This Nissan Silvia S12 1.8 ZX Turbo is mine and I am proud of it. I have had the car since 1985 and have transformed it from the early version spec to the later one. It is crammed with gadgets, warning lamps and extra safety features.
To the front is a power steering cooler.
To the right is a nice air filter supplied by Kelvyn with the water bottle neck for the water injection next to it.
The wiring is a little untidy and needs taping up.
In front of the radiator are two electric fans that operate in conjunction with the air conditioning. They also operate through a thermo-switch sited in the automatic transmission sump and blow over a separate radiator mounted behind the main radiator.
The coolant reservoir, washer and water injection bottles all have level sensors.
When the intercooler temp gets above 40 degrees C an automated water spray pulse is directed over it at 30 second intervals.
The strut brace is solid stainless steel and is useful for mounting alarms on.
Maintained to the highest standard this Nissan Silvia S12 has benefited from engine oil and filter changes every 2500 miles. The differential oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid and transmission fluid are changed at 25000 miles. The timing belt is replaced at 30000 mile intervals and the valve clearances adjusted if necessary. The coolant has never been allowed to fall below 20% antifreeze solution. Suspension bushes are checked annually along with the grease to the front suspension bottom ball joints. The brakes are checked every six months including inspection of the handbrake cables. A full under-body inspection is carried out before each winter. The drain holes to the sills are checked annually. More Waxoyl is introduced every 5 years and the paintwork is polished at least every 3 months.
From left to right: Ice warning, seatbelt, turbo cool, turbo warm, low coolant, low washer, overdrive, heated rear window, low fuel. The panel after displays the outside temperature.
Added led to left at side of boost gauge lights red above standard boost.
Added led to right at side of oil pressure gauge flashes red until oil pressure builds up.
Added led below centre lights yellow with automatic lock-up over 55 mph. (out of view, see silviagod's wife's)
Rear Head Restraints:
Fitted some time ago and required a strip-down of seat backs to weld brackets to top of framework. The extra head restraints and plastic fittings were obtained from a breaker's yard.
The Pilot's Seat:
The four switches on the side of the plastic seat trim are for inflating and deflating air mats. The base has thigh and side support mats, the back has lumbar and side support mats. The top switch operates a heating element to the base and back and these elements are wired through a timer circuit.
Left is the automatic transmission fluid temperature gauge which uses a change-over switch to monitor the engine oil temperature. Right is a voltmeter. Top left is a warning lamp for the passenger heated seat. (needs refining) A separate boost gauge is mounted on the windscreen pillar. The led with the boost gauge illuminates with the water injection.
Passenger foot -bar:
Fitted as standard and looks good. It has started many a conversation over the years. I have even fitted one in the other two Silvia cars.
Warning Lamps in detail:
From the strip above the glove box there is the ice warning lamp, this illuminates at 2.5 degrees C and is operated through a circuit I made myself. The sensor is mounted in the passenger front air intake.
The seatbelt warning lamp just flashes for 7 seconds and is wired through a Bluebird time control unit.
The turbo cool and turbo warm lights are electronically controlled. The cool lamp lights yellow and the warm lamp lights green. Normal driving and both are lit, but when things get hotter the yellow lamp goes out and the automated spray pulse over the intercooler is activated. The yellow lamp flashes with every pulse. Starting from cold and only the yellow lamp is illuminated.
Level sensors in the coolant and washer reservoirs light their bulbs, and the sensors used were taken from Vauxhall Carltons at the breaker's yard.
The Heated rear window was standard, but I have added a relay to the circuit to stop the switch burning out. It is also on a timer from a Bluebird time control unit and switches off after around 15 minutes.
The low fuel light is standard but stopped working after 3 years. I replaced the sender for a Toyota one and it has worked ever since.
The outside temperature display unit was only around £5 but needed to be modified before use. Two slots were cut either side and bulb holders were bonded to it for night illumination and a separate battery compartment was sited next to the fuse box. For battery conservation the supply circuit was wired through an ignition relay. The sensor is mounted in the front driver's side air intake.
All the bulbs except the seatbelt and heated rear window light up with the bulb-check relay.
To either side of the instrument panel are lenses with two
spaces for bulbs. The left houses the rear fog lamp light and a bulb failure
lamp for the rear. All the rear bulbs are covered and the sensors were taken
again from a Bluebird.
The right houses a front fog light and a bulb failure lamp for the front. Again sensors were taken from Bluebird but the headlamps and fog lamps have their earths wired through modified sensors from 1984 Bluebirds. I arrived at this solution from studying diagrams in the S12 workshop manual. The bulb failure lamps light with the bulb-check relay.
Directly above the steering column I managed to squeeze three more lamps in. A lamp for the heated seat, a warning lamp for my reversing spot lamp and a lamp to tell me the headlights are on rather than just up on the parking lamps. Above the switches are plastic cowls with bulbs fitted to illuminate the switches at night. I found that I couldn't find the right one at night! These can be dimmed in conjunction with the panel lights.
Other warning lamps include a blue led that lights with the air conditioning compressor sited to the left side of the heater controls, a red led that comes on when the transmission fluid reaches 100 degrees C and the electric fans operate located below the gauges next to the ash tray, the passenger heated seat lamp mentioned previously, and a flashing led next to the switch for turning off the intercooler mist device located to the left of the steering column. There is also an led on the boost gauge pod that operates when the pressure switch operates the water injection.
I addition to all these lamps I have added one to each door catch that illuminates when the ignition is on. An alarm led and an immobiliser led are near the ignition barrel, and there is a flashing 3 led array in the front windscreen that comes on with the alarm.
Below the main switches, and to the right of the steering column is a horizontal blank then the big ugly square thing with the illumination control knob in it! Two switches fitted vertically fit nicely in this hole. A Bluebird illumination control switch wired to, you've guessed, a Bluebird time control unit fits to the left side, and on the right using the same type of switch, but is wired to operate the opening and closing of silviagod's garage door.
In the horizontal blank is a front fog lamp switch with a built in warning lamp from a Nissan Micra 1990 onwards, on the old shape Micra.
To the left of this are two more switches with one a Micra type for the reversing spotlight, and a headlamp washer switch for the air horns.
To the opposite side of the steering column, at the same level, is the intercooler spray system switch that turns the system on or off, it has a manual spray position as it uses a rear wash/wipe switch. If you leave the switch on at MOT test time the man sometimes gets wet when he tries to read the vin plate for the chassis number!
On the elbow rest console are two switches to the left of the handbrake lever, The bottom switch operates the headlamp wash/wipe, (standard on silviagod's) and the top switch operates the tilt slide sunroof. The switch is (you guessed) from a Bluebird, and is an illumination control switch.
Intermittent wipe has been added to the rear wiper and the blue sliding scale has been changed to orange to match the instruments and switches.
A second cigarette lighter was added lower down so silviagod can smoke and charge his mobile phone at the same time. You will also notice from this shot the adjustable steering column adjuster also non-standard.
The remaining switches are two small toggle switches attached to the panel with the two gauges fitted next to the ashtray. One changes the temperature gauge from Transmission fluid to engine oil, and the other switches the two fans for the air conditioning radiator on permanently.
The fans are from a Nissan Micra and you have to reverse the polarity with the fan being on the opposite side of the radiator. I had a centre nut from one of six I have fitted come loose, so make sure it is tight. The receiver/drier unit for the air conditioning was moved to accommodate the second fan.
Finally there are two more switches overhead close to the rear view mirror, and operate map reading lights. They were originally from a Bluebird again, but this time the unit was bonded to the sunroof motor enclosure and a fibreglass mould made from the two. A copy taken from the mould was used to house the lamps and switches. A socket was also attached to plug in the radar detector.
Silviagod's car has two alarms and a transponder type
immobiliser. The second alarm only operates when attempting to start the car
without disarming the immobiliser. The main alarm, when armed closes the windows
if open, locks the doors, closes the sunroof if open, closes the vent for the
heater ducting, flashes the indicators twice and sets a circuit to emit a subtle
beep every 40 seconds.
The central locking was from an old Lancia (shopping trolley type) and a diode was used from the alarm indicator output to provide an interface circuit. I chose the Lancia units because they have 5 wires and enabled me to also lock and unlock the car with the key from either side.
I made the windows close with the alarm for around £3! Crude but simple and has never given any trouble since I fitted them 10 years ago. I used a length of broken push-bike cable, a micro-switch and two black Nissan relays for each door. The relays are energised with the ignition on and offer a different route when the ignition is off. When the alarm is turned on, if a window is open, the cable between the micro-switch and the base of the window is slack. When the window reaches the top the cable becomes taught, the micro-switch trips and the current is turned off. Each window circuit is protected with a 7.5A fuse.
A different method was used to close the sunroof as that was only last year and I have learned more since I did the £3 window trick. I used a one-touch amp found in the driver's door of a Silvia (and of course the Bluebird) and wired that to operate it. To make it close I had to provide an earth pulse to two wires on the unit without interfering with the normal operation. I got round that using a diode.
Closing the heater vent was more of a problem! To achieve this I used a broken automatic electric aerial without the mast. The part that coils was fed through fuel hose and attached to the vent door. To gain control back inside the car a cable from a car with a manual choke and warning lamp was used. This was taped to the existing cable, now unattached, and set to operate the switch part. The switch part was wired to the motor and full control was regained. The motor tucked up below the air conditioning cooler unit, and the cable fitted neatly behind the glove box.
The quiet little beep every 40 seconds is provided by a small electronic circuit using a 741 microchip.
Using parts from the breaker's yard again. An Audi cold start injector, a Ford Granada headlamp washer motor, an adjustable pressure switch, a suitable washer bottle, braided fuel hose and an electronic circuit to provide a rapid pulse. The Ford Granada headlamp washer motor was ideal as it belted out over 34 psi. Similar ones can be found on any car with a headlamp washer. I used a hole cutter and fitted the motor into a reservoir bottle and left the screen washer motor in for the mist spray over the intercooler. A level sensor from a Vauxhall was fitted and wired to a bulb, and the injector was mounted in the intercooler pipe. I fitted the variable pressure switch in place of the blanking bolt in the inlet manifold and set the switch to the desired level. The system only operates at the peak boost figure and doesn't add or take away any power. Any extra cooling features, even amusing ones, must be beneficial in the long term.
Intercooler mist system:
I hate electronics, but there is no way round it! Mechanical sensors don't work fast enough. There are two circuits but I only made one. The one I made is called a comparator circuit and was set to turn on above 40 degrees C. The circuit uses a small temperature sensing resistor attached to the intercooler surface. The signal from this unit is sent to a timer unit which is the intermittent wipe circuit from a Silvia with a bigger resistor. The signal is then sent to a washer motor in the reservoir used by the water injection, and water jets are fired onto the surface of the intercooler. The water jet fires a 1.5 second burst every 30 seconds. That didn't cost much either!
Used to provide interior light fade, and much more. They also can be used for heated seat timers. Click on the title for more details.
Due to all the extra wiring and added systems 7 more fuses needed to be added. The space in the main fuse box was filled and to fit the other six I found the Nissan Micra had a handy little added fuse block to the main box, this contained 3 slots, so I used two of those. I fitted them above the main fuse box facing down. This involved cutting two square holes in the panel. They are accessible from behind the same flap and look neat. You can also see in the picture the small battery compartment for the outside temperature display unit.
I am not a great in car entertainment person but I do like good quality sound. I won't tolerate silly looking parcel shelves or luggage space filled with bass stuff. I found that fitting even more speakers here was perfect. It also stops folk filling the side pockets with rubbish for you to empty when they get out of the car. The original units were replaced in the process. However, since I made my exhaust I tend only to listen to that now.
I have been asked many times "What did it come off?" I still to this day have no idea, but think it's probably from a 4x4 Nissan. It is very efficient and causes no lag at all. There are disadvantages to this top mounted set up though! When you come to a standstill the intercooler warms up, the dump valve has had to be put on the hot side and I had to cut a big hole in my bonnet. An added heat shield and the intercooler mist device eases the warming up problem. I only really notice a slight uneven idle and probably wouldn't know only for the additional information provided by added warning lamps. I made the connecting pipe myself and at first the pipe blew off! I could still drive home though as it hit the strut housing and bounced back on again. I added a further bracket and it has stayed on since. I used a 45 degree bend from a 200SX and attached it to the turbo. End of horrid orange seal! The turbo is still a standard T2 and is the third one the car has had. The first one lasted 85K and started to get a little stiff, the second one was second hand and I seized it being silly, and this one I have now was second hand. The next will be a T2 hybrid with T25 internals.
This was not fitted to the car when I bought it. I tried for ages to get the parts without success. Eventually I bought what is now Mrs silviagod's car and transferred the parts from that one. I had to buy a new radiator as the one on the car had rotted due to the compost heap at the bottom between the radiators. The picture shows the two added fans. Other modifications to this system are the blue led mentioned previously, and an acceleration cut device. The acceleration cut device is a modified actuator with a door pin-switch saddled to it. When high boost levels are reached it switches off the air conditioning compressor for 3 seconds. This device uses the unused spade terminal on the air conditioning wiring loom, and is described in the workshop manual. On the picture I found a couple of holes and had to strip the front end to repair it. Some silly man pulled out on me when the car was only 3 years old. It went to a Mercedes garage in Bryn to be repaired and they took 3 months to repair it! From what I can gather, seam sealer was applied to a rusty seam! It is now pristine again. Had they have got round to starting it sooner I wouldn't have had that problem!
There was an aftermarket sunroof fitted but I wanted an electric one that went up and back over the top of the roof. I priced them up and got a shock! Two weeks later I found one on a breaker's yard for £40. I couldn't wait to get it fitted! It was bigger than the existing one and I was able to cut around it leaving the roof rigid. The picture to the right is of the one touch amp mentioned previously. This simplified the switch wiring to 3 wires and enabled alarm closure. Making the roof lining presentable was a nightmare as I could not return the interior light as I now had a bigger hole in the roof. I could not find a black lining with a factory sunroof hole, I had to re-spray a pale one and fit that. Also the interior light and bracket from a factory sunroof Silvia had to be transplanted into mine. I then modified the motor enclosure with twin map reading lights, finishing with the wiring into the alarm system.
Body and Trim:
This is how the car looked when I got it, and was completely standard. No later type bumpers or bonnet. No side skirts, original wheels and spoiler. No bonnet vents or air conditioning, no windscreen with a top tint, no electric windows or mirrors. As soon as I got the car I was underneath applying hammered finish paint. I also pumped over a gallon of Waxoyl in the sills, chassis and behind the rear quarter panels. The car was 2 weeks out of the showroom when I did that!
By the time these pictures were taken I had colour coded the mirrors and windscreen wiper arms, fitted a pair of large fog lights (yuk) and a C.B. aerial. I was also fond of painting the lettering on the tyres too. Now I am glad I don't have to clean and polish the original wheels any longer! They used to take ages. 19 years on and the car looks better, handles better and sounds better.
Rear Bumper Change:
Around 1993 the rear bumper was changed for the later version. Finding a place for a rear fog light and a reversing light was a problem. I had an excellent idea regarding the fog lights, I could use the two inner brake lights as and when necessary, and when not needed they would continue to be brake lights. I changed the blue relay for a black one, used the energised side for the fog lights and the off side for the stop lamps. This worked perfectly, but the rear fog lamp warning lamp operated with the brake pedal! The rear fog lamp switch had a second pair of terminals that I found would switch another circuit, so I cut the supply to the warning lamp and routed it through the switch. This was perfect, because if you left your fog light switch on the warning lamp lit with every touch of the pedal.
The reversing lights were more difficult to fit as I had to cut rectangular holes in the bumper and strip it down. I fitted rear fog lamp units found in the early Bluebird. The housings where shaped to match the inside of the outer skin and bonded. The impact absorbing section was cut to house the units and reassembled.
To add an extra touch I fitted a 5W orange bulb (painted red) and wired it to the tail lamp circuit. The lenses are clear (with an added tint) and they have 21W reversing lamps behind them.
As I like gimmicks I wanted to use bulb failure sensors to monitor all the bulbs at the rear. All including the reversing lamps and the number plate lights were wired in through the sensors. The warning lamp bulb was sited to the left of the of the left hand lens of the instrument panel. A symbol was inserted into the strip between the lens and the bulb. These sensors found in bluebirds, can also be found in the Nissan Sunny although some are yellow. The yellow sensor monitors 2 x 5W less than the green sensor. All the bulbs to the front are monitored, the front clearance lamps use this type of sensor. Click on the title for more details.
Found in older 1984 Bluebird estate models, and I have adapted them for use with my headlights and front fog lights. The warning lamp is sited to the right of the right hand lens at the side of the instrument panel. Click on the title for more details.
This is an electronic unit I had to make because the workshop manual showed one, but said except Europe! The unit is triggered by a brief operation of the headlamp flash position. The headlamps are then raised, the bulbs flash for one second and the headlamps return to their retracted position. It saves having to keep hold of the switch until the lights have become operational.
High Level Brake Light:
Found in the Rover 400 this light unit is an LED type and is very bright. The mounting pads are adhered to the glass and a small section of the glass is painted black on the inside to hide the wiring to the unit. There is no obstruction to the rear view with this unit, unlike the rear spoiler!
Wheels and tyres:
The wheels are made by Smiths and cost £100. The tyres were £380 and are 205 x 55 x 15 Michelin Exaulto V rated. They do grip well and are only good for drifting when the tread wears down to below 2mm. To add a finishing touch a self adhesive Nissan emblem was added to the centre.
The rim of the front wings in the wheel arch was in need of a little removal of surface rust! The plastic arch guards were removed to gain access to both sides, and the thin black border trims removed. Two small 2mm long brown stains were noticed in the hammered silver paint in the driver's arch! These were investigated and found to be insignificant. The hammered finish was restored in these small areas. A small amount of surface rust was also detected at the bottom of the suspension spring. This will be attended to later in the year as the struts are being removed to have the oil replaced with transmission fluid. The spring cup was inspected and the small stones that block the drain holes were removed. The passenger side was in better condition and from the picture the washer bottle used by the water injection and the intercooler mist system can be seen. Above the bottle is the green bulb failure sensor used for the front clearance lamps.
Polishing time again 18/07/04:
Just had a little tidy up and got the months of dust out from all the fibreglass work I have recently done. Unfortunately the paint has cracked around the bonnet scoop! I have been trying to repair the cracked lacquer to give me more time to think before I re-paint the whole bonnet.
I may go down the Volvo front mounted intercooler route provided that I can achieve a neat installation and keep the standard water radiator. My top mount will go on the other red/bronze S12 that is awaiting restoration along with the 2.0 DOHC bonnet I have saved for it.
Illuminated ignition ring:
A lucky find at the breakers yard and very simple to fit. A Nissan illuminated ignition ring off a Nissan Maxima. More suitable for the ignition barrel with the safety button but as there is no button on mine I set an LED behind the hole. The diameter of the hole in the cowl needed filing to a larger diameter and the bulb for the unit was wired to the interior light circuit. As I have interior light fade I decided to trigger this circuit when the alarm is turned off too.
I have now fitted a turbo timer to the car. It is a Fet TB202 and it came without wiring instructions but was quite simple to wire. I had help by an email from Mike who wired a Fet 303 and gave me his colour code.
Red to a permanent live, Blue to ignition, Yellow to accessory, Black to ground and grey to the handbrake switch for the warning lamp. The only difference was that Mike's handbrake wire was white. The car now continues to run for a set time after the keys have been removed, and if the handbrake is released the engine stops. It sets itself automatically but does not work out the timing like the expensive ones do. The time is preset by the operator.
Power Steering Reservoir:
I always wanted to have my power steering reservoir chromed. Eventually I got round to getting one chromed and it looks fabulous.
Stainless Steel Exhaust:
The good old back box I fitted to the exhaust I made around seven years ago decided it wanted to rust and start blowing so I thought I would treat my car to a stainless steel one. Having got an idea of the price of them I had a browse on eBay and found some that looked as though they were good quality. It turns out they were based under 50 miles away in Bury, so I had a ride over and was able to see before I bought. The company was called Must Have Limited. http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Must-Have-Items-Online_W0QQsspagenameZl2QQtZkm or you can ring them on 0161 705 1212 and ask for Miguel or Dave. I was impressed so I bought two more for the other two Silvias. They are single outlet pipes but are stainless steel and were a little less expensive.
Silvia Steering Wheel:
It has arrived! An S13 Silvia steering wheel all the way from Australia, and it says Silvia on it. It is the same size but looks much better than the one I had fitted. I also stitched a leather glove on to it as I had one on the other. I also got the Silvia lettering from the back of the car and the emblem. If I decide to design and fit a new rear spoiler I can use the lettering on the back of the tailgate.
Chromed Rocker Cover:
I managed to get a rocker cover chromed and to further add to the appearance I repainted the top panel that bolts on. I rubbed it down and painted it the same colour as the car and put it the oven on a low heat whilst Mrs. silviagod was out. Once the paint was hardened I rubbed back the lines and the lettering then lacquered it and put it back in the oven. I am very pleased with it but half of it is hidden by the intercooler. I may change to a front mounted intercooler in the future so that all the chrome will be on display.
Additional Oil Cooler:
Having fitted a larger 19 row automatic transmission fluid oil cooler to the S13 I decided that it would do no harm to fit an additional cooler to compliment the existing 14 row one. I had noticed that in the hot weather the transmission fluid was getting up to 90 degrees much quicker than in winter and on country roads it was getting up to and above that temperature even faster. I had a trip to London to make and I had three S13 differential oil coolers spare. I cut two of the large brackets off the cooler and mounted it behind the air intake I fitted to the driver's side of the front bumper. I noticed a 20 degree drop in temperature drop on the motorway with the needle reading 70 degrees and it did get to 90 in the heavy traffic coming out of London. The temperature sender is in the sump and the normal operating temperature of the fluid I am told is between 80 and 120 degrees Celsius. The sump temperature is probably a little cooler than the temperature in the gearbox so the cooling system I now have is probably perfect for summer use. I have fitted an aluminium guard underneath the cooler and also one in front of the wheel with a louvered panel to protect the cooler from stones picked up and thrown by the tyre, and I will continue to monitor the temperature as the weather gets colder with a view to fitting a thermostatic bypass for the gearbox to warm up quicker in the winter months.
April 2006, the bonnet paintwork had a few stone chips along with some of the lacquer missing. I decided that it was time for a change. I had grown to despise the Subaru air intake for the top mounted intercooler and wanted something that looked much more refined. I cut two lines down the bonnet and pushed the centre panel down to form an air intake within the lines of the bonnet and as I was doing the intake I replaced the Astra GSI vents on either side for Astra GTE ones. I made the side pieces for the air intake and welded them to the bonnet from the underside and had a very damp rag on the top side of the bonnet to minimise any heat distortion caused by the welding. I am much happier with the way it looks now and it suits the car much more than the previous attempt.
Electric windows with one-touch operation on driver's window.
Top Mounted intercooler with air intake cut into the bonnet, ducted underneath directly to the top of the intercooler and additional shielding above the exhaust manifold.
Boost bleed valve.
Free flowing induction system.
Standard T2 turbocharger.
2.75 inch diameter straight through exhaust system with one silencer to the rear and a 4 inch polished aluminium tail-pipe.
Water injection and boost retard at around 12 PSI.
Bailey twin piston dump valve.
Conservatively estimated 200 BHP.
Electronic controlled over intercooler mist spray pulsing above 45 degrees Celsius.
Front strut brace made from solid, polished stainless steel.
Standard rear springs, that are lower than those fitted to later models with Monroe gas shock absorbers.
Astra GSI bonnet vents, side skirts with door panels, large rear spoiler and air intakes in front bumper.
Colour-coded mirrors and wiper arms.
Towing bracket with sensor.
Reversing spotlight and tail lamps in rear bumper.
Level sensors to water Injection/over intercooler mist, coolant and washer bottle.
Ice warning system.
After-market 15 inch alloy wheels with Michelin tyres.
Electric tilt/slide sunroof.
Front fog lights.
Higher specification air conditioning system.
Immobiliser and full closure alarm system. (Including sunroof)
Half-leather front seats with heating elements and inflatable air mats to driver's seat.
Bulb failure warning system monitoring all the exterior lamps to the vehicle.
Pioneer head unit with CD changer with more powerful speakers and added ones to each side of rear seat.
Interior light fade with added step and foot-lights.
Twin map reading lamps.
Adjustable steering column.
Additional cigarette lighter socket.
Additional warning lamps and gauges including pillar-mounted boost gauge.
High level brake light, including moving sequence fitted to horizontal strip above number plate.
Hammered finish paint applied to underside including arches and using different colours to suspension parts.
Waxoyl rust inhibitor injected into sills, chassis members, box sections, backs of doors and rear quarter-panels.
I have thrown up another little site with the intentions of improving it and adding more pictures. My web skills are only limited but I am trying to learn with the limited time I have available. Please have a look and feel free to offer suggestions.