Marching Along

After a few weeks filled with snow storms and very cold temperatures, it seems things are starting to shift a little in Michigan. It’s still getting into the low teens overnight some nights, but last weekend we saw sunshine and temps in the mid 50s- a very welcome change!

On Saturday, I pulled the coupe outside and let it run for a while since I hadn’t started it in a month or so. I’ve been noticing a coolant leak on the car while sitting in the garage, so I wanted to fire it up and see if I could track it down. I couldn’t find anything too obvious, so that felt good- and sort of bad as well, haha. I eventually found that the lower heater hose seems to be leaking at the firewall after the car has been sitting, but not while it is running. Hopefully I have that taken care of now, but time will tell.

I also started up the hatch and let it run for a while despite the fact that it’s sitting in the garage undergoing suspension work. It’s got a very slight miss at idle that I need to sort out, but I know the fuel in the car is very old. I’ll worry about that later when it’s buttoned up and on the road though.

Really need to get this stuff painted…

While the neighbors hung out and all the kids played outside on Sunday, I managed to throw a quick coat of paint on the used S14 knuckles I bought recently. I also touched up my front Z32 calipers as they had begun to chip and flake a bit. I still want to get them powder coated properly one day, but seem to always be too stingy and impatient to make it happen.

Some parts arrived this week, including a pair of brand new OEM Nissan S14 front hubs and wheel bearings (shoutout to @ _chico091 for hooking me up with these!) These are one of the main perks of converting the front end to S14 suspension. I am so excited to have OEM wheel bearings and the reliability that comes with them.

Last night I began the process of reassembling the front suspension. I began by installing the NISMO steering rack bushings which was pretty quick and painless. The Energy Suspension bushings I installed back in 2011 or so still looked great, and likely didn’t need to be replaced- I just thought it would be cool to have NISMO ones like on the coupe to be honest.

Energy Suspension steering rack bushing vs NISMO

I next turned my attention to replacing the factory engine mounts. I had some Cusco solid mounts on the car a couple years back and ended up selling them to install some stock mounts I had laying around. This drastically reduced the vibrations in the cabin which was really nice. After using NISMO bushings on the coupe, I decided to do the same for my hatch- only this time I went with CA mounts after hearing that they sit lower than the SR version. I didn’t have a set of SR NISMO mounts on hand to compare and measure, but after test fitting them it appeared that they are more or less the exact same height as the SR mounts on the coupe. I’ve ordered a set of SR mounts so I’ll try to give them a good comparison. I do know the CA mounts bolted right up though without issue, so I’m curious about what actually makes them different from SR mounts.

A note to anyone that read last week’s post about the NISMO items I purchased via RHD Japan- it looks like they increased their pricing quite a bit on some NISMO items since I bought them a couple weeks ago. The engine mount sets and power brace have increased in price drastically. I thought it was odd their prices were so much better than anywhere else on those items- I guess they realized this and made an adjustment!

S14 Front Suspension Conversion: Lower control arms, knuckles, hubs, washers, nuts, grease caps, and DIF adapter sleeves (S13 front knuckle to coilover bolts are a smaller diameter than S14. These prevent you from drilling your coilover mounts.)

After the engine mount test fit, I began bolting up the front suspension- starting with the NISMO power brace. With the price RHD Japan was selling these at and the rising demand for stock S13 front tension rods, I actually didn’t come out too bad at all on this one. Definitely one of my favorite parts offered for the S13.

NISMO Power Brace, Cusco Type OS Front Strut Tower Bar, and NeXt Miracle Cross Bar. More on these in a future post.

I did something a little out of character for me: I didn’t clean much of anything before reinstalling the suspension. I probably should have, but at the end of the day this is a street car and I want it to be driven. It doesn’t need to be completely immaculate underneath. Perhaps this summer I will spend some time cleaning under there, but for now I am not too concerned with it.

I ended the evening with everything mocked up on the car up front. I’m currently waiting on my tie rod ends to arrive from Japan before I can button everything up, so hopefully those will be here sometime next week. That should be the last piece of the puzzle needed to finalize the front suspension improvements.

Finally, I got one other small order of parts from Nissan this past week. This order included washers, nuts, and grease caps for the front S14 hubs, new nuts for installing the new engine mounts, and a couple hose clamps I needed for the PCV hose on the hatch’s SR.

I haven’t decided if I am going to tackle the rear subframe bushings just yet, or possibly wait until the fall. My friend Tim that helped me press them on my coupe is expecting his first child within the next month, so I am not sure if we will have a chance to install those. I don’t want the car to be sitting when nice weather arrives, so I may elect to just hold off on installing those until later this year. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading the blog as always- have an excellent weekend!

Damon

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5 Responses to Marching Along

  1. Hatopura says:

    You can just whack the subframe bushings in with a mallet or hammer. If you tape them off you won’t damage them at all. Done it that way more than once with no issues. Good updates as usual.

    • Any experience doing that with NISMO bushings? I know that is how I have always done my solid aluminum ones from Parts Shop Max and SPL, but wasn’t sure that would fly with OEM-style rubber bushings. Appreciate the comment!

      • Hatopura says:

        I do not, only solids. They look like they could be damaged easier though, I just looked at the design. Would maybe play it safe and get them pressed like you were thinking.

  2. Orlin says:

    Very nice and detailed post Damon. It sucks big time how they increased the prices on RHD. I was going to order all of the nismo suspension and related items from there and brand new bricks this month… and somehow half of my paycheck is missing… and with the increased prices neither is happening. I guess you just need to stay humble in these times and know that the sun will rise again.

    It’s cool to see that you are posting regularly again, I am looking forward to future content and hoping the regular Friday posts remain. As well as to see them get driven once the roads are clean from chemicals. I know I am eager to drive mine in a month or two.

    Best wishes

    • Dang, that is frustrating- sorry to hear! Like you said though it’s not the end of the world and it will all work out one way or another. Here’s to nice weather and enjoying cars again soon!

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