Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Custom Car Covers - Thank you Bitelblack!

So while I was overseas and my car was at Nismo Omori Factory, our friend Dino recommended I reach out to his friends at Bitelblack Cover Car Custom and inquire about a custom car cover.

I know - I have a fully covered and insulated garage - why would I need a cover? Well, if you have OCD tendencies like me, the answer is - to keep the dust off so the car always looks 100% super clean, of course.

Yes, I could alway buy a cover in Japan, but nothing I found really fit the bill -  they are either super expensive and do not fit snugly,  designed for outdoor use, or they are cheap and do not fit well either.  I wanted something strictly for indoor use, and so I was looking for a stretchy kind of lightweight material that would show off the car's curves. Did not have to be waterproof, or protect from UV, etc. 

If you check out the link above, you can see that Bitelblack does some pretty crazy car covers, with some printing stuff onto the car cover itself like headlight, windshield, etc. to make it look like the car itself! (which I was not interested in, obviously - keep it simple!)

Anyway, once I got back, shortly thereafter this arrived:

Opening it up, I found this:

I had ordered one in grey, and one in black, with the black supposedly being the more premium cloth. The other option I had asked for was the R33 GTR logo on the front and back, where the actual badges are, as well as the Skyline lettering on the trunk valance and the ClubR33 logo on the side to replicate placement on the rear quarter window of our Club sticker, as many of our club members have done.

I first used some quick detailer to remove all the dust that had built up over the last 2 weeks since I got the car back:
Unretouched photo taken with my Sony Xperia 1 iii. 

Yes, I am enjoying the camera feature on this phone. Much harder than on the iPhone to get a great photo, because very little correction by the software

Then, I tried on the grey one.
Very nice fit! And thin enough to see details like the outlines of the headlights, etc.

So I thought the SKYLINE lettering (in the correct font too!) might be a nice touch...

And the Club logo is spot on perfectly replicated!

Except unfortunately not located exactly where I wanted.

Then, the black one.
Due to the color, can't see the detail outlines as well

Unfortunately it also had the same problem with the Club logo being located not exactly where I wanted.

And I guess I should have asked for the SKYLINE lettering to be closer to the background color... or maybe just in outline form?

In addition to these minor issues, I also noticed that the GT-R logo font was slightly off. Take a look at this LED sign I have in my garage, made by Kusaka Engineering. You can study the small differences amongst the 32, 33 and 34 logos - once you memorize you can be a true nerd like me. 

So, given the very competitive pricing, I have to say I am fairly happy, even though the product could be better.  I think if the Club decides they want to offer this to members I can measure how much the logos should be shifted up and forward, and I can also try to educate Bitelblack on the proper log. As for the thickness, I really could not tell the difference.

This is how the backside of the cloth looks btw.

Meanwhile, these color coordinated carry/storage bags were a nice touch:

What to do you all think?

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Another Short Stay at Nismo Omori Factory!

Yes friends, it has been awhile since my last post... but truth be told I was traveling outside of Japan for a few weeks, and figured - why not leave the car with Nismo Omori and get some work done while I am away?  It was also nice having piece of mind that my car was safe and secure in a 24 hour guarded, super secure facility! So I drove over and left the car there in early June and watched Ochiai-san park it in next to an RS260 Stagea...

So what work? I would describe it as some relatively minor work - some dent removal (barely visible except of course to me) on my left front fender from an errant mop handle, replacing the deteriorating door window film - both doors, in order to make sure the tint matched, and finally a weird one - the driver's side window rail had come loose!  Oh, and the aircon seemed to not be blowing enough cold air...

Anyway, even though I had been back for awhile, Nismo Omori was waiting for ONE MORE PART to arrive to do another small repair but then was told earlier this week that the part would not be available until mid-October!  So, as I have a few projects in mind, I decided to retrieve the car even though my Lexus and I have recently been enjoying more open garage space.

I arrived early in the morning on a weekday and found myself the only customer.

Yep, lights all off...

So of course I took a quick peek...

And then after I managed to scrounge up some yen that I found in my wallet and make another donation to Nismo, they let me into the garage area.

The color on the CRS car inspires me.  I like how it brings out the car's curves really well.
Notice how the exhaust doesn't quite work on the Nismo rear bumper? LOL.
Solution coming apparently

In contrast, the KR4 on my car - is it the same as the color on the 400R?...
Looks a bit lonely huh...

So I like how the KR4 can seem to look really light, like here:

Same KR4, but looks different from this angle, right?
And yes, did not adjust the camera settings...

But under different light, can look a bit darker

Anyway - back to the parts I had replaced. This one is a bit unfocused as I was using my new phone and I am still fiddling with the advanced camera function, but as you can tell this is the temperature sensor for the aircon.  This was apparently the culprit as to why the air started out cold but would gradually turn warm, even when the desired temperature was lowered on the HVAC controls.

And this is the rusted out window rail.  The piece on the bottom is bolted to the door frame, and in turn is welded onto the frame itself. The rust causes the two pieces to separate, something I noticed when I was installing my door speakers last year

Photo that shows both pieces:

Interestingly, I did not know that the triangular rubber section where the door mirrors are attached, is actually part of this window rail unit.

Below, you can see my finger pointing towards the hole. And you can see that within the green ring, there appears to be a blackish material... and you would be right!  This is actually anti-rust paint I applied when I discovered this area rusting. So now, the right side is brand new and rust free, while the left side is...?? I guess I will look into getting the left side replaced too, next time at Omori Factory! 

Finally, I also picked up a little something (one for me, one for a friend), which I will reveal in an upcoming post. 

Any guesses? Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Research - Where Do All Those Engine Stickers Go?

So normally I don't post until I have done the research in full and I am ready to show everyone something, but in this case I'll make an exception to show how I get an idea and then start moving towards SOME KIND of project.

In this case, I am talking about all those stickers that were on the underside of the hood (bonnet) and in the engine bay when the car was delivered new.  Anyone ever wonder what those were all about? Some of you may have faded remnants of some stickers - but didn't you ever wonder if your car had the full set of stickers as applied at the factory?  And what do some of those stickers say anyway?  And then some of you are like me - you've replaced either the hood itself or the underhood insulation, or both, and want to get "back to OEM" or as close as possible, anyway.

The genesis of this project is when I got the underhood insulation replaced at Nissan Prince Tokyo back in 2016 - so yes, I have been thinking about this for almost 5 years, but have done little except to slowly collect the stickers when I remembered.  As you can see, there is an indent on the insulation which clearly suggests one or more stickers of some sort are supposed to go there.  

That, and when I googled I found this:


Other search results showed a sticker not on the insulated part, but on the right side directly on the paint:


As well as just one sticker on the insulation:


So, since all of them can't be correct, I had to look it up. My main source was this - Nissan's Main Maintenance Parts Catalog for the R33 Skyline, issued in July 1997, covering vehicles made since 1993:

Sometimes I think paper is faster and easier to use than electronic...

Yes, it is basically the print version of the Nissan FAST. Of course, as some numbers have changed due to the Nismo Heritage Program, I also accessed the Heritage Program as well.

Finally, I also used, and found this (the same as above, but a bit easier to see the locations under the hood for C, A, and G?):


Anyway - so here are all the stickers I have accumulated over the years.

Let's look at these one by one. First, this very yellow SRS Airbag warning sticker ("G" in the diagram above).  I have confirmed this is the correct parts number for the 33.

 Here is what it says, if you ever wondered: 
Caution      SRS AIRBAG
- this car is equipped with an SRS airbag.
- the harness and connectors for the SRS airbag are yellow in color
- do not use a multimeter to test the circuits
- modifying the circuit or disconnecting the connectors can cause the SRS airbag to operate improperly and prevent the system from normal operation, and is a cause of major damage
- when disposing of the gas release unit or the vehicle, always consult the sales company that handled the sale

The next sticker is for emissions.  Note that this one is available only via the Nismo Heritage Parts program.  The sticker for the BNR32, by the way, is identical as the same regulations were in effect and applicable. The difference is in the parts number (ending in RHR20) and the print on the bottom left says "2R1" and the separate small sticker on the side has "05U00." Yeah, I have no idea either.

It says:
This car conforms to the exhaust gas regulations of Showa 53 (10/15 mode)
Engine type: RB26
Overall Engine Displacement: 2568 cc
Equipped with following equipment: 3 layer catalytic converter (monolith) canister type

Engine adjustment values
Idle speed: 950 rpm

Ignition timing: 20degrees/950  BTDC/rpm
CO adjustment value (at idle):  0.1%
HC adjustment value (at idle):  50 ppm

This automobile conforms to the exhaust gas regulations of Showa 53 based on the safety standards of road transportation vehicles.

Next is a more comprehensive fluids check list ("C" above). I have confirmed this parts number is for the 33, although I think this is a period correct sticker for all Nissan vehicles of the era.

 Use Nissan OEM parts on this car! - Oil and fluids should be as follows!

Engine Oil (OEM Nissan oil in SD, SE, SF, SG grades)
Replace: Every 10,000km or 12 months (SG grade)
               Every 5000 km or 6 months (SD, SE, SF grades)
Inspect/Replace:   Before use as appropriate

Manual Transmission Oil (OEM Nissan Gear Oil MP)
Replace:  Privately used:  no replacement
                Commercial vehicles etc: Every 100,000km or 2 years
Inspect/Replace: Privately used every 12 months; commercial etc., every month

Differential Oil (Gear Oil Hypoid)
Replace: Privately used: no replacement
               Commercial vehicles etc: Every 100,000km or 2 years
Inspect/Replace: Privately used every 12 months; commercial etc., every month

Automatic Transmission Fluid (OEM NissanMatic Fluid D)
Replace:  Hired cars, taxis, etc:  Every 100,000km
                All others;  no replacement

Inspect/Replace: Privately used every 12 months; commercial etc. every month

Power Steering Fluid (Nissan OEM Power Steering Fluid)
No replacement
Inspect/Replace: Privately used every 12 months; commercial etc. every month

Brake Fluid (Nissan OEM Brake Fluid NR3)
Replace:  Privately used; First time at 3 years; every 2 years thereafter
                Commercial:  Every year;  Freight: Every year
Inspect/Replace:  Before use as appropriate
(Warning) Do not use anything other than NR3 Nissan OEM brake fluid
*Please see Maintenance Manual for Details*

Next, I found this Oil Change Warning sticker. I have confirmed that this parts number is for the Series 3 R33:

Warning At Time of Oil Change
- Engine oil (Nissan Motor Oil)
Always change at every 10,000km or every 12 months
(Please use SG, SH grade oil)

- Automatic Trans (Mission/Axle) Fluid
Always use NissanMatic Fluid

- For other oils please consult Maintenance Notes

For Details please consult the Nissan Sales Company

The only problem is, I have no idea where this goes on my car. Not only was the parts manual not helpful, I could not seem to find out even on Google examples of this sticker and its application.  And yet, it is listed on FAST and in the catalogs as for the R33...

This next sticker (weirdly, also listed as "C" above!) is listed as common for the R33 and R34 - the Ignition timing:

Engine Adjustment Value

Idle RPM (Manual transmission) 950 rpm
Ignition Timing (Manual transmission) 20 degrees/950 BTDC /rpm

I have no idea what the "2P" here is for, nor why there is a small sticker on the side with the second half of the parts number.  Turns out however that maybe I did not need to order this sticker:

As my car still has the factory applied sticker in place. Not exactly straight either. Note the yellow caution label is also not applied straight.  This is going to bother me... and yet they both WERE applied at the factory so super OEM...

So I have a backup sticker, I guess. I also have no idea where the simplified oil change sticker goes as well.

So for the remaining 3 stickers, this is how I THINK they would be applied, according to EPC/the parts book - but to be honest, I am not sure if I even WILL have the stickers applied:

I guess this will simply have to be another question/task for Nismo Omori Factory, next time I go there...

Actually, there was ONE sticker I found and I know where it goes:

On the side of the dashboard on the passenger side - visible when the door is open. Although whether to apply over that nice leather finish will be another conundrum.

Anyway, most frustrating for me because there simply isn't enough information I was able to find. Not the most pressing parts update for my car, but I did want to share what kind of research I do as well as my decision making in seeking to refine my car even further.

So, I suppose I will have to continue my research before moving forward on actually applying these stickers.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Some Minor Clean Up

The other day when posting about the work I had done at Nismo Omori Factory,  when I wrote about the new door latch (green arrow), I noticed that the residue from an old oil change reminder sticker was ugly.  And to be honest, not sure why I never removed it before!

Photo from my previous post.

Of course, the existence of such sticker residue causes me angst, and so I immediately ordered a product which apparently is made just for sticker removal - in the past I had used whatever I had lying around to remove stickers - brake cleaner, rubbing alcohol, Simple Green, you name it - but this time I wanted easy street.

I found this 3M Cleaner "Seal Remover", "strong type."

So here are the two former stickers that I was not successful at removal - can't remember what I used to try  to remove them:

So I just sprayed on the 3M stuff, and let it sit for a few minutes...
Wow, could not believe how easy this was

Same for the Motul oil change sticker:

Talk about effortless - a super thin crispy sticker - oh and it smelled good too! Like lemon...

Ta da! Super clean, just the way I like it!
Excuse my knee, I was taking the photo at an angle

But sure I am not going to devote a whole post to this. No. In fact, I had long been annoyed by another small detail:

While I would love to blame this on 90s Nissan quality, unfortunately this came about because of this:
A repair attempt

So long time readers will know that when I embarked on my leather dash project, I purchased a 33 dash sight unseen from a friend in the UK, who then sent it over to Cesar, the master craftsman in Mexico who did the leather work (check out this video he made to memorialize his work!). This repaired tab was either in the dash at purchase, or maybe Cesar had fixed up in an attempt to make the vent fit into the leather covered dash. In any case, every time I saw how the driver's side vent was not completely flat, it distressed me, and no amount of pushing down seemed to fix it for long.
Using a file to try to sand it down...

So while I tried to use a file to sand the tab down to the level of the others, it just wasn't working. So, I quickly found and bought on Yahoo Auctions a replacement set, since these vents are no longer available new:
It arrived quickly, although wow that is a lot of wrapping...

For just two vents

These look to be in great shape, and of course I made sure the tab in question was intact.

Not knowing what kind of car they had been in previously, I decided to wash the replacement right side vent.

And of course use some cotton swabs to clean the dust and dirt that had accumulated in the corners.

Upon replacement, I found:
Why? Very frustrating, it should fit perfectly!!?

I quickly figured out why, however. Take a look at the left side vent that I removed from my car (top) compared to the one I got on Yahoo Auctions (bottom):
Yep, the bottom one has the tab broken off.
So I decided to see which fit better. I removed the original left side vent (being very careful around the sunlight sensor) and then washed it and the replacement vent, including the use of the cotton swabs.

That is when I discovered, that the replacement vent had a slight scratch: 

Which meant that, even though color-wise and fit looked like this:

Using my original vent looks like this, even though it appears to my eye that there is a slight color variation (and admittedly I had to push down hard on the replacement vent to make it flat):

So what would you do? Well for now I have decided to try to see if I can find another pair on Yahoo Auction that not only is structurally perfect, but also the same consistent color. Or, maybe I will get someone to carbonize these vents to match the other carbon upgrades in the interior. I found it easy enough to pull these out so replacement will be easy whenever it happens. Meanwhile I will continue to use the vents I found on Yahoo Auctions, because the fit is better, even with that small scratch.

What I DID replace was the sunlight sensor, which I got from Trust Kikaku - see my last super short post! On both passenger side vents, the part seemed to be very very original - the paper sticker is faded yellow!

So I decided it would't hurt to buy a new sensor, before it becomes unavailable or out of stock so many other OEM parts seem to be doing these days.  Hence my previous post.  Although, the only thing it would affect would be the HVAC system, I think. Not sure I'd be able to tell the difference either.

Install was easy - there are clips on the side of the sensor, and you just push up and out.
Look at the difference? Even if the sensor is still working perfectly, the darkened clear plastic might be affecting its accuracy?

Anyway - on my next post I hope to have a very modern mod... stay tuned!