Making Sweet Music With Leroy
I came to the realization that the aftermarket full-range speakers in my car were in need of replacement, both due to the diminishing sound quality and the physical evidence - one of the paper cones up front was noticeably warped and one of the rear tweeters was torn. That's where the wonderful people at Clarion came in to hook me up with all new JDM units for my hatch.
Yokohama Advan RZ Wheels/Falken Fk452
Tires/Project Kics R26 Lugs
For the past three years, I've relied on a set of Time Attack-edition Volk TE-37s and while they've stood the test of time with regards to weight and durability, I felt like the IS could use a more grown-up look. ADVAN launched a successor wheel to the RS with the RZ, which basically takes the 10-spoke RS Standard Design and twists it into the twin 5-spoke GT-R Design where the spokes dip towards the center of the wheel, allowing for larger insets and caliper fitment. So, on a car with high offset like mine, I can get a more full-face look without having to modify my fenders and go with a lower offset wheel. Because of this, I upsized to 19-inches in the Dark Gun Metallic color, running 19x8 on the fronts and 19x9 on the rear, all at 45+ offset. Additionally, since I was using RAYS Engineering lugs made specifically for the Volk Racing line, I switched over to a set of Project Kics R26 lug nuts provided by Mackin Industries. They work better for the RZ because of its thin-wall design and are pretty tough, stronger than most aluminum racing nuts.
For tires, I chose a set of FK452s from Falken (225/35R19 front/245/30R19 rear), which at first stuck out REALLY close to the fenders (looked dope!) and rubbed on bigger bumps (sounded not so dope!), especially on the rears. To fix this problem, Pit Crew Motorsports cut some of the rear fender off where there's plenty of metal from the factory - now it barely rubs, except on big bumps or on fully-cranked turns. As far as the tires' capabilities are concerned, this is a really good street tire. They're built with a silica compound and have grooves that take well to wet weather and are reasonably quiet. I haven't had a chance to really push them yet, but for everyday use, they grip nicely and respond quickly. Falken offers the FK452s in sizes from 16-through-22 inches and come highly recommended.
EBC Brake Pads And USR Slotted Rotors
Big on my list of things-to-do these past couple of months was to service my rear brakes, most of which had been worn down to under 25-percent life after inspection. A call was made to EBC Brakes USA to get a fresh set of Redstuff pads since I was already using them on the front calipers along with their Ultimax BlackDash (USR) slotted rotors, and this time asked to complete the set by seeing if they had rear rotors - and of course, they did. Armed with a fresh set of Redstuff pads and USR rotors for all four wheels, I brought the IS to Aaron Cassan at Import Car Doctor in Covina, CA, who has helped service plenty of project cars for both Super Street and Project Car over the years. Not only would he replace the worn OEM and EBC parts, but he would also do a full brake fluid flush, a much recommended procedure from the doc himself. Don't have to twist my arm to do preventative maintenance.
So why use the Redstuff? Simple - these pads minimize brake dust but they also pack plenty of bite and get better as you heat them up. Made from a Kevlar-fiber based compound enhanced with ceramic particles, these last longer than the previous generation Redstuff (pre-ceramic) and is said to brake better and can do the job more quietly. So I can keep my ADVAN RZ's cleaner while stopping faster? EBC had me at "hello". The USR rotors are made from premium blanks and are machine-slotted to create a quiet-running rotor that can remove gas, dirt, water and other contaminants while maintaining consistent pad and rotor wear. From the package they come with a black coating that wears off after it touches the pads from initial use, so don't think they'll stay looking stealth forever. In just under a couple hundred miles of use, there was a very noticeable difference in braking characteristics, which was to be expected because of the worn-down rear OEM pads and dirty brake fluid in the system. Now it bites in an instant, a little too neck-snapping fast, but I'm adjusting my lead foot as it breaks in. I'll update you at the next project car update to see how they perform after the break-in period.
Techno Toy Tuning 75MM Hub Extender
You probably thought we weren't going to do any updates for Project Old School EF but you're wrong. We have some treasures we're about to pull out of hiding in the next couple of issues leading up to the final installment of this car, but for now we're going sorta bling with this Techno Toy Tuning hub extender. I picked this piece up to help make my drive a lot more comfortable since I'm not really down with leaning my seat back all the way and hunching over - but you know the ish don't look cool unless you kick back like that. To compensate for me having to break my old back more than it already is, this 75mm extender pushes the MOMO steering wheel closer to my chest and bolts directly to the MOMO hub without any mods needed. Best of all, check out that crazy gold anodized dip. Sickness!
Jumping Chuck's S14 Into The Gang
Once again my ADD kicked in and I dumped one project car for another. I've said bye to my 1987 Cressida and the old school 15x9" SSR wheels. I wanted a newer car for my insane commute but not something brand new, as I don't really like anything the dealership offers these days. Growing up in the '90s I've got a soft spot for cars from that era, even over the newer better stuff. The MKIV Supra, FD RX-7 and the NSX are still my three unicorns. Since those are all out of budget right now, I opt'd for a 1995 Nissan 240SX. For years, I've been trying not to jump on the 240SX bandwagon. I just wanted to leave that to those die-hard fanatics that have been there for years. Typically, I like to build odd-ball-unpopular-cars. But with a cheap purchase price, tons and tons of aftermarket parts, and all the ground work already done, a 240SX is one of the best platforms to build up. The 240SX (and Silvia) could very well be the most commonly modified cars internationally, of all time.
Choosing from an S13 or an S14 was a tough one. Older is usually cooler in my book, and for me the RPS13 was the model that really made the S-chassis cars popular. But after test driving several S13 and S14 cars, I decided the S14 was the way to go for something I have to drive daily. If I had an S13 I'd probably try to restore the entire car or build it to the point where it's undrivable. Been there with other cars, and don't want to do that again. I need something I can really beat on.
Craigslist does rock. After months of searching, I found the S14 with the color and trim package I wanted. It was a 1995 standard model in Blue Emerald. Having a standard model meant I didn't get that completely useless thing called a sunroof. Those things should only be installed in luxury sedans. If it's one thing I can't stand in a sports coupe, it's sunroofs, targa tops and t-tops. I had to have Blue Emerald because it's the closest factory color to the paint color that I'll be repainting the car. The find was perfect, and was owned by the original driver. The only problem was it was in Sacramento, eight hours away. After making sure it was the one for me, I flew up there and drove the car home.
The best thing about any S-chassis car is the performance potential. I can easily turbo the KA motor, swap in the infamous SR20DET, or go wild by doing a RB or VQ swap. With the thought of having a boosted 'straight six', makes me feel like this car is a mini Skyline. Now whether I get to build any of these motors, we'll have to wait and see. The only thing I've been able to do so far is swap out the dirt-nasty blue interior for a newer black one. Keep reading and you should start seeing my project go from stock to 'dayum'. The rare JDM wheels and goodies are on their way.