Project Silvia’s Girlfirend Part 2: Making it Handle

Project Silvia's Girlfriend Part 2: Making it Handle

by Dave Coleman

You would think that making Project Silvia's Girlfriend handle would be really simple. After all, way back in 2003 Project Silvia could pull 1.0g on the old Falken Azenis Sport tires (pretty crappy rubber compared to the current Azenis RT615Ks), so you would think making Project Silvia's Girlfriend handle well would be a simple matter of duplicating Project Silvia's setup. That would be too easy.

First, as part of her quest for an grown-up S13, Sarah wanted a smoother, quieter car than Project Silvia. Second, her 230,000-mile hatchback body is quite noticeably less stiff than my coupe's bondo-soaked 300,000 mile body. And finally, there were more serious budget constraints on this car. Here's what we came up with:

 

Hubs and 5-lug conversion:

As with any S13 project, you have to start suspension mods with a big master plan. Before selecting shocks, you have to decide if you're going to upgrade to the (roughly 7-lbs lighter) aluminum rear uprights from the Z32. The stock shock mount on the heavier 240SX uprights is a big pin that goes into the rubber bushing on the crappy, worn-out AGX shock on the left. The Z32 rear mount carries the rubber bushing on the upright itself, and the shock has a clevis, like the Koni on the right. As with Project Silvia, we went with the lighter aluminum bits, so uprights and suspension had to happen at the same time.

 

Naturally, this swap was more complicated than it should have been. To make this swap work, you need rear uprights from a non-turbo Z32. We somehow ended up with turbo uprights. The difference is in the turbo's massively oversized rear axle. Note the larger spline in the hub on the left. I can't remember where we got the smaller 5-lug hubs on the right. Perhaps they are non-turbo Z hubs. Perhaps they are S14 SE hubs. Either way, they have the right axle size and bolt pattern, but they're missing that framus hole on the top of the turbo hub.

 

Getting the rear hubs off starts with the four main bolts, but then you have to deal with the big framus nut on top.

I can't find a picture of the framus in place and doing its job, but in this shot of it partially removed, you can see that the framus is part of the drum parking brake mechanism. It's basically the stationary fulcrum that the brake shoes butt up against when the other end of the shoes are getting yanked on by the parking brake cable. Kinda important, then…

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