TheFastReligon Build Philosophy
We all want it, but it costs time and money. Reliable Horsepower; the golden throne we all want to own and sit on. Here at FastReligion our goal is always reliable horsepower. If we would not daily drive it, it will not leave our shop. How do we accomplish this? We over-build everything. On purpose. Want 300 horsepower? We will build the car to handle 350. Want 400 horsepower? We will build the car to handle 500. Want 500 horsepower? You get the idea. This, unfortunately, means a significant increase in cost per horsepower. But at that extra cost you are guaranteed several things: 1. Your car will take any abuse you can throw at it. 2. The parts we use make the car extremely easy to maintain, and if needed, repair. 3. You get genuine name brand components, sourced DIRECTLY from the manufacturer (no ebay or amazon specials). 4. You get incredibly detailed, hand made, fabricated components that will do the job, and won't be a constant worry in the back of your mind.
Our customers need to be talked about. Our customers are the best. We appreciate that they have chosen to spend their hard earned money with us. Every time we talk to someone about doing a build, we set aside massive amounts of time to take notes and design a build that meets all of their needs. We have even gone as far as to fly customers across the country to go for test drives in our builds before we will even put them on the books for a build. 99% of our customers just use these cars to drive to work, or putt around on the weekend. They tell us they want “x” amount of power for whatever reason it may be, then that's what we will do. What they do with the cars when it leaves our doors is not up to us. It is not our job to build a car, then take it to the race track and set a time. It is not our job to build a car, take it to “Mexico” and get a draggy number. If the cars never see full throttle once they leave us, then that is up to our customers. They want to go beat the snot out of them at the track? We will be right there with them to help them accomplish their goals. The customer is the priority, not a lap time or time slip. The customer we build the 481 horsepower car for, Ben, wanted something insane. He knows he has no need for the power. But he wanted it. We spoke about doing launch control, and upgrading the axles, and other “racing” stuff. He wanted none of it. He wants to drive the car around, and be able to blow by someone at a stop light if they ask for it. That car may never see a drag strip. Not our choice.
Why do we over-build?
A man named John Parris once said, in regards to modified cars: “Once you 'mess' with it, it will start to 'mess' with you.” He didn't use the word mess. And this is true. Any time you change out a factory components for an aftermarket one, there are bound to be teething issues. Things that need to be sorted out over time to get it right. This means spending time working on the car after the parts are on it. Down time. When you take your vehicle to someone to get work done, and pay your hard earned money to get what you want from them, you expect the product to have all those issues worked out. Over the past 10 years our team has been in business, we have seen what works and what does not. We have tried different over a DOZEN different turbo systems and learned from them all. We have failed at builds. We have succeeded at builds. But one thing we learned that is at the top of our checklist on every build is this; the customer should NOT have to open that hood unless its to show something off or do maintenance. So. We build accordingly. Could we make large amounts of power on a stock engine? Sure. Could we make over 330 horsepower on stock cams? Sure. For how long? Is all the extra stress on the engine worth saving the customer a few thousand dollars now, just to cost them several more thousand down the road? No. We would rather NOT make the sale in order to avoid having to send a car into the world that is not going to be reliable. Many people who are probably reading this have probably been told by our team not to buy some of OUR OWN parts because they would not accomplish what the customer would want; reliable power.
Why Subaru Turbos?
Speaking of costs; why do we use Subaru based BP Turbos? Are they they best for the application? God no. Are they the best turbos on the market in general? No way. So why then? One of the first big turbo MR16DDT's we build used a Precision 5431 turbocharger. This used a standard t3 turbo inlet flange, and a PTE style 4 bolt outlet flange. Great entry level turbos. We had used them on several cars by that time. We ran into a major issue though. Replacement parts. This car had the snot kicked out of it. And because of it being an aftermarket system, things failed. Mainly turbo gaskets. Over a 2 year span, the car blew out 3 gaskets in total. Each time this would happen; it was a 4-5 business day wait to get new GENUINE gaskets from PTE. That was 4-5 days the car could not be driven. We then rebuild the car using a Garret GT28 turbocharger. This time we used a v-band turbo inlet, and a standard Garret 5 bolt outlet. This gasket blew out a year after the car was finished. Another 4-5 business days without the car driving. We also had 1 oil drain gasket leak as well. So, when we started looking into how to make a reliable, repeatable, and livable turbo systems for new customers, we started looking around. We noticed something. The MR16DDT is a small engine. Because of this, the exhaust housings on the turbos we used did not need to be massive to reduce back pressure, they just needed to be big enough to match the flow of the head at “x” amount of power. We also noticed everywhere in the country has car dealerships. We just had to find turbos that had multiple size options for different power levels, had big enough exhaust housings to make back pressure a non-issue, and had parts available at a local level for when repairs are needed. Subaru. You can get a Subaru based turbo from 200 horsepower all the way up to 660 horsepower. Perfect. Exhaust housing? Well, the STI engine was 2.5l. The turbos are bigger than a Juke turbo for sure, they are made for a larger engine, but even on a EJ25 they are very responsive, which means the housings aren't massive. Parts: You cannot sneeze without hitting a major suburb or city with a Subaru dealership. We experimented. We put a VF48 on a Juke to see how the car would respond to it. It responded quite well. We tried bigger, and bigger, and it just kept making power without an insane amount of lag, and require a surprisingly small amount of boost. This need for less boost comes from, of course a larger turbo, but it also comes from the fact that the Subaru turbo turbine housing doesn't create loads of back pressure, so the engine can actually breathe. Are they going to make the same power as a $2000+ Garrett of a similar size? Of course not. These are made to bolt onto a factory Subaru. But, when you need to LIVE WITH the turbo year round, its a lot less stressful when a gasket fails to run to a local Subaru dealership that has them in stock, than it is to get on amazon and buy a cheap knock off replacement that can arrive same day in hopes that it wont blow out. Go watch your favorite automotive youtuber, they are always stuck waiting on parts when they break. Object of the game is to make it so our customers NEVER have to do that.
A benefit we also managed to figure out is upgrading after the fact. Say you made 300 whp on a BPT 16g. Cool. Want 400? Well if you are using a properly sized PTE or Garrett turbo, you will have to make your fabricated components fit with the new turbo. This means practically re-flanging or re-making all of the hot side parts. Want 400 with our set up? Buy a turbo. Bolt it in. Re-tune it. Done. We have literally done this exact thing in one business day. Customer showed up at 9am. We swapped the turbos out. He left making 75 more horsepower 5-6 hours later.
With the turbo stuff being said, a quick talk about our intake manifolds and cams. You have probably seen our stainless steel intake manifolds on some of our bigger builds. Big plenums. Big runners. Most importantly: shiny. Those are not needed. At all. You can make plenty of power on a stock intake manifold. The first intake manifold we made was just an experiment. See what would happen when paired with a big turbo. We saw an increase in throttle response, and a decent bump in mid-top end torque compared to stock. No crazy changes. 7% at the most on the biggest change in the mid range, an ~3% on the top end. We actually HATE selling these manifolds. They take ages to make, and add a lot of complexity to builds. CUSTOMERS request them. They want them. They think they look cool, and like the added benefits of them, We actively try to talk people out of buying them. Talk to anyone of the 5 people we have made them for, they will confirm that. For some reason, there are people going around saying we require these to make big power. That is just false. We have a build coming up that will blow away all of our previous builds, and it is on a stock intake manifold. Why? Because you don't NEED it.
When we did the first six speed big turbo build using a turbo capable of making over 350 horsepower, we did a forged bottom end, upgraded head gasket, and a stock cylinder head. We did not tune this car. We had our good friends at Granite State Dyno tune this car. Alex, who has been doing this for over 20 years came to me a few hours in and told me he just couldn't make any more NOTICABLE power per psi over 330 horsepower on his dyno. He tried everything he could think of, outside of just pounding boost down the cars throat. We left with our heads hanging and drove back to the shop. Maybe the turbo was just out of steam. Torque curve looked okay, but maybe that's it. Its simple enough to swap it out for a bigger one. So that's what we did. We took the BPT 16G out and bolted in a BPT 18g. Drove back a week later. Same issue. We where stuck. We did pressure drop tests. We did intake air temp probes. We spent 3 hours just Trying to find what was going on on the dyno. We left again. Okay. No more playing around; we put a BPT Dominator 1.5XT-R ball bearing turbo on the car. SAME RESULTS. Head flow. Had to be the head flow. We took a head to the local machine shop, asked them to flow test is. According to their data, the head itself should easily flow enough CFM to make the power we wanted. We sent the cams out to Crower. We explained what we where trying to do and the issue we where having. A few phone calls later, the engineer I spoke with explained to me that the ramp rate and overlap on the cams was clearly optimized for a faster spooling, smaller turbo and that as we tried flowing more air, the profile was going to fight us. So. We had them make us a custom grind. Nothing insane. Just more suited to making power than stock. Installed the cams. BOOM car made 400 horsepower effortlessly. Again, could we have stuck a massive turbo on the car and made the power? Of course. But why go bigger and laggier when we could solve the issue and maintain drive-ability of the car. The engines being built anyways. Pop a mild cam in it. Make more power on less boost with the same response. Upgrading cams is nothing life-changing or crazy. It's just a way to change the way the car makes power.
The Best Or Bust
You will not find ONE ebay or amazon part in our builds. Not saying you cannot find good stuff on there, you probably can if you dig enough. But. Why? We also try to get as many US/Australian/Canadian based manufactured parts as possible. Why? Because, it not only keeps the money flowing into other enthusiasts pockets, but it also means your getting the same product every time. All of our fabrication parts are sourced from AceRaceParts. They offer top of the line stainless and aluminum products. All of our lines and fittings are from Vibrant Performance. Our flanges are either custom cnc plasma cut here in our shop or laser cut from a company called Oshcut (you should go check them out, they do great work). We had a bad experience with cheap stainless steel tubing in our products several years ago. It was a nightmare. The welded seams of the pipe itself would split under pressure. Never again. This means our prices are higher than most other places, but it means our products last longer. There are a lot of companies out there who purchase cheap, knock off components from ebay/amazon, re-brand them and sell them for massive profits. That's capitalism. Good for them. Make that money. That is not the experience we want our customers to have. If we cannot find an application from a established brand that will work for our customers; we will engineer, design, test, and manufacture our own here in house.
Hand Made Perfection
Which brings us to hand made: None of our FastReligion brand parts are mass manufactured. (CVT cooler kits and connecting rods aside). Everything that goes into our builds are designed and built specifically for the customers applications and needs. No two FR builds are the same. This, unfortunately, means higher costs for the customer, but it means the customer has a say in every part of the build. It means infinite customization. It also means we put hands and eyes on every part that goes into the car. If we see something that doesn't look right, we can fix it on the spot. There has been many instances when we have installed turbo kits or large parts on other applications, and during the install we found parts the either didn't fit, weren't finished, or just weren't going to work right. But doing it all by hand, we avoid all of that.
So. When you look at our build prices, or wonder why certain things are done they way they are done on a build; we have specific reasons for it. A lot of those reasons can be reduced down to time and experience. Every engine behaves differently. You would be hard pressed to find anywhere in the world that has done so many different variations and so many different builds on this platform. That time and experience is in our prices. You can buy a turbo kit for a K24 for $2000 from cx racing, sure. Or you can buy a turbo kit from Full Race for $7000 with all of the “same” parts, and get 15 years of experience behind tuning k series engines in the kit.
Build a car is not cheap if you are paying someone to do it. That's why it is such a DIY hobby. But, by having an experienced and professional shop with years of experience do the build for you, you get to enjoy driving the car a lot more, and working on it a lot less.