First mechanical mods for someone new to drifting?

Thread in 'Drifting Chat / Pictures / Videos' started by s13silvia, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. s13silvia

    s13silvia doughnut muncher

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    Now I'm not new to the car scene, I'm not new to custom fabbing/ spanner-turning, I'm also not new to quick rwd cars nor their tendancy to slide about..

    but there's no denying I'm utterly shite at controlling a skid.. but I've never had a car remotely set up to be able to achieve it and I think that's a good starting point (I'm sure practice is the key as with many things, but this post is strictly about mechanical aids, please).

    So at the ripe age of 34 I'm considering a lowish-powered rwd manual car to keep as a daily-driver, but I want to be able to control it nicely if the rear steps out. I'm happy to spend a bit to get the right equipment, but I'd like to keep things realistic - so no 6 speed sequential boxes and rb26 conversions please ;-)

    I don't want a track-feel car (I've got a micra for that), I want something I can still live with day-to-day; so with that in mind I'd like to know your top five suggestions (mechanically) for the getting the car to slide without drama, and some degree of control.

    Here's a couple of things I've thought off but I'd love to hear from folks with experience as to what they'd do first!

    Stiffer chassis/ adjustable suspension
    Good tyres
    An LSD - 1.5, 2, weldy (I've only ever used factory viscous diffs before)?
    Any alignment tips to improve things?

    Here's a wee pic to make everyone happy :)
    AnastasiyaKvitkolegginggrey.
     
    #1 s13silvia, Dec 2, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  2. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Have you got a car in mind? Modifications tend to follow the type of car, but you're right in thinking there are some rudimentary changes

    Getting the diff consistent, either good condition factory LSD or mechanical 2 way or welded. Wouldn't use a 1.5 way when learning as you want consistency
    A bucket seat is more important than you think. Preferably a fixed back as you want maximum lateral hold, but consider having one on separate rails you can swap in for the track and retain the factory for daily duties
    I'd put maintenance in the list - making sure all pumps, belts, filters & fluids are as good as they can be. Plus ensuring the handbrake is properly adjusted
    Adjustable coilover suspension is one of the biggies and probably the biggest ticket item at this point. Err on the side of softer spring rates if you're using as a daily as well
    Alignment is very much chassis specific, but also important
    An upgraded radiator in any chassis is going to help keep any initial temp issues at bay
    Tyres aren't as important when learning as the above items. Ideally you don't want to be on belts on the front but normal road tyres at the pointy end will be fine in most chassis
     
  3. s13silvia

    s13silvia doughnut muncher

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    Thanks bud! Well thought out and logical response :-)

    The car is a C32 Laurel *cringe*

    However, on the plus side it already has adjustable tein coilvoers and a welded diff (just found this out) so that's a bonus, but apparently the suspension is very crashy and this fits in with my experience of tein's many moons ago - so I think I'll be changing the coilovers out as no doubt they're past their 'use by'.

    Whether I can acctually source a proper 2-way is unknown to me at the moment, I'll see what diff-casing I have when I collect the car.

    Bucket seat- I guess I can maybe go with a grippy recliner like an old-brix, but I'll have to get it retrimmed to match the current grey velour because I want it looking as stock as possible inside, and a recliner is a must for me bud.

    I'm planning to change out the wheels so will get some good tyres on them.

    As far as adjustable alignment parts go, I think this might be a problem - at the moment the rear is IRS, but I don't know if it shares the r31 components or what.. The rear camber is hellish just now, and whilst "fitment" is all well and good, I want something that will perform in a stable fashion; not try to constantly throw me off the road.
     
  4. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Is the C32 set in stone? Because if not i'd recommend avoiding. As a first drift car it's a lot more work to get it ready and be an ongoing hassle. Is it just stupidly cheap?

    The biggest issue you'll encounter is part availability for the body, suspension and the engine. After that will be reliability, as everything will be over 30 years old. It's just not a good option for a first drift car all round. It sucks to hear that sometimes, but I'm being honest and speaking from experience. I've tried the "rare" drift car and i spent more time in the pits fixing it than i did on track at the track days I took it to. And that was with me spending stupid amounts of prep time on it.

    I'm all for interesting drift cars, but not as a first one. There's a difference between owning a Nissan and sliding roundabouts, and owning a drift car intended to be taken to the track regularly. You'd know that difference with the Micra i'd imagine!

    If money's already changed hands and you're committed I have a faint recollection they are based on the S12/R31 suspension as Nissan logic applied even back then, and this can be converted to S13 (if it hasn't been done already). Plenty of examples on the Aussie forums.

    Is it still running an L series engine?

    My "adjustable suspension" comment only applied to coilovers. Running the gamut of adjustable arms isn't essential, but if the rear camber is ridiculous then adjustable rear camber & toe would be an improvement. Don't go straight to 0 camber and 5mm of toe in like the pros do, go for -2 degrees and 0 toe and work from there.


     
  5. s13silvia

    s13silvia doughnut muncher

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    Thanks @BenRice ,

    It is set in stone pal - more than that it's in my driveway and being modded as we speak! But please bear in mind I don't want a dedicated drift-car, I just want a daily driver that can drift if required and make my life easier when it comes to controlling it.

    So far it has coilovers, s13 front, welded diff (quite unsure if I like this tbh, it feels pretty crap and makes the enigne lurch when going slowly round tight corners - not sure if this is putting strain somewhere it shouldn't be), some rota rkr 15x8/15x9 on 195/55/15's, a bride brix bucket seat for the driver, nardi steering wheel (well I have to treat myself to something nice for myself :p ) - so I've taken on board your 'first mods' comment.

    One problem I've encountered is excessive rear camber, one wheel has worse camber than the other, so not sure if an adjustable panhard rod is required - and it seems my only option to fix that is R31house camber arms for the top - and holy moly are those expensive.

    Yes it's the L24 that's in it - but sadly i'd be surprised if there's more than 50 ponies left in the stable, it's slow as shit and there's no way even with the weldy it will break traction even in the wet :p so right now, drifting is a long way away haha.

    On a positive note though it's a beautiful car to drive, so much nicer than my z32; and I'm trying to keep things from being tacky, my nardi is getting retrimmed in dark brown leather and my brix is being retrimmed in matching velour so it will still look relatively tasteful.
     
  6. s13silvia

    s13silvia doughnut muncher

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    Well I've been daily driving it for weeks to work and it's been perfectly reliable which is delightful as I was very nervous about this. I've been driving sensibly 99% of the time but in the past couple of weeks I've decided to be less gentle on it to see what like, and by f*ck does the welded diff make a HUGE difference to slide control! I've had plenty VLSD's and open diff's in the past, but this is a world apart - it feels SO, SO much safer in the wet/ice/snow. Admittedly it's a bit shit that it surges the engine going round corners etc. and is possibly going to break a shaft at some point; I think I'd prefer to upgrade to a proper 2-way; do you recall if the late C32's came with an R200 long nose as I'm sure my s12 did, and are these compatible with the later R200 aftermarket internal options kaaz etc?

    As you might know, the rear is s12-like and a semi-trailing setup - so nothing bolt-on is available, but I've spoken with a guy from Sillhouette motorsport and he's shown me his Rear arm setup; and I'm trying to source another pair i can fabricate with and see how I get on. The camber doesn't affect the driveability negatively, but it's already ripped through a set of tyres, and the police have told me if I don't correct it I'll get done for having a dangerously modified vehicle. It is obscene; by eye about 8-10 deg neg. camber.

    I haven't purchased a seat yet; as I had to spend that money swapping out my tein Superstreets for taller coilovers as they are set to max height with the chassis rails literally 2mm off the tarmac.

    I reckon if I had a bit more balls, the car would drift pretty darn well for what is a very old car with low power and utterly basic mods, so thanks very much for your spot-on advice :D
     
  7. PanozGTR

    PanozGTR Member

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    Definitely upgrade the coilovers. If it's already got S13 front suspension in then most aftermarket stuff will fit with regards to lock. I ran R32 tie rods and ends on mine too. Front brakes can easily be swapped for S14 4 pots with the disks drilled to 4x114. Not too clued up on the rear I'm afraid as the C32 I had was solid axle, but definitely try and work some camber out of it if you can.

    As above it's not the ideal choice for a drift car if you're leaving it mostly stock (See Peter Haydens one for how a C32 can be built into a monster).
    Try grab yourself a spare clutch, as I can see that being a weak point with a heavy car, even with very little power. And definitely a full service, mine ran tons better after changing all the filters/ plugs.

    And never doubt the might of the Laurel! If mine wasn't an auto with a dying solid axle I probably would've tried harder to keep it. But alas it's long gone. If you ever fall out of love with it I'll swap it for my MX5 ;)
     

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