To start of my preparations I began with looking my car over and figuring out if anything needs done to it. I looked it up and down asking myself, is anything broken? Is there something that doesn't look right? Do I need to make any changes to different settings? Of course the answer was yes to all of those. I had one of the tension rod bracket nuts inside of the fame break free of its welds then rattle itself loose to where the bolt fell out and the nut in the frame was nowhere to be found. As for things that didn't look right my front tires were screaming "Please replace us or I'll make you understeer like you never have before!" the tread was trashed and down to secondary rubber, even showing some cords in a few places. Lastly settings, still needed to fine tune the front caster/steering and possibly make changes to the rear.
I started off with ordering things that I needed. Luckily I didn't need much of anything except for some tires. Not all that satisfied with the Maxxis MA-V1 tires performance I decided to try something different. A ton of my friends and fellow local drifters have been ranting and raving about the Kenda Kaiser KR20 so I picked up a set of 4 in a 215/45r17 to be slapped on the rear.
Along with those I also placed an order for a new pair of steer tires. Again I was unhappy with my current steers which were BFG G-Force Comp 2 so I decided to make the change to something else. Another tire that was recommended to me by some drift friends of mine. The tire, Falken Azenis RT-615k, the size I went with is a 205/40r17. I only run a 17x7 rim up front so these make for a killer fit and with the shorter sidewall it gives me more clearance in the wheel wells allowing me to keep them stock and not have to cut them out or do tubs.
Just like that, my purchases for the car were done. Next up was to make some repairs and fine tune a few things. For this I made a quick trip up to my good friend Tavis's place, Shiomi Garage! When I made this trip I had just made my custom end plates for my BCL wing the night before so I was rather excited to take a photo at the gas pumps.
Then I made the wet and raining journey up to the garage on my old worn out steer tires. They liked hydro plaining, but that didn't stop me from smiling!
After a quick hour and a half drive up there, I had arrived!
Right away upon getting there I made sure to greet my homie with a beer and we got some cold ones crackin'. What would a visit to Shiomi Garage be without some beer? After some talking we got to looking his coupe over. The week before he had finally gotten the car to a point where it was ready to be fired up for the first time and taken out for it's first drive. Unfortunately when he went to start it, it didn't start, so there was some trouble shooting to be done. Luckily there wasn't a thing wrong with the engine or wiring, all checked out good and after an hour of looking it all over and doing some trouble shooting we noticed he was missing an FPR. The previous owner of the engine had put an aftermarket one on there so where the stock FPR one goes there was a hose adapter there so he wasn't building up any pressure. To take care of this I quick pulled the Aeromotive one off my car and slapped it on his. That's when we got to hear it purr for the very first time.
After that, he got to work finishing up doing his brake lines and I helped him bleed them. That's when it hit me, I was finally going to get a chance to do some sliding with Travis! After the brakes were bled that car was set on the ground faster than I've ever seen a car find it's way off a set of jack stands. Then it was fired up and he hit the streets!
After he tore up and down his neighborhood he handed me the key and told me to take it for a spin. Yet again another first, this one being my first time to ever drive a RHD car. What a feeling, the car felt really comfortable and something about that 1, 2 shift just felt so right. Not only that but dropping down into 2nd from 3rd is like a dream come true! Soooo much easier and more natural with RHD than it is with a LHD car. By the time we were done doing our little down and backs the sun had set and the car had developed a boost leak from one of the couplers so we called it a night and left the sliding for another day.
Of course at this point I remembered I still needed to make the repairs on my car... Thankfully it was just a quick easy one, I had already notched the hole in the frame and put a nut in place. Just had to have him weld it up quick.
Sorry for not having pics of it welded. It was late and really dark so all I have are the two I had taken earlier in the day from when I cut the hole and put a nut in place.
Now that I had my small repair made to the car it was time to move on to the next order of business. Mount my new tires, only I'm not a big fan of being wasteful. Had to shred what was left of the old ones first! Made a quick trip to a small lot in Mexico and got to work burning off some rubber. While I was at it I tested out some small alignment changes and some new camera mount positions... Speaking of my camera, I pulled a stupid move and somehow had my GoPro set on picture mode... However I did still manage to get a quick clip of Becca having some fun taking my car for a spin and seeing what the new steering settings where like. Needless to say, she loved it and made sure to let me know with some style, by banging the limiter after thoroughly enjoying how it felt to drive.
Several black marks later the tires were toast and I was ready to throw on some new rubber!
For this I made a trip over to my good friend Sean's shop, Central Imports so I could use his tire machine to get these babies mounted up. After a bit of work and some serious amount of struggling with the Falken's all the tires were mounted up and I was ready to rock! Of course I made sure to get a good look at the RHD FD RX-7 front clip he had just chillin by the tire machine on my way out.
Once home with the newly mounted tires I stacked them all up and just looked at the beautiful sight in front of me. There's just something about new tires.
It was time to put the the wheels back on my baby and set her on the ground. The event was only a few short days away so there wasn't any time to waste. I was planning on being prepared and leaving ahead of schedule this time around!
That night I put on some new stickers and decals. One of which being for Imports USA to go on my rear windshield. My friend Rodney has provided me with a lot of support over the years and is very involved with the local scene. I had to make sure I represented him and his shop because without him I'm not sure I would be doing what I'm doing today.
Along with those I made sure to slap an Aloha Oe sticker on the wing. This one giving a nod to the show Space Dandy.
Just like that, the car was ready to rock. Tires put on, car was repaired, front suspension tweeks were made, and some new stickers/decals were applied. Night time came around and it was time for bed, the next day I had planned to take the day off from work so I could pickup a trailer and get the packing out of the way in advance.
Morning rolled around and I spend the whole entire day finishing up getting ready. Picked up the trailer bright and early then spent a good hour figuring out how exactly I was going to get the car on it. It was a rather interesting solution but I figured something out. Of course after I got it on there I was let on to a trick by some people on Facebook which would have made loading the car as easy as simply driving up on the trailer without worrying about clearance issues.
With everything all loaded up before dinner time I made sure to have a nice little toast with myself and a can of Surge. It was looking like I would be having my first ever stress free trip to an event.