It's time for forced induction. (Long. Skip to end if you wish.)

Ben Fenner fenfam at
Sat May 26 19:16:47 CDT 2007

I've been meticulously modifying my SE-R for four years now, planning 
each upgrade with care; balancing the pros and cons. Even so, I've made 
a mistake or two along the way despite my attention to detail, but I've 
learned from those mistakes. One of the things I've come to learn, is 
that while fun, doing things differently than most others with the goal 
of obtaining something more "perfect" isn't always the best choice.

I've endured a nine-month-long production and shipping delay on custom 
offset Panasport wheels.

I hassled Brian Hasty at Fastbrake Enterprises for a brake rotor hat 
some 3 or 4 millimeters taller than normal and matching custom dog-bone 

I designed custom 12 mm wheel spacers, and paid a premium for them to be 

This, all in the effort to fit 11" rotors inside 15" Panasport wheels 
without the tire protruding from the fender well. In an effort to keep 
things short, let's just say I'm left with a set-up that is less than 
ideal, finiky, and costly to repair/replace if needed.

With this in mind, my plans for modifcation have changed drastically 
from my original plans. I'll get those up to speed who aren't familiar 
with my car.

First, I upgrades the front brakes, and wheels/tires as mentioned above.

Next I moved the battery to the trunk (for weight distribution, and I 
anticipated a turbo install that involved relocating the battery). I was 
also in on the first group buy for the rear strut tower brace, so I 
installed that, a Progress 3-way adjustable rear anti-roll bar, as well 
as replacing the front anti-roll bar with the factory XE bar (less stiff).

A long time passed, and I'd been doing random up-keep, fixed the 5th 
gear pop-out once it reared it's ugly head around 145k miles... You get 
the picture.

Finally, just recently the rear brakes gave out, and I took the 
oportunity to upgrade them to the larger Maxima rears.

I've planned from the beginning to do brakes, then suspension, then 
power and associated things (like clutch). It's getting to the point 
where I have some money to spend, and I've just recently fallen into a 
new crowd, one member of which shares my passion for cars. Once again, 
in the interest of keeping things as short as possible. I'm ready to 
plan the next major modification.

If you've been paying attention, that means coil-overs. A long time ago 
I spoke with Scott of ShigSpeed about a coil-over set-up, and he quoted 
me $2,100 for what I was looking for. Since then, progress has come 
along with a (more affordable, but non-adjuestable) coil-over option for 
$1,500. I'm still weighing these options, and I'm not even sure Scott 
still does this sort of work anymore.

That's suspension though. That's not what we're hear to talk about.


Here's the old plan I had for forced induction:

Something similar to what the project SE-R Turbo car had at centered around that tubular turbo 
exaust manifold. External waste-gate, GTi-R pistons and rods, alcohol 
injection (instead of water injection), etc.

The goal was to make 350+ reliable HP, upgrading the clutch, preassure 
plate, radiator, and transmission (straight-cut gears possibly, or at 
least cryo-treated gears).

I've had some three years to rethink this upgrade. Mike Kijoma's tech 
article on wastegates helped convince me that a cast manifold would be 
much simplier/reliable. I've also lowered my power goals significantly. 
Partially due to my desire for bulletproof reliability, and partially to 
lessen the cost. What would have been a $6,000+ upgrade (all said and 
done) has turned into something I could concievably do this summer with 
$2,000 or so.

I no longer feel the need to hand pick my own intercooler. I don't need 
to source my own high-flow fuel pump... I'm ready to just buy a kit and 
call it a day. I'm looking to make 225-250 reliable horsepower. Here ar 
ethe questions:

Should I just keep my 9:1 factory pistons/rods to keep the throttle 
response high and save me the cost of new parts? Can I expect to hit my 
power goals without harm to the engine?

What kit would people suggest? I've looked around, and there are 
attractively priced Stage I kits for $1,300 or so at at least one place 
I know of. That's an extremely attractive price.

I no longer care if I have an external or internal waste-gate. I'm not 
really concerned with much of the details anymore. I just want to cure 
the turbo fever I've dealt with for so long.

What would you do in my situation?

Maybe buying up the stock components for a SR20DET would get me the 
power and reliability I'm looking for?

I apologize for the length. I tried to make it as short as possible. 
Apparently I failed. =/

-Ben Fenner
1994 Black SE-R

(Maybe another 1994 Black SE-R in the family soon... Check back later)

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