It is well known within the tuning community that cars built by Nissan in the 90s were over-engineered and many inefficiencies were put in place to adhere to the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ to restrict the amount of power out of the factory. It is also well known that removing such inefficiencies are not difficult and will in turn transform the car from a mediocre boat to a snarling beast. So with this in mind, that is exactly what I did with the Skyline with an aftermarket one-piece dump and front pipe.
Earlier in the process, I replaced the stock catalytic converter for a Venom 3” high flow metal catalytic converter with a 4” housing (available on eBay, ask for George) and let me tell you, that $250 I spent made a world of a difference. Not only is the spooling response of the turbo a lot livelier, but the noise coming out of the tail pipe is now a superb mix of treble and bass – a live quartet performance.
You may think that a quartet is nice, but I wasn’t happy with that. I wanted an orchestra and boy an orchestra I got just by swapping the stock dump/front pipe for an aftermarket dump/front pipe.
Out came the rusty mild steel dump/front pipes and in went a JustJap 3” stainless steel bellmouth one piece dump/front pipe. We could go into the pros and cons of a bellmouth against a split construction, but let’s leave that for another discussion. So with the replacement of the dump/front pipe, I also killed two birds with one stone by replacing the old oxygen sensor with a new NTK one, as taking out the dump pipe was the easiest way of swapping that component.
Now you may be think “sounds easy enough, out comes one part and in goes another” but Murphy’s Law always strike at the most inconvenient time and struck it did with me. In the process of swapping over the stock pipes with the new part, a common nightmare came to life – two of the turbo bolts snapped into the rear turbo housing! So what was meant to be a 2 hour job became a 3 day nightmare.
Thanks to some ingenuity and lateral thinking, Jay and I managed to take out the threaded bolts and made a good enough seal using a sh*tload of exhaust cement. To top it all off, I forgot to put back the oil return hose to the turbo properly, resulting in oil going everywhere on the ground. Trials and tribulations was just part and parcel to the whole experience.
After all the commotion, it was time to test out the complete exhaust system. The verdict? Amazing. The turbo now spools harder, faster and louder. The mid to top-end response is more urgent. The soundtrack is now from a symphony the harder you push the accelerator. All this for $200.
With this experience under the belt, if you haven’t completed the full exhaust system yet do think about it. I can’t promise that you may not come across some snap bolts or dodgy gaskets, but what better way to share an afternoon with mates, beers, a barbie and a whole lot of vulgarity!
Got similar experiences you like to share? Tell us about it – snapped bolts and all!
‘Till next time,