With the front suspension strewed about the garage floor, I felt it was probably the most appropriate time to satisfy a couple of SCTA’s rules. In “all classes over 200 MPH,” one inch lug nuts and five, ½ wheel studs are required. What the hell is the motivation behind such a rule? I have a few complex scientific hypotheses, but none of which have been able to transcend into a theory validated by evidence… so whatever. Besides, I have plenty of other mysteries that need solving like aerodynamics, women, and who really killed Tupac Shakur? And these things are clearly more important.
Ahead of those unsolved mysteries on the to-do list though, was the 5 lug conversion necessary to satisfy the SCTA tech inspectors. This brings us back to the aforementioned front ball joint replacement. Instead of an S13 ball joint, we picked up a Moog Heavy Duty ball joint for an S14 Nissan 240SX. A 1995 240SX SE to be exact. The S13 and S14 ball joints have different taper angles so a S14 ball joint is necessary to mate up to the S14 upright and 5-lug assembly. Knock out the old ball joint, press in the new S14 ball joint and go. If you’re clever enough, you can use a series of different diameter pipes and sockets to install the ball joint using a large vice instead of a press.
Fortunately, the ball joints of the S13 and S14 outer tie rod ends are the same and will work on either hub. Since the previous owner of our S13 was a complete knuckle head, the boots of our tie rod ends were completely ripped so we replaced them with SPL Pro Suspension’s outer tie rod end kit. Ailing ball joints aside, the main interest we had in SPL Pro Suspension’s outer tie rod end kit is its ability to dial out bump steer through the addition of aluminum spacers. On most modern cars, bump steer has been minimized from the factory. However, change the ride height of your car and now all that wonderful OEM engineering, design, and validation just went out the window. Good job. Since Project 240LSR will maintain a low stance and our salty “race track” will be potted with imperfections, it will be important for us to be able to dial out any bump steer that might destabilize the car at speed.
With the outer tie rods in place, the only other consideration for the front five lug swap is the S14 strut mount bolt holes, which are larger in diameter than the holes on the S13 upright. On my old S13, formerly known as Project 240SR on Nissan Performance Magazine, I bartered a case of beer with a friend who turned these spacers on a lathe. Fast forward just shy of a decade and you can keep your beer and drink it too while Googling “240SX 5 lug spacer” and ordering them online.