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  1. #1
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    Default The 14 Car Performance Therapy Project. Baers, Rushforths, Yokohamas and more





    As some of you know, I won the grand prize in the Performance Therapy Online Photo Contest a while back with a photo my bud John Hendrick took at the Sebring road race track. Some of the prizes awarded included a Set of Yokohama tires, a set of Rushforth wheels, and a set of Baer brakes which are going on my 70 Firebird.

    I'm going to try to provide a lot of information in this thread that may help others learn about these products and installation. DISCLAIMER : I am not an expert in suspensions, Tires, Wheels, or Brakes but will try to offer information based on my previous experiences (including mistakes lol) and what I learn along the way installing these products.

    My old Yokohamas were worn out so that worked out perfect. I'd been holding off for a few years on bigger brakes because that required bigger wheels AND tires! The combined expense was out of my budget so I just kept running the stock style single piston front/drum rear brake setup with 17" wheels and some sticky Yokohama AO32 tires. I had a lot of problems keeping brakes on the car at road courses and kept making improvements with braided lines etc. until I got to the point of running a dedicated set of track brakes using race pads and custom made race shoes with one set of rotors and drums and a completely different set of pads, rotors, shoes, and drums for the street. I've been switching everything and replacing the fluid before and after every track event. The rotors got so hot on track I would crystalize them and have to get new ones before the next track event.

    So after checking all of my possible options for wheel and tire sizing and talking to Jay at Rushforth about available wheel sizes, I decided on 18" X 10" wheels all around and the newer version of the Yokohama DOT R tires I had before. They are the AO48 in 285 and 295 18's. The 285's up front are going to be a little tighter fit than the 275s I had and will reduce the turning radius a little but I think on track they'll be great in the corners. 295's on the rear will be no problem since I had 315's before and they just rubbed a tiny bit, only on track at full tilt when I hit a corner curb too hard and the rear moved the leaf spring setup enough to touch (they were really stuffed in there close). So the 295's will give me a little extra room which eliminates the immediate need for some type of panhard bar or other device I'd been considering to limit rear movement.

    Before Todd at Baer passed away he really hooked me up with some killer brakes! I talked to him about what I did with my car and explained that although the car's pretty and photographic, I'm more about function and that I'd rather have brakes that worked well on track than something pretty. I'm no brake engineer so I left it up to him and he went way out of his way, and beyond the call, to hook me up with a set of 14" slotted rotors (all around) with their 6P 6 piston calipers, parking brakes, and an adjustable proportioning valve for the rears. To top it off they sent them in their "Nickle" finish!

    I've been daily driving The 14 Car on the street and no track days in a while so there's no numbers etc. on it now, but here's a "before" pic. I can't order the wheels until I get the brakes installed so I can measure for the backspacing required. I'll keep updating as I progress with the install.

    http://www.baer.com/products/calipers/index.php
    http://www.rushforthwheels.com/
    http://www.yokohamatire.com/tires/advan_a048.aspx

    Last edited by NOT A TA; 05-09-2014 at 07:19 PM.


  2. #2
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    Tires are the limiting factor to any suspension upgrades that increase the handling capabilities of the car since the contact patch, compound, tread pattern, and casing design combine to provide the connection of the vehicle to the pavement. For a car like mine that gets used on road tracks we use a wide, soft compound tire, that has big tread blocks. It is a type of tire designed for track days on full size road courses that is still barely streetable and carries a DOT # so it's legal. These are road track tires which require a certain amount of heat in them to function at their best so the first lap or two on track brings the tires up to temperature. Tires designed for auto-X are different and do not require the warm up that road track tires do. Our first couple laps is like a drag car warming up slicks to get them sticky.

    A wide tire gives a bigger footprint and with the larger contact patch comes increased traction. At 285 mm front and 295mm rear these tires are almost a foot wide, about double what the stock factory tires were! Double the width, double the grip = double the FUN!!

    These Yokohamas have a treadwear rating of 60 which is very low and indicates a soft compound so you wouldn't expect to get a lot of street miles out of them. I don't care about longevity. Chances are, the tires will start to dry and loose their grip in a 3-4 years before I wear them out anyway. At least thats what happened with my last set and 6 years is max tire life. Yokohama makes these AO48 tires in 2 different types. One for lightweight cars and one for heavier cars like mine. The difference in construction helps keep the tires in the optimum heat range for the rubber compound to provide the most grip. If I ran the tires designed for the lightweight cars on mine, the tires would overheat, and become "greasy" by the middle of a track session. Tire life would be greatly reduced.

    The tread design on these tires is designed to channel water in rain if necessary (road course track days do not stop for rain) and keep the tire DOT legal. The large blocks provide a very stable connection to the pavement. The taller and narrower the tread blocks are, the more the blocks can move (squirm) and on road tracks cars with tires like that are limited by the tires.

    The rounded casing design of these tires provides a good contact patch and smooth transition from full braking to cornering loads and again when rolling back into the throttle through the turn with a predictable feel. Tires like these don't squeal around corners so the driver has to pay more attention to how the car "feels" through the steering wheel and seat of the pants.

    http://www.yokohamatire.com/tires/advan_a048.aspx


  3. #3
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    Before I won the contest I'd been trying to just have as much fun as I could while retaining an original type single piston front disc/rear drum brake system. Of course I keep replacing the calipers, wheel cylinders, master cylinder etc. and I installed braided flex lines to replace the stock rubber ones. I tried a number of different pads and shoes over the years and the most recent and best setup was having Porterfield race pads on the front with custom made Raybestos race shoes in the rear. I kept dedicated street pads, shoes, drums, and rotors and swapped everything and bled the brakes before and after every track day. A lot of work, but the race setup worked so much better on track than stock stuff it was worth it. The biggest drawback was that I would get the rotors so hot on track because of the race pads that I'd crystalize them and have to junk them after a track weekend. Now I'm going big time!

    As mentioned in my first post, I talked to Todd at Baer for a while one afternoon. After discussing what I do with the car and my personal opinions on things like aesthetics. He came up with the brake package you see below. There's a few reasons for the way I got certain things that I think might be interesting to others considering big brake upgrades. I told Todd I didn't care what color the calipers were so they sent me Nickle plated!

    Although the car's pretty and photographic, I am more concerned with the function, performance, and simplicity of things for The 14 Car than I am about the "look". If a couple sponges rubbing on a balsa wood disc would stop the car faster I'd be fine with that, no matter how silly it looked. So given that attitude, some things that the more show oriented guys get in a brake package I have no yearning desire for. Zinc wash rotor coating is a good example. My brakes are going to be used to their limit and so the wheels, spindles, calipers etc. get covered with brake dust at every track event. I clean everything often but I don't need the "show" look of the zinc. Drilled rotors are another type of option that I don't really need. There's a lot of opinions about drilling rotors that I'm not going to go into here, but for me, I'm good with slotted or solid rotors.

    The big rotors are a lot of rotating mass and they will require more power to get them up to speed out of every turn. (read, slow my car down) That mass is also what helps dissipate all the heat generated while slowing the car repeatedly on track. Now, while you might think that the car accelerating slower out of corners will make the lap times higher, the ability to stay at full speed on the other end of the straight longer before braking more than makes up for the slower corner exit acceleration. As an example if I was going 140 MPH at the end of a straight I'd cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. If I can start braking a hundred feet later than I did with the old brakes the loss of time getting up to speed is more than made up for by the time saved traveling at full speed for an extra hundred feet!

    The rotors are a 2 piece design and the calipers are BAER 6P asphalt track 6 piston design with BOTH brake pads moving! (inside joke). The fronts come on a dedicated spindle for the 2nd gen F bodies and the rears are designed to work on the Ford style Moser tapered bearing housing ends I have on my 10 bolt GM rear. These calipers use a modern Corvette design pad so replacements are readily available in different compounds.







    The rear brakes are also 14" rotors with the 6P calipers and include the park brake that fits into the center section of the 2 piece rotors. There will also be an adjustable proportioning valve I'm hoping to mount within reach while driving to fine tune the amount of work the rear brakes do.





    Last edited by NOT A TA; 05-09-2014 at 07:31 PM.

  4. #4
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    I've begun working on the upgrades for The 14 Car. Lots of other projects have taken my time during the past year and I haven't done anything.... until today! I decided a while back that since I'll have the car out of commission for a while I'm going to expand on the project of brakes, wheels, and tires. I've been saying I was going to do several other things to the car and so I'm going to take the opportunity to do everything at once. On top of the brakes, wheels tires I'll attempt the following. We'll see how it goes, and hope I don't slide down the slippery slope too far!

    1. Replace core support. Mine was rusted out when I bought the car 20 years ago. None were available repro or used, so I fabricated a new bottom section so the radiator wouldn't fall on the ground (literally). I got a good used one from Arizona Rust Free about 6-7 years ago but never put it in. So the plan is to strip, paint, and install it.

    2. Replace hood. My hoods not a real TA hood, just a stock hood with a hole cut in it. A guy in an Alfa Romeo lost an engine at Palm Beach International just as I was about to pull out to pass him. Some chemical from his engine damaged the paint on my hood and shaker scoop. So now's the time to paint and install the new hood. I bought a nice TA hood maybe 10-12 years ago but never installed it because I'd need to paint it. I'll have the paint out for.......

    3. Repaint front spoiler. I hit a chunk of 2 X 4 that flipped up on a highway south of New Orleans while on vacation that took a chunk of paint out of the spoiler. Then I started going fast enough on track so the air pressure was folding the center of the spoiler straight down which the paint didn't like so it started peeling. If you've seen pics of my car with stickers on the front spoiler it was to hide the peeling paint ! LOL

    4. Spoiler extension and splitter. Aerodynamic benefit and the supports will keep the stock spoiler from flexing so much at speed. Another thing I've been saying I'll get to. Since I'll have everything apart and be painting, now's the time. I've been working on a design, will try to make it a reality.

    5. Custom front valance. Already have a spare valance to work with that's better than the one on my car. Gotta design in mind, will try to make it a reality.

    6. Rear diffuser. Again I have a design in mind and will see how it works out.

    7. Install NOS Hooker side pipes. I bought a set of side pipes a couple years ago to replace the ones on my car. The ones on my car are limiting performance because they are not headers to side pipes, but regular exhaust manifolds with custom bent exhaust tubing to the side pipes which have a fake "header" section on the front of them. They look cool (to me) but limit the engines performance to reach my speed goals. Drawback is the new pipes are black and so the "look" of the car will need to change. I'm considering a couple options.

    8. Install foilers. Foilers are wheel well flares like the ones TAs come with but they fit behind each wheel. I bought a set about 10 years ago but never painted them or installed. Since I'll already have the paint out..... However there may be a glitch in the installation because the new side exit headers that came with the sidepipes may interfere with the front ones, we'll see.

    9. Install trunk filler panel and trunk lid. Again, parts I bought long ago and never installed. My current deck lid is a stock non TA one I drilled holes in to install a spoiler and I have a better filler panel to use now.

    10. Put the car on a diet! I added 200 lbs. of roll cage and adding a spoiler extension, splitter, and diffuser will add more. I would like to figure out some ways of getting that back out of the car. It weighed about 3500 lbs before the safety equipment install and I'd like to get back near that weight if possible. So while I've got the car torn apart I'm going to look for some places to do some automotive liposuction.

    So I started the project today by getting out the core support and stripping it. Gave it a good scraping to remove undercoating, wire brushed the big stuff off, wire wheeled it to get most of the heavy remaining deposits, and then sandblasted it with an Eastwood outdoor style blaster and wire wheeled it some more. I'll sand it before more work is done to it. I'm going to add some metal to stiffen it up where it attaches to the sub frame.







    Last edited by NOT A TA; 05-09-2014 at 08:05 PM.

  5. #5
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    john i been waiting on this as you know i ask you all the time in chat lol... i cant wait to watch this
    keep the wheels a spinning and the Beavers a grinning(burt reynolds-smokey and the bandit)

  6. #6
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    Go John...!
    Regards,
    Leigh

    Sydney, Australia
    1971 Firebird 455

    http://www.pro-touring.com/showthrea...Project/page27

  7. #7
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    I am excited to see this one come together (or get torn apart before coming back together). I like the description of all of the battle scars picked up over the years. One from a race track, one from driving the car on vacation. It really sums up pro-touring. It sounds like the changes you are making are going to make for a very cool end product, which we all know you are going flog once it is finished.
    Stephen

  8. #8
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    Thanks guys! And yup, it's gonna come apart! Trying to get things ready so everything goes smooth. Nothing like having your car scattered all over!

    Today was finally paint day for the core support after waiting through a week of wind. I used some Chassis Saver which is a single stage rust encapsulating type of paint by Magnet Paint.

    Here's my high tech mixing station! I use a HVLP jamb gun for jobs like this. The biggest hassle is making a way to hang the gun so the cup stays upright. READ DIRECTIONS (and follow them) for any type of paint.





    Here's my spacious booth complete with a tropical theme. Banana, Plantain, Papaya, Mango, Avacado, Yuca (Cassava), Areca Palm, and Almond background.



    Last edited by NOT A TA; 05-09-2014 at 08:07 PM.

  9. #9
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    Oh man! Can't wait to see this! Subscribed.

  10. #10
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    Awesome! I cant wait to see progress.

  11. #11
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    Very cool updates to the car, I'm glad the parts are going to really get a workout, as they should.
    Dave
    84 Monte SS - just a few bolt-ons

  12. #12
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    Thanks guys! this evening I painted the top of the core support I couldn't do yesterday because it was sitting on it. I really need to make something I can hang big pieces on to paint. On a break now, but headed back to the garage shortly!


  13. #13
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    Lot-O-room in that paint booth!

    Cool stuff John, somehow this thread sneaked by me lol. Can't wait to see all the new stuff come together for you.

    Robert

  14. #14
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    What wheels are you going with?
    -James

    1974 Z28 SCCA C Prepared
    1990 Firebird NASA CMC
    2005 Mustang GT SCCA F-Street (new for 2015)
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  15. #15
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    GREAT looking upgrades John!!
    Ray
    FEW FRILLS, just BIG CHILLS!!!
    1972 VW Bug (632 ci BBC/Souped-up Tremec T56 Magnum/9"-3.50)
    18"x12" (335/30/18) Front, 19"x13" (345/30/19) Rear
    http://www.pro-touring.com/showthrea...-Lady-Bug-quot

  16. #16
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    I'm subscribed. I'm looking forward to seeing how all your new goodies come together!
    Herb

    1966 El Camino LS408/T56
    1966 Chevelle 509/???
    1963 C10 454/4L80
    2008 Corvette Z06 LS7/MM6

    PHR CHP CHP youtube


  17. #17
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    Before tearing the car apart I wanted to make some patterns for the spoiler extension and splitter I'm going to fabricate. Once the car is up off the ground it will be difficult to check ground clearance etc.

    I placed a piece of cardboard about 3" off the ground under the front end and used a plumb bob to create an outline roughly the same as the nose of the car. From what I've read, the ideal splitter lines up with the front of the car. So I figured I'd use that as a starting point and shorten if I feel like it later.



    With the height and outline done I made a piece approximately the size I'll need for the spoiler extension.



    Test fitted the foilers for the back of the rear wheel openings. It's going to take some time to fit them nicely. Not sure if I'll be able to use the ones behind the front wheels because the side exit headers may be too close. We'll see.




    So after shuffling cars around to make the garage available without being crowded I've started taking things apart. I swapped out the 2.41 rear I normally use for street, road courses and Land speed racing for the 3.73 rear I use for drags. Then stuck the Mickey Thompson ET Streets on there so if I need to roll the car around while I'm working on the rear to install the Baers I'll be able to. I need to upgrade the rear axles to 1/2" wheel studs to match the front so the axles have to come out anyway so I can line everything up nice and straight in a drill press. I figured I might as well just pull the whole rear to make it easier to work on.

    1st thing, get the car in the garage ALONE!



    I work alone so swapping rears is a little tricky. First thing was battery disconnect and suck the fluid out of the master cylinder since all the brakes are coming out. Then remove the swaybar brackets, brakes, and disconnect the brake line flex hose and park brake cables. Then remove one shock and lower plate and swing the other lower shock plate out of the way. I carefully jack the rear while balancing it and shift it to the side without the shock, tip it down then shift it back the other direction by rolling the jack. This way I don't need to remove the springs.





    After swapping rears and removing front wheels so I can work on swapping the spindles.

    Last edited by NOT A TA; 10-22-2011 at 09:04 PM. Reason: grammar

  18. #18
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  19. #19
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    Can't wait to see what you come up with....its always cool stuff, John.
    Regards,
    Leigh

    Sydney, Australia
    1971 Firebird 455

    http://www.pro-touring.com/showthrea...Project/page27

  20. #20
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    Very Nice thread....Congrats on winning all the Goodies...I am putting a lot of goodies on too..Can't wait to feel the changes...

    Very Nice car you have and great stuff you are doing....i will be checking in on your progress.

    MikeV
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