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Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

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  • #16
    Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

    Originally posted by Fair! View Post
    Yes, we are a dealer. Its a long story but Powerbrake is just now getting the application catalog out to dealers with pricing and car coverage. We here at Vorshlag are about to launch our brand new website in the next few days and will have listings there.

    Powerbrake X-Line X4ES 4-piston 325x28mm FRONT race brake kit for Subaru BRZ & Scion FR-S

    The X4ES front big brake kit for this FR-S/BRZ is $1995 for the rotors, calipers, brackets, lines and hardware. Pads can come from Powerbrake (+$275, in a number of compounds) or virtually any other supplier - they use common ISI pad shapes so you have over a dozen pad choices.

    do they have a kit for the NC Miata?


    • #17
      Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

      Project update for January 4th, 2018: Well its been 12 months since my last update here, but we have been testing products, updated and developed a few new products, and installed a bunch of new parts on our 86 test chassis. New shiny suspension parts!

      This update covers camber plate testing, new swaybars (with some install tips), a brand new set of monotube adjustable coilovers, a new rear battery relocation kit, and we have started taking our car from FA20 power to LS V8 power. We're not there quite yet, but damned close. There have been some unbelievable delays with a header modeling kit that set us back on long tube LS swap header development, but that finally arrived and we have tested the tools with two new sets in the last 6 weeks. Our 86 V8 headers are next!

      We also got very busy here at our shop in 2017 - with big customer projects, other shop development cars, and other shop forum build thread updates have gobbled up my free time. I also currently have 12 cars, with half of them projects getting worked on or used for developing parts. We also have three different V8 swap development projects underway concurrently, I am trying to manage construction of a new building, and so much more. I've got lots of excuses for not posting this update sooner - let's just get caught up on the 86 project.


      Some of this might be boring (or trigger someone who realizes we are a company that actually... sells things!) but product testing its an important part of all of shop owned cars/builds - and this car is no different. I literally bought this FR-S just to develop parts for the 86 chassis. Camber plates are the biggest item we make (it is why Vorshlag exists), and we have used this FR-S to test multiple variations of the 86/GD version, so I'm covering it here.

      We have been making camber plates for the GD generation Subaru Impreza for over a decade but we could not find a good way to make this design work with OEM diameter springs.

      Its a long story but it comes down to the fact that that "stack-up height" of the OEM strut top mount and spring perch is low, because part of the rubber strut top mount sits above the strut tower on these cars (see above left). Now there are some camber plate options for this chassis that move the entire camber plate above the top of the tower, but we looked at those designs and deemed them too compromised. There is lower strength and less overall camber adjustment that way, to name two negatives.

      Our testing can show when a design doesn't work perfectly, like these two early Subaru upper spring perch designs

      Everything is a compromise in motorsports - there is always a small trade off for veering away from the OEM design, but when the benefits outweigh the negatives we move a tested design into production. We developed an OEM upper perch setup to work with our GD camber plate back in 2008 (above left), but it did not work well in testing. We made another attempt in 2012 (above right), using Matt's blue BRZ, and again - it did not pass our rigorous testing. Finally in 2016 we made a radically different version of the upper perch and camber plate (below left) and tested that on our FR-S. This third version worked well in testing and went into production.

      As you can see from the two very different versions of the GD/86 camber plate we make above, the version for use with the OEM diameter springs (above left) has a different arrangement of the spherical bearing holder (including more parts), which sits on TOP of the plate. The version (above right) for coilovers has the bearing holder BELOW the main plate. We did this to reduce stack-up height - to not raise or lower the ride height with stock springs. With coilovers, ride height can be adjusted on the strut, so this isn't a concern.

      We have been producing this 86 camber plate for OEM springs for a while now and the one compromise it has over the coilover version is that the OEM version cannot get quite as much in-board camber adjustment - its a physical restraint of the top mounted spherical bearing holder. The main plate we are using still has additional positive caster built into it (a rearward offset) and we could have removed this to gain a hair more camber travel, but we found that our car had enough negative camber with this setup. And the added caster was deemed necessary on this car.

      Our FR-S was able to get -2.8° camber on one side and -3.1° on the other with the OEM springs, but we dialed it back to -2.5° camber - which is a common setting we shoot for on "dual purpose" alignments, for cars that see both street / track use with the same alignment.

      Back in September we installed our "OEM" camber plates on a 2017 BRZ, for a customer who is tracking it (above left). He come back after he got the car aligned and supposedly our camber plates "couldn't get more than -1.5° camber". We looked at the car and my "calibrated eyeball" told me it had at least -2° up front... as did our digital camber gauge.

      To verify my eyeball I paid for another alignment check at a shop that we trust and our shop manager Brad helped them align the car to max negative camber. Sure enough it had these numbers above right, -2.1°. So while it was a little less than our car, it was nowhere nearly as bad as his first alignment showed. Lesson: never blindly trust a machine, even if it has perceived digital accuracy. If it doesn't look right, get a second opinion (alignment test).

      Still, it was an intriguing situation - some cars with our "OEM" camber plates might also not be able to get the ideal -2.5° camber setting at stock ride height. So and Jason and I agreed to make a test set of plates with "no caster" to see how much additional negative camber this would allow. The test set above was built last September using an old prototype steel main plate that had no caster offset (from 2007), which we installed, then had our car aligned. It only gained 0.25° more camber on our car - not enough to make an all new series of plates, so we cancelled another "re-design".

      The result is - our OEM camber plate option does work well, adds a considerable amount of camber and caster, and for the casual track day driver this is the right option. More serious track and autocross drivers are going to replace the OEM shocks and soft stock springs (or lowering springs) for coilover shocks and stiffer springs. And as we know, when you lower ride height in a McPherson strut equipped car you gain more negative camber, too. When we lowered our FR-S on coilovers (shown above, read about below) we were able to reach -4.4° front camber with our production 86 coilover camber plates. That's huge camber. YUGE!


      Our red FR-S here is not just a suspension test mule but is slated for an LS engine swap, to help us finish development work for our V8 swap kit. We worked on a number of things this year to get this car ready for this swap. One thing we need removed from underhood is the factory battery - which gobbles up precious space in the right rear corner of the engine bay.

      The original stock wet cell battery was looking pretty old (4 years) on our red FR-S and started flaking out, causing the car to randomly not start. The "390 Cold Cranking Amps" wasn't exactly overwhelming for stock FA20 use, and for the V8 engine sporting 3x the displacement coming shortly, it was deemed undersized. It was time for a new battery, and I wanted it mounted in the trunk for use with the LS V8.

      The stock battery was 28.8 pounds, and you might expect our next move to be a swap to a small, lightweight Odyssey PC680. These small motorcycle sized gel-cell "AGM" batteries weigh exactly half as much at 14.4 pounds, so we could drop a few by swapping to this little unit. But you'd be wrong...

      Back the truck up! What is this big heavy thing doing on the scales? You guessed it - we're moving to an AGM Optima red top battery for this car. Why? Good question.

      First, is reserve capacity. With added mass comes added capacity. The itty bitty AGM (Absorbed Gas Mat / aka: "gell cell") motorcycle batteries we have used countless times over the past 14 years that Vorshlag has been building cars just simply have less capacity. They are great for race cars, but the major compromise is reserve. If the car sits for any length of time without being driven, the small discharge of the OEM computer and clock will drain a Odyssey PC680 - every car equipped with one of these in our shop is always on a battery tender.

      Look at the image above - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand why a smaller battery has less reserve capacity. You cannot go from a massive OEM sized battery to a little motorcycle battery and have no compromises. Look at the big factory BMW E46 battery next to the Odyssey PC680, above. Wanna guess which one has less reserve capacity? Now less reserve is not the end of the world, but if your car with a little AGM battery sits for a while and isn't on a trickle charger (like in an enclosed trailer between events), just expect it to NOT start. The fix for low reserve? A bigger battery. Which also works better for daily-driven cars like this FR-S, which Amy drives daily. When it doesn't start, trust me, I'm going to hear about it! This big Optima will prevent those little emergencies.

      The specs are another enough reason: Optima Red Top 34/78 series has 800 CCA, 50 Amp Hours of capacity. The little PC 680? Try 170 CCA and 16 Ah (the OEM wet cell / lead acid battery for this car was 390 CCA and 48 Ah). Plus moving the (now heavier) battery 10 feet to the rear should alter the front to rear bias decent bit - a good move on these front heavy 86 chassis cars. And adding more cable run from the battery to the starter soaks up voltage, which a bigger battery can better dish out. Win, win, win. The only downside: It gains some weight, but it is in the rear (which is always light on an 86).

      Alternatively SUPER SMALL little Lithium Ion 12 v batteries are the worst option available: sure, they are lighter (some folks use a 3-4 pound unit), but they have extremely high costs and absolutely terrible reserve capacity. All of the bad aspects of a little PC680, exaggerated worse. These were all the rage 3 years ago, and now "poof" - they are relegated to formula cars.

      Where to mount this big hunk in the trunk? For a one-off build we could cut a hole in the floor and hide it under the trunk carpet. But we wanted a more repeatable solution, so I asked my fab guys to think about OEM holes to key off of and make something that is a bolt-in. They did, but there were some compromises. The mount we used has an adapter they built that bolts to the rear shock mounting holes. Fine for stock shock use, but with coilovers it covers up the adjuster completely. Version 2 coming soon. The ground cable is mounted to a stud in the trunk, and we used the side posts of the dual post 34/78 series Optima, then and kept the plastic covers on the top posts.

      We ran a 00 gauge stranded cable forward from the trunk, through the little plastic trough that the OEM harness passes through, and into the engine bay. The images above show the routing - this was actually very easy to do, and the OEM routing of wires left plenty of room for this big hunk of copper cable.

      After a bit of machining and careful parts selection we have this positive and negative post bracket shown above, under where the factory battery used to be. The positive post is mounted via an isolator, of course, and then the main power leads land at this post. Nice and compact, should leave plenty of room for the remote coolant reservoir and ECM, when we do the V8 swap on this car. This install works, and is a good prototype from which we will eventually make a production ready battery relocation kit from.

      continued below
      Last edited by Fair!; 01-28-2018, 07:50 PM.
      Terry Fair -
      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


      • #18
        Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

        continued from above


        We ordered these in a package deal with the coilovers below, but they were always on our short list. We made a point of adding these larger swaybars to this car now so we could design around them for our long tube header V8 kit, too. Matt's blue BRZ also used Whiteline adjustable swaybars on our original test 86 back in 2013 (he got some pre-production bars back then, which we worked with Whiteline to tweak the front slightly for production).

        On Matt's blue BRZ (in the pictures above and below this paragraph) we used the smaller of the two current optional Whiteline bars for the 86: the 2-point adjustable 20mm dia. front (BSF45Z) and the 3-point adjustable 16mm rear (BSR53Z). We installed these and MCS TT1 coilovers, which we developed the lengths for back then. Ideally we would have put the bars on first, then tested with those, then added the MCS coilovers. But as is often the case, the bars were installed at the same time as coilovers.

        Not much has changed on swaybars since 2013 from Whiteline, but this time for our red FRS (shown below) we chose the fatter 22mm dia front (BSF45XZ) and larger 18mm rear (BSR54XZ) bars, with Whiteline end links. Since our plans in the future include very wide tires for this car, we figured we would need the most roll control as possible. Also, the Whiteline coilovers we installed on our FR-S have less spring rate than our MCS TT1 install on Matt's BRZ (more on that below).

        The rear swaybar is relatively easy to swap. Off comes the old end links, then body mount bushings (above left), and on goes the new Whiteline unit. The swaybar mount bushing shell is re-used but a new black "elastomer" (they don't use "polyurethane") sized to the Whiteline's bar diameter is used. We're not going to leave well enough alone there, though.

        Next we checked for bind - and in this video I note that the rear was a little bound up in the black bushings. Normal, and it was easy to shim that out. The goal here is to reduce bind in the mounts, and if you cannot rotate the bar with pinkie finger effort, it needs adjustment. After the bushing mounts were shimmed they were marked and removed - then drilled for grease zerks. Drill through the metal bushing shell, through the new black bushing, and stop at the swaybar. We want to be able to get grease to this inner surface, where the bushing meets the bar. A threaded grease zerk was added (see above left). Then it all went back into the car and the Whiteline swaybar reinforcement tubes were mounted (shown in gray, above right). Last but not least the gold colored lateral collars were installed inboard of the two mounts, to keep the swaybar centered.

        Up front it was much of the same - mock-up the bar with the new black bushings in the stock shells, then rotate and check for bind. Shim to adjust bushing pre-load, get it to pinkie effort. But then the grease zerks, which I deem critical to all rotating bushings that aren't metal to keep them bind and squeak-free long term, were impossible to drill and tap in the car. Before the bar came off for drilling we customized the front end links to fit the Whiteline coilovers. This was due to a change in the end link bracket mounting height, which we will share all of this with Whiteline so they can offer the same fix we built. We will include the new endlinks with these Whiteline MAX-G coilover kits for the 86.

        The whole lower assembly of swaybar and chassis mounting brackets was removed and the shells were drilled and tapped on the bench. Then it all went back together. Adding grease zerks and shimming the swaybar bushings, plus some video portions I made, gobbled up 4.5 hours on the "swaybar install". Again, some of this is development time we use to help Whiteline get a more developed MAX-G coilover kit and to make our instructions, but be prepared to spend 2.5 hours for a "fast" install and 4 hours for a "grease zerked and shimmed" install on an 86. Read below for more.

        Don't forget to check out this video we made during this swaybar install, which is on our Youtube channel. This "removing bind" in the bushing trick applies to ALL cars, and should be the basis for ALL swaybar installs. We have to shim and grease zerk swaybars 99% of the time - no matter the car model or brand. If you add bind in suspension bushings you are adding problems with effectively additional/uneven spring rate, and funky handling.


        On our test S197 Mustang we used 4 different coilover kits in 5 years (AST 4100, AST 4150, Moton Club Sports, MCS RR2), which helped us prove some parts and helped some manufacturers we work with tweak their designs. When it comes to coilover shocks to fit this 86 chassis we now have 4 brands and many options to choose from, and it was tough choosing the first one to start with. Like our other long term test cars these might not be the last set this car gets.

        The Ohlins R&T kit (above left) was tempting, and this car might also get the MCS RR2 remote doubles (above right) in the future for use with much wider/grippier tires. Right as I was about to order a set, the Whiteline folks sent me info on their new MAX G single adjustable inverted monotube kits - and of the first 6 kits they offered, the 86 was one of them. We got one of the first production kits in late December 2017, with the goal of giving them our feedback and to get some track test laps on these in our 86.

        The front struts are Dutch built inverted monotubes with a single adjuster (on the bottom, 12 clicks) and massive 50mm upper shafts (with 46 mm pistons inside). Big, beefy struts that should take a lot of abuse. Inverted struts are built upside down (the piston is inside the 50mm chrome shaft section) and offers increased rigidity, especially when extended. We went with their included 258 #/in springs and added Vorshlag camber plates with 60 mm perches, of course.

        There is a slotted hole in the front strut mounting flange that allows for additional camber, which is set by using the machine insert, slugs, shown (above right) to keep it from sliding under load. This kit came with centered and offset slugs. Now I'm not a big fan of this way of adding camber as it EATS inboard wheel room (as you slide the spindle closer to the strut), so we used the centered slugs. We can get ample camber in our much easier to adjust top mount instead, but it is a nice feature (MCS also does this).

        The Whiteline MAX G coilover kit for the 86 comes complete with everything above, and can work with OEM top mounts

        The rear shocks are standard 14mm shaft monotubes, with the knob on the top. This is easily accessible from the trunk (if you don't have a battery sitting on top of the shock tower) to adjust rebound over 12 clicks. Again we wanted to test with their included 258 #/in springs but found an unusual shaft configuration so we are machining some parts soon to allow use with our spherical rear top mounts - we kept the stock mounts in place for the first tests.

        The original 2013 Scion shocks were pretty tired but the car still rode well on the street. The stock springs on the 2013 FR-S (here) and 2013 BRZ (here) are pretty dang soft. These seemingly soft-ish Whiteline springs are 100% stiffer up front about 25% stiffer out back (we usually start at 450 #/in front and rear with MCS).

        Saving weight going from OEM struts to coilovers is normal, but in the case with inverted units it wasn't as much as we'd normally see. These Whiteline units are heavy duty.

        Again, the damping adjustment knobs for the front struts (above left) and rear shocks (above right) are fairly obvious, and easily accessible. The front can be reached by turning the wheels to full lock and reaching underneath the strut. We set them both to +6 from full soft for our initial ride quality testing and they rode pretty well. Firmer than stock of course but not jarring.

        Compared to the stock ride heights of 14.5" front and rear, we have lowered the front 1" and the rear .75". This 13.5" F / 13.75" R ride height gave the shortened Whiteline MAX-G coilovers the deal bump/rebound travel ratio: 3/5ths total travel in bump and 2/5ths in rebound, from ride height. We spent a good bit of time testing this and coming up with these numbers - it wasn't some "it looks good" setting, it was what these shocks worked best at. The before/after suspension setup sheet is here.

        After the ride heights were set I asked Aaron to go back and measure the lower perch height with the included 258#/in springs to give people a reference for setting up the shocks before they install them. This will save someone a bit of time getting the initial ride heights set, if you use this set of coilovers, springs and our camber plates.

        The final install and ride height testing took 3.4 hours, not much more than a typical coilover install. Again we paused a good bit to take pictures and verify bump vs rebound travel to get ideal stroke distance, take pictures, etc.

        We checked front camber at "max negative" with the coilover version of our plates at the new lowered ride height and it jumped massively to -4.4° up front. The coilover camber plates can get a bit more negative camber travel, for sure, but a big chunk of the change was the lowered ride height.

        That's a bit much for a dual purpose alignment so we took it down a bit to -3.5° front and -2.2° rear camber, with zero toe up front (for street use) and 1/4" total toe-in out back (helps with turn-in). Caster was +7.1°, which is ideal. Next up is a track test! We want to see how the car stacks up against the baselines stock test and the followup test with camber and the Powerbrake fronts. We finished this work December 18th and my plan was to take the car to MSR-Cresson the 20th... then the weather turned to crap and it was cold and wet. I could go the following Friday... then I got the flu, which knocked me out for the entire Christmas weekend. Since then the weather turned sour and we've had unseasonably cold sub-freezing temps and the member days at the track are all running the wrong configuration for our testing.

        I found the next date that this track is running the 1.7 mile CCW course is on Jan 13th with APEX, a local HPDE group, and signed up in Advanced group. I'll get out there in a couple of weeks, drive several sessions, log some test data, capture some video, and post up another update. I'm hoping the shocks and springs help us find 2 seconds of lap time, if the weather gets back to normal.


        Many of you reading this are expecting to see the long tube headers re-developed for our LS swap kit. And frankly I had expected them to be done by now, too. We had decided after the production header fixture was damaged last year to try a new header size and manufacturing method, so we ordered a 1-7/8" ICE Engine Works modeling kit back in Dec 2016. The kit showed up in late November 2017!

        We had made a dozen phone calls about this but there were production delays - which made for our own "production delays". This 1-7/8" diameter ICE kit is more appropriate for larger LS engines (and has no downside on smaller ones) and we have used it on three LS header builds in the last 6 weeks, including a prototype LS swap design already underway (BMW E36 RHD LS swap).

        It sucks that this delay pushed our 86 LS header re-development back but now we're ready to attack. As soon as we come back from the Jan 13th track test we will bring the FR-S in, yank the FA20 drivetrain, and start the LS swap with the header development on a fast track. The group doing the production work promised a faster prototype timeline, with CMM modeling and CNC bending. We're going to design these new headers to work around the stock front swaybar location (using the bigger Whiteline bar), which should save a lot of hassles for the people that have already bought our 86 LS swap motor and trans mounts.

        More soon!
        Last edited by Fair!; 01-28-2018, 08:06 PM.
        Terry Fair -
        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


        • #19
          Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

          Project update for February 19th, 2018: A short update this time to cover two recent track tests in our FR-S, track tests #3 and #4. These tests were done to get a representative lap time with the Whiteline coilovers and swaybars on the same 215mm tires.

          The first opportunity we could find to run the 1.7 mile CCW course at MSR-Cresson after our December round of suspension installs was on January 13th with Apex (track test #3). The weather fought us in January so we did a re-test (#4) on February 3rd at a member day - where it was a little warmer.

          Left: Track Test #1, August 27, 2016 (bone stock). Right: Track Test #2, November 10, 2016 (Powerbrake BBK + camber)

          As a refresher the previous two track test in-car videos are linked above. Track test #1 yielded a 1:31.90 time, which became our bone stock baseline lap. Test # 2 was done after we added the Powerbrake front brakes and camber plates, and a 1:29.630 lap was thrown down. All previous track testing as well as these two recent tests were on the little stock 17x7" wheels, 320 treadwear 215mm Firestones, and stock power. These tires are not that great but similar to the stock rubber these cars come with, and have been somewhat consistent. Ideally we would run the same tires at each test with the same number of heat cycles, but the reality is the tires were much fresher in the first 2 tests in 2016 than the last 2 in 2018.

          In a perfect world we would have brought another set of upgraded wheels and tires to run at these same tests - the little 215s are REALLY holding us back at this point. We tried to beg/borrow/rent a set but it didn't work out. I almost bought a used set of 17x7" wheels and 215mm RE71R tires, but it was just too much $ for such a skinny set that would be used for ONE track day. Our next round of mods has a massive upgrade in wheel width and tire compound planned, where we hope to add +100mm of tire at each corner.

          TRACK TEST # 3 - APEX HPDE AT MSR-C, JAN 13, 2018

          Photo gallery:

          When we finished the latest round of suspension updates on our shop FR-S on Dec 18th we searched for the next date at Motorsport Ranch Cresson to find a member day or HPDE event held on the 1.7 mile CCW course. With Christmas and New Years thrown in there plus some cold weather the first date to open up was Jan 13th.

          This was an HPDE event held by the Apex Driving Academy, one of many Dallas area groups that runs at this and other tracks in Texas. Apex is unique in that it only runs at MSR and it always does 1 day events - unlike the 2 day events many groups do. This makes it easy to drive out, drive 6+ sessions a day, and head home. No hotel or 2 day commitment needed, which is perfect for what I wanted to do - just run a few sessions in the FR-S, to find a good lap time.


          I signed up for this event about a week in advance, when the weather forecast looked great. The 13th was a Saturday, which was also my birthday. Can't think of a better way to spend that than at the track, and Amy joined me for trackside support. We got there early and checked in only to find that most of the people running this event were NASA, SCCA or BMWCCA racers we already knew well, and a bunch of our customers were in attendance as well.

          This group limits entries to under 75 but gives drivers 6 sessions on track, for a busy day with lots of track time. They put me in the Advanced group, where I hoped that our 200 hp car on crappy tires would be able to stay out of the way yet get some traffic free laps.

          Well the conditions didn't work out for us that day. The temps were VERY cold for Texas, even for January. Ambient temp was 24°F and very windy when I went out on track in session 1, so it was like driving on ice. The traffic was pretty thick and everyone was slipping and sliding around. I got some heat in the tires and was passing a lot of cars that I thought should be faster and I put in 9 laps with traffic, with grip levels were around 1.00 g sustained. Best lap of 1:30.673 was way below what I knew the car should do.

          I also ran out of fuel in the closing minutes of this session. There were so many dash lights on I didn't notice the low fuel level and ran smooth out, stalling on the edge of the track out of the way of the driving line (the grass was so dry they asked us to NOT pull off track if possible, to avoid grass fires). Of course this ended the session about a minute early and I had a flat tow into the paddock, head hung in shame. Over 30 years of track events and I had never run out of gas before - I guess it was bound to happen. Splashed 5 gallons of 93 octane in the tank, then drove to the gas pumps to get about 3/4 total fuel level.

          I skipped session 2 because ambient was still below freezing, then went out after it warmed up to "balmy" 48°F, but it was still bitterly cold due to the wind. I got 12 laps in this session - all but 2 in traffic - that were finally quicker than track test # 2. Sustained lateral grip levels of 1.05g with spikes to 1.12g on the data logger.

          In-car video from my best laps in session 3

          The session above was frustrating on several counts. First the traffic was pretty thick, and I also had never run on track with a lot of these folks. Many cars I was passing in the first advanced group session when it was 24°F were now faster than our FR-S, and I had to let them by. Lifting to let a car pass ruins your lap, as does passing when the driver ahead doesn't line up and point you by at just the right spot on track.

          Second was the tires - they felt inconsistent and were not coming up to temp or working like I felt they should. 14 months of street driving and hundreds of heat cycles had "compounded out" these tires a good bit. To top it off, I had a migraine headache which was getting worse. By the end of this session I was having trouble seeing, so after 12 laps I came in.

          Looking at the pictures of the car loaded up in the big corners above in test # 3. We could still see a good bit of bodyroll - even with the bigger bars set to full stiff. This is only slightly less than in previous tests but a bump up in tire width and compound will definitely need a bump up in spring rate.

          The image above is from test # 2, with stock springs/bars/shocks + our OEM version camber plates. You can see more roll above with the stock springs/bars/shocks. Still we will try the new Whiteline coilovers with stiffer springs in the future.

          Our Tremec transmission supplier was nice enough to meet us at the track and deliver our T56 Magnum XL to us! This is the 6 speed monster that will be used in this car with our LS V8 swap. We arranged for the guys at G-Speed to bring this by when they came to Vorshlag in a couple of weeks.

          We left by about 2:30 pm as more and more drivers were starting to go out on track in the warmer weather, so traffic would only worsen. And my head was pounding - thankfully Amy drove us home. With less than a second of improvement from test # 3 I vowed to come back for a retest when the weather was a bit warmer...

          continued below
          Last edited by Fair!; 02-22-2018, 06:51 PM.
          Terry Fair -
          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


          • #20
            Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

            continued from above

            This is a track map of the 1.7mi CCW course for NASA TT - ignore the "bunch up" and "go green" lines

            I started looking for more 1.7 mi CCW dates at MSR Cresson and hoped to jump into a member day instead of a busy HPDE event again. It is so much easier to extract everything a car has when you have 1-5 people on track rather than 15-20 - I was on the hunt for clear traffic. And warmer weather.

            TRACK TEST # 4 - MSR-C MEMBER DAY, FEB 3, 2018


            On Saturday Feb 3rd a couple of friends (Jerry and Kevin) that have MSR memberships were going out, the weather forecast looked a lot better, so I joined them once again in our FR-S for track test # 4.

            The weatherman missed it by 24 hours - Saturday was still pretty freagin' cold and Sunday the 60°F weather finally hit. Of course we had planned on Saturday. It ended up being slightly warmer than two weeks earlier in January, and the lap times dropped a fraction. We waited until about 10 am to go out, to let the track warm up a bit. Still had heavy winds which made the wind chill still near freezing.

            I went out in my first session at 10:30 am and it was 50°F, but with wind chill still in the 30s. I ran 11 laps in the FR-S in that session but all I could muster was a couple of 1:29.5 laps and a bunch of laps slower than that. There was more traffic than I was used to seeing on a member day, and I was sliding around a bit on cold tires.

            I came in after this first session and saw that Jerry's Z06 had thrown the serpentine belt

            Between sessions I checked tire pressures and also the condition of the tread. There were the same big chunks missing from the outer tread blocks of some tires, all from our very first track test. I kinda chunked the tires back then, but we keep rotating and flipping the tires to hide that. I went out again after lunch at 1 pm and the ambient temps had warmed up to 53°F. Not ideal, but still better than earlier, and better than January.

            For reference here are two Corvettes loaded up in the fastest turn, Big Bend. The red C7 Z06 is stock but on Michelin racing slicks. The black C6 Z06 is on 335F/345R Hoosier R7s. They both have a good bit of bodyroll. Both guys were a couple of seconds off their best ever laps on this course.

            Here is our FR-S in Big Bend the same day, same session. In that session I ran the best lap ever in this car (1:28.56), but it wasn't exactly an earth shattering time. The g loading data did tell us something: I hit .92 g under braking several times and 1.17g and 1.16g laterally (right and left) on several corners of my best lap. Funny how that works - we put on better dampers, stiffer springs and swaybars to reduce roll, and the grip levels went up, lap times went down. Yet in the images it looks like it has more roll than test # 3. Since the times were faster, and g loadings were higher, the added roll makes sense.

            The video below shows parts of three laps during this 9 lap session. Something happened to one of the GPS start/finish line trips on the first 2 laps and my AiM lap counter got off by a bit - so add 4 laps to each lap shown on the counter embedded in the video below.

            In-car video of our best laps of the day

            If you watch this video you will notice that on lap "2" (really lap 6) I had an "Ice Mode" ABS situation (brake temps got hot and "stopped stopping") into Turn 10, after braking super late into Turn 9. Some who have seen the video have asked "How is that even possible with Powerbrake fronts?" Two reasons: First the rear pads we installed when we put the car "back to stock" were $22 worth of cheap O'Reily house brand pads. Second we have ZERO brake cooling on the fronts - and I was abusing the CRAP out of the brakes for 6 "qualifying" laps in a row to try to find that elusive "1 second improvement" from Test # 2. I found it, but it took some crazy driving to get there. After a cool down lap I did another few hot laps and found the time.

            Braking into turn 9 on track test # 4

            From looking at images from Test # 2 and #3 (both with Powerbrake BBK fronts) I never saw the front end diving like this under braking into Turn 9, but it was this time! I was loading up the brakes pretty hard and we will address this by adding some brake cooling ducts before our next track outing. Overall I was happy that we could eek out more grip and found another second from Test # 2 this time, but I know that the 14 month older tires weren't helping things.

            WHAT'S NEXT?

            It took two more track test outings to get that "magic lap" but we did it, and now have shown a 3.34 second lap time drop (1:31.90 - 1:28.56) on a 90 second course - all while using the same cheap 215mm tires, stock aero, and an untouched drivetrain. A bump to better 255mm street tires would drop at least 2 more seconds, if not more. The car still drives great on the street, bringing no compromises, and Amy usually daily drives it to work.

            This was what the shop looked like today - with 4 cars moved outside so we could work!

            The daily driving has stopped, and as soon as we can literally fit one more car in the Vorshlag shop (we are at capacity and turning away work for the moment) we will get the FR-S in here and do this...

            Next time you see an update from me our FR-S should look like this - motor out and getting an LS V8 swap. I will have the stock FA20 engine and 6-speed trans for sale at that time.

            More soon,
            Terry Fair -
            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


            • #21
              Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

              Project update for September 10th, 2018: Last time I said we had stopped driving the FR-S and would be jumping into the V8 swap. We had a bit of a detour and made one more little change to #Agent86.

              BEFORE (left) and AFTER (right) - as you can see we have added flares, 18x11" wheels, and +100mm more tire per corner

              We changed the tires, wheels, and added some flares. A pretty significant change, but one that I wanted to test before we tore the car apart for several months. It was hugely gratifying and once again proved out "you can never have too much tire" theory, which we apply to everything - even 200 hp 2600 pound cars.

              We believe data more than hearsay around here... so lets test this theory at the track

              Will the big tires "never get up to temp!" and have "so much rolling resistance!" (predictions we heard before this test) that the car will slow down on the MSR 1.7 CCW road course? Or will it pick up some time - a little, or a lot? We have argued with interweb experts for 30 years preaching the "narrow tire" theory, but with little or no data to back up their conjecture. Do you believe everything you hear 3rd hand on the internet, or do you believe MEASURED DATA that is shared openly? I say we let the clocks tell us what is what, at a another track test - our 6th dedicated track test in this car on the same course with the same driver.

              This post also shows the steps required to do a proper fiberglass flare install for BIG tires, then we go over various quality levels for these 86 flare kits (you can learn from our "low cost flare kit" mistakes, too!) We added a somewhat small mod that might help with your daily driver and also has some function for track use (a RAM modular video camera + phone mount). And we show our first part that has failed from track use on this car - and explain how to fix it. Read on to learn more.

              MAJOR MOD: ADD GIANT 18X11 WHEELS + 315mm TIRES!

              In my last update I had summarized all of the MSR-C 1.7 mile CCW lap time drops we have seen in our red '13 FR-S (#Agent86) over the past 2 years of tinkering. After 5 dedicated track tests to get that "magic lap" but we have shown a 3.34 second lap time drop (1:31.90 - 1:28.56) on a 90 second road course - all while using the same cheap 215mm tires, stock aero, and an untouched drivetrain.

              Nothing but the best for our test car! LOL

              Then I mentioned that "A bump to better 255mm street tires" would drop at least 2 more seconds, if not more. As you can see above pics of right after this last track test, these 215mm Firestones had seen better days. We got our money's worth! The durometer numbers were still ok but they were getting down to the base rubber. This set of 17x7" wheels were pretty banged up when we got the car, with one bent wheel (on the same front corner that had the bent lower control arm when we bought it, that we replaced). I regret never having upgraded to an "interim" set of 17x9" wheels and better 255mm street tires, but I hate buying things twice.

              Many things have kept us busy from February-August 2018 - new shop construction, shop move, and a new project car

              I had hoped we could jump right into the LS swap after that last track test. Well we got really busy in the shop, and I got buried with construction of our new "bat cave" shop (not open to the public) from May-August, the shop move in June, setting up existing and adding some new CNC equipment (June-August). To make matters worse I purchased 2018 Mustang GT (they gained a good bit of power with a DI engine that year) and added a hectic development and track test schedule (Feb-May) for that as well. Side note: we added the same "Whiteline" coilovers to this 2018 GT, which also had the somewhat soft rates (400#/in fronts), but they worked well enough and we dropped a staggering 10 seconds on our MSR road course test, from stock to round 1 of mods. (Note: the Whiteline/AST private label shock deal has since ended and we have removed all of the "Max-G" coilovers from our website)

              This 17x9" wheel and 255/40/17 BFG Rival tire package is one we tested back in 2013 on Vorshlag Matt's BRZ

              It always bugged me that we would be jumping into the V8 swap before putting "real" wheels and tires on the car. Now I was wondering if we should step back and buy the 17x9" Enkei and 255mm Rival-S or Bridgestone tire so many STX autocrossers use on these 86s. But with 500+ whp those would still be scary. If we tried a track test on these 2 year old, bald, 215mm street tires would it be a TOTAL mess with triple the stock power.

              So we decided to test for a "max fitment and beyond" wheel and tire fitment. We brought the FR-S into our Plano shop right before our planned shop move and checked inboard wheel room from the itty-bity 17x7" stock wheels. The pictures above show the stock 7" wide wheels' proximity to the struts and shocks inboard. LOTS of room. Plus there is room outboard.

              We also mocked up a 315/30/18 Rival-S tire we had onto the car using our wheel checking tool, shown above. I didn't get a picture of this step but the image from the same tool used on a 335/30/18 on the wide body M3 V8 above shows what it looks like.

              The tender spring + main coilover spring stack up high enough on this AST coilover to gobble up some inboard room, but even fixing that issue (we have tricks) there was still no hope of fitting the 11" wide wheels under stock fenders. Sure, we could have fit a 9.5" front and maybe 10.5" rear wheel under rolled fenders if we really needed to, but we wanted MOAR! We decided to use a Rocket Bunny style flare kit, so inboard room wasn't a huge concern.

              So we tried something bold - I decided to jump ahead to the giant wheel/tire package we had always planned to use with the V8 for Optima series competition. We ordered these 18x11" Forgestar F14 Super Deep wheels shown above.

              This set of Rival-S tires was new in Feb 2016 - and they were used for several weekends on this car

              I bought a set of lightly used, but still fresh at 60 durometer 315/30/18 BFGoodrich Rival-S tires from a customer, Jamie Beck, back in late 2016. He used these for testing before he jumped feet first into NASA ST3 racing where he has been on Hoosiers ever since. This set were still soft enough, so worthwhile for this brief "big tires matter" test.

              Jason and I measured the 86 for an 11" wide wheel at both ends. Why? Well because every car I own needs to have a tire "starting with a 3". I also feel that you can never have too much tire, and with the V8 we will definitely need this width.

              We ordered Forgestar F14 wheels with their "super deep" profile for the first time - this used to only be an option on 19" F14 versions, but now they also offer this in some 18" widths. We selected custom offsets that should work at both ends fairly well, so we can rotate front to back and still not use a spacer. There is a bit of mystery with every new, radically new wheel fitment like this but we were fairly confident this would fit fine with the flares we chose (see more on that below). We weren't trying to squeeze an 11" wheel under stock fenders so they don't have to be like 2-3mm off the strut or other inboard parts to squeeze a max width under there.

              Pro Tip: After the tires were mounted and balanced I taped the stick-on wheel weights in place with aluminum tape (you can find this in hardware stores near the roofing section). You have to clean the wheel surface well but this tape sticks better than the adhesive on the wheel weights. More surface area, too. Why does this matter? Get the wheels hot and watch as your $15/wheel balance job goes to crap as the weights fly off. This happens EVERY time I forget to add this aluminum tape to the weights! Cheap insurance.

              One of the downsides to the unusual 5x100mm bolt circle used on the 86 chassis is that the lug holes have to be smaller than normal, so our 17mm hex open ended lug nuts will not fit. That isn't the case on the many 5x120/5x114.3 wheels we normally get from Forgestar. The larger lug wells encroach into the meat of the wheel hub area so we had to choose splined "tuner lugs", which have a smaller diameter and use an adapter socket to engage the splined outer diameter of these lug nuts.

              Once we had the tuner lug nut set on hand we could finally mount up the new wheels, set it on the ground, and take a look. As you can see we only need about 1.5" flare up front and 2" flare out back to clear these at a lowered ride height. Nobody makes a flare that small, of course, as the #StanceBois want the MEGA flares and silly offsets that push the wheels way outboard. The opposite of what we shoot for...

              Overall I was happy with the way these Super Deep F14s looked on the car, but worried they might be too inboard in the rear for the flares we had chosen. I measured the outer track width (to the outer sections of the tread) and noted we had gained a good bit of outside track width from stock!

              Above shows this measurement in stock form (left) and now with the 18x11s (right). The 68-1/2" pic it was our very first picture in this forum thread, way back from August 2012. The reason that was the first pic 6 years ago was because that 68-1/2" outer track width was a freakishly wide for a 2600 pound RWD car. And the wide track width is partly why the 86 chassis makes so much lateral grip for its weight and tires installed - adding track width adds lateral grip, directly.

              This BRZ on 17x9" wheels had 2" more wheel width per side than stock - and logged 1.25g lateral on street tires!

              For reference, I just measured some outer track widths on a sampling of cars in our shop: 63" was an NB Miata track car on 9" wide wheels; 65" wide for an E36 M3 with 8.5" wheels and 245mm tires; 68" wide on a tube framed 69 Camaro with 345mm Hoosiers; and 76" wide on my 3600 pound 2018 Mustang GT is on 19x11" wheels with 305mm tires. This 2600 pound FR-S is now 74" wide with the 18x11s!

              ...this is NOT how to add big wheels to an 86! #StanceFail

              We did NOT add all of this added wheel width outboard to exaggerate the track width, like the meme above shows. The 68-1/2" OEM width was with 215mm tires and 7" wide wheels. We added 100mm of tire and 4" of wheel width per corner but only gained 5-1/2" of total outer track width. If we went purely outboard on the addition it would have gained 8" of track. The typical showcars we see mount up 9" or 10" wide wheels on these cars and do just that - add it all outboard, and then some.


              After much searching I found 3 sources for essentially the same Rocket Bunny style flare kit for the 86 chassis, listed from most expensive to least: Kei Miura designed Rocket Bunny / Pandem aero kit (3 variants, including one shown above), the Speedhunters KM4SH body kit (shown below), and the Extreme Dimensions flare kit we purchased (see below).

              This white car (for sure) has the KM4SH flares from Speedhunters

              As much as I wanted to get one of the kits from the first two suppliers, this was all a huge gamble and their prices were pretty high ($2000-4000) for what might just be an experiment. I had previously settled on the Speedhunters kit (priced at $890) but when the shipping came out to $1300 it pushed it into the "too risky" zone for something we were not sure would work for our project.

              The Genuine "Rocket Bunny" version 1 or 2 flare kit shown on Forgestar's website with the Super Deep F14s

              Honestly, I'm personally not a huge fan of the Rocket Bunny style flares. We weren't sure that whatever quality level of Rocket Bunny kit we purchased would stick around on our car. The aerodynamics of these kits is OK in some aspects but poor in others. Most of the showcars that use these set their ride heights so low and offsets so #HellaPoked that they aren't even functional (tires touching). We looked at a bunch of these RocketBunny equipped 86 cars at SEMA2014 and just were not all that impressed with the tire fitments anyone had. Some had 245mm front tires and at most 275mm rears. We knew we could fit that and more under stock bodywork - but what could you really fit under these kits?

              continued below
              Last edited by Fair!; 05-15-2022, 01:03 PM.
              Terry Fair -
              2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
              EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


              • #22
                Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

                continued from above

                MEASURING FLARES ON AN 86

                We got a bit of a preview for the flares on an 86 chassis earlier in 2018, and we spent some extra time on our own to see what would fit on the off chance we went with these flares on #Agent86.

                This car was purchased by a guy in the service, and dropped off by his dad at our shop in March of 2018. It was purchased like this and his dad noticed tire rub at full lock, so he brought it in for us to clean up some of the bodywork to clear these high offset wheels and tires. This car had one of the Rocket Bunny style flare kits (Rocket Bunny or Speedhunters), which we fixed. Then measured for even wider tires... and it gave us the ideas for what we might like to do to our red car. We couldn't tell which brand of flare this was, so that is still a bit of a mystery.

                This car had 18x9" fronts with 265/35/18 tires (which we can fit under stock fenders), but as you can see below it had inches of clearance inboard to the struts. We had to clearance the front frame horns behind the front tires to clear the high offset wheels at full lock. The wheels had been pushed out as far as possible to make the front track wider, and they used a super low offset Forgestar F14 Super Deep wheel.

                Out back it was at least a little wider than what you could fit under stock fenders. It had 18x11" rear wheels with 295/30/18 tires, which were stretched a bit. Again built with offsets to really push the tire outboard - almost poking. But once again with several inches of room inboard we knew with confidence we could fit an 18x11" wheel and 315/30/18 tire - or even a 335mm tire on a 12" wheel, with room to spare.

                AND THE FLARE KIT CHOICE IS..?

                Were there issues with these flares that were on this car? Sure, but ones we felt we could overcome. Just seeing an 86 with this style of flare was enlightening - it showed just how much more tire we could fit with the right offsets, camber, etc.

                We knew we could at least fit 315mm tires under this flare kit, which could be a good starting point for dealing with V8 power. And experience said the 315s still wouldn't slow down the car with even FA20 power, and should actually drop a chunk of lap time. Yes, even though the internets say they will "never get up to temp" and that it would add "tremendous rolling resistance"

                Ideally it would have been nice to do something custom, or use a full carbon widebody like the race car above, but we have to be realistic. We ultimately want a street car that has AC and is street legal and is fast on a road course and autocross. I would rather be cautious with the flare choice up front, test it on track before and after V8 power with a 315mm tire, before locking ourselves into some expensive and elaborate body kit or dozens of fab hours on a custom built version.

                How bad could the lower cost version of these flares from Extreme Dimensions be? If we could get the car to look this good, and fit at least 315mm tires, for under $300? I figured that was the best bet and ordered the Extreme Dimensions "Duraflex" kit (a flexible fiberglass composite). This company makes TONS of parts for the 86 chassis - multiple flare kits, carbon hoods and trunks, front and rear bumper covers, spoilers and more. We have had some success with this brand before, so I pulled the trigger on these two part numbers below.

                This was the front flare kit above, which has 4 pieces to complete the front fender flares.

                And here is the rear kit, also 4 pieces, which completes the rear fenders. The other options were $3000+ with shipping, and these Duraflex flares were under $300 shipped. 1/10th the cost... let's see how they fit!


                We unboxed the flares and they looked fine, so now it was time to mock them up on the car. Loads of 3M painters tape was applied to the body and these flares were taped in place.

                What we immediately noticed was that there would have to be some significant cutting on the fenders to even get these mocked up. The rear of the front wheel arches has to be cut away before these will lay flat, for instance. But for the most part they looked like an OK fit. It would take cutting and Cleco mounting to know more. Let's cut!

                The fender liners were all pulled out and then the front fender arches were trimmed. The rear of the front wheel arches had to be cut out. Now we could drill the mounting holes for the flares and snap in some Clecos...

                The main flare on this first mock-up didn't line up so well with the the front portion that mounts onto the front bumper cover. We needed to trim some more metal and slide the flare rearward before this would fit. It was also time to cut off the fender to improve the fit.

                Another area that needed serious trimming was the front end of the rocker. We learned this on the white BRZ that came in back in March, but with 315mm tires swinging to full lock on an 18x11" wheel, we needed to trim our FR-S even more than that car.

                Another part that needs to be modified for this 25.5" tall 315/30/18 tire to clear at bump travel is a vertical flange that is part of a pinch weld on the front upper frame horn. This is the curved, welded, tubular section that runs above the tire, upon which the front fender bolts to. The bottom section has a ~3/4" tall flange that Evan hammered flat, shown above. This way if the tire goes up in "bump" travel too far it will rub against a flat section of frame instead of a sharp vertical flange.

                Evan tested the tire at full lock, full droop, and at ride height many times before finalizing the clearance work on the left front. Then he transferred the same cut marks to the right front and cut that, too.

                This is the final front fender flare mock-up, and I was happier with the alignment. At least on the left front the two pieces almost lined up, and with some tweaks by our painter Shiloh they would look even better.

                On the right front the two pieces refused to cooperate, and the alignment was pretty poor. The main flare section fit like it should but it was the front bumper cover part that mates up so poorly. We adjusted this later, which I will show below, but it's going to need some real fiberglass work to get these pieces to line up "right". This is one of those compromises that comes with starting with the 1/10th cost version of the flares.

                The rear flares and trailing sections were mocked up next, and once again the left side fit together much better than the right. The "add-on" piece on the right side didn't line up at all but we felt that our painter could make it all fit better - at a cost. So once again, saving on the flare kit up front will cost us more on the back end with the bodywork.

                The left side fit so well, too. This is how these multi-piece flares should line up. The right rear pieces had 3/4" of mis-match, ugh. At this point you could see how much more room we had out back - could easily fit a 335mm wide tire. Oh well, this set of 18x11's has the same offset on all 4 so they are rotate-able. A staggered 18x11" front / 18x12" rear would not be (it would be hard to fit 335s up front without massive surgery!)

                The back of any unibody built car is the MOST work when clearancing properly for big tires under flares. Big sections of the rear fender have to be cut off and this can be 2 or 3 layers thick back here. Once you cut off the outer skin the inner wheelhouse sections are then "pie cut" (above left) and these curved sections are then metalworked and bent upwards, to intersect with the outer skin of the new wheel arch.

                These sections usually curve and form a sort of a bowl around the skinny stock tire - but to fit 4" more tire width per corner we have to make room above the tire for "bump" travel. After working them, the sections are now horizontal and the opening itself is moved upwards about 4" from the stock contours. The overlapping pie cut pieces are tack welded to the outer skin and then we are ready to test.

                This part is a NASTY job - because the primer and paint has to be removed from both the inner panel and outer skin, and even then they don't weld together very cleanly. We move to a MIG welder for this work, and it often catches the undercoating on FIRE. So the interior in the rear of the car has to be removed during this step, and a second tech with a spray bottle of water is nearby to put out the undercoating flare-ups. THIS IS A JOB FOR A FABRICATOR.

                So what looked like we needed "just a little bit of clearance" out back has turned into a chasm of room. As the fender is cut "upwards" it also contours "inboard" and the resulting clearanced rear fender looks a LOT different when completed. This is the exact same wheel and tire, no tricks - that's just what happens on most rear fenders when you cut for proper bump travel. Don't worry, the flare covers ALL of this area.

                Again, this is what is necessary for proper tire clearance with real suspension travel. This is what the showcars rarely ever do properly - they WANT tire rub, it is some sort of badge of honor to them. Well racers don't look forward to cutting tires, and now we have FOUR INCHES of vertical bump travel clearance for the rear. Which is more than enough for this ride height and coilover.

                Out in the sun for a test drive - showing the "good side".

                The rear fenders were Cleco'd in place and I took the FR-S out for the first test drive, with Evan riding shotgun listening for tire rub. We noticed a bit of rub at full lock up front, but it was tire rubbing on frame on the front side, which cannot be fixed. This is normal on a giant tire like this and something we can live with. Nothing else touched, but we did lose a Cleco along the short one mile drive.

                continued below
                Last edited by Fair!; 09-25-2018, 09:09 PM.
                Terry Fair -
                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                • #23
                  Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

                  continued from above

                  We came back and Evan added the Rivnuts - a threaded insert that goes into the sheet metal with a special rivet installation gun. Then a bunch of stainless M5 button head Allen bolts attach the eight fender flare parts to the body, for a semi permanent finish that can easily be removed (unlike rivets). Oh and we used different "expanding" style rivnuts on the plastic bumper cover portions vs the style used on the sheet metal.

                  So that was the install. MyShopAssist shows we spent 27 hours over the course of 8 days doing this work, and there's still a few hours of final welding needed out back and to put in some blanking plates for the front lower frame horns (still open for now). Yea, that is a lot of work, and this was the first time Evan had done flares here at Vorshlag using all of the steps I require. Might be able to trim out 3-4 hours on the second one he does, but that's just what it takes to do it right: to check for proper tire clearance in bump, to get full lock steering clearance, and to modify parts that don't fit like they are supposed to. On a normal flare job that doesn't require this much front frame/fender cutting, we tend to take closer to 17-20 hours.

                  There were at least 2-3 hours spent fine tuning the fit of the poorly made right side pieces in that total. These later pictures from our MSR track test (above) show how that side fits now. Evan added some bolts & nuts between the two rear parts to line them up better, then trimmed the trailing edge of the front bumper section on the right front to get it to look right. Again, starting with a costlier, higher quality flare kit up should save some time during install and painting.


                  Having a sturdy, easy to use phone holder is very important to me. I invest a lot in my smart phone and I live and die by this thing - it reminds me when to wake up, has my "to do" list and calendar, email, Facebook, navigation, potatocam, and streaming music stations. Our phones go with us everywhere, and with a great navigation system they need to be visible when we drive. A year ago we built a custom phone holder for my daily driver work truck and its been the most functional add-ons we have made.

                  Unlike the choice behind the 1/10th cost knock-off flares above, I normally preach that You get what you pay for. And again I learned that if you spend a little more up front to get quality, you will be rewarded in the long run. These U.S.-built RAM mount components fit that theory nicely.

                  For several previous vehicles I have purchased and tested a number of cheap Chinese phone holders. After using each of these for a few days I realized that they are garbage. GARBAGE. The dash mounted unit I had in my old shop truck (#TruckNorris, see above right) was somewhat flimsy, didn't hold the phone securely, and snapped in half during a rear end collision - sending my $900 smart phone flying into the windshield at 60 mph.

                  I have always used RAM mounts for lap timer/data loggers and windshield suction cup camera mounts. They are rugged, easy to adjust, use a standardized 1" ball for mounting at either ends, and standardized bolt hole spacing for an array of "device holders" and suction cup ends. When something is important in a race car, I use a RAM mount - so why not for a costly smart phone or vidcam in our 86?

                  I asked Evan to build a similar setup to Amy's FR-S, which helps with street driving and track use. Once again I purchased a number RAM modular mounting parts including a RAM (RAM-HOL-PD3U) Universal Spring Loaded "Large" Cell Phone Cradle Holder, RAM "Diamond Base" with 1" Ball to mount to the phone holder, and a Composite Double Socket Arm for 1-Inch Ball Bases. Initially I was hoping to use another (RAM-B-202U) Round Marine Electronic 1-Inch Ball Mount Base to bolt it all to a flat portion of the dash.

                  We were hoping to mount it behind the dash trim then just drill a hole in this trim piece and have the 1" ball slide through, but once Evan pulled the plastic radio dash trim surround (top left) out of the way we realized there was no surface flat or big enough behind there to mount to. There was a few bits of plastic and an air gap. Hmm.

                  Instead I ordered the RAM 1/4-Inch-20 Female Threaded 1-Inch Ball (RAM-B-337U) and then Evan just drilled a hole in the radio surround trim panel, then bolted that ball mount in place. It isn't quite as rigid as the 4 bolt marine plate, but it works plenty well. We might tweak this a bit after some more street testing - the plastic dash trim wants to flex a bit when you really crank on the phone holder.

                  This arrangement of parts in the FR-S is nearly identical to the phone holder setup in my truck (above). The one issue we ran into for both vehicles was - the biggest RAM phone holder isn't quite big enough for the large frame of my or Amy's "Plus" sized iPhones with a case. To fix this we cut off the two "fixed" plastic claw mounts and add a custom made section of formed aluminum sheet in its place. This was cut, bent, then riveted to the end of the RAM holder, extending the clamp's reach by half an inch. This worked perfectly to fit our Plus sized phones with cases. The bottom "claw" section can still clear a charging cord, too.

                  I've been using this same RAM phone holder setup for over a year in my truck and absolutely love it - others have seen and copied it. I can install a phone into the spring loaded RAM holder with one hand, blindfolded. Installing it just takes a bit of downward pressure on the moving jaws, then it pops into the upper and upper jaws of the holder. The 4 adjustable side pins keep the phone aligned laterally and the upper and lower jaws hold it in the other two axis. It won't move a fraction of an inch within the holder, and the RAM arm and base keep the holder from moving relative to the vehicle. Should survive a crash, too.

                  Since the RAM mounts are modular, and the placement was high enough on the dash of the FR-S, I was able to swap out the RAM phone holder portion for my video camera mount (the same RAM marine 4-bolt base with a section of 1/4-20 threaded stud) in seconds at the track.

                  This makes mounting our Sony video camera for track use that much better. I no longer have to run a suction cup mount on the windshield and position the vidcam upside-down, so I don't need to "flip" the video before I merge with AiM data. Woo! Overall this was a relatively simple upgrade that makes the 86 that much more street friendly - with some additional use at the track.

                  TRACK TEST #6 - MSR-C 1.7 CCW & SCCA CLUB TRIALS MSR-C 1.3 - Aug 25, 2018

                  After a 3.5 month hiatus from doing any track events, we were finally back at the track once again - for a double header! First, we came to test the new tires and make sure there was no tire rub before final welding the rear unibody and front frame horn.

                  Event Gallery of photos:

                  In the morning I did a session on the 1.7 CCW course (member day) to test times vs previous best in this car. Amy also ran two full sessions on the MSR 1.7 that day. Secondly, I ran 3 sessions on the separate MSR 1.3 course, competing with SCCA Club Trials for some head-to-head comparisons on the new tires. Long hot day but we got a lot of seat time, lots of test data on the car, and had a blast while doing it.

                  We unloaded the FR-S and had it fueled up and loaded with data logging and video camera equipment by 7 am. The durometer on these used Rival-S tires was tested at "60", which isn't far off the mark for a fresh set of Rival-S tires. I set the cold pressures at 28 psi then got all of my track gear on. Still no race seats or harnesses in this FR-S, but the stock seats are "less terrible" than the base seats in my '18 Mustang.

                  TRACK TEST #6 ON MSR-C 1.7 CCW

                  I was on track by 7:30 am on the 1.7 CCW course, running behind our customer/tester Jerry Cecco in his C6 Z06 at this "member day" event. The ambient temps were good for this whole 30 minute session - only 74deg F - which is damn near perfect for late August in Texas! It only took a couple of laps to get these giant 315mm tires up to temp and they were pulling some big grip numbers. Jerry and I had the track to ourselves for the first ten minutes. An overcast sky kept the ambient temps low for this session, but it crept up to 98°F that afternoon, which is more normal for this time of year.

                  First impression: the FR-S was much much easier to drive with the big tires. Lateral grip for days, with data showing as high as 1.38 g in some corners! Compared to the previous 215mm tire tests here, with the 315mm tires I never lifted from full throttle for T1 (Wagon Wheel), T2 (Ricochet), or anywhere in the 3 lefts after T5. I barely touched the brakes into T8 (Big Bend) as well. After watching this video I feel like I was under driving it into a few turns, but it was such a big change in lateral grip from before it was hard to tell where the limits were.

                  The video above is from the "second" half of this 30 minute session, where I had working video and audio. It showed a big drop in lap time from the tire switch, the most we have dropped with any single mod, a whopping 2.6 seconds quicker! Once again proving that you can NEVER have "too much tire", even in a 2600 pound car with only 200 hp. Did I get enough heat in these tires? Of course - within 2 laps they were making max grip, and after 7 laps I was overheating the rears (to the point that they got greasy).

                  In the first 9 laps of this session I managed a best time of 1:26.005. I came into the paddock because the remote mic had fallen on the floor, so we removed that, made a tire pressure adjustment, and I went back out in the same session and ran another 5 laps. I managed a nearly identical 1:25.978 lap on video that time. In that second half we had some additional traffic that had joined us - you can see the screaming fast GT3 cup car and a Corvette I let go by in my video. I did get to pass both a McLaren 670S and GT3-RS, which was pretty hilarious!

                  GT3 cup Race car (left) and Jerry's C6 Z06 on fat Hoosiers (right) were some of the 5-6 other cars on track

                  Mods have been well documented here, but include: Whiteline Max-G coilovers, 400#/in springs, Vorshlag camber plates and shock mounts, Whiteline bars at both ends, Powerbrake 330mm 4 piston brake kit, 100% stock drivetrain, and now these 315/30/18 Rival-S tires (used) on 18x11" Forgestars.

                  As for settings - the shocks feel great with these somewhat soft spring rates (400#/in front and rear) and didn't need a lot of massaging. Tire pressures did: I went out at 26 psi cold but when I came in the pits in the middle of this session to check tire pressures, Amy bled them down 2 psi (from 32 psi to to run at 30 psi hot). This comes down to 24 psi front and rear, when the tires are dead cold.

                  As you can see above the camber loss in these higher g corners is significant. We ran the same -3.5? front and -2.2? rear camber static settings but with this much grip it looks like now we need a bit more. And sure, a full IR temp array would tell us this more accurately, but we can still see a lot in these close-up, loaded corner pictures and long term tire wear. At full loading, both outboard front and rear tires show about zero camber (radials like to still see a little negative, loaded). The C6 Z06 ahead shows positive camber loaded - and his 335/345 Hoosier R7 tires are wearing out faster on the outer shoulders. We will dial in a little more camber into #Agent86 next time.

                  continued below
                  Last edited by Fair!; 05-15-2022, 01:11 PM.
                  Terry Fair -
                  2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                  EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                  • #24
                    Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

                    continued from above

                    Left: Entering "Rattlesnake" at T10. Right: Entering "Wagon Wheel" (T1) shows loaded outside camber again

                    Tire height changes change final gearing, but the taller 315mm tires (25.5" tall on the 315/30/18 vs 24.7" tall on the 215/45/17 Firestones) actually helped in the "rattlesnake" section of switchback turns (T9 to T1). Before, on the shorter tires (which made for "shorter" gearing), I could only downshift briefly to 2nd gear at T10 then had to buzz back up to 3rd gear before T11, to avoid an over-rev. With the 315s I could use 2nd gear from the end of T9 all the way through T1, and it helped pull out of "Wagon Wheel" (T1) with more of the meat of the FA20's powerband. And 3rd gear worked better in Turns T5 - T7. So taller tires don't always hurt you... sometimes they help. Taller final gearing often means less shifting, which can save time in some instances, too.

                    Amy ran her quickest times ever in the FR-S after I coached her for one session ("Don't lift!!") and had a blast. Nobody doesn't like LOTS of grip! The tires saw minimal tire wear after her 2 full sessions + my full 30 minute session on the 1.7 or another 3 full sessions I ran on the 1.3. Gotta love massive 200 treadwear street tires on a light car.

                    SCCA CLUB TRIALS ON MSR-C 1.3

                    As an instructor for the Club Trials group I could ride with anyone, run in any run group, and take passengers - so that was worthwhile.

                    These MSR 1.3 event pics were purchased from Lightspeed Images

                    Most people ran their best laps in session 1 or 2 but I ran the same damn lap time in all 3 sessions on the 1.3 mile course: 1:10.0, 1:10.1, and 1:10.3. Lots of traffic, not easy to pass, but I always got a clear lap in every session. It had been almost 10 years since I had run the MSR 1.3 mile course by itself so I was a little rusty, but came out swinging and was quick early on. Lots of people got faster throughout the day where I did not - which is typical for me.

                    I could not get my AiM SOLO data logger and lap timer to work on this 1.3 mile track (course wasn't loaded in memory) and that really hurt me. I literally NEVER drive on track without my predictive lap timer. This device shows me in real time where I am finding or losing time, corner by corner, lap after lap. So I was driving blind, and wasn't able to find the time that was in the car. I was slower than one STX BRZ, which is frustrating. A lot of these SCCA folks have run the 1.3 recently, but I wasn't really able to learn it like I usually do with the predictive timer.

                    I could go into T1 and T2 nearly flat out, where others had to brake a lot, and if some folks people tried to follow my line/speeds through those turns... wee! ...only to find themselves far off the line. I was able to have some fun lead-follow laps with some of the faster cars, but two of those went off track trying to keep up (or stay ahead) with the insane cornering power of this little 86 on 315mm tires - a BMW 1M and Cayman S - but they luckily didn't have any damage.

                    The fastest car on the 1.3 mile course was Feras (above left), who's black C6 Z06 has brakes and other work from Vorshlag and a 468" LS7 from HPR, with a 1:03.338. The 3rd fastest was Scottish Joe's blue C7 Grand Sport (above right), which we have also worked on, with a 1:04.757 (see the 1.7 MSR test lap in this car in my list below). Lots of people showed up for a hot day but had fun, with 37 cars posting times.

                    Vorshlag sponsored the after party that lasted nearly 2 hours, where the group wiped out the cooler. Plenty of good bench racing. For Amy and I, after 3.5 months of construction work at the shop, this felt really good to get back on track and spar with some others in competition. It was nice to be able to run BOTH the 1.3 and 1.7 mile courses concurrently at 2 separate events, and the test data we got was invaluable.

                    SCCA Club Trials in the Texas Region is big and growing - they are in year 3 of a 5 year growth plan - and currently they have the largest SCCA Club Trials group in the country. Brad Flak and his daughter Allison ran this event and they did a great job. This region's Club Racing program needs help but they got some new leadership this year, who talked at the drivers meeting.

                    On the last session of the 1.3 that day I smoked the right front wheel bearing. It was evident from a pretty loud squeal in the car, and when it happened I came in. It was late in the day and super hot by that point, and I wasn't going to find any time with the elevated track and ambient temps. This failed bearing is the same corner where we replaced a bent control arm when we bought this well used car 2 years ago, so we're going to call this a "deferred maintenance" issue. This day alone the car had 6 full 30 minute sessions on 315mm tires, and we have run this car on track dozens of sessions since we bought it 2 years ago, so this $80 maintenance item isn't unexpected.

                    Turns out my 1:10.0 time on the 1.3 mile course was good enough to win the 6 car "Street Prepared" class, and it didn't take a goofy "PAX factor" handicapped time to pull it off. I was bummed we didn't record any data on the 1.3 mile course, so I didn't bother putting any of the video together (this post is long enough!). We got plenty of data that day on the 1.7 - the course we do all of our testing on. See the comparison and progression of lap time drops on the 1.7 course in the next session. We may or may not get some new coilovers with firmer springs on this car before the V8 swap happens, and if we do we'll run it on the 1.7 again, but we will see if that pans out.

                    LAP TIME COMPARISON

                    Just wanted to point out the various stages and lap times of our FR-S to date

                    So in 4 rounds of mods and 6 dedicated track tests we have dropped 5.922 seconds on this 90 second road course.

                    Here are a few other laps I have driven in other cars on this same track, for reference. Each of these has a linked video of the lap in question with data:
                    By comparison, with almost the exact modifications (Whiteline coilovers and bars, camber plates, and 11" wide wheels with 305mm 200 treadwear tires) and nearly the same amount of tire width increase, our 2018 Mustang GT dropped 9.679 seconds from stock. This was mainly because the tiny OEM 235mm tires on our base model Mustang GT were so woefully inadequate for the power (nearly 480 hp) and weight (3600 pounds) of this car compared to the 2600 pound 200 hp FR-S starting on 215mm tires.

                    WHAT'S NEXT?

                    Knowing what I do now I would NOT recommend the cheap flares we bought. Just so that is clear - I don't want people to read this as an endorsement of sub-$300 flares vs real Rocket Bunny or Speedhunters parts. We will pay more in the long run (in our fab time + bodywork) to make these fit better, and they will never look as good "as the real thing". But all of these RB style flares need a little aerodynamic improvement, which we know how to do...

                    We just wrapped up a customer's E92 M3 track weapon that had some worthwhile aero mods. Some of these might be appropriate for our 86 chassis, some not so much. The "tire walls" on the car above might end up on our FR-S. These keep the leading edge of a spinning tire out of the air stream, which reduces drag considerably. This is something the Rocket Bunny flares do a poor job of, which is what we can fix with some spats (the 5th gen Z/28 and C7 Z06 use "tire spats" from the factory). The splitter on that car is a bit much for what we have in mind for our FR-S, but a shorter version might not be a bad idea to go with an Optima legal 8" chord rear wing we have planned. #AeroReallyWorks

                    All of the aero work planned will happen after the V8 is installed, and after we do a track test with these the V8 on 315s. Just telegraphing some things we have in our long term plans for #Agent86.

                    Even though we will make the long tube headers using a mock-up block and the T56 Magnum XL trans we have on hand, the actual V8 we are going to use for our 86 is being built soon. We've seen a number of these 468" / 7.7L engines built by Horsepower-Research in use on road course cars. One of these in an Optima competitor's street car makes 660 whp on motor on E85, and we are wrapping up customer's car with another 468" that should make that much or more (using our first set of custom 1-7/8" primary long tube headers). We are shooting for a more modest 550-600 whp range on 93 octane - with better street manners. Will share more of that as the swap progresses.

                    We just completed our first production 1-7/8" primary long tube header for a Right Hand Drive BMW E36 LS swap, based off of prototypes we built (our second 1-7/8" custom set built in the last year). The RHD E36 LS swap parts and headers should be shipping in a few weeks, then we will begin making new headers for our 86 swap by that time. Finally.

                    More soon,
                    Terry Fair -
                    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                    • #25
                      Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

                      Project update for January 11, 2019: We had a crazy 2018 and that delayed many of our plans with this project. But after a lot of delays, some tangents developing and testing on this car with the brakes/suspension/flares/wheels, and lots of track... it is finally time.

                      The mock-up LS engine + T56 Magnum XL 6-speed in our FR-S as of 1/9/2019

                      The Subaru 2.0L has been removed and we have finally begun the V8 swap on Amy's FR-S! This work began in December 2018, with work to be done in spurts between billable customer work. As we continue with this swap we will try to better document every step of the installation as well as develop more solutions along the way that apply to street cars and track-only builds alike.

                      In this update we will cover some steps of the LS swap in detail, which we intend to be part of the instructions for the 86 V8 swap. This time this includes: removal of the stock drivetrain, modifications to the stock transmission tunnel, removal of two plates from the front crossmember, and an optional step for replacing the stock crossmember with a stitch welded/reinforced version.

                      We also show some of the random repairs and upgrades to our 2013 FR-S during this swap, like a carbon front nose, wheel bearing replacement, final fab work associated with the flares we added last time, an over-the-top Holley Hi-Ram intake mockup, and some weight analysis of our car from when we bought it in 2016 to where it was right before this V8 swap in late 2018. Lots to cover, let's get started!


                      At the August 25th, 2018 "double header" track event, where Amy and I both tracked it on the MSR 1.7 and I also ran it that day in the SCCA Time Trial on the MSR 1.3, I smoked a right front wheel bearing. Loud howling noises, visible movement when the car was raised, dead. Not a bit deal to replace.

                      In September I looked for a replacement. Prices ranged from $85-180 for a front wheel hub assembly, and I picked the Timken (a brand I trust) version for $95.

                      Brad pushed out the stock length wheel studs and installed our longer M12 studs into the new bearing flange, then bolted the assembly in place. The brakes went back on and with a wheel installed, it spun smoothly with no slop in the bearing. Fixed.

                      This video above shows this all in just over one minute.

                      Now the question is why did this part fail right after installing the 315mm tires? We have tracked this car so many times on the stock sized tires, so why now? Was it the 100mm wider tires loading the stock wheel bearing too much? Did the use of a big brake kit for two years with ZERO brake cooling "cook" the wheel bearing over time? Or was it just from this being a car we bought with a few known issues (bent wheel, bent control arm, etc) that was finally wearing out a wheel bearing at 88K miles? These things do wear.

                      I am a little worried about this long term, and Jason has researched larger wheel bearing options - but they involve switching out uprights, new wheel bolt patters, and more work we want to avoid right now. I want to get the V8 in the car as quickly as possible and then start track testing, to see what else breaks with 600+ whp.

                      Left: S550 Mustang brake cooling backing plate. Right: 2018-19 Mustang front inlet ducts

                      To remove one of the variables from this potential issue we will design a series of brake cooling backing plates (for both the OEM front brake + this 330mm Powerbrake) and front inlet ducts for the 86 chassis, and run these with 3" or 4" hoses in between. Forced brake rotor cooling tends to also cool the front wheel hubs, when tends to extend their life in other cars by leaps and bounds. We will do this before our next test, and keep an eye on front wheel bearing wear.

                      FINAL FLARE CHASSIS FAB WORK

                      In my last post we had tracked the car with the giant tires after doing the bare minimum of fab work necessary to clear the tires and flares. But we left some work un-done. The frame end we had to cut needed to be "capped" up front, plus some sort of fender liner needed to be added back. In the rear the tacked together "pie cuts" needed to be fully welded, sealed, primed and painted.

                      We had a deadline to meet, and again - we only get to work on shop owned cars when we have a gap in scheduled customer work. So in November I tasked Evan to go back and tackle the final fab work necessary to "finish" the flare job. It was all welding and metal work.

                      The factory frame pieces cut off were used as a template, transferred to a DXF file, and cut on our CNC plasma table in 18 gauge steel. These were then welded in place with a series of MIG tack welds.

                      The welds were ground smooth and the aras masked and painted with zinc based self-etching primer.

                      Then seam sealer was applied to make sure these welded seams were water tight.

                      Fender liners were next. I had Evan cut the rear 1/3rd off the OEM plastic bits and that seems to fit without rubbing the 315mm tires. We will address the back section later with some custom inner liners made of plastic or thin sheet aluminum.

                      Out back it was just hours and hours of cleaning up the gaps between the pie cut metal that was moved upwards to clear the taller/wider tire in bump direction.

                      Then primer and seam sealer on all of the bare sheet metal. Then the flares were bolted back on and the car was handed over to Amy to be street driven again.

                      INITIAL WEIGHT CHECK & ANALYSIS

                      As you have known Vorshlag to do on all projects, we are going to try to weigh more bits and pieces that come off this car as the build progresses. And a BEFORE weight is critical at the beginning of a project is as important as the AFTER weight.

                      The weight above was from August 23, 2016 in bone stock form, with the spare wheel/tire and floor jack removed, and almost zero fuel. We do this for almost every car, and call this our "race weight". Which is the race weight (without driver) you could autocross or track the car at. And while some cars need a bit more fuel to prevent starvation, a "no fuel" weight is a good way to compare to other cars.

                      This was the weight on December 11, 2018. The car had more fuel this time (1/4 tank), and we had upgraded from the comically small OEM wheels (17x7) and tires (215mm) to the Forgestar 18x11" wheels and 315mm Rival-S tires. We might need to go wider out back with the V8 we have planned, but it will be a safer baseline to start with than the 215mm Prius tires. This also has the Powerbrake 330mm front kit, a giant Optima battery out back, and Whiteline coilovers + camber plates.

                      Somehow the car gained 84 pounds in the past 2.5 years. Again, probably 25 pounds of that is fuel. The Group 78 Optima Red Top battery is massive, and moving it to the back requires 10' of big 00 copper wire as well. The flares and fab work added some weight, the brakes and coilovers tend to lose a little, so wheels and tires are the bulk of the rest of the difference. Seeing that they are 4" wider per corner, so that is to be expected. Still pretty light starting weight at 2718 lbs (high 2600s without fuel).

                      Should I worry about 60 pounds added with all of these updates? Probably not, but I am a little obsessed about weight. This car is still almost 1000 pounds lighter than my 2018 Mustang GT, which I race at 3855 lbs with driver and fuel. The FR-S has the same track width, and will soon have 150-200 more horsepower, too.

                      continued below
                      Terry Fair -
                      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                      • #26
                        Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

                        continued from above


                        Here is our first LS swap instructional post. The fun step - demolition!

                        Start by disconnecting the battery. Then, obviously, you will want to remove the hood. The stock aluminum hood is actually very light at 17.3 pounds. I've weighed steel hoods in the 40+ pound range, and the fiberglass hood on my 1992 Corvette was 80 pounds! The sad thing is, many if not most aftermarket "carbon" hoods will weigh more than this. By "carbon" I mean the carbon-over-fiberglass units that are affordable.

                        True dry carbon hoods made for motorsports use can be as little as 10 pounds or less (see above left), but again, with only a 17 pound stock aluminum hood you could spend $1000-1500 on a dry carbon hood to save... 7 pounds. At that dollar to weight ratio it doesn't seem very like a high priority, does it? On the BMW shown above, which had a 44.5 pound steel factory hood, yes... it made sense for that weight restrained car. But only just.

                        Next the stock exhaust is removed, from the back of the engine bay to the muffler tips. Then the driveshaft is removed from the axle flange and center bearing housing is unbolted. These parts can be stored, sold off, or thrown away - we won't be using those again.

                        Next a series of aluminum and plastic undertray panels need to be removed. This will give you access to the bottom of the engine and some of these might go back on later. Don't throw them out yet.

                        Next we like to DRAIN THE FLUIDS from the transmission, and possibly even the engine. The trans likes to leak out of the rear output seal when the driveshaft is removed and the drivetrain is tilted - makes a huge mess.

                        Next it is time to remove the bumper cover. To make this swap go faster (the drivetrain usually goes in and out at least twice) we are removing the whole front of the car: bumper cover, bumper beam, radiator support, radiator, etc.

                        With the bumper cover out of the way, four bolts on each side hold the bumper beam in place. Get that out of the way.

                        Remove the air intake tube and filter box, headlights and radiator support structure. All of this unbolts. Now drain the radiator.

                        Now go to a local AC shop and have the AC refrigerant evacuated. Do this before you take the car away from a running condition, if you are smart. As you can see in this picture, with the air intake tube removed you should seal up the throttle body - the stock FA20 engine is worth money, so don't screw it up.

                        Now the radiator, fan assembly, and AC condenser can be removed. See how much room we have gained up front?

                        Now discharge and disconnect all of the fuel lines to the engine. There is a special tool for this model, which we don't have. We are not re-using the stock lines on our build so we cut them and plugged the lines with bolts.

                        Now there isn't a great place to hang the engine from a chain on the front of the FA20. We looked online and people went to extreme lengths making hangers and such, but damn that. We did find this M14-1.5 threaded hole on the front of the block, so we CNC plasma cut a bracket, bent it 90°, and installed a fat M14 bolt in there.

                        That worked like a champ on the front of the motor - so well we might sell this bracket and bolt for FA20 motor removal. On the back of the motor (above right) there was already a bracket. Now you can hook a proper engine tilter from the engine hoist to get the drivetrain out.

                        Of course you have to unbolt the transmission, motor mounts, lots of wiring connectors, hoses, ground straps and coolant lines. That stuff is fairly self explanatory - we are just trying to show you the steps and tricky stuff. The drivetrain then can come right out the front with a couple of people guiding it and someone manning the engine hoist. The shifter handle was the trickiest part to clear the tunnel, then out it came.

                        We set the entire drivetrain on a pair of furniture dollies and it is safe, secure, and easy to roll around. NEXT!


                        This is one of the more complicated parts of this swap, and pretty much every LS swap we have seen requires this. See the factory Aisin 6-speed manual transmission mounts on a small crossmember that bolts to some little brackets tack welded inside the transmission tunnel.

                        This is the transmission our 86 LS swap kit is made to work with - Tremec T56 Magnum XL

                        The ONLY manual transmission we feel worth using in this swap is the Tremec T56 Magnum XL, which we have converted for use behind GM LS engines. This is a direct shift, 5.5" longer version of the Tremec T56 Magnum, with the same 2 ratio options and 700 ft-lb torque rating. It is a beast. You won't find this in any junkyard as it never came in any vehicle from the factory. While you may have seen some folks that support junkyard sourced, remote shifted transmissions in the 86 chassis, it just ain't Vorshlag.

                        To mount this big transmission in the somewhat smallish 86 tunnel, we have to remove some stamped steel, spot welded pieces to make room. Then we have a multi-piece transmission crossmember kit that is bolted to the tunnel with reinforcements on the inside. Once the side pieces are bolted in place, service and removal of the transmission is fast and easy. This setup is proven and works, but we need to remove some of the stock bits first.

                        As shown above is the stock transmission tunnel on our 2013 FR-S. We showed some of this on the Alpha car, but this time I took a lot more pictures of the removal of the brackets necessary to clear the Magnum XL. Of course at this point the stock drivetrain is out and we have the car on a lift...

                        Next you need to buy a 3/8" spot weld cutter kit. This is just a tiny (3/8" diameter) hole saw with a spring loaded tip to align the cut. Get a quality kit from Blair and a number of spares. This kit above is from Amazon for $25. Next you clean off the sheet metal around the brackets that have to be removed and mark the spot welds. Then center punch each spot weld to give the spot weld cutter a place to locate on.

                        Now get to work cutting out the spot welds. USE HEARING AND EYE PROTECTION. Once you are lined up on your center punched mark, carefully apply pressure and run the drill to cut the outermost sheet metal only. If you are ham fisted you can cut right through the transmission tunnel and into the carpet interior. BAD. Don't do that.

                        The pictures above show the proper look of the spot welds cut out without boring through into the tunnel. The two outer brackets that the stock transmission crossmember bolts to are removed first. Once you have the spot welds cut you can pry out the brackets. It takes a little muscle and some decent hand-eye coordination.

                        With those two outer brackets removed, the inner "U" shaped bracket comes out next. There were some spot welds covered up by the outer brackets. Get all of those cut, and again - be careful.

                        There is also one bracket just aft of the stock shifter hole, at the top of the tunnel. Get all of the brackets shown above left.

                        There will still be a little nipple of the old spot weld (the center of the tiny hole saw) that sticks up. Using a 2" sander on a 90 degree die grinder, Brad sanded the areas where the spot welds were with some 80 grit paper to get the sheet metal smooth.

                        Next up I asked Brad to clean then mask off the areas that were sanded. He then shot this with self-etching primer. Once that dried he hit it with some red automotive paint we had leftover from my BMW 330 (BMW Hellrot Red).

                        That's the "bracket removal prep" for the tunnel - next time we will show the Vorshlag transmission mount brackets being aligned, drilled, and bolted in. and a few "dings" in the tunnel that are needed to clear some protrusions on the T56 Magnum XL.

                        continued below
                        Terry Fair -
                        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                        • #27
                          Re: Vorshlag BRZ/FRS Project Development Thread

                          continued from above


                          This is a relatively easy step, but it needs pictures and instructions.

                          The stock "crossmember" is the black lateral structure shown above. This structure bolts to the chassis and has mounts for the front control arms as well as the engine mounts.

                          Due to an oddly shaped bracket that was inconsistent, we opted to make our LS engine mounts work with this section removed from the stock crossmember.

                          Now this simple mod can be done with the crossmember mounted in the car - which we did the first time.

                          Once again these offending brackets are just spot welded to the crossmember. Same technique described above to remove them. Sand down the leftover nipples, paint, and move on.


                          Back when we bought Amy's FR-S I located a used 86 front crossmember and purchased it. We popped off the two engine mount brackets that need to be removed.

                          Then I took this to one of our local powder coating shops, who bead blasted the factory paint off the entire assembly. This way we could see the bare steel and all of the welds. The factory crossmember assembly is made of bent plates welded together in a fixture - it is very strong and still lightweight.

                          But it is apparent that the factory "skip welds" this assembly together, which we felt we could improve upon. I had one of our fabricators fully stitch weld the seams using the TIG, using careful heat application as to not twist or warp the assembly. This fills in the missing welds for a fully seam welded assembly.

                          Once fully welded the results look great. This should make for a stronger crossmember, more resistant to bending or twisting. And I'm sure some of you will ask, "Why not make a tubular crossmember?? Aren't they lighter!" Well here is the weight of the stock crossmember, which is pretty admirable for what it is.

                          At barely more than 20 pounds, how much do you think you will really save with a $1000-1500+ tubular front crossmember over the stock piece. 2 pounds? 3? If a crossmember gets much lighter than that it starts to become dangerously close to failure, even with "chromoly" tubing. And keeping a custom tubular structure from warping or twisting enough that it can still bolt into the chassis is trickier than you might think. Chromoly also has some nasty tendencies to crack at welds unless it is heat treated after welding - which can cause it to twist/warp. The potential for problems far outweighs the potential for 2 pounds of savings, in my eyes.

                          We took the stitch welded crossmember and had it powder coated in gloss black, for a stronger finish than stock. Looks great, stronger, and ready for an LS!

                          Of course we removed two two brackets necessary to work with our V8 motor mounts. If we get any demand for this we will start stock piling stock 86 crossmembers, get them blasted/welded/powder coated in batches. We will see.


                          We have this stitch-welded, reinforced, and powder coated crossmember in our car now. Just a few pics to show the steps for doing this. Again - this step is optional and not at all required with this swap.

                          The swaybar "sub-brackets" need to be removed, shown above. Unbolt the two bolts on the swaybar bushing housing bracket and let the swaybar hang free, still attached to the endlinks.

                          Two big bolts secure the steering rack to the crossmember. Remove those and let the rack "hang" from the tie rods and steering shaft.

                          Next remove the bolt/nut that secures the rearmost (larger) lower front control arm bushing to the crossmember. With those bolts removed you can pull the control arm free of the pocket in the crossmember.

                          With the crossmember supported, now remove the four crossmember mounting bolts that thread into the chassis. Now you can pull the crossmember out of the car. The new one goes into place in the reverse order (above right). Be careful to start all four bolts by hand before you impact/tighten/torque them in place during reassembly.

                          Note the "dead man" threaded height stand that is holding the new crossmember in place while it is being secured. The lower control arms, rack, swaybar, and brackets are all assembled to the reinforced crossmember.

                          All buttoned up and pretty as can be. Brad had already pressure washed the bare engine bay, then detailed all of the painted surfaces by hand waxing them. This is done to get these amazing pictures, but I also simply love a clean engine bay!


                          Due to the layout of the stock crossmember and engine bay, an LS swap in the 86 chassis requires a "front sump" oil pan. The only one GM ever made for the LS engine is from the GTO, which we are none too fond of.

                          Instead we are going to try using a fabricated oil pan. So we put a bare block+heads mated to our T56 Magnum XL transmission and bellhousing for mock-ups.

                          Brad put blue tape on the freshly powder coated crossmember, then bolted on a set of our motor mounts. Then in went the drivetrain, right from the front.

                          With this in place we could measure for the front sump oil pan sump dimensions.

                          We used this opportunity to measure for 3 "dings" in the tunnel that make the transmission fit without touching. Yes, even with the spot welded brackets removed its still a bit tight in there. We will show more of this as "instructions" in a future installment to this build thread.

                          CARBON FRONT NOSE

                          This isn't part of the swap, just an upgrade being done for looks and cooling. We plan on using this particular car for street, autocross, and road course use. And the motor we are building at Horsepower Research (HPR) is pretty bonkers, but it is still built to be Naturally Aspirated and will be tuned for 93 octane pump gas. I will show the build-up of this engine in future thread updates.

                          After looking at dozens of replacement bumper cover options, most looked a little too "over the top" for what we have in mind. I want to keep these particular flares (or the original these are copied from) so I don't need a "widebody" nose. This Extreme Dimensions / Carbon Creations 86-R nose (above) was the most subdued option we found. It has room for twin oil cooler(s) and a mostly flat bottom front lip, for potential splitter addition.

                          This had to be shipped by freight truck but Extreme Dim does a great job of boxing and wrapping this up. Multiple layers of sheet foam, plastic, all taped up and in a box. Looked great when we pulled it out.

                          We stuck it up against the fenders for a quick mock-up, and it looks like it will fit well when it is bolted up. We are only doing this to allow for twin engine oil coolers as well as a future modification having to do with a custom bumper beam and radiator. We may enlarge the lower grill opening as well - stay tuned to see what we do next time.

                          HOLLEY HI-RAM INTAKE MOCKUP

                          You may have seen this online when I posted pictures on Facebook, but we know the benefits of the Hi-Ram on a big inch LS engine. It can be worth 50+ whp peak over an MSD Atomic intake, but damn if it's not a tall manifold!

                          This was just a stretch goal for this build, but the loss of visibility and the added drag of this monstrosity sticking out of the hood is just not in the cards for us.

                          We borrowed this from HPR but after taking some measurements and seeing it on the car, we took it back knowing that this intake is pretty extreme.

                          WHAT'S NEXT?

                          The crew is already working on the next steps. Myles and Jason are designing bumper brackets to cut on the CNC plasma table, then Evan will make a tubular bumper beam to replace the stock unit. Not for weight, but to make room for a different radiator arrangement and to hang a splitter from.

                          Brad is removing the stock carpet now so we can begin the transmission bracket install, and to weigh the insulation underneath the carpets. the LS V8 is being built at HPR and I will show some "behind the scenes" pics next time of that coming together in the next update.

                          Of course the biggest priority is to design and build prototype long tube headers for this swap, which will start very soon. We are using larger 1-7/8" primaries and 3" collectors. Look for that work next time, with a production header soon after. The flanges, bends, and collectors are here, and we have a new 1-7/8" ICE Engine Works design kit as well.

                          Thanks for reading,
                          Terry Fair -
                          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                          • #28
                            Project update for December 24th, 2019: Many months flew by since my last post in this thread. Had started this post in early summer but it grew so big I was editing it down, then we had a 3 month Vorshlag forum outage, then I was sick for 2 months in the Fall, which put me way behind on all forum updates. Long story short - we are back to full speed and I have been updating all of our Project Build Threads as time allows - even while adding several additional customer cars and shop owned build projects.

                            Big news first: we have our production 86 LS swap 1-7/8" primary, stainless steel LONG TUBE headers in stock, and have already shipped all backorders. There have also been some small revisions to our 86 LS / T56 transmission crossmember, and our shop build has made a lot of progress - which is sharing build time and budgets with THREE other shop projects (my 2015 Mustang #LS550 swap, the Team Vorshlag E46 LS endurance race car , and my daily driver parts hauler #TruckNorris2). Let's catch up where we are on this build + the new 86 swap parts we are working to get into production (long tube headers!)

                            LS T56 DRIVETRAIN INSTALL & OIL PAN SELECTION

                            Last time we were about to install a mock-up drivetrain, and we showed all of the work to prep the tunnel and subframe for our mounts. Sure, I wish we had a purely "bolt-in" solution for motor mounts for this chassis, but the crossmember just doesn't have good places to bolt an LS V8 to. The factory tunnel is also too tiny for a massive 700 ft-lb rated T56 Magnum XL 6-speed - we have to remove those spot welded bits inside to fit this beastly transmission.

                            Now that those engine bay + tunnel "preparation" steps are out of the way (which take about a day of work) we can move on to installing the drivetrain using our LS swap mounts (see section below for our revised trans crossmember) and look at the oil pan options. The drivetrain was shown installed for the Holley Hi-Ram intake mock-up last time, but this time I will show more of that drivetrain install step.

                            Since the upper radiator support unbolts, the 86 is actually very easy to install the entire LS + T56 XL drivetrain at once, right from the front. Huge time saver here. We used an "engine leveler" to get the tilt on the assembled drivetrain right. The oil pans that fit this car and swap are all "front sump" so that the lower sump part of the oil pan doesn't get in the way. We installed our mockup block/heads/bellhousing/trans without an oil pan initially, as shown above.

                            We then installed the Vorshlag LS swap motor mount assemblies, above. Since we are making a "show car" level engine bay (for Optima event use) and we knew the engine would be in and out a number times for oil pan testing + header prototyping, we put blue tape on all of the surface of the freshly powder coated subframe. No scratches with the in-out-in-out of this drivetrain.

                            Every OEM oil pan for the LS/LT is a "rear sump" design except one - the Australian designed GTO oil pan shown above. You can see from the internal piping (above right) that it is a Band-Aid oil pan design. It moves the oil feed/return from the rear of the engine block (where the oil filter normally resides) to a front located oil filter, and it also has a unique baffle, windage tray and pick-up tube. This is the pan we used on the Alpha build back in 2014-14, and it is still in the car today (and it is being tracked and has a widebody now - I will show it below).

                            We built our swap mounts + trans crossmember around the GTO oil pan, and that is still a viable pan to use for wet sump use. But to say that this is the least desirable factory LS oil pan would be accurate.

                            After we saw a number of oil pans made by Sikky at the PRI show in 2018 we asked if they'd sell us one for our swap. They are an LS swap competitor and didn't have to, but said they would - which is very cool. This is a fabricated pan with internal trap doors for oil control around the pickup tube. They have since designed a newer front sump oil pan since this version (and slashed the price on the version that we bought) that has a larger front sump to specifically fit the opening on an 86 chassis with an LS swap. That's the pan we suggest people use.

                            When the oil pan kit arrived I took it to our sister shop Horsepower Research and we test fit this pan to a 4.250" stroke bottom end (468" / 7.7L engine like what we are using in this car). We turned the crank and the rotating assembly cleared the pan fine, so we moved forward. Still might switch to their larger sump version before we crank up our 468" in this car.

                            We bolted this to our mock-up LS engine and stuck the drivetrain back into our 86. Notice the large "gap" behind the front sump in the above right pic? That is what Sikky noticed and realized that they needed to make the sump bigger to fit in this space - their new 86 swap front sump pan uses this volume.

                            We have the largest 86 front swaybar on the market installed - the Whiteline 22mm unit - and it just barely fits in front of the rear plate of the oil pan. The lower portion of the oil pan sits level with the subframe, so it won't be the lowest part of the car. I think Sikky designed this before they made their 86 swap kit, which is lucky to have the sump height and swaybar clearance right, but explains the "gap" behind the front sump. Again, their new version should work even better.

                            The Sikky front sump pans come with a pan mounted oil filter adapter kit with twin fittings for AN lines, to remote mount the oil filter. They do this instead of the wonky internal piping and front oil filter location of the GTO pan. This adapter block can be seen at the back of the pan in the picture above left. Sikky told us at the 2918 PRI show that they have updated the oil filter adapter on their newer front sump pan for an angled orientation for these two O-Ring Boss to AN fittings (see above right pic). The fittings in the initial oil pan version we bought get awful close to the steering rack - we made it work with some 90 deg Fragola hose end fittings, but it is close.


                            With the proper track worthy oil pan selected we moved on to the transmission crossmember, which I wanted to revise for even more exhaust clearance.

                            When our former fabricator Olof built the exhaust on the Alpha build above we noticed there was a space constraint at the crossmember. We're trying to feed twin 3" tubes aft of some catalytic convertors under the crossmember, and it becomes the lowest part of the car there. Aft of this area it can kick back up into the transmission tunnel...

                            Olof did a brilliant job of this exhaust, and used every millimeter of room there, but it is a choke point. We went to a single 3" rear exhaust on the Alpha build since the rear subframe only has an exhaust pass-thru area on the left side - since the little 2.0L doesn't need much more than that. Then we tied into the Magnaflow kit made for the FA20 engine. It made for a lot of bends... and we're going to do something different on our shop build. It will need TWO exhaust pipes all the way back and two BIG ASS mufflers to deal with the 650 whp engine going into it.

                            To gain room at this crossmember location I wanted to change the initial design that was hand built and work thru a few iterations using our new CNC plasma table. Then I wanted to add some "load spreader" plates on the inside of the transmission tunnel where our LS swap crossmember bolts to the sheet metal. We used big washers on the Alpha car, shown above right....

                            This just didn't look right to me, so we took a laser cut bracket from our transmission crossmember parts bin, traced out a load spreader using the 4 thru-holes and hand made these reinforcement plates. I wanted to make this a production kit update, which have been sending with kits doing thru the 2nd half of 2019).

                            We were also updating from the red polyurethane bolt-thru transmission mount bushing to this Energy Suspension captured poly bushing, which we first utilized on our BMW Z4 LS swap kit in early 2019. To get started I asked Brad to install one of our existing 86 T56/LS swap transmission crossmembers into our red FR-S shop car.

                            This transmission mount bushing might look familiar - we have used it on numerous GM cars over the years, and it was even used on the original Alpha E36 LS car back in 2001! We cut one in half to show the "captive" design of the casting and internal metal components. So if by chance the polyurethane had some sort of thermal failure the metal upper and lower plates would still be held in place. This thick bushing wasn't possible on our older tubular style crossmembers but these are going into all of our LS swap transmission crossmember designs from now on.

                            I asked our newest engineer Myles to design and cut these new 86 / T56 crossmembers, which he welded up as well. This was his first revision, shown above. The large diameter round fillets designed into the lower edge of the new cross-piece were a bit excessive, and it left some of the original tunnel mounted side-brackets in the path of the exhaust cut-outs. So I asked him to trim the lower corners off the side brackets to gain some room. This design allows for this new Energy Suspension bushing, which is thicker than our original poly bolt-thru bushing.

                            The tunnel mounted side brackets were modified for more clearance, and another (final) revision of the cross piece was made. This one didn't have as much "scallop" but still provides considerably more exhaust clearance than our 2015 version - look at the bottom of the cross plate above and below compared to the 2015 version two rows up. Relative to the bottom of the tunnel rails the new design has about an inch more upper room. Should make fitting twin 3" exhaust pipes easier and gives more ground clearance.

                            This is our 2019 revised 86 / T56 Magnum XL transmission crossmember. More ground clearance, uses a newer bushing design with more "cushion" for NVH attenuation, and it can bolt right up to our 2015 version tunnel side mounts. If you trim the lower corners on the older side-brackets like we did to these, you can upgrade an existing kit for more exhaust room. Myles also cut some of these interior load spreading plates, with a new shape to clear some floorpan bumps. These inside plates will come with all of our 86 crossmember kits from now on.

                            LS ENGINE ACCESSORY INSTALL

                            We needed to get a set of accessories on the front of our mock-up engine before we could design the new full length headers, so we went with what we used on the Alpha car back in 2015 - the G8 / CTS-V accessories shown below.

                            The front of the engine bay gets very tight on the 86, so we need all the fore-aft room we can get. The old 4th gen F-body Camaro Ls accessories are further forward, and the truck LS are even further still. These G8 / CTS-V bits are as close to the block as the Corvette bits, but mount narrower and tighter to the block laterally. Since this car has electric assist steering we do NOT need or want the power steering pump, but we have the trick for routing the idler beaings to get adequate belt wrap without that hydraulic pump and pulley sitting high up in the engine bay.

                            We have taken what we learned from this Alpha 86 LS build and revised it to include the late LS7 Corvette water pump in our "non power steering" accessory drive, shown above. We used this on an E46 LS swap with a 468" LS7 based engine with a 4 stage dry sump oil pump and no air con. We will do the same routing on our 86 but with a wet sump oiling system and with an air conditioning compressor.

                            We ordered this hybrid batch of LS7 Corvette / G8 accessories and brackets, our special idler bits to make it all work without the power steering pump, and bolted them to the mock-up engine.

                            This is when we started the revised long tube header development...


                            We spent the better part of 2015 getting a production long tube header designed, fabricated, back and forth changes trying to get a production version that fit. We had one mistake in our design, but it was all for nothing - the production manufacturer lost our production fixture and prototypes.

                            This isn't a joke, and I didn't think it was very funny at the time... and this issue is why we bought our red 2013 FR-S to start over.

                            Our fabricator Evan started on this prototype header work in early May 2019 and I worked very closely with him on routing, clearances, etc. This was to ensure we did not make any mistakes this time, maximize clearances, have a front swaybar installed - things like that.\

                            continued below
                            Terry Fair -
                            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                            • #29
                              continued from above

                              Working with a new 1-7/8" primary set of ICE Engine Works modeling bends Evan was able to quickly work through iterations that would have taken many more hours and wasted tubing in metal. But since this development work "isn't billable" we kept having to pull Evan off this design project and onto customer jobs. The 86 pretty much dominated this 2-post lift as the design progressed, when he had time to spend an hour or two on the work. In an ideal world you would work straight thru and this would take about a week and a half to do, but it ended up taking 8 weeks working in fits and spurts.

                              We mocked up two 3" pipes nested the revised crossmember to see the ground clearance as well as to have end points for the collectors to aim towards.

                              Once we were satisfied with the prototype design we marked every tube at every clearance point, then made detailed pictures and videos for the production manufacturer to make sure we were all on the same page with respect to pinch points at the chassis. The prototypes came out quickly and easily. All you need to do to install is drop the steering crossmember (see above left) and swaybar + chassis brackets (above right).

                              The prototypes were shipped off in early July and by late August we saw the 3D scanned / designed CAD images. In mid October we had CNC bent pre-production units here for testing, and they looked more like our prototypes on the "first try" than any of the many header design processes we have ever done.

                              These production versions went in and worked perfectly - and they had increased clearance at a few locations based on our notes and videos.

                              We took some pictures and sent these back for final welding and a production batch - we we got our hands on in late November. I will show those below.

                              TUBULAR FRONT BUMPER

                              We briefly explained last time that we would be adding a tubular bumper beam to our car - and we do not plan to make this a production piece, just a custom tweak to our shop 86. We're doing custom for a number of reasons, but "weight savings" isn't high on the list. Look at the stock 2013 FR-S front bumper cover (aka: nose) below.

                              These cars have a massive grill opening but fully HALF of that opening is blocked by the big box shape of the front crash beam. All of the area above the beam is completely blocked with air inlet mufflers and doo-dads, shown below left.

                              The high strength steel used in most modern front bumper beams (that aren't aluminum or carbon fiber from the factory) makes them very strong. This unit unbolts and is less than 15 pounds, which is admirable (many OEMs bolt AND weld them in place). While the bumper beam is bulky it is also somewhat narrow - the lateral coverage only goes out to the halfway point of the front headlights.

                              Many aftermarket tubular bumper beams are just a simple straight tube and are often even narrower than the stock crash bar (see above left). We've seen this first hand lead to unnecessary fender/headlight damage in small "racing incidents". To protect these vital areas, especially when we stick oil coolers on the extreme lateral locations like we plan to on this 86, we like to make a curved and bent tubular bumper beam that extends much wider than the OEM or typical racing style crash bar (see above right).

                              I showed the carbon front nose we ordered for this car last time, which has a smaller front grill opening (which we may or may not enlarge) but adds two very large openings on both sides of the grill - in place of the fog lights and fake brake inlet grills on the factory nose. We want to stick a big oil cooler on one of these side openings and the air filter inlet on the other side. I will talk more later about mounting the nose, but we mocked it up onto our car in August 2019, above.

                              We have utilized aftermarket carbon noses with these larger side openings for oil coolers on this 468" LS powered E46 M3 above. On that car the "side inlets" were a bit smaller so we used twin oil coolers (see above right). The Carbon Creations nose for our 86 has side openings that are much larger and after we calculated the cooler needs we found that one larger oil heat exchanger on one side should suffice for our 86. Let's talk about the construction of the tubular beam for our 86 - which we did with a new shop tool we bought / built.

                              MAKING A POWERED TUBING ROLLER

                              For years we have been making curved front bumper beams with a hand powered Harbor Freight manual tubing roller. When one of my fabricators left in 2018 he took this tool with him, so I bought another one in 2019 and then with our fabricator Evan's input I ordered a number of upgrade parts from Swag Offroad.

                              The Swag kit includes some laser cut plates, machined shafts, and other bits that allow the basic $180 tubing roller to be upgraded to tackle bigger jobs, and do the work faster. Their kit allows for more placement locations for the 3 rollers (one in the middle, two on the ends), adds a hydraulic jack for pressure on the center roller, and an electric motor replaces the hand wheel.

                              This upgrades a somewhat limited tool to a much more powerful, more efficient electric powered unit. Evan welded up all of the SWAG upgraded bits and Brad added a mounting base with a tool cabinet I bought at Harbor Freight for $79 - this makes for a great mobile stand. The drawer holds all 3 sets of rollers (for different tubing diameters) and it all makes for a pretty slick assembly.

                              Evan and Myles mocked up the carbon fiber nose, and then Myles took over to make the tubular bumper beam, while Evan moved back to two customer car builds. We ran some calculations and picked a 1.50" dia x .095" wall DOM tubing for the front bumper beam. Myles and I discussed the design and he got to work.

                              Normally you make a tube a couple of feet longer than you need and trim to fit, to account for the ends that cannot make it all the way through the 3 rollers. Myles got the tube bent to the same curved shape of the middle of the nose in about 15 minutes with the new powered tubing roller. Evan has since made some additional design and fabrication tweaks to the Swag kit and it is more stable and easier to use than ever.

                              We had the basic "bend" for the middle portion, then Myles used our JD2 tubing bender and added the "kinks" at the headlight openings, to match the shape of the carbon nose. The finished curved/bent tubing mated up nicely on the carbon nose (see above right). He trimmed the ends on one of our band saws (above left) and it was ready to be fitted to the chassis.

                              Really happy with how this turned out, using a new tubing roller + out tubing bender. Should make for a good fit and maximize our room in front of the engine and behind the bumper cover for a bigger than stock radiator.

                              Next up Evan made a paper template of a mounting plate that bolted to the factory bumper beam mounting location. He used an old "rubbing" technique to find the hole openings, then cut out a paper mock-up to verify fit. I then scan these and send them to Myles, who imports it into CAD and scales it size and then cuts them on the CNC plasma table. Takes a few minutes to make a complicated design - some brain power and then cut it with robots.

                              Myles made the stand offs with more of the 1.5 x .095" DOM tubing, which were fitted with the nose in place. The curved/bent tubular beam was mocked up tight to the backside of the carbon, and the mounting plates bolted in place. A cut and a cope and they were tacked together on the car.

                              This angle shows how many feet of room are opened up in front of the LS engine with this beam pushed out to the carbon nose. This adds so much room for activities!

                              With the bar tack welded in place on the car, it was removed and some some angular gussets were added.

                              After it was tacked together on the car the whole assembly was TIG welded by Myles on one of our fab tables. We will powder coat this bar once we have added the: twin tow hooks, mounts for the oil cooler, any mounts needed for the air inlet tube, brackets added to mount the carbon nose, any front radiator duct box tabs, and the front splitter strut stand offs - so it will be raw steel until a later stage in the build.

                              ROLLED RADIATOR INSTALL

                              Once again - this is showing the custom rolled radiator install we are doing for our shop car, which is not something we will sell in production. The tubular bumper beam was made to fit inside one specific carbon nose, and the radiator we spec'd was made to fit within this beam and nose assembly.

                              You don't need to do any of this - see the Mishimoto radiator shown above. This was the normal unit made for the FA20 in the 86 chassis, and we made the Alpha car's LS engine fit around that. We had to cut (see below), re-angle, and weld the center post of the radiator support to clear the lower the LS crank pulley. It was tight, and we used every millimeter to make this work. We ditched the OEM fans and built a custom fan shroud (see above right) using lower profile Mishimoto fans on the Alpha car also.

                              For a 650 whp engine like we are building we need a bit more core size, and rolling the the top of the radiator forward (even more than the stock unit does) - plus the extra space we gained by removing the upper radiator support, the front bumper beam and adding our custom tubular unit - allows for a good bit more radiator core to fit. Overkill is always preferred, and when you are making nearly 750 hp at the crank the FA20 sized Mishi unit might be a bit lacking.

                              With the upper radiator support gone but the carbon nose and our bumper beam in place I personally measured for the largest radiator size that we could fit in there. It gains a LOT of space with an extreme roll like this. I searched the catalogs and found something that was a little narrower than the stock unit (which is freakishly wide due to the obscene width of the Subaru flat 4 and the 86's wacky engine bay) but still bigger in overall frontal area and thickness than the OEM or Mishimoto drop-in units. Myles pulled the nose off and got to work making new radiator mounts.

                              What we ended up with was a sort of generic fit Griffin aluminum radiator, with some bits we needed to cut off and others we needed to add. I wanted the lower mounts to use the factory rubber isolator bushings and pin drive like the OEM radiator, so Myles salvaged the bushings and machined some custom aluminum rod to the right size and length, then TIG welded those to the lower tanks.

                              After we discussed the next steps Myles used the spot weld cutter to remove the lower radiator mounts. With those out of the way - and the rubber bushings removed - it was now time to make some new lower mounts.

                              Using some CAD designs based on the angle of tilt and available "shelf" area to mount to, Myles cut these on the CNC table and bent them to shape. The 4 holes on the upper and lower flanges allow for rosette welds to the stock lower radiator core, on the upper and lower surfaces. The big hole in the middle is perfectly sized to accept the OEM rubber bushing for the lower pin mount.

                              With the radiator used as a guide for spacing, the lower brackets were welded in place. Then the raw steel exposed for welding + the new brackets were hit with self etching primer and the bushings were popped in place,

                              See how much room we gained with this rolled setup vs the OEM angle/placement. The Alpha car's pics show the Mishimoto radiator damn near touching the lower crank pulley. Now there is a good bit of room at the bottom and a VAST area at the top edge to the front of the motor. This makes venting the hood MUCH more effective... add a big splitter and a duct box and the front end gets some real downforce going.

                              After bending up a card board template and transferring to CAD, Myles CNC cut these upper radiator brackets in aluminum and bent them to shape. Some steel brackets that were welded to the tubular bumper beam got a rivnut added, for a bolt-on bracket. Some silicone hose was cut and placed inside the aluminum upper bracket to damp any vibrations and limit movement.

                              Since we are using a remote coolant reservoir mounted high in the back of the engine bay we do not need the included radiator neck that came with this radiator, so Myles cut that off of the passenger side end tank. We do this all the time and will patch the hole with a piece of aluminum plate that will be TIG welded over that. We also needed the flat space for the upper radiator bracket on that side, shown below.

                              The radiator was strapped to the upper brackets while the mating bumper brackets were tack welded in place. The radiator comes out with two bolts - the upper brackets are removed, then the radiator slides up and out from the lower pin mounts. Easy, isolated, and fully contained in all 3 axis. Next!

                              continued below
                              Terry Fair -
                              2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                              EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                              • #30
                                continued from above

                                ALPHA 86 LS CAR GETS OUR 18X11" WHEELS!

                                Before we kicked off the LS swap project on our shop 86 we spec'd, ordered and installed these 18x11" Forgestar Super Deep F14 wheels and 315mm Rival-S tires. Then added the low buck flares, then clearanced the chassis / fenders / frame to make the tires steer to full lock. Wasn't easy but it was worth 2.5 seconds going from good 215mm tires to these used 315mm tires on the same road course - even with the little 2.0L and 160 whp.

                                The original Alpha LS 86 we built in 2015 had some modest wheels and 255mm tires, but it changed hands in 2018 - and I mentioned before that the new owner was a NASA TT driver (Tyler), and he has some skills.

                                He was tired of running 255mm tires so he bought and installed this body kit (below) and added it to the Alpha LS swap car. The wheel specs needed to fit 18x11's for this widebody were the exact same as our car, which had 18x11s...

                                Tyler needed to get into some wider tires to compete at a Gridlife event in only 2 weeks. There was no way a custom set of wheels could be ordered in time, and nobody else on the planet had what he needed - so he bought the wheels right off our red car. They had exactly one track day on them and the silver color worked well on that silver car.

                                He has added a functional splitter and rear wing as well - this thing is quicker than ever! The class he runs required a certain type of tire, so he bought some fresh ones and off we went to Road Atlanta.

                                He loaned us a set of 18x9.5" Advan wheels to use to roll the car around in the shop until our new wheels arrived. We ordered wider wheels this time - because why not? There's room under these flares, and a 315mm tire is "squared up" better on a 12" wheel. And we might just throw some 335s onto these wheels for even more grip. #BigTiresMatter

                                TESTING SEATS + NEW 86 SEAT BRACKETS

                                For Optima competition we need to think about pretty insane speeds on a road course - we touched 160 mph on course in our 2011 GT below with only 430 whp. I ran a Cobra halo style fixed back composite racing seat in that car. It was almost never driven on the street as the pointy end of the grid at these events morphs into. These fixed back racing seats coupled with 6-point racing harnesses, a 4-point roll bar, full fire suit/gloves/shoes, full Snell SA rated helmet, and HANS device is what you need to be running to run in their Expert run groups, which is the fast cars on track at an Optima event.

                                But you can also run a stock seat and 3-point belts with a helmet in their intermediate or beginner groups - and that isn't always a bad thing (they can be smaller run groups with less traffic). My wife Amy wants to actually street drive this car a bit, and for that a tilt back seat and 3 point belts makes the car a lot more enjoyable and actually a bit safer for daily driving use.

                                So we looked at splitting the difference on this car (at least initially) and tried out two "new to us" Sparco brand tilt back seats, which are part of their Tuner line of seats.

                                Above left is the R333 seat which comes in 3 color combinations. We picked the Black.Red/Grey version. Above right is the Chrono seat, which comes in two sizes and two material finishes, both in black. We ordered the "Large" in cloth, and it proved to be a bit wider than either Amy or I needed.

                                And while the a properly fitted racing seat can be comfortable, it takes work to find the right one and/or what it that way. Most of these "Tuner" tilt back seats come in one size, and due to the tilt feature it is just a lot easier to make them comfortable for a wide variety of driver torso/width differences. There can still be some pretty basic sizing differences that need to be looked at.

                                The R333 fit Amy and Myles (shown above left) well, as they are about the same height - note the shoulder "wings" and the slots for the upper harnesses are both visible above his shoulders. That is a safe, good fit. This seat, however, does not fit me (above right). I would say this R333 is better suited for folks under 5'8" or so, but taller torsos would work better in a seat with a higher seat back and harness slot placements. The shoulder support "wings" are completely under my arm pits when I tested out this one. Base and width were fine, just too much torso length.

                                Above left is me in the R333 again - you can see the slots for the shoulder harnesses are about 6" below the top of my shoulders. Not good. Using this seat with racing harnesses would be dangerous for someone of my my height, as it would put a compressive force on my spine in a forward impact. The shoulder straps would have to go thru the slots, then UP and over my shoulders, then back down to the buckle. Not a good fit. But the Chrono seat (above right) fit me fine - the shoulder slots were visible above my shoulder, so those would be safer for me. This Chrono had more lateral leg support and were closer to an EVO 2 racing seat than the R333.

                                Ultimately we chose the R333, as it fit Amy better. We will reassess the seating once this car is up an running, depending on who is driving it and at what type of event.

                                Myles took measurements of the floor and designed the CNC cut one of our Vorshlag seat base brackets. We have made these for a number of chassis including: S197 Mustang, S550 Mustang, and Audi R8. I explain the reason we make these brackets, and the engineering ideas behind them, in this post. Long story short: we wanted to see a much more rigid seat bracket, that was much shorter than other designs, and had incorporated this "ribbing" underneath. These are made to bolt to a specific chassis on a specific side, then have holes for 4 of the 6 points of a racing harness (anti-sub and lap belts), then you drill holes to mount your seat of choice - either with sliders or without, and with side brackets or bottom mount.

                                On this car we installed the driver's side with a slider and the passenger side fixed. We will re-use the OEM 3-point belts for street use and add 6-point racing harnesses for

                                PRODUCTION LONG TUBE HEADERS!

                                In late November we got the first production batch of 86 LS swap headers! These are 321 stainless long tubes with 1-7/8" primaries - no compromises here, and they clear the steering rack and swaybar without any effort. Compared to a shorty or mid-length header, or one of a smaller diameter, these will make more power everywhere.

                                As with the versions we showed above, they go in quickly and easily. We are building the exhaust for our shop 86 shortly and I will show the routing we are doing. We need a LOT more flow to let the 468" LS7 we are installing breathe. I also hate SUPER loud cars, and this will be street driven, so it will get some large case mufflers to cut down the noise.

                                WHAT'S NEXT?

                                In late November we pulled the mock-up engine and 6-speed transmission out of our 86 (below left) and stuck it into the 2015 Mustang "S550" chassis I bought in late August (below right). As luck would have it, the S550 chassis has the same firewall-to-shifter hole spacing as the 86, and the T56 Magnum XL is the perfect fit for this #LS550 swap. We used the last 6 weeks to fully develop a transmission crossmember, LS motor mounts, and even long tube LS headers for that S550 chassis. Why did that go so much quicker? This shortened development period comes from additional engineering and manufacturing capabilities we have added in the last year at Vorshlag, but also from the fact that the S550 has a gigantic engine bay and transmission tunnel. That required a lot less trickery to make this drivetrain fit.

                                We are now building a wet sump 468" LS7 at Horsepower Research for our 86, a street engine made for pump gas. We will make it run with a GM E38 computer and a wiring harness from Wiring Specialties. We saw their harness at work with an 86 dash at the 2019 PRI show, and if it really is as "plug-n-play" as they say the wiring should be a breeze. This uses their new 58x LS Pro Series harness, which we tested on our '69 Camaro LS3 build a year ago. This video I took shows their 58x harness and the 86 dash working together via CAN.

                                We also saw the new Tilton ST-246 twin disc clutch in person, and it was impressive. We will use one of these in both our 86 and the #LS550 n the next update I will show more - like the installation of the oil cooler, the wiring harness we found that will make the CAN based OEM systems work, and more. We have been using these Derale Performance oil coolers with excellent results of late - the one above left is going on our red 86, and the below above right was just installed on a customer's 2010 Mustang. That S197 Mustang is getting a Gen II Coyote swap, rolled radiator, ducted grill and the same oil cooler + remote thermostatic oil filter housing setup as we will use on our 86.

                                Will show more of our 86 swap's engine construction, intake manifold selection, cold air inlet fabrication, custom "quiet" exhaust being built, the Tilton clutch, our new swap driveshaft, mounting the Accusump, and the new wiring harness next time.

                                Thanks for reading!
                                Last edited by Fair!; 12-25-2019, 10:48 AM.
                                Terry Fair -
                                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev