As it turns out, like many of you have suggested, actually driving your project car has a major impact on your mental state and serves as a reminder of why you put yourself through everything that comes with this process. Though I didn’t spend virtually any time in the garage over the course of the last week, it proved to be just what I needed to remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Last Saturday was our family birthday party for Hattie, followed by visiting family and having our own Easter celebration on Sunday. Needless to say it was a very busy weekend. However, I did get the coupe out of the garage Saturday morning before the party for a quick trip around the block. That was just about the only thing I had time for through the course of the weekend, but it was enough to remind me of why I enjoy these cars. After last Friday’s blog post, I knew I needed to do it.
I determined that my Braille battery had finally given up the ghost. I was frustrated initially, but realized I have had it for about six years now. I ended up ordering an Odyssey PC680 as a replacement after hearing good things about them from Liam and Kev. I also purchased the terminal kit as well for installation.
I still need to come up with a solution for mounting the battery, but I’ll work on that soon. The Odyssey is actually a decent bit smaller than the Braille battery I had which is kind of wild. I will actually be purchasing another one soon for the hatch. I’ll keep you posted on what I come up with for securing the battery in both cars.
I need to roll the front fender lip on my new fenders on the hatch. In the past, I have done this with a rubber mallet while the fender is off of the car with mixed results. It seems to warp the fender and it just never fits right afterwards. When I rolled the lip on the Slivia fenders last summer, I decided to try using a roller like I do on the rear quarter panels. I found that with taking my time and pressing on the outside of the fender while using the roller, the fenders retained their shape and it worked quite well.
I’ve borrowed a fender roller many times over the years. I think when I first got my hatch, I even bought one and then sold it after I was done. It used to be one of those tools that was fairly expensive and everyone used to rent. I borrowed one from my friend Greg last summer for the coupe, and decided it would be nice to finally just have one of my own. As it turns out, the price has come down drastically on these tools since I last looked into it. I also found that tons of brands offer them which was surprising to me. Since I was ordering the battery from Summit Racing anyway, I decided to get one of theirs since the shipping was free (and very fast.) We’ll see how it works, but it seems like it should be great for my limited needs.
The weather was incredible once again in Michigan this week and very unseasonably warm. It hit 80 degrees on Wednesday, so I decided to take the coupe on its maiden voyage to fill the tank with fresh gas. It’s always terrifying and incredibly exciting to drive a car that you more or less assembled from scratch, but it can be very rewarding if things go your way. Add to that feeling of anxiousness that my registration documents technically haven’t arrived yet, and I was freaking out a bit. But it was too nice out not to do it!
My initial impression is that I am very happy with the overall feeling of driving this car. Sure, it’s basically the same formula has my other S13, but it feels very different for some reason. The coupe just feels more solid. The exhaust is very quiet with the factory aribox and HKS Hi Power exhaust. It almost feels too quiet, but it is also very refreshing. The clutch pedal is lighter than the hatch even though they have the same clutch- maybe because I have a NISMO slave cylinder on the coupe? It shifts smooth, idles nicely, and just generally feels pretty sorted.
The overall ride quality on the coupe feels better too for whatever reason. This might be partially due to the NISMO subframe bushings vs. the solid risers on the hatch, but it’s likely just because of running a tire with a lot more sidewall. It doesn’t feel like a 28 year old tin can though which is a big plus.
There are still some kinks to work out of course. The power steering pump is still making more noise than I would like and steering takes a little more effort than it should. The rear wheel bearings are noisy and need to be replaced much like the fronts did, so I need to take care of that. For some reason my running lights are always on, and the cluster gets power with the car off when I turn on the headlights. I also noticed that my rear main seal seems to be leaking, so I likely goofed on the install when I replaced it. That will likely wait until next winter to be addressed though.
Cruising in warm weather with the windows down in an S13 reminded of my why I do it. Even just a quick four or five mile drive was enough to kick start my motivation and renew my passion for these cars and this hobby. I even took it to the bus stop to pick up my daughters from school which they were excited about. With the coupe more or less sorted out, I hope to turn my attention to the hatch to finish the outstanding items I have lingering and get that car out of the garage as well. If I can find a couple evenings to spend in the garage it shouldn’t take too long.
But first, a much needed family vacation! Thanks to everyone for that stops by to read this and provides insight and encouragement- I genuinely appreciate it! I hope you have an excellent weekend and are able to make some progress on your own projects.
Interesting that you have better results with a fender roller. I have always had better results with a body hammer especially on the front, where the fender roller seems to bow out the whole fender from where it mounts under the hood.
Cool to see that you with nismo subframe bushings. On my new build I am going to try to use as much rubber as possible over solid mounts, and poly. The only place I am debating running poly over rubber is the subframe bushings. I like that the poly bushings correct roll center a bit and give more clearance to raise the exhaust. Do you have any experience with rubber vs poly subframe bushings?
I always thought the same about a roller too- I was surprised. We’ll see what happens. I’m definitely worried about messing them up though haha.
I don’t have any experience with poly subframe bushings. I bought a set as my first subframe bushings but didn’t know I had to leave the metal collars in- so I had to go with solid aluminum. I bet they would be a good compromise though!