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Discussion Starter #44
Packing up tools to get the s13 subframe, then pull the s12 subframe and hopefully get a basic mockup put together tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
BTW: What's up with that Z as your Avatar???

That thing looks amazing...any details on that?
I'm assuming you're talking about the black one on Hoosier slicks. For once, I didn't build it, but it had an l28 with an ld crank, triple weber carbs, and the long-snout vlsd r200. Not the fastest car I've driven, but it sure was an experience!
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Progress has been made but not enough to post a real update yet (meaning it isn't rewired and running), but the suspension has *begun to take shape (mockup only, I haven't fabricated any mounts at all yet):



Also, my coilovers have finally come in, but there was an issue. I had been planning on using two 2007-2008 Honda cbr600rr rears, but one of the sellers I ordered from accidentally sent me an 08 cbr1000rr rear shock. I called them, and they apologized and have already shipped the correct shock and told me to keep the cbr1000rr shock as their way of apologizing. Awesome store.

I may simply order one more 1000rr shock and use that pair for the front suspension. Here are the two mismatched shocks I've received so far, though:
 

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Discussion Starter #50 (Edited)
Well, that didn't go according to plan. Couldn't get ahold of the new harness through my buddy, so I'm back to wiring. I'll post the details on Driven Daily in October, but I've essentially had to bypass a few relays and replace them with the switch panel I had lying around.

The current state of affairs:


 

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Discussion Starter #51 (Edited)
Wiring is done, car runs and drives, working out some final lighting issues and securing the new body wiring harness I made currently. A couple pics of what's going on:
Complete interior, just needs a little more wiring routing/securing and the gauges mounted


I'm rebuilding the headlights now, and hopefully I can figure out why they don't go up or down in the process.


I had to rewire the entire body harness, which meant all new light wiring all-around. It took awhile.


I've removed a lot from the engine bay (so far). All AC routing and the condenser are out now, vac-controlled cruise control is removed, I'm in the process of bypassing the clutch damper (a 'feature' that makes your clutch pedal feel mushy and vague, doesn't that sound great?), and I added some brake fluid. Forgot to check that before I took it out for a spin around the neighborhood, and was surprised (terrified?) to find that I had no brakes.

It's all coming together rather nicely:


However, I ran a compression test this morning, and am disappointed with the results.
65psi/130psi/140psi/155psi
171psi is considered 'Standard' by the FSM, while 128psi is considered 'Minimum'. In general, a 10% deviation between any two cylinders represents a sizeable problem, and if cylinders are under the 'Minimum' you're lucky if it runs.

So I'm considering myself very lucky, and am trying to decide if I'm going to keep the ca18et and try to refresh it in a weekend in-car (no hoist, limited time, this is my daily), or if I'm going to pick up a ka24de swap to plop in here in a weekend. The ca18et is a pretty lackluster engine, all around, but they don't weigh much, get great mileage, and last forever and a day as long as you don't plan to make power. The ka24de is cheap, available, and easy to swap, so I think the best course of action would be to keep driving the ca18et until it dies while seeking out a killer deal on a local ka24de swap.
 

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kiinda sucks about the comp.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
kiinda sucks about the comp.
Yeah, but I won't lose sleep over it. The engine rarely stumbles or hesitates, and it's still reliable, and it's 'peppy enough' for me. It's just very down on power, which isn't too bad. It was anemic from the factory, at ~130hp and ~130ft/lbs. I think rebuilding and swapping a ka24de is the next logical step.

I tried pouring a little bit of oil into cylinder #1 and running the compression test again (to verify if it's rings or valves) but grossly overestimated the ring circumference and just ended up fouling the compression tester and had to use a turkey baster to get the remaining oil back out. Oops. In any event, I think I'll just drive this engine into the ground (another 50k miles is being generous) and keep my eyes open for a ka24de.

Nice. I heard these cars are hard to fix up for tuning.
No idea where you heard that, or exactly what you mean by 'tuning'. If you mean making power with the ca18et, it's more than hard. It's impossible. The rods are made of cardboard, hopes and dreams, the valves are made of used straws with paper cup bottoms glued on, and the turbo is the size of a snack-sized snicker's bar. For once, the saying that 'with enough time and money, anything is possible' isn't true. The ca18et isn't capable of making (proper) power.

If you mean the suspension, it's fundamentally the same as the 300zx, only smaller. It also shares MANY similarities with the 240sx, which is currently the most popular car to modify nowadays. The rear suspension setup is pretty different (rear trailing arm vs double wishbone) but both are IRS and are reasonably responsive. Actually, the rear suspension is identical to the e30 BMW's, which have seen LOTS of success in racing circuits.

The potential is definitely there, but people need to get their heads out of their asses and stop expecting companies to do all the work for them, and actually do some math. If you don't know how to match your damper rates to your spring rates and suspension travel, you don't actually know what 'tuning' is, and shouldn't be modifying your car. Just a general, wide-sweeping statement that people don't try hard enough to establish a fundamental understanding of how things work before they assume they're improving things.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Headlights are in. I'll take care of getting everything to the same color later, right now I'm purely focused on winter-proofing the whole vehicle. Lots of grinding and sandblasting to get rid of rust, then covering with self-etching/sealing primer, then a quick coat of clear to keep the rust from coming back right away.



I also took it for a few quick drives around my neighborhood and would consider it 'as safe as any other s12' (all the wiring is secured down, seat belts and seats are installed, and important components like the ECU and gauge cluster are either bolted or zip tied down. By the end of the weekend, I think I'll be ready to get it inspected (new tires, reverse light wiring, and a horn switch are still needed). Then I can call this thing a reliable daily driver (while I hunt down an inexpensive new engine [ka24de?] to swap in).
 

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Tuning as in power, handling, etc. And yeah, you hit the nail on the head from what I have heard about this car. It's a shame too, I like this more then the 240SX's that everyone wants to have. It's good to see the similarities between this and the 300ZX and E30 bimmers.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
Well, the 240sx is a much much better platform to start from, but I only know of a handful of 240sx owners that I can respect out of the bajillion 'tuners' who own them. One of the awesome owners is floating around here, still.

I also wanted something slightly simpler, pre-obd, and with more bolts than plastic connectors.

There are definite downsides to the s12 chassis, like non-adjustable rear camber curves and a series of anemic engines that came in them, but they're otherwise solid little cars. Despite using the same platform, the camber curves of the e30 is much, much more effective than the s12's.

If I were to complain about anything, it would be that the s12 doesn't get ANY aftermarket attention. The Corollas of that era (I'm not going to limit them to the ae86) and the later s-chassis got worlds more attention, and the s12 (along with the z31 and most other semi-rear-trailing-arm designs) were left behind. The end result is that there aren't many bolt-on parts, so if you aren't comfortable with a tape measure, calipers, and a drill, you probably won't be 'tuning' an s12.

The upside is that TONS of engines plop right in, no questions asked. The ca18et is what I have in there, the ca18det is a MUCH better design all-around and would make an awesome daily driver, the ka24de plops right in, as does the sr20det series. Many s12's came with the Nissan v6 (vg30e) which people seem to love, but I can't get behind it on paper. It's heavy and a bit gutless, in my opinion. So making power really isn't an issue in these little guys. There have been several 'more serious' engine swaps out there as well:
Colin's s12 was recently featured on Speedhunters
and there have been a few other features on this chassis previously.

At the end of the day, all cars are a lot of work. As long as you have a vision and can see a clear path to that vision, then have the dedication and follow-through to see that path through to the end, every chassis is a great place to start.
 

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Seeing yours and those cars makes me want one. Lol. I want to do an rear wheel drive car, something for drift, shows, and track. Not really a streetable car except to drive to and from an event.

But yeah, I miss tinkering with pre-obd cars myself. I used to mess with them all the time when I did my automotive classes back in high school. It is always fun doing everything yourself, bolt-ons make it easier, but you get more satisfaction when you make something yourself.

I am looking forward to seeing what you do with this. You might inspire me to pick one up.
 

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Discussion Starter #59
Spent some time shooting my buddy's AW11. He got me excited to finish my suspension up, and get this thing riding really nicely. The cantilever design is complete, and I'm ready to start prototyping final designs, and might even end up selling them as a kit afterward. There are almost no bolt-in rear suspension options for the s12 or the z31, and that's what prompts most owners to move on to move to a different chassis altogether. They do look kind of cool side-by-side though, don't they? I'll lower my s12 a couple inches once I have all the proper geometry measured out.


I have also been considering the old carb'd Ford 2.3 liter inline 4's, with my rack of Mikuni BST38ss carbs off my old GSXR750. They're GREAT carbs, and with a mediocre intake and exhaust setup, I should be able to hit an easy 150whp while having all the tuning options I could possibly want.

I'll have to write a bit about WHY I like carbs so much, since everybody I mention this to seems to think carbs are a massive step backward, in terms of power and efficiency. While EFI offers a higher ultimate threshold of tuning, carbs get me to the point where I have 90% of the same options at 1/10th of the price and complexity. Instead of having to buy a new ECU, extra o2 sensors, wiring in the knock sensor, new injectors, a new fuel pump, and several new gauges (around $2000 worth of gear)...

I get a rack of carbs ($100), a carb fuel pressure regulator (drops pressure down to 7-10psi for around $25), a vac gauge (already have one, but they're $25 for a mediocre one), a set of jets ($50 for main and idle jets, which are really all I need), and I'll spring for a wideband o2 sensor to save myself hours of time that I'd otherwise have to spend reading spark plugs.

But aside from that awesome level of control, if something goes wrong with an EFI system, I need to break out the manual, test light, and soldering iron. If something goes wrong with a rack of carbs, I can shake a stick at them menacingly and get them working again. I MAY need a can of carb cleaner and a cereal box, in a worst case scenario.

I added a sticker to it as well, which is normally something I'm completely opposed to, but couldn't resist the Darth Vader on my overly-80's-looking car.



So I suppose that's all for today. It's snowing like the sky has gone batshit insane, and we really hadn't expected it to start this early in the season, so there's wood splitting to do and plant-covering to take care of. 'till next time!
 

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Discussion Starter #60
I'm seriously considering trading this for a CRX. I just don't have any awesome, crazy plans for this. Even fixing the rear suspension geometry isn't doing it for me. I'm not in love with this, but after reading Caleb's MR installation, which is something I've been considering for a LONG time now, I'm inspired to get another CRX. So maybe I'll trade this in for it.
 
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