All posts by Bill Strong


I took a trip to North Carolina today to pick up a toyota mr2 rear clip. I picked it up from Phoenix Motorsports in Asheville North Carolina. I’m going to use the panels from this clip to fix the crash damage on the number 79 mr2 that we got at VIR



Penetrating oils

Rusty Bolts

Copied a post from Daniel Sartin on facebook.
“One of the best “Tricks” I’ve used on stuck fasteners is a mix of ATF & Acetone mixed 50/50…  ”

Machinist’s Workshop Mag ™recently published some information on various penetrating oils that I found very interesting. Some of you might appreciate this. the magazine reports they tested penetrants for break out torque on rusted nuts.
They are below, as forwarded by an ex-student and professional machinist.

They arranged a subjective test of all the popular penetrants
with the control being the torque required to remove the nut from
a “scientifically rusted” environment.

*Penetrating oil ………. Average load*
None ……………………… 516 pounds
WD-40 ………………… … 238 pounds
PB Blaster ……………….. 214 pounds
Liquid Wrench …………… 127 pounds
Kano Kroil ……………….. 106 pounds
ATF-Acetone mix……………53 pounds

The ATF-Acetone mix was a “home brew” mix of 50 – 50 automatic
transmission fluid and acetone. Note the “home brew” was better
than any commercial product in this one particular test.

Problem: 1991 Toyota MR2 Clutch Releasing Too Close To The Floor

ACT Performance Clutch releasing very close to the 1991 Toyota MR2 floor.


I did some more research in 2015 after Troy Trugleo raced my car. He complained a lot. We had just grown used to the pedal release point. I was at a loss as to what to do.

I searched the internet for a few days, weeks… and then months.

I found a thread on a Honda forum that discussed this same issue. The OP was using a ACT racing clutch and the release point was on the floor. It was discovered that the ACT pressure plates are made by Exedy. They also make a few other “performance clutch pressure plates”. The Exedy made pressure plates have a shorter height as compared to the OE Honda pressure plate. The height is only by a millimeter or so. The fix was to put a washer under the release fork pivot stud.


I was then speaking with Gouky who had said he was having a hard time keeping E153s working in his V6 race car, and he mentioned another endurance race team was having the same issues.
I mentioned my finding on the Honda forum. He suggested trying to fit a body panel spacer U-washer in through the access hole. I tried doing it on a E153 that was out of the car and to me and my fat fingers there was just not enough room.

So two weeks ago at Watkins Glen we lost a transaxle when the front engine mount bolts broke and shoved the transaxle into the frame rail. Here was my chance to test the theory.


I used a regular off the shelf washer. It was between 1 and 2 mm thick. Well used but clean. No clue where it came from. I unscrewed the pivot stud under the shift fork, and put the washer on the stud and torqued it back into place.

After reinstallation of the new transaxle we tested it.

Release is now where OE release is, in the middle of the clutch pedal arc. Shifting is much more precise as the gear shafts have more time to slow when you shift gears, thus slowing the wear on the sychros.

Now I am working on a fix for the wearing of the nylon bushing that is on the number 2 shift fork. I think that by using the solid shift cable bearings/brass bushings, that too much pressure from the shift input is being applied to the nylon bushing to the shift hub that causes abnormal wear.
The fix would be to use BRD Polyoxymethylene bushings at the end of the transaxle side of the shift cables. I think this will allow a 30% less force to the nylon, while still allowing for an accurate shift feel. More on this after we test it at Charlotte over the 4th of July weekend



What has been the best performance modification / tool for me?

I get asked this a lot online and at the track. “Bill, what has been the best mod you have done on your race car? Is it the engine swaps? The alignment? Aero?”


My answer is always my Aim Solo lap timer.

Troy Trugleo's Biohazard V6 Toyota MR2 at the 2013 ChumpCar World Series VIR-24
Troy Trugleo’s Biohazard V6 Toyota MR2 at the 2013 ChumpCar World Series VIR-24

At the 2013 VIR 24-hour race I was driving Troy Trugleo’s Biohazard V6 Toyota MR2.  Kevin Tulay is the king in Biohazard. FTDs all over the country in that car. But I was lapping an easy 30 seconds slower then Kevin per lap. I could not figure out why. I know I will never be as fast as him, but hell, I should at least be within 10 seconds of him!

On the dash of the Biohazard MR2 sits this lap timer. It is a predictive lap timer. It lets you know what your time will be at the end of the lap at sectors on the track. So if I screw up a corner, my lap time increases. Or I get that apex perfect my lap time decreases on the display. It shows what my session FTD is as compared to the event FTD. Oh, FTD stands for “fastest time of day”.

So I am struggling with Troys car. Ham fisting it around the fast course. Each lap I am trying to assess why I am going so slow. Then I realize that I am not relaxed. Kevin makes driving this car look so easy.  You can see it in the videos. Relaxed, composed, even with the car sideways or in traffic. And even after 2 years of racing since that time, I remember the moment as if it was yesterday…

I told myself to relax.

And boom! 10 seconds faster.

So now I am relaxed. I am watching the Aim Solo on the dash as I take corners, or go down the straight. I discover little things can make a big difference in my lap times. In my head i thought that taking a certain line was faster because I could maintain momentum. But I was wrong, less distance traveled made a huge difference in lap times. At the end of the session I was still slower than Kevin, but I had gained a huge amount of time on him, and felt better with driving Troys awesome MR2.

Aim Solo ad
Aim Solo ad


So I looked at them on the web. Pricey. $399.

I then asked my team to give me lap times in the car, but they just told me to shut up and drive. lol. So I did.

I drove for Troy another time and after that told myself I was going to save the money up and get my own.

So when I went on my own with the Racing Strong Motorsports Endurance Racing Team, purchased an Aim Solo. It took a couple of races before I got it installed and working, and a few more to actually understand what I was looking at. The Aim Solo also an excellent data collector. The Solo collects track map GPS data, lap times, G-forces, braking forces, acceleration forces, total laps, distance driven and speeds. They have this Windows software that you can use to analyze the race to see where you are doing well or where you suck at racing. And a really cool feature is that we can compare drivers in the same car at the same track. As we collect data, we can even see how well the chassis is doing from race to race, year to year.

My drivers love it, and before I am even home they are begging for the data. And as a car owner, trying to sell seats, it is a valuable value add for the paying drivers. And I have seen huge improvements in my drivers. They drive smoother, better lines, and we have had less crashes and have done way better at collecting trophies then we did prior to the lap timer.

Now the Aim Solo is not perfect. I wish it had other features. And guess what? Aim Sports has it in the SoloDL. At $699 it is an awesome data logger that also does the normal predictive lap timing stuff. But this guy plugs into your OBDII/CanBus port and can record everything the ECU sees, which is a huge amount of useful data as a car owner.

Now one thing I do suggest if you get an Aim data logger/timing unit. Go to an Aim sponsored class. Or at least go visit the Aim YouTube website for how to videos. Even my less powerful unit can do some incredible performance envelope data to show how our drivers are doing.

Aim Sports YouTube Channel

So the predictive lap timer is the best single drivers performance aid we have seen so far. It has allowed my drivers to make my car faster and safer.

So what is next? Saving up my cash to buy a Aim Sports MXL dashboard for the new MR2 chassis. Ballenger Motorsports is a AIM Sports Dealer that also sells any needed sensors to optimize that data recording.

Aim Sports MXL
Aim Sports MXL



I forgot… You can take this data, and use it with software to combine an overlay to your in car Go-Pro or ChaseCam videos like I did here. This is Troy driving my yellow #79 MR2 at this years VIR 12-hour race.

Choose the proper transmission oil for your Toyota transmission

Red Line Oil Logo

First off… There are a few well known shops that continue to fill up the E-series, S-series and C-series with GL-5 oil. This is really really bad for the long term life of your gear box.

There are not that many oils left that are GL4 only.That is why everyone recommends Redline MT90. It is one of the best and does a really good job of lubricating the Toyota gearboxes.

Lightweight Shockproof…
Warning – Avoid use with pumps, coolers, and filters as unique medium and affinity for metal can cause clogging.
Designed for wet sump transmissions and differentials with splash lubrication.
The C-series and S-series are splash lube while the E-series is pumped and has a cooler.

Same with Super lightweight shock proof.
Avoid use with pumps, coolers, and filters as unique medium and affinity for metal can cause clogging.
Designed for wet sump transmissions and differentials with splash lubrication.

Syncro with GL5 coating

You can see in picture number 1 a MR2 E153 syncro that has used a GL5 oil. It is black. It should be a shiny brass color. As the syncros do their job, that layer is a self sacrificing layer, and as it is pulled off, it pulls a micron of brass from the syncro. That adds up and before long you are having to spend $1000+ on a E153 rebuild. Shops love that.

That layer does have a good side. It makes used up transaxle seem good again. That is why so many unqualified people rave about using the wrong oil in your gearbox. It makes it shift again without grinding. Instead if fixing the original problem, you now have cost yourself even more money as almost everything will need replacing in the gear box.

5th gear E153

Good E153 5th gear syncro. Bright yellow brass. No GL5 coating.

I endurance race a E153 transaxle.

I have tried the GL4/GL5 Lucas 75w90.
It works good. A bit thick in the cold mornings. seems thicker than Redline.

I spoke with Lucas reps at the Charlotte N.C. race car convention in February 2015. They said the following – You CAN’T and SHOULD NOT run the 100% Lucas 75w90 trans oil in the E-Series. Even though it says GL4/GL5, it is NOT designed for our cases for the same reason why you don’t use LWSP. You have to water it down with another Lucas oil, and I am getting their tech folks to get me that info. I’ll pass it on once I find out.

So, bottom line.
The people that make the oils, they have told us what to use, and what not to use. They say DO NOT use 100% GL5 oil. Syncromesh is also an oil to stay away from in our boxes.

Do your own research. Just don’t go by info you find on the Internet alone. Contact the companies that make the oil. They will tell you exactly what you need to use. They want your gearboxes lasting, their reputation depends on it.

Testing the new Zipline Alignment Stands

Zipline Alignment Stand

I was speaking to our sponsor and driver Gene Bird about some stands for the race car that would allow us to easily do alignments in the shop or at the track. It needs to be safe and easy to use. Then it was mentioned that having something that would also allow us to easily set ride height and corner balance the race car would make life really easy. I made a plan up and Gene made a few suggestions and then set off to his mad laboratory at Bird Manufacturing.

Soon he presented this sweet stand to us at the VIR ChumpCar 12-Hour enduro. We did a quick test and it worked well. We then tried it out a couple of weeks ago on Mike Helm’s EP MK1 MR2 at the SCCA Majors Tour when they visited VIR. It worked great on his 4×100 lug pattern as it did on my 5×114.3 of my MK2 MR2.  The design idea was that it should work with all versions of the Toyota MR2.

The design allows the camber, toe and caster to easily be set. There is no need for slip plates as the stand is on heavy duty casters that allow it to twist and turn as you adjust the setting of the toe. The camber is set as the stand has built in tilt.

Simple installation. Jack the chassis up. Remove the wheels. Attach all four stands to the wheel hub, torquing the lug nuts in place. Put the plate under the stand, and slowly drop the car onto the plate, adjusting the plate as the suspension compresses. Let the car settle for a few minutes. I pushed down on the chassis to test how stable the system is. and it is just like the chassis sitting on jack stands.

The simple design allows the use of either high dollar camber /caster gauges or something as simple as you iPhone or Android with a angle finder app.


I am going to make a set of aluminum plates with adjustable feet that this can sit on to allow us to make a level platform to do alignments on. This will also allow us to get the correct rake as we use larger diameter tires in the rear, which are taller than the fronts.

We will also be able to put the scales on the platforms, with the stands on top of the scales. We can then corner weight the car when we start using coil over dampers.  Having easy access to the springs and suspension will make alignments a breeze, either at the shop, or at the track.

For more info contact Gene at:
Bird Manufacturing & Design
51 Station Street
Johnstown, PA 15905
(814) 288-6464