First Drift Car Advice

Thread in 'Other Chat' started by MOONANOOM, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. MOONANOOM

    MOONANOOM New Member

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    So I am looking to purchase my first drift/race car build. What I am looking for is something that is:
    1. Cheap to purchase in decent condition (Under $5000 US)
    2. Large variety of aftermarket parts at reasonable prices
    3. Easy to work on in a home garage
    I'm leaning towards an MX5 Miata and was wondering what are your guys thoughts on this as a first project?
    Also for some background it will be my first real car build and i have very little mechanical experience, but i know the basics. (Have replaced cooling systems before, know how to do regular tune ups and basic troubleshooting, have done basic electrical work on cars, know how to change tires and all that basic stuff, have replaced mufflers etc. I don't have experience with in depth engine work, suspension work, or brakes. Another reason for choosing this is the large amounts of info available online on fixing them.

    What other vehicles might you guys recommend?
    Also please don't suggest anything like Skyline GTS-T's or Silvias or 180/240sx because they are just too hard to find in the US in my price range without having high miles or being beat to shit. Also I love BMW's but I am not interested in them at this time due to the fact that they are so expensive to service in the US professionally.
     
  2. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    MX5/Miata is the logical choice considering your situation

    Other options could be 350z / G35 if you can fit it within budget. The aftermarket support and knowledge base is just as good as the Miata nowadays.

    As for not wanting a BMW due to professional service costs, you'd be hard pressed to see a drift car dropped off for a professional service. Most drift car owners do services themselves at home, and by service you mean fluid changes, brake pads / caliper rebuilds, bushing replacements etc. Once you've done things like change suspension, replace a radiator, add an oil cooler etc then a basic service is well within your ability.
     
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  3. MOONANOOM

    MOONANOOM New Member

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    Thanks for the response. I didn’t even think of a 350z/g35 I’ll have to check those out too. And I didn’t mean fluid changes and stuff I meant like in depth transmission and engine work
     
  4. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    So you're talking cost of mechanical repairs then. Granted the costs will be higher, but that might be the cost of getting more for your money at purchase time.

    In reality, repairs won't really be needed as it's more of a case of replace than repair, especially with engines, gearboxes, diffs and axles. And these can all be done yourself as there's a good knowledge base already out there for you to use to learn. Considering the cheap cost of aftermarket parts ex-UK/Europe for BMW's, and the lack of drift tax on replacement parts in the US, it may be an option you shouldn't count out so soon.

    In saying that I'd sooner go for a G35 in your position - 4 door, strong gearbox and solid engine = a winner in my mind. The longer wheelbase makes it an easier proposition to learn in than the 350z too. Oiling seems to be main issue with them, but a good catch can setup and good oil coolers seem to alleviate this substantially
     
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  5. MOONANOOM

    MOONANOOM New Member

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    Thank you for the info man. Lots of good points I never considered or thought about. I may have to expand my search a bit and do some more research. I appreciate the help. I’m still new to this and to building cars so I feel like I’ve overlooked a lot of the points you made. Do you have any advice on things to avoid in my search? Not so much cars to avoid but certain issues to watch out for on the Vehicles that would be more trouble than they’re worth?
     
  6. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    No worries. When starting out with limited experience there's a few things to consider, but you've actually covered a few yourself already by avoiding beaten up cars and looking for models with good aftermarket support.

    Having a base that's in as good a condition as possible cannot be stressed enough. Having the routine maintenance aspects (tensioners, belts, bushings, fluids, coolers, joints etc) well taken care from the outset will give you more seat time down the road, and allow you to spend more on the fun parts. So anything with a mechanical history or the classic "one lady owner" is the ultimate starting point. If it's the choice of one with a slightly questionable past and an unmolested example for 20% more i'd happily pay the extra.

    Unless you're a mechanic avoid jumping into an engine / gearbox conversion from the outset. You will find a ton of unmolested examples with automatic transmissions, but at this stage a trans swap will be a bridge too far. Don't rule it out in the future for car number 2 or 3 once you've been involved in a gearbox change or two yourself.

    Vehicle specific, with the 350z/G35 check the oil level and quality. If it's at all low then it's going to be suffering from oil consumption already, and if it's black and thick (ie won't drip off the dip stick) then it hasn't been taken care of. Also try start it up from dead cold and listen for timing chain rattle. This indicates the timing chain has stretched from insufficient oil and the motor is junk.

    Miata's and BMW's are well covered on the net already and they aren't my specialty so best do your own research.

    Once you've bought the car, source a digital version of the Factory Service Manual of it. In your position having a bible to refer back to whenever you want to work on it will be invaluable. I'd trust instructions / specs from there over some random on a Facey page any day of the week.
     
  7. MOONANOOM

    MOONANOOM New Member

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    Awesome man thank you. I originally was going to try to import one of the RWD skyline's from Japan which is why I'm trying to build a budget car first before I start messing with a car I'll be paying $20,000 plus for. I've been looking into the 350z's and g35's and i'm starting to think the G35 sedan will be the better option because this will not be a track only car so I would like the option to drive it with the wife and kid once in a while. Again thanks a lot. I think i'm gonna look into G35's in my state and see what I can find.
     
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  8. TH3DR1FTB022

    TH3DR1FTB022 New Member

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    The 350z is a very good car to buy if your a beginner drifter. Do not get the 370z, even though it produces more power, the 350z is easier to get into the slide with. The 350z is also really easy to tune and finding after market parts is relatively simple. Once you get into practice, try a higher up car, like the RX-7.
     
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