STILLEN is a company that is proud to be owned and operated by automotive enthusiasts. This month’s employee spotlight is on one of our rising stars.
Jill started working at STILLEN mid 2015 and has been awesome to have around. She has proven to be one of the biggest gear heads here and is always on a mission to learn more and help others build their dream car.
Jill’s passion for cars started after she bought her first mod for her first car (Scion TC). She installed it herself and realized she enjoyed working on cars. After a community college automotive class she was hooked. Jill bought her first project car, a 1966 Karmann Ghia which she has been restoring for the past few years. “It will be a complete resto-mod. No bolt unturned. I wanted to build a car just like Chip Foose and his A team. The dream is still there and it’s slowly becoming a reality.” While working on her first project car Jill grew tired of her TC and decided she wanted something older with a little more of a soul. She picked up a 1978 Datsun 280Z after helping a friend work on their 280Z.
Originally intended as just a daily (famous last words), Jill started off with replacing things like the brakes, and various suspension components. It wasn’t too long after that she needed to look for new tires. Now we all know that new tires mean you might as well get new wheels too right? Within no time her daily became its own little project. She soon tackled the body work (and yes, she did it herself) and got the car painted. She’s continued to add some finishing touches here and there and plans on doing turbo swap in the future. At this point Jill just wants to maintain the Z and keep it classic. “For now she’s just a solid Daily. One day I hope to give her the same treatment as the Ghia, but it’ll be a long way off.”
With so much hype around the Infiniti Q50 and the new Twin Turbo V6 it will be receiving we think some people forgot that the new Q60 was being released soon. Well, today all of you two door lovers out there got a big treat.
Infiniti released the 2017 Q60 today at the Detroit Auto Show and it is beautiful. The new Q60 will come with the same engine options as the 2017 Q50. A 400 HP (350 lb-ft) Twin Turbo V6 at the top of the line up, a 300 HP (295 lb-ft) Twin Turbo V6 will be the middle option, and the entry motor will be a 208 HP (258 lb-ft) 2.0 Turbo Inline 4 (for more analysis on the Twin Turbo V6 motor please see our blog article “An Aftermarket perspective on the new Nissan/Infiniti VR 3.0 Twin Turbo V6“).
It is not clear yet, but it seems all versions will be available with AWD. Twin Turbo V6 variants will come with the 2nd generation of the Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) which will hopefully prove to be much better than the first generation. Infiniti is also adding a 2nd suspension option that they are calling the Dynamic Digital Suspension (Standard on Sport Models) which will allow you set you suspension for the right occasion.
All of these new options and upgrades made the Infiniti Q60 a much more appealing car in a very competitive segment. Though the 400 HP variant will probably run in the $50k range, we are certain that the mid level 300 HP Version will be able to be modified to compete with the big boys the way the BMW 435i has compared to the M3.
With Nissan/Infiniti recently announcing the release of their new Twin Turbo V6, we wanted to take a closer look at this motor and what is means for the Aftermarket industry and Automotive Enthusiasts.
The all new ‘VR’ 3.0 Liter V6 Twin Turbo motor is touted by Nissan/Infiniti to be the most advanced V6 they have ever offered. With features like Direct Injection, high efficiency turbos, electronic wastegate actuator, etc, there is a lot to talk about.
Let us start with the pros of this engine when thinking about aftermarket tuning and modifications.
- Twin Turbos…I repeat…Twin Turbos! Some of the most exciting times in the Tuning Scene were in the 90’s when most of the big import sports cars featured factory turbos. When a car comes factory equipped with a turbo charging system, many of the inherent challenges are solved. Is the engine bay properly designed to manage the heat generated? Is the engine able to handle the pressure of forced induction? Is the engine bay big enough to house turbos? All of these potential hurdles are instantly removed because the turbos and infrastructure are already there.
- Direct Injection! Direct Injection systems have much higher flow ratings than they use so when adding power there is no need to upgrade the fuel system (to a point).
- Electronic Wastegate Actuator. In the past the turbo wastegates were controlled by pressure and dictated by a boost controller. With an electronic wastegate actuator, you can control the wastegate and the amount of boost you make more accurately and variably. Nissan is using this to make more power on the 400 hp variant of this motor, and we should be able to have a lot of fun with it once we have an ECU control. If it is not possible to control the wastegate through the ECU there is always the option of using an aftermarket diaphragm style wastegate actuator and using a standalone boost controller. If and when ECU control is available it will be the most cost effective and best option.
- Oxygen Sensor & Exhaust Pressure Sensor. Oxygen (O2) Sensors are obviously a crucial part of tuning. However, on forced induction motors the way O2 sensors record data is different because of the change in air properties under pressure. The addition of an Exhaust Pressure Sensor allow for more accurate scaling, tuning, and data in regards to the gases coming out of the cylinders. This means better and safer tuning when adding power.
- Square Engine (1:1 Bore to Stroke Ratio). Utilizing a 86mm Bore and 86mm Stroke the new VR Motor is a “Square Engine”. The Square design gives a balance of Torque and Horse power (Torque is more dependent on total displacement while Horsepower is more dependent on valve area). With Square motor, you also get a smoother transition between the torque and horsepower power curve.
Other nice things we have noticed about the new VR 3.0 TT V6.
- V-Band Coupler from Turbo to Down Pipe. This will make replacing the factory catalytic converter with a free flowing down pipe easy and leak free. V-Bands are one of the most effective ways to fasten exhaust parts together (especially areas of higher pressure and heat). Because the V-Band Coupler applies an inward radial force compressing the flange together, you have less chance for an exhaust leak with less effort of tightening.
- No VVEL! Not that VVEL was inherently bad, but it was a major culprit in the heat issues experienced in the outgoing VQ engine. Nissan/Infiniti has switched to a new Valve Timing System (controlled by an electric motor accord to them).
- Standard Turbos. With no mention of twin scroll technology, this could mean for more options when it comes to possibly upgrading the turbos.
- Exhaust System. It looks like the cat-back section of the exhaust has not changed with the new motor. This would mean the current cat-back and axle-back options would still work. Do note, most cat-backs were not designed with forced induction in mind. STILLEN does have an advantage here because we designed our Cat-Backs to work with forced induction. This mainly applies for the Q50 as it will be the first Nissan/Infiniti to get the new Turbo motor.
- Oil Filter. The location of the oil filter look very convenient for installing an oil cooler. While we don’t anticipate the VR 3.0 TT to have the same heat issues that the VQ’s had, it is always beneficial to keep those oil temps in check.
There will be some challenges, hurdles, and limitations. From what we have seen in diagrams and specification here are going to be some of the limiting factors of this motor and some possible solutions (these are just possibilities that cannot be confirmed till we have this motor to actually look at in person).
- Integrated Exhaust Manifolds. While this does help reduce the size of the motor and provide some nifty emissions benefits, it does limit the capabilities of what we can do aftermarket.
- Optical Turbo Speed Sensor (only available on 400hp variant). While this is an amazing tool for tuning and being able to run the turbo at peak efficiency, it does not come on the 300hp variant of the motor. This might make tuning less accurate. We won’t know till we take a closer look, but there is a huge advantage to being able to tune based on both boost and turbine speed.
- Water-Cooled Intercooler System. While Air to Water intercoolers are great, they do provide some potential stumbling blocks on this motor. If you look at the location, it will be difficult to upgrade them. While upgrading the heat exchanger in front and possible the pump is fairly easy, big power would most likely require a Air to Air setup and the turbos are positioned to feed directly into the factory coolers. Just means more piping than what we’d like to add if that becomes the case.
- Intake Manifold. You can see there might be some major restrictions, bottle necks, and harsh turns on the factory unit. This may be simple to remedy, but depending on how the manifold is designed and what the reset of the manifold and lower plenum look like it could be difficult and expensive. At first glance you can see some areas that look restrictive, but from other angles you can see how it is just a design feature, and not a bottle neck.
- Air Boxes. Because we know the core support design has not changed in the new Q50, new air intake systems will require some major testing to see if we can place the filter outside of the engine bay. This is more crucial on the Turbo motor than the old VQ37 because turbo motors generate much more heat in the engine bay. When the new Q60 and Z are released we can see if the design is different than the Q50.
While all of this is based off of the information provided, and images available, we cannot say for sure what the potential is until we have one to do testing with. Never the less, we are very excited for the newest V6 from Nissan/Infiniti and can’t wait to start tuning them.
*Photos courtesy of Nissan & Infiniti.
STILLEN Attends the First Annual NissFest!!!
In 2014 Nissan released digital images of their 2020 Vision Gran Turismo for the popular video game. It was designed to be a concept of future Nissan’s that you can experience in this virtual world. Now at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show we see this concept come to life.
Nissan says, “Adapting design cues from current Nissan performance models, it was created from scratch using the latest digital design tools”. This is the first physical embodiment of the concept people were talking so much about just a year ago. The speculation that this is the GTR R36 might still be a stretch, but there is a good chance the styling cues seen on this concept will be present on the next “Godzilla” iteration.
We don’t expect to see anything official on the R36 any time soon as Nissan just demolished almost every production cars time on the Nürburgring with the GTR Nismo N-Attack. There is a good chance Nissan is just waiting for the rest of the car world to step up their game before releasing their next supercar killer. It is hard to say what exactly the plan is for this Legend, but no matter the outcome, it is fun to speculate.
The annual OC Auto Show has always been a great way for Orange County Residents to see what is current in the Automotive world without having to make the big trek up to Los Angeles a month later.
If you are in Orange County and want a convenient way to go look at all the cars currently on the market and a few prototypes as well, the Auto Show is a great event. There are definitely some great cars that we found interesting and exciting. Our top 3 would have to be…
The “Supra Successor” has been a big topic of discussion in the car community for years. While there are still a lot of detail unreleased, if this car makes it to production in the near future it will be epic. If you haven’t had a chance to see it in person, photos don’t do it justice.
Ford Focus RS:
The epic hatch is filling the empty shoes left by the late Mitsubishi Evo X. With a 2.3L Turbocharged Engine putting down around 350 HP to all 4 wheels. Looks like the Subaru WRX STI is gonna have some competition again.
Lexus has been teasing GS owners for years with the idea of a M5 competitor. With the newest generation of the GS released, Lexus has finally delivered on their promise. Though not the most stunning in stock form, we feel the body lines and shape have great potential to our fellow enthusiasts out there.
If you want to check everything out in person tickets are only $12.00 and the show runs from now through Sunday (Oct. 18th).
2016 Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4
Lincoln Continental Concept
Lincoln Continental Concept
Lincoln Continental Concept
Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept
STILLEN is a company that is proud to be owned and operated by automotive enthusiasts. This month’s employee spotlight is on another one of our veterans here.
Kenny has been a performance specialist at STILLEN since 1999. Before working for STILLEN, he was already an avid car enthusiast. Kenny has owned some of the most Iconic cars from the 90’s imaginable. When he started at STILLEN he drove a FD RX-7 and has had cars like the S13 240SX and MKIV TT Supra in his stable. Now as time passes our taste in cars can change. Kenny decided to switch things up around 2012 and got himself a 997 911 Turbo, “That car is amazing!”. As many of have experienced, as we have matured our tastes in cars have changed a little, but there is that magical appeal of those dream cars from years past. Cars like the 300ZX, RX7, Supra, NSX, etc will always hold a special place in our hearts and always tempt us to bring one home. There is one car for most import tuning enthusiasts that some might call the “holy grail” which is the Nissan Skyline GTR. A performance car that was never legalized in the States and is more rare to see than almost any super car does not usually cross people’s minds when they are considering a car to purchase. We won’t go through all the details, but a handful of R32 and R33 Skylines were legalized here in the US and are very sought after.
R33 Skyline GTR
Kenny felt that itch to own a piece of Tuner Car history and set out on a mission to buy a Skyline. After months of searching, Kenny finally found his Federal and California Legal R33 Skyline GTR. Many of us here at STILLEN could tell you about those months spent searching and we got to see the struggle as well as the excitement when the car was finally in his possession. Kenny loves owning such a rare car and is really a dream come true.
If you ever get a chance to talk to Kenny over the phone or in person, make sure to ask him about his Skyline.
The Nissan Altima has been a major contender in the mid-sized market for decades. The past five years have proven to be the most successful for the not so little sedan. With this recent track record it is no surprise that they decided to do a facelift to keep up with the rest of the Nissan lineup. A mid model refresh is not uncommon, but they went a little further than that.
As you can see in the photos, the 2016 Altima Sedan’s new styling cues have adopted the new “Energetic Flow” design that guided the inspiration of the new Murano and Maxima. On top of the styling updates, this redesign also changes the performance and dynamics of the car.
Reduced coefficient of drag – 0.26 Cd (down from 0.29 Cd)
Increased structural rigidity
Reduced NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness)
Increased Fuel Economy (for 2.5L and 3.5L variants)
Along with the standard changes, Nissan has added a SR trim to both the 2.5L and 3.5L models. The SR will be the “sporty” options for those looking for some added performance and style from the factory. The SR trim will feature things like 18 inch wheels, revised suspension, and a manual paddle shifting mode. Styling wise, the SR will feature smoked headlight housings, DRL’s, Fogs Lights, and a rear spoiler.
As usual, STILLEN is excited to get our hands on one of these new Altima’s and see what we can do with it. We love where Nissan is heading with it’s unique styling and improved performance. You can expect to see some sporty body components and performance upgrades from STILLEN in the near future.
Here is a quick rendering of what we think the Altima could look like with just a few simple mods.
If you have been following the STILLEN Facebook page or STILLEN Instagram, you know we’re getting pretty excited about this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. If you haven’tbeen following, let us catch you up.. It’s the 20th anniversary of STILLEN founder, Steve Millen’s win at Le Mans. He and a few others from the STILLEN team have been invited by Nissan to attend this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend in celebration. Needless to say, everyone here at STILLEN is excited to celebrate the anniversary and we’re all looking forward to watching this year’s race unfold.
STILLEN founder, Steve Millen, Driving in the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans
2014 24 Hours of Le Mans Race Entries to Watch
This year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is going to be a great competition with a lot of very qualified teams racing and a lot of new technology on the track. Below, we’ve listed a few of the cars we’re excited to see run.
Audi R18 vs. Porsche 919
As sibling rivalries go, this feud is pretty intense – both teams desperately want to win and have made some strong improvements to their cars to try to get a leg up on the competition. Watching these two teams compete against one-another on the track will definitely be one of the highlights this weekend. Here are a few reasons we’re looking forward to seeing these cars run:
- The front axle is electronically powered, making the R18 the first Audi race car not powered exclusively by a combustion engine
- Ultra-light weight design with a one-piece carbon fiber monocoque (introduced in 2011)
- Carbon fiber composite casing gearbox
- 3.7 liter V6 TDI engine with mono turbo charger makes 490 hp and 850 Nm of torque
Read more about the Audi R18 specs here.
- Turbo charged 2 liter 4 cyl engine with direct fuel injection
- Combustion engine is supported by two energy recovery systems and stored in a liquid cooled lithium ion battery
- Made of carbon, high strength aluminum, magnesium and titanium alloys combined with an expert construction to achieve a lightweight, efficient design
- Makes up to 500 hp + electric machine makes up to 250 hp
Read more about the Porsche 919 specs here.
This is probably the car we are most excited about seeing run. Not only does it look like it shouldn’t be fast (but actually is very fast), but it will run a portion of the race on electricity only. In fact the goal for the Nissan ZEOD is to be the first car to complete a full lap around the Le Mans circuit under 100% electric power with no assist from the gasoline engine and still maintain top speeds – pretty impressive to say the least. Here are a few more reasons to be impressed:
- 1.5 liter 3 cyl turbo makes 400 hp from a 40kg engine
- A single lap of each stint will be powered by electricity only
- DIG-T R engine specs:
- Weight: 88 lbs.
- Dimensions: 19.68” x 15.74” x 7.78”
- Revs to 7500 rpm and produces 380 Nm of torque
- Has 10 hp/kg – this means this engine has a better power-to-weight ratio than Formula 1 cars
For more information on the Nissan ZEOD, check out Nissan’s press release here.
Follow the Action at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans
To keep up with all of the excitement at the track, be sure to check the STILLEN Facebook and STILLEN Instagram regularly. We’ll be posting updates, photos and live video of the race all weekend long!
Here at STILLEN, we’re pretty proud of the products we make. We know firsthand how much time and effort goes into sourcing the correct materials, developing the perfect design and testing the prototypes all so that we are 100% confident that the aftermarket parts our customers are putting into their cars are the best they possibly could be. As proud as we are of the parts we make, we are even more proud when a third party recognizes a STILLEN part for its quality. Needless to say, the office was abuzz this week when we found out the STILLEN brake cooling kit for the Nissan 370Z was featured in a MotoIQ Project 370Z article!
Nissan 370z with STILLEN Brake Cooling Kit
Project 370Z Article Summary
As the article mentions, the goal of Project 370Z is to get some track time with their 370Z. As improvements to the car have led to improved lap times, they have also led to more stress on the brakes. With this in mind, the team decided it was time to upgrade with the brake cooling kit. With that decision made, it was time to actually install the kit and test it. By this time, most of the STILLEN team was on the edge of their seat wanting to hear how our in-house testing was comparing to MotoIQ’s third party testing. Checkout the quote below to see how our brake cooling kit fared:
“With the brake ducts covered, the right front caliper temperature peaked at 272 degrees Fahrenheit, and the rotor at 529 degrees Fahrenheit. The Left front caliper reached 259 degrees, with the rotor at 550 degrees. Once the ducts were opened, both the left and right side caliper dropped 44 degrees. The right front rotor dropped 156 degrees, and the left front rotor dropped a whopping 216 degrees! This is a significant reduction and spot on with STILLEN’s in house testing at the same track. We were truly impressed with the numbers. Also the brake feel and control stayed more consistent throughout the session with the ducts functioning. Any 370 that sees a decent amount of track time should look into purchasing this kit, it’s a cost effective way to give yourself a higher temperature threshold for your brake system and will also prolong the life of the ware items such as pads, rotors, piston seals, and brake fluid.” – Clint Boisdeau, MotoIQ
Get More Information On the STILLEN Brake Cooling Kit for Nissan 370Z
For more information on this great brake cooling kit check out the full article here or visit www.stillen.com for more details. If you would prefer to speak with our experts about this kit or any of the other Nissan 370z parts we sell, please call 866-250-5542 and we will be happy to answer any questions you have. For our Southern California 370Z enthusiasts, we also have a full service performance shop that can install everything from brake cooling kits to superchargers and exhausts. If you want your kit professionally installed, just let us know and we’ll schedule an appointment for you!