So...I've decided to put the car up for sale, but as it's still in my possession, I figure there's no reason to stop doing what I'm doing with it :-) There's actually been quite a lot that's happened to the car, with some cool experiences in just the past few weeks.
Here goes nothing.
First one was a feature in Speedhunters, which meant that I'd get to work with my good mate Matthew Everingham. We'd been talking about doing this for ten years, and now that I'm selling it, it's the very last chance we're gonna get. We spent a good evening capturing the pictures, and Matt then spent an incredible amount of time processing them. In person, you can't make out any of those pretty cityscape colours at all, and it takes quite a bit of skill to bring them out, while also having the car in the foreground looking like ten million bucks. I'm humbled by the resulting pics, these must surely be the prettiest pictures taken of any Hakosuka, ever.
Click here for the article: http://www.speedhunters.com/2019/11/...ng-a-jdm-icon/
The other thing was that the Mighty Car Mods Nationals was shaping up to be a cool event, so I decided to have a go at sorting out one of the car's weaknesses, which is lots of axle tramp at the dragstrip. You can see and hear from this vid from last year, that it breaks out into axle tramp after the burnout (enough to pull the coil lead off) and even with a gentle launch at tickover revs, there's still some wheel hop on the 1-2 shift. It's fine on the street, it only becomes an issue on the super sticky, rubber coated dragstrip.
The whole rear suspension is a diff and subframe assembly, that hangs off the body via 4 rubber bushes. Two are at the back of the diff, and the other two are at the ends of a lateral beam just under the back seat. I'd replaced the diff bushes years ago with hard poly bushes, and I suspect that meant that the rear is effectively locked, and all the movement under torque is then taken up by the front bushes only. Maybe that's what is causing the tramp issue.
Anyway I thought I'd try a simple fix, as the front bushes looked to be in decent shape. You can see in this diagram below how the front bushes work. There's a 1cm gap above and below the bush; above there is a flat washer and below, is a bell-shaped washer (#9 in the pic below). This allows the bush quite a lot of vertical flex.
So my solution is to remove the lower bell washer and mess with it a little. I've cut the top off the bell to leave a 42mm hole (I believe you 510 guys call this the Savage Washer Mod):
And below a flat washer has been welded in place (make sure you use a washer with at least the same thickness as the bell washer)
The idea is that instead of that 1cm gap, the bell washer now bolts in place a lot higher, and eliminates that gap. The 42mm hole is to accommodate the thick rubber protrusion in the middle of the bush.
To bolt it in place, there's a thick spacer that went under the bell washer (which you can see in the diagram above) and I swap it to over the washer. This sat the new item just nicely, squishing the bush upwards by 3mm.
This has had the effect of eliminating all downward flex, and closing the gap above the bush somewhat. On the road, it certainly seems more tight and solid back there, there's still a bit of a cushioning effect, but gearshifts and takeoffs from standstill seem to have less slack.
And now...onto Sydney Dragway for the MCM Nationals, which Marty & Moog had set up with the main activities being all-day drag racing and a motorkhana too. It was a great event with lots of chilled car guys, all having the freedom to make plenty of noise in a relaxed atmosphere. It was a great day and is one of my favourite events, with almost unlimited runs on the dragstrip in the offing.
I was also pretty chuffed to see that some nice drifty footage had been taken of the Hako sliding around the 'khana course, the MCM event vid is beautifully-made and we're the thumbnail, too!
The khana course was just tight enough to be challenging, and open enough to let the car off the leash a little. It's the sort of thing the Hako is pretty good at, with the torque, low gearing, razor-sharp response from the Webers and the tight diff making easy work of power-turning around the hairpins.
Here are some nice pics which were kindly provided by Matt Mumford, please give him a follow at his insta @matt_mumfy
The Hako is lots of fun for this sort of thing, it's really nimble and there's plenty of grip at the front from the Falken Azenis' and even though the course was pretty tight, the low gearing meant that we were almost hitting redline in second down the straights, with plenty of torque and response mid apex on the corners. GT-R Festival runs the same course every year, so I may have...a little...more practice than most :-)
The other bit of fiddling I'd done, was to mess around with the rear bumpstop heights again. This is, I think, version 6. The stock bumpstops are extremely tall, and at my ride height, the car would be sitting on them permanently at static height. One of the very first aftermarket parts I'd picked up for the car were a pair of urethane bumpstops from Protec-S20 in Yokohama, but they were a bit too short and seemed to come into play at the same time as the GAB shocks bottoming out. I suspect they are to suit the Aragosta coilover set that Protec sells.
So from the beginning I'd packed various things under the urethane bumpstop, from a 8mm stack of washers, to a 20mm thick nylon spacer. The washers were too low, and the tyres would occasionally rub the wheelarches on hard cornering. The thick nylon spacers seemed to come into play a bit too early, but in the past they seemed to help control the axle tramp a little, so I ran with that setup for a while. But now that I'd had a new solution for the axle tramp, the ideal compromise seems to be in the middle, and I've sawed down the nylon washers to 12mm. This seems to be the sweet spot, i can't feel them come into play on speedbumps etc, there's no body rub from the tyres and no excessive squat on a drag launch.
The khana course was terrific fun, but the drags was...a more mixed outcome.
Firstly the good news is that the mods worked, and the axle tramp is history. I can now launch with much more revs without fear of breaking the car. HOWEVER...this year I'm on new tyres, some Dunlop Sport GT Maxxes, which have the right look, but are nostalgia street rod tyres in a rock hard 400 treadwear rating.
So while I now *can* launch with way more rpm, in the end it won't do any good as the new rear tyres just spin up :-) And in the end the best time I could squeeze out of her (from ten or so runs) was 14.2 @ 100mph, just a hair off the previous best.
The 14in Watanabes look just perfect on the car, but it's a constant challenge to find rubber for the rear 245/50-14 size. There's always been something available when I needed it; the first were Yokohama A352s, then there were Bridgestone Eager 330s, and now the Dunlop GT Sport Maxxes. Of them all, the Yokos were by far the stickiest, but they've been out of production for at least a decade.
I think maybe I need to get a spare pair of rear wheels made at Barrel Bros, and invest in some Mickey Thompsons. 14.1 is nice, but not as nice as 13.99, which will be enough for us to say that the Hako is a 13 second car :-)
Hmm...maybe I shouldn't sell it.