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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there folks

I've just registered here on your bulletin board as I'm hoping to buy an R33 in the not-too-distant future. I've just recently sold my UK spec Supra twin turbo, and I'm looking for a suitable replacement. Currently in the running apart from the Skyline is the TVR Cerbera, but I'm not too convinced about the build or reliability.

Apart from the basic facts that anyone can read off a spec sheet, and the opinions of the UK motoring press, I know pretty much nothing about the cars though. I am interested to know the following opinions from owners:

How much of a difference is there in real-world conditions (i.e. a variety of different road types and good and bad surfaces) between the standard GTR and the V-Spec?
Which is "easier" to live with as a fairly regular use car, rather than an occasional or track day car?
How high are the running costs? Parts? Servicing?
Do you have any problems with Nissan dealers with regard to parts & servicing, or are they generally helpful?
Are there any known reliability issues or parts that are known to wear out?
Stock or tuned? The engine & drivetrain has a reputation for being pretty strong and capable of taking quite a bit of tuning. Is that actually true? How far can you realistically go beofre you need to start strengthening engine internals, etc?
What else should I consider when evaluating a car, other than general condition, provenance, etc?
What differences were there between the few official UK cars and the JDM ones?

Sorry to bombard you - far too many questions, and there'll probably be more when I think of them! :D

Cheers

Jules
 

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Will post later...

Haven't got much time and so will post a more extensive reply later however...

...don't touch the TVR. I have had two and in both cases, I was sorely let down. Admittedly, they're fantastic fun on a track, but they simply aren't made for everyday driving.

Parts break on them without any warning and the electrics are absolutely shite.

Rupert
 

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bigjules said:
How much of a difference is there in real-world conditions (i.e. a variety of different road types and good and bad surfaces) between the standard GTR and the V-Spec?
Which is "easier" to live with as a fairly regular use car, rather than an occasional or track day car?
With the V-spec having 10mm lower and stiffer suspension, it is (although this is subject to opinion) the better track car. People generally seem to agree that non Vspecs are more "everyday" but to be honest the difference between the two is so negligible you could easily learn to live with either model on the road or track.

With the V-specs having active rear LSDs (as opposed to passive on the non-Vspecs) in theory they should hold the road that little bit more at the limit. I would suspect that there would be less chance of losing the rear end of a Vspec model than a non-Vspec by simple virtue of the fact that on the non-Vspec, power goes to both rear wheels as opposed to independantly with the active LSD.

How high are the running costs? Parts? Servicing?
Given you already own a Supra, you will already be used to the costs involved in buying SUL petrol all the time. :) Servicing generally seems to start at around the £300 mark, rising with non-service items such as brake pads, etc. Parts? Tyres are around £200 a corner, expect to pay £600+ for a new clutch. Other than that you're just dealing with "freak of nature" costs. Most peoples' "running costs" consist of buying tuning parts ;)

Do you have any problems with Nissan dealers with regard to parts & servicing, or are they generally helpful?
I found out something that interested me the other day, each and every Nissan dealership is basically given free reign as to whether they want to do work on Skylines - there is no "on high" decision making involved. The standard Nissan CONSULT diagnostics works on Skylines, so they will certainly all be equipped to work on them. Whether they choose to or not is entirely up to the dealership manager.

Best bet is to ring your local Nissan dealers and find out what they say. Bizarrely when I bought my SKyline I was banking on using a biggish dealership about 10 miles from me, but they point-blank refused to work on the car. Another tiny dealership about 3 miles away agreed to work on it under the proviso that "we don't normally work on these and we're afraid we might break something". And who could blame them.

Most of the people on this board use aftermarket tuners for everything (including servicing). I can personally recommend Tuning Japanese, Abbey Motorsport and Middlehurst are perhaps the most well known. Everyone has their own opinion on which tuners to use and in most cases it is best to search this board for experiences, etc to work out exactly which dealer is best for whatever work you want doing.

Are there any known reliability issues or parts that are known to wear out?
Stock or tuned? The engine & drivetrain has a reputation for being pretty strong and capable of taking quite a bit of tuning. Is that actually true?
Very true.

You can squeeze out an extra 50bhp+ from simply changing the ECU - and the engine internals won't even bat an eyelid. You can approach 400bhp+ just by changing the turbo ceramic wheels to steel ones (the path of least resistance). Beyond that you need to look into uprated fuelling, oil supply, injectors, etc. The R33 gearbox is solid as a rock, the clutch will take around 400bhp before beginning to ask questions, etc.

How far can you realistically go beofre you need to start strengthening engine internals, etc?
There are people on this board running 600bhp+ (more than twice the stock BHP) just from changing the turbos to aftermarket ones, uprated ECU, bigger injectors, bigger fuel pump, etc. I would hazard a guess that beyond 800bhp you would need to look into N1 blocks, etc - but this is just hypothesis.

What else should I consider when evaluating a car, other than general condition, provenance, etc?
What differences were there between the few official UK cars and the JDM ones?
UK spec R33 GTRs have a compliment of oil coolers as standard, which you will almost certainly want from an import model as one of your first mods. Since the engine is so strong, the main focus seems to be on ensuring longeviety of the engine - and keeping the oil cool over long distances is a step in the right direction.

UK spec cars also have rear foglights as standard, and (I think) leather interiors.

Main thing to ensure is that the car you're buying has a UK spec ECU (mapped for 97 RON fuel) and a speedo that reads MPH, etc. If its already in the country and has passed the SVA test you should be ok on both these counts.

Hope some of this helps.

(Note: All of this information is based on my own personal knowledge and experience)
 

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I haven't got an R33 GTR, I have a GTS but I think some of the questions you have asked I am qualified to answer, I hope...

* How much of a difference is there in real-world conditions (i.e. a variety of different road types and good and bad surfaces) between the standard GTR and the V-Spec?

The V-Spec has a harsher ride as the suspension is very hard, I think it has a bit more more power but don't quote me, others will be able to answer that.


* Which is "easier" to live with as a fairly regular use car, rather than an occasional or track day car?

Pretty much the same, barring the statement above

* How high are the running costs? Parts? Servicing?

Running costs aren't bad, mpg is about 20 - 25 on average
Parts are reasonable compared to a TVR anyway! I have had to replace a few parts, kinpin - £33.80, air filter - £10, upper arm - £260. All these are genuine Nissan parts. Regarding Nissan servicing in a word don't. As the cars are imported most dealers, with the exception of Middlehurst, have never heard of them. I would recommend Abbey in Oxted, Kent or GT-aRt in Brighton. These two places are specialists and are usually cheaper. Services are around the £350 mark.

* Do you have any problems with Nissan dealers with regard to parts & servicing, or are they generally helpful?

As I said most have no idea. One Nissan mechanic came into the parts department complaining a Honda was in his way, it turned out to be my Skyline :confused:

* Are there any known reliability issues or parts that are known to wear out?

The cars are basically bullet proof if you keep them regularly serviced. One weakness is the transmission if tuned and thrashed around, not exactly a suprise though.

* Stock or tuned? The engine & drivetrain has a reputation for being pretty strong and capable of taking quite a bit of tuning. Is that actually true? How far can you realistically go beofre you need to start strengthening engine internals, etc?

I would recommend buying a stock car as you know some nutter hasn't bodged it up, leaves you the chance to do it :). If you are going to go for a tuned one try contacting Abbey or GT-aRt as they will probably put you on to a car they have tuned. Yes it is true that the skyline can be majorly tuned. A standard car is 280BHP you can take it up to about 400BHP before you have to start pulling the engine apart. Some of the other guys could give you costs on mods.

* What else should I consider when evaluating a car, other than general condition, provenance, etc?

If you want a v-spec check the rear dif thingumy for fins on :confused: Also a lot of used dealers haven't a clue about the models so if you see one post the details here as most people will try and help out where possible

* What differences were there between the few official UK cars and the JDM ones?
I was pretty sure the R33 was never imported officially so I couldn't tell you. The R34 was though, they get some extra luxuries such as leather, they also have extra oil coolers and better corrosion protection to deal with our rain.

Hope that helps,

Matt
 

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Costs

I agree with most of the post don't buy a car built by
Liverpools finest ... Didn't we have a car industry once ?

I use the car like a mondeo or vectra (I'm dangerous)

I drive 18>20,000 @18 mpg say £4,000
(£40 every 200 miles)
Insurance£1,200 <i'm old & carefull>
service tyres valet & bits £ 1,700

Worth every penny £19 a day

I can only think of one thing that beats it VFM
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Cheers for your input guys. What you say seems to confirm what I have read in most motoring journals, that the standard GTR is more suited to our, um, "characterful" roads. :rolleyes: I'm sure that I would probably be more than happy with a non-V-Spec - I think I'm likely to run out of nerve long before the car runs out of ability!

I'd like to try and get along to some of your meets at some point, just to chat and poke my head under the bonnet ("so that's an engine then..."), that sort of thing. Haven't checked the events guide yet - will have a look and see what's local-ish.

Laters

Jules
 
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