EMPLOYEE BUILD: ART’S 2004 SUBARU FORESTER XT (PART 4)

As many of you have heard, GrimmSpeed will officially be hosting our first-ever shop meet on May 5th. Although exciting news, that time frame has put some sudden pressure on me to get the FXT at least driving and partially show-worthy in the next four weeks. Time, as it stands, is not in my corner.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1896128713935574/

The big news, without which potentially making it to the show would have been impossible, is that the ideal set of wheels fell into my lap just a few weeks ago. Originally I was weighing out a number of 1-piece wheel options from Enkei, Work Wheels, Rays, etc, but lead times for custom sizing were a bit too far out, especially since I would need to test-fit them with the new brake setup before both the rims and calipers went out for coating. I eventually set my sights on 3-piece wheels as I was more likely to find a lower offset in a 5×100 bolt pattern. Although my choices were far and few in-between, the perfect set popped up locally just in the nick of time:

Art FXT Work Wheels
For those that don’t know, these are a set of Work VSKFs, a style of wheel I fell in love with when I first started hanging around the drift scene a few years back. I’m undoubtedly not the only one with a certain explainable affection for these and I’ve seen them mounted on everything from R32 Skylines to GS300s to FC RX7s. Rarely however do these make their way onto Subarus, which was part of the deciding factor in buying them.
The positive aspect of these particular wheels was that they were pretty much the exact sizing and style I was after: square 18×9.5 +19 (with 6-8mm spacers for caliper clearance), 5×100 with gold hardware and red center caps. The unfortunate part was that they needed a good amount of TLC before they would be considered show-ready.
First thing’s first, the faces had to come off (hence the circa-late 90’s MS Painted profile picture) since the chrome on the backside was hanging on by a prayer. Although I was already way past my original wheel budget, I dug a bit deeper into my dog’s college fund and sent the faces off to get powdercoated by Clinton at Race Coatings in Forest Lake, MN. While the pieces are stripped and I decide on a final color, I’m focusing on chiseling off years of caked-on brake dust on the inner-barrel and re-polishing the outers and hardware. Once everything has been refreshed it’ll be a sprint to the finish to fit these with a bit of persuasion on the fenders.

IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef
IG @Acdef

Art FXT Work Wheels Dissembled

The old adage “time makes fools of us all” is no exception when it comes to cars and I was delighted to find out the exact extent of what my OEM suspension components had eroded into. After years of hard driving and overly-excessive camber here’s an example of the type of wear I found time and time again:

Art FXT Broken Suspension
Art FXT Broken Suspension 2

The wheel bearings were of course toast, but ended up being a nice learning lesson for me, as I had never redone them by myself. Having done so now, I would encourage anyone with access to a press and some common sense to tackle the job themselves. In my case the old bearings pressed out easily and the new ones fell into place with about the same amount of effort. All new seals were lubed up and thrown in, along with APR Extended Studs all around and a few coats of fresh paint. Here are some shots of the setup on the car before the calipers are dismantled and sent off to Clinton:

Art FXT Knuckle Assembly

Art FXT Brake Assembly 2

Art FXT Brake Assembly Mounted

Art FXT Brake Assembly Mounted 2

Since the front end of the Forester is virtually finished up, I’ve had a bit of time to take care of some aesthetic changes for the rest of the exterior. Last month I had ordered a JDM mid-spoiler that is now off in the capable hands of Nathan at Metal In Motion Bodyworks in Fridley, MN to get a crack fixed and the part molded into the existing trim-piece. Once the car is road-worthy I’ll be taking it over to his shop to have the spoiler and roof rails painted Aspen White to match the rest of the car. You may remember Nathan from one of the last few blog posts as he did a lot of the body work/paint on Alex Docken’s G35 drift sedan: http://blog.grimmspeed.com/employee-build-alexs-2003-5-turbocharged-infiniti-g35-sedan-part-1/. (Keep an eye for Alex’ follow-up post this upcoming Monday).

Art FXT Rear Spoiler In Progress

I took to fixing a few cracks in my side skirts and pulled the window trim pieces to get painted gloss black instead of the weathered-gray they have become. I also decided on ordering up a diffuser to carry the lines of the front lip and skirts to the rear bumper, although that likely won’t show up in time for the GrimmSpeed get-together.

Art FXT Body Work Skirts

So far so good, but the stress is starting to mount. The days are passing by quicker and quicker and small issues are starting to build up like a game of Tetris. In fact I should probably get off the keyboard and hit the wrenches, stay tuned for more in the upcoming weeks!

-Art
IG @thenotorious_a_r_t

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…

IMG_0128

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?

IMG_4335

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 – Edge Autosport

This week’s Featured GrimmSpeed Retailer is one whose name you will definitely recognize if you’ve spent much time in the Mazdaspeed world. We anticipate a growing relationship with the team at Edge Autosport as we begin producing parts for the Ford Ecoboost market and had the chance to check in with JP Alonso to answer a few questions. Check out his detailed responses below!

Business Name: Edge Autosport

Website: www.edgeautosport.com

Location: Englewood, CO

In business since: 2009

GS: Tell us a little bit about the history of Edge Autosport. How did you get where you are today?

JP: Edge Autosport began selling parts in the Mazdaspeed 3 and 6 market with the intention of branching out into multiple platforms. We started off by diving head first into the community in order to develop close relationships with the community. It worked extremely well. People got to know us personally and we were able to show a lot of people what we were all about through our personal approach. We relentlessly focused on making the customer have a great experience not just with us, but with their car, as well. This hobby is too expensive and too complicated to make it harder than it can be at times. We don’t consider ourselves solely a retailer, although that is our focus. We are a resource and take a consultative approach whether that be information on our site, our blog, a conversation on the phone, etc. We are enthusiasts ourselves and want to be a partner to as many enthusiasts as we can with our high performance modification knowledge and expertise.

edge autosport mazdaspeed subaru parts

GS: In such a competitive market, what sets you apart from your competitors?

JP: We are intensely focused on the customer before all else. That doesn’t mean we have good customer service and that’s it. We provide a great shopping experience, both before and after the customer’s purchase. We take a consultative approach with our customers both personally and online. Through our content development, we help the customer understand concepts and correct modifications paths. We offer only parts that we feel comfortable putting on our own cars. Quality over quantity is especially critical with high performance cars. Every aspect of Edge Autosport follows this philosophy.

GS: What’s the most challenging part about what you do?

JP: Gaining trust and getting the message across to customers about why it’s important to choose the right parts and partners with their builds. Not all parts are the same and not all companies are the same.

edge autosport grimmspeed

GS: Why do you sell GrimmSpeed products and do you have a favorite?

JP: GrimmSpeed falls directly in line with the brands and parts we like seeing our customers putting on their cars. It’s enthusiast based and parts are not randomly copied or created. This is the exact type of parts company we love doing business with. It’s not all about what it costs. There is a huge focus on performance, quality, design, and innovation, among other things. The intercoolers are my favorite. There are a lot of different directions an intercooler can take, meaning the core quality and performance, the end tank design and structure, and the fitment. This isn’t just taking some bends and welding it together. Intercoolers are insanely important on a turbocharged application and the emphasis on these is really cool to see.

GS: Do you have any fun shop or personal projects to share?

JP: We have a 2013 Ford Focus ST that we just recently stroked to 2.3 with a mildly ported head, valvetrain upgrades, and an additional fuel system upgrade adding 4 additional injectors. It’s still a work in progress but should be well over 600whp by spring 2017.

-¬CL-Photography-EdgeAutosportST_1031.2

GS: Finally, what’s one thing about your business that people might not know?

JP: We’re located in Denver, CO. Although we don’t work on customer cars, we work on our own cars in our own shop as a way of learning and educating ourselves about platforms. We also tune our own cars with the exception of our Focus ST for the time being.

GS: Thanks JP!

edge autosport ford focus st ecoboost grimmspeed

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

over400

  • 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.

tmic-fa20dit-results-1.jpg

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.

tmic-fa20dit-results-2.jpg

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.

tmic-fa20dit-results-3.jpg

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!