The Nissan 240sx has become an incredibly popular project car as enthusiasts are using the chassis primarily for drifting. The well-balanced chassis is known for its front-engine rear-wheel-drive setup. However, unless you’re willing to buy a beaten-down project that features the sought-after SR20DET engine, your only option is to buy an S13 or S14 240sx. While both cars feature beautiful bodies with plenty of aftermarket parts available, the engine is the biggest issue. The KA24DE is known for being an underwhelming lump that produces a mere 155 hp and 160 lb. ft. of torque.
However, there are plenty of options to create the perfect S13 street project build.
- Engine: Nissan SR20DET (Red Top)
- Gearbox: OEM Nissan Z32 Gearbox with Alpha Omega ShifterKit
- Clutch: Stock
- Brakes: Akebono Front and Read Big Brake Kit
- Suspension: JDM Speed Coilovers
- Wheels & Tires: Saleen Reps 18×10 on Federal 595 RS-RR 225/40
- Electronic Control Unit (ECU): Haltech 1000
- Turbocharger: Garret T25
- Wastegate: HKS SSQV
- Manifold: Stock
- Throttle Body: Stock
- Fuel Pump: Walbro
- Injectors: 650cc
- Exhaust: APEXi N1 EVO
- Intake Filter: GreddyAirnix
- Intercooler: Greddy VSPL Intercooler Kit
- Camshafts: Tomei 256
Engine & drivetrain
Right off the bat, we’ve opted for the SR20DET, due to its reliability, cost, and performance. Sure, we could’ve gone with a 2JZ-GTE, RB26DETT, or even an LS3; however, the SR20DET allows us to fit the engine without having to fabricate anything. The SR20 is a 2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that’s factory fitted with a Garret T25 turbocharger and produces 206hp with 7psi of boost pressure. Before assembling all of the parts that are mentioned in the list above, you’ll need to ensure the gearbox is sorted.
We opted for the OEM 5-speed transmission from a Nissan 300zx as it’s strong enough to handle anything we’ll throw at it and it leaves enough headroom for future modifications. This transmission also allows us to use the stock clutch slave cylinder, flywheel, and bolts without any fabrication. The only thing that will need to be changed is the shifter setup, which is why the kit will need to be purchased – unless you’re brave enough to start cutting things.
The Haltech 1000 ECU will be used with the stock Garret T25 turbo and the HKS SSQVwith650cc fuel injectors along with NGK Iridium spark plugs, but the fuel pump will be swapped for a Walbro unit to ensure you get the right amount of fuel at all times. The front mount Greddy VSPL Intercooler will be one of the best additions to the car and this includes all the necessary heat-resistant hoses to ensure the car won’t crumble under high temperatures. We’ve also swapped the OEM camshafts for Tomei 256 intake and exhaust cams; this will allow daily drivability and a great increase in performance. Stainless steel downpipes with an APEXi N1 Evo exhaust will also be fitted and are necessary to ensure that exhaust gasses are expelled efficiently and that the car sounds great. Cooling will be taken care of by a Mishimoto radiator and fan setup, which is one of the best cooling setups you could add to this vehicle.
Before fitting the engine, ensure all gaskets, engine mounts (use Nismo), and fluids have been changed. It’s also a good idea to have the cylinder head ported and polished for increased airflow, which means you’ll have more power.
Suspension & Brakes
The suspension of a car could make or break the driving experience and we’ve opted for a set of JDM Speed Coilovers that can easily be adjusted to suit your driving style. These are known for their affordability, reliability, and a great ride.
As much fun as it to hit high speeds, stopping is something you should do safely. This is why we’ve chosen the 14-inch Akebono Big Brake kit. This includes 4-piston front calipers, 2-piston rear calipers, custom front, and rear caliper adapters, stainless steel brake lines, front and rear rotors, brake pads, shims, and pins. It’ll also be necessary to do a Z32 e-brake conversion and the dust shields must be removed for the brakes to clear, but that should take no longer than two hours.
Wheels & Tires
To accommodate the size of the brakes and also for sheer aesthetic purposes, we’ve opted for 18-inch Saleen Reps. These deep-dish wheels not only look the part, but they’re compatible with any body kit you decide to go with. These wheels will also be wrapped in 18/225/40 Federal 595 RS-RR tires, which is a high-performance tire that’ll improve acceleration out of tight corners and is known for having an incredible grip.
Now that we’ve sorted out the performance aspect of the car, the exterior could use some love too. We’ve chosen a Rocket Bunny V1 Aero body kit that features a front bumper, front and rear fenders, rear bumper, side skirts, and a ducktail spoiler. This is an aggressive body kit that will completely transform the look of the S13 chassis; however, we would recommend going to a reputable body shop to have this kit installed.
Building a project car isn’t impossible, but it takes a lot of patience. And there are a few things you should do once you have everything fitted.
- Ensure all fluids have been changed.
- Don’t try and drive the car under heavy acceleration for the first 500 to 800 miles.
- Have the car tuned.
The third step is the most important as this will determine the way the car drives. Your tuner will determine whether you end up with 350hp or 400hp, and the way the car behaves once you start driving aggressively. The S13 SR20DET build is perfect for daily driving, Saturday night racing, and Sunday cruising. If done correctly, you can gradually upgrade performance parts to build the ultimate track monster.