Weekend update-- The Old Girl Lives!
We had a very productive weekend in the shop-- I had a few small details to wrap up before the engine could start for the first time. First off was the stainless exhaust system-- while I had a down pipe built, the rest of it needed to be completed. I tackled that job first, building the exhaust from the rear of the catalytic converter and via a small flex pipe and then thru the X-frame, adding a small stainless muffler in the legs of the X-- normally we would put it behind the X, but the recessed floor for the 3rd seat was in the way-- for now, I have a straight pipe back to the axle, but I will build the hump over the axle and the rear muffler soon-- but that was not going to stop me from starting the engine.
Since this engine has been sitting in my shop for over 10 years, I decided to use our pre-lube system on it to make sure that it was a well lubed engine before firing it off-- this is essentially a modified oil filter that uses an inline pump (run off a drill) to manually force oil thru the system. A few minutes later, we had oil squirting out of the cam lube rails, and it was time to fire it off-- and it cranked up and fired like it was last run yesterday-- no noises, no drama, just another happy SR20DE!
In the next few weeks, I will get the new valve cover installed (we still have the old one on for now), install an overflow bottle, and finish the exhaust, but at least that part of the conversion will be sorted. New Shoes for an Old Girl
I think that most of us would agree that 1500 Fairlady's look great with white wall tires-- and we really wanted to preserve that look with this build-- but we also wanted to use our fantastic Big Brake Kit-- and this posed a problem-- how would we get that great white-wall look, the big brakes, and still fit it all under the unflared 1500 fenders? We love a challenge, and that is exactly what we got!Making it Stop
Stock 1500 Fairlady Roadsters have 13" wheels, and four-wheel drum brakes-- not something that would play well with our updated engine package. I put on one of our Big Brake Kits (http://spriso.com/content/products/brake-conversion-parts/
) using the 26mm non-turbo brake calipers as we knew that we would need to cheat the wheels inboard as much as possible:
The stock 1600 roadster rear axle will be used with the stock drum brakes and they will be more than adequate for this car's needs.Wheel Games
Now that we had the brakes, I needed to find a positive offset, 15" wheel that would clear them. I wanted a steel wheel as I knew that we would be running hubcaps at some point, and after a lot of measuring-- found that the 15" Nissan Altima wheels would do the trick-- they still would require a small spacer, to clear the caliper, but we could get them to fit under the stock 1500 sheet metal-- that problem was solved.
The rear wheels were another matter.
Putting a positive offset wheel on a rear of a roadster does not work at all, they are far too inboard to work properly-- but we knew that we could easily modify the Altima wheel to suit our purposes...
The wheels were chocked up in a lathe and the welds were carefully turned off, then it was a matter of getting the two halves separated. I took the wheels over to fellow SR20 roadster nut Dave Jolliff's shop and this is what we came up with--
First, heat up the wheel evenly (to expand the rim):
Then we needed to press the center out of the rim evenly so not to distort the wheel rim, or the center-- a junk 12" Honda Civic wheel was the exact size we needed!
Then it was off to Dave's awesome hydraulic press:
A few minutes later, the center and the rim were separated:
The wheel rim was cleaned up, and the center was re-pressed back into place, making a perfect zero offset wheel:
Spin the rim and adjust the center to make sure that it is true, and then tack into place:
A test fit showed that the wheel fit perfectly:Tires
Finding white wall tires for this project was not easy-- we wanted something with the correct overall diameter, but since we were going +2" on wheel diameter, that meant that we would need a low profile, white wall tire, and something narrow enough to fit under the stock fenders.
Thankfully, there are a few 185/55/15 white wall tires on the market with the correct overall diameter, but with a bit of a modern twist that we like:
And a quick test fit before sending the wheels out for sandblasting and painting (please excuse the mess!):
For now the wheels will be painted silver until we can get the 1500 looking hubcaps built, but I am excited about the look and the progress!
Michael SpreadburySpriso Motorsportshttp://www.spriso.com
1970 Datsun Bluebird SSS Coupe
1966 Datsun 1600 Roadster
1964 Datsun 1500 Roadster