Sunday, October 28, 2018

Intake Install from Hell

I wanted to get a PasswordJDM dry carbon intake (a.k.a the whale penis among the SCCA STR crowd) since we started this build but without a hood to accommodate the snorkel, it really wasn't a good option. I bought the intake shortly after I received my Mugen hood but didn't get a chance to get it installed until now.  With the racing season now over, it was the perfect time to head over to SJF to work on the car before putting her away for the winter.

PasswordJDM Dry Carbon Intake and Cooling Plate - 10-28-2018
Due to the finicky nature of this install, under normal circumstances, the install of this intake is supposed to take around 2-3 hours if you take your time. Unfortunately, this would not be the case for me since the snorkel is supposed to sit exactly where my Setrab oil cooler sits so it took us all day to get it done. We didn't really have too many options for relocating the cooler since the lines weren't long enough to move to the other side. We eventually settled on simply lowering it and moving it closer to the AC condenser. Removing the driver side bracket allowed for the cooler to be screwed directly onto the radiator support. For the passenger side, we were able to reuse the mounting bracket but SJF had extend it to reach the cooler's new location. The horn had to be moved to the other side and extend the wiring to reach it.
Old cooler location
New cooler location
Now that the cooler was out of the way, the snorkel was able to be installed in the correct location to perfectly suck in cold air right from the bumper opening.

Snorkel installed
The next bit of trouble was the oil cooler lines. We routed them this past winter over the frame cross member because there was plenty of space there but unfortunately for today's install that's also exactly where the bottom of the intake chamber was supposed to sit. Rather than relocating the lines, I opted to just cut parts of the bottom of the intake chamber for clearance. I'm already getting nice cold air via the snorkel and I'm not getting any heat soak from the header due to my vented hood anyway so there was really no performance hit by doing this. My extra large radiator also caused fitment problems and we had to trim some of that intake on that side too to clear the mounts for the radiator fans. The fitment of the two intake chambers wasn't that great either. We had to trim the opening to allow the two parts to fit together without interference and after a few hours of slowly trimming, we finally got it fitting properly.

Intake chamber trimmed to fit. 
We got the intake cover on and after playing around with the dry carbon cooling plate with the cut out specifically for this intake, we finally got the hood to close. The top of the intake chamber just touches the frontmost vent on the Mugen hood but it's not really a problem. The other downside of this intake is that you can't use the stock hood prop anymore. I could use hood struts but with the Mugen hood weighing close to nothing, it's not really recommended.

Everything fitting perfectly now - 10-28-2018
Password JDM dry carbon cooling plate - 10-28-2018
The final challenge was putting on the bumper again. The right side of the snorkel actually hits part of the grill so that needed trimming as well.

Snorkel behind the trimmed grill - 10-28-2018
This whole day was pretty much an exercise of patience. Measure, trim, fit, remove, measure, trim, fit, rinse and repeat to satisfaction. Big thanks to SJF Performance for putting up with what will forever be dubbed "The Intake Install from Hell". I'll have to go back on the dyno to measure the difference but my butt dyno definitely felt a difference on the drive home with the nice cool air rushing into the intake. In VTEC it also sounds really great!

Other miscellaneous fixes today included tightening the brake cylinder brace that somehow vibrated itself loose and tightening up the slack on the throttle cable.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

First Oil Analysis

I wish I had done this more regularly before but I guess there's a first time for everything. I sent the oil sample I gathered from the last oil change before I went to The Glen to Blackstone Labs and the results seem good considering some track miles in there. It'll be good to see how this trends going forward but the years of racing seem to have not had any measurable negative effect on the engine health so far.

Blackstone Labs oil sample results - 10-23-2018

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Tight Competition

We're down to the final two events for the season. It rained quite a bit overnight and B-Street was set to run the first heat. Although the rain subsided by the time we ran, it was still fairly damp and the temps stayed constant at around 55F with a fair bit of wind.

Ready for 1st Heat - NNJR SCCA - 10-20-2018
We had a good turnout for the class with 7 drivers in total. Danny Kao drove up from DC to co-drive Sang Yi's Evo so I knew I was in for an uphill battle. The conditions favored both AWD and co-driven cars but I really enjoyed the challenge to try and close the gap regardless. Our first run or two was a real struggle for grip but the course eventually dried enough to put in decent times.

Danny set fast first run and all of us were chasing him. I'd find some time but then so would he but I would keep trying to close the gap as best as I could. By our second to last runs, I was within 0.38 seconds off his time. He went out to put in a fast final lap but hit 3 cones in the process leaving the door open for me. There was plenty of time still left to be had out there so I knew I just had to push harder. Unfortunately, I pushed too hard and ended up spinning before the back wallom.

NNJR SCCA Autox - 10-20-2018

I'm still pretty stoked though. Considering this is only my third event in the car, I think my pace is already getting pretty competitive and I finally found the limits of her grip with that spin. I knew the rear was coming out but I really wanted to see how far I could push it before really losing control and it's pretty incredible how high those limits are.

B-Street results - 10-20-2018
In other miscellaneous things, I finally installed the euro triangle in the frunk. I definitely don't need this but I figured why not. German yo!

euro spec emergency triangle
Also, I finally got to see the new exhaust tips in daylight. It looks good, I like it, but man the stock exhaust sounds so lame compared to the FVD Brombacher I had on previously. Ugh, maybe one day I can put it back on. For now it's just hanging out in the garage next to the JRZs.

Soul Performance Tips

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Watkins Glen with Hooked on Driving

The return to The Glen was as fun as I imagined it would be. I don't do track days for competition, only to have fun, so a successful track day for me means checking three boxes and those are:
  • Are you alive?
  • Did you have fun?
  • Is the car still in one piece?
This event checked all three, with the fun component fulfilled in spades.

Watkins Glen International - 10-18-2018
The day didn't start off too well though. The temperatures had dipped into the low 40s overnight and I woke up to a steady cold rain shower. Not exactly what you want returning to a historic track where the cost of a mistake often means smacking into a blue armco at speed.

Watkins Glen International - 10-18-2018
Although the first session was very wet, the sun did occasionally pop out and the wind allowed for drying conditions but we still had to be very careful on any of the painted surfaces as those seemed to refuse to dry at all. The event ran pretty smoothly. All the run groups ran on time and there were no incidents to speak of on the track which is pretty good for a track that's notorious for claiming a few cars each event. Unfortunately, I didn't run any session where I didn't hit some traffic but it was still pretty manageable. Not too bad considering my run group had around 40 or so cars. I managed a mere 2:25 on RE71Rs in these conditions. I suspect that's not a great time but since I never recorded times before at least I now have my baseline for the next time I come up here.

 Laps 6-8 of Session 3 - 2:25 on Lap 8
Watkins Glen - 10-18-2018

That ends the 2018 motorsports season for Bumblestook. I've got a new intake to install but in general, I will just be getting her ready to be tucked away for the winter. It's been an incredible year with her transformation and she's exceeded my expectations in every single way. She truly is the one S2000 to do it all for me.

Car setup notes to self:

  • Increase front compression by 3 clicks to combat rear twitchiness under braking.
  • Ran 30/28psi cold pressures.
  • Car felt very neutral. I like this setup.
  • Front toe might have slipped. Steering wheel slightly angled to the left now. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

JRZ RS Pro and Thoughts on STU

I was happily minding my own business earlier this week when I got sent a deal I simply couldn't pass up. It was for a set of used JRZ RS Pros from a 987 Cayman race car with 600lb/700lb Hypercoil springs that have only seen about 3000 miles of track miles since they were last rebuilt. Now, I know what you're thinking. "You said you were committed to B-Street for 2019". Well for starters, buying these doesn't mean I'm installing them right away. They were a good deal no matter what and I plan on sending them off to ANZE Suspension over the winter to have them dynoed and rebuilt as well as add quick disconnects for the external reservoirs. Whether or not I install them on Kay or some future Cayman or flip them, will be decided after winter.

JRZ RS Pro for the 987 Cayman - 10-10-2018
The obvious conclusion some might jump to here is that I'm taking Kay to run in STU instead of B-Street and that would be logical. I've certainly considered it but at this very moment, I have no plans for it in 2019. However, I'm not one to not do my homework to consider all possibilities. I've been spending some time thinking about what STU would look like for a Cayman. In general, I think that allowance for mid-engine rear wheel drive cars to finally go up to 265 width tires makes this a viable choice. Sure you lose out on not having 285s which you can run in B-Street but with better suspension, ability to add lots of camber, plenty of top speed in 2nd and add a bit more power and cut weight then it could be a formidable weapon.
JRZs installed in previous owner's race car
My main concern is that Kay might not be right for STU. Both the 987.1 and the 987.2 Cayman S are allowed in STU and given the same level of prep, the 987.2 (2009-2012) simply has more power. It's not a ton more power but certainly more. It also has arguably a better engine. However, with premium the 987.2 commands over the 987.1, I'm not sure how many people would actually build a 987.2 for STU. It's some serious coin and I can see a full tilt build knocking on the doors of higher mileage GT4 money. At that level of cash, I'd rather have the GT4 and run in Super Street.

Furthermore, Kay is equipped with PASM which is the ideal spec for B-Street and switching to STU and slapping on the JRZs means disabling PASM, completely negating the reason why I paid more for Kay to make sure she had both Sports Chrono and PASM to begin with. Also, with the ND2 in a TBD state of classing for Street Touring, I'd be hesitant to start STU prep only to have it classed in STU later. In autocross, lightness is king and I do believe that the ND2 in ST trim could pose a serious threat to the general higher horsepower but much heavier cars that are already in STU.

Those concerns aside, here are my notes on what I think a decently competitive STU 987 Cayman build would look like for me:

Wheels and Tires

You can go a lot of ways here but for me, I don't see a problem just continuing with XRR spec 18x8.5 and 18x10 wheels I run in B-Street. I don't think 265 square is the right choice. I think the car does like a bit of a stagger so I'd probably run 255/265. This would make the fronts less pinched and feel less squishy as result. I'm only running 265s up front now in BS to balance out the 285s in the rear otherwise, I'd much prefer a 255.


I think the stock shocks even with PASM isn't going to be enough. It'll be ok for an "STU Lite" build but will likely still be too soft for grippier surfaces like concrete. You'd also probably want to lower the car a little to get a lower center of gravity and get more negative camber. Obviously, I already got JRZs so I'd run those. The 600/700 rate springs on them now are probably fine too. If it's a fully dedicated max prep configuration optimized for Nationals, I can see wanting more spring rate but I don't think you need to get too stiff to be competitive. It can work, you just have to turn the wheel earlier. Getting good damping is key and the valving and figuring out where the compression and rebound need to be is going to be critical.

I'd keep the Tarrett Engineering GT3 front sway bar and drop links in the front and complement it with the Tarrett GT3 rear sway bar and drop links to be able to fine tune the balance more. I'd also add GT3 lower control arm in the front only as there's adequate rear negative camber but the front needs -4 or more to compensate for the strut suspension and losing camber under compression.


There's really not a lot more power you can extract from the M97 in NA form and be STU legal. Obviously, sports headers with 200 cell catalytic converters and a "cat-back" exhaust that eliminates the secondary cats is the way to go. A good air filter and a tune to maximize the power would be a good idea too. It should be possible to get the power up to 300hp to the wheels. 

My engine and trans mounts are also 11 years old now and I don't have a high degree of confidence in the state of the rubber in these mounts at this age even with the relatively low miles. The engine is only held down by a single motor mount up front and two trans mounts on each side. I wouldn't go overly stiff here as I've read you can increase vibration to the point where the knock sensor gets triggered retarding power. Personally, I'd probably just go with Rennline HD engine mount and Function First transmission mounts (V2). 

I'd also strongly consider adding in a higher capacity and baffled oil pan. I don't think this is a must but considering how finicky this engine is, it wouldn't be a bad idea given the allowance for some added peace of mind.


I honestly don't know how much a good differential is worth on a Cayman STU build. With Sports Chrono engaged during my runs, I never once felt I couldn't put the power down or I was spinning tires. I'm reserving comment on this for now but I don't believe it's a must-have item. If I did change it, something clutch type would obviously be my choice but I don't see any evidence in few times I've taken Kay to autocross so far where I felt I couldn't put the power down because of the diff.


You can probably save some weight by changing the seats to racing seats. I also think I'd install the Numeric Racing short shifter for a more bolt rifle action like shift engagement for more accurate quick shifts.

Final Thoughts

I've never driven or set up an STU prepped Cayman S before so what I've written above are just my thoughts on this matter. It could very well be a load of rubbish. Am I tempted to do it for the learning experience? Sure! Is it the right thing to do for 2019? That I'm not so sure about. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Ready for The Glen

One of the things I wanted to do this year with Bumblestook was to go back to Watkins Glen. After a successful shakedown at NYST a few weeks ago, all she needed was fresh oil and a nut and bolt before I make the return to The Glen a reality next weekend.

Oil sample taken for analysis - 10/6/18
I figured while I was doing the oil change anyway I might as well get a sample to send over to Blackstone laboratories to get an oil analysis done.

6 fresh quarts of Amsoil 10W-30 - 10/6/2018
Going over the car was a good idea. A lot of bolts had worked their way loose such as sway bar end link, subframe bolts, header side engine mount and even bolts for the doors. She might be a street car now but she still retains a lot of her race car DNA under the surface so it's really no surprise things vibrate themselves loose.

Oil filter stopper
One thing I absolutely don't want vibrating loose is the oil filter. It's never happened to me before but it has been known to happen. On a car that has bolts with Loctite vibrate loose, it only makes sense to add some extra safeguards here. The filter is always properly tightened but as an additional piece of reassurance, we installed an oil filter stopper. Since I have a Mocal sandwich plate, the bracket had to be bent out to line it up but it works quite well. It's attached on one end to the motor mount and then onto a hose clamp secured to the oil filter to prevent it from backing out. 

There are a few things that I want to install and/or address after the season is over but for now, she's mechanically sound and ready for some fun up the esses.

Maintenance Log:
53,035 miles - 6 qt Amsoil 10W-30

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Just the Tip

I bought Kay with a nice FVD Brombacher "cat-back" exhaust but unfortunately, it's not technically SCCA B-Street legal since the OEM mufflers have integrated secondary catalytic converters and you can't delete that in Street class even though the primary cats are still in place. As a wild shot, I wrote a letter to the SCCA asking a for a rule change but as expected it was shot down (not that I really expected it to go through anyway) so here I am now putting the stock exhaust back on.

Dropping off the car with Lee at Hybrid Motors - 10/4/2018
Thankfully the previous owner also provided the stock exhaust when I purchased the car so it was a straightforward enough swap. At the very least I wanted it to look good so I did the only thing I could do legally which was to order replacement exhaust tips. I picked up the Soul Performance x-pipe short tips with angle cut and signature satin finish then dropped the car off with Lee at Hybrid Motors in Fairview, NJ today so he could swap it out for me while I was working.

Soul Performance exhaust tips 
As you'd expect, it was a straightforward swap. The stock exhaust sound isn't really that bad after all if I had to be honest. It just doesn't have the growl that the FVD exhaust had. I'd say it sounds better now at low RPM and at higher RPM is still gives a nice flat-6 sound but muted. Perhaps I'll explore getting the valved Porsche Sports Exhaust one day but for now this will do.

Before - FVD Brombacher exhaust
After - Stock with Soul Peformance tips
The tip looks pretty decent too with the Satin finish. It actually matches the silver trim around the exhaust so I think it keeps the clean look.

Top down view of just the tip
As much as I'm not a big fan of this stock "street" class formula I can't argue with the fact that the 987.1 Cayman S is a serious national level B-Street contender and she's already proving to be lots of fun to drive as is. I have to hand it to the Porsche engineers. They really do know how to make proper sports cars.