DIY Alignment: The Basic Version
I was out at the track on July 25th for an evening time attack with CACC Time Attack hosted by VCMC. I was looking forward to an evening of testing the car out, ensuring that the settings were spot on, and just enjoying the evening. The NX was fresh from a dyno tune at AES Auto with a conservative yet still respectable 272 whp. As with every visit to AES Auto, we cleaned up the engine bay significantly. Plus we removed the intake as AES Auto found a huge boost leak buried in the myriad of hoses that Nissan required on the Pulsar’s factory turbo setup; my car is far from factory so with Paulo and I both agreeing we pulled off a ton of Nissan’s hoses plus a few bolt on pieces that I have no clue what they were but Paulo said were now redundant. And we found the boost leak hidden well underneath the intake manifold and virtually impossible to access without removing the intake. The removal of this ‘stuff’ was possible because the NX is running an ECUMaster standalone ECU. With the leak found (and I have to tell you that it was my fault, the last time I worked on it I had missed installing a clamp – unless the clamp just disintegrated over the last few months – and while the hose was in place you could see it was deformed and that under high boost was allowing every HP it could escape into the atmosphere), with the engine bay tidied up, the manifold went back on and the car went on the dyno. Here AES Auto took the time to clean up and improve the dyno tune and combined with some road work ensured that the powerband is smooth and the torque is there early and stays throughout. A road course car needs more than just top end power; it has to have a smooth and consistent mid-range power also. AES Auto always takes the time to work with me, give me feedback and info while listening to my feedback, and ensures that I leave the shop as a happy camper. Happy is an understatement, a few hard pulls and I was ecstatic. The car may not have the peak power that it used to but it certainly has power that makes me smile. At the evening event  on the 25th I squeaked out my best time ever at this track. Without even pushing. Everyone says this, of course, but I used three sessions to check out the changes – pushing in some sections of the track and letting off in others.  Corners where the car previously behaved like a pogo stick if you came near the curbing were now silky smooth taking as much curb as possible. The changes were absolutely fantastic. I was lined up for what I was assuming would be the last session, Bron and I had adjusted the tire pressures and ensured that everything around the car was ready to go for this final session where I was going to send it, when the event organizer informed us that the evening was over. Time was up. That was disappointing as I thought we’d see what the car was capable of putting down, but we did then discover that testing had given a personal best by a fraction of a second. Assisting this new time was the addition of some 225/45/15 Hoosier A7 scrubs that I picked up for a reasonable price, and as these tires are already a year old I figured that I may as well get my money out of them. I love Toyo RR and Toyo RA1 tires; Howard at Talon Tire in Quebec, Canada is an incredible wealth of knowledge and an avid supporter of amateur motorsport. Before the pandemic struck the plan was to have a new set of each for 2020, but that hasn’t happened. It just didn’t make sense to invest in new rubber when Knox Mountain Hill Climb was cancelled and the VCMC hosted Time Attack season was shortened. I really wasn’t impressed with the Nankang AR1 that I tried out last year (in their defence, the Nankangs’ shortcomings merely exaggerated the flaws in the car’s steering geometry and when that was corrected they performed better), but my goodness if I had an unlimited budget then I know that I’d be putting Hoosiers on for every event. It’s been years since I last owned a set and they’re as impressive as I remember. As good as this sounds, the outing wasn’t perfect.

Matt Figel is the man behind Ocular Dynamic and the Nissan shifter bushings for the linkage in my FWD car. I found out that the actual shifter bushing didn’t fit as I replaced mine almost 20 years ago with a B&M short shifter. It’s been in the car so long that I forgot it was an aftermarket part. The other two did fit the Nissan’s shifter rods.
The Nissan factory rubber bushing (the front mount one) allows so much flex and play that it is crazy. I have an ES bushing at the back of my shifter rods so, rather than putting another ES bushing in, I chose to get an aluminum bushing machined. Steve, the perfectionist at Eagle Machine who made it for me, turns out to be a Bonneville Salt Flats land speed record holder. So awesome. We chatted cars and I got a partial tour of their massive plant.
The factory part was out of round which would have caused premature wear of the aluminum part. Steve corrected that. Ensured that both sides had the proper curvature (they are different) and pressed it together for me. His attention to detail is incredible. This piece also costs ten times the amount of the ES bushing. I think it’s worth it. Plus he’s just down the street and I didn’t have to deal with any cross border shipping delays.
There’s no question here. This clutch cable should have been replaced long ago. Unfortunately, when I checked it over I didn’t look closely and figured it was okay. I missed the obvious wear signs – they weren’t easily visible as they were hidden by brackets etc., but that is a mistake I probably won’t make again. I’ll make another mistake instead!

Of course, there have been gremlins. On the 25th there were times that I literally couldn’t find gears and reverse was a lost cause. As a result, I pulled the car’s shifter rods and new bearings from Ocular Dynamic were put in. One of the unique challenges I found was that a flex joint in my shifter rods had seized. Simply stuck. Certainly part of my challenge of finding the gear that I wanted. There’s also one large bushing that Matt at Ocular Dynamic doesn’t make. He let me know that there was an ES bushing that would fit; I chose to get one machined out of aluminum. Turns out that the machine shop I settled upon – because I really liked our initial phone conversation – was owned by Steve Green and he just happens to hold a Bonneville Salt Flats land speed record in B Gas Altered that was set in 2009. And it still stands. Steve is a perfectionist and the bushing he made is almost too nice to use. Put everything back together and back out to Mission Raceway on August 15th where even with this work I was still having issues. Ready to buy a new clutch, on advice of others I looked over my clutch cable. They were right. It was kaput. Even more upsetting, I had a spare one on the shelf that I could have easily installed. Sigh. The challenge of a 28 year old car is that parts need to be replaced. Sometimes more than once. So a bit more elbow grease in the garage and time to head out to the track again. This time it was almost perfect. This old car, that I call the NX GTi-R, did what it does best; it made me smile!

I joked (but was serious) about adding a jig saw to my complement of track tools just incase the massive splitter needed to be cut down. No worries now after three track days. The splitter is awesome. The air dam is awesome. And personally I think that the overall effect is awesome. And, of course, I have to say that the Professional Awesome splitter rods are, indeed, awesome! Photo by MAP – Martins Action Photography.

On track pics are courtesy of Martins Action Photography. Huge thanks to Brent for his great photos and his dedication to promoting amateur motorsports.


Ansix Auto

AES Auto

Occular Dynamics

Eagle Machine





  1. Great write-up. As always Mr. Ewald, your articles are informative and entertaining. I do have a question regarding the digital camber/caster tool: Is there a way to zero the measurement? You can zero a scale with nothing on it (or zero it with an empty container on it). How do you ensure that the -3.25 degrees of negative camber as measured by the tool is actually -3.25 degrees?

    1. Banfstc, thank you. I appreciate your kind words.
      Great question about the Longacre unit. It is supposed to hold it’s zero, even when shut off. According to AES, running my car on the Mustang dyno was like running one of his drift client cars – it didn’t want to run nicely for him. So I’m pretty sure the -ve camber is there. More details about the Longacre calibration can be found here:

  2. Thank you so much for this article. I read Erik’s article when it first came out and dreamed about something like that, but unfortunately, his set up is out of my price range. This on the other hand is right up my alley. Thanks

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