NX GTi-R: Search for Traction – Part Two

by Frank Ewald

The thing about being involved in a search, perhaps more aptly named a quest, is that one usually follows a meandering path as opposed to a direct route. I mean, the saying ‘as the crow flies’ implies a straight line but have you ever watched a crow? They do not fly in a straight line. They go all over the place and typically stop and chat with their buddies, so it is certainly not the most efficient path to take. My quest started just over a decade ago when I began the path to improve my Nissan NX 1600 beyond the limitations of what the factory had imposed upon it. Having owned the car since 1992, I knew what it was good at and what some of the limitations were. Over the past two decades I have enlisted the help of numerous buddies as the NX 1600 had transformed from a sport-cute car into a serious track contender. In 2011 I fulfilled a huge part of my quest, which was the installation of an SR20DET from a Pulsar GTi-R. That moved me into the next phase of my quest, which was improving the handling and the traction. If you have read my previous articles then you know my disappointment in finding that adding the horsepower has produced great straight line speed but reduced what was an amazing momentum/cornering car into a cornering lump. Each year since there has been improvement, and hopefully this year will be a huge step in the right direction.


I got the Nismo LSD from long time enthusiast Chris Scarpulla. Chris lived in New York when I first asked him about purchasing the Nismo. He moved to Texas, maybe to get away from me, before I finally got this beast!

I just had to go to Toronto to get the B15 from my friend Terry Martin. When I first did the swap, Terry has also sold me a couple of the Infiniti G20 transmissions that I have in storage as spares.

So it is with the path on my search for traction with the NX GTi-R. When I left off last I had just obtained a Nismo LSD and then a Sentra B15 transmission, which would house it. A straight line path would have had the G20 transmission removed and the B15/Nismo LSD installed already, but that has not happened and here is my story. First, I am simply not so mechanically inclined that I was ready to crack open a transmission (I have done so, but I have not successfully put them back together again!) and install this LSD. The search had been too challenging and the Nismo LSD too valuable to trust my skills. Joe Fergusson, a local mechanic and auto enthusiast, was one of a few individuals that I approached about getting involved in this project. I have known Joe for a number of years as he had been very involved in the local autosport world. In fact, a year or two ago John Dattomo and I picked up a Miata chassis (because, you know, you can never have enough spares!) from him for our ChumpCar team. Joe now works with Mantella Autosport as their lead technician. They are fielding a pair of Chev Z28’s in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. But I digress, getting back to the transmission, Joe was not able to fit me into his schedule but he connected me with someone he implied was possibly even better suited for my task. That is how I met Paul Jenkins.


Paul captured a number of pictures for me as he tore apart and then rebuilt the B15 transmission and installed the Nismo LSD. The B15 transmission is known to be one of the strongest transmissions that can be easily bolted on to the SR20 series of motors.

Paul was very curious about the project and the car. We discussed the goals and the challenges that I had been experiencing with traction. This discussion led me to the conclusion that this would be a good fit. When I arrived at his residence and visited his shop, I knew it was the place. A one car garage behind his house was where he did these custom jobs - after he completed his regular work. A ton of equipment. A sports bike. A transmission from a classic Chrysler on the bench and, if I recall correctly, a couple of other transmissions about the shop. Paul knew his way around transmissions and I was absolutely convinced that he was the transmission builder for my project.

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Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, February 03, 2015 11:24 PM
This swap is what makes the Turbo race Sentra possible.
Wednesday, February 04, 2015 4:13 AM
Mike, there's about a foot of snow here in southern Ontario - with most of it falling in the last couple of days - and I'm still thinking of installing the transmission quickly and taking it out for a test run. I can hardly wait for it's track debut!
Wednesday, February 04, 2015 5:27 AM
Smart on the air diverters in the end tank :)
Wednesday, February 04, 2015 6:29 AM
Ok so Is the b15 transmission from the Se-r with the sr20 or the qr25?

If it is from the spec-V qr25, did you switch the transmission from the qr bellhousing to the sr one?

Would it be possible to mate the b15 transmission case/cover onto the gti-r awd bell housing?

Wednesday, February 04, 2015 8:10 AM
sweet! i hope you push everyone else car out in the snow and finish her up! i know what you mean when I'm almost done with something its all i can think about hah.
Good choice on the honda snowblower we got the same one where i live, but every dirt bike or atv we got is a yamaha so it might start a turf war in the garage...
Wednesday, February 04, 2015 8:30 AM
spdracerut - I thought it was a good idea! ;) I'm sure manufacturers do that too, I just haven't noticed it.

awdaltima - first off, I'd love to hear more about your awd Altima. Post some info up in the forum! The B15 is from the SR20 variant - I believe it was on the 2000/01 Sentra SE. I wasn't ready to go to the 6 speed version yet. As to mating the B15 tranny case to the GTi-R bell housing, I haven't even looked at it to see if that's possible. When I bought the swap I only got the GTi-R engine and related pieces - not the awd tranny.

theneil, I really want to ... but I want to stay married too! As to the Honda snowblower, I just had it out and took it through the snow bank left behind by the plow. Snow was falling over the top of the blower, but it chugged through! And now the road is four feet wider in front of my house.
Wednesday, February 04, 2015 9:02 AM
my comment regarding the awd ka is: Nissan Prairie/Axxess =D

Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, February 04, 2015 9:33 PM
Let us know how the end tank idea works.
Friday, February 06, 2015 9:15 AM
Great Write-Up Frank! Enjoy reading your articles and the Build series.
I just realized you were in the closed FB group SR20-Forum.com I hope Wes will start a new build and start writing a new article series. I live vicariously through MotoIQ because I have teenagers and cannot afford to build so many awesome toys! And Thank you Mike K. for doing such a awesome job with this Website for so many years now! BTW, I'm George Peters from Las Vegas. AKA the sr20Freak.
Friday, February 06, 2015 12:17 PM
George, thanks for the vote of confidence! And I appreciate being able to connect the username to the real name. Thank you. According to my wife, my car has cost her several Carribean vacations! It has been something that has created several awesome family times - as I've written about in earlier articles. My daughter, Katie, is home after living in Australia for the past 2.5 years and she's also anxious to get out to Mosport! And in the sailboat picture, that's my daughter Alisha on the left, my wife, and just in front of her Alisha's husband, Josh. She lives in B.C. now so we don't get to see her too often. Alisha helped me wrench; Katie drives.
Monday, February 23, 2015 1:04 PM
Wow nice snowblower, When did they start making snowblowers with Trax. I've never seen that in any store her in detroit area. BTW I'm Davin, haven't had a fun car in ages so all i can do i read about it here. Stuck with a 2013 Sentra with a whopping 130 hp through a cvt. Wife won't let me have anything fun right now.
Monday, February 23, 2015 4:16 PM
Hey Discotea, I think we've all been there and had to endure cars that didn't inspire us. Decades ago I had to sell my Mazda GLC sport and drive my wife's 82 Chevette. Auto. It was not a car that did anything well! I'm glad that you can at least enjoy reading about what we're doing.

Honda still makes track drive snowblowers. This one is awesome and will chew it's way through almost anything. If we get a huge snowstorm, I'll do an article with video on how to clear a driveway! ;)
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017 11:57 PM
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