Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Wheels... kinda

So one thing my car really needs is a brake upgrade. Which means that the stock 17s are pretty much useless if I want to add a big brake kit with rotors 355mm or larger. I've done a lot of research on the ideal brake caliper and rotor set up - initially I thought that the 355mm front (Brembo F50) and 322mm rear (R34 N1 spec using the stock rear 2 pot Brembos) was the best set up, as that is what I had been told by Tamura-san from Nissan.

But then, Goto-san - who runs a very fast tuned BNR32 at the SSCT track days showed me his set up - and it was the 355mm up front, with the 350mm rear rotor from the V36 Skyline Coupe using the stock rear Brembos - and he swore the brake balance was perfect!

Anyway, either way it was clear to me that I had to get larger wheels. The RE30s have S-tire rubber on them, so I need something for the street.

To make a long story short - I struck a deal with a friend - he would lend me his unused 18 inch TE37s which were in dinged up shape, I would repaint at my cost, and then put on new tires - and then return the wheels when the tires get worn out. Not a bad deal at all...

So anyway - remember RAPT? The place that did my window tinting also did the wheels...

Talk about PERFECT (I asked him to aim for the matte black finish as found on the Advans alloys)

The tire of choice - Advan Neova AD08s...

And this is how it looks on my car. What do you think?

As for my brake upgrade - stay tuned, it will be interesting, I promise!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sneak Peek of What's Going on at Tomei...

Turns out DCD was in the neighborhood and so dropped by to check out what was going on with my car. He kindly sent over these photos he took - apparently not only is my car serving as an R&D testbed, but it will be featured in their catalog in the near future!

Love how these Tomei guys protect my car with this blue film

Not sure why the car is up on a lift...

Looks like they shoot photos at night?

I’ll be releasing the official photos on this blog, with a description of what product Tomei has developed, very soon!

Meanwhile, I am enjoying driving the Suzuki Swift Sport! Driving position (despite being Recaros!) doesn’t work for me and the plastics are cheap (but then heck so are the R33s) but really not bad for a small car!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Once Again at Tomei Powered...

So I found myself at Tomei Powered again on Saturday morning. My buddy Allen wasn’t there, but his colleague Sakurai-san was there to greet me. He immediately set about inspecting my car for scratches, dings, etc. as Allen had apparently told everyone at Tomei that I was very OCD about my car. Anyway, once I had signed the very rental-car like pre-damage paperwork, they lent me one of their cars (a Suzuki Swift Sport) and I quickly drove home to attend to another event for my kid.

Here is a shot of my car in their garage:

I’m not allowed yet to get into full details yet, but this is related to an earlier link
whereby I had previously left my car in Tomei’s good hands, shortly before the big earthquake here. Anyway, they needed my car for a week, and I am always happy to oblige – after all, the Mine’s engine in my car would not have been possible without certain choice bits from the Tomei catalog!

Here is something I spotted in their storeroom by the way, which I do NOT have on my car! (yet?? lol)

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Random Photo from Tomei Powered?

My friend Allen at Tomei Powered sent over a photo of something interesting they just received. Anyone care to guess what these are? I wonder what the plans are for these?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Nismo Air Inlet Piping

In my last post I hinted that I had been working on some mods for my car (and hence the relative lack of posts lately). Well, here is one.

The overly expensive Nismo Air Inlet Piping Kit:

I scoured Rakuten and finally found one at a decent price (MSRP is ridiculous... compare with similar kits from HKS and Trust...)

What this part does, is to better manage the airflow coming out of the turbos. The theory is: hot exhaust air is coming out of both turbos on their way to the intercooler, but the air from the back runs into the air from the front turbo, on the way to the intercooler. So what this Nismo part does is to provide not only a smooth gradual merging of this air - as well as providing for wider diameter piping (ie more volume).

You don't have to buy this or the similar ones from HKS et al. You CAN modify the Twin Turbo pipe - in fact I bought one from Cockpit Wako as I'm not about to cut open, then weld a thin piece of aluminum between the top and bottom of the pipe, thus separating the front and rear turbo exhausts, and then weld it all back together. And the reason I did this was, I wanted to keep the car's engine as stock looking as possible. Plus, you don't really need these pipes, check out the Mine's demo car...

There is an explanation of this mod on the UK GTR Forum:

But after riding in DCD's BNR34 several months ago and experiencing how responsive the turbos were (and no turbo shuffle) ... I decided maybe this was worth doing.

Anyway with life keeping me busy, the parts sat in my garage for a couple of months, until I finally decided to install the kit in late August (ie getting ready for the Tsukuba trackday).

Here is how it's done - the instructions are in Japanese, and even so are so poorly written (no detail and looks like a photocopy of a photocopy, etc. ) that perhaps this can serve as a guide to someone and save their knuckles (and some time):

Ok... so here is how it looks before you start, obviously.
First take off the strut bar, as well as the standard airbox snorkel (if you have one) to gain access to all the bolts and clamps holding the Twin Turbo pipe in.

As you unpack the box, begin drooling - here is the the main split pipe of the Nismo kit. Absolutely GORGEOUS :)

Once you've removed the clamps, and the Twin Turbo pipe, this is what you see. The silver pipe on the right is the outlet for the rear turbo. There is a shorter one for the front as well. Both of these will be coming off.

Here is how it looks once the rear one has been removed. AND, here is where the instructions are most inadequate. While the bolt on one side can be removed simply by unscrewing, the one on the OTHER side is actually held in place by a nut behind the flange of the outlet. So make sure you get a finger or something back there to ensure you don't lose this nut. Otherwise that nut will drop somewhere into the engine bay...(luckily I had a box of loose bolts and nuts and found something that replaced it perfectly).

The instructions also fail to inform you that, if you happen to have the Nismo Oil Collector installed like I have, then that needs to be unbolted and moved to the side in order to access this rear turbo area.

And here is the Nismo piping for the rear turbo...

This is the Nismo pipe for the front turbo. Note that it's much shorter.

After both of these have been installed:

And here it is complete. A word to the wise - make sure that the silicon bands are on, and the clamps tightened, properly! I took the car on a spin the next day and the lower one (between the intercooler and the split pipe) came loose. Not fun on a crowded road. Carry a standard screwdriver and heat proof gloves so you can do your own roadside repair like I did.

Nismo does caution on two items. One, the snorkel for the standard airbox will no longer fit, and needs to be melted slightly so that it does. Second, your ECU may need to be reprogrammed as the engine will boost a bit higher (mine was ok though).

Unfortunately my attempts at melting thick ABS were not successful, so I simply left the snorkel off until I managed to get to a dealer (which I did AFTER the track day, oh well...) Here is Sugimoto-san using a heat gun to melt the piece...I also asked him to double check the clamps and the silicon hoses.

And here it is, finally complete. Sharp eyed readers will note that the direction of the bolts on the clamps have been changed - they were on the left initially, but are now on the right - and looking much more aligned than before.

The reason I chose the Nismo kit over the others is simply the way it looks - how the larger pipe comes so close to the cam cover, the intense gloss/shine- and of course the Nismo name matches well with the oil cap, air filter reminder, radiator cap, etc.

Anyway, impressions are - yep, the engine DOES seem to spool up much faster, and come on quicker. I can still hear a bit of turbo shuffle, but not like before. So I'm happy. Now if I could only figure out a way to get more air into the airbox, now that part of the passage way has been melted narrower...

Stay tuned, I have some more VERY tasty mods coming up soon, as well as an ongoing "R33 GT-R Tool Kit" project (my inspiration was the 160,000 yen Snap On tool kit they offered as an option for the R35...)