Published on May 21st, 2013 | by Jos Roder


Drift Life 180sx: Crash, Diet and Align – Part 2

In Part 1 of the Drift Life 180sx Crash, Diet and Align story, the car was crashed, repaired and put on a weight loss program thanks to Garage Low.

The car really needed some basic maintenance and a few simple modifications to make it slightly more enjoyable to drive.

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One of the first issues that needed to be resolved was the exhaust.  The front pipe angle did not properly line up with the cat back section, so the cat was under strain at either end holding everything together. Although patched up twice, it again came loose at the drift festival and needed a permanent fix for reliability.

The resolution was to remove the cat as well as removing one of the join points that could potentially split. The angle was matched to the flange for less strain on the whole system. The dump pipe has a flex joint so there is some movement available. Lock it in Eddy!

According to Waz and the massive breaker bar in his hand, the suspension height had never been altered. He insisted he lower the car, because it’s “against the rules to have a 4WD sitting in Garage Low!”. The coil over piston shaft showed a small amount of unused travel, so Waz made sure not to lower the car too much that it hit the bump stops under compression. The tein coil over units were an old style that had no base height adjustment so the car was never going to be a drool worthy slammed drift car. Fine by me as long as the suspension still works!

The standard subframe bushes were totally shagged but that is hardly a surprise given it is a 22 year old car! Alloy sub frame spacers were fitted to the whole cradle.  The whole lot was put in so the diff pinion angle was not changed as I didn’t want to alter the grip level. I have enough adjustment to add grip or lose grip within a nice range via tyre pressures. Camber is another story and will be tackled later in the post.

Next up was the  GKTech handbrake extenders. My handbrake still works, but it has ocassionally let me down when I really needed it, so installing these extenders I hope will give a more consistent locking force to the rear wheels.

After we took the rear wheels off, Waz correctly pointed out that my rear discs were a bit rusty and that was probably the main reason for lack of biting force. I push the car so hard that the brakes are still glowing weeks after the last event.

Taking off the rear calipers, we discovered some Wedsport pads, score! The only extra consideration is if these model of pads are good on initial bite at low temperatures, but we will address this if the extenders and a disc rotor clean does not suffice.

After a rather frustrating experience we installed the right side extender.

Whats this you see? Why is Waz welding. BING! Yes, you in the back. That’s right, its because we managed to snap the extender. After a brief swearing interlude, Waz composed himself and sorted it out!

Here is the re welded GKTech extender all installed and that chapter was finally completed!

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Here is some Garage Low friends who dropped by to watch the proceedings. And no surprised that all three of them own Silvia’s!

Waz also made some small attention to detail changes, including cutting the radiator shroud so it was easier to remove and re install. He also removed some imperial bolts that were just slowing progress on maintenance.

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With the wheels off it is clear to see the negative camber on the rear and how it is affecting tyre life.

Next it was time get a quick alignment at the great team at Tyres Plus in Pakenham.  By the way, I agree that battery symbol seems far too large!

I use standard s13 caster rods currently so this area is fixed. I also use standard rear camber arms, so there is not much adjustment here either.After only guessing the rear toe when i changed the arm at Winton,  it was confirmed via the alignment the right rear had 10mm of toe in! That was quickly brought back to 0. No wonder it was driving a little strangely. Rear camber was maxed out at (-)2.5 degrees, so I will invest in some aftermarket rear camber arms soon as well so I can improve tyre life and bring this back to 0 degrees.

Front left caster is at 5 degrees, while the left side is 7.25 degrees. I would like to invest in some caster rods to even this up as the car still pulls to the left despite getting front toe to 0 and the steering rack centered.

For a brief moment I started to talk alignment settings with Waz on the trip home however my brain can’t handle the seemingly infinite combinations that exist with alignments, so I gave up and decided to keep it all pretty simple for now. When I drift every day in hundreds of different cars, I may be able to explore this area more, however right now, it is not worth spending much time on.  I need to improve my driving setup more!


The car is now in better shape than it was and even without the caster rods and rear camber arms, should suffice for the next practice day and competition I have lined up for June.

All that is left to do before the next event is

– Loom raised higher into guard

– Temperature gauge fitment

– Caster rods Install

– Rear camber arms install

– weld recline-able seat so it is fixed.

Thanks to Waz  at Garage Low for all his hard work and check them out via their Facebook Page

Mr Sparkle is nearly back!

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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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