small 240 pic

Info on the Ugly 240


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A little basic background
Pictures
Mods and plans
Times from the track
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Basic information

Welcome to the information page for my 240SX. First things first, it is a 1991 model-year car, which was the first year to have the 155hp KA24DE engine (as opposed to the 140hp KA24E engine offered in the 1989-1990 models). Its paint color is Aztec Red, and it is a base model, with virtually no options other than air conditioning, factory pinstripe (which has since been replaced - more on that later), and sunroof. Some people would not enjoy such a car, since most people like power windows/locks/automatic transmission/etc, but I see it as an advantage... less options, of course, generally equal less weight, and this car is no exception.

I purchased this car in July of 2001 in Howard Beach, NY (Southwest Queens area) with just under 117,000 miles for $1950. Why so cheap, you ask? Well, this car was a "scratch-and-dent special." The previous owner, a lovely young lady (I shouldn't say that, since she's actually older than me ;)) named Lisa, took very good care of this car mechanically, but let the exterior get pretty beat up. The front lip was cracked, and there were large dents on the driver's side front fender and rear beneath the taillight. Click here for a picture of what the car looked like when I first picked it up. So anyway, no problem... my last car, a 1989 Taurus SHO, was costing me an arm and a leg to keep running, so I didn't mind driving around in a dented-up but reliable sport compact for awhile. The 240SX also came with steel wheels and no wheel covers, as you may have seen when viewing the picture linked above, which only added to the "POS" look. This was first on my list of things to fix, as I simply cannot stand steel wheels. As luck would have it, my good friends at Hunt's Point Auto Parts in Hunts Point (Bronx), NY had a set of four 1991-1994 240SX SE wheels for about $150. This price was unusually low for these wheels in such good condition, but hey... I sure wasn't complaining! I ended up having the wheels for almost two weeks before I even put the 240 on the road, and then had them mounted within a couple of days of registering and insuring the car.

The car's exterior stayed largely unchanged between then (August 2001) and April, 2002. I replaced the passenger-side taillight in order to pass inspection (the old one had a cracked lens over the turn signal), and added a few club stickers. In this period, however, the car did get a major repair - new clutch kit and slave master cylinder (old one popped during the new clutch's test-drive), to the tune of around $700. No big deal, I knew the car was going to need a clutch when I bought it since the old one was slipping pretty bad, but I wasn't expecting the job to be so expensive. Damn those high labor rates here on Long Island...

So fast-forward to April 2002... I finally sell the SHO, and after paying off a couple of debts, I have about $650 to spend on repairs/upgrades on the 240. Needless to say, this meant the body would finally be getting fixed up. I immediately went down to see my cousin Jason at Campy's Auto Body in Oakdale, and after thoroughly checking out the car, he gave me a $350 estimate to do what I needed done. It was a done deal... dropped the car off on Sunday night (4/7), left it there for two days, picked up Wednesday morning (4/10). I knew the car would look better, but had no idea it could come out as good as it did. The fairly-dull red paint shined as if the car had just rolled off the dealer's lot. The replacement fender, which I picked up from a local 240sx.org mailing list member for $50, was a perfect match color-wise. It did not have a pinstripe like the rest of the car, however, so Jason re-did the stripe on the entire car using high-quality 3M pinstriping. The ghetto foam-rubber type spoiler, which was faded to a very dull and ugly red color, somehow polished up to match the rest of the car almost identically. The dent in the rear is now a distant memory. If you look closely at the bumper near where the dent was, there is still some telltale scratching and a small crease in the section below the taillight, but that's simply there because I told Jason not to go crazy with it. "Form must follow function" is a motto I believe in, and in this case, the "function" was simply to make the car presentable... not perfect. After all, the difference between making the car "perfect" and "presentable" would probably amount to many hundreds of dollars, and it just isn't necessary in my opinion.


Pictures

Pictures of the car can be seen at http://www.nyisles.net/240pics/. For comparison's sake, I have archived the older pictures of the 240 here. In the words of "Jimmy" (Quentin Tarantino) from Pulp Fiction... "I can't believe this is the same car!" :)


Modifications and plans

Currently, the car is almost stock. The only body modifications are the upgrade to SE wheels and a PDM Racing front strut tower bar. Engine/powertrain mods are A'pexi N1 Dual catback, Catco direct-fit converter, and intake resonator removal (doesn't add power, really for sound purposes only). I also installed Aurora 8.5mm plug wires at the last tune-up, but I don't really consider those a "mod." Audio system is a low-end aftermarket setup... Blaupunkt Santa Fe CD31 head unit with Blaupunkt PCXI462 speakers in all four speaker locations. No sub, no amp (although I do have a Pioneer GM-X302 amp and wiring kit in my room)... the system sounds pretty weak, to be honest. It's a big step up from stock, but for $300, I was expecting more. My girlfriend's Protege has a Pioneer setup which only cost a little more, and sounds a shit ton better. I wouldn't recommend Blaupunkt stuff to anyone, at least not the low-end products... perhaps their more expensive goodies are of better quality.

As for future plans... well, we all know how ricey most people consider "Future Mod" lists to be, so I will try to keep this from becoming one of those. I really would like to eventually do a custom "junkyard" turbo setup on my KA engine (rather than the hallowed SR20DET swap), but time and cost constraints say that this probably won't happen for a long time (if ever). My KA is probably beginning to get tired anyway... at the time of this writing, it has over 142,000 miles on it, and it's burning a bit of oil (time for new valve stem seals).

My more realistic plans for the car mainly have to do with repairs. First things first, the transmission has a ready-to-die input shaft bearing, so I will be pulling the transmission off sometime in the near future and replacing it with a (hopefully) low-mileage junkyard replacement. When doing that, I will be putting in a SPEC Stage 2 clutch kit assuming I have an extra $300 or so to spend. According to many 240SX mailing list members, this clutch outperforms the ACT street kit which costs $20 more. The car will probably need a timing chain job soon as well, as the current one is getting a little noisy, and I wouldn't want to risk having it skip a tooth-or-three and allowing the valves and pistons to become "up close and personal."

Track times

(10/25/02) Got some new times for the 240. Since its bone stock runs back in April, it has since gotten the N1 Dual exhaust, Catco cat, and a tune-up. Although I couldn't really feel much of a difference on the street, this stuff did help a bit. Instead of running consistent high 15s at around 86mph, I ran consistent mid-15s at ~88mph. The run with the best trap speed was actually my first pass of the day - 15.621@89.037mph (2.32 60'). Best run overall was 15.578@88.3mph with a 2.21 60'. So as you can see, while my best time on this day wasn't significantly better than my previous best (15.69@86), the car was running nearly as fast on most of the runs, whereas most of my runs stock were in the 15.8-15.9 range. Next mod is definitely going to be that aforementioned SPEC clutch... my stocker isn't even worn too badly, yet it felt like silly putty after about four runs, and the car sounded like it had a CVT between shifts on many of the passes as well. This disc just doesn't grab hard enough. Anyway, the timeslips are at http://www.nyisles.net/timeslips/240/. Currently, only my old ones are there, but the new ones will be uploaded soon.


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