Jump to content
Ritchie

Brat LHD to RHD conversion?

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

I currently have a RHD Brat (MV) that I bought as a project as I had always liked them and it suits my needs. Unfortunately it is quite rusty and I just don't have the time to repair it properly.

So, I have recently purchased a (hopefully) more or less rust free LHD example from Texas (I haven't received it yet)

Ideally I would like to convert it to RHD using the parts from the truck I currently have.

I have heard of it being done, however I can't find much detail on the process.

My concerns are with the firewall and the shape for installing the dash and steering column as I know that there a bracket to support this.

I'm an ex car mechanic so I'm not adverse to a bit of chopping and welding, I was just curious if the full firewall would have to be swapped or if I'll get away with just cutting holes for the steering column and brake booster etc and welding on the column bracket on the right side.

Has anybody here done this?

I'd also like to change from double lights to the singles but I'm sure this will be pretty straightforward.

All info would be much appreciated, there looks to be lots of good info on this site.

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At least use the engine cross member and retain LHD brake master.

Yeah, I'll use the crossmember, I'll have to re-locate the master cylinder as it'll have to mount in front of the pedal box.

I'm really hoping I don't have to swap the full dash panel / firewall and it's just a case of re-locating the column bracket.

I can't find any clear photos of the panel behind the dash.

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if you have worked this out yet or not but from the picture I have when the dash was out, both sides look fairly similar to each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if you have worked this out yet or not but from the picture I have when the dash was out, both sides look fairly similar to each other.

Yeah, from what have manage to see on the net, they do look pretty similar. I'll be extremely happy if it's just a case of relocating the column bracket and drilling hose for the brake booster etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello all, just an update on this in case anybody wants to do this in the future.

I completed the conversion, pretty straight forward really, the hardest part was cutting a hole on the nearside for the heater blower intake and spot welding on the rain deflection plate under the scuttle panel.

Otherwise it was easy enough.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update Ritchie! 

Glad it all went well!

My brumby is currently dash-less and is RHD so I could’ve got the required pics for you. But I’m a little late to the party for that! 

Cheers 

Bennie

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to know for anyone looking at importing a hatch from the US to a RHD country...

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, dfoyl said:

Good to know for anyone looking at importing a hatch from the US to a RHD country...

 

I thought this was PROHIBITIVLY difficult/expensive in AUS?  I've had folks from Chile to Oz and beyond talk about buying RX 3-doors, but when I suggest importing one, they tell me it's nearly impossible...  At least if it's 25-y.o. the U.S. government doesn't really care what you import.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, carfreak85 said:

I thought this was PROHIBITIVLY difficult/expensive in AUS?  I've had folks from Chile to Oz and beyond talk about buying RX 3-doors, but when I suggest importing one, they tell me it's nearly impossible...  At least if it's 25-y.o. the U.S. government doesn't really care what you import.

It’s two sided - imports costs and complainance. Import costs are usually the same across the board. Compliance is not and depends on the vehicle. 

For example, the MY hatch can have brumby doors fitted to comply with the side intrusion bar requirement. The 3 door coupe, these need to be fitted by a qualified company. The means welding and labour time to do it. 

I don’t think the RHD conversion would be difficult, it’d just require an engineer to sign off and since you be using factory parts from a donor vehicle I doubt there would be an issue with this. 

May the end of the day it comes down to how deep your pockets are to take on a pursuit like this. 

I’d have a three door RXII coupe from NZ if I could afford it! And I’ll take a hatch while I’m at it ;) 

Cheers 

Bennie

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bennie, Brumby's don't have side intrusion bars as far as I'm aware - only the coupes :) Farmers didn't need them, only the city folk...

In terms of importing, it's really not difficult at all for a car pre-1989 (by December this year it will be any car > 25 years old) - as long as you get a VIA approved prior to the car landing (cost $50). Anything post-1989 is probably all kinds of red tape and $$. Bring on December 1st, anything made before 1995 gives us access to a few interesting JDM models...or wait until 2022 and find a 22B...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dfoyl said:

Bennie, Brumby's don't have side intrusion bars as far as I'm aware - only the coupes :) Farmers didn't need them, only the city folk...

I know the coupe got a beefed up intrusion bar. The brumby has a lame excuse for an intrusion bar. Roos can do some serious side panel damage when they run into you! But I’d prefer that over getting one in the front end - they regularly write new and old cars off (and themselves in the process). 

1 hour ago, dfoyl said:

Bring on December 1st, anything made before 1995 gives us access to a few interesting JDM models...or wait until 2022 and find a 22B...

Good luck with that! 

Cheers 

Bennie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From previous experience importing GTR's into Australia, it isn't all that difficult but the taxes... They were the bloody killer!!! Shipping and insurance wasn't so bad if you go roll on/roll off, shipping in a container can get pretty bloody expensive. All up including shipping, taxes and compliancing, it usually added an extra $5,000 - $10,000. Back then, if it cost you $18,000 to buy the car, it usually owed you between $25,000 and $28,000 landed and ready for market. After it was all said and done, there was at least $7,000 min. profit per car so it wasn't a bad way to make a few extra bucks on the side and drive some really cool cars :-)

 

What was also another killer that I almost got caught out on the first time was RWC items. Rediculously, when a vehicle comes into Australia and goes through compliancing/RWC, if items need to be replaced, they must be replaced with factory original items. So things like brakes can become a real issue, GTR's being fitted with Brembo brakes, it meant they had to be fitted with factory Nissan items or Brembo original pads and rotors only. Aftermarket pads and rotors were not acceptable. Back then, they were talking figures of between $1,750 and $2,500 and upwards for new pads and rotors and god help you if you needed calipers rebuilding. That quickly chews into the profit margin. Especially if there were any other faults that needed attending to.

 

Now we have no vehicle manufacturing left in Australia, its going to be very interesting to see if the plans to open up the importation laws as much as they reckon go ahead. There are some WAY cool cars in Japan just begging to be brought to Australia.

 

Oh... And speaking of roo's writing cars and themselves off. I've hit several over the years, been lucky to get away with minor damage in all of them bar one. And you guessed it, nailed one in my own personal 97 R33 GTR V-Spec II. Nothing I could do about it, halfway through a bend, came out of no where and bang. I can remember watching his legs fold over the bonnet, his body slam into the bonnet and thinking to myself, "spoob, he's about to come through the windscreen". Sat back in my seat as far as I could, closed my eyes and waited for the glass shower to stop. How he never hit me I will never know, the complete drivers half of the windscreen was completely missing, regurgitated grass was all through the car everywhere!!! Took weeks to get that spoob off the dash and out of the seats. All up, complete front end including rad support panel, left and right headlights, bonnet, wiper arms, windscreen and also damage to the roof where it got peeled back a couple of inches as the Roo went over the roof. All up from memory, about $15,000 in parts and labour to repair my pride and joy. And yes ladies and gentle man, all that damage was caused by hitting one of those big bastards at 100 km/h - 105 km/h. Thankfully at the time I had GPS proving that for the whole 700 km trip up until that point, I hadn't exceeded 115 km/h. And FFS don't hit a wombat, those fuckers will really ruin your day!!!

 

Sorry, off topic I know.

 

Cheers,

 

Al

Edited by Al Zhiemer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×