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.

Events & on track

BDC RD3 masterclass, or redemption?

Day 1.

When I wrote the last blog about round 1 I was also very excited at the thought of seeing the championship land in Sunderland for round 3 but there was a catch.

As the date crept in closer a worry set in, no venue was announced would the event get cancelled? Then as if they could read my mind the post came up….. BDC would now be held at Teesside for round 3. I love Teesside for drifting and in my eyes it is the home of British drifting so although it’s further away I couldn’t complain.

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I now had a chance to see if there was progress in the future for BDC. I would see how much had changed since round 1.

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Where do I start, well I guess from the start, sadly I didn’t make it to the practiced day but I was up bright and early on Saturday for pro Am. when I arrived it was clear someone had been reading the last post the trade section was full of life and well actually, it was full in general. It had a variety of stalls including Driftnuts/Project touge, Walton motorsport (which felt like a real shop this time), Ratrap and BDC merch. That wasn’t all the trade area had many cars on display which filled the voids and made it feel like it flowed well. The music from the RC track and the live stream playing at Walton motorsport stall made the area seem more alive.

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So overall the improvement hadn’t been drastic but it was a big step in the right direction.

Right down to the action

It’s no secret I was hoping to see Ian Rutherford do well and I was in for a treat but before that we had the pleasure of seeing some drivers put it all on the line.

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The day wasn’t without its victims Jolene was one of the first to fall from grace after putting in excellent runs during practice and fighting gearbox issues it seemed she was going to be a worthy contender but it all went downhill with a bang on Southbank as her diff give up the go (insert hello darkness my old friend song).

William Hanna was soon to follow retiring for unknown reasons it was a real shame to not see these drivers in battle.

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Another return for this round was team battles. As a spectator this was a nice addition, hopefully in time more teams will take part. Sadly although the team runs were fun to watch they held a heavy price for Nerijus Voliukevicius seeing his skyline burst into flames at the end of the run. Thankfully the fire was put out fast but meant he wouldn’t make it to his battle with Maciek Blazejewski.DSC_0892

Throughout the day the new comer Maciek ran a nice high line round southbank which helped see off the competition and put him in contention for his first podium. Veterans of the sport would not make the fight easy as Ian Rutherford and karl Farrar also landed into in the battle for a podium.

The day ended seeing new comer Maciek land in a well deserved 3rd, Ian 2nd and karl 1st. It was fantastic to see Ian end the day on the podium as a regular at Teesside.

Day 2.

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After an impressive day 1 it seemed the bar had well and truly been stepped up. Practice went well and was rather uneventful seeing most drivers take a safe approach. The weather had been fantastic up until qualifying then it all went wrong…………….

The track turned into a pool and most people ran for cover in the driftnuts tent.DSC_0860

Thankfully the rain was short lived and action was back underway after using the drift cars to dry the track.

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As the drifting got back underway we had the pleasure of seeing drivers of days gone including Sweeps the founder of BDC, the king of style Alex Law and fast and furious Scotty. Although there weren’t many returning faces it defiantly gave BDC the feeling that a void had been filled. Hopefully the team at BDC will continue to invite drivers back.

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The real heroes of drifting.

The staff at BDC had kindly gave me pit access for this event so as qualifying wrapped up I headed to the pits to see what was happening. Something that is overlooked by many is the people that keep the cars on track and I wanted to catch a small look into the hard work of the teams.

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As teams ran to each others aid many cars sat in what appeared to be a state of disrepair.DSC_0334

Sadly no matter how good the team were some cars sadly did not manage to make it back out but in amazing fashion some seemed to perform miracles bringing the monsters back from the dead.

Time for war

Onto battles it went sadly the low origin got bumped out in qualifying but the battles had some heavy hitters paired up early on. Sadly one of my favourites Martin Wonnacott got knocked out prematurely after a tough battle and destroying the rear of he car on the final wall …. again, poor car

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I think it is fair to say something had happened since round 1 the level of driving had really hit another level, at the start of the year I thought it would be a walk in the park for Aurimas but many driver had really brought the fight

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The man on a mission was Ricky Lawrence fighting off many big names and eventually battling it out in the final to see off Aurimas for first place.

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Redemption?

Well many companies ask their customers what they need to change and they clearly don’t listen was BDC the same?

As amazing as it seems the staff at BDC really had stepped up and cover absolutely everything mentioned in the previous blog.

Everything from the trade area, old school drivers and even the commentators had all been stepped up.

If the BDC keeps up this standard and still builds on it there will be a promising future.

Driver spotlight

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How can you not love this car really? With a real JDM feel and a nice reminder of Ken Nomura’s D1GP car Lee Barker has been around for a few years and is a big fan favourite and I must admit having a death or glory sticker on his car defo makes me love it more.

Sadly Lee was knocked out earlier on in the day but with a consistent driving style and the confidence to run the wall he is a driver to watch in the future.

Go follow his drifting https://www.facebook.com/leebarkerdrifting/

Big thanks to the BDC for the pit pass and see you all at another event keep up the good work

Words and pictures by Craig (Project Thirteen)

Thanks for reading

Events & on track

JAE 2018

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.

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 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

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