Without meaning to we have inadvertently become a S chasis specialist and more precisely a 180SX specialist. Why? we have no idea it would seem that the car enthusiasts of today have some degree of taste, as they are in our humble opinions on par with chocolate body paint (the cars, not the enthusiasts). Read into that whatever you wish but many of the performance car owners of today are returning home with clean looking 180s and demanding that Dad put his thirty thousand dollar Commodore on the street to make space in the garage for their ten thousand dollar missile. We choose not to get into the debate of whose car gets jammed into the garage to get scratched every time the lawn mower has to come out but we do have a bit of yarn to tell about the build of this rather tidy 180SX that we had the pleasure of working on recently.
The Nissan came to us missing first and second gear, we have no idea what the drive to us was like but the distance was about twenty kms. We suspected a lot of high revving and a very burnt clutch smell. Matt had recently purchased the car and was told the gearbox was recently replaced, evidently it did not last long and we quickly talked Matt into doing the job properly and rebuilding the existing gearbox rather than slapping a secondhand box of unknown quality into the car. Fortunately Matt was not hard to convince and we set about removing the gearbox. The clutch was more fried than fried chicken. Taking off from traffic lights in third would have contributed to this but our suspicions suggest the clutch was not replaced at the last secondhand box replacement.
Whilst we had the car with the gearbox out Matt set about getting some other parts sorted for the car. It made sense to sort it all at once. On a daily basis Matt would call and add things to the job, inform us more parts were coming and check up on the progress of the build.
Within a few days parts started to roll in and our team started to get a little excited about it. As we started opening packaging it became apparent that Matt must have rung GKtech and asked for “one of everything” a few more boxes and we suspect that a similar phone call or online ordering process had occurred with TAARKS.
This build was probably not so much of a build as it was more of tidy up. The car was clean from a distance. A recent respray made it look great in photos but up close the little things annoyed Matt. We got stuck into and started replacing a lot of worn out things with OEM replacements and the occasional GKTech upgrade.
Vehicles that have had backyard enthusiasts work often disgust and this one was no different. This was not Matts doing as he recently had acquired the vehicle, yet a lot of backyard professional handy work was present. Heater hose for turbo oil return lines and breathers are always a bad idea. Missing or snapped bolts in rocker covers, coil packs and timing adjusters needed attention, and faded headlight surrounds and ratty interior panels were replaced with flash new ones.

The deeper we dove into the vehicle the more we found how half arsed things had been done. We found the studs for the water pump pulley were missing and had been replaced with bolts and nuts, this was quickly rectified. The oil dip stick tube was missing its mounting bracket and every second bolt thread was cross threaded and needed repairs.

Then there were the items in the upgrade department. Our Pod filter stock got a bit of a showcase with a new pod set up. A baffled sump and new oil pick up were fitted, GKtech rocker stoppers were fitted and an impressively tight short shifter was fitted to the gearbox before the box and NPC clutch were fitted. Eccentric throttle wheel was supplied by GKTech and a TAAKS supplied a complete new clutch pedal, master and slave cylinder. A Set of hard race engine mounts and steering rack mounts also got a look in.
Braided clutch line and brake lines were fitted before we got stuck into the Suspension set up. The vehicle boasts a complete GKTech set up with fully adjustable arms front and rear, however we did find the coil overs needed preload reset as two of them were loose. (owners of coil overs: once your preload is done, don’t touch it)The finishing touch done by Matt himself was the S15 front seats. It really is a great looking car that is now great fun to drive. The trouble with these builds is when they are finished we fall in love with the car and don’t want to let them go. This is one such car.

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