My good friend Liam stopped by yesterday on his way from Toronto to Chicago in his beautiful URAS R34. Needless to say I was pretty geeked to hear this thing rolling up to my office.

We gassed up his car, grabbed some lunch, and went back to my house to hang out for a little bit during my lunch break. A new roof was being installed on my home so unfortunately we couldn’t take any photos in my driveway like we had hoped, but at least we still have proof that Liam was here with his car.

My daughters were waiting for “Uncle Liam” with custom coloring pages in tow. It was cool to be able to hang out for a bit and get a bit of the pre-Final Bout feels going as I was not going to be departing until the following afternoon.

I am going bonkers looking forward to this trip! Just a few short hours and I will be on the road. I want to take one more moment to thank my incredible wife for watching our three daughters (and one annoying dog) for the weekend, especially right before our oldest starts kindergarten next week. You’re amazing for allowing me to do this!

I’ll be on the road soon- come find me at Final Bout III and say hello! Back next week with a recap of the trip. Have a safe and fun long weekend!


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My apprentices Hattie and Alexi helped me install the new K&N air filter on the car last night. I would love to have a cooler intake and filter at some point like the GReddy setup I had on the car years ago, but the filter I was using was in terrible shape and really needed to be replaced. This should get the job done just fine (and honestly probably works a lot better than a GReddy sponge filter, despite not being nearly as cool.)

We also swapped the East Bear mirrors back to the Ganadors ahead of the trip to Final Bout III tomorrow. Hattie then proceed to complete some last minute sticker tuning before FB3.

After the kids went to bed I washed the car, as is customary before a road trip. This also ensures that it will rain at some point during the trip.

Currently counting the minutes until departure. A good friend of mine will be stopping by for lunch today on his way to Shawano, so I’ll be sure to post about that tomorrow before I roll out.

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A quick snap of the car sitting in a heavy downpour after work yesterday…

I will now be leaving on Friday afternoon for Wisconsin instead of in the early hours of Saturday morning thanks to my incredible wife. I can’t wait! Looking forward to seeing my friends from all over the world.

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Final Bout Prep

Final Bout preparations are in full swing at my house. I’m happy to report that the car is more or less ready to go at this point (or as ready as it will ever be I guess!). I ordered a replacement air filter that should arrive tomorrow as I am still using the banged up junky filter that came on my SR20 from the donor coupe I extracted it from. I had held out hopes of upgrading my intake and turbo and therefore had not replaced it, but I finally decided to set that dream aside and pick up a K&N cone filter. No JDM points, but it will serve its purpose and arrive quickly.

The fittings after being machined.

You can see how much farther the machined fitting (bottom) will thread into the steering rack.

Another issue I set out to solve is my power steering leak. I have had a fairly decent leak for a while now from the fittings in the steering rack that I have not been able to solve. I tried replacing the Chase Bays fittings with Earl’s units, teflon tape, and permatex thread sealant to no avail. Jimmy has been researching power steering lines and sent me a thread on Zilvia that explained the issue stems from the fact that all aftermarket -AN power steering fittings are shorter than the OEM Nissan fittings, causing them to not seat properly in the rack, resulting in a leak. The only solution I found was to have the flanges on the fittings machined down a bit to allow the fittings to seat properly in the rack.

I ordered the correct fittings and had them sent to my friend Camden down in Indiana to machine them for me. They arrived late last week and I believe they have solved the leak which is a relief! Fingers crossed things stay that way and no other leaks pop up any time soon.

While looking over the car, I ended up lowering it a little bit front and rear. The front is about the same, but the rear came down a decent amount. I’m a little self conscious about it as I have never had the car this low before, but I think I am sold on the look. I still need to get an alignment at some point, but that will probably wait until next season.

Everything appears to be in OK shape at this point aside from tossing the new air filter on when it arrives tomorrow. The car is gassed up and my tools are packed- all it needs is a good cleaning before Saturday morning and I should be set to go!

This weekend can’t come soon enough!

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Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall…

I would be remiss if I did not start this post by mentioning my friends down in Houston, Texas that are currently dealing with the effects of flooding and tornadoes from Hurricane Harvey. It’s hard for me to focus on much today other than the situation they are facing right now. I’m very thankful that all of them are safe and for now all of their homes and vehicles have been spared, but the forecast looks bleak for the next couple of days. Sending my prayers and good vibes to everyone down there being affected by this storm and hoping the rain stops and the waters recede soon.

I recently found a pair of East Bear mirrors on the forums after waiting for a while for another pair to pop up. I had some late last season and only used them for about a week before deciding to flip them and make a little cash. I go through phases of liking a specific set of mirrors over another, so I am excited to have some options now to switch back and forth between as I see fit.

I thought it would be fun to snap a quick photo of the car with each of the options installed- OEM, Ganador, and East Bear. I’ll have to this again sometime with nicer pics, but you get the idea. It’s pretty wild how much of a difference a pair of mirrors can make to the appearance of a car.

I just wrapped up some other work on the car from the weekend that I’ll probably discuss a bit tomorrow. Here’s one more shot with the East Bears on to close things out for today:

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Friday 180SX Analysis

Jimmy and I found ourselves discussing a few cool 180s this morning and nit picking a bit, so I figured it might be fun to post here about one of them. I’m sure most of you have seen this car online before, but I think it still looks good in 2017.

I’ll always be a fan of red 180s, especially with white TE37s- or in this case, LMGT4s? The Hot Road hood looks awesome with the kouki front bumper, complete with R33 N1 ducts and plate cutout. It looks like the lip is actually molded in, so maybe it’s an aftermarket front bumper? G Grow? Hard to say. Stock mirrors and OEM window visors are an interesting touch. Note the clear side markers and lack of lower turn signals as well. I would love to try a Hot Road hood at some point down the road.

Out back we find a G-Grow rear valence- one of my all time favorites. It’s the perfect balance between the OEM kouki valences and the Hot Road piece. The sides are probably G Grow as well, but it’s hard to tell. I wish that aero was still being produced. It looks like there is five point roll bar in there as well. Canister exhaust looks really neat.

Upon further inspection, I think these are probably NISMO LMGT4s. Tough to tell from these angles. I can’t wait to shave my third brake light and rear side markers someday when I repaint my car- such a great addition! Note the single vent front fenders as well. I considered a set of these last spring but ultimately decided to stick with the OEM metal fenders. Kevlar look garnish ties it all together nicely.

Have an excellent weekend! Only one week to go until Final Bout III. Looking forward to it!



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I found myself with a bit of free time after work yesterday as the ladies of the house were out visiting some friends and had not returned home yet. I decided to do something to my car that I have been considering for years but never pulled the trigger on- removing the OEM turn signal brackets from the kouki 180SX bumper.

A photo from spring of last year showing the OEM front lighting.

I’ve changed my mind numerous times over the years in regards to the OEM kouki lower turn signals. I purchased them when I first made the switch to the late model 180SX aero, only to end up using DMAX dual function position lamps instead. I ended up running a pair for a few months during my OEM styling phase last summer only to remove them once more in favor of the DMAX setup. In the end, I prefer the cleaner and more aggressive look of clear side markers and position lamps with the lower turn signals removed. I can’t tell you how many photos of 180SXs in Japan I have saved over the years trying to make a case for the different front lighting setups, but I think the current configuration is my favorite.

Since I also took the leap and decided to finally cut out the license plate area of the bumper to expose the intercooler last year, I figured it was time to follow suit and also cut out the turn signal brackets, much like Itoh did on his Break 180SX. I’ve always left these in place for two reasons- for added support of the bumper when dragging the lip over speed bumps and steep driveways, and in case I decided I wanted to run the turn signals again. Maybe one day I will have a spare OEM front bumper with all of the lights and the plate area left intact, but for now this is the look for me.

While most will not even notice the difference, I am really happy with the results. It opens things up a bit in front of the intercooler and gives the bumper a slightly more aggressive look. While it is less noticeable on a black car, I am glad I decided to take the time to do this. I always enjoy making changes to the car and stepping back to observe them for the first time, even when they are as minor as this. Good fun!

This change prompted me to once again consider installing my R33 GTR N1 vents. This is the third pair of these I have owned over the years despite the fact that I have never been able to make myself install them. I am always concerned about fitment and the installation process. I am also pretty fond of the look of only the plate cutout, making this a tough decision for me. I might finally pull the trigger and install them this winter now that they have been discontinued, but I sometimes feel a vented hood is required to really do these vents justice. We’ll see what happens!

I’ve got one other minor exterior change I am going to experiment with next week, so stay tuned for that update.


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