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PGT Technical Page

Over the course of years with my Probe GT, I've learned loads of information. I feel that I must share this information with the Probe/MX6 community as payback to what knowledge others have shared with me. If you have any questions about any of the material here, please email me.

Timing Belt
Changing a CV Boot
PRD Shifter Install
Steering Clunk
Brakes and Clutch
Addco Sway Bar and Handling
A/C Compressor Cutoff Switch
Power Antenna Cutoff Switch
Under Dash Lights
Glove Box Light
Cooling Fan Switch Install
Brake Pads/Rotor Installation (front)
Brake Pads/Rotor Installation (rear)
UDP Install
Hatch Sleeping
GM Synchromesh Transmission Fluid
Removing a Stripped Locking Lugnut
Drag Racing
Cat Pipe
Window Tinting
The New 1999 Cougar
Miata versus PGT
Z3 2.3 versus PGT
Oil Change Info
Shoes, synchros, dogs, hail, etc...
Leda Suspension Info
Top Speed Run
Russell Speedbleeders
Probe Aftermarket Strut Damping Rates
FWD LSD effect on Handling Balance
Radar Detectors and the Blue Windshield Tint

Well folks, I did it. I changed my 95 PGT's timing belt. I figured I would give a rundown of the procedure for anyone wanting to attempt it and mention any problems I had.

KL Timing Belt Alignment Picture from Service Manual

Mark Petkovsek's Timing Belt / Water Pump Picture Page

  • Time: 11 hours
  • Parts: Timing belt from Roebuck Mazda ($61 I think)
  • Special Tools:
    • 21mm socket with large leverage arm for crank bolt
    • Bench vise to press the timing belt tensioner spring in
    • Metal paperclip or pin to hold the spring in
    • Copper anti-seize grease for reinstalling bolts
    • Person to hold the brake in 5th gear for the crank pulley extraction/tightening
    • Torque wrench
  • Overview: It's doable. I couldn't change my first CV boot, but I could do this. It just takes time and patience. I have the service manual, and it helped mainly with the order in which you should take everything off. But, I could have done it without the manual. The main whiff is to take the lower tensioner bolt out before the top.
  • Prelim: Loosen pass-front wheel nuts, jacked up front end, jack stands under the car, jack under engine, remove wheel, remove splash guard, remove belts (17mm for pulleys, 10mm for tensioner bolts), disconnect electronics in that area.
  • Alt-A/C tensioner removal: What a pain... uggg... first I got my socket stuck, then had to use a wrench.. so slow... I think taking the engine mount off first would have helped. You have to remove the pulley to get the bracket out... such a pain.
  • Crank pulley removal: since I have the UDP, I was expecting the worse, but luckily, it slid right off!!! The alignment pin also slid out, and I mistakenly turned the crank about 100 degrees with the pin out!!! I'm glad the engine is a non-interference design (I think) While I was turning it, I didn't run into any tough parts or hear metal.
  • Water pump pulley removal: Stuck a screwdriver down in there to wedge its way in between the 4 screws so that I could turn the 10mm bolts.
  • P/S pump pulley removal: screwdriver stuck in perpendicular to rotation, 19mm, easy.
  • Engine mount removal: Big nuts... need deep socket with extension (19mm I think) Need big leverage arm. I jacked up the engine from the oil pan to support it. Unfortunately, one of the engine mounting studs came out with the nut, which made for a problem later.
  • Timing belt cover removal: many many many 10mm bolts, some easy, some hard to get to. Cleaned around the dipstick hole and removed the dipstick tube and dipstick and stuck a piece of paper towel into the hole to the oil pan. The front cover wasn't that bad to get off, but the rear... oh mother. I understand what Brad Zimmerman has went through... The PS and A/C lines and hoses make it a pain in the rear! With enough wedging though, it will come out.
  • Timing belt removal: align everything to TDC; there are two timing marks on the top of the rear bank timing pulley in addition to the main timing marks, so that made it much easier to make sure things were aligned. Unbolt bottom tensioner bolt, then top bolt, tensioner off, belt slid right off. In comparison, the old belt looked fine, but was stretched ever so slightly.
  • Timing belt installation: put the crank bolt back in (person on brakes in 5th) and turned the crank back one tooth, removed bolt, put the belt on the top pulleys and then around the other pulleys. The hard part now was keeping the rear bank pulley lined up since the valve springs wanted to turn it about 90 degrees either side!!! This was frustrating. I finally got most of the belt slack on the tensioner side and got it around the crank pulley. The key is to make sure the belt is quite tensioned in between the top pulleys.
  • Tensioner installation: another pain in the rear... I compressed it with a bench vise (with protective metal on the smooth end) and stuck a paper clip into the 2nd hole to hold it. Putting it back on was horribly tough... eventually I got the bolts lined up and they went in fine. I retorqued them to spec and pulled the pin.. and voila, everything was aligned!!! Woohoo!!! Talk about a great feeling.
  • Reinstallation: reverse mainly.. don't drop the little metal things that are pressed into the timing belt cover bolt holes. I had to use grease on one to make it stick. The cover bolts are a pain in some places... torque is light, so don't overtorque. The engine mount was a pain... a friend had to use a pry bar to pry the engine mount away from the car a little bit so that the stud would line up. I got it all put back together and the only casualty was a piece of plastic that I broke off the rear timing belt cover that doesn't look like it did anything. I had no leftover parts too.. the sign of a good mechanic!
  • Moment of Truth: my Dad showed up to check on me so I let him crank it up... fired right away!!! What a sigh of relief. The weight I lost in blood, skin, and sweat, I gained in dirt, grease, and grime.
  • Notes: since the new belt looked fine compared to the old one but the old was stretched a little, I hypothesized that some of my hesitation around 2-3k would be eliminated... and after driving... I think that the engine is slightly more responsive! Granted, I have kept the car under 4k rpms to make sure everything is working nicely... and the Borla sounds the best under 3k rpms... so I think the Borla has made me go slower! :P (by my choice of course)
  • Later Notes: I've autox'd with the new timing belt, and everything still works fine... so does the rev limiter!

Background: I had a CV boot on the outer passenger side go this past summer around 58k the day I was going to an autox (didn't get to go) and tried to change it myself... but couldn't do it, so paid Ford $140 to put on a $10 part.

Tools needed:

  • Sway bar:
    • 5mm Allen (hex) wrench
    • 14mm combination wrench
  • Strut and lower arm attachments:
    • 14mm socket and wrench (for lower, probably not necessary)
    • 17mm socket and wrench (for attachment to strut)
    • wire hanger to support the caliper/rotor/hub
  • Hub/Axle nut:
    • 32mm (could be a 31mm, but a 32 worked) axle nut remover socket
    • strong socket wrench
    • 2 ft. long cheater bar to put over the wrench to get extra leverage
    • liquid wrench type penetrating fluid
    • extra person to hold the brakes
  • CV Boots:
    • cutting pliers for the old boots and boot clamps
    • replacement boots of course with grease and boot clamps
    • strong wire pliers to crimp the clamps
    • ** C clip retainer remover pliers
    • paper towels galore
  • Misc:
    • screwdrivers
    • 10mm hex driver for plastic splash guard
    • flashlights since it's probably getting late

Procedure: Disconnect sway bar, remove wheel, remove brake line retainer clip, remove axle nut (person on brakes), take off 2 bolts that attach to bottom of strut, support hub from the spring so it doesn't bend the brake line, (probably don't have to, but I took out the bottom bolt on the A arm as well), push the halfshaft out of the hub and work its way free, cut the boot clamps off the inner and outer boots, cut the boots if defective, beware of much extra grease inside, if the inner one isn't torn, slide it down so you can see the inner CV joint and the gobs of grease that came out.

The trick here is that there's a little wire clip holding the 6 bearings in the inside CV joint. ** I don't think it's possible to take apart the outer CV joint ** Please let me know if there is... would save a lot of time. I opted to not remove the inner portion of the inner CV joint since I wanted to keep my tranny fluid inside the tranny.

Once the wire bearing is out, you can just pull everything right out... the 6 bearings drop out too. Now at the inner facing end of the halfshaft, there's a circular C clip retainer holding the bearing race to the halfshaft. It's a pain to get off... spend $8 on some pliers that have the prongs for the holes. Once that is off, you can remove the race and the shroud over the race, and then the boots can go off and on!!

The boots went pretty well... since the halfshaft was out of the car, I put the boot clamps on the outer boot after cleaning it up and regreasing it with the new boot. The inner boot, I only put the small clamp on it. The boot clamps are tricky. Then I put the bearing race and C retainer back on... make sure you have the bearing shroud thing oriented right (larger diameter goes towards the middle of the car, or away from the middle of the halfshaft). Regreased the race so the bearings would stick, and put it all in. Got the wire retainer back in, then put the inner boot inner side on and clamped it. Put it all back together... whew!

Take Home Points: (As my biochem professor says)

  • if one boot splits, go ahead and buy both and replace them both since you're taking both of them off
  • get those C clip retainer remover pliers... Discount Auto had some for $5-8
  • the outer CV joint isn't made to come apart... the service manual doesn't do a very good job explaining this fact... only the inner CV joint comes apart
  • don't leave your radio on if it's going to take you 8 hours to find all the parts to do it because your battery might die

First, thanks to Brad and Ken for putting the whole thing together. Thanks to the US post office for losing the first shifter. They tried to lose the 2nd one as the threaded end was sticking out of the box... scary.


Tools needed:

  • Good pair of quality snap ring pliers or tiny needlenose pliers
  • 13mm wrenches or wrench and socket

Removed the center trim, unscrewed shifter knob, removed the padding, removed the rubber seal, exposed the snap ring. The snap ring was so strong it was bending my cheap pair of snap ring pliers.. that was a pain. After that was out, there's a nylon snap ring that is a little easier to get out. Then, the top of the shifter ball housing has to be wedged out... I got my needlenose pliers and pulled it out... it was very strenuous. With my cat pipe in, it was very easy to access the shifter from the bottom. I had the car in 2nd gear I think. I undid the 13mm bolt and the shifter came right out the top. I spread some old grease along the bottom of the shifter to aid in sliding the bottom rubber seal off the shifter. New shifter went in without a hitch... getting the snap rings back in was a little trouble.. but not bad.

Driving impressions: Wow.. very short. Effort is increased, but that's expected... its not really notchier, just feels like using the short end of a lever like its supposed to. It takes a little to get used to, but overall, I think its great. Definitely a good $87 to spend to enhance the driving experience.

There's a few things this could be: (from simplest to most complex)

Steering stuff:

  • Rack limit: the wheel can only turn so far and when its at the end of travel, it clunks. To hear this, just turn you wheel all the way really fast and bonk! Imagine turning a doorknob as far as it will go and the sound it makes when it stops. Nothing wrong, just a common noise.
  • Thrust bearings: the pivot area at the top of the strut where the strut pivots. I regreased my thrust bearings when I put my springs on and that solved it. Occurs mainly when cold and rocking the wheel back and forth.
  • Tie rod ends/loose steering linkage: I guess stuff wears out or linkages could get loose. It would suck for the steering linkage to come loose.
  • Steering rack bushings: the things that hold the rack to the car. To test to see if yours are worn, take a hard corner and see if the wheel is crooked. Replacement would probably be a pain... I've had mine done under warranty... when replaced, steering feel was much more responsive.
  • Steering rack: symptom was constant noise while turning that was fairly consistent while turning the wheel. Rumor is that worn rack bushings allow the rack to slide back and forth, and if the steering column is in one place (like it is) this causes excessive stress on the gears and wears them out quick. Mine for parts and labor was $800 via Ford warranty... at 48k miles.

Other stuff:

  • Loose wheel, Lucille
  • Brake rotors/pads?
  • Fractured carpals or other skeletal malfunction

Something I did on the fronts (don't have to use a hex key) is loosen the bleeder screw and bleed off some fluid and then push the cylinder in.

I have a problem in that the vacuum brake bleeder I got from Autozone works great, but the bleed screws on the PGT allow air to get in around them, so basically, the vac sucks air around the threads, then through the bleed screw. It suggest using teflon tape around the bleed screw to ensure an airtight seal.

I did bleed my clutch though... the fluid was brown/black. The Valvoline Synthetic stuff looks really nice.

Afterwards, my clutch feel was lighter, but engagement point was the same. I hope I didn't get air in there. I loosened the 8mm bleed screw, press clutch in, tighten, pull clutch out, repeat.

Camber and Caster: something that we really can't adjust much (rotate top strut mount thing for more neg camber/caster). You could probably adjust camber by drilling out the mounting holes for the two big bolts at the bottom of the strut that hold the hub assembly.. but that would be a pain. The Moog or Eibach camber kits are an idea too.

Toe: easy to adjust on the front since you just adjust steering linkages (13mm, 19mm, 21mm). When Ford replaced my passenger side CV boot, they apparently didn't get my linkage the way it was because my steering wheel was turned to the drivers side to go straight. So instead of my wheels being like | | (from driver's seat looking down on the tires), they were probably like | / needing steering to the left to go straight so that the wheels are now toed out like this: \ /

So, what I did was adjust the pass side steering linkage so that when the steering wheel is straight, the car goes straight (the way that it was before Ford touched it) since I assumed they didn't touch the driver's side steering adjustment. With my front wheels toed out, turn in wasn't as precise, I had less responsiveness.

For toe on the rear, it looks like you have to adjust some bolts near the midline of the car... haven't done that yet. I bet putting some toe out on the rears with the stock sway bar would get you some oversteer though... and some inside tread tire wear. Also note, my 1995 service manual has the toe in-out adjustments backwards.

Other notes:

My car pulls to the side that has the closest to 0 front camber. I had one wheel with lots of negative camber which I assume lessened rolling resistance, causing the pull to the other side.

Changing the camber at the hub (slotted holes or camber kits) causes toe changes: more negative camber makes more toe-in, more positive camber makes more toe-out.

Lowering the front makes toe-out. This is a major cause of tire wear after lowering.

Lowering the rear makes toe-in.

Camber plates vs eccentric camber bolts:

Because camber plates are at the top of the strut, they stay fixed in relation to steering inputs. As soon as you turn the wheel, the wheel's relative camber to the road surface will change. Imagine a car with 3° of negative camber at the strut mounting plate, with 0 caster. Turn the wheel 90° so that the wheel is perpendicular to its original spot. You have now 0° of negative camber in relation to the road.

This is where adjusting camber at the top can really help. With a lot of positive caster, you can gain negative camber when turning the wheel in and gain positive camber when turning the wheel out.

With eccentric cam bolts in one of the lower strut mounting holes (or grinded holes like me), the wheel keeps its relative camber no matter which way you turn the wheel. In many ways this is good; but one case this is bad is that the tire on the inside still has negative camber when it could use positive camber. Once again, your double wishbone prevails here!

And since this is a pretty long topic, I'll explain why our front toe setting changes with ride height changes.

With stock springs, both our lower control arms and front wheel spindle tie rods (which I'll call steering rods) angle downward from their attachment points. But, since the steering rods are longer than the control arms, they circumscribe a longer radius during suspension movement. Under compression, both move closer to horizontal. Because the steering rods are longer and attach further towards the center of the car, their outward extension distance doesn't change as much relative to the control arms. The shorter radius of the control arms pushes them out farther under compression, this causes toe-out to occur.

Well, the car without the Addco sway bar would push the front tires while cornering... which is how most normal production cars handle. With the bar, everything felt more balanced. Taking a hard corner, the front end would grip nicely and the rear would slide around good.

But, the caveat to this is that if you get into a corner and have to brake hard, there's a greater chance to upset things. I had to relearn how to drive my car... a few weeks after I had it, I took a hard right turn and had to get on the brakes... an exit ramp... well, the passenger side rear tire lifted up a little and the rear end was somewhat loose. The solution is just to stay on the gas... but I couldn't since I needed to slow down. Everything went fine that time. On a similar entrance ramp, I carried too much speed on wet pavement, and the rear end started coming around... and I was correcting for it, but the lane wasn't wide enough, I hopped the drivers' side rear wheel up on the curb, which slowed me down, then I was able to continue. Lightened up my rim a few grams; lesson learned. Just this past weekend, I was taking a sweeper at over 100 mph and with just slight steering input, the rear would shift around a little more than I wanted it too. So, my thoughts, as well as other people think that the Addco is a little too big, 22mm vs stock 12mm, and that a 19mm would be better. I wish I had a 19mm, but the feel is wonderful, as long as I don't come too close to the limits and always brake in a straight line.

I paid $175 for mine, and I think JC Whitney offers it cheap cheap. As far as less body roll, there is less, and it did feel tighter. I also installed the RRE strut bar at the time too.

From the results from the Autox's I've been to and I'm not sure if you can use them as definite proof though, the sway bar seems to make the car handle better than the Eibach springs.

Houston Gran Sport Speedway Autox: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places all had the Addco (one being an SE with 17" wheels). Those three cars were faster than an ATS Turbo Probe with Eibachs and an AWD Talon (I'll withhold the names :). Granted, conditions weren't as exact and I think most of us were unexperienced.

This past weekend in Memphis: Michael Hapner had his 95GT with Eibachs and stock airbox with dryer duct and ABS I had my 95GT with UDP, home depot intake, RRE strut bar, and Addco sway bar and non-ABS. I DNF'd 3 times, spun 4 times and on my 1st run got 60.5 to Michael's 60.4x. On my best time I got 58.0x and on my worst that I spun and recovered got a 67 or 68 I think. Michael finished every time and was running consistent with a best of 59.0x. I watched him drive, and he can handle a PGT... he's more experienced than I am, so I would think the Addco bar is helping me out. Our tire pressures were similar; me a full tank, him near 1/8th.

So here's my take: Since Michael's car was lower, it handled good, but still had understeer. When he drove my car (joining the elite group of people who have driven my car :), he noted that the tail end was a little looser. But, overall, both cars rolled about the same as far as feeling is concerned. Michael said that his car was more neutral with the new Springs, so the Eibachs might be a good alternative if you are concerned with safety since the thicker sway bar means you need to watch the oversteer.

For ease of install, get the Addco. It's a simple simple bolt on.. and cheap from JC Whitney.

Even more input!:

  • For a stock PGT, I think the Addco is a little stiff... a 20mm or 21mm bar would be better than the 22mm. With my Intrax springs though, a 24mm bar would be fine.
  • For a stock PGT with stock sway bar, the understeer is so bad, you could put autox tires on the front and crappy bald tires on the back and probably be fine.
  • Purpose of the thicker rear sway bar: to allow more weight transfer to the end with the sway bar, and since the outside tires do the cornering, putting more weight on the outside rear means the outside front doesn't have to carry as much weight. The net effect is the front breaks loose as the rear breaks loose.. making for a nice slide and steering control with the throttle.
  • If the front end breaks loose (from either too much throttle or going into a corner too hot with a stock PGT), slowly letting off the throttle or left foot braking is needed to shift the weight to the front to regain traction.
  • If the rear end breaks loose (from braking too hard in a corner), brakes should be let off, and/or gas reapplied. I've had some high speed ventures where I got some weird transitions (possibly from the gas in the tank) where there was a little too much oversteer... and the easy correction was reapplication of the throttle.
  • Interesting effect from a RWD car: if you're oversteering, you need to apply throttle.. but if you apply throttle, you might decrease the traction of the rear wheels... makes for some very interesting four wheels drifts and easily controllable oversteer!!!
  • FWD: throttle on or brakes off, understeer; throttle off or brakes on, oversteer... its pretty simple in that regard, and its harder to do oversteer tricks in a FWD car..

By all means, the best place to learn this is at an Autocross.. once that happens, its just second nature to drive like a race car driver. You just begin to feel your car and know that if the rear end is slipping, you know how to control it.

I have made the mistake of going too hot into a corner when the streets were wet... in which case applying the throttle would cause a major 4 wheel drift and increasing radius... so I just held the throttle and steer corrected... too bad the car was too wide for the curbs. No damage other than slight weight savings from the outside rear wheel.

Even if you're a good driver and know how to control over/understeer, nothing can break the laws of physics and if you go into a corner too fast for your car and tires and road surface... you can't save it.

And even though it puts you into DSP (used to be ESP) or ST, the Addco bar is still the best handling bang for the buck there is. Next is the adjustable struts.

For some more reading on sway bars and handling, check out these urls:

Here's how a thicker rear sway bar causes more oversteer:
When a car leans, weight is transferred to the outside tires. If the car transfers more weight to the front, then the outside front tire has to battle all of that weight and slips whereas the outside rear has less weight to carry around the curve and doesn't slip as much.

My putting a stiffer rear sway bar or stiffer rear springs on a car, relative weight is taken from the inside front tire and transferred to the outside rear tire, so the net effect is the front grips better at the expense of the rear gripping worse. For a car that has the same size tires on the front and rear, you would want equal weight transfer to achieve neutrality.

Since I'm a handling freak, I would go with the Addco first since its cheap and easy to put on. I think the rear strut bar helps, but the front strut bar makes a more noticeable feel. It's a hard choice between front and rear strut bars.

> 1) When I had the Intrax springs installed,there was a considerable drop in
> the car's ride height. With your setup of Intrax and Tokicos, approximately
> how much gap is between the top of the tire and the wheel well for the
> front and rear assuming you are still using stock rim/tire sizes? Have you
> made any actual measurements from the ground to various parts of the car's
> body that I can use as a reference for comparison?

I measured from the tread to the fender lip and in front, I have 1.5-1.75 inches; rear, 1.75-2 inches. My Dunlop D40M2's are stock size on stock wheels and are almost to the tread wear bars... almost worn out. I measured from the bottom of the front fascia to the ground and from the looks, it's right around 7 inches.

> 2) With my Intrax/stock struts setup, I loved the lowered look and the
> improved handling. However, the ride quality (how well the springs/struts
> absorb moderate to large bumps without jarring the passengers) diminished
> drastically especially considering I originally had the softer 96 model
> year stock springs. You mentioned in your list posts that the Tokicos are
> adjustable to provide a soft to hard ride with handling being compromised
> for a softer ride. At the soft setting, how would you compare the ride
> quality to your stock 95GT spring/strut setup? Also at the soft setting,
> how would you compare the car's handling and body roll compared to the
> stock setup?

Did you cut your bump stops? Per Intrax's instructions, I cut the whole top thick section off the front stops. Then, on my own, I cut a little bit off the rears as well. I wish I wouldn't have cut the rears now since I think the rear is a bit soft. With the Tokicos on 4 all around, the ride is almost stock. I think the 3 setting is probably around stock.. I've heard stock is 3.5 or so. But with the Tokicos on 1... its cush. Rides like an Accord or Taurus... very non-PGT like... you get the roll with it too though. Granted, the car still probably handles almost as well with the firmer settings, it just doesn't feel like it. For long trips, its great being able to have a soft ride. However, if you do hit a big bump, you're going to kill the bump stop and you will feel it for sure. On Tokico-5 settings, you feel everything regardless... :)

> 3) When you vary the Tokico setting to provide a soft or harsh ride (ie.
> moderate or excellent handling), does this actually change the ride height
> of the car as well or does the height remain constant? Ideally, I'm trying
> to find a way to soften up the ride quality of my car without increasing
> the current ride height I have with the Intrax springs installed.

Because the Tokico struts are gas charged, supposedly they raise the car a little bit. I did a slight measurement and it even looks like the spring perch on the Tokicos is higher up the strut than the stock ones (more tire clearance as a result I think). Granted, it was a rough measurement. I know Mike Paszti put Tokicos on his Eibach'd car and said the ride height went up.... maybe he can elborate. Since I did struts and springs at the same time from my stock 95 GT suspension, I dropped in height. But changing the settings from one to another don't change the height.

> 4) In regards to the how harsh or soft the car is over bumps, I had always
> thought this was dependent soley on the springs. The struts (shocks), I
> thought, were only responsible to dampen the oscillation of the spring's
> contraction and expansion. According to your posts, the ride stiffness can
> be directly adjusted by varying the Tokico's settings.

Well, the way I understand it is struts control transitions... that's bumps, left to right roll, etc... and its usually a certain speed... time limited. Springs and anti-roll bars determine constant state balance. So, if your Tokicos set on 5 only compress so fast, even though the spring would normally compress 2" with a bump, the strut might only allow it to compress 1" for that given time period. But, if you are in a hard corner and the car rolls and settles into a constant state, the struts are not going to be moving, so they won't be coming into effect as much. But yes, how harsh the car is depends on springs and struts. Super stiff springs with underdamped struts will give you the pogo effect and a harsh ride. Softer springs with overdamped struts will give you a smooth ride on a smooth surface.. but you'll still get a harsh ride on the bumps. Also remember that the PGT's stock springs, as well as Eibachs, and probably Intrax too, are in the 140-220 lb-in rate or so and use the progressive bump stops for much of the rate variance. Julian's web page has all kinds of data on that. If you're after a softer ride, you need suspension travel, if you don't have much travel (lowered) you can compromise by having a few inches of soft travel and then a small amount of very harsh travel (bump stops) with our progressive type setups.

Ideally, you would have GC's or LEDA's with linear springs, no need for bump stops, correctly damped struts, a nice ride and nice handling. I wish the Intrax springs were stiffer... so I make up for it with Tokico's on 4 or 5.

After autox'ing a couple of days, I think a Tokico setting of 4 front and 5 rear gave the most controllable yet balanced ride. On the time I set Tokicos to 3 front, 5 rear, the tail was so loose that I lost it on the first 1/3 of the course in a slalom. There was more oversteer than the stock suspension with Addco... very crazy! I wish I could have tried other settings, but we only got 5 runs and 4f/5r felt the best. Stock struts probably would have been like 3f/4r or 3f/3r.

On the way home with 1f/1r, the car pushes and leans like a boat. The 1-2 shift readjusts your headlights. But, its nice for safety and comfort. At high speeds, 5/5 is nice.

Well I just got back from the MS region SCCA tri-state (w/TN and AR) 2 day autox event.

Suspension note: Saturday, I run 4f/5r Tokico; Sunday 3f/4r... 40f/32r psi in worn Dunlop D40M2's. Full tank of gas, jack and spare intact. Intrax, Addco, RRE, FD added. Well, softening up the suspension really helped out the car... I didn't think it would... but somehow the tires bit instead of just slid across the pavement. I didn't hit any cones today and only almost spun one time. Yesterday, I spun once, hit 2 cones.

It was a fun course.. very fast... the guys in ESP I normally autox with were killing me as usual (Firebird -4, Baracuda -1, Mustang -3) all on R-tires of course. However, I had the 2nd fastest PAX'd street tire car on Saturday and 1st fastest on Sunday. And I assume since ESP has a higher pax than the cars I was running against in stock classes, I'm pretty sure my times were the fastest for all street tire'd cars. I was happy to beat this Neon ACR guy by 3 seconds Saturday and 4 seconds Sunday (he did get 1st fastest PAX time Saturday, so I had to beat that today).

However, most notable for me was beating an M3 that ran in AP class, with autox tires... with stickers and numbers galore... beat him by 0.6 seconds raw time. Can't wait to tell my M3 buddy about that one! I also beat a older 325IS by 3 seconds or so, he had autox tires too... and I assumed he would be experienced... but maybe I just thought BMW's handled better... There was a 94 911 Turbo running -5 faster than me, 3rd gen RX7 running -6. Then the really fast cars were running -9 seconds off my time.

I was getting some major hard throttle understeer... I'd have the wheel cocked, but I'd be sliding both front wheels really hard... overall, the PGT really shined for me... the Cuda guy rode with me once and he was surprised how well it handled (he teaches at a BMW driving school at Road Atlanta, too btw). His Cuda, on the otherhand (13.3 quarter mile) was a beast. I rode with him the first lap, and he spun twice... wow... scary.

New for 2000:

After my 2nd autox of the year (and 2nd autox on these hard compound Eagle F1 GS tires), I think I've found my ideal settings.

Car: 95 GT, running in DSP
Suspension mods: Intrax springs, Tokico Illuminas, Addco rear sway bar, FD front strut bar, RRE rear strut bar, cut front bump stops 1", rear bump stops uncut. (side note: this weekend with struts on 4/4 I was able to get the tail around with some hard trail braking)
Tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 GS 245/45r16's on stock PGT wheels (300 treadwear = hard)

I ran today with Tokicos on 3f/4r with pressures 42f/35r... bumping up the pressures in the rear made it stick a little better I think. I was spinning the inside front everytime I was in first gear. This setup is one I run on the street and it has a little bit of understeer. I did all 4 runs with this setup and out of 26 cars, ended up having the 5th best raw time only to be beaten by 3rd and 2nd gen RX7 (both with R-tires), a Miata with R-tires, and can you believe... my college buddy with a Neon ACR on street tires. He's in D Stock with street tires and got 6/10 second on my best time!!! I'll seek revenge on him next month.

For the PAX, an old GT6 running HS on street tires crept up in there, so I got 6th overall, 3rd in the street tire subdivision out of 26 cars. Probie got a lot of complements. It was really sad that the Carerra and Boxter, along with 4 newbie Vettes couldn't hang out there. I had to give a thumbs up to the guy in his Contour out there... he PAXed out well.

For the fun runs, it meant suspension tuning time for me! First, I tried 2f/4r to try to take out some understeer, but that just resulted in a sloppy car.. transitions were bad, wheelspin not as bad though. Next, I tried 3f/5r and its obvious that 3/5 is more oversteer prone than 2/4 because I could really get the rear end to rotate!!! I loved it. Last time I tried autoxing on 3/5 after learning the 4/5 setup, I spun my car, so I've stuck with 4/5 or 3/4 for most autox and street stuff. I think 3/5 now is like my stock suspension with the Addco only as far as balance goes. Next I tried 4/5, but the front end pushed and lift throttle didn't rotate the rear much, so on the 4th fun run, I went back to 3/5 and I love it. I chopped a tenth of a second off my time on my last fun run, and I wasn't concentrating as hard.

If I had GC's, I would definitely get some springs in the 400-500 lb range... I'm considering redrilling a hole in my Addco to stiffen it up too.

For this autox, I was much more careful with the brakes, so I probably could have waited a little longer before braking, but I didn't want to repeat my event in January where I spun 3 out of the 4 runs!

Credits: Mike P. for wire codes, Dan D. for switches, and the dude (John) at my apartment for letting me borrow his multitester.

Switches: Dan got for me from junked probes... the regular headlight popup switch found on 93's. Orange (12V+) and Green w/Yellow stripe (grd) for illumnating the button and then 3 other wires: White w/Red stripe (common), Red w/Black - on when switch is on (pushed in), off when switch is off, and Orange w/Black - off when switch is on, on when switch is off.

Background: The A/C compressor runs in Norm A/C, Max A/C, Mix, and Defrost. Recirculation only occurs in the Max setting. Vent and Floor have no A/C. This procedure gives you recirculation without A/C (Max, compressor off), Floor with A/C, Mix or Defrost without A/C, as well as Vent with A/C (same as Norm A/C), Norm without A/C (same as Vent). If you want to cycle the A/C compressor off for shifting or temperature control (without having to turn the knob to add heat), you press a button instead of turning the knob.

Procedure: First, removed panels, etc... like rewiring foglights (did that 3 years ago!), then I noticed that since my car was a 95 GT, the harnesses (and wires) for the rear washer and wiper were there. So, I used the Orange (12V+) and Green w/Yellow stripe (grd) wires from one of those harnesses by pushing a safety pin in the front side and pushing up on the locking tab to remove the lead from the harness and plugged them into the corresponding places on the new switch wiring harness.

Then, took off the HVAC controls... found the white wire that when grounded, turns the A/C on. So, I spliced it into a wire coming off the switch wiring harness so that when the button is on, it is on.

I then found the existing black wire (grd) used for rear wiper/washer and plugged it in the right spot to complete the circuit.

Results: Turned on the car... it works perfectly!!! I have complete control over the compressor now. I can run the A/C on in both vent and normal a/c for the same effect... use Max with the compressor off for recirc without cold air.... I can defrost without A/C... and, an added bonus, I can send A/C air to my feet!!!!

The only trouble I had was removing the plastic dummy switch holder (actually has dummy places for the washer/wiper wiring harnesses) so I ended up just grinding the tabs off with a Dremel.

One weird thing though... if the HVAC control is on "Off", and the button is pressed, it turns on the compressor.

Conclusion: I think that's about it. I recommend this procedure to everyone who hates not having recirculation with the A/C off. This will also be nice for my leisurely in town driving when I shift... just hit the button before starting, and when I hit 5th, stick out a finger to re-engage the compressor. No more flipping the switch to "off" or "vent" or "floor" really quick.

One again, thanks to Mike, and Dan, and John.

(probably my last really long email to ...thanks Bill for the past 3 years and giving me a chance to learn knowledge and understanding on this cool little thing we call a Probe...)

Materials needed:

  • Switch (an extra headlight popup switch works nice)
  • Wire (about 2 2ft sections, depending where you put it)
  • Crimp connecters (the little blue or red plastic cylinders with the metal crimps inside them)
  • Wire strippers/connector crimpers
  • Something to pull out your radio (4 nails for stock)

First, you have to get the radio out. For a stock Probe, that means putting nails that fit the 4 holes into the holes and releasing it... then grab and pull.

Once it's out, locate the green wire with yellow stripe coming off the back of the radio. Cut it somewhere that allows you to strip some off the ends. Strip wire off each end and crimp the wires that go to your switch to those two wires. Wire up the switch and voila! Now, you can have the antenna down while listening to CD's or tapes or even FM/AM. It works nice for high speed runs too. The antenna probably slows you down .1 mph. But most of all, it saves wear on the motor.

My 95 GT did not come with under dash lights, however, the recepticles are there for the bulbs!!! I used GE #194 (4w) bulbs. The bulb holders were tied up, and there's one on both sides. The passenger side you have to remove two clips to get at.. but you can see the lens where it is mounted. The drivers' side one is mounted to the left of the steering column.

It appears that bulb #168 (6w) will also fit... Call 1800GELAMPS to find out more info.

My 95 PGT came with the 261A package, not the 263A package, therefore, I don't have the Option Group 4 bells and whistles package... but the wiring is there for the under dash lights and the glove box light.

For the glove box light, all I needed was a $2 junkyard switch and a bulb. It's probably a universal switch for a lot of Fords or Mazdas, too.

The bulb numbers are GE 168 and 194 being 6w and 4w respectively.

When I installed my shifter, I tapped into the PCM to signal my high speed cooling fan relay by pressing a button whenever the key is in the "on" position.

For my 95 PGT, if you look at the PCM after removing the center console and the center a/c-radio trim, there are 3 harnesses plugging into the PCM. The wire that needs to be grounded out to turn on the cooling fans is at the very bottom left in the middle harness (I couldn't see the numbers, but my EVTM says #16 on C247). In my 95 it was blue with a green stripe (could vary with year). To check to make sure I had the right wire, I checked for continuity to ground in that wire... none. Then I jumpered the diagnostic box pin #21 with a paper clip to ground at #20 then checked for continuity at the PCM... yep. Thats how I checked to make sure I had the right wire.

I ran a wire off of it to an extra foglight switch and hooked the other side of the switch into a ground... and voila! Instant cooling fan gratification with key at on, button pressed... perfect for autox or drag racing.

(since I don't have illuminated entry, I tried tapping the door trigger into the key illumination lamp trigger so that my interior lights would stay on until I turn the key to on... well, it would do that... however, when I leave my car and shut the door, the CPU thought the door was still open, so it never automatically shut off the key light... so I think I'm going to need a diode in that circuit. I'll get back to everyone on this.)

I got my Aimco 31052 front rotors from Autozone for $30 a piece and 2 yr warranty. I got Albany MKD637 Semi-metallic front brake pads for $20 for the front 4 with lifetime warranty (for brake pads? wow). I was surprised that they had them in stock too. I spent about $80 for parts.

Removing the wheels was a pain since Metro Ford decided to tightnen my lugnuts and locking lugnuts to 140lb-ft (by my torque wrench). I almost destroyed my locking lugnut key. I'll be replacing the locks with standard ones soon. The lugnuts are 21mm.

As far as the removal, installation, etc, I followed the service manual excerpt at (thanks to webcentrix). Everything worked smoothly. Here's my tips:

  • Don't remove fluid from the master cylinder, I didn't have to.
  • Use a coat hanger to hang the caliper from the springs after you take it off (17mm I believe, needed a short extension for the top ones).
  • The little expansion springs are a pain, just live with it. Needlenose pliers help.
  • Use an 8mm combo wrench to loosen the bleed nipple and press the caliper piston back in (collecting the fluid that comes out) so that the thicker rotor and/or thicker brake pads will fit.
  • Brakes are dirty, wasch out.

For brake breakin, I repeated some stops from 30-40 mph down to 5-10mph... easy at first, driving a third or half mile breaks in between brakes. I took a pizza break too. I did that about 10 times.... pizza too.

My old pads and rotors were glazed badly. I had plenty of brake pad left... probably 40% and I only have 48k miles. My old rotors were rusty and fried.

Performance wise, they stop better, but I haven't done any hard braking with them. My old brakes would rarely let me lock up my fronts on dry pavement.

Update: These pads really work nice once they're heated up a little bit. I can lock them up at pretty much any speed if I wanted to. I have to be careful while autox'ing since I flatspotted my old tires once.

Bought some rotors (made by Stopping Force) for $30 a piece at Discount Auto Parts here in MS. I figured the rear pads still had some life to them, so I kept them on.

Anyway, install tips:

You don't have to unhook the e-brake
You don't have to take off the hub nut

Both of these are listed in the 95 service manual.. who knows.

Tools needed:

  • 14mm socket or wrench
  • 4mm Allen wrench (to retract calipers)
  • Mallet or other object to pry the old rotor off
  • Copper anti-seize grease
  • Old clotheshanger or wire

Procedure: Loosened lugnuts, jacked up car from the center jack point, took wheel off, undid 14mm nut to uncover the Allen wrench piston retracter bolt (it can fall out) and loosened the caliper, took caliper off, suspended from spring with a clotheshanger, beat old rotor off, put anti-seize on the hub face, put new rotor on, put caliper on, tightened the caliper with the Allen wrench flush then backed off 1/3 turn, tightened bolts, put wheels back on.

Overall: A very easy procedure as long as you don't mess with the e-brake or hub nut. New rotors are nice.

Side note: While I had my wheels off, I replaced the 1" of bump-stop that I cut out in the spring install. The rear feels a little bit stiffer now. Hopefully that will inhibit my car from rubbing the wheels against the plastic inside the wheel wells since when I put the 245/45r16's on with the Intrax, they would rub occasionally..

Stuff I used:

  • 2" drill bit grinding stone... to use in a drill.
  • 375k5 350k4 belts.
  • torque wrench.
  • person to hold the brakes in 5th gear
  • 17mm wrench and 10mm socket and ratchet for belt tensioners

Took the pass wheel off, splash guard, loosened belts, belts off, loosened pulley with friend on brake in 5th gear clutch out... bolt out easy. Then the pulley came off with my fingers... so easy.

Then the grinding... oh mother. That was crazy. I got to see the timing belt... which was neat... covered the CPS with wads of rubber electrical tape for protection. Then started grinding. Took a long time... 1.5 hours for the metal.. plastic was easy. I shaved it down good enough so that there was a clearance with the pulley slid on.

Throttle response definitely was livened up! I like it. I bumped the idle up to around 1k rpm to take up for the alternator spinning less.


This only applies to the 2.5L V6:

After checking my crank position sensor, I found out that the 4 screws holding the stator on the back of my underdrive pulley were gone, so the stator was sending wrong signals to the PCM, so spark and fuel injection timing was way off.

My car would not idle and would sputter and jerk pretty bad. It was also very hard to get started, and after starting, was running very rich.

My instructions for my UDP don't say to lock-tite the screws. I've heard that current instructions have said that lock-tite must be used on the stator screws. I talked to Joe at UO and he said that the UDP's come with lock-tite on the screws now.

On the Probetalk UBB, a guy lost a KLZE due to a defective UDP which caused the rev limiter to not kick in at 7.5k.

Here's the scoop on that:

93-94 distributors (the ones that are prone to fail) have both G-signal (cylinder id, tells the PCM when #1 is TDC) and NE1 signal stator wheels. In 93-94 cars, the NE1 signal from the disty is used as backup in case the crank position sensor (NE2 signal) fails. However, with the NE1 signal being driven off the camshaft, the timing isn't as accurate and it does not cut fuel at 7.5k rpms, so overreving is possible.

95-97 distys do not have the NE1 signal and rely only on the NE2 signal from the crankshaft, so if your UDP goes on a 95-97 car, your car will run like crap since you have no backup NE1 signal.

Many owners have found that in a no-start situation, just wiggling the CPS wiring harness or cleaning the sensor allieviates the problem.

So, if you have a UDP, make sure the screws are lock-tited!

Tips for hatch sleeping:

  • Use a towel to bridge the gap at the seat hinge... it's really lumpy and hurts when you lay on it.
  • Park in the shade if you plan to sleep past sunrise
  • Don't forget blankets or a pillow.
  • Devise some kind of curtain system to keep street lights out.. they suck!

GM Specification Number 9985648 GM Part Number 12345349 Chrysler Specification Number MS-9224

Cost: $28.25 USD at a local chevy place

On the bottle, it says its partially synthetic.

After putting in 3 quarts and driving my normal commute, everything felt the same as the old MT90. All normal shifts were normal. The 3-4 shift was as smooth as silk like normal. Waiting for traffic to clear.... now the fun part!

After three or four 1-2 redline shifts, man this stuff rocks!!!! I didn't grind 2nd gear once!!! And shifting is quicker. I bet this will take off a tenth or more at the track. I even shifted so quick one time that in my normal redump to 2nd gear, I broke traction... something I couldn't do unless I was near power shifting.

It's made by Texaco and I've archived the tech sheet here.

You can look at the Redline MTL and MT90 data at: in pdf version or html at

Got the Dunlop D40M2s (225/50zr16) put on the PGT today... Gators had 36.7k miles on them.... pretty good I would say. They were sliding around alot more than I wanted them too.. even in dry!

Anyway... when you get tires put on:

1. Check the price for mounting, balancing, and disposal fees of the old ones. First two were $8 a tire, disposal was $4 a tire which I expected would be more like $1... oh well. Nothing big.

2. Make sure the car lift is not primitive like the one they used on mine. This one had a large flat area that is used to contact the jack mounting points... bad thing about it is that it also pushed up on the lower body cladding, some exhaust mounting stuff, and other places. It didn't thrill me too much, but I figured it wouldn't hurt it that bad, and it wouldn't be noticeable if it did.

3. Make sure they have your locking lug nut key just so they don't have to rummage through your car to find it.

4. Make sure the guy who mounts the tires knows that they are directional rims (and in my case directional tires). And I hate those balance weights... oh well... its nice to have balanced tires though.... can't wait to drive fast.

5. Make sure the guy who mounts the wheels on the car knows what torque specs are correct... I had mine done to 80 lb-ft since that was what their impact wrench did. I generally don't like those things.

6. Make sure they get the pressures right... I told them 38f/30r and the guy wrote it down correct, but the guy put in 30f/38r. Now that would have been crazy. I checked them after with my guage and got a reading of 30f/30r after he redid them.. and he showed me with his guage that it was 38.... so I said screw it. After driving, I think his guage was wrong, because it felt like a sponge up front. I then upped the pressures to what I wanted... and they felt much better at high speeds. But, the ride was nice and smooth at 30!

Overall, the tires feel nice... they howl more though (that was with 30f though)... which is probably a good thing with me. Acceleration feels more sluggish... I guess the new tires' increased diameter makes a difference there. They are smoother and quieter than worn out Gatorbacks, of course... and wet traction will now exist!!! I took them fast around a right turn that I could slide the fronts on the worn Gators and easily easily slide the rear after with a little hand brake action... this time, the Dunlops didn't push the front any.. just stuck. I can't wait to take them on some larger curves. And let the rain come, cause I'm ready!!! For $87 a piece, I can't complain about the tires.

My next set of tires....

Learned: Never take your car to Walmart.

Other than trying to put directional tires on the wrong way, having no idea about the red dot (where the valve stem should line up), and then cross threading 2 of my lug studs after unsuccessfully attempting to mount a tire... I hate Walmart!!!

Well, after that, I went to Big 10 Tires here in Jackson, MS... and even though it was $67 (instead of $40 or so) to mount the tires, it was worth it. The guy just popped them right on...

They replaced the two studs and nuts, and gave me a $25 bill which I carried to Walmart... and after haggling with the auto guy and the store manager, finally got reimbursed. (Walmart isn't even supposed to put on non-Walmart sold tires.)

About the tires: Plenty of clearance... similar to worn Dunlop 225/50's. However, they stick out a little more, so I hope I have plenty of suspension travel so that tires don't hit fenders... anyone have that problem with 245's? I think I have heard my rears scrape the fenders with passengers in the backseat.

At first reaction, they feel a little heavier (slow accleration from new tires) and a little pudgier, but they are a little bit stiffer than the old 'Lops. More details on the handling later.

Tools needed:

  • 3/4" multi-point socket with a good wrench
  • BFH (H stands for hammer)

If you have your locknuts on still, be wise and get rid of them for either some quality locknuts or whenever somebody else tightens them, make them hand tighten them or don't leave the grounds until you know you can take them off with your lug wrench and lock key.

That was neat. Expensive for $20 and only 7 runs... I could have gotten more in, but didn't realize they were closing early. Located in Lena, MS, northeast of Jackson. I went with a friend with a Pontiac Trans Am ATX... his best E/T was 14.2 and he's pretty much stock... I was amazed. It was all heads up racing, Stage, 3-4 seconds till the 3 ambers. 0.5 sec for the green. Temp was like 45F. I have a 95 GT, 5sp, Dunlop D40M2's. My mods are the UDP and the homemade intake, Mobil 1 5w30 and Redline MT90. I have fresh plugs and fresh plug wires. I had a 1/4 tank of 93 octane gas, all interior, spare, jack, umbrella, and 20lbs camera gear. I drove around the waterbox each time and did a pseudo-launch to check traction.

Anyway, here's my data:

Run Lane R/T 60' 330' 1/8 MPH 1/4 MPH
1 L 1.261 2.478 6.871 10.455 68.67 16.131 85.23
2 L 0.899 2.479 7.010 10.673 67.68 <- moth in the lights so no 1/4)
3 L 1.074 2.565 7.065 10.711 67.90 16.451 85.60
4 R 0.854 2.308 6.635 10.205 69.69 15.852 87.07
5 R 0.679 2.406 6.885 10.513 68.42 16.200 86.13
6 L 0.719 2.760 7.193 10.787 68.90 16.415 87.08
7 L 0.746 2.639 7.100 10.780 67.34 16.685 79.36

I was starting off around 2500-3000 rpm, holding the e-brake and letting out the clutch until it slightly catches... then fastly feathering the clutch. I never really got any perfect launches from the left lane because the track was really sketchy. Shift points were around redline from 1st, 6800 from 2nd and 6500 from 3rd.

  • 1st run I had no idea the lights were going to come on so fast, wasn't ready or anything.
  • 2nd run had a better r/t but I had a little bit of wheel hop.
  • 3rd run I bogged a little at the start since I wasn't ready... hence the horrible 60'
  • 4th run after my car cooled enough to touch the cam covers, dropped front tire pressures from 38 to 30... I had a nice run... no spin... quickest e/t
  • 5th run was with a passenger... best r/t, and actually had a great launch. I wish I wouldn't have had my passenger because I probably could have had a great run.
  • 6th and 7th I had great r/t's... I'm learning! But the track just sucked... it was rough and I was spinning like crazy. I let up on the 7th. The 6th had my highest trap speed.

My friend didn't know how to turn traction control off on his T/A and he wasn't even stalling the torque converter... and his r/t's were nothing under 1.1. When we raced, I usually jumped ahead and he flew around me in between 60 and 330 feet.

So, here's my tips:

  • Even though people say the track is sticker than the street.. it is but not by much.
  • When people say the launch is critical... it is critical!!! I couldn't launch consistent worth crap.
  • Lane choice is critical. I couldn't learn to drive the left lane. I think it was slicker than the street.. I dunno. My friend raced a car almost exactly like his and the one in the right lane hooked, the left lane spun. For bracket racing, running different lanes must be hell! But, then again, this is Mississippi.
  • A cool car is a cool car. Getting the temps down is good.

I can't wait to go back... shooting for consistency next time!

Lena, MS, 2nd time out... 80F temps, 80% or so humidity... 7 runs

Stats, etc: 95 GT, 5sp, UDP, custom intake, NGK wires, new Bosch Super plugs, Dunlop D40M2 tires, 25f/32r, worn struts, stock springs, Addco, RRE, Mobil1 10w30

and, GM Synchromesh MTX fluid.

  • Best E.T.: 15.715 @ 87.52 mph (60' 2.241, after a long wait to clean up a wreck, so engine was cool)
  • Best 1/8: 10.1 @ 69.3 mph
  • Best 60': 2.215 (E.T. 16.084, didn't shift to 4th)
  • Best R.T.: 0.619

I maintained a bit of consistency with my R.T.'s with 5 runs between 0.826 and 0.907... is that good? I didn't grind 2nd once... the GM synchromesh is much better than the MT90.

Staying in 3rd gear hurts speed... always shift to fourth. My shift points were around 7k for 1-2, 6500-6700 for 2-3, and 6300-6500 for 3-4. I would like to get some more trial runs shifting at 6200 for 2-3 and 6000 for 3-4.

As far as launching, I didn't get as much wheelspin or wheelhop... I guess the pressures helped... plus I was doing really good at feathering the clutch. On my fastest run, I revved up to about 4k, slowly slipped the clutch, and the revs never dropped below 4k... it was awesome.

I had a cat pipe made today... 2.5" flanges and 2.5" regular steel pipe, total length 17.75 inches... $30 from an exhaust shop. The guy welded the flanges on slightly crooked, so now my exhaust doesn't hit my trailer hitch... hmm... straight would be preferred though.

The hardest part was removing the bolts that connect the cat to the flex pipe... oh brother... 17mm. If you have an impact wrench or anything, use it... I had to use a 17mm combo wrench with a 22mm wrench for leverage. And working in 10" of space sure makes it slow. If you plan to get headers or an exhaust, you might want to get a special tool to get those bolts off. They immensely suck. For install, I used 7/16 1.75" bolts and plenty of copper anti-seize.

Sound Results (with multiplication factors):

  • At idle: not noticeable.
  • Steady state acceleration: sounds like the Borla x 2
  • Upper rpm WOT: Wow!!! Ok, its louder. It's like the intake noise x 2 or 3. Remember, I really loved the noise from the intake.
  • Cruising 1.5k-3k: its definitely louder... Borla x 2
  • Cruising past 3.5k: wow.. I'm really surprised... its really not noticeable... this is something I'm happy to report since I did not want all the noise while I'm driving for 3 hours at 70mph. The noise seems to get louder at 80mph around 4k.

  • If they cover the dots, make sure it is with a special glue type stuff... my rear window had the dots covered at the bottom and it peeled back... so I just cut it off.. not noticeable of course.
  • Make sure they know how to conceal the rear if it has to be two pieces (mine is two) and it's fairly well... just a hairline along a defrost line.
  • The rear side windows are a pain... because they're spherical in nature, the tint has to curve along two axes... the guy who did mine had to use the heat gun like crazy to get it to work.
  • Personally, I hate different shades of tint on the side windows. Go 20% all around if its common to get away with. My car has 20% on it and it's nice... you can still see in it as long as there's a light colored face inside it during the daytime. Whenever I get pulled over, I make sure to roll down my window before the cop sees. And, personally, I think the dark strip across the top of the windshield looks kinda funny. I like as much frontwards visibility as possible. Visors are for the sun up there.
  • Make sure your car is dust/dirt/fuzz free as possible to minimize the chance of getting dirt under your tint. You might want to clean your windows with an ammonia-free cleaner just to prep them (they should clean them thoroughly too). Use ammonia-free cleaner after the tint job as well.
  • For me, I was quoted $100-200 pending location for legal 35%... but had mine done by a reputable guy that my friend knows that does 20% and got it for $150. Check my web page for pictures of my car... the top pic I'm actually sitting in if you can see me... taken with a polarizer filter to minimize the glare off the windows too.

I have driven a Cougar V6 5sp and here's my opinions:

  • Shifter: very nice... short throw, the one nice point about the Cougar 5sp tranny
  • Brakes: not as much boost probably.. harder to press... different
  • Engine: didn't feel as peppy, didn't have the custom intake roar, felt kinda sluggish, possibly from the different gear ratios and heavier weight, didn't have the nice smoothness that the KL has (but does have a timing chain instead of belt)
  • Handling: had more roll than my Addco'd PGT, softer sprung, better ride quality, but you could tell the smaller tires had a little squooshiness, although they did react quickly... I prefer a stiffer suspension though, so ride quality isn't that important. Illuminas for the PGT are great!
  • Interior: pretty nice... didn't rattle as much... much like my PGT @<20k
  • Exterior: projector beams look cool, but not sure how good they are as far as function... the edge styling looks neat... tires aren't wide and don't look very agressive
  • Aftermarket: seems like someone makes a supercharger for the Cougar Duratec 2.5
  • Overall: seems to be more touring oriented than sports car as the PGT was... love the shifter though

I got to drive my friend's 99 Miata (Eibach springs, stock lightweight 15's with 195/50 Pilots) and he drove my PGT.

Handling: Wow, this is where the Miata really really shines. It only weighs like 2300lbs and you can toss it around so good. Steering response is intant... it's like a blade through ice it digs so nicely. The steering is also a pretty quick ratio, so simple flicks can toss you around like mad... 0.92g is the stock skidpad from MT in 6/98. His car with Eibachs rode smoother than my Intrax/Tokico on 3 setup.. I think it rolled a little more, so it makes me appreciate the Intrax springs on my car.

Acceleration: Well, its a 4 cylinder... sure, 140hp is only 24 less, but the torque curve doesn't give you the kick like the PGT. 1st gear is fun, but 3rd gear at 80 just isn't like the PGT. And, like the PGT, past 6k, it dies off quick.

Braking: Mazda did a good job laying out the pedals... its much easier to heel-toe in the Miata. The stock brakes felt stock.. nothing to write grandma about.

Shifter: First time I drove this car, the shifter felt stiffer and notchier than my stock PGT shifter... but since I'm used to the PRD shifter now, the Miata's felt longer and soft... definitely nice for a stock car. Had the PGT been like it, there would be no need for the PRD. My friend did say that the PRD was shorter and stiffer than his Miata... I told him that's the drawback for short throws. Weird note: Reverse gear has synchros on it.

Fit: I'm 5-11, with the top down, there's loads of headroom! Top up, its ok... might not work with a helmet though. The footwell was tighter though... nothing too bad, but it is a small car.

Overall: Great handling and styling. Needs about 20-30 more hp and the 6 speed from the 10th edition. The exhaust note could be a little louder.. especially with the top down.

After driving my PGT for over 4 years and hopping in a Miata, and then getting to test drive a BMW Z3 2.3, I figured I would do a simple comparison.

Acceleration: The Z3 2.3 actually has a 2.5 engine putting out around 170hp, but has a little more torque. Redline is at a mere 6k, with fuel cutoff not too far above. The exhaust is mellow, but very quiet... quieter than a stock PGT. It's easy to get first gear in the fuel cutoff. It feels about as fast as my PGT, nothing special... I assume the 2.8 version would be nicer with its near 200hp. The clutch and shifter are light... the car must have some heavy duty synchros since it slid into gear soooo easy. One noticeable drawback was the flywheel felt heavy... in neutral, the engine took a while to spin up and spin down, it was harder to stall the car from a standstill, plus, you could chirp the tires into 2nd gear easily. With the DSC (directional stability control) the traction control kept tire chirping and spinning to a minimum. Turn it off and you can lay down a patch of rubber with a 4-5k clutch slip/dump. Rev up to 6k, dump the clutch and cut the wheel and you're making more donuts than Krispy Kreme. (Side note: I talked to one of my friends who knows a lot about BMW's and the 2.5 engine in the 2.3 is a market/model separation thing and the heavy flywheel is a driveability component to help keep manual transmissions around longer so many people can drive them.)

Handling: The Z3 isn't as snappy as a Miata (weight is about the same as a PGT) but the car is definitely balanced (near 50/50). Controlled oversteer is easy... the throttle turns the car nicely. With the DSC on, its very very hard to get into a major oversteer situation... very sweet. The shocks/springs felt a little softer than the PGT (Intrax, Tokico on 3)... didn't roll that much though.

Braking: Wow... I love ABS. Before the night was over, the wheels were coated with brake dust. 120mph, brake pedal to the floor... ABS was engaged all the way until a complete stop.... talk about splattering your snot against the windshield. The pedal was about the same as the PGT, with heel-toeing much easier in the Z3.

Overall... the DSC is an amazing thing. It would make your race car type person a safe person on the street, but you have the ability to turn it off on the track. Very fun car to drive... and gets more looks than a 3 legged dog in a dog race.

Compared to the PGT, the convertible is nice, and it handles nicely. The 2.3 is underpowered though and a little overweight. It's an impractical car since its a 2 seater and has very little trunk space. Would be a nice weekend car. The M version should solve the power issues too... but then the price is so far out there...

Your Probe's HLA's will thank you for synthetic...

  • 5w30 and 10w30 are the same when warm, but 5w flows better when cold, as is better for wintertime starting, etc... 0w30 for up north. When I switched from 10w30 in the summer to 5w30 in the winter, I noticed more valvetrain noise... not sure why. This summer, I'll go back to 10w30 just to try it.
  • You probably need to replace the alloy drain plug crush washer every 3-4 changes, otherwise, you'll get a small leak. If you can line up the old one the way it came off, you'll have less chance of a leak with the old one.
  • Remember to pre-fil the new oil filter with oil before you screw it on
  • It's usually good to change your oil after its been circulated, but not when its super hot! Ouch!
  • Make sure you drive slow when you're carrying your used oil to Autozone or Discount Auto Parts

Topics: Graunch, Smack, and Ding...

But, don't fear, all is okay.

1. Testing 2nd gear synchros while feastily accelerating next to a Mustang, let clutch out a little two soon predicting I would have been in that dag nabbited gear by then... but no... grinded 2nd gear like a drunk dentist. This was the 2nd time I grinded 2nd gear that day, and the 2nd time this year that I have done it... (the Mustang: female driven Cobra.. eesh, embarrassing). So, I'm blaming my shoes. I have really came to the conclusion that if you drive in a pair of Reeboks for eternity (great for heel-toeing), you cannot expect your clutch action to be the same in a pair of sandals. Other than that... I really wonder if MTL would help me instead of MT90.

2. Storms coming, dog in the middle of the road... friendly looking Chow... he whether he knows it or not, is going to meet my front fascia with his his front nosia. I brake to 30-40 maybe, lock rears in slightly wet pavement, smack the freaking dog hoping it was hard enough to a) kill him or b) worse, knock some sense into him. After telling myself "hey brian, let off brake = regain control" I let up and steered back parallel to the road, stopped and checked to make sure my front bumper was secure. It was... later found out that my fog light housing was separated from the top 2 mounts. Super glue didn't work... PVC glue coated on it worked, but was too stiff. Finally used some automotive goop and that held it nicely.

3. Storm come. Wind, rain.. Gatorbacks suck when worn out. 36.6k on them and that's all folks. D40M2's next week. Then the Hail... sounded horrible (I got this 2 years ago, remember... and the paint job sucked and my hood is chipping too). But, the hail didn't hurt my car... I'm guessing it was just really small stuff. Scared the snit out of me.

Conclusions: I don't need a short shifter, I need to scoot my seat up and make sure those synchros are working good. I need those paintball guns under my front bumper so I can at least paint stupid animals. Goop works pretty good. Hail sucks... even if it doesn't hurt your car.


Talked to Dan at LEDA (248-542-2370) and here's the scoop:

Prices (USD): Oil: $1650; Gas Charged: $2150; Full Road Race: $3000 (bulk buy 5 people 10%, 10 people 15%, more people: ask.

General Specs: Oil and Gas charged have the 24 position positive click settings on the outside of the strut with proportional compress/rebound damping. Full road race is gas charged with separate compress/rebound. Gas charged have remote gas charged canister to mount in the wheelwell. Handmade in the UK. 2.5" ID coil springs.

Rates: linear, you specify your application (different for street, autox, drag, variances), they build and match rates and valving.

Ride height adjustability: not tested yet, expect 2-3 inches of adjustability, depends on springs too.

Notes: If non-stock wheel/tire combo is used, clearance should be checked since the tire could rub the spring. There is a possiblity camber plates will be produced.

Temp: 45F
Humidity: 96%
Wind: Calm

Car: 95 GT, UDP, custom intake.. with extra mods since last time: Borla, Intrax, Tokico, 245/45's

Speed: 135mph

That's 3mph more than my highest calm wind run... and only 2mph short of my fastest ever (was with a tailwind).  Headlights were down, too. The patches of fog made it interesting.

The part number is 3957.
Dimensions are 7mm x 1.0 34mm

They should have some red locktite-ish substance already on them to seal them... that keeps the air from coming back up in there.
Be sure and put some paper towels on the wheel if you don't take the wheel off because fluid will leak out. It is possible to bleed them with the wheels on.
Also, after you get them in, the fluid goes through quick since its so easy.. so don't let the master cylinder get low.


.1M.S .3M/S .6M/S
80/30 130/50 170/80

.1M.S .3M/S .6M/S
50/33 100/55 140/85

Tokico Illuminas on "3":



Mazdaspeed 4-way adjustables:



I think an LSD would cause more controllable understeer, with a higher probability of lift throttle snap oversteer, and more controllable oversteer correction.

Here's why:

No LSD: If you're going around a tight corner in 1st and nail the throttle, you're just going to light up the inside tire. Very little torque is going to go to the outside tire so the outside tire's traction circle stays in the cornering area. You won't accelerate much, so your balance stays near the same.

With LSD: You're going around a tight corner in 1st and nail the throttle. Well, the front wheels now get a similar torque split, so the outside tire that is doing the cornering now wants to use some of the traction circle for accelerating. Since the outside tire is what is holding the car's front end in line, it's going to lose cornering grip because of the accleration, with understeer as the result. Now, if you start understeering violently and let off the throttle, the 2 front tires are going to grab fast, and that might upset the rear and the tail will come around. That's the snap oversteer that resulted from the original understeer.

But, to correct that, we need to get back on the gas to make both the front tires slip again.

So, to correct oversteer:

No LSD: Nail the throttle and hope that the inside tire doesn't light up because if it doesn't, you're not going to get as much understeer to correct your oversteer.

With LSD: weight transfers to one side, you nail the throttle, both front wheels get equivalent torque, both front tires slip, the outside front that grabbed hard to create the oversteer now grabs less, and the oversteer is corrected.

Originally posted on Probetalk:

I'm not a radar expert and haven't done any real tests, but from the little physics I know, here's what I think about the blue strip on the windshield and how radar detectors are affected by it.

Radar: probably least affected by the blue strip since police radar is in the Gigahertz range. It takes weird metallic material to block it really good. So, those weird windshields with heating elements built in are probably problematic.

Laser: probably affected more by the blue strip since police laser is invisible infrared (I assume similar to your tv remote). Most infrared devices have dark red plastic covers. My V1 has dark red plastic covers covering the antennae. So, mix blue and red, and you get purple. This could be problematic. However, last year when I get my laser speeding ticket, the V1 was behind the blue strip and it went off violently.

After doing some research on V1's site, the bad stuff that cuts radar range dramatically is windshields that "have a silver-based metallic film between laminations". Also stated is that window films (tint) that have metallic content cut radar range. So, the blue strip probably doesn't affect radar range significantly. Look here for that one.


"The least-harmful windshields still cut laser-detector range by 60 percent; the worst ones cut up to 80 percent."

Wow... so you should cut a hole in your windshield for max laser range.

"Avoid putting your detector behind the tint band at the top, unless you're sure it has no effect. We found major losses due to the tint on some cars, and no additional losses on others."

So, I guess this is where the blue tint can affect you, like I surmised. To me, getting zapped with laser means I'm getting a ticket if I'm speeding and I don't consider having a laser detector a big use. There's some interesting info there. The 89 Camry passed 40% of laser through its tint band. The 98 Camry only passed 6% through its tint band.

I hope I enlightened some people on radar/laser stuff.

I found this on the V1 site talking about motorcycles:

"Mounting behind fairings is also a possibility…if the material is plastic. Fiberglass usually works okay, carbon fiber is bad, and watch out for metallic paints on the outside. Remember, any metal supports in the antenna’s “field of view” will probably diminish reception, maybe a little, maybe a lot. And mounting behind any opaque object will ruin laser warning, of course."

So, radar can see through many things we can't see through.

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Last Modified on 03-29-02