My S15 Spec-S drift journey

Thread in 'Project Cars and Builds Threads' started by Matshui, Mar 11, 2019.

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  1. Matshui

    Matshui New Member

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    Hey there,

    So I have been pondering making one of these threads for a while now, if nothing else just to make it easy for myself to go back and jolt my memory later on.

    Quick introduction first - I have been involved in motorsport since 2003, first as a marshall and then later on moving into race control, and the last 6 years I have been right at the top in organizing, developing, and running the Danish Drift Championship.
    Never having had the money to drive myself I had been putting it off for years, but then at one of our rounds at Sturup, by the way of some volentary coercion, I had my first few laps at the wheel in a RB25 S13 owned by one of the judges - the first thing I said to him when I got our was that he had just cost me a lot of money...
    13645109_987144321403021_5363009568822284998_n.?_nc_cat=101&_nc_ht=scontent-arn2-1.

    It is safe to say that I was hooked!

    On the way home from Sweden I immediately started looking for cars, by then already having a soft spot for an S15.
    A few months later I bought a 2000 S15 Spec-S that had just arrived from Japan.
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    It was a few different shades of red, and a purple front fender, had some scratches and larger dents in the rear quarters - but it was always destined to be a driftcar, so it propably wont be the last time.
    With the help of a friend, and fellow drifter I got the car back home to my mums place, to sit in the driveway as I had no such thing at my dorm.
    Dents and scratches on the outside aside, it was actually super clean underneath and everywhere mechanical.
    LzNoXaixNETGTJwzW092LM8YQgULxWCQgVruOcnZ5VarR52odeCmBV7JEZZGh5cstfm2KezSfPhIr-VKqc=w1259-h944-no.

    Even the might NA SR20 was in good nick, especially with it having covered 169.000km
    3URz-ZkJ056MnPrP3a8Ok1u5SHhgi-pqp4YxBOFVeVy-3divRE0J6Ld0s3EbFWJ6uX8jGgVWhRE2pi50-A=w1259-h944-no.

    Now looking back I realize that it has been longer than I thought since I bought it back in October 2016 - progress has been somewhat slow I guess....

    Anyway, come April 2017 I got some one-day plates for the car and drove it up to a friends place so we could begin the transformation
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    Here we got the entire interiour stripped out, mounted a seat and harness, hydro handbrake, and welded the diff, while we were at it we gave the car some new fluids all round and a general service.
    We were quite happy that we managed to get the hydro somewhat in the original handbrake spot, and being able to retain the centre console including cup holders
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    This is also the point where I somewhat started to piece a story together of how the car had been used in Japan, as I started grinding away some plaster on the passenger door, only for it to go deeper and deeper, until at one point there was a hole
    swrgw6JIbBlOyKJX-zVq42OYGcwtUwVPGevquaDRETZUCptVimoog3gja-M13z5j6pI9wnJtCxLbINUAAE=w1259-h944-no.
    That does explain the scratch/dent going all the way down the side of the car, must have met the beginning of a guard rail or something, and then just crudely masked with plaster and paint without even prepping the surface beforehand. And then sold...

    Anyway, after that it was of to my first (and only so far actually) driftday - we quickly noticed that the stock suspension was rather in need of chaning...
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    Besides the dampers being completely shot, and therefore making driving difficult as it would start bouncing and then loose grip when pushed a bit, it actually did pretty well with only 160hp, and still running AC which was nice when sitting in the car waiting.

    After this it sat still for a long time while I started saving up for parts, and planning a turbo upgrade and so on - more on that in a later "chapter"
     
    #1 Matshui, Mar 11, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
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  2. Matshui

    Matshui New Member

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    On this next installment we jump from the beginning of May 2017 where I had my only driftday in the car so far, to September 2017 where I moved the car from the driveway and into a shared unit with some other drivers - nothing had really happened with the car in that time, but now I could finally start to disassemble everything getting it ready for my planned turbo upgrade.

    After some swearing, mostly about the lack of available space, the rather heavy stock manifold and downpipe finally departed the car
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    That of course led to the customary first fit of the turbocharger - it is a Garrett GT2871r with a 0.83 rear housing on a Tomei-style manifold that I swapped the cars original front seats for
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    After that I continued pulling stuff out of the engine bay so I had space to figure out water and oil lines for turbo and also be able to get to the oilfilter block to relocate the filter - also changed the injectors to 550cc's while I was at it
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    Also, the brackets beneath the intake manifold was a real PITA to get off! There's a special place in hell reserved for those...

    Now in the end of January 2018, I had gotten the turbo back in the car, now with heat-wrapped manifold and downpipe, and the water and oil lines sorted
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    You might notice the connection between the turbo and manifold, yes that is welded together - not the work of myself but a prior owner, it looks shoddy and later down the road it turned out to go a bit deeper than just some welds...

    For the oil filter relocation I shelled out and bought a GREX oil-block with built in thermostat for the oilcooler, this is a nice bit of kit actually - I got that mounted up where the battery used to be while still keeping room for intercooler piping, the oil cooler got mounted up in front of the radiator and the lines ran
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    Another month gone, and by this time I had the intake manifolds, intercooler and piping on the car (not final by far though), and had managed a first startup - quite lumpy idle as it was still on the stock NA ECU, running without O2 sensor and AFM, and 3x bigger injectors - but it showed healthy oil pressure and no leaks, so I was quite happy with myself
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    At this point, this was pretty much the biggest mechanical task I had undertaken by myself, with a lot of learning along the way as I am not a mechanic or anything by trade, I just sit at my desk and do engineering work (well, back then I was actually still in uni), but have messed around with cars since my friends and I turned 18 and got our licenses, but they were training as mechanics so they did most of the work - I still learned a lot about how a car was put together though.

    Anyway, from here on out I had a choice to make of whether to get the car out for a new ECU and wiring, or getting it caged. And as the cage builder had an opening coming and my tuner being able to fit me in pretty much whenever, it was the cage that had to be done first.
    That meant I had about 2 weeks to rip everything out of the cabin - next time on the recollection of my "journey"
     
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  3. Threadmark: Cage
    Matshui

    Matshui New Member

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    Started to rip everything out of the interior in preparation for the cage
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    Getting everything out from behind the dashbar proved harder than I first thought, but out it came - also had a lot of fun removing the sounddeadening...
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    Then I went on to get all the old glue cleaned off, and also got the doors cut out for wider doorbars
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    Off the car went to get caged, and about 4 weeks later I got the car back - now sporting some rather sexy scaffolding inside.
    The cage was built to pretty much full FIA-spec, with the addition of the wider doorbars, as that is the regulations we run here - and it should be good enough for pretty much everywhere else.
    So here goes with quite a few pictures, they should speak for themselves
    gjNtGHq1QNl-_GSgzqCQLYPz6TgttAGng-bCGra7MM3dgUoezJVPqQPcxuSTQoc9aa6YkPSEriJXn4wkgE=w1259-h944-no.

    v2Cuc4qlTFM2i1FpcEJa-T1N9c6ka3S2bdJYrRwGljS6VgDBcKsylzAdrFsoncO09z6wuNsYJervp5Y52Q=w1259-h944-no.

    5v0vV_U3MpbsA7-ZzntoimQLPdbLBfgfmZ7OdjncuCLvwp4ZrhuAVhTAml5wvuth_oAQ6_b8bp6VMqmb5k=w1259-h944-no.

    9G8HMukslBoHKdOJ_zmoclONLv_NIdaN5F1axYWDCigNPKA6DlvacmRn5gR0weepViZeFZ5ZpdmauZ0uHY=w1259-h944-no.

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    I was over the moon with how it came out! The plan was also to add plates between the main hoop and b-pillars, but he managed to do too good a job in bending that, so the main hoop ended up just getting welded directly to the pillars as they already touched.
    I then set out to get the inside of the car primed just to try and protect it a bit - also got the dash cut out and back in the car, as well as running a powercable from the boot where the battery now lives and to the front, nicely hidden beneath the centreconsole
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  4. Maxim_SC

    Maxim_SC Member

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    Red S15 :o
    The cage is really beautiful !
     
  5. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Nice build so far!

    How did you do the oil feed and drain? And what ECU did you end up going for? @matt_23 will be interested to hear I'd imagine!
     
  6. Matshui

    Matshui New Member

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    Cheers guys!

    I took the oil feed from the oil-block, using an AN-10 extension with a 1/8NPT in it, then just AN-4 all the way round to the turbo. For the drain I welded an AN-10 bung on a larger, winged sump as back then I wasn't really into the idea of the work required to drill and tap the block. The waterlines was ran from the block-drain, and then returned into the water neck.
    IfQnxZTTLoIIXJtMDNox437QA629PFGpdr5VfrJ3RVo4weVyYcllfLNMdIMt1Cgp1q2UJ5mbkqLpfLvKh8=w1259-h944-no.

    Rearding the ECU, the plan from the beginning was to go standalone using an MS2, as this is a track-only car so I won't need all those nice things like AC or cruise control, plus the NA S15 ECU is apparently a weird thing - and my tuner really knows his way around them (and gave me a good deal).
     
  7. matt_23

    matt_23 Member

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    Going through the same thing with my spec s but mine will be more of a street car so AC and so on is somthing I'll want to keep, I've ended up going down the nistune board fitted to the ECU route but you can't have one fitted to the NA ECU. So I've had to convert to coil packs and change the wiring loom to the DET loom so I can use a DET ECU with a nistune board.
     
  8. Matshui

    Matshui New Member

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    Yeah I went through the same research early on in my planning stages for the turbo build, and for some reason the S15 NA ECU is something of a unicorn, you can get Nistune boards for the earlier versions, but not this. Luckily everything is interchangeable.
     
  9. Matshui

    Matshui New Member

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    Moving on to July 2018, I had finally saved up enough money to get a new, much needed suspension for the car - settled on a set of DS/DA-series BC Racing coilovers, 8k front and 6k rear springs.
    I just love new, shiny parts!
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    Loaded her up to go to a mates garage as he has a lift, which would make the suspension and clutch change much much easier
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    Just looking at the droop of the rear tires, the suspension upgrade definately did something
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    Didn't go too low for now, and it is propably not even side to side as, but that will have to get dialed in later on anyway - also, plenty of "JDM dents". Had to switch the wheels front to back, as the wider wheels that used to be on the front was the wrong ET now, and the tire was rubbing on the spring/damper - so the good old R32 wheels went forward.
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    Moving on to mid August, my lexan windshield had finally arrived from Plastics4Performance, and we got it fitted up - I also fell into a sale here at DW, and bought myself a set of new wheels for the front, 17x9 ET15 which did improve the look a bit, the "worn" outside look of the car and different front fenders didn't do much though...
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    In September my engine plans changed a bit, as I had a mate who was pulling out his S14 SR20DET in faovur of fitting a 2JZ (still don't understand why ;) ), and he offered it to me really cheap, gearbox, loom, everything, so I went ahead and bought it...
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    Going to end up this little installment with another trailer-picture, this time in a much nicer trailer - unfortunately not mine... But doing mechanic-duties for a Formula 4 team does hove some perks. Especially nice with it being wet outside, and the car having no windows.
    Anyway, up until November when this happened, I had just over a 1-hour drive each way from where I lived to where I had the car, but it was super cheap garage-space which is what I needed as a student back then, having graduated and now working I was able to afford something much closer to home
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  10. matt_23

    matt_23 Member

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    Must say a full SR20det swap would of been much easier and in a way wish I did it that way.
     
  11. Matshui

    Matshui New Member

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    It is definately the easiest way, but I just think that DET-engines have gone way up in price, but I lucked into this complete swap for £900, so I quickly jumped on it - otherwise I would have just kept the DE+t and used that for a while, and then swapped for something else down the road.
     
    #11 Matshui, Mar 14, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  12. matt_23

    matt_23 Member

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    Prices of them have gone ridiculously high, so for £900 you certainly had a bargain!

    Nice work that look forward to see how the whole project progress's.
     
  13. Matshui

    Matshui New Member

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    Yeah I got lucky...

    I still have a little catching up to do here before I am actually up to date with where the car is today, but I snuck in some time at work today and drew up some plates to cover up the centre console and instrument-cluster, with provisions for mounting switches and such, all ready to be lasercut - so hopefully I can keep making the car looking better.
    Here's the cluster block-off with tabs meant to bend over the fascia for gluing
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    Just a little drop-in, I will see if I can find time to get up to date with the car in the followin days.
     
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  14. Matshui

    Matshui New Member

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    Carrying on from the last update, I am in the midst of moving the car into a new place
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    One of the things that has always annoyed med about how the car looked, was the different front fenders - not just style, but also colour. The left being the original fender, and the right being a wider fibreglass one, in a purple-red'ish colour... So I bought a pair of fenders from a friend who had them laying around, having never been used or mounted - I don't know what kind or what width they are, but they are matching!
    Also, I had to go to the DMEC round in Torún, Poland to get them - well, I was going anyway to spectate, and he went to compete. That was a fantastic drift-event BTW!

    So of course I had to hae a quick testfit as I was starting to strip the front end completely
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    I then started getting everything of for the engine swap, and decided on drilling the spotwelds and cutting the radiator support to make it easier
    kHupAhPyJM7Q2sWdVR3fJXpgO2E0rRY9BYfaCRIfCNk8qtCe4pHfqo-tYQmakeZ5LalocyCke5AOHFvW60=w1259-h944-no.

    And then 1-2-3, empty enginebay
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    I then set about getting the new engine ready, and once again my curiousity got the better of me and had to see how my new turbo-choice looked on it - although still sitting on the floor
    bjaeJMIaOTiANoQURzU5iYusJQAL7d1UnOviKqsaz58Lrwjnp7h2slua9txHjCujVOwzLr0fUXyPQ-wR-U=w1259-h944-no.
    I decided to try and see how a stock SR is going to react to having a HY35 strapped on to its side, it is most likely getting a biger upgrade during the next off-season, biger injectors and cams at the least...

    Cracking on with getting the engine in car, I ran into some trouble with the engine mounts, luckily moving the one side all the way up in the slot on the subframe, and turning the other one 180 degrees to get it to slide up further solved it - so much for "everything is the same, it will go straight in"
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    I then went on to try and tackle the wiring, which after some inspection was deemed unuseable and would require new cabling - I then spent a saturday at home, cutting up the old wiring to keep the connectors I needed, as they were fine to be reused. I also finally got around to watching Project Binky, never having gotten round to it before, and it made for perfect entertainment while doing som wiring. Also, bloody impressive workmanship!
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    That same weekend, Sunday was spent on more Binky, and also a bit of wrapping of the exhaust manifold - not my best work ever, but then again, not the easiest manifold to wrap...
    wITfetKeRRzmUIUrRg1CeFag-XM9KlN299Alr_OdZDHcOiGutMFgy6YFMe55g47paHZO4wuAz21rp-rxf8=w1259-h944-no.

    And with that, it brings me through my backlog of old stuff (a bit narrowed down of course), and right now I am patiently awaiting the crimp connectors to be able to start work on the new engine harness.
     
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  15. r32_doriftoo

    r32_doriftoo Member

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    Nice 15 you're building there - keep it up man.
     

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