Half Way Across the Country: Road Trip Edition

Welcome Guys and Gals to this weeks write up on FJD Performance!

Today we’re covering our trip from California to Mississippi for the Mare’s new engine. We started our trip Tuesday morning with 282,815 miles on the clock, and finally got to work on the car Friday afternoon with 285,078 miles. The drive to Louisiana (where we did the swap) was a hard one. Being that the BMW is a daily, we don’t drive the Mare as much, so we don’t constantly check to see if the A/C works. Well. Wouldn’t you know…the A/C was all out of R134a. Excluding the fact that the A/C didn’t work, and the rubber shift boot was thrown out and letting heaps of hot air into the cabin the drive wasn’t that bad. Yes, we did that whole trip without A/C. And to make things even more exciting the A/C system that was fixed in LA got broken again somehow, so the whole trip back was without A/C too! Luckily though we got a new shift boot on, so the drive was a lot better.

Friday afternoon we took the Mare to the shop, and at 1430 the swap began. Around 1930 friday night we took an hour break to get some delicious food, and then around 2100 got back to work. The new engine was installed and all squared away by 2330, and at that time we called it a night and went back to the hotel.

Saturday we got to a late start around 1100 and got to getting some new parts at the local auto parts store. A couple hours later we started up the engine, and celebrated with the occasion. First try and the engine fired right up. We finished off the day around 1800 with the car nearly ready to come back down.

Sunday morning we got started around 830, and spent the majority of the time doing minor miscellaneous bits like rebuilding part of the Steeda STB so it would clear the JLT, wideband install and o2 sensor extensions (soldering involved), clearance the hood, painting, and adjusting the K member.

Monday we dropped off the car to get tuned by Wednesday night so we could leave first thing Thursday. Unfortunately Wednesday night we ran into a hiccup…

The Mare’s computer was essentially rejecting the tune which made getting the car tuned practically impossible. Fortunately enough Mike at RKG was able to get things tweaked in the computer so we could have a safe trip back to CA.

A couple thousand miles and 30 something hours later we finally got back home, and are now in the pursuit to get the car tuned and on the dyno to find out our number, so stay tuned for that!

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Saturday morning

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Sunday Morning

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First start up with open X pipe

2nd start with full exhaust bolted on

A very, VERY special thanks to Will, again, for everything he did, and for being on board with this crazy plan of ours! We couldn’t have done it without you brother, thank you again for all your help, wisdom, and hospitality from one SN95 fanatic to another.

The Mare’s New Heart

Hey there Guys and Gals and welcome to one of the most exciting articles to be published on FJDPerformance.com for the rest of the year! That’s right, this is about the assembly of the Mare’s new power-plant; a naturally aspirated, 12:1 compression ratio, Aluminum WAP block powered 2V which is capable of producing 350* horsepower at the wheels. You may be thinking… “Why is there an asterisks, *, on 350?” Well folks, that’s because the engine has not been dyno’d and finally tuned for the Mare. The engine is expected to produce between 350/370 (really pushing) at the wheels (400/425hp @ crank), which is more power at the wheels than any 94-04 Mustang made from the factory, but that’s not saying much with the cars we have now-a-days.

The journey, and last push, to finally build this engine began last October when we took the Mare in to DeLeon Dyno in Santa Clara, CA and came back with 197.2RWHP and 267.6RWTQ on a Dynapack. We wanted to make respectable power, and to have a high revving engine that would be somewhat reliable on a racetrack for track days and the merge into W2W racing with NASA Nor Cal. Given that American Iron (AI) and American Iron Extreme (AIX) have restrictions on cars (9.5:1 HP & 9:1 TQ for AI)  we opted to have a power to weight ratio that would allow roughly 350RWHP and a 3000lb raceweight without driver, but once we move to AIX we won’t have that HP and TQ restriction to worry about.

We started the build by stumbling across a unused Saleen SMS 3V WAP block off craigslist from a former employee that used to build the SMS Saleen engines. The block had already undergone the normal machine work used to build the SMS engines with the stroker kits, but never made it to production since the company stopped making the SMS cars. Our seller thankfully decided to hold on to the block, and we later picked it up for a whopping $100. After we bought the block we went and got some Boss 302 forged piston rods from your friendly, not our neighborhood, Ford store for something like $23 a rod. After we got those parts we reached a little plateau and stopped buying things until we did the dyno day at DDP. About 2 months after our dyno day we sent the block and rods to our engine builder, and good friend, Will – who is known as Lwarrior1016 on the forums – to help with the build. Will gave us the following list of parts to buy in addition to parts that would make the install easy and finish up the front of the car:

  • ARP main studs
  • 4.6L crankshaft
  • Complete gasket set
  • Clevite racing bearing set
  • ARP head stud kit
  • OEM 3V Ford windage tray
  • Bounday 3V/GT500 billet oil pump
  • Trickflow camshaft gears
  • Quantum 340LPH fuel pump
  • CMS 2V exhaust valves
  • CMS 2V intake valves
  • 4V lash adjusters
  • ARH long tubes
  • MM tubular k member
  • MM solid steering shaft
  • MM solid rack bushings
  • Cobra steering rack
  • SPEC stage 3 clutch
  • RAM Aluminum flywheel
  • 15/16″ oil pick up tube
  • flexible engine dipstick
  • O2 wideband

And plenty of other little things that needed to be done. With this build we wanted to be as close to completion of the Mare and the front suspension as possible. We slowly started to acquire the parts and sent them to Will to work on. Starting with the Short block, then moving to the long block parts, then on to the engine paint, and now finally getting parts like the rack and k member all shipped and ready for the swap at the end of this June, so by the end of the trip we will be roughly 6 or 7k into the build. When we originally decided to get the engine built we estimated a 4-6 month time frame, and the engine was completely built within that 6 month window thanks to all the hard work and dedication from Will. He is the definition of a man’s man, an amazing human being, and a great friend. Thank you for serving our country, and serving FJD Performance brother. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.

When Will first took possession of the block in mid December 2017 he refinished, oiled the cylinders and cleaned the block.

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Will also got to work on our PI heads doing some porting and polishing.

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Will got to assembling the short block starting with assembling the pistons, rods, valves and doing valve reliefs. Installing the ARP studs and prepping the valves for the heads.

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Since Will decided to take his own SN down a different path, we were lucky to get some parts off his previously built 13:1 N/A 2V which put out around 370RWHP.

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Will was gracious enough to sell us his Victor Jr intake, GT500 oil pump, Stage 5 cams (and the set of PI heads), the 6061 plenum, ARH headers and a couple other bits.
Shortly after the long block was assembled we got the engine painted our personal favorite color. K7, also known as Bright Atlantic Blue. The engine received primer, paint, and clear like all cars do.

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After the paint dried it was time to continue with assembly, disassembly, reassembly, more paint and on to final prep for install into Will’s Rio Red SN.

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Unfortunately we couldn’t upload every picture due to the orientations of the pictures and wanting to keep everything aligned and visually friendly. If possible we will try to edit the missing pictures and reupload them. You can check out our posts and “engine build” story over at the official FJD Performance instagram account. As we sit currently the engine has about 1500 miles and is well broken in, so she will be ready for the install, dyno, tune and track abuse along with the 2400 mile adventure back to the California Bay Area.

The engine is naturally aspirated with 12:1 compression ratio, a 05+ Aluminum WAP block weighting around 80lbs and bored .030″ over, with Boss 302 forged rods, GT500 billet aluminum oil pump, ported and polished PI heads, Stage 5 comp cams, Edelbrock Victor Jr EFI intake manifold, 6061 sheet metal throttle body and plenum and estimated for 350RWHP and a redline of about 7500RPM.

Crunch Time: New Clutch, Flywheel and Supporting Mods

Welcome to today’s post Guys and Gals; we’re talking about the installation we did this past weekend of the Mare’s new clutch, flywheel, throwout bearing, pilot bearing and clutch fork. Since we don’t know for sure when the Mare last had a new clutch and flywheel go in, it was safe to assume that the ones we had been beating on over the last 70k miles needed to be changed. We picked up a stage 3 SPEC clutch, Billet Aluminium RAM flywheel and Ford Performance throw out bearing and clutch fork for a smooth install.

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We started Friday by getting the Mare in the garage and tearing her apart. We started at roughly 7PM and finished up for the night at 2AM with the new flywheel and pressure plate mounted to the engine, the pilot bearing installed and the new FRPP throwout bearing and clutch fork in. This is exactly where we wanted to be for the night. First thing in the morning we headed to Livermore Ford to FINALLY pick up that ebrake cable. Needless to say getting the old cable remnants out and the new one in was a HUGE pain. After getting back to the garage we got the clutch in and the flywheel and pressure plate torqued to spec. Next were hours of sweat, pain, obscene amounts of yelling and profanity due to trying to get the transmission in. We had the trans fall on us about 4 different times while under the car, but of course we finally got it in the car and bolted up. We also took this time see what it sounded like to start up the car with open headers. It was super loud…

Since we had installed the MM firewall adjuster and quadrant the last weekend, it made for getting the clutch pedal adjusted just right. Even though the puck style SPEC stage 3 clutch material is Ceramic, it is super easy to use. The effort to engage is maybe 10 or 15% greater than the, possibly 100K mile, stock one in the car.

Like every time we have the Mare in the garage for extended periods of time we always take off the front bumper so we can have more work room and access.

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Next was removing the mid pipe and draining the transmission so when we take off the driveline we don’t have trans fluid gushing everywhere.

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We also took off the front wheels so that we had more room to work in the front, less weight on the front of the car, and so we could flush the brakes when we were done with the install.

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Shortly after that with help from a younger sibling we got the trans off and got to work replacing the clutch fork and TOB.

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Next we used our torque wrench and an opposing breaker bar on the crank bolt to get off the clutch and flywheel.

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We left the Mare in this state and ready for more work in the AM.

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Quick trip to Ford and picked up the 2nd most annoying install part of the day. The first being getting the damn T45 back in.

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Roughly 25 miles on the new clutch and about 6 different firewall adjustments later the Mare is all set and ready for the journey to Mississippi for the new power plant, but before that of course a wash and photo shoot with a DSLR was necessary.

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Crunch Time: New Fuel Pump, Clutch Quadrant & Firewall Adjuster

Whatsup Guys and Gals, in this write up FJD Performance is covering part 1 of a 3 part write up covering the work we’re doing leading up to our big trip for the Mare’s new engine.

This weekend we got our shipments in for our Maximum Motorsports firewall adjuster and aluminum clutch quadrant and our 340LPH Quantum fuel pump and High flow Viton fuel pump check valve. We won’t mention how we ordered a e brake cable from our local Ford store, and that they claimed the cable would be at the store Saturday the 2nd at 3PM and actually arrived today the 4th… nope, not salty one bit…

Anywho! Back to the installs!

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Being that we had to drop the fuel tank about 2 years ago, this was no big deal. However getting that 20 bucks we just put in the car the other day meant we had to drive the car quite frequently so we could loose some weight with dropping, and reinstalling the tank. Needless to say, we still had a lot of fuel in the tank, but dropped it anyways.

We got the car in the garage, chocked the front wheels and got to getting the rear of the car off the ground. We used a skateboard, some wood and a brake rotor box to keep the gas tank level and get it down, and out of the car without damaging the lines or filler neck and gasket (whoop, done that twice now!). Getting the fuel pump housing out wasn’t that hard, but we soon remembered the little rubber grommet/cap that got damaged last time was completely toast, so getting a new one that would work was one of the longest portions of this install. The actual longest part of the install was getting the hose lengths for the check valve to fit properly without kinking or getting damaged. Once the check valve was all squared away it was time to get the housing back in the tank properly (kind of a pain) and then getting that heavy ol’ tank back in the car. Complete install was maybe 1.5/2 hours.

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If you’re unaware: when starting the project of dropping your tank you have to unbolt the 3 bolts inside your gas tank filler door. They should be 13 or 10 MM sockets. After you unbolt those you have to unbolt the 8MM bolt holding the filler neck brace to the tank, and make sure the brace is on when you put the car back together. Once those are done get to the three 13MM bolts holding your tank to the chassis, and make sure you have something under the tank, like a jack, to lower it slowly. When it’s down enough to unplug the wires get them off and slowly push the tank the opposite side of the filler neck as you want to make sure you don’t damage the gasket. Using some lube can make the job easier. Make sure you can safely get the tank on the ground, and get the fuel pump housing out of the tank without destroying the fuel lines. You can always undo the lines from the housing, but being the Mare is old, and from Illinois (Its pronounced Ill-eh-Noise, Andrew), we couldn’t really get them off easily. Once you have it all off and out it should be fairly simple and straight forward. At least that previous statement should be true if you’re dropping your own fuel tank.

Sunday we tackled the Firewall adjuster and clutch quadrant. By the time we finished with the fuel pump it was already too late to start with the MM parts since we still had an appearance to make at a family party; First thing in the morning we pulled the Mare in the garage once again and started with the Firewall adjuster. We gotta say… the OEM firewall clip was the HARDEST OEM part to remove yet… That thing was a Dick. Once we had the clutch cable off the factory quadrant and out of the factory firewall assembly it was on to fitting and installing the MM firewall adjuster which, in all honestly, takes like 20 seconds. But why should all part installs be difficult? I for one like when its as easy as taking a breath. Next was getting the factory clutch quadrant off, which was a bit tricky because we didn’t want to break the assembly in case it needed to be reused. Once the stock plastic part was off it was time to install the MM part and adjust the cable.

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The project didn’t take too long to complete; we spent most of the time getting the plastic firewall clip off and after that it came down to adjusting the cable.

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Don’t Always Trust the “Experts”

Hey there Guys and Gals!

Today’s write-up is short and sweet, but this time isn’t related to the Mare. You may be thinking…
“What?!”
“You’re not talking about the Mare?”
“On the official FJD Performance website?!”

That’s right! We aren’t talking about the Mare this time; instead were talking about the DadCar, Andrew’s 2003 540i.

Recently Andrew has been taking his beloved BMW in to get inspected at his local BMW dealership because he has been chasing down a noise that, quite honestly, has been annoying the hell out of him! Andrew has special ties to this dealership, so he isn’t your typical BMW customer; he’s even more special (picking up what we’re putting down?), thus the reason he feels so comfortable taking the car to them. Why he didn’t ask us to take a look at the car in the first place is beyond us, but we’ll get to that later.

During movements requiring torsion, like pulling in and out of a driveway or turning, he was noticing a pop and clicking noise coming from the front of his suspension; with the car now seeing 15 years of age and seeing 107k+ miles that noise could be anything in the suspension. Typical culprits could be components like ball-joints, control arm bushings, sway bar end-links and bushings, struts, issues caused by the Dinan STB or even some other, more expensive and difficult parts to get access to. Andrew took the car to a few of his trusted techs at the dealership, and they all gave their opinions and thoughts, but none of them could really identify what the issue was. Some suggested replacing old components (like we previously mentioned), others simply came back with the obvious stating that “the car is old… it’s going to make noises”. However that answer wasn’t a sufficient enough answer for Andrew. It wasn’t until a mutual friend, and tech, at the dealer mentioned the sound may have something to do with the sway bar, but still wasn’t able to identify any issues with it.

With Andrew’s patience growing thin, and the urge to fix this problem that nobody seemed to want to fix; Andrew found himself asking FJD Performance to take a quick look at the DadCar, and of course we were game! Upon taking immediate receipt of the 540 we drove around a parking lot for about 10 minutes putting the car in different situations and scenarios trying to first identify the noise Andrew was referring to. Needless to say it didn’t take long to hear the noise, and think of what it could be based off of experience with the Mare. Finally getting the car up on stands we got under the BMW and were pleased to see how neat clean it was under there! Unlike the Mare…

(sorry)

We took a look at the ball joints, control arms, struts, STB, sway bar end links and all other bushings, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. A couple head scratches later we decided to go through all the nuts and bolts to check if they were loose…
Bingo.
We started with the sway bar end-links and then found that all four of the mounting brackets and bushings for the sway bar were loose. We quickly tightened them all up and continued to look around for anything else, but couldn’t spot any additional problems. We put the rims and tires back on the 540, sat her down, and jumped in the car and immediately could tell the car felt tighter. A quick drive around the block and about 10 up and downs in driveways and; we couldn’t hear the clicking and popping noise; we couldn’t believe how much more responsive the front became!

So what’s the point in all this? Sometimes, professionals just don’t want to waste their time of day, and we aren’t saying that in a negative light, or to make mechanics look bad, but we are saying… If you want your car looked at, and respected the same way you would treat it; you sometimes have to put your trust in someone who is a enthusiast, and flat out enjoys working and tinkering on cars because its a passion, and not just because it keeps the lights on and pays for toys. There have been plenty of times working on the Mare where we get completely frustrated and want nothing to do with the car, but in the end we know how much the car means to us and what it stands for. FJD Performance will always be willing to lend a helping hand to our kinfolk in the car community.

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After we put the car back together we did a complimentary rim detailing and photo shoot for the BMW.

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Track Day Recollection: Buttonwillow Raceway Park

Hey there guys and gals! FJD Performance is finally back from an amazing weekend including IMSA at Long Beach, the 33rd annual Fabulous Fords Forever car show, and a private track day event put on by Terrence Washington of Signature Wheel, not to mention he has a bad ass 2017 lightning blue GT350R!

We started this journey at 320AM Friday morning, and headed to So Cal for Fabulous Fords. The weekend was great and we met and made lots of friends, but you’re not here for a Fab Fords recap, you’re here for a recap from a track day!

First session out we tried to get a feel for the track and immediately we came to the conclusion that this track SUCKS, and what we mean by that is that this track is VERY tough and requires a well prepped car. One with plenty of HP, is light and has a great set of brakes. Which, by the way, we aren’t there yet.

Second and third sessions we did get a groove in and figured a good portion of the track out and had a fantastic time being there, so thanks to the track stang community for reaching out to FJD Performance and inviting us!

We set a fasted lap time of 2:20:853 and hit 103mph on the track twice. Luckily for us we had an amazing photographer, Robert Gluckman, there at Buttonwillow to snap great action shots!

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and of course here are a couple links to our fastest run on board and from the quarter window.

 

Custom Modifications: Headlight Duct

That’s right boys and girls, we’re back with another custom modification to the Mare!
A few months ago we picked up a PLX Devices Kiwi 3 so we could do some data logging and diagnostics on the Mare while driving on track, and on normal public roads. One thing we noticed that was of slight interest was the IAT (Intake Air Temperature). The IAT would be fairly high during night driving with the headlights on as well as occasionally during normal driving. We would see temperatures between 115* and 120* with the lights on and sometimes 110* without the lights on, but it was easy to think of a way to lower those temps… Begin the modifications!

The passenger side headlight had been suffering for quite some time due to loss of clear coat, and it was starting to get real annoying, so it made sense to just cut it up and make a duct that points straight to that massive Bright Atlantic Blue JLT intake. First we took off the small nut that holds in the corner marker, and made sure not to damage the turn signal light harness as it will still be used on the car. Next we took to taking out the headlight. With the entire passenger side headlight assembly out of the car we were able to see exactly what we had to work with.

We had bought a 9 3/4 X 5 X 5 1/2 NACA duct with a 3″ outlet in the back to help direct all that air from the front of the car, and headlight, to the intake and a set of headlight covers to help make sure air is either going directly to the intake or around the car. By itself the NACA duct fit fine, but we had to find means of the whole assembly mounting and staying fixed in place. The headlight covers have tabs that wrap around the main head light, so we later decided to utilize where the covers mount and keep the front piece of the headlight. Keeping the front of the headlight also allowed us to use the mounting points from the headlight, so that made install easier and gives a piece of mind that it wont fall off on track or on the street.

We started cutting up the headlight, duct and cover and eventually found ourselves with the current duct. It still needs some minor touching up, but the job gets done regardless. The entire project probably ran 2 hours from start to finish. The harder parts being that when you cut up the headlight a lot of dust follows and it can make for difficulty breathing if you cant vent out your work place. We wrapped up the cover in the same midnight metallic blue we use for our livery, and that part also took a decent amount of time…

We’re looking forward to the results we get from the duct in normal street driving and on the track. Fabulous Fords Forever and Buttonwillow Raceway Park here we come!

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We plan to adjust the opening on the cover a bit more and smooth it out. After that we will also wrap a red ring around the opening, paint the remaining headlight piece black, and fill in the duct to assure its all one piece and there isnt any place for air to flow other than directly to the JLT.

Track Day Recollection: Return to Sonoma Raceway (3.18)

Welcome back Guys and Gals! FJD Performance has officially started the NASA Nor Cal 2018 season, and boy have we started off with a bang! Our first session of the day we found ourselves going out with a thick fog setting on the track, so we all ran with our lights on, but that didn’t stop Frank from beating his last PB of 2:19:XXX in that first session! Frank’s fastest lap starting the day was an astonishing 2:09:371, and he later in the second session put down an even faster 2:08:774!

On top of setting new PBs and having the car run phenomenally, Frank has now been signed off to move from HPDE2 to HPDE3, so now we are one step closer to competition in American Iron, and now we can further our skills even more.

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and now we get to welcome the newest addition to FJD Performance. Our new service/support vehicle a 2000 BMW 323iT!

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Video of the fastest lap here

 

 

New Parts! (Modifications): Christmas Special

The possibilities of getting presents from family is a lot less in comparison to being sub 15 years old as it is now being in my mid 20’s, so you have to sometimes be your own Santa. FJD Performance got our hands on a Ford Racing Sparco steering wheel and NRG 3.0 quick release for the Mare and boy do we love this thing! Check this bad boy out!

Yes we are aware that we “disposed” of a rather rare OEM Ford item (another little write up on that later), but there was no better time than now to make this much needed, and eventual upgrade.

We picked up this Ford Performance Boss 302S/Cobra Jet wheel from LMR, and put it under the for about 2 weeks until the time was right (if you know what we mean).

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the new wheel is not only newer, but smaller, weights less, and has a better connection to the steering shaft as opposed to the 10th anniversary wheel.

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unfortunately we do have the “air bag” light on, but it’s not the end of the world, and once we get a new cluster it wont pose any further problems; for now just enjoy the remaining pictures, and get comfortable with experiencing a little bit of jealousy.

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Track Day Recollection: Thunderhill West 10.29

FJD Performance had a phenomenal day today out at Thunderhill Raceway West with EDC Motorwerks. We are proud to know that The Dad Car of EDC Motorwerks put down an astonishing time of 1:40:XXX as well and possibly even a 1:39!

We on the other hand suffered from some issues. One of the issues was that the congestion of cars in the group we ran in as well as the heat. Second the biggest issue we had, and this was new to us, is the Mare kept overheating coming to the middle of session 2 and continued into session 3. we planned to run a total of 5 of the 7 sessions today, but we decided to keep it to 3. We also were not able to break into the 130s, but we did get a very low 140

The interesting piece is that we were just at Thunderhill in August with a high for the day of 95 and we ran all of the sessions. The car never once went above “M” of normal, yet today we were at “L” and the high was only 85. Regardless we had a fantastic day and can’t wait for Laguna Seca in 3 weeks.

Enjoy all these unbelievably, beautiful photos from the event today all courtesy of Joe Salas of 4theriders and are owned by him.

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Custom Modifications: Ford Racing C-Spring Coil Cut

Coil cutting! The cheap and easy way to lower your ride! NOT RECOMMENDED!!

We had the Mare sitting on Ford Racing C-springs for a long time both with and without the polyurethane isolaters, and even though the elimination of the isolaters lowered the car about an extra quarter or so of an inch, we wanted “more low”. How could we do this cheaply? Well we cut an entire coil from the rear springs which would lower us about an extra half inch . DO NOTE: if you cut your springs you are increasing the spring rate since it has less travel and other geometry reasons that can be described in a more politically correct way. For visual reading purposes this would equate to say a 250lb spring rate increasing to say 300lb spring rate. These numbers are fairly inaccurate, but for sake of this post that should give the readers an idea of what we’re talking about.

First you must raise the booty
Also make sure you block the front wheels from movement and use a set of jacks

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Pull out the springs and make sure you know where and how much you want to cut off. We don’t remember off the top of our head the actual difference in height per coil, but we will say for this post that one full coil is half an inch.

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We DO NOT recommend taking a picture of yourself cutting and using a dremel. But by all means if someone else is get up in there like reporters and camera men and women do. We totally back you up for invading personal privacy. #NoSuchThingAsAPersonalBubble

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You may have to come from different angles when cutting the spring itself, but the most important thing is to remember that you’re exposing metal. And what do you do after you expose metal? Paint it! That’s right class!

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Next, wait until the paint dries and stuff those springs back into the car. They should fit in even easier than before since they’re now shorter. Bolt everything back up, torque to spec, and enjoy a lowered car and an increased ride stiffness! Later on you can question yourself why you didn’t just go with coilovers.

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Modifications: Bullitt Rear End Swap

Back when FJD Performance was still based at our home location in Hayward, CA we got to installing our~120K mile Bullitt rear end with factory 3.27 gears. The swap was straight forward, and fairly quick, but is definitely a swap recommended doing with 2 people instead of one!

When we first picked up the rear end it was in rough visual appearance. Frant took to sanding and painting as well as fixing the dust shields as they had been dented and disfigured from the rear end being previously stored outside. Nothing a good hour or so didnt help!

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Obviously if you find yourself in a position where you’re taking out the rear end on your car you should probably replace and/or rebuild parts like your diff, sway bar, control arms, bushings, etc. The Bullitt rear being from a 99-04 style car does give you an extra 3/4″ on each side of the diff which gives you a very nice flush look with specific wheel combinations and some much needed track width.

Custom Modifications: Fog Light Ducts

Wanting to still have fog lights for daily driving purposes and yet still run ducting from the fog light was a interesting idea, but one that could be obtained somewhat easily. This idea was snatched from the Dodge Hellcat which uses a headlight as a duct for the intake. We started off looking for lights off ebay that would of still maintained a “corona ring”, if you will, and had an inner piece that could be removed. After some searching we found some lights off ebay that would fit the fog light openings on the Cobra bumper perfectly and the development was under way.

We sent the parts to our in house tech, Will, over at FJD Performance’s shop HQ, and he quickly got to making them work. The fog light ducts were a complete plug and play due to the utilization of the 893 bulb harness and the OEM bracket was slightly modified to help make them fit. The ducts had great use both on the streets and the track, but ultimately the light portion of them failed due most likely to being a cheap Chinese product. While they lasted they did look totally bitchin’!

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Custom Modifications: GT500 Hood Vent

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**First off: Yes this mod WILL help more heat escape from your engine bay. How much more and how efficiently we do not know since we do not have access to a wind tunnel or whatever other equipment is used to find these statistics. If you want to do this purely for aesthetics then go ahead. Hopefully we can help answer any questions you have.**

Going into a track day with a predicted high of 103* and a potential overheating issue, FJD Performance decided that we needed to do something about getting heat out of the engine. So along with the install of new rotors, pads, fresh Wilwood DOT 4 brake fluid, and a Mishimoto racing thermostat  we had come to the conclusion we needed some type of vent to help extract heat. So with a shortage of time and tight finances, FJD Performance picked up a GT500 hood vent and went about the cheap heat extractor modification that many others in the SN95 community have done. With some help from our friends over at 2khlis Motorsports, the first person to put the GT500 hood vent on the SN95 hood, we got to work with less than 12 hours to complete the project before “race day”. Luckily the high dropped down to 96*, but we did not want to take any chances with such high heat, and high mileage.

First we figured out where we wanted to have the vent placed on the hood so that one: it would get a sufficient amount of air out, and two: that it wouldn’t be in a critical spot for when it rains in California, lol, that water doesn’t get on important electrical components.

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If you’re not fond of measuring well then…that sucks because if you want it to look good there’s lots of measuring that needs to be taking place… Taking it to a shop isn’t out of the question though. The question is what kind of shop would do that for you.

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We started by drilling holes all the way through along the perimeter of where we planned to cut out for the vent. After that we used a dremel and cutting wheels to cut along the lines.

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After cutting along the lines you will come to notice that your hood does not have the same amount of rigidity in it. If you choose to actually spend money and get a Trackspec vent then you don’t have to worry about rigidity because their vents help put it back into the hood. That’s where the expanding foam comes into place. You need to tape along the perimeter of the giant hole you just cut and try your best to maintain the same distance as there was before you decided to cut an ENORMOUS HOLE IN YOUR HOOD… *ahem* once you’re all taped up you can start poking the foam end into the hood and spraying inside. You will need to let the expanding foam cure over night, but after about 2 hours you can start to take the tape off. Do note that you need to spray both in front and back of the hood. Also if you were thinking “Yay! Weight reductions, Yo!” well think again. The foam actually adds more weight to your hood. So again Trackspec.

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This was post hood vent install, but we decided to fabricate a type of shield/cowl addition to the bottom of the vent to help get more air out and to protect those 20+ year old electrical components. We used thin aluminium sheets to create the — for lack of a better, politically correct word — cowl. We used a 2 part expoxy to mount the aluminium to the plastic vent.

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Custom Modifications: Tow Straps

Most legitimate racing organizations such as SCCA and NASA require drivers to have tow points on their vehicles in the event that someone goes off track and gets stuck or in the worst case scenario when something really bad happens and you need to be town off. Cars like BMWs are already fitted with tow points from the factory in both the front and the rear, BUT WE DON’T HAVE A BMW!

SO MODIFICATIONS AWAY!!!

We had taken off the front and rear bumpers before so it was no uncharted territory for FJD Performance. All we needed was to get a hold of a good drill and some metal specific drill bits.

we got in our tow straps from Cipher Auto

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Since we didnt have a universal bracket we created our own

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A test fit before drilling into the frame

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We started with pilot holes and then proceeded to drill the correct size. We utilize 2 holes on the front and one underneath for the front bash bar and in the rear one and one. After drilling we used paint to cover the exposed metal, and since our vehicle is originally from Chicago, IL we do have some rust in spots.

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Since the bracket extends we had to cut into the bumpers. Don’t worry, we cried when we cut the OEM cobra bumper too.

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luckily the only real use the straps have gotten are when we park and are too far from something and dont want to turn on the car again to move forward or back.

Custom Modifications: MM A-Arms with stock K-Member

Since we decided to upgrade the A-Arms along with the front coilover setup we had to make some minor modifications to the OEM K member. Why not just upgrade to a tubular K member you may ask? Well, we aren’t rolling in money and can’t do such a big project in a weekend and expect the car to be running fine for the upcoming week. So modifications!

MM states that you have to measure about an inch and a quarter from the center of the inner A-Arm bolt hole. You can mark the distance with a sharpie or a paint pen. Just make sure you clean the area a bit since there is oil, dirt, and other types of road grime.

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You can use a saw or an angle grinder to complete this job, but we used a dremel and cutting wheels. This did take some time, yes, and we did use quite a few cutting wheels, but we still got the job done. Do be aware it’s a good idea to wear: eye protection, a mask or cover for your face so you don’t breathe in any metal, and a long sleeve of sorts. Also expect to be laying down if you’re doing this on the ground, driveway, or garage.

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After cutting the K member make sure you have some paint laying around since you do not want to leave the metal exposed. We sprayed it with some high temp black paint from autozone.

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Custom Modifications: Fitment issues under the hood

When we upgraded the old, worn out motor mounts on the Mare to brand new MM solid ones we stumbled upon a small issue; that issue being that the new mounts pushed the motor up more than what it had been previously, and that meant we couldn’t run the factory strut tower brace (STB).

The search for a new STB began and we looked at MM, Steeda, Kenny Brown and a couple other manufacturers. After a few weeks of research and late night google picture stalking we finally decided to go and buy the Steeda STB, and upon arrival we discovered that the STB and the JLT intake were hitting one another (like the OEM) and that the holes didn’t quite line up correctly either, so after a few days of a salty attitude and wanting to get rid of the STB we decided, screw it, lets make some modifications!

In order for us to make this whole thing”fit” we had to do the following:

  • Take off the firewall panel
  • Cut part of the firewall panel to fit the STB in more towards the firewall (recommended by instructions)
  • Take off the JLT intake for spacing and test fitting
  • Open up/widen the bolt holes on the STB
  • Cut 1.5″-2″ off the JLT intake to move it inwards

The most painful and heartbreaking part of making the modifications was cutting up the JLT intake.

During this process we didn’t document that much with pictures, but we still have some pictures to show.

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We had to widen the mounting holes on both sides on the top holes and the front holes (facing the front of the car).

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Here is the panel where we cut in as well as these 2 mounting holes ones we had to widen.

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Where the JLT meets the Throttle body is where we had to trim off the JLT. You can kind of see how the silicone over the JLT is pinching up  on the bottom.

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Here you can see where the biggest issue came with the STB and the JLT. Even now they still touch, but in a lot less aggressive manner (it’s a more comfortable, intimate touch as oppossed to being packed like a can of sardines).

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As you can see in this pic the STB is VERY close to touching the top of the JLT, but thankfully it doesn’t touch it here.

Custom Modifications: Side Exhaust

When the Mare first was bought in 2013 we went with some magnaflow 4×9 oval mufflers and went with 4″ tips: once of which is still on the car today. Over these 5 years of ownership the Mare has undergone 3 different exhaust setups outside of OEM.

  • OEM 6 cat H pipe with stock 2.5″ pipes
  • Magnaflow 4×9 oval mufflers and 4″ tips (w/ 6 cat H pipe & Magnaflow O/R X pipe)
  • Magnaflow 4×9 oval mufflers with dumps & O/R X pipe
  • Magnaflow 4×9 oval mufflers with custom side pipes & O/R X pipe (Ver 1 & 2)

Setup 1
While this setup was the first one we did on the car, and it sounded great, 4″ tips was WHEY (see what we did there?) too big for the car. We had 3.5″ tips on the Black Stallion, Frank’s old 98 PI GT, which also had the same Magnaflow mufflers and a Pypes Hi-Flow Catted X pipe. We have been going to Minute Muffler in Dublin since we got the Mare, so you could call this our home shop for exhaust work and other misc. welding jobs on the car.

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Setup 2
With the 2nd setup we wanted something different and louder, although in retrospect dumping the exhaust may not have been much louder, but this was definitely one of the more fun setups we’ve had. Dumps aren’t really that exciting so…just…here’s some pics

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Setup 3 (Ver 1)
We had come across a rare and unique Ford item off CL one day, and when we noticed it was still available a few months after we saw it, Frank knew he had to have it. That item is what you guys know as the carbon fiber SVO side skirt we run on the Mare. We had the skirts on the car for a little while before we got the actual piping done, and when we did finally get them done we had went with dual offset 3.5″ tips (we later realized that the tips were just… a bit too big).

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As you guys can kind of see the routing of the pipes utilize the offset from the oval mufflers unlike the typical SVO/Roush side skirts where the inlet and outlet are on the same side of the muffler. With this custom set up it allowed us to run full length sub-frame connectors on the Mare as well as add some more weight to the rear of the car since the pipes route back towards the SRA.

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Ver 2
In the 2nd itteration of our setup we swapped from the 3.5″ dual offset tips to dual, non-offset 3″ tips which fit the side skirt opening better, so hopefully no more destroying the inside of the skirts

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We will go back and polish up the pipes once we have the new project car hopefully in March.

Welcome to FJD Performance!

Home of the Mare

Follow us on our Autocross and Road Racing escapades

Sonoma Raceway – 12 March 2017
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Thunderhill Raceway West – 29 October 2017
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Laguna Seca – 19 November 2017
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Buttonwillow Raceway Park – 16 April 2018
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Thunderhill Raceway Park 3 Mile – 1 October 2018
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Sonoma Raceway – 16 March 2019
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