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04/17/21 - Under the Knife



We took the wife's car to Russ Cowart for the front end painting. I stopped by on Friday to get some pictures of the car and take a look at what he's done so far. By looking at these pictures, you'd think the car had been in a wreck. 🙂 

For reference, here's before.



And this is now.







It's a three stage paint process, so it's more difficult to get right than a single color paint, and the big reason I took it to Russ. After the paint is completed, we're going to take some additional steps to protect the finish this time. The car will get a complete GTechniq Crystal Serum Ultra ceramic treatment including the wheels and calipers (the same treatment I have on my car). The front bumper cover, hood, and fenders will get a clear bra wrap along with the rear bumper cover (to protect behind the rear wheels), the glass will get a protective film, and the roof and mirror covers will be wrapped in gloss black. Her car is really going to look like new. I made this comment on a ATS-V Facebook group.


Here's the way I look at it. We bought the car with 52k miles for $35k. It had almost every performance part installed that you can buy for these cars (almost $20k of parts and labor) before we bought it. After all the appearance work, new wheels and tires, and switching to a Justin tune, we might have a total of $48k in the car. To end up with a ~700 whp car that looks and drives like new for $48k is a deal in my book. And again, it's cheaper than buying something newer/nicer and will run off and leave almost any car on the road.

Plus the wife doesn't want to get rid of it, she really loves her car. 🙂


The two grills in the front are being replaced with gloss black grills with a new emblem like the one that he added to the rear of the car. After adding this one to the back, we decided the the silver "ATS" and the "V" emblem looked out of place now.



So I've ordered these. There are three of the V's on the car, one on the right rear, and one on each side of the front doors. So, while I was ordering, I've ordered new black grills and emblems for my car as well. They are the only pieces on my car that aren't black so I'm going to fix that. 



I also received my new rear trailing arms for my car, and hopefully I can get those on next week. These bars (six total) help to accurately locate the rear axles/wheels under hard acceleration and cornering. The red car already has these installed.



Here's a comparison of the stock arms and the new ones. With 600+ whp the stock arms and bushings will flex which can cause unpredictable motions in the rear suspension. When I accelerate hard in my car I can feel the rear end moving around, partly because the tires are loosing traction and the electronic diff is compensating by locking and unlocking the two wheels, but also because the rear is squirming because these bars and bushings are flexing. It will be interesting to see what difference these bars make on the track or autocross course. I'm scheduled to run a BMW/Porsche autocross on May 16th, so I'll find out how well they work pretty soon. 



Speaking of my car, we're on the 13th tune file at the moment, and Justin has bumped up the boost so we can make sure the fuel pumps can keep up. I need to get a log file to see where we stand, and hopefully I can do that tomorrow. I talked to Jason Plante at Balanced Performance Motors about getting on the dyno next week and told him I'd call Monday to see what we could work out. He's also the person that will be installing the rear trailing arms (about a two hour job), so maybe I can get both done next week, we'll see. I'm really anxious to see what kind of power it's making now. Most of the cars that have similar modifications are making 600-630 whp, but I'm going to find out for sure. The limitation will be how well the high pressure fuel pump can keep up. Justin will be tweaking the tune while we're on the dyno so that we can get everything out of it that we can. 

If I want to get more power out of engine in the future, there really isn't much left to do. A fuel cam and cold air induction is pretty much it except for new turbo's which I won't do on this car. The fuel cam is really just an exhaust camshaft with a lobe on the rear that drives the high pressure fuel pump. To get more fuel, there are fuel cams of varying lobe designs that can increase the pump output by 20%-45%. With the addition of the fuel cam and cold air intake, we can get the car to about 650 whp, and I'd be real good with that. 🙂 The wife's car is the big horsepower car and that's fine with me.  I can still drive it. 🙂 


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