Project STurdteen: Building the Competitive Drift Car from a Pile


In the engine bay, we find a nice, mostly stock Black Top SR20DET.  The engine has a decent Mishimoto radiator and some sort of front mount intercooler as it came. This is a pretty good, reliable setup for the casual drift day but the car desperately needs more power for more fun!
The car also has a decent, good enough for drifting, roll cage.
This rubber, cardboard and wood battery mount is really dangerous and has to go!  There is no way the battery mounting is safe and it should not have passed tech!  You don’t want to be beaned by a 50 lb hunk of lead in a crash right?
This generic front mount intercooler of unknown pedigree is probably a little on the small side for what we want to do, but we decided to keep it because we did not want to impede airflow to the radiator too much by blocking it with a huge intercooler. SR20’s need all the help they can get to stay cool.

The intercooler is also light and since missile cars tend to crash, it’s not worth doing something super expensive here for the moment.  In the future we are probably gonna chop off the inner fenders and core support for clearance and replace it with a tubular structure and at that time design something nicer but this will work fine for now. We have made well over 400 whp with similarly sized intercoolers on SR’s before so this will work for the time being.

The first order of business was a turbo upgrade. We didn’t want to go overboard and make a 500 hp laggy on the edge SR, but getting a no trade off 80 additional hp would be perfect. Thus we decided to get something simple like a T28 based internal wastegate stock position turbo.  This would be simple, minimize expensive fabrication, control heat around the master cylinder, clear the steering and be generally the most inexpensive and reliable way to meet our power objectives.

We wanted to get a more free flowing exhaust manifold but didn’t want to spend much money to get an equal length long tube super optimized work of art. With cost in mind we called upon the guys from ISR Performance.  ISR Performance used to be called ISIS, but for obvious reasons, they decided to change their name. The ISR Performance manifold is an inexpensive tubular manifold, constructed in stainless tubing with very serviceable welds. The tubing is super thick, close to cast weld-el in thickness.

The manifold has gusseting around the head and turbine flanges and is in our opinion not likely to crack.  It pairs the adjacent cylinders in the firing order away from each other which is good. It is not equal length or anything but it’s much better than the stock manifold for flow and pulse separation.

Of course it isn’t the greatest thing and it’s not metal art, but what’s cool about drifting is you just need to make enough power, not the most. In this case our priorities are cost and crack resistance.  I have personally made over 500 hp on way more cobbled together log manifolds on SR’s back in the day!

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