Saturday, May 26, 2018

Fixing the Interior, Part 4 (DEFI Heads Up Display)

So one unique item I've had on my car for many years is a Heads Up Display (HUD) unit made by DEFI called the VSD Basis (no longer in production but here is the English instruction manual!) that displays speed or engine revs (it's a primitive system) on the lower right side of the windshield.  I got this because for the longest time I did not want to change the OEM speedometer, which only displays up to 180kph, but of course the car is capable of much more (especially after installation of the Mine's built engine) and I needed a way to figure out how fast I was going on the track. Since unlike some other GT-R owners here in Japan (especially a certain rich millennial BNR34 owner), I actually track my car. (or used to, anyway - and will again soon - that's what the car is designed for!).

Control unit on left, display unit on right.
The control unit for the Defi had previously been attached by double stick tape to the fuse box cover - right above my right knee and readily accessible so I could change not only between speed and engine revs, but also brightness depending on time of day.

So of course when I got my car back from Nakamura of WORX, I was SUPER PISSED OFF to find out that the control unit had disappeared. When I asked where it was, he told me he had placed it BEHIND the driver's side kick panel - out of sight, out of mind.  WTF?? UNACCEPTABLE!

Now, I understand he didn't want to tape or glue it to the leather covered fuse box cover (and THANK GOD he didn't - or worse BOLT it on...), but could he have not made a bracket? He had shown such creativity with the additional fuses in the trunk, and the bracket in the glove box which he had even covered in matching Alcantara (but then proceeded to ruin it by drilling two screws into the leather... sigh...)
Custom fuse box for audio items in trunk by Nakamura. Nice, right? Except now that I've uncovered his errors, I'm worried about this. Will have to go and double check there aren't any problems...
At least he didn't damage anything this time. I should be grateful, but now it was up to me to figure out how and where to place the control unit.

So I decided to take a look. When I removed the cover, I discovered that he had used various zip ties to secure the unit, and at the same time, had used shrink tubing to shorten the length the wiring going into the unit. This meant that I would not be able to relocate to the left side of the dash nor next to my left leg - the control unit would have to stay relatively close to its original location.

After re-routing the wiring to its maximum length, I found and bent a piece of thin aluminum in an effort to make a bracket.  My idea was to use one of the bolts securing the dashboard as the base to which the bracket would attach.

Unfortunately, after a few tries I discovered that my solo DIY efforts were not going to work. And, unless I was willing to be very patient and have a very special bracket made, a quick solution was not going to present itself.

In the end, I decided that the original fuse box cover was indeed the correct location, not only because I was used to it but ergonomically it works very well. So, the next step is then to decide how to affix the control unit.  Clearly, I do not want to use glue or super strong double stick tape, which would likely damage the leather.

So, the only solution I could come up with was to use rubber bands to literally strap the unit to the cover. But, that is ugly and ghetto (excuse the term).  Time to get creative.

What I ended up doing was to finding a small black rubber work glove at the local hardware store, and cutting off the fingers and using the rest of it (essentially the wrist portion). Luckily, that wrist portion fits snugly around both the cover and the control unit. Once the control unit is inserted, just need to make the wiring is zip-tied out of the way.

Being black, from a distance the black rubber looks like it's supposed to be there. Not the ideal and most permanent solution but since it cost me less than 300 yen, it will do for now until I can figure out how to mount the control unit without damaging the leather.

Incidentally, the green arrows point to the 1) alarm LED (blue) and the microphone (un-needed) for the Navi unit.
Ok so a couple of more posts left on stuff I had to fix due to damage done or illogical placement by Nakamura at WORX during the alarm and stereo install.  As you can tell from this post, these aren't necessary permanent fixes, but simply enough to get by without annoying the heck out of me everytime I get in my car.  One of these days I will find a proper shop and get everything properly sorted, but until then my fixes will work.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Fixing the Interior, Part 3 (Glove Box Door and Handbrake Boot)

So the mistake by Nakamura which upset me the most, was the damage to the leather interior that Cesar had worked on, taking several months to do so.  I mean, my car would be the first R33 GTR in the world to have a hand built, bespoke interior, and I was really looking forward to getting the car back and showing it off in its full glory.

Unfortunately, because Nakamura KEPT THE CAR 6 MONTHS!!! by the time I got it back, at least one tuner here in Japan had started offering a full leather interior as an option.

While I've previously shown the two bumps on the front, and explained why, I found these pictures on my phone which show you how those bumps came to be.

See those two small screws?  I took them out to find:

So you can see that these screws were actually cut SHORTER than they originally were.  In other words, Nakamura KNEW that they were too long, and instead of leaving the bracket loose or come up with some other way, went ahead and drilled away. Never mind that the screw tips were cut unevenly, thus resulting in a knifelike edge.

In any case, these two screws caused the glovebox front to gain these two dimples, likely due to plastic from the glovebox door being forced into the leather.

Anyway, once I had discovered these two screws to be the cause of the two dimples, I emailed Cesar (the guy who did the bespoke leather work for me, just in case you didn't follow the project earlier) for advice on what I should do, hoping maybe the application of a heat gun might be enough to fix the problem.

Cesar, however, immediately wrote back and offered to fix the glovebox door. One issue, however, was that he was worried that he might not have enough of the original "Cardinal" leather we had obtained from Wildman & Busby left. But, since we had not used the Bentley OEM leather due to imperfections, and we have two hides of material, we decided that might be an acceptable alternative. Being the perfectionist he is, he sent me the two follow photos showing the difference in leather, for my approval (left is the Bentley, right is the Cardinal):

And here is a close up of the texture:
CLOSE ENOUGH? I sure hope so...
But unfortunately, the glovebox door wasn't the only item that needed to be redone. As I mentioned here in my blog, while Cesar had initially used red stitching on the handbrake boot, after we consulted we decided to switch back to a boot using black stitching, in order to match the OEM look. In any case, Cesar had included both the red stitch and black stitch versions of the handbrake boot, just in case I later changed my mind.

Looks super OEM! But all REAL Leather... (OEM the boot is pleather)
Unfortunately, while Nakamura had my car in his custody, he THREW OUT this custom black stitch boot, presumably thinking that the above black one was the OEM one... AGAIN WITHOUT TELLING ME. FUCKER. So when I got the car back, it had the red stitch but no sign of the black stitch boot (I even looked in his pile of junk but couldn't find it).

Left side green arrow points to the red stitch handbrake boot. Right side shows unfinished key surround.
So, Cesar also kindly offered to redo the handbrake boot, using the Bentley leather, with black stitching.  Further, he offered BOTH A REDONE GLOVEBOX DOOR and HANDBRAKE BOOT at NO CHARGE.  CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW NICE HE IS?? Of course I wasn't going to allow that...(so yeah of course I paid him - totally worth it).

In any case, I sent him the damaged glove box door and the red stitched boot, a few short weeks went by and voila! A box from Mexico appeared at my front door.  Of course I had to wait for the weekend to open it up and enjoy perfection, but I was not disappointed.

And when I opened it:
Not only did he send back the Alcantara I had sent over in order to redo the glovebox interior...

The two handbrake boots! The red stitch one I had removed and sent over as a template, and a brand new black stitch one!

And of course, the redone glovebox.  Isn't it beautiful?
No more divots!
So of course, I jumped to fix as much as I could. First, I installed the black stitched parking brake boot.  Unfortunately no pictures of the install, but here is a better photo of the tab that I discovered had been snapped off when I removed the red stitched boot.

I used some plastic epoxy type glue, hope it holds but even if it doesn't the leather keeps things together... for now.

The bigger problem, at least for me, was how the glovebox door had become deformed due to the wiring needed for the ETC reader and the boost controller, that Nakamura had routed in the back.  As a reminder, previously the ETC reader had been in the center console, and further the wiring for the boost controller did not have heat shrink wrap around it - meaning that those cables could be passed through into the glovebox in a fairly flat way. But Nakamura's method of bundling cables for both devices now caused the front right side to sag.

How to fix this...
Given the newly repaired glovebox door, I wasn't going to rush trying to figure out how to fix this panel gap.  Initially, I tried to be very gentle.
It worked, kind of...
First, I used some spare weights to hold up the sides while putting pressure on the middle section, where the latch mechanism is.  I left this in a sunny room, hoping that the warmth would gently allow the weights to deform the glove box back into the proper shape. I figured if the latch mechanism was pushed outwards, the ends would be pushed upwards. In other words, I wanted to purposely have the ends too "tight" so that the latch would how the door closed snugly.

Unfortunately, after about a week, when I tried out on the car I did not see much progress. There appeared to still be about a millimeter of give on the right side where the gap was.

So, I decided to use a heat gun. Being VERY careful not to melt anything. I would heat up, and at the risk of burning of my fingers, try to bend the sides back up. I repeated this, sometimes even removing the glove box door in order to put more pressure on the sides.

Eventually, I got this:

Ok I took the photo at night - actually just a few minutes ago - sorry about the resolution but I was too excited not to share this with everyone. Finally looks flush, and there are no rattles either !

So am I done with fixing the damage done by Nakamura at WORX? Not quite, and I have a few more posts coming up soon to explain.

Thanks for the patience and understanding, everyone. I am finally starting to feel a bit better about the whole thing, in that there are fewer and fewer reminders about the problems each time I get in the car... 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Breathing Better, Revisited

So let's take a break from the repairs to the interior of my car.

A few weeks ago, fellow R33 GT-R owner, OCD clean freak and buddy Tom Smith messaged me to let me know that, not only had he been inspired to do a mod for his car from something he had seen on this blog, but he had actually taken measurements to prove that, indeed the mod had beneficial results!
Tom's gorgeous 33!
So to review - 9 years ago(!!) in April 2009, inspired by the underside ducting found on the R34 Z-tune's bonnet, I posted this mod on improving airflow into the car's airbox.  Basically, I took a cheap aluminum radiator panel, made some cuts and folded down to create a channel for air to better flow into the OEM airbox.  Here are some photos from that post.

You can see the lines upon where the cuts were made
Added foam to prevent air leakage
You can make out the ducting from behind the grill
At the time of my post, I reported that I had better throttle response, but I had no way of measuring actual engine response.

Tom, on the other hand, runs a Power FC commander which measures intake temperature.  And he made a proper version of this air inlet scoop, as shown below - sides welded shut and the entire thing beautifully powder-coated.

First, as you can see Tom had the sides welded shut
And then powder coated matte black

That looks absolutely FANTASTIC! OEM like!
Likewise you can see the scoop behind the grill.
So, back to the numbers. In ambient temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius, in order to remove any variables Tom drove on a dual carriageway and for about 3 miles at 115kph in 5th gear. He then recorded the temperatures as he passed under the same bridge so as to allow the car to stabilize the temperatures.  First pass, without the panel was 38 degrees C.  Second pass, WITH this modified panel fitted, was 33~34 degrees C.

Doing the math, that's about 10% cooler!!

He also found "what is immediately apparent is how much more crisp it is on throttle response" - and yep this is exactly what I recall too.  It's as if the engine finally has the correct amount of air going into it in the first place.

So I suspect those who remove the stock airbox have similar thoughts - they can sense the instant response - but remember as temperatures rise under the hood, my thinking is that this kind of fresh air scoop is the only way to get the best of both worlds - more air volume but cooler.


Big thanks to Tom Smith for doing this and providing me with the photos and the numbers. I wonder if there are any other mods I did in the past that others can improve on. If so, PLEASE let me know!!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Fixing the Interior, Part 2 (A Pillar Covers)

So after I cleaned up the shift surround and dashboard panel, I decided to see if I could fix the glovebox as well as the A-pillars.

The glovebox was easy. Once Cesar heard about what had happened, he immediately contacted me and offered to fix it... for FREE! What a TRUE GENTLEMAN. I will have a separate post on these repairs coming up in a follow up post.

This post is about how I tackled the A-pillars.  To review, despite my telling Nakamura-san at WORX Auto Alarm that I did NOT like the whitish/light grey A pillars - because the OEM plastic ones are BLACK and so I knew that anything other than that would clash - he went ahead and ordered A pillar covers in the light grey Alcantara. I get the feeling he had little say in the matter, OR, that I was sold a recycled part.  It doesn't matter at this point anymore...

Here is how the interior looked BEFORE I embarked on the fix.

Actually, here is an even better photo, showing the clash of the white A pillar cover with the black of the B pillar as well as the now leather covered passenger grip handle.

I'm sorry, but that LOOKS LIKE SHIT. Did I mention how much I hate what Nakamura did?
This fix was relatively easy, because I stumbled upon an interesting spray paint that is designed to work on fabrics such as denim and suede, called Somay-Q.  ("Somay" in Japanese means "to dye"). According to the video below, application is easy and straight forward. So of course I had to try it.

First, I removed the A pillar covers being careful not to scratch the Alcantara and damage the speaker wiring while disconnecting.  Note how the light grey is already showing dirt.  Real genius, that guy Nakamura, using such a light color in a place where there is bound to be lots of touching (due to the hand grip there)

Then, following the instructions exactly, I cleaned the A pillar covers and then sprayed them with "Grey Black" Somay-Q spray.  I figured I didn't want the normal "black" which might be too dark. Plus, the black Alcantara cloth I have stocked in order to finish the rest of the interior didn't look solid black.

So I prepped the pillar covers by covering up the speaker grills in masking tape.

I then cleaned the surface and prepared the Somay-Q spray.

Then started spraying.
I think this is when I began to suspect the paint wasn't dark enough...
And even when I finished spraying, I knew something was wrong. The color just didn't seem dark enough.  Here is the Grey Black.

And sure enough, when I compared agains the Alcantara cloth used in the glove box and center console:
Camera flash making both look lighter..
Obviously the pillar needs to be much darker.  So, I ran back to the hardware store but the regular Black colored Somay-Q was sold out.  That, and rainy weather over the following weekend, meant I had to wait two weeks to finish the job.  But eventually there was a sunny day and I finished with the full black spray.
Came out pretty good, don't you think?
Of course, it doesn't feel like the super soft Alcantara as it was originally - to be honest it feels like painted cloth.  But from a distance it looks fine and gives me a preview of what the interior will look like when the B and C pillars are upgraded and covered in proper black Alcantara, this time by a real professional.

For that project, I am currently searching for interior shops in Japan...but meanwhile I still have to fix a few other things... Once I do so then I will put up a photo of the fixed up interior so you can see the difference just a bit of care makes...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Fixing the Interior, Part 1 (Shift Surround)

My friends, I am truly touched by the support you have shown me - in addition to the heartfelt comments left in my previous post (where I showed how much Nakamura had damaged my car), many of you emailed and messaged me with messages of support as well. Thank you so much!

Anyway - after getting the car back in September, as you may have suspected I immediately set about beginning to fix what was unacceptable to me.  Initially I was planning to post some of these photos on Speedhunters, and I just might still. However I've decided to share here first.  During the time I shared some photos from last year's NISMO Festival here, I had in fact already begun working on fixing the things that really bothered me.

The first thing that I worked on was the shift surround. Normally of course this shift surround piece has a cigarette lighter and an ashtray installed, but Nakamura (or actually as he admitted a subcontractor) had modified this shift surround to incorporate the HVAC control unit. And while this now allows for a 2-DIN stereo or Navi to be installed, there was a problem with the finish of the black plastic. Take a close look:

See how the black plastic is super smooth?  Here is a close up view.

Well, take a close look at the plastic console surround that makes up most of the face of dash panel.

In other words, the difference in textures between the two plastics is WRONG.  From the factory the Series 2 and 3 cars had MATCHING rough finish textures on both pieces of black plastic. So, the Series 1 compatible smooth plastic on the shift surround contrasted strongly with the rest of the dash panel.


In my last post, I complained that Nakamura had not used my original dash panel, but had installed the very worn out (almost grey color) and scratched up dash panel that was obviously used.  Because I had rescued my original dash panel however, I decided to replace the grey worn out one with my old one. Actually removing this greyish dash panel wasn't easy however - this is because Nakamura had solid glued both the microphone for the Navi as well as the blue LED warning lamp for the alarm into the dash panel. In other words, it wouldn't just pop off - I had to drill out the microphone while still in the car (the LED had a connector which I disconnected).
See how scuffed up it is? I can't use this...
Here is a close up of how I had to drill around the alarm LED to remove it. You can also see how "grey" the texture is.

The reason I chose to remove it was because it is connected to the alarm system by connector and I was worried that if disconnected the alarm would sense a problem and cause problems.

Anyway, since I had decided to remove the old grayish dash panel (the 2 holes were not worth fixing either) I decided to recycle my old dash panel.  Here, you can see my old dash panel along with the shift surround, with tape covering the HVAC unit in preparation of painting.

My initial idea was to paint the shift surround with this Testors brand spackle paint, in an effort to replicate the rough finish and match my old dash surround.

Unfortunately the spackle particles were too large, which meant I started over with another tactic - of using regular flat black spray paint but to purposely spray from a longer than recommended distance in order to have relatively dry paint particles hit the painting surface. If you've ever painted with spray paint, you know what this does - it forms tiny bumps and leaves the surface slightly rough.

Here, you can see the old dash on the right, and my OEM dash in the middle which I also painted with the same flat black paint to match the shift surround. So an added bonus was revitalizing the OEM panel!
Shortly after painting the shift surround AND my old dash surround.
And here is the final result:

Looks pretty good, huh!! I was quite pleased with myself actually.  So what's next...still lots to come...

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Video Review of the R33 GT-R on Top Gear HK

A quick word of thanks to everyone for their support! Really appreciate it!

Ok now before I publish several posts where I show you what I've done to fix the damage caused by Nakamura at WORX Auto (WORX Auto Alarmの中村がこんな無責任な作業!)here is something that popped up recently on Facebook which I just had to share. Would love to drive this car myself in Hong Kong!

So I found this recently. Too bad I don't understand Cantonese. However my friend Ken Lim does, and he was kind enough to provide the following translation - Thank You KEN!:

Ken: So, here's my translation on this based on my understanding of Cantonese.

He first started by saying that when he was small and young, the first time he seriously withdrew money to buy a model kit, it was a GT-R but not this one here. It was a R32 bec
ause it looks so cool to him but when R33 arrived, he don't know why that Nissan released a fat GT-R. The whole car itself was wider, longer, higher and heavier. Even when it comes to used price, R33 price is still cheaper than R32 and R34 price by big margin. Is the R33 that bad? 

The R33 was built with the weak points of R32 in mind. The first weak point of R32 is that it is understeers, secondly, the aerodynamics of R32 is still not good enough and thirdly, the body rigidity is not stiff enough. Starting with body rigidity, it has improved in several areas which improves rigidity by 1.5 times or 150%. So, it is hard to imagine this as it makes you think what kind of car R32 is? A paper crafted car? 

When it comes to aerodynamics, the biggest improvement in R33 is that it solves the problem of R32's floating front end during high speeds. Secondly, the drag force of R32 is too strong. If we go by drag coefficient, R32's figure is at 0.4. Too much emphasis is placed on downforce but the drag has not been well taken care of. When it comes to R33, not just that the front floating feeling has been significantly reduced, the drag coefficient has also been reduced from 0.4 to 0.35. 

Lastly, how to solve the understeer problem? Of course, the most direct way would be to modify the 4WD system. So, the 4WD system in R33 has changed a lot. For example, the weight distribution of the car. For R32, the front and rear weight distribution is 60:40 where it is front heavy. When it comes to R33, it went to 55:45 which is quite a reduction. But even with so much of reduction, the final question would be that what will consumers see at the end? It would be that the car's horsepower is still the same 280hp. This is due to the gentlemen's agreement back then in Japan. Although torque has increased by a little, horsepower remains the same but the R33 is heavier than the R32. Because of this, the R33 gives out an effect that it has become weaker due to larger size, weight while the power remains the same. It has disappointed the fans of GT-R. 

But when it comes to track, is it really that R33 could not match R32? Here's a simple reference for all. Both R32 and R33 has been to Nurburgring. The R32 clocked a lap time of 7 minutes and 59 seconds which is less than 8 minutes where it is considered as very fast. The R33 is faster than it by 20 seconds which is much faster. The engineers have definitely put in effort into improving the car's traction and cornering abilities but many consumers, they say that they have no chance to visit Nurburgring nor did they go to track very often. What they want would be the feeling and satisfaction but when they drive the R33 out, feeling wise, it does not feel as proud as the R32 or the later R34. Obviously, the R34 is even faster than the R33. 

But the engineers had really put in effort to improve the car. Unfortunately, for most people, they only look and take things in a simple way. Firstly, the area where the R33 shines can hardly be tested by most people and secondly, many people do not care about it at all. 

So at the end, is the R33 better than the R32 or is it weaker than the R32? I do not have an answer for now. Sorry. But when I was driving the car just now, there were two things that I am certain of. First, the body rigidity is really stiff where it is comparable with today's car. To think that this is a 20 plus years old car where Japanese cars back then even for sports cars, the frame can be as soft as they can be where it is unimaginable. But this one here is really stiff. Secondly, the traction of this car is very strong to the point that I do not feel like the car is going fast. But our cameraman just now told me that "Edmond, you are driving very fast just now.". So I said, "No way, how is that fast?". "Fast, it is indeed fast to the point that I am scared.", says the cameraman. I did not feel it at all. When I look at the speedometer, I realized that it is indeed fast. But for the driver, you do not feel that you are going fast because of the strong confidence. The same could not be said for the passenger because you can really scared from this. So these are the two points that I discovered easily from driving this car but to answer back the main question here, R32, R33 and R34, which one is the strongest? Is it that the R33 is the weakest one? This question could not be answered now but soon it will be answered. Because we have arranged a meet up with R32 and R34 together for a test. At that time, there will be an answer to this.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

I'm Back... and Pissed Off - F*ck Nakamura of WORX AUTO ALARM

Despite the date this isn't an April Fool's joke... I only wish it was...

Friends, please excuse the title, as well as my lack of updates. I'm alive, and so is my GT-R, but I've had to take some time off to recover from the shock and anger I had experienced after getting my car back from Nakamura-san at WORX. Bottom line everyone - STAY AWAY FROM WORX AUTO and NAKAMURA. Spread the word, too. 

I know, I know, seems like a very immature thing to do, to criticize someone publicly. But, it's my blog, and yes, as a lawyer I know the law. And simply, so long as I tell the truth, there is nothing he can do. It has been a very long time since I was THIS ANGRY with anyone!

I tried to be very civil about it on Speedhunters, because it's a public forum. But, on THIS blog I can say what I want and so, no hands barred, I am going to take the next few posts to talk about all the damage he did to my car, as well as my efforts and work to bring it back to some semblance of normality.  Or, to some state where I don't get pissed off every time I get in the car.

In any case, I think you will be shocked at how bad this got. Certainly for me, this guy is the worst I've had to deal with not just in Japan, but he's worse than anyone I dealt with back in the USA as well. 

Anyway - Here is the list - and I'm still discovering things that he screwed up on.

1) Without asking me, he threw away my custom sub box and Alpine subwoofer and Alpine amp.  Said "it wasn't needed."  He also threw out my rear panel speakers for the same reason. Again, without asking me. Sure, maybe it's true that in a car with a good stereo set up rear deck speakers aren't needed, but ASK ME BEFORE YOU THROW STUFF OUT!!

So this is gone. And frankly, the stereo sounds terrible now - good accuracy but flat and no depth.

2) Despite my rejecting the color of the modified A-pillars (holding the Morel tweeters) - I had seen them on a previous 33 he worked on - I agreed to order on the condition that the alcantara be dark grey or black. He specifically ignored this request. No reason given.

The white A pillar looks totally wrong. OEM is black.
You can also see from this photo that he didn't bother to install the carbon door handle cups - that's how last minute it was when I went to pick up the car. It suggests he did not work on it that much during the 6 months he had my car!

He also refused to install an amp to power the Morels. No reason given, other than "it would be more expensive."  Incidentally, the Morels sound good, the only problem is that they are not aimed correctly and so the soundstage is off. I would have to drive with my head about 6 inches forward to get good sound. My prior homemade set up did not have this problem.

3) Without asking me, he installed an ETC reader in my glovebox. The glovebox, as you saw earlier on this blog and Speedhunters, had been carefully covered in leather by Cesar. The inside was likewise layered in Alcantara. Nakamura glued and screwed in the ETC's bracket to the Alcantara. While I was able to remove the screws, the glue meant I could not remove the bracket without ripping up the Alcantara.
This is the worst position to install the ETC card the card is inserted from the left I can't check visually if the card is installed while driving and I certainly can't insert the card at this angle either. DOH!
Here is a better view of the bracket he glued and screwed on.
Further, he also decided to bolt down the boost controller in the glovebox. In doing so, the screws he used pushed their way into the leather. As a result, the front face of the glovebox has two visible bumps.  I have had to remove the glovebox and send BACK to Mexico to be redone.
I couldn't believe it myself. So OBVIOUS. And NOT EVEN A SINGLE WORD OF APOLOGY.
Incidentally, because the glove box now had both the ETC card reader AND the boost controller installed, the electrical cables these devices used prevented the glovebox from closing properly. Meaning, the glove box is now deformed with the side sagging a bit.

Take a look - because of this:

We now have:
Oh and that silver box hanging? His double stick tape method failed to keep the Navi's auxiliary module securely attached.
You can see how when I push it, the door now lies flush. 
And if you're sharp eyed enough - yes, the leather on the glove box door looks off. Almost as if someone tried to use something to smooth down those bumps.

4) I had asked Cesar to use black stitching on the handbrake boot, to make it look close to OEM. He had, however, also made one with red stitching. So he sent me both. Nakamura, because he didn't bother asking me, used the red one and THREW OUT the black stitch one.  I don't know why anyone would do that, especially when the shift boot is BLACK STITCHING.
Not only is the handbrake boot wrong -doesn't match the shift boot, but look at the finish of the shift surround - would match a Series 1 but NOT a Series 3. Additionally he did not finish the ignition key surround either.
Blamed Cesar of course. 
Incidentally, when I removed the center console in order to remove the parking brake boot to send back to Cesar for a redo, I discovered that one of the front tabs had snapped off, and was held only in place by the leather...

5) Without asking me, he removed the F1 style LED lamp I had installed on my R34 rear diffuser. Reason? "It looked out of place." (no photo, I will take one in a future post).

6) He did not use the gauge cluster from my car - he found an old greyed one and installed that. Totally did not match my car. Also drilled and glued in the microphone (for the Navi) and the alarm's LED in places where I did not want. While I did manage to rescue my old piece when I picked up my car, I ended up buying and using a new one to replace it. (future post coming with photos).

7) The shift surround now incorporates the HVAC control unit. Good idea if you want to make space to have a full 2 DIN stereo or Navi. But, the HVAC unit is basically molded into the shift surround, so it is not removable nor can the light bulbs inside be accessed. Thus, I could not install the LED bulbs I had ready to go for that. Hence, at night there is a mismatch in coloring and brightness.  Also, as seen in the above photo, the surround itself does NOT match the rest of the center console facia. (future post coming with photos).

8) The brand new Nismo 6-Speed GETRAG transmission shift knob - remember I had gotten the GETRAG installed last year - is now scratched up. Looks like he used a wrench to remove it. In the process, he broke some threads and so the shift knob is now always loose and cannot be tightened.

Anyone have any suggestions for a replacement? 
9) The control unit for the DEFI Heads Up Display - without asking me, he installed that INSIDE the drivers side kickpanel, meaning I could not adjust the brightness or the display. I am currently trying to figure out how and where to relocate.
Real genius. So how do I adjust the brightness or the display output when it's hidden behind the kick panel?
10) He had installed some circuit boards with LEDs in the gauge cluster behind the gauge faces. Initially they seemed interesting because they would come on during the day and illuminate the speedometer and tachometer and would dim when you turned on the lights - like a modern car. The only problem was that the LEDs he installed for the center 3 gauges did not similarly react. They were not on during the day, coming on only at night. Unacceptable.

Also, the LEDs were so bright that shadows appeared causing some numbers to appear brighter than others. Finally - and I only discovered this when I was removing them - for some reason these LEDs run SUPERHOT! So hot he had wrapped the gauge cluster in 3M Thinsulate.  I literally burned myself when I removed the gauge cluster after having them on for only about 10 min (to take photos for the blog, etc.)  Again, I had already installed some special LEDs I had found which did a great job of even lighting, and then only at night like OEM. Yes, he threw those out without asking me as well. (future post coming with photos).

11) He threw out my Optima Yellow Top battery. Claimed it had "gone bad" - I think any battery goes bad when a car sits around for 6 months neglected.  Installed a Japanese brand he claimed was "winter spec for the R34" - and which cost twice as much as the Optima...

12) I'm sure there are other items that I am forgetting...

In any case - he had my car at his place for OVER 6 MONTHS! Everytime I'd call he would give me some excuse. In the end he claimed it was all the bad wiring from my DIY efforts, but again, I had NEVER ASKED HIM TO REMOVE that wiring - I just wanted an alarm and a new stereo. I kept asking him for an estimate, which never came. I asked for an invoice which I never got.

All of the above, I could tolerate, if the work was free or price of parts only. But, he tried to charge me $16,000! I paid him just enough that if he sued me the court would say I had paid more than my fair share (i.e. the retail cost of the stereo and the alarm), but I paid him BEFORE I discovered most of the above issues. My mistake. 

In any case, this shows Japan isn't always the land of perfect service and high quality work. There are always exceptions and I ran into one of them.  If you are in Japan or have friends here who are thinking about using him - STAY AWAY! 

Meanwhile - rest assured I will have several more posts coming in the near future as I embark on fixing all of these problems...