Monday, March 24, 2014

Windshield Washer Nozzles, Revisited - OEM vs. Fluidics vs. Mitsuba

Some readers will recall that, last year I experimented with these "fluidic" windshield washer nozzles.

They DO work well, and are really inexpensive, but alas their fitment isn't quite right because the holes in the bonnet/hood for the OEM washer nozzles are too large for these fluidics nozzles (so if I had an aftermarket hood, and could drill my own holes they would work well).  And it was still touch and go, despite my use of some washers to fill the space:

So, I decided after a few months of always making sure that the fluidic nozzle I test-installed on the drivers side was always pointing in the right direction, to try out the Mitsuba nozzles I had mentioned in my fluidic nozzle post.

The packet actually comes with an assortment of adaptors and tubing extenders:

The technology they use is different that the fluidics - it's more old school. From what I can see, they basically have a single outlet as the OEM, except that it's flattened so you get a spray versus a stream. Kind of like the difference on those spray bottles for glass cleaner (i.e. Windex, etc.).

I was actually hoping to have a pro do the painting, but I had some time, so this is what I did:

First, I taped up the nozzle side.

Then,  I mounted in the make-shift cardboard mount I had used earlier for the fluidics, and then sanded them down to get a slightly rough surface (as packaged, they are super shiny and slick):
1500 grade sandpaper works well here

I then went outside (sunny day) and sprayed on some KR4 paint I had left over:

After letting them dry overnight (actually, it was about two weeks before I had time to work on this again), installation was as easy as:

1) removing the masking tape protecting the nozzle:
Not bad if I may say so myself
 2) Install the rubber shield to fit between the nozzle and the hood itself:

3. Installation on the hood itself, requires use of these lock nut type plastic washer which holds the nozzles firmly in place.

Here is how the hood looks when done:

Here are short video clips that compare the fluidic and these Mitsuba ones.

Fluidic (from the fluidics blog post):

And here are the Mitsuba ones (on both sides):

So the differences are:
1) the Mitsuba ones definitely fit on the hood (bonnet) better, and look nicer/closer to OEM (although they are a bit bigger actually - wider but a bit shorter, and also not as "teardrop" shaped - more angular and a bit taller?)
OEM on top, Mitsuba on bottom (installed)
2) the fluidics DO have a finer spray. The Mitsubas DO spray in a wider pattern than the OEM, however the water droplets are larger compared to the fluidics.

3) The Mitsubas appear to leak on the nozzle side - not sure if this is overrun from the excess volume of washer fluid, or if the nozzle spray tip itself leaks, but this could be a concern for those who use their windshield washers in dry weather (where the fluid could possibly leave a stain).

4) Out of the package, the Mitsubas were aimed way too high, with the spray reaching over the roof and a bit landing on the rear window.  Although I suspect at speed, perhaps the wind would keep more of the fluid on the windshield.  Since I usually use the spray at low speeds, I took a  small flathead screwdriver and adjusted the nozzles accordingly (basically the screwdriver was parallel to the ground).

In conclusion - I am going to keep the fluidics in my parts bin, because if I ever get an aftermarket hood, these are the washer nozzles I would go for.  In fact, I think I like the fluidics the best due to their efficient spray, low profile, and low cost, but that small size means these ones don't work on the OEM hood. I suppose if I found some that fit the OEM hood like OEM, then without question I would go for fluidics. Until then, however, I guess I will have to use the Mitsubas.

Until next time...

Monday, March 17, 2014

DTM-II Firmware "Update"

So a couple of Thursdays ago, I had some free time so I swung by Do-Luck.

The main reason was to receive an "upgraded" DTM II.

If any of you have recently bought the DTM II, don't worry - because I was one of few who had bought a very early model.  Most DTM IIs sold overseas, already incorporate the following change- if you bought yours through an authorized dealer, then you need not worry.

Ito-san told me that the change was necessary from early customer feedback. The issue specifically was that, on the racetrack during high speed cornering, the DTM II was too quick to activate and deactivate, due to the sensitivity of the onboard digital G-sensor.

So, the firmware was slightly rewritten so that the there was more of a "lag" in how the ATTESSA responded.  More accurately, it is not a "numbing" of the sensors but a reprogram whereby the unit now knows that, in certain cornering situations, to keep the torque going to the front wheels a bit longer, allowing the more average driver to better feel the ATTESSA doing its work.

Naturally, I asked Ito-san about future upgrades. He told me that, so long as you buy a DTM II from an authorized dealer, then the upgrades such as this one, which "refine" the product, will be free.  Any big changes to the programming - for example "maps" appropriate for certain racetracks, for example, may or may not be at nominal cost, however.

I don't have any pictures of the upgrade, which was literally a replacing of the circuit board on board my DTM II control box, for a new one.

The swap was done in literally five minutes - just access, then unhook the leads, pry off the old one, replace the circuit board, and tape it back into place.  Then teach the unit the closed and open throttle positions, and that was it!

Ito-san and I then popped open the hood (bonnet) of my car, and spotted some things that needed we agreed that in the near future we'd have some work to do.

As for the improved DTM II - I really have to take the car to a track soon, or on the twisties, but I have at minimum 2 more mods I want to do before that...stay tuned!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

First Post for 2014... and the mod is...Clean Air??


Apologies for the vacation I took from updating the blog. Truth be told, it's been too cold here in Japan and with the occasional snowstorm, until today I'd only driven the car once this year.  That, and a new job for me means little free time to be tinkering. But, I'm settling in now and so it's time for some new mods.

Anyway, it's now March and FINALLY a nice day, without rain or snow. Just a little cold. So, I took the day off and got some mods I've been wanting to get done, as well as take the car for a spin to Do-Luck, which is only a 5 minute drive away from where I live (more on what I did there in my next post).

March in Japan also means the beginning of hay fever season. I had always assumed that for a "modern" car like the R33 GT-R, the HVAC system would have come from the factory with filters. But it turns out that, only from about midway through the production cycle did Nissan offer filters as a dealer installed option for the R33 Skyline, as this Minkara user explained.

A quick search and I found that even though not widely known, these filters made by PMC work with the R33 Skyline:

Part number EB-205, for select Nissan cars

The EB-205 is listed for the "R34" Skyline, however for model years January 1996-November 1998.  In other words, a typo which may be why these don't pop up when you do a search online.  In any case, with a Series 2 or 3 GT-R, should be good to go, right?

I selected the EB series over their PC205C series which appear to be more premium, because the small print in the PC description states that the model 205 which fits certain Nissans lacks some of the qualities that make the PC a supposedly better design than the EB! That is, it has activated charcoal, but lacks the anti-static, anti-bacterial, anti-mold, anti-allergen, and anti-virus (!) properties otherwise found in the PC series filters. (So why even bother I wonder?)  The EB series at least has the anti-mold and anti-bacterial, anti-smell, anti-dust, and anti-pollen, and while maybe not as effective as the PC series, it at least has these features which are lacking in the PC model.

Here's what the filters (there are two in the package, as one stacks on top of the other) look like

And here is how it looks close up (note I am holding it UPSIDE DOWN, the arrow points UP!)

Installation was a lot easier than I thought:

Step 1 - remove the glove box. This can be done simply by removing two pins on the bottom hinge.
Note this is the RIGHT side, I am taking the photo shooting up.
Step 2 - you will see that there is a wall behind the glove box that needs to be removed.
There are 4 screws, one in each corner, as well as 2 screws holding the tongue for the latch in. Remove all of these.
Step 3 - you will end up with this.
I could not believe how much dust had collected behind the wall and in this general area

Step 4 - using a sharp craft knife, you will cut away some of the plastic, as I am pointing to.  You will essentially cut this entire vertical strip of plastic between these two raised "rails" away.
Hard to tell from the photo, but there are actually TWO raised rails on either side of my finger.  
No need to remove either or both.
Step 5 - let the cutting begin

Step 6 - Having cut away the bottom first (below the raised horizontal ridge), I notice something interesting. What appear to be "rails" for a filter element to slide onto...(Note: there are similar tracks on the top of the filter box as well, although reversed (they stick out) in pattern).

Oh my, how dirty is that???
Step 7 - a knife does not work to cut away the horizontal rib. You need this:
Or some kind of saw in general. Made short work of the horizontal rib.

Step 8 - once that middle section is all cut out, you will then have to use the saw to further cut the top portion of the bottom ledge that sticks out. Once that is cut away as shown below, the filters should BOTH snugly fit.  Note:  make sure that the filters go in with the ARROW POINTING UP!
Remember those tracks in Step 6 above? This is how the filters fit.

Step 9 - Done! No need for any external clips or tape to hold the filters in. They fit perfectly!

Step 10 - Reassemble the glove box and then clean up! All that sawing resulted in lots of plastic dust, which gets everywhere. Have a shop vacuum handy!

Conclusion: So a very easy and inexpensive mod, the filters cost less than 2000 yen for the pair. The work itself took me less than 30 minutes. And even if these aren't the most effective filters on the market, better than driving around with NO filters. I'm not too optimistic that these will help lessen the symptoms of hay fever, but it has to be better than nothing, and it's one more thing that can be done to "modernize" the 33 GT-R.

Check back soon, will have another modernizing mod posted I think.