Progress Report: S13 Coupe Week 1

With my second 240SX home safe and sound, I’ve spent quite a bit of time during the late evening hours outside in the garage this past week beginning to make some progress on it. Things always take a lot longer than I expect them to, but I am happy with the progress thus far.

After unloading everything from the inside of the car, I vacuumed all of the random gunk out of the interior to see where everything stands. I ended up bringing all of the black interior items I have collected over the past ten months up from the basement to get an idea of what I have on hand and which things I still need to get a hold of. For the most part I was pleased to find that I have probably about 80% of the needed interior pieces to turn this once brown on beige clunker into what I hope will one day be a black on black beauty. I’m specifically geeked about the Silvia manual seatbelt conversion- but we’ll get to that in another post at some point.

This will all need a good scrub down before being installed in the car.

For whatever reason, I decided to tackle assembling a rear speaker deck for the car. I somehow ended up with three different rear speaker decks from the various cars I parted out last winter. One of them was the version without the high mounted stop light and was in decent enough shape, but the defrost vents were broken and the speaker covers looked a little rough. I ended up removing the vents from the brown speaker deck that came in the car as both of them were miraculously in good shape. I hit the vents and speaker covers with some SEM trim black to freshen everything up a bit. The finished product looks much better in black without that large brake light in the back window. Looking forward to finalizing the install when the interior goes in!

Turning three rear speaker deck setups into one complete assembly.

Cleaned and prepped for paint.

Completed speaker deck assembly with high mounted stoplight removed.

I’m no audio expert, but I think this might need to be replaced. I’ll probably never get to it though and it will end up like my hatch without a sound system.

While working on the interior, I next turned my attention to installing the clutch pedal and master cylinder assemblies. Fortunately this auto to manual conversion was much more straightforward than my GS400 as all S13s come complete with a bracket and template of sorts on the firewall. A few zaps with the drill and a 1.5″ hole saw bit and the car was ready to accept the third pedal. I could probably have cleaned up the clutch pedal bracket and painted it prior to installing it, but the original patina doesn’t bother me all that much- especially since no one will see it once installed.

Nissan was kind enough to leave the clutch pedal structure in place on automatic cars like this one- making installing the clutch pedal and master cylinder a breeze.

Rounding out this week’s interior tasks included reinstalling the throttle cable and putting in the fresh accelerator pedal I sourced from Japan. As you may recall, I ended up buying a second one for the coupe back when I ordered a new one for my hatch a while back. The replacement pads for the clutch and brake pedals are en route and should be here next week with any luck.

Fresh accelerator pedal, throttle cable, and clutch pedal installed.

Moving next to the front of the chassis, I dropped the complete front subframe to clean things up a bit. The subframe was caked with 27 years worth of gunk and grime, which took a fair amount of time to get cleaned up. Once I had removed it from the steering rack and control arms, I scrubbed until it was finally clean enough to be prepped. Last night I painted the front subframe and manual transmission crossmember with a fresh coat of black.

Just about everything came off of the car by hand. So nice to work on a chassis that spent most of its life down south vs. my crust bucket of a hatch.

27 years worth of gunk and grime.

Front subframe and manual crossmember treated to a fresh coat of paint.

With the subframe out of the way, I taped off all of the holes in the bay before spraying some fresh undercoating in the front fender wells. I still need to take a hammer to the metal chassis seams in here to make clearance for the eventual wheel and tire setup, but I’ll have to wait until the weekend to do that- can’t be making all that noise so late at night with my kids asleep in the room above the garage! Once that is done I’ll touch things up a bit and should be in good shape. Also note that all of the rust that once resided here on the driver’s side has been repaired prior to the engine bay being painted. Pretty nice to have that taken care of!

Holes taped up to prevent undercoating from spraying into the bay.

Before. You can see the area where the metal was recently replaced to remove rust.

After: Looking much better!

I tossed my fresh grommets into the firewall for the AC block off and heater core lines. The grommet I ordered to delete the AC was from a 180SX, and the larger circular grommet was just slightly too big for the factory hole in the firewall to properly stay in place. A little bit of Automotive Goop later and it is installed securely. Much like my hatch, I will not be installing AC on this car so I elected to install this grommet used on S13s that were not equipped with it.

So that’s where things stand at the moment. I’ll be picking up my flywheel for the SR20 from the machine shop tomorrow and hope to make some progress on that end this weekend. If things go smoothly, I should be able to reinstall the front subframe and drop the engine into the bay sometime in the next two weeks. I’m hoping to focus my efforts on the engine bay for the foreseeable future before moving on to the interior. Fortunately there’s no big rush or time frame that this needs to be completed by, so I’ll just continue to work on various areas of the car that interest me and let it all come together over time.

I can’t explain how great it feels to be spending time out in the garage again with a large project underway. Being out in the cool evening temps with a full moon and a peaceful neighborhood has been really good for me to experience. I forgot how satisfying it is to work on your car with the door open when it isn’t 20º out. Hoping to make the most of the rest of the summer and fall before that could wintry weather returns.

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




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2 Responses to Progress Report: S13 Coupe Week 1

  1. BelfastBuilt says:

    So. Freaking. Excited for this. SO awesome dude.

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