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The Justang.  A combination of a 1993 Subaru Justy hatchback, and the undercarriage of a 1999 Mustang SVT Cobra.  Justy + Mustang = Justang.  Frankenstein’ed together in the depths of the Circuit Motorsports shop over thousands of man hours, late nights, and many, many slices of pizza. Through some serious ingenuity and lots of custom fabrication the CMS team successfully molded the 2 cars together, creating the worlds first wide-bodied, V8 powered Justy.  Every original body panel was retained from the Justy, using them to create super wide fenders, shortened doors, and an exaggerated hood line to house the monstrous DOHC 4.6L V8. The interior even includes the original Justy dashboard, with a full firewall and 4 point roll-bar just behind the driver seat. The rear hatch area how houses a rear mounted radiator, battery and small fuel cell. The overall look was completed with an 80’s Group B Rally theme; including driving lights, a huge rear wing, and Martini racing livery.  We took a 3 cylinder economy hatchback and turned it into a fire breathing rally-style legend. Oh, and we did all this for less than $2,000.





Wait…what?  $2,000?? That’s right, this entire car was built for less than $2,000, including the purchase price of the vehicles.  Why would we try something that insane?  Well to enter the Grassroots Motorsports $2k Challenge of course!  Now, we are sure you are thinking – “No way in hell that thing was built for that much money” – Yes actually, it was, and yes it wasn't easy.  However, labor hours are not included in the cost, so you only need to include parts purchased and that’s how we kept the build price so low. This means a lot of hours searching Craigslist and local swap meets for crazy deals.  Like our Cobra Replica wheels, bought for a few Jacksons at a Daytona hot rod swap meet. Or maybe the fuel cell we grabbed for pennies on the dollar off a FB marketplace post that had been up for months. Getting good deals on go-fast parts is the name of the game for this event.



The other way to keep costs low is to make the parts you need – and we mean make everything.  The cost of the raw materials is all that goes towards the budget, so a bushing that may cost $50 online, can be made for $2 in your shop or garage.  We needed solid engine and trans mounts, so we used some metal we had cut off one of the cars and just welded it in there. Boom, solid engine mounts.  Our battery mount was made with metal we literally found in our dumpster pile. Another trick is to use the “recoup rule” – which allows you to sell up to half the budget ($1,000) back in parts.  Luckily our SVT Cobra donor car still had some very desirable parts on it when we got it, so we were able to recoup cost there, and then add that back into the build. All-in-all we came in just under the allowable budget, with a car that not only goes fast, but looks great too.




The project was started in 2014 but took so long to get completed that we didn’t compete until the 2015 Challenge.  For it’s first outing we did pretty well, with the paint tacky from the paint job the night before we still placed 4thin the autocross, achieved 6th overall out of all the competitors, and won the Rookie of the Year award! Taking home the honor of the highest placed Rookie team and the Challengers’ Choice award (all competitors vote on their favorite car) was very satisfying.  With a boost in confidence that we could improve the car and come back the following year we set about furthering the build.  We focused on dialing in the handling of the car, with some suspension changes, and better tires. Still working on a tight budget, we carefully removed and added a few parts, and we also improved the looks – going from the factory red paint job to the now famous Martini racing livery.  The 2016 event granted us a solid win, taking the Autocross overall and winning by almost a full second! We fell short of an overall win, with a lacking drag time, but we knew the car had it in it…back to the shop we went with new ideas.



The Justang hibernated through the 2017 season, but for 2018 we dusted off the cobwebs and set to work making more small improvements. We added flares to our already wide fenders so we could run wider wheels and tires, and give it a more finished look. A smaller fuel cell reduced weight and helped us with some fuel slosh issues we had encountered the year before. Driving lights were added because…race car. Our improved Justang EVO III debuted at the 2018 GRM Challenge, and it performed flawlessly.  We won both the morning and afternoon races and scored very high in the concours competition the following day.  That night we were honored with 4 trophies – 1stplace wins in the morning and afternoon autocross, 3rd in concours, and First overall - Victory! It took 4 years of building, racing, improving, and more racing, but we had achieved our overall goal and took home the big win.



This car was built for 2 reasons – to show off our shop skills and know-how at Circuit Motorsports, and to have fun as a team. We think we have achieved both.  We have made many new friends at the races over the years and it has become an event we look forward to attending.  The tight knit group of Challengers is a great one, and it’s a lot of fun to compete with other like-minded gearheads and to see the wild vehicles they build and race every year.  The budget and rules keep the racing very tight, as a deep wallet isn’t needed, but serious skills and engineering is.



What’s next for the Justang?  We plan on taking it to more local events to enjoy it’s V8 powered rowdiness.  As for the Challenge, it’s retiring on it’s win.  We’ll just dream up some other crazy car for the next one…



Big Thanks to our Justang Build Team:

·        - Tristan Sothern – Visionary

·         -Nathan Adair – Engineer and Fender guy

·         -Justin McDonald – Paint and Vinyl

·        - Gino Santiago – Welder and Fab

 -Rob Lewis and Bob Blucher - Wheel men

·         -Steven Hobbs – Blood, sweat, and tears

·         -Paul Dahlquist – Pizza delivery

·         -Chonody – Design and branding

·         -Pizza Hut - Fuel

       -Entire Circuit Motorsports Team – Emotional support


Justang Evolution over the Years











Read our previous entries on our Justang, the build, and it's progress below:

What is a Justang? - http://www.circuitmotorsports-blog.com/2016/05/justang-offspring-of-justy-and-cobra.html

2015 Challenge Event - http://www.circuitmotorsports-blog.com/2016/05/justang-2015-challenge-results.html

2016 Challenge Event and EVO II Update - - http://www.circuitmotorsports-blog.com/2017/01/the-justang-evo-ii-2016-grassroots.html



Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando, Florida.  We specialize in performance upgrades, ECU tuning, engine builds, and fabrication.  If you are interested in performance upgrades or a full build consultation contact us today!


Facebook - www.facebook.com/circuitmotorsports 


Website - www.circuitmotorsports.net

Youtube - www.youtube.com/circuitmotorsports
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Over the last 14 months or so we have been developing our tuning strategies for the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 platforms using Ecutek software. Our head Nissan/Infiniti tuner Stew actually purchased his own 2018 Q50 S to be able to both street-tune and dyno-tune on his personal car and see where the downfalls of the stock platform may be.  Hundreds of hours of development have resulted in a very good understanding of the unique ECU tuning for these vehicles. Read on for some valuable tuning info!



Stillen is a very well known tuning house out in California, and they have been respected in the Nissan game for a very long time. When the VR30DDTT was released Stillen did a lot of their own research to determine the best turbo efficiency range. They posted this data and this was useful as a set of datapoints to use when developing our own tuning strategies. What they found is that peaking boost around 18 psi and tapering to 15-16 psi at redline is the most efficient boost range for the turbo/engine setup the VR30 utilizes.



We've confirmed this through our own tuning but also by researching what other VR30s are making at different power levels. We recently ran an FBO Q50 RedSport on a Mustang dyno with a competitor's e-tune, along with Burger Motorsport intakes, AMS lower downpipes, Magnaflow exhaust, and a Frozen Boost heat exchanger. With full bolt-ons and the other shops e-tune, this car made 418whp and 486wtq at 23-24 psi (this is a lot of boost for the stock turbos).  In comparison, we ran a bone stock Redsport on the same dyno just days before (very similar weather and conditions) with no modifications, just our own custom Ecutek tune, and we were able to achieve 409whp and 474wtq! That is less than 10 horsepower difference with NO mods, just our tune!



So with the above reference, at 18psi we're making almost as much power as the competitors tune is at over 20+ psi, all while putting less stress on the turbos and drive-train.  Our tune is clearly ideal, as you don’t want to sacrifice having a safety margin on your engine for less than a 10hp gain.  The harder you push turbos, the hotter the air is going to be entering your combustion chambers, and the higher the likelihood for engine killing detonation. It’s for this reason we would much rather make 418whp at 18psi, vs. making only 9hp more with 5-6 more pounds of boost.



Our tuning philosophy is to tune a vehicle and make as much power as we can, SAFELY.  You can’t always control the environment you’re in; whether that is the quality of the gas you pump in to the tank, the weather (temperature, humidity, elevation), or the general driving conditions. If your car is tuned to the ragged edge of safety just to make a few more horsepower, and you happen to get a bad tank of gas, or it’s a really hot day or both, you could be buying yourself a new engine pretty quickly.  So, keep this in mind when looking for a tuner or a shop to modify your car.  Are they taking the time to research the platform and tuning accordingly?  Are they pushing your engine to the max just to show a little more power on the dyno screen? At Circuit Motorsports make sure when we are dyno tuning the Infiniti Q50 Q60 platform to leave a bit of safety for our customers!


Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando, Florida.  We specialize in performance upgrades, ECU tuning, engine builds, and fabrication.  If you are interested in performance upgrades, a dyno-tune or e-tune, or a full build consultation contact us today!


Facebook - www.facebook.com/circuitmotorsports 

Website - www.circuitmotorsports.net

Youtube - www.youtube.com/circuitmotorsports






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A good client of ours has brought his 2013 Subaru WRX in to our shop a handful of times over the last couple years.  It started out stock, and has progressed with a Stage 2 setup, to full-bolt-ons, to an upgraded turbo and accoutrements.  Now making 400whp, and at the safe limit of the engine and transmission, the owner wanted to make sure it was going to be safe and hold-up in the Florida heat.  We recommended a handful of modifications to ensure the cooling system would be able to keep up with 100+ degree summer temps.  Read on to see what what we did to improve this WRXs cooling capabilities!





First up on the list, and one of the most common cooling system upgrades, is an all aluminum radiator. Commonly called a "racing radiator", these units will typically increase cooling capacity over a stock radiator by adding more cores, capacity, and efficiency.  The stock WRX radiator uses a single core, plastic end-tank radiator. This does it's job for the most part on a stock vehicle, but on a modified car it can be overwhelmed and can cause coolant temps to rise. The plastic end-tanks are also known to get brittle with age and crack, causing a leak, and creating a potentially bad situation for the vehicle.  All of this is remedied with an aluminum radiator, as it uses aluminum end-tanks and in most cases is a dual-core unit, with some radiators offering and extra thick triple-core. The extra cores provide more passages for the coolant to flow through and shed heat, while the end-tanks provide a stronger setup over plastic, while providing more coolant capacity.  These features add up to a more efficient radiator and can lower overall temps, and/or provide extended cooling capacity under extreme conditions. 




To go along with the radiator we added an aluminum fan shroud, and super high-flow SPAL fans in place of the OEM shroud and fans.  The fan shroud bolts onto the radiator and allows the fans to work much more efficiently by pulling hot air from across the entire inner surface of the radiator by creating a small vacuum.  An un-shrouded radiator/fan is moving air only through the portion of the radiator equal to the surface area of the fan.  So having a properly fitting fan shroud will increase the cooling efficiency of the fans when they are on, especially in idling or slow-moving conditions. Equally as important are the fans themselves, in this case we opted to use Italian made SPAL high flow fans mounted to the shroud.  There are a lot of aftermarket fans out there for cheap, many of them from China, and while they boast CFM and voltage ratings, the fact is that they do not move as much air as they want you to think. In short, they are junk.  The appropriate SPAL fans move serious amounts of air, way more than stock, and you can tell just by putting your hand around the radiator area when they are moving.  This air flow is important to pull air through the thicker aftermarket radiator, and to generally move enough air to keep the car cool when stationary.  



We start the process by draining the coolant and removing the stock radiator and fans.  We then mount the aluminum fan shroud to the new aluminum radiator and make sure there are no fitment or clearance issues.  The fan shroud in this case comes with fans, but we ditch those in favor of mounting the SPAL fans in their place. Before we toss the cheapo fans away, we clip the OEM style fan harness plugs off, this allows us to wire these to the SPAL wires, in place of the standard plug they come with. We then plug the SPAL fans right into the stock fan clips for an OEM look and ease of removal.  The whole assembly gets installed into the car, and we use new silicone radiator hoses in place of the stock rubber hoses.  We do this because the silicone hoses are slimmer and do not expand like the stock rubber hoses.  This is important because the engine bay is very tight on these cars, and we have seen the stock rubber hoses come in contact with a pulley or fan, split open, and bleed the coolant out all over the engine bay....Not a good thing.  The install is finished by adding coolant to the system and bleeding it of air bubbles.




Next up on the list is an external air-to-air oil cooler.  Performance engines are generally pretty hard on oil, as the tolerances are tight and this heats up the oil.  Add in forced induction and the oil temps continue to rise into dangerous territory when the engine is pushed hard. An oil cooler is an excellent way to bring those oil temps back down into a more reasonable temperature range, and potentially save yourself from an engine failure due to oil that has become to thin to properly lubricate. In this case we used a kit that mounts an oil cooler core right in front of the radiator, and runs the lines to the factory oil filter location. The install is very straightforward; requiring removal of the oil filter in order to install a sandwich plate, and the front bumper to install the core and mounts. This plate allows the installation of the "in" and "out" lines, which run oil to and from the cooling core.  The oil flows from the engine into the core, which is cooled down by the air moving over it (like an engine radiator), and the cooler oil is then returned to the engine. We ran the oil cooler lines and secured them to the chassis with rubber lined clamps, and zip ties.  The core gets mounted in place and bolted down, and then the bumper is replaced and checked for clearance.





The last mod installed on this car is the "Cylinder 4 Combustion Chamber Cooling kit" by Dom. This mod increases coolant flow in the left-hand cylinder head which improves reliability by reducing detonation causing hot spots. Basically, it Tees into the heater core coolant tube and pulls coolant around cylinder 4, which improves cooling for that cylinder, which is typically the hottest cylinder in the engine.  This is often why you see cylinder 4 failures more than any other cylinder on the Subaru EJ engines.  The install requires removing a plug on the back of the cylinder head and then installing the assembly into that now empty threaded hole.  Sealant is used to ensure the fitting does not back out or leak.  We then cut the lower heat core hose, install the T-fitting, clamp it in place, and then tighten it all up. Coolant is then bled to make sure there are no bubbles in the system, and it is ready to do it's job!  



With all of these mods in place this WRX is now ready for the Florida heat.  The above mods may not be flashy, or add horsepower, but they are a great way to maintain horsepower and are just as important as a shiny new intake. Ensuring your car runs well and doesn't overheat, or stress is lubrication system to the point of failure, is money well spent in any regard. This rings true for a Subaru WRX, STI, or any other performance vehicle. Stay cool out there!



Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando, Florida.  We specialize in performance upgrades, ECU tuning, engine builds, and fabrication.  If you are interested in performance upgrades or a full build consultation contact us today!


Facebook - www.facebook.com/circuitmotorsports
 

Youtube - www.youtube.com/circuitmotorsports








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We recently had a client come in to the shop with his really clean 2007 STI.  He was complaining about a lack of power, intermittent engine roughness, and boost not building like it had been in the past.  We gave him a list of items we could check, and then we set to work to find out what was wrong.  It probably isn't what you think!





First up was the easy checks - Making sure the coilpacks and all electrical connectors are tight.  Then a full inspection to see if we could spot anything that looked out of place.  Common issues we see that can cause rough running are loose coil packs, missing grounds, engine harness connection issues and air leaks. Seeing nothing out of place or that looked suspect we moved on to the next test- Vacuum leak test.  Sometimes called a smoke test, we use a specialized machine that pumps pressurized inert smoke into the intake system.  This will very quickly show us if there are any leaks in the intake tract, turbo, evap hoses, vacuum lines etc.  It's a very effective tool, and in this case it showed us the car had zero leaks. 


Our Vacuum leak tester machine

This 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STi is basically stock, with a few small mods, but it does have over 111,000 miles on the odometer.  So seeing nothing out of place or that looked suspect, and with no air leaks, we moved on to the next test - compression and leakdown of the engine.  We use this test a lot ensure that an engine is still sealing on both the bottom and top end. This test entails pumping pressurized air into each cylinder, and then checking to see what amount of air that cylinder will hold. With some experience on what to look for, we can determine if the air leaking out of the cylinder is coming through the intake valves, exhaust valves, or into the crankcase.  This will tell us if you potentially have a bad valve, or a cracked piston.  Luckily for this car, the engine checked out great and we installed new NGK spark plugs before we buttoned it all back up.
 
Leakdown test being performed on a JDM engine

With the test results we had so far, the next check was the turbo itself.  We removed the factory downpipe and inspected the turbo.  It had the typical "VF Crack", which is a crack in the exhaust housing of the turbo that usually starts from the wastegate outlet, and then radiates towards the outer edge of the housing. In most cases it will not greatly affect the performance of the turbo, however as the crack enlarges it can start to bleed off exhaust gasses before they have a chance to spin the turbine...which is not good.  In this turbos case, the crack was present, but not big enough to cause the sort of issues the owner was describing. It was also dry, indicating the oil seals were still doing their job. We then checked the top mounted intercooler and turbo outlet hose, which were also mostly dry. Turbo got a clean bill of health...but the downpipe on the other hand....

Wastegate crack present, but not terrible.


The issue was found inside the downpipe.  The stock catalytic converter had cracked and was starting to deform.  This can happen with age and excessive heat and we have seen this issue before. Basically, as the cat fails and falls apart it blocks exhaust flow, this creates a lot of backpressure which affects boost pressure and exhaust gas flow.  All of this can add up to lower boost pressure, lower power, and a car that feels sluggish.  The simple fix for this is to replace the downpipe with another one, and it's a good opportunity for an upgrade!  With that problem solved we moved on to the next item on the list, a sloppy shifter.


You can see the cracked catalytic converter down inside the pipe.


While under the car we noticed that one of the bushings for the shifter linkage was missing. As the bushings age they fall apart and this creates a lot of movement and "slop" in the shifter action and feel.  The fix is to remove the linkage and install new bushings.  We use Turn in Concepts shifter linkage bushings for the WRX and STI, these are stiffer than stock and provide much better shifter feel and response.  While on the lift we also drained and filled both the transmission and rear differential fluid.  These are common things to be overlooked when having a car serviced and not only is it important to keep the driveline operating smoothly, fresh trans fluids can also help shifter feel as well! With that done the car was buttoned up and ready to go, with a happy owner knowing his engine was still solid.

Missing shifter joint bushing.
New bushings isntalled and lubed!

Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando, Florida.  We specialize in performance upgrades, ECU tuning, engine builds, and fabrication.  If you are interested in performance upgrades or a full build consultation contact us today!
 
 

Youtube - www.youtube.com/circuitmotorsports









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We just recently had a clients Ford Fiesta ST in for some fun upgrades, including a new turbo! The owner had purchased a Puma Speed X-47R upgraded turbo unit, along with a downpipe and the associated hardware needed for this swap. We laid out the parts we had on hand to inspect the components and ensure there were no issues, then we got to work!





The turbo is in a very inaccessible spot on the Ford Focus and Fiesta ST, so there is quite a bit that needs to be removed to access that area. First the engine cover, intake, and intercooler tubes need to be removed to access the top bolt on the downpipe/turbo. Once those are removed, then it's time to remove the undercovers and get to the hardware underneath the engine. They don't make it easy...



With the stock downpipe removed, the turbo and manifold can be removed as one assembly. We then separate the exhaust manifold from the stock turbo, and install the new turbo onto the manifold with new studs and nuts. The turbo and manifold need to be installed as one unit, since the top nuts can't be accessed once it is all in place in the engine bay.  Before going into the car we installed a Turbosmart wastegate actuator onto the turbo, this has a stiffer spring and allows for more boost. That whole assembly goes back into the car, with new gaskets and hardware and we torque everything in place!



Next up we installed a new high flow downpipe in place of the stock restrictive pipe. This will alleviate a lot of back-pressure and allow for more power to be extracted from the engine. New hardware and gaskets in place, we buttoned up the exhaust and started to re-assemble everything. The new downpipe is 3" and uses a flat style flange, the OEM catback is about 2.5" and uses a donut style flange. To try and ensure there is no leak here, we use both a donut style and 3" gasket.  Otherwise the standard 3" gasket has a very small surface area to seal and will often burn right through after only a few miles of use. 


This downpipe uses a 3" flat flange, while the stock catback is a 2.5" flange that uses a donut style gasket. You need to use both gaskets for a decent seal, but a 3" catback would be ideal.


Once the engine bay as re-assembled we flashed a new map on the car using a Cobb Accessport with a custom basemap for the new upgrades. We verified the new map and then and handed the keys back to the owner for some serious fun!

OEM turbo and downpipe removed. You can see just how restrictive the factory downpipe is!
These are very cool little cars that don't weigh much and with a few upgrades can be seriously fun. Lightweight sporty cars are few and far between these days!



Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando, Florida.  We specialize in performance upgrades, ECU tuning, engine builds, and fabrication - we are also a Cobb Tuning certified Protuner. If you are interested in performance upgrades or a full build consultation contact us today!



Facebook - www.facebook.com/circuitmotorsports

Website - www.circuitmotorsports.net

Youtube - www.youtube.com/circuitmotorsports









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Once or twice a year we try to make it up to the Appalachian mountains for some serious driving zen. The amazing roads, beautiful scenery, and slower pace of life all make it one of the best places for a vacation (especially for people with a car addiction). The owner, Tristan, had big plans this year for his 2005 STi , including a 6 piston front brake kit and lightweight chassis bracing.  His goal was to add some go-fast parts that would improve the braking and handling of the car on the Touge, or "Mountain passes".  There were also some important maintenance and "longevity" items that needed to be checked off the list before departure.  Read on to see some of the neat installs we did for this years trip preparations!



The maintenance items were first. If the car isn’t maintained properly it doesn’t matter what performance upgrades it has, because when you neglect it failures often follow. Every fluid was changed – Trans and Gear oil were changed out to high performance Motul 300, brake fluid was bled with high-temp Motul RBf600, clutch fluid was bled with ATE typ200 (and a new stainless line put in place of the old rubber one), power steering fluid was flushed and cycled with new ATF, and finally the coolant was swapped out for new stuff when we removed the radiator.  There was a quite a few other items we did in preparation for the long road trip, so as not to potentially be stranded in case of an issue. Read about that prep here – Maintenance Prep


So with the long list of road-trip prep and maintenance items done, we moved on to the fun stuff! One of the biggest upgrades this year was for the brakes. We decided to use an Innovate bracket kit to mount a set of Corvette C6 6-piston calipers.  The 6 piston calipers provide a number of advantages over the factory STi 4 piston Brembos: The caliper is a one piece casting which provides better rigidity, 6 pistons provide more pad surface area (when using padlets there is more airflow around the pads as well), the larger calipers hold more brake fluid, and they just look damn good. Before installing the calipers we had them blasted and ceramic coated, with a nice little STi logo in the middle for some visual appeal.  They came out great and the ceramic coating is good to about 1,800 degrees F, which should hold up better than standard powder coating under the high heat these will no doubt see.  The calipers hooked right up to our current stainless steel brake lines which was a plus. We decided to use the standard 13” rotor setup, as we wanted to keep a 17” wheel and not be forced to go up to a larger 18” wheel. The 17” wheel combo is favorable for our style of driving because it weighs less, will help acceleration, and just looks better in our opinion on the GD chassis.  The brake pads we used are Ferodo DS2500s and we notched it up even further with a set of beautiful Girodisc 2-piece rotors. These rotors use an aluminum center hat, which not only saves weight, but will aid in cooling the rotor down and mitigate heat transfer to the hubs. The weight savings comes out to about 3-4 pounds per corner, which when talking unsprung weight is a big deal.  Overall the braking system was now ready for some serious work, and we were pleased with the results so far.





In addition to all the braking components we added a full set of ARP extended wheel studs.  The Innovate kit includes a small spacer that goes between the hub and rotor to center the rotor properly in the new 6 piston caliper.  The result is that the stock wheel studs now have less threads to be engaged by the lugnuts.  Anytime you lose thread engagement you are putting more stress on both the studs and the lugnuts, and under extreme conditions (such as a track day, autox, or mountain run) there is the potential for a failure – the kind of failure where a wheel comes flying off.  We wanted to avoid to this, so we went with the ARP studs.  These are muchlonger than the factory wheel studs and stronger, so it’s a win-win.  We highly recommend studs like these when using wider wheels, spacers, or when you simply need to remove and install wheels/lugnuts often (like in racing, autox, etc.).  Every time a lugnut is removed and then torqued down the stud is slightly fatigued, and over many removals and installations they can fatigue to the point of failure.  So, if you’re the kind of guy or girl that removes and install wheels a lot, consider upgrading!


Next up was a piece we had been looking at for some time, the Oswald lightweight front subframe brace. This brace replaces the heavy steel u-brace at the front of the car.  The stock brace is in place for a few reasons including crash safety, rigidity, and as a mounting point. The issue is, it’s heavy at about 25 pounds and doesn’t do a whole lot for chassis stiffness since it’s a large open “U” shape.  The Oswald brace is a lot lighter at about 10 pounds, and has multiple points of connection to the chassis and suspension up front to stiffen it all up. The weight is also moved rearward, so in addition to the raw weight savings, it moves quite a bit of weight off the nose of the car.  We removed the factory u-brace, bolted up the Oswald brace, and it all lined up very well with just a little bit of fussing.  The brace is coated in a very nice red powdercoat and looks great under the car.  We also opted for the extra front mounting plate, which provides the mounting points needed to mount an undertray (or in our case a skid-plate) that are lost when removing the factory u-brace.   Bolted in place, it allowed our skid-plate to be installed again and it all fit well and looked good.  We now have less weight up front and some added stiffness, which should aid in handling and better steering feel.




Another small item we installed as an upgrade, but is really more of a maintenance item, is a Fluidampr crank pulley.  We had an aluminum lightweight pulley on the car that we installed as a test item, and it just kind of stayed there awhile…. We knew it wasn’t aiding in performance, and lightweight pulleys are generally a bad idea.  After we tested it to see if there was any perceived performance gain, and if there was any dyno gains (there was not in either case) it had served it’s purpose and needed to go.  The issue with lightweight pulleys is that they do not absorb vibrations that are a result of normal engine operation. A factory crank pulley is designed to absorb some of those vibrations, when you remove that and install something that absorbs virtually none of those vibrations, they are now transmitted into the rotating assembly of the engine instead.  This can cause premature wear in things like bearings, crankshafts, etc. and can attribute to bearing failure.  Not good.   The opposite is true of something like a Fluid filled crank pulley, these are designed to absorb even morevibrations over the stock pulley.  This is good, because it allows a smoother operation of the engines rotating assembly, which can actually help an engine to last longer.  In some cases you can even make more power, it’s science/magic!  The install is very straightforward – remove old pulley, install new one, torque bolt.  With our new pulley in place we were pleased to know our engine would run a littler happier.



One of the last couple of upgrades was a new radiator and fan assembly to aid in cooling, and a new clutch kit.  We still had the factory radiator in place, and since it was 13 years old, we knew it was only a matter of time before it failed.  We did a detailed write-up on the new setup and you can read about it here – Radiator Upgrade




We also did a separate write-up on our clutch, and cleaning up some oil leaks, which can be seen here – Clutch Install


With the mods installed, and the car running smoothly, we went out to bed in the brakes. This is a very important step that people tend to skip after installing new pads or rotors.  If not properly bedded in, the pads/rotors will not be able to operate properly, and you can actually cause issues with uneven pad deposits which can result in poor performance and brake shudder.  With the bed in procedure taken care of, and the car running well, we parked it to let the brakes cool overnight. We checked the car again the next morning for any leaks, and then proceeded to drive the car over the the course of a week to break-in the new clutch kit, and continually check the car for any issues prior to our trip departure.  We’ll have an update posted soon with how all of these mods did in the mountains, stay tuned!



Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando, Florida.  We specialize in performance upgrades, ECU tuning, engine builds, and fabrication.  If you are interested in performance upgrades or a full build consultation contact us today!




Facebook - www.facebook.com/circuitmotorsports

Website - www.circuitmotorsports.net

Youtube - www.youtube.com/circuitmotorsports









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The CMS STi owner, Tristan, was planning on taking it on a week long trip to the mountains for some true driving zen, and the STi needed to be in fighting trim to do so.  So, he put together a list of both performance upgrades he wanted to do and maintenance items that needed to be addressed.  A lot of times with car guys, the “fun stuff” comes first (performance), and the “not-so-fun stuff” (maintenance) comes a distant second, if at all.  This is really the opposite of how it should be, as maintenance and upkeep should always come first.  Why? Well, what good is a fire-breathing 500 horsepower monster….if the car dies because old fluid wasn’t changed, or a wheel falls off because a bearing failed? Exactly, it’s not good at all. So, with an upcoming 2,000+ mile trip, with hard up-hill driving, and the need for the car to make it up and back under it's own power, it was decided to get all of the “not-so-fun stuff” done first.  Read on to see what we addressed and why!



First item on the list was to get every fluid changed out – Transmission and Gear oil were changed out to high performance Motul Gear 300, as this stuff is able to handle heat and abuse better than the OEM fluid. The brake fluid was bled with high-temp Motul RBF600 which will also stand up to higher temps better over standard fluid. The clutch fluid was bled with ATE typ200 (and a new stainless line put in place of the old rubber one), power steering fluid was flushed and cycled with new ATF, and finally the coolant was swapped out for new stuff when we removed the radiator.  Last on the list was some fresh Motul Sport oil for the engine with a new filter. Fluids are often overlooked because they will continue to operate quietly even when they are very dirty, meaning they don’t squeak like low brake pads, or clunk like a bad axle. The issue is, dirty/worn fluid doesn’t operate like it should – trans and diff fluid won’t lubricate the gears, oil won’t lubricate bearings, clutch fluid will break down and won’t operate the clutch as easily, and so-on. You can prematurely wear these mechanical items out, or worse, break an expensive part.  So it’s worth your time, and money, to always keep up on fluid maintenance!






With fresh fluids in place, we moved on to the big stuff – wheel bearings.  The STI had about 75k miles on the factory bearings, and they were starting to drag a little bit and make some noise at speed.  Instead of waiting for one of the bearings to really start to go, we replaced these ahead of time.  New OEM front bearings were bolted in place, these come as a complete unit on the STis and are not too hard to replace. The rears actually need to be completely disassembled and are a lot more work, but it needed to be done! While we had the hubs apart we replaced the factory studs with ARP upgraded studs. These are much longer than the factory wheel studs and stronger, so it’s a win-win.  We highly recommend studs like these when using wider wheels, spacers, or when you simply need to remove and install wheels/lugnuts often (like in racing, autox, etc.).  Every time a lugnut is removed and then torqued down the stud is slightly fatigued, and over many removals and installations they can fatigue to the point of failure.  So, if you’re the kind of guy or girl that removes and install wheels a lot, consider upgrading!







Next up was tires; we had older tires on the car with enough tread that probably could have made the trip…but we wanted to really enjoy the roads up there without worry.  So, we went with a new set of Dunlop Direzza ZIIIs.  These are a very high performance tires with lots of grip, and we love the way they feel and the feedback they provide. You do trade off longevity with low treadwear tires like these, but the grip and consistency is worth it for us. The 5thtire we needed to change, was our “space saver spare”.  Yes, this has to be the most un-fun thing to spend money on for a car, but our spacer saver was dry rotted from many years of just sitting in a hot trunk.  It wouldn’t hold air when we tried to air it up, and since the STI uses a unique spacer save to clear the factory brakes, we didn’t want to chance driving without one.  So, we purchased a new spare tire (which is very expensive if you never bothered to price one out), had it mounted up, and then it went back into it’s home in the trunk…hopefully never to be used, but there if we need it!






A couple of the bigger projects involved new brakes all around, which can be seen in more detail in a future post, where we install 6 piston calipers, pads, rotors, and fluid - so stay tuned for that!





We also replaced our radiator, thermostat, fans, and coolant, which can be seen in detail here - http://www.circuitmotorsports-blog.com/2018/05/keeping-it-cool-radiator-upgrade-for.html





So with all of this done we felt more confident in our cars’ ability to not only make it up to the mountains and back, but to also operate smoothly and without issues while doing the fun stuff – twisty mountain roads!  The same can be said if planning to compete in an upcoming track day or autocross, rallycross etc.  We often hear people call and say things like – “I have a trackday coming up and I want coilovers” – But when we ask about the cars maintenance history……silence.  ALWAYS get the un-fun maintenance stuff out of the way first, and then move on to the fun stuff.  Don’t be that guy with a $5k suspension and a dry transmission being towed back to the pits, or stuck on the side of the highway without a spare tire!





Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando Florida.  We specialize in performance upgrades, ECU tuning, and fabrication.  If you are interested in performance upgrades or a full build consultation contact us today!





Facebook - www.facebook.com/circuitmotorsports

Website - www.circuitmotorsports.net

Youtube - www.youtube.com/circuitmotorsports









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As part of the last round of upgrades to our very own 2005 STi, we needed to address the stock radiator and fans. While still doing its job just fine, it was 13 years old and essentially a ticking time bomb. The factory Subaru radiators use plastic end tanks mated to the aluminum core, and over time the plastic gets brittle and cracks, especially when subjected to high heat.  Well, our car is "high heat", and in order to ensure our STi was ready for a week of hard driving in the mountains, the stock radiator needed to go.  We decided to put a new CSF aluminum radiator in it's place.  Why?  Read on to find out!






Our STi has done very well over the years in a mixed bag of uses - autocross, track days, and street driving.  It has also been used to run through the NC mountains once or twice a year over the last decade or so.  It has evolved over time and has received a lot of upgrades to coincide with it's intended use.  The last couple of years has seen it be more and more focused towards a twisty road/mountain weapon. While track days and autocross are fun (and still on the list of activities), focusing a car for either of those disciplines usually means compromising it for just about everything else. Instead, modding the car towards a fun street driven vehicle allows it to be streetable, but still be competitive enough for autocross use, or up to the task of a track event. It was with this plan in mind that the recent round of upgrades was undertaken, in preparation for a week-long trip to the Appalachians.




As previously mentioned the stock radiator uses plastic end-tanks and a single aluminum core. Which works fine for most stock STis that see street use.  Up the horsepower, and the associated heat however, and the stock radiator can quickly become overwhelmed.  This is especially true when subjecting the car to punishment at a track day event or repeated runs through the mountains.  The extra heat load can be too much and the cars coolant temps will start to rise, this can actually cause the radiator to fail, or it cause other components in the engine bay to become compromised. Somehow our stock radiator had survived the last 13 years of abuse, and it was still adequately cooling the car under most circumstances.  However, we didn't want to chance the stock unit holding up a whole lot longer, and a busted radiator in the backwoods of North Carolina was not on our list of "fun things to do next week". It was time to swap it out for something with more cooling capacity and better durability.



We opted for an all aluminum "racing radiator" model from CSF Cooling.  It's an all aluminum welded design, so no plastic end-tanks to split, and it's double the size and cooling capacity of the factory radiator. This model radiator utilizes a 2-row 42mm core that features CSF’s exclusive B-tube technology, as well as an ultra-efficient 6.5mm multi-louvered fin for maximum surface area contact and heat dissipation - So what does all of that mean exactly?  Well according to CSF - "Unlike a regular oval shape “O” type radiator tube, CSF uses a specially engineered tube in a shape of a “B”. These “B-tubes” are carefully formed and then brazed over the seam to seal. CSF is able to use thinner and lighter aluminum material (better cooling efficiency) because this design is actually stronger than normal “O” shape tubes that are welded. The design (inlet in the middle of tube that is seam brazed) increases the heat transfer surface area of the tubes by approximately 15% over regular tubes. You get the efficiency of 2 smaller tubes vs. 1 large tube within the same space criteria. With “B-tubes” you are able to get “dual liquid laminar flow.”  Basically, you get more cooling within the same space/envelope as a standard tube design.  Cool!


It comes packaged well!


We received our radiator and immediately unboxed it to check it out. It comes equipped with an all-aluminum racing style drain plug for quick and reliable fluid changes, a CSF 1.4 Bar (20 psi) radiator cap, and new hardware to mount a fan shroud. The radiator is hand-polished, is very well presented, and is also well packaged (often overlooked lately).  We set about getting it ready to drop into our STi.  First step was to drain the coolant and remove our stock radiator.  Next up we removed the factory fans and then bolted them to the CSF radiator.  Everything lined up perfectly and the new hardware CSF sent was a nice touch.  Installing the new radiator and fans back into the car to check for fitment revealed what we figured - we had very little clearance between our header and the factory plastic fan shroud.  This is common, as the CSF radiator is about twice as thick as the factory radiator, and pushes the fan shroud back towards the engine.  We should note that it all fit well and it could be run this way, and there would be plenty of clearance with a factory exhaust manifold. We wanted to have some extra clearance though, as we have seen plastic fan shrouds melt from being in close proximity to a very hot header (we are running a Tomei UEL setup). So the whole assembly came out and we set to work with a solution.

Factory fans bolt right up with zero issues.


Our solution was to do away with the bulky OEM fan shroud assemblies and install an aluminum fan shroud with high-flow SPAL fans.  The aluminum shroud and the SPAL fans will result in a more compact package, which provides extra clearance around the header tubes. Aluminum also won't melt under the same conditions the plastic one would.  Another advantage is that the SPAL fans we chose are very high-flow units, and they move a ton of air compared to the factory units.  Win-win on this one.  The aluminum fan shroud again bolted right up the CSF radiator with no issues.  On top of that we installed the SPAL fans, and then wired them in using OEM connectors, along with our own relays. The SPAL fans draw a lot more current than the factory fans, so to play it safe and not blow fuses all the time, we wire the fans in with relays mounted to the frame rail.  

SPAL fans being mounted to our aluminum fan shroud.


The CSF radiator/shroud/SPAL fan combo slid into place with minimal fuss, and cleared the header as planned! The factory overflow bottle bolts up to the radiator shroud and although we have some pretty tight clearance between the bottle and the timing cover, it works. With tight clearance in some spots a few zip ties and some rubber trim keeps things happy and not rubbing together. We installed our old Perrin radiator shroud in place and filled the system with coolant. The cap CSF sends is about the same pressure rating as the factory cap that goes onto the radiator itself, so its safe to use the factory cap on the coolant reservoir (pressures will match OEM specs). The radiator looks good in the car, the polished aluminum adding a nice contrast to the drab engine bay (it's dirty, we know). With everything together we burped the coolant system and then took the car for a drive, no issues!




Fast forward a couple weeks and we covered about 2,500 miles during our road trip up to NC and back.  5 out of the 8 days were hard driving, up and down mountain passes, high rpm, and lots of boost.  We had zero issues with our new cooling setup, and we saw lower average temps.  We also had comfort in knowing that not only did we have the extra cooling capacity of the CSF radiator, but we also did not have a ticking time bomb of an old factory radiator up front!

Dragon Touge Runs!



Circuit Motorsports is a performance auto shop located in Orlando Florida.  We specialize in performance upgrades, ECU tuning, and fabrication.  If you are interested in performance upgrades or a full build consultation contact us today!











Facebook - www.facebook.com/circuitmotorsports

Website - www.circuitmotorsports.net

Youtube - www.youtube.com/circuitmotorsports

















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