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During a “friend night” at a friend’s house, standing around the friend’s kitchen, the importance of credit cards was discussed. In particular, how important it is to build debt and thus build credit. At least that is what I derived from it. Being one to do as others’ say, I obtained myself a credit card. I knew well in advance that I would have things to purchase with it. The next day it was chewed on by my puppy and thus it now does not function when swiped. It works plenty fine on the internet, however.
Indeed, I have purchased some things. Not the forced induction I was thinking of getting. No. Such wants are much too expensive for people with an empty wallet. I’ve decided instead to take this power gaining process step by step. So, since a Supercharger is not yet out of the realm of possibility, I opted to purchase an unequal length header in its stead.
I had debated for a good length of time whether or not to go with an unequal length header or its equal length counterpart. More torque. Less gain up top. Furious, almost sinister sound. If Hell was a header. Equal length. More horsepower. Shrieking peak. Ultimately, the UEL fills the needs of a daily driver more efficiently, in my estimation. I’ll have better usability with day to day driving. Driving aggressively, I tend to keep my revs pretty high, yet spend very little time above 6.8k, where the EL header shines. The UEL is just the overall better choice for me. With that logic imbibed, I purchased the GruppeS UEL header, which is essentially an unbranded Tomei header. What quality! The welds are supreme. The collector is flawless.
Overall, the install provided no real challenges. The toughest part, in all honesty, was disconnecting the plastic tabs which held the O2 sensors’ wire in place. Little plastic zipties which you have to press on with a flat head and then try and release. A first world chore, no doubt. However, my friend took care of this. He simply has more patience than I could ever dream to have. Other than that, the install was a breeze. Spray your choice of Penetrating blaster on the bolts, hop up and mess with the O2 sensor connectors, slide back under the car and break all 8 bolts loose. Helpful hint, undo the bolt that holds up the exhaust by transmission mount. A small hanger. This will allow you to separate the Header from the over-pipe. Along with the header, I also purchased an oil pan heat shield. This has kept my oil temperatures in ranges I find acceptable. In the photos you will also seem my Fumoto quick oil drain valve, which is awesome, and the Perrin Steering Rack Lockdowns (red), also awesome.
To tune the UEL header, I went with an OpenFlash Tablet. I didn’t think the extra money spent on ECUtek plus a dynotune would be worth the extra few horsepower and torque it would produce. If I had more modifications than just a header, then I could see its value. As it stands, if I ever do go the route of Forced Induction, I could easily sell the OpenFlash Tablet for a very minor loss and upgrade my tuning software.
Also on the purchase order: APR GT3 carbon fiber mirrors. These are a somewhat polarizing mod amongst the GT86 community. Many seem to dislike them. I think on colors other than Silver and Black they stand out a bit too much. On my car, I think they fit nicely. Though they are small, their field of view is quite large. Easily three to four lanes worth of visibility when peering out them. The lone problem I have run into is that I have had a tough time setting up the passenger side mirror properly, as the small triangle window spat is somewhat in the way. This is solved by merely leaning to the right. A small insurance to indulge in before proceeding with a lane change. I’m a chronic over-the-shoulder-checker anyhow.
The minimalistic, somewhat industrial design language APR Performance utilizes with these side-mirrors speaks to numerous aspects of what I want to accomplish with my build. Simple fasteners. Sturdy ball joint. Thin stem. All styles which appeal to me. To install these, you must remove the door-card (don’t forget the screw behind the interior door pull), and then fish out the plug for the stock mirrors. Driver’s side was a chore, passenger side provided no challenges. Great step-by-step here.
Also purchased recently, the STI gurney flap/wicker bill. Basically a small piece of over priced rubber that is applied to the area between the fins on the Limited BRZ spoiler. I find the Limited Spoiler to a be an unattractive piece. Aquatic. Detracting from the elegance of the car’s design. That said, I purchased the STI flap with the hopes the contrast of black and silver would aid the spoiler in the looks department. It did it’s job, though I am still not satisfied with the trunk of the car. My problem with the Limited spoiler is that it serves to visually shorten the car. The winglets wrap back toward the front, over the flanks of the car, and draw your eye from back to front, as opposed to the TRD duckbill which visually lengthens the car by drawing off the body line which defines the massive hips. The TRD duckbill, paired with the SARD LSR wing, is divine. However, I think the ultimate way to do this combo would be to purchase a trunk with an integrated duckbill. And that costs money–a lot of money to spend on something purely cosmetic. Perhaps someday, if you all start purchasing my short story collection: here!
Effectively, with the STI gurney flap, you pay about twenty dollars for the add-on and about one hundred dollars for a sticker that says STI. That’s my math on it, at least. My sticker started delaminating from me incorrectly placing it–I pulled it off and put it on the shift boot trim bezel. Can’t afford to throw away a $100.00 sticker.
So, how doest it drive? The UEL header adds much needed torque. I won’t say it necessarily feels stronger. What it does feel, however, is smooth from about 3k revs all the way up until fuel cut-off. No longer is the surge there at 5k rpm as the engine wakes up. It wakes up much sooner. That’s not to say it isn’t stronger. It no doubt is. It’s just hard to tell a peak 10hp gain at 7k rpm as opposed to 3k rpm. Worth it-yes. The sound is intoxicating. Not too loud with stock everything exhaust aside from header–just a nice rumble up until about 4k rpm where it flattens out (pun?) and then starts screaming. Best of both worlds.
Also purchased, a nice camera.
Well, until next time, drive safe. Also, I think that fender gap has got to go….