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Exedy Mach 600 clutch and Billet Flywheel Review (S197 Mustang)

This is a bit overdue (okay, long overdue) but I figured it's better late than never. If you're following me on Instagram or Facebook, you already know that I had to replace my clutch in 2018. It wasn't so much because the clutch failed. It was actually the clutch slave cylinder. Why would I need to replace the clutch if my slave cylinder went? Well, Ford had the genius idea of putting the slave cylinder inside the transmission. Ok, this isn't entirely fair. Putting my engineer hat on, I can see how this makes sense. If you put the slave cylinder in, it's outside of the elements and should theoretically last longer. Unfortunately, Ford should have invested in a better slave cylinder for this to be a great idea, not one that can't make it past 22,500 miles (36,000 kms), albeit with track use - which probably exacerbates the problem because of the additional heat and higher temps. But I digress.

At any rate, the slave cylinder went. Most people would replace the…

Street vs. Track Driving Tips - Part 2

A few days ago, I posted the first of a two-part post about driving on the street vs on the track. I brought in some help from a DriveTribe pro for this one, Bridget Rebecca. But Bridget is not just a DriveTribe pro, she's also a true gear head. She drives a text book sports car; V8 in the front, manual in the middle, and power goes to the back. It's not just any proper sports car, though, it's an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. In case you’ve missed Part 1, you should absolutely go and read it first. The first post was featured on the DriveTribe home page following her posting on her Tribe, so you know we aren’t leading you astray. Once you’re done, come back here to read the rest!

Track Driving:


Tires, Tires, Tires

Best bang for the buck to improve performance. Another broken record like modding from Part 1, I know, but somehow, it still gets overlooked. You'll find people saying I can't afford this tire or that tire but they do springs, or dampers, or roll bars, etc. F…

Street vs. Track Driving Tips

I haven’t done a post like this in quite a while so I figured it’s time to do one. I have someone helping me for this one, though. Meet Bridget Rebecca. Bridget is a bit more sensible than you'd have to be to waste as much on track driving as I do, but why would you need two track rats working on one post? You've got the best one right here (Kidding!). She's a real gear head, though. If you don't believe me, she's got a pretty good rap sheet. She owns a manual car. That car has a V8 in the front and sends power to the back. Manual, front engine, V8, and RWD, right out of the sports car gospel. She also drives that car in the winter. Did I mention that the car is an Aston Martin V8 Vantage? The same car that won the 2005 Top Gear Award for Best Noise of the Year. Told you she's a gear head.

This isn't her first gig. She's got her own Tribe under her name on DriveTribe and they recently sent her down to SEMA 2018 to provide coverage for the show. She…

Service at ISI Automotive

I wanted to get an alignment done for this season so I decided to call my friends at ISI Automotive. My car has camber plates so there is a good range of caster and camber adjustment for the front wheels. I already did an alignment when I got the camber plates but my mechanic doesn't deal with alignment varying from factory settings and aftermarket parts of this sort so I called Phil Tuff at ISI Automotive to take it in.




Phil is the service manager who runs the shop with Steve Phillips, the owner. They have worked at VW and BMW dealerships for many years and decided it was time to open a shop, but it isn't just a job. Phil has 1981 BMW 320i. Well, it used to be anyway. It is a lot more M3 than 320i now. I always bombard him with questions about the build because I think it will be awesome when done. I asked him to send me details of the build so I will make a separate post about it. In summary, though, the current engine is based on a US spec S14 M3 engine. "Based on&quo…

Tire blowout.. Happy Father's day!

Today started great. My wife planned a great day for us today, being father's day. She and our son made a little gift for my office. We then went to a local wild life park with our son, which he seemed to love. Then we had a picnic. In the evening, though, we had to go to the store to pick up some groceries and life had different plans about ending the day.

We were driving home and heard a pop. The car drove normal and there were no other noises after. I figured we hit a piece of plastic or something and we were above to pull up in a few minutes so thought I'd check it then. We stopped at a traffic light and when we pulled up after it went green, I heard and felt the unmistakable noise and vibration of a flat tire. I pull into a parking lot, go to look, and sure enough - the wheel was basically sitting on the asphalt separated by a layer of rubber. The tire was completely flat.

My first thought was: "Crap tires!" The tires are Aeolus all season tires. It's a Ch…

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Review

I recently replaced my worn out Continental ExtremeContact DW with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. I don't know how they are at high speed (say +120 mph) because our local track doesn't have long straights but traction out of corners is phenomenal compared to the stock Pirellis and Contis. They take the heat better too, more stable over the length of a lapping session.

The car is a 2012 Mustang Boss 302. Sizes are 265/35/18 fronts and 285/35/18 rears on TSW Nurburgring 18" x 9.5" wheels at all for corners. All wheels are downsized in diameter from the stock 19" and the front wheels are wider compared to the stock 9" fronts. Front tires are also wider, compared to the stock size which is 255/40/19.
If you're considering pulling the trigger on a set of Michelin PSS's to use on the street/track, I highly recommend it.

I'm back as a new parent!

I unfortunately haven't been able to write lately but, luckily, it was for a very good reason. I am very happy to say that just over two months ago, we were blessed with a healthy little boy and I became a very proud father. Things are finally starting to settle down a bit and get into a routine (except for his sleeping schedule but, luckily, the wife is taking care of that) so I will have more time to start writing again. Now, to make this post as car related as possible, I'll conclude this with a few tips for new or expecting parents:

1 - Make sure you put the baby seat in the middle position. Many manuals and forums recommend the middle position but, aside from safety reasons in case of a crash, putting the seat on the left or right sides is less practical because it renders the door on that side basically useless for anything besides getting the baby in and out. Putting it in the middle will also make it easier to get the baby out from either side of the vehicle which is im…

Chicago hit and run - this is a bad one!

If you mention hit and run, you already know there are bad driving manners involved. How do you define a bad hit and run? I think this video sums it up pretty well. In an attempt to run away and avoid having to provide insurance information, the driver hits not one or two but three cars. That's three cars while attempting to get away - i.e. three in addition to the car the driver hit in the first place for a total of four hit and runs within a few minutes. That's a bad hit and run.. luckily, the getaway was caught on camera so hopefully someone was able to get the license plate number. 




Discount Tire Direct - A Canadian Order That's Tough to Beat

Last December, I bought light weight 18" wheels to replace the heavier 19" stock wheels. I had been planning on doing it this summer but I was forced to do it at the time (find out why here). I always have several automotive parts website bookmarked. Whenever I want to buy something, I open up the related sites (in this case Tire Rack, Discount Tire Direct, 1010Tires, etc.) and decide (mostly) based on prices and shipping charges, the latter are often a lot for orders shipping from the US to Canada.

I ended up on Discount Tire Direct (DTD) because they had the best prices and they were very helpful over the phone. I was happy to find good service but was very disappointed that Discount Tire had the best prices.. let me explain. If you go to the home page of 1010Tires, you'll see "We are Canadian, Eh! All Canadian orders are shipping from Canada, Pay no duties, Pay no brokerage fees, etc." A clear selling message that if you're in Canada and you buy from th…

Got'er fixed - The Boss is all set to go!

Last time I took my car to the track, a 2012 Mustang Boss 302, I had a steering issue occur more than once, where it seemed like power steering cut off temporarily for less than a second at a time (full post: 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Back at the track!). I took the car to the dealership, Steele Ford, and they asked me a few questions about the issue when I went to drop it off.

As is the case with any sports cars owners, I was reluctant to say that the problem occurred on the track. There's a long track record (see what I did there?) of dealerships refusing warranty work on a car simply because the tires of it touched the asphalt of a road course, regardless of whether the cause of the problem is abusing the car on a track. Nevertheless, I decided to be honest to better help them diagnose the problem and to put trust in them in the hope of them putting trust back in me.

Well, I was not disappointed. They said they'll look at it and see if they find any codes and go from th…

Touchless Carwash Review (Esso)

I went to get a car wash today and I was very unimpressed with the results. I don't like to use automatic car washes. Touchless car washes usually don't clean that well and I worry about scratches at ones that uses brushes. However, we went on a long trip yesterday and there was a lot of dirt and some bird droppings on the car and I couldn't wash it myself. I don't like to leave these sitting on the car so I decided to go for a car wash. I know touchless car washes leave a little behind but today was even worse.






There were bird droppings left on the door sills and above the handles.





On the back, there was dirt left right under the taillight, along the entire length, and it's the same case at the other taillight and under the spoiler.

I'm not really suggesting that this specific car wash (Esso) is bad. I can't clean everything off the car easily while I'm washing it and I can't expect a touchless car wash to clean as well. This is simply the reason w…

Ticket for Driving 2 MPH Under The Limit

There are some people on the road who don't take too well to being passed, even if they're driving under the limit. Sometimes when I pass a driver and get back in the right lane, he or she floors the accelerator, changes lanes and drives in the left/passing lane next to a slow vehicle at the same speed that vehicle to block me for a while. Needless to say, it is VERY frustrating and it seems like people like that may have something to worry about in the future.

According to Jalopnik, a lady in Maryland was pulled over and ticketed for driving 2 mph under the limit (full post: You'll Love The Police For Giving A Woman A Ticket For 2 MPH Under The Limit). I don't know if she was blocking someone in particular, as I have seen happen several times on the highway, or she simply didn't think it was a big deal to drive under the limit in a passing lane. There is usually a law that states you can only drive in the left lane while passing. I don't know if that's the…

Mods That Make People Think You're A Dirtbag

Ever wonder what mods make you look like a dirtbag to people? Jalopnik put together a top-10 list of worst mods according to its readers (full post: Ten Car Mods That Make People Think You're An A--hole). I agree with the majority of them and I am actually (pleasantly) surprised that stance is number 1 on the list. However, I wouldn't put stance as number one. My number one is very low on the offence list - sitting comfortable at number 9.




HID Kits In Stock Housings: As Jalopnik wrote, wanting better and brighter headlights is just fine. Getting a cheap set isn't a problem for me either - it's your car and it's up to you to take care of it - and putting them in stock housings isn't necessarily the problem. The problem is HIDs in reflector/non-projector housings. Nothing says you're dirtbag more than blinding oncoming traffic, increasing the risk of a crash, because you're too cheap to properly modify your car.

HIDs in reflector housings are not only bad …






Does An Aftermarket Grille Really Increase Airflow?
I put a Saleen S281 grille to the test to answer that question.

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's
What you need to fit a proper size square tire setup.

How Limited Slip Diffs Make You Faster on Track
What you need to know about how they put power down and pros and cons.

Can Telemetry Explain Schumacher's Talent?
A comparison between Schumacher's and then team mate Herbert's data.






Cayman GT4 Track Review
The first Cayman with proper (911-challenging) power.

Is an EcoBoost Mustang any good on Track?
Two days at the track in a Mustang short 4 cylinders.

2016 BMW M4 DCT Track Review
It's quick (properly quick). But is it fun?

Can a stock Golf Diesel handle a Track Day?
Not your every day track beater.




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Michelin Pilot Super Sports vs Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 - Street Review

I've been a huge fan of Michelin PSS tires and exclusively bought them for the Mustang over the last four years. So how did I end up here? This year, I was hugely interested in trying an "R-comp" tire. I had my eyes set on Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's for two simple reasons: price and reputation. Although not a true "R-comp" tire on paper, it performs like one by the account of every single test and review I've read (down to wear rates...). They seem like they're easily the most affordable (from a big brand) R-comp tire and combine that with a reputation for having tons of grip, it was an easy top contender. I had my concerns, though. For one, I'm told and have read that they are an autox tire, not really designed for high speed, pressure, and temps associated with open track. For another, the Mustang is a heavy car (as far as track cars are concerned) being roughly 3,800 lb. (including driver), which will amplify the unwanted open track loads.…

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Track Review

For better or for worse, I have heard and read so much about RE-71R's. Everyone swears by the grip but complains about the wear. Generally speaking, the pros are:

1. They grip as well or better than most R comps.
2. They don't wear as quickly as R comps if driven occasionally on the street.
3. They work better in the rain than R comps.

The cons were limited to overheating quickly when used on track (being an autocross tire) and wearing too fast on heavy cars like mine.

In the popular 200 TW category, they are faster than the popular Hankook RS-4's and BFGoodrich Rival S's according to published Tire Rack Tests. According to plenty of reviews, they are also faster than well established R comps like R888R's (which don't seem to work too well on heavy cars anyway) and the venerable NT01's. But I was still hesitant for a while until I talked to a tire tech support gentleman at Tire Rack who has gone faster on RE-71R's than NT01s. In a Mustang (his own, not…

GTR vs Evo X vs STI: which has the best AWD system?

A few weeks ago, I made a post explaining mainstream AWD system types and how they compare, pros and cons, etc. including some simple diagrams to show where the power goes and how much. As promised, this post will focus on specific cars and what AWD systems they use, especially ones that that have more or less been defined by their AWD systems, and the best place to start may be with a bombshell; the Nissan GT-R.


Nissan GT-R (R35)

The GT-R has built a reputation around having monster traction and very approachable performance, thanks to its AWD system - Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain (ATTESA) - and what it can do for you. But the GT-R doesn't actually use the most mechanically sophisticated type of AWD systems discussed in the previous article, namely a "true" AWD with a centre differential. Instead, it uses a clutch pack to transfer power.


The R32, R33, and R34 Skyline GT-R's used a system that looked basically identical to the traditiona…

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's

If you've had any doubts about whether or not they will fit, fear not! You absolutely can run square 305/30/19's. I had a lot of doubts before pulling the trigger, even more so when the wheels where on the car. The tires do poke out a bit and I figured rubbing is all but guaranteed at full compression but I couldn't be happier I trusted APEX and those on here who have run it.

Here's what you need:

1. Camber plates: I have MM C/C plates and they are maxed out at -2.3 deg with the stock struts. I have been running them for years with many track days without issue.

2. 1"/25 mm spacer: I have Motorsport-tech 1" spacers and they look like high quality units. There is maybe a 1/4 inch clearance in the back so you can't go any narrower than 25 mm. http://www.motorsport-tech.com/adaptec/car/ford_s and you want Design 2.


3. Elongated studs: your best bet is to get the FPP hubs with elongated studs instead of reusing the old one. Bearings are consumables anyway so…