1990 R31 Skyline: Our Shed

By: Scott Newman, Photography by: Scott Newman

1990 R31 Skyline 1990 R31 Skyline 1990 R31 Skyline
1990 R31 Skyline 1990 R31 Skyline 1990 R31 Skyline
1990 R31 Skyline 1990 R31 Skyline 1990 R31 Skyline

Our shed: Parts for late-’80s cars are getting scarce, as Scotty finds out the hard way...

1990 R31 Skyline: Our Shed
Our shed: 1990 R31 Skyline


1990 R31 Skyline

Thunk – kkkrrrrrrrr.Uh oh. I’m about as good a mechanic as I am a brain surgeon, but even I knew that the sound of sheetmetal being fed into a wood chipper coming from the rear-end of the Skyline spelled bad news.

A couple of phone calls to mechanic mates soon confirmed my suspicions – the Sillo wasn’t going anywhere under its own steam.

R31 Skylines are notoriously weak in the diff and given that the second-hand unit had whined like John McEnroe ever since it had been installed 18 months earlier, its failure was no great surprise.

However, the ever-dependable Pete from Supafix Automotive in Melbourne’s south east suburbs informed me that shoddy Nissan engineering was not to blame in this case.

It turns out that whoever replaced the diff last (sub-contracted out through another mechanic) failed to put a gasket on the pan and all the oil leaked out! Given it was effectively running with no lubrication, it’s amazing the diff held out as long as it did.

This did leave me with a problem, though. As my car is a manual Silhouette, it needs a 3.7:1 ratio LSD, which just happen to be rarer than a Melbourne FC win.

For a few frantic days, it appeared that I’d have to face that most fearsome of old-car conundrums: At what point do the repair bills become uneconomical? Could a busted diff write off an otherwise perfectly healthy Skyline?

Thankfully, through Moonah Auto Parts Recyclers in Tassie a complete rear-end was found at Grand Auto Wreckers in South Australia at a reasonable price. They sent it to Pete, who promptly put the jigsaw puzzle back together (correctly, unlike the last mob) and the R31’s driveline is back to its silky-smooth best.

Let’s hope this one lasts a bit longer than a year...


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