Damn it’s been awhile since my last entry. I wish I could say that Poison Ivy has come a long way since my last project log update, but that’s really not the case. Well, sort of. I have done a few things, mostly small stuff, but definitely not enough to post a new project log update. Ehh, until now anyway.

Words by: SPOOLIGAN | Images by: SPOOLIGAN


So let’s get you all caught up first. When I made my last update, I was in Ohio driving truck for a bit but I came back home at the beginning of the year. Now I am driving truck for another company that is about 35 minutes from my house. So, I have more time than I did when I was in Ohio. I fell behind financially at the end of last year and into the beginning of this year; winter usually always kicks my ass.

Over the last couple of months, I got myself pretty well caught up. Which means one thing: car parts. The biggest thing I have purchased so far this year has been my new wheels. I bought them locally off of a buddy that had them on his Evo. They are Rota Torques and came with a good amount of tread.

The wheels are 18×9.5 with a 20mm offset. The tires are Hancook 265/35-18. This is a pretty wide ass combo, I wasn’t sure if they were going to fit without rubbing somewhere actually but the fitment was absolutely perfect.

The wheels definitely make up for Poison Ivy’s rough body and paint. Which doesn’t bother me as much as it should. It’s like a “ratty” look and I like it. I’ve always liked sleepers and beat up drift cars so I try to be optimistic. Yes, I would like to paint her but there are too many other areas where that money could be well spent. Like the front suspension for example. Which brings us up to present day. Again, sort of.

Right now, it is 1:33AM on Tuesday, 6-12. I am unloading my “sand can” which takes about an hour and is extremely boring. And there is no cell service on this pad so I literally have nothing to do but type the beginning of this project log update on my Galaxy Note 8 via Samsung Notes. Here, I’ll snap a quick picture what exactly what I am looking at.

Let’s take a step back again for a minute. Every Wednesday night in my town, we have a small car meet. Usually I am working on Wednesday nights but my daughter had a doctors appointment last Wednesday which meant I couldn’t sleep for work, which allowed me to be free for the car meet. And tired, but free.

So I roll into the car meet and nobody is there. I texted my buddy Dayton who hosts the meets and he responded back with a text that read “Racing, brb.” Now exactly one week before this at the last car meet, we all tried racing and it didn’t pan out. When the four of us lined up on the highway, we were met with a cop sitting along the tree line hiding in the bushes. It was the end of the month so we all decided to wisely abort mission.

Well now it isn’t the end of the month. Now it’s the beginning of June. And I find myself sitting in an empty parking lot where the meet is supposed to be. So my buddy and I hung out and waited. Finally, they all rolled into the parking lot after some street racing. Now I was all excited, after being pissed off that I was missing out on all the fun. I’m excited because now I can find out which of the four or five cars that were just out street racing, was the fastest. Then I could just call that car out and boom, done.

There were two identical Nissan 280Z’s, a boosted Cobalt SS on E85 supposedly making 350+hp, and a stock Ford Focus ST. After listening to them discuss the events of what happened while they were racing, I quickly realized that nobody had a clue who had the fastest car. Which blew my mind. How do you have several street races with multiple cars and not know who was the fastest? I guess there were a lot of back and forth action from people missing shifts, spinning, etc.

So finally I came to the realization that it was down to two cars that were the quickest. One being one of the 280Z’s and the other being the Cobalt. The guy with the Cobalt left the meet early so if I was going to get into some street racing, it wasn’t going to be against him. My buddy with the 280Z had been wanting to run me for awhile and I would have almost killed to racing SOMETHING at this point so we had a kid go ahead and scout the highway. Once we got the go ahead that the highway was clear, we rolled out.

Now I do have a video of the races but I do not have the consent of the others involved so i won’t post it on here out of respect to them. So I will just have to explain what happened. There is a short version and a long version. The short version is Poison Ivy got her ass whooped so get ready for the excuses.

The first race was from a 30 roll. I was in 2nd gear and I was comfortable where it put my RPM off the hit. Once we hit, I was only in 2nd gear for a couple seconds before I had to shift to 3rd.

Excuse #1: The entire time I have been driving Poison Ivy, I’ve been doing so with missing bushings in my shifter. Why? Because I was lazy and felt it wasn’t an important thing to worry about. I have video proof down below.

My 2nd to 3rd shift was very time consuming. Sometimes i can nail it right into 3rd and other times i can not. This was not one of those times. Once i got back in it, he was ahead and kept pulling. Even without a fucked up 2nd-3rd shift, he would have beat me by just as much.

Race number 2 was against the other 280Z. This roll was from about a 50 roll and I was in 3rd gear because you know, fuck that 2-3 shift. I won this race but in his defense, it was kind of a rushed race, mostly because I was pissed that I just lost the first race to Dayton. None of us had horns either. I was trying to have him just go and I would chase. I left once I heard his RPM’s rise but he was brake boosting. So when i went WOT, he was most likely on the brakes.

After this race, I pulled back up along side Dayton’s 280Z and we raced again. This time from a 40 roll so I could be in 3rd gear. I hung onto him a little better, but the result was still the same with another loss for Poison Ivy. We all got off the highway and met up. Dayton and I decided to race again from a 40 roll and I lost again. Racing from a 40 roll, starting in 3rd gear, sucks. My RPM is around 3000 even from a 40 roll. Even the 16G needs more RPM to spool than 3000RPM.

I was a little worried about Dayton’s 280Z in weeks past. I’ve seen the car a few times before but I’m always so wrapped up in my car at car meets that I never really “look” at other cars. The day we raced though, I peaked around at it. Once I seen how small his turbo visually looked, I wasn’t worried hardly at all. That was a mistake. I definitely underestimated this little 280Z.

His buddy in the identical 280Z, Palmer, is the same guy that beat Poison Ivy last year at the track with his 300Z. Now to date, that makes two cars that have beaten Poison Ivy. These Nissan’s are no joke.

But of course, I am still trying to convince myself that I am having fun with the E316g. I’ve been saying for how long now that I wanted to step up to a Holset but here I am, still rocking the 16g. When I lose, I have the tendency to “see red”. A few years back when I first got Virgin Mary and she was on the T25, I lost to a built Honda running on e85 on my way to work one night. The next day, I drove to New Jersey and bought a bigger turbo, FMIC kit, Greddy BOV, and some other stuff. When I lose, I need to go faster plain and simple.

I thought for sure I was going to say fuck responsibility after this loss to the 280Z. Told myself I was going to buy a Holset within just a few days. Which wouldn’t have been a problem but I made this plan months ago to further the build in a specific sequence. First thing on the list was replacing my entire front suspension because I have been putting it off ever since I built the car. In order to upgrade the turbo, i need to knock off everything on the list before it.

So the loss didn’t make me go out and buy a bigger turbo, but it motivated me to start this list. The sooner I replace the front suspension, the sooner I can upgrade the turbo. Which now brings you completely up to date.

Sunday morning, I ordered everything I needed for my front suspension off of Rock Auto. I think the only time I’ve ever bought something off Rock Auto might have been a caliper or something. But I never really looked around on their site. Well I love Rock Auto now and bought everything I needed for under $300. I will be getting it in the mail some time this week and then throwing it on this Sunday.

Here is the list of suspension components I purchased:

  • (2) KYB GR2 Struts
  • Both Control Arms with Ball Joints
  • Both Outer Tie Rods
  • Both Sway Bar End Links
  • Camber Bolts
  • Both Wheel Brearings
  • Both sides, Inner and Outter Wheel Bearing Seals
  • Left Front Brake Caliper (since they were on sale)
  • Energy Suspension Sway Bar Bushings
  • I will be using a new pair of spindles from my 90 parts car.

Today is now Tuesday, 9:12PM and I am again unloading my truck and bored. I still have yet to get any of the suspension parts in the mail. When I get the parts, I will take pictures of everything as well as pictures of the removal of the old stuff and install of the new stuff. So for now, I will move onto another topic.

Remember how I was saying my shifter was missing bushings? Well Kurt will be giving me his short throw shifter unit that he had in his 1G before swapping it with another. So that will take care of that. Over the last weekend, I took my shifter apart to install some solid base bushings that i bought fucking last year and never got around to installing. So between that and the new short throw from Kurt, my shifting issue should be completely resolved.

Now of course I need to figure out a way to push this little 16G a little harder to go a little faster in the mean time since I won’t be just upgrading the turbo for a bit yet. So I came up with a couple of things to hopefully make Poison Ivy a little quicker and put more power to the ground in the mean time with the 16G.

The first thing I did was add some more timing to my ignition maps. I haven’t had any knock issues in a long long time and never with the exact ignition maps I had while racing last week. I went over my logs and everything looked great. So, i added a little bit more timing to help push out just a little more power. I did a couple quick pulls over the weekend with the new maps and still did not get any knock. I thought about adding even more timing, but this next mod I am about to do will change some things so I am going to wait. That mod being a Holset wastegate actuator modified to fit an MHI 16G.

Since I turned the boost up to 28PSI a long time ago, I realized immediately that boost would peak at 28PSI and then drop all the way down to 20PSI by the time I got around 6000RPM. Which obviously is a wastegate issue. I verified this by removing the vacuum line from the wastegate actuator and did a couple pulls. This allows me to “free boost” and the setup will boost as high as it possibly can.

The factory MHI 16G wastegate actuator is weak and allowing the wastegate to open under higher boost, just as it is designed to do with the softer spring, but nevertheless not allowing the boost level to stay up where I want it. Once I am able to keep the boost up where I want it, a lot will change within the tune or at least the feedback that is given to me when logging. I will be most likely hitting different load cells within my ignition and fuel maps because of the higher boost. On my old maps that I haven’t gotten any knock on, there’s a good chance I would get knock just because I will be holding more boost. Fingers crossed though!

I thought about going to an external wastegate setup but there are a couple issues I have with doing that. I dont plan on running this setup forever. I plan to swap to an HX35 or something similar soon. I also want to switch to a true T3/T4 setup instead of running a stock DSM flange manifold with the BEP housing. So I don’t want to invest in a new, externally gated manifold only to run it for a short amount of time before ditching it for a completely new setup.

I could run an externally gated o2 housing, but I absolutely cannot stand them. And of course the turbo would have to come off in order to weld the flapper shut if I ran externally gated off of the manifold. The next time the 16G comes off, it will be to install a bigger turbo.

So my solution? An internally gated Holset wastegate actuator modified to fit on a 16G. I sent out a PM to Justin Whitsell who is well known in the community for being an absolute genius with turbos. I told him what my car was doing and asked about the Holset actuator swap that I’ve heard about in the past. I asked him if it was worth it and he suggested that I would benefit from it. So, he made one for me and is sending it to me soon.

Once I get it installed, the goal is to run 28PSI across the entire pull. That will give me an additional 8PSI of boost towards the end of each pull. I’m hoping the combination of the extra boost and more timing will be enough to keep up with these Nissan boys before switching to a larger turbo.

Now, more about this “list” of mine. I like to believe that I will be able to stick to this list, in order, but I’m sure there will be changes to it along the way. And not just because I get impatient or change my mind, but because things are probably going to come up. I would also say that one of those things that could come up is part failures. But, both of my cars have yet to break down in about an entire year. Poison Ivy alone has 100+ hard AWD launches just on this clutch. Not to mention all the RWD fun I had and clutch kicks that came along with it.

Both cars made it to and from Ohio repeatedly. Almost every time I drove Ivy to or from Ohio, i beat the absolute piss out of her. It’s almost becoming an annoyance that my cars, specifically Poison Ivy, haven’t broke down or had a part failure in quite some time. It kind of ties into the reasoning as to why I haven’t done much with the car. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The front suspension is definitely first on the list though. The car is a handful to drive on un-even back roads where the center of the road is higher than the outside. It’s like driving a 500HP FWD with how bad the torque steer is. My camber has been messed up this entire time. My right front has really bad positive camber. These Hancooks on my new wheels have a lot of life left in them so I don’t want my alignment chewing them up at the very least.

Everything else on the list, I guess I don’t really have a specific order on, which I didn’t really realize that until now. One thing I do know is that I need to replace my clutch very soon. Over the winter, it would sometimes slip during a single gear pull beginning from lower RPM. I could launch the car all day and it wouldn’t slip all the way through to 4th gear as long as I kept shifting at my normal shift points. But climbing hills and getting on it from a low RPM, it would slip.

Now I am using the Southbend clutch with their Kevlar TMZ disk. I did a lot of research on Kevlar clutch disks and found that they are prone to slipping if oil, grease, or anything else gets on the disk. My leaky oil pan and return line combined with no inspection cover on the transmission could have easily caused this.

I haven’t had any slipping issue since the colder days of winter so I am hoping it was a temperature induced issue and won’t happen again. But, I have a really good feeling that once I put this new actuator on that the clutch will start to slip with the added power from maintaining that 28PSI. If I do end up having an issue after installing the new actuator, then I guess the clutch will be getting replaced after the suspension.

The next few things on the list I won’t go into too much detail with. I need a roll cage. I gutted the car last year and got the weight down to 2640lbs. There are several things I want to do with the interior that are going to be on hold until I get the cage in. Things like a sheet metal dash and a ton of wiring plans.

I’d also like to replace my timing belt again. I just change it out less than 2 years ago but with all the oil leaks, the blue Gates Racing timing belt isn’t exactly blue anymore. Which I guess gives me an excuse to replace the turbo BEFORE the timing belt because I will be using a new oil pan with a -AN bung welded on. Once the pan is swapped, my oil pan won’t leak any more. And I’ll have a new feed line and no gasket on the pan so those leaks will be fixed as well. I would hate to replace the timing belt just to have oil get thrown back onto the new belt 😉

Here is a quick list of everything I want to do over the next year or so:

  • Replace Front Suspension
  • Replace Clutch
  • New, Painted and Modified Front Bumper Cover
  • Tubular Front Bumper
  • New Turbo Setup (Holset with T3/T4 manofold)
  • Speed Density
  • E85??
  • Roll Cage
  • Sheet Metal Dash
  • Aftermarket Speedometer, Fuel Level Gauge, Tach, etc.
  • Replace Timing Belt Components

This past weekend, I decided to shorten a couple sections of my wiring harness inside the car. I shorted a section that comes out of the fuse box and a section that runs to the ECU connectors and a few other plugs. I didn’t remove as much as I was hoping I could, but it cleaned things up a little bit more. It’s still a cluster down there though.

I didn’t plan on this article to be so long, but there was quite a bit I needed to catch you up on. I was going to add the suspension install to this article but that in itself will be very long. So, once I get the parts and get them installed, I will make a new project log entry.

Stay Tuned

Leave a Reply