Silvia: 5 Day Scramble – Preface.

20 years old and looking good.

When I bought the Silvia, it was with the plan of swapping the engine for a turbo SR. I just wanted a clean, non-haggard base. Check. I didn’t have to wait long for a donor vehicle as a really rough 180SX came up for sale within a few weeks of buying the Silvia. It had a turbo SR, all the needed parts for the swap (and then some), I wouldn’t feel bad throwing the body away, and the price was cheap enough to look past its shortcomings. Check. With the two pieces of the puzzle in my possession, things were on track for the swap.

The beautifully OEM, non-turbo SR20 soon to be homeless.

Let’s stop there for a minute. There is nothing new or really even anything interesting about swapping a SR. It is probably the most documented engine swap next to a B-series in a Civic. So this isn’t a how-to guide rather a story of how the Silvia came to be turbo.

The hacked together, turbo SR20 about to get its lifestyle upgraded Trading Places style.

Getting back to it. I bought both cars in Febuary/March. The Silvia got driven and the 180SX got parked. I wasn’t in a hurry to swap it wanting to wait until I was sufficiently bored with the NA SR. This also gave me some time to get the 180SX running better since it had a mysterious pulsing idle. I sorted through the check list of common suspects that Google dug up – vacuum leaks, bad MAF, TPS, etc – learning the engine and improving its condition overall. It came down to a bad AAC valve, which I suspected from day one but I wanted to take care of the easy stuff first. With the intake manifold off, I again cleaned up some more shoddy hose work that was done when the intake/head was off in the past and swapped the AAC valve. I got it back together and started it up; fingers were crossed as this was kind of make or break for the engine swap. Turned over, held idle, and revved perfectly. With three days of vacation time approved, the swap was on!

Billy Ray Valentine and Louis Winthorpe III.

Another brief pause. If any old school Zilvia members are reading this, they might recall a member by the name of jmiller84 or something along those lines. Like 5 or so years ago, he did a SR swap out of a storage unit. He had no electricity, no running water, and no major power tools. He did a nice, thorough job on the swap and documented it really well. And, the minimalist work environment scored him a few extra experience points. I couldn’t help but to think of that while I was laboring through mine. I’ll see your no electricity, no running water, no power tools, jmiller84, and raise you dirt/gravel ground, no roof, and no enclosed structure to lock things in.