NX GTi-R: The Search For Traction


This car has never been a garage queen. The first ten years of its life with me it was my full time daily driver. That meant it saw everything that an Ontario, Canada winter could throw at it, including road salt. It has survived all of that and now only sees snow when I pull the snowblower out of the garage. Just behind the NX you see the nose of a 200SX SE-R that was in my posession for a while. Each SR model that I bought was with the thought of making the swap.

Not content to be waiting, I tried another path in my need to improve the cornering capability of my car. I upgraded the front lower control arms to a custom set built by Bolt In Bars and purchased in 2011 by another Canadian. Wojtek, a long time member of the SR20 forum and an NX fanatic that I have shared the track with many times, had waited for months to get his hands on these, and then within a year or so upgraded his car to a Honda S2000. That gave me the opportunity to work out a deal to pick up this hardware. There has been much discussion about how this upgrade improves the handling of FWD Nissans that are lowered. Years earlier I had volunteered my car to a Canadian rally builder who was considering building something similar, but that did not take place. As to the improvement in handling, I would concur. It was awesome.


If you have a shop then you are one lucky car owner. I have a single car garage and it's difficult to do a brake job on all four corners because the space is so tight. The hood and roof tend to double as a work bench. And yes, that is a turbo on top of the T-Roof panels. The car hasn't moved at all in June as the turbo began making very odd sounds. Thanks to Stephen, a Canadian GTi-R fanatic, I'm back in business.

The car was better in corners and, with a wider track and slightly longer wheelbase, I will even say it reduced wheel spin while exiting corners. But only by a little bit. I was still on the search for more traction. I had a few people suggest wider tires. Over the years the car has already been upgraded from the OEM 185 60 13s to the NX2000s 14s to 205s and now to 225 50 15s. Custom made spacers help add a bit more width to the car. That still does not help when the inner wheel lifts under hard cornering, which in turn causes incredible wheel spin. Going any wider will require some body modification.


On the right is filling out the wheel well while the left goes a bit further. I don't know that I've done everything possible to enhance the handling of my NX, but I've certainly tried a lot. Aluminum spacers that I bought from a Quebec based racer who'd moved on to Hondas, Bolt-in Bars custom LCAs, WhiteLine 4 point LCA bar, strut tower bar, bushings, GC Camber Plates, GC Coilovers, Custom shortened strut housings with Koni 8610 inserts, 650 lb F/400 lb R Eibach Springs. Hankooks, Toyos, Hoosiers, BF Goodrich, Dunlops – I've tried them all. Corner balancing and a variety of alignment settings – thanks to Scott at Can-Alignment for all of his suggestions, advice, and support. The only thing I haven't done yet is to either roll or cut the fenders to allow for even larger tires …

A year ago I saw that M-Factory was building their presence on the SR20-Forum. Unfortunately, their focus was on the rear wheel drive market and none of their limited slip differentials would work with my setup. Still, it was another avenue to consider. July 14, 2013 I sent a PM to MFactory asking if they would consider building a FWD LSD. Almost immediately I got a response, enquiring more about my setup and wondering what kind of interest there would be in the marketplace. When asked if I would consider posting a thread to gauge interest about the FWD LSD market, I encouraged Stephen at M-Factory to begin the post himself. I felt that would show more interest by the company than if I were to send it. July 19, 2013 the interest thread was posted on MFactory’s section on the SR20-Forum. This produced great interest in the Helical LSD section but, unfortunately for me, little interest in the plate type LSD. My name is still there as one of three interested – but MFactory had a mandatory fifteen paid subscribers before initiating a higher cost prototype for racers who wanted the strength of a plate drive. This has been a long process and, while close, was not good enough for me. From what I understand on the forum, M-Factory is getting close to shipping the helical LSD.


This is Turn 5 at CTMP. You can see the body roll even with Eibach 650 lb springs. The corner will tighten up in moments and once I step on the gas I'll be able to hear rubber vanishing from the tires. Photo by Richard Wintle.

November 2, 2013 I sent a PM on the Dash to another Canadian FWD fanatic who, while never posting much info, I understood had a BNIB Nismo LSD. This was a long shot but if I did not ask, I would not have an answer. So I asked and made what I considered a fair offer, well above the initial purchase price. Needless to say, the answer to this posting was quite clear that it was not for sale at any cost. Shortly afterwards a build thread was started about this car and, without doubt, I can say that it is one of the most impressive NX builds I have seen. I am hoping to see this car and owner later this summer when I make a trek to the Canadian west coast.

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