Sunday, April 18, 2021

Back In Yokohama...

Right after I got back from my recent trip to Okinawa, I got a call from Ochiai-san at Nismo Omori Factory - even though I'm not spending the megabucks their other customers are, they had a slot for me to come by so they could fix a few things - things that they just didn't have time to work on or complete last time my car was in their care.

Obviously I wasn't going to say no, even if I had to scrounge up some spare change in order to afford the visit. So I jumped into the GT-R and...

Nismo Omori Factory is actually in a fairly industrial area.

Of course had to get THE perfect photo...
Except I had forgotten to tuck away the CTEK charger dongle above the license plate. Oops

Ochiai-san was busy trying to convince a customer to spend a lot of money fixing up, or actually keeping the car maintained, by way of a complete engine rebuild. The numbers I overheard are probably on par with the median annual salary here in Japan.
This is what happens when I get bored, I start taking photos of any 33 I can find.

I did find some very comfortable seats however:
Funny they chose those numbers. And no, no "3 2" or "3 4"... they DID have a "2 3" chair there though.

Finally when it was my turn to discuss what my car needed, I asked Ochiai-san to take a look at this:

In my quest to fix up the interior, I noticed some of these bolt covers missing. They were gone from the front seat rails, and the ones in the back were not exactly fitting well, as above.  Also, the carpeted liners in the trunk area aren't in perfect condition so I was hoping he could order me some new ones.  Alas, that was not meant to be as it appears everything is out of stock! So I will have to hunt on Yahoo Auctions I guess, like everyone else!

Of course, these weren't the ONLY things I asked them to fix or replace. There were a few other things but I will post on that once I get the car back!

Meanwhile, right after I jumped in the taxi they called for me to take home, I spotted this right before we exited the gate:

Finally, earlier today my friend Adam texted me this:


And so yeah I admitted this was my car - of course sharp eyed readers can see the exclusive Club R33 sticker in the rear quarter window!  Stay tuned for my next post where you can check out what I had done!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Cars and Coffee Okinawa, Part 2

So here in Part 2, I want to take a look at these three 33 GT-Rs that I found at the event.

First, let's look at this custom colored 33 - owned by our friend "Nismo" Jefferson, he is quite active in the local Okinawan car scene, with his own Facebook channel where he shows off some pretty interesting things he's done to his car. Check out the folder called "King Midas Kaiju-R" (Kaiju-R is the name of his car!)

Most important mod is the ClubR33 sticker, obviously...

"Nismo" was making minute changes on his ECU map that day

I don't understand the rubber ducky thing but...

Since he's a much better photographer than me, let me share some photos he took recently. Really shows off his custom color scheme, I think!! Check out how different lighting results in different shades of the color! Especially the front lip!








Most amazing are these infinity tailights he installed - check out that 3-D effect!!!

Next is this white machine owned by Jay - unfortunately I probably won't be able to check it out next time I'm in Okinawa as Jay is moving to Guam at the end of the month, but those of you in Guam, you are forwarned! 

The car's complete spec and history is long, so I had to ask Jay himself - but basically his obsession started when the stock turbine disintegrated after the boost line came apart - he admits he did not have an external boost controller.  He says he saw the boost gauge a bit erratic, and was going to borrow an external controller to try to diagnosis it, but the ceramic wheel came apart before he could do so.

The ceramic pieces went into the engine/combustion chamber and destroyed it. So of course, he got a new/upgraded block from the Nismo Heritage Parts program.  While he was rebuilding, he decided to improve everything - so he started with an N1 oil pump, and Spool spline drive kit machined into the crank.  The crank is an Eagle billet/lightweight knife edge crank - balanced and checked by NAPREC (they did all the machining work).

"ACL race bearings, with ARP main studs, and TOMEI head gasket. Pistons are Manly Turbo Tough and upgraded CP/Carillo wrist pins.  Brian Crower H-beam rods..  Pistons were 86.5mm bore and with the crankshaft (77.7mm) makes it a 2,741 cc engine. The head is brand new, also from Nissan, and NAPREC machined it to clear the cams. Their High Response Kit comes with new valves, seals, valve guides, and I believe oversized intake valves, polishing, etc. Dual Supertech valve springs, titanium retainers, and TOMEI 272 10.25mm lift cams. TOMEI gears and belt.  PRP crank trigger kit (eliminates CAS).

Turbo is BorgWarner SXE-369.  6 boost manifold, Turbosmart 50mm wastegate. Greddy 4" intercooler and radiator.  New R32 GT-R transmission from Nissan, forged OS Giken internals, cross-cut. X clutch twin ceramic clutch from Australia.  R35 coil kit from PRP. Haltech 2500 ECU and all Haltech sensors."

He estimates HP between 650-750 and he is going to try to dyno it when he gets to Guam. Probably a water/methanol combo when in Guam, and when he is finally back in the USA, E85.  Chasing 800/850 hp!

Finally, the newcomer to the Okinawa car scene is this gorgeous series 2 AR1 33 owned by Ryan.  

Ryan told me he's been saving since high school to buy his dream car, and this is it!  He just got it a few months ago so he is currently educating himself and plotting how to preserve/modify/improve his car.  However, one of the first mods he put in were some Ohlins DFV Road and Tracks, and having ridden in the car, I can vouch that they are doing their job.   He's also installed a Tomei Expreme Ti titanium exhaust, which of course I am very familiar with.   When I followed him in my rental I didn't see any flames shoot out of the rear which means the engine is running near normal, but Ryan tells me he has some plans in that area. 

Can't wait to see what he decides to do.

Anyway, next time I am in Okinawa I'l be hanging out with Nismo and Ryan again - hope to meet some others next time.  Jay - good luck in Guam, and keep me posted on your next mods!!

Thanks to the guys I met at Cars and Coffee Okinawa for their hospitality!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Cars and Coffee Okinawa, Part 1

I love the fact that in this day and age thanks to social media, wherever I go, I usually happen to "know" someone local to the area.  This was no different - and that is why I found myself invited to this monthly car nerd event, held in a shopping center parking lot near Okinawa's "American Village" a shopping center/tourist attraction, checking out the local car community (lots of Americans!) and their rides.  Of course, this blog being all about R33 GT-Rs I will save the best for last but to say the least, I was super impressed with what I saw.

Let's start with some Toyotas - was going to check them out:


But I was quickly distracted by this nice NISSAN - I especially like the number plate:

Sorry, let's check it out from a better view. You can see others were getting some nice photos too.

Sadly, I only saw 2 FDs there. Sorry Russ.

On the other hand, the Subaru contingent was out in full force:

Some more Toyota things. And a cute first gen Miata! (and yeah that was the local police, begging people NOT to leave, but to stop idling the engines... noisy for some locals I guess...)

Ok call me old but I actually like the shape of this Supra better than the Mark IV.

And of course, no car meet in Japan would be complete without at least one ITASHA. Unfortunately it had to be a Nissan, this twin turbo Z32...sigh...

I did like how clean this grey Z32 was, however.

Ok now here is a weird threesome. Anyone know what these are?

Ok this was awesome. 

As was this:

Looked like something for everybody:



This was the sleeper of the day. Again, nice job with the license plate!

Marred only, in my opinion, by these replica TE37s.

Still, I think I could be persuaded to buy one as my next family car. The luggage capacity of an SUV, four wheel drive, but stick shift and turbocharged RB!

So I was checking out this bayside bluish Soarer...

And then noticed:

Anyone know what this is? Looks pretty, but I have no idea how well it functions. I mean it LOOKS like it would function well, but what's up with the crown logo? But I DO appreciate the super clean rim!

And yes there was much more. Sorry to all those who I did not get - maybe next time?

In my next post, I will take the liberty of talking more about those 3 R33 GT-Rs at the top of the page. They all have different stories but all were impressive in their own ways. 

Some of you may be wondering? What about other GT-Rs? Well, I did not see a single R32 GT-R or R35 GT-R, at least at the meet. And yeah there were a couple of BNR34 as well, but strangely everyone was ignoring them. Seriously I am not making this up.

Finally - if you happen to be in Okinawa this year, here is the schedule.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Good Bye! It Was Fun While It Lasted...

So not to worry, this is not about my car... but about a part that I had on my car.  And frankly this part was something I actually enjoyed having and which I think is engineered very well... the only problem is it runs afoul of Japan's shaken (biannual compulsory inspection) rules.

I am talking about the Do-Luck Roll Center Adjusters.  I did a post on this before, where I was one of the first customers to install this.




In fact it was an easy install, but it turns out their one piece design is what would cause a car to fail the shaken inspection. As a result, each time I took the car in, I would have to pay for someone to remove them and then do a 4 wheel alignment, and then reinstall once the car passed shaken.

To review - most roll center adjusters work by restoring the angle of the lower arm in lowered cars.  This one however ALSO, and simultaneously, also restores the angle of the tie rods by replacing the tie rod portion on the wheel hub by its elongated design. This means steering feel is also restored to OEM lightness, making for a car that feels OEM in steering resistance but while lowered.

However, the reason it fails on the shaken side, is because this one piece design leaves the tie rod connector on the wheel side, disconnected from the tie rod:



So I found a small box, and packed both pieces away to be sent EMS.



Off to a good friend and thus a good home in a country where those shaken rules don't apply! Mr. V, enjoy and let me know how they work out for you.