Mishimoto Catch Can Install and Review

Recently we picked up an Associate Sponsorship from Mishimoto. We’ve been a big fan of what Mishimoto has done in the automotive space; specializing in the intake, cooling, and oil control fields. We knew that running our Stealth Bomber at high RPM out on the track would cause excess oil consumption, so our first addition from the Mishimoto line was their Compact Baffled Oil Catch Can. We chose the two-port variant and installed it on the driver-side valve cover PCV hose. Here is the engine bay before the install.

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Installation was fairly easy. Besides the catch can, we sourced some 1/2″ fuel/PCV line from a local auto parts store. We inspected our potential mounting areas and found the location of our oil pressure sensor array to be the perfect spot. We located those sensors underneath the air filter, out of the way of any major heat sources and moving parts.

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Then, we removed the existing PCV line by turning the green levers and removing the hose. We then used a razor blade to slit the hose end, allowing us to remove the OEM fittings.

The 1/2″ fuel line was proving extremely hard to fit over the OEM fittings. We used an old hot rodder’s trick, soaking the line in hot water to soften it up, then slipped the hose over the barbed ends. We then drilled two holes in an OEM bracket on the strut tower, mounted the Mishimoto Catch Can mounting bracket with the supplied hardware, then installed the included 3/8″ NPT 1/2″ hose barb fittings in the catch can, using a bit of plumber’s tape to ensure a leak-free fit.

We then installed one end of the hose to the intake manifold, then routed it to the catch can, using a silver sharpie to mark our desired length. We then removed the hose, and made a straight cut with a razor. We then mounted the intake hose to the Out port on the catch can. We performed similar steps with the valve cover hose, routing it to the In port on the catch can. Our installation was complete in less than an hour. The mounting bracket features slotted holes, allowing for a precise clocking of the catch can to fit your vehicle.

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We love this kit’s dark aesthetic, and feel it gives the installation a near-OEM look, which fits the overall feel of the Stealth Bomber perfectly. After a few weeks of driving we opened the can and had a bit of oil caught at the bottom of the container, proving that the catch can was necessary and works as designed.

3/20/16 CSCC SCCA CAM-C Writeup

This weekend we ran with the California Sports Car Club region at El Toro MCAS in Irvine, CA. This was a new venue for us and we loved it. Located a mere 25 minutes from SRW Headquarters, the commute was easy, the weather was great, and the course was awesome! Getting to the track was a little confusing, but luckily we followed in a few other competitors. We worked in the first group and worked third, allowing for a much shorter day than our previous SDR adventures.

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The course itself is run on the retired airfield, with grid and paddock being setup on the adjoining runways. CSCC has large banners and abundant signage; making registration, tech, and getting into grid a clear and simple process. We pre-registered online, which gave us a look at the entry list beforehand. 9 cars were on the list, with one more being added day-of. The final entry list, not counting the Stealth Bomber, was as follows:

  • 1999 Roush Mustang
  • 2010 Camaro
  • 2006 Mustang GT
  • 2008 Mustang Bullitt
  • 1990 Mustang
  • 2015 Camaro
  • 2001 Roush Mustang
  • 2003 Mustang GT
  • 2012 Mustang GT

The most exciting entrant was the 1999 Roush Mustang, BTM-Autosport‘s Modzilla. Fresh out of the garage in CAM-C configuration, this beast came ready to fight with super-wide Jongbloed Racing wheels and fresh BFGoodrich g-Force Rival-S tires.

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The field was large and competition was hot. The course was Nationals-level good, with a fantastic choose-your-line corner and a lot of learning experiences. An exciting moment occurred when a C6 Corvette went off-course and performed some involuntary body work via wooden directional marker. In CAM-C, Modzilla stole first with a blazing 66.876, the 2010 Camaro grabbed second with a 68.902, and the Stealth Bomber rounded out the podium with a 69.941. The rest of the field couldn’t manage to break into the 60’s with times ranging between 71.403 and 82.408. The entire results list can be found here. Did we mention CSCC features live scoring? The tech used by this region was a great benefit, something sorely lacking at SDR.

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We used this event to dial-in our tire pressure game and test some experimental aero work. Results were great and taught us a lot about car setup. Overall the experience was great and we can’t wait to return to El Toro with CSCC.

More Audrey Hepburn, Less Jayne Mansfield.

We recently came across a great article at Petrolicious, profiling Dorian Valenzuela and his shop, DV Mechanics. The goal of the shop is to resto-mod period Alfa Romeos, allowing the cars to “go to Joshua Tree and blast around for the weekend”, among other things. If this starts to ring of Singer Vehicle Design, DV is an alumni of that company. But the goal isn’t high-dollar, its high-function, which is right up our alley. A few quotes that really stuck out as far as inspiration goes:

I really got a kick out of was buying the raw materials, going to the machine shop after hours and making my own bushings or taking a little bit of weight out of a piece of hardware. That was kinda my thing, doing “plus one” type rebuilds on various components of the car.

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I just liked that they carried on the same basic aesthetic but improved everything underneath.

For me it is an organic process with a lot of trial and error, kinda like watching your girlfriend pick out an outfit, I can’t wait [laughs].

I also want to build car that someone will not be afraid to use the shit out of.

The interior’s going to be a little bit more minimal, but equally beautiful I think. The exterior is going to appear as if it was a factory build. It’s not going to scream out at you for attention.

I take on routine jobs to fund my skunkworks projects.

You have to find somebody who really understands what you’re doing and realizes that it’s basically an art project for the first year and then it can become a money thing.

We recommend reading and viewing the whole article, as there are a lot of great tidbits and shots of various projects at DV Mechanics. Also, don’t miss the video!

S197 Mustang Bumper Removal

We’ve seen a video or two on the S197 bumper removal process, but after tackling the job ourselves, we found a written step-by-step was needed to cover everything. Lets gather the tools.

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  • Medium Flathead Screwdriver
  • 3/8″ Ratchet
  • 3/8″ Long Extension, Wobble
  • 3/8″ 10mm Socket
  • 1/4″ Driver
  • 1/4″ 7/32″ Socket (optional)
  • 5/16″ Hex Driver (optional)
  • Short Phillips Screwdriver (We use the thumb drive in our Chapman 5503 Screwdriver Kit)
  • Matador Surface

We started by opening the hood, then popping out the six pop rivets on the upper radiator cover with our flathead screwdriver, then removing the cover.

Next, we unbolted the two 10mm bolts holding the upper bumper cover on, then lifted each corner over the retention tabs.

Then we moved to the wheel wells. The exact same process works for both driver and passenger sides. We removed the three Phillips screws and the pop clip, which required a half-turn to disengage. It can then be removed by hand. Then the lower portion of the fender liner can be pulled over the lip of the bumper. The liner hides two 10mm bolts holding the bumper to the fender, which are best removed with the 3/8″ wobble extension and ratchet. Note that the liner has a cutout to allow for just the lower portion to pivot away from the fender.

We then went under the front bumper, where in our case five 7/32″ screws and two Phillips screws held the lower splash shield to the bumper and the radiator cross member. We suspect the 7/32″ screws were added by the previous owner, as they did not appear OEM. We also loosened the hose clamps around our brake duct hoses with the 5/16″ driver, sliding the hoses off our fiberglass brake ducts.

At this point the bumper was ready to remove. We pulled down on the corners of the bumper, clearing the two studs by each of the wheels, then pulled the bumper upwards and out, from the center, and set it aside.

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Installation is – wait for it – reverse of removal! We performed this work to facilitate painting the AC condenser flat black and touching up our front tow hook, which you can find in our February 2016 Bomber update. We also performed some top secret aero work, which we cannot reveal until testing is complete, so stay tuned!

I Wanna See It Painted, Painted Black

We clearly appreciate the color black (or shade, if that’s your opinion on colors, but that’s a whole other post), and there are many types of ways to turn an item black. After getting asked by a fellow racer about the types of black paint we use on the Stealth Bomber, we decided an in-depth post was needed.

In the SkunkRennWerks garage, we have five basic categories of black paint. From left to right; Plasti-Dip, Rustoleum Textured Satin Black, Rustoleum Trim & Bumper Black, Rustoleum Flat Black Engine Enamel, and Krylon Smooth Finish Flat Black. All are spray cans for convenience. Now these aren’t the only blacks we use, but they are in the rotation the most.

The first, and our personal favorite, is the love-it-or-hate-it Plasti-Dip. Originally developed as a tool handle coating to increase grip, Plasti-Dip’s spray can formula allows the wielder to create a tough, rubbery coating on nearly any surface. This product produces more of a satin than a flat black, with an appearance similar to OEM trim. We like Plasti-Dip’s ease of application, with minimal prep work required and rather lax masking needs. It can even be re-coated over and over with no need to remove existing dip. Plasti-Dip can be peeled off, assuming sufficiently thick coats are used. The downside of Plasti-Dip is that it loves to stick to itself, so as mentioned it peels (occasionally when you don’t want it to), adding difficulty in areas where you need a harsh line. It also does not wear well, resulting in tears in the dip itself, so is not suitable for high-traffic areas. Painting with Plasti-Dip is also an art form. Unlike traditional spray paint, thick coats are a way of life. Typical application steps for us are one light mist coat, then 3-4 thick, wet-paint coats applied 15 minutes apart. Our preferred use for Plasti-Dip are grills, three dimensional badges, and trim that doesn’t get touched often. We would never use Plasti-Dip on an area that sees high heat. Plasti-Dip’s makeup means cleanup is a snap, with Goo-Gone reverting the dip to a liquid state, and overspray wiping away with detailing spray and minimal elbow grease. The Stealth Bomber has Plasti-Dipped GT badges, gauge and vent trim rings, and strut tower brace.

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Next up is the Rustoleum Textured Satin Black. This is a standard spray paint, but with just a hint of texture. This texture happens to match most OEM’s black plastic. Our preferred usage for Rustoleum Textured Satin Black is for interior trim, radio bezels, and items that get touched often. Like Plasti-Dip, we wouldn’t use this on areas that see high heat. The Stealth Bomber has Textured Satin Black on the 3-gauge panel, shift light surround, pedals, and cup holder trim.

Third in line is Rustoleum Trim and Bumper Paint. This paint is great for exactly what it says, trim and bumpers! We use this in place of Plasti-Dip where we have harsh lines and transitions that don’t bode well for the dip. Produces a satin black similar to Plasti-Dip. This paint also has a bit of flex additive in it. Currently, the Stealth Bomber has nothing painted with this paint. Works great for Fox Mustang bumper trim.

Fourth is Rustoleum Engine Enamel. The can we grabbed happened to be the 500° version, but we also use the 2000° version regularly. This paint is very flat, and best for temperature-intense areas. Note that it will produce some vapors/smoke as it fully cures after the first heat cycle. The Stealth Bomber has it’s AC Condenser and exhaust tips painted with this paint.

Finally we close with Krylon Interior-Exterior Ultra Flat. This paint seems to stick to anything, dries dead flat, and has incredible coverage. However it is not for high-temp usage, or nice enough to use in the interior. The Stealth Bomber has the tow hooks and some miscellaneous underhood items painted with this paint.

Besides the five main black paints, we also have a few little cans in our blackout bag of tricks. Among those are gloss black caliper paint, obviously only for brake calipers and recently used for touch-up on our Brembo calipers, and Testors Flat Black Enamel Model paint which was recently put into action with the rivets holding down our GT500 hood vent.

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In general, we paint in what we call a four-angle paint job. Large items are painted from four sides to ensure even application, then flipped over and repeated for complete 360° coverage. Small items are rotated by hand through each of the four sides, with the hand holding the part sheathed in a latex glove for easy cleanup.

In the words of Mick Jagger, “No colors any more, I want them to turn black

February 2016 Bomber Update

The blackout program is still in effect with the Stealth Bomber. This month we tackled the behind-the-grill area with the AC condenser taking the black, along with some touch-up on our front tow hook and GT500 hood vent rivets, as well as swapping the interior door handles for base model V6 black plastic handles, darkening the interior even more. We also installed the front SKNKWRK plate after a friendly encounter with local law enforcement. Remember folks, stay legal!

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2/14/16 SDR SCCA CAM-C Writeup

With two damp events, it was time for some typical socal weather, and the third event of the season certainly kept up appearances! Weather was clear and warm, with temperatures in the high-70’s all day.

This event was the first with camber set to “kill” at -3 degrees. We also added in the bolt-in 4-point cage along with 4-point harnesses, to help us stay put in the stock seats. The course was fast and rewarded patient driving, resulting in a lot of muscle cars getting sideways. Our favorite! We enjoyed the course but had issues sorting out the back third, where a choose-your-own slalom kept throwing us off our game.

Entries for CAM-C consisted of a co-driven 2001 Roush Mustang (featuring Brett Madsen of BTM AutoSport), a 2006 Mustang GT (with a brand new set of Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R’s), and a 2013 Camaro SS.  An extremely tight battle for the podium resulted in milliseconds separating first through third. Madsen, in the Roush, came in first with a blazing fast 58.648, followed by the 06 Mustang with a 58.889, and finally the Stealth Bomber with a 58.925. Rounding out the field, the Camaro put down a 62.924 +1, and the other driver of the Roush with a 64.690. A bit more of a gap than last month’s rain event, which is to be expected. Unfortunately the CAM-C vs CAM-T battle was lost, with the fastest CAM-T car putting down a 58.579. Milliseconds of difference, but the score stands at CAM-C 1, CAM-T 2.

While this event was hard fought, third was disappointing. The plan is to verify alignment settings and focus on tire pressures for the next event.