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 Post subject: Nissan S12 gone RB
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:23 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
Hey guys, was shown this forum by a good friend of mine who was browsing a 510 build.

Anyway, I'll have lots of pics and more details in the next couple of days, but I own a 1987 Nissan S12/200SX/Silvia/Gazelle. It was originally the SE model that had the VG30E and modified Z31/300ZX setup for this particular chassis.

After about a year of owning the car I swapped in another VG30E. A year after I started my serious swap: RB20DET. It was accomplished and with great results. It has been featured in April Reader's Ride of Turbo magazine and May Reader's Ride of Modified magazine both in 2007. It has also been featured on Engineswapdepot online and at Chromjuwelen online; both are dot coms. Sorry, but since this is my first post I am unable to provide URL's/links. If you Google "RB20DET S12", you'll find my car without too much effort.

At the moment my Nissan is down and the RB20 with mods were sold. I am currently ready to swap in a RB26DETT. It is paid for and on it's way. Should be only a matter of a couple of months then she'll be running again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:29 pm 
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i say yes to your ride :mrgreen: although i'd like to see some oldschool wheels on it

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:51 am 
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Location: S.W. Missouri
Nice car!! I actually like the wheels that are on it :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:56 pm 
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Very nice! !!! :tu:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:36 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
In April of 2004 I bought my Nissan. At the time I didnt really know what it was or much about cars to be honest. A friend of mine found it for me in the newspaper one day and passed it by me. It had been hanging around but since the guy hadnt changed his phone number from moving out of state, there were not takers for it.

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There was a dent on the hood along with a note to the previous owner. From what it said, I take it he was cheating. That and the fact that the bumper had an indentation that a high heel would make that coincided with the hood's dent.

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The passenger door was binding against the front passenger fender, which is a common occurrence since our doors are quite long and heavy being full metal. So that had to be replaced.

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The interior was a crappy brown, which also had to go.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:49 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
I drove the car to and from work, school and home. In late August I drove it down to San Diego in 23 hours with only a little sleep here and there and back. Come November I realized that any work done to it would cost a lot due to the nature of the car and it's age. So I decided to start doing some research myself on it. I found a website that an individual made of his car, which was of the same model as mine. I talked with him via net for a bit and not only found out that there was a bit of history behind my car but of Club-S12.org. I wasnt really of the mind to join a forum so I just lurked and read up on some stuff.

2005

I found a yard that had a black S12 so I bought the entire interior and started to swap that over. An acquaintance and I swapped it in about a day. Started Jan. 31st and finished it just in time for me to get to work on time Feb. 1st. I remember that since Feb. 1st is my birthday and it kinda blew.

About a month later I knew there were things going on in the engine bay that I was not able to fix or diagnose since I had no previous knowledge of cars. I found a member who was within 30 minutes of me and approached him online. He told me that he owned two and worked at an aftermarket auto shop and was willing to see what was up. Within a week I was up at his shop talking with him and going over my car. That was the start of a three year process of constant work with him.

Within a month it was obvious that my motor was dieing. At the time I went in for my first engine swap we found it was running on 4 of the 6 cylinders. Faced with a decision of what to do with a car and a failing engine, I amassed my finances. I then bought another VG30E, rims, labor for a paint job, suspension parts (struts/springs) and a full exhaust setup. It was 2.5 months of waiting and she finally came out of the auto shop and paint shop.

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The response I got from people all over was a complete 180.


Last edited by draconis on Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:02 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
2006

Somewhere I was hit by the possibilities of what could be done with this car.

The VG30E didnt satisfy me. It was fun but I felt that I wanted more than the 160hp at the crank. I then started thinking outside the box and did a lot of reading. After much debate and looking at all the pros and cons of every motor available, I decided to go with a RB20DET. The main reason that got me into them was the fact that my S12 was of the SE model. It was a V6 stock and I didnt want my car to endure a swap of anything less than the 6 cylinders it had from the factory. At that time the only other person who had done this was located in Australia and had just recently finished his swap. I immediately got in contact with him and he gave me some tips. Unfortunately, his setup was radically different than mine. First issue was his being RHD as ours are LHD. That threw things off a little but extraordinary. What really threw things for a loop was the fact that he had a 4 cylinder model S12. The SE/V6 model was only available in the United States, so the whole positioning of the motor and such would have to be completely different than his basing off my subframe. After about two days of going back and forth trying to follow his tips and vague parameters, we finally gave up and decided to start anew with our own design.

At the same time of this swap I also redid my seats, obtained some JDM marker lights and badges, new exhaust, quick release steering wheel, misc electronics such as gauges and monitoring/tuning electronics.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:10 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
With this setup I set out to attempt to gain recognition for this "Forgotten" generation of the Silvia so I coined at the time. Most people only think of the Silvia starting with the S13/240sx even though it dates back to the 1950's with the CSP311. The generations are as following as a side note: CSP311, S10, S11 (rotary but never made mass production), S110, S12, S13, S14 and S15.

April 07 Turbo mag
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May 07 Modified mag
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July 07 Formula D Seattle at TPR mag booth
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
07

While going to car shows in the beginning of the year in addition to functions, I was gearing up for my next stage of my build. This was to be more of a modifying the RB20DET to allow it to produce more power efficiently. I redid all the electronics, new suspension (Tokico/Koni struts, Canuk Motorsport springs), new seats with harness, half cage, twin pusher fans and other random stuff. Unfortunately the person I had been working with the past 3 years basically disappeared and the project was taken over by someone else with me assisting as usual. This led to some very small details being ignored despite my requests while I was away. And with these details, which I had planned out very specifically, there were issues coming up with the motor within a couple of months. Cams were installed incorrectly (they were seated in but not properly causing friction during rotation), BOTH fans were set to a temp switch only so I had not cooling until the car got HOT, the engine oil was not full synthetic and of the weight that I had paid for and such. I had taken 2 weeks off to work on my car at the shop but the owner had put me off constantly so there was no work done on it during that time. I got frustrated and ended up installing the cage myself along with the seats and the suspension. I dont mind paying for someone whom I know can do the work for me better and faster, but it was really screwing me over. Thankfully by doing this I was cutting my swap price down a lot. I am still not on good terms with the owner and he has no apologies or such for me to this day.

Like what started the previous year, my relationship with the Australians grew and cemented. I was online and sometimes on the phone discussing with them modifications that were done down there to RB20s in general. I joined several forums and did a lot of research. After months of reading I designed my own setup and put it forth for them to review to make sure I didnt miss anything. I had done the job well for one of them told me my build mirrored one of his mate's and that it should work fine if installed correctly. This time, 80% of the parts bought were imported from Australia; it was significantly more than I had the previous year. Not only did they have products we didnt have here in the States and were ahead of the knowledge base about the RB20s, the exchange rate favored the US dollar that even with shipping, I was coming out far ahead.

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The following pics were of HIN 07 of right after the car was finished and all but finished. This was my 3rd year of showing at HIN. And yet even with my two mags, full custom setup and one of a kinda in the US in the form you see below, I still couldnt place a 5th place trophy for 2-door mild. 3 years of entries and each year. The first was just for fun and being a clean stock S12, cant expect too much. The second year being the 1st RB20DET S12 in the States and 2nd in the world at the time, no prize. The third year I was sure with my mods and the mags I could get some form of attention but none. Despite all of this, the crowd's reaction was phenomenal in 06 and 07 as people recognized a S12 as a Silvia by sight and were impressed by the constant improvements and quality of the car. In 07, I even had an old Japanese guy who spoke very little English who entered his 1970-ish GTR come back and specifically spoke to me via translator to express interest in my car and how he was pleased to see that the old classics were still thought of and loved here in the States.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:39 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
08

After shutting down the car in November of 07 due to engine issues, I resurrected it in March of 08. I saved up more cash and bought some misc parts and went at it. I rented an industrial storage unit and began to work on my car. It was a complete tear down of the head, replacement of the cams, flush of the engine, redesigning of the charge pipes and an Emanage Ult. During tuning the engine started to go on the bottom end. There were several issues that came up that were directly related from the previous years modifications. At this time we could trace the engine's performance and could see specifically what was giving and understand as to why.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
At the end of tuning I shut down the car before the motor could blow and still had some compression. I assessed what the situation was and decided to sell everything I had. The complete RB setup that was in my car along with the spare RB20s I had for parts. With this and more saving I pursued a couple other cars to work on and then at the end of November purchased my RB26DETT and Power FC. At this point it will be a decently easy swap where I just do some basic swapping of parts onto the RB26DETT, redo the charge pipes and down pipe then putting the Power FC to work. I'm taking it to a shop that tunes with only Power FC and shooting for 300rwhp. For the RB26, that is a few psi more than stock so there shouldnt be any stressing of the motor and since I'm going standalone, it will be tuned much better and monitored much easier.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:50 pm 
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Dude, that's one sweet S12! Thanks for giving us the background behind it. It sure came a long way.

And welcome to JNC! :tu:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:57 am 
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Location: Staten Island, NYC
Wow, Awesome progress, and a great thread. An RB26 should be beastly with just the boost up :tu:. I'm just curious as to why the VG30ET was rejected from you're engine swap selection in the beginning?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
The reason the VG30ET was rejected had several factors.

First, the VG30E in the S12 is a bit different than the one in the Z31. The head/intake and the oil pan were specifically designed to fit in that chassis and differ greatly. For instance, the Z31 is a rear sump design if I'm correct. The S12 is a front sump. Then the turbo situation wouldnt be that far off of what was made by the RB. Once that was realized I started looking at prices and found an awesome deal on a RB20 and looked at the prices on the VG30ETs. I knew that the RB was more advantageous and the DOHC made a big difference. So with those factors and the fact it was a RB, I went RB. Also, the VG30ET wouldnt be a direct swap into the S12. The motor mounts would have to be played with also. Thinking about what I would want to do long term with the engine and the possibilities that were available, the VG30ET was a 'dead end' of sorts while the RB series was so much more adaptable.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:18 pm 
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Location: S.W. Missouri
Awesome car!! :tu: Welcome to JNC!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:28 am
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Location: Staten Island, NYC
draconis wrote:
The reason the VG30ET was rejected had several factors.

First, the VG30E in the S12 is a bit different than the one in the Z31. The head/intake and the oil pan were specifically designed to fit in that chassis and differ greatly. For instance, the Z31 is a rear sump design if I'm correct. The S12 is a front sump. Then the turbo situation wouldnt be that far off of what was made by the RB. Once that was realized I started looking at prices and found an awesome deal on a RB20 and looked at the prices on the VG30ETs. I knew that the RB was more advantageous and the DOHC made a big difference. So with those factors and the fact it was a RB, I went RB. Also, the VG30ET wouldnt be a direct swap into the S12. The motor mounts would have to be played with also. Thinking about what I would want to do long term with the engine and the possibilities that were available, the VG30ET was a 'dead end' of sorts while the RB series was so much more adaptable.


Thank you for the intel :tu: . I was not aware of these differences since I know little about S12's but I figured not much could be different, seems I was wrong. I agree, as long as you have to mess with oil pans and mounts, you might as well go RB for the DOHC. I think many people down the VG30ET and I don't know why. It is a very reliable motor and puts out GOBS of mid range torque. I'm surprised it isn't utilized more in the drifting scene especially in S13's.

Another quick question. Did you feel any differences in handling? Nose noticeably heavier?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:11 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
Sr-FairladyZ wrote:
I think many people down the VG30ET and I don't know why. It is a very reliable motor and puts out GOBS of mid range torque. I'm surprised it isn't utilized more in the drifting scene especially in S13's.

Another quick question. Did you feel any differences in handling? Nose noticeably heavier?


Yes, the VG series is an excellent series of engine. Sometimes I wish I went that route. It's just that it is very tight in the engine bay from side to side and in that sense harder to work on when doing stuff. The RB is easier side to side but virtually no room at the front of the motor. I would rather have that since you dont really play/check the belts and such as often as you do oil level and filters and such.

As far as the VG in a S13? LOL Cmon, it's the S13 crowd. They think they know 'everything' about Nissan or the best way to do things. Hell, I remember up here when I had to fight to get them to recognize my car as a Silvia. Almost all of them thought the Silvia line started in '89 with the S13. For the most part from my experience, the S13 crowd is a pretty ignorant crowd that dont really push boundaries. And it's funny you mentioned a VG in a S13. A friend and I were talking and thinking about putting a VG30DETT in one. This is all based on my area as far as the S13 crowd.

As far as handling, it's not that much off the stock V6 setup. The car was already heavy so add about 200 more pounds or so and that's it. I threw the battery in the back and a half cage so that helped offset the weight a little. The car still handles about the same. When I get on the car it does take a bit longer for it to come to a stop, but minimal pumping does wonders. That and I had cross-drilled and slotted rotors made up for the car so it holds better. I'll also be putting on some Z32 front calipers/rotors within the next year. They are all but a direct bolt on affair. The other thing that I can tell is going downhill especially, it loves to take a corner hard. It's like with the extra weight on the nose, point it down hill and it will go after it just a bit more aggressively. But over all, there is virtually no difference. Yes the braking like I said, but it's not that great of a difference. Just adjust the way one brakes slightly. It is a pretty well balanced motor for that car with peel outs in First, Second and Third.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:57 pm 
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:59 pm 
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i'm not a fan of the vg series myself, but i always thought it'd be cool to see an et in an s12

well, we'll have to settle for the z31:
http://z31.com/misc/articles/5/1.shtml

hey, aussies or kiwis, can you confirm something: are the front and rear bumpers of your s12's smaller? i think they are ...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:25 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:03 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Pacific NW
Burabuda wrote:
hey, aussies or kiwis, can you confirm something: are the front and rear bumpers of your s12's smaller? i think they are ...


Well, I'll let an Aussie or Kiwi correct me but this is from what I understand. I talk to a fair amount of Aussies in Adelaide and Brisbane. They are virtually the same besides the trim packages and wiring.


Last edited by draconis on Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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