A long, long time ago...
Posted by TonyRedgrave , 04 June 2012 · 377 views
Which, actually wasn't so long ago, in the grand scheme...
A few of you might know about my car, possibly from a random internet search or if you've wandered about over on Club-S12 at all, but I decided |after many not so discreet hints dropped by Masterson| to come on over and share the story with you all. So, to start with, my name is Colin Long |hence my usage of Colin Masterson's last name in reference| but you're free to use my nickname if it helps set us apart, that being Tony Redgrave. I'm a twenty-three, going on twenty-four, year old college student studying graphic design at my local community college with intentions to go into advertising, social media, or perhaps freelance digital design. My talents lie in design and the liberal arts, primarily writing. Though my hobby, lifestyle if you will, is very much deep-seated in the automotive scene. I love to attend shows|sometimes states away|, spend entire days wrenching at my cars, or just driving aimlessly. If it wasn't scientifically proven that blood runs through my veins, I'd swear it was motor oil. So basically, I'm just like you guys lol.
That's quite enough about me though, onto the car. To start with, it's a 1987 USDM Spec MKII SE-V6 Hatchback. My very first car was a '93 s13 coupe, which to this day remains my all-time favorite car to drive on a daily basis, that I got when I was around fifteen. A few years down the road I decided I wanted to make it a single-purpose track car and purchased another coupe, a '90 model year, for a DD. It didn't run when I bought it, but it was $300 and I got it running with another $200 so it wasn't such a dive. However, after a month of driving it, I was smitten by another. I was on my way to the local salvage yard and noticed a little, bright red 80's lookin' hatchback sitting at the corner service station/towing company. In all honesty I had no idea what it was, but I decided to check it out anyway. My dad then educated me about it and I bought it the next day for $900. A week later my 'new' s13 was sold and I proudly drove my s12. Clean as it was, the poor thing had been abused by its previous owner and I soon realized it had cooling issues. On the first day of 2010 at about 1:30 in the morning, the old VG30 blew up and locked up on me for good. It took me about two months to find a replacement, a 20k VG33ER from a 2002 Xterra, a few states away. I drove to Florida and picked it up for $500. Then the fun began.
It was a long an arduous process to fit the s12 with the new motor. I was able to use the factory motor mounts and transmission |though I eventually needed a lighter flywheel|, but from then on it was almost all custom work. The hardest part of it all was wiring. Because I'm a bit of an elitist, I didn't want to cut any corners or just 'get it done' to get it done, so I spent a lot of time figuring out the wiring so that I could use all of the factory VG33ER accessories in conjunction with the original s12 stuff. As a result, a good 95% of the engine harness had to be rebuilt, including an entirely custom harness for the distributor and new harnesses for the injectors. Engine Management then became my biggest issue. I wanted to rely on OEM parts as much as possible, once again because I'm an elitist, so I contacted a company known as Jim Wolf Technologies, who specialize in tuning/modifying Nissan/Datsun/Infiniti vehicles. Following their lead, I purchased an Infiniti M30 ecu and sent it to them to be rewritten to run the motor properly. It was mapped for stock injectors of 296cc, a z32 MAF, the top speed limiter was removed, rpm limiter raised, and the fuel map/timing curve was optimized for premium fuel. The only downside being that I spent weeks with s12, Xterra, and M30 FSMs making sure all my wiring was right and had to rebuild the whole ECU harness - I did get Consult connectivity out of it though. Other modifications included a Nismo 144 degree thermo, a Godspeed twin core aluminum rad for an RB |custom hoses and in-line temp switch from an old datsun b210 for dual electric fans|, z31 Pacesetter 2.5" headers, a custom 3" exhaust, and a 100mm Trust air filter. It ran like a dream with no issues whatsoever, until it started knocking later that afternoon. Turned out that I had flushed the crank case with fuel from the first start up with a stock ECU and completely forgot to change the oil before the first run. It chewed up the first two rod bearings, which I replaced, and then ran just fine for quite a while. During that time I also started refreshing the interior. I replaced the entire dash, found OEM door panels, fitted new speakers and a head unit, and tried to replace broken or old parts, as well as constructing my infamous hood. I had a set of RS-Watanabe F8s on it until I broke one and fitted it with a set of stock Crown Victoria deep dish mesh, which ruined the front scrub radius and made the car really darty.
Then of course, as my luck goes, the engine knock returned with a vengeance in August of last year. It was worse than before, confirming my original fear, that I had damaged the crank during the first encounter. I made an executive decision and bought a new s13 to DD |as I had finally sold my original one| and retired the s12 until I could rebuild the engine. In October I acquired a 'sludge' motor from the Nissan dealership where my pops works, an NA VG33E that I can use. I short blocked it and trashed the heads, and from then until now I have been painstakingly using two engines to put one good one together. The new bottom end received a shiny polished crank and refreshed pistons. I am currently rebuilding the heads with "Euro" style cams and new lifters. I've also got a water-methanol injection kit to install, as well as some wiring/tucking/cleaning that I didn't get around to doing the first time. I have a brand new supercharger with a smaller diameter pulley to install as well. During it's time sitting I was able to get my hands on a set of R32 GT-R rims, which fit the car very nicely aesthetically. I probably have a few more months ahead of me before it's running again, but slow and steady wins the race they say.
My future plans include a full suspension overhaul; an s13 front end component swap and multi-link rear subframe conversion with a good set of adjustable coilovers. I have plans to give the front end a bit of a face-lift, but I don't want to reveal that just yet. Generally, after the motor is complete, all I really want to do is restore the car and bring it back to life so it can be appreciated and enjoyed. I'm considering a custom interior that is reminiscent of the OEM flavor, but with a little twist of my own. It'll all just have to come with time, being a poor college student and all. I don't worry though, I'm dedicate to this car in the most serious of ways. Once I get the s12 back to DD status, I'll even be able to begin my super easy CA18DET swap in my s13, which I've also waited anxiously for.
So anyway. There's my arbitrarily long introduction blog post, thanks to you if you read the whole thing through...I promise my updates won't be as long. Probably.
P.S. I take a lot of pictures, so I won't post all the old ones up, but here's the link to the album where I keep them all: http://s99.photobuck...iant/s12 stuff/
from now onwards I'll probably include a pic with a post if I've got one to show.