240SX Spring Update 2019
My plans for the 240 continued to evolve. One thing I wanted to add to my car was a tubular front bumper "bash bar." This is a part that evolved to meet the needs of the drift scene, offering support for flimsy fiberglass front bumpers, enhanced front end protection for unexpected contact, space to mount a front intercooler behind, and most useful for me - a sturdy front jacking point. Unfortunately, this front jacking point is too far above the ground to be useful with a front bumper mounted. My plan was to modify the jacking point to sit below the front bumper AND serve as a front mounting point for a diffuser. I was so tired of scraping my expensive fiberglass front bumper over every speed bump and construction zone AND having to repair the damage. My plan was to create a front diffuser from aluminum that would take any hits and scraps instead of the fiberglass bumper. Additionally, I could always fabricate another as needed if it got damaged.
After talking with my friend Omar and discussing all the different looks out there for an S13 chassis, I decided to order an entire new body kit from Spirit Rei in Japan. I ordered the front and back bumper and the side skirts, which the distributor in the USA, Mastermind, had in stock. The plan was to mount these up and see how they would look without adding the wide body fenders. Those pieces were not in stock and are made to order, which meant months of waiting. I decided to forge ahead with the bumpers and side skirts.
Right off the bat, I was impressed with the quality of the Spirit Rei kit. Lightweight, well crafter and a smooth uniform finish would save a lot of time with fitting and prep.
The rear bumper was available in full fiberglass or as "half carbon" with a slick carbon fiber diffuser integrated into the lower half of the bumper. I had to go carbon!
Yeah baby! No knock-offs here. The truth is, you get what you pay for, and high quality body parts pay off later in the build when the body shop has to spend less time getting everything to line up. Body shop time adds up fast.
I also got genuine OEM Nissan bumper brackets to make sure that the bumper fit snugly and securely to the body. It's very convenient that these pieces are still available new from Nissan. I sourced these parts from Courtesy Nissan, who offer fair prices and fast shipping.
My first trial fit of the front bumper was very promising. It fit much better than the Origin Aggressive bumper that was on my car at purchase. Notice how straight and even the gap along the front of the hood and along the sides of the fender is. Nice!
The next step was to trace and cut out a front diffuser panel from Plywood. This inexpensive template would allow us to make changes and dial in fitment without ruining an expensive piece of aluminum. Once everything was fitted correctly, we will use this template to create the final diffuser out of aluminum sheet.
Once again my Uncle Jim came to the rescue. We were able to use his tools and resources to fabricate an adjustable front plate for the bash bar. This plate can telescope up inside the bash bar tubing to dial in the height correctly. The plate serves as a mount for the diffuser and also a front jacking point.
Here you can see the front plate mounted to the plywood template. We also welded some square steel tubing to the Nismo Power Brace to serve as the rear mount for the diffuser. Nice and sturdy, and NOT attached to the bumper. This diffuser piece should provide superior protection for the front bumper AND also serve as a function piece of front aero!
And here it is mocked up on the front of the car. Now, the jack only has to slide a couple inches under the front of the car to lift it up so the front bumper does not have to be removed for service. I love it when a plan comes together!