Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Post of the Year (Really)!

Friends, on this last day of 2012, I am looking back and thinking about many things that I experienced this year. But mostly, how precious life is, how limited our time on this Earth is, and how important it is not to waste, or at least try not waste, a single moment of that time.  I hope we all can take a few minutes to reflect a bit on what 2012 meant to us, and how we hope 2013 will turn out to be.

With respect to this blog, I am always thrilled when people write to me with their comments – both good, bad, and constructive – or refer to this blog on internet forums and such - so thank you.  To get feedback when all I'm really doing is documenting my adventures with my car, is amazing. So thank you everyone who has spent time and energy reading this blog, and especially those who took even more time to leave comments.  I do have in mind some more interesting projects for 2013 and beyond, so please continue to visit here on occasion. 

Anyway… I hadn’t planned on being philosophical and this IS a car blog, so let me get back to business.
As I stated in my last post, I had taken my car to RAPT for some year end tweaks. Not only did Kabe-san finish early (I picked up the car Saturday, the only day recently it hasn’t rained!) but I am happy to report the car looks amazing.  That write up and the photos I will do in the new year, so stay tuned.  What really made me happy, however, is that Kabe-san noticed that my car wasn’t starting up as smoothly as he thought it should.  So, he did a bit of checking, and noticed that my spark plugs looked like this:
Now THAT is carbon buildup!!!
Yes folks, I will admit – I had not changed the plugs since I had the new engine put in at MINE’S, over 5 years and almost 30,000 kms ago! (then again, ONLY 30,000 kms? Huh?)

So what to do? Some quick research and I found out that NGK was preferred over Denso, and that there were mixed reviews on iridium vs. platinum.   And at this time of year, all the shops are closed, and ordering on the internet wasn’t going to get me new plugs anytime soon.  Oh, and naturally, I also looked at the Nismo website to see what they had, and yes they had Nismo branded NGKplugs… of course with the usual 200+% Nismo mark-up… ouch.

Luckily for me, Kabe-san has a few contacts at Trust/Greddy, and guess what. They ALSO carry NGK spark plugs – and without the huge markup (supposedly because Trust ordered a huge batch before there was a sharp increase in platinum prices…)  So anyway, these are what I now have in my car – their top of the line racing plugs, in #8 heat range:
Of course I paid much less than retail, too! 
The difference is very noticeable, the engine starts up easier, and actually sounds different (feels a bit smoother too).  So I’m pretty happy with the result.

As an aside, long time readers may remember these:
Thin copper washers in various thicknesses
The theory here is called “indexing” spark plugs – that is, using the washers to make sure that when screwed in, the plugs all end up facing the same direction – so the gap in each spark plug is aligned with the intake side of the cylinder head… the reason being that the electrode then doesn’t get in the way of preventing maximum spark/ air-gas interaction and thus the best possible combustion.  But now that I have the Okada Projects Plasma Directs installed, I don’t think it matters that much anymore, so I probably won’t re-visit this mod.

So anyway, just a reminder to everyone  out there doing beginning of the year maintenance – don’t forget the obvious!

Be safe, and I'll see everyone in 2013!

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