A lot of people feel like there is some rush to build a car. Cutting corners, doing it with incorrect tools, incorrect parts, not following manufacturer specs, and ultimately complaining further down the line about the small things that bug them about their car. I feel that building a car is a very long process, there are always things that don’t go as planned, new discoveries, or new “may-as-wells” that are discovered when you are doing something. I honestly enjoy building my car, I can say I don’t care too much about driving it, I just really enjoy adding parts. Creating is something I’ve always had a nack and passion for, taking my time with everything, busting out the brass wire wheel dremel, polishing up bolts, hitting every possible detail. It’s not always a fun task, but there is no greater feeling than taking a second look every time I walk by some work I did on the car, and admiring the cleanliness of the job. In the end, the car is a project car, and to me, thats the correct approach to building these cars. Schassis are not exactly the best ideal daily driver, they are unsafe, very old, small, and usually something on them is not working great. Personally, if I didn’t have the money to own an schassis, and a daily car, I wouldn’t bother getting an schassis, because these cars need a lot of attention, which sadly, the majority of the schassis community neglects with a plethora of poorly built cars.
For me, these “may-as-wells” are particularly frustrating, as I live in a very remote location, so picking up simple supplies like paint, bolts, washers, or basic tools are a chore, and almost always need to be ordered online, which means a 1 week wait for 1 small part, hoping its even in stock. At times this one small part, can hold up my entire build, and for a very long time, its happened many times I’ve had to wait a month or longer, just for one small part, so my car could progress further. With the whole waiting for parts thing, I also don’t have a lot of time to work on my car. I work rotation shifts, so basically every other week I have a week off, which is the only time I have free to myself, and the only time I have to work on the car. Work days are 12hr shifts, so the 2-3 hours after work I have to myself is spent relaxing, and winding down before I go to sleep.
Anyways, enough with the boring stuff, lets explore the pedantry of my approach to the build. Now that the car was at home, there were many things I had in plan, before I could start re-installing parts. Step one was to get heat, and organize the garage a bit better, the shelving was fairly poor, so there wasn’t much space to store parts effectively. When you pull an entire car apart, it takes up a lot more space than you think. I was starting to accumulate a nice pile of tools, so it only made sense to get myself a tool box. Finished it all off by replacing the old poor burnt out 8ft fluorescent lights, with some led tubes, and a cover craft custom linen car cover to protect the 180’s brand new paint job.
With a fresh paint job, of course it made sense to install full new window moldings and exterior trims. Had also ordered a bunch of seals for the transmission.
I had most of the seals/trim replaced already, but wasn’t completely happy with the way the old door/mirror seal was cracked at the top corner, so I replaced that as well.
Another area I started to address, was the components of the engine bay. I had restored the wiper cowl, a bit difficult to see in this picture, but, didn’t really bother taking pictures of the restoration process, was fairly quick with a quick scuff with a butterscotch pad, and some SEM landau black. SEM products are the champ at restoring old worn/faded plastics.
This car is more than 20 years old, and certainly shows it up close, sure a pretty paint job, and some window trim is a great aesthetic upgrade, but there are a lot of parts inside the bay that needed some attention.
Wiper amp had signs of aging, so i freed the aluminum from the oxidation.
And gave the motor cap a nice coat of flat black, this was just he first coat. Same treatment to the brake booster, grind down to bare metal, and sprayed flat black.
I had also received the parts and tools necessary to finish off rebuilding my head. Took a very long time for me to receive a dial indicator stand, as some guy on ebay tried to scam me, and ended up never sending me one. By the time I had a stand, i found out the dial indicator I had was not ideal, as it was intended for far more precise work, and the stem was also too short to reach the shims. Unfortunately, it was not time yet to finally button up the sr20, as a bunch of parts still had to get sent out for ceramic coat/powder coat. At least I got to use the very expensive OEM nissan shim tool I scored for very cheap in comparison to what Nissan sold it for.
While the car was apart, and getting refreshed, I decided I should give some attention to the underside of the car. My order of 3M professional Grade undercoat had finally arrived, so I decided to drop the rear subframe.
The diff was a bit dusty.
So I cleaned it up with the trusty dremel.
And gave her a little refresh. Sadly, the subframe bushings were toast, even being such a low mileage JDM import.
So I had completely disassembled the rear end, and luckily found some a set of Nismo subframe bushings. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting (almost 2 months now) because USPS sucks!
The tank was in very good condition, a quick scrub with some degreaser, and a hit with the pressure washer, and she was ready for some undercoat treatment. Since I have deleted my carbon canister, I installed a vent line on the rear of the tank with a small filter on the end. I actually ended up shortening the line it so the filter ended up in the mid region of the tank, rather than going all the way across the tank near the exhaust.
Gave some love as well to the gas tank protector plastics, and the rear fender well plastic.
After some degreaser
After a scotch brite scuff, and some SEM landau black
Same treatment for the rear fender/tank stem plastic
Now that nearly everything under the car was removed, washed, de-greased, scrubbed, de-greased again, and then pressure washed clean, I masked off the entire car, in fear of getting undercoat on my brand new paint job.
Remember to wear a full face respirator, if you ever use the undercoat stuff. Stuff gets everywhere, and is very nasty to inhale, the thick spray pattern is misleading, and a lot of small fine particles end up floating around, as you can see by looking at the floor in the next image. Not sure if it was because of sleep deprivation, or spraying this stuff with no mask, but I had nearly passed out under my car shortly after starting to spray it under the spare tire well lol. Thats when I decided to put on theh full face. Anyways, spraying the stuff didn’t take very long, its the painful amount of prep work, scrubbing, cleaning, masking etc, that made this a very annoying task to do, but as you can see, was well worth it.
With all the crawling around under the car, I got sick of looking at the dirty AC system – this was a very miserable job. Wish I would have took a picture before I touched anything with a dremel, but heres a little before/after anyways, spent almost 4 hours just cleaning this up.
That was enough for this post, still have a lot of information to share about my experience with the wire tuck/fuse box relocation that recently has been completed, so I’m thinking of doing a write up solely on wiring, as well as a big update with brakes, and a complete suspension replacement (you didn’t really think I was gonna throw those stock arms back in my car did you???), as well as an update, and close up look at my motor, what has been done, what parts I’m using etc.
Anyways, thanks for reading, guys!
Till next time!