Category Archives: Employee Build

Employee Build: Cody’s 2011 Turbocharged Nissan 370Z Touring

Today I’m happy to introduce one of the GrimmSpeed Assembly Technicians and the owner of a car all of us at the shop have been drooling over as of late; Cody Batch and his 2011 Turbocharged Nissan 370Z Touring.

Cody is one of a handful of guys that puts together all of the GrimmSpeed goodies that end up on our shelves and at your door step. Countless electronic and manual boost controllers, up pipes, license plate relocation kits, intercoolers, etc. are personally inspected, assembled, and boxed up by him. He’s in charge of making sure that every piece of whatever kit the customer buys is not only present, but devoid of any sort of manufacturing defects. This can be a daunting job when you consider the amount of different part-pieces that make up each kit we manufacture, but he does so without fail. In fact, this is something I can personally attest to, since I’m one of the guys that has to deal with his mistakes (so don’t screw up buddy!). The next time you open up a GrimmSpeed product and the packaged-by card reads “Cody”, you’ll know you’ve got everything you need in front of you to tackle the install.

@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions
@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions

Cody has a history Subaru ownership, including a pair of WRX’ and most recently an STI and winter-daily Forester, but this is his first foray into the RWD world. He picked up the car just a few months ago with the intention of having a fast, head-turning summer cruiser that he could take to shows and blast down the highway in. As you can tell by the cleanliness, this is a perfect low-mileage example of the Z chassis with only 19,000 on the clock. The miles won’t stay that low for long however, since Cody plans to take as much advantage of the short Midwest car season as possible by doing what this car beckons you to do, drive.

@corymezzenga
@corymezzenga
@corymezzenga
@corymezzenga

Cody’s car isn’t as much of a “build in progress” as some of the others around the shop, but it will grow in its own right over the next few years. The car already has a handful of tasteful mods from the previous owner and Cody is planning to add a few more subtle exterior cues of his own this season, including vinyl wrapping the roof and switching out a more aggressive rear spoiler. As far as performance goes, the Z is currently making a healthy 432whp and 424wtq on wastegate pressure (7psi) with a fresh retune from DB Performance, so that likely won’t change anytime soon. Cody describes the Z as already the most exciting car he’s every owned, which is his way of saying that it’ll blow the doors off almost anything in his way…

“Mostly I’d like to keep the car how it is and maintain and keep it reliable, even though I’m a fuel pump, injectors, and e85 away from 600whp” Cody

@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions
@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions

Specs:

  • Boosted Performance Single Turbo Kit V2.0 with Precision 6266 Turbocharger
  • Radium Oil Catch Can
  • South Bend Stage 3 clutch
  • SPL Camber Arms
  • Hotchkis Front and Rear Sway Bars
  • GTR Wheels (20×10.5 all around)
  • Swift Springs
  • INGS Carbon Fiber Lip and Side Skirts
  • Fujimura Diffuser
  • Fast Intentions Resonated Exhaust
  • Full JL Audio System
  • Custom demon eye headlights
  • GrimmSpeed Rear License Plate Surround 😉
@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions
@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions
@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions
@chelton91 @extendedclipproductions

Follow Cody @cody_batch to see some more shots of this car and keep an eye out for it in person at local shows this season.

Big thanks to Cody Helton of Extended Clip Productions for the beautiful pictures. You’ll definitely be seeing more of his work on future GrimmSpeed blog posts!

-Art @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 Sedan (Part 1)

Employee Name/Writer: Alex Docken

Position: Supply Chain Manager/Accounts Payable

Part one:

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

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.

img_0192-1

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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