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V-Spec The Power!

This U.S.-Born V-Spec 240SX Uses A SR20DET Power Infusion To Dominate The Street

Robert Hallstrom
Aug 2, 2002 SHARE

This isn't the first time William Law's 240SX has seen action in the pages of Turbo magazine. His SR20DET-powered 240SX was covered in the IDRC Aloha Nationals. It was there that I personally got to test the strength of a stock SR20 bottom end. It took this behind-the-wheel experience to realize the true potential of Nissan power. The 240 is home on the streets of SoCal but in September of '99, the car was flown out to Hawaii to compete in an Import Showoff. After its first weekend in paradise, the 240 saw strip action in the Toyo Tires-sponsored Street VIII class at the IDRC Aloha Nats. After some on-going track tuning the car was able to land a 13.2 e.t. This is a respectable time for a street driven 240, but there are some forces at work on the Nissan that make its numbers even more impressive. To start with, the car is augmented with a competition-worthy sound system, horsepower-packed engine bay, show-ready interior and a body kit to die for. Considering the car was spinning 18-inch wheels on street tires, a 13.2 e.t calculates out to low 12-seconds on slicks, even with the added weight of its creature comforts.

The 240's original intentions were to be a street machine with all the luxuries of its Japanese equivalent, the Nissan S-15 Silvia. Since the 240SX is no longer in production in the States, but it is in Japan, Law decided to have his 240 converted into a late-model Japanese-spec S-15. The factory headlights and fenders were dismissed in place of factory JDM-spec S-15 headlights imported from Japan. V-Spec out of Baldwin Park, Calif. was one of the first companies to prototype the factory S-15 body panels onto a U.S.-spec 240; it decided to use Law's car as a company flagship. Knowing this, V-Spec set out to have the Japanese kit fitted for Law's car. The body parts include a Garage Mak S-15 bumper, Edge Side skirts OEM S-15 hood, Strawberry Face Company fenders and Nismo rear bumper. With the panels applied, the car was then sent to P.J. Bonifacio to have a layer of PPG bright platinum sprayed on it.

A body kit is not complete without a matching pair of aluminum wheels and appropriate rubber, so Law incorporated a set of 18x8 Advans from UPRD up front and 18x9 rear wheels mounted to Toyo T1S 235/40-18 front and 265/45-18 rear tires into his mix. To keep the Nissan's stance in check, Law also used a set of A'PEXi fully threaded N1 Dampers Type-Pro coil-over shocks and springs to drop the ride height. Front brakes were swapped out for 300ZX brakes with Endless pads. With the S-15 body tuning transformation complete, the 240 needed to have the heart of a Silvia, namely a SR20DET powerplant.

A very popular swap for Nissan enthusiasts is ditching the large displacement KA24 240SX engine in favor of the highly coveted SR20DET. The SR20 checks in roughly 400ccs smaller than the KA engine, but the biggest advantage of the SR20 is the mere fact that it comes turbocharged from the factory. Basically a 240 that was normally propelled by a 130-hp 2.4-liter is now propelled by a 220-hp 2.0-liter, which still has room to grow. When the 240 was hitting the track in Hawaii, the engine was in stock trim, save for a few bolt-on upgrades. Keeping in mind the bottom-end was in factory condition, the only horsepower enhancers added to the mix were a fuel computer, HKS bumpsticks and valve springs, upgraded turbo, boost controller and front-mounted intercooler.

The SR20 long block is a proven stable foundation for building monster horsepower in OEM trim. In the case of this 240SX, the bottom-end is in factory condition. Replacing the factory turbocharger for a larger unit was the first step. Law decided to upgrade to an HKS Ball Bearing GT2540R turbo, which bolted to the factory cast turbo manifold. This particular turbo is most effective at high boost levels and to maintain the correct pressure, he adapted an HKS EVC III to regulate a level of 1.2 Bar. Cooling the intake air was handled by an HKS Type S core complete with end tanks and custom aluminum intercooler piping. Discharging deceleration pressure is an HKS Super Sequential blow-off valve. A 3-inch V-Spec stainless-steel downpipe mates the turbo to an RSR 75mm exhaust system.

Since the engine was swapped over to a J-spec SR20, a Top Fuel reprogrammed ECU was also needed to keep fuel and timing in sync. With the larger turbo thrown into the mix, tuned fuel and timing curves were necessary to compensate for the added air charge. Helping in the fuel department was a Top Fuel in-tank fuel pump and a piggyback HKS P-FCON, which also contains a Top Fuel program. The factory-direct fire ignition system has been enhanced with an HKS Twin Fire amplifier. Valvetrain components consist of HKS cams, adjustable sprockets and high-rev valve springs in conjunction with Tomei's rocker arm rev kit. Containing combustion chamber pressure is a Tomei metal head gasket.

Law's next step was to put some life into the stock sound system. Everybody knows that it's impossible to put life into a stock sound system, so the 240 received a full audio makeover. A false floor speaker box/amp rack houses a pair of Kicker Solobaric Series 10-inch subs and a Memphis Audio six-channel amplifier. To keep the system stealth, the box was molded to fit the contours of the trunk and carpeted in the same material as the factory floor carpet. Bringing in the mids and highs in the front are Kicker 5.25-inch Resolution Series separates, while Pioneer 6.5-inch coaxials reside in the rear deck. Music is provided by a Clarion double-din 2256 CD changer head unit with Clarion six-disc changer. Spicing up the interior is an HKS Camp junction box, 60mm boost and EGT gauge with peak hold and memory playback to monitor vital engine parameters. Born in the States, but morphed into a full blown J-spec Silvia, this 240 now boasts 308 hp and has run its best time of 12.4 seconds at Palmdale, Calif.'s LACR. Law's 240 was also the first to be able to boast the S-15 body kit and lights. Not only is the car an eye-catcher in California's show scene, the Nissan made a huge impact on the track and show scene at the Aloha State. The hot hybrid drew crowds at the Hawaii ShowOff, then flexed its muscle in the Aloha Nationals the following weekend by advancing into the semifinals.

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By Robert Hallstrom
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