If you are reading this page, then you are most likely a fan of tuning your car. However, when we are adding various parts, there is usually one part of the car we leave untouched, the driver. Without a good driver, it doesn’t matter how good a car is, it’s not going to perform well.

Now if you have a chance, you should definitely do a track day and spend a day with a professional teacher. If you like to race, then spending a day of instruction will shave a lot of time off your laps.

In a meantime, I found a great set of videos. These are from a website called hooked on driving and feature everything from the driving line, to heel to driving.

The below video is on heel and toe shifting. This is a racing technique that will help you go into turns more slowly and put less wear on your engine. You can also use this in the real world. It takes a little bit of practice, but after a little bit of practice comes second nature.

 

I have basically been getting bad gas mileage since I bought my Miata almost a year ago. I wasn’t expecting to be driving a hybrid, but 18 mpg just seemed a bit too low for a 1.8l, even if it is a “little” sporty. I set about trying to make it run better and more efficient.

I basically did all the maintenance stuff (plugs, air filter, pcv valve, gas filter, plug wires, oil change, and transmission change. I also replaced a bad 02 sensor. The car felt much better, but I didn’t see much of an increase in MPG.
I had all but given up.
However, a couple of weeks a go I replaced my worn out engine mounts with Mazda Comp Mounts (the biggest pain in the butt job I have done so far). Not only did I have better shifts, the car seems to maintain speed much better when I let off the gas. Before, it would slow down like I was slightly hitting the brakes anytime I let off the gas. I think it had to do with the engine not lining up well with the transmission because of weak/ripped engine mounts.

So if you are getting low mileage, first do all the regular maintenance stuff. But if that doesn’t fix it, and you have a loose motor (shifter moves when you hit the gas) then you might consider replacing your motor mounts. It made a big difference for me.

Cleaning the drains

Living in a sub-tropical environment, we get a lot of rain. Without the proper maintenance that rain will get inside the Miata’s convertible top. As I recently found out during one of our latest downpours. These instructions are for a 99 JDM Miata Mx-5 NB, but should work on other models too.

There are four drains that need to be cleaned. Two are at the top of the pillers on the windshield near where the top latches. They run all the way down the pillars and come out just below where the speaker would normally sit. The other two are located just behind where the seat belts are attached. They come out underneath the car.

Top Drain

Pillar Drain

Rear Drain

Miata Rear Drain

To clean the drains you will need something to stick through. I used a piece of small cable with ducktape at the end to make sure it didn’t puncture the rubber.

Cleaning Device

Stick the cable in the top and slowly push it down. Any gunk should get pushed out the bottom. I then used a syringe/squirter to force water down the holes and make sure it was clear. Also make sure there is nothing else near the drain holes that could get washed in and cause it to clog again.

The whole process should only take about 5 minutes or so and then you are all done.

Adjusting the hot/cold temperature on a JDM Miata.

If you find that the air coming out of your vents is not as cool or hot as you would like, you can actually adjust it. Use this link http://www.miata.net/garage/heater_cable.html. However, if you own a JDM engine  (or any right hand Miata). Make sure you look on the drivers side, not on the passenger side!!

 

 

 

A couple weeks ago I went for a fun drive in my JDM Miata (known as a Roadster over here). The car held on the the ground pretty good, but I couldn’t say the same thing for myself. Due to the minimum support of the seat, I felt like I was always sliding away. I heard that a friend of mine was planning on selling his NB roadster, so I asked if he would be interested in selling the seat. He said he didn’t need any money and would be happy to trade.

So after about 5 minutes of removing and installing, and then a couple hours of cleaning; I have a new seat. I added some new padding and and will replace the cover when I get a chance. I’ll also try to get some more pics up. I should also mention that the new seat weighs considerably less than the OEM seat.

If you are reading this page, then you are probably interested in tuning and driving faster. Now I love to tune my car, but it can also be quite expensive. I generally tend to do my own tuning so that saves me a bit of money, but even so, car parts aren’t cheap. Luckily, there is one part of your car that will likely make a bigger difference than the rest and is quite cheap. The driver.

Over the last couple of months I was in the process of searching for a new car. I had been stuck with a Honda Today as my commuter and decided it was time to get something better(You can check out my Mazda Miata here). This process really got me into the mentality of tuning/racing. I picked up a book called “Speed Secrets: Professional Race Driving Techniques” and started to dig in.

The book is written in a way that it’s easy, though some of the contents are actually quite technical.  And while the techniques taught in the book are for racing, you can actually practice most of them in your regular driving. Doing so can help turn even a boring drive in a slow car into something more fun.

The book covers a number of items including the importance of balance, heel-toe shifting, braking, how to take turns, down-force dynamics and much more. This book made me think about a lot of concepts I hadn’t considered before. For example, I knew that drafting reduces the force against your car allowing the car to do less work while maintaining speed. What I didn’t ever think about was that down-force is also reduced limiting your grip.

Overall the book has been a great read (one I will probably read a couple more times) and has changed the way I view a number aspects of driving.  It has definitely made everyday driving a little more fun.

I think this is a great book for anyone interested in driving, racing, jdm engines, and tuning. It is also available on the kindle so you can download it straight to you iphone or other smart phone if you have one.

About a week ago I received a set of new Toyota Starlet Eyelids in the mail and handed them over to my friend Masa. He had been wanting a set for quite a long time. I actually thought that the carbon fiber eyelids would look cool, but he wanted them color matched to his car so he went with FRP.

After a few days of preparation (sanding and re-sanding) he turned them over to a shop to get them painted. A few days and about $30 later he had a set of silver eyelids. He had them on the next day. Unfortunately, the “eyelid” specified 3M tape didn’t hold up to well and he has had to remove them. I think it has a lot to do with the high humidity here. These are the pics once he reinstalled them.

He has also just finished installing a custom rx7 intercooler to replace his performance (I think ARC) intercooler. We will write more on this later, but here is a teaser picture so you can get an idea.

I originally started this website after I quit working for a JDM parts company near Tokyo. The plan was to start my own online parts company selling JDM parts. Unfortunately, rent had to be paid, and I ended up with another job. High Performance JDM never got started.

Over the last year or so I have done a few posts on JDM engines and JDM cars, but for the most part this website has been on the back burner.

However, this has somewhat changed in the last few months. I have purchased  a new car (you can read about my Mazda Miata here) that has got me back into the tuning world. One of my best friends is also a tuner and a big DIY guy. Currently he is replacing a performance intercooler with an older RX7 he has customized to fit on his Toyota Starlet Glanza. I will have some pics soon. He also knows  the Japanese car market very well.

We can get you JDM Parts!

In addition, we have also started selling JDM parts. It was more by accident then by plan, but it is actually pretty easy for us to get a hold of JDM parts. So, if there is something you need, please feel free to contact us. I will be updating the site shortly to make contacting us regarding parts easier.

Changes to High Performance JDM Engines

In addition to JDM news, the site will become a place for both myself and my friend Masa to post info about our cars as well as the modifications we do to them. This will include both what we are doing and Instructions for those interested. We are not pros (he is pretty amazing with custom fabrication and DIY), but we both love cars.

The other big change to the site will be in adding a contact form/area for those looking to get a hold of JDM parts.  If there is a part you have been looking for, or a part you haven’t been able to get a hold of, let us know and we will try to find it for you.

I have been living in Japan now for a few years. The few I lived in Tokyo, I didn’t have a car. I know, Tokyo Drift shows Tokyo as this cool, fun place to drive. Well, their portrayal of Tokyo was about as accurate as someone who has never even heard of the place.

In reality, Tokyo is a nightmare to drive in. The traffic is heavy, the cops are strict, and it’s easy to get lost. Not to mention the cost. You have to pay to drive on the freeway, you have to pay to park, and shaken (2 year checkup) is expensive. Having a parking spot, which is required to purchase a car, can cost as much as your rent (Yes, I am serious). Now, I am not saying there aren’t cool cars in Tokyo. Just that the sacrifice to own one is quite high. My job forced me to take the train.

About two years ago I moved down to a small island of Okinawa (picture Hawaii, but cheaper) and finally had the need for a car. Since I wasn’t sure how long I would be staying, the goal was to purchase a car for as cheap as possible. I ended up with a 1993 Honda Today. For those who don’t now, the Today was a small 3 cylinder “kei” car sold in Japan and Europe. Not exactly a sports car, but it served the purpose. Like most Hondas the engine is still running strong, though the body is rusting away (side effects of living on an island).

With with the cost of Shaken coming up on the Honda Today (and assuming it wouldn’t pass), I decided to get something a little more fun. I looked for several weeks and looked at a lot of different cars, but finally decided on an 1998 Evolution Orange Mazda Roadster (Mazda Miata for those outside of Japan).

The car has about 60,000 miles on it and is in pretty good shape. For all intensive purposes, there isn’t much difference between the US model and the JDM model. The JDM engine does however, rev to 7,500 rpms rather than 7,000 rpms.  I purchased the car without ever seeing it in person, and picked it up from the docks about two weeks ago tomorrow.

The car was even better than I thought it would be and runs great. It even had a few performance goodies I wasn’t aware of when I purchased it. I will be covering some of these in a future post along with more pictures. Stay Tuned!

Now that I am back in “tuning mode” I will be posting much more often. I have also been taking requests from people looking for JDM parts (yes I can get them!). So if there is something you are looking for please feel free to contact me!