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S Chassis Technical discussion related to the S Chassis such as the S12, S13, S14, and S15.


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Old 05-20-2020, 07:03 AM   #1
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Noob looking for S13 advice

I previously posted over in the Small Questions thread and got a little bit of good information but I'd like to expand on it a bit and make sure I'm moving along the right track. I apologize if this is a dumb post, but I'm kind of just looking for someone with experience to tell me I'm moving in the right direction and have the right ideas or to tell me I'm not, and what I should be doing.


I have a S13 that hasn't moved much in the last ~10 years. I don't have much car experience but I'm finally get around to fixing it up. The engine runs well and previously had some professional work done to it roughly ~6 years ago.


It does need all new tires and along with that new brakes, rotors, and while I was at it I figured I'd do the calipers. Unfortunately I've been having some really tough times getting things apart and most of the caliper bolts have broken - with one (maybe 2) of the bracket bolts breaking off in the knuckle. So an extraction or replacement knuckle is in my future.

I have flushed the coolant, and plan on doing an oil/filter change along with transmission fluid change. Of course I will be replacing the brake fluid when I get to it.

That was initially where I planned to stop and then have new tires put on. But after having a better look at everything I started thinking it may be better to do some more.

Currently, I have ordered and received :
  • Front & Rear Calipers
  • Front & Rear Rotors
  • Front & Rear Pads

Should I also consider replacing other items such as struts, balljoints, etc? I'm not really sure which items I *should* replace or which ones might still be in decent condition.

Then I have a question about balljoints. I'm assuming those are probably a "should replace" item, and I've found that I can buy them separately aftermarket, or buy the control arms which come with them. Would it really make any sense to buy the whole control arm? I guess I'm just wondering if there is anything with the control arm that could go wrong where it would make sense to replace both items at once, versus saving money buying just the balljoints.

I really appreciate any input you have.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:23 AM   #2
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Honestly, if the balljoints don't have any play in them, they should be ok.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:49 AM   #3
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the biggest reason alot of people buy the whole arm as opposed to just the ball joint is they dont have a press or dont understand how to take it apart so the cost of taking it somewhere just to do that is the determination in their route...but if you dont like spending money check all your stuff before you replace it...if you are looking at replacing i would recommend aftermarket personally
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antihero983 View Post
Honestly, if the balljoints don't have any play in them, they should be ok.
Okay, that's good to know. One other question though is that since I broke a couple bolts off in the knuckle and I have to remove it - based on every video I've watched it looks like I'm probably going to destroy the ball joint in the process - right? So I assume I'm going to have to replace that one (right rear). Should I replace the left rear as well so that both are new at the same time?

Should I follow the same idea with struts, tie rods, etc? The rubber on the struts is completed gone but I have no idea what the actual condition is. I've just been assuming everything is mostly bad with how old it is.

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the biggest reason alot of people buy the whole arm as opposed to just the ball joint is they dont have a press or dont understand how to take it apart so the cost of taking it somewhere just to do that is the determination in their route...but if you dont like spending money check all your stuff before you replace it...if you are looking at replacing i would recommend aftermarket personally
Okay - that was honestly kind of what I was thinking. Looking at the control arms I wasn't thinking all that much could go wrong short of impact damage or rust.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:50 PM   #5
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I would just get it running and driveable. Take it for a nice casual cruise, then address any clunks or noises you hear that don't sound right.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:33 PM   #6
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Do only what needs to be done for it to be safe on the road. If you arent getting backlash and feeling loose around turns then your ball joints should be fine. Same goes for the shocks and struts. Reason being, youre going to be spending and fixing a lot to keep her on the road, no need to overspend when you know youll need to spend more in the future on who-knows-what.

If the bushings in your control arms are shot then buying a complete control arm could be easier if you dont have the tools to change just the bushings. If you DO want to change them, id suggest ordering a bushing set for the whole car and change them out as you need/want.

Start using penetrating oil before removing bolts.

Youll probably want to check the fluid in your diff.

Its possible to get balljoints out without damaging them, but its good to have a couple on standby in case you do.

Loosen the nut to the ball joint, use a 2 lb hammer to take a couple of whacks at the knuckle by where the balljoint attaches, spray it with penetrating oil but dont get it under the balljoint boot, then set the nut flush with the top of the balljoint post and use one these ball joint seperators to pop it off:



You can sometimes turn that tool upside down and press balljoints in with it. Dont bother with a pickle fork, they do nothing but destroy ball joint boots.

Its a little weird your caliper bolts are broken in the knuckles since those holes arent threaded. You should be able to use penetrating oil then the balljoint seperator with an undersized socket to press the piece of bolt out.
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antihero983 View Post
I would just get it running and driveable. Take it for a nice casual cruise, then address any clunks or noises you hear that don't sound right.
Thanks for the help you've provided me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zombiewolf513 View Post
Reason being, youre going to be spending and fixing a lot to keep her on the road, no need to overspend when you know youll need to spend more in the future on who-knows-what....

This makes a lot of sense. I guess I was thinking it made more time / labor sense to just replace whatever might be needed now versus having to take everything back off again in the near future. I appreciate the different take on it.

I'll take a look at those ball joint separators. Quick question for you - do you have any advice on actually loosening the ball joint nut itself? I've been spraying it with penetrating oil but it's pretty stuck and there isn't all that much clearance. I don't have a torch (on my to buy list) but I was a little unsure if I would damage the boot by using it or if I should just try to be very careful.

Quote:
Its a little weird your caliper bolts are broken in the knuckles since those holes arent threaded. You should be able to use penetrating oil then the balljoint seperator with an undersized socket to press the piece of bolt out.
I didn't know the holes in the knuckles weren't threaded. That's a bit of a relief. So when I was taking them out with my breaker bar one finally broke free, but then after a few turns only a small section came out.

The second one I was able to get to break free as well, but so far it hasn't actually come out. It's still tight and pretty difficult to twist but I'm pretty positive that it's broken off inside and just hasn't come out.

I love your idea of removing the bolt with the balljoint separator. Thanks so much for all of the information.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:20 AM   #8
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To loosen the nut you should be able to use an impact wrench, impact with a universal joint adapter socket, breaker bar, breaker bar with a cheater pipe, or wrench with a cheater pipe. Hard to give you an answer without seeing what you have to work with. No problemo
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:08 AM   #9
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yeah to be honest if they're s13 knuckles, buy another pair.
people part out cars all the time and sell em for cheap.
last pair I sold was for $40
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it'll fit JANK.. and no one likes Jank except Broke ass zilvians.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:14 AM   #10
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Do you by any chance have any idea what size / where I can buy (easily) new bolts? I realize that might be an incredibly dumb question. I've been looking through the diagrams on Nissan and looking for part numbers but I can't find actual specs of what they are. I've also been searching through this forums, googling the part numbers, etc and I'm not finding anything. It looks like I may be able to still buy them from Nissan but if they're regular ol bolts that can be purchased locally.......

Thanks again.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:53 AM   #11
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:52 AM   #12
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I'm just not sure what size to buy since all of them have broken so far.

I did find some information but I'm not positive it's right?

I read that the front uses M12x1.25 40mm and the rear uses M10x1.0 but I don't know the size. I was going to guess 40mm as well.

That was the best information I could find, otherwise I was going to order from dealer.
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:11 AM   #13
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So, the reason the bolts broke in the knuckle, is because that's where the corrosion builds up and seizes the bolt. I work on Subarus for a living in the Northeast, and its SUPER common for that to happen on the older rusty ones, unless you use torches and heat em up.
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