Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Problems, ideas and comments specific to engine swaps.
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spriso
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Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby spriso » 22 Nov 2017 10:05

Updating the Canvas

I was contacted by Brian, who was a former 510 owner, who had recently purchased a beautiful 1971 Datsun 510 2-door sedan that was restored by another 510 Realm member. This car was a near total nut and bolt restoration, and the quality of work was outstanding. Brian loved the car, but was underwhelmed by the stock L-16 and 4-speed's driveablity on the freeway, and wanted to update the power train to keep up with modern traffic needs.

We talked at length about the goals for his project, and I suggested that a normally aspirated SR20DE engine would make an excellent choice for his conversion. They are easy to find, cheap, and with 160hp would have plenty of power to get the car down the road at reasonable speeds and noise levels. Brian expressed his interest in a 6-speed manual transmission, and of course that would work well too-- especially when matched to the NA SR20.

Brian brought the car down to the shop so I could look it over and come up with the plan going forward.

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As expected, the car was a stunner, a beautiful restoration. After a quick drive, we confirmed what Brian was feeling-- all noise, no go. Well, we can fix that... :)

This thread will describe all the aspects of his conversion, and hopefully will be a good guide for others considering this swap...
Michael Spreadbury
Spriso Motorsports
www.spriso.com

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Fred_L-P
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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby Fred_L-P » 22 Nov 2017 10:27

Thanks Michael! Looking forward to it.

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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby two_68_510s » 22 Nov 2017 10:35

Ahhhh, a meaty posting, just what we all need! Can't wait to see this develop. A nice clean slate to start with, what a pleasure.
Joel

2 '68 510 2 door sedans
'95 240SX
74 Jensen Healey

“We will either find a way, or make one.” – Hannibal

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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby spriso » 22 Nov 2017 10:38

The Parts

Before I had Brian bring the car down, I knew that I could do a lot of the prep work here. We would need to build a crossmember to work with the SR20DE engine, and of course get the donor engine too.

Crossmember

First a disclaimer-- we used the stock Datsun 510 crossmember for Brian's swap, and I will detail what we did below, but before getting into that, you may want to consider the new rack and pinion conversions that JB Coachworks is now offering which offer a complete conversion and bolt in mounts for the SR series engines, plus the addition of rack and pinion steering! You can read about them more here: http://www.jbcoachwerks.com/

These were not available when we did our swap, so here is what we created:

The stock Datsun 510 crossmember is designed to work with the L-16's rear sump oil pan. The SR20DE engines have a front sump oil pan which will hit the crossmember, so it needs to be modified to clear the SR's oil pan.

Before:
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Underside:
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This donor crossmember had damage on the underside, so we would need to re-skin it.

The first thing we do is cut off the original stock motor mounts, as these will be rebuilt to work with the SR20DE engine mounts and isolators.
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You may notice a JIG on the backside, we use this to keep everything square and in place when we cut and flip the center section out of the crossmember. We also cut off the front lip to make it look more like the 1968/1969 style.

The crossmember is carefully measured and the center section is cut out so it can be flipped to go the other direction. In this case however, I needed to replaced the damaged lower skin at the same time-- here it is in the drill press getting the spot welds removed.

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The crossmember sections are then put into my JIG and welded back together:

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New lower skin on the bottom of the crossmember (before the drain holes were cut):

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Since I have built quite a few reversed crossmembers for SR20 swaps into 510s, my JIG has placements for the motor mounts, so new parts were made and tack welded into position so we could check them for a test fit.

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On the bench, a bare SR block is setup on the crossmember to do a test fit:

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To do our test fit, and building major components, I have a 510 front clip that we use to prove everything:

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The crossmember is installed for a test fit:

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And the engine installed to make sure everything looks good:

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Now, one thing to note, the BOTTOM of the SR20DE oil pan must be level (side to side), this is something some installers don't realize and they try to mount the engine straight up and down (It should be at about a 5-degree tilt):

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Satisfied that everything was fitting correctly, the crossmember was removed, side gussets installed, and a final weld out completed:

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And a final test fit in the engine compartment JIG:

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Michael Spreadbury
Spriso Motorsports
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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby JordanTr » 22 Nov 2017 21:28

Wow! Very nice work as always!
Jordan | '72 2 door KA project | '94 240sx RB26DETT | '97 Silvia RB25DET | '90 Audi 90 Quattro 20V (DD)

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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby TheHeretic » 23 Nov 2017 09:04

Definitely will be following this! Michael, you do great work with attention to detail so I will enjoy seeing your work. I'm old school and love my L-series but appreciate the goals behind this build.
Carpe Diem!
Ryan

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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby spriso » 23 Nov 2017 22:02

The Engine

Like with any project, this one had goals and a timeline to meet, and at that particular time, for some reason SR20DE engines with manual transmissions were not immediately available. This did no concern me much as we knew we wanted to upgrade to a S15 6-speed transmission, so when a clean SR20DE engine set with an automatic transmission became available for less than $1000 it was a no brainer.

A few days later a saran wrapped palled (broken) arrived at the shop:

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And with the saran wrap off, a complete SR20DE engine set appears:

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The transmission was separated from the engine and the engine was put on an engine stand for an inspection and cleaning:

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The valve cover was removed and as expected, nice and clean with oil still dripping from the camshafts:

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The engine was torn down to a long block so everything could be cleaned and inspected-- and after a few hours work, it looked like this:

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(I go into a bunch of detail of the inspection of SRs in this thread: http://www.the510realm.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=30301 with additional info that will be useful)

Since Brian's car was so nicely restored, we knew that we would want to re-plate all the hardware and extensively detail the engine, so all the removed hardware was saved for re-plating:

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And a few weeks later, the freshly re-plated zinc arrived so we could get the engine put back together:

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The new hardware and a new oil pan were installed:

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The intake plenum, valve cover, and throttle body were painted with automotive paint, and the new hardware re-installed:

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The rest of the components were detailed and re-installed:

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Fuel rail with all new seals:

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Freshly powder coated accessory brackets:

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And all cleaned up and ready to reinstall into the 510 engine compartment:

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Michael Spreadbury
Spriso Motorsports
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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby spriso » 23 Nov 2017 22:17

With the SR ready to go, it was time to drop the L-16 out of the car:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/jCUA_wqCCOA

The 2-post lift sure makes life nice...

Michael
Michael Spreadbury
Spriso Motorsports
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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby PoorMtnKid » 24 Nov 2017 14:33

Wow that motor is eye catching
looking for pass. side arm rest

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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby qwik510 » 25 Nov 2017 03:26

Great Work Michael. I Love it.

Following.
Enjoy The Ride!
David
ImageImage

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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby TheHeretic » 26 Nov 2017 08:25

Somewhat on topic here but does anyone know where I can find a good walkthrough on how to R&R an engine from the bottom like Michael did here?
Carpe Diem!
Ryan

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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby spriso » 26 Nov 2017 13:51

Engine Compartment Prep

While the SR was being freshened up, the engine compartment was also addressed. Since we were adding more power, we also wanted to make the car stop better too-- so a set of 280ZX front struts were obtained, so we could take advantage of their larger brakes. We would also clean up the engine compartment getting rid of things like the stock voltage regulator, and unused relays. At the same time we would also rebuild the heater core, and deal with a few other issues.

Engine compartment before:

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Now that I had a clean canvas to work, with we could start working on systems.

Brakes

With the 280ZX front strut upgrade, I also updated the master cylinder to a 7/8" unit, and added a B210 power booster (thanks Jordan!):

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The steering box was also repainted from silver to black and a T3 steering box brace was also added.

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With those installed, the master cylinder could be mounted, and new brake lines made down to the slide valve:

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The 280ZX coil over conversion was mounted in the car, and we could consider that part of the conversion done:

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Fuel System

Since the SR20DE is a fuel injected engine, we would need an EFI rated fuel pump and lines to support the system. I really like in-tank fuel pumps, and many times we will do a 300ZX in-tank fuel pump conversion into the stock 510 fuel tank. But this project threw a wrench in the works as it had a beautifully painted gas tank in the car.

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I certainly did not want to have to repaint a fuel tank, and I had been reading about a very interesting new in-tank fuel pump that is a bolt in made by Aeromotive. https://www.aeromotiveinc.com/product/phantom-200-stealth-fuel-system/

The Phantom 200 Stealth Fuel system is a bolt in system that has a foam catch can, and can be installed into a 510 fuel tank in about an hour. Here's how we did it.

The 510 fuel tank is divided into 3-sections-- one section where the fuel enters the tank, the center section (where the fuel sender lives) and the third baffled section to the left. We put the in-tank fuel pumps into that section as it does no interfere with anything else.

A word of caution here-- modifying and welding fuel tanks can be VERY DANGEROUS be sure to clean out the tank as much as possible and let the tank vent as long as possible before attempting any modifications-- if you are not comfortable with this kind of work, then leave it to the experts.

A location hole was drilled into the top of the tank-- basically centering the pump on the level portion on the top of the tank:

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The tank was then taped up with painters tape to prevent any scratches and the appropriate sized hole saw was used to cut the top skin of the tank:
Cut slowly and use a sharp hole saw and the procedure is pretty easy.

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Once that is cut, you will need to use some shears to cut away the internal baffle (it is T shaped).

Aeropmotive provides a drill jig to accurately drill the 10 holes in the top of the tank for the mounting ring:

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Then the C-shaped mounting ring can be installed into the pump:

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The mounting JIG is then reinstalled so you can install the foam "catch-can" which must be cut down to the height of the fuel tank:

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Since it is foam, you can squeeze it together and slide it thru the JIG and down into the tank-- it then expands into the inside of the tank:

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The fuel pump assembly was then shortened to match the height of the stock 510 tank:

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The foam sealing ring was then installed, and then the fuel pump, and the assembly was tightened down making a fuel-proof seal:

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And installed in the car:

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Fuel Lines:

Since the EFI system uses a return line, I decided to rebuild both the feed and return hard lines.

From the stock grommet over the top of the rear crossmember:

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To a standard Nissan EFI rated fuel filter (these only need to be changed every 30,000 miles):

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Along the floor:

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Then all that needed to be added was the EFI 5/16" fuel line and EFI rated fuel clamps and the system was complete.

Until next time,

Michael
Michael Spreadbury
Spriso Motorsports
www.spriso.com

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Heinrich
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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby Heinrich » 26 Nov 2017 21:11

this is a very neat car.
nice thread.
Progress is slow, but it is progress non the less.

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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby 510wizard » 27 Nov 2017 06:52

Michael,
As usual top notch work. Of coarse I wouldn't expect anything less from you. Sorry I missed running into you at SEMA.

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spriso
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Re: Brian's S15 SR20DE Swap - Spriso Motorsports

Postby spriso » 27 Nov 2017 13:09

Thanks for the comments guys-- Brian's SR swap was a fun project-- and even better since I had such a clean canvas to start with.

Michael
Michael Spreadbury
Spriso Motorsports
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