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Discussion Starter #41
(as of mid July 2014)

...So, after the first round of my flywheel/clutch adventure, I started hearing this "rubbing/grinding sound" coming from the transaxle area. From my past experiences, it sounded very much like a loose motor mount bolt (not terribly loose mind you, but maybe one that has not been torqued down enough). The sound was only happening when I would start from a complete stop and usually when the wheels were turned in either direction. Upon verifying that all the mount bolts and surrounding bolts were securely fastened, my tuner found that the cylindrical counterweight (or whatever the mass of metal on the motor mount is referred to) on the portion of the mount that houses the rubber, was rubbing on the bracket part of the mount that attaches to the body/frame. Look closely and you can see where the black paint has been "ground off".





The solution was to notch the bracket in a manner so as to let the cylindrical portion "float" freely. My tuner notched about a centimeter of the bracket where the cylindrical portion previously came into contact with. Removing this amount of material has not made a significant reduction in the strength of the bracket portion of the motor mount. After doing this, the rubbing/grinding sound has disappeared and I feel significantly less NVH in the cabin as well! Look closely and you can see how the bracket was cut to accommodate the position of the cylindrical portion of the mount.




My tuner and I agreed that this should be referred to as "engine mount tuning". :D
 

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Discussion Starter #42
(as of the end of July 2014)

Since the "engine mount tuning", I have been really happy with the performance and reliability of my Tib. It feels great to drive and does everything beyond my satisfaction.

Three days ago, however, I was rear ended. Here's the story:

My school (employer) sits at a very busy "T" intersection. I approach my school from the street that represents the vertical part of the "T". I (and usually others) wait to make a left turn at the "T" intersection. After I make my left turn into the far right lane (of a 3 lane road), I must start slowing down to make a right hand turn into the entrance of my school. Distance from the "T" intersection to the entrance is approximately 80yards. Mind you, everyone else who is making this turn is making a "mad dash" (another 150 yards beyond my school's entrance) to get to the right hand turn lane that dumps onto a major boulevard leading to an expressway. This is important because most people make that left turn and "gun it" for that short stretch of road that passes in front of my school's entrance.

Well, that's exactly what this lady behind me did. I started to slow down and execute my right turn into my school. I do this slowly because the entrance has huge concrete/marble walls on either side to anchor the retractable gate that keeps me from seeing any students that one must assume to be in the vicinity. Upon starting my turn in, I noticed that the car behind me did not seem to be braking or starting to maneuver around me. I realized I had no more than 1 second to get out of her way. I took my foot off the brake and immediately hit the accelerator to hopefully get my rear end into the entrance and out of her way. I almost succeeded.

She (Chevy Malibu) tagged me just to the right of my license plate. My car was at about a 120 degree angle to hers I believe, and I was accelerating starting from 10km/hr. I estimate that she was already doing 50-60km/hr. She never touched her brakes. I thought I was going to be pushed into the huge concrete wall, because that is the last thing I remember seeing. However, thanks to my instincts (and divine intervention) her force was absorbed by the spin that my car performed as a result of my steering and acceleration inputs. I ended up doing a 180 degree spin/turn between the two concrete walls that "bookend" the entrance to my school. I was "donkey punched" by my headrest really hard, but nothing else. My car was actually drivable and sustained relatively little damage (visual and mechanical). Another factor that was highly in my favor was that the ground was wet from the rain that occurred overnight. It allowed my car to have less resistance when my spin was induced.





^^^That's the wall I thought I was going to become intimate with.



But damn, did she tag me hard. Her car's right fender panel showed buckling that went to the door gap. Her airbag triggered and she came out totally dazed and her left wrist and hand were in bad shape. When they tried to start her car again, it wouldn't turn over and it sounded as if it was an old diesel tractor engine that was one revolution from spilling its guts.



If you look at her bumper closely, you can see the circle that my exhaust tip created!





I believe if she had hit me squarely, I would still be laying in the hospital and my Tib would be at least half a foot shorter in length (and a total loss). As of now, I may have to replace my exhaust and rear bumper components. I still don't know for sure though. The good news is that the motor sounds great, the shifting linkage has not been compromised, the alignment is still fairly good enough for driving, and the trunk aligns and closes securely (a good indicator of damage to the rear body/subframe IMHO). I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to only be walking away with a mild concussion. I would like to believe that some of the chassis bracing that I had installed helped keep the car together, but to what degree I honestly don't know. Either way, I believe this project will continue.


Here is the superficial damage (first estimate):



However, I took my car away from this "collision center" and drove it to my tuning shop. The collision center was only interested in replacing panels and repainting as soon as possible. They didn't even want to consider my suggestion of checking the rattling sound I was hearing (exhaust pipe hitting the rear sway bar). This was my litmus test of their commitment to thoroughly inspecting my car. I prefer to have my whole car inspected and fixed regardless of how long it takes...
 

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Discussion Starter #43
(current)

A week after the accident, the body damage has been repaired:





The rear bumper skin was replaced, but they threw my "V6" badge in the trash. Oh well...

In these pictures, the exhaust had not been fixed yet. A couple of weeks after these pictures, an inch of pipe was added above the rear sway and the entrance to the muffler was welded again to achieve more clearance above the rear sway and get the tip pointing straight again. Sorry, no pics of this.

At the same time, we were finally able to install these:



...a Fidanza Flywheel and a Clutchmasters stage 3 (FX300) clutch. The install went smoothly and the HY5 flywheel fit perfectly (all my research be damned). It's a good thing too, because my OEM flywheel was looking even more tired than before:








I must say that the lighter flywheel makes an incredible difference with respect to the character of the engine (and car). Everything feels lighter, and the throttle response is remarkably quicker. Getting from 90km/hr to 120km/hr quickly can be done entirely in 5th gear now (although it's much more fun to do in 4th gear). However, I have noticed that this flywheel coupled with the Crower cams causes my car to not really like maintaining a specific rpm below 2000rpm (re: crawling in second gear in a traffic jam), and actually tends to buck at a sustained 1500rpm due to the lope that the cams induce. Additionally, the clutch pedal feel is actually lighter than stock. I was expecting it to be a little bit heavier. Such an easy feeling pedal makes me a bit uncomfortable. I prefer more resistance like a Subaru clutch has. Anyway, I just need to adjust for these minor changes. That being said, I feel like I have a different car and I really like driving it now more than ever before!

I'm about 33% through the break-in period. This past weekend, I had a complete brain fart and took my foot off the clutch pedal with 1st gear engaged (assuming that it wasn't). I shock loaded the transmission and clutch very well. I was so angry at myself for making such a bonehead mistake, and at the same time quite impressed with the "110% increase in holding capacity". It seems that the throw out bearing took the brunt of it, and it is making that rattling noise at idle again (although a bit differently than in May).

I have a bunch of Moog endlink and tie rod pieces waiting to be installed. Right now I will finish the break in of the clutch/flywheel and then install the endlinks, tie rod components, replace the throw out bearing, and (since it will be easily accessible) the steering rack as well. Hopefully after that, I can give my wallet a bit of a rest. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #44
As explained before, I wanted to replace the throw out bearing due to a stupid mistake I had made (stepping off the clutch with the car in gear at a dead stop idle).

Last week we separated the transmission and engine (for what is hopefully the last time in a long while). Since the front subframe was going to be dropped, I decided to replace the whole steering rack in addition to new tie rods, tie rod ends, kingpins, and endlinks (4).

Here is what the new flywheel and clutch looked like after about 700km of (my) driving:



flywheel side:


opposite side (marks on the center ring are grease from the transmission input shaft):


After all was said and done, we couldn't really accurately diagnose a faulty throwout bearing. Our best guess is that the throwout bearing could have been vibrating/rattling back and forth on the shaft instead of having a compromised bearing (re: looseness withing the bearing itself). Upon driving for another week after install, I can say that the noise(s) I heard were less noticeable but still existent. However, I can now identify with certainty what "flywheel chatter" specifically sounds like (not to be confused with "throwout bearing rattle"). Certainty doesn't come cheap, but I'm okay with it.

I was a bit surprised to see a brand new steering rack at the shop. I don't know why I assumed it would be remanufactured (stuck in a USA frame of mind maybe?).



Here is a comparison of the Moog tie rod to the stock tie rod still on the rack:



For some reason the company that sent me the tie rod ends sent me one that has a grease fitting and one that does not. On the box they have the same part number, they are both from Moog, but there was one small number on the box that was changed (one box looked a bit older than the other as well). Interesting to say the least, but for the time being they will be used as there is really not a difference in the performance of the parts in this case:





A better picture of the kingpin. The receiving hole's tolerance was extremely tight and it was pressed in under the watchful eye of the head mechanic of the shop:



The completed assembly:

 

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Discussion Starter #45
After the front end of the car was put back together, we could finally install the endlinks!



The difference in thickness between the OEM and Moog rear endlinks was quite substantial:






With the new steering rack, tie rods, tie rod ends, and king pins installed, I am happy to report that there is no longer a quarter inch dead spot (re: play) in my steering wheel. What was the specific cause? I will never know for sure, but it's gone and that's all I wanted. Even more exciting is that the steering feels a bit "heavier". I feel that the force of my input is being met with more resistant force from the wheel, and that a good thing in my opinion. The feedback reminded me of my '85 Honda Prelude that had Honda's "power assist" steering; the type of system where the faster you would go, the less "help" would be provided by the power steering pump. Of course the Hyundai system doesn't do that, but the feel of my current steering setup reminds me of how the Prelude felt at highway speeds (re: a bit heavier and tighter than one would expect a typical power steering system to be).

I haven't really been able to determine to what extent my cornering performance has been increased to. It seems I can hold a slightly higher speed in most cases, but my benchmark corners are not as close to me now since I moved last week. I'll have a chance to take my benchmark corners again within the next couple months...

The clutch finally felt "broken in" at about 900km for me. There are still times when I am engaging the clutch at too low of an engine speed (between 1100 and 1500 rpm), as if I still had the stock flywheel and clutch combo. It seems the Fidanza flywheel and the Clutchmasters FX300 combo prefers to be engaged anywhere between 1400-1800 rpm. It may not seem like a big difference in writing, but the feel is entirely different to me. I will continue practicing until it becomes completely intuitive!!!

So what's next? Well, I felt guilty seeing the guy at the alignment shop trying to manhandle (and flame torch) my rusty OEM rear adjustable lateral links, so...that might be the next thing that gets replaced. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #46
I've driven more than 2500km on the new clutch and flywheel combo now. Even though I mentioned before that the clutch felt "broken in" at 900km, I would say now that there was still some "breaking in" happening up until about 1500-1600km. I still haven't become perfectly consistent with the clutch, as I still occasionally let out the clutch without getting the rpm up enough (re: above 1400rpm like I had mentioned before). I've also had to endure some tough stop and go traffic for extended periods of time and the clutch has taken it well, even though crawling below below 15km/h is not comfortable with my combination of clutch, flywheel, and cams. I'm still of the opinion that heavier feed back form the clutch pedal (re: pressure plate) would help (me) be able to articulate the pedal with more precision...


Friday was a holiday in Korea, which means I had a chance to visit my tuning shop. I have been contemplating two upgrades for awhile, and finally decided to just do it. There is a company in Korea named Luxon, and they make all kinds of strut tower bars and chassis bracing (primarily for Korean cars). I purchased their fender braces and 3 point rear strut tower bar and had them installed yesterday.

Taking off the fenders and associated items is the easy part:






The mounting points for the fender braces must be welded on. Fitting the braces also required notching out a portion of the frame and hammering in some of the stamping in the metal that protrudes into the path of the braces (see picture, sounds worse than it looks). You may also notice that my mechanic welded some of the tiny gaps in the sandwiched portion of the metal at the top of the "frame rail".








What it looks like when completed:





Putting the fenders back on was not too much trouble. We did have to take some material off of the passenger side styrofoam piece (back of the fender near the door hinge) to get the fender to sit flush with the curve of the door again.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
After lunch we tackled the rear strut tower bar:



It takes a bit of time to get the mounting "platforms" on the strut perches aligned so that all three points can be bolted down properly.








The car feels completely solid now. It's amazing to realize how much flex was previously happening in the body and subframe(s) before these parts were installed (even with the underbrace, center brace/room bar, and rear subframe brace). Not only is lateral flex substantially reduced, but the car also responds quicker to throttle inputs when going in a straight line. NVH is slightly increased as well as imperfect road conditions. More importantly, the body feels like it it transferring force to the suspension more efficiently and effectively in all situations. One interesting thing I've noticed in just one day is that I am no longer needing to pause with the throttle to maintain the car's (already neutral) balance through a corner. It makes me real curious to try similar looking fender braces on my WRX.

I've had OEM struts with SMA lowering springs for 3 years now. I think the springs can handle the increased stiffness of the body/chassis but the OEM struts are no longer going to cut it...>:D
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Korean classes have taken all of my weekend time for the past 2 months, but this past weekend I was finally able to make a trip to my shop where 2 things were waiting for me: an Injen "SP" Cold Air Intake (SP1375BLK) and a Braille battery (B3121).

I read just about everything I could on intakes for the Tiburon V6 platform and was seriously considering Injen's "short" ram intake based on a lot of the positive feedback it has received from other Tiburon owners. However, when thinking about Korean summers, I finally decided to go with the long tube that puts the filter outside of the engine bay. Even though it is winter now in Korea (0C to -10C), and a short ram is not much of a problem, it will be in the summer when I look forward to finding out just how much of a difference in performance there will be!

I know some of you will think that I could have gotten a smaller size battery (like a B2317), but I chose the B3121 because it has the highest reserve capacity, amp hour rating, and cold cranking amps. In the winter, my car is driven for relatively short trips and sits outside (this year) for 2-4 days without being driven. My other traditional battery was already underperforming at freezing temps (even though it was not old), so I didn't mind trading 4-5 pounds (B3121 vs. B2317) for some extra piece of mind.

The Injen intake was not hard to fit. We used a air powered hacksaw blade to cut the hole (to the fenderwell) a bit bigger per Injen's instructions. we also had to tap the threads where the vibration mount screwed in because they were a bit rusty. Here's the initial fitting:




We positioned the MAF so that the connector pointed straight down (to clear some of the other electronics). A cover for the filter will be added soon...




Here is a picture of the hole that the tube passes through. We cut off the portion of the metal that was originally bent down (flanged); approximately .75cm on one side and .5cm on the other. Then we used the rubber strip that Injen provides to cover the bare metal (after a quick spray of some paint). Despite what the camera's angle suggests, the tube does not rub any of the edges.






The battery was positioned on the tray so that none of the wiring would have to be redone. This configuration might change later, but for now we used the original tab to hold the battery. The tab was relocated to a more central position by drilling a hole in the tray and using a nut and bolt to hold it down. That held the battery in place much firmer than expected, but we decided to overengineer the setup. I suggested using the existing tray mounting bolt (hole) and my mechanic started to bend a piece of metal to act as a "tie-down." He also drilled another hole in the tray to accommodate the setup. It works quite nicely actually. The metal will be painted next time I visit the shop. Like I said before, it may be changed later to something more tidy.






Here is a picture with both installed:




What good is this post without a dyno graph?! Yeah, I thought so too.

After the install was finished I made a quick trip to the tuner's shop about 30 minutes away. On the picture, the base run (#1 in blue) is just about the same as the graph I posted earlier (after installing cams): 204.98 whp and 192.18 wft-lbs. The final run (#4 in red) is showing a peak of 219.57 whp at just under 6400rpm and a peak of 201.58 wft-lbs. at 5100rpm. (I have converted kg-m to ft-lbs for you.) To be honest, I am most pleased with the jump in torque at 4000rpm. Needless to say, the tuner (who I happened to notice has literally thousands of Tiburon tunes stored on his dyno computer) was all smiles when all was said and done.




I did quite a bit of driving yesterday, and my initial feeling is that at speed the short ram brought the power on in more of a "punchy", "brute-force" kind of way, while the CAI brings the power on in more of a smooth, refined manner. It's almost as if my "DIY" short ram setup felt more powerful in a way... However, initial throttle response at speed aside, the extra power being produced is certainly noticeable. The sound of the intake itself is less "whistley" but I'm not sure because it is actually harder for me to hear it due to the muffling of the sound by the fender well. But I can tell you that my exhaust's tone has become slightly deeper at idle and overall.

The only downside that I have experienced is that when I am maneuvering in tight spaces (such as parking), the car tends to stall just a bit more easily if I try to engage the clutch below 1200rpm. It seemed that with the short ram and lightened flywheel, the engine would stall for a split second but catch itself in this situation. Now it will not catch itself as quickly. This is not a criticism of the parts by any means, but just a quirk that I need to fix in my own operation of the vehicle.


In other news, I found a low kms, RHD 2001 Bugeye STI in the Korean used car classifieds a couple weeks ago for approximately $20k...>:D

http://www.encar.com/dc/dc_cardetailview.do?carid=15102594&pageid=fc_carsearch&wtClick_forList=019
 

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Discussion Starter #50
Next up, Ingalls "Smart Arms" rear lateral links!



Take a good look at their construction versus the OEM lateral links. Think about where the stress is applied. The Ingalls links have one solid bar in between two hefty bolts (connected to the bushings) while the OEM links have two bars connected by a threaded (two-sided) bolt. Think of all that stress placed on that short, thin OEM connecting bolt relative to the long, thick bar on the Ingalls link. There really is nothing more to say.

The most difficult part of the install was getting the long bolts out of the lower part of the rear hub knuckles. Penetrating Catalyst (PB Blaster) was sprayed in copious amounts but it wasn't enough. The torch was brought out and after that proved unsuccessful we even had to use a wire wheel grinder to clean the rust off the long bolts.



It should be noted that there is an extra step that is not listed in the Ingalls instructions. In order for the long bolt to be fully removed, the rear trailing arm needs to be lowered either by disconnecting it at the bushing or disconnecting it from the body (leaving it attached at the hub knuckle). Personally, I thought disconnecting it from the body was a bit easier (with an impact gun).



After getting the long bolts out of the hub knuckles, the one on the right side was literally fused to the solid (OEM) trailing arm. New long bolts were definitely needed.



After everything is disassembled, the installation can be done in very short time.








Afterwards, I went to have an alignment done. This time I went to a different shop where the owner is an experienced mechanic and does everything himself as opposed to a young technician that blindly follows numbers on the computer screen. He could not stop raving about how nice it was to work with these bars. I can only imagine how wonderful it must have been for him to have the capability to fully adjust the rear alignment specs without being limited by the hardware. Remember, this is Korea, where these bars are rarely seen if seen at all.

I can't say enough good things about these lateral links. I must admit that my car already had neutral handling characteristics and felt quite stable with all I had done up until this point. However, it still felt like a front wheel drive car (majority of the "strength" biased toward the front half of the car). After installing these links, the car feels totally solid front to rear and side to side, especially when going over imperfections in the road. In turns, I now feel like the rear is no longer hugging the road, but attached to it. Due to the cold weather, I have yet to find a time and place to safely find where the new upper limit of grip is. Metaphorically speaking however, I feel as if instead of just making a clean turn on a snowboard, I can now carve and pop out of a turn.

Solid, solid, solid...I can't believe I waited until now to get these.

Spring can't come soon enough, but in a perfect world I'd be driving my WRX!







...looking to purchase and install Koni inserts next!
 

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Discussion Starter #54
...so I found myself at a racetrack this past weekend:









The name of the track is "Inje Speedium" and it is a road course located in the mountains about 2 hours east of Seoul. The only flat section of the course is the straight. The rest of the circuit has all kinds of elevation changes which can be intimidating at first, but quite fun after getting the hang of it. That day's session was done on the "North course".

I realized that my springs (re: spring rates) are insufficient, my three year old tires are not going to cut it, and my alignment needs to be redone with track days in mind. That being said, my car performed better than I had expected and the handling was completely predictable.

I didn't get to put in as much time on the track as other cars because I was receiving my track license that day. However, I did get to ride as a passenger in the Genesis Coupe in the first picture. It was certainly a fun time and I am looking forward to going back soon!

My "to do" list just got longer:

coilovers
tires
more aggressive alignment
brake pads
windage tray (in oil pan)
helmet
racing seat and harness
air/oil separator

...and "painting the car" has just been moved waaaay down the list ;)


What's funny is that I spent a lot of time that day visualizing how I would drive my WRX around the track!
 

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Discussion Starter #55
This past Sunday was a track day at Inje Speedium. This time around we were attacking the full course. Additions to the "A" course were substantial: a double hairpin "S", a sweeping "S", another hairpin with a decline upon entry and a steep incline on the exit, and an off camber double apex corner before the straight with an incline entrance and a decline exit.

Needless to say it is a very technical track where shifting at the appropriate times is just as important as hitting apexes and linking corners.

Here are some pictures taken in the morning as the pits were opened. These 4 cars made up our "team" for the day, all are affiliated with SMA (my shop).




Unloading the dead weight...




There were 5 sessions for me that day. I decided that my first session would be used for getting a true feel of my tires and brake pads. I did okay, posting a 2:23.xxx best time that session.

In the second session, our best driver (with the white Gen Coupe 2.0T) wanted to take me out for a few laps. He is a no fear type of driver with a lot of seat time, to say the least. I rode as a passenger in my car for just more than 6 of the most heart stopping minutes I have experienced (in my Tiburon). I hadn't considered that my car could be driven so aggressively! It really opened my eyes. He put down a best time of 2:06.xxx. In short, I realized that I need to stop driving with the mindset of an owner, and start driving with the mindset of a driver. It was at this point that I truly understood firsthand what race compound tires and racing brake pads are capable of.

In the third session, my focus was to perfect the timing of my shifts and keep my engine in the power band (4500-6600 rpms). Heel toe pedal work feels a bit different when the engine is screaming (as opposed to doing it on the street). Towards the end of the session, I started to incorporate some left foot trail braking in some medium speed corners in order to rotate the car during the corner entrances. I was starting to feel a good rhythm as the session ended.

Cooling down between sessions.



I started to become comfortable that my engine and drivetrain could handle being pushed this hard. The only visible concern was that my power steering fluid cap was letting some fluid out during the session. That will be addressed back at the shop in the near future.

The fourth session was where I tried to put everything together. At this point, I had my shifts down. I started to experiment with corner entrance angles and slight changes in braking. I ended up with a personal best of 2:12.694 at the end of the session. FWIW, I felt I was being held up by an Avante (Elantra) and an I30 hatchback.







The final session was in the late afternoon. This time I was ready to be more aggressive with the lines that I wanted to run and to push my braking points a bit deeper. My friend drove my car over the curbs quite violently when he achieved the 2:06.xxx. However, I believed I could run smoother lines through most of the corners and achieve a time very close to his. I felt a good command over my car and pushed its limits. I had two good full lap battles, one with Avante and another with the I30 hatch. Both times I stayed on their tails and exited onto the straight with more momentum then they had. It was quite a thrill to outrun them on the straightaway and hold the position by out braking each of them into turn one!

I ended up posting my best lap of the day on my final full lap of the last session, a 2:09.141! It was a good feeling. I am anxious to get back on that track with a serious set of coilovers and see how close I can get to 2 minutes.




Here is the best pic of the day.




The updated "to do" list:

coilovers
more aggressive alignment
windage tray
air/oil separator
power steering cap solution
racing seat/harness
helmet (currently borrowing one)
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Track day on Sunday (April 26th)! I wasn't expecting one until later, so I could only prepare by having race pads and new tires installed. Other things on the list will have to wait. It may seem silly that I wouldn't know these things, but that is part of living in a country where one doesn't have a mastery of the native language. Anyway, here are some pics:











Both items drastically change the characteristic of the car. So much so that only running at the track will allow me to understand the true characteristics of the brake pads and new tires. On the street, I can't even get the pads or the tires to stay at the (increased) temperature that yields optimal performance (while maintaining a "safe" manner of driving).

These tires are advertised as having a tread width of 113% (13% over a "normal" tire of the same dimensions), and it is noticeable. Even though it seems to be fine on the street, I am worried that the shoulder of the front tires will rub the inner fender under extreme cornering at the track (because of relatively low spring rates). However, I won't know until I get out there and drive. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to Sunday!
 

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Discussion Starter #57
This past Sunday (April 26th) was a track day at Inje Speedium. This time around we were attacking the full course. Additions to the "A" course were substantial: a double hairpin "S", a sweeping "S", another hairpin with a decline upon entry and a steep incline on the exit, and an off camber double apex corner before the straight with an incline entrance and a decline exit.

Needless to say it is a very technical track where shifting at the appropriate times is just as important as hitting apexes and linking corners.

Here are some pictures taken in the morning as the pits were opened. These 4 cars made up our "team" for the day, all are affiliated with SMA (my shop).




Unloading the dead weight...




There were 5 sessions for me that day. I decided that my first session would be used for getting a true feel of my tires and brake pads. I did okay, posting a 2:23.xxx best time that session.

In the second session, our best driver (with the white Gen Coupe 2.0T) wanted to take me out for a few laps. He is a no fear type of driver with a lot of seat time, to say the least. I rode as a passenger in my car for just more than 6 of the most heart stopping minutes I have experienced (in my Tiburon). I hadn't considered that my car could be driven so aggressively! It really opened my eyes. He put down a best time of 2:06.xxx. In short, I realized that I need to stop driving with the mindset of an owner, and start driving with the mindset of a driver. It was at this point that I truly understood firsthand what race compound tires and racing brake pads are capable of.

In the third session, my focus was to perfect the timing of my shifts and keep my engine in the power band (4500-6600 rpms). Heel toe pedal work feels a bit different when the engine is screaming (as opposed to doing it on the street). Towards the end of the session, I started to incorporate some left foot trail braking in some medium speed corners in order to rotate the car during the corner entrances. I was starting to feel a good rhythm as the session ended.

Cooling down between sessions.



I started to become comfortable that my engine and drivetrain could handle being pushed this hard. The only visible concern was that my power steering fluid cap was letting some fluid out during the session. That will be addressed back at the shop in the near future.

The fourth session was where I tried to put everything together. At this point, I had my shifts down. I started to experiment with corner entrance angles and slight changes in braking. I ended up with a personal best of 2:12.694 at the end of the session. FWIW, I felt I was being held up by an Avante (Elantra) and an I30 hatchback.







The final session was in the late afternoon. This time I was ready to be more aggressive with the lines that I wanted to run and to push my braking points a bit deeper. My friend drove my car over the curbs quite violently when he achieved the 2:06.xxx. However, I believed I could run smoother lines through most of the corners and achieve a time very close to his. I felt a good command over my car and pushed its limits. I had two good full lap battles, one with Avante and another with the I30 hatch. Both times I stayed on their tails and exited onto the straight with more momentum then they had. It was quite a thrill to outrun them on the straightaway and hold the position by out braking each of them into turn one!

I ended up posting my best lap of the day on my final full lap of the last session, a 2:09.141! It was a good feeling. I am anxious to get back on that track with a serious set of coilovers and see how close I can get to 2 minutes.




Here is the best pic of the day.




The updated "to do" list:

coilovers
more aggressive alignment
windage tray
air/oil separator
power steering cap solution
racing seat/harness
helmet (currently borrowing one)
 

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Discussion Starter #58
Here's a video of the engine/exhaust sound. This was shot early in the morning in the track's paddock area. It's not a boxer rumble, but it still has a nice loping sound.

 

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Discussion Starter #59
Finally the day has come to upgrade to coilovers!

First, out with the old. These are SMA lowering springs. They are progressive rate springs that have served me very well (including a couple of track days). Their spring rates are advertised as 2.78-3.24kg/mm in the front, and 1.62-2.61kg/mm in the rear. They are advertised to lower the car 30mm front and rear. As you may have noticed in some of my previous pictures, they gave my car a noticeable positive rake (front looks a bit lower). The struts were OEM.




Next, in with the new! These are SMA SS-7 coilovers. They are a monotube design with pillowball upper mounts (camber adjustable in the front and not camber adjustable in the rear) and have 15 levels of dampening. Dampening settings are easily adjustable by hand at the bottom of the tube. My set up is running 9kg/mm springs in front and 7kg/mm springs in back. These springs are also made exclusively by SMA.




Front close up:






Rear close up:






Installation took very little time, as the group at SMA has the process down to an exact science. Front right installed:






Rear right attached at the top:



 

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Discussion Starter #60
Here is the first picture after the install. The ride height (measured from the ground at the front and rear jackstand locations) was set at equal heights. This gave the appearance and driving feel of a negative rake. However, 3+ years of driving the car with a significant positive rake probably made me more sensitive to the new stance.




I suggested decreasing the fronts by 15mm (measured on the coilover) and my friends at SMA were happy to comply. The final setting resulted in a ride height that measured 10mm lower in the front versus the rear (which was untouched). Again, these measurements were taken at the jackstand locations.

This felt much better than the original configuration. Interestingly, the car (at this slight positive rake configuration) felt more level to me compared to the positive rake that the lowering springs created. This is primarily due to the rear ride height being lower compared to the rear ride height of the lowering springs. It should also be noted that the front ride height is still slightly higher than the front ride height of the lowering springs.




I wanted to go with this configuration for now. The real test will be how it performs at the track. No need to arbitrarily play with settings before then.

Finally, off to the alignment shop!






Front camber is approximately -2.00 degrees on both sides.
Front toe is 0.0mm on both sides.

Rear camber is -1.00 degrees on both sides.
Rear toe is +2.0mm on both sides.

Dampening is set at +10 on all four corners.

This is certainly subject to change in the future.






After 3 days of driving, I am amazed at the transformation that has taken place. I was afraid that the ride would be bouncy (as I have experienced in other cars with coilovers), but that is just not the case on my car. Bumps are absorbed well and there is no oscillation during the rebound. The coilovers are immediately ready for the next road imperfection. This is quite a change from the lowering springs where the next road imperfection may occur while the springs are still finishing their oscillation from the previous one (talking about differences measured in fractions of a second here). What an amazing feeling it is to feel like my car is "pounding the ground" instead of my car reacting to the pounding received by the ground (so to speak)!

I am even more excited that my steering feel is significantly heavier. I had given up hope that this feeling could be realized. While the power steering is definitely assisting my input, I now feel that I must overcome more "resistance" in order to put the steering wheel where I want it to be. This is also true when returning to center after executing a turn. I love that feeling!

One thing that did occur after the installation and alignment is that my underbrace came a bit loose again on the driver's side front bolt (after some "test driving"). This is something that also occured when the underbrace was originally installed. I had recently had my car inspected (for registration) and had to have the underbrace removed to pass over the rails that measure ride height. Upon reinstalling the underbrace, Loctite was not used and the bolts were tightened with an impact gun (by a different shop closer to my house). This time the guys at SMA made sure that the bolts were tightened with Loctite and consistently applied human muscle power. As we had discovered originally, this is the key to keeping the underbrace secured to the chassis in my case.

Time to start saving money for track days!!! ;)
 
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