Aug 30, 2014

Project 180SX

A Nice Little Gift

by Dustin Mankin

At the end of working on the rear fenders and trunk, Taira-san hit me up with a little surprise. He asked me if I wanted wide front fenders for my car. I told him eventually that is that plan, but I need to focus on getting her drift ready, so that doesn't fall into the budget right now.

He told me he had a pair, and that they were kind of busted, but I could repair them if I wanted to use them. He also told me how much he wanted for them.... the best price! Free! I would just have to pay for the fiberglass mat, resin, and gel coat I used to fix them. Great price, and I get to learn fiberglass repair.

I've just never been a fan of vents in fenders. I think that goes back to those retarded Z3 style vents that were on EVERY Honda Civic when I was in that scene.

Anyways, thank you, Taira-san!

Aug 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday

EK Civic, 2011

by Dustin Mankin

Most of my TBT shots for the next while will be from this event. Found these photos on an old hard drive I had shipped over here to Japan. This thing would look pretty mild on the street with the hood down. Mainly it's lowered a lil, with some nice wheels and a lip.

But that K-Swap looks pretty damn boss to me. Is it the king of the street? Probably not, but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be really fun to take down to the Dragon...

Aug 26, 2014

Mom took the gloves off, and it looks like she's in Muto's corner.... but does she really need to be? It looks like he's going to make a move, with or without Rumi's approval. I've been in that position, but I don't think I could spend that money without my GF's approval.

It's not a matter of being whipped, I just really want to see her happy, and our dream is to one day own a house, too. But then again, she puts up with my car habit... who knows what would happen if she didn't ^_^.

Drop some comments below.... and go like

My 180SX

From the Back...

by Dustin Mankin

Just a shot of the project car up to this point. It ain't gorgeous, but I got the whole car for a little more than the tails would go for in the US....

P.S. Working on this week's RPM...

Aug 23, 2014

Legit C-West 180SX Bumper

by Dustin Mankin

Just a legit C-West Bumper that's on my friend Kenji's car. Full legit C-West aero. It's nice to see people using legit parts and not fake-ass stuff.

Aug 12, 2014

Sorry, this is the first time I've used Blogger from the iPhone. I don't know if I am a fan or not, but a lot of options are missing on the app, and the full version is a bear on a mobile device. I don't know how this will look on the page, so please accept my apologies in advance.

I'm on vacation with my amazing partner in crime, and we are visiting her mom, who has no internet. That's why I'm on the phone, if you are wondering.

Unfortunately that means no RPM this week. Buuut, I'm still using pencil and paper to get these pages ready for translation.

Since she is working a lot of over time now, we haven't had too much time to translate, and that's why the posts have become irregular. But, I think this is an answer to that problem, and RPM should be on a regular schedule again soon.  

I don't want to go into too much detail, because RPM's translation is going to have its first birthday celebration in October; hard to believe we've been doing this for almost one year!

I'm going to do a mini doc about our process, and I'll recap the story for new comers. I have to get started on it soon.
I hope it can bring more of my YouTube audience over to the blog as well, I really want to share this story with more people. I really feel that it's that amazing. It's a great story for the guys that grew up with Initial D. I was around 18 when the story started, and it ran for almost 15 years. I've been with it since year one of the anime.

This story suits me now as well as Initial D suited me then. Hang tight car manga fans. This one is going to get good!

Any thing you wanna see in the mini doc? Hit me up in the comments below! 

White Nissan Laurel in Fukuoka

C35 Nissan Laurel

Dustin Mankin

I was on my way to UpGarage in Fukuoka for the first time when I spotted this. I won't lie and say that I spent a lot of time with the thing, because, as you can see, the sun was going down, and I was running out of time. Throw in the fact that I had only been in Japan for two weeks and my lack of Japanese and you can see the position I was in.

That being said, I couldn't pass this up, because at the time, it looked really amazing. Now, it just seems kinda been there, seen that to me. But that's not really fair to this car, now is it?

It's got some basic aero, consisting of a front bumper, side skirts, and rear bumper. I'm not a huge fan of the wheels, because the offset is not so good, and I've never been a big fan of 10-spokes. I am definitely not a stance whore, but this shit is sunken in like it's 2003 all over again. Put some spacers on it, and get it somewhere near the fender.

Also, I can tell it's lowered, but whether it's on coilovers or not, I can't tell. I'm going to say coilovers with a mild drop dialed in, because that seems to be how they roll over here, which is all fine and good. If this brings more performance to the ride, then that's ok with me.

Engine wise, I can't tell much, but it was sporting an aftermarket exhaust and you can definitely see the intercooler upfront, so I would imagine the usual turbo bolt ons are there at a minimum. I would imagine that this thing doesn't SCREAM down the streets, but it can probably get up and move if it has to.

It's still a good looking car, and if I saw this thing at the track throwing it down either grip or drift, I would definitely respect it, but this is the average Japanese car. Basic kit, basic suspension, basic engine upgrades... it fits Japan well... it blends in with every other car of its type, like a tired salaryman on a train on Friday night.

Aug 8, 2014

Project 180

Dents, Rear Wiper Shaving, and a Random Gift

by Dustin Mankin


What's going on? I'm back with a few updates to the project car. Still steadily moving along. The first picture is of Taira-san pulling some dents out of one of the driver side rear quarter. It went kind of high, so even though I'm planning on going with 30mm wide fenders, we thought it would be safer to pull it now.

Most DIYers will either completely try to fill the dent, or use one of those garbage dent pulling suction cups (I have NEVER had any luck with those things), or try to get behind it with a small hammer and try to knock it back out a little bit.

Well the thing with the Japanese is they are obsessed with perfect. (Sometimes a little too obsessed, I should write about it sometime.) In this case, here is Taira-san with a really awesome tool, that some of you in the body industry may know.  It makes a really light weld (you can see it in the form of those darker dents) and then that round collar that he is holding on to is a weight. You slide it up against the handle kinda hard, and it helps to pull the dent out. Then you twist the shaft (sounds painful) and it breaks the weld. You keep doing that around the dent to bring it out some.

After that you sand it all down and fill what's left with your choice of body filler. I think this time we started with aluminum putty (we usually do) and then smoothed that over with some polyester putty, which is also known as Bondo.

Dear God, this thing is so full of rust, I don't even know where to begin. This is turning more into a restoration than a tune. The bare metal you see above on the door is where there was some rust at the base of my side mirrors.

This is after I used a air powered belt sander with a roughly 60 grit belt on it to knock the rust down. After that we slapped some polyester putty in it, and then we shaped it with some sandpaper. I am seriously scared to remove anything on this car, because I never known where the rust is lurking.

Now on to the fun stuff. I already had the rear hatch cover off from where I was taking the wing off before, so it was quite easy to get to the rear wiper motor. You might want to note you should remove the wiper arm before you remove the motor. I did, I just didn't take a picture of it. If memory serves me correctly, it's three bolts to remove the motor. After that you have an electrical connector tor remove. The connector is the white one up front.

You will be left with... a gaping hole! Oh and never mind the duct tape... that's coming off very shortly.

Now we used a DA Sander with some 180 grit paper to get the hole down to bare metal, so we could weld the hole shut.

Like this. It doesn't need to be a solid bead all the way around. Just several tack welds will do.

You can also see the rust ring around where the spoiler was. That still doesn't come close to comparing with how hideous Zenki S13s are when you pull off that foam fuck-stick of a spoiler. That thing seriously serves no other purpose than to ruin S13 hatches.

After the metal had been tacked into place, I used the 60 grit belt sander to knock all of the welds down. Ideally, you want it to be a little bit lower than the surrounding metal. If you look closely, you can see that my sanding tapered the tacks down, towards the middle of the new sheet metal underneath.

The next two photos show that taper a little bit better. At this point, we filled it with some aluminum putty and then filled over that with polyester putty. I don't know why I don't have any pictures of that process, but if you want to see it, you should check out last weeks post about shaving the rear window sprayer nozzle, which can be found here.

Oh, what's this dusty mess? One of the guys at the garage decided to give me these aero mirrors as a gift. They are knock-offs and not my favorite style, but my factory mirrors motors are broken, so this can't hurt.

Ideally I'd like to have either some older Bomex aero mirrors, or some GT style mirrors. And not that fake shit than bolts to the factory location. I want the ones that I will have to put on the door, and then block the factory mounting plate off. What will I choose? It all depends on the future aero I choose. That, however is a long way off. One thing at a time.

Thanks for the mirrors, Kenji!

So, after everything was done, we primered her up late that night. I don't have any pictures of it, but the trunk rust rings were fixed, and the aero mirrors were thrown on, as I make my last checks, because Shaken is soon.

And here is how the trunk looks for now. Gotta give the primer time to cure. I think this looks a lot better than the two big ghetto ass strips of duct tape, don't you? We just cut small circles out of the aluminum tape that we have, and stuck it down over the trunk holes. Looks good enough for now...

Well that's it for this week. I'll be back with more project updates next week. No idea what it will be yet... it's a mystery to all of us.... until then, be safe!

Also, guys... I know I sound like a broken record, but please, if you have time, go to my Facebook page at and give it a like! Every like helps me feel like I'm doing people a service!

One more thing. Click on Store above. I have a few things in the store now, including the experienced driver mark and a JDM sticker that I haven't found anywhere else. My max limit of items is 5 while I wait to see if it's worth paying a monthly fee for a store. If you need anything else, I can get you just about anything here, and my rate is reasonable, although shipping may not always be super cheap on BIG items.

Aug 5, 2014

Somebody needs to tell Hello Kitty to ease up on the Taco Bell... bitch just threw up all over this Honda Life (I think it's a Life).

Spotted this in Fukuoka, Japan by the way.

It's actually quite common to see themes like this. I mean the car does have a lip kit and aftermarket wheels that don't fit... but then they spent three times that amount on Hello Kitty and My Melody Plush, and then strung a dead Polar Bear from the roof.

If anyone wants to do this to their xB or Cube, hit me up. I can help you buy $300 of JDM plush and that horrible roof liner material.

Comments below... I hope someone is getting as sick as me by looking at this thing.

Aug 1, 2014

Project 180SX

Shaving the Rear Window Sprayer

Since we have to pull the glass soon to replace it, now is a good time to fix all the problems with the roof, so we can prepare for installing the glass. We figured if the glass was going to be out, we might as well paint the roof, since it would be easier with the glass out. On top of some small dents and dings that we fixed, I decided to get rid of the rear window sprayer. If I'm going to get rid of the rear wiper, it's kind of useless anyhow, right? Oops... Did I give away next week's blog topic...

After doing the normal sanding in the area near the washer squirter, we used a belt sander to take the immediate area down to bare metal. This also gave us just a slight depression, so that the filler would lay even with the rest of the roof when we were done. After that Taira-san cut out a small patch of metal from an old panel he had laying around, and put the fire to it. We built the weld up just slightly so that we could knock it down even with a belt sander.... more metal and less filler makes it more likely to not crack out, puff up, or any of the other shit that I've seen fill-ins do.
This is not your average bondo. Aluminum Putty has traces of metal inside, and gets really hard... hmmm. Anyway, this also makes it a real PITA to sand. Thank God we had DA sanders, because I would not want to knock this stuff down by hand.

When I was shaving stuff like this in America, I never bought aluminum putty, but I did use Bondo brand FRP Filler Putty. Like wise the stuff sets up like a rock and it also sucks to sand. The benefit is that this makes a solid base.

After you've sanded that down, just throw some regular style Bondo on it. Then sand. Then glazing putty. Then Sand. Then Primer. Then... shit that's boring.

So let's skip past all of that, and here's the finished primered result. Smooth as can be.  I'm pretty sure we are going to gloss black the roof when I change the glass. That way I can change to any color I want, and I never have to touch the roof. My S13.4 in America had a blacked out roof, and I really liked it, so we will wait and see.

Here you can see the masking line. No need to get so close and take our time taping super slow, when we are just gonna pull the mold and sand and prime that part again. Not lazy, just smart.

And here she is up to this part.

Shot from my deck on the second floor. This must be what my car looks like to all the birds that shit on it. I don't blame them.. I'd shit on it, too.

So what do you guys think so far? Coming along ok? I hope so! Hit me up in comments below, and don't forget to like my facebook page: . I've picked up a lot of followers lately, so I'm going to do a contest soon. Keep on the lookout.
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