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Been here a year and finally decided to make one of these.. First I’ll start with a little info about myself.
My name is Chris. In high school my first car was a 96 Nissan Maxima. Fast forward almost 13 years and all I’ve ever had were Maximas (two 96 autos, two 97 manuals and a 99 manual). Only one left is one of the 97s that I have a fully built VQ35 on 3.0 timing ready to swap in along with a turbo kit with a Borg S366. Looking to make at least 550whp on 93 but we’ll see.
I’ve always loved older jdm tuners. One day I finally decided it was time to learn a new platform. Naturally I gravitated towards Hondas as their aftermarket is huge and it doesn’t take a lot of power to make them fun. I looked at several CRXs with no luck as they ended up being junk. Started looking at a few EG hatchs when I stumbled upon a 95 Talon for sale about an hour from me.
The guy had it listed along with a 2nd gen Tahoe for $6K for both. I asked how much for the Talon alone and he said $4K. He said the car needed an ecu tune and a wastegate, had no rust and a clean title. When I asked if the price was negotiable, he said “Come tonight with $2800 and it’s yours” but I couldn’t get a truck and trailer together so I had to wait. I finally get to check it out it they can’t get it started. Interior was in super rough shape but the exterior looked decent aside from the messed up hood.
So after talking it over, I tell them that I like the car but I can’t see myself spending more than $2K on it considering it’s not even running. They agree, I gave them cash and they gave me the title then a few days later and I go to pick it up. He had already bought a RSX and they had swapped out the Optima Yellow top for some random junk battery and the old school Veilside shift knob for some Dragon Ball Z knob (I assume from the RSX). I didn’t say anything about it because I had a strong feeling I was going to get it running rather easily. From the video the motor sounded healthy.
I get the car back to my job and knew the car had been sitting for some time so I put about 3 gals of 93 in, take the battery out of my car, throw it in there and it fired right up. Turbo was smoking bad but I was so excited.
I never thought I’d own a DSM. I know absolutely nothing about these cars. All I remember was growing up and seeing all the memes about crank walk or the green Eclipse from F&F.
When I got it home and really started looking it over (especially under the hood) I said to myself “Wtf did I just get myself into?” Then after looking some more I realized it was really just a mess but could be cleaned up easily with some time. Interior I’d have to figure out at another time but the engine bay was my first concern.
First thing I did was order a hood prop and gave a few things under the hood a wipe down. Started re-routing some of the vacuum lines as well. While looking it over I decided to check if it was a 6 or 7 bolt and confirmed it was a 6 bolt. At that point I realized I definitely got a good deal for the car.
Decided to get a OEM spark plug cover along with a upper timing cover. I asked my son for a hand getting it on (simple enough for a 13 year old) and he managed to drop a 10mm down into the timing side. Well I got to learn how to get in there sooner than expected But it went well. In the process I found that the lower was cracked in two spots so I ordered a new one.
I continued to clean up the bay, fixed up some of the wiring and mistakenly decided to mess with the MAF translator to try to get it running better. Big mistake (like a dummy I didn’t even jot down the previous settings) and the car ended up running like crap so I started saving for ECMLink.
So while saving, I decided to try my luck at fixing up the exterior. Besides the hood being beat, it didn’t latch either. Hatch struts were shot so I ordered those.
I ended up seeing a shell on FB. I asked if he would just sell the hood and latch but he declined. I thought it over and figured maybe there was more I could use from the car. He sent over some pics and I was sold so I went and picked it up. Guy was super cool.
I loved the red on black combo and seriously thought about swapping my drivetrain over but the driver side strut tower, rockers and lower radiator support had quite a bit of rust.
So I stripped that thing of everything I could use. I took pretty much the entire interior which was complete. I left the dash due to laziness, the cloth door panels and the passenger side seat which was in worse shape than mine. I swapped all of that into mine minus the headliner since I need to re-wrap it. I found a set of NOS power mirror covers that are waiting for install. I have to swap both handles (recently found some in green) a new complete lock set since my key only works in the ignition, better shape door cards (found recently as well) and better shape power mirrors.
Another thing I installed was an old school Sparco steering wheel that I had in my 99 Maxima.
I lucked out and the car had a “JDM” ECU in it (not sure how true that is but it was labeled as such) so I installed it just to see if the car would run and it did. ECU wiring was rerouted to the passenger side floor so I moved it to the glove box instead.
So after selling a few of the spare parts, I broke even on the shell and got to keep everything that I needed and then some. Before letting it go to the scrapper I swapped the hood and latch then away it went.
At this point I had enough saved so I sent off my ECU to ECMTUNING. I was able to find a used GM to ECU cable to get rid of the translator as well as SD cable if I decide to ever go that route.
I used to do headlight retrofits back in the day and now that I had an extra set of headlights, I decided to play around with them a bit.
First thing I did was remove the amber. I then painted the chrome a semi gloss black and the high beams yellow. I have one more trick up my sleeve to give them more of a 2GB look but haven’t done that yet. I still have to reclear the lenses as well so they’re not finished yet. I will post back when they are.
Seeing as the turbo is blown, I bought a JB 5858 with a .63 T3 hot side. Bought a AMK performance manifold and sold the OBX. I was hoping with the new manifold the wastegate would clear the power steering pump but it won’t so I need to shorten up the feed for it. I was going to run a “JDM Sport” wastegate which I bought used off someone that was able to run 20ish psi without issue but found a Tial with a nice external dump for a good price so I went that route.
I recently pulled off the old set up and found a kink and leak on the return line. I have a nice return kit from Morrison Fab waiting. I painted the intercooler gunmetal too.
Started playing around with the fitment of my new turbo set up. The 5858 I bought was on a friends Maxima which had it top mounted so I got it reclocked. I’m going to have to get the wastegate feed cut about 1.5” and rewelded so that the wastegate can clear the PS pump. I need to have a new flange welded onto my bumper exit also since the Holset had a much bigger vband.
I had to order another roll so I can finish the manifold but the bumper and wastegate exits came out nice. It was my first time wrapping and it went well.
Opted for the cheaper titanium wrap and it was nice to work with. I didn’t have to soak it and didn’t end up with fibers everywhere. Took a torch to a spare piece and it didn’t just break down like typical fiberglass wrap. Looks legit to me.
Tackled a bunch of stuff today. First thing was replacing the alternator tensioner bracket. Then removed the cracked lower timing cover. “New” one wasn’t trimmed for the 2G mount so I took care of that. Picked up a complete timing cover bolt kit from @JNZTuning as all my bolts were randoms. Installed the VMS crank pulley as well. Anyone know what cam gears these are? Say made in USA.
Got the manifold mounted with the turbo and wastegate. Only thing is my wastegate dump is pointing directly towards my bumper exit. Assume that won’t be a problem? Eventually I’ll get something better fabbed up. The other one I had wrapped in a previous post couldn’t be used.
Put a new O2 in the downpipe. Will replace it with a wideband and have ecmlink simulate it as a front O2 at some point (think that can be done).