My Street / Track Nissan Project

Posted: February 21, 2011 By: ESoda

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    ESoda

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    Over the past few days I have been able to do some work on my project car. It seems like this project never ends but I am hoping to complete it by this summer. The car is a ’90 240sx hatchback. I bought it a few years ago with intentions to swap the motor and make a fast street car out of it which I could take to the tracks on the weekends. The motor is a Nissan RB25DET which is a 2.5L straight 6 with a factory turbo. Modifications to the car include:
    Nistune Engine Management
    Holset HX35 Turbo
    HKS External Wastegate
    Turbo XS Blow Off Valve
    Ford Lightning MAFS (Blow Thru)
    555cc Jec’s Injectors
    Aeromotive Fuel Pressure Regulator
    Walbro 255lph In-tank Fuel Pump
    Front mounted intercooler with 3in piping
    3in Turbo Back Exhaust (Custom made Downpipe and eBay Catback)
    Greddy Style Intake Manifold
    Fluidyne Radiator
    And Much more…

    When I originally bought the car the body did not look to bad but upon further inspection I discovered that the read quarter and rocker panels had some major rot issues that had been covered up with body filler. The project I set to tackle the past few days was to repair the panels correctly and also to install a power steering system as it could need some custom parts to get it working. I had done some basic body work and filling in the past but it always was such a pain I dreaded doing more of it. Instead of going to the local Autozone, I picked up all my stuff from Eastwood hoping for a batter experience with body work. I got some of their Indasa 120 paper for a DA and a straight line sander. I chose 120 as I was just looking to get the shape of the panels close and would do final sanding before I get the car painted. I got some Rage Gold to do the filling and a Mixing board with disposable mixing sheets to help make the job easier. The mixing board even came with a spreader for laying the filler down. Notice the crappy wheels on the car as I would recommend getting some ‘roller’ wheels when doing this type of work. If you have nice wheels there’s a good chance you could damage them when doing this sort of stuff. I start by cutting out the old repair job and bending up some sheet metal into patch panels. I cleaned out the rust and dirt with a wire brush and applied some Rust Converter and Encapsulator to the insides of the panels. I don’t own many metal working tools so I worked with what I had and made the curves by bending the metal over some 3in exhaust pipe I had laying around and made the 90 break by bending it over angle iron. I tacked the pieces in place and then proceeded to stitch weld the panels moving around to help spread the heat out. This is done by not laying a continuous bead but basically laying tack over tack allowing the metal to get a quick cool down between pulses to avoid the wire blowing through the panel. Once I had both panels in place I used a Flap Disc on my angle grinder and made the seams as flush as possible without burning through the sheet metal with the flap disc. I also used the flap disc to roughen up the surface of the sheet metal to give the filler something to grab to. The rocker and quarter on the other side of the car had been already repaired previously by me but I had never got around to doing much of the sanding so the other side needed attention at this point also. Before applying any filler I wiped everything down. I prepared got out the Rage Gold filler and at this point was not excited what so ever to lay down filler as I had used Bondo brand in the past and always had issues with it either getting too tacky, not laying down smooth, and just making a mess. I mixed the Rage Gold filler as it says on the can on my mixing board and had at it. Immediately I was amazed at how much better the ‘better’ stuff was. Better obviously being the Rage filler, it was so easy to work with it was amazing. It was a sort of thing that you have to try it to understand. Rage also makes even more expensive filler than this that is supposed to be even better… that’s hard to imagine. After laying down the filler on both sides of the car which took a couple mixes, I let it harden up which was pretty fast at around 20-30 minutes. The mixing board was worth every penny also as it required no clean up as you just tear the old sheet off and there is a new one ready to go for another mix of filler. Once everything had hardened up I got set up the sanders and had at it starting with the straight line sander as it seemed to take off the most material the fastest. I worked all four panels for a few hours to get them pretty close. At that point I had to call it a day so I put Self Etch Primer all over the work areas to protect them from moisture which could possibly ruin all my hard work.
    The next project on my list was to get power steering installed on the car. I had a pump from the RB motor and an original rack in the car and that was it. I sourced a Nissan 240sx high pressure line and reservoir on eBay and then went to the local hydraulic shop and got some great help on fittings and hoses to make the steering work. Note that specific hose most be used for power steering lines and most hose will corrode from the oil used in the system. After some hard work which required taking off the turbo and exhaust system to setup the power steering, I got it all bolted up and started the car and it did not leak, which made me very happy as I had never worked on power steering before. It was amazing how easy it was to turn compared to not having it.
    The next projects on my list include painting the car, tuning it, and other odds and ends to get it road worthy. Over the winter I had restored the entire underside with rubberized undercoating, Extreme Chassis Black 2K, and argent silver powder coat on the diff cover. I will have to post pictures of that work also as it came out amazing.
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