Thursday, July 25, 2013

HID Rear Fog Lamp, NOT a Good Idea

So I recently outfitted the car with an HID back up bulb.  And, found out when doing this mod that, in fact the regular incandescent bulb was BRIGHTER than the LED bulb that had replaced it, which I then replaced with the HID bulb. My conclusion at the time was that the LED bulb was whiter or bluer than the yellowish incandescent bulb, but NOT brighter on the Lumens scale.  The HID bulb was whiter/bluer AND brighter than the LED bulb, so I decided to go forward with the install of the HID bulb.

At the time I had also compared the standard incandescent bulb and the LED bulb for the rear fog light - but it was obvious that the incandescent bulb resulted in a brighter, redder, light. Hence I kept the incandescent bulb in place.

But, while working on final rear diffuser mod, I decided to see what would happen if I took the next logical step of installing an HID bulb in place of the incandescent bulb for the rear fog lamp.  Here is the result.

Incandescent Bulb

HID Bulb
So again the regular incandescent bulb seems to produce the most light for a red lens, as used in the rear fog lamp.  I have to conclude that, despite the HID being "white" versus the yellow of the incandescent, either a yellow light produces more usable, visible light and/or for a RED lens, a whiter light behind a red lens does not always produce the brightest possible light. Or, perhaps an HID is directional and so works best if used in conjunction with a mirror lens surface that focuses the light in a proper way (like the headlights).

So the next step will be, researching the brightest possible incandescent bulbs! Stay tuned....

Monday, July 15, 2013

BNR34 Rear Diffuser Project, Part 5: Done!

While taking photos of the various pieces that had to be fitted to make the diffuser fit, I realized from the following photo, the rust on the leading metal edge of the diffuser really bothered me.

That, and I also realized that I was simply ignoring another problem, the rust on the inside fin mounts:

So off to the hardware store I went, searching for the Japanese equivalent of Rust-Oleum StopsRust, the paint that you spray on and which slows down the progression of rust (it was too much work to actually strip down all the rust and then respray). I couldn’t find a spray product, but did find something in a can that’s used for black iron fences, etc.

So, I took off the diffuser, and painted all rusted surfaces with this anti-rust paint in the hope that this would at least slow down the spread of the rust that’s already there. If of course it’s too late, well at least I have the stainless brackets and other parts from the RB Motorsports kit that can probably be used in their place.
Looks much better, right?
And, since I had the diffuser off, I decided to see if I could do one more mod.  I remember reading in GTR Magazine about a shop that installed a red F1 style rear LED in the center bracket, and found two examples on Minkara.  (Here's the other).

But, I’m not about to spend 34,000 yen (plus that was a limited edition run of 10 plus units) on this! So I searched on Rakuten and first found this:
Not bad at 900 yen, but the reviews were mostly all bad....
But given that the dimensions I could work with were:  about 6cm for the space between the body of the car and the diffuser, and about 3cm between the leading edge of the diffuser and the bumper, I found instead a rectangular one with better dimensions: 

Once ordered it quickly arrived - and though I'm sure it probably costs less than $5 in the US (and even less than that in China), unfortunately it was a bit more than that here...

So as you can see it had this clip attached to it. Initially I was not going to use this clip, but then decided that, instead of making my own brackets, it might be better to figure out a way to attach it using this clip – either to the car body or to the diffuser itself.

After some thought, I realized that to attach this LED to the car body would require new holes to be drilled, or the diffuser stays would have to be modifed.  It would probably be easier to attach to the LED light to the diffuser itself, so that's what I decided to do.

I found a stainless steel (so it wouldn't rust) bracket with holes, which bolted on nicely to the end bolts of the rear-most bolts of the two inside fins (which are spaced apart exactly 46 cm!) on the inside top surface of the diffuser (you can also see the formerly rusted inside fin mounts now painted black here too):

Then, using the clip that came with the LED light, I was able to test fit it by slipping it (temporarily) on like this:

I was envisioning I would be able to attach it all so it would be like this:

But I then realized that I had to do something to prevent the LED lamp and its clip from slipping off the stainless bracket - so I decided to use a "V" shaped rubber piece with adhesive on both inside surfaces between which I sandwiched the stainless bracket.  The two bolts shown here were then used to center the LED clip on the stainless bracket:  

So it ended up looking like this:

And then to prevent the whole contraption from slipping around and thus possibly falling off, used some silicon adhesive on the side that would contact the diffuser:

After I bolted this whole contraption onto the diffuser (again using the two rear-most bolts of the inside fins), I temporarily re-attached the diffuser to see how it would fit.
Looks pretty good, huh!
Now all that was left was to wire it up to the lights. This I'll cover in a future post, because it took some time to get right.   In any case - finally - here is the finished result, in day light! Comments, critiques, and questions most welcomed!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Glove Box and Center Console Clean-Up!

One more post before my final diffuser post...

So here is something I've been meaning to do for a long time.  A few months after I got my GT-R, thanks to the UK GTROC forum, I was introduced to a product made by a forum member which was marketed as an alternative to the expensive (or discontinued) torque split controllers by GRID, FIELD (E-TS Linear)  or Do-Luck (D-ETS-M).  But it turned out to be a waste of money, I should have stuck with the tried and true.

Upon installation, I found that not only did certain dash warning lights stay on initially (4WD and ABS, if I recall correctly) and even when I got that resolved somehow (I think I had to reset all ECUs by unplugging the battery, etc.) then I could never tell if the unit was working, even on the track. So it was just a matter of time before I unplugged it.   However, the hole I drilled in the center console to pass the leads through, was too small to pass the harness (I had soldered on connectors for quick release, etc.) so I just left the device in the console box, taking up space. Like so:
Note the hole for the wiring that I drilled
This is how I just left the wires underneath the console, unplugged and unused.
On the other hand, when I first got my car, I had a Navi installed, and one of the options I got at the same time was an ETC reader for electronic toll collection on Japanese expressways. However the shop had installed this in the glove box, which, in addition to the boost controller and later an iPod docking cable, meant for a very crowded glovebox - essentially unusable.

So nothing fit, but I didn't really care, until I bought this beautiful, limited edition, leather "shaken" case from what Nissan called "The Nissan Collection"... designed to fit in the glovebox. But because it didn't fit in the glovebox, I had kept it on the rear seat, which meant it ended up on the floor... not good.
Limited Edition, "Nissan Collection" item.

In addition to the shaken and insurance papers, fits the owner's log and manual neatly
Hence I decided to relocate the ETC reader device from the glovebox to the center console. First, I had to remove the center surround to access the stereo head unit, as well unscrew the HVAC and head unit to access these wires in the glove box which connected to the ETC device.

These wires lead to an area behind the head unit, hence:

And then I was able to reroute the wires to end up underneath the center console box.  Meanwhile, I had "snip" taken out the Skylab device:
Anybody want this? Just pay for shipping and it's yours!
 And then I used a drill and a very sharp knife to create a small space for the ETC wires to pass through:
Not m best work, but since it's usually out of sight, out of mind...
This allowed the ETC device to fit in nicely - even though it appears to be taller than the box, the cover has an indent which means no problems in closing the lid securely - and no problems removing the credit card sized ETC card when necessary, either. And use of double stick cushion tape means this is as secure as can be.

Check out all that space there in front - perfect for some secret unseen switches?

Now the glovebox has more than enough space for the Shaken case to fit.
I'll keep the iPod/iPhone connectivity for now...
In conclusion - while storage space is limited, I now have use of the glovebox. And, given the space still available in the center console, this means any other devices I get - can be located there too. And yes, already have some things in mind.... stay tuned!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Trunk Bar: Another Noticeable Improvement in Body Rigidity

As I wait for a part I need to finish my extra mod for the BNR34 diffuser to arrive (so I can do my true last post on the diffuser install), let me also showcase something ELSE I had done at BeAmbitious, and the real reason it took over a week to get the car back to me.

So during my research into the mechanical differences between the R33 and R34 GT-Rs, other than aerodynamics, the other area where the R34 improved upon the R33 was in body rigidity.

This makes sense, I believe my car is a much better handling car since the addition of various NISMO underbody brace bars, and especially the Nagisa Auto fender brace.

Now the Series 3 has additional bracing in the trunk, but that is in the front of the trunk area - between the struts towers and the rear wall framing where the battery is located.

And this is a result most likely because the BNR34 was being developed during the run of the R33 and in fact the BNR34 test beds were modified R33s. So likely, these braces were an improvement that was discovered during the BNR34 development, and incorporated into the later R33s.

There was one improvement that isn't that well advertised or known, and that is the brace bar in the trunk of the R34.  Not sure why this didn't make it into later R33s, as it is an easy piece to add, however this brace bar concept DID make it into certain models of the S15 Silvia.

So when I began my search for a used piece, I was able to find one in decent shape off of an S15. I had also read on Minkara of another R33 GT-R owner (and also a few ECR33 and even ER34 owners) who had installed an S15 trunk brace bar without issue, so rather than searching for a BNR34 one, I picked up one of the more easily available S15 ones.

When it arrived, it was in good shape, with some scratches, presumably caused by items in the trunk!

But as I had some leftover KR4 silver paint from my fluidic nozzle project, I used that and sprayed the entire bar to get it as nice looking as possible. Turned out ok, I think:

I let Ninomiya-san of Be Ambitious take care of the install while I left the car with him in order to install the R34 V-spec rear diffuser. It turns out that there are already holes pre-drilled in the trunk in the right place (under some rubber caps), however what needs to be taken care of is to have something fill the gap between the floor and the bumper reinforcement, which also has holes pre-drilled. (Apologies but since I did not do the install I don't know what size bolts...). For my car, Ninomiya-san had some billet anodized aluminum spacers custom made (not cheap), but it is obviously more solid than what people usually do, which is to stack washers one on top of each other to fill the gap. And getting these spacers made took over a week and hence the delay in getting my car back to me (I thought the diffuser and trunk bar install would take a day or two, but it ended up taking a week).

EDIT - Mook on the UK GTROC forum did this mod - here is a link to some GOOD installation photos and information on the bolt and spacer sizes.  Thanks to both Mook for the photos and K66 Sky for the information.

Anyway here is how it looks now, installed.

And here is close-up of one side, bolted in:

Now what about the result? Did it change the car? In a word, "yes!" Definitely!  On my way home after picking up the car, it's only a few kilometers, but immediately the car felt "shorter" - I know that sounds odd but that is the best way to describe it.

Later, I took a 2 hour drive into Tokyo, and discovered that, in addition to the car feeling shorter, the suspension seems much stiffer now. What was before a firm but pleasant ride is now on the verge of being a bit too harsh!  So unless this is a placebo effect, I guess my senses are telling me that, before the trunk flexed and allowed the dampers to feel softer - now as the trunk area is more solid, the dampers don't have as much "give"... at least that's my theory.

Any thoughts, my friends? Am I imagining things? I think I am going to continue making the body as rigid as possible without the use of a roll cage, until the car feels like it's carved out of one solid block of steel. I will look into spot welding, but have heard that rusting can be an issue, so I may just have to see what else is out there that is bolt-on.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

BNR34 Rear Diffuser Project, Part 4: Putting it All Together!

So when I went to pick up my car from BeAmbitious, I was happy with  the seamless job Ninomiya-san had done.
Taken at 7pm in the evening, hence a bit unclear... sorry!

First, instead of a four sided rear center bracket, Ninomiya-san simply used two hangar type brackets. 
Simplicity at work here - only time will tell if this is enough.
Second, the carbon was cut in order for the Tomei muffler to peacefully coexist. I couldn't tell how it was cut, it was only apparently after I took the diffuser off for another upcoming project! (Stay tuned!)
Some smooth cutting there, no rough edges.
Third, the entire diffuser was dropped a few millimeters in order for the exhaust pipe to have a bit more leeway on the front side of the diffuser.
For those of you with R34s, you should be aware that Tomei has apparently been sending out a retrofit kit similar to these spacers, in order to prevent the leading edge of the diffuser from pressing into the ExPreme titanium exhaust.
Fourth, the metal jack-up point was moved a few cm forward, and an alumite "gap filler" attached, in order to ensure the jack up point is not only flush with the diff, but also far in front of the Greddy extra capacity diff cover (wouldn't want to jack it up on that)!

But the piece de resistance was the way he used the RB Motorsport side brackets:

Note how, instead of attaching them to the car directly, he chose to attach them by way of hard rubber bushings, in order to prevent any metallurgical issues to the body of the car, as well as considering the vibration the diffuser will generate, and tucked the side brackets up under the rear bumper. This means however that I cannot remove the diffuser with the brackets still attached to the diffuser, as one might do normally.

Rather, I have to undo the bolts for the two outer most fins, plus two additional bolts on the side protectors,  which then separates the diffuser from the side brackets, which remain attached to the car.

And this is why the side brackets and the diffuser's side protectors are not riveted together :
Pointing to where normally there would be a rivet holding the diffuser's plastic side piece to the side bracket 
So neither rivet is there now.
And the effect? Well, that will have to wait, at normal expressway speeds I haven't noticed much of a difference to be honest. Oh and when backing up, now have to be careful not to scratch the fins.
But next track day, let's see what speeds north of 200kph will do!

Finally - I realize I have yet to provide a nice photo that clearly shows the diffuser, in daylight. Patience my friends, I have ONE MORE diffuser related mod before I show the final, final result!