Last year I bought a C-West body kit for my S14. It arrived in two shipments due to some delays with Japan and the Tsunami that hit. My plan was originally to install it over the winter but we ended up moving. And then it was Spring and I didn’t want the downtime that may come from it since I had to do some modifications to make the kit fit.
Well, after several delays I finally got the kit installed. Installing a body kit can be relatively easy if you’ve done it before, but if it’s your first time it can be quite confusing. Let me explain a few of the steps that made my life a little easier the second time around.
First, make sure you test fit the kit before you paint it. You will most likely need to cut and sand the kit to get it to line up properly. The cheaper body kits will not match up very well at all without some work. They also don’t typically come with the holes drilled, so you’ll want to do your best to match those up with the OEM holes (and you’ll probably need to drill a few of your own as well). Go ahead and mount your lights in the front bumper to make sure they fit (they usually don’t). When you’re doing your front bumper, you may actually have to notch your bumper support depending on whether it’s USDM or JDM. The JDM vehicles don’t require the front crash bumper so you may run into fitment problems here. I used a circular saw to notch my bumper. It’s easier if you go ahead and remove your front headlights while mounting the bumper. You may also want to jack up one side at a time and remove your wheels for easy access to mount the side skirts. The C-West kit itself would have fit perfectly if I didn’t have a FMIC or USDM bumper support. The bolt holes were pre-drilled and everything lined up nearly perfect.
Once you have test fit everything and it matches up pretty good you’ll want to paint the kit. Make sure you sand and fill as needed, because most kits will have pin holes or seams from the molds used to create them. After the kit is painted you just reinstall it on the car very carefully. I like using a mixture of bolts and OEM style push plugs. The bolts are mounted in discrete locations but help keep it firmly attached, and the push pins are for more obvious locations that give it more of an OEM look. On the S14 you have some holes for mud flaps in the rear wheel well and you can use the fender cover screws in the front wheel well, but the side skirts will need two holes drilled in the rear wheel well closest to the front of the car. You’ll need to remove the wheel to do this of course. It’s also a good idea to use double sided tape along seams, but make sure that you position it so that it doesn’t show through when looking at the kit from above. You’ll want it off the edge just a bit.
When you’re all done and lowering your floor jacks, make sure you don’t crack your side skirts. If it’s going to hit the jack, just slide a piece of wood under your tire and then lower the car down.
There aren’t many tips on the web about installing custom body kits, but I found that it’s relatively easy once you’ve taken the time to learn how to do it yourself.