Archive for March, 2010

When it comes to driving styles for enthusiasts on the road, there are two main types. There are those that run skinny tires up front and ultra wide drag radials in the rear for the maximum traction in a straight line with the least resistance. Then on the flip side are those that enjoy traction through turns more than a straight line. While tire design between the two driving types are completely different, one aspect they have in common is that a grippy tire doesn’t come cheap – that is until Nitto released their summer performance tire, the NT05.

The Evolution of the Budget Summer Performance Tire

Through the 1990s there was a shift in what first-time car buyer enthusiasts wanted out of their budget performance vehicle. There was a shift from a mostly drag racing centric market to people that cared more about speed through the corners. Up until the late 1990s, if you wanted a sticky summer performance handling tire, you were going to pay an arm and a leg for them. Used tire depots became a popular place to try to find lightly used sets for a bargain, because most couldn’t afford $1000+ for a medium sized 17-inch set that were new.

Tire manufactures realized this and the younger companies began to introduce budget performance tires in the late 1990s, while more prominent names were too proud to create a Casio version of their Rolex tires. For the smaller companies, the budget performance summer tire served as the heartbeat that made them grow larger as this trend grew fast. Now young enthusiasts had the ability to buy brand new performance tires for pennies on the dollar.

These tires offered stiff side walls to reduce flex under cornering, decent water grooves for light rain driving, and a soft compound that did not require warm up to work well. Before anyone knew it, these budget tires became the choice of autocross classes like STS and STX that were street tire only classes, and were nearly banned for performing so well. The problem with early generation versions, is that they would have a narrow operating temperature and would get greasy if they were run hard for an extended period of time – the polar opposite of an R-compound.

Procedure Nitto Takes on Designing a New Tire

The NT555 has been a flagship tire amongst Mustang enthusiasts especially for years, but Nitto new this design was dated and needed an update. When it comes to developing a new tire line, the first measure Nitto takes is to make sure that it does not directly compete with any other of their tire lines. Taking from their mantra, “Fueled by Enthusiasts”, Nitto gets feedback from shops and manufactures on their new idea, analyze current popular vehicles for sizes, analysis on competing brand designs, going to new car shows, and take surveys at various races or events.

Nitto’s Miyazaki test course in Japan

For a design concept, Nitto uses a team of designers to draw up possible tread designs that unique, but that can also be functional. The Japan head office then has the technology to analyze the designs to find out which ones will be the most suitable, along with the tread compound. “We use proprietary software that allows us to analyze on pattern noises and make adjustments in the software to compensate for that,” Stephen Leu of Nitto remarked. Once this is done, a hand cut tire prototype is made and reviewed before final design is agreed upon. This even includes the font and logo designs on the sidewall of the tire. From there, prototypes are developed and testing is underway.

Nitto relies mainly on their test facilities (two facilities that include off road and high performance driving) and their sponsored motorsports drivers when it comes to feedback before the final compound and construction is locked in. When it comes to developing different sizes, a new mold has to be purchased. “Similar sizes can be covered by one mold is some cases”, Leu says. “It isn’t labor intensive when introducing a new size, but there is a large monetary investment by having to buy a new mold.” During this whole process, which can take over a year, the team at Nitto is constantly monitoring market trends to make any adjustments before final production takes place.

Nitto’s New High Performance Summer Tire – The NT05

The design of the NT05 stems back to 2007 from when the first ideas were conceived. Working through nearly two years, Nitto released the NT05 at the 2009 SEMA Show. They now currently offer about 25 different sizes. “With our initial sizes developed for the NT05, we went after the current popular vehicles like the Challenger, Mustang (1994 to current), 2010 Camaro, WRX, Evos, BMW series, to name a few.” Nitto prides themselves in being one of the few (if only) that offers a summer performance tire in this range for 20-inch wheel equipped vehicles.

Features of the NT05

At first look at the NT05 you can see how square the tire is. This helps push the maximum amount of traction down to the concrete, including the minimized rain grooves for added rubber

  • Reinforced shoulder tread blocks and three ply sidewall construction provide exceptional rigidity and stability
  • The continuous center rib consistently provides optimum tread contact with the road to maximize dry performance
  • The specifically engineered silica-infused (silica is what helps the tires stick to the road) and reinforced internal construction enhance construction, handling and high speed capabilities.
  • High tensile steel belts increase tread stiffness
  • Spiral wound cap ply provide stable high speed performance and improved uniformity

Hard Core Driving Characteristics

The one concept Nitto knew they wanted with the NT05 was its consistency. They wanted a tire that will constantly perform through its heat cycle and not become plagued from overheating while running them hard. Even though the NT05 is a great street tire, it’s built perform on the race track.

Talking with Nitto Engineer Alan Ngo, he told us a little about the NT05. “The operating temperature of NT05 is 160 to 220 degrees,” said Ngo. “Given that there are a lot of variables in play to heat up a tire to optimal temperature, like the weight of vehicle, the camber, and length of track, the average laps required for the NT05 to heat up will be 1-2 laps.”

Even during its limited time to market, the NT05 in motorsports has been used by Matt Dennison during 2009 time attack events under the Stock Class AWD. In the 2008 Super Lap Battle, Ryan Gates used the production sample of the NT05 (before the product release) and received second place. This is the first time the NT05 was used for competition purposes.

Mounting our NT05s is just like mounting any other tire, though when it comes to plus sizing, putting the tire onto the rim becomes more challenging. Select a reputable installation shop for mounting tires onto new wheels. If care isn’t taken when mounting them, you could end up with scrapes on the lips of your new wheels

Testing the NT05 with Forgeline Wheels on our G8

One of more popular projects lately has been our Pontiac G8 GXP. Equipped with factory 19-inch wheels and tires, and a performance-tuned suspension, it has been called a 4-door Corvette. We decided to up the ante and perform testing with Nitto NT05 tires, 245/40/19 and 285/35/19. To fit the extra size rear tires, we went to our friends at Forgeline Wheels and had them whip us up some custom GXP sizes that will perfectly fill the wheelwells and give the GXP a wicked stance.

We spoke with Forgeline executive David Schardt who designed a set of S03P wheels with some custom design flairs. Gloss black powdercoat with what Forgeline calls their “Diamond-edge” finish – which is the diamond-cut effect you see on the edge of each spoke.

Forgeline is one the best custom wheel makers in the business – building light, high-performance racing wheels that can be driven daily on the street. But the real magic is the Forgeline sauce is the custom offsets – you see Forgeline has their own in-house CNC equipment, so they can custom made almost every single offset known to man, even as tight as 1/8-th of an inch.

Although Forgeline won’t give away the information on the G8 offsets they made for us, rest assured, they will build you a set, and you can fit perfectly the 19 x 10 and 19 x 9.5 wheels that we chose. The only thing worth mentioning – with this wide tire we chose, we did need to roll the fenderlips!

Driving Impressions

Unlike many competition tires, the Nitto NT05’s were fairly sticky from minute 1 of our testing driving. The stiffer sidewalls gave the car a firmer side than the O.E. rubber, but not so firm that driving, potholes, and speed bumps were uncomfortable. The tire felt more stable under cornering and that confidence extended to the driving experience. After about 5 minutes of hard driving, we did feel the tires get a little more grippy, especially when pushed to the edge. Straight line traction was impressive — full throttle in first gear with the traction control disengaged did produce some moderate wheel spin, but an impressive amount of stick for a 390 rwhp car on regular street radials with a 5-speed.

In terms of comparing this to Nitto’s existing line, the NT05 occupies a very nice niche for the late model Muscle car. The NT555 is a great tire – less expensive and certainly a slightly older design, but it doesn’t provide the performance of the NT05 with dry traction. The Drag Radial works fantastic for straight line power, but doesn’t offer the handling flexibility or wet handling that the NT05 brings to the table.

All in all, the Nitto NT05 is a perfect upgrade to the NT555. If our words don’t do the trick, you should see our smile behind the wheel.


Nitto Tire
Phone: (714) 252-0007

Forgeline Wheels
Phone: (800) 886-0093

Earlier this month, Donald Nelson Frey, the co-creator of the Ford Mustang passed away from an apparent stroke. Donald was the lead engineer responsible for the overall development of the Mustang project which was launched at New York’s World Fair on April 17, 1964. The Mustang was Ford Motor Company’s most successful launch since the […]

COMP Cams has just released a new viscosity of break-in oil to help provide maximum protection during initial break-in. The new 15W50 break-in oil will add the additives that are missing in regular motor oils needed for optimal break in.

Official Release

COMP Cams® 15W50 Engine Break-In Oil

Performance leader adds new 15W50 lubricant designed specifically for use by professional engine builders during break-in of new and rebuilt engines

With the current government regulations, today’s oils are missing many of the critical ingredients needed for engine protection. Engine builders and performance hobbyists are being forced to add extra protection additives in order to maintain engine safety and performance – but not anymore. Engineers at COMP Cams® and Endure Performance Lubricants™ have expanded their line of automotive lubricants to include 15W50, as well as the original 10W30, weight oils. Both popular weights are ZDDP-fortified to provide maximum protection during initial break-in.

Heavily tested and proven by the COMP Cams® R&D team, these advanced lubricants deliver maximum engine life. They do so by improving the surface mating of valve train components (especially flat tappets), rotating assembly, rod journals, piston rings, valve guides and other vital areas of the engine. The proprietary formulas of both the 15W50 and 10W30 oils include optimum amounts of critical additives ZDDP (Zinc & Phosphorus), Molybdenum, detergents and high grade base oil.

The mineral-based COMP Cams® Engine Break-In Oils are fully-formulated and require no additives or supplements. In addition, both popular weights are fully compatible with gasoline, methanol and high octane racing fuels. They can be purchased in single quarts, cases of twelve quarts or pallets of eighty-four cases. For more information about the COMP Cams® Engine Break-In Oils or any other COMP Cams® product, call us at 1-800-999-0853, or visit us online at

• Heavily tested and proven by the COMP Cams® R&D team
• Improves the surface mating of valve train components (especially flat tappets), rotating assembly, rod journals, piston rings, valve guides and other vital areas of the engine
• Includes optimum amounts of critical additives ZDDP (Zinc & Phosphorus), Molybdenum, detergents and high grade base oil

Contact Information

Phone: 1-800-999-0853

Larry Morgan’s 2010 Mustang ProStock

Sunday, March 28th, 2010
Anybody got good photo’s of it?
Your clutch is a critical link in your drivetrain, taking power from the engine to the road. It’s also a component that will eventually need replacement, either due to normal wear and tear, failure from asking it to handle more than it was designed to withstand, or preferably as an upgrade to match other vehicle modifications. No matter what the reason, when replacing a clutch there is a series of steps you’ll need to accomplish before, during, and after your installation. Following these steps will help you save a lot of time and money.

To help you work through these steps, Centerforce Clutches has created their own Clutch Install Checklist. This checklist is a great tool to have whenever you are installing a clutch on any type of vehicle. When it came time to install a new Centerforce clutch on our our 2000 Mustang GT, the checklist saved us a lot of time, money, and hard work. Follow along as we go through the three different sections of the checklist and apply them to our install.

Part One: Pre-Installation

The Pre-Installation Checklist is all about being prepared so you have as few problems as possible when installing your clutch. This section is extremely important because it gets you organized so you don’t have to stop your installation once you’ve started due to not having the correct part or tool.

“We, of course, want to reduce any warranty work that could be a result of an existing problem, therefore saving the customer time and money,” explains Centerforce’s Bryan Wilson. Along with assisting in your organization, this checklist will tell you if you really need to spend the money on a new clutch or if it is merely an easy adjustment that’s needed instead.

The Pre-Installation checklist is possibly the most important section of the three — following all the steps will pay big dividends in time and money once you’re wrenching under the car.

Determine Why You Need a New Clutch

Burned-out friction materials are the usual reason for clutch replacement, but issues like broken hub spring retainers or bent release forks can point to other problems that need to be corrected as well.

Before you begin any kind of wrenching on your vehicle, or even order a new clutch, you need to pin down why you are installing a new clutch in the first place. If some sort of mechanical failure prompted the swap, you’ll need to be prepared to remedy the situation at the same time you’re changing out the clutch. If it’s an upgrade to a clutch with more holding power, you’ll want to make sure the new unit is suited to the torque your engine is producing, and the kind of driving you’ll be doing — putting in a killer double-throwdown superclutch might seem like a good idea, but your left leg will thank you for going with something more streetable in your modified daily driver. Finally, if you’re just replacing your clutch due to normal wear taking its toll, then the only thing you need to do is install your new Centerforce Clutch.

Tools and Supplies Needed

After you have determined why you need a new clutch, you need to check if you have all the items on hand necessary to do the swap. Having the right tools makes the difference between a smooth, straightforward job and an unpleasant ordeal. The Pre-Installation section has a helpful list of all of the tools and supplies you will need.

One invaluable resource is a service manual for your vehicle, which will have all of the torque values you will need to know, as well as details on any special procedures required for clutch R&R on your particular ride. A torque wrench, clutch alignment tool (typically, but not always included with the new clutch, so check!), jack and jack stands, and a dedicated transmission jack or jack adapter for your floor jack are some of the tools you will definitely need when removing and installing a clutch.

Acetone or brake cleaner is needed to remove any contamination (like your greasy handprints) and clean the surface of your pressure plate and flywheel before you button everything up, and you may need transmission fluid or hydraulic clutch fluid for your particular application. Most importantly, make sure you have your Centerforce Clutch, a new throw-out bearing, pilot bearing, and a resurfaced or new flywheel.

A transmission jack, or a transmission adapter for your floor jack that can securely support the gearbox is a necessity for a clutch swap. Trying to balance the heavy transmission on a regular jack, or even worse, just trying to muscle it, is asking for trouble.


After you have all of the tools and supplies you need, along with a new clutch and components, you are almost ready to complete the swap. There is one more critical inspection that needs to take place. With the transmission and old clutch removed, you need to inspect all of the clutch parts. Pulling the transmission is something you only want to do once, if you can, so now is the time to inspect and replace anything that might be questionable.

In our application we inspected the clutch fork, the splines on the input shaft, the pilot bearing, and the throw-out bearing guide. If your application has a hydraulic system, full inspection of that is needed as well. Now you are prepared and ready for the install.

Checking off each installation step as you go will avoid the dreaded, “Oh, nuts…” moment at the end when you realize you forgot something after the transmission is already bolted back up.

The Install

The Installation Checklist gives you a general list tasks common to every clutch swap. “There are many different steps before, during, and after a clutch install. We still require that the person installing these parts use a factory manual, but these tips will help in every case because they are non-specific to a vehicle,” said Wilson.

You need to check your transmission input shaft for any damage or wear. This is done by sliding the clutch disk on and off the input shaft. The throw-out bearing guide tube must also be checked for any wear or galling. The flywheel needs to be double-checked to assure that it has been resurfaced and balanced to the OEM specifications.

Next, the dowel pins (if your clutch setup uses them) on the flywheel need to be secure, straight, and smooth. The last step is to make sure there is dry graphite lubricant or lithium grease on the input shaft splines, avoiding all of the flywheel, clutch disc, and pressure plate friction surfaces.

Removing and installing your transmission should be done carefully in order to eliminate the possibility of bending the input shaft

Post Installation

The Post Installation Checklist gives you the final bullet points to hit after your installation is complete. For cable-operated clutches like the one on our Mustang, you should refer back to your manual in order to get the correct adjustment procedure. Once this is done you can take your vehicle out for a road test to ensure that everything is working smoothly and correctly. Be sure to follow the clutch manufacturer’s recommendations for breaking in and seating the new clutch to assure it performs the way it should.

After the installation is finished, check off each Post Installation step as you complete it.

A clutch installation can end up being easy or difficult. If you follow the Centerforce Checklist, you’re far more likely to have a good experience. Being organized as well as having the correct tools and supplies are what’s necessary to assure a smooth clutch install, and the Centerforce Checklist covers it all. If you have any more questions, or you want to obtain a copy of the checklist, the Centerforce Team is always happy to help.

Centerforce Clutches

Phone: 928-771-8422

CNC porting is hands down the most cost-effective way to port and polish your heads. One company that we’ve been working with for some time now is Ford Performance Solutions / Avenger Cylinder heads. Owner Troy Bowen has helped us with a few engine builds, and we decided to take a little closer look at his CNC-ported heads, branded under the “Avenger” name – in return. Enjoy!

Check out the video below, and read below for even more cool facts and tidbits on CNC porting:

Top Interesting “CNC Porting” Facts

  • CNC porting involves more than just loading a bare head into a CNC machine and pushing the magical GO button: “Each port design really starts out as a hand ported design,” explains Bowen. “Things such as CFM, port volume and combustion chamber profile are just a few sources for data that are collected and analyzed during this process to ensure the port-design is top notch,” added Bowen.

  • Port Digitizing is what “Maps” your port: This digital information is a graphed into a computerized model and used to set what is called the tool path. The tool path is the exact patch the CNC cutter will follow to best recreate the original hand ported design. This program takes into account the size and length of the cutter to ensure that there are no accidental cuts, especially when reaching deep into the runners.
  • Double Checking the “Map” versus the original “Port” is important:
    Before going to mass production, Bowen takes the time to ensure the tool path results in a port job that is similar to the original hand ported design.

  • Prototype Testing is Critical: “Once this first prototype is finished being ported, it returns to the flow bench and dyno for additional testing to compare it to the original hand ported model,” says Bowen. From there changes are made when necessary to ensure the final tool path results in a high flowing CNC head.

  • Matching & Blending the port entry & exit is the tricky part: The matching and blending of where the intake and exhaust ports meet up with the valve bowl is extremely important. Getting this wrong will cause even the best designed port to flow like you know what. “Making sure that the head is indexed properly in relation to the tool during setup ,” says Bowen.

  • Don’t Get Shanked: The CNC machine actually keeps active track of the shank of the porting tool to try to keep it from colliding with the port entry while reaching deep into the port. According to Bowen, “This is critical or the tool will snap or gouge the port.”

  • Hand Blending: It Helps: Avenger hand blends any “steps” formed from the cutting tool and blends in the valve job to a smooth finish. The final step for Avenger is to assemble the heads with quality springs, valves, and other valve train hardware, before packaging them up to be shipped out.


Avenger Cylinder Heads
Phone: 714-773-4177

Aeromotive just came out with a new regulator for the nitrous world. The new Stackable Nitrous Regulator gives you the ability to stack regulators together in order to control the pressure for multiple stages of nitrous.

Official Release

New Stackable Nitrous Regulators

Ideal for carbureted nitrous engines, these regulators allow you to “stack” them together to control multiple pressures with a single fuel pump. The new “Stackable Regulator” is a clean, lightweight solution, ideal for nitrous engine combinations where unique pressures are desired.

No longer will sportsman and professional racers have to screw together unsightly brass T’s and pipe fittings to create a so-called “fuel log”. The Aeromotive Stackable Regulator solution creates its own integrated fuel log, by utilizing a patent pending flow-through designed modular regulator body. Using a positive O-ring seal, simply bolt as many of these regulators together as needed using the provided cap screws and O-rings. Each billet aluminum, CNC-machined regulator is adjustable from 5-12 psi and is equipped with O-ring and ORB-Ports including; ORB-10 (flow-through) ports and (2) ORB-06 outlet ports.

Capable of feeding single or dual carburetors and 1, 2, 3 and 4 or more stages of nitrous, all with total control of unique fuel pressures at every distribution point. For the ultimate nitrous fuel system, it’s easy to combine Aeromotive’s Pro-Stock 2 or 4-port regulators with the new Stackable Regulators, where all flow and pressure control is consolidated for a much cleaner, lighter package. Screw the combined Stackable Regulators to the inlet of an Aeromotive Carbureted Fuel Pressure Regulator, either dead-head or bypass style and control your carburetor system pressure separate from each stage of nitrous.

With the new, Aeromotive Stackable Regulators you have more flexibility than ever before. These regulators are completely serviceable in the field without removing them from the car and can be combined with the Aeromotive A2000 fuel pump or the A1000, Eliminator and Pro-Series Pump. For more information about a system for your application, visit our website or call our tech lines.

Aeromotive Inc. is a true high performance aftermarket manufacturer specializing in fuel delivery and fuel delivery components. Utilizing aerospace tolerances and procedures, 3 generations of track experience and a meticulous approach to engineering, Aeromotive Fuel Systems have become the absolute pinnacle of performance fuel delivery.

• Ideal for carbureted nitrous engines
• Stackable Regulator solution creates its own integrated fuel log
• Using an O-ring, you can bolt as many regulators together as you want
• Adjustable from 5-12 PSI

Contact Information

Phone: (913) 647-7300

Last month the boys over at Classic Recreations revealed their new offering. The GT500CR officially liscensed by Carroll Shelby himself. Now that we’ve all stopped drooling over the photos we now have the official reveal video in stunning high definition.
The video is a great promotion for the car, with some really cool shots from […]

K&N has just released a product that many performance racers and street enthusiasts have been looking for. The new 16 inch diameter XStream Air Flow Top is an air cleaner that incorporates K&N’s pleated cotton air filter right into the lid.

Official Release

K&N Has Designed a New 16 inch XStream Air Flow Top to Replace Metal Air Cleaner Lids

K&N helps provide the performance racers and street enthusiasts have been looking for with a new 16 inch diameter XStream® Air Flow Top (66-1601). XStream Air Flow Tops incorporate K&N’s famous pleated cotton air filter media into an air cleaner lid.

K&N XStream Air Flow Tops are innovative round filters designed to replace a metal air filter top. These filter lids add more filter area and are designed to increase horsepower and dirt capacity. Washable and reusable, the XStream Air Flow Top filter delivers outstanding protection for your engine.

K&N part number 66-1601 has a unique 16” diameter; which was designed to be used as a replacement lid for one of K&N’s low profile 16”, or equivalent, air cleaner assemblies.

K&N’s low profile 16” custom assemblies for 4-barrel Holley Dominator carburetors were designed for installations with the carburetor mounted high near the hood. K&N’s 16″ XStream Air Flow Top is a great solution for adding extra air flow in these space cramped situations.

For increased protection and style, K&N offers Precharger® filter wraps in a 16” diameter that can be used in conjunction with one of these low profile Holly Dominator air cleaner assemblies. Prechargers are made from a durable polyester material containing uniform micron openings which will stop small dirt particles; yet add little restriction to the airflow of the filter. A K&N Precharger is recommended for extra protection in off-road or dirt track racing applications.

• Designed to replace a metal air filter top
• Washable and reusable
• Precharger filter wraps are also available for more protection

Contact Information

Phone: 951-826-4000

Ford Mustang Turbo sound

Friday, March 19th, 2010



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