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Thread: Reliable Track Day/Weekend 818 Cost? My Initial Impressions...Feedback Appreciated!

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    Reliable Track Day/Weekend 818 Cost? My Initial Impressions...Feedback Appreciated!

    Sorry, as a long-time lurker, I know this topic has been covered sporadically...but honestly, I don't know what to think. Please excuse the length.

    To start, I've only placed my order, so I'm not speaking from a position of experience with the kit (but I have owned 5 WRXs, and have tracked them pretty extensively).

    It seems that every time someone posts here and says they were hoping to spend $20k and a build a fun/reliable weekend toy/trackday car, guys chime in and claim that's a pipe-dream...and shout out "real" numbers in the $30-50k range to achieve that goal.

    My issue is, they tend to make those claims yet offer no justification for them. In fact, these guys haven't even tracked (or in some cases driven) the car yet. So I dig deeper and look at their threads: while they're building GREAT 818s, much of what they're doing isn't necessarily to cure any documented reliability issues with the stock car.

    I'll elaborate.

    While I understand this is a kit car, and as an ME/gearhead I FULLY understand the personality types that build these things, I can't seem to find good threads pinpointing the true weak points of these cars in closer to a donor-build form. I find perfectionists unsatisfied with the imperfect, economic solutions offered by FFR. But bad pedal position/shift feel does not make a track car unreliable. Nor does anyone require 350 bhp to have a fun time at an HPDE in a 2000 lb. car.

    I know the brakes are good enough (full-weight WRXs have competed in the US Touring Car Championship on stock brakes and proper pads, I too have tracked a full-weight WRX on 255 R-comps...and yes rotors are a disposable item...but they're also $20). The trans is fine. The engine (well, yeah, typical EJ issues...), but let's call it fine at close to stock power levels.

    Cooling...at what power levels in an AWIC needed? And even then, that add-on doesn't turn a $20k build into a $40k build.

    So what is it? Specifically, where is the extra $20k one needs to spend to cure KNOWN reliability issues to make an 818 a reliable track car?

    My feeling is that while all the extra detail work guys spending a lot of time and money on building their 818 probably technically increase their reliability (and surely their feel/enjoyability), they are not really upgrading/replacing systems that are inherently unreliable. Or at least not that have been shown to be unreliable.

    Does anyone else think that there needs to be some more distinctions and information regarding what common upgrades are "necessary" to address known reliability issues, vs. those that are popular because they're better solutions for various reasons (more robust, nicer feeling/looking)?

    C/N: I think people blur the line between natural build-creep to make a great 818, and upgrades that are necessary to a reliable runner.

    It shouldn't be hard to have a thread that, speaking from experience, tells people what, on a 250 bhp straight donor WRX swap, is likely to cause them trouble doing ten track days a year.

    Hopefully that didn't come off badly...just frustrated reading dozens of posts saying you need to spend $30k+, but not many with any with actual experience stating why.
    Last edited by prematureapex; 02-01-2019 at 09:09 PM.

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    Welcome to the forum. My site has quite of bit of information I gathered at the track. I purchased my car from Chad Plavan, so you can also check out the build. I have had a few issues at the track, a few of them self induced. Here is my list.

    1) CV's got clunky - replaced with DSS axles rated to 500, no prob. Not sure this wasn't a problem with the donor axles.
    2) Twisted the cam off the cam shaft on a cold start at the track - likely a faulty head from the original build (best theory at this point)
    3) Lost my brakes on a twisty short road course with a short straight - added cooling to the front. Pads were about 1/2 gone, should have changed the fluid more frequently)
    4) Stopped one day because of high temp reading - turned out to be a loose wire on the sender
    5) Broke my Legacy 5MT (ring gear tooth, I think, punched through the case). The car is now 320 rear wheel. Ran many track days for me at Chad at 280. I don't know if 40 more HP did it or some other thing. It happened shortly after I spun the car.
    The others are things to think about.
    1) My AWIC run ambient +10 in most conditions including 100F at Buttonwillow in CA. I post the temps after my track days.
    2) The g-force on Hoosiers routinely spike at over 1.5 and sustain over 1. I have a dry sump that is now sorted. Mitch Wright has many successful days without one, but mods.
    3) I posted the temps for the 5 MT taken with a handheld IR thermometer. I saw 222F on a 74 degree day. I was running full synthetic trans oil. I wish there was a cooler as this is at the limit according to the manufacturer.
    4) I have a speed density tune, run 91 octane and try to keep the revs down. Engine seems solid and smooth.
    I think you said it correctly. The more you push, the more you risk. I tend to drive about 7/10. The car is more than I am driver, but I aspire to improve my skills. My plan is to put in the 6MT with the limited slip and cooler, then drive. I don't need/want any more power, and I think I will be in a zone where I am not at the limit of any components.

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    I believe I read that Chad had spent upwards of $40K on that car. Toke on that one for a while.

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    1. The brakes are NOT good enough. They are built for a heavier car yes, but they are built for a front engine car, not a mid engine car. And they are converted to non-power. Pedal effort is high. You need to rig something up like some people did using larger rear calipers, or you need to get the Wilwood setup completely with pedal cluster, and I would suggest upgrading the rear calipers to the larger Wilwood size (the kit FFR offers features rear calipers sized more for a WRX than an 818).
    2. Bump Steer. You'll need to get a bump steer kit and use a bump steer gauge to set it
    3. You need a working intercooler. The intercooler on the 818 gets no air and doesn't work.
    4. Additional engine coolant and oil cooling will be required
    5. Fuel starvation issues. Need a really good fuel cell and also a fuel surge tank with pump and regulator
    6. You'll want an Access Port and a pro-tune
    7. You'll want a real exhaust
    8. You'll want real wheels and tires
    9. You'll want all new wheel bearings
    10. New racing brake pads and good new rotors
    11. You'll want gauges for everything
    12. The shifter sucks. You'll need a good shifter, custom cables, custom shift linkages
    13. Can't recall but not sure if the 818R comes with a race seat and or 5 point racing harnesses. If not, you'll need all that
    14. Ditch all the tacky hood pins for custom hinges like Craig sells
    15. Fire suppression system?
    16. You want to run the WRX airbox or an aftermarket intake with aftermarket filter and custom piping to position the filter in a good spot for the 818?
    17. Aftermarket EBCS
    18. Air oil separator
    19. New aftermarket performance clutch, flywheel, pressure plate, throw out bearing

    Keep us posted on what you end up spending.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob T View Post
    Welcome to the forum. My site has quite of bit of information I gathered at the track. I purchased my car from Chad Plavan, so you can also check out the build. I have had a few issues at the track, a few of them self induced. Here is my list.

    1) CV's got clunky - replaced with DSS axles rated to 500, no prob. Not sure this wasn't a problem with the donor axles.
    2) Twisted the cam off the cam shaft on a cold start at the track - likely a faulty head from the original build (best theory at this point)
    3) Lost my brakes on a twisty short road course with a short straight - added cooling to the front. Pads were about 1/2 gone, should have changed the fluid more frequently)
    4) Stopped one day because of high temp reading - turned out to be a loose wire on the sender
    5) Broke my Legacy 5MT (ring gear tooth, I think, punched through the case). The car is now 320 rear wheel. Ran many track days for me at Chad at 280. I don't know if 40 more HP did it or some other thing. It happened shortly after I spun the car.
    Great info, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hindsight View Post
    1. The brakes are NOT good enough. They are built for a heavier car yes, but they are built for a front engine car, not a mid engine car. And they are converted to non-power. Pedal effort is high. You need to rig something up like some people did using larger rear calipers, or you need to get the Wilwood setup completely with pedal cluster, and I would suggest upgrading the rear calipers to the larger Wilwood size (the kit FFR offers features rear calipers sized more for a WRX than an 818).
    2. Bump Steer. You'll need to get a bump steer kit and use a bump steer gauge to set it
    3. You need a working intercooler. The intercooler on the 818 gets no air and doesn't work.
    4. Additional engine coolant and oil cooling will be required
    5. Fuel starvation issues. Need a really good fuel cell and also a fuel surge tank with pump and regulator
    6. You'll want an Access Port and a pro-tune
    7. You'll want a real exhaust
    8. You'll want real wheels and tires
    9. You'll want all new wheel bearings
    10. New racing brake pads and good new rotors
    11. You'll want gauges for everything
    12. The shifter sucks. You'll need a good shifter, custom cables, custom shift linkages
    13. Can't recall but not sure if the 818R comes with a race seat and or 5 point racing harnesses. If not, you'll need all that
    14. Ditch all the tacky hood pins for custom hinges like Craig sells
    15. Fire suppression system?
    16. You want to run the WRX airbox or an aftermarket intake with aftermarket filter and custom piping to position the filter in a good spot for the 818?
    17. Aftermarket EBCS
    18. Air oil separator
    19. New aftermarket performance clutch, flywheel, pressure plate, throw out bearing

    Keep us posted on what you end up spending.
    Thanks, some of that is good info, and things that were already on my radar.

    But to be honest, half of what you mentioned in your list is absolutely not required to have a reliable 250 bhp 818 (a OTS stage 1 or 2 tune). It sort of makes my point with what I read on here.

    I NEED custom hinges to make a reliable weekender/HPDE car? What?

    No, I don't need an aftermarket EBCS.

    I need an Accessport? My Tatrix cable and OS/XPT tunes won't work for some reason I don't know about?

    OTS tunes at modest power levels are competely fine. Five WRXs here...hundreds of thousands of miles on them, and many, many trackdays running at an instructor level. I'll log the car, but I'm doubting I'll need a protune.

    As per a few people now (see below), I apparently don't need another IC solution at those power levels.

    A sucky shifter is just that.

    While I'll have them, I certainly don't need a race seat and five points.

    I don't need a "real" exhaust (whatever that is).

    Don't get me wrong, there will be cost creep as I want to build a better car. And that's fine. But again, much of your list are the very types of things I'm talking about. Nice to have, but absolutely not needed.
    Last edited by prematureapex; 02-02-2019 at 12:07 PM.

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    Here is my build thread https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...ct-has-arrived. I believe I could have built my car for $25K but that is not the car I wanted. I am closer to $34K but the car is what I wanted and really fun, fast and has been rock solid reliable. I am running a EJ205 that is basically stock with over 90K, JDM VF37 and JDM header, STI TMIC that works just find and runs very close to ambient, makes 285whp with a mild pump gas tune. (I do mix 50/50 100 octane race fuel on really hot days) I am running AP Brakes front and rear and a wet sump, fabricated an adjustable front sway bar. I have found the car responds well to chassis set up changes and is sensitive to toe changes, spend the time to bump steer the car. I feel I met my build goals, the car came in at just over 1800lbs and just under 2000lb with me.

    Have fun with your build there are a ton of people here to bounce ideas off and ask build questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Wright View Post
    Here is my build thread https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...ct-has-arrived. I believe I could have built my car for $25K but that is not the car I wanted. I am closer to $34K but the car is what I wanted and really fun, fast and has been rock solid reliable. I am running a EJ205 that is basically stock with over 90K, JDM VF37 and JDM header, STI TMIC that works just find and runs very close to ambient, makes 285whp with a mild pump gas tune. (I do mix 50/50 100 octane race fuel on really hot days) I am running AP Brakes front and rear and a wet sump, fabricated an adjustable front sway bar. I have found the car responds well to chassis set up changes and is sensitive to toe changes, spend the time to bump steer the car. I feel I met my build goals, the car came in at just over 1800lbs and just under 2000lb with me.

    Have fun with your build there are a ton of people here to bounce ideas off and ask build questions.
    Awesome, sounds a lot like where I'll be. I'll rebuild my 205 (I have a 255 shortblock, but I honestly think the 2.0l is better for higher RPM running). After I break it in, a cheap VF, pinks, and a TMIC (although others in this thread claim it doesn't work?) is where I'd like to be power wise.

    I'll hope to come up with some vented rear brake option. I don't mind running through pads a bit if the bias is decent enough.

    Does an aftermarket adjustable rear bar from a WRX work up front? Or is it too heavy?
    Last edited by prematureapex; 02-02-2019 at 12:07 PM.

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    I think no matter what brakes you end up using I am of the opinion the Wilwood pedal box is a worth while upgrade for track use, I think the pedal ratio is better and you have mechanical bias adjustment. JMO
    The TMIC works great for my power level, I have a temp sender mounted in the IC as close to the throttle-body as I could and have been logging the data on the Cobb every session I run the car. You do have to spend some time figuring how you get plenty of air to it. The TMIC was my plan from the start, and how I was going to get plenty of air to it was on my mind from the start of my build.
    I went with 1000cc injectors on the tuners recommendation, for my power target he felt pinks would be marginal for track use. As I said above the car gets around the track pretty well and it is fun running down most of the cars I have been on track with.
    You might want to look at the ATSV Caddie brakes some are now using, looks like a good option for the price to consider.

    I believe Hindsight looked at installing a aftermarket rear bar and had some fitment issues, he also made his own bar.. I made my own to get the bar rate I wanted and adjustable.

    The areas I could have saved a lot of money: AP brakes, Wiring Harness (I am glad I went with Iwire, I don't think I have the patients and at the time time was a factor) Fuel Cell, JDM exhaust and turbo set up, Aim Dash, light flywheel would be the big items which come out to about $9500ish.

    Hobby Racer is using the ATS brakes front and rear https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...-H6-818R-Build Looks like a nice package.
    Last edited by Mitch Wright; 02-02-2019 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Adding to the post

  10. #10
    Senior Member mikeb75's Avatar
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    some specific track-use expenses you will encounter (or more correctly, I've paid out) during the build:
    Seats - don't think the donors will ever usable in general and especially for track use given the tight confines of the cabin - $1000 for a pair
    Harnesses - same issue as seats, for serious track usage go proper harness and mounting - $1000 for a pair
    Cooling - jury's out on this, but being where the engine is located and the packaging back there I would suggest this become less and less optional as you run longer and more frequent track sessions. You could argue for using the OEM coolant/heat exchanger, but I really hate the location of it. That said the long runs for coolant to the front of the car increase the total quantity of coolant which should increase thermal capacity of the system... -$500
    LSD - optional, but to actually enjoy track work I'd suggest this can be pretty important - $1100
    Carbon Fiber aero parts from FFR - probably optional, but again, for serious track work the splitter/diffuser set (and wing in my case) are already spent - $1500
    Brakes - wilwood pedal set & bias adjuster, master cylinders, front rotors and calipers. Having the bias adjuster and being able to correctly size the masters I think goes a long way to getting the car sorted for braking and balance - $850
    818SC chassis #206 EJ207 2.0L VF37 twin scroll || Cusco type RS 1.5 LSD || Wilwood pedal box (firewall attach) || Wilwood superlite front calipers
    BUILD Phase 1: 6/6/2014 car delivered || 5/24/2015 first start || 6/7/2015 go karted || 4/20/2016 hard-top-topped || 10/25/2016 registered || 11/18/2016 inspected & complete
    BUILD Phase 2: 3/8/2017 EJ207v8 || 5/29/2017 re-first re-start || 7/17/2017 re-assembled with race car bits

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeb75 View Post
    some specific track-use expenses you will encounter (or more correctly, I've paid out) during the build:
    Seats - don't think the donors will ever usable in general and especially for track use given the tight confines of the cabin - $1000 for a pair
    Harnesses - same issue as seats, for serious track usage go proper harness and mounting - $1000 for a pair
    Cooling - jury's out on this, but being where the engine is located and the packaging back there I would suggest this become less and less optional as you run longer and more frequent track sessions. You could argue for using the OEM coolant/heat exchanger, but I really hate the location of it. That said the long runs for coolant to the front of the car increase the total quantity of coolant which should increase thermal capacity of the system... -$500
    LSD - optional, but to actually enjoy track work I'd suggest this can be pretty important - $1100
    Carbon Fiber aero parts from FFR - probably optional, but again, for serious track work the splitter/diffuser set (and wing in my case) are already spent - $1500
    Brakes - wilwood pedal set & bias adjuster, master cylinders, front rotors and calipers. Having the bias adjuster and being able to correctly size the masters I think goes a long way to getting the car sorted for braking and balance - $850
    Couple thoughts, and thank you for the input...

    Sans the aero, you hit on much of what I'm thinking about.

    While I'd argue one could use stock seats, I'm anticipating putting in seats and harnesses (but I think you can swing decent seats for $700-800, and harnesses for MUCH less than a grand, yikes).

    I think I'll try a homemade fiberglass plenum first, and if an AWIC is just the solution, OK.

    While not a necessity for a reliable track car, mine will have an LSD. But instead of $1,100, I'll use a modified torque-biasing OBX (knock-off Quaife) for $340. If I'm left wanting, fine. But I've seen some of the on-board videos from guys on here...they wouldn't' be left wanting with 1/2 the car that they were driving.

    Brakes (and IC) are the real concern. I can do a bolt-on 10% rearward shift with bigger vented rotors that will hold some heat (05 LGT brakes) for $150 OTD. If those in conjunction with the portioning valve result in excessive rear consumption, WRX fronts (2 or 4) almost bolt right on as an aggressive solution.

    While I 100% appreciate the use of great brakes (vastly the most important part of a track car, by far...), from what I read getting the bias shifted rear is still within the realm of a couple hundred in OEM parts vs. what adds up to thousands in aftermarket upgrades. Are they as good? No. Are they as pretty? No. But that wasn't the point of my initial post. I'm not sure they're necessary.

    Hell if I put WRX front 2-pots on the rear, I'm using the portioning valve to back them off vs. the fronts. Not fancy. Won't help sell my car on ebay, but incredibly cheap and functional at a fraction of the price.

    Of note, I'd probably buy the wilwood box for $550 (or whatever it was)...but now it's $850? What happened? I'll try other things first.

    I 100% agree I'd like to spend $40k building this car. But then I'd really, really regret a nice $30k Elise and $6k of supercharger, brakes and tires. I think one can compromise, and do a pretty competent little project for $20-25 that they can be proud of.

    I'll report back in 6 months (or 24 month ), with my thoughts. :lol:
    Last edited by prematureapex; 02-02-2019 at 09:17 PM.

  12. #12
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    Sounds like a lot of us could learn from you. I only wish more of us hadn't thrown a bunch of trial and error time and money into getting a car sorted and enjoyable to drive, issue by issue, instead of just asking someone who's never built or raced one for the winning formula that costs under $20k.

    Definitely looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

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    Keep your receipts. We would all like to know your final tally.
    Also, a little background on you may help. Do you have an engineering degree? Do you know how to weld? How extensive is your shop outfitted? Just having owned a few subies doesn't really mean that much. I've owned 4 over the years, but by no means am I any sort of expert on them.
    Don't forget the caveat of using a donor engine. It may go the distance or crap out immediately. If you don't mind tearing into your just-finished project to revisit areas neglected during the build, have fun. It all adds up!
    If budget is your main concern, I would suggest you cancel your order immediately. Use your $20K to buy a used car & convert it to track use. You'll be money & time ahead and be racing sooner. You'll save yourself the years of work involved in building a car. It's that simple.
    Either way, good luck! We will be watching.
    As far as arguing with ppl who have already built their car, I would suggest you take what you want & leave the rest. There will be plenty of time to debate your choices after the car is finished.
    Your finished project will be a reflection of your self. Do your best.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mikeb75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prematureapex View Post
    Of note, I'd probably buy the wilwood box for $550 (or whatever it was)...but now it's $850? What happened? I'll try other things first.
    You can put the wilwood box in for $550ish, it was the front rotors and calipers and lines that tacked on the extra coin.
    818SC chassis #206 EJ207 2.0L VF37 twin scroll || Cusco type RS 1.5 LSD || Wilwood pedal box (firewall attach) || Wilwood superlite front calipers
    BUILD Phase 1: 6/6/2014 car delivered || 5/24/2015 first start || 6/7/2015 go karted || 4/20/2016 hard-top-topped || 10/25/2016 registered || 11/18/2016 inspected & complete
    BUILD Phase 2: 3/8/2017 EJ207v8 || 5/29/2017 re-first re-start || 7/17/2017 re-assembled with race car bits

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    There are a few areas I'm researching for my upcoming build and I'm looking at OEM parts for common needed upgrades for track use.

    Oil cooling. Instead of an air to liquid why not expand on the Subaru liquid to liquid plate style system and have it be larger and remote? More cooling capacity without trying to find air flow or hacking up the car to promote more air flow. One would need to make a simple flat plate to adapt. total cost under 100 bucks if use Chinese parts or 150 for OEM Volvo.

    One could also adapt an AWIC from an oem source. Saw a used unit for a v12 AMG for 65 dollars. Should have enough capacity for our little 4 banger. You'll need to add an $80 dollar oem pump and +- 100 oem heat exchanger. Mounted up front where the air flow is.

    There seems to be some low buck solutions out there.

  16. #16
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    prematureapex a couple of questions to help us understand:
    Did you order an R, S, or C?
    Is this a track only car or do you intend to drive it on the street?

    And one observation, you keep mentioning reliability but not safety. Sure you can build a less expensive and very reliable track car, but it may not meet your personal safety requirements, or the safety requirements of the track and organizations where you'll be driving. An example is virtually no one taller than Peter Dinklage will pass the broomstick test in a S. Every race organization enforces this rule. And more tracks themselves are enforcing this rule for insurance reasons. (for HPDE events). But most importantly you'd be crazy to take an S out on the track if you can't pass the broomstick test no matter whether the track rules require it or not. And most taller drivers in an R won't pass the test either.

    And finally, if you want a really reliable car IMHO a NA engine is the way to go. With a couple of cheap mods you can get 165 HP at the wheels that will be a fun, fast, and very reliable 1,850 lb track car. No turbo to tune, cool, or replace. No AWIC/TMIC.

    Personally if I wasn't building a car to fit in a specific set of time attack or wheel to wheel racing rules I'm sure I'd build a 2.5i NA engine, 5 speed with an LSD, and do away with 90% of the engine/tranny reliability issues. It will still be faster than almost all the other cars at an HPDE.

    In comparison look how much fun and fast a Spec Miata is with 120 HP in a 2,400 lb car....now consider the 818 is lighter and will out corner a Spec Miata with some decent aero downforce. A good Spec Miata driver can usually embarrass almost any high end performance car at an HPDE day, particularly on a twisty track.

    I've raced in Enduros with Spec Miatas, and although we weren't in the same class so technically we weren't racing against each other, it still took me a few laps to get around them and make my passes stick in my LGT race car (3200 lbs, 320HP). I'd pass them on the straight, they pass me in the corners. Eventually I get enough lead on the straights where they can't pass me again in the corners, but it wasn't a cake walk. And was a ton of fun too.

    I'd love to see an R built with an NA engine so we can see the lap times.....
    Last edited by Sgt.Gator; 02-05-2019 at 02:53 PM.
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  18. #17
    Senior Member Hobby Racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt.Gator View Post
    Personally if I wasn't building a car to fit in a specific set of time attack or wheel to wheel racing rules I'm sure I'd build a 2.5i NA engine, 5 speed with an LSD, and do away with 90% of the engine/tranny reliability issues. It will still be faster than almost all the other cars at an HPDE.

    I'd love to see an R built with an NA engine so we can see the lap times.....

    My thoughts exactly ... well so long as you add in 2 more cylinders.
    MK3.1 Roadster completed 2011
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  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobby Racer View Post
    My thoughts exactly ... well so long as you add in 2 more cylinders.
    I'm with you on that! I'm hoping you can show us how to control the oil pressure in a 6 cyl road race motor. I know you can get a dry sump for the EG33, but I have yet to see a solution for the EZ 30-36.
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    I'd also consider a fuel surge tank to be required for a reliable track day car. You probably ran into this with your WRX saddle bag tanks.
    "Good Judgement comes from Experience. Experience comes from Bad Judgement"
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    So...I began my 818 with almost the exact same goals in mind. I'm building a 818C with the intention of creating a fun fair-weather vehicle with the occasional HPDE event. The long story short, is that if you want all of that then ~$30K is the budget required. I've yet to see a builder prove this wrong and considering there's been 100s of smart people doing this...this may just be the lower limit. Here's where all that cost adds up:
    • Freshening donor components for safety and to have a vehicle you can be proud of
      • New wheel bearings
      • New engine timing components and maintenance items like seals
      • New fluids in everything
      • Paint and prep for all suspension components
      • New clutch and flywheel likely considering most donors

    • Upgrade parts for the 818C
      • New wheels and tires
      • Seats/harness fitting of a track car
        • custom seat brackets or an expensive aftermarket solution

      • Exhaust- FFRs provided kit kinda sucks
      • Brakes- costs varies but some sort of change or upgrade is necessary. I'm using a power booster from a Miata.
      • FFR or Forma Wiper Kit for street legality
      • Limited Slip diff
      • Cooling improvements if the wrx doesn't already have upgraded parts
      • Hydramat or other fuel solution

    • Fit and Finish- Afterall you want a decent looking car
      • Bodywork supplies
      • Vinyl or paint
      • Undercoating and finish supplies for underbody, underside of fenders, roof, etc

    • Don't underestimate the cost of these!
      • Hardware replacements- it adds up! Especially the specialty metric bolts
      • MISTAKES- there will be many and they all cost $$$
      • Custom fabricated parts and similar
      • Fluids/maintenance to donor parts- You'll be surprised how quickly consumables and filters and seals add up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lance corsi View Post
    Keep your receipts. We would all like to know your final tally.
    Also, a little background on you may help. Do you have an engineering degree? Do you know how to weld? How extensive is your shop outfitted? Just having owned a few subies doesn't really mean that much. I've owned 4 over the years, but by no means am I any sort of expert on them.
    Don't forget the caveat of using a donor engine. It may go the distance or crap out immediately. If you don't mind tearing into your just-finished project to revisit areas neglected during the build, have fun. It all adds up!
    If budget is your main concern, I would suggest you cancel your order immediately. Use your $20K to buy a used car & convert it to track use. You'll be money & time ahead and be racing sooner. You'll save yourself the years of work involved in building a car. It's that simple.
    Either way, good luck! We will be watching.
    As far as arguing with ppl who have already built their car, I would suggest you take what you want & leave the rest. There will be plenty of time to debate your choices after the car is finished.
    Your finished project will be a reflection of your self. Do your best.
    Just to respond...

    Yes, BSME out of undergrad (FSAE in college, built a few 4130 tube framed formulas from scratch), now sadly a lawyer. Yes, I know how to weld. I've tracked a lot, instruct for local PCAs, raced shifters. Shop is fine. I have (well, co-builder has) rebuilt EJ bottom-ends before, so spinning a bearing is not a huge concern. And since you asked, budget is not a concern. That doesn't mean I'm an idiot for not signing up to drop $40k+ into this project. And frankly, I don't see at all how I need to. "Famous last words"

    I just love how defensive people get. There are MANY examples on here of people DIYing, finding cheap solutions, or just being happy with what a more basic build is. But to see so many people, who as a majority, haven't even finished their builds, chime in an claim to definitively say "that's not enough" is somewhat entertaining to me. I ask them, why did you need to do that, and the answer is silence.

    There are far smarter on me on here, for sure. And, of course, far more experienced. It's simply a matter of priorities. But I'm sorry, I don't think I need to react ***-kissingly to a guy who responds to me with a 20 point list of things I "need", 2/3 of which anyone with half a brain would say I clearly don't, and ohhh...how fittingly, he's currently selling his very well-built car. And he decided to respond, but not to address any of the glaring faults in his reply. Wow, what a tremendous benefit he's brought to myself and others wondering the same things.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not a moron. If you think it will cost $15k, it'll be $25k by the time you put in what you WANT. Build creep is sort of what these cars are all about. In fact, it's fun to identify what areas you want to focus on, decide to take on more, etc. That's what a kit car is. But people have a serious issue drawing the lines. Forgetting what was needed to get the thing out there, vs. what they envisioned was necessary along the way.

    So far, I've confirmed a very short list, with conflicting information.

    To that end, I was simply saying this place would benefit from more people clearing up what is actually needed to, for example, run a brisk HPDE pace with this car. Some claim $2k in brakes, other say 500 hundred in aftermarket suby parts and some elbow grease works. Those kinds of distinctions add up. So forgive me if I lean more toward guys working at it vs. those buying parts off shelves, claiming it's the only way to d0 it right, and everything else is inadequate.
    Last edited by prematureapex; 02-07-2019 at 01:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hindsight View Post
    Sounds like a lot of us could learn from you. I only wish more of us hadn't thrown a bunch of trial and error time and money into getting a car sorted and enjoyable to drive, issue by issue, instead of just asking someone who's never built or raced one for the winning formula that costs under $20k.

    Definitely looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
    So you're not going to respond to ANY of your inaccuracies? Just make a smug reply? I still need custom hinges? I still need an AP, and EBC and a fire suppression system? OK...good luck with the sale.


    And for whatever it's worth, I think I'll be in for $25-28k. But much of that, if I'm honest, was to build a car I wanted more than one I needed. Which was the whole point of the thread.
    Last edited by prematureapex; 02-07-2019 at 01:20 PM.

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    Premature apex, I'd like to clear up some misunderstandings you seem to have regarding our lovely 818.
    #1- Nobody(I'd be willing to bet) bought into one of these cars with the intention of spending $30k-$40k!!!
    #2- Very doubtful that anyone has completed their car in the suggested 250 hrs!!!
    #3- As you already know, various trim levels are offered, but performance goals are up to the descretion of the builder.
    #4- With engine upgraded performance, some ppl feel a brake upgrade is warranted. This includes ppl who haven't yet driven their project car!
    #5- As one reads the forum, other deficiencies begin to emerge, leading one to correct them before finishing their build.
    Now, let me tell you about my dilemna as I entered into my build. After roughly 1,000 hours spent and $25k, I could see that I wasn't even halfway thru. Should I give up on it & sell out to try to recoup some of my money? No!! I decided to press on, after all at 64, this may be my one & only car build. Therefore I continue. I'm now able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, hope to finish this year. Never, and I mean NEVER did I anticipate spending upwards of $45k on a car, but here I am. I'm finally able to enjoy the variety of skills I've acquired on this project. I've actually taken a haitus to improve on my fit & finish quality. It's something I still struggle with, but I can see an improvement. In the end, I know I'll like what I've built. I've made as many parts as I could to help keep costs in line, but the creep...
    I think what I'm trying to say is this; Don't judge others so harshly. You build the car you want & we'll all be happy with that. It may not be my cup-o-tea, but it's yours to live with, not mine. This forum is chock full of good tips & how-tos and if you can keep from insulting those of us who are reluctant to engage about the whys. We have our reasons for what we do, as you do with yours. Maybe you should call your sales person and ask them why nobody is able to complete their car on budget!
    Anyway, that's my $.02 worth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lance corsi View Post
    Premature apex, I'd like to clear up some misunderstandings you seem to have regarding our lovely 818.
    #1- Nobody(I'd be willing to bet) bought into one of these cars with the intention of spending $30k-$40k!!!
    #2- Very doubtful that anyone has completed their car in the suggested 250 hrs!!!
    #3- As you already know, various trim levels are offered, but performance goals are up to the descretion of the builder.
    #4- With engine upgraded performance, some ppl feel a brake upgrade is warranted. This includes ppl who haven't yet driven their project car!
    #5- As one reads the forum, other deficiencies begin to emerge, leading one to correct them before finishing their build.
    Now, let me tell you about my dilemna as I entered into my build. After roughly 1,000 hours spent and $25k, I could see that I wasn't even halfway thru. Should I give up on it & sell out to try to recoup some of my money? No!! I decided to press on, after all at 64, this may be my one & only car build. Therefore I continue. I'm now able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, hope to finish this year. Never, and I mean NEVER did I anticipate spending upwards of $45k on a car, but here I am. I'm finally able to enjoy the variety of skills I've acquired on this project. I've actually taken a haitus to improve on my fit & finish quality. It's something I still struggle with, but I can see an improvement. In the end, I know I'll like what I've built. I've made as many parts as I could to help keep costs in line, but the creep...
    I think what I'm trying to say is this; Don't judge others so harshly. You build the car you want & we'll all be happy with that. It may not be my cup-o-tea, but it's yours to live with, not mine. This forum is chock full of good tips & how-tos and if you can keep from insulting those of us who are reluctant to engage about the whys. We have our reasons for what we do, as you do with yours. Maybe you should call your sales person and ask them why nobody is able to complete their car on budget!
    Anyway, that's my $.02 worth.
    Let me start by saying I agree with really everything you've said.

    But with that out of the way, I'm confused to some degree with your impression of me/this thread. I have said, from the start, I appreciate/would desire/etc. much of what everyone is doing with these cars. I would love Hindsight's build, for example. He did a great job. Better than I would/will do. He has a wealth of knowledge. If I was doing this for other reasons, I'd spend much more as well.

    But I haven't insulted anyone out of the gate. I asked a very, very simple question. One that many builders I'm sure are interested in hearing detailed answers to. I'm not going apologize when someone who's spent a ton gets offended when I question if what they did was actually needed, which is the only thing I was asking. It's not as if I'm in their build thread telling them they could have done things cheaper.

    No one can see where I'm coming from? I start a thread asking what it REALLY takes to build a bare-bones reliable 818 for weekends and HPDEs, and when I balk at guys saying I need a fire suppression system, custom hood hinges, etc., I'm a greenhorn ******* who will learn his lesson in the long run? Really?

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    I'm a little embarrassed at the fact that I was so gullible at this age, to buy in to the artfully crafted answers by the sales staff at FFR, really. It's my first kit car, so I had some unrealistic ideas of what was in store for me.
    In 1982 I worked in Phoenix at a fair sized machine shop. One day, the foreman of the welding dept rolled in with a Sterling kit car that he had built. I was severely bitten by the kit car bug! It was beautiful! Shiny red, some chrome, a healthy VW bug engine, chromed out, but the best thing was the shape of the thing! I'm not a fan of the bug based kits, but this was something above & beyond! It was his awesome vision. I've kept that memory for 35 yrs until now. I feel that same potter patter whenever I walk into my shop and see my 818 sitting there, all bad n stuff. My vision for it evolves with time, so I feed the creep. But I'm happy with it. Maybe it will inspire some other person to build his dream even better. It's my hope that I can still get into & out of it when I finally finish it!

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  30. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by lance corsi View Post
    I'm a little embarrassed at the fact that I was so gullible at this age, to buy in to the artfully crafted answers by the sales staff at FFR, really. It's my first kit car, so I had some unrealistic ideas of what was in store for me.
    In 1982 I worked in Phoenix at a fair sized machine shop. One day, the foreman of the welding dept rolled in with a Sterling kit car that he had built. I was severely bitten by the kit car bug! It was beautiful! Shiny red, some chrome, a healthy VW bug engine, chromed out, but the best thing was the shape of the thing! I'm not a fan of the bug based kits, but this was something above & beyond! It was his awesome vision. I've kept that memory for 35 yrs until now. I feel that same potter patter whenever I walk into my shop and see my 818 sitting there, all bad n stuff. My vision for it evolves with time, so I feed the creep. But I'm happy with it. Maybe it will inspire some other person to build his dream even better. It's my hope that I can still get into & out of it when I finally finish it!
    I'm with you, and I'm glad to see you've embraced it! In addition to building a few single-seaters from nothing, I've helped on a family FFR roadster build a few years ago. I've seen an initial "get it on the road asap" turn into a labor of love, adopting the build as the real pleasure in this whole experience. I'm not naive enough to think I'm on the other side of this thinking I saved a lot vs. supercharging an Elise. I'm glad you've seemed to enjoy the process, despite it's longevity. Cheers...and keep feeding the creep!

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    Not to sound harsh, but the tone of the thread is kind of already... The question isn't really that simple, especially since you're talking track-day car. It's even worse than when someone wants to know what it takes to build a "competitive" race car. At least then you know how fast you need to be. A track day car can be a heap or a gem or anything in-between, and you have the option to be satisfied vs. driven to win. Want to go faster, spend more money, get more seat time. Obviously it gets "competitive" but when there are no rules money wins that "race".
    I've never built t track-day car, but have been to club/track days in a race car, and my first priority would be safety if I built one. Yes, including a fire system, that's easy. A tougher safety challenge is the broomstick test and "less than optimal" roll-bar design. prematureapex, you sound like you have the background and experience to answer your questions for yourself, and you seem to have mostly. Break out the excel, do a spreadsheet, and hope for the best! Get some donor/engine/prep projects going while you wait for the kit.
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  33. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by prematureapex View Post
    So you're not going to respond to ANY of your inaccuracies? Just make a smug reply? I still need custom hinges? I still need an AP, and EBC and a fire suppression system? OK...good luck with the sale.
    Based on your comment about my "smug" reply, you appear to be living life through a one-way mirror that allows you to be incredibly sensitive to how others are coming across to you, but completely oblivious as to how you are coming across to others.

    Quote Originally Posted by prematureapex View Post
    But I'm sorry, I don't think I need to react ***-kissingly to a guy who responds to me with a 20 point list of things I "need", 2/3 of which anyone with half a brain would say I clearly don't, and ohhh...how fittingly, he's currently selling his very well-built car. And he decided to respond, but not to address any of the glaring faults in his reply. Wow, what a tremendous benefit he's brought to myself and others wondering the same things.


    Just..... wow. If this is how you ask for help and feedback, I can't imagine you get a lot of it.

    To answer your question, no, I do not care to respond to your rude criticisms of the free help I gave you. There is a difference between being polite and "a**-kissing", as you put it. And just because YOU disagree with me doesn't mean my advice is inaccurate. Your tactic of rudely attacking someone's advice or opinion in hopes of baiting them into defending themselves and giving additional information isn't something that is going to work on me or many others. I could go into great detail over what I learned in the 3-4 years I've spent building and improving this car in order to help save you time and money, expanding in detail on the list I wrote, and I could explain the importance of things like low-cost hinges or a $150 EBCS etc, and I could even go into the details on why I'm selling the car, but why would I spend my valuable time trying to help someone who is only going to argue with me and be rude about it? Your attitude warrants no additional help from me. And to be honest, I don't really understand why you seem so intent on receiving additional information from someone who has less than half a brain. How valuable could that advice really be anyway?
    Last edited by Hindsight; 02-08-2019 at 08:49 AM.

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    My .02 cents- I get alot of questions on the 818R from people after my Love/Hate relationship with it. This is my feedback.

    I bought the 818R thinking I could build a competitive racecar for under $25k with proper drysump. I ended up with a non competitive car in its NASA class for $40k (ST2). Not to mention lacking reliability. You could buy a front running ST2 Corvette for much less.

    Now, if you want a track day car, and are not flogging it like a race driver at 10/10ths, you should be fine. If you want a racecar, buy something else that is proven. In total, The 818R racecar does not have the best track record (see what I did there :P) on track after 5+ years in its current form. That is a fact, and you are blind if you think otherwise.

    That said, I'm looking forward to seeing how the other 818R's with different powerplants do. That is what I should of done from the get go, or just gone Normally Aspirated.
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    Hey I figured I would chime in on this post since I have done nothing but HPDEs with my 818s for the last three year. I totally believe you can build a reliable car for under $20k if you have reasonable goals and spend your money wisely. My build was around the $20k mark when I went to my first HPDE. I did many upgrades including good power and reliability things to go with safety and the car was a blast. Unfortunately one of the things I didn’t upgrade bit me. I lost my engine on the second day.

    Why you ask, because I didn’t upgrade the cooling system for the power I was making and how hard I was pushing the car. It ran hot both days which eventually lead to its demise. So after and new motor and other upgrades I am now pushing the $30k mark.

    I believe it is more about how fast you truly want to go. Stay with a lower HP and cooling and braking become less important. Want to go faster and be at the front of the pack at an HPDE now cooling braking and aero become more important and drive the price up.

    A cheap Miata can go out and play and have just as much fun at an HPDE as I do but at a much slower pace for way less money. But I didn’t want a Miata I wanted a self built car that is built my way and will go as fast as my wallet will let it.

    So to me sit down and decide what the hole goal for the project is. If you just want to have fun and be at the track with everyone else the car is great for that. It is fast, handles good, and most people love talking about it. If you want to run with the big dogs at the end of the day it cost more money to do that. If you plan your build right from the beginning and by the right stuff the first time it cost less in the long run. Making changes and upgrades is where the money adds up because you did it twice.

    If you really want to see what it is like come on down to my area next month and I will take you for a spin at the track in a good handling car with awesome power and then you can decide if you want to play with the Miatas or pass the Porches and GT350 that cost over twice as much and they just wrote a check where I actually built mine at home.

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    Everybody look out, we've got another builder who has just put in their order for an 818 and is already an expert on everything about the car.

    Before this thread I had never seen any person ask for advice and then ridicule most input they received - at least on this forum. You did realize you were asking for opinions, right? You seem shocked that the answers were varied. ADMIN EDIT: Removed insult.

    No, I'm not going to debate what is absolutely necessary to track an 818 with you. You seem to be an expert already, not sure why you're asking for feedback other than to let everyone else know how great you are.
    Last edited by David Hodgkins; 02-11-2019 at 03:30 PM.

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    You gentlemen need to dial it down a bit or I'll be forced to close the thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Hodgkins View Post
    You gentlemen need to dial it down a bit or I'll be forced to close the thread.
    Thanks Dave, one great thing on this forum is it stays far more civil than most any other I visit. The various Subaru enthusiast forums are good for a lot of info but often you have to wade knee deep in battles to find the low lying gem here and there.

    With that said I'm going to take a crack at responding to (not necessarily answering) our new build partner's questions.

    To Prematureapex,

    I'll have to generalize and offer opinion, since I'm not even on the road yet myself. So yah, take me with a grain of salt if you like.

    I feel like you asked the wrong group of people regarding your specific points. I'll trickle that out in the next paragraphs.

    For the most part I feel that the members interested in posting here tend to be more involved in their builds than just following the book. Conversely builders who are staying within the plan ...by the book for all practical purposes... don't seem to be the ones who have a lot to post. So your audience consists of builders who are not likely shooting for the minimum acceptible design/build per FFR's plans. In other words, the silent majority probably could address your thoughts about the build creep vs "stock" and track abilities, but they are not in attendance here. Not only that, taken as a whole, the active posting members are a pretty small club, even though there have been a lot of posters since incept. So it's not like you have auditorium of diverse builder/people to draw from

    I personally think the car can be built safely and at the 15-20K price range, I'm not much over that $20K myself, but my style is still modify like crazy, but for some things, I make instead of buying. (My tool purchases are another story). Why I believe it can be done... and I'm just shooting from the hip here:

    I believe the car's design is decent if not better than that, with FFR's background and engineering efforts in it. Some dispute this and have their own good reasons, and when they've shared thoughts I don't dispute them.... But let's say now what if you stick with FFR's supplied parts, plan. Obtain a donor with decent components, and if you take time you can get one (and maybe you have to have good luck, but they do come and go, I know, I watched the donor scene for 2 years before starting in). My opinion is that Subaru builds a good product with acceptable materials. If you use your donor parts throughout, and they are in reasonable mechanical condition it seems to me the 818 will come out at price point, be reliable component wise and capable of being thrashed now and then just like it's donor may have been. You're even allowed to buy a few new parts that broke during teardown, but don't get fancy or upgrade happy. With common sense you could track it once in a while, for fun, maybe not to win all out against all comers. Track activity expenses are ALWAYS extra, i.e. you break it you fix it and that is not on FFR's plate, costs wise.

    With a few and I hope I'm not insulting by saying this, after all, reading the threads (I've probably read all and several more than once) I see people showing, asking, thinking and generally building improvements, changes, adjustments and so on. Because? ...faster ...safer ...fancier ...personal and so on. I.e. the group you're talking to is THAT group, again NOT the base build group.

    So one more time why are you asking the wrong group then, well I think the group are almost all in sync with doing differently than the FFR manual and supplied parts, for the above and more reasons. They just don't have the perspective of building the car at FFR's published base cost. The interest may have been there at first but then improvement and customization changes our plans.

    What about the deficiencies, problems, body fit compaints, etc. and costs/time/work to solve those? Do they count in the equation? I think yes and no, how you tackle them and in many cases are we dealing with opinions, real problems, not safe and so on. There has been so much covered in this whole area that no one post, or even one thread can address the topic in one stab. I do think that given the time needed to build one of these, anyone serious about building a good 818, safe, cost controlled, customized or not and so forth, does themselves great favor in reading the threads.

    Again I think you can build it by the book with minimum time and cost, which I'd bet is under or up to $20K, oh and it'll be fun to drive and go fast. (Unless you are a self painter, you'll have to for-go that $8K paint job). If that is your goal then you know what to do from here and I'd wonder if you'd ever even need to post another question. You won't find a lot of posters here going that route though, so don't be surprised that they haven't given you the magic bullet you're looking for.

    If you want the detailed explanations about all this, you've got a LOT of 818 forum reading to do, everything you're wondering about IS in here - really!!!

    One other thought, the builders who could really give you authoritative comment in many cases may well have moved on with their lives. Building something else and no time for this particular forum.
    Last edited by aquillen; 02-11-2019 at 05:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by aquillen View Post
    Thanks Dave, one great thing on this forum is it stays far more civil than most any other I visit. The various Subaru enthusiast forums are good for a lot of info but often you have to wade knee deep in battles to find the low lying gem here and there.

    With that said I'm going to take a crack at responding to (not necessarily answering) our new build partner's questions.

    To Prematureapex,

    I'll have to generalize and offer opinion, since I'm not even on the road yet myself. So yah, take me with a grain of salt if you like.

    I feel like you asked the wrong group of people regarding your specific points. I'll trickle that out in the next paragraphs.

    For the most part I feel that the members interested in posting here tend to be more involved in their builds than just following the book. Conversely builders who are staying within the plan ...by the book for all practical purposes... don't seem to be the ones who have a lot to post. So your audience consists of builders who are not likely shooting for the minimum acceptible design/build per FFR's plans. In other words, the silent majority probably could address your thoughts about the build creep vs "stock" and track abilities, but they are not in attendance here. Not only that, taken as a whole, the active posting members are a pretty small club, even though there have been a lot of posters since incept. So it's not like you have auditorium of diverse builder/people to draw from

    I personally think the car can be built safely and at the 15-20K price range, I'm not much over that $20K myself, but my style is still modify like crazy, but for some things, I make instead of buying. (My tool purchases are another story). Why I believe it can be done... and I'm just shooting from the hip here:

    I believe the car's design is decent if not better than that, with FFR's background and engineering efforts in it. Some dispute this and have their own good reasons, and when they've shared thoughts I don't dispute them.... But let's say now what if you stick with FFR's supplied parts, plan. Obtain a donor with decent components, and if you take time you can get one (and maybe you have to have good luck, but they do come and go, I know, I watched the donor scene for 2 years before starting in). My opinion is that Subaru builds a good product with acceptable materials. If you use your donor parts throughout, and they are in reasonable mechanical condition it seems to me the 818 will come out at price point, be reliable component wise and capable of being thrashed now and then just like it's donor may have been. You're even allowed to buy a few new parts that broke during teardown, but don't get fancy or upgrade happy. With common sense you could track it once in a while, for fun, maybe not to win all out against all comers. Track activity expenses are ALWAYS extra, i.e. you break it you fix it and that is not on FFR's plate, costs wise.

    With a few and I hope I'm not insulting by saying this, after all, reading the threads (I've probably read all and several more than once) I see people showing, asking, thinking and generally building improvements, changes, adjustments and so on. Because? ...faster ...safer ...fancier ...personal and so on. I.e. the group you're talking to is THAT group, again NOT the base build group.

    So one more time why are you asking the wrong group then, well I think the group are almost all in sync with doing differently than the FFR manual and supplied parts, for the above and more reasons. They just don't have the perspective of building the car at FFR's published base cost. The interest may have been there at first but then improvement and customization changes our plans.

    What about the deficiencies, problems, body fit compaints, etc. and costs/time/work to solve those? Do they count in the equation? I think yes and no, how you tackle them and in many cases are we dealing with opinions, real problems, not safe and so on. There has been so much covered in this whole area that no one post, or even one thread can address the topic in one stab. I do think that given the time needed to build one of these, anyone serious about building a good 818, safe, cost controlled, customized or not and so forth, does themselves great favor in reading the threads.

    Again I think you can build it by the book with minimum time and cost, which I'd bet is under or up to $20K, oh and it'll be fun to drive and go fast. (Unless you are a self painter, you'll have to for-go that $8K paint job). If that is your goal then you know what to do from here and I'd wonder if you'd ever even need to post another question. You won't find a lot of posters here going that route though, so don't be surprised that they haven't given you the magic bullet you're looking for.

    If you want the detailed explanations about all this, you've got a LOT of 818 forum reading to do, everything you're wondering about IS in here - really!!!

    One other thought, the builders who could really give you authoritative comment in many cases may well have moved on with their lives. Building something else and no time for this particular forum.
    Well said! Also, to help keep things within budget, the afore mentioned group ( the ones who just can't stand ordinary) have generously spelled out the fixes, should you care to incorporate them into your build.

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