Element Tuning Competition Engines for Subaru FA20 or FA20DIT

Element Tuning Competition Engines for Subaru BRZ, Scion FRS, Toyota FT-86 with FA20 or WRX FA20DIT

Element Tuning’s Pro Comp engines were born with a racing pedigree. Our engine program has over 9 years of R&D through thousands of miles racing Subaru engines exclusively. Every specification these engines are blueprinted to were derived from our long term racing data. We build the best engines you can buy! We’re confident saying this as every aspect of these motors has been tested and verified under the most demanding racing circumstances.

Element Tuning Pro Comp engines are built from 100% new components fitted to our exact standards in your provided engine.  Our bearings and clearances have been tested for 10,000+ miles of racing. You may ask us how is this possible? It’s very common for racing teams to run new engines multiple times in a racing season but we would not allow this for our long term R&D. The only way to have long term durability data on your engine program is to continue using the same parts. Each season or sometimes midway through the season we would tear down our motors to inspect how the parts were holding up and how our building specifications were performing. We would inspect items such as cylinder wear, ring wear, piston wear, oil consumption, hardware fatigue, and finally crank and rod bearing wear. As long as there was no component failure we would reuse the same bearings, crank, rods, block, and pistons and continue the durability testing.It was not uncommon for us to push all the extremes to find the maximum and minimum operating range of each component and it’s clearance. With this data we have been able to build an engine that not only makes huge power but has near OEM oil level consumption. All too often motors are built too loose causing lots of engine noise, too much cylinder blow-by, and major oil consumption issues. We have tested our combination to deliver the tightest, most trouble free, and durable engine you can buy at any price.

Engine Oiling! Nothing will kill your brand new motor faster than inadequate oil pressure.  Unfortunately the FA20 series of engines do not have adequate oil pressure for substantially more power or RPM.  Even under OEM power levels excessive oil temperature from this motor has oil pressure dropping into the 50 psi range.  While this may be OK for NA power levels it’s nowhere near the reliable pressure we need for a boosted motor.  Look at the FA20 crank mains and the rod journals and you should spot something unique where we oil starved the rod bearing. The third main from right to left has a larger oil port. Why? Because it has to feed two rod journals where all others only feed one rod journal. What happens to oil pressure when you increase the oil port size? What happens to you oil volume requirements when you need to feed two journals with one main? Guess which one failed?  Unlike the EJ series of Subaru motors this engine does not have a “main priority” oiling system and therefore critical oil pressure isn’t directed to the engine bearings first.  The OEM oil pumps that are fitted to the BRZ/FRS and also the WRX (which is 14mm compared to 12mm) does not provide adequate volume to support the required oil pressure and therefore an bearing failure is eminent with any engine that doesn’t address the lack of oil pressure.

Element Tuning engines are the only engines to solve this problem! While we hoped we could simply install a bigger oil pump, which we did test, it was still not enough to get oil pressure high enough to be reliable on this boxer engine.  What we do, we keep close at hand but it’s not one thing but a series of modifications and the blueprint of our engines that allows us to keep over 80 psi of oil pressure under street conditions and over 70 psi under racing conditions.  This is enough oil pressure to safely support 500+ whp!

The Connecting Rods. The Achilles heal to our beloved OEM FA20 motors have been the OEM connecting rods.  While these rods are perfectly suited for OEM hp levels, when the power increases above 300 and RPM exceeds 7500 they are no longer reliable.  We experienced OEM rod failure under racing conditions in the 350 ft/lbs of torque range.  Element Tuning engines are fitted with seriously stout Pauter Machine forged Asymmetrical “X” beam connecting rods using ARP 2000 bolts.  We’ve tested these rods to over 800 whp and 9k RPM so they’ll handle just about everything you can through at them!  The unique design of the X beam allows for less windage (oil slinging and air displacement) in the crankcase reducing frictional losses.

Pauter’s 4340 forged X beam rods which are manufactured to the highest standards in the industry. Element Tuning has fully tested these rods in our Time Attack program with exceptional success and performance. Each billet rod is CNC machined from 4340 steel forgings, shot peened, stress relieved, and heat treated for uncompromising strength and reliability. Manufactured and precision machined in the USA to within .0002″ ensures exacting fitment and balanced to within 1 gram.

To read the rest about Element Tuning FA20 based engines Click Here

Taxi wins title at 2013 Whelen US TimeTrial Championship finale.

Sebring International Raceway proved the ultimate challenge for man and machine on the weekend, November 22-24, as the 2013 Whelen US TimeTrial Championship concluded. Particularly tough on the machines, two of the top class championship contenders, Troy Messer and David Santillo, were sidelined prior to the first competition run. For those that did survive the pace was grueling as lap records were crushed and titles decided, even by a taxi.
“Philip Grabow is likely the first man in history to win a national Championship in a taxi. The car was developed by BC Racing for an upcoming viral video.” Photo by NARRA

Hail that cab!

Philip Grabow may have used both Element Tuning’s Hydra EMS powered Scion FRS and Subaru STi during the season and led the points heading into Sebring, but he was without a car.  With only days to go he struck a deal with long-term sponsor BC Racing to borrow a 700hp supercharged BMW M3. However BC Racing had other ideas, and seizing the opportunity they converted their M3 into a taxi-cab dubbed the ‘Seb-Ring Taxi’ for an upcoming viral video, playing on BMW’s Nürburgring Ring-Taxis.

Complete with taxi roof sign, Grabow’s ride set a solid 2:30.074 but was no match for Mansen Way’s Hero Reward Charity sponsored Viper SRT-10, which won the round with a 2:25.199. Nevertheless, Grabow became the first driver to clinch a Whelen USTTC title with a taxi.

Second in the championship, David Santillo (BSM Corvette Z06) had expected to take the fight to Grabow, but spun a bearing in his Vette on Friday. It was a tough break for the North Cup and double round winner, who had trekked all the way from New York to compete for the title. Allen Stieg (WolfTech Manufacturing Viper SRT-10) finished third in points. Ajay Gaalla (Viper ACR) was awarded the South Cup.

Philip Grabow of Element Tuning to race 700 HP BC Racing BMW M3 at NARRA Whelen Championship Finale

BC Racing Supsension North America to support Phil Grabow’s championship efforts at Sebring International Raceway with their 700 HP supercharged Stage 3 Active Autowerke BMW M3. The North American Road Racing Association’s Whelen US TT Championship has been a cut throat battle all season long and the Sebring FL round will be the deciding factor in which driver comes out on top for the national championship.

David Santillo in the CSS Construction Corvette Z06, who is leading the Northern championship, has to pull out all the stops at Sebring against Southern championship leader Phil Grabow from team Element Tuning for the national championship. With Element Tuning’s STI taking the Watkins Glen round five win, and David Santillo in his Corvette Z06 taking two second place finishes at the Glen while Grabow DNFed Sunday, the battle continued at New Jersey Motorsports Park for rounds 7 & 8. Element Tuning successfully debuted their BC Racing Suspension Hydra EMS Scion FRS race car with back to back wins while Santillo struggled scoring two 2nds. Phil Grabow continued to stretch out his championship points lead with their Scion FRS by taking the win at Virginia International Raceway round 10 but David Santillo came back with vengeance at Pittsburgh International Raceway taking two wins to stay in the national championship hunt. With David Santiallo scoring 2 Unlimited Class wins plus 4 second place finishes vs. Element Tuning’s Phil Grabow scoring 4 Unlimited Class wins, the Sebring finale’s double points single round could have either driver coming out on top for the national championship!

“I’ve been honored to have BC Racing Suspension on our championship winning cars for years and I plan on piloting this Bavarian missile to the Whelen TT national championship in Sebring,” says Philip Grabow

Element Tuning Hydra EMS Stand-Alone for 2013 FRS/FT86/BRZ

Element Tuning FRS Hydra EMS Stand-Alone Turbo 400 whp Injector Limited

I think many already know I’ve been testing and developing the Hydra EMS for some time in our Time Attack car and successfully winning many races.  Great car and great engine!!!!!

Much of what I’ve been doing is testing the limits of various engine parts and tuning parameters since not only is this a new engine but also the added complexity of direct injection with simultaneous port injection.  I really wanted to not only test these things on the dyno but also in the everyday commute and then in torturous racing environment.  It’s very important to me, more than peak power, that my base maps are tested in real world conditions and under racing conditions.

Hydra Dyno Plot: Dynajet SAE Corrected


Element Tuning Hydra EMS plug and play Stand-Alone
Element Hydra EMS Boost Control Solenoid
Element Tuning Competition Catch Can
FA20Club 60 Trim Turbo Kit, 60 Trim Garrett Turbo, Front Mount Intercooler, Tial MVS WG, and Tial BOV
Full Blown Radiator
DW1000cc Injectors
DW300 Fuel Pump and OEM Fuel Pump in saddle tank
Cat delete and muffler delete pipes
Element Tuning Custom Valved BC Racing BR Coilovers
Whiteline Front Sway bar and transmission bushing
Clutch Master Clutch and Flywheel
Brembo STi front brakes and rotors
18×10 Rota DPT with 285/645-18 Hoosier or Pirelli slicks
18×9.5 Prodrive GC010 with 275/35-18 Hankook RS3
18×9.5 Rota T2R with 225/45-18 Goodyear F1

Hydra screen shot:

While a full fledged stand-alone EMS with all of it’s additional features (Anti-lag, Launch control, Flat-Foot Shifting, Gear Based Boost Control, 45 psi MAP Sensor, Flex Fuel Sensor (E85) Support, Multiple Maps, Programmable Traction Control) my not be needed by everyone, finally everyone has another choice for the FRS/BRZ in terms of engine tuning.  What really sets the Hydra EMS apart at it’s core is that is end user tunable so anyone with a laptop is free to tune themselves or use any tuner they like in the world.  Tuned base maps for NA, E85, Turbo, race fuel, will always be free to the original owner along with technical support.  Your factory ECU does not need to be flashed or even removed, just unplug the connectors, and plug the Hydra harness and EMS in.

Getting Technical with the Hydra EMS for the FRS/BRZ:

–    Stand-Alone, plug and play

–    Full CAN Bus support.  This means your ABS, Dash, Fuel Computer, Stability Control Modes, AC, Stereo, Power Steering, all remain functional.

–    Simultaneous Direct and Port Injection strategy.  This is really where an exceptional tuner is going to excel because you have precise control over how much direct injection pulse width you want vs. how much port injection pulse width you need at any RPM and at any load (Boost or Vacuum).  This way as you upgrade your port injectors you can still have specific control over your DI injectors.  This will come in handy as you start pushing higher power levels and RPM levels where DI injection pulse width limits are very critical.  I found pushing the limits here at high RPM can pay off but it’s a fine line that changes with HP levels.

–    Injection Response (On-Time). Each set of injectors has their own specific injector response time maps.  As you change brands of injectors, fine tuning results in smoother running.

–    Injector Phasing.  Direct Injection requires very specific timing of the pulse width at different RPM/Load ranges and you have complete control over this.  You also have separate control over your Port Injector Phasing.

–    Fuel Pump(s) Control.  This comes in real handy when boosting the car since you will need a larger fuel pump and the OEM system is internally regulated. I’ve actually assigned in our base maps a 2D fuel pump controller duty map so that you don’t over power the OEM internal regulator with a the larger fuel in tank fuel pump.  My personal car also runs twin pumps, one in the saddle tank, and the Hydra is triggering both pumps.  Now the direct injection pump is mechanical but with the Hydra you can tune your pressure target based on RPM/Load.  Hitting these targets can be adjusted through the DI Fuel Pump Pulse Width, DI Dump Valve Response Time, Dump Valve Phase Trim, and PID.

–    Variable Cam Timing. The Hydra has “quad” variable cam timing control. This mean each of the intake cams and each of the exhaust cams are run in closed loop.  So your variable cam timing maps are tuned with a target and the Hydra then ensures each cam hits that target independently.  Advanced user control allows fine tuning of cam discrepancies an error in target control.  So if you have one cam that is off 1 degree at idle that can be fine tuned and if you’re overshooting, undershooting, or too slow to respond, the closed loop rate can be fine tuned to hit the target as fast as possible without overshooting.

–    Closed Loop Fuel Control:  This is where something like a Hydra can make the difference between loving your highly modified daily driver or hating it.  With 1032 load cell fuel targeting the Hydra can set to any AFR target at any RPM/Load.  This really comes in handy when you have a heavily ported or cammed motor that may not want to idle at 14.7 AFR or when running E85 and you can run much leaner AFR targets.  As load increase you can stay leaner longer or go richer sooner and making your engine run in the “sweet” spot makes all the difference in the world. You can also set your how aggressive or how slowly you want the closed loop to control the fuel changes.  You can also set the TPS cut off point for closed loop fuel control.  On top of all that the Hydra has Multiple AFR Target Tables so if your map is tuned so the Auxiliary maps are tuned for E85, you can run a unique AFRs better suited for E85.

–    Flex Fuel Sensor Support.  Want to run E85 but it’s not readily available?  Flex Fuel Sensor Support allows automatic map switching in the Hydra based on ethanol content and it also has automatic fuel, boost, and ignition timing tuning based on ethanol content.  Simply tune your base pump fuel map (fuel, ignition, and boost), then tune your E85 map and the Hydra will trim boost, fuel, and ignition timing based off of the ethanol content when you can’t get e85 and are forced to mix pump fuel with it.  The Hydra also has additional “starting” maps for using E85 so that extra start fueling requirements can be handled independently of your pump gas starting maps.

–    Boost Control:  Built in boost control without the need to eliminate your purge control valve like OEM flashing.  With a great blend of closed loop and manual control you can really get what you want out of the boost control system.  Maximum boost sets your protection for overboost with a fuel cut, Boost RPM Targets, minimum solenoid duty based on boost target, maximum solenoid duty based on boost target, compensations trim maps for coolant temp, air temp, knock, throttle position, and gear.

–    Traction Control, Programmable.  This has to be the best feature honestly for a high powered FRS/BRZ.  Let’s face it the OEM traction control is lame as it’s not performance based, it’s just way too intrusive.  You can now set your traction control to intervene smoothly and less aggressively if you’re a racer like me through fuel cutting and ignition cutting, based on each of the 6 gears.  Each gear has its own speed delta trigger for traction control along with each gear having its own setting for ignition and fuel cutting.  So one may want a more aggressive traction control setup in 1st gear than they want in 3rd gear for instance.

–    Different Engines.  Don’t want to run the FA20?  Want to drop in your monster EJ257, how about an EZ30R H6, Supra 6….no problem with the Hydra EMS as we make custom ecus for this very thing so you don’t have to rewire you chassis and loose your car’s features!!!

I could go on and on but I’ll leave the rest open for discussion or questions.

I’m sure many are thinking, OMG I have no idea what he’s talking about and I don’t know if I can even tune all of that or need it.  This why I’ve taken so long to release any real information until I’ve tuned the base maps and encountered typical issues a customer may come across.  The maps are already dialed in for a particular modification path and your “average Joe” will need just the typical fuel and ignition tweaks.  People with more advanced skill or those who seek every last ounce of performance will be able to extract that with all the advanced features.  Tuners and those forging uncharted territory will not have brick walls to face and I’m always available to guide or coach anyone through tuning a difficult combo.

The latest Hydra 2.7 software is so nice and easy to use compared to past versions.  Having a Google software engineer on our team has made all the difference in the world here and trust me when I say we can do just about anything, all you need to do is ask, I’m not kidding.  We have advanced expressions that allow us to tweak output controls and do things that are not part of the “fixed” maps.

Like I said, maybe not for everyone, but it’s another option for you the customer to put the control in your own hands or your own tuner’s.

Used by some of the fastest cars in the world:

GST Motorsports: Redline Unlimited Time Attack Champions, 2 Time Global Time Attack Champions….and just about every track lap record

Element Tuning STi: 2x NASA TTU Champion, 2x Subiefest Pro Class Champion, 2x Formula X Champion, 4 tracks NASA and Whelen TTU lap record holder….

Element Tuning FRS

Global Time Attack win Road Atlanta naturally aspirated

3 Unlimited Class wins boosted in Whelen USTT Championships.

Simple to install, just place inside the glove box.

Ready to purchase or have questions, feel free to call us or click here:  http://elementtuning.com/store/#!/~/product/category=439245&id=1509847

Lap records set around exclusive Monticello during Whelen US TimeTrial Championship (Video)

Lap records set around exclusive Monticello during Whelen US TimeTrial Championship.

Monticello Grabow.

USGT logo large

Whelen US TimeTrial ChampionshipPhilip Grabow set a new Whelen USTTC track lap record at Monticello. © NARRA

The challenging twists and turns of Monticello Motor Club are usually off limits. The private resort-like country club for motoring enthusiasts rarely opens its gates for anyone but its members. However competitors in the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship were lucky enough to grace New York’s exclusive 22 turn 3.6mile circuit as part of the North American Road Racing event August 24-26. Not only that, they redefined speed around the track, setting four new class records, including a new TT-Unlimited lap record of 2:24.961 by Element Tuning’s Philip Grabow.
The response was amazing, creating what track officials called the biggest motor racing event in the track’s history with the likes of Brian Redman, Eric Curran and Ralph Gilles looking on as over 80 competition cars took to the track in the US GT Championship, SRT Viper Cup series, Radical Challenge and Rounds 9 & 10 of the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship.


Philip Grabow returned to his winning ways in the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship, setting Round 9’s outright fastest time to win the TT-Unlimited class on Saturday. Grabow’s Element Tuning Subaru STi lapped America’s most exclusive circuit in 2:26.811.

Saturday’s TT-Unlimited podium was completed by Michael Greenberg (Viper Comp Coupe) and Kaizen Tuning’s Scott McIver, driving a Mitsubishi Evo X.

Winning TT-1 was the only other driver to break into the twenties, Richard Startare (Dezigns Constuction Viper GTS). He was also the only other driver to see his name at the top of the overall timesheet, faster than Grabow in the morning session. Going faster in the second session, Startare took the TT-1 win with a 2:29.291 from Steve Katz (OnTrackInsurance Viper ACR) and Barry Dickson (Viper SRT10).

Also particularly impressive was a pair of Vettes, driven by Scott Mandel (1st Class Alignment & Repair Corvette Z06) and Ben Lesnak (Corvette C5). Respectively, the pair took the TT-2 and TT-3 classes by storm, each more than four seconds clear of their nearest rivals.

However a technical infraction for Mandel (2:33.934) bumped fellow Vette driver Marianelli up to first, giving Ignition Ready / JMR Garage driver the win in TT-2 with a 2:40.044.

Marianelli had already stolen the show away from the Nissan GT-R of Ray Cocoziello (2:40.547) by half a second. Alan Cohen (Cadillac CTS-V) was third.

In TT-3 Cristian Stanescu (payless4braces.com Porsche Turbo) kept plugging away to edge out Jordan Levitt (Mitsubishi Evo) for second. However, their times of 2:36.358 and 2:36.537 were no match for Lesnak’s 2:31.607.

The technical nature of the stunning private circuit meant competitors spent much of Saturday’s morning runs learning the layout. Many of the fastest times came in the third session, and times were expected to drop still in the fourth and final session, but an extended clean-up due to a massive oil spill in a support category race cancelled the session.

Completely caught out was Kevin Ferguson (TT-U, Craftlogic Software Viper ACR), who was also competing in the US GT Championship. He had only planned to run the final session and was left without a time.


Determined not to suffer the same fate on Sunday, USGTC competitor Ferguson focused more time on his Whelen USTTC effort, and pushed in session one to set the fastest time of the morning, a 2:26.838.

Monticello Ferguson
The times were much closer in TT-1 Sunday morning, with Startare and Dickson only separated by half a second after session one, and Katz only another few tenths down the road. Amazingly Startare’s time of 2:29.133, a new TT-1 lap record, came after his front splitter and underbody sustained damage after collecting an exploded rotor from Alan Cohen’s Cadillac CTS-V. But yet again the standouts were the Vette duo of Lesnak (Corvette C5) and Mandel (1st Class Alignment & Repair Corvette Z06). TT-3’s Lesnak was 6th fastest outright during the first session, and Mandel 9th fastest in a TT-2 car.
A great battle was also shaping up for the second and third steps of the podium in TT-2, between the Mitsubishi Evos of Thai Diep (2:37.040), Marc Cantor (2:38.538) and Mark Forenbaher (2:40.385). Ray Cocoziello wasn’t far behind in his Nissan GTR either (2:40.666), but was fighting a glitch with the car’s sophisticated computer.

The biggest surprise of the morning was the lack of pace from Philip Grabow, 3rd in class and only 8th outright. Reports of a fuel starvation issue circulated from the Element Tuning camp.

With the issue fixed Grabow bounced back in session 2 to claim the top spot in TT-Unlimited with 2:24.961- the fastest time-trial lap recorded for the weekend and a new TT-Unlimited lap record. Amazingly he admitted he achieved the time without even winding up the boost on his Subaru STi.

Craftlogic Racing’s Kevin Ferguson responded in the third and final session but remained seven tenths shy of Grabow, cementing 2nd in class with a 2:25.625. Michael Greenberg’s 2:30.137 (Viper Comp Coupe) from the first run of the day remained his fastest to claim third in TT-U.

Katz closed the gap to Dickson’s best in session two, the pair’s pace clearly worrying Startare, who returned to the track in the final session. Finding another two tenths he locked in another TT-1 win from Dickson and Katz with a new class lap record of 2:29.133.

With a lap record setting 2:33.203, Mandel found another second in the second session to put him well clear of the competition in TT-2, or so he thought.

Behind him Forenbaher was now only two tenths from eclipsing Cantor, and in the final session he did, extracting another nine tenths to finish with a 2:37.883.

But the real shock was Cocoziello, who rocketed up the charts from the forty second bracket to a 2:33.529 to be just three tenths behind TT-2 class winner Mandel, takeover second place and relegate Diep to third.

Jay Rudolph (Nissan GT-R) picked up the pace in TT-3 in session two, but so did Lesnak, to remain six fastest overall, six seconds clear of his competition and reset the TT-3 lap record to a 2:30.275. Cristian Stanescu completed the podium with a 2:38.618.

The Whelen US TimeTrial Championship next heads to Texas World Speedway, September 21-23, before returning to New York for the final double-points round of the championship at Watkins Glen International, October 19-21. The Watkins Glen event will also feature a stand-alone NARRA World Championship time-trial competition, and the final rounds of the SRT Viper Cup. Both events will feature the US GT Championship and the US Performance Driver Education program, allowing all high-performance car owners to take to the track.

Take a splitter view ride with Phil Grabow around Monticello for the first ever laps.
The winning lap with Phil Grabow.  You can hear the engine cutting out about 3 turns from the finish line.  A loose fitting/worn pin on the DBW throttle connector was the culprit.
We have much more in the car but we had to nurse the brakes throughout the event.  Running at NASA TTU trim we set the fast lap with 495 whp but when we finally turned up the power we had to abandon the run due to the emergency vehicle on the track. We’ll step it up next year.

Element Tuning Track Tested and Track Proven FRS/BRZ Video

What can I say but amazing for 155 whp! We didn’t plan on racing our FRS this weekend for the Whelen USTT Championship but with our STi down and out we decided to make lemonade!

With the FRS there just to show off I couldn’t think of a better way to fully test this car than to throw it into battle against much more serious hardware. With everyone on race tires we stuffed our STi Rota DPT race wheels and tires on there and gave it a go.

Element Tuning FRS on Hoosier Slicks

Dual view in car video from the Whelen USTT Championship round at NJ Motorsports Thunderbolt.

With such little power going up against some heavy weights we didn’t win anything but huge respect from everyone that saw this car on the track. I’m not sure I every got a totally clean lap due to getting passed into turn 1 but I managed a 1:40.07 at NJ Thunderbolt. For 155 hp and a 3000 lbs race weight, that’s really good. I’m confident a 1:39 was what I could have done but the old race tires were just about corded so I couldn’t really give it another shot in hopes of some clear track.

So Butch!

I had a couple strange issues related to the power steering and when I spun out once the car wouldn’t restart for awhile. Under heavy braking and turning (Turn 11) is was as if the power steering failed. I’m not sure if the race tires had too much grip under braking for the power steering or there’s some funny VSC (it was all off) that doesn’t like you trail braking.

Had a blast and can’t wait to fully build this car up into a potent Time Attack race car. We should have our prototype Hydra EMS computer in about a week and hopefully our custom valved BC Suspension in 3 weeks.

Phil Grabow