• How to Properly Modify Cars for Drifting

    Ideal cars for drifting will be rear wheel drive, have a limited slip or LSD, differential, will be light in weight and easily controlled. Most cars for drifting will also have manual, or stick shift, transmissions and tires with no tread, known as slicks. Below you will find tips for modifying the various systems of your car for drifting.

    What is Drifting?

    The drifting motorsport is a racing event where one or two cars navigate a twisting course, usually keeping their cars in a controlled rear wheel slide or drift. When racing alone, the driver is racing against the clock. When racing in pairs, the drivers are racing against each other as well as the clock.

    Rear End and Tires

    The rear end on a car is also known as the differential. This is what takes the rotational force along the vehicle’s axis from the transmission and changes it to off-axis rotational force going to the wheels. A limited slip differential is considered the best kind to have. This is because it will deliver torque to both wheels when the normal drive wheel (at the outside of a turn) loses traction. Another type of rear end applicable to drifting is the posi-trac rear end. In this type of differential, both wheels are driven. As for tires, treadles slicks are considered the best. You want a happy balance between the ability to cause the tires to spin on the driving surface and control.

    Transmission Modifications

    The ideal drifting car has a stick shift transmission. This is because a manual transmission allows you, the driver, full control over shifting. It also allows you to push the clutch in and drop the accelerator, bringing the engine speed up and then dropping the clutch. This makes it easier to begin the wheel spin inherent in drifting. With manual transmissions, performance clutch assemblies deliver the torque more effectively and last longer than stock versions. If using an automatic transmission, you will want to modify it to what is known as a manual shift automatic. You will be able to more fully control your wheel spin with this modification.

    Engine Modifications

    Engine modifications for drifting don’t really need to be very intensive or expensive. As long as you have very good throttle response and can achieve good acceleration, you should be able to do well in drifting. Modifications for the engine will mostly be computer modifications which will cause better throttle response and give better acceleration. Adding an aftermarket performance air filter and higher output fuel pump and regulator will also give noticeable results.

    Suspension Modifications

    Good cars for drifting have excellent steering response and controllability. Front tires will normally be high performance, high traction varieties. Suspension components will be replaced with an eye towards increasing controllability and controlling body roll. Bigger roll control, or sway bars are needed. Stiffer shocks in the back and struts and spring combinations in the front will help with body bounce and shift in turns.

    Suspension bushings are one of the most poorly understood and undervalued components of a vehicle’s overall handling. It can be easy to discount the role that such an inconsequential looking piece of rubber can play in the proper operation of a car’s suspension system, but that is a mistake. Although a suspension bushing is simply a rubber disk and nothing more, bushings fulfill a variety of important duties, and if they become worn or damaged you’re sure to notice a variety of adverse effects. Here are some examples of classic symptoms of bad bushings and why they occur.

    Excessive Road Noise

    One of the primary functions of suspension bushings is to help insulate the vehicle from road vibration and noise. Instead of a hard metal link which would directly transmit shock and vibration, a flexible rubber joint (the bushing) is placed there instead. This helps to absorb and cancel out interference due to inconsistencies in the road surface.

    Worn bushings lose their ability to cushion and insulate a car’s other systems, which results in excess road noise and increased vibration and shock. If you’ve noticed an increase in road noise from your vehicle over time, worn suspension bushings may just be contributing to that problem.

    Imprecise/Sloppy Steering

    Suspension bushings have to be soft to help absorb shock, vibration and noise however they also serve as vital links within the suspension system itself, holding it together. Worn bushings can become soft and flex too much, resulting in poor steering response and sloppy handling. The joints normally regulated by the firmness of the bushings are allowed to move too much. This upsets the proper suspension geometry of the vehicle, which results in sloppy and often unpredictable handling–especially at higher speeds.

    Mysterious “Creaks” and “Clunks”

    Since overly worn bushings allow the vehicle’s frame and suspension components to move more than normal, this often results in symptoms such as creaking and clunking in the vehicle’s steering system, particularly under hard cornering or speedy situations. This occurs when the worn bushings allow the parts that are normally supposed to link together move out of alignment when they are under load. As they snap back into their proper positions, this is often the source of those infamous noises that give a “clunker” its name.

    Likewise, worn bushings that bind and don’t move correctly often begin squeaking because the rubber binds on its metal housing. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may want to have your bushings checked out and possibly replaced. You might be surprised at how significant a difference such a small rubber disc can make in how your car drives and feels.