With the suspension/wheels done, it wasn’t long until i started looking at options to extract a little more power. (edit::actual order of mods was coilovers–>amuse exhaust–>advan TC3)
But before that, i managed to talk myself into getting a lightweight lithium battery. Found it as the TRD Griffon utilised the same Shorai battery and the weight savings were very significant. Something to the tune of around 11-12kg’s. That is a massive saving when you think about it. I purchased a kit made by KC Machine which was made to a very high quality and the kit fit in perfect along with the supplied Shorai battery. However, just after a 1 week holiday, the car ran flat. I had thought the battery would be able to last for such a period but apparently not. Even after jumping the battery up again, it never held charge quite the same. After 3 consecutive days of not starting it up, it is flat again. I believe irreversible damage has already occurred so i chucked in the OEM batt once again. Not willing to sacrifice 11kg’s for something that needs to be on a trickle charger if i am away for a holiday. Later on down the track i might reinvestigate in a higher rated shorai batt. Hopefully one that can still take the same KC Machine’s battery tray because it really is a beautiful piece.
One of those mods that i tried and didn’t work and reverted back to stock.
Onto power. Have you seen the hyper rev magazines available for the 86/brz? It is chunky editions with a million options. If choosing the suspension was hard. Choosing the exhaust system was literally a mind fuck. There were so many options available. On top of the JDM options, there were plenty of (good) american options as well. Tomei, Fujitsubo, HKS, Amuse, Perrin, TRD, Greddy, Etc etc
Ultimately at the end of the day i did a Jing thing and purchased one of the best exhausts i can get. Best not as in the best power gain or best sound but rather best in the meaning of luxury and exclusivity. I have to admit. I always wanted an Amuse exhaust and it might as well have being this car. It makes no sense to spend a entire IHE system’s cost onto a single exhaust but i did it all the same. I wanted to and i could and i did. Sometimes i find it easier to just satisfy my curiosity and move on rather then pondering how it could have being. As it turns out. It probably wasn’t worth the money and if i had the option to do it again, i would most likely not have gone down this path. But i had to go down this path once.
It doesn’t even sound that exciting to be honest. I remember first firing up the car at IXA garage and thinking “is that it?” At the end of the day i think it is quite a dailyable exhaust with a resonated design that isn’t too loud but it certainly isn’t the oral symphony that is the amuse exhaust bolted up to a Z-series. That however comes down to engine more than anything else. The FA20 engine just doesn’t sound that ….. exciting. The system is light and drops a significant chunk of weight over the stock system and it looks awesome. I guess that’s where my money went. I keep telling myself that the weight saving is pretty awesome but who am i kidding. It wasn’t worth the money for the gains that it provided. This is a luxury item for sure. At least there are plenty of people wanting the exhaust if i do decide to sell later on down the track (more on that later). Did it improve performance by just having the exhaust by itself? Nope. No difference that i could tell at all. Still, look at dem welds. Every car enthusiast should own a set of titanium exhaust in their life. If only just once.
What followed in the next week or two was the finalisation on the rest of the exhaust. From piecing together info here and there, i went down the path of a HKS extractor/front pipe combo along with a invida overpipe. There were three conditions i had. It had to be equal length. I wanted to have a cat on exhaust and also i wanted my front pipe with a resonator as well. There were only two systems which offered this. One was the revolution setup and one was the HKS super manifold R-spec. I decided on the HKS super manifold after comparing prices and favourable dyno’s from some forum members. I got the system installed by JDMYARD and drove off with the car having just the extract/overpipe/frontpipe and catback exhaust and this time i definitely noticed the difference.
If the amuse did nothing, the extractor definitely did a lot. I am not sure if it was just the extractors or a combo of both but the extractors smoothed out the torque dip and made it a lot easier and enjoyable to drive around at an easy pace. In line with what dyno’s i was seeing. Sound wise it made it a little less droney and a little more raspy. I always though TI exhausts were meant to be quite dry/raspy but the amuse never really was. After the extractor setup though i did start noticing a little more raspyness in the tone, even if slightly. The extractors were worth it then. Not sure how it would compare to other extractors that are much cheaper like the Tomei and then going for a MXP or Invidia front pipe but it was probably as good as you can do for a NA setup that had a cat on board. i am sure without a cat or resonator you can squeeze out some more power.
One thing i should have done and might do later on down the track is take it all apart and heat wrap it. Car gets pretty hot and i am sure the thin TI exhaust doesn’t help.
With the exhaust setup done and dusted, i awaited the arrival of my brake kit. Once again, i did plenty of research and the most prominent choice by far was the essex competition ap racing kit. It was cheap (in the states at least) @ $1900ish but that pricing didnt really translate across to Aus pricing. Over here it was a fair bit more. I did some more looking around and decided why not try something different. Something that didn’t have the tried and tested base that the essex kit had but was a household name in JDM culture. My reasoning is how bad can a endless brake kit be? Surely it would be plenty awesome being endless correct? Yes and No.
This one is a little bit more of a mixed bag. I am over the fence on whether the money was worth it or not. Aesthetics wise, it was worth it. Performance wise it is harder to split. On track, the stock brakes gave you maybe 2 laps or less of decent braking before going to crap for the remaining lifespan of the fluid in the system. The pads glazed over and generally it isn’t up to the job of hammering out lap after lap. On this front the endless certainly delivers. Have being out for 7-10 laps at a time and have not experienced any fade what-so-ever. It definitely did it’s job. On the front of out-right power/brake feel i am less convinced. This could be because i went for a fairly street compound pad in the MX72 or maybe the break in procedure was not followed perfectly. Either way i am not 100% sure but after installing the brake kit, i didn’t find the pedal feel to improve nor did i find initial bite/outright bite to be that much better as well.
How much of it is brake pad and how much of it is the break in procedure i will never know. I think when i next revisit the brake setup, i will finish up the rear (rear is currently on stock pads/rotors) and then maybe re-look at a different set of pads/reface the rotors and bed it in properly.