View Full Version : nfs480's '89 SE-i fixer-upper

01-27-2010, 09:34 AM
Creating this build thread now in the planning stages, I live in MN and am going to wait until later in spring when it warms up to actually begin.

My car needs a lot of repairs so i'm mostly just going to be replacing 21 year old parts with stock parts. The car has 220k miles and needs four new shocks, springs, upper and lower ball joints, front wheel bearings, A/C compressor (conversion from Keihin to Denso), oil filter base gasket, and left-front CV axle.

I have never performed any of these repairs on any cars before so it will be a learning experience and I appreciate any advice or input you guys are willing to give me as well as any recommendations on good parts to use for this job.

01-27-2010, 11:26 AM
Are you sure you want to retain the stock ride height? If I recall, one of the criticisms of the car when it first came out was the very soft ride. If you stay with stock, I guess that's what you'll have.

It's been so long since I was on stock suspension pieces I really can't say I remember what it was like. But I can say I really enjoy the change to Bilstein/Eibachs, but the ride is definitely more firm. To me, the stock ride height is also just too high, but I think it's what you get used to seeing. Most of the 3G's that are nice to look at have been dropped. Mine was only an inch, but it made a difference, and the decrease in suspension travel is minimal.

All this said, my wife likes her Passat, which has long travel/soft shocks, so your family may have its own input.

While you're doing this, be sure to make new suspension rubbers a priority. The radius arms, sway bars, etc.

Careful when removing the oil filter mounting base. Break one of those bolts off and there'll be a real problem.

I use Honda OEM stuff. More expensive, but high quality, and you know you won't be doing the job over again because of a part problem. The half shafts are $120 from Majestic, but they last for a long time. Money well spent, imo.

Do you really need a/c in MN? I thought it was 9 mos of winter, and 3 mos of bad skating. OK, I grew up on Minnetonka.

01-27-2010, 01:32 PM
The summers here can actually get pretty hot (but really only for like 2-3 months). It wouldn't be such a problem but the leather in the se-i gets so hot that I literally have to bring a spare shirt when I drive. As for the ride height, I don't want to lower it for fear that i'll lose valuable clearance for driving in snow, don't want to get hung up.

The one job that's really worrying me is that oil filter base, after I snapped the heads of the bolts off on the thermostat housing i'm just really nervous about touching that base, but that's the only oil leak the car has.

EDIT: Another thing i'm hoping to tackle is the rust, the rear quarter panels are rusting really pad along with the rockers and the driver door.