If you’ve seen any of my previous posts, you will more than likely know that since taking ownership of the Laurel, I’ve been struggling with getting it in a running state. First it turned out the turbo was in need of some TLC, which Midlands Turbo rebuilt and upgraded for me. Then it seemed like I had head gasket failure… I say seemed, I might go into that later in this post.
After running a bunch of compression and leak tests I decided that the head gasket needed changing. Was I going to send the car off somewhere to get it done? Or tackle it myself? Ever since I’ve started messing around with cars I was always of the mindset of “it’s always worth having a go yourself first” the reason being that its a learning experience, you might succeed and have the satisfaction of knowing you did all that work yourself, or you might fail and have to send it somewhere to get it repaired professionally, safe in the knowledge that you at least tried.
Before I continue this isn’t going to be a step by step guide to replacing the head gasket on an RB so if thats what you’re looking for I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place.
I thought it would be good as someone who tackled something as big as this and succeeded to go over some of the things that helped me get through it and eventually succeed.
1. A garage or unit will always help.
This seems pretty self explanatory, but as someone who just did this job on his driveway I can say first hand that I would more than likely have had this done a lot sooner if I’d had shelter to work under, the car had been on axle stands since last November.
The only reason for this was because just as I was ready to start tearing down the engine the weather turned rubbish. So naturally I had to wait for good weather before I could do anything.
2. Take lots of photos.
I’m not talking about updating your instagram or Facebook here, although you could use them for that. Taking photos as you take everything apart will help you remember how things go back together when you come to the rebuild.
It may be that you have to wait a couple of weeks (or if the weather turns rubbish, months) to do the rebuild by which time unless you’re mega mind you’re probably not going to remember all the little bits and pieces.
I think there were at least three occasions during the rebuild that I had found I had either left over bolts or a piece that was supposed to be put in before something else and had to back track.
3. Label and bag EVERYTHING!!
This might seem self explanatory, but it was a real big help to me. Get a bunch of ziplock sandwich bags and a sharpie and as you take bolts or brackets off write on the bag where they came from and put them inside. When going this far down into an engine you’ll find that the same size and thread pitch of bolts can possibly fit in different places but might not be long enough or short enough. It might seem a bit anal to label everything but trust me, its worth it!
4. Friends are key.
Again this one might sound like something you should already know, but its thanks to the advice of people who had done this job before (not necessarily on the same engine) that made me feel like I could even attempt it. You may pick up some little tips or tricks along the way, in my case I had a local long time friend who had rebuilt a number of engines including his Pinto engine in his MK2 Escort, so he was my first port of call. I also had some advice from guy who wasn’t local to me but I knew from the drift scene who was well versed in the ways of the RB who gave me some handy tips and tricks as well as invaluable knowledge of the different components on the engine. There was always one eagle eyed guy that spotted I was missing a dowel in the block of the engine when I posted a photo of me starting to put it back together.
5. The internet doesn’t always know best.
This point sounds like it might go against what I said in my previous point but go with me on this one. Along the way I must have had countless comments and messages from people telling me I should do this and that, or upgrade X or Y while I was stripping down the engine. Before you even start to attempt something like this make sure you have a clear game plan in your head of what you want to achieve.
For me the main and only goal was to rebuild the engine with a better head gasket and better studs, the turbo was already solid after a rebuild and I was adamant that I wasn’t chasing a horsepower figure. I just wanted to be able to get back out on the road, get a feel for the car (since I’ve only had a couple of goes in it while my wife owned it!) and get some seat time on track!
Yet various people seemed to think that I should be replacing injectors, fuel pumps, cams, valve springs, and even the freshly rebuilt turbo while I had the engine apart, if I had done these things at the same time not only would I have had to re-mortgage my house in order to pay for it all, I most likely wouldn’t have had the car finished this side of Christmas!
The only people I did listen to in the end on social media, was a certain Mr. Drift Crash (go check out his YouTube channel) who actually saved me money by persuading me to stick with a two piece propshaft instead of going to a one piece, and a couple of guys (sorry I can’t remember your names) who recommended tools to me.
5. Don’t set yourself unreasonable deadlines.
I see it on the internet all the time, someone breaks something on their car and instead of focussing on fixing it and making sure its fixed they focus on getting it to the next drift day, meet, or car show. So what if you’re going to miss an event or two because you’re fixing something that broke. The only reason you would do this is because you want to be seen and made popular on social media.
All you’re doing by going down this route is putting unnecessary stress on yourself. Focus on the task at hand and don’t give yourself a due date.
This kind of harks back to my previous point about friends. But this time I’m talking about your loved ones.
In my case my wife was super supportive through out she helped where she could, and was always on hand to pick me up when I felt defeated, granted I might have thrown a few tools around the garden too, but her words and help gave me the the confidence to carry on and not give up, even when I thought I was in over my head.
Since the weather turned wintery it has been difficult to get outside and figure out why the RB is still mixing coolant and oil.
Thankfully, last weekend a chance finally arose as the skies stayed clear, so I got out there and after bolting the turbo back on (so that none of the coolant or oil lines were left open!) I did a pressure test on the engine.
A pressure test is pretty much as it states, you pressurise the cooling system of your engine and if the pressure stays constant you’re more than likely okay (or looking in the wrong place), but if you see pressure loss you have a leak somewhere.
The coolant pressure test kit comes with a variety of different radiator caps and fittings as well as a hand pump, I found the correct sized cap for my radiator, fitted it, connected the pump and then started pumping to the required pressure.
I left everything for long enough to make a brew and when I came back, sure enough, I had lost pressure.
After leaving it a bit longer it continued to lose pressure after double-checking all of the lines to make sure there were no leaks.
This confirmed my suspicion that the head gasket was probably due for replacing (or worse that there may be a crack in the head somewhere.)
Following on from my last post you might remember that after finding the turbo had started spewing fluids I had sent it off to Midland Turbo for a rebuild.
The turn around by these guys was epic! it took them just 4 days to inspect, rebuild and send the unit back to me. As part of the rebuild I had requested that the internals be upgraded to steel instead of the stock ceramics. This meant that in order or run the turbo safely after the rebuild I would need to ensure more oil flow to the turbo, this meant either drilling out the restrictor in the banjo bolt that mounts the oil feed to the block, or buying a kit from Conceptua Tuning that replaces the stock oil line and fittings. I opted to buy the kit as I didn’t really want to run the risk of not making a decent job of drilling out the bolt.
Re-installing the turbo felt pretty straight forward, first loosely fitting the water lines, then the oil return line, then the down pipe and finally bolting the whole lot up to the manifold. However there was one problem… In my wisdom I thought it was a good idea to bolt the oil feed to the block before doing anything else. This meant that when it came to bolting and tightening the line on the turbo it got a bit tangled. the only option was to unbolt it from the block unravel it and then bolt it back up again.
However when I went to unbolt the banjo bolt, it snapped!
All I can think is that I must have over tightened it for worrying about it leaking. I tried getting it out without having to take everything off again but it was just too tight, its possible the new banjo bolt supplied with the kit was longer and so when I wound it in, it bottomed out on the block. thankfully after messaging a few people my good friend Ste appeared on the driveway (a bit like a mechanic genie!) and after welding a nut to the end of the bit of the bolt sticking out he managed to wind it all out.
Then, we set to work putting everything back together again, this time however we had to drill out the restrictor in one of the stock banjo bolts… the one thing I was trying to avoid by purchasing the kit!
Thankfully Ste has a steady hand for stuff like this and managed it pretty easily.
Once everything was back together it was time to start priming the system by un plugging the ignitor block and turning the key so that the engine turned over and pumped oil around everything without actually firing.
This also helped us see that in being wary about overtightening the oil feed again, I had not tightened it enough, so I nipped it up again.
After that there was just one thing to do… start it! She fired first time and aside from a noise coming from the timing belt (next job on the list!) she sounded mint, there was no smoke from the exhaust but a fair bit of the remaining milkshake from the turbo dying did get ejected. I can’t wait to test it out properly at the next drift day, I’m actually getting excited for November!!
I would like to say a massive thank you to Midland Turbo for all their hard work with rebuilding the turbo, the guys were extremely helpful and answered any questions I had. If you’re in the UK and in need of a turbo rebuild or even an upgrade, I would definitely recommend these guys!
Also a huge thanks to my better half Lucy for all her help and for being quick enough to dodge flying spanners when I realised I’d snapped that bolt! And finally again a massive thanks to Ste for turning up when he did and helping to fix my mess!
If you read my last post, I was rushing to make the Laurel ready for the August bank holiday drift day at Teesside. Sadly all my effort was in vain, We got the to the drift day just fine, but no sooner had I paid up and signed on, than I was getting my money back and packing up again.
What happened? Well, it started just as we were unloading the car from the trailer, I backed it off with no issues, parked the Laurel up next to the trailer in readiness to set up my pit area. I’d left the car idling so as to get it warmed up, when I noticed something, there was an unusual amount of smoke coming from the exhaust. I gave the engine a few blips and sure enough I created a smoke screen that engulfed the road behind where I had set up my pit. Not good!!
What do I do now? Run it anyway and risk plunging all of Teesside Autodrome into a dense fog?
While there are many out there that would probably have sent it regardless, I’m not that way inclined, the thought of ruining a drift day for others is not something I ever want to do.
So, feeling slightly dejected I headed to the office, got my money back (thankfully there was a queue of reserves waiting!), loaded the car back onto trailer and headed home.
Once home and unloaded it was time to try and diagnose the problem. The first thing I checked was whether there was mayo forming, if you haven’t done this before its a pretty simple test all you need to do is remove the oil filler cap and check it, if you have something that looks like mayonnaise on it, this is usually a sign that coolant is making its way into the engine and mixing with the oil.
the next thing I decided to do was a compression test, this proved inconclusive as all 6 cylinders results were very close (around 150psi).
Then I decided to drop the engine oil and coolant from the engine to see if there were any signs of the two mixing, both looked fine, dirty, but otherwise fine.
However I hadn’t yet done a sniff test, so this meant I had to fill the engine with oil and coolant again (don’t worry I put fresh in just to be sure!)
The sniff test also proved inconclusive the fluid didn’t change colour. Finally after talking with a friend I decided to pull the intercooler piping off to see if there was any sign of oil or coolant in the pipes. It was just as I popped the coupler for the pipe going from the turbo to the intercooler off that this happened…
Sure enough there was fluid in the piping! As I took the rest of the piping and the intercooler off, the extent of the problem became clearer. Every piece of pipe I removed dribbled fluid from it, then I finally looked at the turbo itself. It was easy to see where all this fluid had come from:
So now I know what the problem is, what now?
As I write this, I’ve already removed the turbo and sent it off for a rebuild with Midland Turbo. They will be refreshing all seals and upgrading the ceramic internals with steel. I’ve also booked myself onto the next drift day at Teesside on 4th November, as I’m determined to get at least one full drift day before the end of the year!
Will I make it? Will I get to do a skid in the Laurel this year? Watch this space!
So Since taking ownership of the Laurel, what’s been happening?
Well, I wanted to get it to a drift day ASAP, I’m not one for hanging around but at the same time there were a few things that needed adressing before I could take it out on track.
Following the coilpack issues with the Skyline I decided to treat the RB in the Laurel to some new coil packs in the form of Yellow Jackets coilpacks. The installation was extremely simple, just unbolt the old ones and bolt in these, I also replaced the spark plugs for good measure.
While I was working in the engine bay I decided to do a little bit of tidying up starting with addressing the tatty looking rocker covers, they looked like they’d had something spill on them removing most of the paint at some point in the past, so while the engine is apart why not!
I had some spray paint knocking around in the shed so after a good clean and scuff I hit them with a few coats of high temp paint, followed by some fancy sparkle flake stuff I had knocking around and finally a few coats of clear lacquer before replacing the gaskets with new and re-fitting them.
Once the rocker covers had been refitted I realised that the cam cover now looked scruffier than ever, so that was the next thing to get the tidy up treatment.
Then it was time to do a bit of simplifying, as when we initially fitted a catch can there were a bunch of pipes that needed plugging, one of these pipes no longer went anywhere and so could be removed, it was weleded to another pipe that’s still needed so I broke out the angle grinder and got choppy! Sadly I forgot to take photos of this bit!
Since we first got the car it had had an aftermarket grounding kit fitted to it, this thing looked messy but at the time we didn’t want to touch it, it was working ant thats all that mattered. Sadly as time went on we found that were coming up against other problems that could be caused by bad grounding.
After a bunch of fixes that worked temporarily I decided it was time to remove the grounding kit (which by the way had two out of five of the ground wires going back to the negative terminal on the battery!) and try to find the source of the issue.
It didn’t take long, while I was working on the hot side of the engine I found the remains of a factory ground strap going from the top of the manifold to the chassis it had snapped near the manifold, I jumped online and bought a replacement and that sorted it.
It made sense while I was working in that area to finally delete the charcoal cannister too, doing this seems to be common on most drift and performance Jap cars and its a surprisingly easy job to do.
Now that the engine was back together, it was time to turn my attention to the interior. At the last drift day the gauges for oil temp, water temp and oil pressure stopped working, I was initially hoping that that sorting the grounding issues on the car would fix this too but it didn’t! Thankfully this was another issue where it didn’t take long to find the root cause.
The power for these gauges was taken from the switched power on the cigarette lighter, and the fuse for the lighter had blown so replacing the fuse fixed the gauges too. At some point I will find a better location to get switched power for these gauges but for now at least until after I’ve been to the track I’ll leave things as they are.
I also tried to get the stereo working again but sadly this wasn’t happening, I’m not sure why it isn’t working as its getting power so must be a grounding issue but all my attempts to ground it were a failure. Thankfully having music isn’t a must for a drift day.
After a bit of tidying up it was time to fit the new seats, I’d had these sitting around since they had first been released, I was originally going to fit them to the Skyline but when I decided to let that go I just HAD to keep them for the Laurel instead. I’m talking of course about my Shirts Tucked In (https://store.shirtstuckedin.com/) bucket seats.
I don’t think I need to talk about how I fitted the seats as most have fitted a bucket seat at some point. I was surprised, however at just how much these brightened up the interior! Coupled with my Yashio Factory harness bought from Otaku Garage they look amazing!! I really need to get a second one of these harnesses at some point for the passenger side!
So now the car is ready to take to the track, it doesn’t have a body kit yet, so to some its going to look a bit like a missile car but thats only temporary! The main thing is I start getting to grips with driving this thing hard!
Firstly apologies, I have been quiet on the blog lately. This has been for a number of reasons, some are website and product related (new stuff coming soon!), the main reason is what I am about to discuss.
Following the Rogue Concept as you may remember from my previous blog post, the Skyline had developed a misfire. This turned out to be a coil pack issue, and mostly my own fault. Since I had started drifting nobody ever told me that it’s a good idea to remove the coil pack cover to make sure the coils don’t overheat. I did often wonder why so many drift cars had their coils exposed but I guess it just never clicked.
Anyway the coils have now been replaced and the Skyline is working well again, good time!
While I was working on fixing the Skyline, Lucy asked me if I wanted the Laurel, I knew instantly why she was asking this… she was thinking about getting a new project.
We have a rule in our house that neither of us is allowed more than one project car at a time, mainly because we don’t want our home looking like a scrap yard. So what would this mean if I did take the Laurel? after discussing it with her the deal was that if I took the Laurel I would need to sell the Skyline, and the money from the sale of the Skyline would go towards Lucy’s next project. That’s fair, I mean neither of us have money coming out of our ears.
But did I want to sell the Skyline? When I first got this car it was a learning curve, both in terms of drifting and spannering on it. In the (almost) five years I’ve owned it, it has been amazing and has taken everything I have thrown at it. It has helped me understand how the changes I make affect how the car handles, in some cases how they have improved things and in other cases where I have made things worse and as a result had to revert them. The big thing for me though was that I always wanted one of these cars (but not an NA).
When I first bought this car, it was between this one and a four door GTST that was in Ireland for the same price! I did kind of have my heart set on the four door as it was everything I was looking for, but the guy selling it took 6 months to come back to me about whether or not it was still up for sale (it was!!) by which time I’d settled on this NA beauty. Yes it was NA but at the time turbo engines were still reasonably priced so had I levelled up quick enough I could save and do a turbo upgrade at a later date.
As time went on the prices of RB’s started to increase and as a result I decided to just focus on pushing myself as far as I could with the NA, until I could go no further.
Then at the beginning of this year, Lucy decided she wanted to learn to drift… with the Laurel, so we got it ready and took it to Santa Pod so she should start off using the play pens. I had a few goes in the Laurel too and immediately fell in love with how amazing the turbo RB felt, and how well the Laurel skidded, so much so that when I was struggling to get the Skyline ready for Rouge Concept, Lucy was trying to get me to take the Laurel in its place if I couldn’t get the skyline ready.
So did I want the Laurel? Well, from the first day Lucy brought it home, I said to her that if she ever decided to get something else I would take it off her. Now I was in a position to do so it was a lot to consider. Yet there was something extremely inviting about having a project I could pretty much start from scratch.
Granted it had already had some mods done, for instance we updated the suspension to HSD’s and we’d fitted a welded diff, but other than that there hadn’t been a huge amount done. It also had some interesting… niggles that needed addressing, such as some bad earthing issues that caused the gauges mounted on the dash to stop working at random points.
There is also the fact that the Laurel is a four door, and the Skyline I wanted before the one I actually bought was a four door! What’s more it’s a bit different, there aren’t many Laurel’s in the UK at the moment and it’s always nice to have something interesting.
So it is, that the time has come for me to let the Skyline go. At the time of writing this post I have done what’s needed to prepare the car for sale, and have even accepted a deposit on the car, pending an MOT.
As dumb as it sounds I will be sad to see the Skyline go, but I know it’s going to a good home, and it will free up my time to focus on making the Laurel everything I want it to be and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thankfully the rain was short lived and action was back underway after using the drift cars to dry the track.
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.
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.
As teams ran to each others aid many cars sat in what appeared to be a state of disrepair.
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
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
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.
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.
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
Ever since I first started drifting, Driftland had been a bit of a goal for me.
I knew I had to drift there at some point and in 2018 I was offered a chance to do just that by taking part in the Rogue Concept charity event organised by good friend Ewan Stark. Sadly this didn’t end up happening as a couple of days before the event the engine of my beloved Skyline started to get a bit “tappy”. Thankfully it turned out to only be the water pump, however this was only discovered after the event.
So as you can imagine when he asked me earlier this year if I’d like to take part again I jumped at the chance!
I picked up a trailer from Rothwell Trailers early Friday morning, and headed home. When I arrived the Land Rover started to die and wouldn’t start up again. After some discussion with a friend of mine and a close examination of the fuel receipt from the petrol station that morning. I realised in my half asleep state I had picked up the wrong pump nozzle and filled the truck with petrol instead of diesel. At this point I started getting a strange sense of deja vu, was I ever going to get up to one of these events?!?
Thankfully my friend Ste came round and helped me drain the tank before filling it with Diesel after which, the truck fired right up! Crisis averted!
I then got the car loaded on the trailer, and got the Disco packed with all the necessary tools, wheels etc. and I along with my better half Lucy and our dog Benji were on our way.
There’s no denying the journey up to our hotel for the night was long but nevertheless it was so picturesque, and the roads were so quiet!
The next morning we had an early start, albeit not as early as other drift day mornings! We arrived at the track for 8:30am and got straight to work preparing the car for the day ahead.
Shortly after briefing, where we learned the layout for the morning ahead, it was time to hit the track!
Track time was split into 5 minute sessions for a maximum of 6 cars at a time. As it was my first time driving here I wanted to get straight out and get a feel for the track. My first session didn’t quite go to plan, Somehow, even though I had checked them before going out I had way more pressure in the tyres than I wanted so I spent the majority of the first session spinning! Although I did manage a couple of half decent skids despite holding up those on track with me!
After I’d been back to the pits to correct my tyre pressures (and a quick pep talk from Ewan), I headed back out for my second session, this time the car felt much better as far as grip was concerned, and I managed a few more decent skids (as well as the car stalling on one spin out and not start for what felt like forever!, this caused me to get a telling off by the marshals when I got off track.)
After this run I had a better understanding of what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do for my next session so I headed straight back out. Sadly this time, it seemed everyone else’s turn to impede me, every time I got ready for the big corner, someone had already spun just in front so I only managed a few skids on the tighter corners at the bottom of the track.
After a break and a drink I headed back out determined to push myself harder than ever! Sadly the Skyline had other ideas and as I initiated for the big corner… nothing happened, I just carried on driving straight on!
What was wrong? I tried a skid on the tight corners and it felt like either the clutch was slipping or I was only spinning one wheel (impossible unless my diff had become an open diff again??)
I headed back to the pits and it was making a number of strange noises, from a ticking noise that sounded like it was coming from the back of the engine when revved (which disappeared shortly after!) to the engine sounding lumpy at best. I let it cool for a bit as it was nearly lunch time.
During the lunch break all cars were due to be out on the track for a meet and greet type thing/photoshoot. I drove the Skyline down and it sounded okay again… strange! So I thought well I’ve got a trailer so if the worst happens I can still get it home, so as soon as lunch was over and afternoon briefing was over I headed straight back out!
I tried initiating in the tight turns and as I was expecting it to still not be working I spun! “Great!” I thought, “it’s working again, lets go!” so I accelerated towards the big turn initiated and …. nothing.
I took myself off track and as I sat in the pit talking to Lucy, the car started to idle really lumpy! Sadly this was the end of my day, I wasn’t prepared to keep going out, knowing full well that I was just getting in people way and if I hadn’t fixed it I would just be a moving roadblock for them. So I packed up and hung out with Lucy and Benji for a bit watching everyone else smashing it around the track.
You might think that after so much effort and preparation I would be feeling down hearted about the whole thing, and I will say there have been times in the past where I have come away from a drift day feeling frustrated and beating myself up for various things, but this time it’s the complete opposite!
For the first time I have come away from a drift day with a clear idea of where I was going wrong, and what I can do to improve. But what about the car? Well as a drifter its an occupational hazard, cars break some times especially when you’re beating on them at the track, thats exactly why I got my trailer license, so that if it did happen I was safe, As soon as I get a dry day I will diagnose the issue with the car and fix it, if it needs a new engine so be it, it will take longer before I can get back on track but, if thats what it takes. I’m fine with that!
The other thing that has stopped me from having a downer on the whole thing was the fact that I actually felt like I was part of something for a change! In the past I’ve gone to drift days and for what ever reason I’ve been on my own, I tried talking to people but they were either busy or just didn’t want to know. This time I had people coming up to me, chatting about the car, and how I was doing on track, and I chatted to them about their cars and had a bit of a joke with them.
Now let’s get this pig fixed and get back on track!
Feckless Media https://www.facebook.com/FecklessMedia/ and Lucy Richmond
The day started pretty much like any drift day, get up at an insanely early hour and head to the track.
This time Lucy would be taking the Laurel for it’s first proper turn around an actual track, and I would be there to offer advice/ have a go in her car too!
We arrived at the track just after 8:30am and fellow Death or Glory member Craig had saved us a space in the pits, being local he got there before us. The sun was already beating down as we set up ready for her first session.
Briefing took place and after a couple more checks on the car she was ready to go!
We focussed on the West course, being tighter and more technical we felt it offered a better place for Lucy to learn how to control the car around the corners. If you’ve only ever done donuts and figure eights around cones, moving to a track changes things completely!
We started out just driving around getting a feel for the layout, and getting her back in the mindset of her previous drift day (at Santa Pod) or at least this was the intention… To my surprise on her first run she was already trying to get the feel of those clutch kicks again.
Over the course of the morning she managed some good skids and also worked on undoing some of the habits she’d got into at Pod. Nothing major, just little things, for instance, when you start out by learning donuts you can often get the backend to break loose by turning in tighter, however if you do this on a race track one of two things happen:
- If you don’t have enough speed you either end up cutting the corner and coming off track (and smashing aero, the front bumper was the first to go!)
- If you have enough speed but don’t quite get your clutch kick right, turning in tighter causes you to understeer and the car to go straight on (I did this a lot on my first few times out and its a real pain to get out of the habit of doing!)
Having said that it didn’t take her long at all to realise this and start to correct herself. She put in run after run, pushing herself every time, some times getting frustrated at not getting something right, other times getting hyped when she held a good skid!
If you’re thinking of starting out drifting, or you’re new to it and you’re reading this asking yourself “is it common to get frustrated in the early stages?” I would say yes, it is especially for those who don’t start out using the handbrake but instead opt for the clutch kick.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that initiating with the handbrake is the easy option but out of these two ways to get the car sliding it is definitely the option with the least to remember.
I know I went through that phase (probably several times) and others I have spoken to also agreed that feeling frustrated plays a big part in the early days, its all part of the learning process! But keep at it and things will eventually fall into place!
As the day wore on I watched from the passenger seat as Lucy progressed more and more, each run thinking about what she did in the last time and where she might need to improve or change tack.
Overall I thought she did amazingly for her second ever time out! On my second drift day I was still piddling around in the playpens at Pod (big mistake on my part!)
The first corner of West course did prove an issue for her, but after speaking to a few other people who have driven Teesside they all said that they had issues with that corner too early on.
In spite of this it didn’t put Lucy off and she continued to push herself on turns two, three and four, showing some real signs of promise!
Towards the end of the day we did have one fight with a tyre wall. This led to the rear bumper being smashed, however we knew this might happen so we were (sort of) prepared for it.
It was down to not having the car in the right place for the transition and running too wide as she went into the uphill section after turn three, hitting the tyre wall, pushing the rear bumper out of line, and creating a new exhaust hole on the opposite side of the bumper as well as adding a few tyre marks up the rear drivers side 1/4 of the car.
It was great to see her out there, it was as much a learning experience for me as it was for her. I definitely think she will be back on track again, however next time she will more likely be using my Skyline as we have since decided that the Laurel is in far too good shape to use as for skids.
What’s next for the Laurel? The damaged bodykit will be replaced, and much more, but you will have to wait for my future posts to find out more.
Laura Johnson and Andz Smith of Aperture Arts Photography.
One of the things the Skyline had been suffering with for a while was play in the steering, it was initially noted by the MOT tester last year, and while I did have the parts to fix this, it had to sit on the back burner when the gearbox failed on the Discovery.
However, now that I need to make sure the car is good for Rogue Concept 2019, now is the time to tackle my wobbly front end, and boy is it wobbly! When its on the ground you can see a bit of play by shaking the wheels but now that its up in the air the extent of the problem is REALLY obvious!
A couple of years back, thinking I was being cool I fitted a set of adjustable lower control arms, but as I mentioned here unless you’re ONLY using the car on track or have a large maintenance budget they’re not so good.
Thankfully I had got myself on a pair of 25mm extended stock lower control arms with good ball joints and bushes. So I set about swapping the adjustable LCA’s out for the stock LCA’s but there was a problem…
Despite being only two years old and that I had greased everything before fitting them the castle nuts/bolts that hold the hub in place, and the bolts/nuts that attach the tension rods had literally fused themselves together, making them almost impossible to remove them. However with some brute force and a breaker bar, they finally succumbed to my will… and snapped (I did say ALMOST impossible to remove!)
Then it was just a case of bolting on the extended LCA’s, a relatively straight forward process although the tension rods no longer had their bolts pressed in and I couldn’t find any that I could press in their place. However a couple of M12 x 40mm high tensile bolts and nyloc nuts did the trick.
Now that everything was bolted together the only thing left to do was give the hub a good wobble to make sure nothing had been missed and that the play was no longer there.
The extended LCA’s do need a bit of a clean up, however I plan to do this after RC19 as I have a lot to get done before then.
You didn’t really think I was going to let this video go unnoticed did you?
Being a long time fan of the Skyline, and in particular the R32 getting to see events like this in the spiritual homeland is awesome!
R32 Day has been going on for a few years now at Mikawa Motorland, run by the Akinobu Satsukawa of drift team A-Bo Moon. Even though its restricted to just R32 Skylines you always see such a wide range of visual and drifting styles on display.
Then you have R34 Festival at Fuji Speedway, another event dedicated to not only a specific brand of vehicle or country of origin (like we get here in the UK) but to a specific model!
Finally, there is Alexi of Nori Yaro who always puts out the kind of content that makes me want to instantly jump back on a plane to Japan.
The end result is, well, watch for yourself!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
You’ve probably already heard of the Animal Style drift team right? If you haven’t where the heck have you been?!?
I first found out about these guys back in 2013 when I watched Hert’s film from the All Star Bash.
the driving style of these guys is something I have always aspired to and while I haven’t got there yet will always aspire to while ever I’m chucking a car sideways.
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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For updated on the projects
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!
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.
words and images by Craig Johnston
So where do I start?
Well I made it to the NYE Teesside drift day.
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)
aperture arts photography (@andz_smith)