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torque steer and engine choices

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torque steer and engine choices

Postby robhoy » Fri May 01, 2015 4:21 pm

Hi, guys. Assuming good alignment and tires, at what HP/TQ levels does "significant" torque steer typically set in for our cars during track use (mostly autocross, but also some NASA-type events) and/or aggressive street driving?

I know the answer is "it depends", so I'm just looking for a ballpark figure. Reason is, I'm considering buying/building a "track toy" CRX, and I have to decide which engine setup to go for. I'm looking to optimize manageable power and hence lap times, so I want to avoid "excessive" torque steer. Obviously a turboed CRX with 300HP/200lb-ft will torque steer like crazy... but since I've never owned a high-hp/torque fwd car, I don't know much beyond that.

I'm considering setups ranging from a stock B16 (160 HP/ 111 lb-ft) to a built NA B20, which can obviously produce a lot more. More power is better only if it helps me go faster. Cost isn't a huge constraint, but obviously I don't want to waste money!

So, what setup would you choose? Interested in hearing your thoughts.

PS - I've owned several CRXes, but never a high-powered swapped one, and have never tracked them. I've autocrossed, but only in an S2000.
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Re: torque steer and engine choices

Postby razordave » Fri May 01, 2015 8:49 pm

Are you considering modding a first gen or second gen crx?

There is a McNasty first gen that runs the track down here in Ft Myers, but it's a purpose built race car that never sees street.

Everything else is a miata, a corvette, brz/frs or a second gen crx.

I'm pretty happy with my stock b18a1, I really need to get the lightweight flywheel on soon.

My car put down 130 whp on a portable dynojet and although it's not uncontrollable, I'd benefit greatly from a great set of tires.

If your car runs the way it is, just go out and run it. Swaps put you into a class where you'll probably not be competitive, and where's the fun?

Start with tires, brakes and suspension until you can run that single cam to it's very limits. Remember this is a driver sport. If your car is too good, it will mask your bad driving habits and you will have a harder time finding faster times.
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Re: torque steer and engine choices

Postby jfrolang » Fri May 01, 2015 9:11 pm

With a stock D-series setup, a stock D16A6 can induce mild torque steer. Having a setup with equal length axles helps a little. I had a stock B16A with open diff and could feel the torque steer. Upgrading to a limited-slip diff helped a ton. I later made 463 whp with a turbo B20V, was still able to put my foot down at low speeds without worrying about control. I really felt like it wasn't a factor.

The Civic/CRX guys that compete at SCCA nationals commonly use a supercharged D16 setup. Mods allowed depend on the class you compete in of course, but I would say an LSD is a requirement.
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Re: torque steer and engine choices

Postby robhoy » Fri May 01, 2015 10:11 pm

Dave - a second gen. Preferably an '88 since they're lighter. I've never seen a first gen on the track! Have been down to Ft Myers twice, autoXing my S2000. The first gen you mentioned wasn't there those days, I guess. I assume you're referring to Gulf Coast Autocrossers events? Do you go often? If so I'll probably see you there, sooner or later :). I actually don't own a CRX at the moment - am looking to buy. And yeah, I know about tires, etc. A good set of summer tires makes a huge difference :)

Ah, yes, the "class" issue is a good point. Had forgotten about that. I was never serious about it before, and most of the events I've done have been "test and tunes" in the Tampa area. No classes, fastest car wins - I like that format, it's fun to compete with friends that own very different cars. But of course that'll become more relevant as I get more experienced and care more how I place.

Hi, jfro! Thanks for the tips! Yes, I'd heard LSDs are a must. And sure, any car can torque-steer, RWD cars can too (of course). I just don't want "too much" of it. According to my (limited) understanding, it becomes really problematic in FWD cars at a much lower power lever than for RWD/AWD cars, and this "fact" is one of the reasons sports cars are almost all RWD. So it's Interesting to hear you had no issues with that much power in a CRX!

Getting a stock Si and adding supercharging later on might make sense for me - thanks for the info :)
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Re: torque steer and engine choices

Postby razordave » Fri May 01, 2015 10:36 pm

Yes, GulfCoast. Test and tune tomorrow, event sunday.

I'll be running sunday, I may pop in tomorrow if I can get my harness done in a timely manner.
I've gone to the last 6 events, run the last 4.

Normally do both days since the best mod you can do is seat time.

If you do make it out on Sunday, I'll be the yellow (there are three) 88 si on 92 GSR wheels. I used to be that guy on 17s, that's probably how anyone will refer to me if asked lol

I found Darin's first gen, it's on the front page of the newsletter
http://www.gulfcoastautocrossers.com/ne ... 202015.pdf
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Re: torque steer and engine choices

Postby mike l » Mon May 04, 2015 9:11 am

I 2nd what jfro said, get a quality LSD and you won't have any noticeable torque steer issues. My CRX had significant torque steer with a stock b18b. Then I rebuild the tranny with a quaiffe LSD and built a high compression, forged, etc b20vtec - and there is zero torque steer now.
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Re: torque steer and engine choices

Postby robhoy » Mon May 04, 2015 4:24 pm

Thanks Mike!

Update: Just bought one I'd had my eye on. It's an 88DX with a B20 block and GSR head. No LSD, unfortunately - I'll have to add one somehow. But it already excels in the grin-inducing department :)
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