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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Beater 04 Mach 1 I bought to do some Auto X and TT possibly with.

Car is stock except for catback,H&R Race springs ,Saleen race craft bilsteins in the rear and 03 Cobra bilsteins in the front.

We have no Cam here.STU,ESP,FS are pretty much what I have to choose from.Looking to hopefully be somewhat competitive without dumping too much $ into this car (buying another car so...)
 

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Your springs aren't legal for FS. But, if you're just starting out in autocross, FS is the most cost-effective way to improve your (autocross) driving skills without spending a ton of money. Keeping up with cars in STU and ESP can require a much bigger investment in the car. Here's a video I put together about the mods I would make if I were building a 79-04 Mustang to compete in Street Category:


There are also videos on my channel that offer autocross driving tips (I'm an instructor). If you have any questions, please ask here or in the comments on YouTube.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks WH.Ya I can’t own a mustang that’s factory ride height,So FS is probably out.

I guess mentioning a budget would help.I don’t mind throwing another 2-3k at the car outside of wheels/tires for it.

Any criticism or tips are appreciated
 

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Thanks WH.Ya I can’t own a mustang that’s factory ride height,So FS is probably out.

I guess mentioning a budget would help.I don’t mind throwing another 2-3k at the car outside of wheels/tires for it.

Any criticism or tips are appreciated
I'm happy to help. I have a couple of questions that will help me suggest which Category and mods will be best for you...

1. Are you just starting out in autocross/performance driving, or do you already have performance driving experience?

2. Which class (STU or ESP) has more competitors at events in your area?

If you're a true autocross novice (less than 1 season of experience), you want to make the fewest mods to get your car "neutral", then get experience before making larger mods to suit your specific driving style (within the rules of your Category). And, it's much better to run in a Class where you will actually have competitors. I rarely see ESP cars at my local events (they all went into CAM).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I believe ESP has more competitors around here than STU.
 

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I went through the 2020 SCCA ESP Rules and came up with a list of mods that fit into your budget. I’ve done my best to make sure all these mods are ESP legal, but it’s worth double-checking with someone who currently runs in ESP. And, remember, the rules can change for 2021. I’ve emailed the SCCA to get clarifications on some mods; I’ll pass that info along when I hear back.

My assessment of how to be “competitive” in ESP is that it largely comes down to how far you’re willing to go with tire size. Being able to cut and flare your fenders, and have your tires extend beyond your fenders, means you might be up against people running 315 square (or even larger) tires. You mentioned going with 275 square. That will put you at a disadvantage, but it’s not insurmountable.

I have only autocrossed on “daily driving” and 200TW tires, so I can’t comment on which R-comps will be the best. But, I can tell you that your suspension setup has to be able to take full advantage of the amount of grip in your tires. I would suggest trying to fit a 315 square setup on your car. If you don’t want to cut your car up, you can try the process I showed in my “Fitting 315 Tires on the FRONT of a New Edge Mustang” video. It doesn’t work on all New Edge cars, but it worked on both of mine (without cutting/flaring/rolling the fenders). Here’s a link…


Let’s talk about your Mach 1 as it sits... You should have 3.55 rear gears. Those will work just fine. You have more than enough horsepower for autocross, so that’s good. You have 13” front brakes and 11.65” rear brakes; you don’t need bigger brakes. I am concerned about your H&R race springs being a bit too low and too stiff. When autocrossing with a stock-style (non-coil over) setup, these cars handle better when they sit a bit higher than most people think looks cool. I like Ford Racing C-springs; they work really well. If I’m correct, your shocks & struts aren’t adjustable. Adjustable shocks & struts are an important upgrade for our autocross Mustangs. In my opinion, they’re the most important upgrade.

Now, onto the mods… The ESP rules are pretty limiting in some areas, especially the bushing material rules and the chassis bracing rules. But, the good news is the mods that fix the factory-installed handling flaws in these cars are legal. Here are the mods I would suggest:

These first few mods will help you get the car neutral and allow you to adjust for future mods. You might also want to consider a larger front sway bar, but every driver is different. I always tell people new to autocross to do several events before deciding on a larger front sway bar.

Koni Yellow Adjustable Shocks & Struts $700

3-bolt CC Plates (if you never plan in using coil overs, 3-bolt CC Plates are fine) Steeda $180 or J&M $140

Eibach 25mm Rear Sway Bar $170

Prothane Offset Poly A-arm Bushings $105

These next mods will help with the “nervous” feeling in the rear end, improve your launches, and improve traction when you dig out of slow elements. The most important part of choosing your rear Upper and Lower Control Arms is that they have 3-piece poly bushings. Many companies use 2-piece bushings and they don’t perform nearly as well.

UCA/LCA combo: Steeda Steel $300 (I used these for years; they work great) or J&M $290

You will want to add some stiffness to your chassis. The ESP rules don’t allow for much bracing. If you think you might go to STU in the future, choose the bolt-in subframe connector option.

Stiffler’s Full-Length weld-in SFCs $160 or BBK bolt-in $170

Steeda 2-pt Mach 1 Strut Tower Brace $105

Steeda G-Trac Brace $50 (check with the SCCA to see if this is legal) or use the update/backdate rule to install an OEM K-member stiffening bar from an earlier SN95 Mustang. Alternatively, you should be able to use the update/backdate rule to install an OEM 2004 convertible front chassis brace (but it adds a lot of weight).

You will want to use better brake pads. This will vary depending on your personal preference/driving style/ABS. For great initial bite, I suggest:

Hawk HP-Plus Brake Pads $175 F, $150 R.

If you go with the most expensive options, you will have roughly $2,105 invested. That will allow room in your budget to decide on future mods based on your driving style: a larger front sway bar, and some additional suspension components in the rear. A Panhard bar is allowed. I’m getting clarification from the SCCA about whether or not a Watt’s Link that DOESN’T mount to the diff cover is allowed (Fays2 makes one). There’s a lot of debate about which rear suspension mod is best. I’m a big fan of the Watt’s Link, but I know a lot of people who like Panhard bars.

You can use the update/backdate rule to install a rear seat delete (because of the Cobra R). You can remove the radio and speakers (not the wires), as long as you cover the hole left behind by the head unit (a complete Mach 460 system weighs 30lbs.). There are several things you can remove to reduce weight, but they often come at the cost of safety and comfort out on the road.

I hope this info helps. If you have any more questions, please ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
-I don’t think I’ll ever go the STU route imo.I’ll probably hope CAM T becomes a thing around here.

-I’ve seen some guys say they liked a 295 35 18 better than 315 square on the lower power cars so maybe I’ll go that route to get more tire compared to a 275.I understand what you are saying about the function over appearance but this is where I have to sacrifice a little.I don’t need slammed but I do need a lower look to my car.

-I’ll look into those part suggestions but probably use some different brands.

-I was really hoping to stay conventional spring setup for as long as possible

-I will have a set of dedicated rotors and pads for the track (probably raybestos race)



I think what I need most is clarification on rules.The rear seat delete is good to know.

What can I remove?

-emissions crap?
-ABS ?
-replace my front crash bar ?
-AC?


Thanks.I really appreciate the help
 

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-I don’t think I’ll ever go the STU route imo.I’ll probably hope CAM T becomes a thing around here.

-I’ve seen some guys say they liked a 295 35 18 better than 315 square on the lower power cars so maybe I’ll go that route to get more tire compared to a 275.I understand what you are saying about the function over appearance but this is where I have to sacrifice a little.I don’t need slammed but I do need a lower look to my car.

-I’ll look into those part suggestions but probably use some different brands.

-I was really hoping to stay conventional spring setup for as long as possible

-I will have a set of dedicated rotors and pads for the track (probably raybestos race)



I think what I need most is clarification on rules.The rear seat delete is good to know.

What can I remove?

-emissions crap?
-ABS ?
-replace my front crash bar ?
-AC?


Thanks.I really appreciate the help
We were able to grow CAM in my area by recruiting as many drivers as possible. If enough people speak up at club meetings or at events, the club will see the benefit running CAM Classes.

My V6 has 315s all around and it only has about 220 hp. The main reason it was able to compete with and beat s197 and s550 GTs in CAM-C was because it used every last bit of the grip in those tires. I would recommend going with the biggest tires you are willing/able to put on your car.

I totally understand not wanting the car to look too high. It's easy enough to change springs down the line if suspension travel becomes an issue.

There are lots of good brands out there. I always try to recommend something I've personally used, or that I've seen work well on other cars. The best part of the Mustang aftermarket is that there are options. Just make sure the UCAs/LCAs have 3-piece poly bushings.

None of my cars have coil overs. A well-prepped/well-adjusted conventional spring setup will be fine for autocross. But, the proper adjustment is key.

I'll go back through the rules to get a more complete picture of what can and can't be removed for weight reduction in ESP.
 

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I looked into the legal ways to reduce weight in ESP...

You can REMOVE:

The A/C (in whole or in part), but NOT the heat.
An OEM rear wing.
The radio & speakers (not the wiring).
The rearview mirror.
The sun visors.
The fog lights.

Additional weight reduction:

You can change your seats, but it's worth getting clarity on the SCCA's definition of "incorporating a functional headrest". Fixed-back Corbeau seats would save a lot of weight, if they are legal. The seat tracks can also be changed (the OEM tracks are very heavy).

You can swap in a steering wheel that doesn't have an airbag. But, if I'm reading the rules correctly, you can't remove the airbag from the factory steering wheel, or the passenger side airbag.

ABS can be disabled, but NOT removed.

You can use an aluminum flywheel.

Unrelated to weight reduction, Brian Harmer at the SCCA told me via email that he believes a Watt's Link that DOESN'T mount to the rear differential cover would be legal in ESP. That's a very good option that I'm guessing most people running in ESP aren't aware of.

Based on your budget, you probably want to do the A/C delete and aluminum flywheel first, because they will take weight off the car where it will benefit you the most. A Watt's Link or PHB added down the line would add weight to the rear, which will also help to balance out the weight distribution.

I hope this info helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Weird that I can only disable the ABS and not delete it.

So I can’t remove the shaker crap from my Mach 1 ,Emissions stuff,Fog lights from my bumper?

I already have aluminum fly wheel on this car I forgot to mention.What about the ability to use a aluminum Drive shaft? I have one on my shelf here along with a stifflers trans mount.
 

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Weird that I can only disable the ABS and not delete it.

So I can’t remove the shaker crap from my Mach 1 ,Emissions stuff,Fog lights from my bumper?

I already have aluminum fly wheel on this car I forgot to mention.What about the ability to use a aluminum Drive shaft? I have one on my shelf here along with a stifflers trans mount.
I think the rues are designed to limit the number of weight reduction mods you can make.

If I'm reading the rules correctly, you can't remove the shaker hood scoop. The fog lights are on the list I posted; they can be removed. The SCCA rules state, "Emission control devices may be modified or removed." It's probably wise to get clarification from the SCCA about exactly what parts are legal to remove. It's likely you can remove the emission system hard parts. But, it's always good to double-check.

Because replacement drivetrain components can't be lighter than the original component, you can't use an aluminum driveshaft. The transmission mount must "attach in the factory location without additional modifications or changes."
 
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