Published on January 28th, 2015 | by Jos Roder


Project One Five: Beginnings

I had been toying with selling my 180SX and upgrading, so finding a nice track S15 pushed me over the line and before I knew it, I was handing over plastic notes and trailering the new machine home. I now had two toys in the garage.

The S15 was a JDM Spec, imported as a track only car. It came with only some simple mods: a half cage with side intrusion bars, a nice Bride seat, intercooler, turbo back exhaust, full body kit, wheels, R33 brake conversion, nice Quantum coil overs with Swift springs, a NISMO clutch and a few other bits and pieces.

As much as I would’ve loved to have kept the 180SX as a battle car and just use the S15 for track days and a few drift competitions, the bank balance, my other half and my rational self were not in favour of this option, so the 180SX was sadly sold on. I took solace in the fact it was bought by a newcomer to the sport, allowing someone else the chance to enjoy drifting and in a car I’m confident will serve him well.

With the 180 out of the way, modification could begin on the S15. After taking possession of the car, the list of changes and upgrades required quickly grew but there were three initial things I needed to sort which included a new fuel pump, new radiator and some cage modifications.

Providing engine cooling and fuel to the engine are both imperative to reliability, and the S15 still only had a standard fuel pump and radiator. I was quick to order upgraded items from Donny at Forced Motorworx.

My friend Warwick agreed to help modify the cage on a Saturday evening at his workshop, which would make our lives much easier and also give me time to fit the radiator.

S15’s have another air con (or is it just a factory thermo?) fan, however it is a restriction to the clutch fan’s ability to pull more air through the radiator, as such it was an easy decision to remove.

After pulling out the standard radiator, it shows how thin the standard S15 radiator core is despite the top tanks indicating something somewhat thicker. The standard S15 radiator core is actually the thinnest of all three evolutions of vehicles. I would be interested to ask Mr Nissan why that is!? My new 40mm core was more than twice as thick and should be superior in cooling ability.

It’s always good to test fit the shroud to the new radiator to see how it lines up and mates to the radiator surface. The shroud bolted up nicely, but due to the top tank increased size, the shroud surface was not mating well and a gap of a bout 1cm was evident on the top and bottom of the shroud.

As such, this 3M rubber seal tape works wonders as it is flexible and seals any gap nicely, so this was applied to help ensure all air was being sucked through the radiator, rather than any pressure loss due to the gaps.

Meanwhile Waz was working hard on changing the cage to something I would be more comfortable in.

Having a cross bar in the main hoop is a great decision, unless you are nearly two metres tall. The seat could not fully retract as the seat back was hitting the cross brace. I asked Waz to move the cross bar so it lined up diagonally down to the passenger side rear stay location and at the same time weld in a harness bar for me.

You have to be careful you don’t interfere or cut into the remaining bar (main hoop), You can still see the remnants of the cross bar in the hoop.

After modifications, the cross bar now extends down to the rear stay on the passenger side. You can also see the harness bar that was installed so my harness will sit on a nice angle as it feeds into the seat shoulder slots.

STAY TUNED: Fuel Pumps, Dyno time and fixing all those little things are all in the next installments of Project One Five.

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About the Author

Jos Roder

is the owner of Drift Life and delves deeper into drifting culture. Jos started drifting more than 10 years ago after discovering a sport existed that captured his favourite motoring endeavour, going sideways! Jos works full-time in the automotive/motorsport field as a PR Manager and Advanced Driving Instructor and currently owns a JDM S15 Nissan Silvia for drift/track/hillclimb duties.

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