posted on June 17, 2011 01:49
To be completely honest, it's my turn to write something on MotoIQ and I am neither prepared since I'm in a hotel room without my external hard drive nor have anything to write about. My half written stories aren't finished because more pics need to be taken and more facts need to be collected. So I started cruising You Tube and ran into my old video of Tarzan kicking ass in the XS Engineering BNR32 GT-R. I still get excited when I watch it. I figured 5 years is about time to share it again with a younger generation of newbies or older school generation alike. If you don't know much about Skyline GT-Rs, check out the Wikipedia page here.
There's something truly visceral about the sound and feel of a properly built RB26DETT engine in a BNR32 or BNR34 at 9,000rpm that no other engine and car combination can match (I'm not a BCNR33 fan). Even in the video above at a meager 1.3bar of boost, the RB26 still sounds like it is pretty damn pissed off. Sure, F1 engines rev to 18,500rpm. F1 engines are cool as hell and sound super awesome in their own right, but it still isn't an RB26. There's a reason why there are so many BNR32/33/34 junkies all over the world (myself included): Australia, Japan, UK, North America, Eastern Europe all have decent populations of RB junkies. When you drive a 500+whp Skyline GT-R, you'll discover what you were missing this whole time. Drive a properly built 800+whp Skyline GT-R with an ultra wide power band (4500-9,500rpm) and I'll put money on it that you will never enjoy another street car more. The only reason you don't know this now is because you've never driven one. And if you have driven one and don't agree with me then you drove a shitty one.
I stress the RB and BNR car combination because I feel that the RB engine is dumb in anything but a Skyline. Why would you want to swap in a stupid, big ass, super long, ultra high center of gravity, cast iron, straight 6 is beyond me unless the car already came with one (e.g. S30 240Z). All you would do is ruin the car you swapped it into by totally destroying the car's balance.
Here's Tarzan in the XS Engineering BNR32 GT-R applying full throttle out of the last turn on the infield circuit at Fontana. The car squated so hard the front left wheel was almost in the air. The Fontana infield was the perfect track for this car becaue there are basically four drag strips and some low speed turns. We beat the closest car by 3 seconds.
We (the XS team) won the first time attack overall we ever competed at. It was a Redline Time Attack on the infield at Fontana. Back in 2006, the XS Engineering GT-R was still new and the Superlap event at Buttonwillow was its second event ever. We took 2nd overall because of the World Challenge GMG Porsche Cup car took 1st. Guess why there are no active race cars allowed at Superlap these days. It's because of me and my bitching about active, professionally campaigned race cars running in lowly time attack. I still agree to this day. Anyhow, Mike Kojima helped us to set up the suspension at both Fontana and Buttonwillow. As you loyal MotoIQ readers know, Mike is one of the true suspension masters on this planet and he helped us and Tarzan go quicker with every outing. Koji and I built a pretty amazing RB26 with HKS internals and Peter at XS ported the head. Cosworth did all of the block and head machining (this was before I worked there). On the dyno, this engine made 850whp on the DTS AWD dyno and 900whp on the 2WD Dynojet, but this engine would never see over 1.3 bar on the track which was 630whp. This engine's life was cut short due to spun rod bearings. That was my first lesson in the necessity of dry sump oiling for no bullshit track cars. The reason we never turned the boost? As you can see in the video above, the car was already a handful. The front bump steer and camber curves weren't exactly ideal. It is an inherent limitation in the BNR32's stock suspension design that was improved in the BCNR33 and further improved in the BNR34. Anyhow, Koji, Peter, Greg, and myself built the car. It was supposed to be turned back into Troy's street car after a year or so of time attack. That never happened.
Here was the car in 2007. I'll write about this phase of the car in 2012 - when it's 5 years old.
The car is stored in a climate controlled warehouse underneath a car cover. Its engine is turned 60 degrees weekly. It's too bad Mike and I never got to finish the front suspension mods we planned. While it wouldn't be competitive in today's unlimited class time attack, I bet it would do pretty damn good in modified class. Maybe I'll see you guys at Cars n' Coffee soon. It's about time to let it stretch.
Friday, June 17, 2011 3:11 AM
Cool story Eric. Thanks for sharing with us, newbie :)
I too don't like the R33/34. The R32 is the lightest-smallest of the three, as a sport car should be. Even the R31 isn't bad.
BTW, Mike? Can I call you Kojikun? :)
Friday, June 17, 2011 6:32 AM
Overall, I'm not really a fan of JDM machines, but the R32 is an exception. In some ways, with its iron inline six, broad powerband, and imperfect suspension, it's very American. ;)
Friday, June 17, 2011 7:43 AM
Good stuff Eric. I miss that car, and the 700hp blast up west st, banging through the hollinger. You are so right about driving a big HP RB26, nothing else comes close.
Friday, June 17, 2011 7:48 AM
This car was my dream car circa 2005! I still remember a younger Eric Hsu balancing the pistons for the R32(BNR doesn't roll off the tongue the same) and me finally understanding the balancing portion of "balanced and blueprinted".
This R32 made me want the R32 over the R34, although I'd still be happy with either :) I'd probably still be looking for one to this day if there wasn't all this chatter about impounding on site.
Eric, didn't you say you had an RB powered ride? R32 per chance?
Ockham - R32/34, JDM silvias and I just love Chasers!
Friday, June 17, 2011 9:30 AM
Looking back on these cars, the R32 looks the best to me now...
Friday, June 17, 2011 10:20 AM
A buddy of mine swapped a turbo RB engine (I think it was a RB25, but I'm not sure) into a 240SX. Sure, it screwed up the weight distribution like Eric said, but my god did that thing sound sick. I've never heard a more pissed-off-sounding engine than a boosted RB inline-6 at 8,000 RPM.
It was like the wrath of Almighty God was manifested under its hood. And that engine was mostly stock with a single-turbo conversion and only about 18-20 psi of boost.
Friday, June 17, 2011 10:32 AM
I like the R32s and R34s....though I think the R32 is the better "GT-R", the R34 had a lot of improvements of course but the RB25DET received infinitely more love from Nissan
Friday, June 17, 2011 1:16 PM
Auto Gallery Yokohama :)
Friday, June 17, 2011 1:37 PM
Alex: The BNR34 is a better looking car to me than the BNR32, but I believe the true spirit of a GT-R and what it should be is exemplified in the BNR32 GT-R.
Ockham: I never thought of it that way. I guess cars are just like girlfriends and wives: you love them despite their imperfections.
Greg: Yeah those were the good old days huh?
Bruce: One of these days I'm going to watch STC again. I think I forgot it all! But yeah I have a BNR32 also.
Dusty: RBs are seriously unique. I don't think there's another engine that sounds like it. The 2JZ sounds like a buff ass tractor. Not exciting...
Friday, June 17, 2011 2:29 PM
While other kids had Viper posters I had Skylines :)
This reminds me of the BF Goodridge R34 poster I had on my wall.
Car was blue with Nismo Aero and bronze TE37's wearing KDWs.
The first photo shows two iconic cars right there, Mine's R34 on the XS Engineering R32.
Friday, June 17, 2011 3:39 PM
R32 is best. Trust me from someone that has driven a few of them. The XS R32 is one quick car. It even beat me at the drag strip... I posted a screen grab of the car on the 1-2 shift with the left front wheel off the ground on the drag strip.
@econobox- I helped out BFG with that poster. Took the car over to the shop to get the Nismo body kit installed, wheels mounted, all that stuff when I was at Motorex.
The RB is a sweet sounding engine. A good 500 hp car is a very fun car. Really good street car. They are getting on in age, but they are classics, and getting closer and closer to that 25 year exemption.
Friday, June 17, 2011 4:10 PM
Problems with the R32. To much rear antisquat and to close front lateral instant center. We fixed the rear anti, never got around to addressing the front. If we do one day, look out old car or not.
Friday, June 17, 2011 7:43 PM
The RB sounds a bit too high pitched for my tastes, just sounds a WEE bit more Honda than the 3L+ 6 cylinders I like. Granted I wouldn't complain if I owned one.
I should have said something sooner but you GOTTA love how Eric calls it a "stupid, big ass, super long, ultra high center of gravity, cast iron, straight 6" too many other people just say blah blah blah 1300hp blah blah revs, boost and whatever the hell other measurement they can make to offset the size and weight.
Friday, June 17, 2011 8:17 PM
Whatever happened to the car anyway? It was a truly beautiful car.
The first time I've heard an RB motor, I was in love.
Has a very aggressive growl.
Saturday, June 18, 2011 5:28 PM
Mike, imagine if we fixed the suspension and ran the car at full power? It wouldn't be Sierra Sierra fast, but it would be pretty damn fast. It would probably have the highest speed on the front straight too.
econobox: I believe the guy who owns that BFG R34 resides in Texas. I forget his name, but he was a true enthusiast. Not a rich ricer kid.
Saturday, June 18, 2011 8:44 PM
Great article Eric. The ES-Engineering R32 is one of my all time favorite TA cars. I remember seeing it in person for the first & only time in California @ Fontana Drag Strip when there were a bunch of Skylines running. I snapped a couple of pictures, if I can find them I will post them up in the forum section. It would be great to see this car run again, on the street or the track. Especially on the track. We need a a true drivers car on the track that will beat out the computer cars of today (see R35)....
Saturday, June 18, 2011 9:02 PM
JDMized - Beautiful GT-R, too bad it's getting torched. Love me some side exit exhaust in front of the rear tire, not in front of the front door!
Sean- Eric says you're the one to set the record straight about owning R32-34s and the misunderstandings surrounding all the media hoopla this last year?
Eric - Yeah, STC season 1 was the best. You guys had the best competition by far. You and the Cobalt could have still blown away any of the competitors that would follow! Wasn't there also an issue with the tire offset up front?
Sunday, June 19, 2011 9:42 PM
please do bring it out in mod class. We need some competition now that the Cobb GTR just sits around and collects dust.
Monday, June 20, 2011 12:02 PM
@econobox. The BFG car was in Vegas the last time I saw it. Like a lot of the Motorex cars, there is a story. I replaced the clutch on it...maybe 5-6 years ago.
@derBruce - its a story, and a long one at that with R32-R34. Its been posted many a time. I have explained it many times. Anything in particular you want to know? Lots of stuff on my blogs . gtrusablog.com or vehicleimport.blogspot.com .
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 2:09 PM
Eric, your extreme bias makes me lose faith in your capability to look at information objectively, have you sir never driven a 930 turbo? or heard one?
Im a nissan guy, and a ducati guy, no porschephile ($$$) so let's not get confused.
R32's are one of my Fav's of all time. but RB's sound...like a straight 6, you know half a jaguar...two snowmobile motors but the end all be-all, maybe it's a little hasty that's all.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 5:46 PM
Naturally if you read an article like this, it's going to contain bias. But I assure you that what I wrote is not 100% the result of pure bias. It is in fact an objective look at the other cars on the road too. Let me attempt to draw a quick comparo with 930s:
Have I driven 930s? Yes, real ones too.
Have I heard 930's? Plenty, I grew up around them in my teens at my uncle's shop. Some had 300hp and some had 600hp. Some had 16x8"s and some had 16x15" BBS.
Do I believe that RB powered GT-Rs are a better street car than a 930? By far. The former was released in 1989, the later was released in 1975. The newer car benefits from advancements in engineering, material science, knowledge, etc. A 930 has an air cooled lump that that overheats in traffic and was derived from 1938 air cooled 4 banger. The newer car also benefits from modern advancements such as ABS brakes, more powerful A/C, power steering, sound deadening, etc. Better street car? GT-R.
Does a BNR32 feel like a Porsche? Hell no. The Porsche certainly "feels" better, but the GT-R is pretty damn good too. It's no ordinary Nissan. Which car "feels" better overall? I actually like the 930.
Does a street BNR GTR handle better than a street 930? In my opinion, yes. It benefits from AWD, uses a semi-modern multi-link suspension, has ABS, and does not suffer from severe whip oversteer. We are not talking 996/997 now; we're talking 930. Or else we'd be comparing R35s which I do not have experience with.
Plus if you look at the 930's engine, you kind of wonder how Porsche and Porsche tuners even got as far as they did with it. It is archaic looking. It obviously works, but an air cooled Porsche 6 banger cannot produce the powerband of an RB26. With its 2 big ass valves and 2 spark plugs/cyl, it can produce a shit ton of mid-range and that's it. It doesn't produce a ton of high RPM power. It doesn't produce tons of torque at the bottom either. Winner? RB26 again despite it being significantly smaller in displacement. It's just an engine that benefits from being designed in a newer era.
And another thing: RBs do not sound like any other straight 6 in existence. Not a Jag, not a L28, not a 2JZ sound anything like a RB. They all sound different in their own way. To me, the sound of an RB26 is the end all be all. I love the way RBs sound. There's the 100% pure bias for you. Perhaps you haven't been around many RBs? I think anybody that has can tell you they are very distinct.
To summarize, my article says an RB sounds awesome and a 800+whp GT-R is going to be your favorite street car if you drove one. You need not agree and I wouldn't expect you to either, but keep in mind that there was objective thought that went into my conclusions. It isn't blind JDM fanboi-ness or anything stupid like that. My conclusions aren't even based on information. They're based on experience.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 7:26 PM
Eric - Word! One of my best friend's Dad was into Porsches. I thought their 911sc and 964 were fun but cramped and I honestly was hoping for more of an aural experience. I think the F20/22Cs of the world bone stock sound better to me than any H6 i've heard yet. I'll trust in your experience because, honestly, almost all youtube audio of the RB and most motors sucks big time. Somebody needs to seriously invest in offering HD audio recording capability outside of a studio!
Sean - Good reading so far! I've been through a couple of your posts/articles so far and when I finally scrap together enough cash, I'll be bugging you on how to track down something legit!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 7:51 PM
I should note that the 930 is a better and more successful race car however.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 10:12 PM
I think from a percentage stand point the BNR32 might have actually been more successful. Oh, and if memory serves me well the BNR32 was so dominant, a few of the series it was in were forced to change.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 10:47 PM
Well yeah technically, yes. BUT the BNR32 competed and dominated in what I consider to be 2nd tier series. Japanese Group-A, Japanese Group-N, and Aussie supercar in the late 80's and early 90's wasn't really world class racing. European Group-A, LeMans and IMSA was world class racing and that is where the 930 did plenty of damage for plenty of years. There were a couple of sporadic GT-R entries at LeMans over the years, but I don't believe there were any podium finishes.
Plus you gotta remember that there was like 15-16 years of 930s whereas there was only 6 years of BNR32s.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 11:05 PM
jamal: I need to find some sponsors to run this thing. It's too damn expensive to run being as heavy as it is. It kills tires, brakes, and drinks mad fuel (much more than any 4 banger TA car). I'm just as happy blasting it down PCH and smoking an Enzo. We'll see if an opportunity arises though.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 8:51 AM
Great points Eric, although I was thinking this morning that Nissan Motorsports in general has never really been big on a global scale much the same way Porsche has. Thus it's kind of an apples to oranges here but stock for stock, i'd put my money on a BNR32!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 1:03 PM
Yeah stock for stock definitely. Well the later 5 speed 930s improved vastly compared to the first mid/late 70's 930s. Peformance, handling, driveability, interior, and exterior all improved big time if you compared the 1976 car to the 1989 cars.
By 1989, Nissan already learned everything from the 930 and were able to make the BNR32 a better street car (to some of us anyway). Kinda like R35 and the 996 wouldn't you say? I remembered when the R35 was in the development stage and they locked down Steve's building at Nissan in Torrance because they were doing all of their adjustments and analyzing data. What car did Nissan have in tow while driving cross country and at test tracks instrumented with a gazillion sensors? A 996 turbo.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 2:47 PM
I had to check but Nissan had the 959 (rarer than the 930 and more superior) and its Nordschleife production car record in its sights. Smashed it to! I think it's funny how Nissan has typically benchmarked against Porsches but never really goes head-to-head in the motorsports world. The one disadvantage the GT-R would always have is their weight. After seeing how the Fontanna 350z, Cosworth motor as you well know!, was able to keep their GT-R at bay, I gained a bigger appreciation for the lb/hp stat. Granted the Z has MUCH more development and dollars into it!
Thursday, June 23, 2011 1:11 PM
Impressive, I was pushing buttons and playing devils advocate as much as anything,
I avoided the 959 comparo (it is gods gift to germany) because it was so rare and there are like 3 in the US...those things competed (and wom???) Dakar...aswell as almost everything else.
I have 0 personal experience with RB's, they are (as you said) not the right fit for S13's
Just trying to keep you honest......PASSED
Friday, June 24, 2011 2:34 PM
Thanks for passing me. It's always better to pass than fail. :)
Sunday, June 26, 2011 5:33 AM
great read and great comments. I hope to get you on the podcast some day.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 1:28 PM
Im a big fan of yours but, When do we get to see more of your R32?
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 8:57 AM
@ SixCylinders, you said "... though I think the R32 is the better "GT-R", the R34 had a lot of improvements of course but the RB25DET received infinitely more love from Nissan". A bit confused about your statement, why did the RB25DET received more love from Nissan? If that's not a typo, then your sooo wrong then. :) RB26 is the most popular RB ever, in fact it maybe Japan's mot iconic engine ever made. Or maybe you just didn't know that the BNR32 GT-R is also equipped with the RB26? :) Those Skylines the have the RB25s are Gts, and NON GT-R variants.
Sunday, October 07, 2012 1:13 AM
Greetings, Eric. I have a question for you vs a comment. I am one of the other few souls here in the US with a street registered R32 Gtr Skyline, and I have been trying to gather info on what would be a good cooling fan setup. The vehicle is currently putting 300 HP to the wheels but plans are in the works for obtaining 500 HP, very similar to your build. Is the stock clutch fan sufficient, or will a single/twin elec. fan setup do the job? Thank you for your advice and long live Godzilla!
Sunday, October 07, 2012 9:37 AM
GTR is near oil cooled. You need to take care of the oil cooling, and that will help keep the rest in line. Get rid of the factory oil/water cooler and do a dedicated oil cooler, or two. How are you going to use the car? Honestly a stock shrouded clutch fan is way more efficient than most aftermarket electric fans.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012 11:16 PM
Hey there Tyndago (Sean Morris?), the car is gonna be street car/ weekend time attack vehicle. She has a Koyo rad but no shroud.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 12:41 AM
Going to an electric fan will always sacrifice cooling ability at low vehicle speeds. There are brushless fans that can spin at much higher speeds at moderate currents, but nothing really beats the stock clutch fan.
I'd say if it isn't a daily driver and you mainly drive it on weekends or evenings when there's less traffic, you might want to try dual brushless fans (whatever size will fit) and ideally control them with a capable ECU (or at the very least a adjustable temp switch). If it's a daily driver that will see traffic, I'd keep the stock mechanical fan on there.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 12:48 PM
@Dougy - yes tyndago= Sean Morris. Throw a shroud back on the radiator, and use a good oil cooler or two. Serious about that big one or two. 7 main caps, oil cooled pistons, two cams, the RB puts a lot of heat into the oil.
If you want to do any amount of track time, you also need to have a really good look at the overall oiling system in the RB.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 3:15 PM
Well, In the off-roading community, low vehicle speeds are exactly why we switch to electric fans! Flex-a-lite was not only easy to use, their warranty and customer service was excellent as well. But I agree on the usefulness of the stock clutch fan and that too many people are too hasty to ditch them.
Friday, October 12, 2012 2:10 AM
Thank you for the info guys. Lots of good info and we can all agree that Nissan engines can definitely benefit from the use of a good oil cooler. I have checked on Hi Octane's website and they offer a dry sump setup for the RB26. Perhaps when I get a grip of cash to blow then that will find its way on the car. For the power I am pursuing, I know Eric stated in his Gtr build that using HKS 2530s with the proper supporting pieces will net 500 WHP, but I am thinking on going the single turbo route. Would be interesting to see how that setup performs on a good road course. But for now I am just happy to be stomping the pedal on a Gtr Skyline here in the states with an actual tag. Does it boost the ego? Just a lil bit!