We Can Rebuild It!


Having a sketch of the head and recording all measurements ensured that our memory of measurements could not fail. The micrometer was out and all of the shims from the second engine were measured and placed in a corresponding marked pile. Then we pulled from the pile and placed them in the corresponding spot in the cylinder head. Our math classes paid off, and apart from pulling the cams once, we were right on with our clearances at 0.007 of an inch across the board. When hot, they were 0.009 – couldn't ask for better!

GTi-R camshafts
It's not naked anymore. I may not have mentioned it  before, but all of the seals and gaskets were replaced. I chose an OEM head gasket as I'm  not planning on extreme boost and it will handle everything I plan to throw at it.

This was the perfect time to replace the horrendous number of hoses that are on the back of the GTi-R's engine. A set of silicone hoses found on eBay in Hong Kong – via the GTi-R Canada forum – started off this part of the project. Then the addition of a few other silicone hoses finished off replacing all of the coolant and vacuum hoses that are almost impossible to access once in the car. Still on the stand, the engine is no longer naked. The intake is bolted on, the exhaust manifold and turbo are bolted into place. Everything is torqued to specification and it is almost time to pull the engine off of the stand and bolt it to the transmission.

Here's a good shot at the back of the engine. You see the reinforcing plate that Scott at Can-Alignment designed for providing strength for the passenger side axle support. Every hose on the back of the engine was replaced with upgraded hose.  ES steering rack bushings were also installed while the engine was out because they were easy to get at and the old bushings were obviously tired.

There is always another task that, when one is this far into a project, must be done. Two or three tasks in this particular build. First was to install some ES steering rack bushings that I had obtained from Jason Kho, a Canadian B13 and NX enthusiast. Standing in the middle of the engine bay this job was a breeze. Second was replacing the shifter bushings. The B&M bushing was still in great shape, but the other small bushing at the front of the shift stabilizer bar was in rough shape. Kitchener Nissan had that for me overnight. I also picked up an ES bushing from Jeff Daley, a longtime friend and NX enthusiast, to replace the shifter bushing at the rear of the stabilizer bar. If you have not done this on your B13 era vehicle, it is a modification that is worth doing. We also checked all other bushings to ensure a trouble free year. The third task was ensuring that all of my motor mounts and inserts were up to par. From the beginning of the 2011 season I had been plagued with a vibration while turning right. This can be quite disconcerting when entering Mosport's turn 8 at 100 mph, so I wanted to fix anything I thought might contribute to that issue. One of those issues was that during the install of the DET I had everything – except the transmission mount ended up being from a SR20 automatic. We reworked it and made it fit, but every time I got the shudder I wondered if that was part of the cause.

Dave and I did a lot of work together on my GA16 engine. We carried on the tradition during this rebuild of the 54c engine.

So with the offending mount in hand I located some of my best supporters, Mr. Henkel's technology class at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, and had them pull the transmission mount from my NX2000 beater and put the offending one on the beater (they also installed new e-brake cables on the beater). Dave and I then removed the stock mount's rubber insert, cleaned up and painted the mount, then installed a new ES insert. To further stiffen the engine the OEM dogbone front mount (with ES bushings) was replaced with a G-Spec aluminum front mount and the smaller of the two ES bushings.

The engine and transmission went in smoothly from the top, we simply left the alternator off for more space. It went on before the engine was fully lowered. You can see the mesh that was added to the front openings to protect the intercooler and radiator from road debris.

With these tasks out of the way, we turned our attention to the transmission. This was out of a 1999 Infiniti G20 that was converted from hydraulic pedal to mechanical. We picked up a new release bearing as the existing one came from my original transmission and was showing signs of wear. The Aasco aluminum flywheel was bolted to the crank with Loctite and torqued to ensure it stayed where it was supposed to be. The Bully Stage Four, four puck clutch, with just the 2011 seasons use showed little sign of wear and was bolted into place and the G20 transmission followed.

Bolted in place and cleaner than ever.

With everything except the alternator bolted into place, the unit was lifted up and dropped into the engine bay. The downpipe was attached to the turbo as there would not be room to attach it in car. Aaron designed the downpipe in two pieces to accommodate installation. We left the alternator off until we had the engine partially in the bay as that gave us more room to turn the unit to drop it into place. Then the alternator was bolted in, the belts installed, the engine dropped into place and bolted to the mounts. The car was beginning to look like a car again rather than the giant paperweight it had been since last August. Time to hook up the electrical, gauges, rad and heater core, power steering lines and the axles. Five weeks of evenings and weekends came to life at 4 p.m. on a sunny February Saturday afternoon. The GTi-R NX fired up as soon as gasoline hit the spark plugs.

whiteline nx200 swaybar
Whiteline brace reinstalled.  Clearances are tight, but it looks so cool.

We do not have the oil cooler hooked up yet, extra cooling capability will come before our race season begins. The car will be on the way to Can-Alignment for a corner balance and alignment as soon as weather permits. Dave and I have had a couple of celebratory rides around the block. The car sounds great. It pulls great. At least, it did after we changed the rear wheel bearings, which were grinding painfully. The compression is 160 across the cylinders. The final touch will be a new set of Carbotech brake pads front and rear and the car will be ready for the track and street. We have rebuilt it and we are looking forward to the 2012 Ontario Time Attack season. I will be campaigning in the GT1 division and, like everyone else, I am planning on winning! Maybe this year I will even beat my daughter!


A huge thanks to our Partners:

Dave Schlueter

Assured Automotive – Toryork 



GSpec Performance

Kitchener Nissan

Rescon Racing

WCI's Transportation Technology Classes


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