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Thread: Andrews 1990 Silvia - LS1 swapped, Z32 rear subframe, R230 diff

  1. #1
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    1993 MX-5 KL V6 swapped
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    Andrews 1990 Silvia - LS1 swapped, Z32 rear subframe, R230 diff

    Hi everyone,

    my name's Andrew and this is my S13 Silvia which I bought to use while I was doing an engine swap on my MX-5.

    Here's what it looked like just after towing it back from Melbourne (I bought it sight unseen on ebay, bad idea...)







    First job was to completely redo the intake piping and intercooler setup. The job that was on it was terrible and it went through the battery tray so no chance of rego. I also had a spare battery which would fit the car (the one on it was dead) if the IC piping wasn't there.

    This is what I came up with











    I converted the IC to return flow and made the lobster bent IC pipes to suit the car.

    I also replaced the seats because there were terrible. It now has SR20 seats.



    Video of the first drive. The stainless intake pipe with POD filter made the turbo extremely loud.



    Then I made a new exhaust from stainless I bought from the scrapyard.





    It sounded awesome but really was too loud. Luckily a friend had a muffler he said he'd give me.



    It didn't really make it much quieter, lol!

    Then I did a turbo rebuild which I don't have pics of and then finally... it was defected.

    Not a real problem because I'd just finished my MX-5 so I took the Silvia off the road and tried to sell it. Turns out there isn't much of a market for bad condition, defected S13's So the S13 became the next project.

    What I really wanted was to get rid of turbo lag. I find it extremely annoying to have to wait for power and the all-or-nothing type of delivery the CA18 had. So I decided to swap it to N/A...

    First up was modifying the pedal box so I could fit a reverse mount clutch master cylinder. This was to free up space in the engine bay.









    Then I cut out the radiator support to make working in the engine bay a lot simpler (I wish I'd done this to the MX-5, it makes it SO much easier to replace the engine)



    THEN I bought this little beauty at auction.









    Once I got it home I wanted to see if it would drive off the trailer. To this end I hooked up two half-flat batteries I had in the garage and removed the spark plugs. Since the car had been rolled I wanted to make sure it didn't hydrolock with oil.







    After cranking a bit I put the plugs back in and it started, however it wouldn't drive off the trailer. I thought it was the clutch so I went and bought one, more on that later.

    The next day





    Apart from some broken exhaust manifold bolts and that rattle from one of the accessories the engine seemed to be in pretty good shape. So, first up was to cut the sump for clearance with the crossmember. Most people doing this swap absolutely hack into their crossmember but I don't like this approach. I'd rather have slightly less oil capacity (about 200mL I'd say) than a seriously weaked crossmember.



    I did trim the crossmember the tiniest amount, only the section which is flattened to join the top and bottom halves.



    Also had to trim a few of the unnecessary lugs off the gearbox.





    Engine in







    It took me 5 minutes by myself to put it in Without the radiator support it's so much simpler.

    Now the problems. How bad is the interference with the starter motor? (Summit racing mini-starter for more clearance than stock)



    Oooo pretty bad It struck me that really the worst part interfering is the terminal which the starter motor is connected to. If I could just move it away... enter the disassembly of the starter motor.



    After removing the plunger and most of the second terminal



    Nerve racking, cutting the last of the terminal off



    Then I drilled a second hole for the terminal a bit further around the starter.



    After refitting the bits and extending the small wire.



    Then I had to extend the wire from the starter to the solenoid.



    Here's the finished product. You can see the original hole and where it's been modified.



    On the engine



    In the car





    ^ that's with the engine offset about 25mm towards the passenger side as measured from the crank pulley. I think this is the minimum I can get away with, though it shouldn't cause any problems. It will increase the driveshaft angle by 0.8 degrees which I don't think will cause any huge problems. We'll see once it's finished.

    Next, ENGINE MOUNTS! Now, doing this on the cheap I'm fabricating pretty much everything myself. So, some hard nylon bar was machined down to form the mounts.



    And then from drawings found on the internet I made the engine mount plates



    The ends that bolt to the crossmember have studs (or captive bolts if you like) welded to them. This is because that end of the plate won't be accessible to use a spanner to tighten it.



    Next I bolted the plates in their respective positions and brainstormed the best way to connect them





    Initially my idea was to make 4 steel plates per side to form a box section to join the two. However, after looking at it for a while I decided to just use some box section steel instead.







    Seems to work pretty well

    Here's the gearbox mount I came up with. Another two of those nylon discs for some vibration isolation (really just to appease the RTA, solid mounting is apparently a no-no.



    Next was modifying the shifter. Normally people swap to a camaro shifter which fits perfectly, but these are ~$200 US + shipping to get a good aftermarket one, so I tried to modify the stock Commodore one.

    Unmodified



    Modified





    Essentially I just removed the rear section and welded a new gear lever to the front pivot point. However this is a problem because it can rotate freely and has no self centring action. More on that later.

    Now, the sump. I had to weld plates onto the sections I'd cut out. I actually had to cut a bit more off to clear the steering rack clamps. This is only a problem because my engine is offset slightly.







    Welding to porous cast aluminium which has had oil in it for 10 years is NOT fun XD

    To fit the stock commodore exhaust manifolds I had to modify the crossmember ever so slightly more.

    Stock



    Modified





    I also seam welded the section of subframe I'd cut out earlier. This makes it much stronger than the original which was just spot welded in a few places.

    Last edited by Beelzeboss; 02-08-18 at 08:50 AM.
  2. #2
    New Member
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    1993 MX-5 KL V6 swapped
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    1990 Silvia LS1 swap
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    OK, remember when the car wouldn't drive off the trailer? Well I bought a new clutch and slave and set about changing them, as well as installing the custom AN braided clutch lines.

    I separated the gearbox to find...





    Dafuq? It's all brand new, looks like less than 1,000 km's on it all... Even the slave is new...

    Oh well, I just installed the lines and left it as-is.



    As to why it wouldn't drive off the trailer, I found out in the rollover one of the commodores rear axles had come out of the diff O well, I got a screaming deal on the clutch off ebay so I should be able to sell it for what I paid.

    More mods! The mini starter is positioned directly in the way of the crank sensor so it has to be modified in order to be able to plug it in.

    Basically you cut apart the connector with a hacksaw, then file it down to expose the internal 'wires' and solder new lines onto them.





    Then cover in hot-glue or epoxy for strength.





    Finished connector installed, you can see it plugs in behind the mini starter.



    I did the same thing to the reverse switch on the gearbox



    Progress shot





    To stop the shifter from rotating I modified part of the stock commodore shift mechanism and made up a small aluminium bracket.



    I also machined down and bent the shift lever to make it easier to use.





    I can't figure out how to make it self centring again so I'm thinking of making a Ferrari style gated shifter. What do you think?

    Exhaust time!



    It just about bolts up on the drivers side but has 0 clearance with the frame rail. To fix this I machined the flange at a slight angle to tip the outlet in towards the block.





    Clearance after







    ^ may have gone slightly too far. It looks like it's too close to the steering now.



    I did go back and remachine it to put it a bit closer to the frame rail. I also did the same to the passenger side manifold.





    Next the 'down pipes'. For the passenger side the stock commodore pipe fitted perfectly but I thought shortening it would be a good idea.





    The drivers side I don't have any pics of because it's embarassing how bad it is. The two sides merge into one and go into the stock S13 cat back. This should hopefully pass the noise test and then fall off so I'll have to make a new one

    Replacing the radiator support involved welding threaded tabs onto the car and drilling holes in the support.



    ^ the middle hole was a mistake





    For radiator fans I had a set of 2002 Impreza RS fans which looked like they could be modified to fit the S13 radiator. Here they are after cutting



    Fitting the commodore charcoal cannister where the stock side mount went.



    Finished off the reverse swing pedal. It needed a few spacers and some paint.





    For a clutch remote reservoir I reused the commodore one. It was easier than my original plan of making a custom aluminium one.



    This shot shows how the stock Commodore brake vacuum hose fits perfectly in the S13.



    For the fuel setup the LS1 has a returnless system, so I bought an adjustable fuel pressure reg and mounted it, with the filter, up where some S13 emissions stuff was.





    At this stage it just needed a T-piece made, some longer fuel hoses and clamps.

    Next up was wiring - fun, fun, fun XD

    The commodore engine loom interfaces with the body loom with only 2 plugs. The first is near the passenger headlight.



    The second is in the footwell with the ECU



    In the above pics I've already gone through and identified what each wire does.

    All the cluster control wires connected. The little box on the right is to convert the LS1 speedo to work with the S13 cluster.



    The S13 also has plugs near the passenger headlight which control a few important things. All of these were extended into the cabin.







    unfortunately the LS1 electrical system needs more power than the S13 has existing fuses for. SO I needed to run more power and fuses. I decided to make use of the commodore fuse box, but I cut it down to fit.



    So from the battery I ran a power wire through a 60 amp fusible link



    ^ that section of fuse box also has the relays and fuse for the electric fans.

    Ran the fused power wire across the front





    To a second section of fuse box near the wiper motor.





    This supplies the 3 x 15A switched power that the injectors, coils and other stuff in the LS1 loom needs, as well as a constant 7.5A and 10A for the ECU. Then an existing 30A fused S13 wire is run through two more 15A fuses which also supply the ECU. What a pain!

    All connected under the dash.



    The driveshaft I initially wanted to create a hybrid of the Commodore and S13 ones but this didn't work out (I cut the S13 one slightly too short XD) so I ordered some spicer U-joints and other bits to make a custom one piece driveshaft. The ends of the shaft were machined perfectly square on the lathe and I TIG welded the ends on.





    unfortunately I don't have any pics of the finished driveshaft but it fits perfectly.

    Now the cooling system. I used to had a tool which I dubbed the 'bead smasher' but I lost it when we moved, so I made an improved model



    Basically you put it in a vice like so and then repeatedly hit it with a hammer while rotating the tube.



    With the lower radiator hose the commodore has a 1 1/2" outlet and the radiator has a 1 1/4".



    The best way I could think of to solve this was to weld a 1 1/4" beaded end onto the thermostat housing. I also extended the lower fitting at a slight angle because it was very close to the bracing underneath.





    For the top hose I welded a sort of lobster back 90 degree fitting which means I can use the standard commodore upper hose cut down a bit.





    Next up was looking at the heater hoses. Initially I was going to use the commodore hoses with a flexible extension between them, but this meant I was going to have to lathe or buy 3 couplers and a reducer So I decided to use hardlines like the MX-5. However, I realise that the 90 degree welded pipes look like absolute garbage so I had to make an el-cheapo bender

    Wooden dies!













    And the heater tube it made!







    Now the airbox. I wanted to use the stock Commodore one but it just wasn't going to fit so I had to make a custom one. I made a cardboard template and transfered it onto some aluminium



    Bent it on the edge of the bench with some clamps and a rubber mallet.





    Some welding later









    Then I made a frame from 6mm ally which the filter fitted into. This was welded to the top of the lower airbox



    I cut the intake pipe to roughly the angle I thought would work



    Then I broke out the cardboard again! Top airbox welded up.



    I cut out the hole for the intake pipe and welded it on. I also welded on some tabs to clamp down on the filter element.







    More electrics, it's all done now, aside from zip tying it out of the way and mounting the PCM.









    Airbox mounts







    AAaaand finally the second heater hose was made using the same techniques as the first



    However the LS1 heater outputs are different sizes



    I didn't have any bar stock of the correct size so what I did was weld beads along the end of the tube to build up the diameter, then I lathed it down to the correct size.



    Then the hardlines were welded together with spacers to make it all more rigid









    The car as it sits now



    Wow that was a mission to type/copy that out.

    Comments, questions and criticism welcome
  3. #3
    Member RR-04-RR's Avatar
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    This is awesome!!

    Thanks for showing us step by step, will definitely be following this

    Sorry if I didn't read properly but what are your intentions with this car?
    Check out the latest car build!
    http://slytindustries.wordpress.com/
  4. #4
    Member jeffy's Avatar
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    wow, epic build !

    so detailed with the pics too !
  5. #5
    New Member Richo.'s Avatar
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    I actually took the time to read the whole thing, awesome thread!! I'd love to see, and hear this car in person haha
  6. #6
    Member big fat paulie's Avatar
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    Nice work man. Awesome.
    isn't paulies motto "i can run faster aroused, than you can scared" - clutch-monkey
  7. #7
    Moderator whiteballz's Avatar
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    Love the approach, makes me want to get a bit dirtier in the engine bay!

    Good stuff!
  8. #8
    Member Jakroyds's Avatar
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    This is so awesome!

    And your handywork is seriously amazing, you've got some skills man
  9. #9
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    cool you're on here now, was followig your build on MCM great job dude
  10. #10
    Member cardsy's Avatar
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    Was I the only one looking for a 'like' button??
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