When I first got behind the wheel of my RSX after the engine rebuild, everyone warned me about the reduced rev limits and mild acceleration required for the break-in period. This is especially hard for me as my driving style involves as much time as possible spent in WOT.
As I eased carefully away from Raceline Development I made a left turn and heard the worst kind of clunk (are clunks really ever a good thing?). The clunk continued to happen whenever I eased onto the throttle. Was it the LSD (not likely since it's a factory Honda unit), a loose motor mount, perhaps a broken axle or CV joint? I couldn't really tell as my diagnostic skills are limited to the checking and adding of oil and even then, the guys start to worry when I play with my dipstick (but then, so does Mrs. Nads).
It took Ricky and Yamz to find the cause of the clunk on my Doo Doo Brownie. The massive torque increase of the stroker and crisper engagement of the Exedy clutch and Civic Si LSD was causing some serious drivetrain lash sending my exhaust into the underside of the floor plan. Thus, the clunk. My K20 was flailing around more than Jonny does when he hears a Justin Timberlake jam. Excessive power may be a good thing but excessive engine movement is nobody's friend, as this shock load could loosen motor mounts and damage header bolts just for starters.
I finally got around to installing the Energy mounts and Ingalls engine damper. Alright, I enlisted Elton to do the install but the clunk is gone and that's all that matters. In place of the clunk I was treated to some extra vibrations of the not-so-good variety. Add this to an engine fan that only works when the A/C is on and the gear-grinding crunch that comes with every 1-2 shift of the notoriously weak K-Series tranny and you have a recipe for frustration with a pinch of exasperation. Even my stock brakes needed to be replaced as the pedal action was getting spongier than my man-maries. The fix for my sloppy stoppers came when AP Racing binders from Stillen elevated the once menial act of stopping to an art form. But, yet again, the elimination of one problem brought forth another; I must suffer for my art when the race pads provide a nails-on-a-chalkboard soundtrack under very light braking.
These are just some of the highs and lows that come with any project car. While a finely tuned car is a thing of beauty, a car with a medley of quirks and quibbles is a badge of honor. I wouldn't think twice about rolling a showroom fresh 911 Turbo but it wouldn't have any of the signature soul of my steaming Doo Doo Brown-mobile. Speaking of project cars, every one of the staffers drives a nicer one than me. Jonny goes naapes in his IS, Ricky has an NSX and a supercharged G35 and Carter has a GT-R, an RX-7, and even a real-deal JGTC Supra. What am I doing wrong here?
Lately the NHRA started its own little pet project by bringing the D1GP slide riders to a sport compact drag event. Even greater still is the inclusion of rally cars within the gnarliest Olympiad of action sports, the X Games. Will drifting be the next big X thang? Probably not, unless Shaun White trades in his blingy Range Rover for an AE86. If Travis Pastrana had not been so passionate about (and adept at) rallying, ESPN would have sooner brought frolf into the X mix.
In other X Games news, Nick Hogan has been testing a Team Mopar Viper with hopes of drifting on a professional level. While this is huge in itself, it doesn't have anything to do with the X Games except that Colin McRae (yes, that Colin McRae) was invited to drift the Viper at Irwindale Speedway. In some kind of bizarre Surreal Life moment, the WRC champ showed Nick Hogan who actually knows best, as he hung out the rear of the Viper on Irwindale's big banks with the same big style as the Toxic Drifter himself. Some guys are just that good at whatever they do. As for me, my proudest moments involve making it home each day without overheating my car.