Saturday, December 3, 2022

Mods to the Garage - LED Lighting for the Win!

 So even though this blog is about my R33 GT-R, for me ownership of this car means I have a responsibility to make sure this car looks good all the time.  That means keeping it clean, and that means that when I'm not driving it or making mods to it, I want to do what I can to keep it clean.

Up until now, most of my detailing work has been the result of trial and error, and by no means is the result perfect, but I recently decided that as I am lucky enough to have a decent sized garage, why not create an environment that would allow me to go full blow OCD when polishing my car?

You may have seen glimpses of my garage in this blog, or on Speedhunters here in detailing Dino's yellow 911 and here doing some interior work on the same car, but I always felt like while a good working space what we could do was limited by the amount of light - sunlight for paintwork and interior lighting for everything else.

So after doing some research, I found a set of 20 LED lamps with a claimed output of 2300 lumens each with 5000K coloring.

Yep, made in China but the price was right. Quality not bad actually!

I think there is more cardboard here than the LEDs themselves

And yeah came with a whole bunch of connectors and clips

Of course having ordered 20, the first thing I did was to try to figure out the best lay out for the garage. I did this by laying out all the cardboard tubes the LEDs came in on the garage floor to visualize spacing, as well as how to hook up the wiring between each LED lamp (they are modular so voltage goes in one side and out the other, into the next one, etc.)

The GT-R was freshly back from the R's Meeting

Did a quick detail, and made sure the LEDs worked properly. Yes!

But before installing on the ceiling, I took the easy way out, and installed 5 units alongside the far wall next to the Lexus.

All lights in the garage off, trying these 2 LED lights.

Installation was easy, so I went ahead and wired in 5 of them along this wall, using the mortar space between two tiles as my guide. I initially thought about horizontal placement but then realized it might be better to have the vertical length in order to see into the paint well, from all angles. So I went ahead and ordered several 1 meter long extension cords to run between each light.

The blue paint looks fantastic!!

Photo glare! Sorrry about that... but you can see how bright the LEDs are and the extension cords I have running between at least one pair (which I cleaned up later)

So while this looks provides plenty of light, I had 15 more LED lamp units to install on the ceiling.  I then realized that I would need some help in order to ensure that I drilled the holes for the clips in a straight line.  So went ahead and got this laser level:

Which let me generate some cool green lasers on the ceiling:
(After I drilled the hole)

Once I had one north-south and one east-west installed, then it was relatively easy to keep things straight.

Just the standard garage lamps

Overhead standard lamps and side LEDs

Standard overhead plus overhead LEDs!

All Lights On! (except of course the spotlights over the GT-R)

But remember, even though I was making good progress I still have 5 more LED lamp units left. So I proceeded to install this set up:

Which made things MUCH brighter, but I felt like I could do better. More LEDs in the center, plus create another equal rectangle on the left side.  Which means 5 more LED units....

And so I decided that I would move the five 5000K LED lamp units that I had on the garage wall, and replace with five more newly purchased LED lamps - but this time with 6500K color, which is slightly more bluish than the 5000K - by having two different colors, the thinking is that this will give me better ability to spot fine scratches on lighter colored cars like the GT-R, at least from the side.

This is a well known brand, I've seen YouTubers install these.

Nicely packaged, yes.

But despite using the same couplers and cables, the form factor is thinner (Barrina on right) 

Can you spot the difference in color?
Two on the left are 6500K, three on right are 5000K

And as for the ceiling, I was able to quickly do this with the 5 I took from the wall:

But sharp eyed readers will notice a few things

Given the very tight squeeze of the center lamps, I had to get clever, so broke out my new soldering iron and accessories.
Adjustable soldering iron from Hakko - Japan's leading manufacturer of soldering irons!

It was then that I realized I had run out of cable to power up the center bulbs, so even though I fashioned some out shortened connectors with flat cables (so as to be able to fit between the ceiling and lamps, instead of bending the cables at impossible angles over such lamps), I had to order some more connectors and cords to properly hook up the center lamps (the manufacturer recommends a maximum of 8 lamps on one circuit, so I have each of the large rectangles - at 6 lamps each - on a circuit, and will have the center 4 on their own dedicated circuit).

gotta say, even at this stage looks awesome!

A few days later:
3 circuits - left, right, and center lamps plus of course the separate circuit for the wall mounted lamps

So let's just say that I am SUPER excited by how bright the garage is now.  And with all this light, the next step is to invest in some really good stuff in terms of car detailing.  I have a Porter Cable orbital buffer, and just got some more new pads, but now the research shall begin on polishes and sealants.  Something for me to do over the winter...

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Dorky... but Effective?

 So as I was cleaning out my garage the other day, I found this - something I purchased, I think, over 10 years ago!

Yep, clear door edge guards, complete with double stick tape.

Of course, me being, me, I have already lined my garage strategically with soft foam where it counts, so I never have to worry about my car's doors getting scratched up if I happen to open a door carelessly while the car is parked.

But what about out in the wild? Maybe I should take pains to do something to add some protection? Either that or maybe I will always park away from others...

Since installation is literally by way of a pair of scissors and the included double stick tape, I will only show you the end result on the passenger side.

First, I wonder if the tape will continue to be effective, or will the clear molding end up as trash somewhere on the road, ripped away by the wind?

More importantly, is this easy mod just too dorky for my car? Let me know what you think! (I actually think this might be a period correct mod...)

And not to worry - I should have a much more interesting and lengthy garage related post up in a few days. Check back soon!

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Tempting New Modernizing Product at R's Meeting 2022

So at the OS Giken booth during my walk around R's Meeting 2022, I found this:

No, not the R34 - but the advert next to it!

Describing something called OS-EPC - Their easier to read Facebook page has the same the text below the OS-EPC prototype unit photo - "In replacing the pressure sensor of the ATTESA-ETS of the Second Generation GT-R with a highly accurate electronic sensor, precise drivetrain control from increased durability."

So when I asked the guys at the booth, they told me that the ATTESA-ETS pressure sensor is something that is no longer available new but is required to function in order for these cars to pass shaken. And, they have been getting increasing numbers of cars with problematic (aging) pressure sensors. So, OS Giken decided to work together with GT-R specialist shop Racing Factory Autobahn (their demo car is the blue R33 GT-R shown, and they also have a yellow R33 that has lapped Tsukuba in about 56 seconds!) to develop a modernized electronic version of the OEM mechanical pressure sensor. 

As the Facebook advert shows, this new part will be available starting in OS Giken's online store, OS Factory Line, beginning in December of this year.  I recall them telling me to expect the price to be about 150,000 yen.   Interestingly, they also told me they are experimenting with a version that can be user modulated/controlled so potentially one could control how quickly ATTESA-ETS reacts in a given situation - for example, with some lag for track days but super quick/OEM on the road for example. However they could not give me pricing nor timing on this, but if they go through with it I expect the price will be twice as much and timing would likely be mid-next year.  I guess we can wait and see.

I did a quick Google search fro OS-EPC and found this Web Option article - which shows these two photos of the basic prototype unit.

So has anyone had any problems with this ATTESA-ETS pressure sensor? To be honest, when I had Nismo Omori Factory redo my car's chassis, there was no mention of this.  Rather, they did get me a new nitrogen accumulator.

In any case, you can bet I am very interested in this new tech.  The other tech I am interested in is some kind of digital version of the yaw rate sensor which I have been thinking about since this post back in 2014!

Ok next post I'll be talking about some more mundane stuff. Check back soon!

Monday, November 7, 2022

Nerding Out at R's Meeting 2022 - NAPREC

 So I've been skimming some of the social media coverage of the R's meet lately, and one tuner/booth that seems to not get much attention is the one for NAPREC, short for Nagoya Precision.  Established in 1997 by Minoru Nagoya (yep, so the company is not named after the city), everyone in the aftermarket engine tuning world here in Japan knows about NAPREC.

It's no secret that, if you want your rebuilt engine to perform at its best for its specified usage, you get in line and send the cylinder head in to NAPREC to be machined properly, so as to allow for the use of bigger valves, ensuring the smoothest flow of fresh air into and exhaust out of each cylinder, and changing the shape of the combustion chamber, to give a few examples.  Check out their high-response menu. A not so well kept secret is that all the big name famous tuning houses send their engine heads into NAPREC - I recall Nakayama-san at Mine's telling me that he used to spend hours himself manually porting out the intake/exhaust ports for each engine he worked... but given the stuff that was included in the menu for my engine, I am pretty sure for the rest of the nifty bits added to my car's engine - strengthened valve guides,  intake valves, etc. - the head was sent into NAPREC.  In any case, for sure now, given how busy Mine's is, I am sure they outsource most of their cylinder head work to NAPREC (confirmed by Nagoya-san at his booth...)

Anyway, I wanted to share a few photos I took at his booth.

Just sitting pretty. Not even an RB26 head!

Anyone know what that gold ring is around each valve cutout?

Ok so this is an RB26 head, but check out how each cylinder combustion chamber is shaped differently in order to demonstrate what NAPREC can do.

Here are some close-ups, starting at the top.
OEM normal combustion chamber, with normal intake side valves of 34.5mm and exhaust side valves of 30.0mm, and normal seat rings.

This one (on bottom) shows "High Response Kit Machining" - normal combustion chamber, intake showing NAPREC forged big valves at 34.8mm (0.30mm more than oem); normal valves used on the exhaust side, except they have been refaced; and normal seat rings.

This one (on bottom) shows the "High Response Big Valve Spec" with the combustion chamber machined to "full squish", intake valves the NAPREC forged big valves at 34.8mm, exhaust valves the NAPREC forged big valves 1.00mm wider than OEM at 31.00mm, and normal seat rings. 

Bottom one here shows the "High Response Intake Drag Valve Spec" which differs from the "High Response Big Valve Spec" by having the combustion chamber machined to "Hemi Circle shape" and the intake valve is a NAPREC Drag spec forged big valve at a massive diameter of 36.00mm, 1.50mm wider than OEM!

Finally, this one on the bottom - sorry for the poor quality photo - shows the Drag Kit Machining, which adds to the High Response Intake Drag Valve Spec by incorporating a full circle machined combustion chamber, exhaust side NAPREC Drag Spec Forged Big Valve with a diameter of 1.50mm wider than OEM at 31.5mm, large diameter seat rings - beryllium ones shown here.

I guess the bigger valves make sense, but I was most curious about the different shaped combustion chambers.  Check out this NAPREC webpage for details.  Interesting that the OEM combustion chamber has a volume of 65cc, Full Squish is 69.5cc, Hemi circle is 70.3cc, and Full Circle is 71cc.  
From top to bottom - Full Circle, Hemi Circle, and Full Squish.

So even though the Full Squish looks pretty OEM, it actually provides the biggest step up in volume, with Hemi and Full Circles only being with 1.5cc of the Full Squish.  And yes I asked and my Mine's engine should have the Full Squish (and yes it seems that way in checking this old blog post).

Anyway, it was nice to learn something somewhat mechanical - and yes basic - but hey some of these things you have to get up close and personal to really appreciate the precision that is required to produce super smooth and responsive engines.  

In my next post, I am going to try to explain something very interesting I found... a possible future product which I am definitely interested in...

Monday, October 31, 2022

R's Meeting 2022 - Part 2 - Chronologically Taken Photos

So after running into Dino again where he was taking photos of the long line of cars trying get to customer parking, we walked back to my car so he could change out his camera lens.

On the way back, we ran into this car, on the end of the row of guest parking spots:

So what, just another Autech R33 GT-R, right? Well, this one is well known for being owned and cherished by legendary Nissan test driver Hiroyoshi Kato! Yep, a fellow R33 GT-R owner, and if you look closely he's outfitted his car with the carbon ceramic rotors from the Spec V R35 GT-R.  So if Nissan's best test driver prefers the R33... I mean if he's driven them all, his choice for his personal car I think really means something.

I guess he really likes the Bitburger beer?

Once back at my car Dino quickly changed lenses (and yes he was grateful for not having to haul his bag around with him, as he might have done if he had parked further away - you're welcome DCD!):

And quickly went back to work.

Meanwhile I turned back to make sure no one was messing with my car:

And then headed over the Nissan Prince Tokyo Motorsports booth to catch up with some old friends. 
Today only - a new N1 Engine!

The most popular booth seemed to be Robson Leather's - not surprising as they were discounting their line up of shift and parking brake boots for each GT-R generation.

Back in the parking lot for cars awaiting the GT-R Magazine photo shoot, I spotted this beauty:
simple and clean!

Pulling back a bit, you can see how many other cars were in the lot.

Meanwhile I heard some talking over the PA system - the "Talk Show" with the guys responsible for each generation of GT-R was there to talk nerd and answer nerd questions!

I quickly lost interest and got a text from Dino to meet him at the OS Giken booth.  When I got there he wasn't there but I did find something interesting I will discuss in a future post.

Heading back towards my car, I stopped off at the Kyosho booth to see what they had...
No 33s so I quickly left.

I then got a text from a good friend, and current GT-R /Z Chief Product Specialist Narita-san, to join him watch the end of the talk show.  There, a German photographer named Alex who is responsible for a certain GT-R book was being introduced on the stage. 
Spotted this guy as we waited for Alex to come off the stage

Alex had somehow heard of me and my car, and wanted to meet. Narita-san made the introductions, and then we headed towards my car so he could do a quick impromptu photo shoot.
Opening the hood seemed to attract a lot of people who wanted to check out the car

Alex got intercepted by Tamura-san so they went off right before he started shooting, so I was left talking to the Nismo guys and several other people - and some new friends - who stopped by.  Finally, Alex returned and did his thing, but I was getting hungry so I threw the keys to Dino who promised to watch the fun.  Narita-san and I went upstairs by elevator to a suite reserved for Nissan...

Where over this bento lunch, we discussed a few interesting projects. 

Of course I can't publish what we talked about, but I will tell you the bento was tastier than it looked.  Once finished, we grabbed a few extra bottles of free drinks for the guys who were waiting by my car.  Dino reported that Masa and Daiki from Robson had stopped by to check out my car... too bad I missed them, but an excuse for me to call them!

Anyway, any one who has been to Fuji Speedway on a Sunday knows that the earlier you drive back, the better, given the crazy PM traffic into Tokyo. So even though the festivities continued, we left, driving very slowly through the crowd, at about 2pm. A great day, I had a lot of fun and I think Narita-san and the guys at Nismo for the invite and the hospitality!

Check back soon for a couple of posts that go into detail on a couple of interesting finds!