I’ve been a little quiet recently with my blog posts. This is partly because a lot of time has been taken up trying to pinpoint and diagnose a strange noise on Lucy’s Subaru daily.
The other is that any time I so much as think about doing anything to the Skyline the weather turns and forces me back in doors (One day I will have a garage to work in!)
So in the mean time I thought I’d share some of the videos I’ve been watching recently to get me pumped to do some more drifting this year.
The first of these is Joybreak film from Halfway Hangs 6. For those that don’t know what Halfway Hangs is a drifting event and car show rolled into one held by StreetKarnage at Raleigh Raceway and Valla Beach Tourist Park NSW.
Josh Dobrik (Joybreak) appears to have covered these events since the beginning and always does an amazing job of making a film that makes you want to get in your car and drive hard. The latest in this series is no exception!
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.
It’s taken a while for me to get around to writing this post, but its finally here.
What is JAE?
For those who don’t know or haven’t been JAE stands for Japanese Automotive Extravaganza, and it is essentially a weekend long car show where like minded Japanese car enthusiasts from all walks of life congregate for two to three days of food, drink, sunshine, silliness and JDM goodness.
For the past few years, Lucy and I have been in attendance mostly as traders (previously with STLTHY.com) and every year we’ve had a blast! Meeting new people, chatting, drinking and looking at the wide variety of vehicles on show, so we were looking forward to heading back to Peterborough show ground and this year we also had the company of Craig, his S13 and a friend of Craig’s.
On arrival we were already surprised by how empty the venue was, but we put this down to the fact that in previous years there had been an extra day before to allow clubs to head down and get set up. So with that in mind we got our tent set up and got to work setting up the trade stand. Then, as it was getting late in the day we cracked open a couple of cold(ish) ones got some food and chilled out for the evening.
The next morning we got up, got the stand open and lay in wait for ur first customers. Throughout the day, it was surprising just how few people there were walking around the trade area. At first we thought it was just because the weather was so warm that people were lazing around making the most of it, but as the day wore on it became clear that this wasn’t the case.
Evening came and we decided to shut up shop for a bit to get some food and then wander round and have a look at the cars on show. This is when we realised just how much smaller than usual the attendance was. In previous years we would be walking for what seemed hours taking photos and chatting to folk, and looking around all you could see was tents, cars and people. But now there was mostly grass with a small cluster of cars and tents in the middle.
Nevertheless there were still some gorgeous cars on show:
Even the atmosphere from previous years felt different, there was a sense that people didn’t really want to be there or at least if they did they weren’t enjoying it as much as usual. I can’t really explain it but the whole thing just didn’t feel the same as it had done in previous years.
It was a real shame to see a show that was once the highlight of so many car clubs and individuals show calendar reduced to this.
A couple of days ago I went with my better half Lucy to her first drift day down at Santa Pod raceway in Northamptonshire.
As we were making a roughly 300 mile round trip I thought it best to put my newly acquired trailer license to use and tow the car down there. That way if anything went wrong we could still get home to fix it. So I booked a trailer hire from Rothwell Trailers (I highly recommend them!) We got the car, spare wheels and tools loaded up. Set the alarm for 4:45am and hit the sack!
At this point if you’ve been to a drift day yourself, or a car meet, or car show, you know what happens, the alarm goes off way earlier than you’re expecting it to, you get up get out of the house and quick as you can and hit the road, and this is exactly what we did.
The journey down there was pretty straight forward aside from Google Maps deciding to set itself to avoid motorways! That gave us a rather nice view of Nottingham centre!
Once we figured out what was going on we set it to not avoid motorways and got back on our way.
We finally arrived at Pod just before 9:30am and promptly got straight into briefing before unloading the car and getting swapping out the rear wheels. She was ready to do her first skid!
The morning started off pretty much as expected just trying to get her used to the feeling of the car when it breaks traction and then trying to make it break by stabbing the clutch pedal. As the morning progressed she start to get to grips with the car more and more and on a lot of occasions we saw the beginnings of her first donuts.
Lunch time came and we sat and chatted about how she was doing and talking over where she was struggling, the main things were:
What to do once the car has broken traction and the steering wheel has gone to full opposite lock.
To make sure you give it enough throttle to start and just listen to the engine to figure out whether the revs are up high enough.
Not to pay attention to the cones for the time being. While they’re good for learning to control the car around them I Think the fear of hitting them was getting in the way of her learning what to do to get around them.
With these in mind she went back out in the afternoon in the only playpen that didn’t have cones and within minutes she was a completely different driver! To the point that before when she had spun out she would immediately let off the throttle and start again, now she was holding it and letting the car skid and feeling her way around what happens when she turns the wheel while the car is spinning up those rear wheels. Before we knew it she had performed her first successful donut, and then another, and another!
As the afternoon progressed you could see that the frustration of the morning had finally lifted, she was correcting herself where she needed to and most importantly she was having fun thrashing that Laurel around the pens, by the end of it she had not only done enough donuts to restock the local Krispy Kreme but had also performed several figure eights!
For me it was amazing to see her out there for the first time after years of watching me and wanting to have a go herself. I can’t wait for her next drift day to see her progress and who knows one day maybe we’ll be driving together!
If you’re thinking of getting started in drifting in the UK, I would definitely recommend checking out Santa Pod’s DWYB days as they offer fenced off, safe areas for you to get to grips with the cars. However I would also advise caution, if your car is lowered you will more than likely find you spend the day listening to bits of bodykit or exhaust bouncing off the ground just as we did.
After the last drift day I noticed a very strong smell of burning oil, panic set in. thankfully the panic was very short lived as I found the oil leak from the rocker cover half-moons. This was a very annoying find as I have replaced these several times but the high temps in the bay seem to make them go hard. After some digging on eBay I came across some alloy inserts to eliminate the issue for good.
As the rocker cover was going to have to come off I thought I may as well do a different design as the ghost flower pink cover was getting a bit tatty. As a massive fan of MCR factory in japan I wanted to try to for a candy affect. Just to clear it up I am NOT a professional painter by any means I just do it for fun and a challenge. After some Instagram skimming I came across a very cool affect where you polish patterns into the alloy and then paint the candy straight to the surface.
I polished a flame style pattern and then took to the booth to have a go at candy, well candy with pearl and metal flake ohhh and a pink to purple fade. Why do I never start easy……..
My unusual blend of paint was mixed and spraying was well underway. Something I should warn anyone wanting to do it themselves is that the candy additive makes the paint very thin and prone to run so don’t rush (like I did).
The end result was amazing and i was so happy i couldn’t wait to fit it.
When I installed the covers I very quickly noticed that the breathers and wiring covered most of the covers so the battle to hide stuff started. I moved the harness for the intake and injectors down as low as I could and rewrapped them, moved the plugs back so they would tuck down behind the engine and started from scratch with the breathers. Before you know it the whole thing was looking a lot cleaner.
This had given me the bug and something that had been on my mind for a while was next on my list the passenger side front inner arch wiring. It was routed stupidly and was covered in unused plugs. The wiring was stripped back and extra plugs remover then I moved some of the components and routes the wiring along the chassis leg out of sight.
It was time consuming but well worth the effort I will be trying to tuck more wiring in the future and going for a more organised engine bay.
Thanks for reading
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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.
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.)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 my previous post you might remember I mentioned that Lucy and I went on a road trip up to Shildon to pick up a welded diff. What I didn’t mention was what happened when we set off to head home. As we hopped back in the Discovery to come home, I turned on the headlights, first click everything was working normally, the dash lit up and the sidelights came on but when I moved the switch to the second position the headlights came on but the dash lights went out so did the rear lights!
At this point you’re probably thinking “Big deal! just get it home and look at it in the daylight!” This was the plan however not only could I not see what speed I was travelling at, but anyone coming up behind me couldn’t see me until it was too late. Eventually I decided to drive anyway using the rear fog light to illuminate the rear and occasionally using the interior light to check my speed.
This was working fine until we got out into the back end of nowhere and I went to put on the full beams… Everything went black! I couldn’t even see 2 inches in front of my face, whats more I had cars behind me that probably couldn’t see me and were more than likely wondering what the hell I was playing at!
After a bit of fiddling and hoping I was still on the road and not in a field I managed to get the headlights back on long enough to find somewhere to pull over and start investigating. Low and behold after much swearing, checking fuses (none were blown!), and fiddling with the switch I finally managed to get all lights (including the dash) working and we finished our journey home. After a bit more investigating and thinking about the problem, I decided it must be the switch that was the issue, since I managed to get all lights working again eventually just by fiddling with it. So I found a new replacement online and the following weekend I set about fitting it.
The process was relatively straight forward:
First disconnect the battery and leave everything for about 5 minutes. This is to ensure theres no charge still going to the airbag, you don’t want that going off in your face!
Next Remove the trim around the steering column, this can be done by first turning the two plastic screws in the bottom dash panel 1/4 of a turn, folding it down and then unscrewing the three cross head screws in the bottom of the steering column cowling.
Next you will need to turn the steering wheel 90 degrees this is so that you can access the first of the two T30 Torx bolts holding the airbag in place by going in underneath the steering wheel, Once you have unfastened this bolt then rotate the wheel through 180 degrees and do the same for the second bolt. Now put the steering wheel straight again.
Carefully remove the airbag unit and set it down somewhere safe, you don’t want this going off!
Next unfasten the 19mm bolt holding the steering wheel on, trying to make sure your steering wheel stays straight. Then you can unfasten the plastic connector for the wiring in the steering wheel you will need to pop this from its holding bracket first.
Once you’ve done this wind the nut back on a couple of turns and start to pull on the steering wheel. Having the nut in place will stop you from smashing yourself in the face with the wheel (unless you like the broken nose look!) Now you can start to pull on the steering wheel until it comes free, once it gets up to the nut you can then unfasten it completely and move the steering wheel out of the way.
The Switch is held in with two screws and a plastic tang, Remove the screws first then pop the tang with a small, flat screw driver the switch will then pull free and you can unfasten the two electrical connectors on the back.
To fit the new switch simply follow these steps in reverse and you are done. Now you can test your lights.
Over the weekend Lucy and I spent some time prepping her C33 Nissan Laurel for its first EVER drift day.
This wasn’t as difficult as you might think. There are far too many people who think that in order to start drifting you need a million horsepowers, Wisefab all of the things, a full competition spec roll cage and a super expensive LSD among other things. But the truth is you don’t. The only things you really need are:
A bucket seat and harness to hold you in place, there’s nothing worse than trying to maintain control of your car while being thrown around in the seat.
Some coilovers, you probably could use lowering springs but if you’re going to do it you may as well do it right the first time.
A rear wheel drive car, you probably can “drift” your front wheel drive Corsa with the aid of some freshly liberated serving trays from your local Maccies (MacDonalds) but lets be honest, it’s not the same!
A Welded diff.
The Laurel already had most of these things, even though the car came with coilovers already on it we decided to put some fresh HSD coilovers on. We’d already fitted a bucket seat and harness for the driver, the only thing that was missing was the welded diff. After quite a bit of searching we found one for sale on Facebook Marketplace and headed to deepest darkest Shildon to pick it up. We could have welded up the diff that was in the car but since its harder (if not impossible) to get an MOT on a welded diff we decided it would be best to keep the open diff as a spare.
Then the weekend came and it was time to fit it.
This was pretty done pretty much as you would do anything on the underside of a car on your driveway, first chock the front wheels to make sure the car can’t move and crush you, next jack the back of the car up as high as you can get it (in our case we had to take the front bumper off as the car has many lows!) finally secure your car in the air with some axle stands, I placed these under the front bolting points of the rear subframe, the main reason being to keep the car secure but still give me as much room for manoeuvre as possible.
Next we decided to remove the drivers side rear wheel this was just to give us more space to get under the car and move around.
Now that the car was in the air the first thing to do is loosen the bolts holding the driveshaft in place, to do this it helps if you have someone with you otherwise you’ll be getting out from under the car a lot! Get them to put the handbrake on, this helps to keep the shafts from spinning. Unfasten the driveshaft bolts that you can see on either side of the diff, and keep working around, getting your helper to take off and set the handbrake again as you move the shafts around to the next bolt.
Once you’ve got all of the bolts free you should be able to pop the driveshafts out with a bit of force and move them out of the way.
Next is the turn of the prop shaft, there were four bolts here this time we also put the car in gear to stop any movement while getting these unfastened, finally you just have the bolts holding your diff in place and its ready to come out.
Since I already had one I decided to use a transmission jack to take the weight of the diff while I manoeuvred it out of the car, this made it much easier but if you don’t have one you can use a trolley jack, just remember that it isn’t going to be as stable so keep a close eye on it.
Finally, came the fitting of the welded diff, and fitting is quite literally the reverse of the removal, Where possible we used some thread lock on the bolts to ensure they didn’t start working themselves free.
So now the Laurel, and Lucy are ready for their first drift outing!
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.
One of the most common thing you hear in the car scene, “the car scene is dead” well if anyone was going to prove it wrong it was E85.
As everyone knows the winter months really do push cars into hiding, with excessive salt use and dreadful weather it is probably for the best too. That all being said a meet was announced for JANUARY!!!!!!!!!! With much doubt I attended anyway as these meets seem to draw out some rare JDM goodies.
Being one of the first to arrive I had the pleasure of watching the hoards of cars descend on the usually quiet car park. Before I knew it there was a line of cars waiting to get into a car park that was bursting at the seems. Like a scene from the fast and the furious cars revved their engines and played loud music, the event could be heard for miles.
It was only when I stared walking around the true monster showed their face. Feeling like I had just stepped onto the streets of japan I was surrounded with some of the coolest Japanese cars to have ever graced our roads.
From Evo’s to skylines there was a bit of everything but one of the first to really pull me in was a white Nissan s14a.
This car seemed like a lightly modified s14, low with minor body changes that was until you look under the bonnet.
Sporting an rb26 skyline engine this was clearly not your average car. Hats off to the owner this car put most cars to shame tonight and drew some of the biggest crowds.
Although I am a sucker for big RWD cars the Japanese hot hatches brought their A game too. A Suzuki ignis sport parked away from the action really caught my eye, I think its fair to say that these are very underrated sporting a 1.5 engine, bucked seats and a body kit as standard they are a great started car and have a real JDM look.
Several Mazda mx-5s came and went but this one kinda caught my eye with a lightly modified look and an excellent choice of wheels it really did look like a street drift car.
As always there where a few rare cars but the two that got my attention where a volvo(yes I know its not Japanese but its rwd and can drift like a hero) and a rather odd import corolla.
The fun didn’t stop there as far as unusual cars go, have you ever seen a bright yellow Micra with 3 spokes and neon’s ? well you have now!
Whilst we are on the subject of Micra’s I came across this rather clean Micra sporting the death or glory stickers.
Overall E85 drew out some awesome cars for a winter meet and I look forward to the next one.
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.
So after a while of drifting the Skyline with its new look, using and abusing the car on a daily basis (about 18 months), the fibreglass parts had gone through various breakages and fixes, and the paint was starting to look really scruffy. It was time to start thinking about a new look. I could of course go out and buy a new full BN kit, fit it, and paint it purple again, but I wanted to try something a bit different. There were also a number of things that I did the first time around that I wanted to make sure I fixed and did better this time.
So I started looking at options the first thing I wanted was to go back to using metal wings on the front, I did love the look of the fibreglass wings, however they turned out to be not as strong as I first thought they would be, and on several occasions the tyre had caught them and eaten a huge chunk out of them meaning they needed repairing. This could have been down to wheel fitment issues or it could have been down to how the wings were made, who knows? I was foolish enough to give my metal wings away when I took them off so now I had to hunt down some more. After some searching on Facebook and Ebay, I finally found some for sale and arranged to pick them up.
Next I wanted to look at options for new rear over fenders, after some searching I realised that (at the time of looking) I was severely limited on options, as many companies over seas will not ship fibreglass parts since they can sometimes get damaged, so I decided just to cut the destroyed bits off for the time being.
Next was the side skirts, I would have liked some Type M skirts but they’re rarer than rocking horse poop, and the ones that are available either need too much work to make them useable again, or have been hit hard with the scene tax bat! So I decided to go down the aftermarket route again, I really liked the Vertex side skirts, however, it soon became clear that nobody had any for sale and many places that did previously sell them were not stocking them anymore.
In fact it seemed that the only aftermarket skirts you could find in the UK at this point were BN. Thankfully there was a glimmer of hope for something a little bit different, I had emailed EPR about some Vertex side skirts and when they replied they as expected did not have any were not getting anymore in stock, but they did have one pair of DMAX side skirts left in stock. So after some discussion I agreed to buy them.
But what about the front and rear bumpers? You can find out about those and more that happened next, here.
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.
For a long time I’d been wanting to get some form of aftermarket exhaust on the car to try and help it flow a little better but also because I wanted to hear the disticntive RB20 sound. I spent a lot of time looking at options and basically being told that nothing was going to fit the NA engine. So the next route was custom, this was a bit of an eye opener to be honest as I think I must have asked about 5 different people/places and was given quotes ranging anything from £250 to £1000 just for a catback exhuast making, I knew I wanted a shotgun tail pipe so I eventually settled on the cheapest option and had an exhaust made.
One thing the guy making my exhaust probably shouldn’t have said to me at the time (and probably SHOULD have said beforehand) was that it was his first time making a full exhaust! EEP! However when your stock exhaust has been cut off and he’s half way through building a new one its a bit late to turn back. So I had the exhaust made and overall it looked good! and sounded really nice, however it was also REALLY loud so in the end I had a silencer welded into it, so now it looks good, sounds good and is much quieter but not as quiet as stock.
Next I managed to find an unused Type 2 BN sports front bumper on eBay for an extremely cheap price so I made arrangements to go pick it up, and yes a BN front bumper will fit inside a Skyline and still be driveable.
I was also having some scrubbing issues on the stock front wings and since they’d already been rolled I decided it would probably be safest to get some wider than stock fibreglass wings.
Once I got the wings and the front bumper fitted up I fell head over heels in love with the look of the car! even without paint it looked the dogs danglies.
So now the front looked good but what about the back? Well luckily Knight Racer was just up the road from where I lived so I nipped up and grabbed a BN Sports rear bumper from them.
Once fitted I loved how the car was looking! The only problem was that now the poor thing was looking more patchwork than ever.
I could have saved up my pennies and got it the paint job it deserved, but instead I failed hard and went down the graffiti paint/rattle can route. Well, what I actually mean by failing hard is that when I first did the paint job it looked good but it didn’t take long for it to start looking tatty.
Still I was going to drift it and no doubt scrape it so no problem right?
After a battle for the full month before getting the car ready for the event I bolted on the last few parts the night before the event. As if it wasn’t scary enough drifting my pride and joy I was taking a car I built in the street to an event with NO testing at all, what could go wrong?
I will get it over and done with, I crashed….. Not once, not twice but 3 times. I am by no means a pro drifter but I consider myself quite familiar with Teesside but I was in for a shock, the combination of the new setup and extremely slippy surface got the better of me. After the first big crash into the tyre wall I thought my luck was on the up so I tied the national/bdc track to find my 3rd gear entry confidence far outweighed my skill and I did some off-roading. At this point I knew things had to change so back to the pits I went.
If you’re new to drifting this is the best advice I could ever give you, TYRE PRESSURE. As I had struggled massively with grip I lowered the front pressure to 18psi and the rears to 40psi. A few small adjustments to the rear toe and I was back on track and the car was starting to find its stride.
My confidence in the car had grown and that’s when I had strike 3. I came up the hill on west track on a rather spicy lap a lot wider than I should have washed off the track, as soon as all 4 wheels were on the grass I was a passenger and into the tyre bail I went. Unlike my first meeting with the wall the car came off really well no damage.
Now at this point your thinking give up whilst your cars intact, so that’s exactly what I did. Well I needed the toilet so I came off track emptied the tank and went straight back too it ha.
Every lap after that I bonded more with the car pushing it harder every lap until another driver with a beautiful red sr powered s13 asked if I wanted to try some twinning. I paused when he asked but knew that’s what I came here to do so nervously agreed the first 3 laps where absolutely dreadful and that’s putting it nicely my timing was all over. after a pep talk from my mate Connor I tried again but this time I tried drifting as if he was not there and I worked I couldn’t believe it I was drifting on track with another s13 and a driver I really looked up to. I think forgetting about him helped build my confidence then when I believed in myself the hunt was on.
The reality is I have an underpowered car (shocked face) so chasing that sr powered monster was going to be a challenge for me but I gave it my best shot. I managed several good laps with him before disaster struck…….Powering up the hill a massive bang and the car died it sounded like a rod had ejected my poor little CA. I limped it back to the pit opened the bonnet expecting to see my piston but nothing, no oil, no broken bits what had happened. Thankfully a boost pipe had evacuated the dance floor it was a nice easy fix and I was back at it again in now time.
During my down time fixing the car a new challenge had presented itself the sun had gone and I was surrounded in darkness. Now don’t get me wrong I have slid my car around in the dark but I had never initiated a drift at over 60mph in the pitch black. For the record your car lights are totally useless as soon as you’re sideways the track you need to see is no longer illuminated. That being said it was by far one of the most exciting challenge I had ever faced.
When you read this your probably thinking it sounded like a bit of a stressful day which don’t get me wrong it really was but I must say it was by far the most challenging but fun day I have ever had.
If you ever get the chance to do NYE at Teesside you really should it is like no other drift day and will test your skill in so many ways
I have uploaded a small video of my car during the day follow the link to see how I got on.
photo credit to: ADimages (on instagram and facebook)
So now that the Skyline had a different look what was next? More seat time? Don’t be silly! I could have and SHOULD have got myself booked onto another drift day at Pod but partly because it was at the time of year when Santa Pod stop all DWYB days in favour of the various car shows they hold, and partly because my tiny brain was listening to every man and his dog about “what my car needed next”.
Over the course of a few months until Santa Pod reinstated the DWYB days I started buying and fitting various adjustable arms starting with front adjustable camber arms (I didn’t need these as I already had enough camber on the front from the extended Lower control arms) because I felt I needed more control over how much camber I was running.
I added adjustable camber arms to the rear, I did need these as being a low powered car I needed to reduce the amount of grip on the rear to help it break traction.
Finally I replaced the already good enough extended front LCA’s with adjustable LCA’s (big mistake!!) at the time I thought I was doing myself a favour, now I realise I wasn’t I was simply making life harder for myself. After all this faffing around I got the car professionally aligned and everything was fine for a time.
While I was making these changes I was keeping an eye out online for a GTR bonnet (hood if you’re from ‘Merica) as I knew they were lighter than the GTS version and I also really like the look of them. One day, I got a message from a friend with a link to one for sale on Ebay and for really cheap! Whats more it was only an hours drive from where I lived, so I had to have it!
It had already been modified with Nismo style vents and at least from the photos looked like it had been done well. The problem was how was I going to get it home? I didn’t have a van, or anything that could transport it, so with a lot of rope and some knot tieing my cub scout leader would have been proud of I ended up driving home in the dead of night with the GTR bonnet strapped to the existing bonnet of my car.
Sadly the cold light of day revealed that the bonnet modifications weren’t as well executed as first thought. The hole sadly looked like it had been cut with a butter knife and the edges of the vent panel hadn’t been trimmed down at all. Still I fitted it to the car anyway with a view to tidying it up later.
However, it appeared that the universe had other ideas, while cleaning the car at the jet wash one day I found yet another poor execution on the offending bonnet… the paintwork! As I was spraying away with the jet wash hose I noticed that the paint was coming away in large chunks to reveal not one, but two colours underneath!
So the decision was taken to remove the GTR bonnet and replace the GTS bonnet for the time being.
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
So now that I had three drift days under my belt whats next? Well this is where things start to go a bit mental!
Ever since I bought the car, the one thing I didn’t like was the rust around the rear arches. There were two options to deal with this as far as I could see:
Have all the rust cut out, and replaced with fresh metal professionally, then have most of the rear end resprayed.
Have the rear arches tubbed, getting rid of the rust and then install fibrelgass overfenders.
The first option would cost the most and since I was now drifting the car it didn’t really make sense financially to fork out for all that work when I would potentially smash it up again at some point in the future.
The second option was less costly especially since I had/have a welder in the family, and would mean that I can change out the fibreglass overfenders whenever they were too far gone to be repaired again.
So I got my brother in law around and he set to work chopping out the rot around the arches, tubbing the rear arches for extra clearance and then he helped me install the overfenders I had bought from Kinzuru.
Next I decided to fit the Type 2 BN sports side skirts that I had also recently bought. They were pretty simple to install, I held them up to the side of the car with tape while I made sure the fit was correct and then drilled and riveted them on.
This was my first mistake, to anyone who fits side skirts, remember you need to be able to take them off from time to time especially if you, like me work on your car mostly on your driveway. If you don’t remove then you will only end up pulling and catching yourself on them until they inevitably start to break around the rivet… I really didn’t think that through!
I also had a set of rear spats from Kinzuru, and after fitting them, the rear end looked much more complete.
The next issue was the front, as now that I had the skirts fitted there was a step up between the stock front bumper and the skirts, making the lines of the car look a little weird. Thankfully I had bought a Type 1 BN (or at least this is what I was told) replica bumper from Kinzuru so now was the time to fit it!