A New Year Approaches

Alright, let’s see here… let’s get back to making some progress on the S13 coupe. December has been a very busy month as it always is, but I have been trying to make chip away at the list for this car when I can. Motivation comes and goes, and it doesn’t always sync up with free time or reasonable temperatures to be working in the garage- but occasionally things fall into place and I manage to get some work done.

Since my last update, I managed to complete the sound deadening install on the interior of the chassis. I went with Dynamat again since it worked pretty well on the hatch. After getting that into place, I was able to reinstall the HVAC setup and dash bar. I bricked my phone a few weeks ago and I think I lost some of the in-progress photos of this, but they were less than spectacular anyway. I still need to add some to the doors and maybe the trunk area, but wanted to wait a bit as I may end up replacing the driver’s side door with a cleaner one to avoid the body work needed to fix the original door.

There was one floor plug missing from the car. I was bummed to find that it was discontinued, but stumbled across a Honda power antenna delete grommet on eBay that looked close in size and decided to give it a shot. Fortunately it fit like a glove!

After the sound deadening was installed, I went ahead and put the rest of the chassis harness and fuse boxes back into the engine bay. These had been removed by the previous owner of the car, but fortunately he did so with a lot of care and all of the clips were still intact. I cleaned the harness and fuse boxes thoroughly before putting it all into the engine bay. I elected to leave everything in the factory location this time around just to keep things simple. I ended up taking the day off for my birthday since it fell on a Friday and primarily spent it tackling this. This was one of the tasks I had been dreading and dragging my feet on, so it felt good to make some headway.

As I have done numerous times over the years, I turned to Wiring Specialties to assist me with an engine swap harness for this car. Their quality is second to none and Yury has always been willing to help me out over the years. It’s so nice to install a fresh, brand new harness with your engine swap and not need to worry about the condition of the harness preventing your car from running or causing other issues. These guys have it down to a science!

I’ve started running the harness through the firewall, but haven’t completed installation just yet. I am utilizing a factory ECU mounting bracket that I was amazed to find in one of the cars I parted out- I had never even seen one before. So nice to have the ECU mounted securely where it belongs! I also kept one to use on the hatch as well.

I think I forgot to share in my last update and have since lost the photos I took, but I installed the Parts Shop Max Cobra downpipe a couple weeks ago as well, along with a brand new O2 sensor I picked up from my friends at NissanParts.cc. The O2 sensor that came on the engine was an ISR one and I just felt it made sense to replace it with a genuine Nissan unit.

Moving back to the inside of the car, the next order of business was installing a fresh pair of turn signal and wiper stalks that I sourced from Rock Auto. These are 100% identical to the OEM Nissan units in every way- right down to the brand that manufactures them. Since one side is discontinued by Nissan, this is a great solution.

I also received my steering wheel and hub of choice- A Nardi Classic 330mm leather steering wheel and Works Bell Splash hub. I’ve never had a quick release before and always thought they were sort of neat, but not really necessary at all considering I just cruise my cars around on the street. It’s the best combo in my opinion!

The size difference vs. the stock wheel is pretty crazy.

The next order of business was installing some fresh carpet. As I have done many times over the years, I once again turned to Stock Interiors. I was pleased to see that they now offer a carpet kit for the S13 that does not have the molded provisions in the back for the automatic seatbelts which is great if you swap to Canadian/JDM manual belts like I have. I did experience a strange issue this time around when I went to begin installing the carpet. The molded pads for your heel and near the gas pedal on the carpet were placed too far back when the carpet was made. I reached out to Stock Interiors and they sent me a free replacement no questions asked. The replacement carpet looks correct, so I need to begin installing that next when I get some free time. It’s not a difficult task luckily, it’s just a bit time consuming.

Earlier this week, I finally received a piece of the interior that I had been waiting on for quite some time- a Silvia headliner from Japan. I had managed to source all of the other interior panels and the manual seatbelts needed for the swap some time ago, but I didn’t have the headliner that’s required to do the swap properly. If you install the JDM seatbelts and panels with a USDM headliner, there will be a gap between the panels and the headliner. Much like I did on my hatch, I snagged a JDM headliner and had it sent over from Japan to complete the look. I used Jakob at Get Japan to bring this over via container since the air shipping cost on it was a bit tough to swallow and I wasn’t in a hurry. It took about five months from start to finish, but I finally have it!

After tossing the headliner in, I was able to install other items I had collected like dome and map lights, sun visors, and the rear view mirror. This car had a brown interior when I got it, so I had to collect all of these parts over the last year or so to piece the full black interior together- mostly from a few of the cars I parted out along the way.

I next bolted the A, B, and C pillars in place, as well as the JDM Silvia front and rear seat belts. The front Silvia belts are pretty hard to come by these days as they differ from the 180SX belts- they have a small plastic guide on them that extends the belt towards the front seats. I knew I wouldn’t be happy with trying to make some random belts fit, so I was really excited when I found a set in good condition.

I was too excited about seeing the interior come together last night, so I had to toss the dash in for a quick test fit to get a peek. It has felt amazing lately to be bolting more parts onto the car and to see some real progress being made. I need to buckle down over the Christmas break next week and spend some time installing the carpet, dash, and remaining interior panels for good. I believe I have just about everything aside from the bracket that’s required to mount the handle on the A pillar on the driver’s side. I would have preferred a set of Canadian A pillar plastics as they omit this handle and look cleaner (this is what I have on my hatch,) but I haven’t been able to get a hold of a set and ended up settling for the JDM version. I also need a pair of front seats, but I haven’t decided on those yet- that’s something I will have to pick up later when I have the funds.

As for new parts, I got an order from RHD Japan not too long ago that contained some cool stuff: the Works Bell hub I mentioned earlier, a NISMO clutch slave and line, and NISMO bushings for the rear knuckles. The other boxes contain NISMO subframe bushings that I bought from a seller on Zilvia a while back that I plan to use on this car as well. I’m trying not to dive into much suspension work on the car just yet as I want to complete assembly of the engine, interior, and exterior first- but after that’s finished I will be diving into the suspension.

One of the few items I snagged on Black Friday was a Magnaflow high flow cat converter from Enjuku. I’ve been running the same cat on my hatch for a couple years now and the difference it made with the gasoline and exhaust fumes inside the car on long drives is awesome. I am not really concerned with power loss since I am running a stock SR20DET anyway, so it works well for my goals for both of my cars. I also think it gives the exhaust a really nice tone. I haven’t ordered a whole lot from Enjuku in the past, but their customer service has been awesome so far. With the fall of FR Sport, I think Enjuku and TF Works will probably be my go-to’s from now on when not using RHD Japan or Jesse Streeter. They even tossed me $5 as a part of some sort of cash prize contest they had going for Black Friday which I thought was really cool.

As for the hatch, I don’t have anything new to report there. With any luck I will have my Model Vs for it sometime in the next week or so and then I’ll be able to test fit them and evaluate if I want to run them for next year or not. I think it has potential to be a pretty good look- I will just need to order some spacers and get my tires mounted if I decided to use them.

Last week I received a visit from none other that @outsidesam, an S13 enthusiast that I occasionally chat with on Instagram from time to time. Sam was driving one of his S13s from Vancouver to Montreal and decided to take a Southern route through the United States on his way. Sam hit me up and asked if he could stop by on his way through Michigan and back into Canada. It was cool to have an opportunity to meet him quick in person and chat about these cars- very nice dude! Thanks for coming by, Sam.

Finally, my wife hooked me up with a second set of LED lights for the garage. Man, what a difference! It’s so nice to be able to see so well when working on the cars. It’s crazy to me that I spent so many years working in this garage under two light bulbs. Very appreciative of this gift that’s for sure.

I think I am at a point where the parts orders are more or less done for a while and it is time to actually focus on assembling the car. There are of course lots of things I still need, but this is a good stopping point to turn my attention to putting some actual wrench time in with the items I already have in my possession. I think it would be greatly motivating to have the car fired up and running by the end of next month, but that could prove to be a bit ambitious. I’ve been enjoying pacing myself a bit and spending time with my wife and kids inside where it is warm during the approaching holiday season. Once the presents are all unwrapped and we move into 2020, I’ll likely be able to get back to work on this thing once again.

Thanks as always for coming by. I wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season! Take car and enjoy time with friends and family.


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4 Responses to A New Year Approaches

  1. BelfastBuilt says:

    Always glad to see more progress. Even happier when I get an email letting me know there’s an update lol

    • Thank you! I know I have been slacking lately. It is tough to find the time and motivation in the winter! Hopefully this will build some momentum though haha. I hope you are doing well!

  2. slick_Schassis says:

    Happy new year bro! Always admired your work, motivates me on mine.
    I own a 93 hatch, still needs a lot of love and care but ill get there.
    Cant wait for the next update, cheers

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