Published on October 8th, 2012 | by Jos Roder


GKTech VicDrift Championship Round 2 – Car Preparation

Before I could compete in my second competitive event back after 5 years off, I needed to do some maintenance on the 180sx.

The car behaved decently at Drift Supercup, however I wanted to

a) remove the  8mm toe in on the left side rear wheel back to 0 and

b) I had noticed some clutch fluid appearing in the footwell at the event. I had been clutching the old girl quite a lot to keep the wheels spinning at various locations around the track and it had taken its toll on the original master cylinder.

So starting with the toe, a home alignment confirmed our suspicions that there was a lot of toe in. The toe arm was at maximum adjustment toward toe out so we knew something was pretty out of whack. In all honesty there was a rather fundamental reason for this but that is a rather epic story in itself so I’ll leave that to another post I will put up at a later stage.

Waz at Garage low knew we didn’t have much time so we decided to take out the standard toe arm and cut and shut it a bit shorter(by the same mm that we were short to get to 0mm toe). It turns out that for an adjustment like this, less is more. We took out what we thought was the correct measurement of length but it obviously wasn’t a linear relationship. So now we had 6mm toe out at maximum toe in setting! Lesson learnt and I moved on to a better idea!

X3E Motorsports came to the rescue with some very reasonably priced and quality looking rear toe arms for the car. Being lazy and out of time (the right side of the car was pretty much at 0) meant we only installed the one toe arm and managed to straighten the toe out finally!

Next issue was the issue of the leaking master cylinder in the footwell. I have always been reasonably mechanically minded, but the key is that most of this took place in the mind. The hands on practical reality of my mechanical work was and to a large extent still is in its infancy with only basic maintenance and modifications being carried out previously. So it was fitting that I decided to learn how to change a clutch master and also slave cylinder on my own. It is the best way to learn.

In the time frame I had, Nissan came to the party on the same day as my request and I had a nice new master cylinder in my hand.

I am now in the habit of taking photos of things before I attempt to change them, just in case I forget something or can’t remember the proper location of something in the process. After bleeding fluid out of the clutch system, this clip had to be removed and then the pin pulled out from the clutch pedal.

a couple of bolts undone on the firewall and the whole assembly then falls out. Then I could install the nice new master, replace pin and you are done!

I decided to change the slave cylinder at the same time to ensure this whole system was up to the task.

You can check to see the condition of the old one by removing the boot covering the piston.It usually holds fluid if it is tired and leaking. As you can see, mine was leaking.

The new slave cylinder was obtained from Repco and is usually in stock (BM44) as it fits a variety of Datsun and Nissan models. This install was pretty straight forward except that I made the mistake of trying to do up the clutch line to the slave when it was affixed to the gearbox. I had to remove the slave and twist the slave around the hose as I did the nut up, as otherwise the line just twists.

After refilling and bleeding the system I was good to go!

Anyone have any good memories of this box???  One other thing I noticed while underneath the car was the clutch damper box disconnected but still attached to the car. When installing the clutch a while ago we eventually removed the box assembly from the hydraulic system due to our inability to bleed the system. Apparently it is a common problem but we only googled it after we had added 2kg of pure muscle to my left leg over a couple of hours. So after grimacing at the reminder of the pure pain we encountered with it, I gladly removed it from the car once and for all. The car was now at least 500g lighter and ready for battle! Combine that with a good morning crap and you are 1kg better for for sure!

It’s always nice to have nice fresh items on the car and it was now ready for some more clutch servings at Winton for the GKTech VicDrift Championship Round 2.

Finally all that was remaining was to get a hire trailer and load the car up.  I booked a trailer through move yourself trailer hire and headed to my local service station (gas stand for my North American friends and gasoline stando for my Japanese friends).

Of course being late and the night before the drift event I was tired and the last thing I wanted was the key not opening the padlock of the trailer. 20 mins later and a few trips back to the counter we finally got one of the keys to unlock the trailer! FFFRRREEEEEEDDDOOOMMMM!

The last thing to do before any event is to put the car on the trailer. For some reason, ratchet straps are my Achilles 123 heel!

After a mini tanty at about 11pm, I eventually settled down and worked it out and got the car all tied down.

Right at this time of the evening, with only a few hours to go before I woke up to drive to Winton, my tired brain wonders WHY THE HELL do I keep doing this. I have to convince myself it will all be worth it as I hit the track for the first time the next morning, but in that frame of mind, at that time of night, I don’t believe it.

Part 2: Is the pain worth it?!  Find out in the next installment!

Thanks to

X3E Motorsports

Garage Low

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About the Author

Jos Roder

is the owner of Drift Life and delves deeper into drifting culture. Jos started drifting more than 10 years ago after discovering a sport existed that captured his favourite motoring endeavour, going sideways! Jos works full-time in the automotive/motorsport field as a PR Manager and Advanced Driving Instructor and currently owns a JDM S15 Nissan Silvia for drift/track/hillclimb duties.

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