Project SR E30: Part 1 – Test Fitting the Engine

So you built an s13 daily with an SR20 in it. It’s reliable, it’s fast, it makes awesome chu-chu noises, you put 5,000 miles on it, but then you realize that there is one thing this car doesn’t have-4 doors. That is the exact predicament we were in.

We set about on a search for a cheap 4 door chassis that we could swap our power plant in. We originally had our eyes set on an E34 5 series wagon, but were discouraged by the weight. The 3900 lb curb weight would have made the SR feel extremely sluggish. After going to a junkyard to take measurements on a couple of E34’s and realizing that there would be a lot of fitment issues, we abandoned that idea. While there, we also measured a couple of E30’s, and realized that the SR would fit absolutely perfectly. It would clear the subframe, the sway bar, and the shifter hole would align perfectly. Combine that with the fact that a 4 door E30 weighs in at around 2700 lbs, we were set.

We picked up a clean, autotragic E30 4 door with a leaky water pump for $1400 and limped it home, where we immediately tried to rip out the engine, but failed and just ended standing around looking confused. To a couple of die hard Nissan guys, this BMW seemed like alien technology. We had to call in our BMW buddies and told them to bring their 13mm's.
Our treasured SR20 has been through a lot. When we first got it, we discovered it had a cracked piston ringland. As a result, we had to fully rebuild the engine. It now has CP pistons, stock rods (we were cheap okay), an APEXI head gasket (raising the CR to 9:1), ARP head studs, ARP rod studs, ACL main and rod bearings, and a Greddy oil pan. It’s still rocking a stock T25, pushing 12-14 lbs of boost.
The cracked SR ringland. I didn’t even know this was possible with stock boost.
We begin by stripping down the engine bay in order the prepare the SR for removal.

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