Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

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DeXteR
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Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:38 am

I've been working on this project pretty consistently since late spring, but have not really gotten around to posting anything about it on Nico. If you're friends with me on facebook, you're kept up to date pretty well on my progress. For the rest of you, it will come in installments whenever I feel motivated enough to upload pictures to photobucket and come post.

First, some relevant back story...

Last January (2012) I bought an S13 hatch with an S14 SR swap and a bunch of great parts like tein coilovers, a 2-way diff, cusco arms, and some other stuff. It was kind of in rough shape cosmetically, the coilovers needed a rebuild, and the engine had blown. I got a fair deal on it with every expectation that the engine would be rebuildable as it also came with a box full of stock internals to refresh the engine.

As I got into the car, it was really rough. Still not sure the coilovers are salvageable, the "2-way" was just an LSD with 5-bolt axles, and that rebuildable engine was grenaded. I just so happened to have a friend who was trying to sell his S14 SR20, so I bought it.

Still with me? It's about to start getting good...

So last fall (2012), the same friend who sold me the engine calls me up and says, "Hey I messaged you a craigslist link for a car for sale that you need to look at RIGHT NOW!" I was at work, so I got on my trusty smartphone and checked it out.

Here's a screen shot of the saved ad; and below this, a few of the pictures from the ad.
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This can't be real... There's no way... No way... Even if it is... It's probably sold five times by now...

I emailed him anyway. I figured 75% of the people who had all ready messaged him were people without cash or wanting to trade, no means for towing it, and even less means of repairing this thing, and at least two hours or more away. I made sure to point that all out in my message. Three days later this guy calls me and asks me to come take a look at it!

Being married and all, I of course had to show my wife and run it by her. She was quite skeptical at first as was I, but I all ready have projects galore taking up space on our homestead. She agreed to come look at it with me and said if it wasn't good enough, she was going to tell me, "NO!"

Off we went. I took $500 with me and we went to go check it out. Once I got there it still seemed too good to be true. Oh, but it was true. The shell was really clean considering this is Michigan. Sure, there were some dents and scratches, but for the most part, it was rust free. The interior was 95% complete and he had a grocery bag of replacement parts. It had mismatched wheels with relatively fresh tires, newer brakes, and an S13 SR swap.

I had to ask the guy what happened to the engine and why he was selling it so cheap. Turns out, he had an oil change done and while he was driving on the highway, the filter fell off and the engine seized right up. He got a settlement from the oil change place; but instead of repairing the car, he used it to buy a more family-friendly mode of transportation as he had recently had a child. He had no way of repairing the car at that point - not enough money or skills. So he figured he would sell it for what it was worth in scrap, because that's where it was going.

My wife gave it a look over and we talked about it while the guy went inside to grab some parts and paperwork. Realizing what a deal this car was, she gladly gave me the thumbs up. I gave the guy $500 cash, removed the front mount, hooked up the tow strap and flat towed that bad boy home... for 90 minutes... in the rain... with no power... across one of the busiest roads in Saginaw... Just another adventure.
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Because of my work schedule at the time, I didn't have the free time to do much of anything and the car had to sit through the winter. I did however, start buying and stocking up on parts. As winter was winding down and the snow had melted enough, I was able to get the car into the shop and the process could really begin.
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So, the plan is to put the S14 SR20DET into this S14 chassis. Sounds simple enough. Well, remember, the S14 was wired up for an S13 SR and the S14 harness I have is wired up to go into an S13 chassis. That's going to be one of the biggest challenges with this swap.

Also, what fun is a build thread without talking about a bunch of the cool parts? Some of the parts I had purchased with the intent of putting them in the S13 were now going on the S14. The S14 had some decent parts as well. From the two cars I all ready had a decent FMIC, a Greddy BOV, Tomei O2 housing, nameless down pipe and exhaust, and a full hardpipe kit including the intake elbow. I picked up a clutch kit from Tennessee Clutch and Supply after seeing a lot of great reviews on here and because I was in Nashville for a trip. Somewhere along the way, I had picked up a J30 diff with 5-bolt axles for some reason and scored a full set of Z32 calipers from a junkyard - that's all going on the S14. I put in an order to Z1 when they were having their Thanksgiving sale and bought a one-piece driveshaft, some gaskets, Z32 caliper rebuild kits, and an OEM key. I ordered Autometer gauges, Innovate wideband, oil filter relocation bracket, hoses, fittings, and an adjustable electronic fan controller from Summit. The only part I got from Mazworx was the oil filter adapter block, but I love it. Otaku Garage tipped me off to a set of really nice KW V3 coilovers that I picked up. I also bought some parts through him including, Tein top plates, manual boost controller, and a braided clutch line. From FRSport I got some more gaskets and an ATI gauge pod. I'll probably be putting in another order with them soon for some conversion lines for the Z32 calipers. I've also ordered a lot of parts from Advance Auto Parts online because they have such great deals. New thermostat, NGK spark plugs, Z32 fuel filter, Z32 brake master cylinder, gear oil, coolant, and stuff like that. Lastly (for now) I bought a bunch of braided nylon sheathing for my wiring harness from cabletiesandmore.com for a killer deal.
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This is going to have to do for now. I'm burning daylight on a day off that I could spend working on the car. I'm going to toss a couple pictures in here for now to wet your appetite. I'll try to get back on tonight to finish some pictures (especially the craigslist ad) and add to the story. Thanks for reading.
Last edited by DeXteR on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:15 pm, edited 7 times in total.


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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby zerepdivad » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:12 am

Sweet deal but man tow strapping it that long. And folks say my towbar use is dangerous! Great pick up though for sure.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:58 pm

It wasn't really that far. It was about 25 miles. It just took a long time because of the circumstances. Like I said, it was raining and I had no power, so I could barely see anything. We spent at least five minutes at the busy road waiting for an opening so we could drag the car across. From there it was just slow and steady on the back roads. My wife and I have flat towed a few cars before and we've gotten pretty good at it.

I'll update some more when I get a chance. As you can see, I did get the old craigslist ad and a few pictures up to finish off the first post. There's a lot of catching up to do to get this thread to where I am now, but the car is still a ways from being complete. Hopefully I can have this up to date before I get the car running. It's more fun to have the anticipation on your side. I hate reading through a build thread just to find out it isn't done yet. Here's a little pay back to all of those people.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby Bokeh » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:33 am

AMAZING DEAL. You'd be lucky to find a straight and bare shell for $500 here in California. (Stupid drift tax) I'm glad to see you bring a Zenki (hope you don't do a front end conversion :tisk: ) back to life, hope the build goes well!

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:28 am

No plans to do a front end conversion. I do prefer the look of the kouki S14, but not enough to put the time and money into a non-performance upgrade.

Moving on...

The beginning of April is when I got my shop cleaned up enough to begin work on the car. First things first is tear down. I started under the hood by disconnecting the harness and pulling the engine and transmission.
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Then to the inside to remove the ECU, pull the dash, and get out the engine harness.
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Once I got behind the dash, I found some shoddy wiring for cheap gauges as well as wires running to the rear for a sound system that no longer exists. I removed all of that. It's always a good thing to clean a new car after you buy it. I like to remove all the seats and carpet when I clean.
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I found old pens, old candy, some loose change - you know, the usual under the carpet and seats finds. Nothing special really. I wanted to remove all the sound deadening material because there seems to be double layers of it everywhere in the S14. The wife convinced me to not do it this time around because she likes a quieter ride and said it was so time consuming last time we did that. It just wasn't worth the effort at this point in time. She was right. I did however remove the firewall insulating pad.
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As you can see from the picture facing the rear of the interior, I opened the top of the fuel tank to see if the fuel pump had been upgraded. Fortunately it was - that's one less thing I need to buy. It's a Walbro 255 based on the numbers on the housing.
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I then moved on to the rear end of the car. Like I mentioned in the introductory post, I have a one-piece drive shaft and J30 rear end to put in this car so the original parts had to come out. I spent several hours trying to separate the rear of the factory driveshaft with the flange on the front of the differential. This was very frustrating as I've done diff swaps in about 30 minutes. I ended up having to cut the bolts out. After that, the rest was easy - pop out the axles, 4 bolts on the diff and... the diff still doesn't come out... come on, are you serious? I had to jump on the forums and find out there is another nut on the one rear mount for the differential - weird.
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I also went ahead and removed the ABS and SRS systems from the car while I had it all stripped down. I don't need nanny systems keeping me safe and telling me how to drive! I removed all the ABS sensors (both front hubs and rear diff), as well as the pump, wiring, and control unit in the trunk. I did not go as far as de-looming the chassis harness and removing those wires. I don't have time for that right now. Maybe next time I tear it down.

I did the same thing with the SRS system. I removed both airbags from the vehicle, all the wiring and control units as well. It was not terribly difficult, once you have the right tools. I picked up a set of security torx bits from the local parts store. I'll save the airbags for some party fun, unless someone needs them before then.

So with the original diff and axles removed, as well as the SRS and ABS systems, I started to build a nice little scrap pile.
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Hopefully this will hold you over for a while until next time I get around to posting. I need to get out to the shop and get cracking on this project some more. Especially since my daily just took a dump.
Last edited by DeXteR on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:43 am

With the majority of the tear-down completed, I started a couple little ancillary projects.

I stripped and shaved the valve cover. I prefer the clean look.
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Then primer and paint.
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I gave the trim piece the same shaved treatment, but it was a little more difficult to get it to turn out as well as the valve cover. It's good enough though.
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Next up was the oil filter relocation. I purchased the Mazworx oil filter adapter block as the center piece for my DIY kit. The rest of the parts I purchased from Summit. The rest of the kit includes a TransDapt remote oil filter bracket, two 1/2"NPT to 10AN nipples, two straight 10AN push-lock fittings, two 45 10AN push-lock fittings, and five feet of 5/8" push-lock hose. When all was said and done, I think I had about $250 into this setup.

Before:
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After with oil pressure and oil temperature sending units:
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Also a comparison of the stock oil filter (right) to my upgraded filter (left):
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I haven't completed this install as I haven't had the engine in the car yet, so I'm not certain where I'm going to mount the filter or how I'm going to route the hoses.

Some more fun parts:
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If you scroll back up to the photo with the chassis sans engine, you'll notice how dirty it was. As I said in the introductory post, the oil filter was not securely fastened and came loose during driving. This made a terrible mess. Although I'm certain that wasn't the source for all the grime, I still needed to clean that mess. That's just unacceptable.

After a few hours with some rags and brake parts cleaner (yes I know it's bad for paint), it looked a lot more presentable.
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Now that, I can work with. With it all cleaned up, I replaced one of the boots on the steering rack with an S13 boot I had laying around. They're not meant to be interchangeable, but I made due. I'll go through the rack some other time if this car sticks around long enough.

I was also considering rattle-canning the engine bay flat black like I've done with other project cars, but I just don't feel like messing with it. This car is rough, and I think I'm going to keep it that way. I've got better things to do with my time at the moment. Again, if the car sticks around, it's something I'll address next time around.

If you have a keen eye, you'll notice that the brake booster and brake lines are all missing from the engine bay. As I've mentioned in a previous post, this was an ABS car and I don't want that crap. I removed the brake lines and booster and master cylinder in preparation for a non-ABS Z32 setup. I'm still looking for a 5-speed non-ABS brake booster as it's much thinner than the hog of a booster that came on this car. In fact, I think it's even thinner than the S13 boosters. The downside is that it's a much larger diameter. For this application, however, I'd rather give up space around the firewall to free up space near the turbo.

So for the Z32 master cylinder, I think I've ordered five or six different units from Advance Auto Parts, trying to get my hands on one of the ellusive 3-fitting models. I struck out every time and received MC's that only had the two fittings.
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I resorted to cutting up my ABS control unit for a donor fitting and it worked just fine.
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With that mostly square, I recently ordered the conversion lines from FRSport. I'm planning on attaching those to some S13 hardlines. I'm not certain that it'll work, but I've got an S13 missile project sitting in the yard that has non-ABS brake lines. I figure it will be easier to adapt the S13 non-ABS lines to the S14 than it would be to adapt the ABS lines that came off the car.

Although I've got a full set of Z32 calipers from a junkyard and I bought the Z1 rebuild kits, I've been seriously contemplating stealing the stuff off my convertible. It's been sitting for over a year without an engine in it and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Why not take the calipers, pads, and rotors off of that and stick them on the S14. It'll save me a few hundred bucks for the time being and they won't just be rotting on the vert while it waits for it's turn.


That'll do for today's installment. Thanks for following along.
Last edited by DeXteR on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby Z Style » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:00 pm

zerepdivad wrote:Sweet deal but man tow strapping it that long. And folks say my towbar use is dangerous! Great pick up though for sure.
Hey, Dex, you remember that one time we flat towed the 1G GSX DSM with no brakes with Aqua Lung (Geo Metro that was rally car inspired) and to stop we tied a tire to the back of it where the DSM would just rear end it causing minimal damage? Now that is interesting!

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:38 pm

That was a rear Corvette tire turned bump-stop. We tied the GSX really close to the Geo and usd the tire to make contact; and then once the cars were together, the real stopping began. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Yeah, good times. I remember the cop watching us go around the corner. I want to know what he was thinking.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:37 pm

Time to spend a few minutes updating some more. I'd like to get this thread caught up to speed eventually so that when I get something done on the car I can just come here and update.

As I've mentioned before, I started out with an S13 with and S14 SR swap and then I got an S14 with an S13 SR swap and I want to put the S14 SR into the S14. So I've got two harnesses that have been cut and spliced for their respective chassis and engine combinations. For what I wanted to do, I would need to cut both harnesses and take parts from each to get it to work.

S14 in an S13 harness on the left, S13 in an S14 harness on the right:
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For the sake of clarity I will refer to the harnesses by their respective engine from here on. So when I say "S14 harness" it's for the S14 SR.

I started out by cleaning both harnesses. Even though I'm not using the S13 harness for the time being, I don't need it to be covered with grime and oil while it's in storage. After all, the S13 SR will get swapped into something eventually. With the majority of the gunk removed, I proceeded to strip down both harnesses by removing all of the tape and loom. Then I cleaned them again to remove all the sticky tape residue.
S13 harness on the top, S14 harness below:
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Then it was time to hit the books and figure out what all of this giant mess of wires was. I've never done an SR swap before, so I also employed a few tutorials to get an idea of what needed to be undone. There was not a lot of insightful posts on the intrawebnets about the S14 SR in the S13 swap, but S13 in an S14 swap was plentiful. I ended up relying nearly entirely on my factory service manuals. I've got hard copies of the S13 manuals and pdf versions of USDM S14, SR equipped S13, and SR equipped S14.

With everything figured out, it was time to dive in.
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Fast forward a few days of on and off time in the shop, and I was left with the following equation: S14 harness minus S13 dash plugs plus S14 dash plugs and wiper controls equals harness for an S14 with an S14 SR.
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I wanted to tidy up the harness by removing a few unnecessary items, shortening things up and recovering everything with the braided nylon. So I spent some time mapping out my ECM wires by recording all of the locations, colors, and functions for all the wires.
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Then I took the plunge and unpinned the entire ECM connector.
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To me, that was the easy stuff. Tracing diagrams and writing down lists is no big deal. I have a mild case of undiagnosed OCD, so the hard part was dealing with this mess of wires for a few days while I tried to figure out a game plan. I hooked everything up to the engine and started straightening out the maze of wires.
I remember sharing this picture on facebook with the following caption: "Progress: this is what it looks like?"
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Once I started cutting up the ground portion of the harness, things started to go a lot more smoothly. It made re-covering the wires much easier also since I didn't have to unpin all of my connectors.
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There was a bit of a learning curve when it came to working with this braided nylon sheathing as well. It didn't take me long to figure out that I needed to melt the ends to keep it from fraying and unraveling. I used an old soldering iron to melt the little weaves together at each end of cuts that I made. Scissors worked best for cutting to length. Another trick is that this stuff needs to be pushed over the wires and not pulled. It works like a Chinese finger trap so if you pull it, it just gets tighter on the wires. Anyway, I got the hang of it pretty quickly, but it's time consuming.
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Once everything was wrapped to the back side of the engine, it was time to hang the engine in the bay to get the harness through the firewall as well as figure out where to mount the power transistor. This was the first time I got to introduce the S14 to its new powerplant.
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From here it was just a matter of bringing wires together, reconnecting grounds along the way, and snaking more braided nylon.
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Once the harness made its way back through the firewall, I disconnected everything from the engine and pulled the engine back out. I have a few more finishing touches before I am completely finished with the harness. I ended up ordering a new firewall grommet from Wiring Specialties which will hopefully be showing up tomorrow. I also just today picked up some 1" shrink tube for this last portion of the harness. If I had more time, I would have liked to shorten the entire harness about 2 feet, but that sounds like a winter project.

I still need to take some time to go through the harness with my multimeter and check the continuity for every pin. I don't want any surprises on the wiring side when I go to fire this thing up.


The progress still continues. We're still not caught up here, but it's getting close. On the other hand, I'm getting to the point where progress is going to be much more rapid and I probably won't have time to update for a while. Thanks for hanging in there though.
Last edited by DeXteR on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby mechanicalmoron » Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:05 pm

Why the bill caswell hate?

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:27 am

mechanicalmoron wrote:Why the bill caswell hate?
???

No hate. Just drawing a comparison. He's famous for buying a $500 BMW on Craigslist and building it into a rally car. I bought a $500 S14 on Craigslist. I wanted the title to be "Bill Caswell ain't the only guy who can buy a $500 car on Craigslist and build something cool," but it wouldn't fit.

I'm actually a big fan of Bill Caswell.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby mechanicalmoron » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:29 pm

DeXteR wrote:
mechanicalmoron wrote:Why the bill caswell hate?
???

No hate. Just drawing a comparison. He's famous for buying a $500 BMW on Craigslist and building it into a rally car. I bought a $500 S14 on Craigslist. I wanted the title to be "Bill Caswell ain't the only guy who can buy a $500 car on Craigslist and build something cool," but it wouldn't fit.

I'm actually a big fan of Bill Caswell.
Ahh, okay, I just read it as somehow saying.... something.... against him.

Yeah, what he did's pretty neat.... I can't decide if I idolize or resent him.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:27 pm

No point in resenting him. The guy is living the dream. He's pretty much just a grassroots rally guy who tried something crazy and got really, really lucky.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby mechanicalmoron » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:49 pm

DeXteR wrote:No point in resenting him. The guy is living the dream. He's pretty much just a grassroots rally guy who tried something crazy and got really, really lucky.
The resentment came after watching an interview with him.... made him a lot less idolizable. But still, good stuff.

....him giving up on the e30 for better modern cars also makes me resent him :whistle:

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:49 pm

Recently it was decided that I needed to take a break from the wiring. I left off my last post needing to find 1" shrink tube and waiting for a grommet frome Wiring Specialties. Fortunately, they obliged and sent me one for $15. Not a bad price at all. There wasn't really much else to do with the wiring, so I had to wait. I just haven't gotten around to finishing that part.

One benefit to having such a big project, is that there is always something else to do. I decided to get started with the suspension and brakes. The car came to me with a pretty lousy setup. The fronts had factory struts, Tein lowering springs, factory brakes, and SE wheels. The rears had KYB GR2 struts with Tein lowering springs, factory brakes, and Z32 wheels. The brakes were upgraded with Brembo rotors (according to previous owner), Green Stuff pads, and Goodridge lines. Those are nice, I suppose.
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Let's talk about the brakes for a little bit. As I've discussed in previous posts, this was an ABS car and I've done everything I can (short of tearing into the chassis harness to remove intermediate wires) to delete this nanny system from the car. I've also mentioned in previous posts that I'm doing the Z32 brake upgrade and have all ready sourced the master cylinder. I found a pretty good deal on a non-ABS manual S14 brake booster on ebay. It ended up costing me around $70 to have it shipped. It's not a super fantastic deal, but it's one of the best prices I've come across.
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As I waited for that to arrive, I harvested the hardlines from the missile project. The entire length for both front brakes and the section for the rear brakes that goes to the splice block (not sure what it's called) that's on the right frame rail were donated. I then spent some time one evening just getting the master cylinders reinstalled and connected to their respective pedals. Then I installed the clutch line and test fitted the S13 hardlines to see how much work they'd need.
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I have been able to get the lines to fit much, much better than that picture would have you believe. The lines for the front brakes fit just fine without any manipulation, the line for the rear brakes needed a bit of massaging to get it to go where I needed, but it wasn't anything some patience and hand-bending couldn't take care of.

My wife decided to lend a hand harvesting the Z32 brakes from her convertible. We did the front conversion four or five years ago and then did the rears two years ago. Shortly after doing the rears, the electrical gremlins in that car got the best of me and I parked it and pulled the engine. Before I got the S14, I was going to put the S14 SR into the vert, but once the S14 came along, I decided against it. That's another story for another time.

Anyway, we removed the calipers, rotors, and conversion lines from her car since they were just sitting there getting rusty and corroded. I have another set of calipers that I picked up at a junkyard last summer and I ordered rebuild kits for them from Z1 a while ago. When the time comes to put the vert back on the road, I'll get those junkyard calipers powder coated and rebuilt and put them on the vert. This also means I can defer the cost of another round of rotors until the convertible is back in project mode. I did elect to get another set of conversion lines as I want to keep the SPL lines on the vert when we get back to it. I am using DiF conversion lines on the S14. They're not nearly as nice as the vert's SPL lines, but they were cheap.

With the scavenged brake hardware from the convertible, we shifted our attention to prepping the S14 for it's new footwork. Calipers rotors, lines, and shields all came out.
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If you'd like to talk about suspension, I started a thread over in the technical forums to discuss my KW Variant 3 and Tein pillow mount setup. It's a lengthy post, but the bottom line is that these two parts don't go together as well as I'd like them to. I am in the process of making them work.
kw-v3-with-tein-pillow-mount-on-s-chassis-t578501.html

Anyway, I got the fronts put together and installed them with the Z brakes. No issues - everything went together just fine.
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Then I had to test fit the Z33 wheels too.
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I'm really looking forward to getting the rear done so I can set the car on the ground and see how she stands. Most recently, I've been working on finishing up the engine and transmission in preparation to put it back in the chassis. More on that on the next update.

Again, thanks for reading.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:57 am

I think this might finally be the post when I get the thread brought up to speed with what's actively happening. No more living in the past for you Niconaughts.

I still haven't returned to the wiring harness. It's like I'm subconsciously avoiding it for some reason. Not really sure why. I really should just finish that up, test it, and be done with that portion of the project. It'd be nice to cross something off the list as complete.

Regardless, I started tinkering with the engine and putting some of the finishing touches on that part. I pulled the old spark plugs out to find decent NGK Iridium plugs. When I say decent, I mean they weren't terribly fouled or smashed. I may clean them up and save them for backups.

With the plugs out, I figured it would be a good time to turn the engine. It's been sitting in the same position since I got it last fall. Come to think of it, it's probably been sitting in the same position for much longer than that as I know it was sitting in the previous owner's garage for a while before I bought it. Anyway, I sprayed some Kroil down in the cylinders and swished it around a bit. Then I put a wrench on the crank bolt to turn this thing over. Everything was smooth, which is good. Then I tossed my new NGK copper plugs in, put the coils back, and installed the cover.
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On a side note, this car did not come with a structural bumper support, so the bumper cover is just hanging out there not providing any protection whatsoever. I'm not a fan of this practice at all. I understand that you need to make room for a front mount, but come on. I tried finding a used OEM crash bar, but was unsuccessful. I started considering bash bars and the prices weren't terrible. I decided to order one from Russ at Dang Drifters as it was the cheapest one I could find. It's no piece of art, but it will certainly get the job done.
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I need to go through some of my boxes of nuts and bolts to find some hardware for attaching this to the frame. Of course, no bumper, no hardware. So it's just sitting there for the time being. I should mention the fit is really good so far, but I haven't put the cover back on. I will have to do something about the front signals. They advertise that you can't run the front signals because the bash bar is such a tight fit on the cover. I'm probably going to hack the housings up so I can keep the lenses on - we'll see. That might be a project for when it's on the road and running.

I pulled out the clutch and flywheel that have been sitting since last September to prep for install. I'm using a resurfaced factory flywheel and a Tennessee Clutch and Supply clutch kit. This is the "Maxima clutch" that quite a few people here run on their SR and have nothing but good things to say. I opted for the 1800lb pressure plate for a stiffer pedal and Randy (the guy at TC&S) told me this would be good for 400HP - which is way more than I intend to run right now. Including resurfacing and the clutch kit, I'm under $200 for this setup - that's very hard to beat.
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The kit included a new pilot bushing and throw out bearing as well. I had forgotten about the new pilot bushing, so I resorted to chiseling the old one out of the crank. Then I tried jamming the new bronze bushing in there. I was in too much of a hurry, horsed it, and wrecked the new bushing. That was the end of my clutch install that day. Since I had to go get a new bushing, I figured I might as well rent the proper tools for the job while I was in town. With a new bushing and the right tools, it was a 5 minute job removing the wrecked busing and installing the new one. Serves me right.

I also installed a fresh rear main seal before bolting up the flywheel. I wanted the piece of mind. The previous owner of the engine said he had replaced it when he installed his clutch. Not that I didn't believe him, I just didn't like the looks of it and I wanted to be absolutely sure. The last thing I want is a leaking rear main seal after all of this is said and done. Too many times I've put a transmission in and not changed the seals because I'm in too much of a hurry. With that taken care of, I put the clutch on and bolted up the pressure plate.
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Then I moved on to the transmission side. I removed the old throw out bearing "assembly" and the clutch fork. I cleaned up the inside of the bell housing a bit including the input shaft and the pivot. So this "assembly" thing is new to me. Every other throw out bearing I've done has just been a bearing. The bearing rides on the input shaft and is held onto the fork with a retainer spring. These SR's have this part that the bearing presses onto, then slides onto the input shaft and clips to the fork. Seems kind of useless, but I guess it's that way for a reason.

With that, we are up to speed. This is where I'm currently at with the project.

Thanks for tagging along.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:22 am

It's time for another installment! I didn't realize how long it's been since I last updated.

I decided to get the rear end of the drivetrain put back in the car.
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I'm not entirely sure what this is. I bought it as a J30 differential. It does have 5-bolt axles and it does have a limited slip. The bushings for the front of the housing were a little bit different than the S14 bushings, so I swapped those out. Also, I cannot recognize this rear cover. Maybe one of you knows what it is.

Then I put the transmission on. Yeah... it wasn't that simple... if you look at the pictures in the previous post, you might notice that I forgot something. I didn't put the sandwich plate on before installing the clutch and flywheel. I had to take those back off, put the plate on, reinstall the clutch and flywheel, and then I could finally put the transmission on. I also got some of the lower harness re-wired.
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With the rear end and the transmission, I didn't bother spending a lot of time cleaning. I live on a dirt road. The first time I drive it after they do a calcium chloride treatment (dust mitigation), it'll all be coated with muck.

I have four lower harnesses laying around: one for the S13 SR, one for the S14 SR, one from my KA that was in the convertible, and one that I got with a Series 2 SR harness. I ended up pulling apart the three SR harnesses to build a lower harness that I was happy with. Whoever wired up the S13 SR in the S14 did the right thing and found the correct connectors for the S13 transmission for the neutral and reverse position sensors and swapped over the S14 vehicle speed sensor. Well done. On the other hand, whoever did the S14 SR in the S13 just cut all the wires and left them. At least they left me with the transmission side of the connectors. So I had to rob the harness side connectors from the Series 2 harness, and take the VSS from the S13 transmission. I also eliminated the unnecessary wires for the oil sensors.

While I was in the wiring mood, I decided to finish up the engine harness.
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I put the F1 connector on the pile of wires and told the wires to go where they belonged. I sat there for a while and nothing happened... Hey, I tried.

There were a few wires that needed to be cleaned up from having multiple solder joints, some had exposed wires, and I also had to bring all the shield wires back to ground. After a few hours though, I got it all sorted out.
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And then I found this...
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That $15 grommet from Wiring Specialties. I guess I'm just going to have to cut it and glue it around the wires because I'm NOT relabeling, unpinning, and repinning the connector again. At least not any time really soon.

So with the majority of the wiring completed and the transmission bolted up, it was time to finally bring the chassis and the power plant all together.
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FINALLY the S14 SR20DET in the S14 chassis!

With the rear end all ready installed, I could finally install my Z1Motorsports 1-piece steel driveshaft.
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I'm not sure why I like this part so much, but I'm pretty excited to have it installed. It even cleared the dust boot.

Now, time to focus on cool(ing) parts. I got the S13 Koyo radiator installed with a little modification. The silicone hoses I got needed to be trimmed a little bit to fit. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe they were for a factory radiator? They were also for an S13, but I don't see why that would have mattered.
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The intercooler setup is proving to be another S13/S14 mess.
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The turbo outlet is angled a little differently between the S13 and S14 turbo. However, both of the hot pipes I have are identical except for the BOV flanges (one Greddy and one HKS). The couplers were a little different though. The hot side isn't really a big issue, except I'm having a little bit of fitment trouble with the cold air filter setup.

The cold side is where things get a little messier. With the different angle on the throttle body from the intake manifold (S13 is bottom mount, S14 is top mount), I'm having a little more trouble getting a combination of pipes to work. Several times I thought to myself that I should just get a new set up pipes, but I just need to make due with what I have for now.

I also picked up my coilover adapters yesterday. Go check out my coilover thread to see the update to that.
post6511182.html#p6511182

I also picked up a few cool parts for the car.
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Pirelli P Zero Rosso tires are on sale at Tirerack. I had my local Belle Tire order them. I got a pair of 245/45-17 for the rear and a pair of 225/45-17 for the front. I'll them back to Belle in the spring for installation after I repair and repaint my Z33 wheels. The tires I have on right now still have some life left in them anyway. The deal was too good to pass on though.

I also insured the car so I could get plates for it.
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That'll score me about 40 rice power at the steering wheel.

I'm really looking forward to getting this thing done. It's been a lot of work and it's starting to finally come together. As always, thanks for following along.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:52 pm

Lately, things have been moving pretty rapidly. With the bigger project milestones accomplished, all the smaller things begin to fall into place.

After the custom coilover adapters were added to better marry the rear coilovers to the pillow mounts, I was finally able to complete the rear suspension!
Image

I also hung the exhaust. Remember the Tomei O2 housing? From beyond that, the rest is an assembly of no-name 3" components and includes a catalytic converter-shaped resonator.
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My other option was a full 2.5" Magnaflow system that I acquired in a trade. I didn't want to sacrifice the benefits of a larger diameter system for the name brand option.

I spent some time a few weeks back in between wiring and other stuff to prep and paint the bash bar. Here it is installed.
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You can also see here that the Koyo radiator was installed. This was removed from the hatch, so it doesn't exactly drop into the s14 since the upper brackets don't line up. Nothing a drill can't take care of with some nuts and bolts. I also ran out of solder once again while wiring up the electronic fan controller. Of course, it was on Labor Day, so I couldn't just run to the local hardware. No, I had to drive all the way in to town. It eventually came together and worked really well.
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The fan controller is a generic Derale unit with a push-in probe. Also take note of the super JDM tyte coolant overflow. Another 30 rice power for sure.

The next item for install was the oil filter relocation bracket and lines. I ended up putting it behind and below the left headlight. It was the best location I could come up with for the time being and I like that it'll get some airflow on the filter. It might help cool the oil a little bit.
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At any rate, It ended up being a little difficult to run the hoses with pretty much everything else installed over there. Fighting the hoses once and never needing to get in there again will be worth it though. I added the hose clamps for extra insurance. I'll never come close to the allowable working pressure of these hoses and fittings (200psi if I remember correctly) so I'm not worried about them coming off, I just want to avoid leakage.

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In this picture you can see how crowded it gets on the intake side. Z32 fuel filter, grounds, that stupid fuse box, all the power wires coming in. You can see the fan controller coming out of the fuse box on the top left. I also ran all the vacuum lines for the boost gauge and manual boost controller. I also capped all the unused ports and added a nipple to the turbo outlet to drive the wastegate via the boost controller.

Somewhere along the line, I also started putting the interior back together. My wife jumped in and started helping a lot more when it came to this part too. Up until this point, the majority of the work was stuff that only required one person and she doesn't have the knowledge to set up some of the things like the fan controller or the boost controller. The cabin area, though, I can trust her to get that reassembled without much issue.
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It didn't take very long to get it all put back together. Routing the wires and signals and cables for the gauges was a little bit tricky, but it wasn't terrible.
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I'm going to end up mounting the wideband and boost gagues where the climate controls are. I want to try to fit a Maxima climate control down in one of the din slots.
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At that point, it was time to try firing the beast up. I started off with unplugging the injector harness to let the engine crank for a while and start circulating some oil. So far so good. Now comes the moment of truth - where building a car stops and the trouble shooting begins. It wouldn't fire. The fuel pump wasn't kicking on. I started digging around and it ended up being the connector at the ECU not being fully connected. That was easy.

Try it again and still nothing. So I checked the plugs. There weren't getting any fuel still. Turns out (and again, if you have a really keen eye, you have have seen it all ready in the previous pictures), I had the fuel lines crossed at the intake manifold. Let me tell you about depressurizing the fuel lines with a 255LPH pump when the lines are hooked up backwards - eruption. I had to take a brake to go take a shower and change my clothes because I got covered in 93 octane. I'm not to proud to admit to a bone-headed mistake. In my defense, I've pulled pressurized fuel lines many times and never had it erupt like that before. Lesson learned. It's a good thing too, because I had to pull the hose one more time after that; without incident the second time.

So with the fuel lines hooked up correctly, I tried again, to get it to start. This time it tries to combust something with every second or third rotation of the engine. So I know something is happening. I figured it was a timing issue. It didn't take me long to remember that this engine came to me without a cam/crank angle sensor and I had haphazardly tossed one in. So now I have to pull it back out and remove the valve cove to set the mechanical timing. Not a huge deal, really, but it was still kind of annoying.

And finally...

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The beast awakes from her slumber!

I smoked a celebratory cigar that I had been holding onto for I don't know how long for a special occasion, but then it was back to work. At least back to work figuring out everything that still needed to be done now that it runs.
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Of course, all the fluids needed to be topped off and bled (coolant, power steering, brake fluid, coolant) before it could go anywhere. The list was prioritized to get the car driveable first and then the rest could be taken care of. My wife and I spent most of the following day knocking that list out so I could take the car on it's maiden voyage.
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No check engine lights. No noticeable issues with how it ran or drove. Everything was working just beautifully. The first trip was pretty short. Just wanted to drive a couple miles in case something happened and I needed a tow from the wife. The only issue was blowing off an intercooler coupler. Stuffed it back together and kept it out of boost.
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I started driving it back and forth to work and putting in some miles to break in the clutch. Still lots of tinkering and things to work on, but it's certainly coming together.
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I've put almost 300 miles on it now (mixed highway and town) and still have no major issues with driveability. I have a parasitic draw that I need to track down; but in the mean time, I just disconnect the battery if it's going to sit for any length of time. I also had a new windshield installed today. You can't really see it in the last picture, but the bash bar required surgery on the front bumper that left me without front blinkers. I just wired the blinkers into the corner lights for the time being, but that will become semi permanent. That's another little project. I also think I might have some small leaks or slight timing issues. The car goes a little lean under boost. I keep finding more things, and I'll keep tackling them. This is hardly the end of the project.

Again, thanks for following along. I know this is a pretty lengthy post, but a lot has happened in the few weeks since my last update. I'll continue to post and share as progress is made. Stay tuned.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Sun Mar 23, 2014 1:39 pm

For some reason, I decided to come back and read this thread the other day. In so doing I realized I never reported back on how things turned out.

I ended up putting a lot of miles on the car last fall. I started off taking an overnight trip to my sister-in-law's, which ended up being around 300 miles. All was well. Then a few weeks later I took a cruise up in the Upper Peninsula with my wife and a friend of ours. We put nearly a thousand miles on the car with that trip. Then we took the car to LSPR in October to rack up another 900 miles. Then in November, we took it down to the Smokey Mountains for another 1,500 miles.

No new issues with the car other what was all ready problematic like the parasitic draw and shoddy intercooler. I have an intermittent headlight issue and a leaky front main seal, both of which should be easy repairs. Oh, have I mentioned that the real doesn't work? Needs everything from the head unit to speakers.

Shortly after returning from the last trip, I parked the car for the winter. It started snowing and never let up. It was also bitterly cold, so those two things prevented anything from getting done on the S14 during the winter. I did manage to pick up a new front mount setup through Parts Shop Max. I decide to go with their high mount intercooler because I like the short route piping and I believe the core and end tanks are more efficient than the Greddy style. I also ponied up for a Vibrant modular blow off valve flange.

Now that Spring is officially here, I'm getting the itch to get the car out and start working on it again. I've got a laundry list of things to do in preparation for the next road trip: The Grand Canyon. Yup, it's time for a 4,000 mile road trip across America - with no AC and no cruise control.

I have a couple other projects that need some attention also, so this is going to be another slow start, but then it will pick up pace as I shift focus back to the S14.

[I'll come back and add some pictures when I get home later and am not on a mobile device.]

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:40 pm

So I can't edit my posts anymore...

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby camwhore » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:19 am

How are you liking that Tennessee C&S setup?

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:00 am

It's been great so far. I've put almost 5,000 miles on it. No hard launches, burnouts, or drifting on it. It takes a little getting used to. There are quite a few people on here that run this setup and love it. The price is hard to beat.

I had Randy (at TC&S) hook me up with a clutch kit for my '05 Xterra as well. Haven't gotten around to installing that yet though.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:14 am

Now that it's almost time to put the car away for the winter, I've found my way back to this thread. Still can't go back and edit posts and add pictures, so I'll just start this post with a few pics of the car from the previous update.

Here's a couple pictures with the Mackinaw Bridge on the way home from the first of the U.P. trips:
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Here's a picture from the trip down to Tennessee:
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I did end up having one issue just a few days before I needed to head up to LSPR. I noticed brake fluid leaking in the rear shortly after a very hard stop. Upon further inspection, it was leaking from the caliper. Since I had rebuild kits laying around for the Z32 calipers, I decided to tear into it and find out what was going on. Nothing good, that's for sure...
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There was blast media inside the caliper, the pistons were scoured, and the seals were twisted (causing the leak). These were remanufactured calipers that I bought from Advance Auto a few years back for the convertible. Advance was no help whatsoever because the calipers and the rebuild kits were on backorder. I cleaned everything up and put it back together with what I had laying around. They've been fine ever since.

After the trip to Tennessee, the car went into hibernation. Before it awoke from slumber, it got some more mods in preparations for the trip to Arizona as well as the rest of the season. I had to make a list on my white board to keep myself on track.
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The biggest project was certainly the intercooler. I hated the generic, pieced-together front mount setup that I began with, so I was happy to see this arrive:
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Some trimming was needed at the core support to get this thing to fit properly.
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I also had a modular BOV flange added to the cold pipe.
Image

Since we were cutting up the car anyway, it was a good time to install the Aerocatch latches as well.
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I wish I would have taken some better pictures of the intercooler setup with the bumper off the car, but this is the best I have currently.
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Shortly after that, I picked up some Duplicolor gold paint that was pretty close to my car and rattle-canned the hood. It made a huge improvement in the way the car looked. I didn't do a fantastic job, but it was effective.

As the trip out west was fast approaching, I picked up a Greddy Profec B Spec 2 boost controller second hand and installed that along with relocating the HVAC controls to mount my boost gauge and wideband. I also purchased a new Kenwood stereo and speakers to replace the non-functioning OE equipment. While the interior was torn donw again, I had some tint put inside as well. It all came together pretty quickly.
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The weekend before setting out on a 4,000+ mile, cross-country road trip, I figured it was a good idea to take the car to the drag strip for some shakedown passes. Why not, right?
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I ended up going down the 1/4mile 13 times that day and the best time I could muster was a 13.65. I didn't think it was too bad considering I was on 205 touring tires. When we were finishing up there, a friend of mine that had come out said it sounded like I was short shifting. Turns out, he was right. I was shifting before redline to be safe; however, I forgot that I was looking at the original tach for a KA and that there were a lot more revs at my disposal now that I had an SR. So another trip would be in order to get a better ET.

I'm gong to stop there for now. I'll post some more about the car and its adventures later to try to get myself caught back up with this build thread.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby SoundEfx » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:46 am

Damn pimp, that is one nice build.

What are the future plans?

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:41 am

So that last post brings us to early May - about six weeks from when I started tinkering with it again this year. It was literally just a few days after the drag strip, that my wife and I departed for our trip to Flagstaff, AZ.
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We left at 7am on a Wednesday when I got home from work and proceeded to drive straight through to Flagstaff without stopping. We took turns driving and sleeping in the car until we just couldn't make it any further. We made it into New Mexico before we reached the point of exhaustion and had to take a break for a few hours. Just outside of Albuquerque, we stopped for fuel and ice cream and took our picture of the trip.
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One of our outings while on this vacation was a trip to the Grand Canyon. What an amazing landscape that was! Of course there were a lot of great places to get car pictures too.
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There were a couple other cool places to stop and get some photos on the way home. We decided to head northeast and take a different route back to see new things. Again, so many sites to see. Two of the better car pictures were at the Continental Divide at Wolf Creek Pass.
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The next stop was Pike's Peak. What a blast to drive. The views and the roads are just astonishing. Hopefully this won't be the last time the S14 sees the famous route. Maybe someday it will have numbers on the side...
Image

In the next installment: further suspension upgrades, autocrossing, and more.

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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:54 pm

On the way home I began to have wideband issues. Since I'm simulating the narrow band signal to the ECU, this became problematic any time the sensor would wig out. Eventually, it would give up and display an error code and the car would just run in safe mode (I'm assuming). Ever since then, I've been trouble shooting and fighting this thing. I originally installed it in the factory location and everything was great for nearly 10,000 miles. I replaced the sensor with a new one before an auto-x event and it started giving me the same issues after a few short minutes. After talking with a grumpy tech at Innovate that was certain I was burning up the sensor with it that close to the turbo, I decided to switch to a different downpipe that had a bung further down stream. No change. I decided to inspect the wiring. I must have wired the controller at the end of a long day because instead of having an isolated source, I gave it an isolated ground with a shared source. Hoping this might resolve my issues, I was disappointed to learn that it was not helpful. I'm going to try to make a heat sink out of some copper before installing a 3rd sensor.

Now that I've killed that rabbit, let's catch back up with the progression.

Back at the end of 2013 I had ordered a new set of Pirelli P-Zero Rosso tires. I did not want to install them until I could get a proper alignment on the car which required adjustable control arms. That's why the car has the stock wheels on it at the drag strip and the trip out west. The Z33 wheels had nearly bald tires on them and I didn't want to risk a 4,000+ road trip on bald tires or chew up my brand new ones with a bad alignment.

I was able to score a full set of Battle Version control arms and Tein tension rods from a friend of mine who parted out his project car. I installed those along with a Nismo power brace that I have had sitting around for years and an Xcessive skid plate that I ordered from FRSport.
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Afterwards, I didn't have time to get an alignment professionally done before I drove to the west side of the state to go autocrossing, so I decided to try the DIY approach with some string, a level, and a ruler. Once I finally got it done with lasers, it wasn't too far off. I'm going to have to look into ways to make doing it myself more precise so I can make adjustments for track days and then make the minions at the shop put it back to stock when I'm done.
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So then it was off to Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids to go dodge cones with the Furrin Group. It was my first time autocrossing and it showed - I was really slow. I'm pretty sure I could have beaten the S14 with my Sentra if I were running them back to back. The course was very small and had two or three decreasing radius turns. I seemed to be fighting understeer around most of the track. The old 205 touring tires I had on the stock wheels were no help either. Overall, it was a fun experience and I wouldn't mind doing it more often.
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On the last couple runs of the day, though, I was having trouble finding gears. When I went to back it into my parking spot when I was done, I couldn't get it into reverse. Maybe my slow times weren't entirely my fault. I had to work the course for a while, but then we were free for the last set, so we decided to head home. I didn't have too much trouble until after we stopped for a snack about half-way home. From then on, every gear change became more difficult. I opted to rev match and shift without the clutch as much as possible as it seemed to be a clutch issue. If I had to come to a stop, I had to shut the car off to get it in gear. I didn't make it home. On my second to last turn before getting home (still about 15 miles away), my clutch pedal became a brick. I carried as much speed as I could around the corner and just let it coast.

My wife and I called her parents to go wrangle up the trusty Xterra to drag us the rest of the way home. The next day, I tore into it and dropped the transmission to find the clutch disc sitting at the bottom of the pressure plate. This wasn't going to be good. pulled it all apart and discovered that the hub on the disc had let loose and sent springs and rivets all over the place. I called Randy at Tennessee Clutch and told him I had maybe 10,000 miles on it with some really spirited driving, a day at the drag strip, and a day at the autocross. After a short chat, he told me to send it in and said, "We'll fix you right up."
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In the mean time, I had the flywheel resurfaced again and within a couple weeks, my new clutch showed up without an invoice or payment (other than my cost to ship the old one back). Thumbs up to the guys at Tennessee Clutch for standing behind their products.
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Back together it went and the break-in starts all over. After about 300 miles, some new awful noise started coming from the gearbox when the clutch was depressed... Now what. After some trouble shooting, I decided it must have been the throwout bearing or maybe the output shaft bearing. Either way, the trans had to come out again. I got another transmission from a buddy (to rule out the output shaft bearing) and ordered a new TOB, pilot bushing, and rear seal from Courtesy. Threw it all back together and now my 5th gear synchro is bad. Awesome. I'm just dealing with that for now. I'll probably pickup another transmission this winter and tear my other two apart to do a couple rebuilds.

With that, we're somewhere in the middle of summer. Still more mods to come and stories to discuss in the next installment. Thanks for reading.

User avatar
DeXteR
Posts: 2699
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:01 pm
Car: 95 S14 SR20DET
05 Xterra OR
93 Q45t
93 sil40 vert
92 Sentra E
91 Sentra SER Rally Car
Location: Hemlock, MI
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Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby DeXteR » Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:04 pm

If I only learned one thing from the autocross it was that hard driving makes the SR20 really hot - specifically the oil. I was seeing oil temps above 220F and that was just short bursts on an autocross track. What was going to happen when I go to an open track day on a road course? So somewhere between dropping the trans the first time for the clutch and installing the second transmission, I ordered the parts I would need for adding an oil cooler to my remote filter kit. Again, I went with the Summit pushlock hoses and fittings in 10AN and elected to use Derale for the thermostat and 16-row, stacked plate cooler. These components cost me somewhere around $250.
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I used some aluminum scrap I had laying around to make the brackets for the cooler and attached them between the core support and the bottom of the bumper cover. It turned out pretty stealthy. With all said and done, it cost me about $500 for my entire setup. It is custom tailored to my needs and will out-perform any generic kit available and it still costs hundreds of dollars less. I recently saw the Nico facebook page share a tech article about custom oil cooler setups. It was using braided stainless lines and the spin-on filter adapter. I chimed in with my two cents worth of opinion about the pushlock fittings and adapter blocks and then got nominated to do a write-up for it. I got assigned home work by Nico...

I had plans for going to an open track day about a three weeks after the autocross, but I couldn't get the car back together in time after the clutch fiasco. Some time between coming home from Arizona and getting the transmission put back in the car, I decided to go one step colder with my plugs. At my first outing at the drag strip I was having some issues breaking up at the top of the rev range under high boost. One of my buddies suggested maybe trying a colder plug. So I went with the bkr7e.

In August, I got my Pirelli tires installed and was finally able to put the Z33 wheels back on. I also picked up a singless trunk which was black, of course. So I gave it the same rattle-can treatment the hood got. It turned out acceptable. From 20' away it all looks good. It looks good in the dark too.
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We took a few small road trips, but nothing really exciting happened until September when I went back to the drag strip. Now that the S14 was equipped with new tires that were both wider and stickier, colder plugs, and more revs at my disposal, I figured a quicker ET was all but guaranteed. My first run cleared some cobwebs and then on my second shot, I clicked off a 13.55 - a tenth of a second improvement.
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There were no further improvements after that though. The car was getting slower and then it started misfiring under boost. Again, I'm two hours from home and there wasn't really anything I could do about it at the drag strip anyway. The car seemed to run fine on low boost as long as I didn't horse it, so I called it a day and drove home. My initial thought was that I had a bad coil pack. It was a couple weeks before I had time to actually do any trouble shooting. My coils all looked fine - no cracks or burns. This is what I discovered:
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I can't tell if they're broken or melted. Either way, the car drove home fine and I'm not tearing the head off at this point in time. I did look inside the cylinders as best I could and didn't see anything scary. I put my old BKR6E plugs back in after re-adjusting the gaps and the car seems to be perfectly fine again. I'll probably pull the head this winter to do some valvetrain upgrades and hopefully I'm not missing a ringland or something. I've got another interstate road trip planned before it hibernates.

Now, we're back up to speed. I've currently got some remodeling going on out in the shop in preparations for the long Michigan winter. I'll be working on at least one other 240sx project this winter besides the S14, so hopefully lab upgrades will make wrenching in the below-freezing temperatures more bearable. I'll probably toss up a few more pictures after I get back from Tennessee. Again, thanks for following along.

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mattblancarte
Posts: 1978
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:14 pm
Car: 2005 BMW M3 Comp. Coupe

Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby mattblancarte » Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:56 am

Nice thread and nice car. Looks like you've had quite the journey.

Those spark plugs and your 02 sensor gremlin appear to be two symptoms of the same issue, if I were to take a guess. Looks like you are running super rich, which will foul the crap out of your 02 sensor and plugs. It also looks like you might have some pre-detonation going on, which can cause damage to the electrodes (as seen in your pic). Stay out of boost for now, if you have to drive it.

You may want to go bonkers and get a tunable ECU... And then get this thing dyno tuned. Totally worth it for a track car and hell, worth it for your daily. Might even save you from a blown motor.

Looks to me like a possible nasty combination of bad timing and the stock ecu trying to survive by spraying too much fuel... I'm no expert, though. Good luck!

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mattblancarte
Posts: 1978
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:14 pm
Car: 2005 BMW M3 Comp. Coupe

Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby mattblancarte » Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:57 am

Just to back up my thinking here: http://greenlightautocare.com/shared/co ... Fig12.html

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PRE-IGNITION
IDENTIFIED BY MELTED ELECTRODES AND POSSIBLY BLISTERED INSULATOR. METALLIC DEPOSITS ON INSULATOR INDICATE ENGINE DAMAGE.
CAUSED BY WRONG TYPE OF FUEL, INCORRECT IGNITION TIMING OR ADVANCE, TOO HOT A PLUG, BURNT VALVES OR ENGINE OVERHEATING. REPLACE THE PLUG.
Since this seems to be an issue when you boost, I would get this puppy tuned. I have no idea how much a good standalone ECU for this thing is or what the best kind would be... You might try looking around for a tuner that you can trust, and ask them what they specialize in. I would personally go with a shop that actually goes racing and has worked with an SR20.

Turbos are pain in the ***!

ericjanes
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:08 pm
Car: s14

Re: Not Bill Caswell's $500 Craigslist car - my S14 project

Postby ericjanes » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:53 pm

your 500$ s14 was a much better deal than my 400$ s14. lol great build man


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