I’m Back on Road

I am pleased to report that my 240SX is back in action for (more or less) the first time since last November. My goal was to complete the car to have it ready for a cars & coffee-like gathering at my church last Saturday, but it was ultimately canceled due to rain. While I was a bit bummed, it still motivated me to get the car put together and more or less completed.

I was a bit bummed out over the winter, having sold my bronze TEs last December. I wasn’t sure what wheels I wanted to try next on the car and was struggling to think of anything else I would like more. After trying a set of WMB CR Kais, I ended up tracking down my old mercury silver Volk TE37s from a gentleman named David in California. I had ordered these wheels new from Mackin Industries in December of 2010, waiting five months for them to be manufactured and shipped to the US. After using them for a season, I sold them to a guy from Florida in early 2012 to switch to my Blitz 03s. Come to find out, he didn’t attempt to fit them to his car until 2016 and found that he could not run as much tire as he wanted to with the offsets. He contacted me saying he wanted to sell them and I referred him to my friend David in California that had bought some items from me when I parted out the car years ago.

I knew David had gotten the wheels fitted on his car, but decided to send him a message to see if he would sell them. As fate would have it, he was actually considering doing exactly that and he agreed to sell them back to me. He even saved the original boxes the wheels came in- so cool! David only put about 100 miles on them and the previous owner never drove on them, so their condition has been preserved quite well. A friend that teaches auto shop at a local high school was able to mount up the tires for me during the week.

After making some front ride height adjustments and getting the car on the ground, I was able to pull it out of the garage on Friday night. My daughters were delighted about this and both got to go for a ride around the block. It really was a trip to see this thing in the driveway on the silver TEs again after six years. Very weird to sell both the car and the wheels years ago only to get them both back again- but glad it all worked out!

It’s no secret that I often wish I stopped modifying my car at the end of summer 2011. This was the time that my car felt the most like a reflection of me and what I intended for it to be. It had what I consider to be all of the right parts for a 180SX, but wasn’t over the top. This iteration of my car feels like a return to that time period. It checks all of the right boxes for me without begging for attention of coming off as really wild. In the end this feels like a culmination of everything I liked about my car over the years, with the exception of a Cusco cage and a Koguchi Power hood. Perhaps those things will resurface one day, but I feel more than content with the status of the car in the mean time.

 

I’m really looking forward to sorting out this power steering leak I can never seem to get rid of, getting a proper alignment, and enjoying this car whenever family life allows for the rest of the year. Having this car back out of the garage is always a treat. Thanks for reading!

Damon

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2017 is Here (and Nearly Half Over Already)

I’m not sure how six months have passed since my last update, but here we are! Since my last post in November life has been moving at an unbelievable pace. Our winter in Michigan was very tame this year and I was able to enjoy driving the car until late November before the snow and road salt finally arrived. I ended up selling my bronze Volk TE37s and red Bride Brix seats around Christmas time not knowing what I was going to replace them with. As many can contest, things can be stressful around the holidays in many ways including from a financial standpoint. Between Christmas presents and a number of issues with my home and my cars, it simply was the right decision to make at the time.

I ended up taking a trip to Houston, Texas in January to visit my good friend Jimmy and all of the guys from ~Essence~. Jimmy is a great guy and treated me to a number of delicious meals with a lot of people I am proud to call my good friends while I was there and I am very grateful for his hospitality. I also had the pleasure of meeting the infamous John P of MayDay Garage fame while I was there which was really cool. I’ve been inspired by him and all he has done for our “scene” for a number of years.

By the time February rolled around I was itching to work on my car a bit. Being in Houston with my friends and seeing a number of cool cars gave me the itch to work on mine again. One of the changes I decided to make this winter was to bring back my factory dash with a set of white Defi Link Meter II gauges like I had previously. There are two different face designs of these and in the past I have always had a mix of the two, which bugged me a bit. After a ton of searching and waiting on the auctions, I was able to piece together a perfect set including boost, oil pressure, oil temperature, and water temperature. I swapped the original dashboard back in and wired up the gauges. These are much cleaner than my previous set and I hope to hold onto them this time.

While the dash was out I elected to replace my old, worn carpet with a fresh kit from StockInteriors.com. I did this when I first bought my car in 2008, but the carpeting had taken a beating since then. Between being cut up for a roll cage and a Do Luck bar, general wear, and getting soaking wet on the way home from Final Bout II due to holes from the old cage in the floor and a massive rainstorm it was looking pretty tired. I took my time installing the new carpet over a span of a couple months as I found the time and motivation and I am very pleased with the results. I’m a little undecided on floor mats at the moment, but for now my gray checkered mats should work just fine.

I elected to remove my rear seat and seat belts again for a few reasons, one of them being the fact that my wife and I are expecting our third daughter in late August. With another munchkin at home it’s going to be difficult to find time to drive the car at all, let alone with my whole family- not to mention the fact that we won’t all fit anymore and I wouldn’t take an infant in this car. I’ll still take my kids around the block and whatnot from time to time and I am sure that will suffice. There’s no reason I can’t switch back again at some point if I decide to. I ended up using some of the old carpet to create small patches to cover the bare areas that the hatch carpet doesn’t cover, which is something I have wanted to do for a long time. It now covers all of the bare sheet metal and really makes things look much cleaner where the back seat used to reside. I’ll grab a photo of that soon.

While I loved the look of the red Brix, I am constantly struggling with choosing between red and black seats. I think this is something I will always have a hard time with. The Brix were great in many ways, but it felt a bit uncomfortable on the driver’s side. I felt that I sat up pretty high compared to a bucket seat. This led me to picking up a red Zieg II from the auctions last fall, but it turned out to be a lot dirtier than it looked in the auction photos. After spending most of the winter without seats, my friend Brent decided to sell his black Brix and MO rail, which happened to be one of my old seats. I took the chance to get it back as it is the cleanest black recliner I have ever seen and those seem to be much harder to come by than red recliners.

Next I purchased what I thought was a super clean Zeta II from Japan only to find when it arrived that it was very faded and the auction photos had been edited to remove the purple hue. Bummed out, I posted it for sale and asked around to see if anything else was floating around out there. I ended up getting a DM from my friend Khal that offered me his black Bride Maxis. I had just sold a few spare parts and couldn’t pass on it, so I decided to grab it. The seat arrived a few weeks later and is in pretty good shape- it just needs to be cleaned up a bit. I found an old logo Bride head pad and back protector on Zilvia that I also grabbed to complete the setup. With the Brix and Maxis in place, there was only one logical thing left to do- install my fourth NeXt Miracle Cross Brace. (*Editor’s Note: Are we seeing a theme here? Installing the same parts for the third or fourth time? This will be important later.)

Here’s a teaser shot until I finish the installation of the cross brace and can get the car out in the daylight:

Finally, I installed an SR20DET tachometer my friend Tony gave me into my existing USDM cluster to give me the correct redline. I’ve always thought the old school NISMO clusters are cool but never want to lose my mileage, so this is a neat compromise.

As for the exterior, I have not made many changes since last November. I had switched to Hella H4 conversion headlights last season during my OEM craze, but I really missed how clean the Raybrig housings look on a 180SX. I ended up getting another set (my third I think? lol) and also picked up a 6k HID kit to go with them. I have a clean pair of headlight covers I need to have painted at some point as one of mine has a fairly large dent, but this hasn’t really been a priority as of late. I ended up with another pair of Ganador Super Aero mirrors (probably the 6th or 7th pair for this car?) that were already black in Japan and put those on to change things up. I would like to keep these and eventually have a pair of East Bears to alternate between.

The only other item related to the exterior I picked up is another pair of R33 N1 ducts. I think this is the third set of these I have owned over the years but I have never committed to installing them. I am still unsure if I want to use them, so for now they sit on the shelf. I recently found that they have been discontinued and I could not find any vendors with them in stock stateside. I came across a vendor that had a number of them in Florida, but they only had the left side. I ended up getting two left side vents for $100 shipped with the intention of trying to turn one upside down, but of course found that they are not symmetrical. I sold one of the vents for $110 to recoup my money and ordered a right side vent from RHD Japan since they still had stock in Japan. They’re about $430 for a pair now from Japan and it sounds like once the stock is gone, it will likely be gone forever. I debate selling them to make a little cash, but I should probably hang onto them this time should I ever want to use them.

Engine bay changes have also been kept to a minimum. I completed some general maintenance including Samco radiator hoses, oil & filter change, new fuel lines and clamps to fix a small fuel leak, and new fittings for my power steering rack to try to solve a leak that I still can’t seem to curb. I also installed all of the Defi gauge sensors along with a GK Tech water neck temp sensor housing. I sold my TurboSmart blow off valve and replaced it with a GReddy Type RS, only to find that one of the fittings was missing. After coming up empty with finding a replacement fitting, I sold it and replaced it with a standard hot pipe. I’m told running without a blow off valve will not cause any problems, so that’s what I will be doing for the foreseeable future.

Suspension changes have been fairly light too. I ended up removing my GK Tech 25MM roll center adjusters as I found that they made the car drive strange and I felt like there was a bit too much camber up front. As it turns out, I was running these with GK Tech tie rod ends, which also adjust roll center. By having both of these on the car, I was actually over correcting the roll center, causing the car to hunt the crown of the road and wear my front tires out very quickly. Lesson learned, but I did not figure this out until I had sold those items and switched back to the stock setup with Tein tie rod ends. This works out for the best though as my new front wheels will be too aggressive with the +25mm roll center adjusters in place anyway.

Speaking of wheels, I was really torn on what to do. The bronze TEs were arguably the best setup I have ever had on the car and were in super nice condition. I regretted selling them almost immediately, but it needed to be done at the time. It’s so difficult to find clean bronze TE37s that actually match for a reasonable price. Discouraged, I started to look at other options and stumbled upon a brand new set of old stock Work CR Kais on the auctions in the Work Metal Buff finish. I had always wanted these since I had my similar silver set on the car back in 2009 as WMB is an amazing finish, so I decided to give them a try. I picked up a new front pair of Kenda Kaisers to replace my worn pair from last year (that also had a nail in them, turns out) and tossed them on the car.

I pulled it out of the garage to get a look at them in the daylight a few weeks ago, and while I think it was a good look, something just didn’t feel right. I think it looked really cool (despite the front ride height being a bit off) but it just didn’t compare to the TEs in my opinion. I ultimately decided to sell them and hold out for something else. I believe I have something pretty cool lined up that I will share with everyone soon.

So this is currently where things stand. I have a coolant leak I am in the middle of fixing and I am waiting on my new wheels to arrive. Once those are here I can have the tires mounted, adjust the front ride height and toe a bit, and the car should be ready to drive aside from any hiccups that occur along the way. The weather has really gotten nice here in the past couple weeks, so I am looking forward to having the car on the road sometime in the first week in June if at all possible.

You may have noticed that nearly everything I have done to the car in the last six months is something I have installed previously. For whatever reason, I simply love to tinker with and build this car. My tastes and preferences change slightly over time, but for the most part I think I just like to wrench on it. There’s something satisfying about investing time and energy into the car to step back and see the finished product. I say this often, but my hope for this year’s iteration of the car is to finally settle down. Aside from extremely small detail items, the only other parts I would really like to have again someday are a Koguchi Power hood and a Safety 21 roll cage, both of which are still available new. Perhaps I will get to have those pieces again at some point down the road, but for now my hope is to enjoy the car when I have the time and leave it more or less alone.

I know, I know… I said the same thing last winter… and the winter before that. So let’s see what happens, haha. Thank you for stopping by- it’s always encouraging when someone takes the time to tell me they have enjoyed my build over the years. It’s very motivating and never gets old. I’ll try to post another update in the next couple weeks with some decent photos!

Damon

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Eight Years Later

Today marks the eight year anniversary of purchasing my S13. I’ll always remember that I bought it on November 4th, the day of the presidential election in 2008. I’ve sort of made it a tradition to take photos of the car on this date each year to show the build’s progress. They’re a bit less meaningful now as they show more of a current state than a progression, but it’s still kind of fun to do none the less.

Conditions weren’t ideal for photos today (a bit too sunny) and I rushed them a bit on my way back to the office from my lunch break, but here there are anyway for your viewing pleasure:

It’s kind of wild to think about how life has changed since I bought the car. Since that day I’ve graduated college, gotten married, bought a house in a new town, had a baby, parted out the car and sold the chassis, had another baby, bought the car back and rebuilt it, and changed jobs. Pretty thankful to have this car after all it has been through.

The days are getting shorter and the air is much more crisp in the mornings. I’ll probably try to sneak a few more quick drives in before the car is put away for good until spring. Going to miss it!

Happy Friday and thanks for stopping by.

Damon

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Summer Sixteen

I can’t believe we are already a couple weeks into fall. The leaves are turning here in Michigan and though we have had some unseasonably warm temperatures for the most part lately, it’s clear that the weather will take a turn for the worst very soon. Winter prep around the house is starting to ramp up and I am working to make arrangements for reliable winter transportation. It’s nearly time to bring the snow tires upstairs from the basement.

2016 has probably been the quietest season I’ve ever experienced with my S13. And though I often miss the build process and spending late nights out in the garage, there is something oddly satisfying about enjoying the simplicity. In its current state my car is about as bare bones as I can make it and still feel a sense of pride about it: No real aftermarket exterior additions, a virtually stock SR20DET under the hood, and a simple interior with very few modifications.

I’m sometimes tempted to feel disappointed in the car when compared to what it used to be like when I owned it previously. While it has the same core set of parts overall, it lacks all of the excess it used to feature- gauges, a roll cage, red fabric all over the place, cool spec braces, larger turbo setup, etc. But if this summer has taught me anything, it’s that simplicity really is the key. I elected to remove a number of “extras” from the car this spring and to be honest I really didn’t miss most of them. I’ve essentially got a stock kouki 180SX with wheels, coilovers, exhaust, and a couple interior tidbits but I thoroughly enjoy cruising around in it. While it’s really neat to have a bunch of rare parts, it really doesn’t take much to get enjoyment from driving your car. I think it’s got just the right amount of style and tuning as it sits for me to really appreciate it. I’ll always have a desire to make changes and try things that may be a little new to me, but I’m really focused on trying to leave the car as-is and enjoy it right now.

With that goal in mind, I think the only change I have made to the car since my last post in July is the addition of a pair of red Bride Brix 1.5 seats with Bride MO seat rails. While I did enjoy the look and feel of the kouki 180SX seats, I was really longing for something with bolsters. I’ve owned red seats in the past but have rarely gotten to drive a car with them in place. The Zeros and Ergo combo of late 2011/2012 saw little seat time as the car was torn down a lot for the engine bay project, and the Zeta II NEOS/Ergo for the GS never fully got bolted into the car during the rebuild as I chose to go with black seats instead. Overall I think the pair of brix add just enough to the car to make it pop a bit. It feels more complete and exciting with the red seats in the interior.

Since starting my new job back in February, my commute to the office is now exactly 1 mile. As you can imagine, that isn’t even enough time to warm the car up. I do still bring it to the office occasionally, but I typically ride my bike instead to get some exercise and save money on gas. It feels silly to drive such a short distance, but with the weather getting a bit nastier I am losing my motivation to ride. I did still get to log a good amount of miles on the car this summer though with a couple of day trips to the beach and two 8+ hour treks to US Air in Wisconsin- one for Final Bout in July and another for Club FR Bonus Round in September. Thankfully I had zero issues with the car all summer and haven’t had to do much of anything aside from getting it aligned and changing the oil.

While at those events at US Air I have grown incredibly close with an awesome group of individuals that all happen to hold one interest in common: drifting. They were close to convincing me to trying the skid pad (AKA parking lot) at the Bonus Round event, but I realized that my front tires touch the fenders when turning the wheel with the car stationary. While I was finally feeling eager enough to give it a try, I didn’t want to ruin the nearly perfect fenders on my car currently. I know it sounds lame, but I’ve wanted a pair of dent free metal fenders for years and finally got them in 2016.

So, the plan for this off-season and 2017? Leave the car largely untouched this winter. I have a couple of very small things I plan to install to prep the car and might even replace some maintenance items as a precaution, but otherwise it’ll pretty much stay the same if I can help it. I’ve been considering a wheel change for 2017 but just can’t find anything I like better than my TE37s. We’ll see if that changes during the off season though.

2016 has taught me to keep things simple. Try not to overdo it and you might be surprised with the results. Thanks for reading!

Damon

 

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Dinkin’ Around

Well, based on my last update you probably thought I was done dinkin’ around with this car for the whole season, didn’t you? If you’ve been around for any length of time, you likely saw through this ill-conceived notion.

While having the car’s exterior be completely OEM was fun, I also began to feel a bit nerdy. I like the contrasting amber color on a black car, but looked through some old photos of previous versions of my car (as well as some of the classics like Itoh) and decided I wanted to try removing the amber again. There’s something unmistakably Japan about running clear side markers and dual function position lamps with the OEM turn signals removed. It just looks much more aggressive this way. I tossed my old DMAX clear side markers back on and ordered a new pair of their dual function position lamps that will arrive tomorrow. I’ll keep all of the minty fresh OEM lights packed away in their original boxes should I decide to change back at some point.

I decided to try something that I have debated for years while I was at it. I’ve always thought cutting out the front plate bracket to expose the intercooler looks awesome, but I’ve never had the brass to actually do it. Despite wanting to persevere my newly purchased OEM bumper knowing that one day too soon they will be discontinued, I caved in and got out my dremel. It went fairly well- it’s not quite perfect, but I think I am happy with it for the most part. It can look a little odd from some angles, but after staring at it for a few days I think I really like it.

I took the opportunity to do a little maintenance on the car over the long holiday weekend as well. I finally got around to removing my old TE37 decals that had begun to chip and peel away, as well as all of the old adhesive from stick-on wheel weights over the years. While the car was on stands I fixed a power steering leak that had been bugging me for a decent amount of time and looked over all of the suspension components to be sure that nothing looked out of order. Hoping the car is ready for the trip to Shawano for Final Bout Special Stage Central in about three weeks.

I’ve got a couple other minor things in mind for the remainder of the summer, but nothing too drastic. I’ve decided to hold onto my TE37s and current tire specs for the foreseeable future. LMGT4s had been tempting me like crazy, but for now nothing beats the look and condition of my current wheels- especially with the new stickers!

Thanks for stopping by!

Damon

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First Day of Summer

I’m told that today marks the official kickoff to summer (according to Facebook.) It’s been close to a month since my last update so I figured now would be a good time to talk a bit about what I have been up to and what’s been going on with the car.

For the most part things have been relatively quiet in my garage (from a working on cars standpoint anyway.) I’ve done little to the S13 since my last update aside from removing my NeXt miracle cross bar and installing the factory rear seat belts in its place. This small change has allowed Alicia and I to take our daughters along with us which has been a real treat. While we haven’t done that a ton, we did take the car to Dairy Queen and a local car meet, in addition to the occasional daycare pick up and drop off duty per my youngest daughter’s request (Hattie mumbles, “Race car? Race car?” when I arrive to pick her up in the Mazda5.) After having the bar laying around in the garage for a few weeks, I ultimately decided to part ways with it and sold it for a price I was happy with last week. While it was always one of my favorite pieces for the car, it didn’t make a lot of sense to me to keep it around. I guess a more practical mindset is shifting into frame for me from a car standpoint right now. I went ahead and installed my 180SX headliner while removing the cross bar- so nice to finally have this piece in place!

I also parted ways with a few other items including my Ganador mirrors and Bride seat rail. I gave the Ganadors one more go and still love the look of them on the car, but I’ve grown accustomed to being able to actually see what’s behind me, so I decided to cash out on those as well. I’ve done this a number of times in the past so it’s not irreversible, but I am digging the look of the stock mirrors right now. Last week I removed my Raybrig headlight housings and HID kit and replaced them with a pair of Hella E Code housings and bulbs. I like the slightly more factory look of the Hella lights when combined with the full OEM lighting up front and they provide better light output with less unwanted attention- all good things. Finally, the NISMO 2 way diff I had previously installed was driving me nuts. I hated the constant clunking and blank stares from people at the grocery store assuming my car was broken. I’ve switched back to the J30 VLSD which works just fine for street cruising.

Yesterday I attended the Eyes on Design car show at the historic Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Point, Michigan that takes place on Father’s Day every year. It’s a pretty large show filled with everything from vintage bicycles and motorcycles to cars ranging in age from the Model T to 70s muscle cars, even new concept vehicles. There’s a small “tuner” class every year that always brings an interesting group of cars. It’s a bit of a catch all and probably pales in comparison to much of the show (my car included) but it’s always fun to be a part of it. This was my fifth year at the show and my third with the S13.

My cars at Eyes on Design shows from past years: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2016:

It was fun to see a lot of cool cars and run into new and old faces. My car seemed to hold up well aside from the obvious fact that I still really need to get it aligned. I haven’t been driving it much now that I work very close to home and don’t have a solid lead on a good alignment place at the moment so I have been avoiding it. Alicia brought the girls out for a bit and it was fun to walk around the grounds with them and eat sponge bob popsicles ( a welcome treat as it was sunny and 90 degrees out.)

In many ways the vehicles and owners of the more classic classes at this show reflect how I feel about my car these days. If my S13 is truly going to be the car I hold onto, it changes the way I think about what I do to it and what I use it for. I’ll always be into modifying cars, but this feels like a bit of a natural resting point for me right now. Many people have asked me what I am doing and if I am parting the car out again, but the only real answer is that I am enjoying a more simplified version of my car right now. It’s refreshing to take the car down to what you feel is the bare-bones amount of choice modifications to still enjoy it, and I feel for the most part that’s where I am right now. Having lots of cool parts is definitely a blast, but there’s something to be said for a conservative approach as well.

As for what the rest of the summer holds car wise, I really don’t think I will get into much. At some point I would like to add some sound deadening to the floor and under dash area in addition to replacing the carpet as mine still has holes in it from the Cusco cage and Do Luck floor bar. I will probably go with a slightly lighter hue this time that isn’t quite black like I have now- maybe a gray that is a bit darker than the stock carpet but isn’t black either. I would also like to add some fabric to the door cards to clean those up a bit- something subtle that will likely be a similar color to the new carpet. Alicia gave me the green light to pick up a new head unit and speakers for the car for Father’s Day, so I need to go ahead and order those items. I’ve always had the factory setup in my car and it really doesn’t work well at all due to its age, so it would be really cool to be able to listen to music on our trip to Final Bout next month.

I’ve been strongly considering changing my wheel and tire setup to something square- perhaps 17×9 +22 with a 245/40 all around. This would of course require the height to be raised, but if it still managed to look good I think it would drastically improve the car’s drivability. I’m pretty torn on this since I do love the TE37s and the way the car sits at the moment, but it sure would be nice to stroll into a normal tire place to have the car aligned and to get my tires mounted. I think the only wheels I would probably use for something like this would be either TE37s or LMGT4s, both in bronze. We’l see what the future holds though.

As for the engine, I would like to add a catch can at some point. I have a power steering leak that needs to be addressed but I have been too lazy to fix it. I am also using a fairly old air filter and the stock intake tube, so improving those things would be nice to take care of. I’m growing a bit tired of Cusco solid engine mounts and don’t need the clearance for the vented hood any more, so maybe I’ll swap those in favor of a pair of NISMO units. Aside from those small details I don’t plan to change anything under the hood unless something breaks.

So that’s where things stand currently! Looking forward to our trip to Final Bout: SSC next month in Wisconsin to see old friends and make some new ones. Thanks for stopping by!

Damon

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Suspension Work

Well, let’s see here… I’ve fallen a bit behind once again. After finishing up the aero install, I received my 25mm spacers and DMAX catback exhaust. I installed the spacers up front to dial in some more camber and finally get my wheels to clear the front springs. Once that was finished and the exhaust was bolted up, I pulled the car out of the garage for a couple quick snaps to see what I thought of the new look.

With confirmation that spacing the front wheels out 25mm would be OK, I finally decided on installing some front suspension components from GK Tech. I had purchased their front roll center adjusters a couple months back, but bailed in favor of S14 front control arms. In the end, I thought it would be best to correct the suspension geometry as much as possible while also spacing the front wheels out a bit. The GK Tech kit seemed like the best of both worlds. It’s nice that it corrects roll center and allows you to remove some preload from your springs while keeping the car fairly low.

I also opted to install a pair of GK Tech front tie rod ends to correct bump steer. After installing these parts, I found that my front wheels were still rubbing on the coilover springs. After a bit of research, I found that the two holes on the lower bracket that bolt to the front knuckle were too close to the body of the coilover, causing the wheel to hit the springs- even with the track width widened 25mm. This seems to be an issue with more generic S13 coilover setups. I removed the suspension from the car and finally decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to something a bit nicer.

I reached out to a friend at Touge Factory and picked up a set of the newly revamped Stance Super Sport coilovers. I’ve always heard good things about Stance products but had never tried them for myself. The main aspect that drew me to them was the fact that their lower bracket design was far nicer than my previous coilovers. The knuckle bolt holes were much farther out on the lower bracket, preventing my wheel from hitting the spring.

My proximity to Touge Factory (located outside of Chciago) was an advantage in this case. The coilovers arrived quickly, allowing me to avoid a few days of downtime waiting for parts to arrive from the West coast. I was really impressed with the box and packing materials. Most people don’t notice or care about things like this, but as a graphic designer I always have a nerdy appreciation for these things.

The new color scheme on Stance’s coilovers is quite classy. All of the components felt more durable and looked beefier than my previous setup. I especially liked the larger collar design. The camber adjustment on the front top hats is also much nicer than anything I have used in the past. The coilovers came with spanner wrenches, instructions, a few stickers, and a license plate frame.

Installation went rather smoothly. I did have to remove one collar up front and add a bit of preload to the spring to achieve the ride height I was after, but thankfully I didn’t have to flip the front brackets. Height adjustment was smooth and the coating/finish on all of the components is super nice as well. I opted to install my Kics 11mm spacer on the rear of the car to bring the effective specs to 18×9.5 +11, very close to the specs of my old silver TEs. I had to add a touch of camber as a result, but it looks nice with the added camber up front.

I was headed to my in-laws’ house for the weekend and decided to drive the S13 about five minutes after finishing the suspension adjustments. Despite the fact that I need a proper alignment, I am seriously blown away with how the car drives now. The combination of the Stance coilovers and the GK Tech components makes a noticeable difference in how the car drives. Bumps are much less harsh and dampening is very effective. Everything feels less bouncy/harsh all around a number of the clunks and noises I would hear from time to time seem to have disappeared. These are by far the best coilovers I have ever used on my S13. I didn’t expect to notice much of a difference, but I am pretty blown away!

While I was at it, I also replaced a wheel bearing that had gone bad up front while I had the car in the air for the suspension install. I also took the time to trim and install my brand new OEM fender liners that I picked up recently. I had a similar setup a few years back and really liked how it cleaned up the overall look of the car.

At this point the S13 is largely complete- for now. I still need to install the 180SX headliner this week. I ended up selling my set of AVS Model Vs- while I wanted to see them on the car, it just didn’t really make sense to keep them around. I knew that I liked the TE37s better, so I figured it was best to let them go.

I had planned to use the Model Vs as drift spares, but after looking at the calendar I am not sure when I’ll realistically be able to make it to Shawano again for another Club FR event. To be completely honest, my NISMO two way has been fairly annoying on the street. While I really am interested in trying drifting, a part of me doesn’t want to drift this car. While it seems casual, it’s a fairly big commitment for me that I’m just not that sure I am really up for. I’ll continue to cruise around town like I always do and who knows- maybe I’ll give it a shot at some point, or maybe I’ll think better of it.

Next on the list is an alignment and installing my headliner. Looking forward to enjoying the car a bit more as the weather finally improves (it was snowing last Sunday.) Thanks for stopping by!

Damon

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