|Jump to:||Clear Lenses||Centerforce D-F Clutch||Toyo T1-s Tires|
|Dyno Test #2||ATE Brake Fluid||Dyno Test #3|
|Quaife Differential||Hot Lap Timing System||Hardened Tapered Wheel Bearings|
Larger pic HERE.
Wow, it's been a while since I last added an appearance item. When I first saw these, I thought they looked just a bit too ricey for me. After a closer look, I kind of liked them. Construction quality was nice, and the car looked better without the stock amber lenses.
I found this set being offered on eBay by Motorsport Warehouse, and installation wasn't very difficult. On my 94 (first generation), the bulbs that are in the amber turn signal lens from the factory are clear. You can find the equivalent amber bulbs at any auto parts store to use with these clear lenses, and they'll go a long way toward keeping the police from bothering you.
Dyno Test #2
2/2001: Dyno testing was done when the SPC gathered for the 2001 Chicago Auto Show. Modifications to the car included all items listed prior to this date (you can follow my chronological list HERE): HS Intake w/ conical filter, HS header, Borla cat-back exhaust, Random Technology catalytic converter, Centerforce 1 clutch, and Vitek plug wires.
Quaife Limited Slip Differential
"The Quaife Differential powers both drive wheels under nearly all conditions, instead of just one. With an ordinary open differential, standard on most cars, a lot of precious power is wasted during wheelspin under acceleration. This happens because the open differential shifts power to the wheel with less grip (along the path of least resistance). The Quaife, however, does just the opposite. It senses which wheel has the better grip, and biases the power to that wheel. It does this smoothly and constantly, and without ever completely removing power from the other wheel." - from the Quaife website.
Pictures of the installation process as well as my opinions on the performance of the differential can be found in my projects section.
I've mentioned it before - a clutch is an upgrade that that you should only proceed with (IMO) if: a) you really need a new clutch, b) you've added a turbo/nitrous/supercharger and/or have done some internal motor work, or c) you'll be doing the job yourself (a Saturn retailer will charge you a TON for labor).
With the addition of the Quaife differential, it made sense
to do a clutch at the same time. With the transmission already removed, the clutch
installation labor only added about 10 minutes to the job. The dual friction clutch
replaced my prior Centerforce 1 (read my write-up on the Centerforce 1 HERE) which performed well during the 30k
miles that I used it. I chose the dual friction this time mainly for durability reasons,
as I've known several other Saturn owners over the years who have had excellent results
with it. More pictures of this clutch and the installation process can be found in
my projects section.
|4/1/2001 - Recent events have given me a great opportunity
to evaluate the performance & feel of this clutch. I recently bought a 92 SC which has a relatively new stock clutch (it's been a while
since I've driven a car with a stock clutch), and I recently put about a thousand miles on
this new clutch in my 94 SC2 (including street driving and one track
The CFDF clutch feels very different than the stock clutch does, although it isn't very difficult to become accustomed to it. Engagement of the stock clutch feels to be at about the middle of the pedal travel, and it grabs gradually over about a third of that travel. The CFDF clutch engages in the top quarter of the pedal travel - which means that you can effectively shift very quickly by only pressing the clutch pedal in about a quarter of the way. I don't recommend this, however, as I doubt that it is good for the long-term wear and reliability of the clutch. Pedal pressure with the CFDF is also significantly lighter, requiring less effort to engage the clutch. The engagement of the CFDF under extremely hard acceleration also feels stronger, and feels as though it occurs more abruptly and with less slippage.
4/21/2001 - Even after a few hard launches and heating up from several quarter mile runs, the CFDF clutch held well - better than the Centerforce 1 that I had previously.
6/21/2003 - The clutch has been removed from my '94 SC2 in order to go into the '92 SC for the track. The friction material doesn't appear to be very worn, and it still looks like new even after a significant amount of road course lapping and drag racing.
ATE Super Blue Brake Fluid
On a road course, braking system health is extremely important. High-quality brake fluid isn't that expensive, and its a good practice to change it every year or two. I've used Castrol GT-LMA fluid until now, but haven't been able to find it any more in local auto parts stores.
Since the ATE fluid had a great reputation and was easy to find online, I ordered a few liters from BMP Design. The ATE comes in metal containers, so it should be able to sit on a shelf longer than most fluids in plastic bottles would without absorbing moisture. It has a much higher boiling point than the Castrol fluid does, and is a very deep blue color making it easy to tell when you've bled all the old fluid out of your braking system.
- This weekend I drove more than 50 - 75 laps at our first track event of the season (at
Gingerman Raceway, see the write-up HERE).
In the past, I've used both stock and Castrol GT-LMA brake fluid and always felt
some brake pedal sponginess after prolonged hard track use. This was the first time
out of all our events that the pedal felt as good at the end of the day as it did at the
beginning. The blue paint was completely burned off a set of new Hawk Blue pads by the end of the weekend, but the feel of the
brakes did not change.
Hot Lap In-Car Timing System
Road course lapping sessions are mainly geared toward instruction and driver improvement. You are not racing against other drivers, and lap times are not kept.
Since I've done a good number of lapping sessions/driving schools, I've come to the point where I would like an indicator of my progress as time goes by. It will also be easier to work toward consistency and improve technique with the feeback that this system will give.
This system is made by Longacre Racing and consists of a stationary
infrared transmitter, car-mounted receiver, and car-mounted time display.
- I finally got a chance to use the system at the track and took some photos of the
installed pieces. You can see the display mounted on the dash HERE with a quick release bracket (the
display is installed only when I'm on the track, and the cable tucks away in the glove
box). The receiver is mounted on the rear C-pillar where the clothes hook normally
resides, and you can see it HERE.
10/2002 - With my '94 SC2
retired from track duties, this system was moved to
my '92 SC.
Toyo T1-S Tires (205/50-16, Z-Rated)
Since it was time to replace the set of Nitto NT-450s I've had on the car until now, I thought I'd try a set of Toyos this time around. From what I've read about these tires, they're about as close to a race tire as you can get for the street.
6/2/2001 - I've put about 2000 street miles on these tires, and also used them for a visit to the dragstrip. In comparison to the Nittos that I had previously, the Toyos have less tread noise, much better rain performance, and straight line & cornering grip is excellent. These are a damn good set of tires.
6/2003 - The tires look to be at just above
half tread and are wearing extremely well. Traction is still excellent, and I'm
still impressed by these tires - especially in the rain.
|7/2006 - After 5 years and 38,000
miles, these tires were at the end of their useful life. Faint dry-rot
cracks were beginning to be visible where the tread met the sidewall, the
tread was down to about 1/3 or its original depth, and traction had fallen
off noticeably as they reached this age. I replaced them with a set of
Kumho Ecsta 711s (read my thoughts on them
Dyno Test #3
6/30/2001: More dyno testing was done when the SPC gathered for the 2001 Rally. Modifications to the car included all items listed prior to this date (you can follow my chronological list HERE): HS Intake w/ conical filter, HS header, Borla cat-back exhaust, Random Technology catalytic converter, Vitek plug wires, and most recently - a Centerforce dual friction clutch, new coil packs, and the Quaife limited-slip differential.
I am extremely happy that the Quaife LSD doesn't appear to significantly impact power output. Since the motor is now driving two wheels, I had expected to see the HP numbers fall a bit.
Hardened Tapered Wheel Bearings
With quite a few miles on the car and several years of torturing lapping sessions (most on race tires), I decided it was time to replace the front wheel bearings. During our last track lapping session, THREE cars suffered wheel bearing failures, and I'd prefer not to have to deal with a problem like that so far from home.
I got these from SPS,
and they're a bit more heavy duty than the stock bearings. These are roller, while
the OEM are ball. Removing the front hubs from the car isn't that difficult with air
tools, but without them it would have been next to impossible. A hydraulic press is
also required to remove & reinstall the bearings in the hubs.
Mid 2002 - During an alignment, the Saturn tech realized that there was some play in one of the front bearings. I know that the torque spec on the front axle nuts is very high, but apparently the nut needs to be super tight. The tech put an impact on it for about ten seconds, and the play was gone. He also said that he sees this also with stock bearings, and the bearing will quickly destroy itself if that nut isn't extremely tight.
10/2006 - I've noticed a dramatic increase in noise while driving. It sounds a lot like tire/road noise, but with a faint bit of grinding vibration with it. When I began disassembly of the driver's side hub, the axle nut seemed like it came off a bit too easily. It didn't feel as tight as it should have, in light of the serious tightening it had been given above. After removal of the hub/knuckle from the car, spinning it by hand produced a grinding noise and noticeable vibration. The wheel bearing had gone bad after about 60,000 miles. A new bearing from Autozone ran about $30, and after visiting a local machine shop to get the old one removed and the new one pressed in, the problem was fixed and all was back to normal. I was a bit surprised that the bearing didn't last a bit longer - especially since it hadn't seen any track time at all.