In Reply to: Advice on track mods, please (long, sorry) posted by Patrick FitzGerald on February 09, 2000 at 09:25:45:
I have a 98 M3Conv w/auto tranny. I added the Dinan Stage I Tranny Chip and it made a difference in the shifting performance. Basically the new chip changes the shift patterns so that when you are in regular mode selected it now performs as when you previously put it in Sport. When you flick the switch into Sport the shift points are changed again to be even more aggressive. I noticed a big difference immediately. But even the improvements with this chip can't alleviate the problem you are describing- tranny "hunt" for the right gear when in the middle of a turn. BUT, there are some things you can try that I have learned from auto-x.
1) the tranny is hunting because rpms are falling (or in some cases rising). To keep the tranny from hunting for lower gear you have to keep the rpms up. There are all sorts of tricks people have to do this... I am not the expert at the track, so ask an instructor.
2) You could try pre-selecting the top gear. What I found successful while auto-xing is to leave the selector in 2nd gear, move the button to Sport. THis works for auto-x where there are many many turns and on-off throttle quickly. Also, 2nd in this case since there aren't any real opportunities at the auto-x to hit high speeds. Leaving the gear selector in second keeps the engine rpms higher throughout the course. DONT select second if you are reaching higher speeds or for prolonged periods- this really beats on your tranny! If you are hitting straights and higher speeds select 3 or 4th gears. The tranny will shift normally up to the gear selected but WILL NOT shift into 5/overdrive. I do this alot on the highway in passing situations. Try it- leave your selector in 4th (don't go over 80mph) and you can floor it and build speed VERY quickly (but remember to at some point take the stress off the tranny and shift the selector into 5th above 80mph!).
ANyways- yes, the Dinan chip made a difference. THe chip is NOT flash programmable, as far as I know. But I beleive Dinan offers two stages. Check out the charts on each.
If you find other tricks that work--- POST IT HERE!!!!
Regarding your suspension mods- you should definitely think about a front strut AND cross brace. Rear strut brace is also possible, but I have heard from owners that it didn't make as much a diff as the sway bars.
: Okay, so I am driving a '95 M3 Lux Autobox as my daily driver. I attended my first drivers' school at the weekend (at Carolina Motorspors Park), and really learned a lot about the car's limits and my own limits. I have quite a bit of improving to do, but I am hooked, and am committed to several upcoming drivers's schools.
: My car in essentially stock (I purchased it in '98 and I've got 44K miles). The only mod to date are Racing Dynamics sway bars. I've got to replace the tyres (rears are cooked) and brake pads (routine) and perhaps the rotors (I guess with standard kit).
: I am interested in replacing the original suspension with a Dinan Stage I kit, in order to tighten up the handling. I don't think I need the Stage II, since I've already got the RD sways. I am not interested in lowering the car much, per se, but tightening it up is ideal. The shocks and springs are original and have 44K miles on them (32K of which are mine).
: The only other performane oriented thing I'm thinking about is a Dinan auto tranny chip. I've got the five-speed box (with fifth as an O/D gear I guess). In 'manual' mode, the shift points are pretty high up there in the rpm range, but in 'sport', which is how I like to set it normally, the shift points could be better. Does anyone out there have experience with the Dinan auto tranny chip? Would installing such a chip allow my local mechanic/tuner (Dinan certified) to fine tune the programming, allowing me to play with the shift points to get the best combo? I.e. the biggest pain on the track was the gearbox shifting on me in the middle of a corner, which tends, of course, to disrupt the car.
: Any advice would be valuable. Thanks.