Jul 20, 2009

Growing Pains (sha la la la)

The Switzer blog and forum accounts have been pretty quiet recently, and I'm sure many of you have been wondering about what we've been up to "behind the scenes". So what, exactly, have we been up to?

The short answer is "We've been working 12-15 hour days, every day, for the last 2 months."

The less-short answer is that ever since Sharif at Forged Performance approached us about becoming a Switzer installer, we've been making detail changes to our GTR packages to make them more installer-friendly. This is quite a lot easier said than done!

See, here at Switzer, we've always done the majority of our own installs, so if we needed a mounting bracket to be done a certain way, we made it. If we needed an extra washer here or a different bolt-length there, we walked across the shop and pulled it from a drawer. There were no installation manuals, either - we simply remembered what we did the last time, or just referred to a shop notebook for the tricky bits.

As you can imagine, this not The Way To Do Things when you are trying to ship a "ready-to-install" package halfway across the country or across the world; which is exactly what we are trying to do!

Today, we find ourselves growing - and growing fast!

Over the past few months, we've been transforming Switzer Performance from a small, custom tuning shop to a (less small?) manufacturer of bolt-on performance packages based on the "built-to-order" products we've delivered to our clients so far. These packages need to be designed around a single fact: that our dealers may have knowledgeable, experienced technicians to do their installs, but if he doesn't see things exactly the way we do, the pieces we send start to blend together; and where we see a kit, he sees a puzzle!

So, Tym and the rest of the crew downstairs got to work, trying to anticipate - and duplicate! - any hiccup or misstep that a shop may come across. At the same time, they looked at each and every component in the original "in-house" package, and asked how it could be improved, changed, and tweaked to make installations go more smoothly ...

... the results are some of the new parts you see below, which include new lines for the turbos, new blow-off-valves, machined MAF housings for the intakes, updated actuators, and custom silicone hose kits. Less obvious changes include a simpler order-of-operations, a new, more complete hardware kit, and a major (for us!) financial commitment to have our Switzer modified turbos and MONSTER intercoolers ON THE SHELF AND READY TO GO, eliminating a 10-15 day wait to get the stock cores machined out.




Along the way, we've been able to make a few improvements as well. The new lines are more efficient. The new intakes provide better flow. The new cooling package that drastically reduces engine and trans. temperatures on the street and the track.

Did I forget to mention the new cooling package?

Simply put, Nissan's R35 GTR is still new to the marketplace and very new to every tuner. Many of you have been following us along our Nissan tuning path since the beginning, and followed Derek Whitis' Freedom Autosport GTR throughout the 2009 OneLap of America, where the car experienced a number of issues and frequently went into "limp-mode", leading Whitis' team to call it quits about halfway through the event. It was a heart-breaker for all of us, and we found ourselves with lots of questions, lots of theories, and not a whole lot of answers.

Another thing we had lots of, however, was data.

For data to become useful information, it needs careful analysis and a complete understanding of the systems involved. Through additional testing and comparisons between tuned cars (thanks, JR!), stock cars (thanks, Doug!), and the Freedom Autosport car (thanks, Derek!) we were able to isolate many of the issues that gave the car problems. Some of these issues were simple (low coolant), some were simply unexpected (caused by changes to the front and rear outside tire diameters), and some were truly bizarre (I don't even want to TALK about front splitters anymore!).

All of this research, development, testing, verification, and implementation takes time. Sometimes the process takes longer than you anticipate, but we firmly believe that a dedicated R&D program driven by the scientific method will beat "looking under the hood and thinking as hard as you can" any day.

The fruits of this research and 1000 miles of logged track-data from our customers is what led to the detail improvements mentioned above being integrated into our "mass-production" packages, and the development of our all-new cooling package, which we've bundled with our updated P700/800 packages. The new cooling package, in concert with the rest of the updates mentioned above, doesn't take away from the smooth drive-ability of our kits - it simply makes the day to day driving experience that much more like a stock car ...



... it also lets us push the cars Harder where it counts: on the track.

The Switzer P700/800 GTR Nissans have always been powerful street cars that were capable of impressing even the toughest critics at the track. With these new updates, we've been able to create a more bulletproof product that makes the P700/800 into a dominant track day weapon that is every bit as smooth and tractable as the stock R35.

We'll have a full update and product/pricing release on the updated P700/800 packages later this week, as well as a new "R" PKG that will be ready before you know it.

Here's one last pic of the finished install ... enjoy!


Finally, to all of our friends, customers, and dealers: thank you for your continued patience with us as we push through these growing pains. I promise (as those of you who have gotten your cars already know) it will be worth the wait.

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