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post #31 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by nealric View Post
Just throwing random tuner parts at a car is pointless, but that doesn't mean road cars can't be made quicker through tuning.

I'm not sure which segment of Top Gear you are referring to, but I seem to recall they did things like just throw a new shock and spring package and a noisemaker straw (cold air intake).
I think this statement is unfair on what they did in the segment I watched as they did make the car handle much more consistent, just not quicker over a single lap. Until they started playing with air dams and wings, they were making valid and noticeable changes. And I do believe the difference is once the car was modified it could have achieved that lap time close to all day long, but when standard you would have only been able to do that lap time once (because judging the apex of a corner when the car is rolling all over the place is not easy compared to a composed flat sitting chassis, brake fad, tyre temperatures uneven meaning the (likely) outer edge of the tyre will soon loose it's effectiveness, etc.

The point is, and yes agree with Michael, if you put Lewis Hamilton in your dead standard 105 series Alfa he would be able to do at least one very quick lap. Most likely quicker than you, but even he would not be able to lap at that pace in your car all day long for the above reasons. So the stop watch records a time of X. This is how the TopGear segment worked. They put the Stig in the standard car and said "do your best time": I imagine 30 minutes later he had found the best time, potentially with some slow laps to let things cool down in between. The Stig can drive, so yep he was going to be able to pull a single really good lap out.

You then spend all that money on "tuning" the car, and you might end up with the stop watch recording time of X - a little bit, but unless competing semi-seriously the return on investment to 99.99999999999999999999999999% of people on this planet would not be there. That was there point. Unless you need your car to be able to handle a continuous beating, it is quite simply a waste of money and an "I want to play with my car" hobby.


Example, lets use my 156v6 to demonstrate their point: I drive an hour of open road to work. Sometimes I take the 156v6. Is there ever going to be a time when I need that car to with stand being HAMMERED from home all the way to work? Absolutely never, so I will be able to drive sufficiently well in the dead standard car to get to work in hurry if I need to. If I firmed up the suspension a little, I might be able to take 3 or 4 corners a bit faster and it might feel a bit more refined, but over the whole hour that modification is me being a bit of a wanker. Might as well put a go faster sticker on the rear window.

BUT if I attended the May Madness event that the AROC NZ club puts on at the Manifeld race track every year and wanted to be able to do as many laps as possible: yep in goes the fade resistant pads, bleed the brakes, if serious sure a few suspension modifications (dial in some more negative camber), better tyres, etc. would make that event a hoot. But if I took her dead standard to the track I could get very close to the same lap time in one heroic and hard lap ... but I'd probably cause considerable wear to the tyres, etc. ... and she would get slower through out the day, unless I kept throwing new tyres at her, etc.

TopGear are/were right; when you see the young kids (usually, but sometimes a few older bearded AROC members ) with their lowered and uncomfortable cars bouncing down the road, with an engine idle affected by some tuning, unless they use that car on the race track/auto course/etc. events regularly they have wasted their money, and are a bit of a tool.

In fact car manufacturers know this and when you purchase a GT version of a car, guess what, most often the engine and suspension is EXACTLY the same as the base model, the GT simply has some stripes and more racy interior. Hilarious but of course the GT owner buys the GT because he is a car enthusiast and the stripes and trim make him/her feel better, and it will never ever see a race track.
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post #32 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-10-2019, 07:08 PM
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BTW Neal, I've been there and made a Sud considerably faster around a race track by close to doubling the hp, racing pads (+ cooling ducts), little engined Sud gearbox for more track suited ratios, springs and shocks, tyres, gutted interior ... I think maybe 10 secs a lap faster than it originally was.

Every change moved it away from a road car and compromised the car more.

But if your car has a flaw, modify it. Case in point, and the only road car I've modified. Owned a Toyots people mover, for some reason Toyotas are always too soft in the front meaning you have to lift before corners on the open road. Wears the front struts out ... well the way I drive did. So yes I increased the front spring/shock stiffness by 30%, plus changed camber settings. Car was a much better tourer ... but not faster on a race track (?). A Q4 should not have an issue as a driver car ....
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post #33 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 06:09 AM
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TopGear are/were right; when you see the young kids (usually, but sometimes a few older bearded AROC members ) with their lowered and uncomfortable cars bouncing down the road, with an engine idle affected by some tuning, unless they use that car on the race track/auto course/etc. events regularly they have wasted their money, and are a bit of a tool.

In fact car manufacturers know this and when you purchase a GT version of a car, guess what, most often the engine and suspension is EXACTLY the same as the base model, the GT simply has some stripes and more racy interior. Hilarious but of course the GT owner buys the GT because he is a car enthusiast and the stripes and trim make him/her feel better, and it will never ever see a race track.
Pete
I 100% agree that most of the kids who modify cars are not really improving anything. Noisy exhausts and suspensions that are low for the sake of being low are far more common than precisely corner-weighted cars. However, one point I would make that modern cars and tuning parts allow a lot fewer compromises than used to be required to tune a car, especially when forced induction is in the mix. It's no longer necessary for a car to idle poorly to make more power, and modern EFI keeps driveability very good even when fairly radical changes are made.

Also, I think auto makers have gotten a lot better about getting rid of appearance only "tuned" packages of a hot car. When my spider was made in the 1980s, they got away with the "Quad" package being nothing but a body kit a red interior. Today, that generally only flies when manufacturers are offering non-performance cars in a "sporty trim" (for example, the Audi S-line or Lexus "F-sport"). By contrast, the Giulia features an extra 200hp when you go for the Quad. Some of that goes back to the better technology I mentioned above. In the 70s/80s, manufacturers didn't really know how to meet the new emissions controls and make power- the tech wasn't there- so if they wanted to make something sporty, they could do little more than give a sporty appearance. Today, they offer some serious firepower.
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post #34 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nealric View Post
Just throwing random tuner parts at a car is pointless, but that doesn't mean road cars can't be made quicker through tuning.

I'm not sure which segment of Top Gear you are referring to, but I seem to recall they did things like just throw a new shock and spring package and a noisemaker straw (cold air intake). It's a 100% true that just slapping on an aftermarket suspension and intake/exhaust mods is not going to do much of anything (other than make the car noisy and less comfortable). Likewise, swapping out brake rotors for fancy looking ones or going to a larger wheel is likely to hurt performance. But the following can make an enormous difference:

Tires: Going from a mediocre all-season to a 200 treadwear performance tire like the Bridgestone RE71R in as wide as will fit under the car is transformative. If you live in the South, temps aren't a problem. However, I will admit that I personally only use these for autocross/track day and swap wheels for daily driving.

Brakes: Most road cars need a high temp fluid and brake pad swap if you are going to play on the track from time to time.

Suspension: OEM suspensions are indeed quite good, and swapping out springs and shocks is generally unnecessary until you are getting into last ounce performance. Where suspension mods can make a HUGE difference is adding full alignment capabilities through things like adjustable control arms and camber plates- what is needed to get a true performance alignment will depend on the vehicle. Most OEM suspensions are designed to understeer and maximize tire life under daily driving conditions- this is safer for the average driver. To get the car more neutral or even slightly oversteer biased (useful if you autocross), you can stiffen up the rear with a bigger swaybar. More negative camber than the factory provides is usually necessary if you don't want to cook the outside if your tires in performance driving conditions. If you are looking for every last ounce of performance, a high-end coilover setup (not your cut-rate "stance" bro ebay special) from companies like Ohlin will improve damping and allow better corner weighting than allowed from the factory.

Power: OEM tunes have to take into account long-term reliability and emissions controls. If you throw those things out the window (or at least de-emphasize), there's no doubt you can get a lot more power- especially when you are talking about turbocharged motors where boost parameters can be changed. Throttle response can also be sharpened quite a bit, as most OEMs often intentionally introduce subtle delays for emissions purposes. Tunes for the Giulia seem to still be in the relatively early stages, but on most similar motors, 50-100hp is very possible for a tuned car with any intake an exhaust restrictions removed (OEM downpipes are usually they key restrictions). Larger turbochargers often allow 100-200 additional HP, but often require stronger internals and move the powerband up the rev range and introduce additional turbo lag.

Of course, most of these are pointless if you never autocross or track the car (and if you autocross, you have to take classing into consideration). However, you can modify a car to perform better on the track without significantly compromising the street manners for a dual-duty car. My personal daily driver (a Subaru STI) was transformed by the following modifications: downsized and lighter wheels (took away 40lbs unsprung weight), performance alignment (max negative camber, zero toe), wider 200TW summer tires, larger rear swaybar. Just these items reduced autocross run times by 2-3 seconds over the bone stock vehicle (around a 5% improvement). That doesn't sound like much, but the feel is also so much different- turn in is sharper, less trail braking required, and I no longer feel like I am fighting the car at the limit. Could Lewis Hamilton hand me a beat down in a much slower car? No doubt, but I do enjoy the car more after making the changes and it has allowed me to be competitive in local autocross competitions where before it was hopeless.
100% agree. It's all mostly pointless unless you spend the money to make it into a proper race car.
I am happy with the car the way it is. Most items I was looking to mess with to see what possibilities were there. Like my other alfa's, this one will stay mainly stock! There is really nothing much I would want to change as it's fantastic out of the box.

I do agree though with Psk, if there is a flaw, modify if doable. Not sure yet if the giulia will have that or ever have that!
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post #35 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 07:25 AM
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In this thread I've criticized "performance" suspensions.
From experience.
Twice.
My first Giulia Super and the Alfetta Sports Sedan.
And they were daily drivers.
Good for the track and cool for looks.
But not for fun "B" roads.
As wide as possible tires is a similar subject.
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post #36 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Subtle View Post
In this thread I've criticized "performance" suspensions.
From experience.
Twice.
My first Giulia Super and the Alfetta Sports Sedan.
And they were daily drivers.
Good for the track and cool for looks.
But not for fun "B" roads.
As wide as possible tires is a similar subject.
Unfortunately, the classic Alfa community has very limited options when it comes to suspension. Your damper options for "performance" are basically Koni Yellows, the Alfaholics units ($$$ and relatively new to the market), or trying to fit a more custom solution (usually $$$ and racers only). You also suffer from quite dated suspension designs and floppy chassis (by modern standards) that will exacerbate the impact of any stiffening (especially in the rear due to no IRS). In modern cars with a better aftermarket, there are options that actually both improve performance AND comfort if you are willing to spend the cash. For example, the Ohlin Road and Track coilovers are noted to actually improve ride quality on my STI compared to stock- you certainly pay for that quality, however.

In general, OEM engineers have 4 key constraints they have to play with when choosing a part that impacts performance:

Regulatory compliance
NVH (noise vibration harshness)
Reliability
Parts cost

Most tuners just disregard NVH and reliability, and this is why many tuner cars feel ruined. If the reason the OEM chose a particular solution was simply cost, then you may be able to get an unequivocal improvement in every regard by spending more than the OEM. Of course, if money is no object, the question often arises why you didn't just buy a better equipped car to start with.
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post #37 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Subtle View Post
In this thread I've criticized "performance" suspensions.
From experience.
Twice.
My first Giulia Super and the Alfetta Sports Sedan.
And they were daily drivers.
Good for the track and cool for looks.
But not for fun "B" roads.
As wide as possible tires is a similar subject.
Same with 164 and others like my 89 Spider quad. Cool for looks and track but otherwise pretty much a nightmare. Uncomfortable to say the least. At this age, my 164 is starting to suffer from a floppy chassis. Not as much as a 105 but it's creeping in with age.

I would consider Ohlin Road and Track coilovers for the giulia if they make one. But Honestly would not go much lower than the car is now. 1/4" tops. I hear good things about these but they will easily cost $5000 or more.

"Of course, if money is no object, the question often arises why you didn't just buy a better equipped car to start with."

Exactly!


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post #38 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 10:20 AM
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"Of course, if money is no object, the question often arises why you didn't just buy a better equipped car to start with."

Exactly!
But sometimes we just have irrational attachments. Objectively, my turbo spider makes zero sense. I could have just bought a Corvette and had a car that was substantially quicker, more reliable, and more comfortable for a lot less money. But I love old Alfas and have a particular history with mine that causes reason to be cast aside.
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post #39 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 11:44 AM
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Man this thread has turned into a great discussion 🙂
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post #40 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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But sometimes we just have irrational attachments. Objectively, my turbo spider makes zero sense. I could have just bought a Corvette and had a car that was substantially quicker, more reliable, and more comfortable for a lot less money. But I love old Alfas and have a particular history with mine that causes reason to be cast aside.
Hey, I had a 164S for 22 years. I get it!


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post #41 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 02:08 PM
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I checked ePer. Basically the springs have 2 different calibrations for each car versions (RWD or 4WD, diesel or petrol). The main difference if it has a sunroof or not (as I remember it's about 70kg difference in a weight)

So versions with the performance package (LSD and electronic shock absorbers) have the same springs as regular.

I assume in this case that the suspension geometry is equal for regular cars and cars with performance pack.

Lighter wheels? Again, in ePer is easy to find a weight of every part, but I would check OZ Superleggera.

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Man this thread has turned into a great discussion 🙂
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UPDATE

Took another giulia out for a spin today. Confirm. Nothing needs to be done to this car, PERIOD! I really drove it hard and really studied the performance, handling and ergonomics of the car. I cannot see changing anything for the better. Bear in mine I drove a Q2 with active and 19x8, 19x9 wheel package. Absolutely amazing car! Just simply perfection out of the box. All I want is Nero mirrors and a carbon fiber spoiler as well as some QV side skirts and 19x9 wheels for the rear on my Q4. Other than that there is no performance mod, suspension mod or any other useless mod I would add.

Such a beautiful car!
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post #43 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 02:25 PM
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Check EU accessories catalog, they have skirts and spoilers for Giulia

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post #44 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-11-2019, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Check EU accessories catalog, they have skirts and spoilers for Giulia

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Looking around for wrecked cars to pull from. Might buy a few in the next couple of years to part out. I don't see the need for part yet but I may bring one in to part and store parts for the future. Hopefully I can score some mirrors or at least get them painted in the nero color, rear spoiler is no big deal. Side skirts for sure, it will just add a nice flare. (haha). I'd maybe like a nice exhaust note but in all reality not sure a SS exhaust would do much except make it louder.


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post #45 of 57 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 09:33 PM
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I cannot see anyone modifying a Giulia QV unless you want to build a track car. I think it is much cheaper to buy a used sports racer and have a true track car. I had a friend who race his Alfa Spider in SCCA D Production and his partner said that it would have been cheaper to race a SCCA B sports racer. The cost to build a racing sports car is really expensive and competing against factory sponsered race cars is very difficult.
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