Troy’s 180sx: Part 1

Recently I received an email from a customer interested in a GReddy front mount intercooler kit for his 180sx. I shot him back a price and he was so stoked to hear that I had the intercooler in stock that he was going to come pick it up the next day. Following day comes and I get to meet Troy in person and learn about his company “importr.com”. This is a website where you can find that awesome JDM car you’ve been looking for, very easily. It’s basically a craigslist for imported vehicles. Once we were done talking about our love for Japanese cars and our own businesses he mentioned that he would bring his newly imported 180sx by to have me install the FMIC if that was okay, I told him id love to.

I didn’t know what to expect when he was dropping off his car but considering the usual cars we get in this area, I was 80% sure it was gonna be a rust bucket. But when I saw Troy roll up in his black 180sx on white Buddy Club P1’s, I had a feeling it was going to exceed my expectations.

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Troy has been preparing the car for some body work so all the panels were not in place when he dropped the car off, some interior stuff was missing, driver window didnt work, tail light wiring could be a little cleaner, etc. That stuff didn’t discourage me at all though because after talking to Troy and understanding the direction he wanted to go with this build it was as exciting for me as it was for him. A clean 180sx Type-X build is his goal and as some of you might know that is my own end goal with another 240sx shell I own and am currently working on.

He had a few things he wanted me to look at when he dropped the car off. One was a fuel starvation issue that he thought was due to a rusted gas tank, another was a brake light problem and the last was to install the GReddy front mount intercooler.

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I started by taking the car for a drive around the block to duplicate his concern. The problem was noticeable right away. One short 2nd gear pull down the street and the fuel pump was screaming. Power was laggy and cut out occasionally. First thing I did was check the fuel pressure regulator vacuum line. Looked okay but I did repair one vacuum line going to the charcoal canister. No change as I suspected from such a small vacuum leak. So I proceeded to remove the recently installed Walbro out of what looked to be one of the cleanest gas tanks I’ve seen. Boy was I wrong….

The tank was completely rusted inside. Rust debris were floating around the tank and blocking the pick up. Looks like Troy was right, tank needed to be replaced. Luckily we had a spare S13 tank sitting on a shelf for awhile now so I decided to use that. This tank wasn’t the cleanest on the outside but the inside looked brand new compared to his.

We try to stock a few Nissan gaskets/o-rings here at the shop so I was able to include new fuel filler neck and sending unit o-rings while freshening up this tank a bit before the install. There was some surface rust around the fuel filler neck that bothered me so i wire wheeled all of the corrosion off and ended up using the neck off Troy’s old tank instead because it was a bit cleaner. Sanded and sprayed the top of the tank with some black primer as well to clean it up a bit and prevent future rust.

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Installed a new Walbro fuel pickup sock on the pump before installing it but was glad to say that his new pump was still working. Would have sucked to have to replace that pump so fast. Cleaned up some of the wiring before installing the sending unit with the new o-ring. Replaced one of the fuel lines due to a leak and fired her up. She ran a lot better.

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Next up was the brake lights. Easy fix, went straight to the usual suspect and saw the rubber grommet was missing on the pedal. The switch was also unplugged by the previous owner which was probably to prevent the brake lights from killing the battery. Replaced the grommet with a new OEM one and plugged in the brake switch and everything worked as new.

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The front mount intercooler kit was pretty straight forward, was nice installing a GReddy product on a real 180sx as the side mount intercooler and OEM hot pipe setup worked flawlessly. Troy didn’t want to spend the extra money on having me sand down and spray his battery tray after drilling the hole for the cold pipe since he figured he would end up having the bay painted in the near future. But I felt wrong leaving the install incomplete so I threw it in for him anyway. Sanded the surface rust down and laid a couple coats of some black paint down to match the rest of the bay, nothing too crazy.

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Install looked great after purchasing this Bosch battery that I end up using on most SR cars I work on. I’m not a big fan of battery relocation kits when it’s not necessary. Simplicity is big for me. These batteries also have a 3 year free replacement warranty i belive so he shouldn’t have to purchase a new one for the life of this car. Also replaced his positive battery terminal because it was completely snapped in half. He was glad to see that because it was causing an annoying start issue.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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Trimmed his factory Chuki bumper and bolted it back up. Then it was onto making sure the vacuum lines were ran correctly after changing the factory cold pipe. Upon doing this I realized his factory boost control solenoid and his recirculation valve were both missing their vacuum lines. They all fell off due to old age, cracked hoses. Once these were repaired and I took the car for a ride, it was like night and day. The car felt AMAZING even at stock boost levels. That solenoid does wonders for the T25.

IMG_7213.JPGI expected to feel some lag from the increased intake piping but if anything we reduced lag by repairing the vacuum lines. Troy left feeling like he was driving a totally different car. I’m looking forward to working on this car again after it comes back from the body shop.

I will try to get better pictures next time!

Written by: Frankie Bovino

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