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1G 1G DSM Road Race Setup Guide

Posted by 19Eclipse90, Mar 21, 2014

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  1. 19Eclipse90

    19Eclipse90 DSM Wiseman

    Joined Sep 29, 2003
    OKC, Oklahoma
    Here's a guide to help you make your 90-94 Eagle Talon, Mitsubishi Eclipse, or Plymouth Laser perform in Time Trials, Wheel to Wheel racing, and open track events. Make sure you put a plan together for the class you're planning to compete in and read all of the rules before you start modding your car. There may be mods listed below that will bump you out of the class you originally wanted to compete in. For information about obtaining sponsorship for your racing habit, How-to get car sponsorship.

    A few things to keep in mind:
    • Set a goal/budget before buying any parts. No plan = more money later.
    • Be realistic with those goals and plans.
    • There is no "best" part when it comes to modding.
    • Do your research before you buy parts - make sure the parts you buy will work together well.
    • Work within your budget.


    • Competition Tires/Wider Wheels
      If you're driving your car to the track you'll want a second set of track wheels and tires so you can go with R-compounds. The one problem with 1G cars is that you're limited in wheel choices and sizes. Those who want the wheels to tuck in the stock fender will be limited mostly to 8.5" wheels and 225-235mm width tires. The determining factor on wheel/tire width will end up being the offset (backspacing) of the wheel. But if you're okay with rolling your fenders and/or going with fender flares you can go wider. We have found some 17x9" Team Dynamics Race wheels that fit our cars perfectly with a 27mm offset, which is the ideal offset for our suspension geometry in a 17x9" wheel, which should come very close to tucking with the negative camber you'll be running. The Toyo RA1's are a very popular tire choice with DSMers these days for their good performance and durability. But other good choices would be the Kumho V700 and/or VictoRacer V700, the BFGoodrich g-Force R1, and of course the Hoosier R6 - all of which can be found at Tirerack.

      Something to keep in mind: most big brake kits require at least 17" wheels and a certain amount of spoke clearance to accept the width of the caliper. Make sure you take this into account when shopping for wheels. The best order of operation would be to choose the brake kit you want and get the measurements needed for the wheels. Then find wheels that will fit. A few wheels that are lightweight and not outrageously expensive would be the Enkei RPF1, the Kosei K1, and the Kosei K1 TS. The more expensive choices would include the Gram Lights 57C and the SSR Type C, etc. You can find all of these wheels at Tirerack.

    • Swaybars and Strut Braces
      A larger swaybar in the rear will help reduce roll and understeer. On AWD cars the stock front swaybar is sufficient for man, but cab be upgraded as well for serious racers. We've found that the Galant VR-4, which uses the same chassis, has some of the biggest swaybars available from Whiteline. On a FWD car you can upgrade both depending on your needs. Strut bars will help reduce body flex by bracing the shock towers and will tighten up the car's chassis, but the overall effect they have is not nearly as big as swaybars. If you plan on installing a roll bar or roll cage, the rear strut bar is almost pointless.

    • Coil-over Suspension
      Once the standard struts and lowering springs are no longer cutting it you'll want to step up to a coilover setup. There are two choices - spring and perch kits or true full coilovers. The latter will afford you additional adjustment options to help fine-tune the suspension at the track and will offer the best performance if you go with quality manufacturers. You'll also want some stiffer spring rates. If you absolutely cannot afford coilovers you can get by with some good adjustable shocks for a total budget build (we highly recommend Koni but KYB AGX are cheaper and will work for some people - be aware that the KYB strut/shock was not designed to be lowered and have been known to wear prematurely due to the lower ride height and increased spring rate) and some lowering springs like the Eibach Prokits. Just don't go with any springs that lower the car more than 1.5" or you'll actually be hurting performance. You probably won't be very competitive without coilovers but at least you'll have some fun on the track.

      Many DSMers tend to think that ANY coilover is automatically better than a shock/perch set up like Koni/Ground Control simply becase it's a true coilover. This isn't true. In fact, the Koni setup will perform better and will be more compliant than just about any 'true' coilover available for the 1g costing less than $2500. Don't get sucked into the thinking that a cheap coilover will be better because it has 30 or 100 adjustment points. They are cheap for a reason, and they are not designed for high performance applications and/or racing. They're a glorified solution for lowering your car, and that's about it.

      As of August 2012, Muellerized has come up with the absolute best solution for 1g coilovers - it involves adapting a set of Ohlins coilovers that are made for an Evo to fit the 1g. Yes, you heard right, Ohlins! The cream of the crop. Of course, these certainly aren't cheap, but if you want one of the best coilovers on the market for any platform - including super cars - it will cost a little bit more than a set of cheap KYB shocks. Contact Muellerized for a quote, and tell them you found them on DSMtuners!

    • Camber Adjustment
      The front camber can be adjusted by using camber bolts on the lower strut mount location at the spindle. This should give you enough adjustment with the car slightly lowered. If you have coilovers by now you likely already have camber plates, which will help even more. Some might need both solutions. If you are going with a less expensive option like Koni/Ground Control, you'll want to take a look at the RRE Camber Plates, specifically, the ones that add caster to further improve handling and give you more adjustment points depending on the track.

      For the rear, you'll need camber bushings for the rear control arms - Whiteline makes these. If you want to take it a step further, you can get a pair of rear upper control arms from 3SX Performance. This will replace the entire control arm with a stiffer solution and solid inboard bushings, with full camber adjustment.

      Most road racers will start out with about -2 to -2.5 negative camber up front and -1 or -1.5 degrees of camber in the rear, and will adjust the car's balance from there.

    • Polyurethane/Solid Bushings
      Replace all those flexible rubber bushings throughout the suspension with poly replacements. You can usually find most bushings in a kit. If you're going full track you might consider going with poly motor mounts and maybe even body bushings. It will vibrate more but everything will be solid. While you're replacing bushings you'll also want to address the "rear active toe-control link". 1G DSM rear suspensions feature an active toe-control link which increases rear toe-in under cornering and acceleration. This tends to slow the cars steering response and induce a steady understeer condition promoting "safer" vehicle handling. By replacing the stock rubber bushings with a steel insert, rear toe is held as set during alignment. The result is better turn-in and improved cornering power. You can purchase a "rear toe eliminator" kit from JayRacing. If you're going to compete you might even look into full solid bushings throughout the entire suspension.

      While you're at it, consider Whiteline's Caster Correction bushings. These offer a significant improvement in overall stability over the stock bushings. The increased durometer or stiffness combined with the offsetting design help retain and add caster which will, in turn, help improve straight-line acceleration and hard braking, cornering, and steering response.

    • Big Brake Upgrade
      If you're suffering from brake fade and aggressive pads aren't doing the job it might be time to consider a big brake kit. Most kits will eliminate fade, reduce stopping distances, and give you a great deal more confidence at high track speeds. Most big brake kits require 17" wheels and a certain wheel offset to clear the width of the caliper. Make sure you take this into account when shopping for wheels. Most big brake kits will come with steel braided lines and good pads, but if they don't make sure you pick some up. And don't forget the high-temp brake fluid as well. We recommend going with a 13x1.10" or 13x1.25" vented and slotted rotor. Stay away from cross drilled rotors for track use.

      The most reliable name in the braking world for DSMers has been TCE Performance Products. They're the only company that has consistently made big brake kits available for our cars with several custom options. We highly recommend them for any Big Brake kit. You'll get a kit that performs as well as any kit on the market at a better price. They use Wilwood calipers exclusively and will work with you to get you the best kit for your needs.

    • Roll Cage
      A roll cage is a safety feature but it also stiffens the chassis and reduces flex in the suspension. Most DSMers will only be hitting the track for open track events and lapping days and won't have much of a need for a full cage. But if you're going to compete in Time Trials you'll want to at least consider a 4-6 point roll bar. Most racing series will require a full cage for Wheel to Wheel racing anyway.

      For a good DIY roll bar or cage, bolt-in or weld-in, check with Rhodes Race Cars. Do a search for "Eclipse" in their search box and you should find 4-point, 6-point, 8-point, and 10-point kits available, pre-cut and pre-bent to fit a 1g DSM.


    • Intake
      If you're going to be road racing we suggest swapping out the 1G MAF with a 2G MAF or an Evolution VIII MAF. These will get you a better tune using DSMlink. The 2G MAF should be fine for most DSM road racers. The route you go will determine the type of intake pipe you'll need. Of course, if you decide to go with a standalone EMS like an AEM EMS you won't need to worry about the MAF at all.

    • Ignition
      When running high boost at the track you'll need to run some good spark plugs and wires at the very least. The NGK BPR7ES plugs are quite popular, along with Magnecore wires. If you have money to burn the elegant solution these days is to swap out the coilpack and wires for a Coil-On-Plug system.

    • Cooling
      Running a turbo car at the track will create havoc on your cooling system. There is so much heat under the hood that you'll be fighting hard to keep water temps at a reasonable level - you really don't want them getting above 230 degrees. The first is to put a vent on your hood to allow hot air to escape. You don't want to just cut a hole in your hood either, as that won't really allow air to escape unless the car is stopped or moving slowly. You want to get an actual vent and rivet it to the hood. We suggest the Carbontrix vent. The next thing you'll want to do is get a thicker-than-stock aluminum radiator. The only company that makes a thick radiator for our cars is PWR, but you'll have to contact them and ask for it specifically, not the one they normally sell. Aside from that you can try out the popular techniques like Water Wetter and other cooling fluids. If you haven't done so already, ditch the A/C condensor - you'll be fighting a losing battle if you don't. Be sure to pick up an aftermarket water temp gauge too.

      Oil cooling may also become an issue. Those who don't have a 1990 can change from an internal oil cooling system to an external cooler. You can find some good Setrab oil coolers on eBay for a decent price. Then just pick up some -8 or -10 braided line, AN fittings, metric adapters for the oil filter housing, and a 1990 oil filter housing. You'll need a good oil temp gauge too.

    • Engine Management
      If you're going to be road racing you'll need to ditch the S-AFC and step up to something more reliable and accurate for engine management. If you have a lot of cash to throw around one of the best tuning solutions would be a standalone EMS system like AEM. But you'll need a good AEM-certified tuner to get your car tuned properly. The next best solution is DSMlink from ECM Tuning. To be able to use DSMlink your car will need to have an eprom ECU swapped in if it doesn't have one already. We highly recommend DSMlink for most DSMers who plan on road racing on a budget.

      Along with your EMS solution you'll want some gauges to help monitor the engine. An EGT (exhaust gas temperature) gauge and probe will allow you to monitor the exhaust temperature exiting the engine. Extremely high temps generally translate into a lean condition and can be catastrophic. You can also go with a Wideband O2 system that will allow you to monitor the air/fuel ration of your car while driving. This will tell you exactly how rich or how lean the car is running, allowing you to adjust the fuel curve accordingly. And don't forget the Water Temp, Oil Temp, Oil Pressure, and Fuel Pressure gauges.

    • Boost Control
      Chances are you probably already have a boost controller. If you're going to be competing be sure to read your series rules about boost control and what they allow.

    • Exhaust System
      To make any type of decent power you'll want to address the entire exhaust system. Everything from the exhaust manifold, O2 sensor housing, downpipe, catalytic convertor, and cat-back exhaust? will need to be changed out for better flowing pieces. The exhaust manifold and O2 sensor housing will likely depend on the type of turbo you plan to use.You can port a Mitsubishi exhaust manifold and O2 sensor housing or go with aftermarket pieces. A 2.5" or 3" downpipe will do, and a 3" catback exhaust is recommended. Ditch the cat and run a straight pipe at the track.

    • Fuel Delivery
      The stock fuel pump will not be able to supply the needed fuel for anything over 16psi of boost. You'll want at least a 190Lph fuel pump to ensure you have enough fuel in case you want to raise the boost. It's also a good idea to re-wire the fuel pump for consistent fuel pressure. If you go with a 255lph pump, you'll need an adjustable fuel pressure regulator. Larger injectors will also be necessary if you're upgrading to a 16G turbo or larger. Many also change out the fuel rail to something larger and replace the stock feed line from the tank to the rail with larger stainless steel braided -6 or -8 line with AN fittings.

    • Turbo
      The turbo choice for road racing isn't going to be anything huge. Most road racers will use either a 16G variant, a 50-trim variant, or something in between. If you're really looking for top speed you might step up to a GT30 but you might be giving up a little bit of spool time. The best option if you go with a 50-trim or larger would be to go dual ball bearing to keep your spool times lower, as this will help you get back into boost faster coming out of a turn.

    • Intercooler
      The side mount intercooler will not be able to cool the amount of air flow needed to keep up with the demands road racing, especially if you're using a larger-than stock turbo. You'll need a Front Mount Intercooler, or FMIC. This install is pretty involved, especially if you choose a kit that routes the piping around the sides of the radiator. Most kits require some trimming of the steel bumper and some dremeling of the plastic bumper cover. Most "street" kits will do okay but you might want to consider a "race" kit which will have a larger core for better cooling characteristics. If you haven't done so already you'll want to rip out the A/C if you're serious about tracking the car. If you don't you'll be fighting a losing battle with cooling issues once the FMIC goes in.

      Check Extreme Turbo Systems for intercooler kits. They have great prices, excellent service and have kits for any budget. You can find cheaper options elsewhere but these guys have long been known to have the best performing intercooler cores on the market, and we all know that cooling is vital on the road course. Don't take shortcuts.

    • Intake Manifold
      The stock intake manifold is great for street use and autocrossing but in road racing it might become a restriction, especially on tracks with long straights. The power curve levels off at about 6400 RPM and if you you have (or are planning to install) cams then you should also plan on changing out your stock intake manifold with one that can support power in the upper RPM range. All of the aftermarket intake manifolds available will have shorter runners and larger plenums, which is what helps increase the power in the higher RPM range but also hurts power in the lower RPM range. This is why it's not an ideal modification for autocross. It's also a modification that you'll want to do after you've done everything else we've discussed above. You won't see much gain in power if you do it in the beginning. The most popular and proven intake manifold on the market is built by Magnus Motorsports.

    • Cams
      To increase power even further on the top end many will suggest going with some race cams. Now this is a modification that will work great with bigger turbos and aftermarket intake manifolds, but won't yield huge results on smaller turbos. The great thing is you can go with a combination of street and race cams to optimize your setup. This is another modification that will increase top end at the expense of low end power and torque, and the more aggressive you go the more it becomes noticeable. A great options is GSC Cams.
    • Engine Rebuilds
      Road racing puts a lot of stress on the engine. A basic rebuild would be sufficient but many would recommend spending the extra money on forged internals. Take this time to refresh the cylinder head and get some more aggressive cams and at least a little bit of porting done to the head. There are several possibilities when building a race block - you can stick with 2.0L or stroke it out to 2.3L or even 2.4L. The strokers obviously enjoy a bit more torque in the lower RPM range but some people love the high revving 2.0L version. It really comes down to personal preference.We highly recommend Magnus Motorsports for both basic rebuilds and full race rebuilds.


    • Clutch
      With the abuse of road racing a stock clutch won't hold up long. It's time to step up to a performance clutch. The most popular clutch for the DSM is the ACT 2600 but there are others that have been gaining popularity and will do the job just as well. Many road racers will like the 6-puck disks due to their crisp engagement and longer life but a street disk will do just fine.

    • Flywheel
      If you're going to pull the transmission to put in a new clutch you should also consider a lightweight flywheel to save more rotating weight and install it at the same time. You have the choice of an aluminum flywheel or chromoly. The aluminum version will give you the ability to swap out the worn friction disk at the next clutch swap instead of changing out the entire flywheel assembly every time.

    • Limited Slip Differential
      The FWD guys will need to seriously consider a Limited Slip Differential (or LSD) to keep the tires from spinning too much. It's probably not a critical upgrade until you start seriously competing.
    • Stronger Axles
      Though the stock axles will be more than adequate for most all road racers, those making really big power might end up braking an axle here and there. Lucky for them there are stronger axles available for our cars, both for the front and the rear. Some will hold up to 900hp. This is obviously an upgrade for the serious competitors in Time Trials and Time Attack.

    • Lightweight Driveshaft
      If you've got money to burn you can pick up an aluminum driveshaft for these cars to help further cut down on rotating weight and hold more power. These driveshafts will save you a good 10 lbs. of rotating weight and will replace the first two shafts in the system with a single piece. They're stronger and lighter.

    • Automatic Transmission Upgrades
      Though you won't find as many turbocharged automatic transmission DSMs around as 5-speeds, there are modifications available to help improve shifting and launching, help handle increased horsepower, and just make driving on the track more enjoyable.

    • Transmission Rebuilds
      If your transmission has a lot of miles on it you may also consider a rebuild. Check out Jacks Transmissions for a good manual transmission rebuild service. For drivetrain parts upgrades we'd suggest checking out ExremePSI.com.


    • Gutting the Car
      This is the funnest part! Go ahead and tear out as much as you can live with. If you're going to drive the car daily you'll obviously be pulling out less than those who will be tracking the car the majority of the time. Start with the carpet padding, the rear seats, the spare tire of course, interior panels, the stereo compenents, the sound deadening material (dry ice is known to work really well), the ABS, the A/C system, the heater core under the dash, the air ducting, the center console, miscellaneous brackets that are no longer in use, wiring that is no longer used (be very careful here), and anything else you don't need anymore.

    • Carbon Fiber Hood, Hatch, Doors, and Fenders
      We all know carbon fiber is used more for cosmetic reasons these days than for being light weight. But you can't deny the amount of weight you can shed going with a carbon fiber hood, hatch, fenders and doors. Most on the market will utilize the factory latches too. Hoods and hatches are easier to find than the doors, and fenders are almost impossible to locate. Carbon fiber doors are big weight savers, but since some of the doors available don't have crash protection you wouldn't want to use them without a full roll cage. Fiberglass is slightly cheaper but it's not quite as light as carbon fiber and is harder to find.

      The most consistent place to find a wide selection of 1g DSM carbon fiber hoods, hatches, fenders, or set of doors tends to be eBay.

    • Lexan and Speedglass
      If you're going to put a carbon fiber hatch on the car you might as well look into Lexan or Speedglass. The Speedglass option is more expensive but it's a lot more scratch resistant and it's molded like the factory glass to look more stock. This can get pretty expensive when you consider changing out all, or most of your glass but it can also save you the most weight above the door handles, which will help drop the center of gravity on the car. Flex-a-lite actually makes a product for the 1G DSM that is supposed to be more durable than Lexan and is molded like the factory windows - check it out.

    • Aluminum Driveshaft
      Dropping the weight on the driveshaft will help tremendously, even if it's just a few pounds. An aluminum driveshaft can drop a good 10-15 lbs from the stocker. The only product to consider for driveshaft upgrades is .


    • Racing Seats/Harnesses
      For more safety and driving control, look into some good supportive racing seats and harnesses to keep you firmly planted in the proper driving position. You'll find a variety of manufacturers for the racing seats, including Sparco, Corbeau, Recaro, etc. Sparco Racing seats tend to be quite popular among DSMers for some reason. (Shop for Racing Seats)

    • Roll Cage
      I know we mentioned roll cages already but we wanted to emphasize it once again. Road racing can be dangerous due to the higher speeds. Protect yourself. Chances are you can get a local shop to build a custom 4-6 point roll bar that will meet SCCA and/or NASA specs for about $800-1200. If you don't have a local shop in the area you can also find bolt-in roll bars that would also work. For a good DIY roll bar or cage, bolt-in or weld-in, check with Rhodes Race Cars. Do a search for "Eclipse" in their search box and you should find 4-point, 6-point, 8-point, and 10-point kits available, pre-cut and pre-bent to fit a 1g DSM.

    • Helmet and Gloves
      If you're doing any road course or autocross racing a helmet is always required. For open track days a helmet with a SA1990 rating will usually be okay but you'll want to check with the organization putting on the event to be sure. We recommend getting a SA2000 or SA2005 rated helmet for better protection - for racing the higher rating will probably be required. You can find some pretty good deals on helmets on eBay. You'll also want to consider getting some good gloves and possibly a racing suit. Make sure everything you buy meets the standards for the racing series you'll be competing in.

    Other Helpful Links

    **Disclaimer -- This information was gathered from various member experiences. Your experiences may differ.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2014
    Becky1GB likes this.

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