Overnight Parts From Japan: Where To Get Parts For Your R32 Skyline - Part 1 of 2
One of the biggest concerns with owning a car that was never officially sold here in the US is figuring out where you can get parts for it. After all, it's not like your local PepZone or Auto Boys would have an RB26 water pump just lying around. And contrary to what The Fast and The Furious would have you believe, you can't just go to Harry's and get some stuff shipped overnight from Japan – most Japanese shops don't even offer expedited shipping so you have to plan ahead. Those 5 minute long 10-second quarter miles are totally realistic though so don't go saying F&F movies are all lies!
Anyway, so where can you get parts for your precious car? Well, it depends on what you need. Of course you're gonna have to look in different spots whether you're looking for basic maintenance stuff versus performance parts versus OEM stuff like trim pieces or whole panels so I'm going to divide this list into different sections depending on what you need. Also, I've highlighted shops that I've bought from and had personal experience with in italics (I tried using a different font color but blogger wouldn't let me do that with a link). Shops that aren't highlighted were recommended to me or that I've checked out but have yet to order from myself.
|With a little work and a willingness to abuse your credit cards you can have a living room littered with parts just like this one!|
Basic Maintenance Parts
If you read my previous post on basic Skyline maintenance you'll probably have noticed that most of the basic maintenance items that you need for a Skyline R32 are commonly available from local auto supply stores or via online shops like Amazon so instead of telling you where to get them I'll list the parts that are commonly available:
- Oil and filters
- Spark plugs
- Fuel filter
- Accessory belts
- Gearbox, differential, and transfer box fluids
- Wiper blades
- Power steering fluid
All of those items should be easy to source since they're fairly generic and my maintenance post mentions places to get them from. The only routine maintenance parts that are unique to the Skyline and you'll likely need to source from a specialist shop should be the timing belt (and water pump since you'll probably want to change that at the same time), air filters, and brake parts. For those you can turn to these next shops.
Performance and Skyline-specific parts (US-based)
There aren't many but there are shops in the USA that carry parts for a Nissan Skyline however most of what they carry are just parts for the RB series of engines (since they've been imported for engine swaps way before the cars themselves were legal) plus a smattering of upgrade parts.
- FRSport.com – carries RB parts including the timing belt kit and water pumps plus some aftermarket pieces like strut bars, radiators, etc. Their customer service agents are helpful; it pays to call them directly before ordering since their website doesn't list stock status. They do ship fast once they have an item though.
- Rawbrokerage.com – shop that specializes in parts for RB engines and swaps. Has a few non-engine upgrade parts like Seibon carbon pieces, brake items, suspension bushings, and so forth. Haven't ordered from them yet but recommended by a couple of friends with RB-swapped 240s.
- TheNismoShop.com – online parts website for West Covina Nissan. Has a selection of maintenance and upgrade items for the Skyline.
Since these stores are US based they're your best bet if you need a part in a hurry but as I mentioned they mostly carry engine parts and just a few commonly available upgrade parts. For OEM items or more esoteric aftermarket parts you have to look farther afield and get them from overseas. In the course of sourcing Skyline parts you might end up getting stuff from the car's original homeland of Nippon, Canada, the UK, Australia, or even, weirdly, the Middle East (one parts distributor has a warehouse there).
OEM parts (trim panels, molding, etc.)
Since these are 25-year old cars most likely you'll find some OEM part that needs replacement whether it be weatherstripping, the center console trim, or that little sticker on the door pillar that says “This car is JDM as f*ck”. Thankfully there are several Japanese stores that specialize in sourcing OEM parts and most items are not that hard to find...yet – because these cars are fairly old the supply of new old-stock parts is dwindling but at least the most commonly replaced items like weatherstripping and badges are still fairly easy to get. When using these stores you'll want to know your cars chassis code (BNR32, HNR32, E36 – err, whoops), serial number, year of manufacture, and paint code (some items are color-matched or unique to a certain color). These stores are Japanese owned but they do email you in English (though not quite perfect).
- JP-carparts.com – has the best system of the Japanese OEM stores I've used for figuring out which part and part number you need since they have online parts diagrams categorized into the same major sections Nissan uses. Fairly quick to respond and ship items (usually 1-2 business days to email you back with availability and another couple of days to ship) and has been the most reliable for me for finding hard-to-get items. They've gotten me parts twice that other shops said were on extended or indefinite back-order. One problem with them is their cumbersome parts inquiry system. With the Japanese OEM parts suppliers the system is that you send in an inquiry for parts, they email you to confirm availability, and then you pay. With JP-carparts there's an online form you have to fill in with the part numbers you find on their parts diagrams and you have to fill it out every time unlike Amayama - #2 below - that has an account system to store your info. Accepts both Paypal and bank transfers. UPDATE: After a few more orders with JP-carparts and Amayama I've found that JP's prices are quite a bit higher than Amayama. Amayama is usually around 25-30% cheaper but JP is better at sourcing parts and overall has better customer service. Amayama can save you a lot of money but if they happen to say they can't get a part, try JP instead.
- Amayama.com – no parts diagrams like JP-carparts. Has a hotlink to a parts database that allows you to input your cars serial number to get or confirm a part number (helpful since there are numerous R32 variations) but has no pictures or diagrams – may have a part name but not always. Parts enquiry form is easier to use and gives you a choice of sources (they have a warehouse in the UAE that sometimes has cheaper prices than their Japanese center) and a quick estimate of the price but they're usually slower to respond and ship than JP – usually 3-4 business days to email you back after an inquiry and equally as long or longer to ship. Prices are similar to JP. Also takes Paypal and bank transfers.
- Partsouq.com – haven't tried this one yet but was recommended by someone on Skylines Australia. Looks similar to JP and Amayama so I might give them a try for a future order. UPDATE: Since this article posted I tried out Partsouq to order some parts and found that their listing of vehicles is very confusing. If you use "Search by VIN" or "Search by number" you'll end up getting no hits; and if you look by brand, the "Skyline" section only lists the R33 and R34 GT-R and (oddly) numerous variations of the R30. The only way to find the R32 is to go under "Brand" (Nissan of course) and choose "Search by FRAME" - which accepts the R32's serial number. If you try "Search by VIN" it asks for a 17 digit VIN and you'll get nowhere. I'm going to try submitting a parts inquiry and update this depending on my experience with that. UPDATE 2: Tried Partsoug and I can confirm now that even if you find the BNR32 listed on their site - hard to do as I said above - you can't order any parts for it from them. Any inquiry just returns "No match found". So Partsouq is a bust for R32 parts but they do seem to carry R33 and R34 parts if you happen to have one.
Mixed OEM and Aftermarket
These stores mostly specialize in carrying a wide variety of aftermarket upgrade parts but they also carry a small selection of more commonly needed OEM parts like moldings, bushings, and so forth.
- RHDJapan – great store if you're looking for aftermarket parts but also has some OEM parts. Website all in English but can be a bit hard to search - however it's worth it for the great prices (saved at least 200 bucks on my Nismo clutch versus other stores). Based in Osaka but owned by English-speaking expats so communications aren't an issue. Ships fairly fast and gives you a choice of shipping method. Also has a points program so if you order a lot of pricey parts you can save a not insignificant amount of money by applying your points to a subsequent order. My first stop for aftermarket parts.
- Nengun Performance – great selection of aftermarket goodies and some OEM parts. Easy to search although selection can be overwhelming. Also shows some used parts and listings from Yahoo auctions so just pay attention to how the parts are listed. Haven't bought from them yet because their prices have been slightly higher than others so far but have heard good things. Japanese shop but has an English-speaking staffer for questions.
- Kudos Motorsports – wonderful Australian shop that carries a lot of aftermarket parts plus commonly needed OEM parts. Several times they've had OEM items for cheaper than even the Japanese stores and in stock rather than backorder. Ships very fast – usually the next day – but only uses Australian post so allow at least a week for arrival. Also sends regular email updates so you know what's going on. I highly recommend them.
This concludes part 1. Come back later for part 2 where I'll list some sources for harder-to-find items like large parts, discontinued items, and new carpet.