Alan Cesar Associate Editor
July 1, 2012 7:19 a.m.

I'm thinking about buying a diesel wagon driftmobile. Well, trading my Miata for it. It's awesome, but I may have also lost my damned mind. My friends think it's an awful, awful idea, and I'm not sure they're wrong.

Twin compounding turbos, makes something like 400 lb.-ft. with modified fuel delivery valves, or gets 30 mpg with 260 lb.-ft. using stockish delivery valves. Welded diff, coil-overs, potential horrible disaster? Check, check, and check. The guy claims it's a daily driver.

How many of you have bought somebody else's project? Got any good experiences, or are they all stories that end with bodies buried in shallow graves?

jakeb Reader
July 1, 2012 7:22 a.m.

do it, sounds awesome

sethmeister4 Reader
July 1, 2012 7:26 a.m.

Yes. Do it. Way cooler than a Miata!

MrJoshua PowerDork
July 1, 2012 7:31 a.m.

I think it would be awesome if someone would detail the mods necessary to make an old Merc TD less of a slow slow pig while still bringing home 30mpg.

Alan Cesar Associate Editor
July 1, 2012 7:41 a.m.
MrJoshua wrote: I think it would be awesome if someone would detail the mods necessary to make an old Merc TD less of a slow slow pig while still bringing home 30mpg.

That's exactly what I was hoping to learn and share with you fine folks. I love these things, but their slowness kind of ruins 'em. There's all kinds of information out there, but not in one single repository. They're popular with too many diverse populations: Benz afficionados and restorers, veggie oil folks, off-roaders who swap 'em into Jeeps and such, European taxi drivers, and, apparently, drifters. All with different goals in mind.

Thanks to the off-roading community though, it looks like there are transmission adapters on the market. A manual swap would have to come down eventually.

Luke UberDork
July 1, 2012 8:12 a.m.

Sometimes, you just have to throw caution to the wind and trade your '90s sportscar for a ridiculous TD driftwagen. This might be one of those times.

Knurled SuperDork
July 1, 2012 8:23 a.m.

Every Mercedes 300TD/SD I've driven had turbo lag you could measure on a calendar. How bad would compound turbos make that?

Serial compressors is always cool, don't get me wrong, but I thought compound turbos was more of a tractor pull / lugging 40 tons of steel up a hill kind of thing, not a quick throttle response thing.

fasted58 UltraDork
July 1, 2012 8:25 a.m.

c'mon, it's a winnah just for build thread value

.. n ya can brag about it later

Woody UltimaDork
July 1, 2012 8:41 a.m.

I love those cars.

Ranger50 SuperDork
July 1, 2012 8:53 a.m.

You need a Volvo instead:

NOHOME HalfDork
July 1, 2012 9:00 a.m.

It is gonna cost you a fortune in ways that you have not even imagined yet.

Other than that, it sounds like an adventure that should not be avoided. You will have stories.

Jaynen Reader
July 1, 2012 9:26 a.m.

Relevant video is relevant

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24afjVqm2Uw

Ian F UberDork
July 1, 2012 10:57 a.m.
Knurled wrote: Every Mercedes 300TD/SD I've driven had turbo lag you could measure on a calendar. How bad would compound turbos make that? Serial compressors is always cool, don't get me wrong, but I thought compound turbos was more of a tractor pull / lugging 40 tons of steel up a hill kind of thing, not a quick throttle response thing.

Yep. The g/f's parents' '83 300SD is staggeringly slow, although comfortable once up to speed.

In the Cummins world, compound turbos are done with a smaller primary with a large secondary. This apparently gives the response of the smaller with the raw power of the bigger. It seems fairly popular and many 900 hp Cummins trucks are used as DD's.

I saw go for it. Better you than me.

irish44j SuperDork
July 1, 2012 11:10 a.m.

A daily driver with a welded diff?

I personally never buy someone else's project. If someone is selling their project it's because it didn't live up to expectations. And undoing stupid things done is the worst part.

If it is a drift car, chances are things are already broken, or on the verge of breaking. I know a ton of drift guys and they're always breaking something, lol.

JohnyHachi6 Reader
July 1, 2012 11:26 a.m.
Alan Cesar wrote: How many of you have bought somebody else's project? Got any good experiences, or are they all stories that end with bodies buried in shallow graves?

I've purchased quite a few project cars from other people. It doesn't usually end well.

That said I would take the wagon over a miata any day, except for a track day. If you don't end up liking it, I'm sure you can easily resell it.

JohnyHachi6 Reader
July 1, 2012 11:29 a.m.
Jaynen wrote: Relevant video is relevant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24afjVqm2Uw

OMG, so much cancer coming out of that car...

Knurled SuperDork
July 1, 2012 12:18 p.m.
Ian F wrote: In the Cummins world, compound turbos are done with a smaller primary with a large secondary. This apparently gives the response of the smaller with the raw power of the bigger. It seems fairly popular and many 900 hp Cummins trucks are used as DD's.

Some Ford trucks came that way from the factory.

Hugh MacInnes' book had a whole chapter dedicated to compound turbocharging. The turbos have to be different sized, because the first turbo that the air sees needs to be big enough to feed the next turbo in line sufficient air under pressure.

It's neat stuff. At the time of his writing, people were running three stages and well over 200psi total boost, which is only something like 2-3:1 pressure ratio per stage. (15psia X 3 = 45psia, X 3 = 135psia, X 2 = 270psia, - 15 = 255psi boost) I heard that some pullers have gone to four stages now.

Jaynen Reader
July 1, 2012 12:43 p.m.

Yeah on the truck side guys are running up to 3 or 4 turbos and over 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 feet of torque and claim to still pull 20mpg highway

JoeyM SuperDork
July 1, 2012 12:52 p.m.

your friends are wrong. this is a wonderful idea.

1988RedT2 SuperDork
July 1, 2012 7:58 p.m.

I seriously can't imagine anything that could go wrong. Have you bought it yet, or what?

Twin_Cam UltraDork
July 1, 2012 8:29 p.m.
irish44j wrote: A daily driver with a welded diff?

Yea, if you do buy it, that's gotta go.

I wanted one of these cars before. That video is not helping.

Taiden SuperDork
July 1, 2012 8:42 p.m.

At first I was like, "do it!"

Then I saw the video, and now I'm like

"DOOOOOOOOOOO EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!!"

Jaynen Reader
July 1, 2012 9:17 p.m.

It definitely has the greatest potential for awesomely interesting stories over a miata :)

Wally UltimaDork
July 1, 2012 9:30 p.m.

There are so many ways this can be entertaining. Anyone can get to work everyday with a small Japanese car. I learned as a kid that torque and a locked rear make driving around town all kinds of fun, just ask my mom.

Knurled SuperDork
July 1, 2012 9:44 p.m.
Twin_Cam wrote:
irish44j wrote: A daily driver with a welded diff?

Yea, if you do buy it, that's gotta go.

My daily driver has a limited slip that basically never unlocks. The tires howl if I make a turn any tighter than changing lanes if I'm going under about 15mph. It's hilarious.

One of my customers daily drives (not an exaggeration) an old Camaro with a spool and 32x17.5 ET Streets on the back, and 165R15s on the front. The steering feels a little rubbery sometimes but it drives just fine. I'm not sure how ET Streets count as street legal, they basically have two circumferential dotted sipes for tread and that's it. It also has a ladder bar that pivots directly on the pivot bolts, and IMO that is more of a streetability no-no than anything else. Every few months we have to retighten bolts. (Ladder bars do not articulate. The axle goes up, and it goes down.)

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