Making history isn't easy as Dai Yoshihara can tell you about his AE86 with its first-ever turbocharged K20C1 engine swap. Throwing a modern Honda motor into an older Toyota is a daunting task, which is why despite Dai's car making its debut at SEMA 2019 inside the Turn 14 Distribution booth, the FK8 Civic Type R-powered project car is still running into obstacles, which was the story during his first shakedown at the Streets of Willow.
Our last update highlighted one of his first dyno sessions at PhatBotti Tuning in Anaheim, California. Controlled by a Link engine management system, this proved to be the cause of a lot of headaches due to the fact that the Link staff is based in New Zealand and had to communicate back and forth with local build partner Eimer Engineering in order to tune the car. Hours upon hours of collecting data, plus the difficulties of working with the K-series' direct injection, variable valve timing (VTEC) and an aftermarket fuel system resulted in weeks on end on the dyno without a solidified tune on the horizon.
With no experienced Link ECU dyno tuners in the state of California, coupled with the safety concerns of flying amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, Dai decided to load up his AE86 on a trailer and travel 15+ hours to Superior Soobie and Import, a shop ten miles south of Portland that's home to Link specialist Jason Oefelain. A full day was dedicated to data collection on the dyno and a second day was spent sorting out the final tune. Jason was able to design a file that makes roughly 300whp, but most importantly, it was safe for the motor and reliable. We weren't able to be there for the dyno session but check out Dai's YouTube Vlog for the full recap.
Upon returning to California, Dai piggybacked a local track day at the Streets of Willow with Remark USA where the "AE86R" would undergo its first shakedown. Watching from the stands, his car looked every bit as awesome as you could've imagined. JDM Sprinter aero, Pandem body kit with N2-style fenders, gold BBS Motorsport wheels and 'caged interior made the Corolla look right at home on the track. Dai had hoped for a day that was focused solely on fine-tuning things like the chassis and KW suspension, but everything was cut short after a weakness in the car's cooling system was revealed. Overheating, in turn, kicked the ECU into limp mode, which then wouldn't allow Dai to push the car any longer. A bummer.
The next step for Dai and his team is to address the cooling issues as well as perhaps revisit the tune and see if there's a better file that can be achieved to see if the boosted four-cylinder can run effectively, especially in the scorching California heat. Dai's currently out at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, but once he's back, we hope to have another update for you soon as he inches his way towards putting the final touches on in his Civic Type R-powered AE86.
REMEMBER WHEN DAI...
- Entered Pikes Peak International Hill Climb last year for the first time in his career driving the Evasive Motorsports Scion FR-S.
- Took top honors in the Spoon Sports Civic Type R at Super Lap Battle 2014.
- Clocked the fastest lap at last year's Global Time Attack/Super Lap Battle.
- Won the Formula DRIFT championship in 2011.