Sunday, August 30, 2009

Drift Indy Round 4: Converse Airport

This event was so rad! The fastest entry I saw was 72mph which was weak, but enough to get me 4th place in qualification.

The tandem rounds started and I had to drive aginst Kyle in his 4.5L V8 swapped Corolla. The first round I led and hit the sweeper with a bit too much enthusiasim and spun. The second round I was running him really close, but the 0 in the first round sealed the deal.

It was a blast and I had sooo much fun!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TLC makes it all good

So the Z got some much needed attention. After installing the Mishimoto radiator, hoses, and oil cooler supplied from Mishimoto, the Z got an oil change, 2* timing advance, custom windshield washer fluid reservoir, removed rear hatch wiper, air bags disabled, and the VDC got completely unplugged.

Not a bad few hours.

Huge thanks to Larry, Eli, and Jeff at Project X Customs for doing all the work. Hope that pizza was good fella's!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Crashing the Z was the best thing to ever happen!

In the past month I've gone from self sponsorship to 3 sponsors!

-J&R Auto Care Center
-Project X Customs

I need to crash more often... wait... NO!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

On the road again...

The Z is going again!

I'm so excited... and I just can't hide it...

I'm about to lose control and I think I like it... WOOOOO!!!

So yeah. After it was all said and done the parts that broke/bent:

FL Knuckle
RL Camber arm
RL Traction arm

The front left knuckle was replaced with a factory unit. The rear camber arms were replaced with SPL Pro camber arms. The traction (and while I was at it) toe arm's were replaced with Megan Racing parts.

Total was $650 then another $130 for an alignment with 1 year free alignments.

Next is driving the car then I have a few plans:

New paint/aero
New stickers
New wheels

I can't wait to get out to the next event.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Drift Lessons 1

So I've been looking around on the 350z forums and have been talking to some people about starting drifting. I like to think I've got a pretty good idea how to go about this without trying to look cool, or give advice to beginner drivers that can get them tied up in hairy situations. I'm just going to kinda jot down some of these thoughts and answers to recent questions I've been asked or seen around.

****All of these are my beliefs that have been found from my own experiences and conversations. Think what you will. Most of my responses, comments, and guides are geared towards people similar to me who are looking to get somewhere in drifting rather than a weekend hobby or just look cool. And in no way am I claiming to have all the answers. "I've got no idea what I'm talking about. I'm only here for suggestion."****

"I want to start drifting."

Congratulations! You and probably 85% of import car fans have said or thought this. For some people it may be as easy as spending $10,000 on a S-chassis, motorset, suspension parts, etc and going out there flexing your wallet to show how awesome you are. For most everyone else, its much more difficult.

And some of you may notice that straight away I go with the 240 and its a simple explanation. The S13 (89-94) 240sx is ideal for a beginner driver. But for people who don't like things simple, let me explain.

First thing is first. Most beginner drivers aren't going to step into their first event and get 1st place. I would almost be willing to say that nobody ever will. Even in their first season, they will probably be spending most of the time upgrading the car and buying tires.

What I normally hear is "Everybody drives a 240sx and I just want to be different".

I understand that you want to have your individuality. Seriously, I do. But think of it as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Get yourself in a chassis that has been proven over and over and over and over and over... and has brand new aftermarket parts that are sold everywhere, and has aftermarket parts being sold used everywhere. Not to mention that using a different chassis can have serious downsides at the track. If your having issue's with the cars characteristics, its less likely that anyone will be able to truly help you. If you talk to a good drifter in a 240, he would be able to tell you what the problem is in his sleep. Also in the case of a failure or malfunction... your not going to be able to talk to the guy next to you and get the parts you need to get the car back on the track... or in some cases just to get the car home.

Also you have to remember all RWD cars are not the same. Sure, the have rear wheel drive so you spin the rear tires and countersteer to drift. But some cars have short wheelbase, narrow stance, awkward weight balance, horrible suspension design, limited aftermarket support, or just really low power.

Then there is the case of the age of the vehicle. Sure the S13's are getting pretty old, but since they are so widely used, most of them that are in good shape have been maintained. You get into other chassis like a FC not only do you run into a lot more daily driver's, but you get the added bonus of a dodgy engine that doesn't like to cooperate and can be a nightmare to work on.

But with that said, just getting yourself into a clean s-chassis can be a pain. Either spending too much on a decent running car, or spending a couple hundred dollars on a bare shell. Either way, it will cost some money but the work involved can be decreased by just spending some extra cash to get a good running car. I've just recently been looking at prices of S13's and here is a little rundown of what you can expect to pay:

Good condition rolling chassis: Bare bones. Usually no interior, motor, trans, diff. Body and frame are in good/decent shape.
*Price* $200-$900

Rusty car: Pretty basic. High milage chassis/motorset. KA motorset (sohc or dohc doesn't make difference). General places of interest are rockers, rear quarters, inside front fenders, strut tower top/bottom, frame rails all or starting to rust. Everything could be repairable but would take time and money.
*Price* $1,000-$2,000

Decent 240: This is pretty much what I consider the "butter zone" for a beginner's drift car. Good KA. Pretty much ding/rust free. Generally has a few minor modifications (exhaust, intake, shift knobs, aero, cheap wheels, coilovers, welded diff)
*Price* $2,000-$3,500

Mid-range 240: Generally a really clean car. Body and frame are straight. It's a weird spot because these cars can vary so much. Either they have a really nice suspension setup, wheels, aero, and KA... they have some sort of motorswap or KA turbo setup with not much else done... they have some sort of motorswap project that isn't running and has some basic mods... or its a real project that has top of the line parts, cage, but missing motorsets or full suspension arms... its just a weird spot for these cars.

Good/great: Body/frame good. Generally have SR20DET motorset, but varies from KA-T all the way to LS-7 with anything in between. Suspension parts, wheels, aero, cage, diff, brakes... pretty much anything goes. This is where your buying finished or nearly finished products.

So now I hope you went with the "decent 240". I say this because I feel that for a beginner its the best "bang for your buck". You get yourself into a car you can instantly drive and begin to learn. Now you have to remember though. You will have to replace things. Parts will fail, break, wear or whatever. When they do if you have the money, replace them with aftermarket parts as needed. "If it ain't broke don't fix it." That's sorta where I stand on that.

Now get yourself out to events. It's not right for me to say go find your nearest empty parking lot and start sliding. You know, pulling the handbrake and doing doughnuts. Then moving on to real drifting. That just isn't the right thing to say. There are consequences for those types of actions and depending on your local laws, could mean a fine from $500 to $3,000, getting your car impounded, or even losing your license.

So now you've run a few events and your really getting the hang of the car as it sits. Now what do you do to make it better? That's easy...

Driver position/Diff: Buying a bucket seat, steering wheel, harness bar/harnesses, shift knob. This may be far from your mind but I'm telling you, driver comfort is everything. If your tall, get yourself a low seat and seat rail. If your legs are really long get a deep dish steering wheel. Get a spacer to go with it if you have to. Just get your ass planted to that car and put everything where you want it.
Then get a rear differential. Most people automatically think you have to spend $900 on a 2-way diff, but in my eyes, that is just stupid. Most 2-way's I've seen in drifting are adjustable. And being that they are adjustable 2 ways (Acceleration and deceleration) most just set them at max lock for both. This being the case, both wheels spin the exact same speed all the time. And with this logic, take your stock open diff to a shop and have them weld it and you have, basically, the exact same thing. Now if your daily driving the car and your worried about safety of a welded or 2-way, you would be much happier with a 1.5 way diff. This locks on acceleration, but opens up when decelerating so the outside wheel can spin faster so you don't understeer like the case of a welded. I tend to stay away from the VLSD (Viscous Limited Slip Differential) only because in drifting you are really putting a beating on the diff and when a VLSD heats up, it tends to go open (only spinning one wheel). There are ways to help this though. Rebuilding the diff with new clutch disks, replacing the fluid with new, proper VLSD gear oil, and using shimms to give less "play" in the diff making it lock harder. It all really depends on your situation and available funds.

Suspension/wheels tires: Coilovers and tie rods then a proper alignment. Quality coilovers such as Stance are cheap for what they are and give you a wide range of adjustability to get the car suited to your driving style. Adding tie rods (inner and outer) like Tein's give you more steering angle (with the spacer that comes with them) and you can adjust front toe which can get rid of understeer and help with the turning of the car. If you have extra cash for camber arms they are a good thing to have with coilovers. When you lower the car you get the benefit of a lower center of gravity which translates into more stability but also means your camber is getting tweaked. Most coilovers come with pillow ball camber plates for the front, but in the rear getting a quality set of RUCA's (Rear Upper Control Arm's) will get those rear tires where you want them. In the case of a stock power 240, giving the rear some camber will defiantly help with tire spin, but too much can make the car harder to control. Rear tires at this point can still be whatever you can find for cheap, but having some grippy, low profile tires in the front will help with control.

Motor: Adding a turbo/supercharger to your KA or doing any number of swaps. Once your satisfied with the driver position and the handling, your probably about this point a bit underpowered for some sections of tracks. Of course if your like Dustin D. in the essentially stock S14 you just drive the car harder to compensate. But even watching him in all his aggressiveness... he really just needs more power.

Always remember these two things:

You don't have to build your car then drift it. Adding parts at your own pace is a good way to go because driving the car in near stock form is beneficial because you really learn how to control the car.

You don't have to conquer the course on your first try. Take it easy. You have all day to get it right. Driving out of control will get you nowhere. And crashing is a good way to scare yourself away from driving to your full potential. Drive within your means and progress at your own pace. Don't let anyone force you into doing otherwise whether it be by trash talking, laughing or otherwise. Most of the people that do these sort of things aren't real drivers and either don't understand or don't care to understand what drifting is really about. I've driven within my means and progressed at my own pace. In my 7 years of driving I had my first (what I like to call) "major crash" 3 weeks ago at H.I.N Formula D pro-am Qualifier where I hit the wall (you can read about it on my blog). I only say major because it was the first time I couldn't drive my car home. Not bad in my opinion.

I hope that this helps someone out there somewhere with their quest. If you have any questions on anything I've said, feel free to add a comment or send me a e-mail ( and I would be more than happy to help. I'll be adding more posts like this in the future.

Safe drifting!

Long time no drive... untill today...

So for the past weeks since H.I.N the car has been sitting by itself in a desolate storage facility in the middle of absolutly nowhere.

Today I got it out of there, onto a flatbed (thanks AAA), and to an alignment shop where they adjusted the toe issue in the rear best they could and sent me on my way... for now.

I got home and called Scott (aka Eric W.) at Touge Factory and since the SPL Midlinks are $600 bucks, had him order Megan Racing Radius arms, and rear lower arms.

As soon as they get in I'm installing them the best I can, and taking it back for a true 4 wheel alignment. Hopefully all goes well this time around...