Ok, my questions are pretty specific, but I can't group this thread under one category so I decided to stick it here. I'm planning on competing in SCCA SoloII next year (STX class), and I'm contemplating what mods I should do to my car. Basically, I'm trying to sort out what things I NEED to do, and then decide what I should
do, relative to power vs. suspension/handling.
Section 1 - Essentials ====================
Currently the only real "performance" mods I have are some TEIN springs (S.Tech, which are horrible with stock struts), and a Whiteline RSTB. Would you say that sway bars and endlinks are absolutely essential for autocross? If so, I'll probably go with Cusco sways ($340 for both front and back), and endlinks. I'm not the most wealthy guy, so I need to budget some. First, I need to clarify about sway bars. I'm assuming that sway bars are pretty much pointless without replacing the endlinks. This may be different between front and rear. I'm guessing the rear needs more work. Could I get away with upgraded sway bar and endlinks in the rear, and an upgraded sway bar up front on stock endlinks? I'm guessing a set of sway bars and endlinks should cost around $540.
Section 2 - Suspension ====================
I also need to replace my shocks/struts. Since I already have the TEIN S-Tech springs, I could go with a set of KYB AGXs for about $420 shipped. Would this setup work, or should I go with a full coilover setup?
So I know I need to get sway bars and endlinks, and possibly new shocks/struts. If I decide to go with suspension mods, I think the best thing for me to do is replace my current shock/spring setup with the TEIN SuperStreet coilovers with Pillowball mount ($1435, non pillowball-$1282). Coupled with the sway bars, endlinks, and strut tower brace, I feel this would be pretty adequate for my first autocross season. I know I should get wider wheels/tires, but I'm not sure I can afford to dish out another $1400 for those before the season begins. So basically, if I go with the AGX struts, I'll be spending about $960 total. If I go with the TEIN coilovers, $1975/1822 (pillowball/non-pillowball).
Section 3 - Power mods ====================
I have read a lot, and I know that for our cars, the only way to do power mods is with proper engine management. I think the Cobb AccessPort is the best bet, which will be $600. Now for the tricky parts... assembling the components of the exhaust system.
Let's start from the block. My choice for an UP would probably be the TurboXS ($185), since it has the flex section and has the bung for the EGT sensor. Perrin's UP ($200) seems nice, but there is nowhere to install the EGT, so I'd have to install it in the headers or something myself, which I don't want to do. Are there any problems with the TurboXS flex section coming apart? I know one of the main benefits of replacing the up-pipe is to remove that cat that can break up and ruin your turbo. I guess there's no sense in replacing it with something that can do the same thing, so I'm just trying to figure that one out...
Next, the downpipe. I figure the Helix catted downpipe would be the best bet, since I actually care about emissions, and don't want to worry about inspections, etc. The Helix catted DP goes for $354. I've heard good things, so I'm pretty sure I've made up my mind on this part, unless anyone else can convince me otherwise.
And finally, the exhaust. Since I'm driving the wagon, and want to keep a somewhat sleeperish look/sound to my car, I've decided on the Borla Hush CBE, which goes for $525-554 on eBay. Out of all the sound clips I've heard, I like the note of the Borla the best, and it retains the stock look. I'm tired of the N1/Apexi/4"/5" huge angled titanium-rainbow tipped mufflers I see all the time. The Borla Hush keeps the twin-tip oval muffler shape of the stock system.
Overall, for a more power-oriented setup (including the sway bars/endlinks), I'm looking at something around $2093-2248 depending on the parts I choose.
Section 4 - Conclusion ====================
Ok... for anyone that's actually read all of this garbage. Please help me make sense of this. Do I really need all of these mods to have the advantage in autocross? I'm pretty sure that I should lean more towards the suspension mods (which is why I have deemed the endlinks/sway bars essential). Someone please shed some light on my situation and lead me on the right path!