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Thread: B13 Rally Car Build

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2010-12-28 17:15:16
B13 Rally Car Build
Ok, so I've been talking about this here and there ont he site, but I'm going to start an actual, separate thread of my own now.

The plan: Rally-America compliant Group-2 Rally Car

The car: 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R. About 150K on it, southern car, so no rust, but some front-end damage.

The parts:

- Hotbits RSI Gravel-Spec Coilovers from Odi at Feal Suspension. Inverted, double-adjustable, remote reservoirs, pillow-ball tophats, camber plates, the whole enchilada.
- Energy Suspension poly bushings everywhere
- Boxed parallel links
- Reinforced front control arms
- Doubled/plated strut tower tops
- Front sway-bar removed

- NX2000 AD22VF calipers and rotors in the front
- 94 Maxima SE rear calipers and NX2000 JDM rear rotors
- 95 Altima non-ABS master cylinder

- Initially I'll be running the 185K stock SR20DE out of my old RallyCross car with an intake, Megan Racing header, generic SS spun hi-flow cat, VRS 2.5" exhaust into a Magnaflow muffler. This combo has worked very well for me in RallyCross for several years.
- Eventually I'll rebuild the engine that came with the shell I'm using, with 11.8:1 SR16VE pistons, cams TBD, and a Nistune ECU.

- Stock B13 transmission, with the differential welded.
- Will look to eventually swap to a different R&P to get a better final drive.

Safety (vast majority of this besides the cage is from Charles at Safe Drives
- FIA 253 compliant cage
- Sparco Evo FIA-rated seats and brackets
- G-Force 6-Point FIA-rated camlock harnesses
- G-Force SFI-rated angled window nets
- Fire extinguishers, spill kit, first-aid kit
- Safety Solutions Hutchens Hybrid Pro Rage Head & Neck Restraint
- SFI-rated firesuit and nomex underwear, socks, shoes and gloves

- Alternator converted to ~96 Maxima 125A model, with a unit wound and bench-tested to 158A.
- Optima blue-top, relocated to trunk with 250A circuit breaker and master kill switch
- Peltor FMT-120 rally intercom
- Terratrip 404 rally computer/odometer

- 2x Hella FF1000 Xenon (HID) driving lamps
- 2x Hella Rallye 4000 pencil beams (long-range) converted to 55-watt HID

- B14 Power Steering reservoir
- ES polyurethane steering rack bushings
- Power steering fluid cooler mounted on radiator
- e-Bay "Nismo" short shifter
- ES poly shifter bushing
- 3/16" 6061-T6 Aluminum skid plate
I'm sure there's a lot of stuff I'm forgetting and will have to add later.
2010-12-29 05:43:05
Tonight I got most of the right rear corner back together, waiting for the paint on the newly boxed parallel links to dry so I can install the ES bushings.

Hotbits strut installed. Damn this thing has travel. The limiting factors will be firstly the parallel links, and then the trailing link. The strut itself has easily 4" more travel than the rest of the geometry will actually be able to use.

Checked and repacked the wheel bearing. Both the races and the bearings looked perfect. Put on the JDM NX rotor and the Maxima caliper. There is no way I'm going to be able to attach the e-brake cable to this thing with the brackets I have. We'll see how much I care, since the car will be getting a hydro handbrake anyhow. There's a Max in the junkyard near my work, and last I knew, the rear calipers were still there (but the torque members were gone), so maybe I can grab the brackets from there. Car is probbaly buried under a couple feet of snow right now though.

Installed the SS brake line. Good thing the ones I got are a bit longer than stock, as I'm not sure the stock line could deal with the wheel travel with the new struts.

Tomorrow I'll put the bushings in the parallel links and reinstall those. Then I'll grab some photos of how it all looks together.

I also finished cutting out and trimming the right front strut tower top I cut off my RallyCross car before I junked it. Now I can bolt it right on top of the tower and weld in in place to reinforce the top strut mounting. Unreinforced cars have a history of punching the shocks though the hood. In the rears I'll be plating the towers with 1/8" steel.
2010-12-29 08:44:24
Welded diff for FWD rally car? I would rather get something like VZ-R LSD box at least...

Post some photos.
2010-12-29 16:04:40
Originally Posted by jagy
Welded diff for FWD rally car? I would rather get something like VZ-R LSD box at least...

Post some photos.

Isn't the VZ-R just a viscous limited slip like the B13 SE-R (which is what's in there now)?

Welded diffs are common in FWD rally cars in the USA. 90%+ of our rallys are gravel events, and short of being able to source a good, clutch-type diff, welding is the way to go. If the Nismo unit were still available, that would be ideal.
2010-12-29 21:33:41
Yeah, i guess its same or pretty similar to B13 trans, but it has shorter 1-2-3 and shorter FD. Its day and night difference. Best thing is custom gears + LSD, but thats $$$.
2010-12-29 22:19:57
Originally Posted by jagy
Yeah, i guess its same or pretty similar to B13 trans, but it has shorter 1-2-3 and shorter FD. Its day and night difference. Best thing is custom gears + LSD, but thats $$$.

The shorter gears would be nice, although I'm not so keen on a 6-speed. Less shifting is good. If your engine makes a narrow powerband, they're great for keeping it there, but the SR20DE has a pretty good range.

The real issue with doing some kind of transmission swap would be if it required custom built (or at least frankenstein) axles. The conversions I've done with this car are all for parts that are relatively easy to source. For instance, it's probably easier to find an Altima MC or a Maxima rear caliper than the stock B13 SE-R piece, here in the US. Availability of a spare can make or break a rally. A driver I've co-driver for and was crewing for at a rally last October DNF'd on the first stage (super special) with a broken control arm. He was able to limp to service, but it was a custom, one-off arm, and he'd never gotten around to making spares, so there was nothing we could do. There was a parts shop minutes away from service, which would have had the standard arms in stock, but they wouldn't have done us any good.
2010-12-30 04:43:29
Sounds like things are progressing. I also have Maxima rear calipers on my car and I ended up making a mount out of 1/8th flat stock. I bent it, cut the curve out for the cable and then welded in a half moon to reinforce the bend in the plate. I used the original as a template, then flipped it and welded on the reinforcement. I never felt like plumbing up a hydraulic brake because of the dual rear lines and the hassle of plumbing that together to the rear.

PM me for some information about a good diff.

I agree about the custom parts! If you make something custom, always make and take a spare or two with you! Little stuff can ruin your entire event, as you stated.
2010-12-30 05:42:19
Ok, a couple of pictures. Sorry for cellphone quality, the battery is dead on my good camera.

Ignore the breaker bar sticking out of the chassis mounts if you spot it. I did remember to pull it out before I dropped the car.

That picture just doesn't do justice to the amount of droop travel these struts have. This one's a bit better:

That tire is actually a bit taller than a stock B13 SE-R tire too.

However, at that point, the amount of binding in the suspension is huge. Heim joints are going to happen for certain.

Now, a photo of the parallel links during painting that shows the boxing:

And a photo of the knuckle with rotor and caliper before mounting:

You can see the touch-up paint I got in to spray the replacement driver's side mirror on my wife's Alti. Some chickens**t just snapped it off and took off while my wife was volunteering at my son's school. Was probably even a fellow parent of one of the students.
2010-12-30 06:10:58
It occurs to me that perhaps a bit of background about myself might be useful to put things in context.

I bought my first B13 SE-R in May of 1993, with 13 miles on the odo. I totaled it over the 4th of July weekend a month and a half later in a flash flood. At the time on the SE-R list we more or less figured I was the first person to hydrolock a SR20DE in the USA... Cracked block, cracked head, shattered connecting rod, bent valves, etc. Still ran! Nissan wanted $10k for a new engine and it would have taken 3 months to ship from Japan, so my insurance totaled the car. Not a scratch anywhere on it, still looked showroom new.

Bought my second B13 SE-R as soon as the insurance check arrived. Drove that until 2002 and then bought a Subaru WRX and sold the SE-R. Found out from a local Subaru mailing list that there were rallies happening right here in MN. Heard some guy from out east was coming to race at the Ojibwe Forests Pro Rally and needed crew, so I volunteered just for the heck of it. That guy was Tim O'Neil of Team O'Neil who was one of the few people from the USA to have competed in the WRC. Ok, so I was hooked on rally.

I've spent the last 8 years crewing for rally teams, working on the organizing teams that put on rallies, driving course opening cars, etc, etc. I also started competing in SCCA RallyCross. Initially I drove my WRX, but it just never really clicked for me. I loved driving that car around town, but driving it competitively just wasn't all that I wanted it to be.

In 2004 (?) I decided that I simply missed my SE-R too much and found, and bought a 1991. It had a lot of rust and 175K on it, but pulled hard. Drove it until this year as both a course opening car and RallyCross car. I did a lot of work on it and figured out a lot of what worked and what didn't. In 2008 I took the regional Modified 2 Wheel Drive RallyCross championship in it, with a very strong field of competitors. Damn, I loved that car. But it was far too rusty to build into a stage rally car, so when I was offered a good price on a southern SE-R a fellow rally guy had shipped up here to MN, I jumped at it. Stripped the useful parts off the old car and sent it to the wreckers

Sold the WRX around 2007, and later bought a basket case of a G20, fixed the major issues, and that was my daily up until I cash-for-clunkered my '93 Chevy K1500 into my current daily driver, a 2009 Versa. Up until late this summer we had 5 Nissan/Infiniti cars in the driveway (2x 91 SE-R, 1x 92 G20, 1x 05 Altima SE, 1x 09 Versa SL).

So, while I haven't been involved a lot on the boards in a looong time, I've been driving and often competing in SR20 powered cars for most of the last 17 years.
2010-12-30 20:38:44
Originally Posted by Vector
The shorter gears would be nice, although I'm not so keen on a 6-speed. Less shifting is good. If your engine makes a narrow powerband, they're great for keeping it there, but the SR20DE has a pretty good range.

VZ-R trans is 5speed and it doesnt need any extra work. Just swap for a old trans.
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