It has been a long road over the last few weeks, with breakages, upgrades and maintenance all happening in some sort of chaotic order in an effort to have the car ready for tuning. But it was all worthwhile on the day…
Over the past week, Ryan from Racer Pipes & Fabrication has been hard at work making some new aluminium intercooler pipes and stainless steel front pipes. He also fitted a new 3″ 200cpsi Magnaflow cat. He finished with the car at midnight on Wednesday. On Thursday night I, with help from Dave, tried to fit a new Walbro fuel pump only to discover that I had been given the wrong o-ring. After an emergency trip to find the correct o-rings on Friday by my Dad while I was at Calder, I finally dropped the new pump in at about 9:30pm Friday night. The car was finally ready!
I went to RTR in Dandenong (the host for the day of Steve from Transformance Mechanical Engineering) for the OzVR4.com tuning day hoping for 3 things. Firstly, I didn’t want the car to break. Secondly, I didn’t want to have the lowest power output on the day. Thirdly, I wanted more than 160kw and maybe, if everything went right, to crack 170kw. I knew the parts I’d had made and fitted over the past few weeks weren’t going to let me down, but I didn’t know the health of my engine or turbos so I wanted to be realistic.
After fitting a new 3-port boost control solenoid, Steve disconnected any form of boost control and ran the car on wastegate boost to get a baseline figure. It ran up 125kw. From there some tuning was done, bringing the car up to around 140-ish still on wastegate boost. Then it was on to the first of the two maps to be tuned – the low boost 9-10psi map. First we passed 150kw, then 160kw, landing around the 165kw mark. I had passed my 160kw base goal, and was stoked to find that there was still more tuning to go…
On to the high boost mapping – the car was running sweetly, we passed 170kw and the pressure was off. It didn’t look like breaking, and I had passed my goal. But there was more. We passed 175kw, then I was floored when we posted just above 180kw. Talking to Steve after the 180kw run he told me that he was backing it off a little as he had detected some knock on that run. “Ah well”, I thought, it has already passed my goal so backing it down from 180 isn’t so bad. I was a little surprised, then, when the “backed off” run made 182kw, and the next and final run posted just over 183kw!
Steve was happy, I was happy, and we were done. On high boost, the car makes around 170kw at under 4500 rpm which is perfect for the street. I’ve always loved a good solid midrange punch and the car now has that in spades.
On the road, the car punches hard and fast. It keeps pulling well up in the rev range (not a stock VR-4’s strong suit with the little TD-03s running out of flow on stock mapping) and also pulls strongly in all gears. It also sounds cool. I’ll try and get a video for you soon. I’m not going to pretend it is some sort of tyre frying monster – that was never the intention. Instead, it is seriously fast and fun but still a completely practical, streetable, stock-looking and safely tuned daily driver. I’m not into big power-chasing, not in a daily driver anyway, so this setup is absolutely perfect for me.
I love it.
To underline the potential in these cars, consider this – the car is running standard turbos, a standard fuel system with a bolt-in replacement fuel pump, standard ignition with upgraded plugs, a standard airbox and a standard ECU. With that (EPA legal) setup, I’m making 250hp at all 4 wheels.
Massive thanks to Steve from Transformance and Ryan from Racer Pipes for getting the car to where it is. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!
Having said all that, though, you and I both know the Domo air freshener is what made the power. It smells like strawberries! Probably should have been apples, but meh.