Saturday, April 19, 2014

CUSCO Tension Rod Bar Installed/Impressions

So the other day, I realized I was over due for "shaken" - the biannual road inspection regime in Japan that is supposedly designed to get dangerous cars off the road, but in reality is a way to incentivize people to buy new cars due to the sometimes crazy costs associated with "repairing" cars to bring them up to standards (yes there is some price gouging). So in other words, the typical person goes to the dealership and either comes out with a few thousand dollar repair bill, or a new car.

In my case, as is common with people who are not interested in playing such a game, one can go to your local trusted mechanic who knows the rules and how to get around them... cheaply.  I took my car to BeAmbitious (same shop which did the installation of the R35 Brembosrear BNR34 diffuser, S15 trunk brace, Nagisa brace, Tomei ExPreme titanium muffler, etc.) and had Ninomiya-san there take care of getting my car properly "shakened" (he told me: had to raise the ride height of the car, special bung for the Tomei muffler, etc.).

While the car was with him, I decided to have him install the final external body stiffening part I could find: the CUSCO Tension Rod Bar.  I had meant to do this myself, along with an oil change, but laziness dictated otherwise.

Here are some photos from the CUSCO website, to show you what they look like:
Courtesy of CUSCO

The Bar looked like this when it arrived:

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the bar installed, because I didn't do the work. I did find this  photo on Minkara, you can see how the blue bar bolts onto the inside each of the tension rod mounting points (so in effect, connects the two sides together).

The description from the CUSCO website states: "The Tension Rod Bar is made from 22mm steel pipe that enhances chassis stiffness, rigidity and stabilizes alignment."  Ok sure, whatever.   I was not expecting much, if anything, after all of my body stiffening projects.  Further, the Minkara poster also stated he could not feel a difference (although he admits he added these when he changed his tension rods).

So, what are my impressions?  To be honest, I think there is a very slight improvement in how the car's steering feels upon turning, as well as the car's response.  That is, on center feel is still somewhat numb (compared to my recent drive in an NSX - and this is the Holy Grail for me), but moving the steering wheel to begin a turn, feels more direct, and the response feels more immediate (so is this an "enhancement of chassis stiffness, rigidity and stabilizes alignment"??).  As a result, the car feels a touch more nimble, which is a good thing in my book.  But I still want more feedback on-center, I was hoping this Tension Bar would help, but all it did was to further highlight it!

 But for the price, a worthwhile mod. Your results may vary, indeed I may be suffering from a placebo effect! I am now beginning to wonder if it might be worth getting my car spot welded in a few strategic places, but I have to research whether the pros outweigh the cons for that. I realize that spot welding probably won't make the car feel like an NSX, but at the same time am curious as to what would happen in terms of how the car feels.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

R33 Skyline Service Manuals!

The other day I was looking online on Yahoo Auctions Japan when I stumbled upon this:

 What appears to be the entire set of R33 Skyline related service manuals, from 1993 until 1997, including of course the sections for the R33 GT-R.

Naturally, I bid, and amazingly no one else did!

When I got the package a few days later,  I started looking at the contents.

As you can see, there are 5 manuals:
1) (most left in photo) 1993 R33 Skyline service manual, covering both the 2 door coupes and 4 door sedans
2) (middle top, white) 1995 new car technical manual, incorporating all aspects of the R33 GT-R, and any other changes to the rest of the lineup
3) (middle bottom, red) 1996 service manual, all R33 models as listed, showing changes
4) (right top, white) 1997 wiring diagrams
5) (right bottom, red) 1997 service manual.

So the 1993 manual is huge, and contains everything from engines (other than the RB26DETT), to interior, electrical wiring diagrams, etc., for all cars EXCEPT for the GT-R.

1993 Manual, showing the front door glass and regulator in 2 door coupes

The 1995 new car manual is the most interesting, as it has the most information on the RB26DETT as well as other aspects of the R33 GT-R. Recall this was the first year the GT-R was released.

RB26DETT engine block assembly

While the technical aspects of the RB26DETT engine are not a mystery, I bet very few people know the reclining angles of the R33 GT-R seats?

Using the lever, you can recline 20 degrees to the back... and only 14 degrees if you use the knob!

If you want to know the technical aspects of the temporary spare tire:
Interesting that the recommended air pressure for the OEM 17 inch rims is relatively low

This wiper information would have saved me so time during my Bosch front wiper project

And also useful if you want to know the flow rate of the washer fluid, capacity of the tank, etc. 

For those N1 fans, interesting to see here that the N1's washer fluid capacity is only 2.0 liters versus 3.5 liters for all other cars including the sedans, as the N1 did not come with a rear wiper.

Also for GT-R owners, if you want to know what pins do what on the back of your speedometer cluster (I've seen this online before, actually)

Most of these are lamps; the electronic speedometer leads are 16, 22, 17, and 15.

For those of us who tinker with electrical bits as I have with the LED lights projects I did in the past, the wiring diagrams will be useful. Here is the wiring diagram for the Xenon headlamps, found in the white 1997 wiring diagram manual:

I think I only understand the symbol for the battery, lol

I've found the service manual for the RB26DETT in English, online, as well as FAST. But never before have I run across such detail for all other aspects of the car.

So as a R33 GT-R nerd, I'm pretty happy. Now, to begin researching stuff I always wondered about...