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Track Rat - 1991 Pulsar GTIR

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While browsing the world wide classifieds for SR20 parts for my 510 wagon build, I happened across this ad.

My interest was peaked and I toyed with the idea for a while but eventually moved on.
After a couple months, I came to find out that the car never sold and was still sitting at Sodo-Moto. 
Both Carter and Jeff had dealt with Sodo moto and had nothing but positive reviews.
So, I decided to go down and take a look. The ad made it clear that the car was beat down with a lot of "janky tuner mods" and "battle scars"
When we got down there it was clear what they meant.





"Track Rat" seemed to be a accurate description. The car looked like it had been raced quite a bit. Bolt in cage, a few performance upgrades, race seat, coil overs, and  a lot of electronics tied to the ECU. We took stock of the state of the car. As they advertised, the car had some damage on each quarter, it was filled and then re-damged on both sides. Seems the guy wasn't very good at his racing of choice.It did not run as it sat. Sodo Moto had only gone as far as ripping out a bunch of excess wiring shenanigans and diagnosing a fouled fuel pump. Other than that they knew it popped when fed some ether.  
I knew if I were to get the car it would need to be a runner without extensive work. The owner gave us permission to toy with the car at our will.
He brought out a cheapo pump and with the tools I brought we had it fired up in short time.
Surprisingly, even after what we guess to be at least 15 years, the SR roared to life. A smooth idle, good compression, boost pressure, some vapor, minimal smoke.
However, lots of lifter noise. Since the GTiR has a solid lifters, they are louder than the normal hydraulic lifter SR but this was excessive. This came with low oil pressure, only about 30psi and not much gain with rpm. 

Engine = good enough
Next was the transmission, these cars are notorious for blowing there cogs all over the ground when the overzealous try to put too much boost  through all four wheels.
Unfortunately, the tires were flat. (Actually worn in half on one by what I assume to be the cars last burn out session before being parked.)

So, put it in every gear and pulled forward and back. No grinding, no red flags, best that could be done. 
Transmission = good enough

Brakes, rusted in place and needing a complete overhaul.
All glass good.
No heavy rust/rot underneath.
Interior, seats all there and looking fresh. They even had the minty stock drivers seat! The dash was trashed by gauge mounting and sun cracks.
There really wasn't much more to be learned. 
A deal was struck and then it was just waiting for delivery. 


Since I still have my torn down wagon clogging up my only garage bay, Jeff was generous enough to loan me one until the car is a driver. Thanks buddy!


Parked next to his coupe that he also got from Sodo, how fitting!




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I heard you got one of these. Awesome AWD car. 

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Saw one of those a couple of yeas ago in town. Had to look up what it was. Or was there another Nissan awd with the hood inter cooler??? There was a huge amount of import cars around here then. Saw a different GTR every week.

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That's cool always wanted one of these or at least take a wrecked one and transform a F10 into one.  Sodo Moto same guys who have that toyota crown wagon right?

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With the car in Jeff's shop it was time to go over it with a bit more vigilance and look for any surprises good or bad, that it may have in store.
Up on stands for inspection/work.



Lots of tuner bits in the bay

Crusty coilovers


Dude was a shit driver turns out


Those won't be flapping much mud!


Stainless turbo back...


Well, turbo back until the sweet tail pipe yo!



Worlds shittiest dash installments




junk in the trunk


Sticker galore



A little switch on the dash, translated to up=KSROM down=normal
Since it runs to the ECU and KSROM is a popular ECU tuner, the assumption is it is probably a retune! We'll find out.



This was the newest date found on the car, couldn't have been driven much longer before being parked. Tires were from 2001

Cage, race seat and a pile of old harnesses




Yikes! More vampires than a Twilight premier in here.  



Shows how long it was in the sun, I legitimately though it was gold window covering until I lifted the wiper.


All in all I would say it was a neutral experience, every unfortunate b it found was balanced by a positive bit. No worse for wear so far.

Complete list of extras discovered (for better or worse):

Momo steering wheel
Bride seat
No name Japanese made wheels
Greddy Profec boost controller
Apexi blow off valve
Buddy Club coil overs
Cusco strut tower brace

Cusco (i think) bolt in cage

KS ROM ecu
Nismo shift knob
HKS billet oil cap
Stainless exhaust
Splitfire plug wires
Blitz air filter
SARD attack meter
Yashio Factory Okachan water temp meter
Apexi power meter
ARC intercooler
Stainless brake lines


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Next up was working this thing in to a runner. Some basic tune-up stuff like fluids and plugs but also some other more crucial stuff like solving the low oil pressure, fixing the fuel pump properly, tires and rebuilding the brakes. Even though this thing is twenty years newer than my Datsuns, it's easy to forget that it is still nearly 30 years old itself! 27 to be exact.
It's actually closer in age to our Datsuns than it is to the Nissans of today.

First off,
The lifters in this thing sounded terrible, like an L motor that hasn't been adjusted in 3000 miles ? but, jokes aside quite concerning.
Unlike the S chassis SR20's, This motor is a solid lifter head, exactly the same as the VE heads. You can see my wagon build thread to see how much fun re shimming one of these heads is. Other differences include ITB's , 440cc injectors, and supposedly stronger connecting rods. Driven with a T28 like the S14. 

Basically the lifters are similar to the L motors but without the adjustment screw and so the lash pads have to be ground to the appropriate size to create the desired gap.
The leading theory was that one of these lash pads, or an entire rocker arm had flown off. I would have to yank the valve cover to investigate, of course this meant dismounting the IC and a bunch of other bracketry to get there.
I decided to start wit something simpler as I was running out of time for the day. I drained the oil, black and thin, seems that 15 years or so of degradation took it's toll. This was actually motivating as it seemed thin oil would explain the low oil pressure. 
Next, I decided to flush the system a bit by dumping some spare oil straight through and into the drain pan. Basically, just try and get as much of the old degraded oil out as possible. I had a few qaurts of 20w-50 mollasses laying around which seemed perfect to drag its way through. Poured it in new and gold, sure enough it drained out pitch black. Decided it would be good to fill it up and run it a with some other temporary oil once buttoned back up, then redrain again.


At this point Jeff pointed out that my pan was crushed up a bit, maybe a forklift from shipping container delivery or some really aggressive driving. 
It looked slight to me but Jeff insisted it doesn't take much to close off the oil pickup that sits just above the bottom, this would also explain the low oil press.
Seemed worth the time so I pulled it off.


Sure enough, another great call by Jeff. There was a clear indentation in the pan from the pick up opening! Wowza. 

Spent some time hammering the pan back to convex. 

But wait, whats that in the bottom of the pan..

Yep, lash pads!

Next work day, time to dig in.

Yuck, hope that bolt grommet held up.



Survey says? No missing rockers, or lash pads! ?


Must have thrown a rocker at one point and then replaced it without finding the leftover bits, sheesh.
Its possible the 20W-50  was thick enough to drag them out of some hidden crevasses. 

on to clearance measuring, not easy to accomplish in and of itself.
Top number = valve number
middle = cam lode clearance
bottom = each valve clearance
Not ideal as they should each be around 12 thou but, not so bad that they should make so much noise. 
Decided to keep it as is and see if the clatter was just due to old oil and low pressure. 


I took time bolting it back together and looked for any cracked vac lines, found a blown breather leaking oil residue and an easily cracked fuel line when replacing the fuel filter.
Actually mounted the BOV and Boost solenoid that were just zip tied to stuff.

Replaced the plugs, I got some nice NGK replacements and assumed I'd be pulling out some who knows brand or old NGK's...

Nope! Thats 3 HKS plugs and 1 Nismo jobber. I didn't even know Nismo made plugs, apparently they are so rare dude could only find one though ? Even the HKS plugs are liek $80 a set.

I'd have almost felt bad if they were matching and weren't so roached. 

Bolted up the IC, replaced the battery and fired it up. Much better! Oil pressure making nearly 60 psi compared to the 30 before and actually rises with rpm. 
Lifter noise still present but to a much lesser degree. I have no solid lifter SR to compare to so it may even be close to normal. Good enough that I'm no longer concerned by it. 

Let it come up to temp. to try and clean out more of the old oil. Gave it some rev's all seemed good, idles well. Responds well. Time to put the final oil in.
Another surprise! Who knew MOMO made filters?


Pulled the wheels to get new rubber, looks like the cars last day in its last life was an eventful one!

Thats was most of the basic maintenace taken care of. On to more involved bits.



haha forgot to point out this gem in the last overview post, I've never seen one.
A "Power" meter, uses signals from the ECU to determine how much air/fuel is being burned and compute a live HP read out. Obviously not uber precise but it even has a function to correct it to a dyno value. Neat, if nothing else!





Edited by volkswagner
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54 minutes ago, carterb said:

If I call "shotgun" on a RHD car does that mean I get to drive?

Yep! and now you called it. No take backsies.

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1 hour ago, carterb said:

Great work Sam!  You've been a busy boy.

Not as much as it seems, I'm just bad at posting progress in a timely manner ?

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Moving on. The fuel pump needed a proper replacement.
This of course involved yanking out the in tank fuel pump which inevitably gets you covered in fuel, in this case 15 year old sludge ?

Stock unit was crusty and had a cracked pick up.


I replaced it with a Walbro 255, new pick up and cleaned all the sludge out of the tank that I could reach. 
Somehow all I took was this one terrible pic. Oh well, we all know what old nasty gas and a walbro look like, use your imagination.
Along with replacing a few dry rotted fuel lines, that was the fuel issue sorted, for now. I'm nervous about all the other lines that may be close to failing due to the same dry rot.


While I was busy sorting the mechanical bits, Jeff took it upon himself to start giving the aesthetics some love. After hours of sticker scraping, he moved on to some mudding. ☺️



I turned focus to the suspension. The setup was assembled incorrectly and very corroded. Disassembled to clean and inspect.
Measurements suggest 675lb front springs and 500lb rear! Quite stiff to say the least.



I then gave the brakes some attention. Not many pic.s but here are the fronts, better off than the rears!  the rear pad material actually separated from the metal backing before separating from the rotor!

As the front calipers looked on disassembly. Not too bad, cleaned them up and replaced the seals. Rear calipers got replaced entirely. 


Can't slow Jeff down!



Some single stage for now.




Lets remember what that used to look like.





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To get the interior a bit more tolerable, the stock drivers seat went in and the roll cage came out.

Jeff did some buffer work which made an amazing difference!
Left in progress, right untouched. 

End result ?


All that was left was to turn the coils down a few inches and correct the alignment.

Then off to test drive.



All went well, so in to the daily drive routine!


About a 100 miles in now.
A few sneaking issues. Odometer is broke, not surprising. Clutch slave leaks and needs replacement.
Only 13mpg, meaning something is causing a rich condition... have to investigate.

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Super cool car, nice job on getting back to life.

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Now that it is a driver, I've been spending more time inside the car instead of under it. Time to clean up the interior!

I started by removing as much of the sticker, double sided tape, wire clips, etc from the dash. This meant getting all the way into the gauge cluster to get the yellow carbon look stickers off of there.
With the dash apart I was able to undo all of the electrical routing strung through the dash. I moved everything to the passengers side so it could be sorted all at once. The previous owner even cut and extended every heater control wire with red wire and bullet connectors so that it could be stored in the glovebox while all the add on bits were screwed to the dash.


Much better.


This left me with this impressive pile in the passengers area. Everything on the seat was deemed useless and removed. 
Only kept the boost controller, digital water temp, and power meter were kept (won't ever use it elsewhere.)


This was my favorite wire  :roll: 


Lots of cutting, crimping, heat shrinking and it finally all got put back into it's proper place.


Tried on a steering wheel that I had around, liked it better.


Back to mechanicals, I removed the MAF and cleaned it up. Ran smoother but MPG didn't change.
Ran the ECU diagnosis, came back a clean 55. 


Plugs suggest a definite rich condition.

Thinking it's a bad O2 sensor.



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26 minutes ago, volkswagner said:



Back to mechanicals, I removed the MAF and cleaned it up. Ran smoother but MPG didn't change.
Ran the ECU diagnosis, came back a clean 55. 


Plugs suggest a definite rich condition.

Thinking it's a bad O2 sensor.




The temp sensor (not the temp sender for the gauge) may be not working and the ECU is fooled into thinking the engine is cold and in warm up mode. The O2 sensor will be in open loop mode and the ecu will run it richer.



Getting blowing snow powder here just north of you. Almost 100cm, hard to tell.

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It might not as the IAC (idle air control) is like a choke. It's electrically warmed and closes an air bleed that lets in extra air and produces a faster idle. This is a mechanical device not connected to the EFI really. It would be open at cold start and quickly close off and drop the idle regardless of engine temp.


It's variously open depending on how cold but I think is electrically heated. As it warms it closes off the extra air. Yours may not be this exact design. Maybe it doesn't even have the same thing.


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