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Turbocharged NX2000

Balanced Attack

Text By Evan Griffey
Photos By Shaun Carlson

[Put into HTML format by Dan Thompson]

This article originally appeared in the Turbo & Hi-Tech Performance August 1998 issue and was reprinted with permission. For more info on Turbo Magazine check out their website.

Cover shot (55051 bytes)
In the course of putting Turbo Magazine together, which includes attending car shows and import racing events, we are often overloaded with brutally fast race cars and blindingly pristine show cars. Seeing the best of the best can warp one's perspective which leads to exceedingly high expectations. This is just the kind of scenario that has snared Donald Lacanalale of San Bernadino, California and his 1991 NX2000 reflects this entrapment. Every aspect of the car has been modified or massaged, and it is this Balanced Attack that first caught our attention.

The Breakdown

GReddy blow-off valve (8717 bytes)
A GReddy blow-off valve releases pressure between shifts and when acceleration is cut short.
JWT fuel rail (12404 bytes)
Jim Wolf Technology fabricated this trick fuel rail.
MSD 6AL (9322 bytes)
An MSD 6AL ignition box sends current through NGK plug wires to NGK plugs.
Front-mount intercooler (6925 bytes)
Donald's NX2000 sports a trick-looking and effective front-mount air-to-air intercooler.

What is an NX2000 anyway? The NX2000 was an off-shoot of the 1991 to '94 Sentra SE-R. The NX is a hatchback, not a sedan, but sports the same engine, driveline and interior layout as the Sentra. The NX2000 is motivated by a 140-horsepower SR20DE four-cylinder while the other NX, the NX1600 is powered by a tamer 1.6-liter engine, the GA16DE. The NX was an eclectic car with an even more exclusive (read: smaller) following than the SE-R.

Building Blocks Of Power

The SR20DE is a stout foundation for performance, as illustrated by our Serious Sentra and a number of other fine examples on the road. Ron Bennett, a friend with in-depth mechanical experience, was put in charge of readying the SR20 for boosted operation. Ron fortified the internals of the SR20DE with a set of JE slugs and Crower connecting rods. The rotating assemblies were balanced and blueprinted before installation to ensure extra durability under pressure. To provide the pressure, a Turbonetics T3-based turbocharger with a Super 60 compressor wheel is regulated to a maximum manifold pressure of 17 psi via a Deltagate wastegate and Blitz boost controller. Fuel for the fire is provided by 50 lb/hr MSD injectors housed in a custom Jim Wolf Technology fuel rail, the stock pump and a Bosch adjustable regulator. The ignition side of the combustion equation is handled by a MSD 6AL ignition box, NGK plug wires and NGK plugs. All ignition timing and fueling events are under the command of a Jim Wolf Technology-programmed ECU. The program is a direct descendant of the one currently controlling our Serious Sentra project car. The ECU receives signals from a larger-capacity Hitachi Mass Air meter and at the max boost setting both the turbo and the fuel pump are at maximum output. A high-flowing turbo and bigger fuel pump will be needed for more power. Dependability is further ensured with the employment of a front-mount, air-to-air intercooler, which fights off detonation by cooling the combustion charge. The intercooler also allows more power to be generated because a cool, dense charge will contain a greater mass of air and, when matched with the proper proportion of fuel, will produce more horsepower. When fabricating the intercooler and intake piping, Ron added a Jim Wolf POP Charger air filter assembly and a bored-out throttle body to expedite air flow into the engine.

Suspended Animation

Advan Racing wheel (11573 bytes)

With turbo-enhanced power on tap, Ron needed to adjust the manner in which the Nissan related to the road. To bring the NX2000 closer to Earth a set of Bellingers lowering coils were installed. The coils work in conjunction with Tokico Illumina gas-charged struts to provide enhanced dampening. Contact with the pavement is maintained via Yokohama performance rubber wrapped around Axis Tuning 17x7.5 Super Advans wheels. The tri-spoke Advans sport a black finish with a blue lip that ties in nicely with the exterior of the car. With the increased acceleration capabilities of the turbocharged SR20, braking system enhancement was a logical modification. Cross-drilled brake rotors are teamed with Axis Sport Tuning stainless steel lines and Performance Friction pads.

Interior Motives

Interior modifications (31933 bytes)

Just as the Nissan's engine spins the dyno at fever pitch, its interior is primed to impress even the most seasoned of show judges. The interior of the NX2000 lends further credence to the car's "balanced attack" philosophy as the seats have been upholstered in blue and white leather. The cockpit has been color-changed to blue throughout and a lot of work was put into the center console and gauge placement. An Auto Meter Pro Comp Ultra-Lite boost gauge is joined by a Camden Superchargers air/fuel monitor, GReddy Turbo Timer and Techtom MDM-100 engine monitor.

The MDM-100, available through G-Force Engineering, will not alter any of the programs in your ECU - you cannot erase or misprogram anything. To bring the MDM-100 on line, find your fuse box and remove the cover. Locate the diagnostics port and plug in the MDM-100. Start your engine and the MDM-100 will come to life. The unit allows viewing of two parameters at a time (the exact parameters and the manner in which they are viewed are outlined in the chart found by clicking on the image of the Techtom). Pushing the Select button will display an arrow next to the upper readout. Pushing the Select button again moves the arrow to the lower readout. Pushing it a third and fourth time allows the user to add or subtract from the readout's contrast and dimness. With the upper readout selected the Up and Down buttons allow the user to scroll through the parameters. The same parameter cannot be viewed on both readouts.

Techtom MDM-100 (22996 bytes)
A Techtom MDM-100 Multi-Display Monitor enables the driver to view a number of engine/sensor parameters in real time via the ECU

While Donald's NX2000 offers a balanced attack of detailed and highly-potent mods, we liked the fact that the Nissan pumps out the power like a race car and looks like a trailer queen show car but is used as a real-world daily commuter. Most of all the NX proves that, with attention to detail and proper tuning, a balanced attack is unbeatable.

JWT ECU (9647 bytes) Road shot (7275 bytes) Engine bay (13608 bytes)

The Source
Auto Meter
413 W. Elm St.
Sycamore, IL 60178
(815) 895-8141
Axis Sport Tuning
2210 W. Lincoln
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 991-9500
Blitz USA
4879 La Palma Ave., Ste. 206
Anaheim, CA 92807
(714) 777-9766
3333 Main St.
Chula Vista, CA 91911-5899
(800) 222-2267
(619) 422-1191
G-Force Engineering
2311 W. 205th St.
Torrence, CA 90501
(310) 782-8278
GReddy Performance Products
9 Vanderbuilt
Irvine, CA 92618
(800) GREDDY2
(949) 588-8300
Jim Wolf Technology
212 Millar Ave.
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 442-0680
JE Pistons
15681 Computer Ln.
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
(714) 898-9763
MSD, Autotronic Controls
1490 Henry Brennan Dr.
El Paso, TX 79936
(915) 857-5200
Tokico (USA), Inc.
1330 Storm Pkwy.
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 534-4934
5400 Atlantis Ct.
Moorpark, CA 93021
(805) 529-8995
601 S. Acacia Ave.
P.O. Box 4550
Fullerton, CA 92634
(800) 423-4544
(714) 870-3800