In the last blog post, the focus was restoration of the body of the 180sx, with undercoat treatment, window molding replacement, as well reconditioning the A/C system, and cleaning up a few misc. parts for installation. All in preparation of the next stage, brakes and suspension.
Now that I was finally happy with the underside of the chassis, it was time to start to re-assemble everything, of course with upgraded components. The nismo rear sub frame bushings finally came in after a few months delay with usps, so I promptly brought the sub frame to a local shop, to have the old crusty bushings pressed out, and the brand new old stock nismo bushings pressed in.
I wire wheeled the entire sub frame, and sprayed on a few fresh coats of VHT chassis black aerosol.
I finally was able to utilize the large box of suspension parts that had been collecting dust for a few weeks. I got a fairly decent deal on some used Ikeya Formula arms for the rear, for the most part, I really enjoyed putting the sub frame back together, reminiscent to building legos as a kid. Unfortunately, installing the lower control arms wasn’t very fun, and I’ll tell you why.
After having a hell of a time getting the lower control arms onto the sub frame, it was finally all together, and it was now time to play the balancing act, and shimmy this bad boy back into the rear end of the car.
I had also planned to upgrade the stock 180sx brakes that were on the car, so I found a drum setup from a Nissan r33 skyline, and replaced the used pads with some freshness from project mu.
Unfortunately the e-brake cables that came with the drum kit, were way too short, and I had to search for some z32 2+2 cables, so as usual, the project was on hold, which I was ok with, as I was going to be away for a few weeks to attend a wedding in Europe, and catch up with old friends. After I got back from Europe, the parts were in, and I went ahead with the install of the new cables, and necessary brackets, and could finally install the hubs and rotors for the r32 vspec II calipers I had sourced.
I ran into another bump in the road and had to order more parts to replace the stock r32 brake lines with some stoptech braided lines, as the r32 lines were way too short. All said and done, the brake upgrade was looking pretty dope.
I went to install the stock 180sx rear sway bar, and I was finally 100% positive something was wrong with the lower control arms. I went and did a little research online, comparing pictures of s13 vs s14 ones, and I found out that there was a large possibility that these lower control arms were meant for s14. I also happened to have a bit of luck, and sourced some s13 ikeya formula lower control arms, and after finally receiving them, I could confirm my suspicions placing the parts side by side.
I ended up getting a hold of upgarage, to return the non fitting lower control arms and they were happy to let me return them, even after owning them for almost 3 months. They had listed the arms for 180sx, wen in fact they are s14 lower control arms. I was very happy with how they handled the situation offering me a full refund, at the same time, I wasn’t looking forward to disassembling the entire rear end for the third time now.
I got everything back together rather quickly, and I thought I was finally done with the rear end now for good. I somehow stumbled upon some information about the rear drum kits, and realized that I should have some sort of washer or spacer between the knuckle and the hub, to eliminate the play in the drum brake anchor bolt. So I ordered a spacer kit from pbm (which totally is not meant for s13 rear hubs and SUCKS) and eliminated the gap between the drum coming up with some clever ideas to make it actually work. At the same time, I got some longer axles, and increased the track width of the car by 1″1/4 on each side using a j30 axle and swapping the longer side 180sx axle, to the other side to replace the shorter one. Finally, it was time to move on to the front side of the car.
The front side of the car would receive a similar dose of ikea formula parts, and a new knuckle steup from Gk-tech. The car is being built for time attack, so I went with the GKtech Grip knuckle. I had also decided to buy brand new ikeya formula parts for the front, as I didn’t have much luck finding anything that was used, and in decent shape.
I also ordered a nismo power brace – a necessary upgrade to any s-chassis.
So, what you are looking at, is ikeya formula lower control arm kit, which includes the tension rods, also got full ikeya formula tie rod setup, with the spherical end link kit. The best, highest quality setup for an s13 available on the market. I also finally got my hands on a set of endless 6 piston calipers in very good shape, which would complete the brake upgrades replacing the 100% stock 180sx brake system.
I plan everything with my car, and had been searching for an upgraded BMC to sync with the upgraded braking system, the stock 180sx BMC would not cut it any more, and after doing a lot of research of possible upgrades, I found that the best option would be from an r32 GTR. Problem is, it is a VERY rare, and expensive BMC, that was only offered as an optional upgrade for racing teams in that era, who wanted to shed some weight on the r32 gtr, and drop the ABS system, and replace it with a 3 port master cylinder. The BM50 made by Tokico, is a 1″ master cylinder, definitely an upgrade over the stock 15/16″ non abs BM44 master cylinder.
Went ahead and made some makeshift lines to bench bleed the master before install, and went to install the kit. This is when I ran into another setback. A year prior, with an engine bay tuck in mind, I had ordered the chase bays brake line tuck kit. I wasn’t really paying attention when I ordered the kit, and I ended up ordering the wrong, more expensive kit, for a different setup where the brake booster is eliminated. So upon test fitting the lines, everything was wrong. I messaged chase bays, if they could exchange the kit for me, for the correct, much cheaper one, and they had no issue at all, even though it was over a year, that I made the initial purchase. I was just really happy that they offered me the exchange, it was a mistake on my end ordering the wrong (more expensive) kit, so I let them keep the balance as a show of gratitude. So again, after weeks of waiting for parts, I finally got the BM50 installed.
Moving on to installing the upgraded suspension bits, I ran into yet again, another set back. To gain some track width, I had extended the lower control arms, and in doing so, the stock 180sx sway bay would not bolt back in (Geeze sway bars don’t like me lol). As you can see in the picture below, its impossible to bolt up the end links.
Well, I went on the internet again, and started to look for some options. After doing some research, I found the best option, would be to run some spherical, adjustable sway end links, which is a nice upgrade to have anyways. I chose to go with ARC (not abbey road arc, auto refine co arc). ARC has a history of producing high quality parts, and with this build, no expense is spared. After waiting a few weeks, they finally arrived, I still have not gotten around to installing them yet, as many other things have been happening on the side.
That will sum it up for the suspension, I believe I can check off suspension and brakes, until I find something else to upgrade.
Thank you very much for reading, and stay posted for the next update, which some of you may have seen on instagram, but of course, I will be going into a lot of detail on it through the blog.
Also feel free to drop a comment, or ask me a question, best way to reach me is on instagram @hubeny .