Jump to content
SAU Community
  • Welcome to SAU Community

    Welcome to SAU Community, like most online communities you must register to view or post in our community, but don't worry this is a simple free process that requires minimal information for you to signup. Be apart of SAU Community by signing in or creating an account.

    • Start new topics and reply to others
    • Subscribe to topics and forums to get email updates
    • Get your own profile page, build reputation and make new friends
    • Send personal messages to other members.
    • See fewer ads!

    Consider joining our newsletter for the latest content updates

    Click here to register

RH9 R32 GTR Build Thread

OST Micah

Recommended Posts

Hi all! I'm a little late to the SAU party but I had to get away from Facebook.

Since this build started around 2017 this thread will be back-dated until it catches up with the present.

I always wanted to import a car from Japan and the GTR ticked all the boxes that I wanted for my next project: RWD-oriented AWD, turbo, manual, and Japanese.

Won the car at action in early 2017. Picked the car up at port about three months later.






Gave it a wash as soon as I got home and got rid of the blue vacuum hoses. 




Once it was registered and road legal I threw it on the dyno just to see how well (read: poorly) it ran. Car came from Japan with VCAM, HKS GT2530s, HKS piping and intercooler kit, Kakimoto exhaust, OSG TS3B clutch, C's shifter, and all "tuned" with an HKS Vcon F-pro. Even with race fuel it still had detonation and we had to abort the testing. It was a dog anyway but we just wanted to see some sort of before data.



Couldn't leave it like this and I already had an Elite waiting to go in. Got to work right away and installed the Elite, colder plugs, LQ9 coils with a bracket I drew up, ID1050 injectors, boost referenced regulator, and some needed maintenance items like fluids and an ATTESSA accumulator.





Got some factory wheels locally and a set of Street SS tires.



Got the car on the dyno and got the tuning sorted and then off to the track! Third pass ever in the car went a 10.9 at 125. Not bad for never launching an AWD manual car. Much harder than I expected.





  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

At this point I spent some time trying to clean the car up a bit. 

Painted the intake manifold with it on the car, painted to headlights, quickly cleaned up some engine bay wiring/hose routing, and my factory bumper and lip finally arrived from Japan. Threw them on unpainted because I didn't have the money at the time.


The trunk carpet was extremely pilled and a hair trimmer actually worked very well to clean it up.




I made myself a clutch damping device to delay the clutch lockup without delaying the shift time. This slipper only starts delaying lockup at a point in the pedal throw set by the user. This is to keep the factor transmission alive as long as possible. I had high hopes to go 9s on the stock trans and do so reliably because I can't afford a fancy gearset! The slipper tucks behind the kick panel and cannot be seen when installed but it can be adjusted. 




Took the car out for some more hits at the track. We were in the heat of summer and the air was hot and the DA was high. Car still did really well though considering how close to stock it was.



Here's the 10.9 slip from earlier.


Even went to an untimed 1/8th mile event and beat on some V8s.

(636) 20170904_165315.mp4 - YouTube

(636) Micah vs Mike v1 - YouTube


That about did it for the twin turbos. I enjoyed driving the car daily all summer and into fall. I picked up this BWS475 used for $400 and started collecting parts for the winter.


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, hattori hanzo said:

Have been following this on facebook, keen to see the next chapter

Thank you, sir.


The first task for the winter was to remove the turbos and change the head gasket. Pulled the head off with the intake and turbos and disassembled on the workbench.





Took the head to work and removed the humps on the exhaust ports.




New MLS gasket and timing belt. The sticker on the shock tower showed the water pump was changed in the past couple thousand KMs so I left that go. Still on the car today! Gave everything a fresh coat of paint as well. I also cut down the PS pump and removed everything HICAS related. Can't seem to find pictures of the pump modification.





With everything reassembled it was finally time to start fabricating the exhaust side. I had a manifold for another application that has two 3-1 merges that I harvested to speed things along.










The above was a lot bigger job than I expected. Without a welder at home I had to mark a couple pieces, drive to work, tack them, drive home, test fit, mark more, etc. But you got to do what you got to do! 


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

TBH the manifold doesn’t look great.

merge collector is to far away from turbo flange.

you may aswell cut the middle out of the flange unless you are going to divide it all the way down to the merge collector 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, UWISSH! said:

TBH the manifold doesn’t look great.

merge collector is to far away from turbo flange.

you may aswell cut the middle out of the flange unless you are going to divide it all the way down to the merge collector 

I'm not trying to build a twin scroll. And the collector position really is not that important in my experience. This manifold works very well.

27 minutes ago, UWISSH! said:

should look similar to this but obviously extended towards the front more if needed


Have fun trying to fit that with AC and PS all without cutting the hood! Not to mention I don't have the money for a v-band turbine housing on this turbo or the money for a 76mm that comes with a v-band housing. This is a budget build.

12 minutes ago, UWISSH! said:

also what was the purpose of this? You have butchered the flange.


The purpose is to fit a round pipe in a square hole. You can buy them like this for $60 or you can make one from a left over flange. The divider is knife edged to help with flow and so I don't ruin the turbine housing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found the pictures of the power steering pump modifications. I don't have a lathe but I had a drill press!






More work on the manifold.






Turbine to PS line clearance. A front support rod for the manifold can be seen in this picture as it bolts to the head.



Work on the 5" downpipe. I made a centering v-band to align the downpipe to the turbine so it didn't slide around inside the v-band.









The v-band in the manifold allows for easy removal of the the turbo without having to take off any bolts. I hate removing hard to access bolts.



Here's the wastegate mounted and screamer pipe made up. Connected the downpipe to the exhaust and made a cap for the downpipe.



Then had to tackle the PS reservoir. Made this up from a piece of exhaust tubing and some portions of the factory reservoir.






Made a screen for the turbo from leftover parts from a customer build. Most of this car is built from leftover bits but it works! Added a DEI turbo blanket and Ti heat wrap. Much nicer than the fiberglass stuff.



Made up a baffled catch can with -12 fittings. Only held about a quart and I thought it would be enough at the time.



Edited by OST Micah
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Next I added a second fuel pump and larger fuel lines using the old HICAS lines. Found a fitting to go from the HICAS fittings to -6. Modified the rail to have -6 in and out.






I hadn't come up with a design i liked for mounting two pumps in the tank so I gave this a shot. The top pump ended up pulling air when the fuel was at 1/4 tank. I ran it at the track but it wasn't a good solution.



Came up with this design that bolts into the factory tank. Pumps sit right on the bottom and it worked great.




With the fuel sorted it was time for safety. AGI made some light modifications to their R32 cage design and shipped it over. 



I left the interior out and the front section of the cage out for a bit because I hadn't come up with a clean way to put holes in the carpet.

Got all the loose ends sorted (oil lines, PS lines, etc) and fired it up.

Startup video in next post.

After the snow cleared it was off to the dyno for tuning and then to the track.




Edited by OST Micah
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made several visits to the track and had issues each time. No mechanical gremlins but something in the tune wasn't right and I was having a hard time troubleshooting it. I was still very green to the Haltech software. The issue I was having was the car would randomly start cutting out during a pass. I aborted almost every pass I made. The logs showed timing being pulled at random during a pass. At the time I thought it was knock related and instead of just turning off the knock control I tried to fix the issue. This led to many aborted passes. Most of the time the ignition cuts would happen under high load and the pass would be aborted somewhere just after the 1/8th mile mark. Many 10.9 timeslips at 100mph or so.

Then finally after a pass on the return road I heard what sounded like very loud rod knock. I was really bummed and frustrated with the car. I wanted to go 9s on stock drivetrain and longblock so badly. Should have just taken my time to properly troubleshoot the issue but I wanted to make a pass in good Spring air. Never rush! Learned my lesson.

 Got the motor out that week with plans to simply rebuild it with stock internals and try again. 



No interesting pictures of the teardown. When I pulled the sump I thought it odd that none of the rod big ends were loose on the crank. Removed the rod caps and the bearings and crank were in fantastic condition for the age of the car. So it wasn't rod knock? Oh well, keep tearing down to figure it out. Flipped the motor over and pulled the head. There it was... bits of intake valve guide from two valves embedded into the tops of two pistons. These bits had contacted the quench pads in the head and made a noise that sounded exactly like rod knock. 

So now what to do? I probably could have just ground off the bits of guide and rebuilt the head and kept going. I did think about it. But there was some scouring on the cylinder walls (not from the guide material) so I decided to refresh. 

Well my machine shop wasn't too keen on refreshing a motor for race use and highly advised against it. I thought it over and decided to listen and say goodbye to my "9s on stock everything" attempt. 

At the time the AUD was super weak against USD (something like $.65 to our $1) so I got a Spool 2.8 kit, I-beam rods, L19 bolts, and a Spool spline drive. 








While the motor was being built I got to work on a larger 9L sump from Garage 101. I'm no Instagram welder but it gets the job done. Just need more seat time.








The year before at the PRI show I picked up this awesome manifold from the guys at Plazmaman. They gave me a crazy show discount so I had to take it.




Once the motor was completed I mocked up everything to see it all together.



Edited by OST Micah
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Started working on getting everything assembled. I wanted to try something I hadn't seen with the intake manifold bleed ports. Not a big fan of hoses and at the time I didn't want to run an expansion tank. I made up a hardline system for the bleeds that would converge into one and go to the top of the radiator with a flexable line.




IACV mounted, plumbed, and everything else tucked away under the intake as neatly as possible if there is such a thing.




Got the motor fired up, and drove it up to the dyno. Did a couple heat cycles under load to break it in (lol at 500 mile "run in tunes"). Made some WOT hits to dial in any changes and drove it back and forth to work a couple times to shake down everything. Tome it to the track and finally got a good pass out of it!


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

After the engine install I was still having the ignition cutting issue. For the above pass I finally just turned off the knock control. This worked well but only about halfway. Timing still dropped out into negative timing that pass but only twice. This got me looking into why removing knock control eliminated most of the timing pull but not all of it.

I did some digging in the logs and found that the vehicle speed was dropping to 0 at random points down the track and when it did so my launch control was becoming active with had negative timing. 

I tried to fix the vehicle speed signal in the tune with filters, cleaning and lubricating the cable, etc but nothing made a difference. In the end I made my own speed sensor that read driveshaft speed off the back of the transmission.

R32 GTR Auxiliary Speed Sensor Kit - Online Store (ostdyno.com)




This not only took care of my faulty speed signal and timing issues down track but it also gave my an accurate speed signal at launch to dial in timing in first gear to get a better 60ft.

At this point I started to get a hang of the Haltech software and how it operated. From this point on the car got much more dialed in.


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Winter came right after that 10.5 pass and the car went away for the season. I tore into getting the interior back together and looking nice. Pulled all the seats and dyed them black. I was still on the hunt for a nice steering wheel without paying $600 for it.














At this time I also wired the VCAM into the Elite and got rid of the HKS controller. I was not able to datalog cam advance as well as control it so much better than with the HKS controller. 

Got the car out in the Spring, cleaned it up and went back to the track.





Made it to a few test and tunes working out bugs before getting in on a rental. Made three passes here and the car was really starting to get quick and consistent. Sorry for the low ink on their printer. From left to right: 10.32 at 135, 10.12 at 140, 10.01 at 139. SO CLOSE!




Edited by OST Micah
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't want to go back to the track again witout changing something in order to be sure I went a 9. I figured cams were the next item to test and with the VCAM my only option at the time was an exhaust cam. I got a Kelford 282/9.2 sent up and installed. When I had the head off for the motor build I installed some Manley springs and Ti retainers since I figured cams would happen one day. Should have cut the cam relifs in the buckets but I didn't.

Much more durtion than stock!




An issue I found was the motor moved way too much on launch even with new motor mounts. I got a set of Tuff Mounts to fix this. These drive really well and are smooth. I've had poly mounts before and they rattle you teeth out. A great upgrade!




I started doing a lot of reading about what guys are doing with their BW turbos. Many people said they cut 2-4 tenths off their 9-11 second ET by having the wheels swapped out for Forced Inductions billet wheels. It was a pretty expensive job but it looked promising. I bit the bullet and sent out my turbo. I switched from a 75/82 (BW measures the exhaust wheel inducer not exducer) to a 76/93. The new wheels were supposed to be much higher flowing in addition to the size increase.





With the turbo off I made an AN drain fitting to go into the block using the factory drain. Also sourced some apparently hard to find fittings for the wastegate as the fittings supplied were 1/8" hose and I am using 1/16".




Got the car back together and on the dyno. Not really what I wanted to see. The cam did keep the power from falling off at 7000 so that was good but the turbo did nothing at all for power. It did significantly reduce the amount of duty cycle I needed to make the same boost but that was it. Definitely a bummer since it was a big chunk of money to lay out. 

Decided to see what happened in the real world at the track. Maybe some benifits would show during a full pass? Headed to the track to see.

Unfortunately it was a pretty miserable day. I made 4 or five passes all in the low 10 second zone. I think the quickest was a 10.3 at a measly 137. The DA was similar so the car was definitely not up on power. You could argue it was down on power. That's how it goes though. Not every part adds power and what works for one person doesn't work for another. I didn't know it at the time but there was a bottleneck in my setup so in the end I do believe the turbo modifications were good but with the bottleneck present they couldnt do anything helpful.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We went into winter and I was pretty frustrated with the whole thing. At least the car wasn't broken though!

Started making the car better for next season anyway. One issue I had was after each pass the engine bay was covered in oil and coolant. The catch can would fill and push oil everywhere. So I made this 3qt catch can with a sump vent to take use of the 12an bung I welded on my sump the year before. It also doubled as a cover for the three plugs by the relay box.






To tackle the coolant issue I replaced the radiator cap with a higher pressure one and bled the system really well. I was determined it wasn't head lift... just like everyone who has lifted a head says.


The next step was to get something better for the intake cam. I reached out to Kelford again and they were actually planning a VCAM line but needed a cam to measure up. I sent my cam down and they measured what they needed and reground it to 272/9.20.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...