Weight Savings Extreme! 6


I like cars, but before I liked cars I liked bicycles… and on bicycles, we didn’t count kilograms, we counted grams… and we often got quite carried away. I.E. running steel bolts on bicycle is like running steel wheels on your car. If you got beat to the finish line by someone who had a 115 gram seat post, you went out an bought a 100 gram seat post. You didn’t spend $1 for a 5gram wheel spoke, you spend $5 for a 4.5 gram spoke… BECAUSE there were 64 of them, and they were rotating weight! And if you still weren’t winning races, and no one made any lighter parts, you went to a back road doctor and started amputating toes, or cropping ears… at least as long as the rule book allowed you to do so.

It’s a bit insane to go to such lengths on a 1300kg car, but this mindset still remains with me. My new steering wheel doesn’t just look cool and sit a full 3″ closer to me (that’s a good thing), but it also saved me a whopping 7kg. No, the factory wheel isn’t quite that heavy, but when combined with the cruise control motor and extra throttle cable it is. …And you thought the only way to save weight was with carbon fiber…

I actually had the car on a scale last week, and was pleasantly surprised to read 1330kg. That was with a tank of gas and a little bit of gear in the boot as well. Weight distribution was also not as bad as I had feared, at 58/42. Better than 60/40 is a huge feat for a Subaru that’s not a BRZ, so I’ll say that my hacking away has paid dividends. It’s crazy to think I can find 50/50… but I’m tempted to look for 55/45.

The steering wheel is the real point here though. It’s a 350mm Momo Mod07 with 70mm of dish. I think it’s cool because it’s old. It matches the feel of my Watanabe’s. The OEM Momo wheel is actually pretty nice, and I probably prefer it’s stock look, but with my ultra heavy manual steering, putting the wheel closer to my body will give me a bit more leverage and strength to manage tight parking maneuvers. I’d really really like to keep it manual, and maybe even swap in the much quicker AW11 steering rack I now have sitting on my shelf, but as it stood the feel was too heavy for me to carry on.

If this doesn’t make it more manageable, then that’s just more reason to keep shedding weight.

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6 thoughts on “Weight Savings Extreme!

  • GrantC

    So that’s 7kg including the air-bag as well as the cruise stuff?

    What about the A/C, is that the next “low hanging fruit” for weight reduction? Or is it long gone?

    Wheels & shiftknobs, are such nice mods to customize all the things you touch on the car. They’re also very personal, much like wheels.

  • Q

    Very true, like wheels, I always regret selling steering wheels… especially when I shop for a new one and remember what they cost! This one makes me want a pair of fixed buckets and a lower ride height really badly. I haven’t even taken the car out yet, and I’m already in love with it.

    7kg includes the airbag and cruise control bits. The stock wheel is actually pretty light without the bomb mounted on it.

    AC is already gone… next on the list is likely the battery to the trunk. My splitter could be better as well. I’ll try saving weight and adding stiffness with fiberglass… or maybe even carbon fiber. Bucket seats could save a lot… and then there are all the hack job boy racer methods that I won’t tell any other Subaru guy I’ve done. I was surprised recently on WSC when I opened a thread title “DIY Sound Deadening” and found that it wasn’t about removing the factory sound deadening, but instead adding more!! Yeesh.

    Taking a second look at the numbers: 55/45 weight distribution would require moving almost 40kg backwards, or pulling 80kg off the front all together. That’s gonna be a great challenge, as the items mentioned probably don’t even get me half way there… especially if I’m throwing two more cylinders on the front of my EJ20.

  • Murray Peterson

    What have you done for the exhaust so far? Huge weight there.

    On my S2000, I ran a straight pipe back from the cat, followed by an extremely smally muffler (street, not race). It sounds really good, but I had to add on a SuperTrapp to kill the drone when on the highway. Oh, and even using steel pipe and muffler, I still dropped over 25 lbs.

  • GrantC

    “and then there are all the hack job boy racer methods that I won’t tell any other Subaru guy I’ve done.”

    Share, share! I’m a fan of your different approach & refusal to “ask the herd” what mods (including aesthetic mods like wheels) should be done on _your_ car. Are your secret “hack job boy racer methods” along the lines of your DIY seat lowering? Or more like leaving off the u-shaped under-brace?


    “I was surprised recently on WSC when I opened a thread title “DIY Sound Deadening” and found that it wasn’t about removing the factory sound deadening, but instead adding more!! Yeesh.”

    Yea, those people aren’t building cars that hold my interest…

  • Q

    Murry, I have dropped the two cats, and presumably saved a good amount there. I still have a full size resonator and muffler. MotoIQ had a post a couple months ago about building exhaust out of aluminum… I wonder about trying myself. Once I decide what engine I’m going to actually use, the manifold will be a good place to save weight… the best way for me to save weight on exhaust of course though will be to trash the turbocharger!

  • Q

    I’m not sure about leaving off the U-brace, but it is one piece of Subaru engineering that makes me feel like I’m driving a tractor. I’ll probably try and replace it with something lighter, more elegant, but probably less friendly to wrenching (i.e. more like an X than a U.) The sound deadening will almost certainly come out. Carpets and backseat will stay, because I can’t be too obvious about my ways. I really want to swiss cheese some body panels too, not that there are significant weight savings there, but because it feels good. ha!

    I also eyeball my ABS module every time I pop the hood. It’s particularly visible now that the cruise is gone… but as long as this is a snow and ice car I have to keep it. I know some guys that have stripped their cars of ABS because “real drivers don’t need ABS”… but I’ll say from driving their cars that it sure prohibits maximum attack, and highlights just how bad my heel-and-toe is.

    The manual rack and locked rear diff, are two mods that always raise the eyebrows of other Subaru drivers. I shimmed my aluminum control arms for more caster as well… which seems completely logical to me, but forum dwellers all spend $300 on offset bushings.