by Nick Betz
There comes a time in a project build when you just have to throw everything out the window and rewrite your storyboard. Over the years we’ve been bolting on parts to Project E36 323is and not seeing the gains we were looking for. Sure it’s been fun but it’s time to make some real power. We had plans for an M50 manifold swap paired with M3 cams, bigger air meter, headers and throttle body but as the old adage goes, there’s no replacement for displacement, so that’s where our journey has taken us.
Our E46 M3 is really coming along. In the power department, in order to get significant gains we're pretty much at a point where we either need to get into the motor, or go forced induction. However, a clutch and flywheel is one way we can get more out of the already existing power. In the next two parts we install and dyno test a Clutch Masters FX400 clutch and lightweight flywheel, and show you several other products we used to drop more weight for additional overall performance.
An update for My Girlfriend’s Miata Project has us dipping our toes into the world of aerodynamic performance. I feel as this is an often overlooked aspect of street car performance and another area we shall address as we try to improve all aspects of our Miata platform. We’ll hold off on improving downforce/reducing drag for a future article and instead start with improving reliability through better control of the air for the cooling system.
All cars create blow-by and positive crank case pressure which pumps oil and vapors into the engine’s intake to be burned off for emissions. This problem is worse on forced induction cars and performance cars driven at the track. Not only does this oil gunk up the intake tract and valves, it reduces the octane of your fuel which robs power and causes detonation. We installed a Bob’s Air-Oil Separator to the PCV valve and a catch can for the valve cover vent to see how much oil our Viper’s engine was pumping into the intake after some street and track use.
It's always funny how things work out when you look back. Dialing in ride heights, alignments and suspension settings is really no different. It seems to be a long road where it involves a lot of time tuning everything in to maximize what you can get out of your suspension. Adding more knobs to turn does not make it any easier but it does allow you to fine tune the way your suspension works. Then, when you finally hit that point when it all comes together, it’s amazing. You become one with the car, as it feels like it is an extension of you performing feats that some people can’t comprehend. When you look back at what it took to get there you have to laugh at how you sometimes really need to take the long way there. Chalk it up to character building or the gaining of wisdom.
Hopefully, you've been keeping up with the steady progress of transforming my STurdteen into a reliable and worthy demo drift car. Powered by an SR20DET and with all of the new goods going into this build (see the new Turbonetics setup I went with here), I needed an adequate engine management system to handle engine control duties. The search for the perfect EMS didn't last very long because I soon discovered what I consider the best solution out there - the AEM Infinity Plug and Play EMS.
One of the first things that we knew would require attention with Project DC2 was the cooling system. Clear visual signs of aged and leaky hoses and end tanks were prevalent upon initial inspection of the car before purchase (catch up on the buying process here with article one). The plastic end tanked radiator, which seemed to be the original unit from the factory, looked to be an uphill on a hot day away from separating at the core. Since the plan for Project DC2 is to have a reliable street driven and track capable car, the cooling system needed a big upgrade in terms of safety and a higher overhead in heat dissipation.
I finally decided to give in and buy a German made car. Perhaps it’s the clever marketing that captured me this time, but I want to believe it was the clever engineering that drew me to the 2016 MKVII Volkswagen Golf R. While some of the rivals in the segment (WRX STI, and discontinued Evolution) have used the same stale drivetrain for several generations, Volkswagen has taken a different route and the result is a modern drivetrain package consisting of a direct injected turbo four-cylinder as well as a refined double clutch transmission and torque vectoring AWD system. This most recent addition to the MotoIQ project car fleet is a real wolf in sheep's clothing, and in this article we will take a look at some of the cool features of this project car.
The good old stock SR20DE in our Project G20 Racecar has been doing yeoman duty, reliably lasting for the last few years racing in the MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship and doing many for-fun track days. The stock SR20DE in our Project G20 Racecar came from a Japanese engine importer and has never been opened up, other than to add big cams back when we used to run the car in N/A trim. For the past three years the engine has been turbocharged which has greatly increased the strain it's experienced.
As luck would have it, the girlfriend had to work out of town and the semi-local track that we do all of our testing for the Professional Awesome Evo, Gingerman Raceway, was hosting a weekend track day. This would be the perfect opportunity to take the Miata, with or without her knowledge, up to the track. With tech and driving support from PA Motorsports owner, Grant Davis, it looked like the perfect opportunity to take the car around this wonderfully challenging racetrack to get some data on what the Miata could do. With the roll bar, seats, brakes and cooling system ready to go, it was also a great time to track test these systems to ensure everything was up to snuff and baseline the car for future improvements.