Matty Matt (phixion) wrote in teamlegacy,
Matty Matt
phixion
teamlegacy

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Be careful out there doggs...

I just survived about the worst case of understeer I've ever experienced on my car, or ANY car for that matter. I was on my way home from work tonight, and I was heading south on Altadena dr. at about 45mph, and I slowed for the turn onto Villa st. which takes me the back way to my house, no dips to go through this way. So I take the turn at about 35mph, nothing I haven't done before, taken that turn quick and nice, Ok, maybe this time it was a little faster than typical, but I turning in REAL nice initially, then all the sudden my car stopped turning, and understeer took over, tokk me ALMOST totally into the opposing lane (at least this street is pretty empty at night) and I could just hear my tires screeching away. For a split moment I could picture myself kareening into the curb on the opposite side of the street. Then I let off the throttle and my rear whipped back around so quick, it almost sent me into the curb on my right since I didn't expect it to snap back so sudden, not really snap, but it whipped around very quickly. One of 3 things went wrong I think...

1. My suspension just wasn't set stiff enough for such a quick and tight turn
2. My tires are wearing down enough that precious grip isn't as good as it used to be
3. I really just too the turn a little faster than normal

I'm not thinking so much #3 because it didn't seem any faster than anyother time. And to think I was ALMOST going to E-brake that turn too. ;p
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  • 13 comments
when driving FWD I tend to use the throttle to steer the car and pull me through the turns. Sounds like you handled it well, I'd first take a look at how you approached the turn, I still feel like you need some more practice on your straight braking,trail braking and apexing. Your tires I'd look at next, and lastly your dampening setup.
Turning a normal tight 90 degree street turn is MUCH different than say a mountain curve, as you can't really apex a street turn since you bgin hugging the apex point to begin with, all you can do it control your steering. Thinking back, I think I tried steering too sharply and it just messed everything up, if I haden't tried being so sharp with it, and went a little wider, I would have been alright.
Good call.
I've gotten down street turns pretty well, that you've seen in action... ;) But this one I just gave it a little too much, I dunno what the heck I was trying to do...
Speaking of turns... I need a LSD. I thought about getting a VLSD, but it's not gonna be enough. I'm just afraid that a 2-way LSD is going to be loud and too aggressive... maybe I'll get a 1.5-way LSD instead.

any ideas?
Loud? I've never heard of an LSD being loud...

I was thinking maybe I should get a Phantom Grip LSD for my car, it's only about $300 for a Civic
yeah, evidently the Nismo 2-way causes constant clunking noises.... hahaha.
Welcome to weight transfer. :)
Imagine if like my sub box wasn't bolted down... ;)

That ish was scary though, I dunno if scarier than what happened today though, fuck!
Yeah.

I agree with Dave, though. Changing your suspension setup wouldn't have helped you in that situation, or in today's incident.

Just remember that accelerating in a turn will increase your understeer, and if you let off the throttle you'll be able to turn a lot easier. :)
That's what got me in trouble, I didn't accelerate around that ramp curve today, I coasted into it, and then braked once in it when I realized I was going too fast, brake IN a turn = not good idea. :(

But remember, letting off the throttle while In a turn can be bad too, that's what induces the rear to slide out. ;)
Getting the rear to "slide out" isn't as easy in FWD as you make it sound. And even if it does "slide out", it's not really gonna go anywhere since the front wheels are doing all the work. Unless you panic & lock the brakes, then it's good times while the whole car spins like a top. :P

In my experience, FWD understeers by default, so letting off the throttle in a turn helps counteract it and allows for a little more neutral steering.
What you say is true... if you are driving a RWD car, or an AWD car with RW bias. On a FWD car, it simply doesn't work that way.

Can the tail come out with sudden braking in a turn? Sure... but you have to understand the principles of why, and when. I know you know all this already...

You want to shift the weight of the car to the front wheels, as they are your drive wheels. When you are understeering, you're not getting enough traction with your front wheels. Loading the front helps increase the traction. Also, not only does lifting off the throttle and applying brake load the front tires, it also slows you down, which also helps you regain traction.

Now, a stiff back end, like your cars has, can lose the back end... if you are not smooth and fluid with your weight transfer. Sudden movements of load will unsettle any car. The goal is to smoothly let off the throttle, and then gradually add braking. This may be a lot to think about as you're currently understeering toward the side of the road... but that's really what performance driving is all about... knowing the basics, and being able to do them quickly, without thinking about them.

Now, the reason a RWD car will switch from understeer to oversteer much more easily is because the rear wheels are driving the car. When you shift the weight to the front, it adds traction to the turning wheels, but it removes traction from the driving wheels. Your rear wheels are still trying to move you forward at the speed of the engine, but now they have less traction than they did a moment ago. That makes it much easier for them to break loose. In a RWD car, you need to be even more gradual and smooth with your throttle lift, or add a little left foot braking with throttle, or (if you're good enough), over-power the throttle and progress into a drift.

FWD cars have a much larger room for error and correction than RWD cars. It's usually hard to throw the back out on a FWD car, unless your driving is too erratic, or your rear-end chassis is stiffened up excessively as compared to the front.

BTW, if you accelerate through a corner that you're already entering too fast, you're basically asking to go straight off the road.