Sunday, 9 October 2011


Dearest all,

Today has not been a great day. Perhaps, I'm just melodramatic but I really don't like breaking shit in my car. I guess a bit of background to this may give you some better understanding of where I'm coming from.
Manfeild - 27th August, first track day, awesome experience - y'all saw the post. The weeks leading up to that was me doing all my fluids etc. just to ensure the car had fresh juices in it to run good. In particular, oil was changed; there was nothing out of the ordinary for this oil change, everything went as expected (except I learned that SR20DETs have a cunty oil filter position). Now, keep this bit in mind, this is part one of background.

Fast forward to ~4 weeks ago, driving home in the afternoon after helping my mate set up his new in-line fuel pump, I see my oil light come on. I instantly pull over and turn the engine off knowing it's not gonna be good. I look back on the road and there's a good 10m worth of oil, I check my filter, and it's popped loose. At this point, I was thinking "I hope I haven't run the car dry", called up my mate and we ended up getting some more oil and two oil filters (at this stage, I had NO idea there were two SR20DET filters, one is Metric and one is Imperial. How fucking retarded is that?) We refilled the oil up and checked everything was tight (we tried the same filter as it was in the car at the time but the new one to double check the filter might have been busted) and turned it on. The car roars to life, but a light flicks on after a few seconds, I turn the car off immediately again. This time, the oil filter has come completely off! Argh, I wasn't feeling good about this AT ALL. So we hastily cleaned up the oil slick in side of my engine bay, and stuck the other one on (it is still on there to this date, fingers crossed, it won't pop off - if it does, it means the thread on the block is fucked). I managed to clean everything up and took it home, at this point, I sighed in relief as it was definitely a close call and people were suggesting I may have damaged my big ends by running dry. I'm still hoping it is not the case.

Today, I went to start my car and I drove it down the hill to university to do some study for my exams, and as I drove for a bit, I noticed the car was unbalanced and was shaking. I knew instantly the car was running on 3 cylinders - turns out I had a faulty coilpack which is merely 6 weeks old (lesson #1 learned; going cheap on your ignition helps no one in the long run). Thankfully, I still have my Nissan coilpacks which are all going great. I have also noticed my plugs (NGK Double Platinums) were slightly oily, which I understandably expect because the car is mysteriously running rich. For those who've recently joined my blog, the car is essentially standard minus a 3" exhaust system from downpipe back and electronic boost controller in terms of performance, the rest is not motor related. Anyway, I got some more friends to have a look and check a few things and there's concern that there is damage to the big ends. At this point, where I sit, if it is what the good doctors have said, it will be a rebuild or a new motor. If not, it will still probably be some bottom end work that will need to be done to ensure my motor is to remain in good condition. I will state it now, and will say it a million times, I won't be selling this car. It is as simple as that. I love the car too much to pour money into it and then turn around and sell it because "I've lost interest" or got sick of it throwing tantrums at me because I have done something wrong. It is that I am now simply at a crossroad as to what I want to do.

I know there's still a chance there's actually nothing wrong with the motor, but the tune is just out of whack. However, this makes little sense because the motor is pretty standard (I've reset the ECU a few times but hasn't really helped with anything) and I've been running it at 7psi instead of 15psi for safety and it's still popping, spluttering as if it was really rich. I know it is normal off load, but even when changing gears sometimes, it will backfire and pop (although it sounds pretty awesome).

There's a few options for me at this stage (assuming I've got myself big end damage): 1) Do I rebuild this motor? 2) Do I buy another motor and run this one to the ground and swap them in? Regardless of what happens, this is money that would have been stage 2 of my car. Bear in mind that if my motor is in good nick, I'll go ahead with stage 2 and rebuild the motor in the next or so. That is the ideal path. Well actually, the ideal thing would be to have $10k~ and rebuild it with all the parts I want it in one go.
Lesson for the young kids out there - this is just the day-to-day real issues people face when they own high-performance cars. What you see in photos or at shows doesn't tell you how much work some people have put in to get to that point. A lot of my money I've spent have been doing maintenance work or ensuring the car is legal. These things do not reflect in any way on any car that we see on the road because we take those things for granted in the cars we daily drive. I endeavour to keep my car a daily driver, and I do not intend to take it off the road to become a weekend track car because I want it to be enjoyed all the time, not just for a day in every month or so. I simply cannot handle that.

I merely use this post as a reminder for myself and to serve as a progress marker. Perhaps in a year's time, I'd be chortling at this point, wondering how stupid I was or how I wish I hadn't done what I said I was going to do because it only ends up being a bottomless money pit. Regardless, I love my car. It might not be fast, but it has plenty of character and some subtlety which I have grown to appreciate more and more.

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