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Old 26-05-2015, 07:35 AM   #1
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Owning a Skyline in the USA, life after importing

Hello everyone,

I'm making a new thread for my first post. Bad form, I know. That being said, I generally lurk a lot and read up on pertinent threads before throwing up a new one. I'm active and have been a part of many other forums, including Supramania (back when I owned a mkIII 1JZ supra), ClubProtege (when I owned a 1994 Ford Escort GT and was planning on a GTX motor ((1.8L Turbo)) swap) as well as other non-auto forums.

My relevant experience is with my mKIII Supra, which was a USDM car, but had the JDM 1JZ engine. Finding parts for that engine could be (and ocassionally was) a total pain in the dick. If I got a Skyline, it'd be a daily driver through most of Spring, Summer and Fall, so this information I'm requesting from you all would be supremely helpful. I live in Omaha, NE so my options are somewhat more limited than you lucky f*ckers living in NYC, Miami or LA. I'd like to have all of my ducks in a row before splurging on a Skyline, as much as I NEED (not want) one.

The reason I'm creating this as I have noticed most threads and information seem to revolve around just getting your Skyline INTO the US. But what happens after that? What happens after the car is imported, registered, insured and you are free to putt putt around the block with your amazeballs Skyline?

I'd like to hear from fellow US citizens, living in the US, on how you find parts to replace those that go out. Where do you get your vehicles worked on? What problems have you noticed in your Skyline? What are some of the hurdles you've had to overcome owning not only a car with a JDM engine, but a complete vehicle with JDM parts? I saw the thread that had a few of the parts listed that cross reference to other vehicles, but it was somewhat limited. I thank you in advance for your time and help, I do appreciate it.
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Old 26-05-2015, 04:51 PM   #2
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The ownership experience is exactly why I started my blog 23GT. When I was researching getting one I ran into the same thing - lots of talk on buying one but few people talking about what it was like to own one. If you go to my blog at 23gt.blogspot.com I've already made several posts on my R32 ownership and I'll be adding more addressing important stuff like maintenance needs and where to get parts.

Parts are fairly easy to get actually if you do your homework. You'll have to get them from overseas but most parts I've been able to get within 2 weeks and I've already bought a LOT of parts from trim panels to new carpet to a new twin-plate clutch. A lot of basic maintenance stuff can be had from local parts stores with only the timing belt having to be bought online in my case. I'll be posting a list of my sources in the next 2-3 weeks with info on my own experience ordering from them.

If you're worried about owning one in Omaha, well I live in Yuma, Arizona which is a small city with only a quarter of your population and 200 miles from any other truly big city and haven't really had any issues. Networking's been important though and it's helped massively that I'm close with my local Nissan service department and I have a friend who owns a race shop here in town.
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Old 26-05-2015, 05:03 PM   #3
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Hey there, GSX is right that getting parts isn't really that big of a deal. Granted, you're going to have to pay shipping on just about everything, but it's not too bad. Your best bet for parts are the traders on this forum as well as Nengun.com and RHDjapan.com. There's a ton of other websites, but for the most part, you can't go wrong with what I mentioned.

Some of the key factors in owning skyline in the US:

Insurance - make sure you can afford it BEFORE you buy the car. Shop around a bit. There's plenty of discussions on this forum about this, so search away.

Cost - Skylines are extremely expensive compared to most other cars because they're rarely left stock. Expect to put about as much into the car as you spent on the purchase price. That's a pretty safe statement for most owners. It's also extremely easy to get carried away on your build as well, so make sure you budget for all this stuff. The last thing you want is to only have $200 per month left over to spend on your new ride, either in maintenance or upgrades.

Driving - expect A LOT of attention. Everybody and their mother will try to race you. In addition, people will drive like complete morons trying to take pictures of your car while they're supposed to be driving. This is a serious issue, so expect the attention and plan on how to deal with it - e.g. smile, wave and break eye contact.

Right-hand driving - I haven't run into any serious issues with visibility or anything when turning or the like. I actually find shifting with my left hand easier since my right hand stays on the wheel and I'm right handed. Just don't look to go through any drive-thru's any time soon. If you do have to (ex. - getting a ticket for a parking garage), you're going to have to step out of your car and walk around to get the ticket.
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Old 27-05-2015, 04:13 AM   #4
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Daily driving is a huge mistake. A high-strung, 25 yr old Nissan can and probably will leave you stranded. Parts have to be sourced from around the world. My hood flew up and busted my roof after U.S. Customs broke the latch during inspection when It arrived at port. Cost $1500 to fix. I'm also spending another $2000+ on fixing other stuff and removing rusty/broken/missing parts along with some upgrades. If you don't have lots of cash in reserve to fix what's wrong, will go wrong or to maintain it, a GTR is not for you. Either get a GTS-T or skip Skylines altogether.

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Old 28-05-2015, 04:11 PM   #5
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Skylines are definitely expensive vehicles, but I've had a very different experience with reliability. I daily drove my r33 GTR for 3 years at about 600 bhp and it's been the most reliable car I've ever owned. Not so much as a flat tire. I don't see much difference in owning a GTST vs a GTR from a cost perspective. Neither have particularly accessible parts, so you're paying a bit of a premium either way to get them imported. I say go with a GTR.
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Old 30-05-2015, 04:51 AM   #6
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Well, for example, I just changed all my drivetrain fluids using Motul and Nissan ATF D and between two differentials, a transfer case and the ATTESA pump and reservoir (plus a bottle of Redline Water Wetter to keep the coolant from boiling over in the summer on the track), it all ran up to $175. There's just less stuff to maintain or break with rear-wheel drive. A GT-R is also about twice as expensive to import as a GTS-T.
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Old 31-05-2015, 01:56 AM   #7
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Owned my R33 GTST since March. It hasn't been a pain surprisingly. LOTS attention which is no big deal. I've replaced oil pan (one on it had big dent), replaced valve cover gasket, plugs, coil packs, rear rotors and pads, and coilovers. All was bought in the US. In fact valve cover and oil pan was OEM bought from local Nissan dealership. I live in central FL so this dealership stock lots JDM parts for local speed shops. I googled interchangeable parts for R33 and got lots good stuff. Rear rotors are from 300z was exact size and pads were also 300z. Still haven't found any exact size front rotors yet but at them moment no need. Got Splitfire coil packs through local speed shop no problem.
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Old 31-05-2015, 03:59 AM   #8
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It is expensive to maintain a Skyline. It's a 25 year old vehicle, and on top of that is a performance vehicle.

Most of your problems, however, will come from ****tarded previous owners. Once you sort through them, and assuming you keep good care of it, the car will take care of you. I only have problems with things previous owners poor accomplished on the vehicle.

Bottom line: Expect high cost for upkeep. Expect a lot of shitty work to keep it running, especially at first. It won't be so bad once you find all the little ******* problems the previous owner(s) left for you.

I can't tell you about insurance, I'm using USAA, so they kinda hook us up.
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Old 01-06-2015, 02:26 AM   #9
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Hear, hear on 'tarded previous owners. I'm finding little things like windshield molding adhesive and sheet metal screws being used to mount the side skirts, missing door speakers, leaking front main/crank seal due to previous owner improperly installing it when the timing belt was done, turbo timer and boost controller velcroed to the underside of the steering wheel that stopped sticking, boost had been turned up too much on stock turbos... etc. etc. All of it has been eye and wallet opening to get sorted.

Last edited by kabob; 27-07-2015 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66gt40lm View Post
It is expensive to maintain a Skyline. It's a 25 year old vehicle, and on top of that is a performance vehicle.

Most of your problems, however, will come from ****tarded previous owners. Once you sort through them, and assuming you keep good care of it, the car will take care of you. I only have problems with things previous owners poor accomplished on the vehicle.

Bottom line: Expect high cost for upkeep. Expect a lot of shitty work to keep it running, especially at first. It won't be so bad once you find all the little ******* problems the previous owner(s) left for you.

I can't tell you about insurance, I'm using USAA, so they kinda hook us up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kabob View Post
Here here on 'tarded previous owners. I'm finding little things like windshield molding adhesive and sheet metal screws being used to mount the side skirts, missing door speakers, leaking front main/crank seal due to previous owner improperly installing it when the timing belt was done, turbo timer and boost controller velcroed to the underside of the steering wheel that stopped sticking, boost had been turned up too much on stock turbos... etc. etc. All of it has been eye and wallet opening to get sorted.
Another vote for **tarded owners - the previous owner or owners of my car did some good stuff like installing a bunch of HKS, Greddy, Cusco, Tomei, etc. parts but then at some point somebody cheaped out and neglected the paint, welded in some redneck quality bracing into the trunk, and used some retarded mounting solutions for gauges and whatnot. At least the car runs solid but I'm having to sort through the aesthetic issues now to give my new old baby back her previous shine.
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Old 01-06-2015, 05:12 PM   #11
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Damn Kabob...sorry to hear...you have had problem after problem the last 3 months.

My GTR just arrived in NYC last week. Hopefully clear customs and ready for pick up this week.

Agree with everyone on availability of parts. I got some very nice used parts through the forums and everything else from Nengun, RHD, etc.

Shipping sucks, but buy in bulk instead of one or two parts at a time.

I have a very talented guy near me who only works on Skylines and RBs.

He is going to pull my motor and put in all new turbos, clutch, fluids, water/oil pumps, starter, hoses, radiator, intercooler, powder coat engine covers, power fc, oil cooler, injectors, fuel pump, etc.

Pretty much everything short of a forged rebuild/stroker.

This way I don't have any problems because I know I just replaced a majority of the wear parts and got a solid/safe tune.

I would rather address everything at once instead of have a seal fail...fix it...few weeks later...misfire...fix it...few weeks later another issue.

I also bought a mint GTR. Grade 4 auction car with service history. 133k km. only mods are pod filters, exhaust and boost controller. So pretty much stock and not ghetto rigged.

All said the car, shipping, customs, taxes, insurance was $20k plus another $10k for all the parts/labor for my build.

That doesn't even include coilovers, brakes, suspension, wheels/tires, which will wait till next year.

I could have bought a GTS and modded it for well under $20k.

Like all things car related - MONEY...if you don't have it...take your butt home.
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