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mavrick211

newbie rally car

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mavrick211

what would be a good newbie car

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starion887

Hi Mav,

 

Well, this is a question that will generate a lot debate, as there are a ton of viewpoints. In general, ask yourself a few questions (and don't hestiate to put the answers here for more feedback):

1) What do you want to achieve, both in the near term in rallying and in the longterm? Are you determined to move well up into the competitive standings? Or do you just want to get out there and enjoy the thrill of rallying?

2) Do you have some level of income limits? I.e., are you indepenedently wealthy, or do you have a regular job and bills, like of us?

3) What kind of car mechanical skills do you have? Do you even like to work on cars?

4) Do you have a garage and tools, or access to such? Can you weld?

5) How much free time do you have to dedicate to car building and mechnical work?

6) What level of competitive driving experience do you have?

 

I know that this seems like a lot of unrelated questions to the idea of 'what is a good rally car?", but eventually you should wrestle with these questions in making a choice. After reading (and participating in) numerous on-line debates about this topic, it seems like its best for the person who's inquring to ask them what they want to do, rather than giving pat answers?

 

Just for some examples for you, in the 2WD class, some of the more common choices are:

VW Golf

Ford Focus

Volvo 2 series

Early Nissan Sentra SER

Some Hondas

Merkur

 

Have you visited http://www.specialstage.com and http://www.rallyanarchy.com to read the similar questions and discussions there? Good sites and lots of viewpoints. And BTW, anytime you ask this question, you'll get about as many different viewpoints as there are respondents! So be ready to sort and filter some replies!

 

Regards,

Mark B.

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longshot

Another good example is an older Neon ( if you can run them in the Rally Sport ). I just purchased a 95 with high miles for $200 bucks.

 

I enjoy working on them kinda learn as I go thing. It just needs new clutch and it is ready to roll.

 

With bills and all can't afford very exspensive car to tear around in, parts for neons are cheap and abundant at local Advance Auto's, Napa and Auto Zones.

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mavrick211

in the short term id just like to be involved and try it out i live on a family owned farm and we have been running all sorts of machinery around as fast as we can through the woods for years i just thought this may be a way to focus that energy make me a better off road driver

 

in long term not being independantly wealthy and almost 30 i think competition as a pro is probably out of the question

 

i have none of the skills or things u listed i do have a little cash flow maybe 500-1000 a month

 

I plan to buy a welder and have my father teach me how to weld he does it professionaly if any one has a good suggestion on a good engine powered welder id like to hear it ive been leaning toward a miller bobcat

 

i have little mechanical knowledge just working on my quads my dirt bike and i have a 2.5 ton army 6x6 that i am refurbishing slowly

 

im biulding a shop this summer and have lots of tools and what i dont have ive got good friend that are professional diesel mechanics

 

as far as my competetive driving experience goes i have none

unless driving a 18 wheeler for the last 7 years counts

my thought has been that i have all ways been good on any machine i get in or on and being a driver for the last several years gives me the basics of hand eye coordination and judgment

 

i didnt think my question would be so complicated

im just looking for a list i suppose like the one u gave me of cars that fit what i need my goal would be to have a car that i could upgrade as i got to be a better driver so i could stay competetive in my class at least and then latter on if i decide to take it more seriously then ill by a Evo 8 or a WRX

 

i also plan to go to the oneil rally shool for at least the 2 day course it sound good from the posts that i have seen

i also plan to create my own small rally track on my 100 acres to practice on

all of your info is much appricated

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starion887

Hey Mav,

 

Didn't mean to make this too complicated! It's just that your question can have a really broad range of answers; one reads responses that vary all over the map, and I've been trying to figure why different folks have such differing views on the answer to a simple seeming question. The 'right answer' seems to depend a lot on the perspective and goals and tools, etc., of the person asking the question or handing out the advice.

 

The list given is a pretty good one for you, I think. Being on a farm, I am willing to bet that you have used tools a lot, and worked on a lot of different machinery, and so can do basic mechanical work already. This would mean that you can do your own car work, at least the basic stuff. IMO, you could do stuff like bolt on suspension and engine parts and swap trannies and clutches. This opens you up to getting older cars and fixing one up, and so pretty mcuh all of the cars on the list given would be good candidates for you.

 

This is just an IMO, but the Golfs and early Sentras SER's would be the easiest for you to start with. (And my apologies but I am not good on the Neons.) The Sentra is good out of the box with an LSD stock and good engine. The Golf seems to generally get the nod to be the best long term potential of the FWD paltforms.

 

The Ford Focus is not cheap to get into full NASA Rally Spec form so I would not go there. The Volvos and Merkurs take more mods IMO to make them equally good cars, although that does not mean you could not start in one and build up as you go. I can't answer on the Hondas; lots of good engine parts but they are pretty light. (That can be good and bad!)

 

Also, if I were you and were trying to stick with a reasonable cost car, I would stick with 2WD as a starter car. The only inexpensive AWD that seems (to me) worth considering is the normally aspirated Subarus. These are getting pretty popular are good base starter cars. Add those to your list.

 

Another thing to consider is whose events you are going to run. NASA allows you start in any car class; Rally America restricts you to non-turbo 2WD. (I think they might accept a non-turbo Subaru to start.) Since the events in the great NW were recently all lured over to R-A sanctioning, you need to consider this restriction for the time being. (We will be hoping we can convince the event folks to come back to NASA!) The only NASA event in the NW right now is a paved event in Idaho.

 

Get online with http://www.rallyanarchy.com forums; there are a ton of ralliers form the great NW who frequent that site. LOTS of good advice there for someone approaching the sport on a limited $$ basis. (Like most of us, by the way!)

 

Hope this helps more than confuses!

Regards,

Mark B.

 

PS: IMO on welders: Something for best car fab use will have a current rating of 175 A min; you will typically be needing 100-150A for welding a cage. Preferred to also have a pulsed mode for low current welding, in case you need to repair sheet metal; you may also want to seam weld a rally car. A Bobcat would be great in some regards, but no pulsed mode as I recall, and for rally service it will take up a LOT of room in your service truck/van, and be REALLY heavy to get into an enclosed vehicle. (You'll probably want an enclosed vehicle, like a pickup and cap or van, for a rally service vehicle.) A separate generator and welder would be more flexible.

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mavrick211

would there be any problem starting out in a 1973 VW Bug i already own it and it seems to me since these engines and transaxles are used in buggies and other off road equipment that they would be a more reliable choice

i understand that a awd or fw drive car is the best choice for speed but i figured id have to have 2 cars eventually any way if i got good or serious about racing

 

seems to me that the fastest is a awd but i need to start in a slower 2wd since i own the bug and it has been set up about half way for baha already by the previous owner it seems like an easy fit

 

if there are any problems or reasons i should stay away from a bug please let me know

 

your replies have been more help than u know thx

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starion887

The Bug is OK; I can subscribe to the 'well this is what I have' ideas. Buuuuut....ask self a coupla questions:

- Is it nearly intact in terms of body work or is it pretty radically chopped up (like all the fenders gone)? If the latter, then it may not work too well. You need some fenders to hang stock lights on so that it is roadworthy and can be licensed and insured. (Remember, all these cars transit between stages on open, public roads, and so need to be street legal, licensed, and insured.

- Sounds not like a car you would stick with over the long term...which leads to the following question to self about investment.....

- Download and read the cage requirements for both NASA and R-A; they require some significant investment, even if you build yourself. You can't just use any cheapo steel tubing; it needs to be CDS or DOM. You can easily spend over $500 on just tubing. Account for that plus many, many hundreds more for just basic safety equipment, and you need to think whether you have invested all that into a bug that you will only use for a while.

- Several other thoughts occur as to why not to do a Bug but you get the drift, I think.....

 

If you love Bugs and will build one and stick with it because it's the car you love, then cool. My son and I are building a '72 Opel Manta for that reason. Or if you can shop for the safety parts and get the cage in cheap to just get started in a Bug that was pretty well intact and known reliable, then maybe OK too. But as a general reccommendation for a medium to long term rally car that you could sell easily if you wanted to move up, then it is a questionable choice. Better to scour the boneyards IMO for parts and pieces to build yourself a more well established rally car.

 

And remember, if you get bitten badly by the 'rally bug' you will be wanting to get out there often. You're in good shape as there are a goodly number of regional events in the great NW near to you. But if that's the case, you'll want a car that you can get out there pretty often and will be reliable. If you start with something junky, it will be unreliable and you will spend a lot of hefty entry fees just to DNF and will be pretty darned unhappy. If you do start with something old, better to really take it apart and check and/or rebuild everything you can: brakes, steering, all linkages, starter motor, side marker lights....I mean everything. That's what we're doing with the Opel Manta; EVERYTHING has come out and we're starting on a bare shell. Which takes garage space.....see how this goes around and around??!!?? You either spend some $$ on a solid base car and some $$ and a bit of room to get it ready, or take coupla cars and a pile of parts and a lot of time and room and maybe fewer $$....maybe. (See why I asked what your skills, tools and facilities were?) Kinda like Murphy's Law as it relates to building rally cars: no free lunch!

 

And BTW, don't think any of us is particularly wise; this is just a lot of accumulated and frequently discussed/debated/argued factoids that seems to be pretty well recognized as reasonably true. Think of it as a compilation of 'community' experience.

 

Regards,

Mark B.

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starion887

BTW, I guess I should say what I would do in your shoes:

- I'd find a good, rust free, good running Nissan Sentra SE-R, early 90's version plus a spare SE-R parts car.

- Fab my own cage with help from your dad; take advantage of his welding skills! Consult with others and go on all the forums mentioned for cage help and advice.

- Get some basic safety gear and an odo.

- Get some basic struts and install. If you're low on $$, just put some new gas struts on and live with the low performance suspension; the worst is figuring out how to raise the ride height a bit.

- Go over the car with a fine tooth comb for realibility. Hoses, brakes, fuel system parts, tie down wires, all sorts of stuff. (Even a new clutch if you have time a space to do it cheaply.)

- Put it on the road and drive it a bunch to wring out any problems.

- Get some basic gravel rally tires.

- Go gravel rallying!

 

This is about as straightforward a build as you can get; the Golf's are the next most basic, but have a few other known mods to fix some weak points.

You may want to contact Gus Garrido in CT who recently did such a build to see what he ran into.

 

Just my take....

 

Regards,

Mark B.

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Andrew_Frick

I agree with Mark's advice but I would recommend going to a rally around you and see what cars show up. One of the great advantages that Golfs have over other cars is that there are usually a couple of them at each event. This helps a new competitor because you can you can ask advice and possibly buy a spare part from another team if you forgot or didn't know to add it to your spares kit.

 

Good luck with whatever avenue you decide to take.

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mavrick211

thx for the help just trying to get my barings if i do decide i like this then id dump up to 25,000 into a care easy so i think ive decided to take your advice im looking for a used nissan or a already set up golf or other similar type

being a newb can i start in a normaly asperated impreza seems to me the most logical thing would be to buy a care that latter on i could put a turbo on or a turbo engine in and add all the 15,000 dollar parts to making it fit my skills as i go im conservative so i dont see me breaking things unless my skill level gets as such that i need to upgrade so as not to break things

maybe im wrong

ive read alot about cars only going like 150 miles on a trany sounds xpensive if you dont have the right stuff

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mavrick211

ok how early 90's should the car be i found one 94 for 650 and one 91 for 1000

 

add just says sentra SE you had stated a good car would be a SE-R what does the R stand for (RWD) im not much of a forigne car guy

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mavrick211

not much of a speller either

found 4 SE-R for under 1000 one has a bent frame but under the hood and inside looks better than the rest

so i need 2 of these or would it be better to have 3 are parts for these getting hard to find

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mothra

I think "they" are pointing you towards the (1991-1994) Sentra SE-R (That's R as in F&F Type R) It has an lsd, more power, better gearing, and maybe more that is a step up in performance fromt he SE. They tend to go for around $1500 in this area.

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starion887

Hey Mav,

 

The spare parts car is more of a suggestion (since you have space at the farm); I would get one good one to buiild and then keep my eye out for a parts car just to have 'in case'; try to find a parts car for cheap.

 

The SE-R is very different from the SE as Matt pointed out. Look only at the SE-R's. All of them are FWD; dunno why they used the 'R'.....

 

I see you post on the rallyanarchy forum; good. Lots of good PNW guys there. Should be interesting to see what feedback you get there; probably get accused of talking to that Mark B. guy!

 

What is bent on the frame on the <$1000 one and by how much? Could be a problem. Any pix? Unbent, rust-free, good drivetrain, and trashed interior would be ideal.

 

Start reading up on the rules, particularly on the cages, and price out safety gear and struts and tires and such before you get too far.

 

Mark B.

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turoc

I believe the R is from the motor code SR20DE. It has one of the most solid 4 cylinder motors with 150 horsies. Definitely a good car to start with but like I mentioned on rallyanarchy its hard to find good examples for cheap. It has a viscous diff standart. Suspension available from JVAB or DMS and such as well. Pretty quick car as is. Can get go fast goodies off the European Pulsar GTIR or the 200sx. Shares the motor with those as well as the Infinity G20 and Nissan Nx2000.

 

Oscar

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mavrick211

thx for your replies

 

ive read a lot of the rules havnt gotten into the cage rules yet itll be atleast a year before i race plannin to go to some events first

 

i was wondering is there any place i can go to in western washington that will inspect my car after i get the cage in and tell me if ive done it correctly or do i just have to take it to a race and hope for the best

 

after i get this biuilt i plan on going to the driving school and a lot of practice at home on what i learn at the school before i show off my poor driving skills in public

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turoc

i was wondering is there any place i can go to in western washington that will inspect my car after i get the cage in and tell me if ive done it correctly or do i just have to take it to a race and hope for the best

 

That would definetely be a mistake. You need to make sure the cage is kosher before you put it in the car. As much as the rules are not clear read them carefully. Ask questions before you do anything. You need to understand that you have to have at least the minimums to pass inspections. Talk to your local scrutineers, in my case it is Mark Bowers aka "starion887" He has been great help. Every time I need something clarified he is at the other end of the line. Hoping for the best wont do you much, that for sure.

 

Oscar

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starion887

Yes, Mav,

 

There is a good person in the Seattle area named Gene McCollough with whom you can discuss you cage. He knnows both NASA and R-A cage rules well, and is a cage builder himself. And feel free to call me anytime; I will PM my phone numbers on this forum.

 

Don't wait too long to investigate the cage thing; it's the biggest part of the investment facing you for a basic car. And you can't build it like a roundy-round car or a baja car; it has to meet very specific rally design and meterial specs.

 

Don't take it to a rally and hope; that's a prety sure way to fail and miss your first rally. You need to get a logbook issued for the car with the cage, racing seats and safety harnesses installed, at minimum; this initial inspection for logbooking insures that the cage and major safety components are done right. You should strive mightily to get your logbook issued before you go to your first rally. You will then take your logbook and car to tech inspection at each rally before you can start; there will other checks of the car made to insure it is safe to compete. If OK, then you will get a notation in the logbook saying 'OK to compete'; if there is a minor issue, you may be given the thumbs up to compete but a notation made in the car's logbook that 'xyz needs to be fixed prior to the next event'. If there is a serious problem effecting safety, then you have to fix it or be disqualifed and cannot run. That is why your want to work with an experienced tech inspector well ahead; failing your first tech and being DNS (did not start) is a horrendous dissappointment, and even having to fix anything significant at tech is nerve-racking; believe us, you will be all keyed up, and don't need those types of problems to tire and distract you!

 

You also need to decide if you are going to get a NASA or R-A logbook and build to the right rules. Actually you can build it in a way where it will meet either body's cage rules. But if you get either body's logbook, you can enter the other sanctioning body's events. As long as the cage meets the rules of the sanctioning body issuing the logbook, then you are good.

 

Regards,

Mark B.

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starion887

And, duuude...don't worry about the driving skills! This is an interesting sport to learn and there is typcally a looooong learning curve for the overwhelming majority of folks in the sport. Don't hesitate; it's one of those things where it's best to just do it as that's the only real way to learn. Kinda like swimming lessons; no matter how well it's explained, you flounder around for a while before you learn enough to not swallow the whole pool, but you have to learn by doing!

 

BTW, there are other schools, some a lot closer to you I bet. Ask on the RallAnarchy forum. Check them out before towing a long way to any school.

 

Regards,

Mark B.

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mavrick211

I've been posting a little on rally anarchy because i get more replies

i saw starion887's post and find his advice far more stable and down to earth

 

some one on there posted about getting only one car is that possible

if a person only got one car to start with then it would be a WRX STI or a EVO but those cars are turbo and AWD I need to start in a 2WD and none turbo correct

so how can I only buy one car

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mothra

I think you may be thinking of one of the JVAB posts in reference to the xr4ti (others may fit as well). These can be set up as n/a 2wd and later upgraded to turbo awd. The Ford sierra/escort cosworth is a mostly bolt in turbo awd setup or so I have been told. The xr4ti comes stock as turbo 2wd but the motor can be easily down graded to n/a.

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freightdog

I'll give my 2c worth to the Dodge/Plymouth neon. Parts are cheap, boneyards are full of them and they handle quite well. Its not a "one size fits all" car of course since it can't be easily converted to 4WD but I decided on staying in 2WD for the foreseeable future. gotta walk before I run. even if U have the "perfect car", you'll still get dusted by somebody in a 20yr old VW. I plan on suffering that same fate again at RallyTN in may come on out and watch!

 

I would also take a look at the Spec Focus'es (focii?) They require certain parts to be "spec focus legal", but they would potentially payback better if you start winning.

 

i think a sentra SE-R would be a good choice too

 

 

BTW Hey mothra check your PM's. I don't want to thread-jack.

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mavrick211

if i was to look into getting a vw golf what years would i be looking at and what potential problems arise from using that car

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mavrick211

ive been doing a lot of looking at rally cars that are for sale already biult

 

i know they need to have a log book and be street legal but what else should i be looking for

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turoc
if i was to look into getting a vw golf what years would i be looking at and what potential problems arise from using that car

Anything from 85 to 92(Mk2) would do but i would suggest a 91-92 2.0 16v. You will have a potent motor. Other parts are pretty much all exchangable.

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