Project SEMA Scion Tuner Challenge FR-S 

by Mike Kojima

MotoIQ is teaming up with the good folks at The GTChannel to produce a Scion FR-S for the SEMA Scion FR-S Tuner Challenge.  The Challenge will be between Speedhunters, Superstreet and GTChannel/MotoIQ to see which media group can build the best FR-S with the car to be displayed at the SEMA Show in the Scion Booth.

We figure that our competitors at Speedhunters and Superstreet will be putting out cars with a heavy emphasis on cosmetics, most likely with special bodywork done by Kei Mura of TRA-Kyoto fame or something like that. We also figure that Superstreet will probably outsource their build and will have a much bigger corporate fired budget than us. Speedhunters seems to be working on their build by themselves so hats off to them!

We however, will build our car in house at the palatial MotoIQ HQ using our motorsports based know how to build the car on a tight budget ourselves. Since we think our competitors will have wild, esthetic based builds, we are going to zag and build a car with a refined theme.  The GT Channel has partnered with Mine's, a leading Japanese tuner who will be developing the car's cosmetics.  Mine's style is diametrically opposed to the striking work of Kei Mura to where they emphasize the subtle, going for a refined look vs Mura San's moving sculptures.  

Since MotoIQ is providing the technical assistance for this project, we will be building the car in line with what Mine's does, build subtle yet fast cars that are still totally streetable.  We will be borrowing heavily from lessons learned on our own Project FR-S but we will be building this car with more of an eye towards practical daily use with as much weekend track performance as we can mange without compromising daily driveability. 

Because of this there will be several major differences in suspension calibration and other parts of the car which we will point out along the way.

Well we have just started work on the car so let's see what we have so far.

Read about MotoIQ's More Hardcore Project FR-S Here!

For suspension we used KW Suspensions Clubsports.  For our own Project FR-S we initially used modified KW Variant III dampers because when we first built the car as the Clubsports were not available.  In our opinion the KW Clubsport is one of the best dual use coilover suspension kits on the market. The Clubsort differs from the Variant III in the use of pillow ball adjustable camber plates in the front and pillow ball rear upper mounts as well as slightly more aggressive valving.  The pillow ball bearings ensure that all of the car's wheel motion will be controlled by the damper instead of deflection prone squishy rubber.  The camber plate will allow adjustment of the camber and kingpin inclination angle. What is cool about the KW plate is that it is constructed of weather resistant stainless steel and hard anodized aluminum.  The pillow ball bearing is completely sealed by dust boots at the bottom side of the plate. The camber plate also mounts the bearing and the upper spring seat higher in the tower to preserve wheel travel even on a greatly lowered car.  The Clubsport is a true all weather and all climate set of coil overs, highly rust resistant, it can shrug off harsh winters of daily use in the rust belt like no other coilover. The damping is double adjustable with independent adjustment for both compression and rebound, critical when trying to get the best ride comfort and the best grip on the track. The rebound damping adjuster is found on the top of the shock shaft either by tuning it with an allen wrench or by using the special tool that comes with the coilovers.
The compression damping adjustment is found on the bottom of the strut body and has a large easy to adjust by feel knob.  Easy adjustability really helps when setting the car up for the track or a smooth ride.  The KW Clubsport features a polished all stainless steel body, one of the key features to its rust resistance.
The upper bolt hole of the mounting tab to the spindle is slotted.  This allows for camber to be adjusted independently of king pin angle through a combination of top and bottom adjustment.  This flexibility allows control over the scrub radius which has an impact on turn in feel, general steering feel and pull.  You can see the lower spring seat which is constructed from stainless steel overmolded with plastic.  There is no way this is going to seize on the shock body like most coilovers even during a salty winter of use.  The shock body has all the proper mounting tabs for brake lines and ABS sensors in all the right places.  The KW's have a much shorter body than stock to preserve full wheel travel even on a lowered car.
Like the front dampers, the rear units also have a top mount constructed of rust resistant materials with pillow ball bearings and all weather seals.  All wheel motion will be translated through the damper.


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Monday, October 06, 2014 2:48 AM
I don't understand why you are doing all this...

Who needs suspension upgrades during a hard parker competition ? The winning car will be a show queen, its engine could be a fake one, it would not matter. As long as it has big, large wheels with 315 slick tyres on them (or just shaved tyres), its frame rails are a mm away from the ground and a bodykit that screams LOOK AT ME I AM WHAT YOU THINK IS A RACE CAR it is going to win.

This is SEMA, not speed week.
Monday, October 06, 2014 8:00 AM
Because not everyone thinks an over-lowered Hellastupid trailer queen looks good.
Monday, October 06, 2014 8:10 AM
Hey Mike if Delrin was available would you use that instead of polyurethane? I've heard bad things about running poly on a street car- needs re-greasing to keep it from squeaking every 6 months, and they still wear out after a couple years. Sounds like Delrin gets you nearly the peformance of spherical bearings for much less cost and trouble, and won't squeak like poly. I understand that Whiteline is a sponsor and everything, but hypothetically if they also offered Delrin which would you choose for a street and track car? (Or a track car that you can still drive to the track or to work sometimes).
Monday, October 06, 2014 8:23 AM

2012 winner:

2012 second:

SEMA is all about over-lowered Hellastupid trailer queens. I don't like them either, i don't think Mike likes that either, so i just wonder "why go there ?" Unless there are other plans for that car, or it is a sponsor exhibition only, i can't see the point.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, October 06, 2014 9:16 AM
I don't think we have a chance of winning but I want to make a statement saying, here is a car that can be driven on the street everyday and on the track! The MotoIQ FR-S has been to SEMA twice and it's all function.

As far as bushings, I hate delrin for bushings in most cars because most modern bushings need to move in 2- 3 degrees of freedom or you get binding. For most urethane bushings, if you read our stuff frequently, we use teflon tape on the inside which totally eliminates squeaking for life.

If you read the article you will see all of the measures that Whiteline takes on their new bushings to prevent squeaking and wear. Whiteline urethane is also less likely to squeak we have found.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, October 06, 2014 12:54 PM
The funny thing is the MotoIQ Project FR-S not a show car seems to do pretty good at car shows. I think it's because it's different in a sea of 5-axis and rocket bunny.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Monday, October 06, 2014 9:21 PM
I had to check to make sure my Memory didn't cross pollinate things. I knew that I had read/seen that Speedhunters was going for some sort of Formula Atlantic/ N2 theme, but I had no idea you guys had partnered with GT channel. Awesome!
I wish someone would swap in a Turboed or NA built 2AR-FE just to show Scion how much more motor potential and mass appeal there would be with an I-4......maybe next year!?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, October 06, 2014 9:38 PM
We are not doing that when we are not being paid to do anything. This is quick and dirty low buck for sure. Formula Atlantic? Thats a defunct SCCA open wheel racing class.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 7:35 AM
I really like the multiple rear shock mounting locations on the Whiteline lower control arm. Reminds me of my R/C car days with tons of mounting hole location options to fine tune the suspension.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 7:42 AM
Mike, you mentioned that the teflon tape stops squeaking for life. I did this on the wife's car's swaybar bushings with some ENS center bushings and had to redo it every couple months because it simply rubbed the tape off. Is this a maintenance item for your fleet as well?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 8:37 AM
I find it works nearly forever because the tape stays in place either on the bushing or on the bar. I can't imagine it going away totally. I got the idea because it was in a GM TSB back in the day.
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