EMPLOYEE BUILD: ART’S 2004 SUBARU FORESTER XT (PART 3)

Things have really been picking up speed [pun intended] around the shop lately. The engineers have been busy putting the wrap on our first production line of catbacks, while simultaneously juggling a number of smaller projects that will get announced very soon. The assemblers and welders hardly get a few minutes to catch their breath with the amount of orders needing to be filled and the Sales Department is finally back to its typical crazy pace. With the weather starting to turn and tax checks coming in, it’s full steam ahead at the GrimmSpeed warehouse, but in all honesty this is the pace that we all tend to thrive at.

Last time I had briefly mentioned my basement workspace, so I thought it would be a good idea to give you a quick glimpse of where at least part of the build is coming together. Growing up tinkering with bikes, small motors, and eventually cars in the corner of my parent’s garage made me pine for a day when I could have a dedicated space to sprawl out all of my parts and tools. Luckily enough I was able to find a house with the perfect basement for such a work area; something that was dry and warm, but not necessarily a livable, white-carpeted den that I would be afraid to get dirty. The space itself is pretty modest in size so I always have to be cognizant not to overfill it with unnecessary parts. Ultimately that prevents me from hording on to too many things, a problem that most of us car people share. Check out a few pictures of the parts den and my build assistant:

Art FXT Basement

Art FXT Employee Build-Basement

Art FXT Employee Build-Basement/Sarge

The progress on the car has been nice and steady since you last heard from me; the underside is completely stripped, and while being rust-free, it still put up a fight coming apart into discard-able pieces. Now that new parts are flooding in, things will be coming together ASAP in preparation for Automotion in May.

Photo: @Acdef
Photo: @Acdef

The front end of the car is all but finished and is really getting me excited to get her back out on the road. I had mentioned previously that I had plans to modify a more aggressive lip to fit the front end and I’ve done just that. I’ve seen a handful of [non-06/07 STI] Subarus rocking this particular piece, but I’ve never been satisfied with the over-sized look of it. With that in mind, I took to shortening it by about 4-5 inches in the middle and adding a few strengthening brackets, effectively making it into a better-fitting two-piece lip [See first picture for final fit on the car]:

Art FXT Front Aero

For those of you who have asked, the GrimmSpeed Hella Horn Brotie Bracket does mount up to the SG5 core support, one small tab needed to be bent and a secondary nut/bolt was added into an existing hole to make sure it didn’t swivel over time. OEM grill clearance is a bit of a toss-up however and the horns may come in contact with it unless the Brotie is bent back a bit, not a problem I had since my DIY grill gives the horns substantially more room:

Art FXT Front Aero Grill
Photo: @Acdef

Since a lot of Subaru Forester XT owners seem to have issues with leaks developing on their OEM radiator around the 100K mark, I decided to preemptively tackle the issue before I was left steaming on the side of the highway this summer. The obvious choice was to go with a Koyo replacement, for which I’m happy to say there is a plug-and-play version for the SG FXT. As always with Koyo products, the build quality was excellent and fitment for the fans and core support was spot on:

Art FXT Koyo Rad (1) Art FXT Koyo Rad (2)

I got in contact with the awesome staff over at Whiteline and have been working on finalizing a long list of much needed underbody components. Expect an unboxing and review of those pieces soon! I also put in a sizable order with RallySportDirect and have been receiving some of those parts already. As you can see I’ve decided to go with DBA4000 rotors, Stoptech pads, and Stoptech Stainless Brake Lines based on overwhelmingly good reviews. Brackets from Kartboy will make mounting the Legacy 2-pot rear calipers possible. All new bearings and seals will be going in as soon as I’m done stripping the old ones out and ARP extended studs will be thrown in for the new wheel setup.

Art FXT Suspension- Brake Setup

Speaking of the new wheels, those of you following me on Instagram (@avpetrakov) have gotten a little preview of what I ended up settling on, for the rest of you, I plan to showcase those, along with suspension reassembly and a few aesthetic updates in the next post.

Make sure to stay tuned!

-Art

Employee Build: Alex’s 2003.5 Turbocharged Infiniti G35 Drift Sedan (Part 1)

Employee/Author: Alex Docken

Position: Supply Chain Manager/Accounts Payable

Editor: Art Petrakov

First of all, I apologize that my initial GrimmSpeed blog feature isn’t that of a Subaru, but I have had several throughout the years, including two SF5 Foresters, and most recently a 2004 STI. In fact, the Foresters are what sparked my interest in working at GrimmSpeed in the first place. With that being said, the following is a short introduction to my current 2003.5 Turbocharged Infiniti G35 Sedan build.

I bought the car back in 2013 from its original owner. It’s a clean Colorado chassis with a rare combination of no sunroof, 6 speed manual transmission, and black leather interior with none of the heavy factory upgrades such as Bose or navigation. I have built the car in multiple stages over the past several years, but here you see it in its most current configuration:

grimmspeed employee alex docken g35 drifting
Photo Credit: Jim/ Eletor_1point3

The G currently produces 517hp/520tq using e85 on a Dyno Dynamics dyno. It was tuned by Shane at DB Performance in Rogers, Minnesota using a Haltech Platinum ECU. The car is built specifically for drifting and has all the typical mods you would expect from a purpose-built drift car. Here is a [mostly] complete list of upgrades:

Suspension:

  • Parts Shop Max (PBM) Front Lower Control Arms
  • PBM Rear Traction/Toe/Camber Arms
  • Pro Coilovers with Swift Springs
  • SPL Solid Subframe and Diff. Bushings
  • SPL Sway Bar End Links
  • Hotchkis Front and Rear Swaybars

Brakes:

  • Chasebays BBE/Prop Valve Kit
  • Custom brake lines made by Rad Industries
  • Maverick Dual Rear Caliper Brackets
  • PBM Hydro Handle with Wilwood Master Cylinder

Transmission:

  • Stock 6-speed Manual
  • Z1 SS Clutch Line/Solid Trans Mount/Chromoly Pivot Ball
  • Spec TwinDisk Clutch – Street Trim

Engine:

The power-plant of the car was built by Landon Haley of Landslide Performance. The engine is packed with Cosworth Bearings, Manley “Turbo Tuff” I-Beam Rods with Manley Platinum Pistons, and ARP Rod Bolts and Mains. The block itself was modified by Landon to accept Nissan’s updated HR series headgaskets found in the newer, more powerful generation of VQ35 motor. The head bolts and oil pump were upgraded to HR spec accordingly. It has a JimWolfTech twin turbo kit utilizing a pair of their upgraded 700bb series turbos. The charge piping and custom V-mount Intercooler setup were done using Vibrant Fabrication components, a Turbosmart Raceport Blow Off Valve, Treadstone Intercooler, and a C&R Dual Pass Nascar Radiator. All of the custom front-end fabrication was done by local Ryan Clemens of Oppomoto. The bay is kept clean and functional thanks to the good people at ChaseBays. The car is fully equipped throughout with their reservoirs including their newly updated ChaseBays Dual-Baffled Power Steering Reservoir.

infiniti g35 custom turbo

Fuel System:

  • Walbro 450 Pump
  • Radium Engineering Surge Tank
  • Dual Walbro 450lph e85 Fuel Pumps
  • Cosworth Fuel Rails with ID1000 Injectors
  • Aeromotive FPR

Exterior/Bodywork:

Nathan Chin of Metal in Motion brought my visions to life with the custom vented hood, vented/widened front fenders, and the modified Outcast Garage Front Bumper as well as the extensively modified 326 Power Spoiler. The bottom portion of the car is equipped with Outcast Garage Side Skirts and Skirt Extensions along with a Varis Rear Diffuser and Canards. There are countless other custom changes, upgrades, and fabrication that have taken place with this car over the past year, many of which I will showcase in future blog posts.

grimmspeed employee build g35
Photo Credit: Cody Helton

This car is always an absolute work-in-progress for me, and I have several big changes planned for this year. I am constantly trying to find ways to make the G more exciting, since that’s my overall goal with this build. The car is currently undergoing some visual changes by Nathan who I have trusted to do my paint/custom body work and will continue to do so until the car is exactly where I want it. Along with the new body work, you’ll also see me sporting custom livery for my Drift team “No-Mind” (check us out @no_mind_drift).

In addition to changes with the car, there are some exciting new events coming up for me this season. The car will have its 2017 debut at Wekfest Chicago April 30th, then off to MI Drift at Gingerman, Gridlife Midwest, and of course my favorite, the ClubFR events in Shawano, Wisconsin. Overall I’m looking forward to quite a great season this year!

I hope you stay tuned and look forward to upcoming exclusive content such as installs and sneak peeks at this season’s debut. For more photos, videos and details follow me on Instagram @DabSedan

grimmspeed g35 employee build
Photo Credit: Cody Helton

Employee Build: Art’s 2004 Subaru Forester XT (Part 2)

Some of you may have experienced the harsh downturn in weather in the past month or so, especially if you reside anywhere in the Midwest. For those of you lucky enough to be unfamiliar with such things, I’m talking about the kind of temperatures that a few pairs of sweat pants, two hoodies, a jumpsuit, and winter coat can’t combat. This brings me to talk about the workspace I had mentioned in my first post. It’s not as much of the dream garage that I had envisioned when I first started looking at buying a house a few years back, but it’s what I could afford at the time, so I had to get realistic. Dark, cold, and wet would all be apt adjectives to describe it, one could say it’s the type of garage that makes Guantanamo look cozy. It does have some redeeming qualities however; it’s got a roof, a concrete floor, and a couple of walls, so as far as I’m concerned it’s tuner paradise. While working on my projects I try to keep in mind that where you build your car is only a fraction of what the finished product will be, so when I encounter somebody that’s adamant that worthwhile builds can’t be done in modest accommodations I tend to disagree. That being said, I do plan on improving the space with some proper insulation, heating, and lighting at some point.

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The silver lining is that these past bitterly-cold weeks have given me a chance to further plan out the next couple of month’s worth of work and parts ordering.  I’ve narrowed down my driver’s side seat choice to either the Sparco Evo I/II or the Cusco Bride Zeta III. I’ve had a chance to start assessing what worn out parts need to be replaced, plan out the brake upgrades accordingly, and had time to expand on some of the ideas I’ve had for the car before I got my hands dirty. I’ve started mulling over wheel choices, but it’s been a major toss-up for me since 5×100 options with a decent offset are fairly limited. I’ve been lucky enough to test-fit a few wheels courtesy of my Subaru friends, but the search continues for now. Here is a set of Enkei NTO3’s that I threw on, a rim I’ve coveted for years:

subaru forester xt build grimmspeed employee

I did also have a chance to start digging into the front end of the car, my plan being to pull things off that I can work on in the warmth of my basement (which I’ll showcase in the next post). This gave me the opportunity to start fitting the 06/07 style STI lip, getting to work on the DIY grill, cleaning up the practically-opaque headlights/fog lights, and replacing the laughable amount of broken or missing clips that contributed to the old lady-esque bumper sag that’s been haunting me…

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Another area of the Forester, and most Subarus if I’m being honest, that had to be addressed was the awful blocky side mirrors. Since there was really nothing on the market that I liked, I decided to use a bit of drift-culture inspiration and adapt a set of 240sx Ganador-style mirrors. I imagine they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but to me it adds a certain sleekness to the look of the old toaster-box. What do you guys think?

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As I touched on in my last post, upgrading the brakes is something I’ve definitely been looking forward to. In lieu of sourcing used STI Brembos, I decided to try out the Cadillac ATS Front Brembo Conversion Kit. I liked the aspect of being able to buy a brand new set of calipers for frankly, a cheap price. A bit of drilling and tapping later to accommodate for the new bracket and I was happy with the fit and look. As a bonus I found the passenger side ABS wire had been guillotined in half by my suspension, explaining the dashlight that’s been on all season. After some test-fitting with the eventual wheels I end up with, I’ll be pulling the calipers right back off for a bit of powdercoating alongside a pair of Legacy 2-pot rears. A new set of stainless lines, upgraded pads/rotors and the GrimmSpeed Master Cylinder Brace I’ve already got equipped will cap things off nicely in the stopping department.

(Please don’t ask how long I spent trying to pull the rear passenger rotor off before realizing the handbrake was still on).

IMG_9991

(http://www.ctsvbrakeswap.com/subaru-kits/frs-brz-gt-86-4-piston-ats-caliper-bracket-kit)

I’ve also be tearing apart the underside of the car in preparation for a bit of new-parts TLC. As expected my ball joints sound like maracas when the knuckle assembly is shaken and my wheel bearings are all but toast. Along with some fresh replacements I’ll be upgrading the rear arms and bushings all around in addition to a beefier sway bar setup for the front and rear. I’ve been making a long list of Whiteline parts to throw at the car so those should be inbound soon.

There’s still a long way to go, but so far it’s been a blast to get back to work on this thing. As promised in my last post, I’ll end things with a list of current mods:

Engine

  • GrimmSpeed Hood Splitter
  • GrimmSpeed Hood Struts
  • GrimmSpeed Limited Battery Tiedown
  • GrimmSpeed Modified Radiator Cover
  • GrimmSpeed Alternator Shroud
  • GrimmSpeed AOS
  • GrimmSpeed Lightweight Pulley
  • GrimmSpeed 3-Port Electronic Boost Controller
  • Cobb Accessport V2
  • Forced Performance 71HTA 64mm Turbo
  • IAG Oil Lines
  • GrimmSpeed 38mm EWG Coated Up Pipe
  • GrimmSpeed 3’’, Divorced, Limited, Wrapped Downpipe
  • Turbo XS 3’’ Catback
  • PnP’d, Wrapped Exhaust Manifold with GrimmSpeed Coated Cross-pipe
  • PnP’d, Coated Intake Manifold
  • Coated TGV Deletes
  • 8mm GrimmSpeed Phenolic Spacers
  • Injector Dynamics 1000cc Injectors, lines, rails (top feed conversion), stock FPR
  • Deatschwerks 300 Fuel Pump
  • TurboSmart Comp-Gate40 EWG (14PSI)
  • GrimmSpeed Coated TMIC
  • GrimmSpeed First Gen. Y-Pipe Kit
  • JDM STI BPV
  • Silicone Turbo Inlet 2.5-3’’
  • Injen 3’’ CAI w/GS Oiled Cone Filter, stock MAF
  • Perrin 4 Bar MAP

Suspension

  • Fortune Auto Coilovers w/Swift Springs, Radial Bearings, Rear Camber Plates

Exterior

  • STI Sideskirt Lips
  • GrimmSpeed License Plate Delete
  • Importology Front Lip w/V7 STI Lip
  • JDM STI Hood Scoop
  • USDM Rear Spoiler
  • 30% Tint
  • Drag DR31 17×9 +38 Rims with 235/45/17 Continental  Extreme Contact DW tires
  • Muteki Close-ended Lugnuts

Interior

  • GrimmSpeed Delrin Shift Knob
  • Gauges: AEM AFR/Boost Wideband, AEM Oil Pressure in custom pod
  • 2007 STI Steering Wheel
  • Touge Factory Race Seat w/Buddy Club Rail

GrimmSpeed Featured Retailer – Snail Performance

This week’s Featured GrimmSpeed Retailer is one that you may recognize from the side of some seriously badass time attack cars. Snail Performance has been around since 2006, a special year to us, as it’s also when GrimmSpeed was started. They currently have two locations from which they sell parts, install them and offer full vehicle service as well as custom ECU calibrations. If there’s one thing that sets them apart from other shops, it’s their fleet of time attack vehicles. If it can break on a Subaru, they’ve done it. Their time attack experience also gives them the opportunity to test our products under extremely demanding conditions and offer feedback to manufacturers as well as their customers.

wrx race car

We’ve gotten to know Travis Barnes over the years and he’s always been a great supporter of GrimmSpeed. We assume that this has to do primarily with our dashing good looks, but will also share credit with our lineup of high quality, performance-oriented products. Our hope and intention is that shop owners like Travis that put our products through their paces have a great appreciation for how they perform. When we asked him what market he saw growing in the next few years, he opted to plead the fifth, so we’ll be tracking his movement on social media and will report back.

subaru global time attack

Business Name: Snail Performance

Website: www.snailperformance.com

Location: Rocklin, CA and Phoenix, AZ

In business since: 2006

Their story: Travis and Snail Performance had humble beginnings, like many of us. In his own garage, he began building, servicing and tuning a group of track cars. From there, the company grew to two locations: one in California, run by Travis and one in Arizona, run by Taylor. Make sure you check out their site for profiles of each driver on their team: Travis Barnes, Taylor Wilson, Markos Mylonas and Sally McNulty.

One thing that you need to know: Snail Performance is a much smaller company than people think. We’ve learned that this can be both a blessing and a curse, as GrimmSpeed is in a similar position. The great advantage for Snail Performance customers is that they receive extremely personalized treatment and will benefit from the many partners that Travis and Taylor work with in order to support customers across the country. Being a small shop that people think is much larger requires dedication to communication with your customers and the boys at Snail Performance knock that out of the park.

snailperformance4

snailperformance5

Employee Build: Art’s 2004 Subaru Forester XT (Part 1)

If you’ve ever called GrimmSpeed for any reason, chances are you’ve probably spoken with me. My name is Art and I’m a part of the GS Marketing/Sales Team.

Now that the busy season is drawing to an end and things are a bit more settled around the shop (as settled as they can be around here anyway), I thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase some of the personal projects we’ve got brewing. Since being a car enthusiast is practically a prerequisite of working at GrimmSpeed, we all have a project or two going on at any given time, and I’m no exception. The following is a glimpse of where my beloved Forester XT came from and where it’s going…

The Build: Part 2

Hold on, what about Part 1?

Well Part 1 of the build actually took place around this time of last year, although I never really got around to documenting much of the progress. A good place to start the story of my FXT is during the winter of 2012 when I picked her up from the Twin Cities on a particularly bone-chilling night [see picture below]. At that time I was finishing up my college degree in Wisconsin and decided I needed a change from the Bugeye I was driving around. Truthfully the Subaru I really intended to buy was an 08+STI Hatch, a car I’d pined over ever since a good friend of mine and I road-tripped to California in one. After an assessment of where I was financially in my life, I decided a 2010+WRX Hatch would be the next logical choice…well not quite, because I couldn’t afford that either. It was at this point I realized what a lot of people were/are starting to understand, that the Forester could be a cool, fast, functional option that didn’t necessarily have to be a compromise.

The search began with a few criteria in mind: it had to be rust free (often a tall order in the Midwest) and it had to be manual (not always an easy find for these). Ideally it also had to be mostly stock, since like a lot of enthusiasts, I typically like starting from scratch on my projects. After much run-around from out-of-state dealerships and Craigslist sellers, I managed to find a prime enthusiast-owned example within a few hours of me. Long story short, I made the trip, paid admittedly a bit too much, and I was stuck with her. Relatively stock and absolutely rust-free, I couldn’t have asked for a better canvas for a long-term project.

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Once I was done with college and had been working for GrimmSpeed for a while, the modding began. I centered my plan around a Forced Performance 71HTA Turbo and the desire to eventually throw in a built block and run E85, of which there’s plenty of around here. All of the GrimmSpeed bolt-on’s were fitted accordingly, along with a handful of other parts from some of my favorite manufacturers in the industry.

In the next post or two I’ll put out a complete mod list on the car thus far so you have a better idea of what makes it tick, but for now here’s a little look at it in its current configuration: img_4108

The Plan

As much as I want to go for an all-out, no expenses spared race car build, what I’ve got in mind for the FXT this off-season is a bit more realistic. My budget is being juggled between another [drift] build, and my workspace, as you’ll soon see, is less than a desirable place for a truly intensive overhaul. Besides, car ownership for a lot of us tends to be more fun in stages, a “the journey, not the destination” type thing.

One aspect of the car that I’ve admittedly neglected is its suspension. I’m running a set of Fortune Auto 500 coilovers, which I absolutely love, but I’m ashamed to say that’s about it. Needless to say she’s pretty unimpressive in the corners, which is why a good amount of my focus will be underneath the car. At 120K on the clock the factory bushings/ball joints/wheel bearings are well past their prime, so they’ll definitely see some attention as well.

Aesthetics are however another area I’ll be focusing on. Since the FXT is a relatively obscure model, exterior items are either tough to find, outrageously expensive, or just plain non-existent. I’ve got a few ideas on modifying some aftermarket aero parts from other models of Subaru, and some from totally different vehicle makes.

I’m planning on throwing a good chunk of change at the brake setup of the car as well. Not only have the stock calipers left a lot to be desired, but my pads and rotors were pretty much shot going into the end of this year; a perfect excuse to go bigger as I see it. With that, a set of nice wheels to change up the look are also on the docket.

Aside from the aforementioned, I’m currently working on comprising a list of never-ending miscellaneous things to buy and do, so this project should do nicely at keeping my hands busy and my credit card in its familiar territory throughout the winter months.

Deadlines

I’m the kind of guy that needs to set deadlines; otherwise nothing astoundingly productive gets done. In that light, every year The Wisconsin Dells opens its doors to a weekend of automotive heaven called Automotion, gathering cars/trucks from all corners of the Midwest into what’s grown to be one of my favorite events of the year. Since it takes place in May, it’s typically a good benchmark for debuting winter-time projects like this so that’s what I’ll be shooting for.

Expect more to come in the approaching weeks/months, and to keep things fun comments, suggestions, and general berating are always highly encouraged.

-Art

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GrimmSpeed Featured Retailer – Built Not Bought Auto

Congratulations to Justin Frank of Built Not Bought Auto for being selected as our very first GrimmSpeed Featured Retailer! Justin has been a friend of GrimmSpeed’s since the very beginning so it’s no surprise that when we opened up the application for selection, he was the first one to complete and submit it. The GrimmSpeed Featured Retailer designation is one that is earned by an Authorized Retailer after they’ve proven their ability to not only sell GrimmSpeed products effectively, but to provide outstanding customer service and support. We have a pile of great applicants to work through and will continue to add to this list of retailer profiles as quickly as we can.

Justin will stop at nothing to ensure that his customers are taken care of and is always assisting us with product feedback, ideas and testing. He’s even been known to offer his time and travel on his own dime to help the GrimmSpeed team out at big events.

Business Name: Built Not Bought Auto (online) and VA Parts House (in-store)

Website: www.builtnotboughtauto.com

Location: Chesapeake, Virginia

In business since: 2010

Their story: Justin started the business on his laptop during breaks and on lunch at his day job selling GrimmSpeed products on eBay. Over time, he built a loyal customer base both locally and nationally and it wasn’t long before he was able to quit his day job and pursue his business full time. Since then, Built Not Bought Auto has grown to number of employees, a brick and mortar retail location and online sales through www.builtnotboughtauto.com and eBay. Justin is a big guy with a big personality and is an expert at maintaining a level head and a positive attitude in an industry that sometimes makes that challenging.  When asked what about his business people might not know, he responded that many people that know him from his exclusively GrimmSpeed days don’t know that he now sells parts for all kinds of cars.

What you need to know: Justin will treat each and every customer like a friend. We recommend giving him and his staff a call any time you have a question regarding GrimmSpeed products. They won’t steer you wrong.

The Gift of GrimmSpeed – 2016 Subaru Enthusiast Gift Guide

We can probably all agree that 2016 has had its ups and downs, but whether it was a great overall year for you and your loved ones or not, you still have time to end it on a high note with The Gift of GrimmSpeed. We have worked hard all year in the GS workshop to bring your favorite automotive enthusiasts the products they’ve been clamoring for, and we’ve done just that!
At GrimmSpeed we don’t just take pride in the quality of our products, but also in the quality of our customer service and support. We strive to make shopping for aftermarket upgrades as easy as possible so we always encourage you to call in with questions, for a little advice, or even just to chat. In order to make things even more simple, we’ve come up with a quick Subaru enthusiast gift guide for some last minute ideas:

Gifts under $50

under50

  • GrimmSpeed Apparel and Swag – A t-shirt, fitted hat, keychain or pair of license plate frames would make an excellent gift or stocking stuffer for the Subaru fan in your life!
  • Delrin Shift Knobs – A product that’s been flying off our shelves since its recent introduction, it’s an excellent gift for enthusiasts that prefer a lighter-weighted shift knob.
  • Hellas Horns/Accessories – We all know how much Subaru owners love to outfit their cars with Hella-brand horns, our Hella Horn Brotie Brackets and plug-and-play wiring harnesses make mounting these up less of a hassle than ever.

Gifts $50 – 100

under100

  • Stainless Steel Shift Knob – This is one of our newest, long overdue releases, and one of our most popular items already! A must-have for those that like a nicely-weighted shift knob.
  • Pulley/Alternator Covers – An excellent GrimmSpeed-branded ‘dress up’ item that replaces the less-attractive plastic factory cover. Available for fitment on the BRZ/FRS and most 02+turbo Subarus, including a newly-introduced piece for the 2015+WRX.
  • Lightweight Crank Pulleys – One of our oldest and most-purchased items, the GrimmSpeed Lightweight Crank Pulley is a must when it comes to building up your engine.
  • License Plate Relocation Kits – This is one of our most popular gifted products. It moves your front license plate to a less prominent location and eliminates the need for holes in your bumper. A few new fitments have been added for 2016 including for the Ford RS and Volkswagen MK6 Golf/GTI.
  • Electronic Boost Control Solenoids – This is another very popular gift that has become an industry-standard amongst tuners and enthusiasts. Readily used on 1,000+HP setups running serious amounts of boost, it’ll do the job and then-some on your car!

Gifts $150 – 400

under400

  • Catless Up-Pipe – An excellent way to free up pre-turbo exhaust flow and remove the restrictive and potentially-harmful factory cat. Also available with an external wastegate option for those who want to pump up their boost levels without experiencing dreaded boost creep; feel free to give us a call to make sure you’re picking the right one!
  • Air Intake System – This seems to be at the top of everybody’s list each year. An upgraded intake system reduces restriction and allows for more power to be made during tuning. It also enhances the sound of the vehicle. Don’t settle for cheap alternatives, get a hold of us so that we can explain exactly why!
  • Air Oil Separator – Another very popular gift for Subaru owners: available in beautiful red, blue and black anodized finishes. Feel free to get a hold of us for an explanation of how the AOS system works!

Gifts $400 and up

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  • Downpipe/J-Pipe – This is typically the starting point for an upgraded exhaust system and is the piece that generates the greatest performance gains. Available with a number of options, you may need a couple of hints on this one!
  • Top Mount Intercooler – For that very special person in your life, a GrimmSpeed Intercooler is the cream of the crop where intercoolers are concerned. Rated to high horsepower figures, it’s an excellent fit for nearly all applications. This year we’ve introduced the 2015+WRX TMIC/Chargepipe that’s quickly becoming the industry standard for high-quality intercoolers.
  • GrimmSpeed Power Packages – Available with a wide range of options, GrimmSpeed Power Packages offer a fully engineered system of modifications, designed to enhance the performance of your vehicle to a number of different degrees. A PERFECT starting point for a new enthusiast or a seasoned car nut that’s picked up a new/stock Subaru!

If you have any questions about items that are on the GrimmSpeed Gift Guide or our website, please contact us directly at sales@grimmspeed.com!

2015+ Subaru WRX Top Mount Intercooler: Performance Testing

Dyno testing and long-term road testing are where all of this theory meets reality when it comes to the Subaru WRX Top Mount Intercooler. Knowing that the same application of these design techniques resulted in intercoolers that work extremely well for the 04-17 STI and 02-14 WRX, we were confident in our chosen configuration. Our goal was to once again, produce an intercooler that offered excellent cooling capacity without a massive pressure drop. We tested the OEM TMIC, GrimmSpeed TMIC and a leading competitor TMIC in a back to back to back comparison that consisted of driving while everything reached a steady state operating temperature and then three consecutive pulls to redline. The car used in this testing is a GrimmSpeed Stage 2 car on 93oct and was equipped with the same charge pipe for all pulls. Ambient temperatures were around 65F all day. The GrimmSpeed TMIC tested was not thermal dispersant coated.

The chart below shows TMIC efficiency test results. Efficiency is calculated based on the measured inlet and outlet temperatures of the intercooler compared to ambient. If the outlet were to exactly equal to ambient temperature, then efficiency would equal 100%. This isn’t possible, so we strive to get as close as possible. As you can see, the GrimmSpeed and competitor intercoolers outperform the OEM intercooler handily.

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The chart below is much less important, but shows the raw temperature data, to give you an idea of how much better performing the GrimmSpeed is compared the OEM TMIC.

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The chart below shows the pressure differential between the inlet and outlet of each intercooler. The higher the pressure drop, the more restriction the TMIC causes. This restriction forces the turbo to work harder to build the same amount of boost (which increases heat and is counter-productive), so we want to get keep it as low as possible without sacrificing cooling. You see the the OEM intercooler has the lowest pressure drop, followed by the GrimmSpeed and then the competitor.

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One interesting thing that we found is that during the second and third pull, when the car is transitioning from heavy vacuum to full boost, the GrimmSpeed and OEM intercoolers both spooled measurably faster than the competitor TMIC. The GrimmSpeed subaru wrx top mount intercooler has a larger overall volume, so that isn’t the cause. We’re going to continue experimenting to determine the exact reason for this, but it’s likely to be a result of the higher pressure drop and the way that air flows through the intercooler.

The bottom line is that both the GrimmSpeed and competitor unit offer a very nice upgrade from the OEM TMIC as far as efficiency goes. However the GrimmSpeed unit provides a lower pressure drop, and a substantially easier installation. If you have any questions regarding performance or our testing, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with us via phone or email.

Take me to the product listing!

2015 Ford Mustang – Air Lift Performance – Part 1

Intro

We know what you’re thinking. “GrimmSpeed, you stand for detailed, meticulous engineering and high-end performance – what are you doing messing around with air ride stuff?” We know that’s what you’re thinking, because it’s what we were thinking, too. With that said, just as important to us as engineering and performance are experimentation, innovation and discovery. As those three things are what brought us to pursue the Mustang Ecoboost market, we thought it only fitting to continue on that theme and see what this air ride business was all about.

Our goals for the GrimmSpeed shop car were two fold. The first and most important is that it was to be used as a tool for the development of the GrimmSpeed product line. The second was to explore a new area for ourselves, learn more about the car and create something that’s interesting. We had no idea that the two would so easily mix.

At GrimmSpeed, whether it’s drag, track, drift, autox or show, we’re all car guys. We like to keep on top of major trends and form educated opinions – it’s part of what helps us communicate with our customers. In the Subaru world that we come from, internet broscience 101 clearly states that air suspension sucks because some other guy says so. Fortunately for you, we prefer to learn lessons the hard way. It was with this crazy idea that we got to work procuring an Air Lift Performance kit with their V2 management for our Mustang.

The Kit

Our shipment was delayed a few days, as the Mustang kit has been already been very popular for Air Lift. Upon arrival, I could barely get a single photo taken before the team tore into the boxes.

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The first thing that we took note of was the excellent packaging. As a manufacturer ourselves, we know that shipping heavy and valuable items safely can be a challenge and that the design process for those products isn’t over until we have packaging prepared as well. Air Lift clearly takes the same care in this area as we do, because everything arrived in excellent condition.

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The first box that we opened contained the compressor, AutoPILOT V2 components, the necessary wiring harness and a generous length of nylon tubing. The fit and finish of the AutoPILOT hardware far exceeded our expectations, not because we didn’t believe that Air Lift made quality parts, but because electronics like this often feel junky, even if they work just fine. Not the case here. The manifold feels extremely well made, with a billet aluminum lower and an injection molded cover. The handheld controller feels similarly substantial, but a nice rubberized coating and buttons that click firmly when depressed.

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The VIAIR compressor and all included fittings and tubing, while not quite as exciting, seem to be of the same quality. We really like that Air Lift includes a tubing cutter with the kit, to ensure that we get square cuts and don’t need to spend time troubleshooting that common issue after installation. We opened the rest of the boxes to ensure that the tank, front and rear assemblies were all present before we got started. The front and rear assemblies are exactly what we expected, having seen the quality of the V2 management hardware. The front struts look similar to most familiar coilover setups, but with a bag instead of a spring. The Air Lift S550 Mustang kit comes with integrated front camber plates that are beautifully machined with a red anodized finish. The rear back setup is a bit different, with a standalone bag assembly with features that capture the top and bottom once installed, to ensure that the bag stays in place. We gave each assembly, front and rear a quick inspection to make sure we didn’t see any obvious defects that would give us trouble down the road (we didn’t).

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Installation

We’ll breeze through installation relatively quickly, as Air Lift has it very well documented in their manuals, which are printed in nice booklets and included with their products. The first thing that we did was get the tank mocked up under the parcel tray in the trunk and drill holes in the tank brackets and the tray in order to mount the tank exactly where we wanted it. There may be alternative mounting solutions that wouldn’t require drilling holes, but we’d prefer to spend the time and effort up front so that we can enjoy the finished product more later on. Retaining trunk space was important to us, so tucking the tank against the rear seats was an excellent solution.

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Next up was mounting of the manifold, wiring and running air lines. We mounted the manifold in a convenient spot above the tank using the included self-tapping screws. One installation note here is that the screws will not slip through the holes in the V2 manifold – you’ll need to allow them to tap the machined holes while they pass through. We used a cordless impact to do this, which saves your wrist and goes very quickly. This ‘interference fit’ made perfect sense after we got everything in place, as once mounted, the manifold was mounted very securely and wouldn’t shift around.

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We mounted the compressor in the spare tire area; since our Mustang didn’t come with a spare, it was a perfect fit. The lines off of the compressor are relatively short, so we made a harness that allowed us to easily extend the wiring to the AutoPILOT harness. We went a little overboard (as we do here at GrimmSpeed from time to time), but most DIYers would have no trouble crimping some connectors to do the same. Just be sure to use the proper gauge wire.

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Now for the fun part. We ran the airlines to the front, first. With the back seats folded down, removing the plastic interior bits was actually quite easy. We tucked the front lines down each side of the car, just under the carpet with the rest of the factory wiring harness.  In the front on both sides of the car, is a nice rubber grommet with a small nipple on it that’s unused (see photo). We clipped the end of that nipple off (from the wheel well) and then fished a piece of welding wire into the cabin, so that we could locate the grommet and pull the airline back through. It was a tight fit, but that’s how we know it’ll be sealed nicely from the elements here in Minnesota.

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With the airlines up front, we went ahead and installed the front strut assemblies. One thing to note is that camber adjustment appears to be very difficult from the engine bay once the struts are in place, so make your best approximation before installation. This is also the time to set your ride height, so be sure to follow Air Lifts instructions in doing do. One thing that we noticed immediately while handling the front struts is how much lighter than the factory equipment they were. Our initial assumption was that the air ride would be heavier, but it seems that the lack of steel springs might more than compensate for the added compressor, tank and management.

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The rear setup requires a little bit of basic assembly prior to installation. Here is where I was able to find one of only two very small issues during installation. The steel perches that are to be bolted to each bag have a plate welded inside of them that would block a socket from reaching the head of the bolt. Air Lift was kind enough to add clearance for a tool in this area, but because the plate is welded at an angle, I was still not able to get a socket onto the bolt without it getting stuck. Perhaps it was just my socket, but in any case, it was quite easy to just use a standard box wrench.

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Bolting the bag into place was where I got stuck again, as the manual instructs you to align a feature on the bag assembly with a notch in the upper spring perch. Our car didn’t have that notch and although I was sure I’d be able to approximate its location, I called Air Lift’s support line anyway. I was very quickly directed to somebody that was able to answer my question and got right back to work – awesome customer support!

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Booya! All struts, shocks and bags are in place, air lines are hooked up and secured such that they won’t be getting in anything’s way while we thrash on our Mustang and we’re ready to rock. I filled the tank using our shop air compressor to save time and let the auto calibration do its thing. After that, we swapped to our Velgen wheels and Mickey Thompson tires, which are a much more aggressive fit, and dialed in our presets.

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The wheel setup currently on the car is a 20×10.5 in the rear and a 20×9 up front. Tires are Mickey Thompson Street Comps in a 305/35/20 and a 255/35-20. We’re able to air the car out completely without any modifications to the fenders or wheel wells and the fender liners are still in place.

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Performance

Here’s the fun part – performance. The word ‘performance’ can have a number of different meanings and we’ll attempt to cover each of them here. First of all, the performance of the Air Lift Performance kit, with respect to how well it functions, is excellent. We’d never worked with an air ride setup before, but with a careful installation, we were up and running with zero issues. The AutoPILOT management is just sophisticated enough to offer multiple preset ride heights and other features, but is simple enough that it should be very reliable.

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Having put a thousand miles or so on the car since the installation, our definition of performance, given our intend use for the car, is how well it performs all of the tasks that are required of it on a normal day. We have the preset bag pressures at a height that is perfect for driving around town, but if we find ourselves needed to drive into steep parking lots or onto a dyno, two button clicks are all that’s required to lift the car above stock height. Two more button clicks after you’ve parked at a local GTG and the car’s stance commands attention and curiosity from everybody around. Equipped with the Air Lift kit, our Mustang does absolutely everything that’s asked of it on a daily basis.

We had the opportunity to rent out a local test track and spend the day beating on the car. The purpose of this was primarily to test some of the product offerings that we’ve been developing, but the added bonus was a full day of putting the Air Lift system through its paces. It was only a couple of laps before I entirely forgot that there was anything ‘abnormal’ about the suspension on the car. It felt firm, handled beautifully and to an enthusiast racer like myself, the car didn’t seem any more or less prone to being upset by sudden changes in direction, bumps in the track, etc.

Conclusion

None of us are professional race car drivers and none of us are ‘bout dat static life’. We consider ourselves to be pretty normal, open-minded car guys. We approach evaluation of our products and others with the goal of providing constructive criticism in order to help improve. In the case of the Air Lift Performance kit on our 2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost, for our purposes, it’s nearly perfect.

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You Spoke and We Listened – 2015+ WRX Intake Revision

It’s no secret that at GrimmSpeed, we rely heavily on input from you, our users. We do this from the time as we’re deciding which projects to tackle next, throughout the design process and even after production. This is one of those times when honest feedback from our customers, tuners and retailers has helped us improve upon a product and we’re not afraid to admit it!

To be perfectly clear, the performance of the intake for the 2015+ WRX hasn’t changed one bit, but we have made a modification that will prevent users from installing the filter onto the intake tube incorrectly, which has lead to some unpredictable performance. We’ve covered proper installation in our installation guide, but sometimes, the task seems so straight forward that people skip the guide all together. We get it – we’ve done it too.

The installation calls for the filter to be installed onto the intake tube only 1″ from the end – not bottomed out on the MAF flange. If the filter is bottomed out on the flange, the tube will protrude (slightly) into the filter and adversely affect the function of the velocity stack that’s built into the filter (see below).

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After our initial group buy customers began getting their tune on, a few tuners were reporting strange readings and got in touch with us. Collectively, we decided that since it’s not always possible for a tuner to inspect the car that they’re tuning physically, it would be best for us to take action to try and prevent such installation errors. The result is the updated MAF flange that you see below. This flange will prevent the filter from being installed too deep onto the tube.

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We strive to provide the best possible products that we can and on rare occasions, sometimes it takes a larger number of normal users to understand just exactly what’s needed from a product. In this case, we were more than happy to revise our design! We still have a small batch of intakes in stock with the RevA flanges, but once those are gone, these RevB flanged intakes will be on the shelves and ready to rock!