A lot has happened since our last update. The garage has been busy as hell at SkunkRennWerks and the lineup has changed. Let’s dive into it.
From a racing perspective, while we love the #Stealthbomber, it wasn’t a great fit for the household, and with a certain 1988 Mustang lurking like a specter in the shadows, the Bomber wasn’t long for our stable. Upon discussing the car’s fate among friends, a fellow Mustang enthusiast jumped at the opportunity to continue the legacy. A deal was struck and our S197 Mustang went off to a new home in November.
What is the next racecar? We would be silly to say we won’t race again. Our daily driver BMW e46 Wagon has been given the go-ahead on becoming the new race vehicle for SkunkRennWerks, and the moniker #racewagon has been adopted. Look for a future post on the history of our little wagon that could.
In addition to the #racewagon, we’ve replaced the Bomber with something a lot more practical. Something that can go off-pavement and haul a lot of stuff. Something from across the Pacific.
Yep, we just went full wagon. We picked up this 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 6MT with a little under 50k miles in late November. Packaged in a pretty Azurite Blue Pearl, along with an Ivory interior, this wagon is our go-anywhere do-anything solution. In typical SkunkRennWerks fashion, we wasted no time in heading off the beaten path with it, venturing up Nate Harrison Grade to Palomar Mountain Observatory for Black Friday.
This weekend we ran with the California Sports Car Club region at Autoclub Speedway in Fontana, CA. This was another new venue for us, and we enjoyed it nearly as much as El Toro last month. This venue is similar in distance as San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, but is east instead of south. Setup inside one of the many lots in the shadow of the Autoclub Speedway NASCAR oval, this venue has slight elevation changes and a relatively smooth asphalt surface. It’s no El Toro, but it is worlds better than the SDR lot. We ran third and worked fourth. With this event being the same weekend as the Crow’s Landing Champ Tour, the turnout was small and only four run groups were scheduled, with a record five runs per group – perfect! The weather was a windy and slightly overcast 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with just a very light sprinkling of rain right as we were packing up to head home.
The course was long, technical, and a blast to drive. We DNF’d the first run, then cleaned it up for our second and fastest run with a 68.120. Our only improvement in the next three runs came on our final run with a 66.734, but a pair of cone strikes knocked that time out of contention. Brett Madsen of BTM AutoSport piloted the famous Modzilla, along with a 2013 Camaro SS, rounding up our only competition. Madsen ran away with the lead with a blinding 63.503 (4th in PAX!), while the Camaro could only try to keep up with our galloping ponies with a 72.105 (we apologize for the pun).
After discussion with Madsen and review of our video footage, we could see that we were merely maintaining speed for most of the course, not gaining speed. We had the complete GT500 brake setup after our recent rear brake update, but weren’t putting them to their full use by adding more speed. We also left too much distance from the cones, not taking advantage of the entire course. Our fastest run in video format below:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
It has been a few weeks since we modified the Stealth Bomber, so let’s get into what has been done in the past month. In the plate category, we switched to California’s 1960’s Retro Black Plate program with a personalized plate, matching the black paint quite nicely.
Internally we continued the blackout program with a refurbishment of the extra wide brake pedal using Rustoleum textured black paint and grip tape, the addition of a GT500 dead pedal with black grip tape, blackout sills using Plasti-Dip, blackout cup holders, and the return of the MOMO MOD-88 wheel, this time with working horn and turn signal cancellation!
Externally we took the “go big or go home” mantra to heart and stepped up to a set of 18×10.5 ET45 Rotiform (model unknown) wheels, wrapped in used Bridgestone RE-71R’s in 275/35/18 sizing. Somebody took our sign to heart! The grip is astounding and we can’t wait to see what the Stealth Bomber will do out on the track!