I’ve had my car back for a little over a week and I’ve been able to do some empirical testing. Hardcore scientific-level stuff. As I had mentioned, it felt like the car was faster than before but now I’ve officially confirmed it. It’s nice to be right. Also… Whoa. Momma.
Below I’ve put two runs side by side. This left shows the car in its previous iteration (stage 3) tuned for 91 octane. The right shows the car in its current iteration (stage 4) also running a 91 octane tune (w/ methanol). Watching the video shows how dramatically the top end tapers off with the old set up. I really wish I had made videos from every stage of the car’s development, starting when it was stock. But hey! At least I have something:
Fun fact: The current setup is faster than the previous setup using race ga$ (I used the “$” because it’s like liquid gold). You could almost make the argument that a stage 4 build is more cost effective since you only need a couple gallons of methanol for a three tanks of 91 octane gas gas (driving normally). Of course taking into account the cost of the stage 4 upgrades you’d just be lying to yourself… and everyone. You’d just be a big stage 4 liar. And it’s a moot point since I’m about to use race gas.
Stage 4 w/ race gas should take the car to yet another level!
Quirks thus far are really minimal. Under certain circumstances the car sputters a bit when it starts (allegedly this has to do with residual moisture present in the intake manifold). I’ve also seen some slight idle stumbles but I’ve seen that even before this latest upgrade. All in all I’m feeling pretty confident that this setup is bulletproof enough that I’m willing to pop in the race gas for a couple of days. I should have some updates next week.
The call of “more power” is strong… omnipresent. I have held out for nearly two years (although I harass my tuner, Sam, much more frequently than that). Eventually my passion overpowered my promise and I ordered in a shiz-ton of new upgrades. The excitement is definitely overpowering my shame (just kidding… I have no shame).
I caved in and called Sam. He hooked me up with some DO88 inlet pipes, 68mm VTG Turbos, straight pipes (the removal of the catalytic converters for the race is necessary, but they’ll be put back on afterward). And last, but not least, a methanol kit. This is a big last step but I feel like it’s been race proven at this point so I’m all in! 😀
Going in with eyes wide open from my past experiences helped keep me calm even when issues popped up. Broken screws that needed to be drilled out. Cracked piping that needed some mild repairs. Sam talked us through everything and gave us peace of mind.
I really enjoy working with my local shop. They are some of the coolest guys in the biz and they do bulletproof work (and I never get tired of saying that they are just a quick walk down the road). They let me come and see the progress and talk shop whenever I wanted.
There’s a big size difference between the old impeller and the new one (top left). I can’t wait to see what she can do. Even with just bigger turbos the top end should have filled in a bit but why stop there?
Everyone should have a methanol kit. Install was pretty painless (for me). The only elements that give the methanol away are the Devil’s Own reservoir in the frunk and the snow boost gauge on the dash (I was absolutely okay swapping out the clock).
After the installation was finished I consulted with Sam who explained how everything should work. He gave me a slew of cool tunes (he said I could use the 93 octane w/ methanol tune and it should be fine- more on that in another post). We filled the meth tank up with a couple gallons, added in some water (16 oz / gallon), primed the pump, installed the recommended new tune and Dagan and I took her for a test drive. Wow. No issues out of the gate. Hoses stayed on. No explosions. I wasn’t 100% sure what I was experiencing. And then it hit me: the top end of the car’s power band was a monster. Normally the car would be losing some oomph around 80 or 90 mph but with the new turbos and meth it just pulled and pulled. It was like being on race gas… all the time. Suffice it to say I was pretty impressed. Obviously I haven’t logged any data or measured the acceleration at this point but my butt dyno was stoked. What’s crazy is that that there’s still a ton of power left on the table.
These MACarbon seat belt buckles have been a bit of a headache for me. I had to modify the covers for the two rear buckles before they would fit. A recurring warning light forced me to replace the front passenger side buckle altogether. And then the new buckle promptly “broke” apart (the two parts of the housing separated and it’s much worse where the belt is attached and there’s tension). I’m not sure if I’d buy / install these parts again.
Regardless, I’m a guy that looks for solutions. The first thing I tried was epoxy. I glued the halves back together but they came apart again shortly after transporting a passenger. I considered a number of different options before settling on some 3M adhesive- the same stuff you might cover the exterior of your car with. I cut out a couple of sections and did some test fitting.
Originally I had just intended the fitting to be temporary but the 3M seemed to be exceptionally strong and the installation went fairly well (you can see the lines in the pictures but in real life it’s very hard to see where the film is at all).
One of the back seat belt buckles also had a case that was coming apart so I applied the 3M there as well. I suppose my next step will be to see how well the film works over the coming months (I’m worried about its ability to stick and the potential of stretching). In the meantime this appears to be a quick and elegant solution for anyone with a similar problem (and not just limited to seatbelts folks– you can wrap this clear 3M film around pretty much anything).
It’s been awhile since I made this adjustment, but I wanted to a second and memorialize just what I’d done. It’s probably been a year since I first noticed the bumping noise coming from behind me. It was a rapid and systematically occurring thumping sound aggravated by uneven roads. I accused the seats, seatbelts, various tools stored in the back of the car and even my imagination before I finally found the real culprit. I wedged myself into the back seat and tapped on everything until I finally discovered a piece of interior trim knocking against the car’s frame.
For context: You’re looking at the A-pillar that holds the rear right seat belt (the belt is still attached to the frame). The back window of the car is visible in the top-right.
Removing the interior trim along the right A-pillar was unpleasant. Even after I found the parts that were hitting each other I wasn’t able to determine what parts of the parts were making contact. I tried various sound deadening fixes like felt, molding tape and strong language. Eventually I hit the sweet spot and the noise was radically reduced. Zipping things back up was even more work than taking them apart but I got it done (and it was done right). One less noise in the cabin – easily the largest offender – has been eradicated! This makes me want to revisit my efforts to cap off the engine noise being pumped into the car. One day.
Cars4Kids recently did a toy drive. Ha! It just occurred to me that it was a literal toy drive (read on)! We loaded up our car with toys and went on a 400 mile drive through various Utah canyons (we opted for the shorter day-only event but there was a longer four day event option as well). We started out at LaCaille, traveled to the Conestoga Ranch and toward SLC (we were always careful to obey all traffic laws and posted speed limits… just kidding). It was an awesome drive, with fantastic food and for a great cause. At the end of the drive the toys were collected and presented to the Ronald McDonald House.
This is a video covering the Cars 4 Kids (I didn’t make this one):
And this is a video of my experience (this one I did make):
This coming year I’d like to participate in the longer event and, possibly, even be a sponsor. Knives and cars… Like peanut butter and chocolate.
This may be the best upgrade that I’ve done yet! Okay, fine… maybe it’s the silliest upgrade yet. I’m running out of ideas for little tweaks. I’ve got some ideas for big ones, but I’m just not sure I want to commit the funds or emotional pain to them.
It turns out the trim surrounding the gauges on the 991 is actually plastic. I watched a YouTube video a guy putting in a gauge trim piece covered in leather. I actually went out and checked my car. Plastic! I was shocked and immediately ordered the part to remedy this horrific oversight.
The summary version is that is looks the same. I will never get my money, time or dignity back. Viva la leather!
Legend has it that in order to replace the 991 headlight washer nozzles the entire front bumper of the car needs to be removed. Not so! With just a few simple tools anyone can swap their washer nozzles in about 10 minutes. You can pull them out and repaint them yourself or pop in a ready to go set. Below is a quick video showing you how:
I ordered a carbon fiber set from eBay but the weave wasn’t quite right and the quality didn’t impress me. I bought a second pair from BumperPlugs.com and had them painted metallic white (that must be an impossible color to match). This is the set that I ultimately put in but I’m not sure if it’s the look I’m going for. You know you’re pretty desperate to do projects when you’re replacing your headlight washers. #modlife
I do a lot of cosmetic stuff to my car and so periodically it makes sense (to me) to grab a few pictures of these changes. Since I fancy myself an budding car photographer I took on this mission personally (and no… this is not my iPhone camera). I figure posting six pictures of my car should be plenty since I also cobbled together a video montage. I’m certain this kind of obsessiveness will delight whoever ends up with my car someday. In the meantime I’m slightly less sure it will delight the Internet.
Plain in many ways, but beautiful…
That backside. Nothing better.
She waits patiently. But when we get underway she’s a monster.
When something is this pure the gossip is hard to come by. [Huh? What does this stuff even mean – Ed]
Some say no one “needs” a car like this. They are exactly right.
Black wasn’t my first choice when I got the car. But it’s my first choice now.
I can’t help but sing the praises of this car just a bit. In many ways it’s a nondescript monster. The handling, power and precision are unmatched. It’s the only car I’ve owned that hasn’t left me disappointed (yet). I think it’s okay to splurge on one thing. This is my thing and it’s worth every penny.
Want to hire me to take pictures of your car or put together a fun little video? That would surprise me. That being said, feel free to drop me a line if you’re in Utah.