With summer looming and my list of 240 projects growing, I decided to prioritize toward making the car drivable and presentable for the summer. So I decided to put the painted Origin Aggressive kit back on the car and roll with it for the summer. In the picture above, you can see the bumper back in place, along with the bash bar and final black-painted aluminum diffuser piece. I was very happy with how functional and subtle this turned out to be.
Next my attention turned back toward the front suspension. The car came equipped with Stance GR+ coil overs, which were still in good shape. Stance is supported by Togue Factory, an import car tuner and parts supplier in nearby Wheeling, Illinois. I noticed that they carried an "air cup" suspension modification for these coil overs. It's basically a front lift like high end cars including Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche use to help owners get in and out of parking lots without destroying their front bumpers. These systems use either hydraulic oil or air to provide a temporary 1.5-2 inch lift for the front suspension. The Stance system uses air.
Here are the Stance Coil Overs with the Air Cup system fitted. I chose this system because it worked with my existing coil overs and also because the air cups were on a bearing assembly that allowed them to rotate like a strut bearing to avoid coil binding. Touge Factory also changed out the coil springs with a shorter main spring and a tender spring.
The rest of the system, consisting of a small compressor, air tank, air line, solenoids, wiring and a switch. Everything was mounted to a small board to make it self contained. Unfortunately, after I installed the system I discovered that it was not working properly. Beyond installing the system in my car, I spent a lot of extra time troubleshooting the wiring and air leaks. In the future I think Touge Factory should bench test the system before handing it off to consumers.
After the system was mounted, I was eager to try it out. Having the car raise up at the touch of a button was extremely convenient. Finally, I could drive this car without worrying about destroying the front bumper. AND, the front raised enough for me to slide a jack under my new jacking point. Score!
After putting the Air Cup system on my car, I experienced a few more teething problems. The top of the air cup was tethered to the top hat to allow it to rotate. However the tether was improperly crimped. I ended up redoing this tether system and added a second additional tether to limit movement to about 90 degrees - enough to rotate without the air fitting swiveling enough to hit the front wheel.
Speaking of hitting the front wheel, I found that the front tire was rubbing the top of the air cup and full compression. My solution was to add camber bolts on the strut. This way I could max out the negative camber on the top hat and readjust camber to proper specs with the eccentric camber bolt on the strut. No more rubbing!
While I was at Touge Factory, I paid special attention to David's personal S13 hatch. I noticed he had a very aggressive 10.5 inch wide rear wheel fitting under the stock rear quarter panel. his solution was to have the inner lip of the rear fender "rolled" to provide extra clearance and a subtle flair. I dig this look!
While some people attempt fender rolling on their own, I felt this particular case was best left to the professionals. I turned to my friend Ryan and his shop Total Collision and PDR in Arlington Heights. They did a fantastic job and were able to get my 235/40/17s to fit in the rear without rubbing. I love the more aggressive look of these wheels.
With the coil over removed, I once again checked rear fitment to make sure the rear suspension could fully compress without hitting the quarter panel. Success!
In the midst of all of these modifications, I needed to turn my attention to a repair. The driver's side manual window regulator stopped working and the window would not roll up. The part is no longer available from Nissan, and they are becoming quite rare. After searching junk yards for a month, I was finally able to source one from eBay.
The straight pipe exhaust was beginning to become a nuisance in the neighborhood. I wanted to keep a good relationship going with my new neighbors, so I opted to put a muffler on the car. I went with the ISR GT Single exhaust, which bolted right up to the ISR blast pipe straight center section. I found the included GT center pipe resonator hung too low/scraped so I swapped in the straight pipe center section which had better ground clearance. The net outcome was acceptable noise and sufficient ground clearance.
I do miss the double barrel blast pipes, but this Single exit exhaust is the only type that will fit the Spirit Rei rear bumper w. Carbon Fiber diffuser - I did not want to modify that!
This summer I will end up rolling with the Battle wheels in back the the JNC wheels in front. Having mismatched wheels is almost a part of the drift look, but I would still prefer to have matching wheels all around. For now, I think the car looks pretty good. It sits lower and more level that it was before. The front diffuser protects the front bumper. And I can lift the front at the touch of a button! Although the car still looks very similar to when I got it, there have been huge gains in both drivability and usability without putting a damper on the car's style. That has been my goal from the very beginning.