In Part I we left off with my GT-R waiting for some parts to arrive before Jeff at Powerdynamix could get started doing the heavy work on the car. But one of the parts I’d dropped off with him, along with the car, was the new Comp Stage 2 clutch. Jeff wasted no time.
Within about 2 days Jeff called me back and asked me to come pick up the car. The new clutch was in and he wanted me to break in the clutch before he put the turbo on and dialed up the power. So my task was to try and find the time to put 300 miles on the car.
I picked up the car and drove it around for 2 days – as much as I could – and managed to just about hit the 300 mile mark. Bear in mind, to break the clutch in I had to do city driving. It’s crazy how long it takes to put 300 miles on a car doing 45mph with as many red lights and stop signs as you can find. I needed to bring it back in 2 days because I was headed out of town on business and wanted my GS300 back so I could drive it to, and park it at, the airport. (Definitely wasn’t about to do that with the Skyline.)
As I brought the car back to Powerdynamix, Jeff told me the turbo order was placed and due to ship out in a day or two. That was the last piece required to dig into the car and get the dirty work done. I was headed out of town on vacation in a few days, so it looked as if all the fun stuff would get done while I was gone.
The turbo? A Comp Turbo ball-bearing, billet wheel, 62/65 job with a polished anti-surge housing. It’s a pretty piece of business that was intended to be the jewel under the hood. What’s cool about this anti-surge housing is that it makes the turbo look a bit bigger than a 62mm compressor normally does.
As always happens with these projects, something didn’t exactly go according to plan. It took Comp about 10 days longer than they said it would to get the turbo in the mail. So the car sat. It sat for a good 2 weeks without anything major being done to it.
I mentioned in Part I that the end of July was the deadline for the build. This is because on August 1 the first annual weekend-long Skyline National meet was taking place here in Dallas. I needed the car to be running and tuned because that weekend included a full rent-out of the race track at Motorsport Ranch – Cresson.
Never one to back away from a challenge, Jeff dug into the car with full steam as soon as the turbo showed up. He basically did all of the work in one week. The intake manifold needed some machine work to seal properly, the fuel rail needed LOTS of work to prevent leaks (a cheap, eBay job sold to me by another shop), the downpipe back to the cat-back needed to be fabricated, as did lots of intake piping. There was lots that got done in that one week.
It all culminated on Friday night, July 31.
I showed up at Jeff’s shop at around 7pm knowing there were still a few loose ends to tie up prior to driving it home. I figured I’d be rolling out at between 9 and 10pm in time to get home, give the car a decent wash and get ready to meet up with 21 other Skyline owners at Cars & Coffee at 6am the next morning.
What occurred over the next 11 hours was incredibly stressful and ridiculously fun all at once. Getting the car drivable was a two steps forward, one step back exercise. As an example of the type of things we had to deal with: For about two hours we were trying to figure out why the car was running on 5 cylinders. Injectors were tested many times. Coil packs were tested many times.
Finally we narrowed it down to either an issue with the Haltech or the OEM wiring harness. Jeff observed that the OEM ECU connector was warped. It wouldn’t completely seat in the Haltech. It was bowed such that pressing one side in all the way would cause the other end to rock out of it’s seat. I suggested some custom ZIP Tie engineering. It seemed to do the trick.
After we applied the ZIP ties, all of our connectivity issues between the Haltech and the laptop were solved. So was the problem of running on 5 cylinders. 2 hours of head scratching solved with 4 ZIP Ties.
It only took 4 or 5 niggling issues to add up to an all-nighter. We took the car out, got a solid street tune on it, jetted back to the shop and scrubbed the car down. Many thanks to Jeff and Ashley at Powerdynamix for taking this Skyline Nationals event as seriously as I did. They did EVERYTHING in their power to get me there on time and I literally got there with not a second to spare.
I’ll do a separate post about Skyline Nationals. (It was the highlight of my year. For real.)
Let me tell you two things that really impressed me, so far, about this build.
1) Jeff did this in roughly one week. Other shops would have taken 5-6 weeks to do this much work. He hunkered down and put in the time to get it done right in short order.
2) The car was buttoned up and street tuned on Saturday. On Monday the car was absolutely flogged all day on a race track in 100+ degree Texas heat. I didn’t go easy on it. This speaks volumes about Jeff’s quality craftsmanship and engineering philosophy.
Will there be a 500whp Project Part III?
Yes. There are some minor touch-ups that need to happen. For example, the valve covers were supposed to be powder coated, but there was a shipping mishap with the gaskets. Jeff wants to tweak some fittings and re-do some of the fab work. I’ve added scope to the build (I want an oil filter relocation and some add’l tweaks made). And…it needs a dyno tune. So in a couple-few weeks it’ll be back for the final details. Stay tuned for the final build recap!