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Apex Theorem Build

14579 Views 28 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Imped
Hello everyone from California. I took delivery of my 2016 Nitrous Blue RS in early December of 2016 after waiting well over a year since ordering. I started out as a relative newbie to doing modifications, having only done appearance and lighting modifications to the BRZ I owned prior to the RS. Thanks to the awesome folks of this community and friends of mine who are much more technical and experienced than I am, I have learned a tremendous amount so far, both from working on my car and becoming a better driver. Given the number of modifications I done so far, I thought it would be a good time to start a build thread. I have more in-depth write-ups for some of these modifications scattered in various places and will be consolidating them on a blog that will serve as a detailed build log. I will be updating this post with links once those are ready.

For more day-to-day activity, follow my Instagram: @apextheorem

  • Nitrous Blue
  • RS2 Package
  • Forged 19" Wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires
  • Winter Wheel and Tire Package

Order to Delivery:
  • Ordered: 16 Oct 2015
  • Selected for scheduling: 8 Apr 2016
  • Scheduled build date: 15 Sep 2016
  • Final ETIS build date: 11 Oct 2016
  • Received at Zeebrugge, Belgium: 19 Oct 2016
  • Confirmed on boat at Zeebrugge, Belgium: 23 Oct 2016
  • Arrived at Port Hueneme, CA, USA: 17 Nov 2016
  • Arrived at dealer: 5 Dec 2016
  • Took ownership and drive home: 10 Dec 2016

  • Optimize for track while maintaining comfort. I will be regularly tracking this car to learn performance driving but this is not meant to be a dedicated track weapon. I drive this car daily and also take it on trips.
  • OEM++. Modifications should generally appear factory. I prefer avoiding excessive amounts of branding and color on aftermarket parts.
  • Functional aesthetics. Aero, body, and suspension modifications should be functional and will be tested on track.
  • Focus on driving experience. This car is already a joy to drive stock, but there are ways it can do better. Interior modifications, such as steering wheel, shifter, seats, etc. should aim to make this car even more amazing to drive.

  • WeatherTech Floor and Cargo Liners (21 Dec 2016)
  • Raceseng Ashiko Shift Knob (22 Dec 2016, removed 23 Jan 2017)
  • YourLittleCNCShop Pedal Spacer (29 Dec 2016)
  • Diode Dynamics LED Replacements (trunk, vanity, side marker, mirror indicators, rear brake lights, reverse lights) (26 Dec 2016)
  • Rally Armor Mud Flaps (22 Jan 2017, removed 20 Jul 2017)
  • YourLittleCNCShop License Plate Bracket (23 Jan 2017)
  • Raceseng Slammer Shift Knob (23 Jan 2017, removed 9 Jun 2017)
  • Sync 3 v2.2 and USB Hub Upgrade (15 Jan 2017)
  • CoolTech Jacking Rails (12 Feb 2017, removed 7 Aug 2017)
  • Milltek Catback Exhaust System, Non-Resonated, Ceramic Black Tips (15 Apr 2017)
  • Velox Rear Diffuser (15 Apr 2017, removed 30 Sep 2017)
  • Mountune Quick Shift Arm (22 Apr 2017, removed 7 Jul 2017)
  • Steeda Hood Struts (30 Apr 2017)
  • ThinkWare F770 Front and Rear Dashcams (7 May 2017)
  • SRP Racing Pedal Covers (9 May 2017)
  • Allwyn Steel Aluminum Undertray (aka Dorian's Undertray) (13 May 2017, removed 13 Sep 2017)
  • YourLittleCNCShop Shifter Cable Bracket Bushings (31 May 2017)
  • FENG Delete (1 Jun 2017)
  • Anarchy Motive 6 Speed Titan Shift Knob (9 Jun 2017)
  • Diode Dynamics LED Rear Turn Signals with load resistors (11 Jun 2017)
  • BMSPEC Side Splitters Prototype (4 Jul 2017)
  • Boomba Short Shifter Arm (8 Jul 2017)
  • YourLittleCNCShop Shifter Base Bushings (8 Jul 2017)
  • Steeda Clutch Spring (14 Jul 2017)
  • BMSPEC Front Splitter Prototype (28 Jul 2017)
  • Massive Speed Systems RaceSpec Adjustable Rear Camber Arms, Conspiracy Finish (16 Sep 2017, removed 15 Oct 2017)
  • Massive Speed Systems Adjustable Toe Arms, Conspiracy Finish (16 Sep 2017)
  • Feal 441 Road Race Spec Coilover Kit, Custom Valved (16-17 Sep 2017)
  • BMSPEC Wing Extension Prototype (30 Sep 2017)
  • Enkei NT03+M 18x9.5 ET40 Offset Wheels, originally Formula Silver, powder coated Matte Black, Yokohama Advan Neova AD08R 265/35R18 Tires (7 Oct 2017)
  • SPC Performance Camber Arm (15 Oct 2017)
  • BMSPEC Rear Diffuser (19 Oct 2017)
  • European Cup Holder Assembly (22 Oct 2017)
  • Adaptec 3mm Wheel Spacers (22 Nov 2017)
  • Front Fender Pull (22 Nov 2017)
  • BMSPEC Front Splitter Hammerhead Extensions (16 Jan 2018)
  • Focus SE spoiler (8 Feb 2018)
  • BMSPEC GT Wing (8 Feb 2018)

  • Damond Motorsports Motor Mounts (ordered 12 Feb 2018)
  • StopTech Slotted Aero Front Rotors (ordered 12 Feb 2018)
  • StopTech Slotted Rear Rotors (ordered 12 Feb 2018)
  • Brembo LCF 600 Brake Fluid (ordered 10 Feb 2018)
  • Track Brake Pads (currently researching, needed before 24 Feb)
  • Oil Cooling System (currently researching)
  • TrackSpec Hood Vents (In discussion with vendor)
  • ARP 2.5mm Wheel Studs (ordered 12 Oct 2017)
  • KW Electronic Damping Cancellation Kit (lower priority but will install soon)
  • SSTuning Steering Wheel with Shift Lights (sent to SSTuning for adjustment)

Future Work
  • Water Injection
  • BMSPEC Undertray Extension
  • Weight reduction where appropriate
  • Improve access to camber and damper adjustments on front strut towers
  • Powertrain cooling
  • Recaro Sportster CS Seats with RS logo custom embroidered (with heated option)

Installed then Removed
  • Raceseng Ashiko Shift Knob (removed 23 Jan 2017) - too bulky
  • Raceseng Slammer Shift Knob (removed 9 Jun 2017) - still felt too bulky
  • Mountune Quick Shift Arm (removed 7 Jul 2017) - reverted to stock transmission shifter, installed Boomba Short Shifter instead
  • Rally Armor Mudflaps (removed 20 Jul 2017) - removed after installing BMSPEC aero to reduce drag
  • CoolTech Jack Rails (removed 7 Aug 2017) - hole did not line up on driver side, removed now that I have access to a lift
  • Allwyn Steel Aluminum Undertray (removed 13 Sep 2017) - BMSPEC flat undertray in development and will be installed in its place
  • Velox Rear Diffuser (removed 30 Sep 2017) - will install BMSPEC Rear Diffuser in its place

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Race car Rim

Photo cred: BMSPEC
Automotive exterior Vehicle Vehicle door Luxury vehicle Car

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Hood

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Race car Automotive design
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A few updates:

First, did an oil change this past weekend since I have take the RS for a track day, trip to LA, and a week-long road trip to Oregon since the last oil change. Feels good to have fresh oil again.

Second, I got a call from my local powdercoating shop this morning. They told me that my NT03's (which I had powdercoated matte black) will be ready to be picked up tomorrow. I will pick those up tomorrow and will post photos.

Lastly, I have been eyeing SSTuning's steering wheels for quite some time and finally pulled the trigger and ordered one of their RS steering wheels with shift lights:

Steering part Steering wheel Auto part Vehicle Car

I ordered mine with alcantara grips, factory RS blue stitching, factory silver bezels, gloss carbon trim, RS logo at the bottom, and green/yellow/blue for shift lights. This wheel will also retain heating on the grips. It will be a while before the wheel arrives, but I'm cautiously excited. Will certainly post a write-up and review once it arrives.
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A few updates:

First, did an oil change this past weekend since I have take the RS for a track day, trip to LA, and a week-long road trip to Oregon since the last oil change. Feels good to have fresh oil again.

Second, I got a call from my local powdercoating shop this morning. They told me that my NT03's (which I had powdercoated matte black) will be ready to be picked up tomorrow. I will pick those up tomorrow and will post photos.
First, what oil are you running?

Second, can't wait!
I’m using the same oil as factory: Motorcraft 5w50.

Wheels are still not ready. Powdercoating told me that they have to repaint the wheels because they did not come out correctly, possibly due to a bad batch of powder, but they will be giving me a discount due to the delay.

Update: wheels will be ready Monday \o/

  • Wheels will be delivered tomorrow morning
  • Still waiting for camber and toe arms to be shipped
  • Still waiting for TPMS sensors

In the meantime, Engineering Explained just posted a video explaining how powdercoating works, and I found it pretty helpful:

Today is the day, pics/vids, stat! :)
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Yes I have pics today, but not quite all the pics that we would like.

They came by with the wheels this morning, but upon inspection, there were still some blemishes, namely a few scratches on the hub of one wheel and still a couple bubbles on two of the other wheels.

They offered to take them back and repaint them once again. The current ETA is Wednesday, and hopefully, this time, the coating will come out correctly this time. Other than these blemishes, NT03’s look absolutely gorgeous in Matte Black. :)

Consolation prize: Massive Speed Camber Arms and Toe Arms came in today. I got them in the Conspiracy finish (textured black and no branding for that OEM+ appearance) and they look amazing:

Here’s to hoping for good news on Wednesday on the wheels.
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That front spliter is gorgeous! best one I have seen so far. Any idea when it will be comercialised?
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Sorry for the wait. It’s been a busy week, but I finally picked up my wheels from powdercoating. Here they are, 18x9.5 Enkei NT03+M, formerly Formula Silver, now in Matte Black:

Alloy wheel Rim Spoke Tire Wheel

Now that the TPMS sensors are also here, next step is to get my AD08R’s and the sensors installed on these wheels. Then, it will be time to install all the new suspension parts — Feal Coilovers, KW Error Code Cancellation, Massive Speed Camber Arms, etc.

That front spliter is gorgeous! best one I have seen so far. Any idea when it will be comercialised?
Thanks! BMSPEC’s V4 Splitter looks great doesn’t it? The best thing is that their aero not only looks amazing but is also completely functional and track-tested. Their RS splitter is currently in the prototyping phase but I think preorders will start in the near future (they’re currently doing their Mazda 3/Mazdaspeed 3 splitter production run and AFAIK the ST/RS will be next). BMSPEC is also developing side skirts (which I also have on my car), rear diffuser, gurney flap/wing extension, and a full carbon rear wing. I’ll stsrt a separate thread on this, but in the meantime, check out @bmspec on Instagram.
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Part 1 of the suspension operation: installed the rear Feal 441 Road Race Spec Coilovers and Massive Speed Camber and Toe Arms today with the help of a friend. Feal coilovers are pure sex, and Massive’s control arms are absolutely beautiful in the Conspiracy finish.

New parts going in:

Stock rear damper and spring vs Feal damper and Swift spring:

The only curve ball is ran into was that while videos for other coilover kits, such as Whiteline, say to clock the end of the spring into the hole on the lower spring perch and install the top hat and height adjuster on top of the spring, it turns out that the Swift springs included with the Feals need to be installed the other way around, with the top hat and height adjuster on the bottom. As you can see in the above photo, the end of the Swift spring is tapered flat and does not stick out like other springs. Further, the diameter of the spring itself is too small to sit in the lower perch, but the top hat sits perfectly in the lower spring perch.

Rear suspension looking beautiful now:

View of the underside, showing the Swift spring and the Massive Speed control arms:

Front Feal coilovers will be installed tomorrow.
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Front Feal 441 Coilovers installed today. The install went pretty smoothly. The most difficult part was getting the OEM strut out of the spindle. The approach I took was to insert a piece of metal (in this case one of the spanner wrenches that came with the Feals) into the gap in the spindle and spread the spindle by threading in the bolt from the other end, as described in this video:

Old vs new. As with the rears, the Feal struts are gorgeous:

In contrast, the Feal struts were relatively easy to install back into the spindle.

A few other things of note:

The sway bar end link nut is very tight. Apparently this is by design. The nut was hot by the time it came off.

Also, the notch on the Feal 441 strut that the brake line bracket is supposed to clip into is a tad too small, and as a result, the brake line bracket does not clip in all the way, causing the hole not to line up:

I ground off about 1mm from the side of the notch using a Dremel and the acorn grinding tip and was able to clip and bolt the brake line bracket on perfectly.

Finally, we did a test fit of the new wheels and tires and did some ride height adjustment. Here’s a first look at how the car looks with the new setup, with the coilovers and the Matte Black Enkei NT03+M 18x9.5 wheels and Yokohama Advan Neova AD08R 265/35R18 tires:

I still need to install 5mm spacers and extended wheel studs for the front since there is barely any clearance between the strut and the wheel:

Once the spacers are installed, I will need to take the car to the shop get the alignment and camber adjusted (I will be going with -3F, -2.5R). We will still need to do a bit of work in the near future (likely pulling the fenders a bit) to get the wheels to fit optimally and avoid rubbing. But in any case, I love the way the car looks with this setup. :)

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I love the wheel set up (I may be biased as I sent you on them ;))

Look so good, and will be a monster when you get the suspension dialed in!
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I love the wheel set up (I may be biased as I sent you on them ;))

Look so good, and will be a monster when you get the suspension dialed in!
I love the wheel set up (I may be biased as I sent you on them ;))

Look so good, and will be a monster when you get the suspension dialed in!
Thanks for the pointers for the wheels! It’s difficult to find wheels in 18x9.5 that have our book pattern that haven’t been re-drilled. I’m really excited to be running this new setup.

H&R 5mm spacers and extended wheel studs will be coming in tomorrow. I took the car for a test drive yesterday and observed that there is squeaking coming from the rear, likely due to something not tightened all the way on the new control arms. Going to be troubleshooting this as well as installing the spacers and wheel studs tomorrow night.
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Looks great and please keep us updated on your opinion of the AD08Rs!

(FYI it appears that your front tires are both running backwards so you might want to swap them side to side)
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Looks great and please keep us updated on your opinion of the AD08Rs!

(FYI it appears that your front tires are both running backwards so you might want to swap them side to side)
Will do!

They are. Forgot to mention that in that photo, the new wheels were on just for a test fit. Haven’t actually driven with them on yet since the toe settings are most likely off until I get the alignment done. The stock wheels have been back on the car since the install. :)
Good luck with the new wheel do you plan on installing them. I bought the 15mm h&r but wasn't up to the task.

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Good luck with the new wheel do you plan on installing them. I bought the 15mm h&r but wasn't up to the task.

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Thanks, man! I am going to try to remove the wheel hub as discussed in this thread: I see what you mean; it does look quite involved. I am planning to do that in a couple weeks from now when I have access to a press and with some help from some friends of mine. Hopefully, it will go smoothly.

In the meantime, I spent the last few weeks debugging this loud chirping I noticed during a test drive coming from the rear suspension after doing the upgrades. The chirping happens when the car goes over small bumps in the road. At first, we thought that the chirping was caused by the aftermarket control arms, but after removing the camber and toe arms, the chirping was still there, which means that it was coming from the Feal coilovers in the rear.

I contacted Feal, and per their advice, I swapped out the Swift springs with the factory springs, but the chirping was still present. Finally, I swapped out the Feal dampers with the factory dampers and reinstalled the Swift springs, but this time, the chirps were gone, confirming that the Feal dampers were the cause of the chirps.

I have shipped the Feal rear dampers back to Feal, who provided me with a shipping label. While this issue is a bit frustrating, Feal has been very responsive so far in taking care of this. Hopefully, repaired or replacement dampers will be coming in within the next two weeks so that this install can finally be completed.

On a more exciting note, the first prototype of the BMSPEC RS Gurney Flap is being built and will be on my car sometime in the next two weeks. Here's an update on what it will look like (source):

Blue Fin Automotive design Killer whale Marine mammal
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First prototype of the BMSPEC Wing Extension installed today. It really looks quite sexy, especially with these brackets:

The gurney flap looks great up close and is at the same time nice and subtle from a distance:

We will be cutting a second prototype with improved fitment, and I will post more photos once that’s installed.

Also removed my Velox rear diffuser today. The residue on the left side is from the times I sprayed PB Blaster on the exhaust valve since it tends to squeak from time to time.

This is in preparation for installing the first BMSPEC RS Diffuser in the coming weeks.

Also, Feal dampers are on their way back and should arrive on Tuesday. Dampers and control arms will be installed Wednesday/Thursday and alignment will be done Friday. Schedule is a bit tight, so hopefully everything will go smoothly in time for Shukai next Sunday.
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It has been a busy couple of weeks.

Shukai 2017

Shukai was a blast. It was great hanging out with the BMSPEC crew and seeing all the different cars from all the different enthusiast communities at the show. My car was one of the two demo cars for BMSPEC at the show. I have the prototype splitter, side skirts, and wing extension installed, while the Honda S2000 has the complete BMSPEC aero package with the full carbon rear diffuser and rear wing.

We also took rolling shots after Shukai (photo credit: BMSPEC):

New Shoes Finally On

As you may have noticed, the new wheels are now on the car. I don’t have the spacers and extended studs installed yet because fortunately, there is just enough clearance that the front tires do not rub under normal driving. Spacers will be needed before I can drive the car hard, but spacers also mean that the front fenders will need to be pulled. After weighing the two, I will be going with 3mm spacers first so we would not have to pull as much, but if the tires still manage to contact the strut, the 5mm’s will go on.

Before that can happen, extended studs need to go in, but unfortunately, replacing studs is a pain in the ass on the RS. I went and saw for myself the stupidity of the 5x108 bolt pattern:

If Ford has just gone with a larger PCD, we would have been able to just knock the studs out easily. Oh well. Time to get the slide hammer and bite the bullet one of these upcoming weekends.

More Suspension Shenanigans

Last week, it was back to suspension debugging since the Feal rear shocks were still chirping when the car went over every little bump in the road. Feal was not able to reproduce the chirping by manually compression the shock because it appears that it only happens under load. They sent me a list of tests to try to narrow down the root cause. I have done some of them but there are more to do this upcoming week.

I also ended up swapping out the Massive camber arms with SPC camber arms since the bushing on the subframe side tended to squeak a bit, and the SPC arms had a better range for negative camber adjustment:

More Aero Coming Up

This week, we’re going to fit the BMSPEC rear diffuser prototype on my RS. I’m excited to see how it will look on this car, especially since this first prototype is full carbon.

The RS will also be getting the BMSPEC big rear wing in the near future. The base Focus spoiler I ordered is arriving tomorrow, and I will be sending that off to be painted Nitrous Blue. Then, it will be replacing the factory RS wing in order to provide clean airflow to the BMSPEC big wing, which will provide a very ample amount of rear downforce on the car. I have decided to drill into the factory hatch for the wing risers. This will avoid the need to strip and transfer all the components to the new hatch, and plus, I am pretty sure this car is for keeps. A big wing on an RS might be a controversial setup for some, but this is a track car that I happen to daily. It’s going to be great.

Other Projects

My Euro-spec cup holder assembly is here. I will be opening up my center console to install it sometime in the next week or so. Shouldn’t be too bad since I’ve already opened up the console for the Boomba shifter arm install.

Anyway, excuse the wall of text. More updates as they happen.
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