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Mission 200SX

Pushing the limits of the 200SX's standard turbo and engine internals

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

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At a glance...

  • Initial mods done on a budget
  • Monster power from standard turbo
  • Eye-catching chameleon graphics and body kit
  • Now with Trust T67 power!
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When modifying a car it always pays to have a plan that you stick to. It’s all to easy to keep buying bits an’ pieces here and there and, before you know it, your car becomes a mishmash of different styles and purposes.

Well, Andrew Hawkins is a man who knows where he wants to go and how to get there. So when he decided to push the standard S14a turbocharger and internals as far as they could go that's what he did - no distractions.

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In the first round of modification on this ’98 Nissan 200SX, Andrew gave himself a budget of AUD$10,000. With this, Andrew invested in a full-length 3 inch exhaust, a Hybrid front-mount intercooler, HKS Super Sequential blow-off valve and a pod filter with a new pipe to the compressor. The fuel system was accordingly upgraded with 550hp fuel pump, Malpassi regulator and an A’PEXi Super AFC (to adjust mixtures). A heavy-duty clutch and custom pressure plate were also added to ensure the new-found grunt made its way to the bitumen – or the rear tyres, at least...

With boost pressure set to a maximum of 18 psi, Andrew's 200SX asserted itself as a 12.8 second quarter mile machine and cranked out some impressive power numbers. Depending on the dyno, the car generated between 178 to 204kW at the wheels (we're inclined to believe it was in the higher end of the range).

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The S14a panels were given a completely new lease on life with a Vertex body kit as well as some eye-catching chameleon vinyl flames. The body was also brought down to a more appealing ride height using lowered springs with Monroe dampers. A front suspension tower brace adds to the improved handling. The polished rims seen in our pics are 18 inch AVS Model 5s measuring 18 x 8 and 18 x 9.

Inside, the lame factory sound system was ripped out and replaced by a Kenwood head unit wired to a high-power amp, front and rear 6 ½ inch splits and a 12 inch sub. Nothing over-the-top – just something that lets you enjoy your favourite beats.

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By doing the vast majority of the work himself, these modifications came in comfortably below the AUD$10,000 budget. Andrew was more than happy to drive the car in this configuration for more than a year - having previously driven Subaru WRXs, he couldn't believe how fast the 200SX felt with relatively limited mods. This is when he decided to aim for maximum power from the standard turbo and engine internals - just as a personal experiment...

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The next items to make their way under the bonnet were a tuned length exhaust manifold (which was purchased second-hand and rejuvenated), a custom screamer pipe, a GReddy Profec B electronic boost controller, an A’PEXi Power FC with a Z32 300ZX airflow meter and 740cc injectors.

With the stock T28 turbo now spinning on a tuned length manifold, the car cracked the 300hp at the wheels barrier. With some toluene added to the tank, Andrew saw up to 315hp (235kW) at the wheels. This was with boost set to around 19 psi with a mid-range spike up to around 21 psi.

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At this stage, Andrew added an upgrade front swaybar, some high-performance bushes (including a rear cradle mount), oil cooler and gauges for boost and oil pressure. Both of these will come in handy as Andrew is an unstoppable motorsport junky – drag racing, drifting, you name it, he’s into it.

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Having achieved what was widely thought impossible with the 200SX, Andrew then proceeded remove that stockie turbocharger (which was still performing well after 115,000km and plenty of abuse) and turn up the heat with a Trust T67 25G 8cm turbine kit (including manifold, dump pipe and 48mm external wastegate). At the same time, the top-end of the engine was freshened up and treated to HKS Stage One cams, a mild porting, rocker stoppers, ARP head studs, adjustable cam sprockets and a Grex 1.2mm metal gasket. Aside from an electric water pump, the SR20DET bottom-end remains standard - for now. A surge tank and Bosch 044 fuel pump have also been added.

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With the latest engine set-up, Andrew's S14a makes more power at less boost - but where's the fun in that? With the boost properly cranked up to 20 psi Andrew has seen 351hp (262kW) at the wheels. And you can expect that figure to increase further when he installs a Haltech ECU, bigger intercooler, throttle body and a gives the bottom-end a rebuild

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With several sponsors now onboard (including TurboSmart, AutoBahn at Capalaba and Millenium Motorsport) Andrew will commit to the show circuit and every driving event he can get into. He’s already got a Monza harness for the driver’s seat, all he needs is a half cage and he’ll be ready to fly.

Oh, and the brakes might need an upgrade soon as well - perhaps Andrew’s next mission is to see how fast you can go while retaining the standard brakes!

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