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DD JDM S15 RB26 MFD RPi more acronyms build

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I'm Ken, from Ibaraki, Japan. I had owned a TT Z32 previously and was looking to get into another fast turbo Nissan, so about 3 years ago I started looking at S15s, as the Z32 is a little too heavy and wide for daily driving here. I ended up finding a very clean unmodified one for a very low price.




Unfortunately it had two big problems, one being the turbo which didn't...exactly...exist. The other was...



...it had the strangest transmission, apparently designed for people with one leg, which floated sleepily between gears whenever it chose. But, given the price, I saw past its faults and enjoyed it for what it was, a beautiful and reliable commuter car with sporting intentions. Which was OK, acceptable and almost useful in a world of kei cars, cyclists and minivans proudly labeled "BABY IN CAR" creeping slowly from stoplight to stoplight.



Impul wheels, four of them...starts everyday, rolls from place to place, what more do you need. Anyway it worked too well and I got bored and decided to start breaking stu-err, "modifying" in hopes of making a money pit-err, "making it better."

I decided it needed 300ZX brakes because, logic at work, they worked on my 300ZX, why not.





Endless pads, Stoptech steel braided lines with proper AN-style fittings ordered from the USA because they're quite expensive here, and a BM-50 master cylinder from a Spec R, which is biased for the 4 piston caliper in the front and the stock single piston caliper in the rear. So I left the rear calipers alone, 20% to maintain balance/pedal feel and 80% because laziness.

Then boredom struck again and I built a computer in the car, based on a Raspberry Pi Model B, with a Sony amplifier under the passenger's seat and CD rom in the glovebox, which acts as an entertainment system. I wrote a Python script to pull data off of the ECU via CONSULT, but I realized there are much better systems already out there which do the same thing and gave up.



Installed some extra power points in the glovebox and still maintained space for a glove or two.



Here's a video demonstrating the speed and emulation capabilities, not bad for a 700 MHZ processor and 500 MB ram...


And that made it a lot more fun to spend time in the car, happily listening to movies during my daily commute and retro gaming in 7-11 parking lots.
The end.



Yeah, so then I lost my mind and decided the car needed a manual transmission, and that if I was going to swap transmissions I may as well swap for a turbo engine given the trouble involved...but if I was going to swap for a turbo engine, I may as well swap for an RB25, because torque, and it really can't be *that* much more difficult than an SR swap, can it? Well, can it!?!?

So I read EVERYTHING on the internet about RB swaps. Literally, I think I purpled-out every Google result for the string "RB swap silvia". And then I decided that the plain old RB25 wasn't enough, I wanted the NEO because it's ****ing NEO actually because it has variable valve timing. People went on and on about the difficulty of getting it wired up properly, so I contacted Yury of Wiring Specialties about making a custom harness. I was surprised how excited he was at the prospect of doing so, especially into an S15. At the same time I had found the perfect donor engine at a great price.

And, of course, I realized that if I put an RB25 in the car, I'd spend the rest of my days opening the bonnet and wishing it was an RB26.
So I asked Yury to make a completely different harness, which he didn't seem as excited about, based on an R33 RB26, because I was assuming I could find a cheap R33 engine and fix it up.



6 or so months later I had a beautiful harness which was essentially an R32/33 harness with the ABS and accessory bits from the S15 OEM harness spliced in.

Then it turned out that every R33 engine looks like it's been in a fire, so I bought a clean RB26 from an R34 V-Spec for a regrettable sum.





Sleep now, more to come tomorrow.
 

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sibbers

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Damn. Me too. I so want an RB under my hood. Excited for you!
 
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Part II Electric Boogaloo.

After deciding the engine I revisited my original idea for an in-car PC that would display vital information on the lcd panel, as I figured there would be many different parameters that would need monitoring, but I didn't want the interior of my car to look like a Turkish disco.

First, I made a system, and I don't have a picture of it, but it was just a Python script that pulled information from CONSULT in real-time. I had planned a graphical interface, using the R34's Multifunction Display (MFD) as a model, but then I noticed that tons of people were making digital gauge setups that looked really, really good, so why not use somebody else's? I (briefly) looked into gaugeART, Zada Tech and several others, but it seemed that none of them were easily made compatible with CONSULT, and I wanted to maintain the stock ECU. So I also thought about the HKS CAMP system which I'm sure is great, but ultimately I chose to...transplant the actual R34 MFD into my Silvia.



Which makes sense even in hindsight, as it's immediately compatible with all of the sensors on the engine without any calibration, and all you really have to do is get power to it and it will run. All I had to do was bypass the stock display and run its graphics through to my LCD screen, which in principle isn't that hard.

However, MFDs are quite rare; generally in order to get one, a GT-R has to die. The parts necessary to assemble one are still available individually though, meaning I could buy a couple of main boards and connect them together, then pull the video signal off of the board, convert it to composite and run it to my display.



I removed the FPC sockets that would connect the two boards together in their natural habitat, and I soldered them together directly, using normal copper wire.







I stuffed the contraption into a din housing from an old radio and plugged it in. It worked!

For about 10 minutes! Then various components began to die en masse, belching little wisps of white smoke.

The autopsy indicated that I had all but destroyed several vital traces during the desoldering process. So I put the project on the shelf for several months, until another set of MFD boards came up for sale on Yahoo, advertised as junk. I bought them and figured out how to get the correct ribbon cables to connect them together (electrical supplier RS Online, here in Japan) and plugged them in.

They didn't work. Instead, one of the main capacitors went out with a puff of white smoke. So I got my original set of boards out of the box in which I hide my shame, and transplanted one of the caps from the old new board to the new old board.



Eureka.

I installed the boards and an RGB converter in the Silvia's armrest...



...and I modified the interior panel to the right of the steering column to accommodate the OEM joystick control. It'll actually take inputs from any old analog joystick but I figured I may as well go all the way.













Here is a movie of the whole system working, MFD & Raspberry Pi together in 完全調和 (no gauges yet though)

 
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Thanks for the interest, I *think* I posted an update but it doesn't seem to have been approved yet...? Maybe it didn't go through...
 
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I'm going to keep an eye on your thread as I'm currently saving up the cash to do the same with my S15 ;) good luck and hopefully we can help each other as we go!
 
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Had a good laugh reading. I so happen to been thinking of doing the same on mine after reading an article of a Russian fella swapping an rb26 n1 in his! If my kidneys worth anything I'd sell it haha. Good luck on your build :) looking forward to updates


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Looks like my post from a few weeks ago went through. Look higher up in the thread for updates, more to come soon.
 

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Incredible work, and the statement "in order to get one, a GT-R has to die." sounds so poetic. :D
 
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I'm so glad people are enjoying this! Thanks so much for the comments!

Part 3!

Literally the day before I took delivery of the engine I went down to my local tuning shop (Sakamoto Engineering in Tsuchiura) and explained my whole ridiculous plan of stuffing a GT-R engine into an S15 and then driving it to work everyday and possibly sitting in 7-11 parking lots playing Castlevania in it, and luckily the shop owner was crazy enough to agree to do whatever heavy lifting would be involved. The next afternoon I showed up at his garage with an engine hanging off of the tailgate of a Mazda Bongo, a Syko Performance mounting kit (purchased from Gary Narusawa himself, who is a gentleman and a scholar), the harness Yury built, and many delusions of grandeur.


Sakamoto-san went over the engine very carefully and we came up with a (huge) list of parts I was missing, then I waited about a week for his estimate of what it would cost to see the whole project through. He gave me back a parts list that looked like an HKS catalogue, and a terrifying number with far too many 7s and 0s in it.


After another week or so of deliberation we were able to shave about \500,000 off of the price by only including brand new parts where absolutely vital (seals, belts, etc.) My car took a spot in the shop's bay next to an ER34 receiving a 2.7 liter RB25, and the whole build began. Basically, the specs are as follow:


S15 Spec S + R34 V-Spec RB26DETT
Syko Performance Mount + ECR33 crossmember
Stock BNCR33 ECU
Custom engine harness by Wiring Specialties
Stock gauge cluster, S15 manual "zenki" ABS computer (necessary for speedometer to work)
Silvia auto climate control box controlling RB26 AC compressor because not race car
Small AC condenser that was in shop's parts pile, from some sort of kei car
Custom tailshaft, ECR33 transmission + S15 stock differential
Custom steel mesh clutch and power steering lines + stock S15 steering rack
RB26 oil pan minus 4WD differential
BNR32 Calsonic intercooler
Some no-name shiny radiator
Whichever exhaust Blitz makes that's quiet enough to pass road inspection (車検)
HKS EVC 5
Sard RB26 fuel pump
Many custom brackets, piping, etc.





And when the build was a month or so in, Sakamoto-san said "aren't you going to change the stock suspension?" so:

TEIN Street Advance coilovers because they were cheap but adjustable (and are actually a really great street suspension for the price, despite any reviews you read online)

+TEIN EDFC, which doesn't work without pillowball upper mounts and thus it hasn't been installed yet.


My involvement with fitting the engine was minimal, mostly translating the installation guides for the wiring harness and mounts into Japanese, and occasionally getting a call about how this or that part didn't fit, and coming in to show how they could cut a piece off of whatever to get it to slot in. For the sake of letting pictures do the talking:













The Syko Performance kit gives absolutely perfect shifter positioning from inside the car! I wish they made 2JZ mounts (for Sakamoto-san's other Silvia, in progress...)




AC condenser fitment, from a kei car, an idea I stole from Garage Mak's demo car:


I wanted to keep the stock fog lights and the stock diameter of the intake piping all the way through.













I also tore apart the interior, reworked the computer system and painted a lot of the gray bits black, hoping it would look a little more like the R33 or S14 dash.



I still haven't gotten around to repainting the "Silvia" lettering.

I made a patch harness out of an old HKS air/fuel controller harness for a Z32 300ZX, in order for the MFD to interface with the ECU while still keeping it removable if necessary.

 
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After it was nearly complete, we realized the stock front stabilizer (anti-sway bar) would not fit with the RB26 oil pan on, nor would it fit with the Syko Performance brackets, as they had been designed for the S14 sway bar which is a little different from the S15.

At some point, Sakamoto-san said something like "eh, you'll be OK without a stabilizer. That S15 over there doesn't run a stabilizer" and he pointed to this car:



...uh, so about that stabilizer. I gathered that either the A31 Cefiro or the C35 Laurel one would bolt onto the car because the platforms are similar and have similar (RB) engines in them, so I bought and test fitted them both. Basically, the C35 stabilizer is exactly the same design as the stock S15 one, just using a considerably larger diameter bar. Ultimately it just barely rubbed on the RB26 oil pan and I couldn't use it, but it actually seems like a good upgrade for anyone running an SR engine in their S15. The S15 end links and mounting brackets bolt onto it and everything. It might even work with the smaller RB25 oil pan.

S15 stabilizer on top, C35 stabilizer with S15 end links on bottom:



I ended up using the A31 stabilizer which just barely bolts in, with A31 end links and S15 mounting brackets.

After several months, the car was together enough to drive and and I took it home.







Eventually I'll try making a radiator fan shroud (a stock GT-R shroud won't fit) but it's not such a high priority. The clutch fan cools with no problems, even without the shroud on a very hot day.



Also I think I'd rather have a stock ECR33 shift knob, but we had the metal Razo one lying around.

Next on the list: Boring stuff! Wheels, tires, brake rotors/pads (the Endless ones on the car work great but they squeal unless they're perfectly not too hot, not too cold) and...err, I...broke the MFD again. A week after I got it reading sensors properly!:annoyed:

For now though, just enjoying the sound of wastegates during my daily commute.



Thanks again for reading!
 
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Short video in which I ramble about the car pc, show some of the interior and demonstrate the world's worst taste in music:
 
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Awesome build. Does everything on the factory gauge cluster function properly?
 
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Awesome build. Does everything on the factory gauge cluster function properly?
Everything works except for the tach; as one would expect it reads about 1500rpm too high at idle, which spreads as the rpm increases. A friend and I are working on using a microcontroller to divide the pulses by 0.66 and output a signal to the meter, which works, however the circuit seems to be either bringing interference or draining power from the sensor signal chain at the ECU level, causing all kinds of irregularities with the boost controller readout and the MFD. :confused:

Aside from that, all the gauges, A/C, turn signals, wipers, etc. are working great. I even have the automatic transmission's reverse indicator lighting up on the dash and the cluster beeping properly (Japanese cars beep when reversing.)
 
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