The Ram's Eye - A Driver's Blog: Service at ISI Automotive



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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Service at ISI Automotive




I wanted to get an alignment done for this season so I decided to call my friends at ISI Automotive. My car has camber plates so there is a good range of caster and camber adjustment for the front wheels. I already did an alignment when I got the camber plates but my mechanic doesn't deal with alignment varying from factory settings and aftermarket parts of this sort so I called Phil Tuff at ISI Automotive to take it in.




Phil is the service manager who runs the shop with Steve Phillips, the owner. They have worked at VW and BMW dealerships for many years and decided it was time to open a shop, but it isn't just a job. Phil has 1981 BMW 320i. Well, it used to be anyway. It is a lot more M3 than 320i now. I always bombard him with questions about the build because I think it will be awesome when done. I asked him to send me details of the build so I will make a separate post about it. In summary, though, the current engine is based on a US spec S14 M3 engine. "Based on" is the key word here, as everything has been modified including internals, head, valvetrain, intake, exhaust, and throttle bodies. It dyno'ed 219 whp at 7,600 rpm. On a Mustang dyno. That should work out to approximately 253 hp at the crank - a very healthy increase over the stock 195 hp rating and nearly 900 rpms higher. Although the engine is slightly bored, it is still very much a 2.3 litre. By the time he's done with it, though, it will be a 2.7 litre and will make around 300 hp. Remember when I said it's an awesome build? He's currently in the process of switching to an Evo3-based 2.5 litre block that he will turn into 2.7 litres. Stay tuned for the build post!




Steve is no less interested in cars. He worked in professional racing as a mechanic for marques like BMW, Porsche, Aston Martin, and others in series from IMSA, Grand Am, and ALMS. The impressive list of events he participated in include the likes of 24 Hours Of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Petit LeMans, and the 25 Hours Of Thunderhill.  He even worked on classic cars from IMSA, Trans Am and NASCAR while working at a Vintage racing shop at Sonoma Raceway in California.




Moreover, both are still involved in regional amateur racing and are huge car guys. They do everything from regular maintenance items, to big repairs, performance upgrades/tuning, all the way to race car building and prep. If these guys don't know how to do it, it probably can't be done. 




With that in mind, I was looking forward to a new, more accurate alignment, which should help. The initial alignment turned out to be quite off. One side was -2.3 and the other was -1.9. I was aiming for -2.0 for both. They are now both -2.3. I talked to them a little about recommendations as far as toe and decided to keep it as 0 for a good compromise between street and track driving, since I spend most of the time on the street. Now it's all ready for the next event - the Acadia Region Porsche Club of America (PCA) High Performance Driving School!





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