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S197 Mattthecarman's 2014 Dual-Purpose S197 Trackday Car

Mattthecarman

TMO Intermediate
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So this my first actual entry here!

Don't know if I'd necessarily call it a build thread since I did everything backwards, ie: buying parts first and track time later, but never the less, I'm trying to change that and learn more as I go!

For 2019, I had much larger aspirations to get out on track but as life always does, it took priority over my car activities & track time, for the better really. After purchasing my first home, graduating college, and getting an actual job I was only able to run the car once last year for a mere hour on Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Safe to say I'm eager to try and up this number substantially for 2020.

Wanted to document what was going to be my winter projects but turned into quarantine projects!

Oil Cooler:

After my single event in May, (under the assumption I'd be taking part in more events afterward) I switched to 5W50 Castrol oil in an attempt to stave off any heat related inconsistencies in oil viscosity. During the fall last year, I came into possession of a Setrab 172 cooler, with braided lines, -10 AN fittings, and a Moroso sandwich plate. I also purchased 06Mach1's S197 oil cooler bracket designed for 900 series Setrab units in an attempt to at least have a starting point for mounting.

Let me preface this by saying that the cooler is mounted with the in/output ports horizontally in an effort to maximize the GT500 upper grille opening. To try and mount the cooler to the bracket, I went and purchased 4, 3" L brackets from my local Lowe's store and cut ~2" off of one side to try and extend the reach of the mounting positions on the bracket to the outside edge of the cooler. The brackets fit nicely and were able to be secured using smaller, 1" bolts with accompanying hardware. For vibration isolation, 1"x1/8" rubber pieces were used in between every contact point between the cooler itself and the bracket to ensure there's not excess rigidity while in use.

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Mount assembled, out of the car, ready for mock up:

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Cooler mocked up in car:

With the cooler mocked up, I wanted to see the placement of the cooler in relation to the grille opening.

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Bumper slid back on:

With the bumper on, roughly ~70% of the actual cooling fins of the cooler are exposed. Having no previous data on oil temp ranges during track use available, and not wanting to rely on the OEM cylinder head temps as a means to try and calculate it, I left the cooler in this position. If when on track I see higher oil temps, I can firstly move the cooler up to expose more of it and increase/maximize the complete surface area of the cooler face. If I continue to see high heat, I can also add ducting to prevent air escaping around the sides since I also haven't done that yet. Also worth noting, I also drive my car on the street more so than on the track so between this large of a cooler for my application and the thicker weight oil, I also want to be sure that the oil can reach operating temperature in a reasonable amount of time, in ambient air ~70 degrees Fahrenheit or less if need be.

After mocking up, I took the bumper back off and started assembling the sandwich plate assembly and routing the lines. Also, as a sidenote, I did not include an inline thermostat at this time.

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Plate mounted in OEM filter location:

Got the plate mounted and didn't have the easiest time running the lines. Between my 36mm Maximum Motorsports front bar and the alternator, the angle the ports on the plate are at and the lack of malleability of the lines made for routing them challenging.

Also, slightly changing subject here, I also needed a reliable oil temp gauge. While possible, I didn't like the idea of creating a T-fitting and encompassing both the OEM pressure sender and the Autometer stepper sender on the same assembly. I felt it just presented a lot of opportunity for oil to leak out, even with using liberal amounts of gasket maker.

Instead, I opted to use M20 to 1/8" NPT fitting by Killer B Motorsports to replace the OEM oil level sensor in the side of the pan.

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Sending unit installed in the pan:

So this worked flawlessly. No check engine lights by removing the previous sensor and the included harness was plenty long enough to run from the sensor, up to brake booster, and through the firewall. As a word of advice, I would recommend wrapping the harness in heat tape as it runs pretty damn close to the headers.

Back to the cooler, I went ahead and mounted the cooler, and managed to run the lines in between the Sway bar and the alternator with about ~1 1/2" on either side. The lines were then routed on the outside of the fan and then back up to side the of condenser with just enough length to secure them to the cooler using the 90 degree AN fittings included.
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Lines routed:
At this point, the cooler was installed and the bumper was back on. While filling with oil, I found that to fill the cooler and the lines, took 8.96 quarts but went ahead and rounded to right at 9 quarts. The oil level reads dead center on the dipstick.

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Finished product:

Gotta say, it looks damn good. While I can't necessarily offer initial impressions on on-track performance, there were no leaks! On initial drive, ambient temperature was around 56 degrees so a little on the colder side. Operating temperature sitting still read ~178 degrees Fahrenheit. While moving, the new oil temp gauge didn't read above ~160 degrees. Even with only ~70% of the cooler exposed, I was seeing 15 degree Fahrenheit drops in oil temp just between sitting and moving at ~45-60 mph.

On a slightly hotter day, about 82 degrees F. ambient, the results were replicated. Under load, at operating temp, I did see a momentary spike to ~205 degrees F. only to then drop back down to 175 degrees F. at highway speeds. All in all, the cooler works and I'm pretty eager to get out on track and see where my oil temps are maintained at.

At some point, I'm also going to rig up some mesh grille insert of some sort, at least to protect the cooler from large debris when I'm driving longer distances. You know, because who needs a trailer? /s

Watts Link:

For the second of my quarantine projects, I replaced by OEM diff. cover with a Whiteline Watts unit I picked up used.

To describe my rear suspension setup, it was pretty basic. Bilstein rear shocks, OEM rear GT base sway bar, Ground Control axle mount height adjusters with Eibach 225 lb springs. BMR panhard bar, relocation brackets and non-adjustable arms.

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Watts Link mounted:

Installation was fairly straight forward. Just time consuming more than anything. The installation guide Whiteline provides is absolutely top notch and I had no issues. Filled the rear with Amsoil rear gear oil that has an integrated friction modifier so no additional modifier was necessary. Sidenote, if you don't have a pump, I'd strongly suggest getting one. Totally worth the investment. Also worth mentioning, to ensure that my thrust angle could be properly aligned (because it was beyond out of alignment with the non-adjustable arms), I also picked up a set of Whiteline relocation brackets and double adjustable arms.

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Whiteline Brackets and Arm:

Construction and quality overall is great on these pieces however, my girlfriend and I both had an absolute hell of a time trying to break the adjustment collars loose. For some reason, it was like Thor himself torqued the collars down. Only with the use of the floor jack, a big damn wrench, and an obscene amount of anti-seize did the collars finally come loose.

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Brackets/arms and Watts all installed:

Really started to take shape at this point. With only 2 adjustment points on the diff cover, I opted for the lower of the two. As opposed to the Cortex unit, there's not a lot of adjust-ability in terms of roll center placement. Even on the lowest setting, the roll center still sits slightly higher than the panhard setup did. Still, for my application, no slicks (yet), varying conditions, and still street-able, the higher roll center in this position should at a minimum provide more composure over rougher surfaces may have similar behavior if not better rear end alignment to inputs in relation to the front of the car.

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Clearance between sway bar and lower pivot arm:

Clearance is Clearance right? With the car off the ground, the arm rubs on the bolt that holds the lower pivot arm to the diff. cover. With the car on the ground however, no issues with clearance. Not an issue, but when I lowered the car for the first time, it was a little unsettling to say the least!

Initial impressions are pretty damn exciting! Car is much more composed going over rough pavement. I won't exaggerate when I say that the willingness of the rear end to step out over rough pavement is gone. Granted, I can't get a true idea of just how much the Watts and the higher roll center has changed the dynamics of the rear suspension on the street but the car feels like it turns as a single entity now. Tighter corners, I turn the wheel and I now don't feel like I have to write the rear end of the car a strongly worded letter to get it to turn with the front. It's much more confidence inspiring, in the little bit I've managed to get a feel for it.

All in all I'd say my two big projects here worked out pretty well! I'm definitely excited to see how they affect my lap times and my ever-growing skill as a driver! Hopefully with NC opening up for the most part, I can get out to the track, albeit safely without contracting anything. Rest assured, when I get out to the track, I'll be sharing my experience here!
 
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TMSBOSS

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Great first entry!!
SCMC just announced a two day track event at the Roval in September. Trying to figure out how to get there. Maybe I'll see you there.
 

Bill Pemberton

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I will take LudaChris's comment one step further to , friggin incredible start and finish on your build thread ---------uhhh, wow !!!

Now that you are getting to the track , we need pics or videos or both , as many of us are still in the cabin staring as the walls.
 

Mattthecarman

TMO Intermediate
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Great first entry!!
SCMC just announced a two day track event at the Roval in September. Trying to figure out how to get there. Maybe I'll see you there.
Thanks!

You know, I saw that too and I figure it'd be a cool event to kind of close out the year on. I was debating on two days, if my tires are up to at least haha. Hope to see you there too!
 

Mattthecarman

TMO Intermediate
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Charlotte, NC
I will take LudaChris's comment one step further to , friggin incredible start and finish on your build thread ---------uhhh, wow !!!

Now that you are getting to the track , we need pics or videos or both , as many of us are still in the cabin staring as the walls.
I really appreciate the kind words! It's funny you say start and finish because I feel like I'm finally content with the car as it sits haha.

I'll be sure to update this thread with any/all experiences I have on track with the car. Just need a reliable means of Data acquisition. I was leaning towards Harry's lap timer. Any personal suggestions? I've done so mild searches but am always open to someone else's preference.
 

Coz

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I have used Harry's Grand Prix Edition and am happy with it. But my phone storage is limited so I do not use my phone as the camera. I use a GoPro and use Race Render to sync up the data and video overlays.

No matter what you use I recommend an external GPS that can record at a higher rate than the internal GPS in phones.
 

JDee

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I really appreciate the kind words! It's funny you say start and finish because I feel like I'm finally content with the car as it sits haha.

I'll be sure to update this thread with any/all experiences I have on track with the car. Just need a reliable means of Data acquisition. I was leaning towards Harry's lap timer. Any personal suggestions? I've done so mild searches but am always open to someone else's preference.
I use TrackAddict/Race Render. Prior to that I bought Harry's without trying it, that was a big mistake. Found it very unstable, unreliable, extremely frustrating to use and support was not great, basically it was whatever you could find on forums. TrackAddict is simpler and more reliable IMHO. You can get a demo version to test with and I would strongly advise doing that before buying anything.
 

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