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Author Topic: My S12 Nostalgia Project, 12 Years in the Making  (Read 140 times)

Offline mikey

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My S12 Nostalgia Project, 12 Years in the Making
« on: 10:51:06 AM / 10-May-19 »
Long-time member here, but I've been mostly inactive for the last 10 or so years.  And honestly, it's been devastating watching the decrease in forum activity over the years.  And not just here, but all automotive forums, slowly losing members to generic social media platforms.  Enough of my "back in my day!" complaints. 

Here's a quick synopsis on my history with the S12 and how I ended up here:

I was an S13 kid, before the drift "scene" drove prices up for junk cars.  I daily drove a couple of them back between 2006 and 2008.  They were good fun, and very inexpensive.  Somewhere in between S13s, a red '88 S12 popped up for sale on the forums.  It was a very nice 100k XE example, with a KA24E motor swap and a full SE body kit.  The for sale ad pic shown below..



I paid $1,500 for the car, which was the most I had paid for any S-chassis up until this point in time.  It was a blast and treated me well.  I threw some Sportmaxx ( :no: ) wheels on it that I had at the time, and thought it looked rad lol. 







However I missed the S13s.  At the time, there was pretty limited information for aftermarket suspension options for the S12, and BC & Megan hadn't started producing any "off the shelf" coilover packages.  I ended up parting with it for '90 hatch, and regretted it ever since.  This was probably the early part of 2008?  I still regularly reference this car, even 11 years later.

Fast forward to last Saturday (5/4/19).  I'm laying in bed, and a friend sends me a link to a car ad on FB market place, with the following pics..







After years of casual searching, a red '88 pops up, 15 minutes from my house.  2 hours after it was listed, it was on my trailer.



The short backstory on this car:
It's a 1988 SE, V6 & 5 speed, with 120k.  It had been living in the western part of CT for the last 10-15 years, being used for track days by an enthusiast out there.  There are some car club stickers on the thing, as well as a couple tech stickers as recently as 2013.  The car has lowering springs, adjustable shocks, steel braided brake lines, as well as polyurethane everywhere.  The car eventually suffered from some brake line and clutch line issues and was sold as a project to the guy I bought it from.  He basically sold it to me in the same state in which he had received it.  It runs, though needs a good tune up, and really just needs to be gone through.  And that's where we stand today.



The short term goal: Get the VG30 tuned up and running well enough to put some miles on it.  I've never driven a V6 S12, so I'm curious to see what I like and what I don't mainly to help me make decisions for the long term goal.  I've already replaced the damaged brake lines, missing brake caliper, and dead slave cylinder.  Just gotta bleed the thing now and make sure nothing is leaking.  It does have a pretty substantial coolant leak from the large hard pipe that runs to the lower rad outlet, but I have a box of new coolant hoses with the car, so I'm not too worried.  The power steering rack is leaking BAD and there's a good bind and click in the steering that seems to be coming from the steering shaft u-joint.  Again, little stuff that just needs to be gone through.

The long term goal: I would LOVE to do a simplistic VQ build.  It would make PLENTY of power, while remaining true to the "Nissan" and "V6" badging on the vehicle.  Though height packaging is a major concern (low oil pan, high intake manifold), but it just seems to be the right option.  Also considering some other naturally aspirated powerhouses like the K-series (though height is a obstacle there too), 3sge BEAMS, etc.  And paint, some mild interior work, and proper suspension.  Either way, this car is being put together to be a DRIVER.  I loved the way my first one drove, and I want to finish what I should have with the first one!

Sorry for the rambling, I'm just very excited about the buy!  I'm stoked to be back.
« Last Edit: 10:55:36 AM / 10-May-19 by mikey »

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Circa 2007

Offline weitrhino

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Re: My S12 Nostalgia Project, 12 Years in the Making
« Reply #1 on: 01:51:54 PM / 10-May-19 »
Nice little story, certain elements of which reflect my own S12 story.

Welcome back.

Online JonB

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Re: My S12 Nostalgia Project, 12 Years in the Making
« Reply #2 on: 03:22:02 PM / 10-May-19 »
Cool!

Looks like a good project with some cool mods already there from what I can see. Its not easy finding vintage steel in the north east.

Offline mikey

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Re: My S12 Nostalgia Project, 12 Years in the Making
« Reply #3 on: 02:07:38 PM / 17-May-19 »
Nice little story, certain elements of which reflect my own S12 story.

Welcome back.

Cool!

Looks like a good project with some cool mods already there from what I can see. Its not easy finding vintage steel in the north east.

Thanks for the kind words!  My goal here is to do everything I always wish I had the first time around.

Quick update:  I made the decision to convert to S13 knuckles to help expand my options for the future regarding suspension mods and adjustability.  I then subsequently spent more than the price of the car in parts that are arriving piece by piece.  I'll take some pictures of the new stuff and the progress over the weekend.  I'm very excited about this!

Circa 2007

Offline mikey

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Re: My S12 Nostalgia Project, 12 Years in the Making
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 11:11:00 AM »
I had a quick detour from the project for a local drift event hosted by Lock City at Thompson Speedway here in CT.  Only the second time this year I've had the M3 out to an event.  Hoping to change that now that I've done a major suspension overhaul! 







Okay back to the S12 mess..
After weeks of searching, I was able to track down a reman rack.



I bought a set of S13 knuckles from a local drift buddy in my area, which was also sort of difficult to track down.



After much debate, I decided to go with Z32 brakes for my S13 knuckle conversion.  Go big or go home, right?



Though it's sort of going to be a shame to get rid of these nice new stock calipers.





And of course everything was seized because old Nissan.  But eventually it all came apart.  I took all the hardware and bracketry that came with the brakes and toss them in the tumbler for the day.







Excited to start putting all this stuff together.

« Last Edit: Today at 08:46:02 AM by mikey »

Circa 2007

Online JonB

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Re: My S12 Nostalgia Project, 12 Years in the Making
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 09:02:47 PM »
I did the same thing; got the brakes in top order, then swapped them out for better stuff.

Its nice to see progress. Mine is just kept in running order until hopefully I get to upgrading it.