Our recent V-8 engine swaps issue received as much praise as it did hatred. You’re either on board for domestic V-8 engine swaps into Japanese chassis, or you’re downright against them. Personally, I don’t care what logo an engine wears or its country of origin. If it’s a well built, powerful and reliable, then why not swap it?
My old S14 240SX was a great car, with a 380-whp SR20 setup, but what I didn’t like was the constant tinkering and odds and ends I had to fix to keep it running. That’s why I’m about to see if a V-8 engine, which should make roughly the same power, will be as good or better this time around. And there’s only one way to find out: build it!
This time, though, I’ll be working with a S13 chassis, a ’91 model year that I picked up for $2,500; the paint is rough, but the body is straight. The goal of this project is to build a legitimate street car that will be more than capable to drive to and from work and possibly do some track excursions. I want to focus first and foremost on getting this car to be streetable, so there are no bucket seats or cage going into it, and it won’t be getting any crazy aero treatment or anything like that. I want this S13 to blend in with most cars on the street, until they hear the sound of it.
GM’s newest V-8 LS3 E-Rod crate engine has been chosen for the swap. The package from GM is supposed to include everything needed to drop into almost any chassis and be CARB legal.
Sikky Manufacturing has graciously decided to help with almost all the components for the V-8 swap to make it as painless as possible. After receiving the parts, I was relieved to see that the craftsmanship is superb and I can’t wait to see how it all works with the new engine.
Exterior-wise, I plan for full JDM aero for the S13. If you know me, I can’t deal with ill-fitting and cracking fiberglass, so the OEM JDM aero was my only choice. A set of Enkei NT03+M wheels should really set off the S13’s looks while still keeping it low-key, no flashy colors on this car. But before I dive into the drivetrain and suspension work, I’m going to have the S13 painted then park it on our garage here at work and bolt everything up before it moves an inch. It will be a ground-up build, where all the parts will come together and I should end up with a completely new car (in a sense, of course). I’m very eager to get working on it and my office is just about full of boxes with parts ready to be installed.