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Member Since 13 May 2010
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WTB 180sx bootlid/hatch (with clean glass and no holes) - NSW

21 February 2017 - 08:58 AM

Looking for a 180sx hatch/bootlid/tailgate without holes, no rust (light surface rust obviously doesn't matter, but nothing that can't be sanded off please), and good glass (i.e. not chipped, scratched or pot-marked from welder or angle grinder usage).

Colour doesn't matter, as I will be respraying the car (current colour is white).

Must be located in NSW, ideally not some absurd distance from Sydney. I will likely have to remove my hatch and drive there with some MDF and plastic taped over the hole, bolt on the hatch and drive home.

I'm prepared to travel for a good part at a fair price, so feel free to post here or shoot me a PM.

Guide: S13/180SX Strawberry Front Conversion

02 December 2015 - 09:54 AM

By now, most people are aware of the ubituous Strawberry Face conversion for the S13/RPS13 chassis, however it's a conversion for which information is either lacking on the Internet, or is conflicting. This guide aims to address the core information you need to know, rather than teaching you how to cut a spot weld or tack the guards together. If you need that level of assistance, it's best that you turn to Youtube tutorials regarding the usage of your tools.

I will also point out that whilst opinions are quite strong for or against this conversion, in real life I find most folks like it. If you have an S13 I would suggest you consider using S14a parts/panels for a look that better integrates with the angular chassis, the process is identical as the radiator support is the same between S14 and S15, but if you have a 180sx then the S15 panels are a great choice.

Ignore the people who say that it's "too played-out" and that "every second Silvia has that conversion"; the fact that the Internet has a tonne of pics of this does not mean it's everywhere. In the last 5 years I recall having seen only three other Strawberry Silvias in person.

Posted Image

From memory I have some old pictures I can add, however they were from the first time I did this and the instructions below contain some improvements.

Parts Pitfalls

The parts I listed below are what you actually require, with attention to the following points:
  • S15 bonnet hinges sit the bonnet too high, which is why you need S14 hinges. There is however a catch to this. The S14 hinges technically don't fit perfectly, as you will see when you first slot them on and think "wtf is this pmod", however when you torque them down the metal of the bonnet will deform ever so slightly, and then they'll fit great.
  • If you run a carbon/fibreglass bonnet, you will have to experiment with the hinges, as the deformation caused by torquing down the S14 hinges may damage the non-oem bonnet.
  • The S13 bonnet latch is effectively the same as the S15 one, however you will have to use a long bolt and big nut (to act as a gap-bridging spacer) on the center bolt hole.
  • Some people on the Internet recommend that you cut the S13 radiator support to mount the lights etc, however having done this as an experiment prior to removal, I can assure you that it's a terrible idea. You have to cut so much material away that you can bend parts of it by applying moderate pressure with your hand. Trying to mount the headlights is a chore too. Don't waste time even entertaining this idea; do it correctly and change the radiator support.
Parts Needed
  • S15 LH guard
  • S15 RH guard
  • S13/180sx LH guard (only require rear section)
  • S13/180sx RH guard (only require rear section)
  • S15 side indicators (pair)
  • S15/N16 Pulsar indicator bulb holders + plugs (pair)
  • S15 Bonnet
  • S14 Bonnet Hinges
  • S13/S14/S15 bonnet latch
  • S15 Front Bumper (including plastic mounting clips)
  • S15 Reo Bar
  • S15 Upper Bumper Support Bracket
  • S14/S15 Radiator Support
  • S15 Headlights (pair)
  • S15 Headlight Brackets (pair)
  • S15/N16 Pulsar [iirc] Headlight Plugs
Tools Needed
  • Mig/Tig welder, mask, gloves, apron, spool, gas, etc
  • Spot weld cutting drill bit
  • Electric drill
  • Angle grinder with 1mm cutting discs and flappy wheels
  • Nutcert tool/nuts if you want to use one
  • Soldering iron and solder, or crimper and crimp connectors
  • Sandpaper and blocks
  • Rattle can of etch primer and black paint for the spot welds
  • Small and medium C-clamps/G-clamps, vice grips, whatever
  • Metric Socket driver or spanners
  • Screwdrivers
  • Patience

Step 01. Completely strip the S13 front body panels and brackets

Step 02. Use a spot-weld cutter on a drill to cut the spot welds on the radiator support

Step 03. Cut the radiator support at the transition to the part that mounts the castor rod braket, unless you want to dick around with bolt holes and alignment issues.

Step 04. Remove the S13 radiator support

Step 05. Cut the S15 radiator support to match the cuts on the S13 one, with an ovelap so you can weld it

Step 06. Bend the battery tray and opposite side as needed to match the S15 radiator support

Step 07. Clamp the S15 radiator support in place; don't weld it yet

Step 08. Bolt the front bonnet brackets in place; front S14 bracket holes go on the rear S13 holes iirc. At the end of the installation you can either weld a rear nut in place, or weld the bracket to the chassis, as desired. Do NOT leave this unattached as some people recommend, the brack will lift and fitment will suck, but the retention choice I'll leave to your discretion. My preference was to cut a small hole on the side of the rails to hold a nut in place using a spanner, then fully-weld it from the top. The holesaw cut can be welded up as desired. You cannot tap a hole in the rail, so your options are pain weld, welded nut, or possibly a massive nutcert.

Step 09. Install the bonnet latch and align it

Step 10. Cut the rear section of the S15 and S13 guards with a 2 inch overlap; there are pictures if you Google it

Step 11. Mount the rear section of the S13 guards

Step 12. Mount the front section of the S15 guards

Step 13. Mount the headlights, reo, bumper support

Step 14. Fiddle with stuff and hope you can get it all aligned, re-clamp the support and try to mark/clamp it's final position

Step 15. Tack weld the support where possible, to avoid it shifting. Mark your bonnet rear hole position.

Step 16. Remove everything

Step 17. Fill all spot-weld holes on the S15 radiator support, clean/grind/paint the welds. You will likely find that the radiator support posts will weld higher than the bolt holes for the S13 ones. Either spot weld them at the bolt hole and call it a day, cut and hole and weld a nut in place, or rivet in a nutcert and bolt it in place. Welding is the fastest, however a nut is stronger and potentially less of a headache in the future. Weld/install a rear nut for the bonnet.

Step 18. Install all parts and panels again

Step 19. Trim and adjust the guards to get the alignment you need

Step 20. Tack weld the guards in a few spots, applying pressure to ensure there are no gaps between the panels

Step 21. Remove the guards and fully-tack them, alternating between the top and the bottom, having breaks to avoid the panel over heating and distorting/blowing through

Step 22. Grind/seal/bog/sand the guards

Step 23. Paint whenever

Step 24. Wire up the headlights using common sense

Step 25. Sell your complete S13/180sx front end

Step 26. Winning

Having done this myself twice now, I can say that despite how long the process is, one person can get all the mounting/welding done in a single weekend. The wiring is simple but can take a little time, mostly because it can be fiddly and requires a lot of testing with a multimeter. I'm not a painter so I can't even speculate on the painting and prep time, but if you start with clean, straight panels (unlike me), then the workload will be much lower.

I will also add that if you opt for a colour that matches your car or is close enough, such as black, then spend some extra on a black bonnet and bumper to reduce the painting to just the guards. A "close enough" paint match can potentially be blended together using coloured wax and a proper wax/buff. If you respray the whole car the S15 panel colour, like gunmetal, then your respray should be a little cheaper for the same reason; chassis, doors, door jambs and guards only, as the bonnet and bar are good.

Attached File  Strawberry.jpg   143.97K   94 downloads

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