I can’t believe another two months have passed since my last post. Some portions of 2020 have felt like they are dragging on for an eternity, while others pass in the blink of an eye. Back in late July, I had just gotten the coupe out of the garage for the first time- and I had just found out that I lost my job.
Almost exactly one month after losing my job, I accepted a new position as a graphic designer for a recruiting firm in metro Detroit. It’s a change of pace for me to work at a smaller company, but so far I am finding the work to be very rewarding. I have been working three days per week in the office and two from home which is also a nice perk. The new position has brought a much needed dose of normalcy to my life during these crazy times. Combine that with my daughters going back to school (in person no less) and life is really starting to get busy again.
My new job is about a 55 mile commute one way, so that’s the biggest change from my previous gig that was located only a mile from home. It’s tough not spending as much time with my wife and kids, but I have been enjoying the drive for the most part. This means I’ll have plenty of opportunities to log some miles on my S13s next year when I register them again, so I am looking forward to enjoying them if things work out as I hope. My previous commute made it really difficult to find time to enjoy driving the cars.
So, with that out of the way, let’s backtrack and cover what has changed with the cars in the past two months. As one might expect, I haven’t devoted much time to them as of late. The last weeks of summer meant spending time outside with family, taking quick trips to the new family lake house up North, interviewing for jobs, and going back to school. I did manage to get a couple small tasks done though.
For starters, here are a few photos I took of the coupe the first time I got it out and was able to drive it. I know these shots will be significant to me for a long time to come, so I wanted to be sure I shared them here for reference down the road someday.
And a couple with the GTR grille fitted:
After getting the car on the road, I immediately found that the factory wheel bearings were trashed. I ordered a pair from Rock Auto and had my cousin press them for me at his work. I definitely noticed a reduction in noise after installing them, but I think the rear bearings might be junk as well. I’ll have to replace those at some point this winter to ensure everything is working properly. I’ll likely try to replace the CV boots at the same time.
August 9th (two days after Alexi’s third birthday!) marked the one year anniversary of when I brought the chassis home to my house for the first time. As is the custom, I had to take some comparison photos as a reminder of just how far the car has come in one year’s time. It’s always good to look back on your accomplishments as they serve as the best motivation to continue chipping away at the seemingly never-ending list of things that need to get done. It’ll actually be about two years since I bought the car this coming November, but I left it in storage at a friend’s place for a while before I officially rolled it into my garage and began working on it.
After a few weeks flew by, I finally put the coupe back in the air to take care of a few things- the first being a pair of Auto Collect Storm fender braces. These are a great addition to any street or drift car and keep your fender fitment looking solid.
The next item I installed was an Xcessive Manufacturing skid plate to protect the oil pan. I have the same one on my hatch and it has saved the engine many times. With the coupe being slightly lower, it was a no brainer to install one of these.
A new lower fan shroud was fitted after the previous one decided to hurl itself into the fan, breaking all of the mounting tabs. I’m not sure why that happened, but hopefully the issue is solved now.
With those things squared away, I switched gears to tackle the task of installing a brand new pair of fender liners on the car. This requires a fair amount of trimming and a bit of ingenuity on a lowered car, but it produces a much cleaner look than if you simply left them off of the car. I’m planning to post a more detailed how-to here soon, but check out my Instagram story highlights in the mean time (@camryonbronze) if you’d like to see what I am talking about.
While I had the front end apart, I finished trimming the Silvia Aero bumper to clear the front mount intercooler before bolting it firmly into place. I still want to play with the fitment a little bit, but at least everything clears now and it is firmly bolted into place.
My fenders were installed with random bolts I had hanging around, so I elected to replace them with all new bolts from Nissan. Who knows if these are the correct bolts, but they’re one of the part numbers I found when searching PS13 schematics- so they should work well.
The last order of business that I have yet to tackle is reinstalling the lights up front. The bracket for the passenger side headlight has some issues with the mounting holes, so I need to repair that before bolting them into place. Everything had just been mocked up more or less previously, so I’ll have to spend some time installing everything properly in the next week or so.
As has been the case for nearly all of 2020, the hatch continues to find itself on the back burner. I adjusted the idle and timing slightly when I was tuning those items on the coupe, so it’s nice that the car finally idles more closely to where it should. I’ve had a new OEM vacuum hose for the cold side sitting on the floor of the car for a while, so I finally got around to tossing that on. A small detail that doesn’t really make much of a difference other than providing a little personal satisfaction.
I did secure one cool item for the car a while back- another NeXt Miracle Cross Bar. This has always been one of my favorite parts for the 180SX and I began to miss having one again. I think this might be my fourth one of these- maybe I’ll actually hold onto it this time? I previously reverted back to running a rear seat and seatbelts so that I could take my daughters for rides, but I figured the coupe can probably serve this purpose in the future. It’s quieter and the ride is less harsh, so it makes sense for that car to remain a four seater- and the hatch can be a little more wild if I choose to take that route. We’ll see what the interior looks like by spring, but I am excited to install it once I receive some of the hardware that was missing.
Finally, I sent out a spare valve cover from an SR20 I parted out a while back to TRG for coating. I elected to go with the same color I did for the coupe so that both cars will match. It’s a very similar color to the factory valve cover which I like for whatever reason. I need to order a few things to install it but plan to get to that sometime this off season.
So that’s about it! Life has been very good but also very crazy these past few months so I just haven’t been able to get much done. It’s not really for a lack of motivation or desire to work on the cars, just a lack of time. Uncertainty with my career has also been a factor, but fingers crossed I am now in good shape on that front. This is the longest stretch I’ve ever gone without getting to enjoy my car, so I am looking forward to putting as many miles as I can on them next year when all of this craziness has died down.
I recently got a request from someone to document how I went about tucking the exhaust on the coupe and steps I take to avoid major exhaust damage and leaks, so I am hoping to write about that soon. I’ll also be sure to place the fender liner how-to info here as well since people seemed to enjoy that. If you have something you’re curious about that you’d like me to explain in more detail sometime, feel free to drop me a line here or via Instagram! I would love to get back into the swing of posting more often and providing some useful content again.
I hope everyone is doing well- thanks as always for taking the time to swing by and read my rambling!