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Old 04-06-2014, 02:40 PM   #1
Weasel Soup
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My Journal

I lurked this forum for a while before becoming a member. I started this thread before officially owning an 86 because I hadn't been this excited about purchasing a new car since 2007.

Here is a little bit of background information about me: I grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, not a haven for driving fun cars. My first car was a '93 Camry that I totaled while in High School, I fell asleep at the wheel with the cruise control set at about 75 mph after an all night video game session. Then I got a '95 Escort LX, my first manual transmission car, I blew the engine shortly after the oil filter fell off in about 2004 and got a '96 Outback. Some time after getting the Outback I decided I wanted to make the Escort a Stage Rally car. I stripped the interior and had it caged around 2004, but never got it log booked (bad idea). Then on May 25th 2007 I bought my first 100% brand spankin' new car, an '07 WRX and eventually sold the Outback.

In August of 2008 I took a trip 900+ miles one way to Oregon in the WRX to attend my first performance driving event, Paul Eklund's Primitive Rally School. After that I found that Colorado had a large and very active SCCA RallyCross group and went to their last event of the season in November of 2008. After doing the minimum number of events with the Colorado RallyCross group to score a season trophy in 2009 I knew I was hooked. I also decided I should used my caged Escort as my RallyX car. The Escort has progressed massively since then, but I have also RallyCrossed every car I've owned since 2007, and I've been privileged enough to be allowed, and sometimes asked, to compete using the cars of others. I've also instructed for the CO-RX group's driving schools for the past three years.

The Escort lost another engine near the end of the 2010 season and that got me motivated to do an engine swap up to the good 1.8L DOHC Mazda engine from the Escort GT (same engine as the 1.8L Miata) and a transmission swap (third gen Mazda box but sourced from a Kia Sephia) so that I could get a shorter final drive and put in a KaaZ lsd. Except for the welding of the roll cage and the precision machining of the engine every modification done to the Escort has been done by me, the only stock part of it is the body shell. After completing the swap in 2011 I decided to trade the WRX in for a '10 MazdaSpeed3. The big factors in deciding to trade were that I didn't like some of the group of people that were starting to gravitate towards the car, nor did I like the reputation the WRX was developing. I also wanted to have a backup to the Escort that could be used in the same competition class.

The MS3 was a decent performance car and I very nearly won the Prepared Front Wheel Drive 2012 RallyX National Championship with it, I coned away the win despite consistently turning in the fastest runs in my class on each of the three courses. While the car came stock with an lsd and huge turbo power potential, which I exploited with a COBB Accessport and a self tune, I didn't like the MS3's fan base either. Also the interior ergonomics of the second gen car were lousy and it had way too much power for it's own good. Once the car was tuned I could start it from a stop off of the two-step rev limiter in second gear, do burnouts in first, and even break the tires loose under power at the top of second gear. So I shopped a few cars, including the Sonic RS and BRZ, and in December 2012 I traded the MS3 in for a used 2013 Golf R with about 1,300 miles on it.

Being German the Golf R is a very refined car, especially the interior, but that Germanic nature also started to grate on me. Even after reprogramming the car's computer to give a second stage to the traction control defeat the car still tried to second guess my inputs at RallyX events. Also being a Haldex based system it was a bit of a grip hero. When traction levels dropped (mud/snow) the lack of a rear bias in the AWD system made it uncompetitive. I could have modified the Haldex but it would have put the car into a higher prep racing class that would also force me to swap to smaller front brakes in order to fit the necessary smaller diameter wheels that rally tires are built for. The full leather seats also didn't breathe very well, arriving at the destination after a few hours drive with a moist back/sticky shirt wasn't cool.

In my performance car life I've had cars painted in the colors: World Rally Blue, Liquid Silver and Tornado Red. I wanted a white car and liked the BRZ front end better so I started shopping them. I also got onto this site to do some research (hooray for the secret traction control off/testing mode). I found two certified used BRZ M/Ts and drove them both, I also drove an A/T Hot Lava FR-S just for kicks. In doing so I found that I preferred the Scion/Toyota gauge cluster. The Subaru version with red needles on red numerals seemed old and dated compared to the red on white in the Scion, which seemed to have more depth. Perhaps the 'factory upgrade' gauges in the MS3 and Golf R spoiled me. The Subaru dealers didn't seem interested in discussing pricing so I came on here and did some more investigating.

That is when I found out about the 10 Series FR-S. The HID headlights with the LED accents and (somewhat) black surrounds really improve the look of the front end for me. Having the keyless/push button system is a bonus because both my MS3 and Golf had that and I've gotten accustomed to it. I found a dealer about an hour away that still had an M/T Series 10 and visited them. I put down a deposit to hold the FR-S so I could rallycross the Golf R one more time, then finished the deal on Tuesday April 8th 2014. They had the car since October '13 and gave me an absolutely awesome deal, $24,100! The deal was so good that they had to pay the sales tax on the deal.

I expect to be on here often. This car has so many options, and the community seems really friendly.

Current State Of Build 10/3/16

Engine/Power Mods
GrimmSpeed Intake & Pulley Cover w/tool tray
Stage 2 OFT tune
custom DIY single exit axle back
Nameless Performance header, ceramic coated
Nameless overpipe/front pipe combo

Drivetrain Mods
ACT lightweight clutch/flywheel set

Handling/Driver Feel ModsGrimmSpeed Strut Tower Bar & Brake Master Brace
Turn In Concepts Steering Rack Bushings, HVT Adjustable Front Camber Plates
Cartboy Rear Transmission Mount Bushing Insert

Cometic Mods
Trunk lip spoiler
Painted headlights

RallyCross
Team Dynamics 15x6" Rally1 wheels in custom low offset (+25mm)
Gravel and Mud racing tires

Planned Future Mods:
upgrade to 17x8'' wheels and wider & stickier tires
install a custom switch to more easily & effectively disable the traction control/abs
better front brake pads, probably EBC
upgrade the front door speakers, and add a sub
might make my own custom tail lights from the hail damaged set
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2016 SCCA RallyCross National Champion - Prepared Rear Wheel Drive

Last edited by Weasel Soup; 10-03-2016 at 05:13 PM. Reason: elaborations, impressions of the gauges & modifications list
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:46 PM   #2
Weasel Soup
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Link to my 'vs' thread...

http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showt...55#post1697155
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2016 SCCA RallyCross National Champion - Prepared Rear Wheel Drive
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:17 AM   #3
Weasel Soup
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I recently made my first modifications. With about 750 miles on the ODO I took out the stock strut braces and painted them with black bedliner and they were re-installed. To that I added Grimm Speed's Strut Tower Brace, Master Cylinder Brace and Pulley Cover.

I can definately feel a difference in the front of the suspension and the brake pedal. The front wheels/suspension seem to be more independant, ironically. Uneven road surface imperfections can now be felt seperately at each corner. Hitting a manhole cover only impacts the side of the car, and an angled seam/bump that confronts each tire at different time can be felt as a individual impacts rather than one more drawn out disturbance.

The brake pedal now has a more linear response to my inputs. Granted I haven't done a full on PANIC stop, but each twitch of my foot nets the same feedback. The 1st, 5th and 17th percent (etc.) of movement feels the same which seems like a good idea for the performance driving I like to do (auto-x, rally-x, backroads).

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Everything should be attempted twice. Once to satisfy curiosity, and the second time to see if you like it.
My Journal
2016 SCCA RallyCross National Champion - Prepared Rear Wheel Drive

Last edited by Weasel Soup; 12-09-2014 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:32 AM   #4
Weasel Soup
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Crossed the 1000 mile break-in mark last night on the way home from prepping the Escort rally car for tomorrow's event. A quick mental calculation tells me that the about 50% of that first 1K was highway driving. Hopefully the car lives a more exciting life than 50% in cruise mode, but I have to travel an hour or more one way to have any car-related fun on my days off.



I can't wait to really push my car a bit for the first time later today!
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Everything should be attempted twice. Once to satisfy curiosity, and the second time to see if you like it.
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2016 SCCA RallyCross National Champion - Prepared Rear Wheel Drive

Last edited by Weasel Soup; 12-09-2014 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 05-03-2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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Any pics or vids?
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:14 AM   #6
Weasel Soup
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Just took the FR-S out for a drive on the half of my favorite local driving road that has more curves and elevation changes. At dusk and in the rain no less.

This car just gets better all the time! I was able to find the point where I doubted the ability of both myself and the car execute my commands while staying safely in my lane. Then I pushed harder, while staying in my lane, and the car kept responding. I wasn't able to prompt it to slide or break traction, but wholly cow! The limits of this car are so high! I can't wait to get it out auto crossing in 11 days.

I also regret not taking the car to the rally cross in past weekend, that surface was soo smooth, with a lot of silt on top. It would have been a riot.
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonewolf View Post
Any pics or vids?
This thread: now with pictures.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:41 PM   #8
Weasel Soup
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Recent events and thoughts...

There was a tornado in the area last week. While it didn't reach Fort Collins, the edge of the storm did. And in that edge of the storm there was hail. I was dreading the first hail storm with this car because of my past experience with the 2007 WRX. I had to take that car in for hail damage repair each of the four years I owned it.

Gladly the FR-S's Silver Ignition paint hides minor surface dents very well, especially compared to World Rally Blue of my WRX. That said, the hood is the first place any other FR-S/BRZ owner should inspect for damage after a hail storm. Just like the WRX, our cars have aluminum hoods and they are susceptable to denting much more than the other steel body panels.

I have also decided that I need to put a decent amount of effort into buying a car (new or used) because it creates a deeper bond with the car I do actually take home. It could also have something to do with the cars being 100% new, but I feel better connected to my FR-S and my past WRX (both bought new and heavily researched before purchase) than either the MS3 or Golf R that I owned previously.
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Old 05-17-2014, 01:46 PM   #9
Weasel Soup
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Don't lecture me

I was finally able to get the car to slide this morning. I took deep proding on my part. First I had the car in the 'secret test mode' that turns every traction & stability aid off. The road was still wet from last night's rain and the corner was cambered. I purposely went in too fast, in second gear and high revs. As soon as I passed the apex I floored the throttle, with the steering wheel still turned.

The car stepped out, and man it was smooth. It got me heart rate up, because it was way more yaw than I expected. But, it was so easy and smooth and precise. The car just did what physics dictate and once the angular momentum was gone it came back in line like nothing had happened.

Can't with for the Auto-X tomorrow.
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2016 SCCA RallyCross National Champion - Prepared Rear Wheel Drive
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:10 AM   #10
Weasel Soup
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First auto-x

It was a blast! Even though I stunk! My best run was 6 seconds off fast time in class, although that was another 86. The car was woefully underpreped for the class I chose to be in. I ran in STX with the only mod that put me there was the front strut tower bar. Some nice R-compound tires and a tune would probably have halved my deficit.

Anywho, I thought I saw somewhere that our cars like higher air pressures in the front tires than the rears... Now I didn't check my pressures before competition started, but I did between my third run and the last run (#4). I checked because I was getting mild understeer at turn in, then even more feint oversteer on throttle application. Turns out my front pressure, 36 psi, was 2 lbs higher than the rear, 34 psi. I dropped the fronts to match the rears, and subsequently ran my fastest time of the day by over 1.2 seconds.



Link to the 'official event photo alblum' https://flic.kr/p/nEzu7b

AND...
even without turning the car off in grid between each of my four runs, about an hour total, the car averaged a calculated 34.9 mpg for that tank, 379.0 miles on 10.853 gallons.
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2016 SCCA RallyCross National Champion - Prepared Rear Wheel Drive

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Old 06-06-2014, 03:03 PM   #11
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Blue Tape!

I'm entered in the 2014 SCCA RallyCross Rocky Mountain National Challenge event this weekend, June 6th - 8th. I wanted to have some fun decorating my car and protecting the paint from cone marks at the same time. Here's how it turned out:





I've always wanted to do the blue tape thing, and even though it isn't a cool thing anymore I'm glad I did it. I've gotten compliments from my neighbors and even some stares during my last minute supply run before heading out to the event.
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:20 PM   #12
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This past weekend, June 6th - 8th, I took my FR-S to compete in the 2014 SCCA RallyCross Rocky Mountain National Challenge. There had been rain during many of the days leading up to the event, and it even rained enough to cancel practice on Friday the 6th. That made for sloppy, wet, muddy conditions Saturday morning, but we all powered through.

This event was the first time I piloted a rear wheel drive car in RallyCross competition, and it won't be my last. Even though I was the only car in the Prepared Rear Wheel Drive class I was able to directly compare my times to other RWD cars because I was in the same run group as the Modified RWD cars. I knew I wouldn't be able to beat all of them, but I tried my best.

My FR-S still has only minimal mods, strut tower brace, brake master cylinder brace, 16" wheels & tires, but it handled the conditions beautifully. The car did everything I asked of it, when I asked and I learned a great many things. The two biggest nuggets of new information regarded shifting and throttle control.

Shifting while accelerating and turning really effected the trajectory of the car. If I shifted while hard on the power and turning the slight decrease in thrust caused the car to push wide. I also found I needed to be much more delicate with the adjustments of my throttle application during change of direction maneuvers, especially the slaloms.

After 15 competitive runs of about 65 seconds each my cumulative time score was about 1082 seconds. To put that into perspective the first place finisher in the Mod RWD class (the 2012 National Champion in that class) had a total time of about 1020 seconds, and the second place MR class car finished at about 1096 seconds.

Here is one of the pictures I took with my cell phone during the event on Saturday afternoon waiting for competition to resume.



My tape job held up well considering the weather, and it performed it's intended function of paint protection very well as I hit 8 cones while racing and tried to use the lip of the front bumper to shovel up some of the course. I also managed to make good use of the factory skid guard on Sunday. There were some pretty deep ruts that not only had me brushing the belly pan on the mud, but also bouncing a little bit.
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Old 07-04-2014, 02:17 AM   #13
Weasel Soup
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My part of town was on the receiving end of a nasty hail storm the night of 6/24/14. I made a separate thread here: http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68851

On a side note the transmission seems to be much better lately. I don't know if its the weather, some magical break-in point has been crossed, or maybe my state of mind has changed since the hail damage occurred and I'm just being more forceful with my shifts because the car is no longer any where near show-room new now.

Either way, small miracles etc.....
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:33 PM   #14
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Sweet Auto-Xing! Not getting a ton of love on this thread. Dont worry. If you build it, they will come
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