Project AE86: Killswitch Engage

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I had some spare time on my hands and one afternoon I went and tackled to install my killswitch. The concept was easy but I just have to a lot measuring and cutting to make sure the wires fit behind the dash nicely. I also put a 150amp fuse from the battery to the relay panel to make sure I dont over load the circuit. Wasn’t too bad for one afternoon.

New Storefront

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With the new new year, it was about time to update the store. I’m coming up with new stickers and clothing designs for the blog. I want make a style that represents the street and track life spirit.

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Opeing date will be sometime in March. Be on the look out!

Project AE86: Gear Noises

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The very first track session with the 86 was overall pretty good. I’m getting more comfortable with car, and the last thing I want are expensive damages that could have been prevented. After the last track session, I noticed a whining noise getting louder each lap but I didn’t really hear how bad it was with my helmet on.

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Well, driving back to my house was brutal. The whining was soo loud, you would think I have straight cut gears, or in a airplane. I’m pretty sure other cars on the road could hear it. The 40 min drive gave me a headache and thought of just putting my helmet back on at one point. I know I had to address this issue before my next track day. The whine would only happen with throttle input and goes away on decel. This tells me the diff is going bad, and need to get rebuild.

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I looked on my factory service manual, and removing the diff wasn’t the hard part, its was rebuilding the diff that was tricky. I need special tools to set up the diff correctly. I know I can mess up parts from inexperience in installation, and I didn’t want to risk it with the diff. I went to friend at Duggy’s Garage, for the help. Duggy’s Garage is a 4×4 Toyota specifically shop that I’ve taken my Land Cruiser for maintenance and mods. They never worked on AE86 but they work on diffs and since my car has a solid rear end and a Toyota, its pretty much the same stuff but just a lot smaller size.

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I took my diff off, and and sent it to Duggy’s Graage. They contacted their suppliers but they didn’t offer diff rebuild kits for the AE86. Thankfully, Weir Performance offers diff rebuild kits for the AE86 and currently in stock. My friend, Thaison, mentioned of regearing to 4.77 for closer ratio because the diff is already out and might as well change it for the track. That increased the cost, but I think its worth it. The car is mainly going to hit the track and closer gear ratio will put the rpm in a good range for max power. Yeah I’ll loose top speed but its and mostly stock motor, I’m not trying to go fast in a straight line.

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With that, I ordered the 4.77 gear with the rebuild kit from Weir Performance. I had it shipped to Duggy’s Garage and did their magic. After a week, I got a text from the shop its ready! I had a little bit of struggle lifting the diff into the rear end because the diff is quite heavy. I was able to get it on, with some finesse and working out in the gym.

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I added the recommend gear oil and went for a test drive for initial break in. No more whining noise, and feels a lot faster then it was before. I’m still in the process of the break in period, as it is recommend to put 500 miles on the diff before hitting the track. I have 1 month before my next track day. That is plenty of time for me to put on the miles. I hope to see y’all out that the Driven and Blessed track day!

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Project AE86: Track Shakedown!

New year and first track session in the 86! For the most party she is 90% done, and was iching to start the new year right with a track session.

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I went to a members day at Motor Sport Ranch Houston (MSRH), and it alway less packed then a normal track event. That mean less cars, so I can test and tune it, and also more seat time!!

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First Sunday of the year and I woke up pretty early so I can get ready to hit the track. The only had the speedo, tach and afr gauges hooked up. I had my water temp sesnor and that was hooked up into the laptop but I couldn’t see what my temps was at the track. Risky, I know, but after 200 miles of driving and no overheating, I figured it must be good.

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But then… issues happened. My car suddenly lost power on the corner exit.

At first, I though I did a Takumi and blew the motor. But I didn’t see white smoke or trail of oil. My heart sank, because I just got her running and then it just died.

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I got towed back into the pits and when I started the car I didn’t hear the fuel pump prime. Naturally I thought it was the pump that was the issue. But thanks to track friends, they said to check the electrical connections first. Well, its all checked out. I was able to get 12v into the fuel pump but the pump wasn’t priming. For sure it was the fuel pump.

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I didn’t trailer my car, but some my track friends brought a trailer and able to trailer my car back home. I was bummed, but it could have been worse like a blown motor on fresh rebuild. And fuel pumps are cheap.

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When I got back home, I wanted to work on the 86 and begin dropping the tank to access the pump. But I wanted to make sure 100% its my fuel pump. I hooked up my laptop to the ecu so I can test the fuel pump. Weirdly, I wasn’t getting any power to the ecu. The ecu power wire is connected straight to the battery and sure enough it was loose!!! When I tighten back the wire, the ecu turned on and heard the fuel pump primed! She ran!!!

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I still had some time left, and immediately drove back to track! I wanted my seat time and to adjust the suspension dampening. Best part was when I got back it was an open track! Meaning, you can go be at the track as long as you please.

In the YouTube video, the she is running well but my diff noise got louder and louder. I will definitely need to rebuild the rear end. Thankfully, parts for those isn’t too expensive. Shit box life, probably needed a rebuild anyways.

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I ran her 30 mins at a time, and I was just having fun out there. The 86 feels like a bigger go kart. Handling is predicable, and never snappy. The response on the ITB is crisp.

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I saw some other issues I had, but nothing expensive and easy fixes. Right now the biggest issue is rear diff whining. Thats point of test and tune sessions. You take it to the track to find any issues before a track event.

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The best thing about the track life are the people are genueinly nice and always willing to help out. Shout out to all the friends and people that helped my out this far!

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I had soo much fun, and looking forward to 2020. Hopefully it will be a good year!

Project AE86: Tuning!

I have put 70 miles on the motor and the oil changes looking good. I have enough confidence the motor wont blow up. The base map made the car drivable, but it would lean out on wide open throttle or sometimes stall starting off in 1st gear. Link is a vary capable ECU with many features I don’t even know how to use. I didn’t want to tinker with it, and then damage the motor from my inexperience.

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Currently Link isn’t that popular in the States, not sure why, because Link is common in Europe and Asia. Link ECU is great quality ECU and the best bang for the buck for the amount of features it has. The downside is, it only works with a Windows base operating system. If you have an Apple operating system, you are forced to buy a Windows. Thankfully you can get a decently cheap Windows laptop for less then $150.

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I started to look around locally, and even out of state tuners that can tune remotely. Some tuners where more expensive then others, and some didn’t have much experience with Link ECUs. Then right after the holidays, my friend Danh told me Brad was in town. I never met Brad personally, but he was well known tuner, and is a corolla owner himself. He has tuned my friend’s AE86 and is vary familiar with Link ECU. The downside was he moved out of State this year but was back in town for the Holidays.

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I txted Brad that same day, and despite my busy work schedule and Brad taking the time to meet up during the holiday, we meet up that night. At first, I worried my neighbors would get mad with the engine noise, but I had no choice since Brad was leaving in two days. The cops never came by, so I think my neighbors were understanding.

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Before we could street tune it, we had to address some minor issues. Brad installed a Link air intake temperature sensor and mounted it to one of the trumpets. Then zip tied the wires to avoid anything catching under the ITBs. I worked on getting my headlights wired up,. I ghetto rigged it, but it was good enough.

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Brad synced the ITBs, and did some ecu tweaking via laptop before the initial drive. I didn’t take a pictures or videos during this time, but Brad knew his stuff. He did adjustments during the drive and making sure everything was within safe parameters. The AE86 runs a lot smoother, and sings all the way to 7800 rpm! We set the RPM limit to 8k, because the fuel map shows the AFR starts to taper at 7800 on wide open throttle. I consider it, as a win.

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Now with proper tune, I’ll be hitting the track soon!

New Year, New Car

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Yes, my wife and I bought a Tesla! We have never owned an EV car before, but times are changing and eventually cars of the future will be electric. Of course I’ll still keep my 86 and Land Cruiser. Nothing beats the raw driving of the 86 and the off roading capability of the Land Cruiser. But why buy a Tesla instead of another EV?

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The main reason is the technology packed in a Tesla. No other car company can self drive, or even do updates like Tesla. The updates that you get via wifi are improvements or new features that make Tesla even better. Its like getting a new car. Has even a built in dash cam too. If you are going to get a new car and want something different, Tesla is something to look into.

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People complain about the minalistic interior in the Tesla Model 3 with just a screen and steering wheel. I like that style, all the functions are in the screen and very intuitive. Its like a having a iPad in the car. Why would I get a car with 20 buttons, knobs, and touch screen too. Just too much clutter.

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Having an EV car means no need for gas. But with that, comes range anxiety because where would you charge up on a road trip. Tesla has that covered with their exclusive supercharging network. You just need to plug in your destination and Tesla will show the route to make it. That caveat is you need to plan ahead because if you forget something and had to turn back around, or in an area with no charing stations, your range will be affected.

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Tesla superchargers are mostly located in shopping centers, so you can eat or shop while the car is getting charge. Charging time is very quick, longest time it took up was 30min from 5% charge to 100%. Its even faster now with the latest upstate. Right now supercharging is free for us! Other brand EV chargers doesn’t have a supercharging network, but you can still charge with 3rd part stations. Tesla comes with an adapter if you decide to share at a non Tesla charger.

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First mod I did was a center console wrap. The piano finish is prone to scratches and showing fingerprints.

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The warranty on Tesla’s are comparable to other car manufactures. 4 years 50,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty, and 8 yrs 100,000 miles battery and drivetrain warranty. Another plus having an EV car is minimal maintenance! I plan to keep the Tesla for a long time, should help save money on gas and maintenance.

If you are interested in buying a Tesla use my referral code: https://ts.la/vinson56692. Currently, if you use the referral code, Tesla is offering 1000 miles free supercharging and $500 off your Tesla purchase!

Happy New Year!

Project AE86: Quick Drive

Just a quick video, taking the 86 around the city. Still on the base tune, but sounds healthy. I haven’t heard any backfire or stutter in the motor. Seems like the motor pulls all the way to 7k. I don’t go up to 7k often. Since the motor is still fresh, and needs more miles to fully break in the motor. ┬áNo smoke coming out the exhaust and that is another good sign, things are going smoothly.

Stay tuned.