Sunday, May 10, 2015

S15 200sx: repairing another sunroof drain leak and ABS bracket

sometimes I wonder if i deliberately buy cars with lots of problems so i can spend all my free time fixing them.

for example, the abs pump was not sitting in its bracket correctly, and the brake lines were too fixed in position to put it in the proper place. plus the bracket was bent out of shape.

anyway, since it seemed to be working in the current position, just not well secured, i made a new bracket out of aluminium bar and bent it around to resecure the abs pump. cost - about $4.50 - I used leftover aluminium bar from the fire extinguisher bracket and some spares nuts & boilts lying about, but bought a couple of rubber bungs from the store to act as antivibration mounts.

so i awoke today to the sound of pelting rain, thought i'd check that i fixed my sunroof leak from before. and while the front of the headliner was nice and dry, it was sopping wet in the right rear corner - so i figured i'd go hunting for another sunroof drain leak.

unbolted the driver and rear driver side seatbelt top bracket, pulled down the plastic trim and yep... this hose shouldn't be hanging clear.

but the good news, this time the plastic nozzle/nipple hadn't broken off the sunroof drain. Reconnected the sunroof drain pipe, picked up a hose clamp for good luck and resecured everything.

cost to fix... a small hose clamp and 20 minutes.

so in a few days (we're predicted a solid week of rain) i'll feel up the headlining again, and hope like mad there' no more leaks. i've already fixed up 2 of the 4 drains, i know the front passenger side drain is connected, the only one i haven't visualised is the passenger rear side drain. 

wonder what's left to break on the car... oh hang on - I do know. the other day i drove it to work and back, and noticed a fair bit of condensation in the driver's headlight. funny enough, the passenger headlight (which has definitely been opened and resealed) has no condensation, but the mint condition driver's headlight does. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

s15 - finally rwc and transferred

so after picking up the s15 over a month ago, it's finally got its rwc and transferred into my name - with all the troubles i've had registering cars in the past, it's amazing how smooth today went.

but it wasnt all easy - on the weekend i had a look in the s15 and wondered why it was so... wet...

pretty sure cars arent meant to have that much water floating around under the drivers side carpet. pulled out the door seals, mirror and dropped the headliner down to find this...

yeah, the front right drain to the sunroof clearly broken, and the loose drain tube just hanging around there.

so, to fix it... a 20c 10mm hose joiner, a spare hose clamp, $5 worth of epoxy - and a spare picture hangar, opened up flat and used as reinforcement under the connection. poured a cup of water through the sunroof drain - and now no leak. i checked the other drains for good measure but they were all connected and draining properly. also grabbed some door seal from clark rubber and added extra door seals on the drivers side, just in case.

so, the next thing (now the car is registered) is to prep for track. item#1 - fire extinguisher. make sure the unit meets cams spec (cams regulations) and make up your bracket. i could reuse the extinguisher from last year's wrx but need new mounting brackets.

so, with the point of this car being a budget friendly track/club car, and me learning how to wrench on things, i figured a $100 ebay bracket was not the way to go.

get yourself some aluminium flat bar from your local hardware shop, a hacksaw and drill, and some M6 high tensile bolts with locking nuts.

cut bar to size and join, attach your metal fire extinguisher bracket...

and because you haven't got good eyes, mount it at a weird angle just behind the passenger seat. one end attaches to the stock rear seat bolt, the other verticle angle attaches to a bolt under the seat - so no new holes in the car.

so the regulations state the extinguisher must be accessible from the driver's seat while belted in - would you believe in an s15, it's actually easier to grab the fire extinguisher when mounted here, rather than if it was in front of the front seats on the floor? if you decide to go for full harnesses where you can't lean forward, this is the best spot to mount your gear.

though maybe you'll mount it on horizontally. if it shits me enough i'll take that bracket off, redrill another hole an inch higher and have it level.

probably too late for this weekend's track day at sandown with ndsoc, but maybe next weekend with aroca/msca? haven't done sandown in about a dozen years, which makes me feel... old.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

parts parts parts

so the car hasn't even been transferred into my name yet - but there's always parts to buy.

the great thing about silvias is there's always someone who's crashed their one and are parting it out.

so why not buy... most of the interior, bootlid, dash, engine bay plastics, entire carpet?

plus we have to get rid of the terrible 19" chrome wheels that the car came on. let's go with stock wheels and bridgestone RE003s while we decide exactly which jdm wheels to put on. thank god for a big daily driver to cart around all this crap.

and since we're in the mood, some nismo s-tune suspension and a fujitsubo exhaust?

would be nice to actually register the car and start driving it one day. already joined up with the nissan/datsun owners club for entry into msca competition events - again, even though the car is still in pieces.

Friday, March 27, 2015

old cars, new keys

so when i bought the s15, it only had one key - a bit of a problem, since there's a transponder in it (NATS) that means the car won't start if the transponder is missing. Ordered a nice looking Nissan key with space for transponder off ebay and then set about looking for a locksmith.

first tried wynn locksmith in preston. Big mistake. Went in on a saturday morning, since i work the rest of the week. They had one guy working and a queue of people.

After waiting an hour, he cut my key for me and sold me a transponder for $30. This key was cut off my original key. Didn't work.

Waited in line for another 30 minutes. Now he said he'll sell me one of their keys. Charged me $50. This one worked.

For a day.

Then nothing.

having had enough, i went to Bond Locksmiths in Springfield Road,Nunawading. The blokes here actually know their stuff. Took one look at my "new" old key and basically said whoever cut that key was pretty #$$#@@$#$% for using a 15 year old worn key as a basis for a new key.

ho, based on the code from the manufacturer, Bond Locksmith cut me a brand new key - that actually works! The only thing they could salvage from the f@#$$ed key was the transponder.

Bond Locksmith can also replicate transponder keys, and unlike other locksmiths, actually know what they're talking about. so in future, clearly I'll only be using and recommending them. i'm going back this week to get another spare key made. don't bother with anyone else in melbourne.

Here's their website -

Friday, March 20, 2015

so, spent some spare time just trying to tidy up the car before taking it for a rwc (safety certificate).

this car had been pretty neglected - i don't think it had been washed in a year, smoked inside, and dirt everywhere under the bonnet.

so just grab a spray of generic "black stuff"

and a couple of minutes later things are starting to look a bit nicer. Also took a microfibre towel to anything I could to mop up dust.

and more recently, i've reinstalled the stock diverter valve ("blow off" valve) and airbox with snorkel. one thing about S15s, there's always plenty of them being wrecked and spare parts are pretty common to come by.

why? well it probably wouldn't pass RWC with the bov blocked at the throttle inlet - plenty of stupid "SuTuutoottuutoooo" for the idiots out these but pretty immature. plus a big exposed pod sucking up engine bay heat is never going to do anything but add more noise and less power.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

new car - nissan s15 silvia

so back in the late 90s, the subaru impreza wrx was one of the best bargain performance cars available in australia. while nissan did have a limnited release of r32 GTRs, they didn't have anything that could really compete against the wrx - until they decided to release the s15 silvia locally as the 200sx.

with a turbocharged, 2.0l 4 cylinder engine, a 6 speed manual driving the rear wheels with LSD and a very sexy coupe body, the s15 has become a cult car in australia and holds its value incredibly well!

so yesterday, my brother sends me a text message saying - "buy this s15, it's a bargain" - and 7 hours later i did.

this is's new 200sx spec r.

it comes with some godawful 19" chrome wheels and broken suspension.

plus the recirculating valve (BOV) has been blocked off so you get stupid flutter everytime you step off the accelerator.

it needs a lot of love & care to restore her to proper jdm spec, but at least it has some good points - a great gearbox & clutch, rare sunroof, and potential.

if i can remember to update this blog, hopefully keep track of the restoration process. today was mainly a massive exterior clean, involving a snow foam gun, 2 bucket wash, clay bar, rewash, wax. polish of the headlights, though i think i might need to replace them as they've previously been opened. a little tidy of the engine bay too, to restore the factory shine on most plastics. overall in pretty tidy condition for a 15 year olf car.

Monday, August 11, 2014

track car.... gone

so.... wrx track car is now sold (that escalated quickly)

let's wind back a bit.... after winton, I fitted a new aluminium radiator and slimline fans.

also ripped out the terrible brant alarm - these came standard on a lot of australian delivered wrxs, and they're crap. they spontaneously go off, or the solder joints go bad in the control unit, disabling your ecu or fuel pump (sometime when you're driving!), they don't disarm properly, the key unit goes bad - it's incredible how awful they are.

Removing brant alarm POS photo IMG_5144.jpg
Replaced it with a Mongoose alarm which is more reliable (well, after month anyway), as well as putting in a nice double DIN Sony head unit with some MB Quart speakers, Pioneer subwoofers, reverse camera etc. Fitted in a set of "defi" gauges, wired in boost and water temp with an adapter in to the top radiator hose after I flushed the coolant again. Haven't wired in the oil pressure gauge yet.

Then my wife was in an accident in my accord euro - written off. decided I wasn't going to have 4 cars at my house, with 4 sets of rego and insurance to pay off, so the wrx was going to go. sold the wrx after listing it for 3 days, and going to pick up a new car for the wife this afternoon.

of course, knowing what's going to happen, i'll pick up another track car soon - but it won't be a road registered track car! a friend of mine has recently given up racing porsches to do go-karting - a lot cheaper to buy and maintain than a car, cheaper track days, and in a way a lot more competitive. now I've got my cx5 it's the perfect tow vehicle for a gokart, so it's just a matter of researching and figuring out how to get started.