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bcp2011
bcp2011 New Reader
6/19/17 8:00 a.m.

Hi GRM world!

It's been a while since I've been here. About 6 years to be more precise... I took the collective wisdom and got myself a NA last time around from a member around here, learned quite a bit with a few track days, but had to get rid of it due to space and life... But now I'm back! While I did love the NA I wanted a hardtop that was more liveable with on a daily basis so I got myself a relatively high mileage FRS last weekend in Nashville and drove it back to Chicago. Very excited!

So the idea for the car is to have it serve a good mix of track duty as my daily commute is pretty short. Having said that, I don’t want to get too aggressive too early as I do want to learn the car and then upgrade as my skills improve. Here are my plans for the summer (planning about 6 track days) and would appreciate some assistance if you have some feedback:

1) Brake pads, fluids – I will swap for something more aggressive for both track and street, and switch to a track fluid to ensure I don’t have issues on track. Based on what I’ve read the stock brakes calipers + rotors should be sufficient until I get much faster or move toward track tires.

2) Tires – I had very good experience with the ZI’s on the Miata so will likely use Z2*s based on what I've read about them.

3) Alignment - I'm considering a relatively mild alignment (e.g., without camber plates, just camber bolts). Unfortunately the car isn't as tuning friendly as the NA in this regard...

So my questions are as follows for those who have more experience with the car and also with driving on track:

1) Oil cooler – I’ve read that oil can get pretty hot on track on this car. Is this a necessity or a nice to have? I’m in Chicago so the tracks here shouldn’t be super hot vs. other parts of the country. If I need to get one it seems like the Perrin one has gotten favorable reviews.

2) Alignment – It sounds like I can get a little bit of camber relatively cheaply but if I need more than a couple of degrees I’ll need to get camber plates, LCAs, etc. Any thoughts on whether a relatively mild alignment will be sufficient or should I just go all the way for the sake of my tires? Also if I go with camber plates it feels like I might as well upgrade the entire suspension since everything's gotta come out anyway (and I don't have a ton of time just to be tinkering... have a 9 months at home and the wifey would kill me if I spent more than the 6 days we've negotiated

3) Wheels – I think I will get a cheap set of wheels just for thr track as I do need to use the car during the winter. I've seen some cheap 17x7s (same as stock size) but that does limit my ability to go beyond a 215 size. Should I bite the bullet and get something bigger (17x8) or will the 215s hold me for a long time (skills wise)? Another option is to move down to a 16 inch wheel to save on weight / cost but it seems that tires are becoming more scarce in the 16 range vs. 6 years ago. Lastly, I've been trying to read a lot about tire width and it seems like the smarter racing folks don't always recommend wider tires for the track (autox a diff discussion it seems.. go as wide as possible within the class specs). As the Z2*s are about 8.4 inches wide for a 215/45/17 tire is that even too wide for a 7 inch wheel (e.g., should I move down to 205)?

4) General upgrades - Sway bars, bushings, master brake cylinder brace, etc. - are they worth the money spent?

And lastly, can someone help me better understand the progression in terms of potential upgrades?

1) When should I move to a wider or stickier tire?

2) When should I go with a different suspension (e.g., coilovers with more adjustability)

3) When should I consider racing seats / harnesses?

4) When should I upgrade the brakes to a system that can absorb more heat/abuse?

Anything else I may have missed? Appreciate all the help -- can't wait to get back out there, and really good to be back to GRM!!!

Blaise
Blaise Reader
6/19/17 8:09 a.m.

According to an instructor this weekend who has been tracking his BRZ since new (literally the day after he bought it), oil coolers are not needed. Yes the temps get up there but this isn't an EJ. His words, not mine. He has 19k miles on his, 99% on track. I'd trust him.

rslifkin
rslifkin Dork
6/19/17 8:20 a.m.

I'd monitor oil temps and see what they do. If they're not going above 250* or so (and oil pressure is still adequate), no need for a cooler. If they're climbing higher when pushing it for a while, then add a cooler.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
6/19/17 8:27 a.m.

For track days do the pads and fluids and get the alignment as aggressive as possible with stock parts.

Then go drive.

I might not even get new tires to start - what is the current rubber?

As far as upgrade path, let your driving experience be your guide.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
6/19/17 8:31 a.m.

Ps there are more than a few of us in Chicago land (including me) so if you need a hand with a wrench or are going to be at an event please feel free to reach out!

trucke
trucke SuperDork
6/19/17 8:31 a.m.
Robbie wrote: For track days do the pads and fluids and get the alignment as aggressive as possible with stock parts. Then go drive. I might not even get new tires to start - what is the current rubber? As far as upgrade path, let your driving experience be your guide.

Listen to Robbie! Don't over analyze this. Plan to have fun and learn about the line, steering, braking and acceleration inputs with your instructor. There will be some much to learn. Just focus on having a good time.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
6/19/17 8:38 a.m.

I think knowing about your performance driving history would help answer a lot of these questions. Tell us about what was on your previous car.

As for brake upgrades, people usually go for upgraded discs and calipers very prematurely and suffer the handling downsides that come with them, not to mention a greatly lightened wallet. Do pads, fluid, lines and then vents. That will be plenty enough for a lightly modded car. Unless a car has radical changes made to its wheel and tire setup, it usually doesn't need more braking force - it needs more brake heat capacity, and increasing heat dissipation is a great way to get that.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/19/17 9:50 a.m.
Blaise wrote: According to an instructor this weekend who has been tracking his BRZ since new (literally the day after he bought it), oil coolers are not needed. Yes the temps get up there but this isn't an EJ. His words, not mine. He has 19k miles on his, 99% on track. I'd trust him.

Sure, if you're cool with 280+ oil temps, go ahead. Don't use an oil cooler.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/19/17 9:51 a.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: I think knowing about your performance driving history would help answer a lot of these questions. Tell us about what was on your previous car. As for brake upgrades, people usually go for upgraded discs and calipers very prematurely and suffer the handling downsides that come with them, not to mention a greatly lightened wallet. Do pads, fluid, lines and then vents. That will be plenty enough for a lightly modded car. Unless a car has radical changes made to its wheel and tire setup, it usually doesn't need more braking force - it need more brake heat capacity, and increasing heat dissipation is a great way to get that.

Please explain what the "handling downsides" are to brake upgrades?

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
6/19/17 9:55 a.m.

Different (sometimes significantly) unsprung and, in the case of rotors, rotating weight.

Probably more importantly, brake mods can alter brake balance, which if not done properly can have a huge negative effect on handling.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
6/19/17 10:00 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: Please explain what the "handling downsides" are to brake upgrades?

Increased unsprung weight is the big one, and the bigger brakes may be more difficult to control if you don't have ABS.

rslifkin
rslifkin Dork
6/19/17 10:03 a.m.

Bigger brakes are heavier. And it's both unsprung and rotating weight (for the rotors), so it makes the car slower and can reduce grip if the track isn't perfectly smooth.

Bigger brakes are sometimes necessary, but they're not worth it if you don't need them.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder HalfDork
6/19/17 10:36 a.m.

Pads/fluid/alignment and go.

In HPDE4 at Sonoma I'm as fast (and faster than most) in my group that run slicks in caged cars (mostly e46) with full suspensions in my bone stock MS3 (with a rear motor mount) on street tires. One of the consistently fast guys in our group is a guy in a stock s2000 with brake pads and re71s.

Don't over-prep the car - only fix well documented weak points. Once you're fast you'll know what you should upgrade.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/19/17 10:52 a.m.

Most of the BBKs for the Twins SAVE WEIGHT vs stock. Some as much as 10lbs per corner. Aluminum calipers and rotor hats are lighter than Iron.

If you're doing brake upgrades and don't understand brake bias and how it's affected by piston size, pad compound, etc, you aren't fast enough for it to matter anyway.

Blaise
Blaise Reader
6/19/17 11:10 a.m.
accordionfolder wrote: Don't over-prep the car - only fix well documented weak points. Once you're fast you'll know what you should upgrade.

Bam. Reliability and safety is all that really matters. And the 86 is super safe. Just go out and have fun :)

steronz
steronz Reader
6/19/17 2:29 p.m.
bcp2011 wrote: 1) When should I move to a wider or stickier tire?

When you find yourself with too much money.

The market is flush with really good and reasonably affordable 200TW tires -- there's going to be a cost effective "sweet spot" based on demand, maybe a 225/45/R17 or something in your case. If you show up with expensive all-seasons you're just going to ruin good tires fast, so dedicated track tires are actually pretty nice on the pocket book, but too exotic or too wide is just going to burn up cash for internet points.

bcp2011 wrote: 2) When should I go with a different suspension (e.g., coilovers with more adjustability)

When you get fed up with the car not doing what you want it to do and you're tired of "driving around" its weaknesses. You can't win an HPDE so there's no real incentive to upgrade parts for speed except for your own personal enjoyment. When you stop enjoying the stock suspension, it's time to upgrade.

bcp2011 wrote: 3) When should I consider racing seats / harnesses?

When you have a "moment" where your kids growing up without a father flashes before your eyes.

In reality, it's a tough transition to make because it involves compromising the car in so many ways. Seats/harnesses will require a roll bar/half cage, so you're going to lose access to the rear seat.

bcp2011 wrote: 4) When should I upgrade the brakes to a system that can absorb more heat/abuse?

Again, this comes down to $$$. Heat kills pads, so if you find yourself going through expensive pads really quickly it might be more cost effective to add some cooling and/or bigger rotors. You won't really know until you've gone through a couple of sets, though, and then checked with other GT86 folks to see what's "normal."

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
6/19/17 2:41 p.m.

Also, a 5- or 6-point harness requires a HANS device; don't wear a harness without one. Internal decapitation is not fun, or so I have heard.

bcp2011
bcp2011 New Reader
6/19/17 2:43 p.m.

GameboyRMH - Prior experience includes about 10 autox days, plus about 5-6 track days in a NA Miata M Edition. The Miata had upgraded suspension (shocks + springs + sway bars), obligatory rollbar, lightened (AC, power steering, radio, etc. deleted), and some minor power mods (intake/headers/exhaust). Was really a nice little car on track and it was a great learning experience. Toward the end I was allowed to be on track without instructor in the blue (I think it was) group, if that's a helpful data point.

All - Appreciate the responses. I get that the car is pretty great stock (reason why I bought it!) but I would like to make sure that I'm thoughtful about potential upgrades just so I don't do it again down the road, if possible.

So to summarize:

1) Opinions split on oil cooler, I like the suggestion of monitoring first before deciding to buy a cooler or not.

2) Stock suspension with max camber seems to be the recommendation for now. Fair enough.

3) Wheels - no recommendation either way. Thoughts about wheel width vs. tire width? I need a set of summer wheels (as I want to have a set of winter tires) regardless and it's just trying to decide between 17x7 vs. 17x8 vs. 16xwhatever.

Thanks again!!

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
6/19/17 2:57 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: Most of the BBKs for the Twins SAVE WEIGHT vs stock. Some as much as 10lbs per corner. Aluminum calipers and rotor hats are lighter than Iron. If you're doing brake upgrades and don't understand brake bias and how it's affected by piston size, pad compound, etc, you aren't fast enough for it to matter anyway.

Agree that big brakes can be lighter. I just said different unsprung weight.

Also agree that if you are doing upgrades without understanding then they don't really matter to you, but then again, that is exactly how you end up with a "brake upgrade" that diminishes handling.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
6/19/17 3:21 p.m.

OK so since you've already had a car with upgraded suspension and you're not a total noob, I'd say you should go with track-oriented coilovers. The stock suspension on the Toyobaru might feel like a step backwards from your old Miata.

For wheels, stick with 17s or maybe go to 18s, the best selection of performance rubber is available for 18s and 17s are almost as good. Definitely stay away from 16s. You can run up to 8.5" wide wheels with a square setup on a stock Toyobaru, so if you want to change wheels that's the width you should aim for. But the stock wheels aren't bad performance-wise.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane Dork
6/19/17 8:33 p.m.

I disagree, Gameboy. There's nothing really wrong with the twins out of the box (like, you'll blow it up on your first hpde kinda wrong) that I'm aware of.

Brake pads, fluid, 200tw tires squared up and then drive the car a few times before modding to see what you need.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/20/17 6:16 a.m.

The easy button is the Mach V motorsports 17x9 wheel with the new Maxxis 255/40/17.

Also sounds like you have enough experience to benefit from an upgraded suspension, next, what's your budget?

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
6/20/17 8:45 a.m.

IIRC you'll have to run less offset to fit a 9" wheel... not a bad idea, just worth noting.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
6/20/17 9:10 a.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: IIRC you'll have to run less offset to fit a 9" wheel... not a bad idea, just worth noting.

18x9.5 ET 38, 255/35 Star Specs. Fits perfectly, Enkei specifically built an RPF1 with those specs for the car. I ran that setup....stupid amounts of grip.

You can fit 265 square on the twins.

bcp2011
bcp2011 New Reader
6/20/17 9:23 a.m.

I have some money saved up for the car/mods, but like a few thousand so in the grand scheme of things I need to be judicious with how I spend it. That's where I'm struggling a bit on the mods. 18 inch RPF1s with 255 star specs are not cheap, so if I can get away with some cheap wheels/215s for now but upgrade the suspension it seems that it may be a better option. Here's the breakdown of what I have:

1) Headers + OFT - $1k 2) Brakes - $250 3) Camber bolts / alignment - $250 4a) Cheap/used 17 wheels + 215 star specs - $1k 4b) New 18x9 wheels + 245 tires - $2k 5) If I save $1k from wheels/tires I can get a used set of decent coilovers or dampers/springs

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