Phlebmaster’s 98 Frontier Evolution ka24det

This is for all those PICTURE THREADS ONLY. Motor installs, product writeups, showing off your car, put the thread in here.
Post Reply
Phlebmaster
NooB
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:13 am

Phlebmaster’s 98 Frontier Evolution ka24det

Post by Phlebmaster »

Hey there, I wanted to get a thread started for my project.

This has been my work truck for the past two years. I work in construction so my truck has been indispensable. However the miles have started to catch up with it so there were some things that I needed to decide to do. I could’ve purchased another vehicle and use that or the second option was to modify the hell out of this truck and make it something fun and worth having. I definitely can tell you it was not cheaper because a car payment probably would’ve cost less in the amount of work and money spent on this so far. It is not quite finished but I’ll start this thread out by catching everybody up with what I have done so far.

Vehicle: 1998 Nissan Frontier
Engine: original ka24de 260,000 miles now has a few modifications (spoiler) it has a turbo, intercooler, wastegate, bov, Altima cams, NPR 240sx pistons and Nippon rings, bearings, valves and seals all new, ARP head studs, 3” down pipe and 2.5” straight pipe exhaust with a side exit so I can hear that turbo spooling. Stage 3- 6 puck clutch that grabs hard. Electronic boost controller/ gauge and a few other things I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Not yet complete- upgrading the fuel/injection system, tuning system, wide band O2 and meter, 240sx intake/ Z32 MAF swap eventually.

I would like to start out by saying I know I have made a few errors during this process but I believe those are part of the education and I don’t mind paying for my education. So hopefully I can help others with outlining some of the pitfalls that I had to deal with and possibly support anybody else doing this to a Frontier. This was my first time turbocharging a non-turbo vehicle. If you have the time to look at some of my other projects I have done things with supercharged vehicles but most of them have been naturally aspirated. By far the turbo is the most exciting for many reasons but just for the sound alone is worth it.

Here are the pictures of my truck when I first got it and also a picture of the engine bay as it sits now so you can kind of get an idea of where it started and where I’m going. This thread will be picture heavy. I’m having a little bit of an issue with embedding the pictures but the links below will take you directly to my project image host. The image code is not working for these links.

Stock
https://ibb.co/4dMZkxj

https://ibb.co/qdmMfcp

https://ibb.co/RgKYPjn

Now
https://ibb.co/rwxPcK3

https://ibb.co/KLnhD0T
User avatar
p00t
Encyclopedia-Nissan
Posts: 1114
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:27 pm
Location: Detroit

Re: Phlebmaster’s 98 Frontier Evolution ka24det

Post by p00t »

That is a pretty clean engine bay for a work truck with 200k+ on it!

I caught the stove piping on the intake... Project Stovepipe maybe? I would replace that with a real pipe at some point because that pipe is not airtight and you will get unfiltered stuff through to the turbo.
Current Experiment: APS SR56, Methanol Injection, & Built Block
Phlebmaster
NooB
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:13 am

Re: Phlebmaster’s 98 Frontier Evolution ka24det

Post by Phlebmaster »

p00t wrote: Sat Jun 26, 2021 9:23 pm That is a pretty clean engine bay for a work truck with 200k+ on it!

I caught the stove piping on the intake... Project Stovepipe maybe? I would replace that with a real pipe at some point because that pipe is not airtight and you will get unfiltered stuff through to the turbo.
Hey, you didn’t know that Home Depot sold cold air intakes?

Haha, yes it was a temp solution to prevent debris from the turbo and get the right angles. I appreciate your attention to detail, which is why I am here.

I am purchasing these items for the next step before the dyno tuner can do his magic. Please let me know if you see anything I should reconsider.

1. 340lph fuel pump
2. 500cc injectors
3. Manual fuel pressure regulator with gauge
4. AEM afr wideband with obd2 pass through
Phlebmaster
NooB
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:13 am

Re: Phlebmaster’s 98 Frontier Evolution ka24det

Post by Phlebmaster »

For anyone thinking that they can do a turbo build on the cheap side listen to those who tell you it is not possible. If you spend your money on a cheap turbo or cheap components you will be spending money on engine parts or downtime. Which started out as a $1500 investment has turned into well over $3000. But I’m finally getting it done right and that’s what matters. Basically what I’m saying is you’re better off to spend the money on the good parts to start with and you won’t have to redo things and nickel and dime yourself to death. That is good advice that I have read on this forum and others.

Anyway now that that is out-of-the-way, I’ve made a few changes to my next stage which will get me closer to where I want to be and make my truck more reliable until I can afford the stand alone ecu and a dyno tune.

I’ve decided to pick up an adjustable FMU rather than just getting a pressure regulator for my fuel. This will allow me to utilize the fuel pump and the bigger injectors in the interim. I have to replace the pistons because the compression ratio is a little higher than I expected since they were 240SX pistons and not the stock frontier pistons. So I will be replacing those when I put in the FMU and injectors. I will also hardwire my fuel pump so that there won’t be an issue with low voltage. I’ll take pictures of all of those items even though there’s lots of that on the Internet just so that anybody reading this can just do a one stop shop.
Phlebmaster
NooB
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:13 am

Re: Phlebmaster’s 98 Frontier Evolution ka24det

Post by Phlebmaster »

Pitfalls of my build

Here are a few things that I did wrong as a cocky noob. I mean what could go wrong? eBay turbo is cheap and if I do it right it should last…. Right? Might want to read on…..

Mistake 1. I did my research and due diligence to see what it would take to turbo my NA truck. However I ignored a few key points because, hey I know what I’m doing. Well, you “can” turbo your car on the cheap but don’t count on it lasting for long. My eBay emusa turbo was great for about a month and I even closely followed the instructions, but even with that said the turbine bearing was shot and started blowing oil. I’m not Saying that all of them are that way but I can tell you it is hit or miss and that is truth. I paid $120 for this one. There is one caveat to this turbo failure, detonation occurred which broke my first set of pistons because I ran too lean and over boosted. This likely contributed to the failure.

Fixed: replacement turbo was a dual ball bearing and spools much better but also a more reliable option. I paid $325 for this one which is still half of what a Garrett will cost you. I am sure that I will be replacing this one again with a Garrett eventually but just be aware that quality matters when it comes to this. stay tuned for how this one works.

Mistake 2. A $10 manual boost controller is fine. Hey it’s cheap and what could go wrong? I mean I’ve got a wastegate and bov so this should work. Well, I am here to tell you that it is a critical piece of this set up. This thing did nothing and my turbo overspooled. This caused me to get lean and BOOM I was rolling coal down the road. My ring lands broke and I had to replace my first set of broken pistons.

Fixed: I learned alot and got a reputed digital version and set it up for adjustment in the cab. Now I know where it is and if I’m overdoing the boost for my engine.

Mistake 3. Now let’s discuss the wastegate and cheap bov. Those are just safety nets and I can’t understand how good ones cost so much. I’ll just get the less expensive stuff and save money, right? Wrong!! The bov got stuck closed and I didn’t know the wastegate wasn’t set up correctly. This mistake contributed to my second set of broken pistons. On a good note: ARP head studs are worth the price. I can tear down my engine in about 2 hours at this point (valve cover to oil pan) pistons out.

Fixed: I did more research and learned how to set up the wastegate properly with my digital boost controller and purchased a greddy FV bov. I also learned how to set up the bov properly and the best port on my throttle body to use. Don’t just use any old vacuumed port. I used one at the base of my throttle body just past the butterfly.

Mistake 3. I can get by with stock injectors and if keep the boost down I’ll be okay. Well, that was pretty dumb and I even read lots of posts saying that was a bad idea. But hey, I know what I’m doing and I’ll be fine. Nope! I get anything above 2-3 lbs of boost and I go lean. The ecu is pretty good with the stock injectors but doesn’t know what to do above 2-3 lbs of boost.

Fixed: I am installing an AEM wideband O2, bigger fuel pump (hardwired) and high ohm 550cc injectors. But that’s not going to work without ecu programs for that. Thank goodness for the Adjustable FMU. This will help but still not the perfect answer. The FMU is adjustable from 1:1 to 14:1 boost preference controls. This means the fuel injectors will get better pressure based on the boost level and increase the amount of fuel as the boost increases hopefully keeping it in the Goldilocks zone for AFR. I believe it is around 12-12.5 for 10lbs of boost. Not sure on that yet.

I’ll make sure I report what it takes to make it work properly and tell you if it doesn’t. The last thing will be the ecu and tuning which is not easily available for the Frontier. I may have to swap out my intake and sensors to a 240sx and then I can get a programmed ecu for it.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from wanting to do this to their vehicle.
I hope this helps with anyone who wants to know what happens when you get cheap stuff. In the end I will have to spend just as much as I would have for quality parts the first time. I love the turbo sound and all of the things I’ve learned about this process. It would have been better if I listened to the good advice from those who said get the good stuff.
Phlebmaster
NooB
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:13 am

Re: Phlebmaster’s 98 Frontier Evolution ka24det

Post by Phlebmaster »

It’s been a busy weekend. I finally started getting my new parts for the fuel system upgrade so I have some things to share.

First thing, I replaced the 240sx pistons yesterday with stock frontier pistons. The 240 pistons were not damaged but it looks like they drop a little lower than the stock pistons inside the cylinder so the oil rings are scuffed and that’s what caused the smoke from oil. This is specifically why you need to properly prepare your cylinder walls and make sure you do not have any ridges when you are installing a different set of pistons. It’s always best to cylinder bore rather than just hauling honing done.

Okay so now the truck has a new 340lph fuel pump to supply the 555cc nismo injectors. The adjustable FMU and rail adapter will be installed once I have the liquid fuel pressure gauge. I am still waiting on that to arrive.

The AEM wideband O2 is installed so at least I can measure what the fuel ratio is with a stock injectors for now. I’m going to allow the new pistons and rings to break in properly before I run any boost. Probably about 500 miles before I start doing any modifications to up the power.

It is important this time around that I have my truck reliable so I’m going to do the fuel system one step at a time. Starting with the fuel pump this time and then when the fuel gauge shows up I will add the FMU. After that is completed and set up properly I will add the new injectors so I don’t run into a problem where some thing doesn’t work properly and I have no idea which item needs adjustment. It’s the old lesson of changing one thing at a time when you’re doing something new so you know what works and what doesn’t.

The AEM wideband has the obd2 connector for the ecu so if I upgraded it to a standalone I am set.

https://ibb.co/pxm2618

I have uploaded a whole bunch of pictures to the Image host. You’re welcome to browse what I have now and I will continue to upload more as I have time.
SlowSnailD22
NooB
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2021 9:07 am

Re: Phlebmaster’s 98 Frontier Evolution ka24det

Post by SlowSnailD22 »

This truck is badass man. I’m In the process of installing a turbo on my truck also. Just a heads up though if you are going to keep the truck intake and fuel rail. Whenever you swap injectors, you will need to swap over those flat O-rings on the bottom of your original injectors to the new ones.

I found this out last night the hard way. I flooded the hell out of my engine as soon as the pump primed.

Keep up the good work man . 🤙🏽
SlowSnailD22
NooB
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2021 9:07 am

Re: Phlebmaster’s 98 Frontier Evolution ka24det

Post by SlowSnailD22 »

Also, how have you got your fuel tank ventilation set up? I considered running the lines to only the evap canister to where I didn’t smell like fuel as much and then maybe venting that to atmosphere. Also, I’ve also considered just venting the tank straight to atmosphere.
Post Reply