Under the skin

A couple days ago, I took the nose off the car, and took the intake system out.  I did this for measurements for future projects.  I wanted to take a look at different intake routes to free up space between the engine and the radiator, and I wanted to look at practical mounts for oil coolers and splitters.  I figured others might want to see the pictures so they wouldn’t have to take their car apart to see under the skin.  I won’t be writing a big story, just posting up the pics.

For those that want to take the nose off themselves, its really pretty easy.  you have about 7 10mm blots on top and bottom of the nose, and a bunch of little plastic push rivets which you need a flat head screwdriver to remove.  The only tricky ones are the ones inside the corner marker housings.  Not sure why they are designed this way, as they were a pain to get out.  But if I were to do it again, now that I know how I think I could have the bumper off in 10 mins.

as a point of reference, here is the fully dressed engine bay. I know those resonance chambers are there for a reason, but there is a ton of plastic taking up valuable space between the engine and the radiator.

similar shot, just no intake plumbing. Lots of room. Subaru already leaned the top of the radiator forward, so there is more space at the top than at the bottom.

Here is a better angle to see the lean of the radiator.  Fans are relatively slim lined.  No idea on the CFM they push, but as you’ll see in later pics, the radiator is pretty well sealed from the front, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

Better shot of the radiator and the air intake.  You can see if going over the radiator on the left side.  Any shop out there want to collaborate on an intake tube that uses the same passageway?

nose off the car. The crash beam looks really light. And the nose is supported buy Styrofoam.

up close shot of the intake snorkel from the front side of the radiator. Lots of thought went into this. But if you want all the mess from behind the radiator to be tossed, I think this has to go.

Here is the opening where that intake snorkel was. The airbox is on the other side during this photo, so you can see the paper filter.

For reference with a tape measure…

from the drivers side without the nose. You can see how far the bumper beam extends. Looks like a great place to suspend the splitter from in the future. And water weighs what? 7lbs/gallon? looks like there is 7 pounds of windshield washer fluid to come off the nose of the car when it comes time to try and remove the lbs…

really nice plastic shrouding of the radiator. The bottom panel especially. You can see the sides that keep the air from escaping around the radiator here as well. I’ll be curious to see water and oil temps at the track in 2 weeks…

here is the inside of the nose. Looks like the plastic rock guard will just snap right out if we wanted to remove it. The upper 3rd doesn’t even let air through, so if we need better airflow, that might be the answer.

That’s it for now.  If you want to follow the progress:



Waiting for track time

It’s been two weeks since my last update.  A lot of planning has taken place, but not a lot of activity on the car. I refuse to change anything until we’ve had it on track to understand how it works stock.  The end of the month is the first track day I can find at Buttonwillow running clockwise configuration 13. In this entry I’ll highlight the way I made my wheel choice for the car.  Admittedly not a lot of analytical information this time, but progress is progress, right?

From my previous entries, it should be relatively self-evident that my requirements for a wheel for the FR-S are:

  1. 17×9 – wide as we can get without risking the wheels ordered not fitting
  2. Light weight – call this under 19 lbs for the size – unsprung weight is the enemy
  3. Good fitment – hellafunction, not hellaflush
  4. Good price – No wheels that cost 18% of the value of the car

What is the age old adage for race car fabrication? “Fast, Cheap, reliable – choose two”  I think the same applies to wheel options for the FR-S.  combine the 5×100 bolt pattern and my list of requirements made for few choices.  And apparently to make things worse, in Japan, all the track oriented consumers are looking for 18’s, so the the supply of 9” wide 17’s isn’t likely to change.  The only options I could find without going with a custom made wheel were:

  1. Rotas –There are a couple styles that are the right size, but luckily, as they don’t fit criteria #2, I don’t have to face the “rota debate”.
  2. Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 – they come in 40mm and 45mm  offsets, but are also about 20 lbs/ corner.  Not to mention they are not available in country right now so they are special order from Europe.  A rock solid wheel, but heavier than I want, even though the price is fair.
  3. Mach V Motorsports “Awesome” wheel. – 17×9, 17.8lbs, 42mm offset, $250/corner.  They come with a center cap, but no valve stems. Bingo.

Mach V Motorsports “Awesome” Wheel

The Mach V Motorsports wheel is specifically made for Subarus.  Its hubcentric for the FT86 chassis, and comes drilled for both 5×100 and 5×114.3 bolt patterns.  So if we ever do end up doing a hub conversion on this car, we can continue to use the wheels.  The Mach V wheel is a form flow cast 5 spoke design wheel.  While forged wheels are generally deemed to be lighter and more rigid, they also are way more expensive.  Dan at Mach V talked me through their design process as I am concerned about damaging wheels on track.  I wasn’t as concerned about “if” they would fail, as all wheels will with the proper FUBAR’d corner entry, but I was concerned “how” they would fail.  Cast wheels have a reputation for cracking, not bending like forged ones do. Dan assured me that during their design process, they actually added material to the spokes to increase the sheer strength and ensure safety when in use, and the form flow casting process is more reliable than the simpler casting ones used in the past. I just wanted to make sure that when damage occurs, that the barrel doesn’t leave the hub leaving me to 3 wheel the car to a stop.  These wheels fit the bill for that.  All of this, and at a price of $249 a corner, I don’t really see anything else remotely close to the performance per dollar ratio on the market.

I ordered them in flat black, but they come in a couple other finishes you can see here:


Mag Blue on the right, Brilliant Blue on the left.

I don’t do much for aesthetics for my cars, but I am considering having these wheels powder coated.  I am pretty dead set on some shade of blue.  Somewhere between Volk’s “Magnesium Blue” and “Hyper Blue”.

Here are a couple sample colors I picked up locally.  Not sure any of these are right.  I also considered a bright color, like Porsche’s Mexico Blue, but not sure.  Vote on the poll, or leave a comment.

what do you think of these color choices? Not sure if any of these are right.

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