Let the paint and bodywork begin… Oh and LS in the future…

So lets dig into it. I have really been working on getting the body ready for paint, I bought a pressure washer (and oh my god I love this little thing), coupled with the multitude of sandpapers and scotch brites I have, this has turned into a dusty affair. I started with the engine bay, as all of you may remember it was canary yellow and ugly as sin.

It is now a better shade of black, thanks to Duplicolor (really like this stuff I’m using) as seen below.

This transformation has not only allowed me to sleep better but has gotten notice from passer by’s who have told me how much better it looks than, that eyesore yellow. Yes in the picture above there was some touch up needed, but it has been buttoned up and looks great now.

The next thing I started on was a test paint with the same Duplicolor paint (gloss black acrylic enamel) with three coats of Acrylic clear coat (same brand) and man I was surprised to see how it turned out. I mean I painted cars for a few years, so I have more than a basic knowledge on how to prep and paint a car but I was not expecting the results I was able to achieve out of rattle cans. I did the door because it was in primer and needed to be cleaned up to wrap (my eventual plan), this is why I am not worrying with a professional spray.

Stage one (I did some primer filling for some various deep scratches)

Once filled I sanded to my liking and primed the entire surface, and sanded again for color. (Just a tip, this primer is made by Duplicolor as well and would make for a really nice primer sleeper color.)

Next I sprayed the color, which took about 3/4’s of a can.

And then the color was cleared three times.

It’s not supposed to be a finished product, because I’m just doing it to add slick finish to the car to be able to be spray wrapped (also Duplicolor), but it turned out so damn nice I really wouldn’t mind rocking it on the street.

Okay now on to the LS subject.

I have done a ton of soul searching in the time that I have owned the S13 and I have come to some major conclusions.

  1. I really want this to be more than just a car I put back together and make fast.
  2. I really want this car to reflect my personality.
  3. I really want to drop an LS variety engine in it’s engine bay.

After some talking with my wife and some talking with other car enthusiasts, I have determined that while I love my Nissan heritage, it’s getting a bit stale, and at this point in my life does not really fit my personality. I’m a rather large and sometimes imposing person. I’m not a loud mouth but I speak my mind, and I don’t mind speaking the truth loud when necessary. This coupled with my innate power (just from being a large guy) I feel as though the Chevrolet 6.0 fits my personality to a tee. She’s loud when she needs to be, makes power all the time in any form, and god does she tell the truth!

I know this is going to be considerably more expensive, and I know that the VG33ET could make as much power as the 6.0 can cheaper, but it is not what I want anymore. I want a more modern platform, with aftermarket support, and a following that spans almost every modified RWD car made (yep even mustangs). I have a plan and I’m sticking to this one. The only deviation may be an L33 5.3 instead of a 6.0 as I have one in my possession but am actively trying to trade / sell it for the 6.0.

That’s about all I have for this week. The weather seems to be cooperating so I will hopefully be able to get more done in the near future. Tomorrow will probably see me cleaning up and painting the cross member where I can (springs are rotten and rusted as shit). Bolting the cross member back is the goal before next pay day when I have a 10×16 shed being delivered to the house for storing the front end parts currently residing in my kitchen.

 

Until next time,

-SCS13

Engine bay prep and rain…

So the car has been slow going. Spring time is in the air and temperatures are up in the 70’s most days, making me feel like I really want to work on the car and that’s where it stops…. The rain will not leave me alone. Every day I have time to work on the car it rains. I did get a few things done this week, cleared the engine bay of all of it’s distractions, pulled the front end body pieces, cross member, brake lines, clutch master, and lines, etc. I did get a good majority of sanding done to it, but am now in need of a good pressure washer to get some dirt out of areas I can’t sand it out of (seams mainly).

 

Time for some backstory…

A week or so ago I went to Pic N Pull to grab some parts off a 1990 240sx they had just dropped off, 92k original miles, college kid car neglected in areas but otherwise unmolested and in decent shape. I picked up a few trim pieces, the cluster, 2 seat belts, the seat belt controller (the one in the middle) and a few other parts. The main part I was after was the main body harness, as I was under the impression mine was cut at the engine relay box on the passenger and driver side. I spent all of 2 hours pulling this harness and got home to find out that the guy had done an SR swap and had relocated the relay boxes upside down under the fender on both sides, so I now have an extra pristine body harness for a spare, if I end up not needing it, it will be for sale so keep an eye out.

Anyway, I pulled the harness to the fire wall without incident, and found it’s in decent shape, nothing I would write home about but good enough, though I will probably re-loom it. Here is a picture after I pulled it from the front end.

Next I decided to pull the clutch master, and all the hard lines still in the engine bay. I’m pretty sure I’m going to run new hard lines for both front brakes and clutch. They weren’t mangled but they had been bent out of the way for the bottom mount turbo and IC piping and I just don’t like the way some of them looked.

 

I then pulled the cross member to get it and the rack / PS lines out of the way of the front rails, to get ready for paint. I can’t wait to get rid of this yellow. It’s by far the worst job I have ever seen for a professional paint job (yeah it was done professionally). I haven’t decided but I’m thinking of going over the engine bay with an enamel paint (black) to stand up tot he heat and look a little deeper. I don’t know we will see.

As you can see in the featured image, my son has really been helping out with all phases so far and I’m super proud of him, he told me he wanted to learn how to work on cars, and he has been super excited every time I have told him we were going to work on the car. I think the dog days of summer may hinder that a bit but who knows?

I will update as much as possible but the spring rains have set in (it’s raining as I type this) and it will probably be slow going until the middle to end of April depending on how long this springs rain season is.

EDIT: I created a video because I was bored. I might actually start doing More Vlogs, I kind of enjoyed.

-SCS13

VG33ET update and RUST!!!

So I found a bit if information today on the swap. There are a few things I need and a few things I need to do but this should be a relatively painless swap. From my discussions with a few key members on the Z31online Facebook group, I learned quite a bit.

The first being that the swap can be done without a mount kit but it requires some modification to the original KA engine mounts. While this is an option I was told about another option I’m leaning towards instead. Excessive Manufacturing has made adjustable mount plates that will help the engine sit lower and further back in the engine bay, increasing the balance by putting the engine further behind the front wheels.

After further conversation I found that I need to be looking for a Nissan Quest VG33E as it has the the correct oil pan. I will still have to notch the oil pan, and the crossover tube will not fit behind the engine. That seemed to be a problem because well, I want to run a turbo. Then out of no where the clouds cleared and heaven itself shown down on me with the most valuable information I had heard all day. Porsche 986 Headers can be fitted to the VG33E turned upside down, flanges cut off and fitted with a few more pieces of pipe to create a poor mans equal length turbo manifold similar to the one below.

I was glad to find that all of the turbo and non turbo VG30 electronics are what I will use for the swap. I was advised I would need to use the VG30 crank but after further discussion found that it would be due to accessories. I will retrofit accessories as needed so this will not be an issue.

Now on to the bad…

I found some cancer while trying to figure out why the driver side fender looked as though it did not line up with the bottom of the door. Come to find out, the lower pinch seam has been damaged and then rusted pretty bad on the fender. The damage is actually on the lower body pinch welds but can be fixed, the fender on the other hand is going to take some work. I will be trying to save the fender but I may be in the market for a new one if I cannot repair the rust issue on the lower pinch of the fender.

 

This will be addressed tomorrow and I will have an update in the afternoon / night.

 

-SCS13

VG33ET????

So I have been going back and forth on the engine to put in this car. I went from an SR (my son likes the way it looks) to an RB25, to a SOHC KA-T to a DOHC KA-T to a 2JZGE (N/A to T eventually) to the VG30ET (SOHC turbo). I started to think about my uses, my power goals, the ability to get parts, engine availability for replacement, and overall price. I guess the best thing to do right now wold be to list the pros and cons for each engine right?

Pros and cons…

SR20DET

Pros-

  • Good power can handle daily up to 300hp on stock block.
  • Easy install
  • Massive aftermarket

Cons-

  • Expensive (3k for a low mileage S14 SR from a reputable importer.
  • Low end torque too low (I prefer torque to high revs)

RB25DET

Pros-

  • Sounds amazing.
  • Meets and exceeds power goals
  • Low end torque available
  • Revs well also

Cons-

  • Expensive
  • Not a direct swap
  • Parts can be hard to find

KA24E-T / KA24DE-T

Pros-

  • Parts readily available
  • Good low end torque for an inline 4
  • Responds well to boost
  • Came in the car no need for refitting or rewire.

Cons-

  • Requires a lot of tuning
  • Requires a custom turbo set (not hard but expensive compared to stock turbo engines)
  • Getting harder to find in my area

VG30ET / VG33ET

Pros-

  • Meets my power goals and exceeds them
  • Great low end torque
  • Good aftermarket if you know where to go
  • Plenty of research
  • Engines available EVERYWHERE
  • VG33E is used as an upgrade (10% more performance)
  • I’m as familiar with the engine as I am with the SR and KA

Cons-

  • It’s not the prettiest engine
  • It can sound odd if the exhaust in done wrong

My goals…

  • Good low end torque
  • 300 to 400 hp
  • Readily available engine
  • Easy to work on
  • Relatively easy on the wallet

With my goals in mind I have to set my sights on the VG. It’s a hell of a proven engine, that can make 300HP on a stock bottom end, has a good aftermarket, has a good following, I can pick up 17 VG33E’s from pick n pull today. They also have my low end torque needs and I really enjoy working on them.

 

My plans going forward…

  • VG33ET
  • Z31 Trans
  • Stock VG30ET turbo manifold (Changed this to a custom manifold made from a set of Porcshe headers)
  • Satan turbo relocation pipe (Not needed anymore)
  • HX35 turbo
  • Larger injectors
  • Possible V-mount FMIC and Radiator
  • Replace the welded dif with a J30.

 

-SCS13

In the beginning…

Have you guys ever seen an S13 that started as a perfectly stock looking car and transformed over time into a work of art? . Well this is a completely different type of story. In this story our hero starts with a really shitty shell and begins to transform it back into its former state of stock glory. To really make this story a good one we need the back story on the car and owner right? Okay here we go!

I fell in love with the S13 fastback when I was 10 years old, when my older cousin bought an 89 fastback. From that day forward I was hooked. I spent many years after that learning to work on cars primarily Nissans (Stanza’s were my staple).

Fast forward to age 17. I bought my first 240sx (my cousins 89 fastback) and drove it for years until the single cam finally died. I did not replace the engine and regretfully sold it and bought another car (1987 200sx SEV6), I loved the S12 as well but my true love was still the S13. At age 26 I bought a fully restored 1989 S13 from a man in Richmond for $1000 dollars and drove it until the single cam spun a rod, I replaced the single cam with a DE from a wrecked 91 I found in the trading post. I bought the whole car for 200 bucks as it had been destroyed in the rear end. I pulled every part I needed and every part worth selling and scrapped the 91 shell. I then decided to build an N/A motor which ran, but like shit and decided to switch it up. I lowered the compression and beefed up the rods and built a pretty decent Turbo KA. After that blew I replaced it with an SR. I sold the car due to a growing family and a need for a back seat. I ultimately ended up with 2 (me and my wife) 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R SpecV’s. They were great fun, affordable, and worked for my family. A few years later I decided to buy another 240sx though it was an S14 (95) and dropped a blacktop SR in it. The car was relatively stock aside from ebay coilovers (ksport I think), FN01RC’s (17×8 all around) and the stock SR with a FMIC and JWT tuned ECU. I sold the car after running into financial hardships, and have not owned another for many years.

That all changed yesterday (3/10/17)…

Yesterday I picked up the biggest project car I have ever seen. Let me explain why,

My 11 year old son recently told me that he was interested in cars and would like to learn to work on them like I (me his dad) used to. My wife really took this as a way for us to bond and I ran with it. I sold my kayak (Rip 2015 Vibe SG130) and made $700 dollars. I found a few cars that had just sold on craigslist, you know those ones that seem like a great deal and evidently they were because they are sold? I finally found the S13 in Norfolk Va. I sent a text to the guy and he still had it, he gave me some info so I went to take a look at it. It was everything I was looking for for a $500 dollar budget. It had all it body parts, most of the interior pieces were at least in the car even though they were all in the hatch area, The car was an auto but had already been converted to manual (though it has no engine or trans in it), and strange as it may seem it already had S14 SE 5 lug hubs swapped onto it (SCORE!) so I bought it.

This is where things get harry…

Being that I live in NC, the car would have to be transported to my house on a trailer. Sadly the race car trailer I often borrow from a friend was being used. So I decided to rent one from Uhaul. I figured I could find one in Chesapeake at the Uhaul hub  closer to the sellers house and just drop it off at my local Uhaul branch. LMAO this was not the case. After waiting for 2 hours on a woman that was supposed to bring a trailer back, only to find she was keeping it for another day. SUPER! So I asked for a dolly instead and she started to locate one for me. She came back and told me that I was in luck there was a dolly available and it wasn’t too far away in Elizabeth City NC. (where I live) so I got in my truck and drove an hour home to pick up the dolly.

2 more hours later…

I finally arrived at the sellers house with the tow dolly and loaded up the car. Like I said its a torn apart shell and as such the steering wheel is hanging down unbolted from its column position and therefore unable to use the steering wheel lock. Fortunately I had a few ratchet straps and strapped the steering wheel in place. (It still swung a bit on the trailer) . Okay I’m on the road. SWEET! First hard turn meet welded dif something the seller neglected to tell me about. Clunk, Clunk, Clunk!!! It seemed to be pulling fine on the dolly so I had no issues doing 65 on the way home. Oh wait, that wheel looks like it’s wobbling wtf?

Take a look at the featured image, check out the rear wheel, does it look like excessive camber? Well it isn’t. The wheel has three studs in it, 2 of which have nuts on them, and one of which is actually tight. Yeah I slowed down, after that. 45 MPH for the next last 8 miles.

Today (3/11/17)…

Replaced all of the missing studs and replaced all of the missing lug nuts. Hubs are in good condition, all 4 calpers need to be replaced along with brackets (2 seem to be stripped). I took inventory of all of the interior pieces I have and put them in a safe place together out of the car. I collected the million bolts, screws, and plastic clips I found and put them all together as well. I then noticed the fuel sending unit was not bolted down and the cover plate was off as well. I threw some stabil in the tank which had very little fuel but seemed rust free inside and closed it up. I collected all of the garbage that was in the car and disposed of it, and vacuumed out what seemed to be a full back of play ground sand (no doubt from the previous owner sand blasting the sound deadening material from the floor panels. All in all I got the care safely move able, cleaned, a list made, and ready to be worked on. I will start to tackle lining up the driver fender and door tomorrow, along with a surface rust issue I have on the interior of the hatch.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading!

-SCS13