It’s… ALIVEEEEEEEE! Kandi 2.0 Grand Re-Opening

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It’s been many months since I’ve updated progress on the car, but for good reason! School started picking up again, so the project was kind of on hold for a lot of 2013 & I wanted to have some significant progress before posting again. I also wanted to finish her up and debut her at a local autox event before posting too many pictures to maximize the “surprise factor” of bringing a 240sx back in a funky “X Prepared” “QV-Style” build. So, last time I updated the blog, Kandi looked something like this:

Kandi 2.0 back in August 2013.
Kandi 2.0 back in August 2013.

 Shortly after this time during October-November, I had the fender wells cut a little more and the wheel tubs completed – with a twist of course!

Something the 240sx has always been missing - cup holders!
Something the 240sx has always been missing – cup holders!

Don’t worry, the cup holders are out of the way of hitting tires, even under full lock/compression (made sure to measure that out before having the bling put in). The tubs are quite a bit bigger than they needed to be, but I personally wanted to be on the safe side just case I run super crazy wide tires; I’m also running a custom/direct chassis harness & don’t need much space in the engine bay for accessories.

For the trucker in all of us.
For the trucker in all of us.

Just for fun, I also decided to have some custom gussets added to the roll cage.

While the engine was out, I test fitted more parts and replaced the leaking slave cylinder/throwout bearing in the transmission tunnel. A tip for anyone buying a used LS1 setup: replace the slave cylinder/throwout bearing BEFORE installing the engine – then you don’t have to worry about it leaking later on. It’s a PITA’ to try to change it out with the engine still in the car unless you’ve really made a lot of clearance around the transmission tunnel.

Back in she goes!
Back in she goes!

And finally, I believe for the 3rd time now, the engine is put back into the car. I had a custom removable radiator support bar installed so that future engine pulls would be much easier. From there, I just put the body kit back together as much as I could (I’m terrible with fitting body kits). The last 2 months of finalizing the car for her first shakedown felt like it took FOREVER. For almost every bit of progress I made, I would find something else I had to fix or another new part I had to buy.

After nearly giving up the week of March 17th (event was the 22-23rd of March), I managed to put everything together, start the car up, and drive her around the parking lot. The FR Sport guys helped me get the final alignment and initial weights of the car, late into the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday AM.

Is that a Nissan OEM Oil Filter & an 85mm Apex'i Air Filter? You betcha!
Is that an OEM Nissan Oil Filter & an 85mm Apex’i Air Filter? You betcha!

Some of the final touches I installed on the car were to reuse my GReddy Oil Relocation Kit with optional AN fittings, allowing me to use a sexy blue OEM Nissan Oil Filter; this is super easy on the LS engine since they have oil pans that have -10an inlets/outlets. I also got Adam from FR Sport to help me stay with my JDM roots and get an APEX’i filter that worked with my setup. Did you know there’s an 85mm APEX’i air filter? Neither did I, but it fits perfect with the existing LS1 MAF setup! Thanks for the hard work finding the most awesomest air filter for my car, Adam!

As much fun as the number of colors of the car!
As much fun as the number of colors of the car! Don’t mind the wheel gap on the side fenders with flares – much wider tires will be fitted shortly!

Saturday morning rolls around at the CSCC SCCA Autocross Practice at El Toro, CA. I pulled up in my giant orange trailer and pulled her out for some runs. This would be the first time I had ever driven this car (bought it as a shell) with this configuration (“new-to-me” engine & mostly new suspension parts). I had absolutely no idea how it behave or if it would even hold together. It definitely received a lot of attention, since many autocrossers there know I’ve been working (and not finishing) my car for years now. A lot of the newer guys didn’t even realize I drove a 240sx at all! haha.

Good thing for me, there was a slalom practice set up away from the main course. A lot was going through my mind, but once I took her on the first test run, all of that left my thoughts. I was just 100% absorbed into driving my own car again after 3 years. She made clunky noises, complained, and wanted no part of this. In between each set of test runs, I would check the bolts & fluid, tightening up anything that appeared loose. I then took her to the main course and took a couple runs. The car ran an okay time, but it was my car, and it worked. It felt great. Going back into the pits, we found more bolts that worked their way loose & did some more tightening.

Time to shake it like a Polaroid picture.
More shakedown time!

After I was confident the car would hold up, I let some of my fellow auto-crossers take her for a spin around the course and got some feedback from them. It’s unanimous: the car is FUN. Considering the old tires & it being the first shakedown of the car, it did very well. One of the veteran autocross gods, Tom Berry, even enjoyed the car. His approval of the car’s potential made my fantastic weekend that much better. To top off the weekend, I won my class (in the Sprite, not competing in the 240sx yet) & took the 240sx for a couple more fun runs on Sunday’s competition course. Here is a video of the fun run (please excuse the light foot, I’m still getting used to this beast):[youtube height=”360″ width=”640″][/youtube]

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