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Setting up my s12

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  • Setting up my s12

    So, I've got a project s12 hatch for $500, and I'm looking to set it up to handle nice. I've figured out how to make s13/s14 parts fit from info on zilvia and club-s12, but I suppose I'll have to ask you guys if I actually want it to turn. Right now I'm only dealing with front suspension, later I'll tackle the rear.

    First, some of the s12 specific info I've gathered:
    • The s12 is very similar in front suspension design to the s13, but the frame rails are closer together by maybe 1-2" to shorten the track width, and as far as I know the crossmember is narrowed in a similar manner. If I need to start determining roll centers, I have an s14 crossmember to compare to to figure out exactly how much it's been narrowed.
    • The inner pivot on the LCA is the same as the s13, I can attach any s12, s13, or s14 control arm, and the s12 control arm can use the same bushings as the s13
    • The balljoint bore is the same as the s13 and s14, so I can swap to s13 or s14 balljoints to fit s14 knuckles.
    • The steering rack is normal nissan thread, so I can use s13/s14/z32/z33/etc inner tie rods.
    • The 3-bolt circle for the tophats is the same as the s13/s14, so I can use camber plates / tophats from the s13/14.
    • The car has already been converted to fit s14 tension rods and brackets. I think the brackets may be further from the control arm than stock, because stock s14 tension rods pull the control arms forward and give a fair amount of caster. Perhaps the LCA mounting point on the subframe is moved toward the rear of the car to shorten the wheelbase.

    I'm trying to get the car to slide and I'm going to lower it, but I'd like to keep correct geometry and good setup in mind, while putting sturdier parts on it that will be safe to drift on with the extra power of a CA18DET swap in this aging chassis.

    Now, the questions:

    I'd like to replace the balljoint with a spherical so I can get roll center adjustment. I know I've seen links to spherical bearing cups on here before, but I can't find them again, and I've searched speedway motors and they don't seem to sell them either. Could anyone provide me a link to either 1.5" bearing cups or 1.5625" cups (preferred, so I can run a high-misalignment bearing).

    Is there anywhere I can buy the clevis / u-bracket things as seen in the "DIY traction/tension rods parts group buy", but with normal standard threads and they don't have to be as sturdy. The stock swaybar end-links are a pin type, so I need a pair of those to bolt onto the LCA and swaybar to be able to mount rod ends for links to replace the aging stock ones.

    How is the narrower track width going to affect my geometry, are there any obvious concerns? I guess since the LCA's are closer to the center of the car, the roll center height will change faster with ride height, I'm not sure if that's good or bad though.

    As more questions/problems arise, I'll ask them here instead of making a bunch of stupid threads

  • #2
    If i had an S12 the last thing i would want to do would be switch to S13/S14 uprights. The fact that it has a steering arm means you can easily do roll center adjustments with just a spacer.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Duffman View Post
      If i had an S12 the last thing i would want to do would be switch to S13/S14 uprights. The fact that it has a steering arm means you can easily do roll center adjustments with just a spacer.
      this is actually a fair point, and something I hadn't thought about, but I think the benefits of S14 K's brakes, 5-lug hubs, 3000gt bilsteins in s14 struts, the ability to use camber bolts, and the ease of finding replacement parts outweighs the fact that I can use simpler parts to adjust the roll center just because the suspension is of an archaic design.


      • #4
        Z31 5 lug hubs should work. So would 3000GT bilsteins though the strut tube might have to bored out to accept them. At one point a long time ago I was considering switching my S13 to S12 parts as a solution to the roll center issue, before other solutions became available.


        • #5
          If you don't have anything on your S12, then I say switch away. I'd just get some SPL tension rods and do the Budget Baller Godspeed FLCA mod for RC correction.

          If you already have decent suspension on your S12, then I'd stick with it's stuff just due to cost. Although it's pretty easy to find S13s in junkyards (at least around here).

          If I were doing a front subframe swap I might actually look at building a custom subframe from your existing stuff and doing some RC/steering rack mods while you're at it (if the goal is drifting).
          '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!

          DefSport Koni Sleeve and Spring Perch Buy!!!


          • #6
            I'll keep the stock s12 subframe if I can get one of my s14 racks to mount to it without getting too custom. The S12 is totally stock everything at this point, with the exception of stock s14 tension brackets and rods. I have stock s14 struts that I'm going to get bilstein inserts for and run coil sleeves on, and I've got s14 spindles, 5-lug hubs, and 4-pots that I want to get to bolt on this thing.

            After doing some searching and weighing my options, it seems like using swedged tubing for the FLCA's with tabs welded on for the tension rods and end links wouldn't be a bad way to go. I can have tabs waterjetted for me and I know a good TIG welder, so it wouldn't be that big of a deal so long as I draw everything out before hand. The godspeed arms are longer than s13 arms which are longer than s12 arms, and I'm afraid widening the track width like that on top of running lower offset wheels to clear the brakes is going to get out of hand quickly. If I stick with stock arms, by the time I weld bearing cups onto the stock arms and weld threaded adapters on the inside to use rod ends there, I might as well just have just spent my time and money on the parts to make custom arms.

            Thinking something like this for the LCA's:,40936.html

            And this stuff for the tension rods:,2087.html

            sort of going for a DIY copy of the PSM setup

            As an added bonus, welded tabs on the LCA for the end links instead of a through-hole lets me use rod ends for the end-links instead of the ****ty pin and bushing setup, since the s12 swaybar has a vertical mounting hole instead of a horizontal one.

            edit: priced everything out on speedway motors, QA1 high misalignment rod ends (probably not what I should be getting? not sure...), the aforementioned tubing, AFCO jam nuts, and the standard speedway female rod ends for the endlinks gets me to $237.76. Battleversion TC rods are $210, and Moog balljoints are $55...
            Last edited by SomeoneWhoIsntMe; 03-31-2011, 08:46 PM.