NeoGens; they won't wear as badly with strong negative camber.

Oh - camber - don't bother with the cam bolts. There;s a sticky here somewhere detailing the factory specified way to modify camber by slotting the lower bolt holes on the struts. We can get somewhere close to -3* if we want to, without special bolts. ;)
 

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This is a good thread. I'm going to try autocrossing this summer for the first time as well. I think I'll be stuck in Street Modified tho because of my engine mods. I don't really care tho, I'm not trying to win anything, just have fun. If you don't have a competition package, look into an LSD. I'm swapping in a G85 trans and it will only cost me $130 out of pocket to upgrade after selling my original transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It's the coupler. It's easy to fix - hell, I have the kit sitting here new in box if you want it cheap, lol. Got a new SC from another member who was turning his car in to the bank so I don't need it anymore.
PM sent regarding coupler kit

Don't worry about the subframe brace, get the O T T P rotated mounts. In fact, that should be your first mod, period - getting rid of the wheel hop turns these into a completely different car in a good way - you can use first gear! Not to mention not snapping axles every few thousand miles, lol.
I actually haven't experienced that much wheel hop, probably because it's been so cold here and I have summer UHP tires on so if they slip, they just spin. I'll have to check into the rotated mounts since I'm on an 04. IIRC, O T T P can do it but there's a core charge if you don't ship your mounts to them.


After that, swaybar and springs with Cobalt turbo struts and shocks. We have plenty of power, these mods will make it stick better in turns and help put the power to the ground.

Kumho XS, Hankook RS3's, and Dunlop Z1 star spec's are the best bang for the buck AND they rock for autocross, will handle track days okay, and stick like glue on the street - all for a reasonable price. Downside is they suck in winter (don't even bother) and are marginal in rain, and you'll burn through a set in 15k miles or so with regular rotation WITHOUT solo or track days. If you lower the car, get the Nitto NeoGens; they won't wear as badly with strong negative camber.

Oh - camber - don't bother with the cam bolts. There;s a sticky here somewhere detailing the factory specified way to modify camber by slotting the lower bolt holes on the struts. We can get somewhere close to -3* if we want to, without special bolts. ;)
Saw that thread but was a little skeptical of slotting bolt holes, I guess if it's in the service manual, it should be ok. Thanks for the tire recommendations and ALL of the info.

Just need to get buy-in from the boss and/or come into some unexpected windfall of cash:bananahum
 

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honestly, i haven't seen a lowered rl with camber issues other than ones with cam bolts that were set wrong.

lower it and keep the strut original bolts. your camber shouldn't be out of spec just from lowering.

kumho xs got incredible reviews for dry traction if i remember correctly. z1 star specs got great reviews...period.

rotated mounts are a great idea, but they won't help you or hurt you on a road course since there's no launching of the car, and really no use of 1st gear. i do NHMS in 3rd almost all the way around. i did lime rock in 3rd and 4th down the front straight.

spinning the tires and then letting them grab traction can be a bad thing for your axles whether you have rotated mounts or not. it's also bad for your entire drivetrain.
most autocross events i've heard of use almost exclusively 2nd gear in these cars, but a good launch could be helpful.

if you're definitely sure the sc is making the noise, then i'd agree, it's probably the coupler. however, many people have experienced timing chain tensioner failure which leads to a rattling sound that is hard to pinpoint. it makes the car sound like a diesel idling or has been described as "rocks in a can"
 

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Yeah - the trouble is, the SC coupler and the timing chain tensioner sound almost identical. :(

True that the mounts don't help beyond 1st gear, but they make SUCH a difference in 1st and sometimes high in 2nd that to ANY SC IRL or CSS I say they should e the first mod. They increase performance AND prevent shit from breaking - a rare combination, lmao.

Mine have been slotted for over 50k hard driven and frequently autocrossed miles, set at -2.5* the whole time, without issue. And yes, that comes straight from the factory service manual, I'm the one that scanned it from the manual and posted it up, lol. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yeah - the trouble is, the SC coupler and the timing chain tensioner sound almost identical. :(
I actually took my phone and recorded with video and moved it all over the engine bay. Listening back, it seems pretty obvious it's coming from the supercharger. Rattle isn't as bad since I got it back but it's still there...Dealer said they couldn't duplicate or hear it...BS...gonna need that coupler kit.

True that the mounts don't help beyond 1st gear, but they make SUCH a difference in 1st and sometimes high in 2nd that to ANY SC IRL or CSS I say they should e the first mod. They increase performance AND prevent shit from breaking - a rare combination, lmao.

Mine have been slotted for over 50k hard driven and frequently autocrossed miles, set at -2.5* the whole time, without issue. And yes, that comes straight from the factory service manual, I'm the one that scanned it from the manual and posted it up, lol. :)
Rotated mounts will definitely be on the list but rotors/pads are the most immediate need. For what it costs someone else to put premium pads on and turn the rotors ($450 quote from Midas), I can get all new premium pads and rotors and do it myself. I'm actually excited to work on the car since I haven't really done wrenched on my own ride since I had a 64 Impala in college.

Great discussion and advice guys, I like it:silly:
 

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Seriously - nobody should ever pay to have their brakes serviced, unless you're not comfortable bleeding them - even then, not many shops really do it RIGHT.

Hawk pads aren't expensive. Don't pay for crazy badass rotors. Stock replacements bring this car to 0 from 70 in under 120 feet with Hawk HPS and decent tires, and will stand up to light track duty. Slotted is fine if they're inexpensive, get the good ones if you plan to track the car a LOT - but if you track the car a LOT, you should have dedicated rotors and pads for the track and change them back & forth like tires. Hell, if you're changing the wheels/tires, it's only another 10 minutes or so to swap the pads and rotors, lol.
 
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