Spring is Here – Motivation Returns

Based on where I left off last week, I expected to be writing a somewhat depressing post his week about my recent lack of motivation to get myself into the garage. I’m sure if I were to go back in time and read all of my posts over the years from February and March, they would all share a similar tone. I love living in Michigan and enjoy the season changes immensely, but this is always a tough time of year to get through no matter how you slice it.

As luck would have it, we saw some very unseasonably warm temperatures for the duration of the last week. While I knew the warm weather wasn’t here to stay, I finally decided to carve out a full night last Friday to spend in the garage working on the cars. Forcing myself to make this time and go out to the garage for an entire evening on my own turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.

For my jam session last Friday I chose to focus solely on the hatch. Having two of these cars still feels very new to me, and I have found that I really have to focus my energy on one of them at a time to have any hope of feeling like I made any progress. My goal is to only have one torn apart at a time as well, but so far I haven’t quite managed to stick to that. I do think it’s a pretty good thing to strive for moving forward if I truly plan to keep both of these things.

I began by reassembling the front suspension on the hatch. Now that my KTS outer tie rods had arrived, I had everything needed for reassembly. I managed to button everything up, including installing said outer tie rods, the NISMO front lower control arms, S14 knuckles with DIF adapter sleeves, OEM Nissan S14 front five lug hubs with fresh hardware, and the brakes. I also bolted the Xcessive skid plate back into place. I’m probably due for a replacement, but I’ll see if I can get one more season out of it.

I am really excited about fresh OEM NIssan hubs and bearings. Looking forward to doing the same on the rear of the car later this year.

With the front suspension all back together, I dove into test fitting the new fenders I mentioned in my last post. It’s probably been close to five years since I removed the front bumper and fenders from the car which must be a new record for me. I marked a few areas of the bumper that I need to trim while its off of the car as it has been rubbing up against my intercooler.

I was very worried about the damage on my new fenders. I thought it was likely going to take a body work professional to get them straight. However, thanks to some encouragement from Rad Mike and Jimmy, I decided to bolt them up and see what I could do. To my surprise, I was able to put on a pair of gloves and use my hands to bend them back into place. The results are pretty impressive! It was a huge relief to see the fenders looking new again.

This was the least damaged fender of the two- before any bending or shaping.
After…

I’m so excited about how these fenders fit. It’s amazing to bolt them up and have everything line up so perfectly without any real effort. I still need to roll the inner lip which is going to be pretty terrifying, but hopefully that works out OK. I haven’t decided if I am going to leave these fenders on the car for now or swap my other fenders back on for the season. My previous pair of fenders are pretty clean, but they were pulled slightly by the previous owner causing my wheel fitment to be less than ideal. I am tempted to run the new fenders for now since they’re already on the car, I am just not sure when paint is going to happen. That’s something I’ll have to decide on and figure out pretty soon.

What is it about these cars that makes them look so cool torn apart? Maybe because it’s their natural habitat…

As for the coupe, I spent some time working on that last weekend as well. Before I dove into the hatch, Alicia helped be bleed the brakes again. On Sunday, I finally had the time to put the car on the ground and take it for a spin. Thankfully, replacing the brake booster and bench bleeding the master again did the trick and the brakes work beautifully. I was also able to adjust the clutch pedal as it was engaging very close to the floor. I didn’t drive very far since the car still isn’t registered (hope to finally wrap that saga up this month) but it felt awesome to drive it with a couple more problems corrected.

I spent the remainder of Sunday adjusting the ride height on the coupe in the driveway along with some beautiful sunshine. After driving around a bit, I decided to raise the car slightly. It looked amazing at that height, but I could tell in my neighborhood that I was just not going to be able to enjoy the car in that state. I think it’s still going to look really nice which is a good thing.

Most of the week managed to fly by, but I did go out in the garage again last night. I was feeling a little lazy again and mostly wanted to just hang out with Alicia, but I thought it would be good to try to keep the momentum going. I finalized the ride height adjustments on the coupe and made some tweaks to the camber and toe as well. I think I’m finally happy with how it sits for now until I can get it in for an alignment at some point this spring.

Next I installed my replacement window cranks. I had ordered these back in July of last year and never got them, so I finally canceled my order and brought them over from Japan. They’re not identical to the S13 ones as they are a little bit longer, but they still look nice. That was more or less the final piece of my interior that I had been waiting on. I do still need to get a pair of floor mats for it, but that’s about it.

Another thing I have been meaning to tackle is the wiring for the front turn signals. The conversion harness to switch the car from 240SX front lighting to Silvia lighting that I bought included a bulb socket for a dual post bulb, but since I am running the OEM Silvia turn signals, I needed one with a single post. I actually want to use the dual post socket for a project on the hatch this summer, so I ended up cutting it off and soldering the single post socket from the Silvia turn signals onto the harness. It pained me to cut up the harnesses, but it needed to be done.

Single post socket on the left (for turn signal only) vs dual post on the right (for running light and turn signal.) I’m going to use the sockets on the right for a project on the hatch I am cooking up…

So, another small item checked off of the list- the car has turn signals up front now. I have a BNIB pair of zenki 180SX 50/50 turn signals, but I think I enjoy the look of the Silvia signals for the time being. Maybe I will swap those on when the car is painted someday.

This is the new and improved “higher” ride height. Oh boy…

Finally, I tackled one more minor task that I am really excited about: I installed the factory horns on the coupe. To my surprise, after bolting everything up and plugging it all in, the horn actually works! I have never owned an S13 with a working horn, so I am pretty geeked. I saved the pig tails and some horns from a parts car a while back so that I can attempt to install them on the hatch as well. I cut the wiring out when I shaved the engine bay, so it might prove to be a little tricky- but hopefully I can figure it out on that car too.

I had to get a little creative with the position of the horns to clear the intercooler, but it wasn’t too tedious.

Whew! It feels great to actually have some real progress to share for a change. I’ve still got a decent amount of work to do before I can drive both cars, but I think I am finally in pretty decent shape. I need to adjust the ride height on the hatch, bolt the front end back up, and put it on the ground soon to see where things stand. Hopefully I can get that accomplished in the next week or two.

The mess…

Two things that I have on the horizon are a post about restoring my pair of Ganador Super Aero Mirrors, and a how-to for installing a NeXt Miracle Cross bar. There seems to be quite a bit of interest in both topics, so I will do my best to get to that soon. I took the Ganadors apart last weekend and it wasn’t as bad as expected. I did find some issues that need to be addressed though…

Thanks as always for reading along with this adventure. I appreciate you stopping by! Drop me a line any time if there’s anything I can help with on your S13 build. Have a great weekend!

Damon

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