Short Update

Well, my apologies for the lack of content here the past two weeks. Life has been totally crazy with work, my wife and kids all coming down with the flu, and parting out another S13 coupe that I picked up about a week and a half ago. Things have been moving along fairly smoothly though and I hope to have everything sold and the car gone within another two weeks.

I haven’t touched either of my personal cars in a few weeks now, but I hope to get back to it fairly soon. In the age of instant gratification it can be difficult to create some sort of content here every week, but rest assured that I hope to be back in the swing of things soon! Hopefully the weather will begin to improve and the salt will be washed away from the roads so that I can start driving the black S13 sometime in early April.

Thanks for stopping by. With any luck I’ll be able to get everyone up to speed next Friday! Have an excellent weekend.

Damon

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Sink or Swim

I’ve seen a lot of varying opinions expressed online as of late about the morality of stripping an S13 of its parts and scrapping or otherwise disposing of it. I thought it might be fun to talk a bit more about this issue and try to understand both sides of the coin where S13s are concerned in 2019.

Would you feel guilty about parting this thing out?

I’ve purchased a couple of S13s now where my sole intention from the get-go was to part them out and use the drivetrain for my own builds. The first was my two tone coupe that I bought in 2014. My friend Tim had purchased it for a really good price and was going to swap the SR20DET into a cleaner chassis, but decided to stick with finishing his LS swapped FD instead. I had just bought my old 240SX shell back to rebuild and needed an SR swap for it, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to snag one that I knew was in good, running condition for a great price (as opposed to taking a gamble with an importer.)

Only a small portion of the rust that was on this thing.

The chassis itself was in absolutely horrid condition. The blue interior (which no one seems to want) had mice living in it, the quarter panels were smashed in, and you could clearly see the ground through the rust in the trunk. The frame rails both completely fell apart when I lifted the car to remove the drivetrain and the jack stands shot through the floor, breaking the fuel and brake lines in the process. By any stretch of the imagination, this car was nothing more than scrap metal. After I removed the drivetrain, two way differential, and coilovers, I sold the rolling chassis to someone for $200 or so. I believe they wanted to try to cut off a portion of the front end to use on an S13 that had been wrecked, but I am not sure if this ever happened or not.

That will buff out, right?

Some local people were upset with me for not “saving” this chassis. They told me it all could have easily been repaired- all I needed to do was cut out the rust and add some new metal. This would be an absolute waste of time in my opinion, but to each their own. I felt that by selling the chassis whole instead of crushing it, I was giving someone an opportunity to save it should they have the time, knowledge, and motivation to do so. I think it is highly unlikely that the car ever saw the road again, but would it have benefited the community much if I had not taken it apart? Possibly, but I think that SR20 living on in my black S13 offers a lot more to the S chassis scene than trying to save that car would have.

While this coupe appeared to be much nicer than the two tone,
it definitely had its fair share of problems.

I recently repeated this process last November by purchasing another running and driving S13 coupe with an SR drivetrain to serve as the donor engine for my champagne rolling chassis. I saved the engine swap, radiator, and Silvia hood for my own build and sold the remaining items to other people to assist with completing their own builds. While I stripped the chassis fairly bare, I did sell it as a roller for $300 to someone local that plans to use it to build a drift car. Like the other coupe I parted out, I am not sure if it will ever see the road again- but if I had not done this, that person wouldn’t have found a car to build on that met their budget and specific needs. This chassis also had its share of rust and a number of areas had been repaired with new metal including the floor and frame rails (which, of course, was not disclosed to me when I bought it.) For most of us this chassis would not have been clean enough to work from to meet our standards.

The stripped rolling chassis heading to its new home.

People are often outraged to see S13s being parted out- and I can understand their frustration in many ways. There are only so many decent examples of these cars left on this planet and the numbers seem to dwindle by the day. However, I think a lot of good can come out of these cars being picked apart. Part outs allow those of us that wish to rebuild these cars to a higher standard to obtain the components we need to do so. Many of the parts have been discontinued at this point so there isn’t much hope for fixing them up without buying things from another car that has been taken apart. While it may reduce the number of S13s left in the world, it increases the number of quality examples- which I think is something we should all strive for. Don’t get me wrong though- would I want to see a super clean, bone stock S13 chassis get completely stripped apart for parts? Of course not. But so many of these cars have been beaten within an inch of their lives at this point that I think parting them out only makes sense.

The SR20 drivetrain from the two tone coupe now resides here- seems like a better solution, no? I hope to have a similar success story to share for the engine from
the red coupe in a few years time.

I’ll always be just as bummed out as the next guy to see an S13 being ripped apart or neglected, but in a lot of ways I would almost see that happen instead of seeing junky, poorly-executed cars on the road. If a 26 year old chassis (best case) is riddled with rust or major body damage, it’s unlikely that 99% of people are actually going to invest the time and money into that car to save it. Removing and selling (or giving away) all of the useful components from these cars allows others to further preserve their own examples- which helps allow more people to enjoy and appreciate the S13 chassis. It’s a win-win in my book.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts. I’m always open to discussing anything related to these cars so feel free to drop me a line.

Thanks for stopping by- have a great weekend!

Damon

 

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And Suddenly, It’s March

To be completely honest, this has been a difficult week for my family. Our Siberian Husky Tomei passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday morning and it has been really hard to deal with. He stopped eating over the weekend and was very lethargic. We took him to the vet on Monday morning and they determined that his spleen was enlarged and he had fluid around his heart in addition to his heart rate being through the roof. The vet thinks he may have had a heart issue for quite some time and there wasn’t really anything that could have been done to help him. We got Tomei just a couple months after we bought our home in 2010, so it has been a really weird adjustment to get used to. Thanks to everyone that reached out to wish us well this week- it meant a lot to us! We are really going to miss him.

Despite being a bit scatterbrained, it felt good to spend some time in the garage last night and work on the SR20 for the coupe a bit. I haven’t shard engine progress in a while since I haven’t gotten a lot done, but I’ll try to get everyone up to date. If you recall, the T25 that came on this SR had a weird clocking issue and wouldn’t bolt up to the manifold properly. A friend sent me his old T25 and I was able to get everything reinstalled again along with the new OEM manifold heat shield I sourced from Japan. I also tossed the water neck back on.

As you may have noticed, I got my valve cover back from TRG Coating and I am really pleased with how it turned out. I wanted it to be pretty similar to the factory SR20 redtop color so I ended up going with the same color my friend Greg just had done for his SR- looks pretty nice! Installed a fresh PCV valve and hose (yes, I bought the actual hose from Japan- how nerdy is that?) in addition to a new valve cover gasket, but stopped there since I don’t have the new washers and nuts for installing the valve cover yet. Once those arrive, I can bolt it down and install the new spark plugs, coil packs, coil pack cover, and catch can setup.

Last night I started by cleaning and installing the power steering pump and bracket. Next came the thermostat housing and a new thermostat from Nissan. I didn’t elect to go with a NISMO thermostat since the engine is relatively stock and only sees light street duty. The Koyo radiator and factory clutch fan setup should be more than sufficient.

These are the coolant hoses and clamps for the IACV.

I next moved on to breaking down the intake manifold a bit and installing a slew of new coolant hoses and clamps. I purchased as many coolant hoses as I could from Japan which is really satisfying. On my previous SRs I have always just left most of the hoses alone or used generic stuff from the local auto parts store. I would eventually like to go back and do the same thing for the engine in my hatch at some point if I can since I am sure most of those hoses are really brittle as well.

L shaped blowby hoses near the fuel rail.

I even managed to snag the PCV system hoses that bolt near the fuel rail. Mine broke apart when I removed them so I was glad to have these.

The main hose assembly is now bolted back up- the only thing I need to do is modify the metal tube assembly a bit to get the heater core hoses to mount properly. I did the same on my hatch and it worked out pretty well, so we’ll see what I can come up with. All of the hoses were replaced with genuine Nissan replacements aside from the two straight hoses- those have sadly been discontinued, so I had to improves on those. I did replace all of the clamps with new units from Nissan though.

The next thing I will need to do is finish breaking down the intake manifold and clean everything before replacing the gaskets, as well as the gaskets for the throttle body and idle air control valve. This feels like a good amount of progress though! The engine should be completely back together in the near future- but fortunately there’s really no rush.

Not many new parts to report this time aside from a stock intake tube
and a NISMO GT shift knob.

I’m really anxious to have the coupe shell home to work on it this spring, but it will likely still be a couple months before that happens. There’s some rust I need to address in the engine bay before the engine can be dropped in, but it will be great to see this thing sitting in the bay when it is all back together.

Thanks as always for stopping by- much appreciated! Have a great weekend.

Damon

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Let There Be Light

With my S13 coupe chassis currently being stored an hour and a half away from my home for the winter, there’s not a lot of actual progress related to the chassis itself to be shown here on the blog. I have been focusing most of my time and energy on refreshing the SR20 swap for the car since I have that here at home in my own garage. As a result, that is what most of the build updates surrounding my second S13 have focused on thus far. It’s still a lot of fun, but there’s something about putting all of this effort in and sharing progress without seeing photos of a physical car that feels a bit… well, boring.

While the bulk of the content so far is centered around the coupe’s power plant, there are other things happening behind the scenes. In fact, I collected a few miscellaneous items prior to even owning a coupe chassis just on the off chance that I would someday day be able to build one. Since the production period on the PS13 was much shorter than the 180SX, we are well into the time where items are being discontinued by the day and certain restoration parts are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Before we dive in, here’s a bit of back story for context: One of my first experiences with the S13 chassis was through a friend of mine named Mike. He worked at AllSpeed Performance, a shop in West Michigan that used to work on and tune my Toyota Solara in college. Mike bought a champagne S13 coupe just like the one I have now with an SR20 swap and built the car from the ground up. One of the items I assisted him with late one night was installing a Silvia front end on the car. My Solara did not have any “JDM” parts available for it since it was only sold in North America, so I thought this was the coolest thing at the time. In fact, when my Solara was totaled a few months later and I began researching S13s shortly before I bought mine, I had saved tons of photos of S13s with Silvia front ends- even some of them being Sileighties. I considered doing the same to my own S13, but thankfully decided not to go through with it. To make a long story short, I’ve wanted to complete a Silvia front end swap on an S13 chassis myself for over ten years now.

Ok, back to present day. I knew that at some point down the road I would hopefully have the chance to build an S13 coupe with a Silvia front end should the cards all fall into place. Arguably one of the most difficult items to find for a decent price these days is a pair of PS13 “brick” headlights in good condition. Examples of these lights with broken mounting brackets often sell for outrageous prices which makes locating a reasonable set fairly difficult. The Double and Triple projector versions can be had used for much less, but don’t offer the same tough appearance (though they do have much better light output.) With the prices I was seeing used pairs of these lights for, I decided to see if it would be possible to find the part numbers and source a brand new pair from Japan for about the same price.

As luck would have it, I was able to do just that. Who knows how long these sat on the shelf for in Japan, but I am fortunate enough to say I’ve got a pair of brand new Silvia brick headlights sitting in their boxes patiently waiting to make their way onto a car. It was a pretty awesome feeling pulling these out of the box for the first time- super cool. I recently ran the part numbers again to see if there were more available and one side bounced back as discontinued. It’s likely these are one of the last pairs of brand new brick headlights to come out of Japan. While I missed the boat on some new PS13 parts, I am thankful I wasn’t too late joining the game to get a hold of these. The thought of actually installing and abusing these lights is a bit difficult to handle, but I guess it doesn’t make a lot of sense to let them sit in a basement either.

After securing the holy grail of PS13 lighting, I decided to try my hand at some of the other lights on the front end. I purchased a pair of brand new corner lights and had them shipped over from Japan- again, for roughly the same price as a pair of these without any broken tabs typically sells for in the states. They also include mounting hardware, bulbs, and the proper bulb sockets for them which is a huge plus.

A major debate for any PS13 builder is the front grille. While most tend to opt for the GTR style grille, I have always thought the “SILVIA” center grille is a pretty cool piece. It gives the front end a really interesting and nostalgic look. I was able to buy one of these brand new from Japan as well. I’ll likely pick up some sort of GTR grille to have on hand as well as a second option, but it bothers me that it essentially needs to be a replica piece. NISMO did sell a GTR grille for the car, but they are insanely expensive and next to impossible to find. This may just be one of the rare instances where I am forced to settle for a replica part- or just run the OEM Silvia grille.

Left: Zenki 180SX turn signals. Right: PS13 turn signals

When it comes to turn signals for a PS13 front end swap, there are two popular options. The first is the pair of amber lights that come with the car from the factory. These are still readily available new and very affordable which is nice. I was able to pick up a set that was in stock here in the states from Nissan Race Shop.

The second option that arguably looks a bit cooler is the JDM 180SX zenki front turn signals. These lights are half clear and half amber and feature a running light in addition to the turn signal. I had a tough time tracking down a pair of these as one side has been discontinued by Nissan. As luck would have it, I was able to find one side in stock at a shop here in the states and the other listed on Yahoo Auctions Japan, both brand new. I saw a brand new pair of these sell for $250 on eBay a few months back so I was delighted to have a pair for much less than that. I haven’t decided yet if I will use these or not since the car did not come equipped with them from the factory, but I do favor the look of these a bit more than the standard PS13 all amber version. Tough call! It will be fun to have both on hand to try out though.

Finally, I picked up a pair of Silvia headlight brackets to install the lights properly. These are one of the few items for this front end swap that are affordable and still readily available. Oddly enough, the 240SX coupe I just parted out did not use these at all on the Silvia front that was included- the lights were held on with a couple of zip ties.

So there you have it! The beginnings of the exterior of my S13 coupe build. I have actually had the more or less complete exterior setup for the car in my garage for a month or two now, but I have been holding off on posting anything about it until I can make some more progress. I would really like to have the car at home in my garage with the items mocked up for some proper photos before I post more details related to the exterior, but time will tell when Spring arrives and I can get all of my ducks in a row. I don’t think there is much about the exterior of this car that is really going to surprise any of you anyway.

Thank you as always for stopping by- I really appreciate you allowing me to share my cars and ramblings with you. Have a great weekend!

Damon

PS- Today is the last day to order a T-Shirt before production begins. See the link on the store page to preorder. I likely won’t have any extras made or do a run of these again in the future. Thanks for the support!

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A Visit to Houston, Texas

At around 4:30 AM last Friday I dragged myself out of bed and made the snowy (and very windy) trek to Detroit Metro Airport to board a flight down to Houston, Texas to visit my friend Jimmy. Jimmy and I met at the first Final Bout event in 2014 and have remained very close friends since then. It’s hard to believe that nearly five years have passed since that event. Neither of us had our cars there that time as we both came to hang out- Jimmy had a white S13 at the time and I was in the midst of trying to build my GS400. Our personalities are polar opposites in many regards, but for whatever reason we remain the best of friends.

Yes, I always fly Spirit. S13s don’t build themselves!

I was greeted by the rumble of an SR20 as I exited the airport terminal and Jimmy rolled up in his bright red BN sports R32. Despite this being my 4th visit to Houston, I had never actually ridden in Jimmy’s car while visiting. It was always torn apart, locked in a damaged garage that someone decided to back into (that’s another story,) or at the body shop being painted. Despite seeing it at Super D last September, I had not actually ridden in the car since Final Bout II in 2015. It was really fun to cruise around- despite the fact that it was a mere 36º in Houston that morning and the car does not currently have functioning heat. My visit was blamed for the unseasonably cold weather the entire weekend, though it did warm up to about 60º or so on Sunday before I left.

After stopping for some Chick-Fil-A, we went to visit our friend Harris at his chosen place of employment- Modern Aircooled. The shop was filled with lots of Porsches and even a Ferrari, all of which I knew just about nothing about. But in any case, it was fun to roam around the shop and check out the 1995 993 that Harris had just recently purchased. He bought it in a fairly rough and incomplete state, but he has been doing a great job bringing it back to life. I got a chance to ride in the car later in the weekend and it was a real treat. The car features a pretty wild roll cage, completely stripped interior, lexan side windows, a rebuilt motor with cams, KW coilovers, and my favorite part- the Porsche PCD Volk Racing TE37s. I’m far from a Porsche fanatic and really don’t know much about them at all, but I love this thing! Great job Harris.

 

Our next stop was to see some of the guys from FatCats at EMG, their BMW tuning and maintenance shop. I believe Mike and Josh started the business about a year or so ago and seem to be doing very well which is awesome to see as they are great guys. Mike’s S14 drift car was hanging around the shop waiting for a replacement SR20 after it popped at an event a couple months back. It was cool to check it out as the car is home to my former bride carbon kevlar Zeig II- I miss that thing! Super comfy seat.

I believe we spent the rest of the day hanging out with various people, eating delicious food, and watching video game streaming on Twitch. Jimmy and Harris are avid gamer nerds and love this stuff, so it was interesting for me to step into that world a bit. I used to be fairly into video games when I was younger, but I haven’t been able to keep up with much of anything going on in the last ten years or so. Typical dad move.

On Saturday morning, I headed over to the shop with Jimmy and Harris. Jimmy has been parting out S13s for the last year or so as the opportunity pops up. This is part of what inspired me to purchase and part out the donor coupe I had recently. It’s a ton of fun to take a car apart knowing you don’t need to put it back together. We have been joking about ripping a car apart on one of my visits for a while, so I had a lot of fun helping him remove the SR20 swap, chassis harness, and other items from the rusty shell before it was scrapped. I’m sure most people wouldn’t want to spend their vacation working on S13s, but man- it sure was a lot of fun.

We kept things fairly low key on Saturday night and hung out at Jimmy’s house with some good friends including Justin and Andrew of ~Essence~ Garage fame. Our friend Kev was also with us for most of the weekend. We made sure to eat dinner nice and early on Saturday afternoon to ensure that we had room for some Taco Bell and Baja Blast around 10 PM. I don’t drink alcohol, so I essentially go wild with eating terrible food instead when I am on vacation. Too much fun.

On Sunday morning, we woke up and decided to attend the Coffee and Rice event at Catalina Coffee. This is a local “Cars and Coffee” type event that happens every Sunday organized by the infamous John P of MayDay Garage fame. I was able to meet John a couple years back on my first trip to Houston which was really cool for me since I had been following their content for years and years. John has a really nice NSX on bronze TE37s that I was fortunate enough to see once again in person at the meet.

A super nice R33 GTR on TE37s at the Rice Box meet.

Speaking of Bronze TEs, the trio we rolled in included Jimmy’s R32, Harris’ 993, and Kev’s recently S14 SR20 swapped S13- all of which had Bronze TE37s. It definitely made me miss my bronze set, but I don’t think I will be able to let go of my silver ones any time soon. Perhaps I can eventually get some for the PS13.

After the meet, a bunch of us all headed over to The Rice Box for some delicious eats. Rice Box is a restaurant owned by John P of MayDay Garage. They currently have two locations in Houston with a third set to open next month I believe. The food is always amazing so I make it a priority to get there and support John every time I am in town. A great lineup of cars and people were present, including a gentleman named Alan that I have been talking to recently on Instagram. Alan is a former S13 owner that takes some really amazing photos and is a big supporter of the site- it was great to meet you sir!

Kev’s car is coming along rather nicely after all of the hard work he has been putting into it. It was great to see it again and go for a spin!

KC and Triggs were also in attendance with their beautiful cars- super cool.

After hanging out for a few more hours, it was sadly time to say my goodbyes and return to snowy Michigan. I am very thankful for Jimmy and all of the amazing friends I have made down in Houston- all thanks to tinkering with these silly cars. It’s funny how these things work out sometimes. I wouldn’t trade the experiences and friends I have made from a mutual interest in junky old Nissans for the world!

Speaking of junky old Nissans, I am hoping to return to the garage a bit this weekend to get some work done on the SR20 for the PS13. I’ll share an update on that very soon.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Damon

PS- I’ve added some new items to the store page- be sure to check it out! Thank you for the support.

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February Rolls On

I don’t have a ton to share this week, but I did manage to pull my black S13 out of the garage last Sunday to let it run and warm up for a while. After facing brutal temps well below zero last week, we were teased with a couple days at 50º. It was good to be able to fire the car up and bring it outside for a few quick photos. I rely heavily on these random warm days during the winter months for motivation. Winter becomes tough to handle during late February and early March sometimes, so any small opportunity to start the car up serves as a reminder that nice weather will once again return to Michigan eventually. Despite the craziness of changing seasons here I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

I attempted to make some progress on the SR20 for the coupe last week only to hit an unexpected snag. When I attempted to install the outlet pipe on the compressor side of the turbo, I found that it was touching the exhaust manifold and could not be bolted up. This likely explains why it was held on with only one of the three bolts and was flopping around when I bought the car. It appears that the turbo must have been clocked incorrectly at some point along the line. I ended up having to remove the entire exhaust side again to tear it all apart and try to correct the position of the compressor side of the turbo. This has proved to be a difficult task as the bolts and C clip seem to be very tight. Fortunately a local friend is sending me his old T25 turbo as he is upgrading and does not need it. I should be able to reassemble everything rather quickly next week before moving on to the intake side of the engine.

It took a while to sort through which items went where. A spreadsheet is crucial for staying organized and keeping track of all of this stuff!

Speaking of the intake side, a number of replacement items for that portion of the engine arrived last week. The first was an order from Courtesy Nissan that contained a number of items including replacement clamps for nearly all of the water and blowby hoses on the engine, bolts for installing the clutch fan and shroud, radiator bracket bolts, heater core hose clamps and grommets, and a few other necessary bolts I was missing.

The second was an order from RHD Japan. This batch included the metal engine cover for the rear clutch/flywheel window on the back of the engine, new hoses for the PCV valve and OEM catch can setup, a few bolts for the engine I was missing that were discontinued stateside, radiator mounts, a firewall plug for the AC system (since my coupe will likely not have AC initially,) replacement accelerator pedals for both the hatch and coupe (pretty excited about these since I replaced the brake and clutch pedal rubber pads on the hatch last year but couldn’t find the accelerator pedal,) and a seal for the front of the Silvia hood.

Finally, a small order from my friends at NissanParts.cc arrived with OEM upper and lower radiator hoses, a clutch fan blade, and a new release bearing for the clutch. I elected to go with OEM hoses on the coupe instead of aftermarket ones.

I believe I now have just about everything I need to refresh the engine as I intend to. With any luck my valve cover should be back from powder coating next week as well which will be nice to have. At this point it’s just a matter of finding the time to properly clean and reassemble it all.

I’ll be traveling to Houston, Texas Friday morning for a quick weekend trip to stay with my friend Jimmy and see a number of other good friends while I am there. I’ll be sure to take some photos and share them here next week!

Thanks as always for stopping by and have a great weekend.

Damon

PS- I’ve added a shirt to the store page here on the website that includes a link to preorder through my local screen printing vendor. We will be taking orders through Friday, February 22nd. I am really excited about these- they should turn out pretty nice! Thanks a lot for the support.

 

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Surviving the Polar Vortex

The weather conditions in Michigan over the last week have not exactly been conducive to building cars (or even leaving the house at all really.) Last week we were hit with a decent ice storm that canceled school for my daughters for two days, only to be hit with a snow storm and bitterly cold temperatures this week that resulted in school being canceled four days straight. It was -6º this morning but without any wind, so I guess they determined it was safe for the kids to go to school again. What a crazy couple of weeks. Winter took a while to get rolling this year but we are definitely in the thick of it now.

With temps dipping as low as they have lately, I haven’t had too much willpower to make it out into the garage at night. I am definitely motivated to work on the cars, but it just isn’t worth it when it’s that cold outside. I did manage to get a few things done before the really cold temps hit though.

It’s so nice to assemble the turbo and exhaust manifold when the engine is out of the car.

I’ve slowly been working my way through a number of the OEM items I ordered and helping them find their way onto the engine. A couple weeks back I finished cleaning the engine up and started installing things on the hot side. I hit the exhaust manifold with a quick coat of paint that will likely discolor once it gets up to temp like it did on my other SR, but I am planning to cover it with a brand new heat shield from Nissan anyway. I mounted up the turbo with fresh gaskets, locking tabs, and hardware before bolting the manifold to the head with the proper OEM nuts and washers that were absent when I removed the Megan turbo manifold that came on the engine. It looked to have been assembled with a mix of random hardware so that needed to be corrected.

Still waiting on some OEM hardware to replace missing or random items that came on the engine when I got the car, but the hot side is more or less coming together.

With the turbo assembly largely in place aside from the hardware and other items I was still waiting on, I removed the crank pulley to clean up the front cover behind it where the front main seal had clearly been leaking. I finally picked up a seal puller and was able to make quick work of replacing the front main seal, cleaning the crank pulley, and reinstalling it. I would love to replace the entire oil pump and front cover assembly like I did on my first SR many years ago, but I am trying to keep this a simple refresh like I did on the SR currently in my hatch. It’s easy to get sucked into going crazy, but I am trying to keep a level head about it and find a good balance.

Nissan revised the oil pickup design on the later SR20DET engines- always a good idea to replace yours if you’re working on an S13 SR.

To my surprise, I found that a Tomei oil pan was installed on this SR when I removed it from the coupe. While it was a super nice piece, I decided to part ways with it in favor of a stock oil pan. I ran an oversized GReddy unit on my car for many years but recently decided it’s probably not needed for a casual street car. The issue of oil starvation always worried me, but I don’t really do any aggressive driving to deem a large pan necessary in my opinion. I installed a new S14 oil pickup and gasket on this engine along with an OEM oil pan and fresh hardware from Nissan. It’s a shame the RTV Nissan provides is orange and not gray or black, but I decided to just roll with it this time around. I’m not really looking to win any “Best Engine Bay” awards with the PS13 build- I just want it to look relatively tidy and stay reliable.

I next turned my attention to the water pump and installed a new OEM unit along with the proper studs, washers and nuts from Nissan. Oddly enough, I had to source the nuts from Japan as they were discontinued stateside. I’m sure I could have easily found something at the hardware store that would work, but I love to use the factory stuff whenever possible. Also note the freshly installed OEM  oil filter in the background.

The engine overall could probably be cleaner, but I am content with it for now. Most of it will be hidden once installed anyway. I just wanted to get it clean enough to spot any potential leaks once it is up and running.

At this point, this is more or less how the engine sits. I’ve been waiting on some replacement hoses from Japan to arrive to get started on the intake side of things, but I should have just about everything I need (knock on wood) by next week. It’s supposed to warm up here quite a bit over the next three days so I am looking forward to being productive in the garage and making some more progress. I sent my valve cover out for powder coating, so hopefully that will be back relatively soon as well.

I haven’t done much with the transmission yet, but I should have all of the remaining refresh items that I wish to get into here by early next week. I did manage to install a fresh gasket and the OEM shifter base plate I sourced to replace the ISR short shifter that came on the car though. I also removed the output seal but have not installed the new one just yet. I’ll likely focus more on the transmission side of things once the engine is completely back together.

I fell a bit behind on documenting my progress so things have become a bit jumbled, but these are a few of the different parts orders that have arrived in the last couple weeks. I have primarily been sourcing the more common SR rebuild items from NissanParts.cc, while usually ordering all of my hardware and more niche OEM items from CourtesyParts.com. For any SR specific items that are fairly less common, I have been sourcing them from the RHD Japan OEM Store.

The first shipment from RHD Japan included new alternator and power steering belts, the idle air control valve hose that runs under the intake manifold, and an OEM throttle pulley to replace the GK Tech unit that was installed on the engine when I got it. I also picked up a couple items stateside- a set of spark plugs for the engine and a large coolant hose to replace the unit under the intake manifold. It’s not a perfect fit and will need to be trimmed slightly to fit, but I found that the OEM one was discontinued in Japan.

The next batch to arrive was from NissanParts.cc and included a few items that I missed when I ordered my gasket kit- a turbo inlet pipe gasket and S14 oil strainer gasket. While they had a sale running I also ordered a brand new coil pack cover with OEM hardware and a replacement PCV valve to install when the valve cover is back from being powder coated.

The last order to arrive from RHD Japan took nearly a month due to one of the items taking a few weeks to make it to their facility before the order could be shipped. This batch included three different water hoses that run under the intake manifold, as well as the two water hoses for the IACV. I was really excited to get my hands on the actual Nissan replacements for these as I have always had to come up with my own solution in the past or reuse the old hoses (which always concerns me a bit.) Also included was a  turbo drain hose for the hot side, heat shield for the turbo manifold, nuts for the water pump assembly, and the exhaust bracket that mounts to the transmission mount. I was glad to find this piece as it has been discontinued in the states and is essential to a proper exhaust install.

Speaking of exhaust, I found a great deal on a Parts Shop Max Cobra downpipe and I couldn’t pass it up. I’ve been planning to run one of these on the PS13 just like I do on my black car, but wasn’t going to purchase one until later when the car is close to being fired up. I was able to save so much over retail pricing on this brand new unit that I had to snag it while I could.

And finally, about two weeks ago I was able to sell the donor car as a mostly stripped rolling chassis. I was thankful someone was able to come and pick it up rather quickly and without much fuss as this allowed me to put my wife’s van back in the garage before the really nasty weather hit. I still need to sell the wheels and tires from that car, but otherwise all of the items are gone and cleared out of my garage. I’m really thankful for how well buying and parting that car worked out. I never anticipated having a complete drivetrain for the new PS13 build so quickly, but things could not have worked out better with buying and parting out the donor chassis. Sometimes things just fall into place!

So there you have it! That’s where everything stands with my garage at the moment. I’m looking to harness the mild weather this weekend in order to get organized and make some more progress on the PS13 SR20 setup. February and March are typically the most difficult months to make it through here in Michigan, but I’m feeling pretty motivated.

Thank you as always for reading the blog- I appreciate the support! Have a great weekend.

Damon

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