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1989 Nissan 240SX - The Right Stuff

This 401whp SR20DET-Enhanced 240SX Tortures The Road

Evan Griffey
Dec 1, 2007
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0712_turp_01_z+1989_nissan_240sx+right_front_view Photo 1/9   |   1989 Nissan 240SX - The Right Stuff

Scott Inada is one of those guys who isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and jump in. At the '06 Seattle Formula D event, the Intec Racing 240 developed a valvetrain problem and as the Nissan sputtered into the pits Scott armed himself with a 12mm socket and prepared for battle. Oddly, Scott isn't an official employee of Intec Racing, he's just one of those guys you can count on in the clutch. Respected enough to be given space under the hood and goodwilled enough to take the spot without expecting any kind of payment - unless the payment is the infamous Intec barbecue - Scott represents a lot that's right about the import scene. His ride, an '89, also has the right stuff including a built SR20DET swap and a full tilt M-Sport widebody kit.

0712_turp_02_z+1989_nissan_240sx+engine Photo 2/9   |   1989 Nissan 240SX - The Right Stuff

"The inspiration for this build was to do something different than a FWD Honda, which is pretty much all I have been building and working on my entire 'import life'," Scott says. "I still have an '89 Civic Si but my main focus is the 240. I wanted a car with a balance of mods, from engine to body to interior to suspension. It had to possess the performance to back up its good looks. I also wanted a car that uses quality parts at every turn."

Working with Intec Racing, Scott filled the SR20DET with Tomei forged pistons and boost-ready connecting rods. The head remained stock save for a set of A'PEXi camshafts. The lift and duration of these cams were kept fairly moderate because if the cam is too aggressive it can wreak havoc in a stock SR head. The aggressive ramp up of the cam coupled with the elevated maximum lift can lead to lifter failure in SR20DETs.

0712_turp_03_z+1989_nissan_240sx+exhaust Photo 3/9   |   1989 Nissan 240SX - The Right Stuff

Boost is generated by a Garrett GT3071R full ball bearing turbo. Scott's turbo system features an A'PEXi front mount intercooler, TiAL Sport wastegate and a vented GReddy Type-R blow-off valve. One of the keys to the SR20DET's next level of power is the intake manifold. In much the same way the Supra 2JZ reacts to a VeilSide or similar large plenum design, the SR20DET seems to appreciate the added volume provided by manifolds like the GReddy unit on Scott's car. The show-polished manifold is home to a stock throttle body honed for added flow.

0712_turp_04_z+1989_nissan_240sx+rim Photo 4/9   |   1989 Nissan 240SX - The Right Stuff

An A'PEXi AVC-R boost controller harnesses the pressure, running 13 psi on the street and 22 psi (1.5 Bar) for special occasions. The SR20DET's tuning strategy relies on an A'PEXi Power FC piggyback computer that controls the SplitFire-enhanced ignition curve and fueling via a fuel system that has been improved with a Walbro 255lph pump and Tomei 700cc injectors. As is often the case, the hardware isn't the most telling aspect of tuning; it's the tuner. "The biggest challenge for this project was probably tuning," Scott says. "That all changed when I met the master tuner Keiske, from Japan's well-known tuning house, Quarter Mile. Tuning is so critical. You can have all the best parts but your powerplant will not put out the power reliably without proper programming." Keiske, who spends a good deal of time putting Intec Racing's Dynojet through its paces, pulled 401 whp and 329 lb-ft of torque out of the SR20DET. This with mild cams, stock valvetrain and lot more wiggle room in the turbo, should remain efficient to the 28 to 30 psi range.

Post combustion leftovers are vented out of a 3-inch PeakBoost custom downpipe that leads to a Silkroad stainless exhaust system. The Silkroad exhaust features 3-inch piping and a 4.5-inch tip that generates an aggressive growl under acceleration without an annoying drone at cruising speeds.

0712_turp_05_z+1989_nissan_240sx+owner Photo 5/9   |   1989 Nissan 240SX - The Right Stuff

Following suit, the driveline has been fortified with an Exedy Hyper single-plate clutch, an Exedy lightened flywheel and a Nismo two-way LSD. True to its calling, the Nismo LSD digs in and challenges the suspension when the curves tighten. To harness the G-forces the 240 sports a set of Silkroad coilovers and stock Nissan anti-sway bars. Braking power has been enhanced with a Z32 300ZX conversion upgrade that delivers four-piston performance to the agile 240. The last links in the traction chain are Yokohama performance rubber and gold-hued Volk Racing GT-C forged aluminum.

Body mods are extensive but so well-integrated that the car looks stockish at first glance. Scott is running a M-Sport body kit with four widebody fenders, side skirts and front and rear bumpers. It must be the neutral factory gray paint that visually reigns in the look of the Nissan's wide body. A Silkroad GT wing, JDM Silvia taillights and Vision mirrors round out the body tuning scheme.

The cockpit is home to a set of Bride Zeta II buckets with Bride's signature gradated color scheme. Other items of interest include a Nardi steering wheel, Defi gauges, an ARC shift knob, Takata harnesses, glovebox mounted boost controller and AEM A/F ratio gauge, a Kenwood touch screen DVD/CD tuner and the A'PEXi Power FC Commander. This interior is built around function, not some lame attempt to impress show judges or the like.

0712_turp_06_z+1989_nissan_240sx+right_front_view Photo 6/9   |   1989 Nissan 240SX - The Right Stuff

We asked Scott point blank for his three favorite mods. After some thought he quipped, "Hmm that's a hard one...first would be my Bride seats. I love those seats and because it took me so long to get them. Second, is my turbo kit. The GT3071R rocks. It spools up so fast it's crazy. Third on the list would be the M-Sports wide body. I love the look of cars with a wide body. A wide look and low, dropped suspension are so sinister. And it's much easier to put on some fatty, dished out wheels! I am running 18x9s up front and 18x10s in the rear without any issues."

Other than its exquisite attention to detail, another thing that drew us to this car was seeing it around so much. Scott drives the Nissan a lot. He has the aforementioned '89 Civic Si hatch for when his 240 is down for the count or in the shop. He expected to employ the Si as his daily driver after the build but that hasn't happened. "It's about 50/50, 75/25," says Scott as he searches his memory banks. "It's more about where I'm going really. If the car will be safe I'll drive it anywhere."

Scott's future plans for the car include repainting to something with more pop, some custom gauge pod work and new wheels. "Super Advan Version 2s...those wheels are sick and would really close the deal on my 240," he says. With 401 at the wheels and impressive attention to detail throughout, we'd say the deal has been closed for some time now.

1989 Nissan 240SX
Engine
Tomei pistons
Tomei rods
A'PEXi camshafts
Garrett GT3071-R turbo
TiAL Sport wastegate
A'PEXi FMIC
GReddy Type-R blow-off valve
GReddy intake manifold
A'PEXi air ram intake filter
PeakBoost downpipe
Silkroad SS exhaust system
Walbro fuel pump
Tomei 700cc injectors SplitFire
ignition coil packs
A'PEXI AVC-R boost controller
A'PEXi Power FC Commander

Suspension
Silkroad coilovers 10kg Fr/12kg Rr

Brakes
Z32 300ZX conversions
Hawk pads
Earl's stainless steel lines

Drivetrain
Exedy single-disc clutch
Exedy flywheel
Nismo two-way LSD

Exterior
M-Sport widebody kit
Silkroad GT wing
JDM Silvia taillights
Vision mirrors

Interior
Bride Zeta II bucket seats
Nardi steering wheel
ARC shift knob

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Sources

GReddy Performance Products
Irvine, CA 92618
949-588-8300
http://www.greddy.com
Exedy Clutch
Belleville, MI 48111
800-346-6091
http://www.exedyusa.com
A'PEXi
Orange, CA 92868
714-685-5700
http://www.apexi-usa.com
Intec Racing
Kent, WA 98032
253-872-0872
http://www.intecracing.com
By Evan Griffey
271 Articles

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