Bob Schoenherr  Tech Tips: Preparing your Porsche for Autocrossing
  by Bob Schoenherr, Membership Director

The Redwood Region wants everyone to enjoy their car and our autocrosses. I have prepared a list of items to check before you head off to your first or one of many autocross events.

1.  Check the event date, the price of running the car, and the time that you should arrive at the autocross venue.
2.  Bring some lunch and a non-alcoholic beverage. We always provide water, but it's best to stay hydrated and comfortable.
3.  Fluid leaks - Does your car have any fluid leaks that could create dangerous situations on the track?
4.  Battery - Is it properly secured?
5.  Belt(s) - Are serpentine or v-belts free from fraying and properly adjusted?
6.  Remove loose junk - You don't want flying objects to hit you or get under the pedals while you are driving.
7.  Engine oil - Has it been changed recently? Know whether to use synthetic or normal oil in your engine, and the correct way to check your oil level. Ask me at the track about the old cars.
8.  Power steering fluid - Some people like to run a performance fluid, but from my experience, just check the level to be sure it is up to spec per the owner's manual. For older cars, check that the wheel is snug and turns with no clank.
9.  Brake inspection - Check your brake pads, rotors, and pedal feel. Any wobble coming down hills could be a sign you have warping of the rotors. Your car should stop as it normally does; you may also try an emergency stop somewhere safe just for fun. If all feels good, you are ready to go.
10.  Brake fluid - If you autocross or track the car, I would recommend a complete brake system fluid flush at least once a year, and bleeding at the calipers after every 3-4 autocross days is not a bad idea. Follow the owner's manual on which fluid to use. There is always a high-end better temperature fluid you could use, but consult forums and other sources before changing the brake fluid. Don't screw with it if you don't know how!
11.  Wheel bearings - Check each wheel bearing for play. Jack each wheel off the ground and check by trying to move the wheel back and forth with your hands at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions. There should be no free play on newer Porsches, and movement of 1/16" or less on 356, 914, 912, and air-cooled 911s.
12.  Radiator (for newer Porsches, 924, 944, 968, 928) - Is the coolant clean and full?
13.  Seat belts should be free from obstructions. Make sure the locking and "cinch" functions work. If you are not confident the belts will hold you in, then replace them. Also be sure your airbag light is not on.
14.  Fire extinguisher - We don't require them in the car, but it isn't a bad idea to have one. The extinguisher needs to be fully-charged and mounted securely.
15.  Lug nuts - Check for even torque. Follow the factory recommendation. Do not rely upon impact wrenches for torque. Using a torque wrench makes sure they are equal and greatly reduces the possibility of rotor or drum warpage.
16.  Tires - Tires need to be in good condition, with no cords showing! Check your cold pressures and set them to the point where they will be at optimum pressure after heating on the track. If you aren't sure what starting pressure to run, inflate your street tires to about 4-6 pounds above recommended street pressure. Take liquid white shoe polish or chalk with you, and ask an experienced driver to show what pressure to start with and how to use the polish to check inflation between runs.
17.  Transmission and differential - Have fluids been changed and levels checked as per owner's manual?
18.  Helmet - We have loaner helmets, but if you want to buy one look for SNELL-2010 or 2005. The rating class can be either "M" or "SA." DOT ratings alone don't count. If you plan to progress to DE or time trialing, then you need an SA helmet. Helmets are usually allowed for only a 10-year use in any sport.
19.  Alignment - It is up to you to decide how competitive you want your car to be. Stay with standard settings to get the best tire wear, but certain tweaks will always help to keep the tires more on the ground. Do some research, including online forums, to determine the best settings for your car. 

Also consider bringing the following items with you on the day of the event:
  Tools
  Jack
  Air Pump
  Can of air
  Blanket or plastic tablecloth to sit items on
  Chair
  Anything you think you or your car might need (ed. sunscreen)

Come prepared for fun!

Bob




Porsche 356

A little air
Helmet

And a Helmet