Silvia: Refresh Rebuild – Shaken


It’s been a long while without any updates on the Silva so I figured it was time to get it up to speed. First up, shaken.

The first round of updates/upgrades came last February when it was shaken time – the lovely vehicle inspection mandated every two years. I took it as a chance to upgrade a few items that would have failed anyway. Why buy replacement parts when you can buy upgrades! So it got the following:

-Undercoated the chassis with CRC Chassis Black. I’ve been really impressed and pleased with this stuff. It coats well and leaves everything covered in an easy to clean semi-gloss thicker-than-paint coating. The inspectors actually look at the underside condition during inspection.
-Skyline brake upgrade. 4 piston front and 2 pisont rears. Same as Z32 stuff in the states.
-M2 Hanbai brake pads. Needing new brake pads was what prompted the upgrade in the first place. M2 pads are made by Project Mu and are a very similar teal color…and a fraction of the price. They bite good but are a bit dusty. No complaints though.
-Goodridge stainless braided brake lines. These were cheap enough that it only made sense and again why use 20+ year old rubber lines when you can upgrade.
-The BMC was upgraded to a larger non-ABS S14 BM44 unit.
-5 lug. The brake upgrade and 5 lug go hand in hand. This was done with S14 front knuckles and lower control arms with S14 rear knuckles.
-Tein HE coilovers. Done with the KYB spring/strut combo that had treated me well, these were a nice upgrade.
-Diff output flange seal replacement. For whatever reason, it was leaking so it was another job that requires more labor than the actual five dollar part costs.
-Tie rod and lower ball joint boots. The boots have to be replaced if blown out or even cracking. I replaced all four up front. It’s easy and cheap assurance for the couple hundred yen they cost each.
-Stock S14 SE wheels and a stock catalytic converter were borrowed and installed as well.

From there, everything looked good and it passed the inspection on the first try. Shaken is not really the nightmare everyone makes it out to be. You just have to be somewhat aware of what will and won’t pass a month or so before it’s due to give yourself time to find replacements, repair stuff, and fail once and retry if necessary. I’ve prepped and shaken’d five or so vehicles myself and they’ve all passed the first try. Somethings are a bit out of your control like “side slip” (kind of like wheel alignment) and headlight alignment, etc. But as far as “parts” needing replaced, it’s really easy to prep and do it yourself. There is probably even a checklist (in Japanese) already in your car from last time that you can go through yourself when preparing the car. I’m not a pro but I’ve found it’s hardly the PITA it’s made out to be and you can save a nice chunk of change.

Once prepped, I take them to a shop who just verifies the repairs are good and then submits all the necessary paperwork. It’s called a “user shaken” – you prep it, they check it. You can make it slightly cheaper by jumping through the hoops and waiting in lines to get the vehicle checked in person at the land transportation office, but the money saved isn’t worth a day off work or the drive to do that in my case. Instead, I get to sit in the A/C, enjoy a free cup of coffee, and wait while they inspect it then walk through it with me. Basic kei car starts at 35,000 yen and I think the Silvia was around 46,000 yen. I originally paid a shop to do the shaken when I first bought the Silvia and it ran 120,000 yen, if I recall.

This time around, during the walk through, the only thing they noted was it looked well taken care off and the cheapie home improvement store hose running from my valve cover to the intake is necessary to pass. They didn’t care about the EVAP stuff being gone or any of that. Or even that the car had been swapped from NA to turbo; they only care about (and the title needs updating for) a change in engine displacement. A SR20 is a SR20 regardless of turbo. There’s various other modifications (wide fenders, rear seat removed, AT-MT trans swap, etc) that require a title modification but none applied for me.

A week later I went back and got my new sticker and just like that the Silvia was road legal for another two years.