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15yo ADR-ing - Part Two

Part Two of ADR-ing a 15yo Japanese import...

By Michael Knowling

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At a glance...

  • Second of three part series
  • The Australian Design Rules process of....
  • Fuel filler restrictor and label
  • Intrusion bars (with engineer certification)
  • VIN stamping
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In Part One of this series we went through the initial steps of ADR-ing a 15 year old Japanese import vehicle. In this article we’ll continue with the ADR process – this time it’s the fuel filler, child restraint anchorages, intrusion bars and vehicle identification...

Fuel Filler Restrictor and Label

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The Statement of Requirements issued for our imported Nissan 180SX outlines the need to fit a fuel filler restrictor together with an unleaded fuel label.

The purpose of the fuel filler restrictor (which must be 23.6mm diameter or less) is to prevent somebody inserting a non-unleaded fuel nozzle into the filler neck. A spring loaded flap – which closes the filler tract when the nozzle is removed – is also required by ADRs.

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Some people have attempted to install the fuel restrictor insert at home but, unless you have an air compressor and special tools, it’s easier to call upon the professionals. We enlisted the services of John Verban of YahooMotorsport (the business from which we purchased the car).

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John uses a compressor-driven expansion tool to enlarge the factory fuel filler neck to accept a new insert. Once the neck has been sufficiently expanded, the new filler insert is installed with a bead of petrol-resistant adhesive sealant. This takes a couple of hours to dry, so don’t refit the fuel cap straight away.

YahooMotorsport charges AUD$65 to supply and fit the filler restrictor. A surcharge may apply to certain vehicles.

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An unleaded fuel label must also be permanently fixed in the area of the fuel filler. The most elegant and ADR-assured approach is to purchase an OE fuel label. We used a "Premium unleaded 98 RON fuel only" label from an Australian-delivered Subaru Liberty B4. The cost for this label is just AUD$2.25 (Part No 10024AA120).

Note that the label must have wording to the effect of "unleaded fuel only" or "unleaded gasoline only" and its lettering must be at least 6mm tall.

Child Restraint Anchorages

The fitment of child restraint anchorages was the next ADR requirement that we turned our attention to.

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Like many Japanese import vehicles, the 180SX is not factory fitted with child restraint anchorages. ADRs necessitate a child restraint anchorage for each of the vehicle’s two rear seating positions.

According to our local traffic authority, child restraint anchorages must be positioned within 40mm of the centreline of each rear seating position. The anchorage should be easily accessible and the surrounding metalwork (which takes the load in the event of a collision) must be structurally sound.

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A 5/16th inch UNC anchorage bolt has been adopted as ‘universal standard’ but note that there are two types of anchorage fittings. This illustration shows the difference between the early-model and the late-model type. The late-model fitting is the one that’s required.

Off-the-Shelf Child Restraint Kits

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Child restraint anchorage kits can be purchased from a variety of automotive retailers. These kits contain the late-model anchorage fitting, a circular backing plate, spacers, washers, 5/16th UNC anchorage bolt and nut.

We initially purchased a pair of these kits expecting them to contain everything we needed for our 180SX. We were wrong...

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In order to meet our necessary ADRs, we also required a threaded backing plate which is not included in the kit. Note that this threaded backing plate must also be permanently fastened to the vehicle’s body.

So why is this permanently mounted and threaded backing plate necessary?

Well, it serves to eliminate the scenario where a child restraint anchorage has been removed and somebody tries to screw in another anchorage bolt – unaware that the backing plate and securing nut have since fallen to the ground or inside the boot...

Note that, as far as we are aware, there are no specific size or strength requirements for the threaded backing plate. However, bigger is better as it reduces the chance of the restraint anchorage pulling through the body in the event of a collision.

Threaded backing plates (such as the one photographed above) are available pre-fabricated from vehicle seat and trim specialists. Each one costs only a few dollars.

Note that the threaded backing plate is typically riveted or welded to the underside of the body. We are told that adhesives are not acceptable.

So, armed with a pair of off-the-shelf anchorage kits and separate threaded backing plates, we began the task on fitting the child restraints anchorages at home.

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The first step was to identify the centreline of the rear seating positions. This was derived from the curvature and trim joins of the seat. The centrelines of each seating position were then extended rearward and marked on the cargo area floor.

Sounds easy, eh?

Well, unfortunately, these lines did not match with where we’d seen child restraints fitted to other ADR’d 180SXs. Hmmm... We could either mount the anchorages where we thought they were supposed to go, or we could follow in the footsteps of others.

Our decision was to handball the responsibility of child restraint placement to the ADR-ing specialist we had enlisted to install the intrusion bars – Best Enterprises in South Australia. Best Enterprises have ADR’d countless 180SXs - including later-model examples, which need to meet more stringent ADR requirements than a 15 year old version.

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As seen here, Best Enterprises uses a jig to locate and drill the holes for the child restraint anchorages. The use of a jig ensures the anchorages are in the same ADR-approved spot every time. Note that three holes are required for each restraint – one for the anchorage bolt and two for the rivets that are used to secure the backing plate to the body. Once drilled, the holes are cleaned up with a file and underbody sealant is applied from beneath the vehicle.

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In the case of the 180SX, a section of body sound deadening needs to be scraped away to give the restraint anchorages a solid mounting surface.

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The next step is to secure the threaded backing plate to the body. This photo shows the backing plate being held in position from beneath the vehicle, while another person rivets it into place from inside the cargo area.

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Once the threaded backing plate has been secured, the child restraint fitting can be bolted into position. The anchorage bolt is tightened to the torque recommended by the restraint manufacturer. Note that Best Enterprises installs the anchorage together with a neat, flip-over plastic cover.

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Once the child restraint anchorages have been installed, the cargo floor carpet receives a couple of U-shaped cuts to allow the fittings to poke through. The chipboard cover for the spare wheel must also be trimmed to accommodate the passenger side fitting.

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And here’s the finished product (seen to the right the factory luggage tie-downs).

That’s the child restraint anchorages done - at last...

Door Intrusion Bars

Most Japanese-market vehicles are not equipped with side intrusion bars that meet ADR standards - and the Nissan 180SX is no exception.

In the case of the 180SX, we were never going to attempt to design, fabricate and install the intrusion bars at home – a lack of facilities, equipment and design knowledge decided this. Instead, we farmed the job out to Best Enterprises.

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Best Enterprises take the approach of bolting and riveting the intrusion bars into place. This eliminates the need to remove and repaint part of the door, which is normal when the bars are welded into place. This photo shows the pre-fabricated intrusion bars that Best Enterprises employ.

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As seen here, the process begins by removing the door trims and plastic weather shields.

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Next, the ‘guts’ of the door must be removed to make space for the installation of the intrusion bars. The door lock, top trim, window and its electric up/down mechanism are removed.

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The intrusion bars used by Best Enterprises can be fitted through the gap in the top of the door (where the glass normally slides through). In this photo, the bar has been slid down into the door and is being manoeuvred into approximate position.

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The forward end of the intrusion bar is secured using high tensile bolts. This photo shows the holes being drilled through the end of the door. (A fiddly process!)

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Here are the two holes drilled and filed clean ready to accept the leading end of the intrusion bar.

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The leading end of the intrusion bar is aligned with the door holes and a pair of high tensile bolts is used to secure it into position. Once these bolts are tightened to Best Enterprises’ torque specification, the trailing end of the bar can be installed.

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When the trailing end of the intrusion bar is in its appropriate position, a series of three holes are drilled through the door and the intrusion bar’s trailing mounting flange. These holes are spaced exactly the same distance apart so that in the event of a side impact, each rivet shares a similar load.

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Once the holes are drilled, 3/16 inch rivets are used to secure the trailing end off the intrusion bar to the door. In this photo, the intrusion bar is being hold in position while the serious-looking rivet gun is brought into action.

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And here’s the intrusion bar installed.

The same installation process is then applied to the opposite door.

Engineer Certification

Once the intrusion bars have been fitted, the installation must be inspected by an accredited engineer. This is to certify that the intrusion bars meet specific strength requirements.

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As seen here, the engineer will typically take photographs of the intrusion bar fitment. In addition, the engineer will also sign a "Certificate of Inspection with Respect to Australian Design Rules" that confirms all intrusion bar related standards are met.

Best Enterprises employs Australian Technology Pty Ltd for the approval of their intrusion bars. Australian Technology charges a certification fee, which Best Enterprises includes in the final charge for the intrusion bars.

Total cost is AUD$550.

Vehicle Identification

The final ADR step for our Nissan 180SX was to stamp its VIN into the body. This is a requirement for all vehicles manufactured after January 1st, 1989.

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Again, special tools are required for this job so we left it to Best Enterprises. This photo shows the 17 digit chassis number being hammered into the strut tower with an alpha-numeric punch set. Note that the VIN must be located on a permanent structure of the vehicle and the characters must be at least 7mm tall.

In Part Three – the final – of this series we’ll perform the necessary vehicle repairs, go through a roadworthy inspection and (hopefully) emerge with a new pair of number plates and registration...

Footnote – AutoSpeed was charged AUD$20 for the fitment of the fuel filler neck and AUD$500 for the fitment and certification of the intrusion bars. These prices are AUD$45 and AUD$50 (respectively) below the typical charges.


Yahoo Motorsport

+61 8 8345 0939/ 0416 080462

Best Enterprises +61 8 8262 6055

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