Happy new year – 2019

We last left off in December of 2018. The SR swap was complete and the car was drifting it’s way into completion. Now that I knew the SR was solid it was time to move on with the build.

It’s always a good idea to have some way to monitor engine vitals, specially with the prices of these things now. So before my first drift event I knew I wanted to have a set of gauges in this thing to make sure I didn’t blow anything up. Being that it was my first turbo car, I was pretty nervous to say the least.

First came a wideband. In my opinion this is the most important gauge to have in a turbocharged car. It can help you diagnose so many issues, or catch them before they become problems.
I went with an AEM unit since there isn’t very many cool JDM options out there. Because of this I wanted to instal it in an obscure location.
I wasn’t using these two buttons anymore so it seemed like the perfect fit. It was visible to me but not very eye catching.
A bracket was made out of an old license plate and the wires were ran through the car

After installing the wideband, I felt much more comfortable opening the throttle up in this thing. I knew the engine was healthy because it pulled hard and sounded great, but having that peace of mind was nice.

Next came a BM50 brake master cylinder. My brakes felt very weird after upgrading to z32 up front. This addition helped with pedal feel

After the wideband instal, I knew I wanted to run a set of defi gauges. It was just a matter of which ones. I really wanted a set of the OG defi Link in white with green illumination, but I never found a good deal on them in my search. Meanwhile I ordered the parts I would need for the instal like a GREX thermostatic sandwich plate to instal my temperature sensor

BM50 installed
Bay was looking decent at this point

I finally found a set of Defi BF gauges on eBay at a great deal and bought them immediately. Now with awesome gauges I needed a mint dash to mount them to. I found a crackless dash on Craigslist and picked that up as well. A tomei N2 block was also necessary to install the GREX plate.

Tomei N2 block
Very happy when these showed up
All sensors included
Damon had sold me a mint pair of defrost vents and I threw them in this dash. I swapped the vin over and it was ready to go in. Man I was excited for this step
I tested out the water temp sensor. The new Koyorad’s have a 1/8 NPT bung on the top of the core, so this was a super easy instal! Just had to trim the shroud a little

I continued with the prep while I waited for more parts to show up. I decided to swap the subframe bushings since this car had uneven fitment left to right in the rear. This is usually an indication that your subframe is shifted. I took it over to Jimmys work and we got started.

After the subframe I got started on the gauges and dash.

With the boost and water temp sensors finished, I was able to run my boost controller and turn the boost up! There was a noticeable difference from 7 to 13 psi

I wired them into the radio harness and stuck them onto the dash in a “GP sports” configuration. I really liked how all the gallery cars had their meters mounted so I copied the format but in LHD.

NOB testing out a Gallery car

In order to run the oil pressure and temp sensors I needed to make an oil cooler setup. So in the meantime I just wired in the boost and water temp sensors.

Eventually I bought a GPlus 19 row cooler and -10 AN lines with vibrant fittings. After gathering all of the ingredients it was time to finish the last of the two sensors.

First I mocked everything up to see how much hose I was going to need
After everything was mocked up, It was time to instal.

I installed the Tomei N2 block and transferred the oem pressure switch from the oem oil filter housing. In the second bung I installed the defi pressure sensor. Next was the temperature sensor. This one was installed in the GREX plate. After measuring the hoses and building my AN lines, everything was installed and checked for leaks.

Here’s a look at the finished product!
Plugged in the sensors and bam I was done

At this point I had also picked up a complete manual seatbelt conversion from my buddy Joe in Canada. 240sx in Canada and 180sx in Japan come with manual seatbelts so this was an easy choice to make.

Here are both headliners laid out next to eachother.
I dyed all of the components black to give it a more modern feel. My inspiration came from riding in Martino’s S15 at final bout 3

Next came tires and an alignment. There was a clubloose event coming up quick that I wanted to be my first event before the car went into paint. I mounted them up and aligned the car at work and it was ready to go!

I could barely hold my excitement that Friday at work. The car was done and I spent the night at Jimmys house to roll out together early in the morning to San Antonio

First road-trip in this thing

When we arrived, Jimmy let me borrow the LMGT4’s since the TE’s were balanced for the drive. I swapped the tires on them at the track, and I was ready to go. I still remember this day vividly.

I got out on track and man. The car absolutely RIPPED. I was so happy. Everything felt so good and the tires lasted me all day.

The day went perfectly smooth and I patted my SR on the valve cover for its great work! Now it was time to head back home to Houston.

A couple days after the event I received a notification that my BN Kit had finally arrived from Japan !! The timing couldn’t have been any better ! I quickly picked it up and dropped it and the car off at my buddies house who was going to paint it and throw it all together.

Of course we had to mock up the kit !

I ordered full BN type 3 back in October of 2018. The kit arrived 03/19/19. What a day. Immediately I realized that a Kouki wing and ganadors were needed. So it was time to save up for that.

I ordered the first pair of ganadors I found on YAJ and forked over the ¥100,000 plus shipping to Jesse Streeter.

While waiting for paint and body work, this thing popped up and I quickly scooped it up hahah.

I dropped them both off at paint and I continued to wait… there was talks of the FatCats holding a private day at the police academy so I was really hoping to unveil the car for that!

The car was riddled with dents so it was nice to get rid of most of them. However what I was most excited about was deleting a whole bunch of stuff like the third brake light, the wiper, antenna, and rear side markers.

On Friday 05/03/19 my buddy let’s me know that the car is ready for pick up. I legit can’t believe it. The car that had been sitting in my driveway for so long was finally something I could be proud of. As soon as work ended I went straight there. He opened the gate and this is what was sitting behind it.

I could not believe it

We loaded up the aero in the back of the truck and drove the car home.

Here it is back in my driveway looking completely different than when it left.

The next morning was Saturday and the FatCats event was on Sunday. So I immediately began assembling the car.

I took a step back and I was speechless. For a good minute I just stared. It looked exactly like those cars I had studied in the countless magazines. I was so so happy. I had kept the car a secret while it was at paint so at this point I was dying to show everyone.

The next morning my buddy met me at my house and we set off for the police academy. I had never been more nervous to drive a car in my life. I had never driven a car with a fiberglass kit that was inches off the ground.

I carefully pulled into a gas station to fill up and set off to get on the freeway as quickly as possible lol

Once we were on the highway, it was smooth sailing

The first person to see the car was Michael Thai of FatCats. Coincidentally we ran into him on the beltway and his reaction was priceless. I let him pull into the track first and I quietly followed behind.

As I pulled in, everyone was already there waiting for my arrival. I saw the open space and immediately put this thing on full display. Accelerated 1st to 2nd into a clutch kick to initiate some figure 8’s while making tons of noise and ultimately parking next to Jimmys R32 which now created a duo of Red Nissans.

Safe to say Jimmy liked it 🥰❤️

I took it out on track and so it began. This car has seen so many track days in its life under my ownership, and it only gets better and better.

The event went great, so much love and so much fun. This was the start of a new era in Texas drifting.

Here is a great stopping point! I wanted to leave y’all with the color change. Everything from here on out will be subtle improvements, adjustments or repairs. However, the “build” at this point was more or less Done. We will continue to play catch up until we arrive to the current spec!

As always thank you for stopping by

-KM

Welcome to 2018

Ok so 2018 was when shit got real. After I pulled that red disgrace out of my bay (I think that’s why I dislike KA’s so much. They always gave me trouble) it was time to build the RPS13 of my dreams. Which of course meant that it was time to search for an appropriate engine. An SR20DET.

Now 2018 was interesting for me. I believe my self esteem had taken enough punishment at school, and I decided to completely drop out and focus on the one thing I knew I could be good at. Building a sweet S13. The journey I took that landed me at my current motor set was unconventional to say the least. In fact I think I’ve owned something like 7 engines and only 3 were ever in the car. 3 KA’s and 4 SR’s to be exact. I’ll spare you the story behind each one and summarize the reason for selling. Basically I had a group of friends who would either steer me away from a bad decision, or I would catch myself about to make a poor choice.

Engine 1: the original KA out of my 93’. The rod knock on this thing could be heard from the end of my street. Apparently the previous owner forgot to add oil after an oil change. I removed the drain plug and not a drop came out lol
Engine 2: My first SR was a red top that came out of my 2nd S13. This thing was old tired and swapped by a novice. 18 year old me thought I would just “refresh” this engine and ordered an overhaul kit. I took it all apart and very quickly realized I was way over my head. This engine was sold as parts…
Here it is in my second RPS
Engine 3: My third engine was this beauty. It came out of my buddy Kip’s S14 and I remember it being more than capable in his car so I thought it was a suitable heart for my car. However it was an S14 motor set, and I couldn’t find an S13 intake and other parts needed to convert it.
I cleaned it up as best as I could, but another buddy was selling an S13 swap which would drop right in. So this great engine was sold.
Engine 4: Fuck this engine. Let’s move on.
Engine 5: Kip and I drove all the way to Kansas to pick up this incomplete long block (remember those dumb decisions I was talking about). It had forged Internals and the goal was to have a well known engine builder in town complete the build.
I had him build it, and it was ready to go. JE pistons, Eagle rods, etc…
My friends ultimately convinced me that the risk vs reward was too high and that I should look for an unopened SR. This long block was sold to shinku classics to be put in one of their Silvia’s. Eventually the car sold and the customer made over 500whp with it hahahaha.
Engine 6: So at this point, I was determined I wanted an S15 engine. This motor set was at our local importer, but had questionable compression numbers. I was so excited I bought it anyways.
All I saw was an S15 motor with a bunch of goodies. This is usually an indication that the motor was driven hard at some point. My buddy Jimmy was parting out a car with a jewel of an engine, so this one was returned.

So June of 2018, Jimmy was in the height of his part out endeavors. He was parting out cars like once a month it seemed. One day he picks up this S13 fastback with a notch top SR. He tells me to return that S15 engine and come look at this one. I do and man let me tell ya. It was not easy on the eyes. But always remember; it’s what’s inside that counts lol. We did a compression check on this engine and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

There she is. My pride and Joy.
~143psi
~138psi
~143psi
~142 psi…All the numbers were pretty much dead even! I was so excited. It meant I had finally found my SR

Here we have a 97-98 Kouki S14A SR20DET. Which is essentially an S15 engine minus the turbo, injectors, and smart coils. Dead giveaway are the bolts on the valve cover, the oem metal head gasket, and most importantly, the NA ecu.

Jimmy gave me the green light and let me take it home while I returned the other engine. Driveway was looking pretty sick hahaha.

So the blue engine was returned and it was time to get to work. First order of business was to get rid of that god awful paint job on the valve cover.

I remember most of the glitter paint came off with the pressure washer, however a fresh coat of semigloss black was applied to make it look new again.
I tried to refresh the block as well.

Now that I had the engine of my dreams, it was time to display it in a pretty bay. I scuffed up the bay and began prepping it for paint. This also meant it was time to start buying parts for the swap.

Courtesy of TF works. I had established a relationship with them when I visited for final bout 3
Inspired by cars like Ito and Fukuda, silver was the color of choice.
I was looking for a matte finish and to my surprise, engine enamel had the exact finish I was looking for.
Man I wish it still looked like that lol.

One by one, I would save up my paychecks and unload them on parts. I remember using around 95% of my paychecks on SR swap stuff lol

I think the first thing I bought were eBay pulleys lol.
Then a nice little GKTECH coolant overflow bottle.

I remember being impatient and couldn’t resist seeing a fresh SR inside a fresh bay. So before I bought a clutch and flywheel, I installed the engine by itself on 08/07/18.

This was the dopest shit ever for me. I had never seen an SR in this car.
Tucked away in my parents garage lol
This is where the car sat while I began piecing the puzzle together

08/15/18 my clutch and flywheel setup showed up thanks to TF! After surveying around I found that the perfect setup for me was an exedy stage 2 (tri puck) with an ACT street light flywheel.

I ordered a set of brand new OEM flywheel bolts and somehow one of them snapped when I was installing the flywheel lol. Luckily it came out by hand

Whoops
Shoutout drake

Now with the clutch installed, the transmission could get stabbed on. Next came a PBM cobra.

At some point I also relocated my fender harnesses over the strut tower, a must for s chassis unless you want to run into electrical problems down the road

Buying new parts was so exciting! Let’s continue..

New shroud, samco hoses, blitz cap, blue silicone hose.
New exedy clutch master
New speed sensor from rock auto, and speed gear from Nissan.
Cody ace – Quest alternator bracket
Brand new quest alternator from rock auto
Brand new kazama catch can. Brand new apexi super suction kit
This reminds me I need a new filter lol
October 19, 2018 installed some heat sleeve on the harnesses
Fun fact: before English tune, before auto collect storm, there was goodride hehe

Next came this sweet package from RHDjapan. I was pretty excited about this one haha

TRUST LS spec FMIC for S14/S15
Best part about this deal was that it came with a sweet shirt lol
TRUST LS SPEC
By October I was just about ready to start the car

November was when the car started for the first time. I’ll never forget that feeling of turning the key and hearing the turbo whistle to life. I hooked up a battery and left the maf unplugged. This let the car sort of idle and satisfied my curiosity as I continued on with the swap. I ended up having to buy a CX racing piping kit as the Greddy pipes were for a S14 Silvia.

3” hole saw made a perfect hole in the battery tray
Here’s the Greddy template if anyone is curious. 120mm from the top and 100mm from the right
Battery of choice was an Odyssey PC680
I had to cut out the factory hole to fit the S14 piping
In hind sight I probably should’ve just made a new hole since this one had to get cut so much wider
But nonetheless I had a complete intercooler setup
Close up of the driver side hole. I sat there with a tiny Dremel for hours lol

By November 13th, I was just about ready for the first drive. The trans was filled with MT-90 and the rad was filled with coolant.

I actually tried driving it on the 14th, but it was too low and got stuck on the driveway lmao. It also just wasn’t ready for a drive. I still had some buttoning up to do and a mysterious charging issue I was hunting.

Meanwhile, I picked up an s14 negative cable, and a new set of ISR 3” blast pipes

I called up wiring specialties about the charging issue and apparently later model 93 cars have 94 style alternator plugs on the fuse box. So I cut off the plug from my old harness and spliced it into the WS trans harness I purchased. After that she was ready for her maiden voyage!

The first drive was 12/05/18. Absolutely insane. I couldn’t believe it.

Couldn’t stop cheesing

The car was extremely crude, but it ran and it sure drove!

I drifted it for the first time on 12/11/18 and man it felt fantastic. Instantly felt better than my 370z I had learned in, or even my first s13. I knew I picked up one of the good ones. I finally understood why these were so popular for drifting.

Now that I think about it, it’s absolutely insane that I was driving this thing around Houston the way it was. It was so raw and unrefined there’s no way I would drive something like that now a days lol. I was just way too excited and was making up the 3 years it just sat in my driveway. Now it was just a matter of time while I buttoned it up and knocked out every little issue one by one.

Well that about wraps things up here as I’ve gotten y’all to the very first start up, first drive, and even the very first drift! Next in the chronological order would be getting it ready for it’s very first drift event ! Until next time ✌🏼

-KM

Oh boy

Well it looks like I accidentally did it again lol. I started this blog when I was 19 years old. I am now 25 and so far, I have uploaded a whopping 2 times ! Jeez I’m really not cut out for this haha. Let’s see where we left off… I believe you guys wanted to see some detailed documentation of my beloved RPS13.

So last we left off with the infamous red KA. I picked up that juicy starburst piece of shit from a friend and immediately threw it in the car. This engine had been rebuilt and I was very eager to finally drive the car for the first time.

Around the same time that I bought this engine, a local dude was selling a pair of bronze TE’s in the perfect spec. 17×9 +15 . I remember having the money and needing to use it for something else lol. This deal was just too good to pass up however, and the purchase was made.

I quickly purchased a set of contano 5 lug hubs and threw on the bulk of the parts I had laying around including arms and front brakes.

This was so awesome to see for the first time.
Apparently at this point I had picked up my front pair of TE’s

Once the engine was installed, I was immediately battling a TON of issues. Half the bolts on this engine were loose or gone and seals were missing. It was very clear to me that this thing was thrown together carelessly. One of the main issues I was battling however was the original fuel pump. For weeks I spent hours at a time trying to figure out why this thing would die as soon as I touched the throttle. During this time, more and more parts were beginning to show up. The rear hubs had gotten lost in shipping, but luckily they sent out another pair. Those were installed and the car was finally 5 lug.

The R33’s were short lived as I had sold the front pair to fund the TE’s and Damon (camryonbronze) was hinting at selling me another pair of TE’s, this time in the coveted 18×9.5 +12. Damon waited for payday and eventually sold me my rear TE37’s to complete the legendary set.

However this still leaves me with a cool paperweight as the car doesn’t drive yet. Eventually, 20 year old me gave up and I took it to Tay’s automotive in DFW area.

Left the key in the tailpipe of that hard body lol

I remember Tay messaging me saying how much of a nightmare that engine was. He even mentioned he almost gave up lmao. This gave me a little sense of justification, as a pro was also struggling. Nonetheless, $1,000 bucks in labor, an Aeromotive 340LPH stealth pump, and a blown trailer tire on the way home did the trick. I finally had a running 240SX.

I was so excited I was driving this thing everywhere. I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders as I could now move on to cooler purchases.

Of those said cool purchases, I remember buying a works bell hub to install that Nardi from earlier. The carpet was installed and it was time for a bucket seat. Anthony Patino of D~Realm was selling his passenger zeta II, so I scooped that as well. To mount the seat, a street faction seat rail was ordered. To match the zeta I needed a reclinable so as to stay true to the original styling of the early 2000’s. I found a red Brix in great shape on Instagram and had it shipped over. I eventually picked up a GREX shift knob, as well as Kouki tail lights. No Kouki setup is complete without the oem Kevlar garnish, so that was purchased as well.

Zeta was dry cleaned

I remember my plan changing after I picked up the TE’s. Unfortunately I had to skip over my original plan of running 17’s with that early Koguchi look and go straight to the Kouki 180 style phase. The new goal was to acquire kouki 180 parts one by one. The kouki tailights were purchased new, and the hunt began.

These pics were taken shortly after our trip to final bout 3 when inspiration was at its peak

The first and only piece of aero I acquired before I decided that time bomb needed to get pulled out of the engine bay was this front bumper.

This front end along with the plans for this iteration we’re also unfortunately abandoned. Pretty much a month passed from the time I installed the engine to the time I decided to pull it. It was smoking like a chimney and the transmission was crying while going into gears. I knew this was only a temporary solution, and my patience with KA’s had completely diminished. So thus began the last bit of down time before I ultimately decided enough is enough. The search for an SR20 was on.

This thing was drinking oil

I pulled the KA and sold it to some poor bastard. The car basically sat engineless for about a year until I managed to find my current SR.

I think this a good stopping point as we transition into the SR saga haha. Until next time! (hopefully not another 2+ years)

-KM

Where to begin…

Update:

To say that I’ve been bad at updating this blog would be a gross understatement. It has been a few years since I last visited this site. I am now 22 (23 in two months) and so much has happened in my life. I really regret not staying up to date here because now it’s going to be a little tougher to go into as much detail as I wanted to. Luckily I’ve taken plenty of photos along the way, and I haven’t lost much!

I think the way I want to go about this is to make a bunch of separate posts depicting what was done to the car in chronological order to the best of my ability. Since it’s been years I’m going to try my best to remember, although I’m sure no one cares if something is a little out of order.

So the way I like to think about how this build went is in two stages. When I first acquired the car I was devoting my time to being a full time student, and I had no time for a job. So progress remained stagnant for a while… it wasn’t until I took a break from school, and got a full time job that things really took off.

After I found a stopping point I returned to school for a couple semesters then took a second break for a year when the car REALLY took off..

So I’ll fast foreword to the first break where the car reached “Phase 1”. The original idea was to keep it simple, cheap, and reliable. I was going to swap another KA24DE into it , oem aero, and 17″ R33 GTR wheels to help the KA spin the tires. The inspiration came from Koguchi’s red 180SX from the late 90’s before it was painted black shown below.I got started saving up money from work and from another S13 I had parted out. I took some some parts that I wanted from that S13 like Coilovers, and exhaust. I quickly installed them, and the journey began. Next I had to get rid of the terrible wheels the car came with. I sold them locally and picked up a set of oem SE wheels. A buddy of mine Jordan was parting out his seafoam 2 tone coupe so I picked up his chuki sideskirts and pignose lip as well. This was how the car sat for a whileNext came time to start gathering parts. I needed to collect a bunch of parts so that I could install them all at once so that the car wouldn’t be on stands for too long (HOA is a real pain in my area).

First came the R33’s I picked up from Andrew Hudson (Cooljunction). Then my buddy Justin Rogers (nightparade) was parting out his car so I scooped up his big brake kit which consisted of 30mm aluminum Z32 calipers along with Z33 track rotors with the adapter and steel braided lines.

Some of the things I picked up around this time don’t make much sense because I was looking for deals instead of getting what I actually needed. So for example I picked up a 330mm black/black Nardi Classic wheel off of zilvia instead of conversion hubs lol. Along with the wheel I ordered a brand new complete carpet set from stockinteriors.com to replace the moldy/torn unit that was in my car. I also picked up a set of ISR pro series arms so that I could have one less thing to install later on.Somewhere around this time was when I pulled the blown KA and sold it off to a buddy in preparation for its new heart. Below is a sneak peak at its replacement.I think this is a great stopping point for now 🙂 this post has already gotten plenty long. I’m going to have a lot of fun taking you all on the journey from beginning to here ;)

KoukiKev

The beginning

So after plenty of time deciding whether or not if I should create a wordpress, I have finally decided to pull the trigger.

I guess I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Kevin Martinez and I live in Houston, Texas. I’m 19 years old at the time of this post, and I own a 1993 Nissan 240SX SE fastback which I am still in the process of building. Ever since I first started getting into cars I’ve been fascinated by the art of drifting and Japanese car culture. The past few years of my life have been a blur. I’ve met so many awesome people and learned so many things, it’s crazy to think about how much things have changed in these past couple of years. I have a lot of catching up to do.

 

It all started when I went to my first lonestar drift event. I saw the typical “missile cars” all over the place. Smashed up panels, missing lights, scuffed up and cracked fiber glass, replica wheels the whole 9. Then there was this group of guys that clearly stood out from the rest. Their cars were beautiful. They were all set up next to eachother so I knew they must’ve been friends or teammates of some sort. Their cars looked like they just got off the boat from a D1SL event from 10 years ago. It was absolutely mesmerizing. This exceptional group of guys I learned were Essence Garage. From that point forward, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to achieve, and why I wanted to. Drifting was no longer about throwing together a pos 240 and not caring at all about the aesthetics of it.  I met my friend kip around this time and to my surprise he was close friends with them! He introduced me to them and I couldn’t believe how nice these dudes were to me. They didn’t know me at all yet they welcomed me with open arms. It was truly special feeling.

I decided to immediately get rid of the 1990 I had at the time and search for a much cleaner one. I wanted a chuki model (91-93) with all of the features except for Hicas and relatively low miles, damage, or rust. Eventually I found the perfect car! I found an unmodified (besides wheels and a radio) 1993 in sapphire blue with a blown KA. The engine didn’t worry me at all because my plan is to swap an SR into it eventually. I traded the gentleman and began the build.