Sunday, July 31, 2011

LED Back Up Light

In conjunction with having the rear windows tinted, my friend Russ suggested that I install one of those "super bright" LED bulbs for the back up lamp, so I could see what I was backing into.

Sounded like a great idea!

So I found this interesting looking bulb on Rakuten, the seller claiming it was one of the brightest out there!

And here are the before and after pictures. You'll note that the Series 3 R33 GT-R only has ONE back up lamp...(the other being used as a rear foglight)

Before (with regular but bright incandescent bulb) - note that my iPhone automatically used the flash.

After install of the LED - note that the iPhone did NOT use the flash.

And so I manually activated the flash so we could directly compare with the before shot.

One issue I noticed was, the plastic casing where the bulb is inserted, has no reflective cone that can be used to further direct the intensity of the bulb. So, I think a lot of light gets diffused to the sides. Since the bulb is easy to install, one continuing project will be to try to find a silver plastic cone or use alum foil or something in a cone shape, to see if I can't get the rear back up bulb even brighter. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Window Tinting

Amazingly, this is one mod that I wasn't too keen on. In actuality my wife wanted me to do this, as there was too much sun coming into the rear seats where my daughter rides in her baby seat.

So the search was on for a place in Japan that 1) does a good job, and 2) for reasonable money. I thought briefly about doing this myself, but given dad duties my weekends aren't as free as they used to be, so in this case, if the price was right...

A quick internet search showed that some places charge nearly 80,000 yen! This covers the rear three glass windows, and some UV cutting clear film for the front side windows. I then stumbled upon RAPT, a detailing shop about 10 minutes drive from where I live!

And, their pricing was the best that I found, under 36,000 yen for what others were charging 80,000 yen. Still not as cheap as I remember window tinting in the US, (like $200?) but for location, speed, and quality, I wasn't going to complain. Plus, as they are mainly a detailer, I figured I could pick up a few tricks... maybe...

Anyway, here are photos of the finished result.

I chose the sides to be as dark as legally possible - so the side rear windows are 5% (ie they only let 5% of light through).

The rear window is 15% - can you tell the difference?

I have to say it turned out better than I thought. Although the detail obsessed in me will probably require the rears to be changed to 5% in the very near future...

PS check out the RAPT demo car, one of the most spectacular FDs I've ever seen...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Front Diffuser!

OK, let's get away from Guest Posts for awhile...thanks to Thomas and Sami for their contributions. Anyone else?

Readers of my blog might remember this post, way back.

I had somehow broken the HKS Kansai carbon front diffuser shortly before I repaired it in that post. My recollection is that it was either at Fuji Speedway, or on the way home. Regardless, I had patched it up with my rudimentary fiberglass skills, but never really felt good about the repair. I had also wondered how the Kansai piece worked. It has the scoop in the middle, which apparently forms turbulance and creates a sucking effect. I mean, I never felt like the car was floating, and it DID feel better than with just the standard piece... and who am I to say that HKS Kansai got it wrong?

But then a few months ago, my friend Russ (yes of RE-xtreme fame - and lent me a video which explained race car aerodynamics. Not one car they had featured there had the Kansai scoop. In fact, they all were seeking to have as flat a floor as possible. So I decided to see what other manufacturers had, and stumbled on a model by Silk Road.

Given the trouble I had with the large, single piece Kansai diffuser, I was not averse to the three piece setup. I also like the fact that the airflow looked very similar to what Nissan had designed for the R34 (figured that it can't be bad). I wanted to go with the least expensive FRP, but the only ones available were the "silver cloth" Carbon Fiber this is what I got.

Here it is, you can see the color and the three piece construction.

Anyway, with the car up, and me getting ready to install these piece, me being OCD I decided to clean up as much as possible. Break out the Simple Green!

Then, while inspecting the bottom, I ran across this weird thing - anyone have any idea what this is? Does it serve to cool the power steering fluid?

Compared to installing the HKS Kansai product, which requires two brackets to be inserted INTO a cross member, and relies on bolts that can rattle loose, I found the installation of the SilkRoad product to be much more straightforward. Except for one problem. The Nismo Performance Dampers are secured between two brackets. But these brackets also block the installation of two hangars which are bolted into pre-existing holes. Hence, I had to go out and buy two pieces of aluminum, which I then bent to go AROUND the Damper brackets. You can see the standard hangar bolt on the left, and my contraption on the right (hope it holds...)

But once this makeshift bracket was on, it was simply a matter of installing both side pieces...

and then following with the center piece. The hangar bolts do the majority of the stress work, but the pieces also use the holes in the standard lip spoiler (Series 3 only) for further security. And here is how it looks when all done!

Another point - the access hole for oil changes is actually covered, unlike the HKS Kansai one which was 1) too small (car at wrong angle and oil ends up flowing INTO the diffuser), and 2) not covered. I haven't done a high speed test yet at Fuji, but on the expressways I have not noticed anything odd, or insecure feeling. Stay tuned for a further report!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Guest Post: Sami R. - Headlight Conversion, Part 9

Hi, Aki.

Guess what?

I get them done today.  When I´m going to put them on their place,I don´t know yet. Hopefully very soon, but first I have to get all wiring done. And today I get those other connectors for these lights.

Well, everything seem to go well so far and I get the housings back together easy too.  Just have to put some new glue stuff, when I first get them in to their place, just for testing. But I have to take the bumper out for that.

I think that they look quite original, VW light is little smaller than Nissan one, but that´s just fine, it leave more adjustment space inside the light.

My original plan, was to use N16 pulsar/almera lights, but then I change the plan, because I hope that someone can do the same conversion. And I think that VW lights are available everywhere, but N16 Nissan lights with projectors, might be quite hard to find in US.

Here are the pics:

First are the lights and then there is pics of the connectors.
Las pic is my head light wires, lots of tape and some extra wires. I have to get rid of those and make them perfect (almost)


Guest Post: Sami R. - Headlight Conversion, Part 8

Editorial note - so after showing me how he ordered another Passat light for the other side, and making that installation, Sami wrote to tell me this:

Hi, Aki.

For the light project, i have solved the parking light problem and i decided to use some new connectors. I picked them up in car parts shop and they seems to work nicely. Finaly i put other projector on it´s place, the other has to wait until rest of the wires are on their place. Other side can be done with the light on it´s place, but other side has too little room.


Guest Post: Sami R. - Headlight Conversion, Part 7

Hi, Aki.

Okay, prototype is ready!!!

Next i have to make the real ones, and fix some flaws. Tomorrow i try to find some very small nuts and bolts. I dont have enough these ones that i´m using now.

That light pattern mechanism is working and the whole light seems to fit quite nice on it´s place.
I´m thinking that i´m going to start make the real ones on next weekend I have material, tools, time and mockup.

Well, if you have time and interest to write something about this to your blog, it´s very flattering.

And next are these pics, again...    First is pics of the plate, with some new holes on it and then 4th and 5th pics show, how tiny boltsi´m going to need to find.
Last two, are only comparison photos. Upper one is yours (original) and bottom one is homemade.