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180sx CA Powered project - slow build

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So I decided it was time to do a build thread for my project 180sx, hoping it helps motivate me to pull my finger out and get things going. Having wife and 2 young kids doesn't leave me much time though.


So about 2 years ago snapped up an unregistered 1989 CA18DET powered 180sx that needed a bit of work, suits me fine as being unregistered means I can take my time to build it how I want it.


Was basically ok, came with side skirts, rear bar, cat back exhaust and front mount, some delightful soul had ripped out the sunroof to steal the stereo from the previous owner.


2012-04-14 15.26.05.jpg



Plan for the build is to build a good weekend car, grip setup, for street and hopefully will make it to a track day as I have never done that and would really like to.


Repaired some things, so far:

- Replaced Sunroof

- Replaced corroded as f&*! rear wiper motor

- replaced melted coolant overflow bottle with new gktech one


Did a bit of research and need to toss the rims, they need spacers to fit so not legal in NSW.


Located some Z32 calipers for the front, rebuilt them myself, cleaned them up and reprayed them.

(dirty vs clean caliper)







Purchased HEL brake lines, slotted rotors and Project Mu pads, bigger BMC (yet to be installed, got to get off my lazy ass and replace seals in BMC)


Purchased some suspension goodies to go on, only fitted these so far:



Got some new MCA Blue Coilovers waiting to go on (they are a sexy bit of kit).


Planned to do list:

- get BMC seals replaced and fit brakes and suspension

- repair/get help repairing rust

- clean up interior, install gauges (have boost and wideband O2 gauges), new front seats, get rear seats retrimmed, replace carpet

- respray - not sure if I am going to attempt this or pay someone, probably pay someone as it will likely look rubbish if I do it considering I have zero experience in respraying a car

- then fun bit - rebuild and upgrade motor, turbo, better cooling and intercooler setup. decided on most parts except turbo, looking at T28 sized but not sure between Hypergear ATR28SS1.5, Precision 5130 or Garret GTX2863R. Might change later as new models come out but that is the short list.


Will try and post more soon

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Did a couple suspension upgrades at the front, rear still to go.

Installed from MCA Blue suspension, looks sexy



Also installed whiteline adjustable front sway bar and hard race adjustable tension rods




Hopefully install MCA rear suspension and extra components soon, not registered so no rush. Then onto brakes.

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Been a while since an update, done a little bit since last post.


Removed clutch fan, installed alloy radiator, thermo fans (still need to wire up). Made custom bracket for Water to Air intercooler





Fitted SR20 front calipers, 280mm rotors. Was going to replace brake lines with braided ones but couldn't loosen factory ones so that's a job for another time.


Ordered lots of goodies including injectors, Z32 AFM, got a 2nd hand intake manifold but needs additional lines plumbed in to run idle control setup


Test fit of manifold, need to move fuse box as throttle body/intake pipe has no room.



Ordered some heater hose, remote filler cap. Cut hoses to length/test fitted, need to add hose clamps.



Mounted water pump near washer bottle, broke rivnut tool in the process, found a vid on youtube how to install rivnut using a bolt, nut and washer which was a life saver as I was a bit annoyed and no-one locally seems to have rivnut tools.



Waiting on a couple of aeroflow fittings to finish off water piping then will clamp it all up. Then saving to get all the fittings and get someone to mod manifold (afraid i will stuff it up) to fit extra lines I need. After that injectos and AFM go on then tweak the Power FC to handle them (enought to start and move car for now)


Also got a Supermade front bar and made sure W2A radiator did not foul on it.




that's all for now

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Thanks for the support


Sorting out some piping issues and making sure I do a proper job then getting the coolant hoses/pipes and manifold sorted as I have let it drag on a bit too long. Powered up the 2nd hand power fc I got a while back and was chuffed it powered up.


Does anyone have an FC Datalogit? Should I get one or the hand controller enough for tuning?

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I think me and this motor are going to have a love hate relationship.every step i go forward i hit a new "challenge". Removed coolant pipes from behind themostat to back of motor and removed coolant hoses so I can replace them while i have intake manifold off and there are a couple of rusted ends, surprised one spot had not sprung a leak it was that badly rusted. No luck so far finding second hand ones in good condition so might get someone to fab replacements as my welding skills are pretty crap.


People are not kidding when they say a car this age is more restoration than modification.


Got around to fitting suspension and components to rear passenger side and doing pad and rotor, just need to do rear driver side then get my hands on rear adjustable whiteline sway bar and suspension complete.


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Hey man. Hope you still not giving up. my build started in 2008 and still going.


One of the best upgrades I had was R32 front and rear brakes 5 stud conversion. Man it stops hard. Takes a lot of heat out of front rotors. More wheel choices. Handbrake works much better. its all benefits. And another cheat is 180 takes GTR sway bar in the rear.

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Haven't given up on this, just not much time given family commitments. Got a daughter that gets sick easily which leads to her needing be hospitalised.


Got swaybar fitted, front and rear now.


NRG180 - how much did it set you back to do the 5 stud conversion? Is it a one man job or would i need help? Not sure what i want to do with brake package until i drive it so might be a later job.


Decided i will set it up for hill climbs in the local area until I can afford to get all the body work done (rust repairs, respray, fit body kit).


Done a battery relocation to the boot with circuit breaker installed


Fitted some reclinable bucket seats (just some SAAS ones). Gonna be interesting with a helmet on, sunroof open is fine.


Got a rectangle heat exchanger from ebay as the square one I got with the intercooler kit sat too low for my liking and that sits much better now.


Tried to upload photos but I need to make the files smaller so might try later to do that.


Need to sort out clutch pedal (pedal goes straight to the floor, no pressure). Got a new slave cylinder to fit when I get time. Then onto the wiring for the thermos fans, water pump, gauges and sort out the coolant pipes. Hopefully have it running in time to do some hillclimbs next year.

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