My kids and their teachers always refer to Friday as FRI-YAY, so I am going to embrace it today since I am definitely excited for the weekend. It has been another active week in my garage. Despite devoting most of my time to stripping parts off of the part out hatch, packing, and shipping them I did manage to plug away at some small tasks on my coupe build.

The first thing that had to happen last weekend after dropping the SR swap into my coupe was to get my hatch back on the ground and out of the garage so that I had space to take the part out coupe apart. My friend Tim loaned me a set of S14 SE wheels so that I had something to move the car with, so I threw them on and promptly moved the car out side. I gotta say, it’s amazing how a nice set of TE37s can take your eye away from all of your car’s imperfections. It looks absolutely terrible sitting in the driveway right now, but it’s what needs to be done. With spending so much time and energy on the coupe and seeing the hatch looking like this, it definitely makes me consider parting ways with it. For now though it will sit outside while I finish the hatch part out and get the shell out of my garage- which I am hoping to accomplish by this time next week with any luck.

No, you can’t see it on S14 wheels. LOL

Alicia wanted to work on cars- what better way to start out than to rip one apart that you don’t need to put back together?

I received an order of small miscellaneous items from Courtesy Nissan last week, so I slowly began going through those and helping them find a home on the car. The first of those items was a replacement dipstick to fix the broken one on my SR. Believe it or not, the part number is the same between the KA24DE and SR20DET.

Next, I installed my new hood prop that I sourced from Japan (since it is discontinued stateside) along with all of the fresh hardware needed for installation. This makes a huge difference in the bay in my opinion. Very small details that are so satisfying to install.

A fresh Z32 fuel filter was snapped into place. I’ll spend some time connecting the fuel lines soon.

Since I will be keeping this car without AC like it came from the factory, I installed a fresh drain block-off grommet on the firewall to replace the worn original unit that I removed in order to paint the engine bay.

Here are the bolts for the downpipe to bolt up to the turbo- in factory form there are three bolts and two studs with nuts on them. I need to find the time to install the downpipe soon as well…

Fresh rubber bumpers were installed for the hood. I also tracked down the bumpers that go on the Silvia headlight brackets in addition to the proper bolts. I had hoped to paint the headlight brackets with the engine bay, but couldn’t get them to the painter in time. I’ll have to have those painted at a later date when I do the rest of the car. In any case, the front end of the chassis should now be ready to accept the Silvia front end after all of the work in the engine bay is finished.

My bushings for the top and bottom of the radiator were also in this shipment- which was a good thing since my fresh Koyo Radiator just arrived for the car this past week as well. I’ve used Koyo radiators in my hatch for many years now and have never had an issue with them before, so I was pleased that Koyo was willing to help me out with obtaining one for this S13 as well. Appreciate the help, Scott! The radiator is now bolted in place with new brackets and hardware from Japan. It makes the front end look much more complete!

I topped off the radiator install with fresh new brackets and hardware.

The next order of business was to refresh the cowl area below the windshield. I began by cleaning and painting the cowl plastic and wiper arms with SEM trim black paint since both of these are sadly no longer available. I have a brand new set of wiper arms in storage, but elected to hold onto those for the hatch if I ever paint it. But who knows, the coupe is looking so fresh that I might just toss them on here. But for now, they look quite nice!

I also hit the wiper motor cover with some Rustoleum. I could have really gone nuts and spent more time cleaning the assembly up I guess, but I am content with this for now. I have to keep reminding myself not to go too overboard so that I don’t lose my mind.

The nuts for the wiper pivots were stripped and had to be cut off of the car, so I was excited to find that they are still available from Nissan. I installed both new pivots along with fresh hardware. I probably should have replaced the wiper linkages too since those developed some play, but a set I had from a previous part out were in much better shape and clicked together pretty snug. Perhaps I’ll grab those and replace them down the road, but for now I don’t think I will have any issues.

The cowl plastics were reinstalled with fresh clips. I also installed a new cowl seal that runs along the back of the hood. This is still available from Nissan here in the states, but I found it to be a bit cheaper in Japan- even with shipping.

The final item for the cowl refresh was the metal trim along the bottom of the windshield. This can easily be repainted, but I really wanted to have a new piece with a fresh seal on it. I ordered two of these for the 180SX in Japan after learning it was discontinued stateside, but ran into a bit of a snag when I went to install it. There’s a small indentation at the bottom of the piece that travels around the wiper arm. Of course, the cowls and wiper arms are reversed in Japan, so this indentation did not line up on my car. I probably should have thought of this, but didn’t catch this detail initially.

I felt a bit defeated, but ended up trimming the JDM panel to fit on my car. There is a bit of a gap one one side of the cowl near the wiper arm now, but it’s hardly something that people will really notice. This piece adds so much to the look of the car that I think it was worth the sacrifice vs. painting the stock unit with a bad seal on it. I’ll of course need to remove all of this when the car gets painted and the windshield is pulled to be replaced, but I am not really sure when that is going to happen. Better to get the car running and completely assembled first, then sort that out when the time comes someday.

So that’s where things stand after another week in the books. My goal is to finish removing items from the part out hatch over the weekend so that I can list the rolling chassis for sale and hopefully have it out of my garage sometime next week. Then I’ll be able to order a few more parts I need for the coupe and continue to make some progress. It’s pretty funny working on dismantling one car, then walking across the garage and installing the same items onto a different car. Things are crazy but I have been enjoying myself.

Thanks to everyone that takes the time to read this and reaches out to me with questions. Always happy to help out if I can. Have a great weekend!


Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The Eagle Has Landed

After last week’s post, I got a little distracted from the goal of dropping the engine into the coupe. A friend shared a deal on a bone stock S13 hatch with me and I decided it would be a good candidate for a part out. Needing a few things for my own cars and always seeking opportunities to make a little extra cash for my project, I decided to pull the trigger.

When the trailer is worth over 10x as much as the car…

I enlisted the help of my neighbor Kyle to go pick up the car with me. The seller of course mentioned that I could drive it home if I simply installed a drive belt, but I have learned over the years that what some people consider safe to drive does not always match my thoughts on the subject. Kyle has a really nice Chevy diesel truck and enclosed trailer, so I thought that was probably a much safer option. We went and picked the car up on Friday right after work.

Three of my own S13s at the house… this is a new high score.

The single slammer in all her stock glory.

In short, it’s a bone stock 1990 base model 240SX. Blueish silver exterior (haven’t bothered to check if it is actually misty blue or not, but it looks to have had some paint work done on it in the past regardless) with a mint blue interior. The car did in fact fire it up when I got it despite the lack of a drive belt for the water pump and alternator which made loading it up a lot easier. The struts are blown, tires are bald, and the brakes barely work- but it does start up and move under its own power. I asked if the owner wanted to keep his gas can, but he explained that the driver’s seat is broken in half and the gas can holds the seat up. Fair enough.

This car would be a pretty awesome find and difficult to part out if it were not for one very important fact that always seems to be an issue here in Michigan: rust. The car is absolutely ravaged with rust on the rockers, rear quarters, frame rails, and just about everywhere really. It’s a shame, because it would have been a ton of fun to use this as a daily or even a winter beater, but that would just be silly at 33 years old with three kids at home. Sadly, this one must move on to the big scrap heap in the sky- but not before contributing some decent parts to many other S13s out there in the process of being restored.

The blue interior was actually in amazing condition.

I managed to strip the complete interior from the car on Sunday and have sold just about all of it for the most part, including the mint blue dashboard and defrost vents. Even the center vent and shifter trim bezel were clean- two items that seem to also be in short supply these days. Tonight I plan to install some temporary wheels on my own hatch in order to swap places in the garage with the parts car and work to finish removing all of the other useful items before placing the rolling shell for sale. Fingers crossed I can make quick work of this and get it out of here so that my car can go back inside ASAP.

There’s always a little girl around willing to lend a hand. It was Alexi this time around…

Now, back to an S13 we actually care about. After picking up the parts car and getting my kids put to bed on Friday night, I ended up staying out in the garage until after 3 AM to try to make some decent headway. My wife was gone for a girl’s night with her mom, so it was the perfect time for me to sacrifice some sleep and try to get some stuff taken care of.

After torquing the flywheel bolts on the resurfaced stock flywheel, I installed the Stage II Comp Clutch back onto the SR. This is the clutch that was on the engine when I got it and was a fairly fresh install, so it should still have plenty of life left. I really wanted to spring for something nicer, but it just isn’t in the cards at the moment with how many other things are currently on the list. This is the same clutch I have in my hatch, so hopefully it will treat me well for a while until it can be upgraded someday down the road.

I remembered the dust plate first time this try! And it only took 11 years…

I next turned my attention to the transmission. I installed fresh input and output seals, as well as a fresh gasket for the input seal cover. A new rubber boot for the shift fork near the clutch slave was also locked into place.

A NISMO pivot ball was also installed along with a fresh OEM Nissan release bearing. The old one must not have been replaced when the clutch was done as it was fairly notchy. I was glad I elected to replace it!

After the transmission refresh was finished up, I set out to complete the tedious task of mating the engine and transmission by myself. This is always a ton of fun, but once I got things propped up in a certain way they finally went together smoothly. I also bolted the starter in place.

A little sketchy perhaps but it got the job done!

My heater hoses arrived from John Kim at TF Works, so I decided to install that on the back of the head prior to dropping it into the car. I’ve waited to do this in the past until the drivetrain is in the car and it typically isn’t a whole lot of fun.

With the drivetrain ready to drop in, I reinstalled the power steering lines on the front subframe so that I wouldn’t have to mess with that later. I do plan to replace all of the lines, but I haven’t gotten a hold of everything to do that just yet. I’ve elected to run the factory power steering reservoir and lines this time around instead of utilizing an aftermarket solution like on my hatch. The reservoir on my hatch leaks like crazy and it drives me nuts. Definitely something I need to address in the future.

There’s something so satisfying about installing an SR20 by yourself into an S13 late at night. It’s a place I’ve found myself in many times over the years and it is always met with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. After lowering the front of the car down considerably so that the transmission would clear the core support and the cherry picker would not hit my garage door, I managed to slide everything into place without a scratch. I bolted up the NISMO engine and transmission mounts with fresh Nissan hardware. It felt great to step back and get my first look at the car with an engine in place.

So that’s just about where things stand at the moment. When I removed the interior from the part out car, I bagged up and labeled every single screw and piece of hardware so that I can use it on my coupe when the time comes to assemble the interior. A lot of it was torn out when I bought it, so this will ensure that the proper nuts and bolts make their way back into all of the various locations at some point down the road.

I’m hoping to make some headway during the long holiday weekend if at all possible. I hope everyone stays safe and has a great end of summer bash. Thanks for stopping by!


Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Back to School, Baaaack to School…

Progress has slowed slightly in the garage this week due to life taking priority. Alicia has been sick for nearly the past week meaning that I prefer to spend my time taking care of her and the girls as well as attempting to keep the house somewhat in order. Kinsey and Hattie will both start school this coming Monday (second grade and kindergarten respectively) so we’ve been busy with open houses and making sure everything is set for the new school year to begin.

Despite the chaos around the house, I did manage to get a few small things done in the garage to keep the progress and motivation flowing. After painting the front subframe and getting some undercoating finished, I was able to bolt it back into place.

I finally managed to remove the stock exhaust system for the car to get that out of the way. I don’t think I have ever seen one of these intact on a car here in Michigan… at least not with huge rust holes in it. Kind of cool to see actually…

I’ve slowly been working my way from the front of the car to the back with undercoating. I sprayed some on the bottom portions of the firewall where the paint didn’t have great coverage and have started working through the transmission tunnel. This gives me enough coverage to get the drivetrain installed soon- I’ll finish up the rest at a later date.

I took the steering rack to my cousin’s house last weekend and used his bench vise to remove the old crusty tie rods and ends. One of these days maybe I will actually get motivated enough to build a proper work bench so that I can install my grandfather’s old vice, but for now I’ll continue to work on the garage floor. After a thorough cleaning, I bolted the steering rack back into place alongside a set of NISMO steering rack bushings.

Steering rack after removing about 3″ of crud…

I purchased this NISMO power brace about a year ago with every intention of installing it on my hatch, but it ended up just sitting in my basement. I decided to bolt it up to the coupe and get some use out of it in the mean time. The silver looks pretty nice against the fresh black paint in the bay.

I next installed the fuel filter bracket and secured the fuel and brake lines to the frame rail. I’m currently waiting on the Z32 fuel filter to arrive from Nissan as well as a slew of other items specific to the engine bay. I just got the shipping notification today so I should have those things here and ready to rock by mid next week.

Speaking of packages, I just received my heater core hoses today from John Kim at TF Works. Thanks as always for the great customer service John!

As for the drivetrain, I took the engine off of the stand and replaced the rear main seal. Once that was finished, I installed the factory flywheel that I just got back from the machine shop last weekend.

My hope for tonight is to finish installing the clutch, toss some fresh seals in the transmission, and get everything bolted together. Now that the heater hoses are here, I should have everything I need to drop the engine into the car. I do have one distracting S13 related task that I need to tend to after work today before I can get that work done, so we’ll have to wait and see if I actually manage to install the drivetrain this weekend or not- but more on that next week! It could be a lot to accomplish, but I’m hoping things go my way.

Thanks as always for reading and following along with me. I hope you have a great weekend!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Progress Report: S13 Coupe Week 1

With my second 240SX home safe and sound, I’ve spent quite a bit of time during the late evening hours outside in the garage this past week beginning to make some progress on it. Things always take a lot longer than I expect them to, but I am happy with the progress thus far.

After unloading everything from the inside of the car, I vacuumed all of the random gunk out of the interior to see where everything stands. I ended up bringing all of the black interior items I have collected over the past ten months up from the basement to get an idea of what I have on hand and which things I still need to get a hold of. For the most part I was pleased to find that I have probably about 80% of the needed interior pieces to turn this once brown on beige clunker into what I hope will one day be a black on black beauty. I’m specifically geeked about the Silvia manual seatbelt conversion- but we’ll get to that in another post at some point.

This will all need a good scrub down before being installed in the car.

For whatever reason, I decided to tackle assembling a rear speaker deck for the car. I somehow ended up with three different rear speaker decks from the various cars I parted out last winter. One of them was the version without the high mounted stop light and was in decent enough shape, but the defrost vents were broken and the speaker covers looked a little rough. I ended up removing the vents from the brown speaker deck that came in the car as both of them were miraculously in good shape. I hit the vents and speaker covers with some SEM trim black to freshen everything up a bit. The finished product looks much better in black without that large brake light in the back window. Looking forward to finalizing the install when the interior goes in!

Turning three rear speaker deck setups into one complete assembly.

Cleaned and prepped for paint.

Completed speaker deck assembly with high mounted stoplight removed.

I’m no audio expert, but I think this might need to be replaced. I’ll probably never get to it though and it will end up like my hatch without a sound system.

While working on the interior, I next turned my attention to installing the clutch pedal and master cylinder assemblies. Fortunately this auto to manual conversion was much more straightforward than my GS400 as all S13s come complete with a bracket and template of sorts on the firewall. A few zaps with the drill and a 1.5″ hole saw bit and the car was ready to accept the third pedal. I could probably have cleaned up the clutch pedal bracket and painted it prior to installing it, but the original patina doesn’t bother me all that much- especially since no one will see it once installed.

Nissan was kind enough to leave the clutch pedal structure in place on automatic cars like this one- making installing the clutch pedal and master cylinder a breeze.

Rounding out this week’s interior tasks included reinstalling the throttle cable and putting in the fresh accelerator pedal I sourced from Japan. As you may recall, I ended up buying a second one for the coupe back when I ordered a new one for my hatch a while back. The replacement pads for the clutch and brake pedals are en route and should be here next week with any luck.

Fresh accelerator pedal, throttle cable, and clutch pedal installed.

Moving next to the front of the chassis, I dropped the complete front subframe to clean things up a bit. The subframe was caked with 27 years worth of gunk and grime, which took a fair amount of time to get cleaned up. Once I had removed it from the steering rack and control arms, I scrubbed until it was finally clean enough to be prepped. Last night I painted the front subframe and manual transmission crossmember with a fresh coat of black.

Just about everything came off of the car by hand. So nice to work on a chassis that spent most of its life down south vs. my crust bucket of a hatch.

27 years worth of gunk and grime.

Front subframe and manual crossmember treated to a fresh coat of paint.

With the subframe out of the way, I taped off all of the holes in the bay before spraying some fresh undercoating in the front fender wells. I still need to take a hammer to the metal chassis seams in here to make clearance for the eventual wheel and tire setup, but I’ll have to wait until the weekend to do that- can’t be making all that noise so late at night with my kids asleep in the room above the garage! Once that is done I’ll touch things up a bit and should be in good shape. Also note that all of the rust that once resided here on the driver’s side has been repaired prior to the engine bay being painted. Pretty nice to have that taken care of!

Holes taped up to prevent undercoating from spraying into the bay.

Before. You can see the area where the metal was recently replaced to remove rust.

After: Looking much better!

I tossed my fresh grommets into the firewall for the AC block off and heater core lines. The grommet I ordered to delete the AC was from a 180SX, and the larger circular grommet was just slightly too big for the factory hole in the firewall to properly stay in place. A little bit of Automotive Goop later and it is installed securely. Much like my hatch, I will not be installing AC on this car so I elected to install this grommet used on S13s that were not equipped with it.

So that’s where things stand at the moment. I’ll be picking up my flywheel for the SR20 from the machine shop tomorrow and hope to make some progress on that end this weekend. If things go smoothly, I should be able to reinstall the front subframe and drop the engine into the bay sometime in the next two weeks. I’m hoping to focus my efforts on the engine bay for the foreseeable future before moving on to the interior. Fortunately there’s no big rush or time frame that this needs to be completed by, so I’ll just continue to work on various areas of the car that interest me and let it all come together over time.

I can’t explain how great it feels to be spending time out in the garage again with a large project underway. Being out in the cool evening temps with a full moon and a peaceful neighborhood has been really good for me to experience. I forgot how satisfying it is to work on your car with the door open when it isn’t 20ยบ out. Hoping to make the most of the rest of the summer and fall before that could wintry weather returns.

Thanks as always for stopping by. Have a great weekend!




Posted in PS13 Build, Restoration, Uncategorized | 2 Comments


As I have primarily been posting overhaul progress on an SR20DET engine I scored from a partout car last winter for the past few months while my S13 is collecting dust, I wouldn’t fault you at all if you forgot there is actually a car that will eventually be mated up with that drivetrain.

In case you missed it, I picked up a bone stock ’92 S13 coupe back in October of 2018 (or more specifically, my friend Tim picked it up for me.) After Tim graciously towed the car from Indiana to his parents’ barn for winter storage, we got to work by removing the USDM pop-up front end and brown interior from the car. After inspecting it thoroughly, we stripped the engine bay to have some rust repaired and the bay repainted prior to transporting it to my house.

Fast forward about nine months or so to this past Friday. The car is finally home in my garage next to my other S13- a pretty awesome feeling. While it may seem like this took way too long, this is exactly the realistic timeline I set for myself to get the engine bay painted and have the car transported back to my house. My goal for a while now has been to have the car home and the engine sitting inside the bay before the end of the fall, so at this point things are right on schedule.

Alexi was very curious about what her father had gotten himself into this time…

Believe it or not, this was actually the first time I have seen the car in the daylight. It definitely has its share of dings, especially on the driver’s door and quarter panel- but nothing that can’t be taken care of prior to paint. I have a replacement trunk in the basement with a factory spoiler on it, but I haven’t decided which look I prefer just yet.

The trunk has some rust forming around the holes where there must have been a spoiler at one time. Both of the tail lights have some cracks, but I have sourced a cleaner pair that will eventually make their way onto the car. This must have been a high school student’s ride at some point based on the sticker on the back window.

This time around I elected not to shave anything in the engine bay to maintain a factory appearance. I attempted to piece together a shaved engine bay on my hatch many years back and have since grown to regret it, so I left everything as-is this time around. The rust above the frame rail has been repaired and I now have a blank canvas to work from. The battery, brake and clutch lines, and fuse boxes will all remain in their respective factory locations.

Various interior and chassis items were all piled inside of the car for transport, so I slowly began diving in and getting organized over the weekend when I had the time- but I’ll save that for a future post.

It feels good to finally have the car at home in my own garage. I’m anxious to dive in and begin getting some work done on this thing. With any luck I’ll have some progress to share soon. Thanks as always for stopping by!


Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Don’t Call it an Update

Not much to report in the garage at all this week aside from a couple small items for the PS13 arriving from RHD Japan: a new hood prop rod, NISMO clutch pivot ball, NISMO steering rack bushings, and some rubber bumpers for the doors and under the hood that were much cheaper in Japan than in the US:

My wife and I celebrated our ten year anniversary this past Wednesday and leave for Cancun a week from tomorrow, so car work hasn’t really been on my radar. It might be a while before I can make any progress, but such is life!

Have a great weekend and stay cool- it’s going to be a hot one!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July is Here

With summer in full swing, I’ve been spending most of my free time away from work with friends and family. We have been fortunate enough to enjoy a lot of really cool stuff that comes with Michigan living in the summer which is really nice. You’ll learn that Michiganders tend to take advantage of nice weather at any opportunity since we live in dark, dreary, and cold conditions for half of the year. Summer is always a time to be appreciated and enjoyed.

Look at this and try not to start humming Queen…

While our Fourth of July weekend was very busy, I did spend a small bit of time out in the garage over the last couple of weeks. Though I haven’t accomplished a ton, I continue to make small bits of progress. I picked up a clutch master cylinder for the PS13 manual conversion from Exedy. I probably should have gone with an OEM Nissan one, but the price was hard to pass up. Perhaps this will change down the road, but it should be sufficient for now.

I also picked up some brand new windshield wiper and turn signal stalks for the eventual PS13 interior completion. One of these is discontinued from Nissan, but the other is still available. I was able to source these ones from Rock Auto for a reasonable price, and they’re identical to the factory Nissan components in every way. I did the same for my hatch a year or so ago and it really cleans up the interior nicely.

I sent my fuel injectors out to Injector Rehab to have them cleaned and flow tested. I was pretty impressed when I sent them in on Monday and got them back by Friday! They also installed new O-rings and pintle caps- which is a good thing since my caps were cracked and in very bad condition. I spent some time cleaning up the fuel rail before reinstalling it on the engine with the refreshed injectors. I also replaced the small portion of fuel line on the rail and the O-ring inside the FPR.

I next turned my attention to cleaning up the filthy transmission. I think it might have actually looked better dirty, but at least it won’t be a mess when working under the car in the future. I also cleaned up the manual crossmember I acquired for the manual swap. I need to replace a couple seals on the transmission and fix a broken wire on the reverse light sensor and then it should be more or less ready to go. I noticed the drain plug is stripped and appears to be stuck, so I should probably figure that out as well before it goes in the car.

Yikes… that ain’t going to cut it.

I’m just about ready to take the engine off of the stand so that I can replace the rear main seal before mating it with the clutch, flywheel, and transmission. My factory flywheel has seen better days, so I need to find a solution for that. I would ideally like to install a NISMO Coppermix clutch and flywheel, but I am not sure that is going to be in the cards any time soon. I also need to make a decision about the alternator- either replace it with a remanufactured KA unit, or bolt the current SR one up and hope for the best (the latter being the method I am currently employing on my other car.)

As for the coupe chassis itself, I am finally making a bit of progress- though not through anything I have done directly. My good friend Tim tossed the suspension and some stock wheels he had on hand onto the car for me and transported it to his friend TJ’s shop this past Monday to have the engine bay painted. There is a small spot of rust above the frame rail on the driver’s side that needs to be fixed before the engine bay is resprayed, so that will be addressed as well.

I’m hoping to have the car in my garage at home by sometime in mid August. My wife and I are traveling to Cancun for our ten year wedding anniversary in just two short weeks, so I don’t really plan to try to accomplish anything from a car standpoint until after we return. Our kids will be heading to school not long after that so I am sure life is going to be pretty hectic for a bit, but I’ll continue to tinker with the cars as I am able to.

Finally, I picked up a cheap set of “tear drop” wheels with tires to keep on hand for rolling the coupe around once it is in my garage. The ones on it currently are borrowed since I sold the original steelies it was equipped with on one of the other coupes I parted out previously.

As for my other 240, it’s still just sitting in the garage on jack stands. Though it is tempting to try to pick up a set of wheels for it, I’ll likely try to continue to let it sit until spring. I have a list of small improvements I would like to make on it as time allows, but it’s really just general maintenance type of stuff. No other big plans for it at the moment as I choose to focus my energy on the PS13 for the time being.

Thanks as always for stopping by. Have a great weekend!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment