Mechanical Upgrades

These mods either enhance the car’s driving dynamics or make it more durable. Click the submenu items to for more details. Here’s a summary:

APR Stage 1 Tuning – Although not truly mechanical, the end result has a “mechanical” feel. I went back and forth about when I would tune the car. APR was having a sale; plus, I had an opening in my work schedule that would allow me time to tune the car during the week without a loss of pay or productivity. The timing was good enough for me to make a move.  🙂  I was suitably impressed, to say the very least. I couldn’t believe the difference! Read this entry for details.

RSR Clutch by HS Tuning – The stock clutch is a weak point in the driveline. Mine lasted 15,000 miles with 381 lb-ft and plenty of towing putting it through its paces (34,000 miles total). This clutch uses a factory dual-mass flywheel and will hold 480 lb-ft, a limit that I don’t ever expect to exceed. It feels about the same as a Southbend Stage 2 clutch, but is quiet as stock. My car still sounds like a sewing machine.  😉  Read this entry for more information.

Steel Oil Pan Upgrade – I decided to convert the oil pan to steel during a routine oil change since road debris, ice chunks, or even animals can damage a plastic oil pan. Sure, the odds of those things actually striking the oil pan seems low. Regardless, the day is ruined once the pan is cracked and the oil gushes onto the road. I also tend to believe that the plastic will become brittle after years of heat-cycling, meaning a lighter hit could shatter the pan. Regardless, a steel pan is more likely to bend than crack, so it’s more durable.

APR Stage 2 – Upgrading the downpipe, intercooler, and adding an appropriate tune added another 20 hp and 23 lb-ft, for a total of 336 hp and 404 lb-ft. The car is really responsive and eager to get me into trouble! First gear is worthless because the tires just scald, even with traction control enabled. Second gear is a little better… the wheels still spin, but not as bad. Third gear is where jail time is had!  😉  Read this entry for more information.

Summer Tires – Most people don’t think about tires being a “mechanical upgrade.” Tires are the bond between the driveline and the pavement. As a result, anything that improves traction will improve acceleration, braking, and cornering. All-season tires compromise traction for longevity, especially during the winter. Using dedicated summer performance tires (or winter tires, when appropriate) make a huge difference in the driving dynamic. My current choice of tire is the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500.