Motor Part 3

With all of the major machine work out of the way, the short block assembled, and all of the parts collected it was time to start assembly of the SR20DET. Mert from RBMS Auto Care in Hayward (Who was a key part in the STI build, and will be helping me with the 510 build) picked up the block and head from Rob’s Auto Machine and began assembly. ARP hardware was used for all critical assembly points to insure the motor was as strong as possible.

With the basic parts of the motor now together, I packed up a bunch of parts and headed over to the shop to start putting it all together. First up was the assembly of the intake and exhaust manifolds along with all the associated parts. For the intake side of things I opted for the Greddy Intake manifold with large bore 80mm opening. Mated to the manifold is a custom built Naprec 80mm throttle body with billet aluminum throttle wheel. To deliver the necessary fuel to the car I opted for Injector Dynamics 800cc top feed injectors mated to a Radium top feed fuel rail. This setup along with the cams and porting of the head should provide plenty of airflow for the turbo.

Next up was the exhaust manifold and turbo setup. Having had fantastic experience with their products before on the STI, I opted for another Garrett GTX series turbo for the 510. I ended up going with the GTX3076 paired with a T3 v-band outlet hotside. Pushing the hot exhaust gases out of the motor and up to the turbo is a forward mount tubular manifold from McKinney Motorsports. The manifold pushes the turbo up and towards the front of the car to help with clearance of both the steering box and the drivers side strut tower. The manifold also features a 38mm external wastegate flange that I mated a Turbosmart 38mm UltraGate EWG to.

With both of  the above parts assembled and ready to go I mounted both up to the motor and began with the basic assembly. Adding the Nismo competition motor mounts, oil filter sandwich plate with temp and pressure sensors, water inlet and outlet housings, etc.

Once I had mounted the turbo, which came from the awesome team at Snail Performance, and figured out how it was going to need to be clocked we cut off the elbow that was on from a previous setup and began running the coolant and oil lines from the block. Next up is going to be the final parts of assembly including the oil pan, CAS setup, ATI damper pulley, water pump, etc. and then test fitting in the car.
Stay tuned for the next update coming soon!

Chassis/Body Part 1

A near 44 year old car is bound to bring it’s fair share of “issues” along with it when beginning a project like this. I fortunately was able to find a car that had very few of these “issues”accompanying it into my possesion. The normal wear and tear was present, very minimal body damage outside of a few dents here and there, and a very tiny amount of visible rust here and there.

The very first thing I wanted to do was make sure the chassis was able to handle all of the new found power and grip. So the car headed off to visit 510 master builder and famed racer Troy Ermish. We loaded it up on the trailer on a warm August night and sent it off for a few months worth of work. First task was stripping the car down to a bare shell.

Once the car was stripped bare, Troy and team loaded it up for a quick journey out to Lodi for a full media blast. The car was taken down to bare metal to look for any bondo, hidden rust, or anything else we needed to know. Along with finding out more about the car, the car needed to be bare metal in order to complete the next bit of work.

With the bare metal shell returned, Troy and team began the next stage of work. The front half of the car was fully seam welded and reinforced to help support the new found power in the SR20. Once the seam welding was done, Troy began building my full cage. The cage was spec’d to SCCA/NASA specs with a slight modification to the door bars. Most likely not legal for full competition, they were adjusted to allow easier entry and exit for street use. The rear of the car was tied together with full supports from the cage, adding much needed rigidity to the little car.

With the cage completed the car was loaded up again for a trip out to Lodi. Next up was a full body/chassis powder coat sealer to protect the bare metal body. After completing the full body coat, the cage was given it’s final finished coat in a fantastic satin black.

Sadly in doing the final prep for the powder coat it was found that the front floor boards were really rotted from rust and needed to be replaced. One of the previous owners had coated the floor boards in a layer of fiberglass and resin and we hadn’t noticed it in the early prep. It simply looked like a layer of weather sealer that the media blast wouldn’t take up. So new floor boards were ordered and after a few days they were welded in place. Looking like new the majority of the rust all taken care of.

The last bit of major work that has been done so far was replacing the rear tail light panel with a new piece from FutoFab. At some point the drivers side of the panel was pushed in or hit and was noticeably out of alignment. The stamped steel panel is a direct weld-in replacement for the exisiting panel and looks fantastic. First step is to cut out the old piece, and remove the old spot welds that connect to the quarter panels.


Stay tuned for more updates as the work on the body continues with the finished up rear panel, new dash, and modifications to fit the SR20 and transmission in the car.

Motor Part 2

Having been through the motor building game with the STI 3 times, I knew I didn’t want to cut any corners when building the SR20det for the 510. I wanted to build the motor once and be done with it regardless of power plans in the future. First up were the internals. Since the OEM crank for the SR20det is a really solid piece it was the one part I left alone. After great experience with them in the STI I opted for CP 87mm oversized pistons connected to a set of Manley I-Beam Turbo Tuff rods. To keep things spinning I went with a full set of ACL race bearings. To hold everything together I went with ARP fasteners for everything including head studs, main bolt, flywheel bolts, etc. All gaskets, seals, etc. were refreshed with a brand new master gasket kit from Nissan. Along with all of the seals I replaced the water pump, thermostat, and alternator with new units. The alternator is special order “black series” 135amp unit from Japan.

After getting the block back from the machine shop, it was cleaned a second time (Machine Shop steam cleaned the outside) to remove any remaining oils and then painted a battle ship grey to give a nice finished look.


Along with the short block, the head was also completely reworked inside and out. The intake and exhaust ports received a mild polish and blend, opening up the inlets and outlets to match the much larger manifolds. To help move all the incoming air from the turbo a set of 270 Tomei Pro-Cams was selected with all of the supporting goods. Manley titanium retainers and valve springs, Tomei valve guides, Tomei rocker stopppers, Tomei adjustable cam gears, Nissan OEM valve seals, and more.

A refresh of the valve cover with some new paint, updated assembly hardware, -10 an fitting for the breather port, and a brushed aluminum Tomei coil pack cover and everything was almost ready for assembly.





Motor Part 1

One of the first things I had already decided on for the car was the motor. A fairly popular option for the 510, the JDM only SR20DET was the easiest choice for me. With easy to acquire parts readily available in the states, the SR20DET is one of the most iconic motors to come out of Nissan. A turbo 2.0 liter in-line 4 cylinder with accompanying 5 speed transmission it has graced several various cars over its notable history. Of these are the famous and highly sought after Silvias. Starting with the S13 and moving through various iterations the SR20DET provides realiable power in a compact enough package to fit in the 510.

I specifically choose a S13 Blacktop SR20DET out of the 180sx/Silvia. Lots of available parts from both Nissan and aftermarket makes it easy to maintain and build upon. Mine came from Japan through Canada and included everything I needed for around $2600 shipped. After only 4 days in transit the motor arrived at RBMS in Hayward. I headed over there after work to inspect the shipment and begin tearing it down for removal from the pallet.

The motor was in such great shape, with the exception of two valves that needed to be replaced, that the motor could have been run as is without any updating. After going through everything I was very pleased with the purchase and relieved that I had received such a clean motor. Once everything was taken apart, the block and head were dropped off at Rob’s Auto Machine in Hayward for the machining and new parts.

DSC_0551  DSC_0548  DSC_0612 DSC_0613



Growing up as a member of the “Gran Turismo Generation” we learned of amazing cars from all over the world that no one here had really ever heard of. As my fascination with all of the amazing Japanese machines of the 90s grew I began to take notice of the older JDM classics. The amazing highway battle cars of the 70s were unlike anything I had seen.

As time went on the love and respect for the old JDM classics grew. My personal favorites being those from coming from Datsun. The 240z, Bluebird/510, and Hakosuka were timeless designs that feel like they never age.

As my bored with the STI grew, my desire to rebuild an old JDM classic grew alongside it. I began researching the cars, looking for inspiration. Low, wide, and chunky immediately drew my attention. Fender Flares and meaty 15″ wheels spoke to me like not many other cars have. I began to formulate my plan and what I wanted to achieve. New-Classic was my theme with the plan being to do a full top to bottom replacement of every component on the car.

Fuel Injected modern turbo motor, modern style suspension, modern brakes, all new wiring, hard lines, etc. were all chosen to bring the 510 into the modern era.

Below are a few samples of what helped drive me towards my ultimate plan for the 510.

hako2  hako1  datsun-510-bre-fender-flares-front



The Start

A few weeks before parting out my STI and prepping to sell off all of the parts and shell I picked up my next project. An almost completely rust free (we’ll get to that later), mostly straight, 1972 Datsun 510 2 door. Previously owned by a good friend of mine, the car had been sitting for almost a year or so before it came home with me.

This blog will catalog my process in working on the 510 and doing a full restore/restomod build.