Happy New Year. It seems like it's been a year since the last time we said that. Well, at least 12 months. So what have you been up to? Us? We've just been hanging out here and there trying to get cars done and magazines printed. How about you? Is your car still sitting on jack stands? Goodness gracious, what are you thinking? Your parents must be pissed off. Well, it's a fresh year so get off to a fresh start. We'll even be here to help you when you run into a snag. But you have to help us help you. Wipe your greasy hands on your mom's best linen and write in to Super Street Magazine c/o Technical Support 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. Legibly would be preferred but not entirely necessary. Those who aren't busy downloading models pics from our Web site can e-mail us at email@example.com. As always, our Inquiry of the Month gets a prize and this month it is a set of strut tower bars from Design Motorsports Engineering (626.968.5147, www.dme-power.com)
Ricky's Inquiry of the Month
Q.I have a '90 Nissan 240SX with the single cam KA motor and I want to get into drifting. The problem is that I'm pretty broke. I'm sure you have heard that line a bunch of times. I just read that story on the VLSD install on Carter's car, but even that is out of my budget. I was thinking about just getting my open diff welded. Does that sound like a good idea? I mean, it's cheap, so there has to be a downside to it. Let me know what you guys think. Keep up the good work. Thanks.
Via the Internet
A. Well, if you're planning on drifting you definitely can't do it with an open differential. Though welding it is a good idea, like all cheap solutions, there's a downside. A VSLD will distribute the power to whichever wheel needs it during a turn, making it much more driveable on the street. Unlike the VLSD we put in Carter's 240SX, a welded diff will always be at 100 percent locking because it has no other choice. It will be a bit strange when you drive your mom to the grocery store and your rear end is hopping around when you try to turn into the parking lot. If you're ok with that, then welding the diff is a great way to get started on your drifting escapade. Plus, we're all about saving money. Enjoy your DME strut bars, you're going to need them.
Q.I'm doing research for an SR20 swap. I read an article in your magazine about the six-speed manual trans that comes with the S15. You mentioned that people opted for the five-speed manual of the KA24 instead of the six-speed, not only due to the fact that no fabrication is needed for the swap but the five-speed had better performance. What's the major difference between the two besides location of speed sensor? Will the bellhousing fit other SR20 engines besides the S15? If not, are the bellhousings interchangeable to the transmission case? I know that the fifth gear on the five-speed is weak. Are there any performance shops that you know of that can upgrade the gear ratios as well as the final gear ratios? Can they also upgrade the six-speed? Thanks for your help.
A.I think you're a bit mistaken. We used the five-speed tranny off an S13/S14 SR20DET motor on Ricky's car, not off a KA24. It wasn't for the performance aspect, really. We only did it because at the time, we weren't sure what needed to be done in terms of getting the speed sensor to read properly. If we had the choice and time, we would have gone with the six-speed for sure. The only difference between the two is the gear ratios. The six has tighter ratios for faster acceleration, which is why you need the sixth gear. We've heard that the six has weaker gears, but have yet to see any proof of that. The bellhousing for the tranny would be the same for the S13, S14 and S15 motors. However, the clutch is different for the six-speed. As far as upgrading the gears, you can always go with OS Giken or one of those companies that specializes in that, though it won't be cheap.
Q. Hi. I was just wondering about differences in mandrel and crush bent exhaust piping because where I live, mandrel bending isn't really an option. I wanted to find out if you could use a slightly larger diameter pipe to solve the back pressure problem if I were to use the crush method on my NA SR20.
A Ideally, mandrel bent exhaust piping would be the way to go. Crush bent is cheesy and restricts flow at every bend. Even if you increase the piping diameter throughout, you'll still be restricted by the smallest point along the way. Fortunately, with the NA motor you could use a little bit of back pressure, but if it were up to us, we'd go mandrel bent all the way. Since you don't have access to the mandrel bending machines, another option would be to use mandrel bent elbows and weld them in where needed when fabricating up the exhaust. You can look at a lot of the big manufacturer exhausts to steal ideas for yours. You'll notice that most of them don't follow the stock exhaust bends, but are altered to be as straight as possible from front to back.
Q.Well, being from the dirty south and being a long time reader of Super Street, I just want you guys to know that your mag rocks. Anyhow, I am a proud owner of the new '07 Honda Fit. This is my first brand new car I have ever bought and I love it. I have always wanted to hook my cars up in the past, but for some reason it never happens. I don't even get to put any JDM stickers on it. Now that I bought this Fit it might just take a little longer to hook it up cause I'm on a budget. I am a poor man in need of desperate help. I would like it if you guys could do a special section in your mag showing what's available now for the Fit. It would be nice just to look at all the stuff so I can at least dream about it cause, like I said, I am a poor man. This would make my day if I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up the mag to see in small writing, Honda Fit Parts Guide at the corner of the cover. You guys can do anything, and I trust you guys will at least give me some info on my car. I can only pray for something good to happen to me. Thanks guys for being the shiz all these years and keep it up.
Via the Internet
A.What excellent timing. Though we're not putting together a Fit buyer's guide yet, we are actually putting together an actual Fit and so are a bunch of other people. If you want to get crazy with it, Hasport makes a mount kit to cram in the K-series motors, just like the one on the cover of our October '06 issue. But since you're on a budget, an engine swap may not be what you're looking for. In terms of lower-priced parts, pretty much every manufacturer has an intake and exhaust for the 1.5L motor. We know that Zero1000 USA (www.zero1000usa.com) is coming out with a turbo kit too. Suspension-wise, you can look to Tein, Megan or DME for fairly priced coilovers. Another inexpensive power adder is always nitrous, and you get that from either Nitrous Express (www.nitrousexpress.com) or NOS (www.holley.com). Now, about that buyer's guide, we're going to steal your idea so look for it in the future.
Q.Hello. I'm having some major issues with my '99 Honda Civic Si. I had a turbo kit installed in my car a while back. I blew a head gasket and was told that I could put a regular OEM head gasket back on. I did that, but since I've put it on, it leaks oil on one corner any time my turbo starts to kick in. My car is not running right at all and it's running slower now than before I had the turbo. If I get into the RPM's where I have my turbo kick in, it "bottoms out" and I lose all power. Do you happen to know what type of head gasket I should use for my turbo Civic? The place that installed my turbo didn't really know what they were doing to begin with, now they're going out of business, which is not surprising. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
Via the Internet
A.The first question that pops in our head is who installed your head gasket? There shouldn't be anything leaking out of it anywhere at any point in time. We'd go back and have a reputable mechanic put a new one in. Putting in a new head gasket is much more technical than an exhaust or intake manifold gasket, which is just tightening a few bolts. The thing that also worries us is whether or not you warped your head the first time you blew the head gasket. Or even worse, if you're messing it up by driving the car around now. But if you had a good mechanic shop do the gasket, they would have checked to see if the head and block were in good shape. It doesn't seem like that's the case. A bolt-on turbo kit doesn't require an aftermarket head gasket, but if that's what you desire then you can look to Cometic (www.cometic.com) for something beefier.
Q.I own a '95 240SX and have recently added a set of wheel spacers (1/4-inch in front and 1 1/4-inch in the rear) and have noticed a significant vibration in my steering at 50mph plus. As I go faster the vibration gets a lot worse. I have been thinking that it could be due to the crappy wheels that I bought with the car-they are 17 inch and probably only about 7 to 7.5 inch wide. My tires are 215/45R17. It's a pretty crappy setup for now, I know, but could the vibration be due to the skinny wheels? The car has a lot of negative camber on the rear wheels, could this be too much strain on the hubs? Also, I was considering adding 300ZX brake calipers to my front and rear because I cannot afford a really nice setup right now. I was wondering what I would need to do. Thanks a lot you guys rule! Much appreciated.
A.To us, it sounds like you didn't get hub-centric spacers. Usually that's what causes your steering wheel to shake at higher speeds. The cheaper spacers that aren't hub-centric don't keep your wheel straight so that's definitely something to look into. Not only is it annoying, but it's also dangerous. Something else to check out is the balance of your wheels. If the balance is off, you need to take it to a tire shop and add some weights to it. Even worse, you might have a bent rim or rims. For the brakes, the 300ZX are a great upgrade for cheap. But you need to either swap to five-lug hubs or drill the rotors to match your four-lug. We would recommend not dealing with the rear brakes though, unless you don't mind losing your hand brake. With the big spacers, you should be able to clear the larger caliper with your 17x7 or whatever rims. But like we said earlier, those aren't too safe. Kick down some extra money and get some hub-centric spacers.