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Old 05-06-2011, 09:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Worcester, MA
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s12 200sx - '86 Nissan 200sx turbo
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New guy with an old Nissan

Hey everybody, I'll keep this brief, since I don't have much to report at this point. I'm just an auto enthusiast who doesn't see the point of having a car you can't drive every day, and I like getting as much efficiency as I can out of a car while keeping it fun to drive (I watch Top Gear, but am not interested in supercars).

I find myself increasingly disappointed with new cars, having so much excess and heft bolted on to them, and completely missing the point of a vehicle (which is transportation of people and goods, right?). I tend to admire modernized older cars that combine the light weight and simplicity of older cars with the efficiency and tight tolerances of modern engineering.

That's why I purchased the ugliest car I've ever seen, and decided to turn it into (what I consider) the ultimate daily driver. Here's what it looks like:


Unfortunately, I haven't been able to source the correct starter motor for it (after 3 tries, and snapping off several starter cog teeth because I was sold the wrong part) I've decided to throw away the old, complicated, ineffective, inefficient ca20e motor and replace it with a slightly more modern but MUCH better engineered ca18det. It may seem strange to expect to go from a 100hp engine that was touted for being very efficient (it has two EGR systems and 8 spark plugs on a 4cylinder engine) to a turbocharged little workhorse of an engine, but the resolution of control I can get out of the ca18det will give me the best of both worlds:
  • Driving conservatively nets great mileage from the low-displacement engine
  • Driving aggressively lets the engine stretch its legs and produces plenty of power (200whp is the very attainable goal)

Right now the car is up on jackstands, and is waiting for me to yank the old engine out so I can pick up the new engine on the 19th, then I get to spend the weekend swapping engines and working out the kinks with that. I've removed as much weight as I can, and will revisit the suspension setup after the new engine is in.

My end goal is to install a more efficient turbocharger, alcohol/water injection system (to combat detonation), and megasquirt3 (megasquirt1 and 2 do not control coil-on-plug systems effectively, and megasquirt3 allows for easy sequential ignition AND fuel injector control). I'm excited to finally see this on the road, and see what kind of mileage I get out of it. I highly doubt that it'll be any worse than the epa-estimated 21mpg average that seems so disappointing to me.

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Old 05-07-2011, 01:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
Pishtaco
 
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Welcome. That looks like quite a project. What do you think about the 1.5 liter engine from the early 80s Sentras, or a more modern 1.6? They should give some impressive mpg.
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Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? George Carlin
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2011
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Well, they could work, but it wouldn't be viable in this car. The Sentras are front-wheel-drive, while this car is rear-wheel-drive.
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice car! Got any more pictures?
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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nice looking car and looks like a fun project
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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s12 200sx - '86 Nissan 200sx turbo
Last 3: 37.27 mpg (US)
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Not yet, it's still in the teardown phase. I should be picking up the engine hoist this week to get the old ca20e engine out of there (hopefully).

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