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Run_Away HalfDork
12/23/16 10:06 p.m.



Drilled holes for riv-nuts, to be used to mount the side skirts.


Seam sealer as well inside the wheel wells.

Riv-nuts installed

I hit the openings with primer after drilling, and coated the riv-nuts with some expired structural adhesive before crimping them into place. They shouldn't move.

Run_Away HalfDork
12/23/16 10:08 p.m.

It's hitting -30 C base temps with the wind putting it under -40, so I got the block heater all sorted. Clearance isn't great with the headers.

Cord routed to the grille. The headlights are my next project, not sure if I mentioned it but I have a pair of extra headlights from the junkyard I'm going to rip apart and try to retrofit.

And the current underhood shot. I'd like to clean up the wiring some more, and have an intake made that has supports and better curves to fit.

Primer and bondo. I've never used bondo before, that was a learning experience. It's so much harder than I expected, I was trying to sand it down with 220 grit and couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting anywhere. It also sets up super fast. Not sure if I was using too much hardener or what. Just trying to smooth the rockers a bit as I didn't do a great job. Still learning...

Filler primer. I was a little tempted to leave them red, looked kinda neat with the doors closed.

Also finished up installing a 2 way remote start. Just need to borrow a programmer to set up the double pulse to unlock doors instead of single, and to automatically trigger the rear defrost when it's below freezing. The goal for this car is still to be my next winter beater, so it needs LSD, heated seats, and remote start. Just the LSD to go now...

Having some thoughts of trying to fit some 26" diameter winter tires on it once I burn through these.

I've got a couple coats of black rustoleum spray paint on there now, but didn't take any pics. I'm a little concerned about the "stick" of the paint and how it'll hold up. Any recommendations for something better?

Run_Away HalfDork
1/7/17 8:54 p.m.

Okay update time. I ended up painting the rockers with rattle cans. I'll re-do it if I have to.

Stuck the side skirts on with double sided tape.

Passenger side fits nice

Drivers side doesn't fit as well, there's a bit of a gap below the rear door but it's not something you'd notice unless I pointed it out to you.

After the side skirts were installed I coated everything with undercoating sprayed from below.

Started driving it again. We got a big dumping of snow again, and I got stuck again. Really can't wait to get the LSD trans installed. Shims come off backorder Feb 9th now apparently. The car has really poor traction. Not sure if it's just the conditions or maybe the tires. They're 185/65/15 Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter. I've told myself to wait till the LSD trans is in and see how things are, but I'm tempted to take them off for something better, taller, and wider.

Run_Away HalfDork
1/7/17 8:55 p.m.

My best friend asked me to take some tires off some rims he was using to test fitment on his EVO. Since they share pretty similar specs to the Sentra, I put them on to try. Wheels are 17x9 +37 and the tires are 245/40/17 Rivals.

Fits nice and flush in the rear, plenty of clearance on the inside too.

Front has a bit of poke and a bit tighter to the strut.

Pretty amazed how much room there in on this car. I can only dream of that for my autox Civic, I've got roller and pulled fenders on it to fit 215/45/16 Rival S.

Run_Away HalfDork
1/7/17 8:59 p.m.

Popped the headlights off to sand and polish them up as they're pretty awful out on the highway. Found someone double gasket-ed the drivers side bulb, so it wasn't sitting properly. That should help things...

One side done, the other not.

And done, with a before/after.

Also ordered some $12/pr mudflaps to help reduce the amount of crap being flung up onto the rockers. Hopefully that helps keep the rust at bay.

4cylndrfury MegaDork
1/9/17 1:39 p.m.

Man, Im super impressed at how youre tackling this, one job at a time. I also am looking forward to hearing about the difference the LSD makes in your snowy situation! Good work man. Really looking forward to updates!

fanfoy Dork
1/9/17 2:59 p.m.

As someone who autox his b15 Spec-V, I love this thread. The EVO wheels have really got my brain juices flowing about what is possible next on mine. Keep up the good work!

Run_Away HalfDork
1/10/17 9:47 p.m.

Thanks guys. Part of me thinks maybe I'm being too harsh on the tires/car, and it's just a combination of lots of low end torque in a light car. For the past 10+ years my winter vehicle has always been a ~100whp Civic, which I'm sure makes maybe a quarter of the torque this car does at 2000rpm. That car a light nudge of the gas cruising at 2000rpm in 4th gets you gentle acceleration, this one puts out a lot more twist in the same scenario.

fanfoy, the wheels are Buddy Club P1 if that helps. I think a 235/40/17 on a 8" wide rim with about +40 offset would be ideal for stock fenders.

Filled up the tank today for the first time since I started driving it again in the cold

That 20.2 L/100kms translates to 11.64 US mpg.

Holy crap.

300d50 New Reader
1/17/17 8:37 p.m.

Love the build so far!

The MFA60 is an awesome little transmission.

Have you thought of swapping in a different 6th gear set or swapping the Maxima final drive into the Spec V gearset? It'd be another re-shim fun-fest, but it may help with your 11mpg problem. :)

Run_Away HalfDork
4/9/17 12:03 a.m.

Holy lack of updates Batman!

So quick and fast updates of what I've been up to on this car.

Ripped apart some headlights. Pair of Sentra lights and a pair of Civic lights. The Sentra lights are permaseal and really sucked to do. The first one I did was an OEM Nissan light and I fought it the whole way around, only to snap the housing the last little bit on the side. Not a huge loss, it had broken tabs anyways. The second was a DEPO? or TYC brand? Aftermarket anyways. It came apart pretty cleanly after a bunch of time getting the first corner separated. Civic lights were cake and I probably had them apart in 30 seconds after they came out the oven.

I was hoping to use some 14+ Rogue LED lights.

But after some research found LED lighting still isn't up to par with traditional HID. There was also the issue of space, as the Rogue LED projector is low beam only. It has an LED reflector high beam, but the Sentra lights don't have room inside without gutting it completely and basically re-inventing the lamps from scratch. Not something I wanted to do for my first build.

Then I was going to use a set of 06 350Z projectors I have with an STI-R lens swap and tuning, but after running the numbers it was barely more expensive to buy Morimoto D2S 4.0s projectors which are much much easier to mount. Picking those up from the border next week along with a new drivers side headlamp to replace the one I broke.

Decided to flush my brake fluid as it's the only fluid I haven't yet replaced on the car.

The shims I ordered for the 6 speed showed up. My original order was cancelled as they don't sell each shim individually now apparently, only the full range of shims. Cost was something like $27 vs the $8 for one shim.

New input shaft seal. Glad I decide to halt assembly and wait for a new one instead of throwing it all together and chancing it.

Final shim selection

Ready for final assembly. This is the guts from the original 2004 Spec-V trans into the maxima casings.

New trick for pulling the trans. Rotate it 90 deg downwards as soon as the dowels are disengaged. Much more clearance.

Run_Away HalfDork
4/9/17 12:15 a.m.

Took a vacation in Cuba

Back to the grind. Cut apart the exhaust and moved the hump over the axle forward a bit so it would quit clunking over bumps.

Picked up a set of 2008 Sentra alloys with practically new 205/55/16 Hankook I-pike RS winters to replace the 185 width Goodyears on the crusty steelies.

Of course once I did that we didn't get any more snow so I haven't been able to test them out. Sure look better though.

Had the drivers rear brake caliper seize on me, thought the clutch was slipping from the smell. Junkyard gave me a replacement caliper for free when I picked up the new winter wheels.

Scored a 2005 Xtrail cruise control switch, so that's only one code remaining (vacuum cut valve bypass valve). Just had to re-pin the steering wheel plug and it works and fits perfect.

And after that the passenger rear wheel bearing decided to pack it in. Bought a cheap Mevotech bearing which didn't come with wheel studs or ABS tone ring so I had to swap the old ones over. Rude.

I also installed some A/C lines today. Just need a little one to join the high side compressor to the condenser and it should be ready to charge. Already wired the front air control A/C signal to the Altima BCM.

And threw on the summer tires today too.

Looks funny with the 215/40/17 Azenis in front and 215/45/17 rear tires. Can't wait to burn them off, will most likely replace them with Firestone Firehawk Indy 500s. Shouldn't take too long, the Azenis have zero straight line traction compared to winter tires. It's wheelspin city in the car now.

And my fuel mileage for the winter. The 16.2 L/100k translates to 14.5 us MPG and the 14.0L/100k to 16.8 mpg. It's pretty much all city driving in 12 minute trips to and from work, so that explains the figures. Looking forward to the hotter temps helping those figures out. . You can see my last tank was 12.7L/100k, which is 18.5mpg.

4cylndrfury MegaDork
4/10/17 7:57 a.m.

Still in love with this car. The factory-ness of repinning the wheel and such is a really nice touch!

I couldnt tell from your post, did you finish the headlight work? Curious, because I want to rework the ligthts in my Cruze. Even with the "high" beams on, I find myself clicking the lights again because i forget theyre on. The "brights" are pretty pathetic.

Run_Away HalfDork
4/14/17 11:54 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: Still in love with this car. The factory-ness of repinning the wheel and such is a really nice touch!

Thanks, I'm pretty pleased with how the car is turning out!

I got the last A/C line modified and installed. This is the high pressure line from the compressor to the condensor. I used the stock Altima line. It's a pretty good fit except the condensor end's mounting block is 180 deg out from where it needs to be on the Sentra. I cut a slit in the block and whacked it with a hammer so it split and can rotate.


So I basically did nothing other than bend the factory Sentra lines a bit and flip the mounting block on the one Altima line. Didn't even replace any O-rings. Did spend $30 on a new receiver/dryer as the old one has been vented to atmosphere for a few years now.

Everything works like factory, the idle bumps up when the compressor engages, it cuts out under high throttle, it runs the cooling fan whenever the compressor engages, and will cut it should the car start to overheat. I flipped and bent up the factory mounting bracket on the passenger shock tower to work, and for now I ziptied the high pressure line to the coolant overflow. I forget how the factory Sentra supports this line.

4cylndrfury wrote: I couldnt tell from your post, did you finish the headlight work? Curious, because I want to rework the ligthts in my Cruze. Even with the "high" beams on, I find myself clicking the lights again because i forget theyre on. The "brights" are pretty pathetic.

Made a trip to the border last Wednesday and picked up my headlamp retrofit stuff as well as a new drivers side lamp.

And that was my project for today. Got the new lamp open, used a dremel to open up the factory bulb opening to fit the mounting shaft of the new projector, and trimmed the shrouds to fit.

I want to put them on the car and do a quick aiming check to make sure I'm not way off and they're generally pointed in the right direction before I finalize trimming the shrouds. Then it's time to mount and wire the switchback halos (putting in halos to satisfy the DRL requirements here in Canada - the HID system can't run at half voltage like the factory halogens did) and seal the housings.

bobjacobson New Reader
4/15/17 7:49 p.m.

This is awesome. I have a sentra 1.8 as a daily i was pulling parts from a v6 altima and wondered if it would fit. Now I know.

And your in the peg. Do you work at Vickar?

Off topic kinda. But do you know if a 6spd from a QR25 sentra will fit on the 1.8?

The gearing on this thing is driving me crazy on the highway.

Run_Away HalfDork
4/16/17 1:16 p.m.

Nope, I'm at the one in the Waverly Automall.

Don't think the QR25 trans shares anything with the QG, the bellhousing pattern is definitely different and one is rod shifted vs the other cable. Internally there might be some parts that could interchange, but I've got no experience with that.

Also got an Ultragauge for the car. Mainly to better monitor coolant temps. It was under $100 USD shipped, has the ability to set warnings with a buzzer, as well as read and clear codes. Quite happy with it, and I should get a very long life out of it since it's simply plugged into the OBD2 port.

Also spent some time aiming the lights and trimming the shrouds so they don't limit the travel of the aiming adjusters.

Still need to paint the trim on the lights to match SE-R spec and do final assembly/sealing.

Run_Away HalfDork
10/28/17 8:52 p.m.

6+ months!? berkeley you photobucket.

No big changes. It's been a reliable do it all daily. Just clicked over 10,000 kms since completing the swap actually (I live in the city and my work commute is just over 10 minutes).


Did 3 auto-x events with it.


Fun, but the garbage tires were a bit of a buzzkill. Understeer city:


A post shared by Ben VDZ (@b.vdz) on


Also some towing of the dirt bike.


Run_Away HalfDork
10/28/17 9:04 p.m.

I also did a bunch of little touches that don't translate in pictures, but make it so much nicer for me.

Junkyard door hinges to fix the slop in the originals.


New door mouldings to replace the peeling ones.


Junkyard steering wheel to replace my crappy one.


And a junkyard A/C compressor to replace the leaking one from the donor Altima.


I also finished up the last bit of wiring a couple weeks ago and it's officially running codeless. I haven't checked to see if it's passed all the readiness tests, and I wouldn't be surprised if it threw a code relating to how I did the vacuum cut valve bypass valve, but so far so good.

Run_Away HalfDork
10/28/17 9:08 p.m.

A friend graciously offered to weight the car with me. That's his very clean SRT swapped R/T behind it that I helped wire up MS in the background.



Just over 3/4 tank of fuel....


and race weight! In basic autox trim, floor mats out, trunk and spare emptied.

Run_Away HalfDork
10/28/17 9:18 p.m.

And I repainted the roof. The rust spots I had POR15'd over had unsurprisingly gone chalky and adhered poorly to the existing paint. It looked like E36 M3.









I did two coats of primer and two coats of colour. I just used rattle cans, duplicolor high-build fleet coatings to be precise.

Turned out okay, it's much better than before but still could really use a wetsand and polish. If the car isn't completely clean, you don't notice it but up close you can tell.



My first time trying to actually paint a body panel. I'd definitely do a better job of smoothing everything out before painting (see the last pic) and do a better job of taping the car. There was a ton of overspray on the windows, and the trunk and spoiler too for some reason.

1/13/18 1:28 p.m.

In reply to Run_Away:

This is awesome you have done a wonderful job. I have a complete 02 3.5 5 speed Altima and a 04 Sentra. Im going to be starting the swap really soon..... With that being said how did you wire it up to the Sentra thats the part im prob going to have the most problem with.. Any advice would be great..

Thanks Jesse


Run_Away HalfDork
1/14/18 10:13 a.m.

Awesome! My wiring should be somewhat similar to yours, providing the Altima didn't change much between 02 and 03.

Also, my car is a late production 04, and all it's wiring matches an 05 sentra. The 2004 wiring diagrams/connectors are not the same behind the glove box. So hopefully yours is also a late production. 

I have all the wiring pinouts typed up on a spreadsheet, I'll try to post them up here.

Run_Away HalfDork
1/14/18 10:29 a.m.


Hopefully that works. I've filled in a few if the question marks since (mostly evap stuff) but it should be an okay start to get you headed in the right direction. Like I mentioned, this is for a late production 2004 Sentra and normal production 2003 Altima - double check that the connectors match yours. The Sentra connectors behind the glove box especially may be different than yours.

MazdaFace Reader
1/23/18 5:49 a.m.

Impressive build! 

jssmcpherson New Reader
2/1/18 6:11 a.m.

In reply to Run_Away:

I have one more question i purchased another altima and the immobilizer ring around the switch is busted preventing it from starting. If i get one from a junk yard and it is good would my car start ... Or does it have to be programmed i have the original chipped key.. Thanks

Run_Away HalfDork
2/1/18 10:27 a.m.

Unfortunately it will need to be programmed to the ecm.


While you're at it, program the Sentra keys to the Altima ecm. They will work and it saves having to program then again after completing the swap.

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