What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

Carried on from: “Buying a Cheap Craigslist Nissan 240sx is the Best Worst Idea Ever.



I struggle to think of a time when the word “slipping” is a positive, excluding when it’s used in conjunction with the term “slide” and alcohol is involved. Barring inebriated backyard antics, slipping is not a good thing. Sadly, with the Project Craigslist 240sx, that was it’s most noticeable trait. The automatic transmission had to go.


So it began, more fervent searching online for parts, this time, to complete a manual transmission swap. I am part of every California 240sx-related group on Facebook, I don’t like it. The last time we did this, we ended up buying the beleaguered red lump parked in the backyard, and I didn’t like that much, either.

While we considered the various available options to waste more money on, some wrenching took place. In our case, most everything in the car was coming out of the car. Can we double back to the aforementioned inebriated backyard antics? After an hour of up close and personal action with the 240, we all needed a drink, or ten.


The headlights, the engine bay, the shoddy interior, the speakers that were plugged into nothing, and it was even intertwined in the suspension. WHY IS SPEAKER WIRE SO INTEGRAL TO THIS VEHICLE?


Oh, but the worst offender was the exhaust. By the time we had pulled all of the speaker wire out of the car, mind you, none of it was ever even intended for the non-existant radio, we had about 100 feet worth of the stuff.

Normally, I would spend the next two paragraphs abusing hyperbole, and attempting to make obscure allusions to seem witty, but no. This car, and everything about it is terrible.


We spent the next couple of days looking for the miscellaneous pieces needed for a manual transmission swap. There are some difficult pieces to find (used, and/or cheaply) because you basically have to pray that someone is parting their car and willing to get rid of some unusual odds and ends. How often do you see clutch pedals for sale? Beyond that, we also began to accrue parts to correct the various imbalances, and missing bits on the car. The steering rack was shot, so we bought a spare rack that can be sent out for a rebuild. The car had Tein coilovers in the front and stock suspension in the back, and we managed to find someone selling matching rear Tein coilovers. This sort of haphazard collect-a-thon continued until it was time to pull the motor and transmission from the car.

Basic checklist to pull the motor out of your POS 240:

  • Disconnect exhaust
  • Disconnect driveshaft
  • Remove transmission crossmember
  • Unbolt the motor mounts
  • Screw everything else on this piece of junk car
  • ?????
  • “It’s happening!”

We knew that our 240 had greater ambitions than a single cam KA, so with the motor and trans out of the car, we separated the two, and listed the motor for sale online. We had pictures of the engine sitting on a tire, and videos of the engine running when it was still in the car, basically, a perfect advertisement. Why I don’t work in Hollywood, I’ll never know.

Illustration for article titled Wrenching on a Cheap Craigslist Nissan 240sx is the Best Worst Idea Ever

There were a dozen suitors lined up to buy it. Many of them were local, and I don’t mean like an hour away, but in the area local, I mean like they live in the same town as us, and should have no problem picking up this cheap engine. One guy lived about 5 miles away! However, while some of them were local, some were not. One of them was from Bakersfield, which, as a map would tell you, is far away. It’s so far away that it would be faster to drag the engine with my bare hands down the street for five miles than to wait for someone from Bakersfield to arrive at my house.


Everyone bailed, but the kid from Bakersfield. After speaking with the young man from Bakersfield, he agreed that on the upcoming Saturday, he would be in Long Beach, ready to pick up the crusty old motor. Saturday rolls around and Bakersfield calls, advising that he couldn’t make it. I was disheartened until he said, that he couldn’t make it, but his parents were on their way to pick it up. Talk about parents of the year award. Sure enough, about an hour later, a married couple in a Nissan Rogue rolled up and were here for an engine.

Now, contrary to popular opinion, the Nissan Rogue is not a pickup truck with a tail gate and a bed, it is in fact a small SUV. Small SUVs were not intended to be probed by an engine hoist, especially one with an engine still dangling off of it. However, Momma and Papa Bakersfield were determined, and after some adjustments, they had an engine nestled in their back seat. They handed over some cash and hit the road. This was about two months ago, I’m not sure if they’ve yet to make it back to Bakersfield.

So now our crummy 240 had no engine, and about half the parts needed for a manual swap, but we had cash burning away in our back pockets. I wonder what happens next...



Jake Stumph is a certified car nut and track day bro. He is not the best about actually cataloguing all of the antics and hijinx that he and his friends get into with the written word, but tends to get most of it on video. That said, you should follow him on Facebook, or YouTube. Why? Because he managed to write this bio in the third person and not break character.

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