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Cayenne for the 2019 Baja XL Rally

Old 01-02-2019, 02:21 AM
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cameron110
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Default Cayenne for the 2019 Baja XL Rally

About a year ago I decided I wanted to run the Baja XL http://www.bamakoadventures.com/en/baja4000/ a 4000 km mostly off tarmac navigation rally from LA to Cabo and back to LA. I started dreaming up a plan with an initial budget and then enlisted a crew. More on the 4 of us later if it seems relevant but suffice to day we are from both coasts with varied skills, experiences and backgrounds.

On to what you fine readers Rennlisters (might be) interested in, the vehicle we are going to run. The subforum where this is posted is an obvious give away but I'll walk you though vehicle selection a bit anyway. We set a budget for vehicle purchase based on what, spit 4 ways, we would be willing to walk away from in Baja if we had to. I won't post the number but a look at 1st gen Cayenne's on craigslist in southern CA will give you an idea. There are lots of options for things to run in this event. A Montero won it in 2017, two lifted Geo Metros ran, loads of 4 runners, jeeps and Yukons. The obvious choice is a ladder frame SUV with 4wd. We wanted to find something that might have a chance of being competitive and was still fun, interesting and most importantly that we are excited about. Being a 4 man team we needed 4 doors. If we want to be competitive we need reasonable off road capability it is predominantly dirt roads after all. We made a long list of options and then started to look around. Landcruisers and 4 runners hold their value too much for us to find something in budget under 200k miles. The Honda Pilot could have been a good value prospect but the exhaust system hangs really low with a big side to side cross over that is just begging to get smashed in the silt beds. Like the Landcruiser a 4 door JK jeep is out of budget, a grand Cherokee felt too small and believe it or not so did the Commander which was a strong contender given how good the QuadraDrive system is off road. An X-terra is a decent option but the aftermarket is a bit shallow and it just wasn't inspiring to any of us. A Montero was an option but pickings were slim when we were shopping That left us considering what was common in the market we were shopping: LA and the Sacramento/SF Bay area. The Toyota Sequoia climbed quickly up the list, great value, most have never seen off road use, built on the Tundra so there is a moderate offroad aftermarket out there and tons of room. And of course the Cayenne loads of them in the used market out here, no offroad aftermarket but

After countless hours of internet research into all the options, tire kicking the top 8 contenders and much phone and email debate among the team we narrowed it to two. A Cayenne or a Sequoia, obviously to quite different options but both had their drawbacks and allures. Logically the Sequoia was the better option but the Cayenne was so much more exciting, fun to drive and just enough of a "this might be a bad choice" option to seem fun. I started to shop seriously for both.

Then this followed me home.



(yes, it's parked on the curb. I needed to grab some pictures of it sitting level for something my street is very crowned and it went back in the driveway right after)

Here is how it won out over the Sequoia.


The biggest pragmatic concern between the two was cargo room. That (quite rare) factory option buys us a bunch.

We've been working on prepping it for the last couple months, it's now three weeks to race start. More build details to come very soon.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:57 AM
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garrett376
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Fun! Show us a lot of your prep pics, please!
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:09 PM
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Petza914
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Interested to follow along. What model Cayenne is it. Make sure the coolant pipes are done prior to the race.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:31 PM
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Subscribed.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:48 PM
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cameron110
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Originally Posted by Petza914 View Post
Interested to follow along. What model Cayenne is it. Make sure the coolant pipes are done prior to the race.
Some more details on the cayenne

2004 Cayenne S.
A bit over 150,000 mi
​​​Air suspension, what spares to take is the current debate.
Driveshaft and coolant pipes done at a dealer at 104k mi
New beru coils in the last year

The rearmost bushings on the front lower control arms were a bit loose which manifested as clunk under heavy sudden braking. We've already replaced both lower control arms with new bushings.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:06 PM
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Very cool! Looking forward to seeing updates and pics!
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:11 PM
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J'sWorld
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Ambitious!
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:14 AM
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cameron110
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Before we did any work to it at all we decided to take it out and run it a bit to get a baseline for offroad ability so we headed to a local offroad park.



We checked out the break-over limits, which we would later figure out is probably the biggest weakness and given the terrain we expect to see shouldn't be an issue.



The pic above is no where near grounding out and it can clear way more than you think. Also with the chases rigidity if there is room you can clear even more by crossing at an angle like a slammed and cambered jetta pulling into a parking lot

The traction control is amazing even on the old tires that came on the truck.



We also spent a bunch of time spotting each other on fairly inconsequential lines so we could get a feel for the track width and putting the wheels where we want them without a spotter having to jump out and guide the line.



Then we tried to get it stuck on the steeper climbs, and couldn't. We only had to lock the center dif for the steepest one:

https://api.smugmug.com/services/emb...lbumKey=QHSMjk

That spot is a good bit steeper than it looks, there was a 4th gen 4-Runner, an older pre-traction control jeep Cherokee and a 2nd gen Tacoma that all had a lot of trouble getting up it. The trick is to just stay steadily on the throttle much longer than feels normal and let it do it's this. It compensates amazingly for the lack of suspension flex.

We played around with the low range to get a feel for it but never needed it but it is nice for off throttle hill descents

https://api.smugmug.com/services/emb...lbumKey=QHSMjk

It cruised right up that slope of loose round rock as well but I didn't get a video of that. Sorry for linking rather than embedding the video, I looked around a bit but could only find BBcode for youtube vid embeding

We tried to get it stuck in some loose sandy gravel and couldn't.

The other task of the day was to run it out of gas to see what happens. About 40 miles after the onboard trip computer read distance to empty as three dashes we got an un eventful sputter or two at 50 miles an hour. We pulled over and it ran for about 90 more seconds and then died. We dumped 5 gallons in and it fired up on the first attempt after about 5 seconds of cranking. I don't have the numbers in front of me but when we filled up we calculated that it had less than 1/3 a gallon left in the tank when it ran out.

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Old 01-03-2019, 03:41 AM
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lupo.sk
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I would recommend the turbo S front arms as they are quite heavy duty and last longer than regular ones.

agree with J'sWorld but I see it as doable.
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:59 AM
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Following
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:40 PM
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garrett376
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Originally Posted by lupo.sk View Post
agree with J'sWorld but I see it as doable.

If a Geo Metro can do the event, I'd certainly hope a Cayenne could do it considering the 07 and 08 Transsyberia rallies were way more challenging!
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Old 01-03-2019, 01:54 PM
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lupo.sk
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Originally Posted by garrett376
If a Geo Metro can do the event, I'd certainly hope a Cayenne could do it considering the 07 and 08 Transsyberia rallies were way more challenging!
Oh yeah, it's all fun and games until the airbags go off on a not-so-big jump ;-) pull the fuses for them.
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by lupo.sk View Post
Oh yeah, it's all fun and games until the airbags go off on a not-so-big jump ;-) pull the fuses for them.
Interesting thought but I would imagine (and hope) the airbag triggers are "smart" enough that if they actually go off, you'd probably want them to. Unless you've actually seen it (I haven't), I'd think you would have to land on the Cayenne's nose or side to trigger the airbags.
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:39 PM
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I've seen it on a 1st gen touareg (which is basically a 955 cayenne under the hood) and all it took was a bigger rock that hit just behind the front wheel after "jumping" over a bump. Car was undamaged otherwise but had to be towed as the power was cut.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by garrett376 View Post
Interesting thought but I would imagine (and hope) the airbag triggers are "smart" enough that if they actually go off, you'd probably want them to. Unless you've actually seen it (I haven't), I'd think you would have to land on the Cayenne's nose or side to trigger the airbags.
Don't bet on it. The sensors will go off under the 'right' conditions. My understanding is that G-load alone can meet those conditions (could be wrong on that).
I wouldn't be surprised if certain off road situations could meet those conditions.

There's a 'safety' feature where airbag activation fires a pyro charge that cuts electrical power to everything except the windows (IIRC).
It's intended to prevent fires yet still allow escape.

But if it happens, the car is 'Dead Right There' until it's fixed.

...but the Cayenne was so much more exciting, fun to drive and just enough of a "this might be a bad choice" option to seem fun...
Oh yeah. I've got enough experience with 'bad decisions' to agree that there's serious potential for that here.

No matter how it goes, it should be interesting.

I can't wait to see how it turns out.
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