In the garage

Letty Blog 1 – Commitment Issues.

Back to basics

Those who know me will know I tend to do over commit and don’t do things by halves.

Lily my JZ lexus is still in a million pieces and needing lots of work so I have decided to take my time rebuilding Lily so she probably won’t be ready until next year now. 

The thought of taking a year out from drifting and not crashing into my friends or walls, or bankings, makes me break out in a cold sweat.  Living like normal people for a year that shit is scary.  I mean imagine my friends feeling safe on track knowing I can’t crash into them.  Now we can’t have that.

I’d like to introduce you to Letty. She is a 2003 Lexus IS200 and I’ll only be going half mental with her.

Why buy another car rather than spend money on finishing Lily?  There are a few reasons behind.

  1. I don’t have an unlimited budget or unlimited spare time so rebuilding lily the way I want her will take me both a fair about of time and money and I don’t want to rush it.
  2. The best investment any drifter can make is SEAT TIME.  
  3. I became a drifter because I love drifting. Building my own cars because I love building cars and now with 2 cars I can do both.  Passion is what fuels life if you’re not passionate and enjoying what you’re doing then don’t bother. 
  4. Letty was a very good price and built mostly from spare parts I had lying about my workshop so letty cost me  in total £800
  5. I now have a spare drift car to test out new developments, techniques, products on.
  6. More cars equals more FUN………

Letty’s Specs at the moment

Steering = Lengthened lower arms made by Millermods Garage, Minty Fresh Rega Rox knuckles, 5 mm steering rack spacers, shortened corolla tie rods. Cheap ebay coilovers there were on the car when she arrived but I have replaced the springs to 20kg HSD Springs. Front Geometry settings are 6 degrees negative camber, 8 degrees positive caster, 1mm toed out.

Braking = Standard calipers all round with a cheap hydro handle and a 0.625 cylinder fitted in the standard brake system. ABS unit unplugged (you don’t need to remove any fuses or relays just unplug the Abs unit in the engine bay and that will disable ABS and the traction control system)

Wheels = Front 17×9 ET25 XXRs with 215/40/17 Federal 595 RSRs. Running 20/25psi

 Rear = 17×9.5 et 25 Rotas with 225/45/17 El Cheapo tyres running 35/40psi in the dry. 25/30 psi in the wet.

Engine = 1G-FE with Induction Kit, Decat stainless steel exhaust system.

Transmission = Standard manual gearbox and a welded Automatic Diff.

Manual diff is 3.9/1 ratio  Automatic diffs are 4.3/1 ratio so easier to spin and skid with but due to the different ratio your speedo will not read correctly.  

Bodykit = Vertex front, sides and rear lip.  Which I have ran over and destroyed already.

It was a bit of a Baptism of fire for letty’s first shake down. It was a private day set up and organise by a local drifter Briony for the sole purpose of practising the track layout for the Scottish Drift Championship that was being held that weekend which happened to be the same layout as the British Drift Championship run this time. 

Man, I forgot how much work is involved skidding a standard lexus especially on big long sweeping corners but none the less we had some awesome fun and many many clutch kicks.

The weekend after that I have done a public practice day where we ran the reverse shift lock set up at Driftland.  This set up is full of tight corners and flick entries and so much fun.

In the garage

Terri’s Blog 2 : Compensating Much?

Terri Blog 2

Compensating much Shorty?

 

While loading up and towing Lily to Anglesay last year I noticed that the arse end of Terri was sagging a little.  She was not over loaded and the trailer and Lily are well under the towing capacity of Terri.  The decision was made to look into new suspension and refresh a few parts on the old girl to get her tip top and ready for another year supporting Lily and I at drift events all over the country.  Terri is the first proper 4×4 I have owned other than my classic Impreza, but that’s a story for another day.  So where to start?  What do I need? What make? What spec? What Quality? And where do I get it from?   All the questions.  After reading a handful of websites, things were no clearer.  One website simply listed my truck as an option, then asked you to fill in a form and they’d send you a quote??  Where other sites said they had the kit in stock, 1-2 days delivery and then in small print explains the kit comes from Germany and takes 2 weeks to arrive!   A friend recommended an Australian company called Pedders which he had used when kitting out his 4×4 while based out in Cyprus. With no one else being very helpful, I wasn’t holding out much hope but I emailed the info email on the Pedders website.  It couldn’t off been more than 15minutes later I get an email back from a gentleman called Phil asking for some more information about my truck, (age, spec, model, etc) but Phil also asked what I used the truck for and what I wanted from the suspension.   So I explained I was a drifter and used the truck mostly for towing and carrying wheels, spare parts and tools, but we also use the truck for road trips and weekends away with my girlfriend and our dog. He asked me to give him 1 hour to check his stock.  Sure enough, true to his word within the hour Phil had found a Pedders suspension kit trailered to my needs.  There was only one issue. Phil had everything in the UK other than the correct springs, which would need to come over from the main HQ…  in Australia.   Shipping would take up 2 weeks. I placed the order with him and 10 days later the kit was on my door step!  No shit!  I haven’t had service that professional and eager to please in a long time.  Phil you are a legend, thank you Sir.

 

The Pedders kit is a full suspension kit so its came with

2x front gas sport Ryder shocks

2x Trekryder torsion bars

2x rear Trekryder shocks

2x rear raised 4×4 heavy duty springs.

The kit bolts straight on and is a direct replacement of the OEM stuff.  Absolutely no modifications were needed.  The kit will give my truck an approximately 2 inches of lift. It also comes with heavier rated rear springs to deal with the added load weight in the cab as well as a trailer on the hitch.   How does Terri drive now? The difference is night and day. Without using the word sporty (because she’s still a big 2 ton truck) but she feels solid and planted on the road.  I was concerned about raising her and making her feel top heavy and “wobbly” but with the Pedders kit it’s the opposite she now feels a lot more stable in the corners. The only issue with the lift is, I now need to stand on a couple of books to climb into her haha.   For the Terrano owners out there, I measured from the bottom of my 15” Wheel (not the bottom of the tyre the wheel itself) to the beginning of the arch trim.  On a standard Terrano the measurements should be roughly (depending on age and wear of bushes etc, etc) 26” at the front and 28” at the rear.  Terri, with the Pedders kits fitted, measures 28” at the front and 30” at the rear.   It should be a bit higher at the back if the truck is empty.

Yes I bought something I didn’t need to modify before fitting!  New record! Well we can’t have that, so I decided to fit 15×8” ET0 modular steel wheels wrapped in 31×10.5” BF Goodrich KO2 all terrain tyres.  These of course hit the standard front mud guards and arch lining on full lock, so a handsaw, a hammer and pair of snips later, half the mud guard is gone and no more rubbing issues.

Oh and in case anyone was wondering, I did get an email back from the original UK based company about their suspension kit… 17 days after the I sent the email! By which time Phil had hand selected the correct kit for me, had a conversation about drift cars (always a winner!) and got my kit to my door, from Australia, a full week ahead of a UK company answering my original email!  I’m not usually one for advertising plugs but honestly, if you want great service and good quality products sold by people who are truly passionate about their product and know their stuff – Pedders are the way to go.
www.pedders.co.uk or info@pedders.co.uk

Also fitted what can only be described as a second sun to the front of my roof rack.  A 42” LED light bar that lights up literally everything at the flick of a switch.

 

In the garage

Terri’s Blog 1 : Taxi Power

Progress with Lily has been slow over the past month due to taking some time and money to fix and maintain the Daily Trucks.  So I thought I would show you the other beast I have.

After fitting the JZ into Lily I very quickly found that I needed to start taking a lot more tyres and fuel with me to drift days and that’s when we got Terri.

Terri is a 1999 Nissan Terrano 2.7 TDi 7 seater LWB With 48k mileage !! I have probably waked further that haha.  She was absolutely mint and didn’t need anything done so of course I started modifying her! The Engine is the same engine that’s used in the London Taxi so 48k mileage is barely run in and a good power plant not the most powerful but reliable and more than enough torque to tow Lily’s Trailer.

First thing we did is throw away the 5 rear seats.  Yes we instantly made our big practical truck a 2 seater.  So to summarise I own 2 4 door vehicles and both only have 2 seats in them. HAHA

The main reasons for stripping out the back of the truck is that you can fit a lot more wheels, tool boxes, jerry cans, gazebo, etc etc in  and also we use the truck as a bedroom when we wild camp at Drift events, holidays.

I have big plans of a lift kit, and 31” tyres, and many other modifications etc.  Yep iI need 2 projects because over commitment is under rated.  I started off with a few small mods so I fitted LED rear lights, re-wired trailer plug, fitted front bull bars and 12” light bar, roof rails and then I bought a van Roof rack that needed shorted and narrowed quite a lot.   I have the world’s worse habit of buying perfectly good parts just to cut them up and modify to make what I want.

We liked my truck so much that we got Caz the SWB version of Terri who we named Tiny Terri or Tiny for short.

Im not sure how interesting you guys are in the Trucks so let me know if you want to read more about them or not.

In the garage

Fitting a JZ to a Lexus F.A.Qs

I get a lot of questions regarding fitting my JZ engine onto my Lexus so I thought I would type up the answers to the most common questions asked.

Engine:

What engine do you have? I have a 2001 1jz-gte Vvti single turbo from an Automatic Toyota Crown Athlete.

Does it fit ? Yes perfectly because the engine has front facing sump so its clears the IS200 subframe.

What engine mounts are you using? I’m using the crown metal engine mounts with IS300 subframe mounts.  You can’t use the is200 mounts as they are too short and the chaser/ crown don’t have correct studs on the bottom. (I have attached a pic that shows the different size between the IS200 and the IS300 mounts.)

Drivetrain:

What gearbox are you using? W58 from a Supra MK4 non turbo  I did have to trim the tunnel to make room for the shifter.

What Clutch are you using? Supra Mk4

What prop shaft and Diff are you using? IS200 prop shaft, is200 Automatic Diff and Drive shafts (no modification needed to any of the IS200 parts)

 

Wiring:

What body Wiring Are you using? Standard Lexus body wiring

What engine Wiring? Standard JZ wiring

Do the Plugs fit? Because Lexus and Toyota are the same company and the body and the engine are both the same generation (2001) the Lexus body plugs physically fitted into the JZ ecu but we did have re pin a few wires so the ecu would send the correct signals to the dials, fuel pump, diagnostic plug, etc

Do all your dials work?  Yes by re-pining the ecu wires into the correct body plugs we got all the dials working.  The Diagnostic plug also worked but due to the engine being an imported engine we had to use an expensive snap code reader as the cheaper small hand held ones wouldn’t read the codes.

What wires did you bridge?  The Crown ecu has 2 fuel pump wires because apparently the ecu has 2 speeds on the fuel pump for the kick down and cruise control.  We bridged these 2 wires so that the fuel was feed the full 12v constantly.

What engine codes came up? Yes the engine management light came on.  Of course it did we wired in an automatic ecu into a manual car.  Every code for the gearbox came up because the ecu thinks the gearbox has been dis-connect.

Do you need to modify the auto wiring?  Yes. We need to make the ecu think the gearbox was in park so the engine would start but we also made the ecu think the gearbox is in 2nd gear because apparently the give’s the engine the most torque when in 2nd gear (Im not sure how true this is thou)

We did this by giving a 12v volt feed to the correct wiring on gearbox plugs.

 

Fueling:

Do you need to modify the fueling system?  Yes you need to fit a bigger fuel pump and a return fuel line as the IS200 doesn’t have a return line.   In order to fit a return line you need to modify the plastic fuel cover to feed the fuel back into the tank.  We also needed to replace the Jet pump which controls the follow of the fuel between the 2 chambers of the fuel tank.  I managed to source a SARD one.

 

Cooling System:

Did you have to modify the Cooling system?  No I ran with an Alloy IS200 radiator using chaser radiator hoses that I had to cut down a little.  The radiator worked well and I had no overheating issues.  Yes she got hot while drifting but never while driving normally.  I did need to fit slim line electric fans to replace the IS200 fans and shroud was too close to the JZ pulleys they didn’t touch but there was only millimetres of a gap.

 

Power steering:

I’m using the JZ PAS pump but because it lives on the opposite of the engine from the IS200 one I had to get a new longer high pressure Pas Line made.  I used a company called Hydraquip that were very helpful.

Exhaust:

I had to make my own exhaust system as I local company quoted me £2,000 to make a full system so we bought a TIG welder and piping and made our own.  It’s not pretty but its sealed and makes.

 

Costs involved:

How much did it cost to fit the JZ?   Without putting a figure on my labour as I did all the work in my workshop at evenings and weekends then I probably spent about £4,000 in total buying all the parts needed to get the engine in and running, including engine, gearbox, exhaust piping, fuel pump, lines, etc, etc.

In the garage

Lily’s Blog 6 : Caging the Animal

I have decided to go full commitment.

The 4th of January marks first time ever I let someone else work on my car.  Yes the 4th of January that’s how excited Alan was to start work on Lily’s cage which should explain everything you need to know about Alan.

That someone was Alan Miller owner of Millermods in Tillicoultry.

He has been working his magic building what can only be described as a master piece shaped in steel tubing.

Alan has created a full multi point cage made using 42mm tubing with double door bars. Cross in the roof, rear cross, harness bar, dash bar, and many many sexy gussets.

Why Millermods?  Well I first heard of Alan at Millermods when he put an S13 front end on to a S14 body for a friend of mine.  Alan has so much passion for cars and extreme ideas and for his workmanship is almost unbelievable.  Every time I speak to Alan we end up losing an hour just talking about cars, engines and stories from the past just a genuine great guy human.  When Alan isn’t working on cars he is out on his trails bike winning trophies so you know that only the extreme and exciting ideas excite Alan.  When Alan heard about the Matsuri accident and that I was rebuild Lily he messaged and told me he wanted to help me and then explained his idea for a cage he wanted to make for my car.  So I instead put my MX5 project car up for sale to free up cash and gave Alan my car.

This is the point it has finally hit home that Lily is going to be the build of my life.

Now she is back home it’s time to continue building her up.

So Drop Alan a message for anything from basic mechanical work to full fabrication.  he can tailor things to meet your budget where possible.

www.facebook.com/MillermodsGarage/

main pic

In the garage

Lily’s Blog 5: He touched the BUTT

Well basically I have just cut it all out.

At the rear I will be using 42mm od 3mm wall thickness tubing as the main inner frame work that will hold the radiator and piping as well as a jacking point then use 22mm od tubing as removable outer frame work to hold the rear panels, lights, boot lid, etc in place.

With the 42mm tubing I made a little long and slid it inside the chassis legs where I have welded inner plates into them welded outer plates to the chassis legs and tubing.  The theory behind this double plate welding is that it should be more secure when jacking on this frame work as it’s welded to the chassis leg in 4 places and it’s not pivoting on a single weld between the tubing and the mating plate at the each end of the tubing.

I have decided to stick with an Alloy IS200 radiator at the moment I don’t see a need in going for anything bigger.  I’m using an old OEM rad during the fabrication work purely so the alloy one doesn’t get damaged.

Because I do run Lily pretty low the pipework for radiator and fuel system will be running through the car in order to keep things off the ground and avoid damaged.  The path of the ducting I’m still trying to work out.  I have a few ideas running through my head and as things stands it will be coming in through the rear window.  I don’t like the look of ducts and piping going through rear doors and side windows.  I don’t want it being ducted from under nether as all the shit of the day will hit the radiator from the track.

 

In the garage

Lily’s Blog 4: No strippers but plenty of flashing.

“Needs must when the Devil shits in your kettle”

Basically everyone heard about the crash at the Matsuri.  I have been totally blown away by the level of support, encouragement and offers of help I have had from everyone.  It has totally cemented the reasons why I absolutely love the drift community.  I mean even Matt Denham drove alongside us in the middle of a contraflow on the dual carriageway on the way home to ask if we were ok and to tell us he looks forward to seeing the car back out on track next year.

So probably better explain my evil plan now. Muhahaha!

I’m fully committing to latest vision I have for Lily.  I did have 2 other Lexus IS200’s and a wee Mazda MX5 I was building as a practise cars/ toys.  All of them have been sold to make space, time and money for Lily.

It’s a full strip down and rebuild. In a nutshell we are going full commitment. Tubing framing front and rear, Rear mounted Radiator, full BDC Spec roll cage, standalone ECU and budget allowing fuel cell and inline pumps.

We will be doing the majority of the work in house.  So this will be my first attempt at tubing framing, fabrication, plumbing, building, etc.  I will out sourcing for the Cage.  Alan from Millermods in Tillicoultry  (I’ll put the link below) has offered his expert skills to make lily something special and you can’t put a value on safety so thought it best to get a professional to do this part.

I started at the front of the car with some chassis reinforcement because the OEM A pillar braces were damaged. Low car big lock problems. I have always wanted to make a removable tube frame front end.  So having never made a tube frame for a car before, I bought a tube bender and went for it.

The tube I used is 22mm outside diameter with a 3mm wall thickness.  I picked this bar because Driftland SDC drift series spec won’t allow anything thicker than 25mm but they have now changed the rules so I could have used something thicker now but I have bought all the materials now so fuck it.

I haven’t finished the framework yet as I’m waiting on the body kit arriving so I can line up lights, bonnet, bumper, etc before finalising it.

In the garage

Lily’s Blog 3 : Strippers…. YE WHERE?

If you are going to commit then you might as well over commit!!

I have never built a car fully from the ground up so this is coming to you fresh out the oven.

The strip down to the blank canvas and start this awesome shit again.

I know things haven’t been overly technical or detailed yet but once parts start going back onto the car I will start giving more details on parts.

So time to get the overalls on and break out the tools. With the gaffer Jenniffer on watch there won’t be many breaks or fannying about.

well best get to work then.

In the garage

Lily’s Blog 2: Dry your Eyes and Rebuild

As Tim Mcllrath said “You won’t know your worth now, son, until you take a hit”

…and take a hit I did and it was a big one!

Anglesey Matsuri 2018   WHAT A WEEKEND !!!!

After a full Saturday of what I was told was some of my best drifting anyone had seen from Lily and I Mark Sweeps invited me to join the night battles.  I accepted the offer to drift with some of the best drifters of the weekend and professionals then be judged by Baggsy and Shane Lynch   WOW…

So as I line up beside my friend Danny and look around at some of the drift porn waiting to hit the track.  Style legend Martin Wonnacott and all round good guy wonders over and tells me he knows the car and has been watching me drift.   Im now on cloud 9 and on a total high…

I sit on the start line.

“Full send Ewan don’t be a Pussy” I think to myself

Marshall gives the sign GO GO GO

DEATH OR GLORY  AHHHH

1st gear limiter, 2ndgear limiter, 3rd gear limiter, clutch kick, big flick, YASSS

first corner down I got this

Now just manji into the national corner. Full commitment

BANG!

Shit what was that. Shit! Where has my steering gone? shit! Where have my brakes gone? Shit! that’s the grass, shit that’s the tyres.  And that’s all she wrote…

Welded Hub snapped on the transition after corner 1, took the track rod end and brake line with it.

Christmas is now cancelled!

Im going to be in the Workshop all winter.  Lily is now getting fully stripped down and rebuilt.

Go Build Your Shit

In the garage

Ewan’s 1jz Lexus IS200

Lily the 1JZ LEXUS

Where to start…

I F**king Love this CAR…. AAAAHHHHHHH

So you join me 4 years into this obsession, I bought Lily for £800 and it was love at first drive.

I have been playing with cars all my life and no car has ever spoke to me so much made me feel so alive, so connected.  No object has ever opened so many doors, taught me so much, made me so many friends, become my life as much as this car has.  If I was to sit here to write down every reason I drift my Lexus I would end up writing one of those self-motivation books.

So I’ll spare you the boredom and keep this build thread focused.

6 months after buying her the diff started making a horrible grinding noise and being a “sport” model I feared the LSD was damaged.  So removed it to find out what was wrong.  It was an Open diff that had multiple teeth sitting at the bottom of it hahaha.   So the welder was kicked into life and I got a crash course in welding from youtube and I welded my first ever diff to get her back on the road for work the next day. “ I’ll buy a LSD at the end of the month when I get paid” I thought to myself.

That weekend a local venue was hosting a Jap car meet at their track which I attended.

I thought I have a welded diff I might as well do one skid just to try it before I buy the LSD Diff.

Yeah, that was 4 years and over £16,000 ago… and you guessed it, the LSD never got bought.  Haha!

I drifted her with the standard engine and minimal mods for the first year before I sold my MK4 NA Supra to fund my new habit.

2 years ago the JZ got fitted and much much more.

So Lily Spec list as of 2018 (she is currently off the road getting more done but will update you on that as and when progress is made.)

Thank you for reading and if anything doesn’t make sense drop me a message. I am dyslexic so reading and writing is not one of my strong points so bare with me.

Engine

1JZ-GTE vvti single turbo from a JZS 171 (Toyota Crown)

BOV Delete Panel + Bung

Uprated FMIC

Custom Stainless Steel FMIC piping wrapped in heat reflective gold tape

SFS Green Silicone Hosing

Walbro 255 LPH Fuel Pump

Custom Fuel Lines and Relocated Filter

NGK Spark Plugs

New Engine Plugs from Brands Hatch Performance

Ram Air Filter with custom piping to house MAF

Full Custom 3” stainless Steel Exhaust System

Custom Steering Pump Relocation Pipes and custom cooling panel

JapSpeed Alloy Radiator

3 Electronic Fans (2 on Rad 1 on FMIC)

Drive Train

Mk4 Supra W58 Gearbox

Competition Clutch 6 Puk Sprung Paddle Clutch

Competition Clutch Lightened and Balanced Flywheel

Lexus IS200 Automatic Welded Diff

Suspension + Handling

HSD Mono Coilover struts with Custom Springs

Full Minty Fresh Rega Rox Lock Kit

Eibach 25mm Hubcentric Spacers on the front

Driftworks Adjustable Caster Arms

Full KFD Rear Adjustable Arm kit

Strong Flex Racing Poly Bushes

Interior

Fixed Carbon Kevlar Bucket Seats

TRS 4 Point Racing Harnesses

OBP Hydro Handbrake and OBP Cylinder

Custom Centre Console

Custom Switch panel, Fuse box and Relay holder.

Cusco 6 point Bolt in Roll Cage

Stripped out interior

Hand Held Fire extinguisher

Exterior

C West Front Bumper

Custom “D-Max” Style vented bumper

Aero Catch bonnet Pins

Garage Ascura 45mm wider Full front Fenders

Lexus Sport side skirts.

Sunroof delete panel

Japspeed BGW with Custom extra low Bootlid Mounts

Minty Fresh Carbon Radiator Cooling Panel

Minty Fresh High Level Rear Spoiler

TRS Towing Straps Front and Rear

Custom Intercooler Support Bar

500 Bhp worth of Stickers

Wheels

XXR 527 (front Wheels) = 17×9 et30

Azev Type Bs (Chromes) = 17×10 et 25

Rota GTR (Skid Wheels) = 17×9.5 et35

Thanks to / Sponsors  

City Quay Car Services

Minty Fresh

Death or Glory Appeal

JM Imports