Modifications

Car Life: Beauty in Refinement – Honda S2000 – SingularEntity.com

I met individuals of the Singular Entity crew at various track events over the last few years.  Nice guys with a passion for cars and telling a story in a unique way.  I’ve been a fan of their photography and videos for a while.

Austin and I spoke often about supercharging and data logging because he built a track Miata with a Rotrex supercharger and there’s a pretty small group of us that are running these hard on the track.  Austin asked me if I’d be interested in being featured in one of their videos and my response was an enthusiastic “yes”.

It was fun to see the filming side of the process.  We spent probably 2 hours filming the interview portion in my shop and another few hours filming street driving shots near my house and on Chuckanut Drive.  It’s really interesting to see how they condensed all that into 6 minutes.  It was a chilly spring day in the Northwest with overcast skies.  Not ideal driving or filming conditions.  Chuckanut Drive is an amazing road that follows the coastline of Bellingham and has really fun corners and beautiful views.  The massive trees lining the road kept the asphalt shaded and wet.  Grip levels were low especially with cold temps and R888’s.  Fortunately, traffic was also low and all but one shot was done in one take.

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Here’s the description of the YouTube video:

Born a natural Honda nut, Jared brings new meaning to “DIY”. With a background in mechanical engineering, every part added to this car was designed and meticulously planned by himself. From working as a Honda technician to doing full blown CAD and custom fabrication work, Jared brings new meaning to a grassroots build. Everything with this car has a purpose from removing the A/C compressor and replacing it with a different compressor, to the V-mount intercooler and custom aero. Jared takes us through his Honda journey from his adolescent Civic days to the mature ownership of the S2000.

Power is one thing, but control is another. Having learned suspension setup from working directly with Ohlins engineers, Jared’s performed his own suspension construction magic of taking an ATV shock and applying them to an automotive chassis.

Addressing the torqueless Honda with a supercharger has allowed him to keep up with the high horsepower cars, with a measly 345hp to the rear wheels. Nowadays you’re more likely to see Jared blow away in the straights and in the corners if you ever see him coming up in your rearview mirror.

Special thanks to Jared for the additional footage

Cinematography & music produced by Singular Entity – Gary Chan, Austin Tsai, Ken Au-Yeung & Jonathan Lau

Thank you to the Singular Entity crew.  Check out their other videos and content:

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/singularentity
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SingularEntitycom/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIXaRuRWhQVwDsZAWoiPoZQ

FSAE Returns

I guess Formula SAE / Formula Student never left but it’s been many years since I’ve been involved.  That changed this summer when I brought Western Washington University’s Viking 26 FSAE racecar into my shop (Thanks Paul!) and, along with the help of several original teammates, rebuilt it to running condition.  In the fall, we raced it at a Pacific NW Porsche Club auto-x in pouring rain.  This car was originally designed and raced in 1995 and also competed in 1996 when I joined the team as a freshman.  It is a very unique car with lots of unconventional designs and construction.  It was also very light, powerful, and successful.  V26 placed 4th at FSAE Michigan in 1995 and 22nd in 1996 (thanks to a blown motor during the endurance event – would have placed top 5).  Some notable features of V26 are the 6″ filament wound carbon tube chassis, turbocharged fuel injected CBR600 engine, spool rear end (no differential), and suspension geometry designed to promote jacking to enable rotation with the spool.  The car also used 10″ wheels, inside-out front disk brakes, and dual floating inboard rear brake rotors.

Here’s V26 20 years after it last competed:

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Some welding work on the fuel tank:

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Here are some videos from this fall:

The car is a handful to drive with a hard hitting turbo and locked rear end (especially in wet conditions on 8 year old Hoosier Wets or 20 year old Hoosier Slicks).  It’s surprisingly easy to slide around but once you get too sideways it comes around fast.

Here are some pictures of Viking 26 (from 1996) and Viking 28 (1998) along with some of the original team members.

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More FSAE projects in the shop.  News to follow…

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J32 V6 Engine Swap

I’ve been considering an engine swap for a while.  The F20C/F22C is an absolutely amazing engine; engaging to drive and responds well to forced induction.  On top of all that, it’s pretty cheap to operate and can take track punishment for a long time and when it fails, rebuilding is easy and inexpensive.  All that being said, the original intent to supercharge my S2000 was to give it the power needed to run with the fastest cars on track.  With the stock engine I was stuck behind them in the corners and unable to pass on the straights.  The supercharger changed that.  Of course, now there are lots of 500-600 hp cars on the track that still walk away on the straights but I guess that’s the ever evolving progress of technology.  I am actually really happy with the current speed of the car and have no desire to have higher top speeds.  140 mph through turn 1 at Pacific Raceways is scary enough.

I really enjoy the instant response of a naturally aspirated car or supercharged car.  My daily drivers are a 2015 WRX and a 2001 Dodge RAM Turbo Diesel 24V.  I’m not against turbos at all but I really don’t like them for track use.  Turbo lag, throttle response, heat, etc all add up to frustration for me.  For the racing I’ve been doing lately, the classes are power-to-weight based and my small displacement high revving 4-cylinder makes a very peaky power curve.  Adding a Rotrex supercharger bumps the whole curve up but still only makes peak hp in a very limited rpm window which means 95% of the time, I’m not operating at peak power.  The top cars in these classes are detuning the engines to create a flat hp curve in the operating range using throttle by wire mapping, inlet restrictors, or programmed wastegates.  To get a flat hp curve, you really need a positive displacement supercharger, turbo, or bigger engine displacement.  For me, a larger naturally aspirated engine seems like the best choice for optimal throttle response, minimal complexity/maximal reliability, minimal heat, etc.

An LS swap makes a lot of sense.  It’s been done many times, the motors are powerful, light, and compact.  For the track, these motors have more power than I want/need.  This would require a new and heavy transmission and differential to handle the increased torque.  To get to my ideal hp/wt ratio, I’d need to detune the engine quite a bit so now I’m dragging around a bunch of heavy components to support a detuned engine.  Also, there are some clearance issues including firewall and steering rack.  I’d rather not relocate the steering rack and any modifications to the subframe results in penalties under the race class I run in (treated as a tube frame chassis).
The J-series V6 from Honda is the option I’m pursuing.  I’m starting with a J32A2 from a 2001-2003 TL Type-S and will likely swap in a crankshaft from the MDX 3.7 and 3.5 rods and pistons at some point to create a 3.6 liter high compression motor.  No replacement for displacement – as they say.  Some of the advantages include the ability to use the S2000 transmission (which is one of my favorites ever) and differential which has been reinforced to handle increased power.  I can also use my existing Exedy Hyper Single clutch.  This means stock axles and prop shaft can be used as well.  The engine is very compact and has no interference issues other than the oil filter which can be solved with a remote mounted oil filter.  Ultimately, I’m hoping for around 325 whp and lots more torque than I currently have with the supercharged F22C.  I think the weight will come within 20-30 lbs of the current engine/supercharger/intercooler.  The torque and lack of revs will change the character of the car for sure.  I’m keeping my SC’d F22C in case I don’t love the J-swap.

This will be a slow project as I’m currently rebuilding a Formula SAE car which I plan to race in 2017.  The FSAE car will be priority, however, I’m pretty excited for this swap project so I’ll be working on it fairly often.  There will be lots of learning, fabrication, and likely a few mistakes along the way.  This is still a fairly rare swap and not well documented so lots of this project will require custom solutions.  You can also follow the progress on Instagram: @sectoronedesign

Here are some progress pictures so far:

Lots of “Honda Power” in the shop at the moment

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Adapter Plate and engine mounts needed some modifications to fit:

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Picked up a magnesium intake manifold from a 2009 TL SH-AWD

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Much lighter than the J32A2 aluminum intake manifold and with larger T-body opening:

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Ridge Test and Tune

Attended a Test and Tune at the Ridge Motorsports Park on July 5th 2016.  Attendance was very minimal (day after the 4th of July) which provided plenty of traffic-free open lapping.  Primarily, this day was used as a shake down of the car after 8 months of minimal activity.  I experimented with a few aero changes and ran all but one session on new R888’s.  The open lapping format is perfect for running some laps, reviewing data, making changes, rinse and repeat.  The weather was overcast and low 60’s all day which also helped maintain track consistency.  Overall, a great day for testing.

I was initially planning to test some major aero changes but while doing some routine maintenance about a week before this event, I found some major issues that needed to be addressed before spending time on aero.  I dropped my oil pan and discovered some stringy plastic debris which looked like timing chain guide material.  A quick inspection revealed that the oil pump chain was damaged.  The three inner plates on one link were fractured and cutting into the chain guides.  I’m amazed that the chain didn’t fail completely as only the side plates on that link were intact.  I have no idea how this could have happened but very lucky I caught it before the chain failed and I lost all oil pressure.  I threw some new plugs in, inspected my original valve spring retainers, and adjusted the valves along with an oil and filter change.

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I mounted a new set of Toyo R888’s (245’s) to a set of Forgestar 17 X 10’s.  I figured I’d try a “track day” type tire rather than burn up more Hoosiers if I’m not currently competing anyway.  This represented a major change to the cars dynamics.  The overall grip is lower than the Hoosiers as expected but the tires have significantly more slip angle and massive squirm.  Not sure if it’s tread squirm due to full tread depth or tire construction but the car was a handful.  The tires would take a set with a lot more yaw vs the Hoosiers and then they would rebound at transition.  The tires were very consistent and took repeated slides with no complaints.  Right out of the gate, I was running consistent 1:51’s on the R888’s.  After lunch, I put a set of Hoosiers (245 A7’s mounted on the same wheels) on the car and dropped 2 seconds with way less drama.  These Hoosiers are far from peak condition as they had over 10 long abusive heat cycles and are 2 years old.  I’m guessing they are a few seconds off the pace of a sticker set (estimated laptime difference between new R888’s and new A7’s is 4 seconds).  My fastest lap using 245 Hoosier A7’s at the Ridge is a 1:46 but that was before the change to T12 which I believe added about a second to my time.  The car is incredibly precise and crisp with the Hoosiers which confirmed my suspicion that the the R888’s were the cause of all the yaw action and not a chassis/suspension set-up issue.  I tried running higher pressures in the R888’s and it didn’t seem to improve the response.  I hear that this squirm gets better after a few track days – we shall see.

Observing the data shows a few things regarding track layout and tires.  The R888’s achieve nearly the same peak grip (as seen in max and min lateral G) but don’t achieve as much combined loads (as seen in G-G plot).  I’ve found the same results with sticker vs old Hoosiers as well.  You lose time in the areas of combined loading where you turn and brake or accelerate at the same time.  Below are screen shots of data comparing my previous 1:46 on Hoosiers (prior to T13 change) with the 1:49 on old Hoosiers and also comparing my fastest laps of the day on old Hoosiers vs R888’s.  A big difference with the R888’s is the instability under braking with minor steering transitions.  This instability required earlier and lighter braking especially into T11 (Thumb).  Red lines below are the 1:49 on Hoosiers in all data plots.

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I went out for my last session a little after 4:00 PM and ran some cat and mouse laps with a very nice guy in a 996 GT3 with a 450 whp 4.0 liter.  The car was on Hoosiers and was fully prepped for track work (stripped interior, lexan windows, big wing, 2650 lbs, etc).  It was a very fun session as we were running the same times despite the GT3 pulling many car lengths on the straights.  Of course my GoPro battery died on the first lap of the final session so I didn’t get any video.

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Fire Extinguisher Install

This post is a little behind chronologically. The Maryhill Hill Climb event required an on-board fire extinguisher.  I cut out and bent a mounting bracket from aluminum and bolted it down to the cross rail in front of the passenger seat using rivet-nuts.  Easy reach for the driver, doesn’t interfere with the passenger seating, and weight is nice and low.

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I also added a spring loaded stopper for my oil dipstick as it popped out the last time I was at the Ridge Motorsports Park and made a real mess.

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August testing with Turn2 at the Ridge

Track day at the Ridge Motorsports Park on August 15th.

Huge turnout.  Fun day. Great to see so many S2000’s (~25) and catch up with people I haven’t seen in several years.
I was testing some new front aero that was cobbled together a few days before the event. The first two sessions, I was struggling with rear tires that had no grip. I then switched to some other old tires that still lacked grip but had good balance front to rear. Times were slow due to tires and traffic and other excuses. Best lap was a 1:50 flat which is a long way from my 1:46 fastest lap from last year.

Here are two screen shots comparing my fastest lap on Saturday 1:50 (red/orange traces) to my fastest lap last year 1:46 (blue/purple traces). Car is pretty much the same (little heavier now with passenger seat and harness) but using old tires with more heat cycles. The primary difference in lap time is due to not being as aggressive into T1, T7, and T10. I was braking a little too much for T1 and I was lifting early for T7 and T10 (see the speed trace orange vs teal). My Lateral G’s were pretty close but max Lat G’s on Saturday were down about .1-.2 G’s due to old tires. Top speed on front straight is down about 2 mph. Initially I thought it might be due to more drag from the front aero but, from the data, it looks like I just shifted early at the 3-4 shift. 4th and 5th gear pulls look to have the same rate of acceleration. 6th gear pull looks like it might be a little slower.

The magenta line below shows lap time difference which starts at 0 and increases as I lose time. I actually picked up a half second going into T6 but lost a little bit of that mid-corner. The huge step is at T13 where the new track resulted in a 1.3 second increase in lap time. Cursor is on the entry where lap difference is flat going in on first picture (Lap Time Difference = 1.66 seconds). Cursor is at mid-corner of T14 on second picture (Lap Time Difference = 2.93 seconds). This was pretty consistent across multiple laps reviewed. This time difference will vary with speed of car, grip of tires, momentum car/hp car, etc.
That being said, I think the revised layout is at least a second slower this year.
…Or perhaps I just suck at the new T13.

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Using some scrap materials laying around, I added some extensions to the sides/corners of the splitter along with end fences and some spats to obscure the front tires.  The hope was to increase aero bias towards the front as I have been feeling a high speed push (most noticeable at Sonoma).  The new aero did change the balance at high speeds.  I need further testing with new tires all around to fully quantify the results and make further adjustments/optimizations but the results were positive.

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S2000 S1D Ridge
 
Video from the first 5 sessions below. Last sessions of the day included a speed limit at T9-T11 due to an earlier off that took out a tire wall and guardrail. Temporary safety barriers were put in place and a speed limit was enforced.

 


 

 

 

 

Shakedown at the Ridge

Lapping day at the Ridge Motorsports Park with Turn2.

Some amazing cars at the event and some talented drivers.  Was really fun dicing with GT-R’s, GT3’s, 458’s, Formula Cars, etc.  The primary goal for this event was to test out all the new changes done in the off season and test some setup changes.

Car ran like a top all day with 6 twenty minute sessions.  I was using two sets of old Hoosiers from last year for testing.  One set was mounted on the Forgestar 17 X 10’s and the fitment was excellent.  No rubbing, no spacers, front and rear specs are the same so I’m able to rotate tires for best wear.
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Spherical bearing suspension joints were quiet and direct.  Initially, it was a bit unnerving how much I could feel and hear the tires digging and scrubbing into the track but quickly got used to the immense feedback from the solid metal connection.

The biggest difference came from the HPD spec OS Giken differential and the stage 2 PuddyMod assembly.  Still getting used to the changes and working on optimizing the suspension setup to take advantage of the LSD.  I was concerned that the Salisbury style diff would be detrimental to turn-in compared to the factory Torsen but turn-in was very similar.  The biggest difference was powering out of corners.  The OS Giken equipped car seems to result in more slip angle but doesn’t get super loose.  I did have a few “moments” with sudden oversteer going over the crest at Turn 3 and a very high speed wiggle into Turn 10 but each was quickly recovered without drama.

The goal was not about laptimes, however, laptimes help validate changes made. My previous best laptime at the Ridge was a 1:46.858 from 2014. In early 2015, Turn 13 was changed and was made slower so laptime comparisons are no longer completely valid. It took me several sessions to dial in the new parts, trust the new setup, and remember how hard I could push in some key areas on the track. My best laps were in the 1:48’s. I only got a few laps in all day without traffic. Also, I left my GPS antenna in the trunk so my displayed laptimes aren’t super accurate and my logged data was pretty choppy.

Video highlights showing some of the awesome cars on track.

 

Some random pictures I shot between scrambling to get ready for each session
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