When your company is named after a quarter-mile time, your flagship vehicle can't just flutter about languidly, it has to fly stout and strong. The Nissan 240SX of 9secondracing.com does just that.
While the rear-wheel drive platform and compact size has gained the 240 a healthy following in the last few years, the 2.4-liter, 160-hp engine propelling this drifter-in-waiting is at best uninspiring and anemic.
Enter Eric Hinckley and Matt Wishart. The owners of 9secondracing.com, both in their mid-20s, decided the best way to spruce things up would be to shoehorn a six-cylinder, twin-turbo engine from the skin-tingling Skyline into a 240SX.
"We contemplated doing a few projects about a year ago and decided on the 240SX-RB26 swap for several reasons," said Hinckley. "First, the 240SX was starting to make its mark in the drifting world. Being easily obtainable here in the United States, many people seeking the thrill of the 'drift' used the Nissan."
"In the tuner/import world, the ultimate car seems to be the Nissan Skyline GT-R," adds Hinckley. "With our current import law in the United States, it is difficult and very costly to bring a legalized version to drive daily on U.S. soil. One of the main reasons the Skyline is so great is because of its engine-it's extremely powerful and nearly indestructible. So we came up with the ultimate marriage, the RB240SX. What could be better than a U.S.-production, rear-wheel drive Nissan merged with an imported Godzilla motor? Nothing."
With their standards set high, the lads at 9SR set about to attain their goals. Hinckley's partner Wishart explain the game plan in detail:1. Buy 240SX2. Install Skyline motor3. Start and drive
The 11-month procedure from paper to powerslide took a few more steps than previously mentioned. First, Hinckley had to find an unfettered example of a 240. "I was looking for one with decent interior because I knew I would be fixing up the body and of course the engine," says Hinckley. "I found one on eBay for $5,000 in Indiana and had a buddy fly out and drive it back."
The ensuing swap was anything but straightforward. After removing the KA24 upper wiring harness, the entire 240SX engine was removed along with the transmission and radiator, fans and all. The air conditioning condenser was tossed to make room for the Koyo aluminum racing radiator.
In the transition from all-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive, the RB26's oil pan was replaced with one rom an RB25 (R32 RWD version) with the baffles cut out to accommodate the RB26 strainer. "Most oil pans come right off and weigh around 10 pounds," Hinckley mentions. "But the entire RB26 oil pan is around 70 pounds. The front driveshaft and differential are attached to the stock oil pan."
At this point, the turbos needed to be rebuilt, as the ceramic impellers on the stock units tend to explode above 1.2 bar. Hinckley and Wishart wanted to push a lot more boost than that. They used the stock compressor and exhaust housing but modified the compressor wheels. With the internals rebuilt, the custom TEC GT28 T3 63 trim turbos with .42 A/R can support 375 hp each.
After the twin turbos were "titaned-up" the motor and tranny were to be installed as one unit onto custom mounts. A bit of massaging ensured the longer block didn't vibrate excessively against the firewall. Immediately after, the shortened driveshaft was installed. After this, a custom downpipe was fitted around the 240SX's steering column to keep the twin-turbo setup.