Saturday, October 8, 2016

Titanium Bolts Engine Cover Dress Up Project (Part 1)

As many of you know, I am quite active in ClubR33, the invitation-only R33 GT-R owner's club Facebook group. It's a great bunch of guys and because it's closed to the public (we screen potential members before we allow them access) we can focus on, and be proud of, all things R33 without worrying about the usual detractors we often see in more public forums.

Anyway, one of the nice things of belonging to a group like this, is that we can embark on projects which might not be worth doing by oneself.  For example, after we discovered that, someone was selling colorful titanium bolts on eBay for RB26DETT engine bays, but at a premium, I wondered if the Club could do better - could we, for example, have the OEM engine bolts replicated, but also in titanium? And in attractive colors? Would it be expensive and not worth it?  I mean, this DressUpBolts guy is smart, by limiting the dimensions (both threading and the heads which area all Allen head) of the bolts he offers, he has enormous economies of scale.


In any case, I put out some feelers on Alibaba, the e-commerce site that connects the world directly to Chinese factories, and found a dealer who not only was willing to do the job, but impressed me by taking the photos of the measurements I took of the following bolts (these are just a few):
This is the bolt for the RB26 front cam cover.
Same bolt as above.
This is the bolt for the CAS. Note the captive washer
This is my homemade jig I use to measure bolts.
Here, I found that the bolts for the coilpack cover (green circle) are M5, while the CAS bolt is M6.
and coming back in a few hours with the following:

They got everything EXACTLY right!
Anyway, I was pretty happy with how these guys understood how picky I was. I wanted exact replicas of the OEM factory bolts, and I wanted them removable by the same tools as the OEM bolts as well.  Hence it was very important to get the dimensions correct, not just of the thread but of the heads as well. The only compromise I made was on the CAS bolt. Instead of a having a Phillips head, the factory only felt comfortable doing an Allen head. But I realized that I usually use a socket wrench for this bolt anyway so in the end I capitulated.

Because the factory however required a minimum order of 100 bolts, this is a project I would not normally do on my own. But, with several like-minded members, this was a go! And, the pricing would be much lower than the generic aluminum and titanium bolts we had seen on eBay.  So we placed our first order and a few weeks later received this:
Nice huh! Color is "burnt blue"
We were thrilled - these came out much better than we had anticipated. But then, there was overwhelming demand - while an earlier poll had shown that only a dozen or so members expressed interest, once people saw this photo there was more demand than available bolts.  Luckily someone then pointed out to me that, we were missing one bolt, the third short bolt found in the middle of the RB26 front cam cover. Oops.  But just the excuse I needed to order some more and have enough for everyone.

And, based on demand, we (the admins of the Club) decided that we needed to make these bolts even more special.  The way to do that, would be to have one or more of the bolts laser etched with "ClubR33." A small detail that reflects the Club brotherhood!

So I placed another order, and in addition to the missing bolt and the engraving, ordered the bolt set in two anodized (actually "nitride") colors, gold and black. This time, the wait took longer, but the results were definitely worth it.
Nitride Black
Nitride Gold
Here are the new blue ones, with the laser engraved club name
Bagged up for the members, ready to be mailed out!
So far, so good. But I wondered, how good would these bolts look on the engine of MY car? Check in tomorrow to find out...

12 comments:

Joachim F-C said...

Great work, thanks for all the work you put into this ��

マット said...

Did you get to weigh the bolts to see the weight savings made?

Aki said...

マット、you nerd.... of course I did! Check back when Part 2 goes up!

Thanks Joachim, could not have done so without the Club's support!

Tadahisa Boskovic said...

Wow those are stunning! Nice work Aki!

Tadahisa Boskovic said...

Wow those are stunning! Nice work Aki!

David Dunn said...

Aki, Could you provide a price for the black nitride set? Shipped to OZ? Thx

Aki said...

Hi David,

Best way is, if you are on Facebook and not a member of ClubR33, to send me your email address, then will send you a link to join the Club. After that, you can access the online store at https://clubr33.bigcartel.com and because you will be a Club member, will be granted a special discount code.

Aki

David Dunn said...

Aki,

Could I get that link?

I am ready to order the kit...Thx

David Dunn said...

Aki,

Last question...who would I send a request to for the Clubr33 facebook page?

Happy New Year

Samurai Blues said...

Hi Aki. I am interested to embark on a project similar to yours. Would you be comfortable with divulging your source? :)

wajahat khan said...

it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped
Nuts and Bolts Dublin

David Dunn said...

Aki,

Still awaiting the invitation to the closed R33 Facebook member's site...please.

dunman99@yahoo.com

I will definitely order one bolt kit and the sticker.

Thank you