Published on June 8th, 2015 | by Jos Roder


Project One Five: The Little Things

With the S15 misbehaving on the dyno and mysteriously not delivering the fuel the computer was demanding, it provided the motivation to review some ancillary parts and clean up all those little things that often seem to be neglected on drift cars. From experience and observation it seems drift cars are often slapped together without much attention paid to minor details, details that can make all the difference to reliability. The S15 I had purchased was very much proving this theory.  Without a clear answer to my fueling issue the best course of action became a case of eliminating any potential variables that could be factors contributing to the core issue. If a problem remains after all these small fixes, we can at least rule them out and save time further down the diagnosis track.

As is the case with any race car you might purchase, the vehicle service history is usually a total unknown. The fuel filter was an obvious first port of call to change and is a simple, cheap piece of insurance. Curiosity got the better of us so we cut open the old one looked to see inside. Has anyone cut open a fuel filter? Here are the results. Better or worse than you expected?

This one certainly looked dirty, but it didn’t display anything catastrophic that should have stopped flow. It would have been interesting to see what a fuel filter looks like after only 1,000km to see what is normal and just how quickly they end up looking sludgy like our example.

With a new Aeroflow fuel pump installed the next task on the list was to direct wire the fuel pump via the battery to ensure it was receiving a constant 12 volts without any drop or interference. Thanks to Robbie, this was taken care of in about thirty minutes.

Installing a new set of plugs is always a nice fresh feeling….for the engine that is.

Once in the swing of the inspection, it was decided to pull off the whole inlet system, to see if there was any leaks before or after the turbo or any other issues that might present. With the air filter looking clean, the next item in the inlet chain was the air flow meter. Some air flow meter cleaner spray was used and the plug inspected before re installation.

The inlet pipe after the Air Flow Meter didn’t have the normal coiled wire that acted as a roll cage of sorts to prevent the pipe from sucking inwards. Issue? Who knows, but it was worth fixing.

In true bush mechanic style and without any other solutions, a coat hanger was the best fix we could come up with on short notice. Far from ideal, however it is better than nothing.

There was various vacuum lines that were chopped, had T’s that went nowhere and various joiners that were all simplified with some new line to remove potential vacuum leaks.

This has to be the most annoying and frequent SR20 issue! Argh! Loud noises! It has happened too many times so the time had come for a permanent fix.

Welding the manifold to the turbo is not traditional practice. With expensive turbo’s and manifold’s that crack, this may not be a recommended combination for this solution, however with a T28 turbo and stock cast manifold, it was an easy decision.

Old mate Waz has welded for a living, so quickly sealed up this potential power robber and hopefully has performed a cheap, reliable, permanent solution to an always painful problem.

The intercooler system was a ‘bitsa’ kit with different sizes of piping and materials plus makeshift silicone joiners and ill fitment that was scraping on the previously cut battery tray.

There was fibreglass from a previous repair on the above pipe, plus there is signifcant scrape marks that were wearing away on the battery tray hole.

Plasma cutting is certainly one of the more spectacular scenes in mechanical endeavours. The other quick fix you can employ if you don’t have access to a plasma cutter or grinder  is to just cut a length ways slit in a piece of vacuum line and feed it into the edge of the hole so it sits as a soft contact point all the way around the sharp metal.

With different sized piping, it was silicone inception! Not ideal.

Ahh, that’s better!

On a roll, even the electrics weren’t off limits, but taking off the kick panel under the dash revealed a coloured spaghetti explosion of wiring. A sub standard race switch panel had been installed and a turbo timer and an old JDM car alarm were of no use in the car’s current state. With everything chopped out and patched, any future electrical gremlins will be an easier proposition to tackle. Plus any amount weight removed, no matter how small, should be celebrated!

Check out all this junk!

This has taken care of many of those little things that are often put off at the expense of the ‘important’ large ticket items, however they are important to get right as it can often create more dramas than it is worth later down the track.

There is plenty more changes that have been taking place with the S15 and despite the debut of the car being postponed, it is certainly there for the taking with a few final pushes.

The next installment of the project will be centered around a new seat and seating position.

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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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