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Project Cars

2013 Fiat 500

2013 Hyundai Genesis

2013 Ford Mustang

2012 Hyundai Veloster

2010 Nissan 370z

2005 Chevrolet Tahoe

1994 Maxda Rx7

1991 Nissan 240sx

2000 Jeep Wrangler

Energy Suspension on our S13 – Old Bushings for New Ones [INSTALLATION]


Ok so here’s the deal. You got the engine purring, the stance looks amazing, but once you put it in gear your all over the road. Factory bushings are rubber molded into suspension components to cut costs at the factory. The downside to this is the bushings cannot flex, and wear out extremely quickly with bumps or oil. The guys over at Energy Suspension have created a polyurethane that not only gives you a better then factory ride by not compressing like rubber, but will last for a long time to come.

What you’ll need to replace the rear 240’s bushings.
19mm wrench and socket
17mm wrench and socket
36mm socket
Vise
Torch(you can get the cheapest one at the hardware store for under $15)
Small hack saw
grease

If you do not have air tools remove the wheel center cap, and break loose the axle nut with the 36mm socket and a breaker bar. Jack up the car, place jack-stands underneath, and remove both wheels.

Loosen and remove all suspension components. It doesn’t matter what order, but save the shock for last as it and the axle will keep the knuckle in place.

It’s a good idea to spray a little lube on the in and outside of the bolts to make them come out easier.


Now remove the axle nut and the lower shock bolt. The knuckle will slide right out. Next grab any suspension piece and place it in the vice. Make sure to get it tight.

WEAR GLOVES! You do not want to find how much burning rubber hurts on the skin. Use the torch and hit the old rubber bushing in four different spots about two inches away on the bottom until the rubber starts to bubble.

Do the same up top until it catches fire. Once that happens count to ten and then use air or water to put the flame out.


There is a sleeve on the rear suspension pieces that needs to be removed or you will never get the bushings in. Cut this sleeve in two spots, but be mindful not to cut through the suspension piece.

Now with a flat head just tap the sleeve right out.

Now there are two options to inserting the Energy suspension bushings. You can press them in or cut them in half and slip them in. It does not matter which method you use as there has been no noticeable difference in performance either way. But the call is yours to make.

To press them in lube all surfaces first. Then simply place the bushing in-front of the control arm in the vise and turn. It will slide right in.

Then Place the metal sleeve in-front of the vice and slide it in as well.

That is the last step to get bushings onto your car. While the price is cheap you do have more labor than most parts but they are worth it. Odds are your drift car is well over 10 years old and if your not going over the top with your suspension setup or replacing everything than Energy Suspension bushings are a must. 

Above you can see the new bushing in place and now it just takes some reassembly of your suspension and your good to be on the road. We recommend planning out your bushings and do as many as you can in one sitting or weekend.

 

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Dennis Mertzanis Puts Down Best Qualifying Score in his Career and Supports Atlanta Drifting

Before the Fuel Culture S13.4 was shipped to the East Coast to Road Atlanta, the car headed to the Sea Otter Classic at Laguna Seca for the huge 2012 bicycle show. Over 60,000 people came through the doors in Monterey, California, to see the show and catch a glimpse of the drift car. The 240sx was parked in the center of the Kenda Tire booth who built out a virtual garage around the car to attract visitors. This was one of the only vehicles at the whole show this year, gathering tons of attention.

After leaving the Sea Otter Classic, the car headed east across the United States to Atlanta, Georgia in preparation of Formula Drift Round 2. Some tweaks to air pressure and our KW Suspension between rounds really set the team up for success after Road Atlanta.

During qualifying, Dennis managed to put down his best career qualifying run of 89.5 at his hometown course Road Atlanta. The car didn’t require as much setup adjustments to accomplish this huge career accomplishment. He was one of the few drivers to meet the speed trap minimum for the weekend.

After qualifying, we found out that we would be lined up against Top 10 driver, Kyle Mohan, who didn’t qualify at his usual top level performance which gave us one tough draw in the first round. Dennis and the team made some last minute adjustments and put down some of the best lead runs he has driven in his career by far. After one round, the judges were stuck at 1 vote for Dennis, 1 vote for Kyle, and 1 vote for OMT.

On the OMT tandem battle, Dennis performed top notch on his lead run but made a wide turn on his follow run which let Kyle Mohan pass into the Top 16 with 2 votes for Kyle and 1 vote for Dennis. A tough break for the team who performed near perfect all weekend but we are looking forward to Palm Beach International.

The next day after Road Atlanta, the Mertzanis Racing team attended what might be the last event at Turner Field with several other Formula Drift professional drivers. The city council in Atlanta, Georgia, signed an ordinance that bans drifting specifically in the city of Atlanta within 1,000 feet of residential zoning. This made it very personnel for Dennis Mertzanis as he first learned how to drift and hone his skills in this very parking lot.

Sadly, the weather didn’t cooperate with this final Turner Field event but Dennis brought out his Fuel Culture S13.4 in the rain to tandem with local drivers and promote the sport within the local area. He talked with various media outlets on the importance of the sport and the need to continue in grassroots events and why it’s best to create events and have safe, controlled environments so as to keep drivers off the streets.

It has been a busy month in back to back travel. And with Round 3 at Palm Beach International Raceway just right around the corner, Dennis Mertzanis will continue onwards and upwards by shooting for another career best finish at Round 3.

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A Compact and Lightweight Race Commander Center – The STACK 8100 [INSTALLATION]

As Project 240 V8 got ready to roll to Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach Round 1 with its body freshly painted and the LS3 cradled in the engine bay, it was time to select a good set of gauges. There were only two options. We could go with pod’s and make a custom assortment of 8 gauges, or we could go with an all in one Stack cluster unit. After looking over the promo video of the stack unit we decided there was only one option. The biggest advantage of this unit is it has so many display options with the cluster and installing wasn’t as difficult as we truly thought.

The wiring is labeled clearly and is more than long enough to reach from any dash to the engine bay. We started by reviewing the factory gm sensor’s and seeing which components were interchangeable. Oddly enough only the water temp sensor needed to be installed. So we rolled out the main stack harness and laid the connectors out where they needed to be. Next was the sensor install. You can get the best read out for water temp by placing the sensor as close to the water pump output as possible. After marking a spot on the pump for the sensor, we took a shop-vac and placed it over the water pump outlet and then drilled away. This will suck all the metal shavings out of the water pump as you are drilling through the casing. Then a 3/8’s tap was used to create the threading needed for the sensor. Make sure to keep the vacuum running for this as well to get all the metal shavings. Install the sensor with some Teflon tape, and connect your wires up.

Now comes the easy part. Splice the rest of the Stack wires into the factory harness. Our LS3 E-Rod kit came with color coded outputs for all the sensors we were going to use, making splicing even easier. We did, however, have to add a 5k resistor (you can get one at RadioShack for a couple bucks) in order for the RPM gauge to be at the proper voltage to work. Do not worry about all those dangling wires just yet, you can loom or wrap the wires when you are all done with wiring.

Now that all your sensors are hooked up its time to install the cluster. Wanting to retain a clean look, some modifying was going to be in order. A sheet of carbon fiber was cut to size of the original cluster, along with a hole cut for the new cluster and fiberglass into place.


Now to actually control the Cluster, Stack has provided four buttons. As interior lights and cruise control were never going to be used again, it was decided to cut and place the Stack buttons over those factory switches. We measured where we wanted the buttons to be, and cut an aluminum sheet to fit. After drilling a couple holes the buttons slipped right in, and a designer lock nut provided was screwed on over the front of the plate.


Now just cut the bezel to size and put your new control plates in place.

Rivet or through bolt them to the bezel and then install the bezel. It’s a good idea to mark the buttons so you know which does what. Here we just did a simple one through four.

All that’s left is connecting the main plug to the cluster and you are ready to go! This cluster was definitely the way to go for us and is very bright. As you can see here it is easily visible in day or night.

The 8100 carries many options and here are the specifications of for each of the five 8100 models and the face options you can make when purchasing one of these great units.

This single component from STACK allows us to monitor oil-pressure, water-temperature, fuel-pressure, voltmeter, oil-temperature, and a tachometer all within this robust unit. If your looking for a great racing application than look no further than this product. After two Formula Drift rounds this season with the unit our driver and team love the quick ability to monitor all engine actions.

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Dennis Mertzanis and Walker Wilkerson Take Home 3rd at Long Beach Grand Prix Team Drift

One week after the maiden voyage of the Mertzanis Racing x  Fuel Culture Formula Drift collaboration with the Fuel Culture competition S13.4, we came back on the Streets of Long Beach for a full Grand Prix circuit drift event. Team Drift doesn’t count towards the championship point standings but it does allow drivers to slide around the whole Grand Prix circuit AND do it in front of 200,000 people attending the big race weekend. Team Drift consists of 2 drivers formed as a team who are judged by how they drive in tandem with one another. The guest judge was former two time Formula Drift champion and Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust.

Dennis selected Walker Wilkerson as his team which was called Team V8 S13 with Dennis running a hatchback and Walker running a coupe. The challenges you face on a whole Grand Prix circuit include tire wear and overheating due to the long period of time you are out on a circuit compared to the shorter runs involved in a Formula Drift event. Dennis monitors every element of the car’s operating system from a STACK 8100 unit and he can quickly scan the water temperature and oil temperature in his on-board unit.

Dennis Mertzanis and Walker Wilkerson share two partners with Seibon Carbon and SPL Pro Suspension parts, although they carry very different title sponsorships. It was a great learning experience and a ton of extra track time for the Fuel Culture S13.4.

All of our partners helped us step up to the toughest challenge of the 2012 season that the car will endure. The snapshot above shows us on a practice lap crossing Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach right by our favorite Irish Pub which is the Auld Dubliner! The Kenda Tire Kaiser KR20 had some of the best wear performance on the grid and our lightweight Konig Milligrams helped keep those Kenda’s spinning at optimal high wheel speeds all weekend.

After the smoke cleared from the competition, the Team V8 S13 drivers of Walker Wilkerson and Dennis Mertzanis put it on the podium with a huge 3rd place finish! This was the first time either of these guys stepped on the podium for a professional Formula Drift event in history. Walker, the FD sophomore, and Dennis, a three year FD veteran, look like they both have big things coming as the 2012 season continues.

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Mertzanis Racing Drives Our Project V8 240sx at Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach

Dennis Mertzanis came off the 2011 season with his best career finish in the series. During the off season, a new car and a wildly more extreme Chevrolet Performance Parts engine set the stage for Round 1 Streets of Long Beach this past weekend. His new car is a 1991 Nissan 240sx with a S14 kouki front end. The car started its life as a www.fuelculture.com project car and was publicly debuted at the 2011 SEMA Show in the Kenda Tire booth.
New to Mertzanis Racing for the 2012 season is www.fuelculture.com which is a virtual car garage where users can come and rate, review, and price compare aftermarket parts for their car. Another great website coming into the picture this year is www.rentreporters.com which is a great innovative service that allows renters to report rent payments to the credit bureaus. Everyday, they are helping renters build credit for something they are doing every month already! SPEC Clutch has come on board to provide us with the best LS clutch technology that money can buy. Rounding out the new sponsors is BodyArmor which is a superdrink packed with antioxidants, electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients on top of being an all natural beverage.
The new chassis features a Chevrolet Performance Parts crate engine LS3 which is producing over 500whp and receiving all of its fuel needs from Aeromotive parts. We are running VP Racing 100 octane fuel to reach this horsepower output. We teamed up with KW Suspension and SPL Pro Suspension parts for the most lightweight and adjustable suspension you can throw at a Nissan 240sx. Dennis still remains on Kenda Tires for 2012 and continues to run the Kaiser KR20 using Konig Miligram 18 inch wheels which are lightweight thanks to MAT technology.  And rounding out the return sponsors, Dennis continues to support Petfinder.com to help great dogs and cats find a forever home.
When Dennis hit the Streets of Long Beach, it was his first official drift event with a V8 engine and he couldn’t believe how the torque helped him keep up around the track including that drag race to the first turn. He was able to keep up with any car on the track when following in drift including the event winner Justin Pawlak during practice.
When they lined up for qualifying, the Mertzanis Racing team was still working on some setup changes to the car but qualifying had to go on! After watching 40+ car runs in front of him, it was time to put on a show! Dennis sadly missed the 53mph minimum trap speed with his qualifying pass but managed without 10 points for speed to lock him in for 32nd place. This meant lining up in the main event against Ryan Tuerck who was the events number one qualifier.
During Saturday morning practice, our support team Ryan Clemens and Dave Epifano made some extreme suspension changes and we found the car now running through the speed trap at 57mph which is over 8mph faster than where we qualified. Now facing off against Ryan Tuerck, the team threw everything we could at him during competition. Dennis was so solid through Turn 10 of the LBGP course, he caused Ryan Tuerck to make a huge correction and straighten out. It was a hard fought battle and the judges actually had to go through deliberation before declaring Ryan Tuerck the victor.  This moved Ryan into the Top 16, ending the weekend for Dennis Mertzanis. The team is set on doing a few more test sessions this month to be ready for a huge finish at Road Atlanta in front of the team’s hometown crowd.
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