18th Jul2016

It’s Really Not a 240SX: Erik’s 180SX

by Michael Chandler

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-2

In a world full of real and fake, mislabeled things, and people trying to fake the funk, it’s rare we find someone with a real, correctly labeled, funky ass thing on their hands.  Sometimes it’s a guy with a rad, rare camera.  Other times it’s somebody with a copy of that movie you loved as a kid, but could never find in adulthood.  In this case, it’s Erik with a legitimate 180SX.  Right hand drive and all.

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-15

Can we acknowledge the clear timing belt cover?

You can’t really see it, but the ID plate lists this car as a 180SX that came with an SR20DET.  And this car ran an SR for a very long time, then Erik got an itch, and BH Motorsports got crafty, and it has an RB25DET Neo under the hood.  It’s not crazily built, the only internal modifications are a set of Tomei Pon cams.  Everything else is a bolt on.  On the intake side is a Freddy intake manifold (Fake Greddy, keep up) with a set of R35 GTR fuel injectors and a Tomei fuel pressure regulator.

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-13

On the fun side is a Garrett 3076r snail, bolted to a CX Racing manifold.  Cooling the compressed air before it gets to the Freddy manifold is a PBM intercooler.  Watching over this whole ordeal is a Haltech Platinum Pro Series ECU, which gets and sends information via a Wiring Specialties harness.  Tuning services were provided by D-Wreck.

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-18

Or else what?

Getting that power to the driven wheels is an RB20 transmission, loving stuffed with an ACT 6 puck unsprung clutch.  In the back, between the driven wheels, is a NISMO two way limited slip differential.

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-3

Doing the stopping is a set of S14 brake calipers up front, and the stock calipers in the rear.  Both have Project Mu pads in them, which seem to be doing the job.

Helping Erik get that sweet, sweet steering angle (which, as I’m told, translates to sweet, sweet street cred) is a whole mess of stuff that my feeble brain barely has a grasp of: PBM knuckles front and rear, lengthened and boxed lower control arms, Driftworks offset and bent tension rods, an GK Tech offset steering rack spacers.

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-17

Helping to maximize grip, something a drift car actually needs) are a set of Gecko street coilovers.  Strut tower bars provided by JIC  (front) and Cusco (rear), and a Godspeed full rear suspension arm kit in the back help keep things planted.  Also some Stance subframe risers raise a subframe… Not sure which, but one of them is raised!

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

The front and rear wheels and tires are different, for reasons.  Up front the 18×9 Rota G Forces are wrapped in 205/40 Federal 595s, and out back the 18×10.5 Vordovens turn 265/35 Achilles ATR Sports into white smoke.

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

Ok, now that we’ve covered what makes this car go, we can get on to the miles of style this thing has.  In the back it has a set of JDM kouki tail lights, over which is a custom drag wing made by Team Orange.  Who is Team Orange?  They’re the drift team that ran RWD Evos and WRXs in D1GP.

Salt City Drift 2016 Rd3 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-1

The car sports a replica Vertex body kit, and a real D Max hood vent.  It also has a one of ten Godai Elements: Earth windshield banner from Super Wow Factory.  The gray and deceptively purple two tone was done by Brandon over at D-Spare.

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-10

Inside, on the driver’s side, is a Bride Vios Low Maxx 3 seat, on Planted seat rails.  The limited edition Jimmy Up steering wheel is mounted on a Works Bell quick release, and a NISMO shift knob tops the shifter.  180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

On the passenger side is a Bride Zeta seat, also on Planted rails, and a set of Defi gauges mounted in the dash.  No such thing as too much information.

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-9

And in the back, opposite the Sard surge tank, is a .50 caliber ammo box.  Inside that box is not ammunition, but his battery.

SCD2016 Round 4 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-15

This isn’t a 240SX with 180SX tail lights and center section.  This is the real deal.  It also hasn’t been dipped and deep fried in America either.  This is about as JDM as you’re gonna get until you hit the home islands.  It’s really authentic, and really a 180SX

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
26th Sep2014

It’s Spelled With An “E”: 2013 Jetta SportWagen

by Michael Chandler

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (6 of 10)

 

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

Remember Nik?  You know, he had the slammed xB we featured years ago, did some questionably legal things in Japan in his Skyline?  Writes for StanceNation?  If you remember him, and wondered what he’s been up to car-wise, here it is.  If you don’t then let me introduce you to Nik Preusser: he writes for StanceNation, is in the Air Force, is a family man, and owns this very nice 2013 Jetta SportWagen.

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (1 of 10)

Before we talk about the wheels or the suspension, let’s talk about how the JSW came to be in his possession.  It was a Mother’s Day surprise for his wife, and that took some doing.  After she pointed out the JSW as a viable option to their current Subaru Forester, he began researching the People’s Car and liked what he found: Mk6 body on a Mk5 chassis, plentiful aftermarket support, and one of the most reliable VW motors on the market (the 2.5L I5).  He was sold.  She was very eager to trade in the Fozzy, but he told her they needed to wait until it was paid off.  Little did she know that he had already started the paperwork to trade the Subaru in for the Jetta.  Problem is he had to wait for the car, because gray 2.5L manual wagens aren’t the most plentiful things on VW dealer’s lots.  The car arrived and Nik cooked up a solid enough story to get her to the dealership.  “I made up some bs story about how we were going to buy a Radio Flyer Wagon for our son from a guy who worked at the VW dealer.” It worked, because she walked into the showroom and saw the wagen with a giant bow on it and a humongous card that read “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (2 of 10)

And then he started piling on the parts.  Most notably in the suspension, where bags replaced the usual coil springs and OEM struts.  A healthy combination of Accuair and AirLift parts adorn the wagon now.  Accuair comes in with their E-Level Air Management components, including: their ECU and updated ride height sensors.  Also from Accuair is their VU4 manifold and iLevel iPhone controller setup, which he enjoys and will show to people who ask nicely.  A pair of 444C compressors fill the AirLift five gallon tank.  It’s AirLift on all four corners, with steel braided leader lines, Performance series struts up front and SLAM series in the back.  Also in the rear is a double bellow setup and shortened sway bar end-links, both from AirLift, and Innovative Design & Fabrication rear upper control arms.  All of that can be boiled down to “It’s on bags, he can control it with his phone, and it gets stupid low”, but hypothetically if you wanted to replicate similar lows you now have an idea of what to use.

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (7 of 10)

Underneath the hatch sits his polished up tank, upon which he displays his love for his BFAMs in 20801.  The tank was actually buried underneath all the stuff a dad with a wagon has shoved back there: stroller, bags, toys, various car care materials (he’s had a series of slammed cars, it would be weird if there wasn’t a bottle of tire shine somewhere in the car).

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (8 of 10)

Providing some noise other than the compressors… compressing, and a modest power gain, is an AWE Tuning Track Edition performance exhaust.  He does plan on adding some other go fast parts, but those will come at a later date and we will definitely be telling you about them.  Why? Because it’s exciting!

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (3 of 10)

As you can tell, this is a pretty light article, which is why I sent him a few random questions along with my request for a modification list.  Here are a few of the more choice questions and answers:

How has air made a difference in your life? Have your kidneys sent you a thank you note?

Yes, and yes. I don’t miss the days of driving a static xB with a 1/4” frame clearance at all. Static fanbois–you can keep them, I’ll be a daily bag-rider for the rest of my life.

If you could, how many kei cars would you import? Be honest

All of them.

Seriously though, give me a newer turbo Suzuki WagonR on bags and a turbo Suzuki Alto Works set up for canyon runs, and I’d be happy with that pair.

Would you ever import something period?

I have run it by the wife a few times, and it’s a future plan of mine. I’d like to import something like a Suzuki Alto Works or even eventually a Toyota JZX90 or JZX100 Chaser.

Why a Jetta Sport Wagen and not something bigger, or up market (Audi, or whatever)?

I wanted something that would look good slammed and could fit the family… SUVs are nice, but tend to look awkward laid out on bags. Also, Price point was important with the wife coming home to stay home with the kids for a few years, and still having the bagged xB at the time. I would love a newer Audi wagon, but… I’m in the military, and it doesn’t pay THAT well.. they cost twice what I paid for the JSW. I wanted something with cheaper payments so I could afford to mod it properly and still have money for my other expensive hobbies (photography, snowboarding, and burning $100 bills).

How many people have seriously called your Works fake?

They have never been called the word “fake”, but I have had a good number of people call them “BBS LM replicas”. Replica wheels are all fine and dandy, I used to rock them… but when you spend the money on a set of real wheels, you don’t want to be understated like that. I’m kind of a wheel snob now, Sweet baby Jesus came down from the heavens and told me that replica wheels make him cry, so I’m not going to argue with him!

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (9 of 10)

Yup, those are real Work VS-XXs.  No eBay “BBS LM replicas”, the real McCoy.  He’s running a staggered setup with 18×8+38 in the front and 18×9 +40 in the rear, with Achilles Radial ATR covering all four of them.  The rubber measures in at 205/35 in the front and 215/35 in the rear.  His winter wheels are a bit more pedestrian, if you think his current setup is too bourgeoisie: 18″ Mercedes-Benz S550 wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Blizzak tires

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (4 of 10)

Usually I’d use this space to wrap up the story I have crafted for the article.  But I haven’t created a story for this article… Well, I’ll let Nik thank some people and we’ll call it an article:

Anyone you’d like to thank/shout out/mention?

I’d like to thank my wife for her ever-growing patience for me and my car habit & for having impeccable taste in cars and wheels. I’d like to shout out to my BFAM (brothers from another mother) in the Lowered Elite (and 20801). I would also like to thank all of my sponsors… oh wait, I don’t have any.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
12th Sep2014

Paint, Vinyl, and Hardware: D-Spare Preps for Formula D Texas

by Michael Chandler

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (7 of 9)

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Brandon Wicknick drives in the Formula D Professional Drifting Championship.  He’s also a buddy of mine.  While we were in Idaho he invited me to come by his shop and snap some photos of the preparations that were going to be going on before he loaded up and went off to Texas.  It was nothing too crazy: just repainting the car, applying new graphics and sponsor decals, hanging some new body panels, rebuilding the motor. Some rather basic stuff that everyone competing on a professional level (privateer or factory backed driver) does.

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 9)

Brandon and Jose handled the nuts and bolts stuff.  Literally.  Brandon was putting the motor back together, while Jose was working on a differential for Brandon’s S13 and also doing some work on Juha Rintanen’s widebody S14.  For the uninitiated: Juha is a Finnish Formula D rookie, but he’s no stranger to competition.  He’s won a national championship in Finland, and was the 2013 Drift All Starts European champion.  He’s currently 61st in the Championship.  ANYWAY…

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (5 of 9)

While Jose and Brandon put things mechanical in nature together, Danny and MsRae Rossi of Stick-It Vinyl Graphics were busy applying vinyl to the car.  They’re the ones for the original wild color stripe scheme, and they were back at it.  Since this was just a refresh nothing was going to change livery wise, but a few sponsor decals were moved around a bit to make them easier to see.

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (2 of 9) D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 9) D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 9)

Speaking of his sponsors, whom you should support only because they support this mad man in his endeavors, are:

D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 9) D Spare Brandon Wicknick Formula Drift Texas prep Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (9 of 9)

At the time of writing, Brandon qualified 10th in Pro2, which has him paired with…  Wait for it… Juha Rintanen.  Yup, garage mate vs. garage mate.  S13 vs. S14.  2JZ vs. … another 2JZ.  Whatever, We’re pulling for Brandon to be on top of the podium, he and the rest of the D-Spare crew have been working too hard not to get a win in Texas.

UPDATE: He won!

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.