Thursday, January 31, 2019

Painted Interior Panels and Seat Belt Guides

We're getting closer to installing the new shocks but in order to adjust them once installed I'll need access to the adjustment knobs which unfortunately sit under the rear speaker panel. Since the main directive in this build is that everything has to be reversible, I didn't want to cut holes in the original panels. I picked up a set of used rear speaker panels but they were black and not stone grey like the rest of my interior.

Painted speaker panel - 1-31-2019
With a bit of research I found that the Rust-oleum Chalked ultra matte paint in Charcoal was a very close fit. I picked up a can and dropped the panels off at K2 Auto Body since they did just a great job on Bumblestook and had them painted for me so it could be done at the right temperate in their booth. The match came out really well I think. We can cut up this panel all we want now and at least from a color perspective won't stick out too much.

Porsche Stone Grey interior matching paint
One other issue that was bugging me that I wanted to fix was that the seatbelt on the GT2 seats were just off to the side and rubbing against the seat bolsters when not in use. This is likely going to cause unnecessary wear. I've been using these Jade Seatbelt Guides designed for Recaros on my Recaro Pole Positions and thought they might work with the GT2 seats as well. Surely enough they did so now the seat belt is secure in the appropriate spot and any use of it will just wear the seat belt guide and not the seat itself.

Jade Seatbelt Guide on GT2 Seats

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Performance, Comfort, Uncompromising Safety

When I first saw a Cayman R a few years ago, I was blown away by the GT2 carbon seats it had inside. I always wanted one and since I can change the seats in STU I went hunting for one as part of the build. They come up for sale every now and then but often only sold locally as they're hard to ship and expensive to insure. Luckily I found one being sold by NOLA Sport that came out of 997 Carrera 4S and jumped at the chance.

GT2 Seats, Schroth GT3 6-pt Harness installed - 1-27-2019
Dylan from NOLA Sport did a fantastic job making sure they'd arrive to me undamaged. The seats were bolted onto palettes, wrapped, boxed then trucked from Louisiana to a depot in New Jersey where my friend Alex and I picked it up during the coldest day so far this year.

Seats packaged ready for shipping

Weighing in at 35lbs each with rails they're not the lightest race buckets I could've gotten but they still shave off almost 15lbs each from the rather heavy stock seats.

Mmm Carbon Fiber
The incredible carbon fiber backs aside, they are direct bolt in and have integrated thorax airbags and passenger side occupancy sensors so they retain all the extra safety for street driving. They are upright and don't recline but can fold forward so I can get behind them if needed. The bolstering is perfect and I fit in them like a glove and have integrated seat belt receivers. One reason I wanted these was so that I could run a harness to hold me in when autocrossing. I was just going to get 4-pt harnesses for this but it turned out that the Schroth GT3 specific 6-pt harness was on sale and much cheaper than the 4-pt so I ended up pick one up. The best part about this seat is that it has existing mount points for the lap belts that mate up to the GT3 harnesses. You can read more about the details of this seat in this blog ( when they were first introduced in late 2007.

Schroth GT3 6-pt harness
Schroth GT3 6-pt harness
Lap belt mounted to integrated mount points
I also picked up a Brey Krausse R-9032 Sub Strap that bolts right up to these rails so I don't need to drill anything for the crotch straps either.

Brey Krausse GT2/GT3 sub bar
It wasn't difficult to swap in. The most time consuming part was getting the harnesses set up correctly and I think it really completes the interior. These seats combined with the alcantara steering wheel and the Numeric Racing shifter have really changed how she feels. Everything feels comfortable, supportive and precise. As a driver, these are the three things we interact with the most when in the car and I feel it's really important to get these right. It's the difference between liking a car and loving a car and I'm really loving Kay right now. She's slowly becoming a car that's unmistakably a "Steguis build".

GT2 Seats, Schroth GT3 6-pt Harness installed - 1-27-2019
With the interior done, we only have to finish up the suspension and increase rear traction and we'll be fully STU ready. Big thanks to Alex for not only helping me pick these up but also helping me install these today in his garage. Also thanks to his wife for letting me keep the seats, on palettes, in their house while I waited for a chance to put them in. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Harness Bar

One of the most crucial things I feel that makes a big difference for any performance driving is being able to use your hands for steering only and not for holding yourself in place. Good seats will do that, and something is on its way, but for now, I wanted to install the DMC harness bar I picked up used online. I was lucky enough that the previous owner had the same interior color as me so he sent me over pre-cut trim panels so I wouldn't have to cut any holes in my original ones. This fulfills my main criteria that anything done on the car needs to be reversible. 

DMC Harness bar installed - 1-12-2019
It's held on nicely with bolts attaching to where the stock seat belts mount up to as well as in the middle where the stock "grab handle" (I have no idea what the piece is called) bolts down to so it's really secured nicely.

DMC harness bar with camera mount - 1-12-2019
The bar is also the perfect diameter to clamp the RAM Mounts small tough claw for the GoPro too. The stock bar that used to be there was a bit narrow and made the camp not work as well as I'd like.

DMC Harness bar installed - 1-12-2019
Overall it was a really simple job once you get the holes lined up which was a bit difficult since there's no play whatsoever (a good thing). I'm still waiting on a few parts so the build is at a bit of a stand still but any progress is good progress in my book.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Tuning for More Power

Now that all the power mods have been added, it was time to get a tune. I was initially trying to find  a place that would dyno tune the car rather than eTune but it didn't seems like shops were interested unless I also had a bunch of other stuff done there (just an assumption since I got no responses back). Since I have pretty basic bolt-ons on the car I figured going with a reputable eTuner would be sufficient and so after much back and forth I ended up going with FVD Motorsports in Germany.

FVD Tune Loading - 1-6-2019
I had dealt with them before and both their Sales person in the US and their engineering folks were exceptionally responsive. The last thing I want to deal with are vendors that can't even be bothered to give you updates and the FVD folks were far from it. They were always upfront and answered all my questions and concerns promptly and to my satisfaction. The FVD experience was superb and I never felt worried. They even offered a full 30-day money back if I didn't like their tune. The process was pretty painless. I paid for the tune and they shipped me the MyGenius device. This comes with a USB cable to connect to your computer and an ODB2 cable to connect to your computer.

MyGenius tuning device received - 12-27-2018
Unpackaged - 12-27-2018
The first step was to just install the MyGenius Client software and update it over the Internet. Then you connect the MyGenius device to the PC to update it to the latest revision.

Updating the MyGenius device from the computer - 12-27-2018
Then you hook the MyGenius device to the ODB2 port of the car and have it read the ECU. For the 987.1, it doesn't support downloading the tune from the ECU so all that it grabs are the identifiers needed to marry the tune to the device. I then download the file from the device back to my computer and emailed it to FVD along with the list of modifications, intended purpose and anything else I wanted them to do. Since it was the holidays I didn't hear back from them until after the new year but as soon as they got into work again, I was promptly emailed my tune. The tune also included a stock tune in case I ever wanted to go back to stock. I copied the file over to the device and then uploading the tune to the car. They noted that during this process, the car should be connected to a 15A battery tender. This is the first time I've ever had to do that for a tune but it made sense once I was doing it as the fans kicked off while the tune was uploading and it took about 10 minutes to complete. You probably don't want a dip in voltage while you're flashing your ECU. The last thing you want is a bricked ECU.

Selecting the tune to upload - 1-6-2019
Overall it was pretty simple to do minus the half a dozen times you had to turn the key on and off for the programming to complete. During this time all kinds of errors pop up on the dash and at the end it asks if you want to reset all the errors and so I did.

Engine startup was smooth and power delivery excellent. I asked that they sharpen up the throttle, and perform the usual 300rpm increase in rev limit (from 7200 to 7500) which puts the top of my 2nd gear at around 73mph on 265 tires. The throttle is a lot more responsive now even out of Sport mode. Unlike the stock Sport mode which is often makes the throttle a bit too sensitive for normal stop and go traffic, they adjusted it perfectly where I get the response without loosing low speed drivability. I also asked to maximize my mid-range power. I can definitely feel a marked increase in how hard she pulls from 3000rpm and up. The power is linear and super smooth all the way to redline. It's really woken up the car and as a bonus, with the engine running leaner than factory, it should also yield better fuel economy. Since I drive the car once a week at most, I guess I don't really care about fuel economy too much but it's always nice to have.

So far I'm really impressed. Car feels great, I got no errors driving around and the engine performance, I think, is as good as it'll get in STU trim. Maybe later this year I'll pop it on a dyno to grab some graphs but the numbers aren't too important to me right now. I'm definitely glad I went the FVD route and would recommend them to anyone else looking to do something similar.