SR20 Strip Down - Part 1

Tuesday, 13 October 2009 | Comments (0) | Categories: Engine, Driveline

SR20 Before Strip Down - bad oil staining

After the engine was taken out, I had a chance to talk over the plan with Marc, Josh and Boney from C-Red. We knew we'd be removing the head and doing all the stuff around that - alleviating any problems with the valve seats being too far gone. But that left the question on whether or not to freshen up the bottom end while it was out doing rings and bearings. That lead on to the question about the pistons. During tuning, Sean at Allstar had mentioned the engine getting a little 'noisy' up high...possibly a function of the pistons being standard Z32 pistons. The consensus from all was that it would be prudent while the opportunity was there to go with a set of forged pistons. These would then match with the Eagle conrods already in the engine with the Nissan bearings being replaced with ACL Race bearings to top it all off. So the strip down begun...

SR20 with cam cover removed

Firstly the cam cover was removed and all the camshafts were removed to allow access to the head studs.

- Specifications on the GReddy Pro Exhaust cam - 264deg 11.5mm lift
- Adjustable Cam Gears - unknown manufacturer (more than likely from Japan)
- GReddy Cams out with Tomei Rocker stoppers in the box
- GReddy branding on front camshafts
- IN and EX label on GReddy cams
- Close-up of specifications and serial number on GReddy Pro Cams
- SR20 Rockers and Cam caps all lined up - all seem to be in good condition
- SR20 Adjustable cam gears front
- SR20 Adjustable cam gears back
- Spark plugs looking pretty good

Now the reason for choosing the head in the first place was the porting and knife-edging that had already taken place on the head. In hindsight (which is a wonderful thing), I should have looked more closely at the head for the valve seat condition and depth.

- SR20 Head porting on cylinder intake 1
- And then well matched across all cylinder intakes

SR20 with Z32 piston

Now that the head was off, it was time to see how the pistons and bores had fared. These pistons came originally from the engine that came off of the shelf for SILLBEER - it didn't have an engine in the hole when I started. We eventually figured out they were from a Z32 VG30DETT engine and were fitted to this engine when it was rebuilt in Japan. We decided to stick with them originally because I was running short of cash, again in hindsight I should have just waited until I had some more fold but...meh.

Note the numbers on the top of the piston for reference are '2 EMO' followed by '45V' and '04'.

- Cylinder number 2
- Cylinder number 3

Just a slight amount of carbon built up.

SR20 gearbox with snapped release pivot

Next item was to remove the gearbox and confirm the breakage that occurred at the track. Looking at the inside of the bell housing, the clutch fork was loose, and no longer attached to the release pivot. The snapped release pivot was indeed the failure - seen above as the nut looking thing to the lower left of the input shaft.

- Release Pivot Ball snapped off inside clutch fork
- OS Giken STR Twin plate clutch
- Broken SR20 Release Pivot

And that was pretty much the day. Here's a few shots of where I got to after about 3hrs or so.

- SR20 stripped intake side
- SR20 stripped exhaust side
- SR20 front with oil pump still fitted
- SR20 sump removed showing crank girdle

Next week I'll finish off the rest of the tear down removing crank, rods and pistions, oil pump and anything else left over.


Made it onto Speedhunters Random Snap

Thursday, 1 October 2009 | Comments (1) | Categories: Random

Just noticed that as a result of the JDMST Feature Ride article, I made it onto as a RANDOM SNAP.

Thanks to Jeroen Willemsen for his pickup.


JDM Style Tuning Featured Ride

Wednesday, 30 September 2009 | Comments (0) | Categories: Magazines/Blogs, Random

Fantastic, just seen the feature story on JDM Style Tuning. Many thanks to Justin Fox over at JDMST for doing the interview and putting together the story.

Engine & Gearbox is out

Saturday, 26 September 2009 | Comments (0) | Categories: Engine, Driveline

SR20DET and Gearbox out ready for tear-down

Well it's been a few months since the car broke and was sent to the workshop corner for its misdemeanours...or is that my misdemeanours? Anyway, the boys at C-Red have been very busy and also been on holidays so my project was put on hold while they cleared their backlog of work. Having said that, I've been stupidly busy as well...this being my first year working for myself (since Decmber 2008), and I'm happy I've been busy too. Unfortunately it left little time to work on getting the Silvia sorted.

A few weeks ago I got in and removed all the ancilliaries from the engine ready for it to be removed. Now why am I removing the engine you may ask? Well if you've been following the blog, last year I reported problems with the engine, specifically the head and have been meaning to replace the head for some time. As the gearbox had to come out, and it's much easier to work on the engine with it extracted from its home, the whole package has been removed.

- Exhaust side of the SR20DET
- Intake side of the SR20DET
- Front side of the SR20DET

As you can see at the front, there's a fair amount of oil mist coming from around the GTi-R Oil Pump. Still yet to decide what to do about this, whether to try and fix or replace with an S13 pump again. Replacing the pump though means I'll need to get a new crank pulley. But they're all decisions we can make once the engine has been torn down which I will be doing over the next few weeks.

With the engine out, I'll also be cleaning up the engine bay back to top shape ready for it to be re-inserted.


A day at the racetrack…specifically Barbagallo Raceway

Tuesday, 2 June 2009 | Comments (0) | Categories: Track

Out on the track at Barbagallo Raceway

At the beginning of the week I was told that AFARCC were having a track day up at Barbagallo Raceway. I was also told that I should be there to have a go, so I did. It would be my first time on a full race track in SILLBEER and was really looking forward to pushing it hard...which I did all day.

Reversing off of the scales

Before we started there was a little time before my group was to run on the track so I thought I'd check to see how much the car weighed. Now this was done with about 3/4 fuel in the tank and without me in the car...the result was 1313.5kg (2896 pounds). This isn't bad considering it has the full stereo still in there and all the Dynamat.

SILLBEER weighs in at 1313.5kg

And then it was time for some hurt. My first time out in the morning didn't go too badly, running the short track. I did spin once on the left hander up the hill, just a little bit too much (was running in 3rd gear at the time so there was plenty of speed in it too).

Unfortunately part way through my second session, there was a tell tale PFFFT and I knew that a cooler hose had slipped off or split. Bugger! It turned out to be the rubber hose (the only rubber hose in the intake system...go figure) coming from the compressor housing. It runs right up next to the exhaust manifold and from the looks of the split it's been a long time coming. This was followed by a manic trip around all the local auto stores in the area trying to find something that would suit as it was a 2.5" (?) hose with a 135 degree bend. I did find something eventually at Supercheap Auto (of all places) in blue silicon which I cut down to fit.

Onto the long track, going through final corner

Back at the track, the pipes were all plumbed back in and we were on our way again for the afternoon...along with a switch to the long track. The session just after lunch Jeff Ash from C-Red was in the same group as me and he was in the hunt. Tucked up in a 500hp R33 GT-R running pretty crappy tyres, he peddled hard to catch up. Many laps I saw him close in only to manage to pull away exiting the corners...and seeing not the front, but the side of the GT-R as Jeff did his best to keep all fours drifting out from the apex. After 5 or so laps, he finally got onto my tail, and I let him pass before the final corner. See a succession of pics below:

A lap or so later and my fluids were beginning to get a little too hot with water heading over the 115C mark, and the oil just touching 95C so it was time to hit the pits

And finally parked up, you can see the grins from Jeff and I as we talked over what we'd just been up to.

Jeff Ash and Brendan Underwood talk over the session at Barbagallo Raceway

The rest of the afternoon was a hoot...until about 3.30pm when things turned for the worst. The long track at Barbagallo is pretty punishing affair with WOT using for about 90% of the track. The straight down the hill I was managing about 190km/h at the top of fourth before hammering the brakes and backing down through the gears. It was at one of these points coming into the final turn that one of the S13's achilles heels reared it's ugly head. The clutch fork release pivot snapped (confirmed later) and the day was over. I had enough momentum left to put it in neutral and coast into the pits.

It was probably a good thing anyway, as temps were getting warm again and after lifting the bonnet, there was quite a bit of oil on the intake side. We think it was from the oil cooler sandwich block seal failing under the conditions. Luckily someone had already called a tow truck (our friendly neighbourhood Gerrin from Anytime Towing) which they then no longer needed so I then had a way to get home.

On the Anytime Towing tow truck

While up at eye height, it was easy to see the results of some reasonably heavy braking going on on the we see the discs a lovely shade of blue.

Many thanks to Gerrin for getting the car and I home safely.

All in all though they day was bloody great and I look forward to getting the car back out on the track again soon.


UPDATE: In all the excitement I forgot to mention how good it was to drive! In one word...brilliant. The handling setup was nice and sharp, with good turn in but with so much grip in the rear I had to be on the ball ready to catch it. The brakes never had a problem all day with the killer B's performing flawlessly. The only downside was the engine dropping a cylinder or two if I took it too close to redline and taking a good 3-4 seconds to clear up again, thus the reason for the head change. Needless to say I had a grin on my mug for a week afterwards even with the release pivot failure.

Dad’s Datsun 180B (610) SSS gets new shoes

Friday, 27 February 2009 | Comments (3) | Categories: Old School, Wheels/Tyres

Datsun 180B (610) SSS with XXR/Sportmax 513 15x8+0 wheels

It was about the middle of last year that I mentioned to Dad about the possibility of putting some new wheels on his classic 1974 Datsun 180B (610) SSS 2-door coupe. Dad's owned this car for many years and has slowly got the body work into the shape you see it here. But I always thought the rims didn't quite stack up to the quality of the body, so after some 'chops were done showing what a set of Konig Rewinds looked like it was a goer.

Datsun 180B (610) SSS with XXR/Sportmax 513 15x8+0 wheels

Now about 6mths later, I was surfing the OzDat forums and found another 180B 4-door that had a set of Sportmax 002 in the same sizing and thought that's what Dad should get. A little risky considering his age, but he was willing to trust my judgement and we made the purchase through Zi at JDMyard. Opting instead for the XXR/Sportmax 513 model in 15x8+0 offset (see previous blog post for details shots of the wheels) for that more traditional Watanabe/Panasport style. Now Dad likes a little bling (see the rocker cover in the engine bay), so it was decided to go with the Silver/Polished lip combo. Now don't they look the ducks nuts!

Datsun 180B (610) SSS with XXR/Sportmax 513 15x8+0 wheels

Fitted with Kuhmo Ecsta KU31's in 195/50R15 for that perfect amount of stretch, the car is really starting to get that nostalgic JDM look. Now while I was taking some pics, I snapped some of the engine bay and interior - the condition is great considering Dad still uses it for his daily communiting.

- Side profile - very very nice
- Down low at 3/4 front
- Head on to see offset (needs more camber)
- Close up on front wheel
- Down low at 3/4 rear
- Profile from rear
- Interior
- Engine Bay 1
- Engine Bay 2
- Engine Bay 3
- Engine Bay 4
- Engine Bay 5

Next up we'll be taking her to see a suspension specialist to see what we can do about the handling. It's been 7-8 years since it was last looked at and she's a little 'boaty' at the moment. Plans will be to have it lowered more at the front, and a little at the rear (even things up), and fit some new bushes and adjustable parts to get it all tied away nicely.

Thanks Dad for giving me the trust with your baby.


New shoes for some classic J-Tin

Friday, 27 February 2009 | Comments (0) | Categories: Old School, Wheels/Tyres

XXR/Sportmax 513 - 15x8+0 (Silver)

Alright, check out these beautiful rims above. They're going to be fitted to my Dad's classic 1974 Datsun 180B (610) SSS 2-door coupe. The rims are XXR/Sportmax 513's in 15x8 +0 offset finished in Silver with the polished lip. They're based on a mix of the Watanabe RS-8 and Panasport Formula One designs, and this particular spec has 3.5 inches (89mm) of polished dishy goodness! They also feature both 4/114.3 and 4/100 PCDs so they'd fit on some of the Mazda/Toyota/Honda vehicles too.

Some detail photos:
- Front of rim
- Dish Profile
- Dish Profile
- Hub Detail
- Wheel cross section
- Back of wheel
- Model/Offset detail

These were purchased from Zi at JDMyard ( and were delivered promptly. Thanks for the great service Zi. He still has a few of these and other models left in stock, so if you're in Australia and wanted to push the limits and go hella flush, then check out their website or head over to their eBay Shop.

Fitting onto these rims, we've gone for some Kuhmo Ecsta KU31's in 195/50R15 for that small amount of stretch. See next post of these beauties fitted up to Dad's car.


Another run at AHG

Friday, 27 February 2009 | Comments (3) | Categories: Track, Video

Got my race face on

Earlier this month, SilviaWA had another day out at the AHG Driver Training Centre near Perth International Airport. I wasn't originally going to enter as my clutch was beginning to slip (more on this later), but a spot came up on the Friday for the event on Sunday so I jumped at the chance and said "to hell with the clutch!".

My Dad came down to watch so I handed over the camera to him to take some pics and a video too.

A few things on the video:

  • you can hear the clutch slipping from the outset as I head off through the centre
  • that was my first ever handbrake turn in an event, pretty proud of the results
  • car has had suspension tweaked since last event and was so much easier to place wherever I wanted on the track

Photos from the event:

So, I have no idea why my clutch is slipping. A quick recall on the clutch - it's an OS Giken STR2CD twin-plate. It's been in and driven almost daily for about 12mths, for all intents and purposes, it shouldn't be slipping. First noticed under max load - ie. all passengers, on the freeway in 4th hit boost and there it went slipping (and shuddering). It's progressively gotten worse, so when the head gets done in a couple of weeks we'll look into the clutch and rebuild with new plates if necessary (more than likely from the sounds/feel of it).

Another thing to note were the brakes. Basically they're phenomenal...once they're up to temperature. The combo of R33 GT-R Brembo's, Nismo pads, DBA4000 slotted rotors, braided lines and the correctly matched R32 GT-R N1 (non-abs) brake master cylinder are just brilliant. If there was something to pick, it would be there's a smidge much rear bias, but really can't complain. The new suspension tweaks also allowed me to hit the picks harder too without the previous lockups.


I’m still here

Friday, 6 February 2009 | Comments (0) | Categories: Engine, Paint, Random, Track

Damn, didn't realise it's been so long since my last post. Well, simple reason is I've been busy. Not with the car unfortunately, but work and life in general.

The car though has been used on a daily basis for to and from work duties, and the occasional weekend outing. Even some family transport duties thrown in for good measure, although only when there's four of us (I have three kids, but only two can fit in the back at one time).

Last October, we had the Powercruise come to Perth for the first time. Different to Motorvation, which is more a show and shine with a bit of cruising up and down the drag strip and around the car park, Powercruise is two days of watching the Power skids, and taking you car out onto a race circuit with 20-30 other cars. Racing per se isn't allowed, but it was fun nonetheless. The majority of the those in the event were V8's, many of which had 300+ horsepower, problem was though was having to wait for them to go around a corner. They mostly had no brakes, and suspension setup for drag racing or straight line work. Very frustrating when your car has power, brakes and handling. So I, and others with a similar setup, spent our time weaving around the traffic in a safe manner. At one point I took a died in the wool V8 lover for a drive, and he was amazed at the handling and braking on the car, and it wasn't too shabby when it came time to going in a straight line either. Will definitely be doing it again this year and hope the same guy I was following around in the Commodore ute is there again, we had great fun dicing around the track together.

Now, there has been problems since the car has been on the road with regard to response, which was mentioned back in September after the time out on the skid pan doing a motorkhana. Well, I took it into Sean at Allstar for him to take a look at it on the dyno and basic diagnosis was that either a lifter was sticking, or the heat at high revs was causing the valve to get pinched and stay open. After further conversations with Marc, Josh and Boney over at C-Red, it was decided that a head replacement could be the best solution...but why? Well the head that was used way back then was taken from the block that it sits on, it was ported already so seemed to be logical. It was then sent off to get a full service, but the problem we now have deduced is because it may have already been serviced a couple of times, too much meat had now been taken out of the heads and specifically the valve seats (note this is basically my understanding). As there's now less meat on the seat, the valve sits up in the head too far, and having used way undersized shims, the rockers are now also sitting at an angle they're not really meant to. This would explain why changing the adjustable cams gears during the tuning process didn't make too much of a difference.

What now you say, well during November and December I found and bought a head from Donny at Street Forced Performance in Melbourne. The head has already had porting work undertaken among other stuff. It's now been sitting at C-Red for a couple of months, but finding a time (and cash) to now get the change over done is the problem. I'm now working for myself, which means time off means money I'm not making...and I don't need to tell anyone what takes precedence at the moment.

So, that's where the cars at. There's a few paint problems starting to rear its head now the car has been on the road including some massive ones on the rear bumper where the old bog that was put on it before I started is cracking under the paint. Car still looks a million bucks, and for something that was taken off the road and rebuilt in such a way, it's had relatively minimal problems. Have another day at AHG on Sunday, so hopefully get some pics up from that too very soon.


Finally on track

Monday, 22 September 2008 | Comments (2) | Categories: Track, Video

Sillbeer rounding the corner at AHG

Back at the end of August, SilviaWA had a 'Driver Training' afternoon at the AHG Driver Training Centre out near Perth International Airport. Although they have a short circuit, this event takes place on one of their large skid pans with the addition of a set of cones laid out in a pre-defined course. There were about 15 people taking part in the afternoon and I took along a video camera to capture some of the event. The tricky part of this type of driving is remembering the course you need to take, and thinking ahead a couple of corners so that you set the car up on the right part of the track to make the best time. Check out the video below:

Photos from the event:

This being the first time the car has been really pushed hard, it showed up a few problems in both engine tune and suspension. With regard to the engine tune, whenever I took it close to or up to redline (which was very often), then next gear change or off throttle would cause a dropped cylinder and time is lost from having to wait for it to clear up again. This also caused problems on the end corners as the engine wanted to stall leading to compression lock-ups and the back end coming around a little more than expected. This will be looked at soon though by doing some additional tuning off the dyno and on the road.

For the suspension, I was still really running the settings I put in to get the car on the road, so it was expected that it would need some tweaking. The rear especially was wanting to come around too quickly considering the amount of rubber. I put this down to the +0 camber that was setup originally leading to the rear tyres rolling a bit too much up onto the side walls. Since the event, I've taken it to John Fowler and his colleague Bob at Wheels World in Osborne Park for a proper dial in. With the instructions of intent being most daily driving with occasional track sessions, the results were pretty good. With daily driving feeling a lot more confident and refined, and when pushed where I could, the rear staying in check really nicely.

The brakes on the car performed really really well, with the only problems being me being a little overzealous when heading into some of the corners causing slight lockups. Braking into the garage though, I could really step on them hard and the car pulled up perfectly. The Nismo pads that are running really work best once warmed up.

Next track outing will be an unofficial one at Powercruise coming up in October. Really looking forward to that followed by a full track attack and possibly some drag strip time if I can get the tune sorted.


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