First Time I Bought New Car: Here’s What Happened

If you’ve read some of my personal automotive stories, you may have noticed I tend to own super cheap cars. But, that all changed yesterday (Jan. 19) when I got my first nice car.

Why Did I Get a New Car?

Before we dive further, I would like to tell you on why I needed a new car. I love my Jeep to death, but in a few weeks, I will begin attending school for web development. The school is about 30 minutes from my house, and work is about 20 minutes from my house. I don’t really mind spending extended periods of time in my Jeep, but my wallet does.

My Jeep average about 10 mpg. Plus it breaks all the time, it’s loud, doesn’t have heat or a/c, and is basically a POS. Like I said, I love my Jeep to death, but it’s time for me to be a responsible adult and purchasing something practical and (sort of) grown up.

Finding The Right Car

There were a few things that this new car needed. It needed to get good gas mileage, be around $17k after all taxes and fees, it needed to be fun to drive, and it needed to be decently fast. My options were pretty much narrowed down to Fiesta ST, Subaru BRZ, and Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Picture I took of a Fiesta ST at the Phoenix International Auto Show in 2014

I already knew the BRZ would feel too slow for me, so I ended up ruling that out. I went and test drove a 2013 Genesis Coupe 2.0T, but it felt horribly slow to me. Plus finding a 3.8L Genisis R-Spec with low miles in my price range was impossible. I’ve been interested in the Fiesta ST ever since it came out, and I’ve sat in a few at the Phoenix International Auto Show. I was browsing through Auto Trader and found a silver 2015 Fiesta ST with 16k miles, and at a pretty good price.

Test Driving The Car

I showed up at the dealership and there wasn’t a silver ST anywhere that I could see. I walked in and asked for the salesman I had talked to on the phone and he took me out to the car. SUPRISE! The car was actually Molten Orange. I was totally okay with this surprise because I really like the Molten Orange color.

We spoke for a second, and he took a copy of my driver’s license and insurance. He gave me the key fob and told me to be back by 9 pm. I drove it around for a bit, dropped my mom back off at home, and picked up my buddy to show him the car. He didn’t believe me that the car felt way faster than it actually was. So, he jumped on his motorcycle and we raced. I then picked my mother back up, showed my girlfriend while she was at work, and headed back to the dealership.

At this point, I was in love with almost everything about the car and was ready to take it home. But, I was ready to walk away if they tried to jerk me around.

Purchasing The Car

I came back from the test drive and began the paperwork process. They took a quick look at my credit score, which is very good for a 21-year-old, and said I’ll qualify for it. Signed a huge amount of papers, put $3k down, and also got an extended warranty. The purchasing process was smooth as butter, and they didn’t at any point try to push anything on me. Now here I am typing this article, and I’m about five minutes away from going to pick the car up!


I’m so used to my $1k – $2k cars that purchasing a near $20k car was absolutely terrifying for me. I’m still scared and the deal is done. But, the process of purchasing my first new(ish) vehicle went surprisingly smooth! I brought my mother along for the whole thing, but I ended up not needing her for anything. Look for future articles on my long term review for my Fiesta ST.

Ford Alphabet Cams: Everything You Need to Know About 303 Cams

If you are building up a Fox Body Mustang, chances are that you’ve heard of the Ford Racing cams (E303, B303, ETC.), commonly referred to as the “alphabet cams”. But, which cam is best for your application?

Before I tell you about the alphabet cams, you should know that these cams were all designed over 20 years ago, and designed for the masses. They are also known for poor quality control and are lacking in power output compared to modern aftermarket cams.

Modern age technology has allowed companies like Anderson Motorsports to develop cams strictly using computers to figure out what performs and what doesn’t.

With that said, Alphabet cams are still good cams, especially if you’re on a budget.

Ford Racing Cams

E303 Camshaft

The E303 camshaft is the mildest of the ford racing cams as you might be able to tell from the specifications. It’s known for its excellent street ability and decent track performance.


The E303 camshaft is an excellent street cam, providing torque way down low for great driveability, but it sacrifices top end power, I personally love this cam for a daily driven Fox Body.

  • Street

B303 Camshaft

The B303 camshaft is a nice step up from the E303 cam, it retains the excellent street ability, but moves the peak power up a couple thousand RPMs.


The B303 camshaft is often used in various motorsports, because of its mid-high rpm power, but can be used a street cam if you don’t mind the power being so up high.

  • Street/Track

RELATED: Top Cheap 5 Mods for Your Fox Body Mustang

F303 Camshaft

The F303 camshaft is loosely referred to as the “boost” cam because the F303 cam makes the best power under forced induction when compared to all the other alphabet cams.

F303 Cam

We think boost guys love it because of its a happy medium between a high lift and long duration, it’s a decent naturally aspirated cam, but the boost guys swear by it.

  • Forced Induction

X303 Camshaft

The X303 camshaft is basically a dedicated track cam. It has less duration than the F303 cam, but it has the most lift out of all the alphabet cams. The X303 camshaft is not very street friendly and makes most of its power way up high in the RPMs.


This cam won’t perform all that well without a set of high flowing aluminum heads.

  • Drag Strip

Z303 Camshaft

The Z303 cam is a lot like the X303 in the sense that it’s really designed for off-road track use. It has the longest duration and highest lift out of every 303 cam at 228 intake/228 exhuast and 0.552 intake/0.552 exhaust. Just like the X303, the Z303 isn’t very street friendly.

As with all big cams, the Z303 really won’t perform as you might expect without a set of aftermarket heads. With the smaller cams such as the E303 stock heads will work okay, but with big cams you really need to upgrade the heads.

  • Drag Strip

The Down Side

Like I mentioned earlier, these cams are very outdated. They were designed with single plane technology and were built for the masses. Modern technology has allowed speed part companies to develop camshafts that make more power, more torque, and are more drivable.

The alphabet cams are also notorious for their terrible quality control which results in cam lobes that are all slightly different than each other. I had an E303 cam in my Fox Body, but if I were to do it again I would go with a modern camshaft.

The Importance of Cylinder Heads

If you just install an alphabet camshaft and nothing else, expect to be disappointed. The stock cylinder heads on the 5.0L are terrible. Even if you port and polish them, they still suck. To get the most of out an alphabet cam, especially an X303, you need to install a set of aftermarket cylinder heads.

RELATED: 7 Reasons the Fox Body is The Ultimate Muscle Car

The common upgrade is GT-40 heads. They are better than the factory Fox Body heads, but they aren’t all that good either. A set of aftermarket aluminum cylinder heads will do wonders for your 5.0L.

My Fox Body has a set of Edelbrock E-Series street heads. Combined with the E303 camshaft it made a ton of horsepower and a ton of torque. Although it was never dynoed, I would guess that it made 290whp.


The E303 is an awesome street cam, making power down low. The B303 is a good motorsports cam, making power in the middle. The F303 is an awesome cam for sub-600hp forced induction engines. The X303 is a great drag strip cam, making lots of power up high.

The reason all of these cams are popular is because they’re dirt cheap, ranging from $100-200, and make decent power especially when paired up with a set of high flowing aluminum cylinder heads.

However, I personally recommend spending the extra money and getting a modern camshaft that has a dual-plane lobe design. Or better yet, a custom made cam to match your driving needs and cylinder head flow.

Fox Body Mustang Buying Guide

Are you in the market to purchase a Fox Body Mustang? Here’s everything you should keep an eye out for, and possibly use to your bargaining advantage.
Before we get into the things to look out for we will quickly cover what changes happened in what years:

  • 1979 – Fox Body mustangs hit the dealership floors.
  • 1980 – 5.0L V8 was replaced with a 4.2L V8.
  • 1981 – Hatchback outsold the coupe, which continued throughout the Fox Body’s lifetime
  • 1982 – 5.0L V8 returns due to popular demand.
  • 1983 – Convertible Fox Body was added to the line-up, and front suspension was improved.
  • 1984 – The SVO (2.3L turbocharged Inline-4) was introduced.
  • 1985 – Slightly revised front facia. Last year for the carburetor.
  • 1986 – Third brake light added, last year for the SVO Fox Body, electronic fuel injection was added.
  • 1987 – Major front end redesign
  • 1988 – GT was named in “Ten Best Cars in the World”
  • 1989 – Speed density induction replaced with mass air induction
  • 1990 – Airbag added to the steering wheel
  • 1991 – Foxbody price rises, sales decline
  • 1992 – Color coated side moldings on the body
  • 1993 – Limited edition, SVT Cobra, and SVT Cobra R were released, last year for the Fox Body mustang


Making sure the frame is good applies to nearly every vehicle purchase you’ll ever make.

  • Look at the windshield pillars for denting, as well as the rear windows for bulges or cracking. This is a sign of a twisted frame.
  • Look at the unibody frame rails for dents, creasing, and rust.
  • Take a look at the shock towers, they are notorious for rusting and cracking.
  • Look at the suspension mounting points from and rear. Occasionally the mounts crack.
  • If it was previously a drag car it may drive a little crooked/sideways down the road.

It’s very common for a Fox Body mustang frame to be twisted, due to the torque monster 5.0L V8 and a weak unibody design. This is especially common for drag cars, so make sure it drives straight down the road before you purchase it.

Fox Body


The 5.0L is an excellent engine, but like all engines, it has its common problems.

RELATED: The Story of my 1991 Fox Body Mustang

  • Leaky rear main seal, look at the back of the engine/front of the transmission for oil. This is a sign of a leaky rear main.
  • Water pump failure, see if the water pump pulley has any play in it, that’s a sign of a failing water pump.
  • Oil pan leak, look at the bottom of the engine for oil.
  • Low oil pressure at high RPMs. Wind the engine out to redline and see if the oil pressure gauge drops, sometimes the factory oil pump is inadequate at high RPMs.
  • If the engine has aftermarket parts on it ask if it has been tuned by a professional.
  • Ask for receipts for aftermarket parts.

Fox body Mustang


If the Fox Body mustang you’re looking to purchase has a manual transmission, there’s a few thing to look for.

RELATED: Top 5 Must Have Fox Body Modifications

  • Make sure it doesn’t pop out of any gears.
  • The clutch should engage about halfway through the pedal travel, if not the cable may be stretched.
  • Broken clutch cable, which is common especially on a Fox Body with aftermarket long tube headers.
  • Broken clutch quadrant, which is also common and a pain in the rear to fix.

If it has an automatic transmission, there are less thing to look for.

  • Abrupt/Harsh shifting. Either the transmission is going bad or it has an aftermarket shift kit
  • Check the fluid, it should be red, it might be a little dark if the fluid hasn’t been changed in a while

Foxbody Mustang


Drivetrain parts are generally a pain in the butt to fix so make sure that everything is in order.

  • Make sure the rear end doesn’t make any strange noises such as howling.
  • Ask the owner if it has stock gearing in the rear end.
  • Is the driveshaft stock or aftermarket?
  • Make sure the u-joints good, having those explode on the road is not fun.
  • If you have the opportunity, make sure it spins both tires. If not the LSD is old and worn out.
  • Knocking when you get on and off the throttle may be a bad transmission/motor mounts.


This is arguably the least important part because the interior has no real affect on how it drives. But, if you can score a Fox Body with a clean interior that is always a major plus

RELATED: 7 Reasons the Fox Body Mustang is the best Muscle Car

  • Cracks in the dash are normal. If you find a non-cracked dash you’re in luck.
  • Make sure all the buttons work.
  • Make sure the A/C unit works.
  • Are all the interior panels there?
  • Tears in the seat can always be fixed so don’t be worried about those.
  • If it’s a convertible make sure the top goes up and down properly.


Unfortunately, in the automotive industry, the money you put into your car is almost always lost. This sucks when you go to sell your Fox Body that you dumped $10k into, but it can be awesome if you’re the one purchasing it. A Fox Body with $2k worth of go fast parts will probably only sell for $500 more than a Fox Body without those parts.

This does not mean to go after any Fox Body with aftermarket stuff on it. Many times owners will cheap out and put crappy parts on their Fox Body. This can result in major headaches down the road if you decide to purchase said Fox Body. If there are any modifications done to the Fox Body you’re looking at, make sure they’re quality parts. A cobbled together Fox Body is worse off than a completely stock Fox Body.

If it has engine work done to it find out what heads, camshaft, and intake manifold it has. This will give you a rough estimate of what kind of power you can expect it to make. If it has any suspension modifcations ask what brand/model the comonents are. If it has a tubular k-member find out how it changed the suspension geometry.


In all, Fox Body Mustangs are generally problem free, but sometimes things happen. Look for strange body panel gaps, rust, oil leaks, and make sure the transmission shifts properly. None of these problems are deal-breakers, but you should try and use these problems to your bargaining advantage.

Top 5 Must Have Fox Body Mustang Modifications

Unhappy with how your Fox Body performs? Maybe you’re looking at picking up a Fox Body and what to know what you should do to it? Well, as an avid Foxbody enthusiast I knew this question needed answering. So, I have come up with a list of the top 5 mods to do to your Fox Body.

1. Intake

I can tell you from experience, a “cold air intake” isn’t going to gain you any power without modifying the rest of your 5.0’s intake system. The 302 that comes in the Fox Body is quite frankly pretty weak, especially at higher RPMs. An upper and lower intake manifold will yield very impressive gains, especially at the top end of the RPMs.

foxbody intake

A common intake is the Cobra intake manifold, but these are getting hard to find and don’t perform quite as well as modern designed intakes. I prefer Trick Flow, their intake manifolds seems to yield the best power overall. However, to see the greatest gains you’ll need an aftermarket camshaft and aftermarket heads.

  • Hp gain: 30+ rwhp
  • Price: $500- $1,000
  • Install: Easy

2. Heads

The key to making more power with any engine is in the heads. The stock heads on the 5.0 flow air very poorly, and are made of heavy cast-iron. Swapping your heads might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty easy and will transform your Fox Body. Much like the intake manifold the most common swap is Cobra (GT-40) heads. The GT40 heads flow better than stock, but are still made of heavy cast-iron.

RELATED: Ford Coyote vs Chevy LS: Which One is Better and Why?


An aftermarket head is most definitely the way to go, with modern technology companies like Edelbrock are able to blow the factory Fox Body heads out of the water. Edelbrock E-Street heads are made of lightweight aluminum and flow better than stock, I love these heads because they’re pretty cheap.

  • Hp gain: 30+  rwhp
  • Price: $850+
  • Install: Advanced

3. Camshaft

The cherry on the cake is an aftermarket camshaft. The intake manifold and the heads perform best when complimented with a new camshaft. The most popular 5.0 cam is the Ford Racing E303 cam, providing excellent low-end torque, decent top end power, and an incredible sound at idle.


The E303 is a street cam and won’t provide maximum power at the track. Other popular cams include Ford Racing B303, F303, and Anderson N41. I should mention that if you are really serious about your Fox Body, then stay away from the 303 camshafts. Ford designed the 303 cams 20+ years ago and they don’t have the best quality control. The 303 cams also won’t make as much power as a modern design camshaft. You can read more about this in our 303 Cams article.

  • HP gain: 25+ rwhp
  • Price: $200
  • Install: Advanced

I should mention that the first three modifications should be done at the same time since all three of them heavily compliment each other. Seriously, just save up and do all three mods at the same time.

4. Suspension

Unfortunately, the Fox Body chassis doesn’t handle very well in stock form. Plus stock Fox Body suspension sits WAY to high. Most Fox Body owners swap the front suspension to coil-over and put lowering springs in the rear. This generally makes the fox chassis much more balanced, helping eliminate most of the understeer and the tail happy rear end.

RELATED: 7 Reasons why the Fox Body is the Ultimate Muscle Car


Raceland makes a nice set of coil overs that are very budget friendly, and really help your Fox Body handle less like a boat. An aftermarket K-member is also an excellent modification. It essentially changed your suspension geometry to a much more desirable setup.

RELATED: How to Choose the Right Fox Body K-Member

If you plan on going to a coil-over setup I would strongly recommend also getting a tubular k-member. Not only will it improve your suspension geometry, it will also save you a ton of weight, and improve chassis rigidity a ton.

  • Price: $500 – $2000
  • Install: Easy

5. 5-Lug Swap

This last modification is something I wouldn’t consider necessary, but if you have the time and the budget then do it. Going 5-lug makes your rear axle MUCH stronger, and gives you a larger selection of wheels to choose from.


The most common swap is a rear axle from the newer SN95 Mustang, which has rear disc brakes which are a massive upgrade over the Fox Body rear drum brakes. Going 5-lug also makes your choice of wheels larger, which is always a plus.

  • Price: $400+
  • Install: Advanced

Bonus Mod – Chassis:

Of course, there are a few modifications I really wanted to mention but didn’t fit into the list of five modifications. If you really want to get serious about your Fox Body, you need to stiffen the chassis. The weak Fox Body chassis can make proper suspension setups very hard to obtain.

RELATED: The Story of my 1991 Fox Body Mustang

Subframe connectors are a popular modification that really helps the chassis, as well as the ever popular strut tower brace. Do not cheap out of these parts. Cheap chassis parts will not help your chassis whatsoever and will be a waste of time/money.

A roll cage is also a good idea. Let’s be honest, you’re reading this article because you want your Fox Body to go faster. Nobody is a perfect driver, even professionals crash. If you crash whilst racing without a roll cage you may be rolling the dice on your life. Even a simple bolt in half cage may save you and your occupants lives, plus it’s great for chassis stiffness.


Whether you own a Fox Body, or you are looking to buy one, we would definitely recommend doing these modifications. The head/cam/intake can gain you 100+ hp. The suspension and chassis modifications will add to the handling performance while giving it a mean, aggressive stance.

How to Choose the Right Fox Body K-Member

If you’re in the market for a new k-member for your Fox Body there are some things you need to consider before purchasing one. In this short guide we’ll cover what the k-member is, its function, and what to look for in an aftermarket one.

What is a K-Member?

The K-member on the Fox Body chassis is basically the piece that ties everything in the front together. It’s what your engine is bolted to, as well as your front suspension and steering rack. Since it pretty much ties everything together the rigidity is very important.

Build Material

Like I mentioned above, the rigidity of the k-member is extremely important. Just like how subframe connectors improve the chassis rigidity, so does the k-member. High-end k-members will typically be made of chromoly. Chromoly is extremely strong and fairly lightweight, but it is very expensive. Low-end k-members will typically be made of mild steel, which is weaker than chromoly and slightly heavier, but it’s much cheaper.

Suspension Geometry

One of the best features of an aftermarket k-member is the ability to change the suspension geometry. One of the most common geometry changes is to move the front wheels forwards. This helps with drag racing as it makes the vehicle more stable, as well as help keep the front end down when launching the vehicle.

RELATED: Here’s Why the Fox Body is the Best Muscle Car Ever

Aftermarket k-members can also bring slight change to camber, caster, suspension pick-up points, and a coil over setup. For a street Fox I would definitely stay with a factory geometry k-member to simply your alignment. Most k-members will require you to switch to a coil over setup, so keep that in mind when you decide to get an aftermarket k-member for your Fox Body.

Engine Mounts

With the insane popularity of the Chevy LS engine, it’s no surprise that people want to swap it into their Fox Body. However, this poses a few issues, mainly engine placement and engine mounts. An aftermarket k-member can solve these issues and make your engine swap a much simpler operation.


This is undoubtedly the most important factor when deciding what k-member you should purchase. For a street driven Fox Body I would recommend a mild steel tubular k-member with factory geometry. The low cost of mild steel will save your wallet and you’ll still experience the benefits of a tubular k-member.

If you plan on track racing your Fox Body I would definitely recommend getting a chromoly k-member with track focused suspension geometry. Although it will be significantly more expensive, chromoly will help shave weight off the front of your Fox Body which is very important for track racing.

RELATED: Top 5 Fox Body Mods You Need

If you plan on drag racing your Fox Body look for a k-member that will push your front wheels forwards slightly. It might decrease your Fox’s cornering capability but it will be more stable down the 1/4 mile and you’ll be able to launch it harder.


Remember, the k-member pretty much holds the entire front end of your Fox Body together, so try to avoid cheaping out when you get one. You’re better off saving for a bit longer and purchasing a higher quality chromoly k-member. Here’s a good place to start your search for the perfect Fox Body k-member.

Fox Body Mustang vs IROC-Z: Which One is Actually Better?

The Chevy Camaro and the Ford Mustang have always been major rivals. They’re the cars that have always defined the pony car segment. Personally, I’m not a huge Mustang fan, but the Fox Body is undeniably awesome.  But, how does the Fox Body stack up to one of the most iconic Camaro models ever?

4. Price

Obviously, the price of these pony cars brand new doesn’t really matter in today’s age. However, the used price can be a huge factor on which one is better for you. For detailed information be sure to read our Fox Body Buying Guide. But to briefly cover the prices: the Fox Body costs around $4-5k for a decent condition example, and the IROC-Z is around $3-4k for a similar condition example.

RELATED: Here’s What Makes the IROC-Z so Awesome

The money you save on purchasing an IROC-Z could can towards modifications to improve handling since it is a little lacking in both the Camaro and Mustang chassis. But the Fox Body is quickly rising in price, so from an investment perspective the Fox Body is better, but from a young car guy with little money, the IROC-Z may be the better choice.

3. Factory Performance

Although factory performance is really a nonfactor today, it is an important comparison point. Although many people thought muscle cars handled awful the fox body prove that to be wrong. Fox body Mustang was one of the very first cars to pull over 1G on the skidpad as tested however it is not perfect. The Roxy gets a better braking setup with 4 wheel disc brakes and a panhard bar on the rear of Fox Body does not.

Fox Body Mustang
Horsepower: 220 @ 4,200 rpm
Torque: 300 @ 3,200 rpm
Weight: 3,000 – 3,200 lbs

Horsepower: 220 @ 4,200 rpm
Torque: 320 @ 3,200 rpm
Weight: 3,100 – 3,350 lbs

RELATED: Here’s Why the Fox Body is the Ultimate Muscle Car

Although the made similar power and torque, the Fox Body was still able to edge out in many performance tests thanks to its low weight. However, the IROC-Z redeems itself with a rear panhard bar which improved handling as well as a much better braking setup. Both will make a great autocross car, drag car, or street cruiser.

2. Aftermarket

The small block Chevy engine found under the hood of the IROC-Z is undoubtedly one of the most modified engines in the world, and it has been featured in hundreds of racing series. The small block Ford is also very popular amongst hot rodders, but it’s not as popular as the Chevy. Ford Racing makes some of the most popular small block Ford parts such as the “303” camshafts and the ever popular GT-40 cylinder heads. Although Chevy does have its own performance parts division, it doesn’t really seem to be very popular for small block Chevy parts.

As far as total aftermarket (exterior, interior, engine, suspension, etc) the Fox Body is probably better. This is due to how popular the Fox Body chassis has become with young hot rodders who seem to stay away from the IROC-Z. As mentioned above Ford also supplies some of the most popular parts for the Fox Body. We’ve covered the top modifications that the Fox Body chassis needs to be sure to check that out.

1. Looks

This last section is very objective so don’t take it personal if you’re a die-hard Camaro or Mustang fan. Back in the ’80s and ’90s car styling was in an odd phase. Cars were going from massive for comfort to small for efficiency. They also were going from they boxy design to a more futuristic and curvy design. So all that together put both muscle cars in a very odd position. The result of this was odd styling for both vehicles.

The Fox Body looks nothing like Mustangs of the past. Gone were the traditional tri-bar taillights in favor of long horizontal tail lamps. The front end was also nothing like the traditional Mustang styling. The fastback shared a similar shape to Mustangs of the past, as did the notchback. Most people seem to prefer the body of the notchback, however, I personally prefer the fastback.

RELATED: Fox Body Mustang Buying Guide

The Camaro definitely shares the same body lines and basic shape as Camaros before it, however, it definitely has the same ’80s styling as the Fox Body. Like the Fox Body, it also has long horizontal tail lamps and the same four-eyed headlights as the early Fox Body. The IROC-Z featured ever-popular ’80s body kit, which really completes the look of the IROC-Z in my opinion.


So, in conclusion, the Fox Body is the lighter weight vehicle which ultimately makes it better stock vs stock, but the IROC’s advanced suspension and braking setup are better when the road gets twisty. The small block Chevy has a stronger aftermarket, but the Fox Body chassis as a whole is more popular with hot rodders. Both are pretty cheap to buy right now but the Fox Body is quickly becoming sought after and is an excellent investment opportunity.

4 Reasons to Buy a Lexus SC300 / SC400 Today

Have you ever wanted to own a Lexus SC300? Better yet, have you ever wanted to own a Toyota Supra? A lot of car enthusiasts don’t even know what the Lexus SC is. It’s stuck in the Supra’s shadow, so no one really seems to talk about. But, there are four good reasons why you should go out and buy one today.

4. Toyota Supra

If you’re new to the SC300 and SC400, then you probably don’t realize that they are closely related to the Toyota Supra. The S300’s 2JZ engine is sourced directly from the Supra, as well as its transmission. They also share subframes, which means they share the same suspension. They also share the same braking system, as well as lots of the same electronics. Mechanically speaking, the SC300 and SC400 are nearly identical to the Toyota Supra in every single way.

Also Read: 1JZ vs 2JZ: Which One is Better and Why?

I’m sure you are aware of the Supra being a tuner icon, which means that the aftermarket parts list is literally almost endless. Almost any aftermarket part that will bolt on to a Toyota Supra will also bolt onto an SC300, and any non-engine related parts will bolt on to an SC400. Plus, have you seen the prices for the MK4 Supra? It’s just like the 240SX’s “Drift Tax”, you’re paying way extra just because the car is popular in JDM culture. Even if the car is beaten to hell, it’ll be priced fairly high just because it can sell for that much. Ever since the first Fast and Furious, the MK4 Supra has skyrocketed in value. I would rather have its much cheaper little brothers, the SC300 and SC400.

3. Styling

Whether you love or hate the styling of the SC300/SC400, there’s no denying it’s unique. It screams “I’m a sports car!” with its long hood and low roofline, but has a classy and elegant look. There’s not a car on the market today that has such an elegant style, Toyota really knew what they were doing in the ’90s. There isn’t a super strong resemblance to the Supra, but you can tell that they’re related. If the SC300/SC400 came with a larger rear wing I think it would look like a little Supra, and probably be way more popular in the car community.

Check Out: LS1 vs LS3: Which One is Actually Better?

There are few body lines on the SC, and they are are very subtle. It’s as elegant as a car could ever be. It’s almost weird to call this car JDM because it looks so german to me. It just doesn’t look like a tuner type of car. I think that’s what makes it so special, it’s a weird mix of JDM heritage and extremely elegant styling. David Patterson (ThatDudeInBlue) recently reviewed an SC300, and he also says it’s a very elegant and beautiful car.

2. Over-Engineered Luxury

Toyota was known for the extreme over-engineering in the ’90s, that’s why the Supra was so costly and ended up going out of production. So take that same over-engineering, and combine it with a luxury car, and you’ll end up with a Lexus SC. Not too many cars from the ’90s had memory seats, power seats, power everything, beautiful wood trim, and very subtle leather. The SC300 and SC400 were pretty top of the line back then, combining incredible sound deadening, beautiful interior, and great ride quality. The same over-engineered luxury featured made their way to the Lexus LS400, winning it loads of awards for being such an amazing, luxurious car.

Check Out: RB26 vs 2JZ: Which One is Better and Why?

Even little things like the door hinges are ridiculously over-engineered. Don’t believe me? Check out the picture below, the hinges are a double hinge design.


There is a zillion other little things like that are ridiculously over-engineered like the door hinges. Lexus built the SC300 and SC400 as a next-level luxury sports couple. The SC300 and SC400 are still just as nice, if not nicer than most luxury cars today.

1. Engines

As mentioned earlier, the SC300 has its 2JZ-GE engine sourced directly from the Toyota Supra. The 2JZ is an excellent motor, holding up to extremely high horsepower on stock internals is a pretty impressive feat. Plus, with the aftermarket that the Toyota Supra has created, getting your SC300 over 400 horsepower is super. Slap on a big turbo, head studs, better fuel system, and you’ll be making north of 400whp like its nothing.

But, the SC400 has the 1UZ engine. It’s not too often that Japanese cars come with a V8, and man is it cool to see Japan make one. The 1UZ is known for running forever, Matt Farah from The Smoking Tire has his “Million-Mile Lexus”, an LS400 which he is attempting to push past 1 million miles.

Also Read: Here’s Why The 1UZ is so Awesome

The 1UZ-FE was a technological feat for production cars. It was one was one the first DOHC V8 engines that was actually reliable and in a car that wasn’t insanely expensive. Lexus designed the 1UZ to be a very strong and reliable engine. The 1UZ’s short stroke and big bore allow it to rev to the moon. Think of it almost like a 1990s Ford Coyote engine. It also has 6-bolt main caps, which the Chevy LS is often praised for.

In its last form the 1UZ had a 10.5 compression ratio, as well as Toyota’s VVT-i, and it made 300 horsepower. That’s a pretty impressive amount of horsepower considering its small displacement. If you think about it, the 1UZ is basically a 4.0L version of Ford’s Coyote engine. Not only is the 1UZ really reliable, it also makes decent power especially considering its only a 4.0L.


The Lexus SC is basically a nicer, more luxurious Toyota Supra. But, unlike the Supra, you have multiple engine choices. Plus, the SC is was cheaper than an MK4 Supra. Even by today’s standards the SC300 is an extremely nice car, and with prices so low, now is the time to get one for yourself

SC300 vs SC400
So, you’ve decided that you definitely want one of these cars, totally understandable. But, now you’re stuck with a decision: SC300 or SC400? Considering both platforms are completely identical other than powertrain, the SC300 is the better option. I know the 1UZ is an awesome engine, but there is no denying that the 2JZ is better especially on a budget. Coming from someone who owned an SC400, get an SC300 if you plan on getting an SC at all.

S13 vs S14: Which One is Better and Why?

So, you want to get a 240SX, but don’t know what one to get? Maybe you are just interested in which one is a better car. Either way, both the S13 and S14 are great cars. Generally speaking, people beat on the S13 chassis more than the S14 chassis. You’ll see plenty of each at any drift event anywhere in the world. But, which one is actually better?

To determine which one might be better we’ll cover the chassis dynamics, looks, price, aftermarket, and factory performance. But, since most of us are on a budget the price will likely be one of the main deciding factors.

S13 vs S14: Chassis

The chassis is one of the most important parts of building a car, whether it be for track or street duty. The S13 chassis is lighter than the S14 chassis, but it’s also much weaker, making suspension tuning very difficult. The suspension geometry of the S13 is also much poorer than the geometry of the S14, making proper tuning even more difficult.

S13 weight: 2600-2700 lbs
S14 weight: 2800-2900 lbs

But, the S13 chassis is already setup for an R33 cross-member, making an RB swap very easy. It can be done on the S14 chassis, but it will require fabrication.

Also Read: 4 Reasons to Buy an S13 Coupe Today

Overall, the S14 chassis is much stiffer and better with its suspension geometry, making it very easy to learn how to drift on. But, the S13 is much lighter and smaller, so if you stiffen up the chassis it can actually be better than the S14 thanks to its weight advantage.

S14 vs S14: Looks

This is the most subjective part of the debate, as each person sees each car differently in their own eyes. Some people prefer the S14, some people prefer the S13, that’s just how it is.


The S13 came in both a coupe and a hatchback. Some places overseas the S13 coupe was called the “Silvia” and came with an entirely different front clip. The flip-up headlights were replaced with long, horizontal, stationary headlights. The tail lights were also replaced with better-looking ones.


The S14, however, only came in a coupe. Once again, some places overseas the S14 came with a different front end, and different tail lights. The overseas models had much sharper and more angular headlights, the tail lights were also changed.

Check Out: Why is 240SX Used For Drifting?

Like I said, everyone has different opinions, but I’ve got to say, the S14 Kouki is one incredible looking car. It could pass as a modern sports car no problem.

S13 vs S14: Factory Performance

The engine that you will find under the hood of an S13 or S14 will vary greatly depending on where you live. But here in the US both the S13 and the S14 came with the KA24DE. There is no real difference between the S13’s KA and the S14’s KA other than OBDII for the S14.

KA24 HP: 155hp

If you live outside the US, then the S13 and S14 available to you either has a CA18DET or an SR20DET. Both of which come with a turbocharger, putting them miles ahead of the KA24 despite their lack of displacement. Early models came with the CA18, and older models came with the SR20.

CA18 HP: 170hp
SR20 HP: 205hp

S13 vs S14: Aftermarket

If you plan on buying an S13 or S14, then you probably aren’t planning on keeping it stock. That is of course if you could even find a stock one. Whether you plan on building a street car, drift car, track car, or even a drag car, the aftermarket has parts available for it. However, things like track-focused suspension are kind of like a black art with the S13 and S14 chassis.

RELATED: 4 Things That Make the 2.5RS Awesome

Right off the bat, the S13 has a slight lead in regards to engine swaps. Both  the S13 and S14 chassis have swaps kits for the RB, JZ, UZ, SR, VH, VQ, and LS engine family. However, the S13’s chassis can easily accept the R33 cross member, making the RB series engine a direct bolt in option. The S14 requires an aftermarket swap kit to use an RB engine.


Other than that, both the S13 and S14 chassis have a plethora of aftermarket parts from body kits to suspension components. Prices for both remain nearly identical and likely will going into the future.

S14 vs S14: Price

This is where it gets kind of hairy. Both the S13 and S14 face the annoying “drift” tax. But both can vary in price greatly depending on the location and condition. I’ve seen a crappy S13 go for $3k and a nice one go for $3k, so prices aren’t all that consistent with these cars.


But, even with the somewhat inconsistent pricing, there is a difference in price between the S13 and the S14 chassis. The S13 can go anywhere from $500 for a shell, up to $10k for a drift ready machine. But, generally speaking, a running and driving S13 will fetch about $2-4K depending on the condition.


Also Read: 2JZ vs RB26: Which One is Actually Better?

Compare that to the S14 chassis which sells for a similar $500 for a shell, and $10k for a drift ready car. But, the average S14 will go for about $3k to $5k for a decent S14. Oh, and good luck finding either an S13 or S14 that hasn’t been modified and/or been beat on pretty hard.

S13 price: $2-4k
S14 price: $3-5k


Both the S13 and the S14 are typically used for the same thing, drifting. But, the S14 has a stiffer chassis and better suspension. This makes it a better platform to start with. If you like to tinker with suspension and chassis stuff an S13 is great, you’ll also save couple hundred pounds by picking the S13. You’ll also save a ton of money by choosing the S13.

I think the S14 is a better daily/weekend drifter, and the S13 is a better-dedicated drifter, solely for the reason that crashes happen a lot in drifting, and I would rather crash a $2k car than a $4k car.

Dana 44 vs Dana 60: Whats The Difference?

So, you’ve got an off-road rig you want to beef up, or maybe just a tow pig that needs some beefing up. Maybe you’re building a low buck rock crawler and can’t decide what axles you want to throw under it. Either way, I’m going to tell you about the differences between the Dana 44 and the Dana 60.

Dana 44 vs Dana 60: Axle Housing

The axle housing is what holds everything together. The strength of the housing is important if you plan on bombing around through the desert. Where I live (Phoenix, Arizona), there is a lot less rock crawling and more of going fast through the desert. But, if you plan on just rock crawling, then the strength of the housing isn’t super important.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are tow pigs. Now, you if you’re towing a bunch of weight you basically want the biggest and baddest rear axle available. For this reason, lots of diesel trucks come with the Dana 70 and Dana 80. The larger the housing, the more weight it can hold up to.

Dana60Dana 44 axle tube diameter ranges from 2.5″ to 3″, whilst the Dana 60 axle tube diameter is 3.125″. So, while the Dana 60 has a stronger housing than the Dana 44, it’s not by a massive amount, especially for the larger Dana 44s.

Dana 44 vs Dana 60: Center Section

When I refer to the center section, I am referring to all the gearing, as well as the center section housing. The center section housing is what holds your differential, so the housing doesn’t actually have to be super strong unless you have a bunch of horsepower.

The gears in the center section of the Dana 44 and the Dana 60 are very different. Like I said earlier since There are many different versions of both axles, so I’m going to give the general information of the center section for both.

  • The Dana 44 ring gear diameter ranges from 8.5″ to 8.8″, and comes in gear ratios from 2.72:1 to 5.89:1.
  • The Dana 60 ring gear diameter is 9.75″, and comes in gear ratios from 3.31:1 to 7.17:1.

Both axles can be found with factory lockers, depending on the year, make, and model the axle is pulled out from.


Now, why would you want a larger diameter ring gear? Well, essentially it helps to distribute the load and is less likely to explode into a million pieces under stress. Plus, if you’re building a rock crawler, you’ll want the taller gear ratios that can be found in the Dana 60.

Dana 44 vs Dana 60: Axle Shafts

The axles shafts are typically the weakest link on any given axle. They’re the weakest for a reason. If you’re out of the trail it’s easier to swap an axle shaft than it is to swap a differential. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that. I’ve seen differentials explode on the trail, then I drove all the way back home, picked up my spare front axle, drove all the way back out to the desert, and helped my buddies do a front axle swap in the middle of nowhere so we could continue to off-road.

dana 30 vs dana 44

  • Dana 44s come with 10, 19, 29, 30, 32, 33, and 35 spline axle shafts. However, most Dana 44s have 29 spline or higher axle shafts.
  • Dana 60s come with 16, 23, 30, 32, 33, and 35 spline axle shafts. But, most Dana 60s have 30 spline or higher axle shafts.


To put it this into simpler terms. The more splines an axle shaft has, the stronger it is. I’ve seen plenty of Dana 30s explode because their shafts are so small in diameter. That’s what’s so great about the Dana 60. They have really large diameter axle shafts that are really hard to break.

Dana 44 vs Dana 60: Aftermarket

Since both the Dana 44 and Dana 60 have been around forever, and have come in many vehicles, their aftermarket is huge. Want to pull Dana 44s out of a Jeep Grand Wagoneer and stick them under your XJ Cherokee? You can do that, and the aftermarket has parts ready for you.

Want to build a 40 spline insane beast of a Dana 60? You can do that. No matter how you want to mix and match your parts, someone else has done it and documented it to make your life easier.

Dana 44 vs Dana 60: The Little Stuff

So we’ve covered the housing strength, center section strength, center section features, and axle shaft strength. But what about all the other miscellaneous stuff?

Like I mentioned earlier, since the Dana 44 and the Dana 60 came in many forms, in many vehicles, they vary a bit. Some will have disc brakes, some will have drum brakes. Some will be set up for leaf springs and other will be set up for coil springs.


If you are looking for specific width axles, I would highly recommend researching on the internet and see what axles work best with your specific platform. Otherwise, you might end up buying a set of axles that won’t work all that well in your vehicle.

If you’re building a rock crawler on any kind, I would recommend getting the axles out of a 1-ton Chevy, or an M1008 CUCV. The axles out of an M1008 have 4.10 gears and LSDs already installed in them.


So, if you are wondering whether you need to upgrade to a Dana 60, chances are you don’t. Like I said earlier unless you rock crawling with 40″+ tires or towing a bunch, then you probably don’t actually need a Dana 60.

Plus with how expensive a Dana 60 is compared to a Dana 44, it would make more sense to buy a Dana 44 and beef it up with aftermarket parts.

Dana 30 vs Dana 44: Whats The Difference?

So, you’ve just purchased your first JK Wrangler. You’ve done some digging around on the internet and realized that you probably should have bought a Rubicon. But you didn’t, so now you want to know the difference between the Dana 30, and the Dana 44. Why? So you can make an educated decision about upgrading to a stronger axle.

The base model and the Rubicon rear axle are both Dana 44s. But, the front axle is where everything changes. The Rubicon gets a Dana 44 in the front, whilst lower model Jeeps don’t. The Dana 30 is what lower models receive.

So, lets dive in and compare Dana 30 vs Dana 44.

Dana 30 vs Dana 44: Axle Housing

The axle housing is what holds everything together. The strength of the housing is important if you plan on bombing around through the desert. Where I live (Phoenix, Arizona), there is a lot less rock crawling and more of going fast through the desert. But, if you plan on just rock crawling, then the strength of the housing isn’t super important.

The axle housing of the JK Dana 30, and Dana 44 are actually 100% the same. So, if you plan on going fast through the desert you might want to think about going to Dana 60s or putting a big truss on your 30/44. This is part of the reason JK Dana 44s aren’t considered “true 44s”.

Dana 30 vs Dana 44

Either way, both the JK Dana 30 and the Dana 44 both have weak “Cs”. What do I mean by this? The C is where the ball joints are and the knuckle bolts to. That C has a tendency to bend, which requires a new axle housing to fix. The common cure for this is to gusset the C if you plan on running tires larger than 37″. To my knowledge tires under 37″ won’t cause the C to bend.

Dana 30 vs Dana 44: Center Section

When I refer to the center section, I am referring to all the gearing as well as the center section housing. The center section housing is what holds your differential, so the housing material doesn’t actually have to be super strong unless you have a bunch of horsepower.

The gears in the center section on the Dana 30 and the Dana 44 are different. The Dana 30 ring gear diameter is 7 1/8″ and comes with a 3.21 gear ratio unless your JK is equipped with the tow package. The Dana 30 doesn’t come with any kind of factory LSD or locking differential.

The ring gear diameter in the Dana 44 is 8 1/2″, and comes standard with a 4.10 gear ratio, and an electronically actuated locker. To accommodate the larger ring gear the Dana 44 has a large center section housing, but this doesn’t really make any difference in housing strength.


Now, why would you want a larger diameter ring gear? Well, essentially it helps to distribute the load and is less likely to explode into a million pieces under stress. The 4.10 gear ratio of the Dana 44 helps when crawling, but also allows for larger tires before you experience a large amount of engine power loss. Last but not least, the factory locker in the Dana 44 is awesome, because lockers are just awesome to have.

Dana 30 vs Dana 44: Axle Shafts

The axles shafts are typically the weakest link on any given axle. They’re the weakest for a reason. If you’re out of the trail it’s easier to swap an axle shaft than it is to swap a differential. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that. I’ve seen differentials explode on the trail, then drove all the way back home, picked up my spare front axle, drove all the way back out to the desert, and helped my buddies do a front axle swap in the middle of nowhere just so we could continue to off-road.

dana 30 vs dana 44

The Dana 30 comes with 27 spline axle shafts, and the Dana 44 comes with 30 spline axle shafts. The Dana 44s 30 spline axle shafts are obviously much beefier than the Dana 30s 27 spline axle shafts. However, they both have fairly weak “ears” and small u-joints.


Since the center section of the Dana 44 is beefed up, Jeep went ahead and beefed up the axle shafts. They’re still one of the weak points, but like I mentioned before, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Both the Dana 30 axle shafts and Dana 44 axle shafts are dwarfed by Dana 60 axle shafts. If you plan on running giant tires or high horsepower then you’ll absolutely need a Dana 60.

Dana 30 vs Dana 44: The Little Stuff

So we’ve covered the housing strength, center section strength, center section features, and axle shaft strength. But what about all the other miscellaneous stuff? Well, they’re basically all the same.

The Dana 30 and the Dana 44 have the same brakes, hubs, ball joints, Cs, knuckles, and steering. So other than the beefier center section, and the beefier axle shafts, these two are completely identical otherwise. The biggest reason to get a Rubicon with 44s front and rear is for the beefier axle shafts and the electronic lockers.


So, if you are debating on whether you should buy a Rubicon, it comes down to personal preference. I wouldn’t spend the extra money on a Rubicon. Use the money you save buying a lower model Jeep on aftermarket axles.

The only difference between the JK Dana 30 and Dana 44 is ring gear size, electronic locker, and bigger shafts. You’re better off just starting with an aftermarket Dana 44 that is a “true 44”. With the cost difference of a base Wrangler and a Rubicon, you could get aftermarket Dana 60 axles with lockers.