Tokyo Auto Salon 2019


Kinda late posting since its now end of March, and TAS was in January but I’ve been busy with cars, and traveling this past few months.


This trip all started several month back when I was talking to my friend Joseph about wanting to hit up Tokyo Auto Salon. He has been there twice before, and we joked about if there was a good flight deal we will book a trip. Well, I get a txt from Joesph saying he found round trip tickets from Houston to Japan with All Nippon Airways for about $800! We booked out tickets that same day, and I was ready to get my Tokyo Auto Salon cherry popped.


We stayed at Shibuya, probably the best place to stay if its your first time visiting Japan. But the event was about 1hr away from Tokyo, thankfully Japan’s public rail system made it an easy commute.


It was a cold but beautiful sunny day.


Thankfully Joseph and I was able to get exhibitor passes and get in the morning beating the peasant crowds. But if you are not able to get an media or exhibitor pass you can still get into general admission but they are not allowed to come in till the afternoon, or pre buy VIP tickets to skip the lines, and crowds.


First stop on the list was hitting up Top Secret, mainly because Joesph is a fan boy having owned a Nissan 370Z in the past. I remember Top Secret from my old option DVD with Smokey and his Supra hitting the Wangan. These days they seem to specialize more in Nissan then in Toyota. I got sold on the JDM hype and bought some merchandise from them. Glad I did because, they don’t really sell merchandise online.



A few of Top Secret products. Disc brakes bigger then a dinner plate.


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Japan has always been a weird but cool country. Like, I know some people come here for the girls and not the cars. Im sure the models are used to it, comes with the territory.

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Found the Up Garage booth, and wish I bought a bigger luggage now. So much JDM goodness without the JDM tax we get in the states.

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These cars was actually designed by an automotive school. I think they were the ones that made a k car NSX body some years back.



Overlanding becoming a trend in Japan.



This bike is something I would see fit in the Houston, Tx.


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Voltex had some pretty cool products. Way out of my budget though.

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DSC_0590 Being an 86 owner I had to check out Impulse. They make every panel for the AE86 in carbon fiber. I saw they made some nice high rise headers. If I had alot of money I would buy all the parts but instead I bought a t-shirt for my godson, Levin.


DSC_0593 Full carbon fiber Impulse AE86


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DSC_0610 The Honda Cub, would make a great pit/paddock bike.


Mugen everything…

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DSC_0637 Had to check out the ray bought being a TE37 owner myself. I did buy a some stuff there too. DSC_0643

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DSC_0657 KW, popular suspension with the track guys.


DSC_0652 Pandem and their super aggressive flared out body kits.


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Bride Japan, is half the cost here, then in the States. Im sure the bulky shipping has to do with the price increase.

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Track day things….

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Roberuta, is a Japanese company that specializes in making air lift kits for high exotic cars. It not cheap either, but if you own a exotic car, money isn’t an issue.


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DSC_0734 Saw the new Supra debut in Japan! Had a cammo wrap so I couldn’t really see the lines of the car. Plus the crowds made it hard to get a decent picture.


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DSC_0783 326 Power, making static slammed suspension components for the hot bois.


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DSC_0798 Liberty Walk had their unveiling of their new line of body kits.


Couldn’t get a decent picture though…. You can see the crowd was massive.

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DSC_0841 The glory days. DSC_0830

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DSC_0853 Later we stopped at the Tomica store. I remember this brand when I was growing up, especially when I visit the Philippines. I always thought the car picture on the box was the same car inside the box, but instead I get an okay looking car lol. I can tell though they have stepped up their detail game though.


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As the afternoon rush got more crowed and having seen all the hall venues, it was time for us to head back into Tokyo. Pictures isn’t enough for Tokyo Auto Salon, you have come and see it for yourself! And if you haven’t visited Japan, you should because I don’t think there is any other country thats is like Japan.

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Just want to say thank you to the guys at Shinku Classics for giving Joesph and I the exhibitor passes. They are a local car import shop in Houston,Tx. If you want any cool JDM cars, you should check them out!


Project AE86: Motor Running!!


I hooked up the ECU to the engine harness, and I thought that would be end the my problems. But as soon as I cranked the motor, it didn’t start…… So that lead to another set of issues I had to figure out. Thankfully I had a lot of good friends that helped me along the way.


First thing I found out was to set the timing. I figured out my timing was off, because I was getting compression, spark, air, and fuel but it wasn’t synced up correctly. If it is not in sync then the motor will never fire. But since I have a stand alone ECU and coil on plugs, it wasn’t as simple as aligning the distributor to top dead center (TDC). I had to do some research on tigger wheel setups and crank angle offset. The Link ECU will be telling the spark plugs when to fire at the precise moment.


What we had to do was first set the motor to TDC. On the 4AG motors, the stock crank pulley has a mark that aligns to TDC. This link gave me and idea on TDC for my motor:

Then we had to tell the ECU to fire a spark at TDC. We did this by going into the ECU software, locking the timing 0 degrees to TDC, and then adjusting the ignition offset angle to fire at TDC. To figure out what number I had to put on the offset ignition timing, is when the timing gun comes into play. You enter a number and then see where the timing light hits. You adjust that number till the timing light lands on TDC mark. This means the ECU is firing a spark at TDC.


This video helped me out:

After we did that, the car still didn’t run and felt pretty helpless and mad at the same time. Technically the car is timed right and already verified I’m getting air, compression, fuel and spark. Yet, the car would start, not even a hiccup. So at this point I called it a day and honestly didn’t didn’t touch the car for another month or so. Mainly because I went Japan and had other obligations to do. Until recently, a couple days ago my friend came by my house and finally got it running….

What happened was that the Link ECU was looking for K20 MAP sensor and my air intake temp sensor wasn’t plug correctly. So my friend made a temporary harness for the air intake temp sensor and then we told the Link ECU to use it’s own built in MAP sensor. Then the car cranked and started immediately!!! I was soo relieved, and more motived now to finish work on the AE86!

My other friend was adjusting the fuel for cold and hot start up. Just to make sure the car will start in any temperature. After the car ran for a while we did find some minor issues like the lower radiator hose wasn’t fully tight and leaked coolant. Easy fix. And injector #1 was leaking fuel, due to a bad seal. That was my fault man handling the fuel injector. The leaking fuel explains the slight hesitation from idle to full throttle. I’m almost there! Just need to tidy up the wiring, and take it to a tuner!

I would like to give a special shout out to Donnie who really stuck by my side to figure out the issue, and Jacob for adjusting the ECU setting so the car will be more reliable during start ups. And all the homies that came by the house for moral support. Thanks y’all!

Project AE86: The hard part ECU wiring


I got my Link ECU and custom engine harness for R.N.R Autosport in Malaysia, and for the most part everything was plug in play and labeled. But I had to make a harness connection for the OEM black connector pin. The OEM conector was different then the connector from the custom engine harness.


As you can see I had to remove the pins from the OEM connection. This was a first and never done anything like this at all.


What I needed to do is find the wiring diagram for the OEM conection and label the wires. Thankfully R.N.R Autosport sent me the image for the wiring diagram. Here is the link:


I triple checked the wiring and labels just to make sure I didn’t mess anything up. Then my friend Donnie came by and showed me how to crimp connections, which wasn’t that bad at all. My first attempt wasn’t too great but I got the hang of it. And if you crimp the wires correctly, there is no need for soldering. In matter of fact, crimping is actually better then soldering since it provides a strong mechanical connection.


With that part done, all I had to do was pin it to the supplied connector.


I was also nervous about this, because what happens if I pinning the wrong way? Or switch the pins on the connections? R.N.R Autosport has great customer service and was able to answer my questions quickly and made sure I placed the pins in the correct slot.


This is the new 6 pin connector diagram R.N.R Autosport sent me.  R.N.R Autosport was able to make sure I got it right.


After I triple check my wiring again, I started to go one by and pin my new connector. Was pretty easy and just clicks in.


And just like that the wiring stuff is done!!!! Next is to hook up the ECU to the battery and hopefully it starts…. but more on that for the next blog. That opened a whole new can of worms.

Start of and Epic Road Trip Part 6: La Selva Beach and Santa Cruz

Man, it’s been a while since our road trip (April 2018 – May 2018), and I am still posting about my trip. I’ve been busy with work, in laws visiting, and of course working on the AE86. This road trip has been one of the best, and lots filled with lots of memories.


It’s our 3rd day staying at Death Valley, and was time to head to head up to Nor Cal for beaches and cooler weather. Not much off road trails planned for this portion of the trip. My wife and I hasn’t visited Nor Cal, and figured it would be the perfect time to.


We packed up early and left Death Valley, next time I’ll make sure to spend more time to explore more trials and stop by Alabama Hills too.


We didn’t take a lot of pictures driving to Nor Cal, just soaking up the scenery and living in the moment. The drive was about 8hrs, and thankfully not much traffic. Pretty chill road trip, with frequent gas stops. We made it to our Airbnb at La Selva Beach and stayed in Nor Cal for 5 days.


During the stay we drove to Hollister Hills OHV Park and that was really cool. One of my bucket list checked off. What made me come here was seeing the guys from Dirt Everyday go to Hollister Hills on some their episodes. Pretty cool spot for all levels.


We did the easy to medium trails, because I’m not really confident in my off road skills, and I wanted to make sure I can still drive the Land Cruiser back to Texas without breaking anything.



The California trails seemed more rocky and steeper then the ones in Texas. I did like the mountain views and cooler weather. We also checked out the local farms near by. I didn’t get pictures of that but everything tastes better from the source.


One of the cool things about California in general is you dont have to drive far for a change of scenery. The next day we decided to explore the local spots in La Selva Beach. I do like this small beach town, and the people around were chill and friendly. I’m sure they have money because looking at the houses around that area starts at 800k and up.


Lambo enjoying the beach bum life. He even met another chow chow!!!


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This chow chow has the beach glow going on.


Lambo loving life. These are the day I’m really thankful for everything. Its about life experience, and not materialistic things.


The mandatory family picture!!

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Lambo is a pretty clean dog, and didn’t want to get wet.

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After exploring the local beach, we got hungry and hit up a bagel spot near by.


It was really good!!!! I wish I remember the name….


Then we found a railway near the trail and wifey had to get a picture.

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Made it to Santa Cruz!!!! I had to get the Santa Cruz sticker while here. Unfortunately, the boardwalk isn’t dog friendly but all good. We just explored around.

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Clear skies, cool weather, and palm trees.


Wasn’t a lot of people around on a weekday, and Im thankful for that.


We went to the local ice parlor we to for a snack. Forgot to take a picture because we pretty much inhaled it. The owners where nice enough to give Lambo a bowl of water too. After exploring the beach side of town, we headed up the mountains and visited a train museum.


There was actually some kind of wedding rehearsal going on, and I’m willing to bet they are train fanatics. Lots of old fashion things around the area and pretty remote. We didn’t have reception.


The baby bear distracted with all the scenery.


Then we got hungry and wanted to get some drinks, and headed back into town.


We found some small stores and bought some things for our house. I like shopping for practical house stuff while traveling because its useful and memories of past trips.


Beer…. never fails.


Lambo all pooped out. And with that we called it a day and headed back to La Selva Beach. Next post we will be heading to San Fran!!!!!



Project AE86: SQ Engineering goodness

As the project is coming along, it was about time to buy a few more parts to complete the list of engine mods. I tried to find some parts stateside, but I didn’t find any. I went overseas to an Australian company, SQ Engineering, and they had the parts I was looking for.


One of the first things I bought was getting the correct ITB gaskets for the 20v ST. Interestingly I was thinking that part would be easy to find stateside, but I couldn’t find it, even at rock auto.


While I was at the SQ Engineering website I went ahead got the coil pack adapter for the 16v 4age, and oil pressure kit.


The oil pressure kit is basically an extra spring you add to the oil pump. This extra springs provides increased oil pressure especially if the car constantly stays at high rpms, and with cars equipped with an oil cooler. This simple mod will prove its worth at the track.


The install is pretty straight forward and easy. I can tell with the addition of the 2nd spring, it felt much stiffer. Here is the link to the install guide:


I bolted everything back up and 4age is starting to look better! I didn’t install the oil pump yet, because I wanted to make sure the motor will run right. The ecu and harness I had made has been shipped, and should arrive a few says from now. I hope the ecu and harness will be the last big purchase I have to do, in order for the motor to run right. Stay tuned!!!

Project AE86: More weight loss


The 86 I bought came with a sunroof, but it wasn’t working and the sunroof was stuck in the “almost closed position.” And because its a track car, the only logical thing to do was to remove it. Having the whole sunroof assembly allows me to have a more room for a future roll cage.


There wasn’t much info on how to remove the sunroof online so I had to learn as I go. Basically remove the headliner and all the bolts, then pull away at that glued seems.


I removed all bolts that was visible (after removing the headliner), but I couldn’t remove the sunroof. As it turn out, I had to removed the headliner on the sunroof itself! The issue was, the sunroof was stuck on the “almost closed position”, so I couldn’t just pull out the headliner. Since Im going to throw away the sunroof, I took a knife and cut thought the headliner. and this gave me access to the bolts holding the sunroof.


Here are the exposed bolts after removing the sunroof headliner.



After removing the bolts, you just push up on the sunroof and pops right out! Next is removing the sunroof assembly and rails.


You first remove the the screws attaching to the wind breaker. I will portably sell that since its in good condition.


Then you get a flat head screw driver and wedge it between the glued seems. Using a hammer, you break the glued seams. After separating a good portion of the glued seam, then you can pull up and out on the rail assmebly. It should come you easy and not a lot of force. If you find yourself having a difficult time, make sure you remove all the bolts.



The sunroof rail guide are glued in the front position of the car, once you separate the glue from the railings you just slide it out forward.


Next is the removing the sunroof case. After removing all the bolts, it is also held on my glue and you break the seam as you did with the sun roof rail. Use a flathead and hammer.


Once you break the seam, you just apply some downward pressure to continue to break the glue seam. Some might need more then other portions but you get the idea. Dont for get to disconnect the drain hoses.


You can pull out the hose afterwards.



And just like that the whole sunroof assembly is out!!!! Surprisingly its didn’t feel as heavy as I thought it would be. I have big gapping sunroof hole that I will probably seal with a piece of aluminum and JB weld. Another good tip, when doing this, is to have the seats removed for more space. Stay tuned for more updates!!!

Project AE86: Stripped Bolt


Couple days ago, the engine harness maker messaged me that he is almost done with the engine harness and wanted a picture of the TPS. I was pretty excited since, Im hoping the ECU and harness will make the motor run and idle right. So I proceeded to removed the TPS…


Removing the top screw was pretty easy but when I got to the bottom that was a different story. I noticed I was having a harder time losening the screw and I found out the screw was stripped. Ugh, what was suppose to be an easy removed now turned out to be more difficult.


At first, I thought I had to remove the motor to get enough access to use my bolt extractor. But on the 86 group chat I was in, someone mentioned I could just removed the throttle bodies. I didn’t think of it (being a complete noob) but it was a great idea.


I first removed the trumpets then the throttle bodies. The process was pretty straight forward I didn’t need any special tools, just a Allen key, and 10mm socket.


The throttle body adapter has some type of gasket that was actually wrong for the fitment haha. You could tell its was some type of liquid gasket maker the previous person used. Not factory spec, but I guess it worked. I went ahead and ordered the correct gasket for the throttle bodies from SQ Engineering. One nice thing to note are the throttle bodies and trumpets are from a 20v silver top, and the adapter plate is from Techno Toy Tuning (T3).


While the trumpets and throttle bodies are out, I taped up the intake portion just to make sure no debris makes it into the intake.


Im no stranger to striped screws and bolts, and I my bolt extractor made it easy to remove the screw.


With the hard part done, I was able to take good pictures of the TPS for the engine harness maker. Then I went to the bolt supply store to replace the TPS screws, and some other missing bolts I needed for the 86.


The bolt guy was pretty nice, and gave me the bolts for free!!


I went with hex bolts, because they are less prone to strip compared to screws. While Im waiting for the gaskets to arrive, I did some cleaning of the throttle bodies and trumpets. They sure needed it.

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I cleaned the throttle bodies with brake cleaner, and hand polished the trumpets.


For the T3 adapter plate, I used a copper brush to remove the remaining gasket, and brake cleaner to remove the carbon build up.


I wonder how clean this will last because I have no future plans to run a filter for my ITBs. I just know that I will will be making frequent oil changes every 1000 miles or after a track event. Maybe I could make more own filters for cheap. Stay tuned!