Jeff Perrin

Aug 032012
 

After our first dyno testing we did on all our exhaust pieces and intake parts, we created a ton of buzz in the BRZ/FR-S world. Being the first to do this, sparked many other vendors to do the same. We may not have been posting up tons of dyno graphs recently, but we have been spending most of our time learning about this new engine. Since we can now tune the ECU, we are able to see many things going on. Some of them explain the constantly varying HP results, and some of them don’t. With our added knowledge about the ECU, knowing how our 3 cars act on the dyno, and knowing what kind of HP all our parts make, it really makes me wonder about some of the dyno numbers I have seen lately….

In previous tests we did the dyno proving all spread out over a couple of days. This makes our overall HP numbers not quite as accurate, but since parts were swapped out on the same day (minutes apart), the part to part accuracy still holds. We wanted to really see what kind of HP we would make doing all our parts, back to back to back along with adding our headers to the mix.

Before getting too far into the results there are a few things to discuss. First is the variance we see from run to run. We start by letting the car warm up to 90C. We do 7 runs and after the 5th run, we see the HP level off and stop gaining. After we get to the 9th run (60sec intervals) we see power drop. Even if we let the car idle for 2 minutes, it hits a wall where HP falls and doesn’t go any further. This varience is about 8WHP.  See the below graph.  Keep in mind this is the difference in HP gains shown by exhaust, and other parts on the car. This is a HUGE variable to how the car runs, run to run.

So what causes this? I had see this before while tuning the ECU, where our HP gains would go away. While doing our initial testing of our individual parts for HP, we saw signs of this, but nothing huge as we stopped the car after about 3 runs then changed parts.

There are a few factors, one of which is coolant temp. If runs are done at 80C or less, you loose HP from the ECU pulling back cam timing and ignition timing. This is 20 HP or more easily. At 85C coolant Temp you make a little more, and 90-92C is where the coolant temps like to sit when the car makes the most power. I never saw more than 94C during runs, which is very good. This is a factor, but not THE factor that plays into this.

After spending about 10 runs looking over what is going on the only thing that stood out was the oil temp. We would see 110C easy, which by Subaru standards is hot! STI’s rarely see this because of the oil warmer  (its really a cooler….) that is installed. The BRZ has nothing to cool the oil down except it running past the engine block and sitting in the oil pan. Its obvious to us that the BRZ needs is a real oil cooler using a thermo-stat to still allow for proper warm up of the engine. Parts are already sitting waiting to be installed to prove this part works and solves the inconsistency with HP problem. Much more on this later.

 

So with all that above taken into account, you can see how testing done days, hours or minutes apart can “make-or-break-or-fake” an aftermarket parts dyno result. What we have done is learned what oil temps the car made the best power at and used those results to give you consistent results.  More on the oil temp and the solutions for this soon.

First up is the biggest more important test, the catback exhaust. Our inital dyno results showed a gain of about 7 WHP. During this initial test we proved how the removing the muffler made about 3 Wheel HP and then how our midpipe and high flow muffler made 7. This proves that contrary to other competitors, the midpipe DOES make HP. During our re-testing of the catback, we found almost the same HP! Besides the cool added sounds, take note of the change to the dip in torque. It gets narrower by about 250 RPM.

Next up is our catless Front pipe. Just like in previous tests, this was done back to back in about 10 minutes.  As you can see there isa  decent amount of HP gained at the upper RPM’s. The 5-6 WHP from 7000 to redline is a noticeable change to power along with some additional cool exhaust sounds. Like before, in previous tests, we say about the same HP gains. One more important thing to notice is the TQ dip got even narrower!

Then comes the over pipe. This part didn’t show much in the way of HP gained the first time around. I expected to see the same thing this time as we were more controlled and had a better grasp of what was going on. Same thing this time, as it showed pretty much no change. My guess is that its not the restriction in the exhaust. Anyone who sees this part is going to want to replace it, so there isn’t going to be arguing if this part makes HP in the long run.

And finally the fun parts, headers!

Continue to:

BRZ/FR-S Part Proving…. All Bolt-Ons Part 2 (Header Testing)

 

 Posted by on August 3, 2012 About Your Car, BRZ / FR-S, Dyno Test & Tune Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Aug 032012
 

Its been a while since we had a new Mini part to dyno test and tune and this part is well worth the wait. The ALTA JCW Catback (fits Cooper S as well) replaces the entire exhaust system from the downpipe to the back of the car. This means you keep your stock downpipe which is the ONLY downpipe that doesn’t throw check engine lights or cause other emissions related problems.

Just like our catback for the other cars, its a 3″ 304SS system with dual wall, dual exhaust tips, and includes v-band connections along with one slip fit connection. This provides the ultimate in adjustment as well as a gasket free exhaust system. In fact, the JCW catback consists of all the same parts as the Cooper S part, except we added a new front section that connects to the stock downpipe. This large 3″ system provides maximum HP while being very mellow and keeping your neighbors happy.

First off  is the car. The car is a 2012 JCW Coupe that has our Front Mounted Intercooler already installed,and stock intake with ALTA panel filter, along with an AccessPORT (duh). We wanted to show case what kinds of HP is gain with no ECU tuning as well as when running a Stage 1 FMIC AccessPORT map. As we have shown in the past with stock ECU tuning, there is a huge variance to HP run to run. Here is a graph showing this. You can see how there is a pattern to what the ECU is doing.

So why does this happen? The stock ECU tuning is very limited in how much extra HP is added. We always find that aftermarket parts only get you so far, then you need a tune to get that extra power. The above graph is the stock mapping on a JCW with only our larger FMIC. Take note of the groupings of TQ and HP. These are actually two separate sets of 7 runs. This pattern is very repeatable. Anyone that shows dyno results for aftermarket parts with the stock ECU tuning, should see this same variable. If this isn’t taken into account, you can see how this could completely skew the results.

The below graphs show our catback dyno results on the stock ECU tuning for both of the hot and cold runs. The colder runs made less HP and the hotter runs made more. This was based off coolant temp along with oil temps. We did 7 runs, then swapped out the catback and these were the results.

You can see that on the stock ECU tuning, HP is gain in the 3000-5800 RPM range. In these results you can see about 3-5 Wheel HP. Now we re-installed the stock catback, but flashed the ECU to the Stage 1 FMIC 92 octane map. Because of how we tune the maps, we have no issues with the varying HP run to run.  Notice the difference in TQ from stock ECU tune to the AccessPORT tune!

As we expected, more HP was gained with a tune as there was more air flowing through the exhaust and more demand being put on the stock exhaust system. You can see that a solid 8-10 WHP is gained from 5800RPM on up.

The final test is more for fun to prove that our cold air intake does make a difference in all stages of power. We have lots of graphs that show gains on stock cars and tuned cars, but this was a test that we did backwards. We took the 2012 JCW (with ALTA FMIC installed) and installed our ALTA Cold Air Intake, then did some tweaking to the map to get a bit more HP. This made the 241 WHP and 276ft-lbs of TQ you see below on the blue line. We then took the stock air box and installed a new stock filter and dynoed the car again.

Big surprise, it lost HP!!! Of course it will, the stock intake is a restriction, and at this power level you can really see where this comes into play. Almost 20 WHP is lost at 6800, that is very noticeable and for sure going to kill some of the fun in your Mini. This was a great test and one of the first times we went backwards to prove a part.

To wrap it up, 10 or more WHP can be gained on your Mini JCW after installing our ALTA JCW Catback system. Also some really cool new sounds can be added with a nice deep throaty sound coming out the back of your car.

 Posted by on August 3, 2012 Dyno Test & Tune, MINI Only Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Jul 042012
 

A few of us lucky tuners were able to get our hands on the Beta ECUTEK ProECU software to tune the new BRZ and FR-S. ECUTEK is a UK company that has been reverse engineering ECU’s(Engine Control Units) in Subaru’s for 10 years now. This is as long as we have been building parts for Subaru’s so by no means are they new to the tuning world.

Since June 27th at about 11am, we have been testing and tuning working through bugs and getting the ECUTEK ProECU software up and running. We started by flashing all three of our cars (2 BRZ’s, and 1 FR-S) with the ECUTEK licenses to ensure all our cars ECU types were in the software and ready to tune anytime.

With all our cars ready to be tuned, we decided to give some love to our FR-S first. The first few hours we had with the car, we spent messing around with how the software works, checking out all the hundereds of maps, and putting a plan together as to what to test out the following day. Most of the time was spent datalogging and seeing what the ECU is telling us is going on.

Thursday, we dynoed the car with a baseline run of 165 Wheel HP and started tuning. There are a few key maps that have the “Torque Dip” shape built into them and we started playing with some of those first trying to eliminate the dip. While we were not able to eliminate it, we did make it better and not as wide as it was before. But we are not giving up just yet. There are hundreds of maps to explore and one of these is bound to help make this go away.

The 5-6 ft-lbs of torque we gained almost everywhere and the solid 10 Wheel HP gained from 6500 to 7600 (yes not 7300) well makes up for the weird torque dip. The car feels exactly like it did before, but faster, which is what we all wanted. Also its nice having a few hundred more RPM to shift. This keeps the car in the power band and less chance of it dipping into the TQ dip.

So is there more HP to be gained on a stock car? For sure there is! As the software gets more and more developed, and our experience with the this new motor grows, I think there is more HP to gain. Every day there are new parameters we are able to log, and new maps to test out, so the future is looking very good! That and the graph above isn’ the highest HP we saw……

Stage 1 mapping should be nailed down in the next upcoming weeks. This is mapping designed for a completely stock car running anything up to a catback exhaust (doens’t require a tune). User ProECU setups and mapping for customers should be available soon along with details about exactly what they will come with and how they will work.

As you can see that the initial dyno results are very good, and keep in mind that this is a stock car and initial tuning. There is for sure more power to unlock from these cars!

 

 Posted by on July 4, 2012 BRZ / FR-S, Dyno Test & Tune, EcuTek Tagged with: , , , , ,
Jun 122012
 

We have been asked the question “What is the difference between the FR-S and BRZ?”, quite a bit lately. Until now we were mainly guessing from pictures we saw. Since we have both cars as shop cars for R&D and marketing, I put together a post showing the visual differences in the BRZ and FR-S. We know there is some suspension differences in spring rates and dampening, but other than that, the actual suspension, engine, drivetrain, intake and exhaust are the same between the two cars. That even goes for the entire engine bay, as BRZ and FR-S share the same Subaru body panels, Subaru/Toyota plastic engine cover, Subaru branded engine, and so on. So I will not be going over those things.

With that out of the way, the first thing that sticks out is the price. This whole comparison is based around an FR-S and a BRZ Premium model. The FR-S window sticker shows$24,200 versus the BRZ at $25,495. The question for some is, “What does that $1300 more get me?”. For some it doesn’t matter as the styling of the FR-S is what wins them over. For others, its pirce, or name brand that drives them to the car.  This comparison, isn’t to make one car look better than the other, but rather to show the actual differences.

Working from the outside in, the most obvious difference is the bumper and headlight difference.

Some say the FR-S front end is more agressive, and some say the BRZ looks more refined. Personally I like the FR-S bumper a little more. Instead of the BRZ smile, it has more of a straight “face”.

In this picture you can see how the opening and the  lower portion of the bumper is more agressive. The Scion has a better way of covering up the crash beam behind the bumper, were Subaru leaves it sticking out a bit.

The FR-S has a more aggressive looking fog light hole area. The Subaru is shown with the optional fog lights installed, where the Scion doesn’t. Both cars do have a “daytime running light” in the upper portion of the fog light hole. The FR-S has a simple halogen bulb and reflector, where the BRZ has a super bright LED strip. This LED strip really makes the BRZ look mean driving down the road compared to the yellow-ish FR-S lights. I tried to take a picture of the two lit up, but the pics didn’t show the difference very well.

The next big difference in the FR-S and BRZ are the headlights. The BRZ comes standard with HID dual projector beam lights. The FR-S again has halogen bulbs mounted in a projector type housing. The above pic shows the difference while turned on, but again, its hard to capture the real difference. There has been talk of FR-S guys buying the Subaru part and installing them. This isn’t going to happen without lots of work. The headlight shapes are actually different, or are they…………

In this picture you can see how much wider the FR-S headlight appears compared to the BRZ. The BRZ light is missing that “sharp” corner where the headlight meets the bumper, or is it….. In the picture below, you can see with the bumper removed that there is a plastic piece covering up this corner. Removing this small piece makes both the FR-S and BRZ headlight the exact same shape! This also means, customers can do some swapping out of headlights!

In this picture you can also see the BRZ and the really cool “Halo” ring around the headlight. The halo is only enabled as part of the parking light system and part of the main headlight system. I am sure over time, someone will modify this so the halo comes on when the day time running lights. That would really add to more aggressive look while coming at you on the street if you could have both the lower LED strip and halo on. Remember, the BRZ is more expensive and this is one of the reasons why.

These are the side scuddles shown side by side. The Scion has the cool “Boxer” Engine logo, but a tiny fake vent. It looks a little plain as you have a huge area of the same color. Subaru has a bit more fake venting which helps break up that plain surface. The example above has the optional Subaru chrome trim piece, but normal cars have a color matched strip here. Combined the two together and you would have a winner in my opinion.

The wheels are exactly the same, except the emblem of course.

The antenna bases are also different. The Scion without NAV, has the small base that is just a radio receiver. The BRZ with NAV has the base that contains both the satellite antenna and radio receiver in one. With some of the aftermarket covers being offered, I assume that not all of them are going to work between the two different styles. Both are dying for one of our antenna’s!

The trunks are also different. The Scion being the less expensive car, doesn’t include the trunk dress up piece. This is an item that Scion owners can buy and install on their cars to make it look a little nicer. The thing is, neither trunk has a real handle to close it from the inside. The trunk latch works ok to grab onto, but a real handle would be nice.

When you first open the door, you are greeted by the handles. The BRZ premium edition has the all black handle, where the FR-S has a nice silver trimmed handle. This is the same handle as found on the BRZ limited. I do like the looks of the FR-S part much better, as this is also carried through out the radio trim pieces.

Next up are the floor mats. The BRZ mats are just like other Subaru’s with the embroidered emblem. The FR-S material is nicer and they have a really cool badge.

These next few pics are hard to see the actual material differences. On the FR-S, the seat material that you sit on is all a high quality felt like material. The sides of the seat are a vinyl as well as the backs. The BRZ seats (in the Premium) use the high quality felt material on the side, but have a much nicer, more durable feeling center material. For those who have sat in a newer WRX, you will find this material very familiar. Its a meshy cloth that has a slightly slicker feel to it. You can really notice this when entering the the BRZ compared to the FR-S as your pants don’t want to grab onto the seat as you swing your legs around. It makes the BRZ seats feel like they will wear longer.  Both seats are shaped perfectly for high speed cornering with awesome support. Even with the slicker material in the BRZ (not noticeable when driving hard) the BRZ seats are an upgrade in my opinion.

Here is a shot of the back seats. You can see that the shape of the back seats are the same, but the material once again is different. The FR-S has the felt, the BRZ has both felt and the meshy cloth.

The steering wheels are the same except the center of the FR-S has some additional fake stitching around the Air Bag area. This small detail gives the FR-S an edge over the BRZ because it helps brake up the plain-ish Subaru wheel.

A thing of great debate. I have seen some people love the FR-S dash, and some hate it. Same goes for the BRZ. Neither are perfect, but that fake carbon fiber paneling on the FR-S is not my favorite. The FR-S has a “space Invader” or UFO graphic that is used over and over again to create this. You can see that from far away it looks pretty good, but up close its not that great. I expect many people to cover these pieces or paint them after they get their car. They are about a 30 secs of labor intensive work (not really) so both BRZ and FR-S customers can mod them very easy!

This is the one item that makes the higher price of the BRZ worth it. The BRZ has a navigation system stock on all models. Normally this is a $2000 upgrade on a Subaru. besides the NAV part of the head unit, the audio adjustments, and touch screen part of it are what make this a really nice upgrade. Both cars share almost the identical sound system as far as quality goes. The sound in the BRZ and FR-S are very similar, with great base and overall clarity. Now I am judging this based on old Subaru’s I have had. Compared to those, these cars blow them out of the water!

In this pictures above you can also see the vertical trim pieces next to the heater controls. The FR-S has that same nice silver color (from the door handles) on theses pieces. The BRZ, they are plain black. Only stepping up the BRZ limited to you get the silver trim.

The dash also is different between the two cars. The FR-S has the nice bright white Tach dial, where the BRZ is black. FR-S has more of that same UFO pattern printed onto the face of the gauges to create a carbon fiber look around the gauges, which is good for some and bad for others. On the gauges it doesn’t bother me too much as it doesn’t look like they were trying to make it look like real carbon fiber.

Both FR-S and BRZ gauges light up clearly at night. The BRZ lights with pure amber colors through out, where the FR-S lights up with a combination of white and amber.  Also at key-on, the two cars gauges act slightly different. The BRZ’s tach needle does the typical STI dance, where the tach goes from rest to 9000 RPM and back in a smooth sweeping pattern. The FR-S does something similar but only if you have the shift light set. If you have the shift light set at say 7000RPM, the needle goes right up to 7000RPM and holds, then drops back to 0 RPM. If you don’t have the shift light set, it doesn’t do anything when you first turn the key on.

The FR-S we received came with this extra part. Its an iPod holder and coin holder for your cup holder. The bottom is opened up to accept the plug from the iPod. This allows you to just snap it in and start listening to music. Pretty cool!

Conclusion

My personal opinion is that the FR-S front bumper is better than the BRZ, but the $1300 more for the BRZ is worth getting NAV, HID headlights, LED driving lights, nicer seats, and no fake CF dash. Even though that is my opinion, with the FR-S being much easier to find, and the fact they are marketing the car much better, I think the FR-S will be more popular. For those who have a little extra money to spend, and patience, the BRZ really comes out on top.  FR-S fans, don’t hate me!

 

 

 Posted by on June 12, 2012 About Your Car, BRZ / FR-S, First Look Tagged with: , , ,
Jun 052012
 

In our world, intakes are not all created equal. Intakes generally require an ECU retune to compensate for the change in airflow readings. This is because intake manufacturers can use a variety of different style MAF flanges, tubing sizes, and even bends before and after the MAF sensor can all create different readings for the ECU. These readings can affect how the car runs in all conditions, but most importantly under full throttle. An intake can cause a dangerously lean condition under full throttle, which can lead to engine damage or worse yet a catastrophic failure.

These are all key factors in how we design an intake for the BRZ/FR-S. On the dyno we had prepared a few different intake styles as well as a special adjustable MAF housing to help determine what is the best size tubing, routing and design for this new car. In the end what we came up with will suit all types of customers and tuners.

First lets look at the stock intake system. You can see that from under the hood there is an air box and a hose that goes to the throttle body. Also visible are the resonating chambers on the air box and the rubber intake hose. These are in place to quiet down the intake and are very common to find on intakes in general across all brands in the past few years. The other strange item is the long tube that goes to a round device on the intake manifold. This part is called  a noise generator, and its designed to add intake and engine sound to the inside of the car. A great way to add cool sounds for the driver and yet still keep ambient volume levels down. This noise/sound generator is very common on European cars and it looks like it€™s making its way to Japanese and Domestic cars and trucks too.  What you don€™t see is the part that gets air from the front bumper.

 

Here are a couple of diagrams showing the airflow to the intake. The bumper is removed so you can more clearly see the airflow path toward the engine. Air enters the lower portion of the bumper opening and travels behind the bumper beam. From there it goes through the radiator and also a portion goes up to the fresh air intake pipe. There is a large plastic wall installed with small holes in it, apparently to help reduce turbulent air from entering the intake.

From the fresh air pipe, it goes through the core support over the radiator, then into the air box, through the filter, then past the MAF sensor, then finally the rubber intake hose. Its a nice, short, clean path from the front of the car to the engine!

In this diagram you can see all parts of the OEM intake system. Starting in the bumper, there is the ram air looking tube (not really ram air, but fresh air) that has (2) of its own resonators on it. Then you have the air box with MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor on it, and the rubber intake tube.

 

 

Overall the system is very short and efficient looking. The question is:  Can we gain HP from installing something better? The stock filter seems kind of small. Look below to find a picture of the stock BRZ/FR-S air box next to one of our PERRIN 2008+ STI panel filters.

The OEM BRZ/FR-S air box’s breathable surface area is 51.9 sq-in and the STI’s air boxes breathable area is 63.9 sq-in. The picture doens’t look like its any bigger, but the STI air box is bigger by almost 20%. Which makes sense as it makes more HP. This is a good sign as it could mean there is some HP to gain from replacing the stock filter with a better, higher flow filter media. More on that though in a later post.

Before we go and change a bunch of things its important to unerstand how the ECU is working and also where the flaws in the stock system are. With currently no ECU tuing available, we had to resort to some old logging tools. These provided enough info for us to at least grasp what the ECU is doing. The first dyno runs were done to establish an average HP and Air fuel ratio curve. Our goal here is to match or at least get very close to matching the stock Air fuel ratio curve or Lambda curve.

Air fuel ratio and Lambda are important things to understand. Air fuel ratio (AFR) is a ratio of how much fuel is being injected compared to how much air is being consumed. The actual number is based off of stoichiometric, which a ratio of air and fuel where all fuel is burt completly in the combustion chamber. For gasoline this number is 14.7 to 1. That means 14.7 parts air and 1 part fuel. Since stoichiometric varies with different fuels, Lambda is a different way to express this while covering all fuels. Lambda is actually more preferred by professional tuners as its a simple % of that fuels stoichiometric ratio. Lambda is expressed where stochiometric is 1.00. So no matter the fuel (Race fuels, Leaded, LPG, diesel…) 1.00 is stoichiometric.  Lambda or AFR gauges are the only way to really know how your engine is running and its is what we will use to tune our intake with.

How do we match this AFR curve? As we mentioned before different size housings, bends and things can cause air turbulence and affect the readings that the MAF sensor outputs to the ECU. For instance if you install a huge diameter tube where the MAF sensor is, and the ECU sees less air flow for the same given RPM and load. This is because the air flowing through a larger tube is slower moving.  This causes a lean condition and is very dangerous. Then you have the opposite problem with a smaller tube, where the air is flowing very quickly through for that same RPM and load. This causes a rich condition.

Below is just a couple of old diagrams showing examples of this, using some really basic drawings (from a yet to be published post)

 

 

 

You can see how making an intake, with the proper MAF housing, and tubing is very important to insure you engine is running properly and doesn€™t throw a check engine light. Sometimes tuners will install intakes that purposely mess up these readings to trick the ECU into changing the air fuel ratio. This is not a good way to make HP, because when there is ECU tuning available, it will mess up the custom tuning you paid for as well as again risk damage to your engine.

Here are a few of the many dyno runs showing different intakes we tested. Our intake testing was done on a stock 2013 BRZ. We did this to ensure there were no variables from other aftermarket parts causing flawed results.

You can see there is a run that is very lean and one that is very rich. The engine was ok with running both these tests, but not something we would be ok with giving to a customer. Too lean of  a mixture, and things can heat up and melt pistons, or knock or lots of bad things. Too rich and you loose power for no reason, and fuel economy suffers.

During some of the tests we purposely changed the MAF to cause the engine to run leaner to see if we could gain HP by leaning out the Air fuel ratio above 6000. Check out the blue run! This shows that there is power to gain from tuning the air fuel ratio, and from the freer flowing intake. From 7000 to 7300, there is a solid 10 Wheel HP we gained. That is huge!  Again, to be clear, this was a test, we were purposely tricking the MAF sensor to see how the engine would react to leaner Air Fuel ratio’s at redline. This is not ok for us to give to a customer because a future tune may cause an extreme lean condition, leading to engine damage or even failure!

The above dyno runs were just a small amount of the things we tested. The first being no filter in the stock air box. We did this along with removing all the resonators, from the intake and the results were no gains in HP.  There was nothing gained at all by removing these things other than the change to the intake sound. That tells us that the stock HP and the stock intake are a good match.

But, does this change when we can up the redline and make more HP with ECU tuning? We still plan on making a high flow/reusable foam drop in filter even if this doesn’t make any HP on the stock car. We know at some point it will make more HP and it will flow more air than your dirty stock filter.

NOTE: The tests shown below do not correlate to the AFR curves we showed above.

These below tests represent one of our final intake designs. You can see how we matched the stock Air Fuel Ratio very close. This is a vital part to making an intake that does NOT require an ECU retune. This is important  as it allows for more customers to buy a part that doesn’t require the additional cost of an ECU retune. This is our goal with one of the two intakes we will offer.

Finally the HP results! Now this doesn’t look like much, but keep in mind the stock air box with no filter made ZEROadditional HP. We created an intake that makes HP, and is safe to run on your car. This intake is still under development, and will have some minor tweaks to it to improve it prior to when it goes on sale.

We expect to do lots of re-dynoing of parts like this after we are able to tune the ECU. One reason is that we may be able to make more HP after we raise the redline a bit and make more HP.

You can see by the picture, that not everything  about our new PERRIN  BRZ/FR-S  Intake is clear. This may be the first time we don’t fully disclose something we are making, but its for a few good reasons. One is there are many variables that can effect how the intake works in the real world. This means there is still lots of testing to do, luckily we have 3 shop cars to do this with. The other reason is we wanted to keep a couple things up our sleeve when this part is released.

What we have learned is we will be offering two intakes. One that runs very close to the stock MAF curve, this will suite the more common customer that doesn’t need or want a tune, but would rather get some really cool sounds along with a bit of HP. The other intake will require an ECU retune, and is designed for the customer who wants the maximum HP from his car.

We will only be offering this in a cold air type intake. The short ram intakes (filter under the hood) were ok, but the radiator blows hot air directly at the filter and eliminates all the benefits of removing the air box. With this normally aspirated engine, we need to extract the most from every part we make and a short ram intake isn’t going to cut it.

You can see that we are fully dedicated to this new car. We love new challenges, we love new customers, and we love what we do. Making cars more fun (not just faster) is what we all live for! We have been doing this now for almost 11 years for Subaru, with the company dating back to 1996! This is only the beginning for this exciting new platform of performance driving!

 

Jun 042012
 

For those that have been following us on our posts about the exhaust pieces we have been making, this diagram is for sure a repeat. For the new guys seeing this for the first time, its good to understand where this part falls in line with the BRZ/FR-S exhaust.

Why is this part called the overpipe? Easy, it goes OVER the subframe, and its a pipe. WRX owners can think of this like its an uppipe, because it goes after the header and snakes through a small tight area. Because this part is located in a tight area and not very easy to get to, I built the prototype off the car using a quick fixture I threw together.

 

This fixture is not anything like we would use to mass produced these parts, but rather a way to build the part efficiently off the car.

This is a good side by side comparison of the OEM part on top and the PERRIN 2.5″ prototype on the bottom. The factory part is made from 2.118″ OD tubing (like the rest of the exhaust) and has a couple of really sharp bends along with an area with a big crimp. The PERRIN part we made is 2.5″ tubing and smooth mandrel bends.

 

So its bigger diameter, and smoother bends, does this actually made a difference?

This test was done immediately after the front pipe testing we did. We did 4 runs and they all showed the same thing, a slight increase in HP in the 4500-6000 RPM range. The peak change in wheel HP was about 3 in the midrange. So not tons, but its something. In our last post about the ECU holding back the HP due to some internal limits. The overpipe could fall into the same thing as the other parts, in that after an ECU tune is done, there is even more HP to gain from it. So as soon as we can retune the ECU, we will be retesting this part along with all the others.

Recap on BRZ/FR-S Dyno results.

PERRIN Muffler delete made 3 Wheel HP.

PERRIN 2.5″ Catback System made 7 Wheel HP

PERRIN 2.5″ Front Pipe without cat made 5 Wheel HP

PERRIN 2.5″ Overpipe made 2-3 Wheel HP.

You can see the trend in Wheel HP. Even though these tests were very repeatable, there is a point where they just don’t make as much as they should. So until the ECU tuning revolution happens, You will have to be ok with 8-ish wheel HP, and some really cool sounds!

If you missed any of the other posts check them out

PERRIN Catback Dyno Testing

PERRIN Front Pipe Dyno Testing

 

These results are from the stock BRZ to the last runs we did. These were not done on the same day and if you read my other posts, you can see that there seems to be a limit of HP gained.

 Posted by on June 4, 2012 BRZ / FR-S, Dyno Test & Tune Tagged with: , , , , ,
Jun 032012
 

Sticking with the theme of free flowing and 2.5″ tubing, the next restriction in the exhaust system after the catback exhaust is the Front Pipe for the BRZ. For all you STI and WRX fans, think of this as the downpipe for the BRZ.  Looking at the diagram below, you can see the Front Pipe is after the header and over pipe, but before the catback system.

The Front Pipe consists of two flanges, a catalytic converter, and a strange rectangle  resonator. The tubing used is 2.118″ OD which is close to 45mm size. The biggest restriction with this piece is the catalytic converter, then the tubing size, both of which we will fix. The other thing is the weight. The stock front pipe weighs 12.2lbs, where our PERRIN Front Pipe weighs 6.6lbs with no cat and 7.2lbs with a cat. If you add that weight savings and the weight savings of the catback exhaust, that removes about 18lbs from the car.  That is a reasonable weight savings and after we show you the HP it gains you will see even more value in the part.

Here are a couple of installation pics of the prototype. You can see its very simple and a nice straight shot from the over pipe to the catback.

 

Anytime we make a part, we have to consider how easy it is to install. This part is pretty much as easy as it gets. 2 bolts at the over pipe, 2 bolts at the catback, and one hanger bolt. This is a 10 minute job for anyone with a jack and jackstands.

This was the the third part for us to dyno test. First being the muffler delete, then the catback. This part was built the follow day after the first test, so the car has sat for about 12 hours. We did another set of 4 base runs before installing the front pipe. The first thing I noticed (before installing the prototype front pipe) is that it had lost some HP. This day was hotter than the last by about 10F,  and based on some of other findings,I think the ECU has a limit of increased TQ or load.

These results were very repeatable. We did about 5 more runs all showing the same 5-8 WHP.  This dyno session was done with our catless Front pipe, and a test with the catted version will follow soon. Overall this is a great sign that this part makes HP, but it also might be showing we may be hitting a limit in the ECU that won’t allow more power. Commonly, ECU’s have limits like load limits, or torque limits to help control horsepower.  This sounds silly, but its a way for Subaru/Toyota to protect their engines from making too much Torque/power. Remember back in the old days where your car was faster when it was cold out? ECU manufactures put in load and TQ limits to help make the car the same power all the time.

Here are a couple of videos we put together that show off the overall sound of the PERRIN Catback and Front pipe both installed at the same time. These are the same ones we showed in the Catback post. In case you have not seen them, here they are!


We have now proven that our catback and front pipe both make great power. I really think that there is much more HP to be unlocked with some ECU tuning. Expect to see all our parts re-dynoed after a tuning solution is released.

Continue to Overpipe Design and Proving

May 312012
 

We have only had the car for a couple weeks now, but we have been looking at the BRZ/FR-S world for months trying to figure out what customers are going to want. From what we see, one of the most talked about parts is a catback exhaust system. People want an aftermarket exhaust to free up some HP and add some cool sounds to the car. With both these things in mind, we set out to build an exhaust system to perfectly satisfy both needs.

First thing we hit on is performance.  In the world of 4 cylinder NA (normally aspirated) power, we see that 2.5″ is the standard for performance cars. As long as its not too loud, 2.5″ is going to produce enough power for customers and hit that level of sound that people will want. While a 2.75″ or 3″ system will make more power, it will be a while before this is needed. Its going to a while before we can tune the ECU, add more aggressive cams, and add valve train components to bump the redline up past 8000 RPM. Until then, a 2.5″ system is the best option.

We find with the other cars we deal with that there are generally two kinds of sound customers like. Some want just a little something they can hear, but not so loud it attracts the police. Some want something that is loud, and don’t care about cops or neighbors. Knowing these things, we set out to make two different styles. One with a resonator that would keep the customers concerned with noise happy, and one with no resonator, for the guys that would like it loud.

The stock exhaust system consists of a header, overpipe, front pipe, midpipe and muffler section. For now we will skip over the header as this isn’t something we plan on making right away. Starting from behind the header, every piece of the stock exhaust is made from tubing that measures 2.118″. That includes the overpipe, Midpipe and muffler section before the muffler.  This great room for us as there is room to improve.

I made this quick little muffler delete pipe a couple days after getting the car. The sound was ok, but nothing to get excited about. There were some hints of “farty-ness” and lack of that race car like sound. Also looks terrible not having a tip on both sides of the car. This was actually the first part we dynoed on the BRZ and I wasn’t surprised to see 2-3 Wheel HP.

We took a different approach with this car, and decided to make a catback system that only fit with it self instead of being concerned about it fitting with the stock  midpipe. This allowed us for more freedom of pipe routing and ease of modifying theh muffler to tweak the sound we wanted. In the end, we eliminated bends making for more HP potential.

You can see from some of the mock up shots that the system is very smooth, very simple and uses V-band flange type connections where possible. This creates a simpler system, with only one gasket (at the front pipe connection) and also a very low profile system.

 

The catback exhaust also has to look really cool from all angles. Not only just the tips, but the mufflers, the tubing, and what it looks like to the person driving behind you is important. We felt that a center inlet muffler helps create this really cool look with a very symmetrical looking system.

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With our mock up done, it was time to stick it all together. Yes, I am TIG welding the exhaust together, but most likely we will end up MIG welding the system to help keep the costs down. TIG welding for catbacks does nothing but makes them look cooler. There isn’t much benefit other than that as the catback isn’t dealing with the same kinds of vibrations and temps like a header might see.

What is important is material and finish. These pictures are all of the prototype system(s) we made,and while the TIG welding may not exist on the final product, the rest of it will look just like these pics. That means the nice brushed finish and the 304 SS tubing will be used. We make all our exhaust systems in 100% 304 Stainless Steel, which is used for the tips, the tubing, flanges,muffler body and even the inner core. Anything less just rusts and fails in east coat climates where roads are salted.

Here is another shot showing the system from the left side of the car.

Close up of the tips from a bit of an angle.

A  little further away.

A shot from the right side.

And finally a couple shots from just off center and on center.

After the system was done we did some adjustments to change the sound (making it quieter) and then it was time to throw it on the dyno! Our base runs were done (7 of them actually) and in 10 mintues the stock catback was replaced by our prototype system. We did 5 runs to back up the HP we saw and we were amazed to see 7WHP! 7 Wheel HP isn’t tons but considering we see 10WHP on an STI, 7 isn’t too bad. This also shows that the stock midpipe is holding back some HP.

This dyno session is the first of many to come. From this day forward our Shop BRZ will most likely live on the dyno. This car is the one we specifically bought for nothing other than to sit around and get tested and tuned and beat on. I see that many of our competitors are coming out with new parts here and there and they don’t even have the car. They rely on customer cars to get their intakes, exhaust and other R&D done, which is not how we work! Not having a car at our disposal means we have to hurry to make something while we have the car available, which can lead to poorly designed parts or ones that just don’t work. It’s one of those things that we do different than other companies out there, that we hope our customers see as a real commitment to the car.

Here are some preliminary weight stats. The stock system weighs 38.4lbs. The prototype catback with resonator, is 34.25lbs, and the resonator-less system is about 26lbs. Keep in mind that is a larger tube from stock and not the final numbers.Then there is the front pipe we are going to offer, which is also much ligher than the stock part.

So back to the exhaust. You can see how it looks, you can see that its makes horsepower, now how does this all sound?

Here is a video on the dyno with the stock exhaust, then PERRIN Catback with the resonator, then PERRIN Front Pipe with no cat and Catback installed. This was all done in a controlled environment to show the differences between the three setups. The sound is pretty accurate if you compare each of them together. This does have added sound of dyno which muffles some of the cool sounds of the exhaust.

Below is a nice video showing some outside the car shots. This is a much better representation of how it sounds in the real world. These were only done with the PERRIN Front pipe and 2.5″ Catback with resonator.

And finally one more video. This video has a little of everything. Full throttle, normal driving, short shifting all showing the sound of our catback with resonator, and catless front pipe.

OK, so we have proven that our catback makes HP. Now its time to build and test the front pipe!

Continue to BRZ Front Pipe Design and Proving.

May 282012
 

There were exactly 69 miles on the ODO of our BRZ, and it was only two days old, then it was bolted to the dyno. This may be extreme to some but this is what we always do. The last time a new Subaru came out, we had it on the dyno with-in hours of owning it.

The dyno we use for all our testing is our Dynapack AWD dyno. This is a type that you remove the wheels from the car and bolt on adapters which then fit into pods which do all the magic. Some people say they read high, some people say they estimate flywheel HP, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. What matters is, what does it read stock, and what does it read after the modifications.

You can see from the below graph how consistent the runs were. Only one of them was different than the rest and even then it was only a few HP off. Looking at these numbers, 168 Whele HP isn’t too far off from what i expected to see. If Subaru rates the engine at 200 HP this makes for a drivetrain loss of about 15%. Not terrible at all. What is interesting is that Subaru says 170ft-lbs of torque and normally we see wheel torque numbers very close to this, but in this case, we do not. We also are not running 93+ octane, like a lot of US, but rather 92 octane. That could have something to do with it.

So how does this compare to another dyno? Locally we have Cobb Tuning(Surgline) and they had a chance to dyno a BRZ recently as well. Their dyno is a Mustang Dyno, which typically read low compared to some. We have found our dyno’s both read very similar. You can see from the two graphs, that both cars made very similar HP. (168 vs. 164)

From both our graphs you can see the large dip in torque. This has been up for some debate for a while. Its a 25ft-lbs loss right in the middle of things. There has been speculation that its from cam timing, or fueling or something else. There is still some mystery to this, but I think its done on purpose. Since most people drive in the 1000-4000 range during normal driving this creates a powerband that drives people to shift early and save fuel.  Then you have those times where you are shifting at redline, and in these situations you are always about 5000RPM or higher. This falls right into that second hump in TQ and power. Can we tune this out? I say yes, but only time will tell.

So how does the BRZ run? The data logging parameters are very limited and at best not very accurate with our Innovate Datalogger. What we can see is Air fuel ratio from the dyno. The leaner air fuel ratio was expected, but not the super rich condition from 6500 on up. The 02 sensor is behind two cats and from what we have leaned over the years is that this causes the AFR (air fuel ratio) to leaner than it really is by 1 full point. Meaning if you see 12.0 AFR, its actaully 11.0.

The above graphs are in Lambda which is 14.7 multiplied by the Lambda number. So (.85) Lambda is about 12.5 AFR, but because its behind the cats, its actually 11.5. Which is a very rich AFR for a non turbo car. Especially an efficient direct injection engine like this.  What is a safe AFR?  There are some basic rules to follow. Under full throttle an engine can run very lean but not for very long as the heat can melt things. “Safe” could be a wide range of AFR. Safe for this engine could be that 10.0-11.5 range. We won’t really know until we can start tuning the BRZ. Then we will find out how lean we can run before knock occurs.

What AFR makes the most power? 12.5 AFR is a good range to shoot for. 13.2AFR is a known best TQ AFR, but this is where things could run closer to the edge. Again, we really won’t know until we can tune these.

Here is a screen shot of a Logworks run. I logged tons of things and there were a few that makes sense, but a bunch that don’t. STFT is always changing under full throttle, but we found evidence that its not active as different MAF housing throw off the AFR. If STFT was actually working, it would compensate.

Here are some other comparisons of some other cars. First one is a 2.5RS. When you look at these two cars side by side, you will see that the BRZ will blow the doors off a 2.5RS. You then add the weight factor to it and you really have a much faster car with the BRZ.

Here is another 2.5RS, but this time its modified with cams, pistons, and tuning. Even then its still no match.

Lastly is a comparison of a MINI Cooper S and BRZ. The MINI’s dyno very high for some reason. But you can see a car that has similar overall Wheel HP to the BRZ, but the MINI has way more torque. Boost is the answer here.

 

This is just a snippet of what is to come with this car. Be on the look out for even more dyno results!

 Posted by on May 28, 2012 About Your Car, BRZ / FR-S, Dyno Test & Tune Tagged with: , , , ,
May 242012
 

Every time a new car comes out, I spend time going over the entire car checking out all the new cool things about them. Normally its not that exciting as its not much different from the previous car. This time, its completely different!

I thought I was done with the RWD world after my 135i (one tire fire). it was pretty fast (380WHP and 400 ft-lbs), but traction was the problem. Even after driving a couple of Vettes (ZO6 and ZR-1), I just wasn’t in love with RWD. I thought I would never buy a RWD car. Then the BRZ came out. This car really got me excited about RWD because it was so different. The price was good, the features were great and it wouldn’t be full of problems and glitches like a BMW product.

Personally, its been since 98, that I built up a normally aspirated car. My last car NA car was a Civic with a Prelude engine swap. This was back in the day were “Tuning” involved parts, not actual ECU tuning. So for me, I was pretty excited to do a real NA engine build. With turbo stuff, making HP is easy. More boost, more power! With NA engines, its all the little things that make power. Intakes, exhaust, and tuning are what make power. You have to work much harder to get that 30+ Wheel HP gain.

Before even getting the car, the most obvious thing this car was going to be lacking, is power. Actually TQ is what is missing. Would the lighter chassis make up for the low TQ?

This car is all about fun. Its not super fast, and it was never meant to be. It was meant to be a fun car to drive, a perfect handling car, provide the best drivers experience, in a very simple way. Most tuners just go crazy and start modifying the car with wider tires, no cats and toss on a random intake. While this all sounds good (and probably something we will do) its a good way to ruin possibly one of the best cars to hit our world in a long time. There is a reason why Subaru and Toyota used tiny 215 tires, not some sticky 235′s. There is a reason why they put a 200 HP engine in the car, not 400. It “could” ruin the fun factor.

I personally am going to tackle this car a little at a time to really test things out. Before we get to all the modifications we plan to make, here is a look at the car, and the things I find interesting about it.  By now we have all read the reviews about the car and I am not going to publish another “Best Handling Car Ever” article. I may not be qualified to say its the best handling car, and the fact that 99% of the magazine reviewers say it is, there is no reason to waste time with that.

The rest of this article and  pics are all done in the order of which I took it apart/discovered things.

As I mentioned, we all want to toss the Prius tires for something wider and stickier. The question is, how wide can we go? As expect with a RWD car, there is more room in the rear compared to the front. The car comes with 17″x7″ wheels with a 48mm offset and 215mm wide tires.

Starting with the front there is enough room to push the wheel about 10mm out toward the fender with no issues clearing anything. 15mm starts to push it close to the fender where it may rub. Going from the rim to the inside of the car, the strut is going to be the limiting factor here. There is about 12-14mm of extra room to move the wheel toward the inside. With this you can guess that an 8″ wide wheel will easily work in the front. The next thing is offset. We tested a 48mm offset wheel that was 8″ wide and it was very close to teh strut. While this works, it still leaves the wheel pushed to the inside of car just a bit. A 40-42mm offset 8″ wide wheel would be perfect for the front of the car. If you go with an 8″ or even an 8.5″ front wheel, a 245 wide tire should fit no problem. The only thing is wider may start to take away some of that lovely steering feel. Also going with a smaller offset wheel (pushing it to the outside more) could effect some of the feel as you are moving the centerline of the tire out as well.

The rear is a different story. From the wheel to the fender, there is a good 16mm of safe room. On the inside, there is about 35mm of safe room. This means a 10″ wide wheel would easily fit. I think with the right offset, you could go to 11″ wide wheels enabling 305 wide tires to fit. Again, this may start to ruin the car performance creating an imbalance front to rear. At least until we start to add some big power, this could be the case.

For now, until we add some big power, going with the same front and rear wheels may be the best option. Then again, that staggered look would be really cool. For me, I don’t want to ruin the fun factor of this car, so pushing the wheel and tire size to the limit isn’t what I plan to do…..yet.

This may sound funny but the second thing I did was take off that oil filter. I was dying to see what would really happen. Would it dump oil everywhere? Would it make for a huge mess? Would dirt get sucked down in to the oil? No, No and No. Super clear, super simple, and I can’t wait to do an oil change!

Love this tiny detail. I hate that the Subaru’s with the hydraulic hood lifts don’t clear most engine hoists when pulling out an engine. In this case, Subaru or Toyota got smart and added a hole here and another one on the hood to allow the hood prop to keep the hood up almost vertical.

Love this!

The next thing I removed was the intake. One reason was to get to the crank pulley the other reason was to do some measuring for future intake pieces. (3) 10mm bolts and a couple of hose clamps and it was off.

Here is good shot of the throttle body and top of intake manifold. I see a few people online are planning on replacing the throttle body, but this huge 3″ OD throttle body should easily support the HP potential this has. The STI has a 2.75″ OD throttle body for comparison.

Here is a cool shot with the hood opened, intake removed. The throttle body clears the hood easily, but you can see potentially why Subaru put that little bulge in the hood. Mainly for style, but it does follow the line of the throttle body.

With the intake removed, the “V” mounted radiator and AC condenser can be seen. This is not something you see on normal cars. This is one of those little thing that was done to lower the height of the front of the car and make it more aerodynamic. Very cool feature for sure.

Here is a quick diagram showing what the intake system consists of. You can see its very short from the throttle body to the intake scoop. The fresh air scoop is behind the bumper right below the Subaru/ Scion/ FR-S logo. Its not a ram air by any means. Look for the PERRIN BRZ intake test and tune session where we really dig into the intake and making a proper one for the car.

With the crank pulley now visible and accessible it was time to test fit a new part we had been working on, the PERRN Crank pulley. First thing to take note of, is the lack of manually adjustable belt tensioner. Removing the belt is a simple one tool operation. One multi-rib belt to do the job of driving all the accessories. All the Subaru fans out there will notice there is no power steering pump, but now a new water pump that is driven by the accessory belt. The power steering is all electric, and the pump for it is actually under the dash! Super cool. More pics on this later.

With removing the crank pulley, you will find this little nugget of fun. This piece is what actually seals on the front case of the engine. The crank pulley simply bolts to the face where that o-ring keeps oil from protruding out the crank bolt hole.  This piece also is what drives the oil pump.

First actual purpose built BRZ/FR-S part! This part saves about 3.7lbs of the cranks rotating weight! We know that customers will really like the added response this provides!

Very different than the other Subaru engines. The AVCS sensors and solenoids are setup quite differently. Going to the chain driven cams allows the AVCS mechanism to be slimmer and simply the solenoid and sensor setup. Also making for a much stronger engine in a front impact situation (EJ engines are known for cam, cam gear and AVCS mechanism failures in small front end collisions). Shown above are the AVCS solenoids mounted to the front cover.

ECU in the engine! Yes but no. That is the injector driver unit. This is the unit that controls the high pressure direct injectors. So it is an ECU, but its not the main ECU that we are used to. That ECU is located in the passenger side compartment next to the glove box.

Its little things like this you find all over the car. Super long strut top studs. Super tall nuts as well. Its like they knew we would be making a strut bar for this car.

Another super cool detail. Again, they knew we would be installing gauges and needing to pass wires into the cabin. This rubber grommet and small tube are perfectly located for passing wires into the car. Even where they come through on the inside is easy to reach and out of the way. LOVE IT!

As most people have been reading, the new engine uses both direct injection and port injection. For these systems to work you must have a ultra high pressure fuel pump. This is not something that can done with an electrical pump but rather a mechanical pump. These are normally driven off the engine via a camshaft and its no different on the new Subaru engine. You can see it mounted here on the left head.

It still uses a fuel pump in the tank to push it up to the high pressure pump. From there its driven to the (4) injectors  mounted in the cylinder head. For the normal port injectors, it uses a normal pump and rail system. Nothing special there, except there are 8 total injectors, which means there is plenty of capacity for running lots more HP. Since Subaru took so long to adopt this technology to their engines, lets hope they worked out all the bugs with failing pumps!

Now under the car.You can see the shielding under the car and panels installed to help keep the air flow smooth.  What you can’t see from the picture is how thick the pieces are.

1- Large plastic shield- This is like most plastic splash guards, a little flimsy, but it does the job.

2- Thick Aluminum Panel- This piece is impressive. Its a skid plate more than anything because of how thick it is. At nearly 1/8″ thick this piece is almost designed to be jacked up on. But its not. It was done to protect the super low engine and header. Other cars from Subaru do not have this, but that is because the engines are not as in danger of being damaged under normal driving conditions.

3- Fiberglass woven nylon panel- Almost like cardboard but its not. Another splash guard, but since its close the exhaust, its made from a material that will not melt over time.

4- One plastic under panel- This is the other cool part. The problem is its only on one side.  In Japan, the BRZ comes with full under body paneling. We only get half that material. Best part is there are threaded holes on both sides to accepct the JDM parts

Before getting to the header (the part I am dying to see) I pulled the exhaust pieces off to weigh them.

 

Not super heavy, but for sure there is room to improve this. Our prototype system comes in about 15lbs lighter, so we will see how this comes out in the end. The exhaust system on the BRZ comprises of 5 main parts. First is the Header, then Over Pipe (we came up with this name), Front pipe, Midpipe, then Muffler section.

In the system there are two catalytic converters. One in the header (not replaceable), and one in the front pipe.  Both styles are not high flow types so naturally, replacing these is high on our list.

 

These are pictures with the shields removed from the header. You can see that its an equal length style header, but not with the best merge collectors. Its OEM, it gets the job done, and leaves room for us to improve. The tubing sizes is very good, but longer primaries and a better cat could net some pretty good gains.

All us Subaru guys are very familiar with the Uppipe (not a term we came up with). This is the part that connects the header to the turbo on the WRX. This part was one of the first things people installed on their WRX when it came out. It would make about 10 Wheel HP because it replaced a restrictive part of the exhaust system. On the BRZ the Overpipe could be this same type of part.  It amazing how tiny it is along with all the crazy bends and dimples to clear things. This part has to make a decent amount of HP.

Here is a shot of the front pipe looking from the back into the tubing. The strange muffler you see here is made using a louvered type core. Besides it being small tubing, its not using a high flow type of core. Again showing there are some good HP gains to be had.

Onto the drivetrain stuff. Since we are looking at the headers already, its interesting to note the motor mount. Its the same type as the old 06 STI. Constructed of plastic, rubber and steel this is for sure something that you will want to replace. These are normally pretty soft so going with an STI, Group N, or even our new PERRIN Motor Mounts, might be a good upgrade.

 

The rear transmission mount is very different from other Subarus. Its very small, and pretty flimsy. Another good part to upgrade for those looking to start bashing gears, or drifting where you want ZERO drivetrain slop. Since this is a whole new part for Subaru, we don’t have anything that will instantly fit, but this is another part high on out list.

The shifter mechanism isn’t always something you associate with drivetrain. For those not familar with Subarus, the shifter mechanism is connected to the transmission using two rods. One to hold it to the chassis and one to actuate the rod in the transmission. On the BRZ its constructed similarly, in that there is a really cool bracket that holds the shifter to the transmission, and a rod that actuates it. What is different is that its much more slimmed down over the WRX/STI versions. Also the “shifter bushings” are much smaller, much more dense. This is great for customers (maybe not for us) in that it provides a better feel from the shifter.

We know the shifter is short already. With the drift scene demanding longer shifters (putting the knob closer to the steering wheel) this will drive us to make a short throw shifter like we do for other cars.

Subaru’s rear subframe is very similar, but very different than the 08 STI/WRX parts. The subframe doubles as the diff carrier and you can see how the left side bushing is setup to help resist twisting of the diff under extreme conditions. Compared to previous Subaru’s, the rear diff is mounted much more solid than the AWD cars. This makes sense since all the power is going to the rear wheels.

The front suspension is also very different. The control arms are backwards, there is a completely new front swaybar, new endlinks, and new steering rack.  The under side of the BRZ is very clean because of all these new changes.

 

The front swaybar is a decent size (for the weight of the car) but for sure is an item we plan on making in different sizes. Maybe even softer for those who really want to turn their BRZ/FR-S into a drift car. This front swaybar is completely different than all the other swaybars for Subarus, and also different in that it can be removed without having to remove too many parts making this a simple upgrade.

In the above picture you can see how clean the underside of the car is with all the power steering stuff missing. Missing is all the normal power steering hydraulics, lines and other mess associated with mechanical type setups. Subaru got smart and installed an electric power steering pump, and then got even smarter and installed it on the steering wheel shaft inside the car.  check out the diagram below.

Here is a shot of the front struts and endlinks. The endlink is now connected to the strut and swaybar, not the control arm and swaybar like it used to be. I have my suspicions as to why they did this, but my guess is, it helps save some money in making the control arm slightly weaker, not having to deal with the forces of the endlink.

After pulling the strut out, the first thing i noticed was the camber bolts, or lack there of! Its amazing how a performance car/any car these days doesn’t have a camber adjustment in the front. Its interesting because the OEM bolt has one side larger than the other, almost as though it was meant to be able to upgrade.

The WRX bolt did fit, and it did allow for some adjustment, but not enough. What did work perfect is an H&R camber bolt. Not sure how much adjustment this gives,but its got to be close to +or – 2 degrees. At this point its not a necessary item to have, but when we lower one of these, it will be.

The rear suspension is very similar to the 08-12 WRX/STI. There are  couple of differences like the actual subframe is different. It’s much stronger, to deal with all the power going to the rear wheels and also has a different cut out for the exhaust to pass through. This cutout makes the back of the car look a little crooked with no exhaust installed, which is a strange optical illusion. The upper control arms appear to be different as well compared to the STI. Still no camber adjustment! Hello Subaru, its only been FOREVER that you haven’t made this adjustable!

Other notes about the rear, is the swaybar and endlinks. They are right off the 08+ cars, which is great for us as we do not have to make all new parts. The only problem is the stock swaybar is a 14mm, which makes our smallest swaybar HUGE for the BRZ. We do have available 19mm, 22mm and 25mm and soon a 17mm.

The struts and springs and the way they mount to the car is just like the 08+ cars, but completely different springs are used. Just like the older cars, the rear shock tops are super easy to get to. They are right under the carpet in the back.

 

That is pretty much it for the important stuff. This is also a preliminary exploration, which means over the next few months, I am sure we will find lots more things. I am sure you are reading all this asking your self, what is PERRIN going to make for this? Its easier to say what we are NOT going to make. Bodywork/ground effects, wheels and tires. The rest is all up for debate. Even though there are so many good things about this car, there are lots of things to improve upon.

 

 Posted by on May 24, 2012 About Your Car, BRZ / FR-S Tagged with: , ,