My Goals : Super Responsive and Versatile
My GT-R is first and for most my daily driver. I use it every day during the week to drop off my oldest daughter at school on my way to work and whenever I can on the weekends if my errands permit. That being said, I only put about 3500 miles on my car a year because I live and work in the city and my commute is short. I have my wife's truck for our family vacation and heavy duty errands. Most of my longer trips in the GT-R are to the track. I try to hit a road course twice a year and I make it to the drag strip maybe 6 to 8 times a year. Cars and racing are one of my primary hobbies and I hope to make it to the track a lot more as my young kids get older. All of this is a long winded way of saying I wanted an engine/turbo set-up that would not sacrifice the excellent drivability and "fun around town" feel of my old FBO E85 set up and that would be very responsive on a road course. Improving my times at the drag strip was a nice to have secondary objective of my build but not the primary objective so I knew I wanted to stick with a 900whp+/- stock manifold set-up but overbuild everything else for reliability and in the unlikely case I ever decide to go with a bigger turbo set up.
Build Path and Specs
After I owned my GT-R for a few weeks I was pretty sure I wanted to fully build it and keep it long term rather than trading it out after 2 years like I have done with my last few cars. I didn't see anything else in the market that met my versatility needs and was as much fun to drive as my GT-R and my view was (and is) that in a decade or so the R35 GT-R will be viewed as something of a highwater mark for "digitally analog" Japanese sports cars if the NSX tell us anything about what is to come. I also only have garage parking for two cars so a 3rd dedicated "fun" car is not really in the cards any time in the near or midterm. This freed me up mentally to put some money into my GT-R.
If I was single I would have fully built my GT-R immediately after deciding to do so but family related spending and saving put me on a staged build path that many of your are familiar with. I started my mods immediately after purchasing my 2014 GT-R new with exterior stuff like a full bumper to bumper Excel ultimate paint protection wrap and some clear side markers. A few months later after my first POS check up and oil change and when I was sure there were not any factory quality control issues with my powertrain I went FBO e85 other than my stock downpipes and added some aftermarket wheels and tires. A year later I replaced the stock suspension with the Litchfield kit and my brake lines with SS lines. About a year later I was back at the shop switching out my stock downpipes for AMS catless downpipes for better sound and response from my HKS Spec R Ti exhaust but with the switch to a catted Cobb midpipe for emissions and refinement purposes (all exhaust components DEI heat wrapped and bungs added post midpipe cats for secondary 02 sensors). At this time I also switched over form MAF to SD tuning and added an AMS dual Omega fuel system set up to my GT-R as one of the last intermediate steps I thought I could take before really spending a bunch of money on engine/turbo/tranny upgrades.
Thinking about next steps was hard but I knew it would consist of a full transmission build stage (Shep1K + drop gears + axles) or a full motor build and turbo upgrade. I know many split up the engine and turbo upgrades separately but that approach duplicates labor cost and downtime for the two engine drops and if you upgrade the turbos first this creates even more risk than a FBO E85 set-up to the stock block. Once some very lightly used Linney stock manifold EFR turbos (Borg Warner 6758 EFRs) and a FMIC kit feel into my lap last fall the engine + turbo path choice was pretty much the clincher on top of my view that safety and broken part cost mitigation warrant building the engine rather than the transmission first even at FBO e85 levels. With all that set-up here are my build specs:
· Linney Stock Manifold EFR (BW 6758) + PTP Turbo Blankets in lieu of factory heat shields + UCP custom fabricated hardlines in lieu of flexible lines in kit (see pics below)
· UCP/Drummond Race Cars Mid Level Built 3.8L (10.1 CR AMS/Manley Extreme Duty Pistons, Manley Turbo Tuff Connecting Rods, Kelford 266 Cams + Springs, ARP Studs, Kurt Brown Ported OEM Intake Manifold)
· AMS fuel rail kit + upgraded fuel lab regulator
· Buschur Racing Pro Catch Can
· Buschur Racing Front Mount Intercooler Kit (Street) + Tial BOVs
· AMS Omega dual brushless fuel system
· Gotboost SD and fuel failsafe kit
· Visconti V2 flexfuel kit
· Gotboost 3 inch intakes
· FIC 1650cc injectors
· DEI Heat Wrapped AMS downpipes
· DEI Heat Wrapped Cobb catted midpipe
· HKS Spec R Ti exhaust
In December of 2016 I will add the following:
· Shep 1K + drop gears
· DSS Pro Level Rear Axle Kit
· T1 Trans Brace
· AMS Trans Pan
· AMS Coolant Expansion Tank (should have done with this build)
Since I am going with a full Shep 1K route in a few months I did not see the sense in going with an intermediate 2.5 level trans build until then since I would still need to detune anyhow for stock 2-6. Even a simple clutch upgrade seemed like it would involve quite a bit of duplicated expense with R&R, fluids, and shipping for the trans and then the clutch would need to be upgraded anyhow for the full trans build baskets.
In December, I am also considering swapping out my HKS exhaust/Cobb catted midpipe combo for a 4 inch straight through titanium option like Linney's Titan or the ETS exhaust but I am not quite sure I want to dump my cats yet unless there is a significant wall we hit in tuning because of the more restrictive exhaust set-up.
Both my pump gas and E85 dyno graphs are included in the pictures below but my final low reading mustang dyno#s (remember detuned for my stock transmission) are 766whp/660wtrq on E85 and 703whp/601wtrq on pump gas. For reference my FBO e85 set-up did 570 who/560 wtrq on this same dyno. My tuner thinks these turbos will put down over 900 whp on this dyno on e85 once my trans is built and we can turn them up full tilt. Can't wait!
As you would expect for a stock trans tune, the torque in my build tune comes in gradually and stays flat while horsepower builds steeply to my now cam extended 7700 redline. On the street, I do not detect any loss in low end off the line response from my new set-up nor do I feel any increase in spool (perhaps this will change later after my trans build and the turbos can go full tilt off the line assuming my tires can handle). However, after 3500 rpms the new turbos feel bonkers and pull strong all the way through redline. No more fallout in power at 5800 rpms like the stock turbos. My GT-R powerband feels much more race car like now and kinda of like my old e90 M3 but with much more torque, so much so I can light up all 4 tires from a 40 roll WOT. I also love the unique ti wheel spooling sound of the EFR turbos, which dominates the engine sound from about 2500 rpms to 5500 rpms. It is really hard to explain but I have never heard anything like it before.
For those of you who have already made the jump beyond bolt-ons none of this will sound particularly interesting or new to you but for those of you who have not the power jump here is definitely more noticeable and transformative than from stock to FBO e85. But what is great about this stock manifold turbo set-up is it does not seem to have resulted in a sacrifice of any of the fun around town driving feel and responsiveness of my fbo e85 set up.
I have only had the car back for about a week at this point and will share more as I spend more time in the car over the summer. I can't wait to get to the drag strip to see how my times have improved. Weather looks not too great for tomorrow and I am away for two weekends in May so it may not be till June when I can get the car to the track but I am planing on regular trips starting after that and will share my results.
Choice of UCP as My Shop and my Experience
As I said in another thread, I always have my cars worked on locally and like being able to see progress firsthand and have local support for events, maintenance, and follow up service/tweaks, which is why I chose UCP for my build and all my prior FBO e85 mechanical work and tuning work after they become an Ecutek tuner.
I would be lying if I said I was a little shocked and frustrated with all the drama from a few weeks back with Max and UCP but Carmelo and Arjay really stepped up to work through all the front office side of my build and straighten everthing out in terms of my parts, bills, scope of work etc. Without getting in to details, I really believe that they are trying to make a bad situation right and are much better without Max handling the front office/sales and being their online persona on this site. I look forward to see what Carmelo can do with the shop moving ahead.
In terms of the shop side of my build, I have no complaints and I wish to give many thanks to Drew (the main mechanic working on my car) and Garth (my tuner) for a great job. The build did take 12 weeks instead of 8 weeks but the holdup was attributable to the machine shop (Drummond) keeping my engine for 8 weeks rather than the 4 weeks anticipated due to their racing build backlog and I do not attribute this to UCP. In fact, my engine was removed from my car within a day of dropping off my GT-R at UCP and once my engine came back from Drummond, UCP worked diligently to get all my mechanical work and tuning done in 4 weeks. Drew did an excellent job on the mechanical work and the little bit of fabrication work for my build (see custom hardline pics below) and sent me daily updates on progress. Garth spent a bunch of time getting my tune just right and is following up with me on logging after delivery to make sure everything is running right on the street and at the track and to do any fine tuning I want. So far I have only run E85 but the tune seems to be running great even in slow speed driving, which was one of my concerns jumping to bigger injectors and a higher compression engine.
I will update this thread with further impressions as I spend more time with car over the summer. If any problems arise I will be transparent about them. As I said on another thread, I am gainfully employed outside of the auto industry as an attorney and am not compensated by UCP in any fashion for sharing my views and like to think I am unbiased.
In the mean time, here are some build pics below:
Edited by pgordon888, 29 April 2016 - 12:04 PM.