Nissan Silvia/200SX/240SX/Gazelle Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

11 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Nissan Silvia/200SX/240SX/Gazelle Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Nissan 180SX

3. Enhancements

Updated September 8, 2011

3.1 What do all those words letters mean?


Another way of saying Exhaust

3.2 How can I improve the roadholding of my car?

The basic car is well sorted, but like all mass-market vehicles it suffers from being built down to a price. The consensus is that these cars definitely need more rubber underneath them, doubly so for the turbocharged versions. Standard rims in most markets are 16 by 6.5 all round, except for the base 240SX which is 15 x 6.

There appears to be plenty of room to run larger wheels under the standard guards. Check with the relevant authorities in your area before proceeding, but a popular combination is 17 x 9 on the rear and 17 x 8 on the front. We’re now talking about 45-series rubber which is not cheap, and ride quality will suffer, but hey, this is supposed to be a sports car isn’t it?

Note that if you lower the S14 or S15, you will suffer from excessive negative camber at the rear. Whiteline have a kit to correct this if necessary.

Having sorted out the rubber, some have noted that the factory suspension is a bit overworked. A number of vendors in different locations have suspension (springs, dampers) packages available. These changes should be considered in conjunction with the choice of tyres and wheels and for the intended purpose of the car (quick road, race, etc).

For one example, check out Eibach in the US, or Selby in Australia. NISMO Part # for the damper kit is 54300-RS540

A front strut brace is available from many sources. NISMO part number is 54420-RN526

The S14 and S15 also seem to very sensitive to differences in tyre pressures, especially with bigger wheels.

3.3 What’s a popular development plan?

(NOTE: This information is derived from talking to a lot of people. It will work pretty well on an S14 or S15)

Before you do anything, run the car on a Dyno to get a baseline for your work. This way you know if a change was worth it or not. There are lots of people out there who make huge claims for their modifications.

Ask to see the results, or talk to another customer.

Depending on what market you’re in, sort out the suspension, so that you can get the extra horsepower to the ground, pull it up and get around corners. If you do no more than this, you’ll be rewarded.

Get the car to breath better. There are plenty of good aftermarket airfilters and assemblies around. A good one protects your engine and is worth about 5KW (

7HP) With the right adapter kit it should take about an hour to remove the original assembly and bolt in the new one. Downside is a lot more induction noise in the cabin, so try someone else’s first if you’re not sure. An alternative to this is a drop in filter cartridge replacement from someone like KN.

Not as expensive, but not as big an improvement either.

We’re getting more air into the car, now we have to get it out again. A good 3-inch cat-back exhaust system is legal in most areas (check first), and is worth up to 30KW (40+ HP). It adds noise and a big bass note to the car.

You will be touch and go on noise levels when driving hard. Just replacing the back muffler is worth around 15KW (20HP), and would attract a lot less attention. Be careful when buying, some are bolt-on replacements, some require welding.

Blow-off valves are controversial things. Here’s the theory: Throttle is open and compressed air rushes into the cylinders. You lift off to change up, what happens?

This column of air suddenly has nowhere to go, and potentially backs up in the compressor. A blow-off valve vents this air, reducing lag, and in theory preventing compressor damage. Bear in mind these things can be LOUD when they work.

Nobody has told me for sure they offer any power gain, but what they do is smooth the delivery.

Both the S14 and S15 already have a blow-off valve installed. Where? It’s behind the battery, and plumbed back to the intake stream. There are two things to bear in mind. Firstly, above about 1 bar (14.7psi) the factory valve is going to leak.

It may start to open as low as 0.8 bar, so if you intend to run hight boost, you may want to replace this. Secondly, aftermarket valves generally bolt onto the post-intercooler plumbing behind the radiator. You will need to either remove (and plug the holes left by) the factory valve, or remove and plug the vacuum line to effectively bypass it. Finally, if you have to have the psssht noise, Do not simply disconnect the return pipe, the car will not idle properly.

Apparently there is a fix to the BOV that corrects this.

Having gotten this done, the Australian climate is too much for the standard intercooler, especially if you’re planning on turning up the boost. A larger unit should be a priority before a boost increase. There is plenty of room behind the stock bar. Contrary to popular belief you are not required to relocate the battery to accommodate the intercooler plumbing. It is possible to slide the battery just far enough to the right to clear the new pipes.

Failing that an Odyssey battery is an option. MRT and AVO have kits which use the original plumbing, so these are even easier to fit.

At this point, you could look at alternative chips for the ECU or a boost controller from Fueltronics. Chiptorque Apex i . HKS. AVO or TRUST (who own GReddy ) which lies to the factory ECU and provides you with more, and adjustable boost.

What’s it worth? I’ve seen dyno sheets for a conservative 40KW

If you don’t want to go down the EBC path, for a much smaller cost, you could install a bleed-valve system from someone like TurboSmart Alternatively, you can even make your own. Both Zoom Magazine and Autospeed have run articles on how to do it.

The standard clutch is not going to last long at this rate. There are a variety of heavy duty products available

Invest in an oil cooler if your car doesn’t already have one.

If you want to step it up a notch, a newly developed set of engine and gearbox mounts has been released by VIBRA-TECHNICS

So, by those steps, your car looks better, handles better, sounds better and goes better to the tune of 85KW (113HP) at the flywheel. Put it another way, the twin-turbo 300ZX has less power.

Of course, your warranty is null and void.

3.4 Are there chips available for my car?

Yes. Several manufacturers have packages available for the 200SX. Australian Road and Track magazine tested a 200SX with a package from PowerChip and the test car knocked a second of the 0-100Km/h time over standard. Fueltronics offer an agressive package for street and track as well. Chiptorque have modified the standard S14 ECU with good results on a number of cars here.

If money is no object, MoTec. Autronic or Haltech offer completely new engine management systems.

UK owners could contact SuperChips for 30 – 40 extra horsepower.

The S14a uses an embedded ECU ROM, which means you can’t just plug in a new chip. The folks at PowerChip tell me they use an additional computer in these cases which massages the data going to the standard Nissan ECU. Results are the same, but the installation is not really for the Do-It-Yourself crowd.

An alternative to this is the UniChip, distributed in Australia by Air Power Systems. This is a programmable interceptor which allows tuning of ECU input and output signals, leaving the ECU as-is.

In the same vein is the HKS F-CONV piggyback unit. Hot 4’s fitted one of these to a 1995 car with excellent results.

New options that have come to my attention are the LINK Engine Management System from AVO in Melbourne, Australia, and the APEX i PowerFC. They plug into the factory harness, completely replacing the Nissan ECCS module. They are also highly programmable, but not as ultimately tuneable as a full replacement ECU.

3.5 What needs to be done to the brakes?

From where I’m sitting, not much for the open road. Officially, the brakes came off the 300ZX/R33 Skyline, and most people think they stop OK. A colleague who has driven both swears the 200’s brakes are perhaps a little better, but this might be simply a newer, tighter car.

Either way, that’s high praise indeed.

One contributor says for track work the standard pads (in the UK) are just not up to it. He fitted new pads obtained through Demon Tweaks in the UK. I can’t comment on these claims.

Steve from Melbourne, Australia feels the Endless pads are suitable for both street and track work. This seems to be more important on the rears which can get overworked.

I switched to Pagid for the 1999 Grand Prix Rally. I must say I am very impressed, but you’ll have to keep working to keep your wheels clean as they throw huge amounts of dust.

Kevin has suggested good choices to be Bendix Metal King Semi-Metallics, Performance Friction or Hawk

If anyone else has experience in this area, please let me know

3.6 What’s a cold air duct?

So. You’ve improved the exhaust, fitted a high-flow air filter, replaced the ECU, fixed the suspension, and generally had a great time. Where is the air coming from that’s being fed into the engine? Right.

It’s being drawn in from the engine bay and the stock air sensor position is close to all those hot parts.

The inlet side of the factory air filter can be modified to accept a pipe that runs down beside the intercooler ducting to the undertray area (on an S14-style car).

Another option is if you replace the stock airbox with a pod, there is a small flat plastic cover which shields the LH headlight wiring. If you remove this, (it just clips in) you can get a length of pipe between through there to draw air in behind the grille opening.

The S14a cars have a simple cold-air pipe that can be adapted to feed your new filter

This draws air in from the main stream, which may be up to 60 degrees cooler than the engine bay. It’s simple physics that cooler air is more dense, so you get more air into the engine. More air makes for for more horsepower.

Tok in Japan has a design for a heatshield that can be used on an S15, and it looks like it would fit the S14 as well. The link is:

For your convenience, you can download a PDF of the plan here

3.7 How do I install a boost gauge?

Why don’t Nissan fit one to cars outside Japan? Beats me, but if you want to do it yourself, it’s not that hard.

The first part is find a gauge that you like (I used a 46mm HKS unit). Unfortunately the instructions were all in Japanese and the most useful bit was this picture. Dean Evans from Fast Fours came to my rescue. You need to insert a T-piece into the pipe that goes from the inlet manifold to the fuel pressure regulator.

Simple eh? You try finding it.

With the bonnet (hood) open, stand at the right side of the motor. Look at the left side of the intake plenum (the big silver box). In line with number 2 cylinder is a small rubber pipe that heads forward to a metal can located below the valve timing solenoid. This is the one you want.

Now here’s where it gets tricky. The original pipe is a little over 50mm (2) long, and it turns ninety degrees at about three-quarters of it’s length. IF you just cut this tube and insert the T-piece, the barbs of the T are likely to be too long so either the tube won’t be in the right place or it will crimp trying to make the bend.

The solution is to make up a new hose tat uses the T-piece to make the ninety-degree bend for you and use one straight end for the pressure regulator, the other for the gauge and the middle for the manifold. Now you can neatly run the tube under the plenum and back to the gauge. There are four rubber plugs in the firewall near the back of the engine (probably more if you have an auto), so you don’t even need to drill any holes (but remember to use a grommet!)

Nissan 200SX

The only hard part left is to mount the gauge. That’s a matter of personal preference. If your car doesn’t have the premium sound package (or if you remove it), there is a shelf above the ashtray that will easily fit three 50mm gauges (hey, guess where the Japanese cars have the boost, oil and volt gauges 🙂 . Me?

I replaced the ashtray.

3.8 How do I install an oil pressure gauge?

The mounting notes for the boost gauge apply equally here, as do routing the pipe or wire (depending on if you have an electric or capillary gauge). The question here is where do I connect it on the engine?

The traditional place is at the oil-pressure switch. On the SR20DE SR20DET engines this is to the rear of the oil filter (which is on the right side of the engine, down low). An auto parts supplier should be able to supply the fittings you need. Looking at the wiring diagram, it seems the ECCS does not need the switch to be there, but you probably want to keep it.

In this case a brass T fitting could be screwed into the original hole, and the switch and gauge take-off fitted to this.

Be sure your connections are tight and carried out in a professional manner. Oil leaks are nasty, not to mention hot.

3.9 What Do-it-yourself electronic add-ons are there?

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with the bolt-on products that come from Japan. There are, however sometimes less expensive options.

I have not tested all of these ideas, but the schematics seem valid enough, and the operating theory sound.

3.10 What’s a bleed valve?

A bleed valve is a simple, mechanical means of raising the boost in a turbocharged engine. The idea is to restrict the amount of air pressure available to operate the wastegate (this works with or without ECCS control). If fitted and set up correctly, they give very good results for a low initial cost.

In Australia, you could buy one from TurboSmart or make your own. AutoSpeed ran an article on exactly how to do this, as have Zoom Magazine.

A word of warning though. Don’t just fiddle with the valve unless you know exactly what you are doing. You can get massive boost which will destroy the engine very quickly.

3.11 What’s the CONSULT port and how can it help me?

The CONSULT port is located in the main fuse panel of all Nissan vehicles built since somewhere in 1992. It is intended for use with a service tool called CONSULT. Nissan will happily tell you this part of the story.

What is not as commonly known is that the ECU is always reporting via this port and a number of engine parameters are available in real time.

There are two devices I know of that can read this data stream other than the CONSULT unit itself. The Techtom MDM-100, distributed outside Japan by G-Force Engineering (resold by Stillen ) and the APEX i Multi-Checker

Be warned though that Stillen and G-Force advertise that the MDM-100 has an inbuilt data logging facility. This is not correct. The logging feature is a separate product, which is not available outside of Japan, apparently because it requires Japanese Windows to operate.

The other limitation of either device is that only two parameters may be examined at any time. (this is not a limit of the CONSULT system), and it is read-only . You cannot alter anything with these units.

If you want the connector details, they are located on this page .

3.12 How can I mount a camera in the car?

A popular thing to do these days is to carry a small video camera in the car at club events and the like. In Australia, and probably some other markets the SX has two tapped mounting points in the rear shelf for child restraints. The car even comes with matching bolts for them. Mounting the camera is a matter cutting a length of aluminium bar to fit between these points (bolt in using rubber spacers to reduce vibration).

Depending on the camera, you may need a gooseneck to clear the back window, or the other option is to use a tripod clamp (available from professional photographic suppliers) to attach direct to the bar. The best thigs about this approach is that there is no cutting or drilling required of the car itself.

Another hint: Pull the zoom out to wide angle and you’ll get yourself in the shot as well.

3.13 Will an RB26DETT fit in my engine bay?

(For those not familiar with Nissan engine nomenclature, this is the 2.6 litre twin turbo 6 fitted to the Skyline GT-R)

While I have not seen this personally, C-West Service Factory in Hyogoken, Japan built one for drag racing, but according to the article, the car can be street driven as well.

The engine is fitted with the sump from the RB25DET to facilitate a conversion to RWD, and in this case the engine was converted to use a single, large turbo although this was done for outright performance rather than packaging reasons. You’d need new brakes, front suspension and a lot of fabrication to cope with the conversion, but I guess if cost is no object.

Akamine’s Tuning Spirits in Okinawa will do the conversion for about 750,000 Yen. I don’t know whether that includes the engine or not.

Japanese Motor Sports in Adelaide, South Australia have transplanted an RB20DET into an S13 Silvia. Apparently the conversion was relatively straightforward.

3.14 Where can I find a manual for a.

I get this one a lot, Either someone buys a second-hand controller, or needs a manual translated. This is a list of on-line manuals that I know about. There are probably others, so please let me know !

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