The Nissan Club banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I picked up this 97 200sx just over a year ago. It was a high mileage beater I picked up to get from point A to point B when I blew my 2JZ build and though I’m nearing completion of my rebuild I have grown to really appreciate this car. It’s the 1.6L GA16DE with a 5 speed manual trans. The fuel economy is amazing! I’ve decided to give this thing some love. I did some serious needed repairs to pass smog and roll safely, but still have some minor loose steering and suspension components etc and it’s quite an eye sore.
This car will be getting a budget friendly suspension and bolt on’s upgrade in various ways to both restore it mechanically and make it look better lowered and on some better looks rims.
My goal for this car is to maintain fuel economy and handle well. So intake and exhaust mods will help make economy slightly better and some much needed power increases as it is a very slow and underpowered car. Other than that, I plan to drop it on coilovers while replacing the rest of the worn out components and various upgrades here and there. It’s not the SR20 and will never be a fast car. I have other cars for my need for speed and power. This one is strictly a fun daily driver and gas champ.
Here is how it came in it’s bone stock glory. Looking forward to sharing my build and hopefully can help others get back into their cars again.
101432

101433

101434

101435

101436
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So to start with this thing, I picked it up running with 234,000 miles. A/C working and no leaks. Someone had taken care of it in the distant past, but many things were worn out again. All in all pretty lucky for a $900 car. Windows tinted too. I had to jump on the cheapest running car I could find at the time because I had just blown the engine in my current daily. The owner provided me with a new set of front brake pads and rotors because he thought it was the cause of a grinding noise and it had 4 new Falken tires installed. The car had a totally wiped out front left wheel bearing and cv axle, the clutch chattered badly and had a nasty choppy apply, the timing chain was grinding away hard under the plastic valve cover, a couple wheel studs stripped and rear drum brake out of adjustment. No radio, blown door speakers, blown engine mounts, and several tune up items and surprises along the way. Needed a thermostat to pass smog too.
Long story short, first I replaced the mounts because the engine was jumping out of the bay and thermostat, and did a full tune up on it. Luckily as a tech I knew it was running to cool, and though it had no codes, I needed to replace it before attempting to pass the 5 gas smog test. Sure enough, it was stuck wide open when I pulled it out. The plugs were absolutely beat, so it got a set of NGK plugs and wires, and a new cap/rotor. I stuck in a cheap $10 Specter drop in air filter at the time too to both replace the filter and increase airflow for fuel economy as that is the goal in this car. Cleaned out the carboned up throttle to restore power and throttle response, and welded a hole in the exhaust before the cat that a hanger had ripped out from. Found an old rag stuffed into the air intake near the battery before the filter box which was blocking much of the airway. Had a spare Deka AGM battery from another project, put that in with some new terminals because the old ones were pretty bad. Exchanged the brake, coolant, trans gear oil, engine oil, and power steering fluids. Pulled the left front knuckle to press the bearing and replace the axle along with the provided brakes. I also replaced the upper timing chain tensioner and luckily got rid of the grinding engine noise, it was worn all the way through the plastic guide and into the metal. Passed smog easy after that and have just drove it like this for the better part of a year now.
Besides that I also pulled the trans to replace the clutch and flywheel with a stage 2 ebay cheapo brand called XTD. It is nice because the clutch had very weak holding power, and now it's a smooth apply and can be launched at a higher rpm without slipping down. Along the way I had the A/C compressor go out, replaced with a $50 junk yard unit that's worked great ever since, and had to put in a TPS sensor due to surging idle and dying at stop lights. An issue it had since I got it and no codes, so took a bit to figure out. And I welded in a Magnaflow straight through muffler to again better the airflow for fuel economy, slight power, and nice tone.
All this time it's been a great little beat around car, I did put in a cheap Pioneer deck and two door speakers, $80 total lol, to have radio and bluetooth etc. It's had blown struts, blown upper mounts, loose inner tie rods and slight outters, all the suspension in need of repairs. So it's finally about to get a full repair with some cheap coilovers. And I also will be doing the rest of the exhaust with full headers back and a real CAI intake.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Stage 2 clutch and exhaust pics. Plus cleaned up engine bay after all the repairs. Just looking at the pic reminds me of various other things. Radiator cap, fuel filter, wiper blades, etc. replaced many things.
101443

101444

101445
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just got in my coilovers and strut bars in and will be installing this week along with new inner and outer tie rods to completely restore my steering and suspension and alignment. Also replaced my headlight housings with some LED bubs to be able to actually see at night. Will post some pics soon. Loving how cheap things are for this car and the ease of install. Also picked up a set of 15" rims w/ new ties to replace the nasy old 13's.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Did a few things today, got my Megan resonator/2nd cat delete installed, replaced my loose inner and outer tie rods, my blown right front CV axle, replaced a stripped lug stud, cleaned and adjusted my rear drums, installed some drilled/slotted rotors, and installed my front and rear strut tower bars. Also put on a set of rims I got a great deal on with new tires. Painted the drums and calipers black to avoid the nasty rust look. Last this on the way are my coilovers, cold air intake and headers. Here’s a few pics of the progress.
Megan resonator:
101452


R1Concepts front rotors:
101453


Headlight housings/LED lights:
101454


Megan strut tower bars:
101455

101456


Rota 15” rims in bronze w/ 195/50-15 tires. (About and inch wider and same diameter)
101457

101458
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Had time at work today to change the oil and screw on my new DC Sports weighted shift knob.
Gear shift Car Vehicle Auto part Silver
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got my headers in and wrapped. Will post up the install soon. Wasn't able to buy these and have them shipped to me here in Cali for the strict emissions rules, so I had them sent to a family member in another state and they shipped to me from there. The other thing still coming is the cold air intake. I think I found some of the best stuff available for the 1.6L. For anyone looking for parts:

-The headers are OBX with the EGR and o2 bungs. Direct fit. Got from eBay. They have to be 1.6L specific.
-The intake is from a Canadian company called Cosmo Racing. It is actually for the 1.6L and is a true cold air design. All others I have found are a short ram.
-The Megan resonator is only advertised for the 2.0L but fits perfectly for the 1.6L too. So you would have to just order the one for the SR20DE models as it's all they sell. Also form eBay. This will fit any B14 Sentra/200SX.
-The Magnaflow muffler is really anyone's choice. I just welded in a straight through muffler. Didn't want a ricey sound or the huge fart can look. So just welded in this one and put a nice tip on it. Sounds deep and nice. There is no reason to waste money on a complete cat-back. Increasing pipe diameter is pointless unless going forced induction. And the loss of velocity = a loss of torque. So just have a muffler of your choice welded in.

My experience is that the headers, the straight through resonator in place of the 2nd cat, and the straight through muffler, (all in the OEM system diameter) will make for the best performance.

There are also other benefits to doing this:

-There is an inherent increase in fuel economy the easier the car can move and breath.
-The is a good amount of weight dropped going to the smaller and catless parts. further bettering performance/fuel economy.
-If you are in a state that requires smog, you get to save your cats for smog time! So rather than wearing them out all the time, you keep them and reinstall for smog tests.
-There is less under-hood temps with a wrapped header in place of a red hot cat.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Headers installed. Definitely a little more difficult than I expected. But the car feels more powerful and responsive. Louder too. You have to do a little moving of the oil dipstick and pull the fans out to fit the header. Also had to pull the front lower mount bolt just to clear. The trouble really is with the EGR pipe. It didn’t fit by angle or thread size. So had to use an adapter and do some bending and cutting etc. Because of that I can’t recommend installing these. I have an entire shop at my disposal and all manner of tools etc. this would have been nearly impossible without a lift and a lot of time in customizing the fitment. I also installed an Energy Suspension sifter bushing to fix some slop I had. Unfortunately the Cosmo Racing CIA doesn’t even remotely fit. So stock airbox went back in. Will look into another option soon.
101490

101491
101492
101493
101494
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Besides the intake, the general performance of the car is where I want it to be. It has a high flow drop-in filter and I doubt an intake is even all that necessary. If I can't work out an intake, no big deal. At least the exhaust is done. The only other things I'd like to do are an Unorthodox Racing UD pulley if one ever comes up, and maybe an aluminum flywheel if I ever need to replace the clutch again. Fidanza makes one for the 1.6L. All in all, just bolt on's that free up flow and drop weight. Better fuel economy and slightly more power is the goal. Now the rest of the focus will be on suspension. The cheap set of coilovers I ordered turned out to be incorrect as well. It appears that many retailers are confused on these cars and sell pars marketed for the 200sx, but in reality are for the 240sx from what I can tell. The car really is just a 2 door Sentra, so I wish they never gave it the SX badge. Now that I've looked into it, so many parts are sold that claim to fit the 200sx and 240sx, which is just not possible. These coilovers are definitely for a 240sx. So I did order another set while I work out returning these. Had to drop more than I wanted to for this car, but at this point it just needs to fit.

The base models are such cheap cars, they don't even have front or rear swaybars. I am considering a set, however I am surprised at how well the car handles without them. The coilovers will make for way better handling too and I don't think they will even be necessary at that point. I'll see how the handling improves and judge body role after getting use to them. No reason to add the weight of swaybars if the coilovers remove all the body role. With coilovers and the strut bars I already put on, the car will be far improved over stock. Mostly I just wanted to lower car anyway to make it look good on the wheels I picked up. But while I'm at it, I'm going for a good setup too is all.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I received my new set of coilovers that will actually fit, and a short throw shifter kit I ordered a while back. Other than working out an intake, these are my last two mods. Hoping to get a chance to go in this weekend to install. The biggest thing I wanted to do since the beginning was a set of rims and lowered, but I read all about the problem with lowering springs on these cars and bottoming out. It would have been a cheap project, but I opted for coilovers to get the lowering on point and great handling to boot. Cosmo Racing still wants a chance at getting me the right CAI. So I will need to pull the intake and take pics again of all the wrong fitments. So I'll have quite a project with all of this. Oh I also removed the factory spoiler. I will take some pics when I do the work. I think the car looks more sleek without it. Definitely an outdated spoiler that makes the cars look cheaper.

Besides the engine/suspension performance coming to completion, I have more plans for restoring the interior and exterior. I will do a headliner replacement project. Something with the old dingy seats and carpet, possibly add some rear speakers since this car (being the base model) only has the two front door speakers lol. I replaced my deck with a cheap Pioneer unit, might go with something better. But I hate just having the two 6.5" speakers and zero base. There are holes pre-cut in the rear for some 6x9"s that would make a world of difference. The exterior is pretty straight, but bad paint. Might try some magic on it and get it looking better. Things like that.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Coilovers installed and aligned today. Went 2” lower all around to keep it drivable. Also set dampening to the softest settings. I never got these for racing after all. It’s just the only way to lower a B14 without issues. Can go lower if I ever want to, but I don’t like scraping everywhere. Handling is much better than stock even on the softest settings. Here’s a few pics of the Rev9 coilovers and with the spoiler removed I mentioned before. Car looks way better on the rims lowered. They sit nice and flush too because of the low offset. This also got rid of my noisy upper mounts and crunchy struts.
101523

101524

101525

101526

101527
101528

101529
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Received an Injen intake I got a good deal on. Sending the Cosmo one back as I figure it's for an SR20. Will install soon. Have a couple more little cheap things I'm doing to enhance the look. I am also looking to complete this project "performance-wise" with some tuning. I see that JWT still sells ECU chips for these. I haven't decided if it's worth the money yet, but they can tune it for the bolt on's you have and for the octane fuel you use. Mostly, I want to get the VVT function to kick in sooner. They might be able to do that from what I'm reading. It doesn't come on till much too late and is useless for getting up to speed. I have a tendency to cam and turbo everything I get my hands on lol, but this car is to stay N/A and just bolt on's. So a tune for where it's at to maximize it would be nice.

I would really like any thoughts or opinions on JWT and their parts etc. I've heard of them before but never had any experience with them. I also have a spare Apexi AFC Neo that is universal to all cars I've though about wiring in and tuning with that way. It has a VVT function but I think it may only be for Honda VTEC. Still only beginning my research into this.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Injen intake installed. Did more than I expected. Throttle response is snappy, and torque feels stronger. Didn’t expect to feel any difference. But it must complement the exhaust well because the car feels better than ever.
101569


101570
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
After a little research I found that there is no way to get the VVT to work sooner, (unlike a Honda VTEC which can). these engines are limited to cam swaps to make any real changes to acceleration. Unfortunately this car just doesn't justify the price or the amount of work to install, plus the challenge of finding/getting a good tune on it. There is a set from the UK for 500 Euro plus shipping. But unlike my 2JZ, these early Nissan engines require the entire front cover and oil pan removal to install and time. Big job. All this to gain a little power in a 1.6 that will still be slow and not get the fuel economy it's meant for anymore. I did find the best way to run this engine is to put in premium fuel and advance the timing by turning the distributor. I think that's the best I will get out of this thing. No need for a chip when it's mostly meant to remove the speed governor and rev limiter etc. Things I won't be doing with this car. It's quick for what it is now and handles great, so I'm happy with it. Nothing done hinders the economy. Just going to focus more on interior and exterior now if anything.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got this little 5” antenna mast off eBay for $8. Cheap way to enhance the cars looks. Beats the old long one flapping around.
101574
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Put a few finishing touches under the hood. Some OBX silicon radiator hoses. A Blitz 1.3 bar cap, and a better looking oil fill cap. All in blue to match the theme.
101612

101613
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Anyone know if the AD22VF brake upgrade is worth while? I located a set of calipers (the actual NX2000 Japan spec ones). I'm pretty sure they will fit with my 15" rims. As a base model it will still have drums in the rear, but I'm sure braking would still improve by quite a bit.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
By now I see that there are no enthusiasts left in this part of the forum. But I'm still into this car and liking it more and more. It's almost a relic at this point because no one see them anymore. I'm surprised by the attention it gets after my mods. I am really wishing it had more power now because it is still a dog slow car. I'm very tempted to do a 50 shot of nitrous, or maybe even a JDM SR16VE w/ 6 speed swap. ECU and all. Nitrous is the cheapest route and can give it that extra kick when I need it. But the hassle of filling the tank from time to time. The other benefit is that the car stays stock and fuel efficient when not on the nitrous. Also easy to put my OEM cats back on and pass smog legit for $50 bi-annually.

An engine swap to a Neo VVL SR16 or SR20 would make around 200hp easily rather than the GA16DE's 115. More power than the GA with nitrous. But of course at a way bigger cost and major project. And the SR engines are no where near as economic at any time. The badass factor is still worth it, but at the cost of my daily beater no longer being what it is. I'd end up with another beat around car while I built and messed with it. The car would no longer be smog compliant either.

There is always turbo charging. But again, the GA can't take much and this is way to costly for the power it would make. I feel that similar numbers would be seen from a JDM engine swap and be way more reliable. And those engine's would actually be worth turbocharging in the future for a more crazy setup. However it would be cheaper than a complete swap and the power always there. No bottle filling etc. But no passing smog either.

Seeing if anyone has suggestions or reasons why one way vs the others would be good with all the factors I mentioned considered. Remember, I am a master technician with a shop and all forms of tools at my disposal. Labor isn't a worry. I can research and complete any project.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well I'm pretty set on a Nitrous Express kit I'm looking at. Wet system with a 50 shot is the plan. I already have a spare Walbro 255lph pump to support the spray. If I pull the trigger I'll post the install and results. The good thing is these engines have a return style fuel system meaning the factory regulator will keep the pressure in check while the fuel solenoid steals fuel from the feed line when spraying. So no need to add a regulator. It's a very easy car to juice compared to some.
 

·
Registered
1997 200SX base 5-speed
Joined
·
62 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Thanks, it's still N/A and quite slow by today's standards. But it's still a bit faster than OEM and handles very well. I got the coilovers dialed in just by driving and making adjustments. Might start sourcing parts for a turbo build. Many of the companies that really supported the the GA16DE are gone though. So no more Turbo manifold available, JWT may not be making the ECU anymore. I heard the QG18DE has turbo manifolds available that bolt to the GA16DE, but the ports aren't perfectly matched.

My plan would be 370cc injectors and a MAF out of a 240sx and the JWT ECU tuned for them and the turbo/boost etc. Just seeing if these things are available anymore is a challenge.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top