RB26 S13 – Tube Front Plans

A little while back I pulled the engine out of the S13 so I could finish a bit of prep before the tube work starts. There are only a few more bits that I need to get before everything can start getting cut up and fabricated.

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The main reason I’ve taken so long to get to this stage is money. Trying to save for a big build while also maintaining another drift car is painfully hard. Unless you are bill gates, have won lotto or are just plain awesome at everything, building stuff how I want isn’t easy.

But, I will slowly get to the finish line.

So, the tube front work.

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I’ve drawn up a whole bunch of designs for the front end, most have been either binned or put aside for ideas. I would love to go the basic route and run 2 bars from strut towers to rails with a removable rad support, but it’s a little too basic. That doesn’t mean I want to go insane and make a maze out of my front end, but I don’t want something that looks amateur.

Yes I want it simple, but also want it to incorporate everything that needs mounting. Just so I don’t have to go back later on and add pieces to it.

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I’ve spent a lot of time just staring at it, trying to come up with good ideas. I know where I want to cut and I know what I want it to do, but designing something that will do it all properly without losing simplicity is a pain in the ass.

One weekend I thought it was time to take out the giant obstacle in the engine bay. So I had a mate come over with an engine crane and we started making the bay a little more empty.

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The motor hasn’t been out of the car for almost 4 years, so as you can imagine, there were quite a few chunks of things that looked like death sitting on the crossmember.

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Only took 30 minutes to get everything out. No we aren’t pro’s, it’s an easy job when nothing is attached apart from 2 engine mounts and the gearbox mount. The car doesn’t even have a tailshaft anymore, so it’s pretty much a caged rolling shell.

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After the motor was out I spent a few hours going over more ideas. What will work best, where to mount everything, how to mount it, what size cores I need, where piping needs to run, how much room I’ll need for plumbing, gaps between mounting tabs, bracket lengths and a whole bunch of other things.

One thing I am SERIOUSLY disappointed about is my turbo setup. Ever since I started this build and went with an RB26, I have always wanted twin turbo’s high mounted with external gates. I love the look of twins up top, and also how much easier it is to work on them compared to working on low mount turbo’s. Yes it is an expensive job but think of how amazing it is when it’s done properly! I wasn’t planning on going with oversize turbo’s, just something mid range. Something responsive rather than huge and laggy, maybe just 2 of the turbo’s I have on the 180sx

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But all of that is doubtful to happen. A pair of turbo’s will set me back a whole heap of money as will a pair of gates and then I need to get a twin high mount manifold made up to suit. Not only that but I need to find enough room in a tiny S13 engine bay to fit all of this. I knew it was going to be a massive pain to get everything to work properly and after a load of research and asking a few GTR workshops, I don’t think it’s going to be possible. Pretty saddening because I was 100% set on going this route. If for some reason I turn into a magician welder, I will make my own damn manifold and borrow a pair of turbo’s, test fit them and live the dream.

If that day ever comes, I will be a very happy person.

I’ve done a few drawings on what I need to incorporate into it, just rough sketches though because I’m not Da Vinci. There are a few different styles of front end that I think might work well, but each has it’s own upsides and downsides. Because I want to run front tubs, it’s going to restrict where I can run my piping and also the amount of room I will have to mount pieces like reservoirs.

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I have thought of possibly running the tube front a little bit further forward so I can gain a bit of room but it won’t make enough of a difference to help. I’ll have to do some more thinking about where I can mount everything and hopefully come up with something soon.

With Queensland matsuri finished and the 180sx set away in the shed, I’m going to put all my work into this car and try to finish everything. Once it’s good to go for the tube front, I can start planning out some of the engine work I need to do. Then time for some colours.

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Super keen to finally get some solid work happening on this. It’s been way too long.

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