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Why Does This R34 Nissan Skyline Have a Four

Nov 07, 2023Nov 07, 2023

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If you're feeling like every potential engine swap has been done and done again, you're not alone. From the DIY builds that pop up at your local cars and coffee happenings to the YouTube crowd constantly chasing after the next bit cross-platform swap craze to entertain the masses, you've probably seen most everything. The wow factor and flexing of mechanical ability both play a major role, but there are outliers, like Rodney Moenadi, who favored parts availability and ease of maintenance over shock value.

Previously, Rodney owned a Toyota Cressida that served as his street and drift car and it's one he wished he'd held on to. He states, "I ended up selling it and regretted it. Then I wanted to build a dream car to drift in." His affinity for sedans led him toward the R34 Skyline and a long road of research into cross-platform suspension sharing. "I found out that certain R-chassis and S-chassis shared identical suspensions," he says. "I went down a rabbit hole of trying to match up part numbers to make certain parts work with one another as I had a certain budget in mind—this whole build was basically a budget build."

Most would expect Rodney to opt for GT-R power or, at the very least, a built version of the sedan's native power plant. Interestingly enough, he opted for a four-cylinder swap. He adds, "I ditched the RB and replaced it with the KA24DE(T) from my S14 after finding that the front subframes had the same mounting points. I know who built this motor and it's just a really good motor to abuse at the track."

Well beyond your basic junkyard engine with a turbo slapped on, this KA was fitted with Arias pistons and Eagle H-beam rods before its rotating assembly was fully balanced. Up top, BC valve springs were added, a Doc Race turbo manifold mounts a Garrett GT2876R, and exhaust is sent through a Powered by Max downpipe to a custom, extended S14 straight-pipe exhaust.

Your traditional front-mount intercooler isn't peeking through the front bumper as Rodney opted to use a Frozenboost water-to-air set up which tucks nicely behind the passenger side headlight. A Walbro 458-lph pump is in place and 750-cc injectors hung from a Radium fuel rail to handle the fueling, while AEM's Infinity ECU help the combination make a solid 369 hp with a matching torque figure.

"He could've just made that with the stock engine," is what you're surely shouting right now, but what he couldn't do with that original engine is walk into his local parts store for replacement parts that will inevitably be needed. Instead of extended downtime while hunting down and waiting on RB parts to be shipped in, most every high-wear item for the KA24 is readily available anywhere, or just a few days out on special order.

Underneath, a complete S14 front suspension assembly was mated to the R34, along with a modified front brace, and custom S14 top hats by NoLift. An array of polyurethane bushings was brought in and BC Racing coilovers intended for the S14 were installed. That served as the basis, but more angle and adjustability was needed for Rodney's plans, so Driftworks/Wisefab dropped knuckles were bolted on, as was a slew of adjustable inner and outer tie, tension, and traction rods and control arms. The brakes didn't come from the Skyline or S-chassis parts bin but instead were pulled from a 300ZX.

To give the mild sedan exterior some attitude, a URAS GT aero kit and drag and roof wing were added, while Richard Rabe was tasked with getting a set of URAS Type R front fenders and rear door and quarter panel caps to fit properly. An East Bear vented hood and Craft Square carbon fiber mirrors were set in place before the body was wrapped in Cheetah Gloss Berry Blue by EVO Studios OC. During street missions, polished Work XT7 with Falken RT615 are called into service but for drift days, the track wheel of choice is GramLights' 57DR and Falken's RT660.

A single Bride Zeta III seat and Takata harness is the only seating change and in the place of the factory steering wheel is a three-spoke Sparco wheel. Other driver aids include a shifter extender, e-brake drift button, and Powertunes digital display. If things work out, Rodney's next round of changes will affect the cabin as he'd like to add an electric A/C system and possibly construct a custom cage that would still keep all of the interior intact.

It's not what you expected and maybe that's what makes Rodney Moenadi's Skyline sedan so interesting. His R34 tends to stand out not because he's hungry for "likes" but due to his focus on maintaining and track and street car focused on reliability, ease of serviceability, and avoiding those future headaches that were all but guaranteed to come. "I love the car and I just plan to keep driving the hell out of it at the track and having fun with it," he adds. "Cause what's the point of building a car if you can't enjoy it, right?"

1998 Nissan Skyline R34

Owner Rodney Moenadi

Instagram @rod_knee @90sforever.exe

Engine KA24DE swap; balanced rotating assembly; Arias pistons; Eagle H-beam rods; ARP main studs, head studs; MLS head gasket; BC valve springs; polyurethane mounts; Garrett GT2876R turbo; Doc Race turbo manifold; Powered by Max downpipe; S14 exhaust, test pipe; HPS intake, hoses; Frozenboost water-to-air intercooler; Mishimoto water-to-air heat exchanger; NoLiftLLC water resonator; custom piping; Walbro 458lph fuel pump; Radium fuel rail; RC 750cc injectors; AEM Infinity management; Wiring Specialties upper/lower Pro harness

Drivetrain S14 clutch pedal, master slave, non-ABS differential pumpkin; Z32 transmission; custom transmission mount; Xcessive mfg shifter, bracket; ACT 6-puck un-sprung HD pressure plate, lightened flywheel; Tomei 2-way differential; Driveshaftpro custom driveshaft

Suspension S14 front suspension conversion, lower subframe; custom S14 top hats by NoLift LLC, modified front brace, polyurethane bushings; BC Racing S14 coilovers 12k/10k springs; Driftworks/Wisefab dropped knuckles; Driftworks front lower control arms, inner/outer tie rods, tension rods, traction rods, rear upper control arms, toe rods

Braking Z32 front calipers, rotors; StopTech braided lines, pads

Wheels & Tires Street: Work XT7 18x9.5 +30 front w/25mm GKtech spacer, 18x9.5 +12 rear; Falken RT615K 225/40; Track: Gramlights 57DR 18x9.5 +22; Falken RT660 245/40

Exterior Cheetah Gloss Berry Blue vinyl wrap by EVO Studios OC; URAS GT sedan aero kit, drag wing, roof wing; URAS Type R front fenders, rear quarter panel, rear door overfenders modified by Richard Rabe; East Bear hood; Craft Square mirrors

Interior Bride Zeta III seat, brackets; Takata 4-pt. harness; Boss kit hub; NRG V2 quick-release; Sparco steering wheel; Powertunes digital dash

Thank You Huge, huge, huge thanks to Adam Feliciano at Nolift for having this whole build process to the motor swap and down to the fabrication, Sang Choi with the help in process with electronics, Lawrence Kyi, Kenji Sumino from Greddy helping with the turbo issues, Sean Adriano in fabricating custom piping, Danny Giraldo at Unrivaled tuning, Jason Kim at Rival Auto Works, Wayne and the team at Savant Autoworks, Rajeet and Renzo over at Mastermind-NA, StanBro, Richard Rabe, Bridget Smith, Dan Park, Ryo Hara for locating the car, to everyone that's had a helping hand on this project. and last but not least my wife Roxy Moenadi purchased the vehicle for me in Japan as an engagement gift.

1998 Nissan Skyline R34 Owner Instagram Engine Drivetrain Suspension Braking Wheels & Tires Exterior Interior Thank You