The older I get, the more difficult it becomes to devote any amount of time to car related activities between mid-November and mid-February. It’s such a busy season with lots of birthdays, holidays, and family gatherings. For myself and many others, it’s also a time when budgets tighten. I get hit with a lot of large bills during these months due to when my wife and I’s birthdays fall. Add to that Christmas and birthday gifts (and even several surprise medical bills this time around) and conditions just have not aligned for me to be doing much with my S13s. Limited time, limited budget, the day to day duties of parenting, and winter weather are all factors that combine and feed off of each other. It gets hard to find a balance and everything can pile on to kill my motivation quite easily.
However, I am pleased to say that it’s a new day. While it’s already mid March and I haven’t done much at all to the cars in the last three months, I can feel the motivation and excitement beginning to build. I’m slowly starting to poke my head out of hibernation, improve my mental state, and show interest in my cars once again. The simple fact that I am here updating my blog feels like a great accomplishment and a sign that things are trending in the right direction. With spring and warmer weather (soon hopefully) will come a renewed sense of enjoyment for the hobby.
So let’s backtrack a bit. Back in late November, I had just gotten a hold of another Koguchi Power bonnet. I did a quick “test fit” of sorts purely just to grab some photos and see what the hood looked like with OEM kouki 180SX aero. There are plenty of examples out there, but I had never seen my car with this combo installed at the same time before. I was disappointed to find that it almost feels like the quality of Koguchi Power hoods has gotten even worse since I last owned one in 2015 or so. It’s a really cool piece, it just takes so much work to make them actually look nice from a fit and finish standpoint. More on this later…
I tossed the car on jack stands for the winter to address a few general maintenance items. Aside from the new hood I didn’t really plan to make any big changes during the off season this year. I started by removing my turbo and exhaust manifold to refresh all of the gaskets. I had noticed a slight exhaust leak developing from somewhere near the manifold and decided to just bite the bullet and replace everything. While I tore it apart back in December, I didn’t get around to reassembling it until about two weeks ago.
I found that the hardware for both my O2 housing/downpipe and the turbo had been backing out. The gaskets were still largely intact despite this, but it was definitely the source of the leak. Considering the fact that I got about seven years and 20k miles out of the setup, I can’t be too mad about it. I installed all new OEM gaskets including an S15 metal exhaust manifold gasket. I debated using Nord Lock washers exclusively for the turbo to manifold nuts, but ended up just using the trusty OEM locking tabs. I managed to snap a stud on my exhaust manifold during removal, so I took the easy route and bought a replacement, spray painted it, and bolted everything up.
I finally scored a decent pair of 180SX power folding mirrors and a switch from Zilvia legend Johnny. I’m hoping to find the time to wire these up this spring before I get the car back on the road. The older I get, the more I prefer the looks and functionality of the factory mirrors on a tastefully modified S13. In fact, I ended up selling a couple pairs of East Bear mirrors over the winter. I wanted to hold onto a pair just to have in my collection, but I couldn’t pass up what people were willing to pay for them. They’re awesome looking mirrors, but the quality does leave a bit to be desired.
You may recall that I re-relocated (is that a term?) my battery from the hatch back into the engine bay last summer. When I shaved my engine bay, I removed the stock tray as it was pretty rusty. Well, when I removed the battery for winter, I found that it had destroyed the paint in my engine bay. Oops. I’ll have to come up with a temporary solution in the mean time, but I was able to source a replacement battery tray from Japan. Eventually I would like to have this welded back into the stock location like on my coupe.
In January, my good friend Brett from Florida reached out to me and offered me a smoking deal on a black Bride Maxis. I didn’t really intend on owning one of these again, but the deal was too good to pass up. Thank you Brett! My local S13 homie Nick came by one Saturday to hang out and eat some White Castle, so we decided to bolt the seat into my hatch to check it out. I’ll always love the look of these seats. I’ll be holding onto my kouki 180SX seats should I want to swap them back. I’ve always felt the Maxis and Zeros look best with a Brix next to them, but I think I can live with this for right now. I’ve been debating if I should put the Zieg II in the passenger side of the hatch, but I think it will find a home in my coupe so that both cars will have a proper period-correct Bride bucket in them and offer a similar driving experience.
I acquired a few different parts over the winter in addition to the Maxis. A RHD Japan order came in with two 25mm Works Bell steering wheel spacers, two Bride FG seat rails, and some Cusco hood pins like I used on my previous Koguchi Power bonnet. I purchased left and right Bride seat rails so that I can install my Zieg II as either a passenger seat in the hatch, or a driver’s seat in the coupe.
A few nights ago, I snuck into the garage and installed the steering wheel spacer on my hatch. Wow, what a difference! I was so tired of having my arms nearly fully extended to reach the steering wheel with a bucket seat. I wish I had discovered this a long time ago. I haven’t gotten to drive with it yet of course, but it should be a great improvement.
I also spent some time working on getting my Defi gauges functional once again. I was able to install the GReddy sandwich plate, NISMO oil filter, and all four sensors in the engine bay a week or so ago. I need to go back and finish running the wiring, as well as wire up and mount the controller. But the feeling of having the sensors installed if nothing else is a good one!
As for the coupe, the car is still in winter storage. I was able to source replacement clips from Japan for the Silvia trunk carpet that I installed a while back. This was a nice find since I thought they were discontinued. I also finally received my StopTech front brake pads for this car that I had been waiting on for about ten months, so I’ll swap those on this spring. I know I sound like a broken record, but I still want a full set of 17″ wheels for this car. Every time I get close to pulling the trigger, I need the funds for something else. I am looking forward to bringing that car home this spring and – with any luck -finally realizing that goal. I’ll also install the Bride Zieg II, Bride FG seat rail, and Works Bell 25mm steering wheel hub spacer when I bring the car home.
It looks like some decent weather is on the horizon, so I am excited to get back into the garage a bit. I decided this week not to keep my Koguchi Power hood, so a friend is coming to pick that up this weekend. I’m still a little hesitant since it is such a cool piece, but I think it makes the most sense right now to move on from it and focus my funds and energy on finally getting a set of wheels and tires I love for the coupe. Hopefully I can keep the progress flowing!
Good luck with your projects this weekend and finding that elusive motivation. Remember that spring is just around the corner! Thank you as always for stopping by- I appreciate it!