FTO Modifications!

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The point of modifying a car is to change the manufacturers setup of the engine, suspension, styling etc. and make it less of a compromise and more towards a racier and more sporty feel.

THE single most important component of any car are the tyres. Without the tyres you will not go anywhere. You could argue that the rest of the car is along for the ride - and infact you can say that the rest of the car is only there to make the tyres work, including the driver! (for a tyre rating/speed chart see the Q&A section)

In the ideal world, the tyres would have a 100% contact patch, would never get hot, would not have a rolling resistance and would never wear out! However in the real world this is not possible and so the chassis and suspension keep the tyres as near the levels of maximum grip that they allow. The brakes make you stop, and the engine makes you go. Most modifications people do are to the engine. BUT if you increase engine power you're increasing the demands of all the other components too and so you must upgrade them in line with the engine.

This section provides a little information and some comments on some of the modifications I have done to my car - most through Camskill Motorsport (01946-694794). I do not intend to include a full range of other modifications as you can find this information on other websites.


Reviews!

EBC GreenStuff

Kevlar based, the EBC GreenStuff pad is intended for "fast road" use and not intended for track or competition use. I found these pads to provide good grip when cold and I recommend these over the standard pads. They also have the "squeal" device so you know when to change the pads.

Billed by EBC as low dust pads I find that they are very dusty and also they break down VERY easily when pushed hard. You will get LOTS of fade very quickly. Recommended only if you don't push your car. Do NOT use these pads on the track!

To bed in, you need to do 10 stops from 50mph to walking pace, start off gently then increasingly harder until you're almost reaching the point at which the wheels would lock (or ABS would cut in).

Dave's FTO Rating:

 

EBC RedStuff v2

A new pad from EBC. I have tried these on the EVO and found them to be streets ahead of the originals - good braking from cold, good hot braking and little (if any) fade [with brake cooling ducts]. I have done 2 track days on these pads with no problems.

Martin While has said the following on these pads:
"Virtually no bite when cold. After a few braking instances the pads start to bite more eagerly. Once fully hot, the braking seems very impressive. Unlike the v1 Red Stuff pads that Dave Wilson destroyed in 1 day without trying, these have been on my car now for 7 months (albeit no track days included in this period). I have done some spirited driving in this 5000 mile period and the pads are wearing well. Very little dust seems to be given off these during normal driving BUT whenever I get a bit speedy and the brakes are called upon more, I have noticed my alloys blacken up more quickly."

Dave's FTO Rating:

 

 

EBC YellowStuff


The 'broken' pad!

 

Now, these should be the babies. Designed to be "suitable for race, rally, touring and endurance" they have a claimed 900 degree working temperature. Hmm... I wasn't that impressed. I was very surprised when I got quite bad brake fade at Elvington (summer 2001). They did last the whole session though and I drove home on them.

With a 'not really that good' cold performance and a 'not really up to expectations' race performance, I rate these pads as a litte too expensive for what they are. Sorry EBC, but when I took the pads out after Elvington I found that the pad material had delaminated (lifted away from the backing plate) and when I touched the material it broke away in my fingers.

To bed in, you need to do 10 stops from 100mph to walking pace, start off gently then increasingly harder until you're almost reaching the point at which the wheels would lock (or ABS would cut in).

Dave's FTO Rating: Did not have a good experience!

 

Mintex 1155

When you take these pads out of the box the amount of material on the pad looks to be a fraction of what they should be. But don't let appearances be deceptive, the pads are the daddy! These pads are the best I've ever used. I just can NOT get these babies to fade! Okay, so they are expensive at around £90 per set, but I recommend these pads over any EBC pad above.

With excellent cold performance and superb racing performance, at the time of writing this article I've just got back from Trax2001 and Silverstone Racing Circuit - the pads have not only gone 4 months of fast road use, but one full track day at Croft (100 miles on the track) and 10 laps of Silverstone. They are VERY hard wearing, are almost dust-less and just keep coming corner after corner after corner. It was possible to lock the wheels from 100mph on the approach to a 20mph hairpin every single lap. Now that is impressive.

After installing Mintex pads they should be bedded-in to insure top performance.

  • Accelerate to approximately 50mph and apply the brakes with moderate pedal pressure and slow to walking pace.
  • Repeat this procedure 10 times allowing 1/3 of a mile between stops.
  • Do NOT attempt to bed-in pads by driving the vehicle with the brakes constantly applied. This will damage pads and result in decreased performance.

Dave's FTO Rating: Wonderful!

 

Pagid Race Pads

 

Hmmm. 1,000 miles and they are cracked across the surface and have been replaced. Also I wrecked a set of Black Diamond discs. Mind you, the discs were on their last legs anway and I DID run them on Donington, so I guess I couldn't ask for more.

Bedding in Pagid Race pads

Part 1) Basic bedding in:

  • 3-4 stops with light to medium brake pressure from 90mph to 65mph.
  • Distance between each brake stop approx 300-400 meters (300 to 400 yards).
  • The pads should not reach temperatures above 300-400 degC during bedding in

Part 2) Immediately after the above 'basic bedding in' do the following high speed bedding in procedure:

  • One stop with medium to heavy brake pressure from 110mph to 65mph.
  • Recovery stops with light brake pressure 2-3 times.
  • Repeat the high speed stops, including recovery stops, 1-2 times.
  • Allow a cooling-off distance of approx 0.5 miles between high speed stops.

Mounting new pads on used discs:.
The edges of the pad surface should be filed approx 45 degrees to ensure that the pad carries fully and evenly and is not touching the edge of the disc. Do not use discs which are pre-bedded, or have been used with friction material other than PAGID (if so have the surface skimmed prior to fitting the Pagid pads).

What kind of discs to use?:
Recommended using grooved/slotted or cross drilled brake discs such as Black Diamond (x-drilled, grooved and heat treated) or EBC (grooved)

Notes - Bedding in should be done on a race track. Pagid racing material is not legal for road use in some cases.

Dave's FTO Rating: Unconclusive really, the discs let me down

 

Camskill's own front discs

 

Martin While has tested these discs and has this to say;

These were fitted at the same time as the v2 Reds (see review for them) and show no signs of wear at all. Camskill have outsized the holes so that the dust does not get retained so much. In fact after 5000 miles I overhauled the discs/pads etc (copperslip/clean up etc) and only the outer set of holes around each disc had blocked up. A quick poke and all was sorted.
Due to the nature of the v2 Reds I have to run my brakes warm to hot to get the best from them. Together with the Motul Racing Brake Fluid I use, this is not an issue. And due to the cooling properties of the vented discs/outsized holes I have yet to experience really bad brake fade. After a long run and with prolonged braking I have had slight fade but nothing really to write home about.

I can safely say that the combination above is far superior to the v4 Greens and BD X-grooved/drilled disc combination that I had on the FTO before. The only downside with my present setup is that there is much less braking from the off, warming them up is a necessity.

Available got GS/GR and GPX - also rears available! See Camskill for more details

Dave's FTO Rating: Great!

 

Black Diamond Discs

There are currently two types of disc available for the FTO, EBC's grooved and dimpled discs and Black Diamond's cross-drilled and grooved discs. I have not used the EBC discs so this is a review solely on the more expensive Black Diamond discs.

Out of the box they look fantastic as they are coated with a black substance. Unfortunately due to the nature of any brake disc the coating doesn't last and the surface of the pad goes shiny (you'd expect this anyway). The cross-drilling helps to increase the surface area available in order to help cool more quickly. The grooves in the surface of the disc help to remove the build up of dust and gas from the surface of the pad, sweeping the surface of the pad clean.

My discs have got HOT. I have seen lots of smoke coming out of the wheels before (right-click here and choose "Save Target As" for a video). They do tend to crack slightly around the holes but after skimming the discs these disappeared. Some people have expressed concern about this but I've got my discs as hot as anyone and they have survived.

The problem with the FTO's brakes is that they are too small (even the larger GPX brakes). The only way to go for better braking performance is bigger discs.

Dave's FTO Rating: Great!

 

Aerotek Stainless Steel Braided Brake Hoses

 

While you are upgrading your discs and pads it's worth considering changing the brake hoses too. With standard rubber brake hoses they swell ever so slightly when you presurise the fluid. This is absorbing a little of the energy that might have gone to the calipers. Hence wrapping the rubber hoses in a Stainless Steel Braid keeps the swelling down and transmits more energy through the fluid and also increase the pedal feel.

These hoses aren't the best you can possibly buy as they have a union joint in the middle of them which is really unecessary. Having said that, they are a worthy upgrade!

Dave's FTO Rating: Cool!


Pad application:

Availability of material:


 

NEW!!!Uprated polyeurathane suspension bushes

and adjustable front Camber boltsNEW!!!

What are these Bolts & Bushes, and why uprate them?

  • A "bush" in this application is typically a shaped piece of rubber clamped between two pieces of moving parts which allows them to be held firmly in place and move without damage.

    You might upgrade the bushes because as they are rubber they can absorb a little of the energy that would normally be transferred from the wheels to the chassis. This can be good beacuse you can get a quieter ride and more comfortable handling. If you fit harder bushes than the normal rubber ones it is possible to see an improvement in handling.
  • The "camber bolt" we're talking about here is the upper mounting bolt fastening the chassis to the hub assembly.

    You might change this bolt because it enables you to adjust the angle the wheel sits in relation to vertical. That is called "camber". Negative camber helps the tyre sit flatter to the road under hard cornering conditions hence giving more grip.

Camskill are exclusively able to supply these uprated bushes and bolts and I have tested them on my FTO. NB - There are two types of poly bushes available for the front (standard and offset).

  • With the non-offset (front) poly bushes I noticed two differences immediately;
  1. As with fitting uprated springs & dampers and to a lesser effect fitting bigger wheels with lower profile tyres, the bushes enhanced the handling slightly by sharpening the turn-in - the car felt more sure and seemed to want to go into the corner more eagerly.
  2. With any car, as you put miles on the clock, parts wear. Bushes are a good example because although they wear slowly with time and use, until they wear out completely you don't really notice. The effect makes the car a little more "saggy" to drive. I felt that the uprated poly bushes gave the steering a more "solid" feel, a bit like driving a newer car.
  • With the caster-offset (front) poly bushes and the negative camber bolts I noticed a bigger handling difference;

Caster is identified as the steering axis (an imaginary line drawn through the upper and lower pivot points of the front suspension). If you make the adjustment more positive it will theoretically improve cornering. The effect of caster angle that we're interested in is that it causes the camber angle to change when the wheels are steered.

I noticed when I looked at a photo of my car taken at Silverstone during Trax2000, that although the outside rear wheel kept its' negative camber, the front wheels were vertical with the suspension and as the car was rolling slightly during the turn the tyres were running more on the outer edges. It then clicked what all this was about - with the offset bushes a more desirable effect is obtained when the vehicle is steered. See this photo below which I'm talking about (see the respective angle of the front and rear wheels in relation to the tarmac).

What happens with the offset caster bushes is that the outside wheel progresses into a negative camber and the inside wheel progresses into a positive camber when the wheel is turned. When under high-cornering loads this puts a better tyre contact patch down. Of course there is the TEIN suspension available for the FTO which has adjustable camber angle, but for those of us who have not won the lottery this is a good compromise :)

I tested the offset caster bushes straight after they were fitted and the effect was quite noticable. The car really wanted to turn into the corner now! The best way to explain it is that the car felt like it would turn in more with less effort. I also noticed that the steering wheel seems to want to center itself more making the steering very very slightly heavier - although I didn't see this as a problem.

 


Replacement Spring kit
After the job Low and mean
You can clearly see how low the car sits with the new springs installed. The amount is just right: not too low, not too high. The car looks really squat and mean. Camskill measured the drop at 25mm rear and 45mm front!

Rear strut & brake disc Front Strut & brake disc
The rear suspension - note the RalliArt adjustable shockers surrounded by the new spring. from Camskill. The front strut. This is a good picture of the assembly clearly showing the RalliArt top-adjustable shocker, the new spring from Camskill and the Black Diamond Brake disc.
Rear strut The rear strut assembly off the car fitted with the new spring.

Uprated paddle clutch
An uprated paddle clutch


Stainless Steel Exhaust System
This system, fitted to Stuart Mutch's car, is a quality item manufactured by Milltech. Unlike other systems it is large diameter bore all the way through and has been bent using proper spring-bending techniques.
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The twin pipes are angled to match the bumper and fill out the gap in the bumper better than a large single pipe The full stainless steel system will not rust which is guaranteed.
The system looks absolutely amazing and it sounds the part too! Stu's car is dubbed "The Freak" because of its un-Godly power output for an almost standard car!

The Hiro rear wing



Also available:

 

ITG Filter from Camskill

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