AE86 Stripdown


With 30lbs of dry ice and couple bottles of rubbing alcohol I was able to out 99% of the sound deadening from the 86. The dry ice and alcohol makes some kind of comical reaction which basically freezes the sound deadening. This only takes about 10mins, you’ll know when the sound stops popping. Then with a scrapper and hammer they break away in big chunks. I wasn’t able to remove all of the sound deadening around the pedals and front footwell because of the angle and tight space. I’m focusing on the intior part of the track build then working my out. Still some more work but she is getting there.


Start of an Epic Road Trip Part 5: Death Valley Day 2


Waking up to a nice sunrise overlooking the mountains.


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Cabin fever.

DSC_0342 After morning coffee and some cooked spam breakfast, we headed out to Father Crowley Overlook. There is an off-road trail that took us to the edge and gave us nice view of Death Valley. DSC_0344

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Lambo exploring and sniffing around. I was kinda nervous that he was going to find a venomous bug under those rocks, so I kept him on a short leash.

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Then we headed out to Saline Valley Road. Its dirt road trail that would lead us to other trails. This is when planning out the route before hand comes to play. There isn’t any cellular reception here. I pre downloaded the map route on my phone and I also brought an actual map of Death Valley just in case my phone GPS messed up. Lucky we didn’t lost, and saw some views only few people have seen.

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Always got to air down when going offloading. Provides a bigger footprint for traction and smoother ride.


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Really impressed with the Nangkang Mud Terrain tires, super cheap, and tough for when the road gets rough. I aired down to 20psi for this journey.

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Stumbled upon a little oasis.

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The trail lead us into the mountains and different side of wildlife.

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Teakettle Junction!!!!

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Made it to the moving rocks!!! But unfortunately there are vandals the move the rocks from its original postition. Kinda of a bummer on how we cant have nice things.

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DSC_0428 Then remade our drive to Ubehebe Creator and the road turned from desert rocks to volcanic-like sand. Felt a lot smoother because the heavy rutted road was a nightmare. The driving going from Teakettle Junction to Racetrack Playa was the worst riding experience ever.DSC_0429

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It was super windy that day.

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There was a trail that looked like it takes you to the bottom, but with Lambo in the car and the heat, we didn’t want to risk him getting heat stroke. He is super furry.


We then drove to Old Stovepope Wells, and was pretty hot desert. From chilly mountains to the hot desert all in one day.


Veiws you dont get anywhere else, and its off the beaten path.

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The Land Cruiser looking good, and racking up miles.

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We made it back to our small cabin, and called it a day! I didn’t take much pictures after that, because I just wanted to soak up the moment. Not many people are able to visit Death Valley and yet alone even drive the off road trails. Two days in the Death Valley isn’t enough and need at least a week to really explore the place. We did bring three 5 gallon jerry cans and used two jerry cans for the trip. Mainly because the only two gas stations in Death Valley is very expensive and only serve diesel and low grade octane. Its understandable considering you are pretty far from closest city. In the next series, we will be heading to Nor Cal and looking forward to the cool weather and sea breeze!!! Stay tuned!!!

Start of an Epic Road Trip Part 5: Death Valley Day 1


Nadine and I where pretty excited to drive to Death Valley because we never been and has just been one of those bucket list things we wanted to visit. Since we have a Land Cruiser, might as well hit the dirt trails Death Valley has to offer!


After eating a hearty breakfast in Las Vegas, we headed to Titus Canyon Road. This an off road trail that leads directly into Death Valley National Park.


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Airing down for the rough roads…. I went down to 20-25psi for the rocky terrain.


Lambo loving it.

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This Land Cruiser is one awesome rig.

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As we climb through the mountain pass, the scenery changed to more greener vegetation and clay roads.


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Along the trail you’ll arrive at an abandoned old mine town.

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After exploring the mines, the trail descended back down into the canyons.


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The trail leads into a dry river bed, which I didn’t want to get caught in a flash flood. Good thing there was the forecast called for sunny skies.

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Then the canyons tightened up but wasn’t claustrophobic tight.


The pictures doesn’t give this place justice. You have to see it to really put to scale how tall the canyons are.


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Out of the canyon and you are greeted with Death Valley!


Time to air back up for the paved roads!!!


Seeing the sand dunes, felt like I traveled to Egypt.

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The decent… but we had to climb that mountain to make it into Panamint Springs. Didn’t really notice big of the climb it was till you actually drive it. I remember its was a 6,000ft climb hahaha. I felt the Land Cruiser chugging along just eating up the miles. The Land Cruiser isn’t fast but you know it will get you there.


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After cooking dinner, we had time to catch the sunset.

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And as night fell, we saw the night sky. This time the moon’s light was blocking the stars.


My night shot wasnt the greatest and even playing around the the settings this was the picture that was about to capture the stars and background. Believe me it was a starry night. I really enjoyed the calmness and getting away from city living. It was time to go to bed, since the next day we had more trails to explore in Death Valley! Stay tuned!!!


Progress, AE86

Last time I worked on the 86 was when Thaison and I gutted the interior. The only stock trim Im keep is the dash. That was back in Febuary. Fast forward to June and Thaison was able to pull out the old motor, to make room for a high comp, 4age motor. This motor came from Thaison’s Black Limited and already has ITBs, and stand alone ECU. Those where the two things I really wanted. ITBs just sound better, and produce less heat then boost. The stand alone ecu gave me tuning options, for more mods in the future.


We did tackled maintenance items for a more reliable track car. While the motor was out, we replaced the water pump, thermostat, and the belts. I ordered an oil pump but after cleaning the motor, the pump looked like it was recently replaced. All good, at least I have some parts.


In one day we did the maintence and dropped the motor in!!! She still needs more work but its getting there. I have acquired most of the parts already and its just finding the time to work on it.  Hopefully by the end of year Ill be able to take the 86 out on the track.

Start of an Epic Road Trip: Las Vegas Part 4


Early morning we set the GPS for Las Vegas as our end destination with some stops one the way: Grand Canyon, Kaibob National Forest, and Hover Dam. I love road trip, its alway about the journey.


We left during sunrise and was a nice view driving trough north Arizona.



The steep climbs was even more of a struggle for the 18 wheelers. With the Land Cruiser fully loaded, I had my foot planted on the floor during the climbs only maintaining 60mph. Felt like I was driving a bus. Made me miss the M3 but at least I knew the Land Cruiser wasn’t going to break down.


Thankfully some sections leveled out and the skies opened up.

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It started to rain and get colder as we drove towards Flagstaff, Az.


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Lambo enjoying the ride. If you are thinking about bring your dog on a road trip, I highly recommend. They make great companions and your dog will be well cultured!

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The landscape changed from desert, grasslands, then to forest. I started to notice how cold it was outside becuase snow was on the ground!!


Kinda nervous driving on snow because I never had experience. The Land Cruiser did make me feel safe with the full time 4wd and the heavy rig made it seem planted. Yeah its wasn’t a blizzard but being form Texas, snow is something you don’t deal with yearly.


After passing Flagstaff, AZ the snow/rain mixture started getting stronger. It was an experience to remember!

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This was crazy, because its May and its snowing!!!! I just traveled through for seasons in one day!


The snow did let up but it was still pretty cold.

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Nadine and I decided to explore some back roads before entering the Grand Canyon.


DSC_0064 Kinda muddy but nothing the Land Cruiser couldn’t handle. Lambo did get his paws all muddy, which in turn made for muddy paw prints on the leather seats. Sigh.



Sometimes I don’t know what Lambo thinking.



Back on the paved roads we the Grand Canyon, wasn’t too far away. Looking forward to the snow covered canyons.



I didn’t know it was $30 for entry but it’s good for 7 days. Too bad we where only doing a day trip. Next time we will stay longer.



The weather was like Texas, one minute its clear sunny skies, next minute its gloomy.


Lambo’s first time in real snow!!! We had some light dusting in Houston before but this was pretty deep that it was touching Lambo’s belly. Soo cute.

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Unfortunately the view of the Grand Canyon wasn’t all hype as it was. Pretty foggy and we where at the Grand Canyon overlook haha. Oh well, there is always a next time. We did wait it out till the sun came out but the fog covered the views.


With all the attention Lambo got, you would think he was a movie star. We had lots of people taking pictures of Lambo. This lady didn’t speak English, but with charades, we deduced she wanted to pic up Lambo for a picture haha. Lambo just seemed more nervous about falling down then looking at the camera haha.


After roaming around Grand Canyon and giving up hope that the fog would let up, we left and looking for more off road trails.


We were at Kaibob National Forest, I wish I had downloaded the map prior because we didn’t have cell service. The trails are well maintained so we couldn’t get lost or stuck.



Back on the paved roads, we headed to Hover Damn and Las Vegas!


Started to get warmer and drier nearing Las Vegas.

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Feeling adventurous we went off beaten path and explored a dirt road.

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The views off the beaten path is awesome.

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Some of these places would make a great campsite but not sure it is allowed here.


There was a small rock slid that didn’t totally block the trail.



We went back on paved roads and was nearing Hoover Dam! But we didn’t really stop haha. Mainly becuase we where running low on time from all the off roading and wasn’t sure if dogs are allowed to enter Hoover Damn.


We couldn’t see Hoover Dam passing through, because the bridge blocked the view but I guess that a safety issue too. You don’t want distracted drivers crashing.

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There is always a next time to explore more.


Back in the city and Las Vegas in view. Who knew a city in a desert would be a popular tourist destination.


Vegas traffic is always terrible.


After the times I’ve have been to Vegas, this was my first time driving here and passing the Vegas sign!


There is actually parking for the Vegas sign but its pretty small and limited. Luckily we came on a weekday and was able to find parking easily.


Lambo and I waiting patiently to get a a prime picture. I could only imagine how packed it gets during the peak times.


Lambo just living life.

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DSC_0179 In the city sometimes finding dog friendly restaurants can be hard but thankfully this restaurant was close to the strip.


DSC_0185 The Vegas strip…. so fancy.


I remember coming here on July 4th weekend, the strip was just packed with people and cars. Felt like a sardines in a tin can.

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Passing though the strip, all I could think of was the song “Flashing Lights” by Kanye West.



After being on the road roughly for 12hrs we called it a night. It was nice being back in the city life, but the next day we planned to head to Death Valley!!! Stay tuned!


Start of Epic Road Trip Part 3, Arizona


We headed out of Texas, and drove to Arizona. Most people don’t realize how big Texas is till you really drive though it. One of the cool things about Texas is the vast change of landscape, just takes awhile to pass thought it all.


When the scene changed from desert sand to pasture, we stopped over so Lambo can do his potty break. My dog is picky and wont go till he finds a spot of grass.



Of course we were near Marfa, Tx and had to get a shot of the Prada store. Its not really store but a art type of landmark.


At the back, people are putting locks on the fence, similar to the love locks in Paris.



West Texas.









Getting through New Mexico was a lot quicker then Texas, and we made it to Arizona. We did a 12hr drive from Big Bend to Mesa, Arizona, and called it a night.


The next day, we set off to Tonto National Park. It was the weekday so we didn’t really see a lot of people or vehicles along the route. We drove up to Roosevelt Dam which was part paved and the other dirt trail.






Checked out Tortilla Flat.




Climbed up the trails.





Arizona has the desert vibe, but more elevation changes then West Texas.



A dirty Land Cruiser always looks good.



The views you get off roading is better then if you just stuck to the paved roads.



We stopped at this little picnic area for lunch. Cooked corn beef and potatoes.



Made at the end of the trail! Which meant we made it to Roosevelt Dam!





Heading back to Mesa, we took a different trail that I found on google earth while planning the trip. I didn’t really know if it was a private trail, but google earth didn’t gates. So I plugged the coordinates on the google map and followed the route.



I was nervous because the clouds started to look darker.


As we climbed up, the tempter got cooler and windy. Thankfully it didn’t rain, because the drop offs was scary.







Lambo enjoying the ride





We really enjoyed just getting out, and exploring a places we were not to sure about, apart from looking at the trails on the internet. Getting over that fear made us more confident but also cautious since if something bad happened, it would be harder to get help. Took the whole day driving on the trails, and stopping over. The next day we drove to Las Vegas. Stay tuned.

Start of an epic Road Trip Part 2, Big Bend

DSC_0230 We stayed three days in Terilingua, Tx and this allowed us a whole day to explore Big Bend National Park. We took the backroads to get into Big Bend National Park. The backroads is shorter but with some rough terrain and multiple photoshoots, we took about 2hrs on the trail. This was our first time going off roading in a remote area. Thanks to constant improvement in modern technology, you dont really need a GPS for off road travel. Todays smart phones have google maps built in, and google offers offline maps when you happen to be in a place with no cellular signal. What you do is download (where you have wifi) an area where are planning to go explore before setting off to that location. When you do get off grid, the offline map will show GPS location and not some blue dot in a white screen. DSC_0233

You are also able to make a route changes offline once the map of the area is downloaded. Pretty cool technology that is totally free! Smart tablets have this feature if you want a bigger screen. I did bring a compass and maps of the trails just incase my phone wasn’t working properly.

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There where some corrugations that rattled the Land Cruiser, but we aired down more and reduced speed. We still need to drive the Land Cruiser back home.


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The West Texas scenery reminds me of the Wild West or like im the back set of a western movie. Views I don’t normally see in Houston.

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The only vehicle we saw on the trail was a border patrol. I was always told to stay on the trail, if you have issues, since there will be somebody there along the road… at least eventually somebody on the trail.


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Back on paved roads, it was time to air up. Driving the back entrance of Big Bend National park was pretty cool and soo remote you felt like you were the only person in the world. The road lead us into the northern part of Big Bend National Park.


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After entering Big Bend , we heading down south to the Rio Grande, Mexican Border. The change of scenery from desert to lush green meant we where getting close to the Rio Grande. The weather wasn’t too bad wither, it was about high 80s. I knew summer was around the corner though.


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The Rio Grande wasn’t a raging river, thankfully. Unfortunately we didn’t explore a lot since dogs are not allowed. ¬†Just cross the Rio Grande and you are in Mexico!



Back on dirt roads, it was time to drive to Terlingua Ghost Town.


DSC_0340 We found this small abandoned house along the trail.



I didn’t take any pictures when I went to Terlinga Ghost Town, but its was a nice little town that a lot of amenities like a restaurant, bar, general store, and even a movie theater. If you missed people, this a place to go to. After taking a little break, we headed back to our little airstream. That night I cooked steaks but forgot to take pictures too. Live in the moment right?


Next day we headed out of Texas and into Arizona. Stay tuned for part 3!