Friday, February 17, 2017

First Time Ever All Fluids Change/First Visit of the Year to Nissan Prince Tokyo

So even though I've owned my car for over 10 years now, there is still a first time for everything - so this was the first time I had ALL fluids in the car changed out at once. 

Anyway - because I need to drive the car a bit for an upcoming project, and because it's been literally just sitting in the garage for a while now collecting dust, I decided it was time to get at least an oil change done.  And, given how disgusting the coolant was during my engine bay freshen-up project, I also realized I hadn't had the coolant changed in a long, long time. Maybe not since I had the Mine's engine installed? No, say it isn't so...

Absolutely disgusting. Hope the insides of the radiator and engine aren't like this either...
So, I called up the guys at Nissan Prince (specifically Nismo Performance Center Tokyo, at the Nissan Prince dealership in Sakura-shinmachi) for a Sunday appointment to "replace all fluids."  Oh, and since my BNR34 otaku friend Alessandro happened to be free that day, I invited him along as he had been asking me for a ride in a tuned GT-R.  Oh, and he loves going to NPCT as well, being there almost every weekend hunting down parts for his GT-R before they disappear from Nissan stock. Maybe one day he will talk about his experience in my car.

It turned out that taking the car in now was a good move. Because as I got on the expressway, there was a weird shimmy in the steering wheel between 80-100kph...

Anyway, we got there safely and after parking the car, Alessandro got busy and took the following photos for me...

Can you see the dirt? It was drizzling that day, which,
combined with the dust on the car and the exhaust soot, left its mark on the car!
I then went inside and asked the following to be done:
1) Oil change - I had found several liters of (unopened) Motul 300V (5W-40) in my garage, which they had no problem using.  I usually ask for and use 15W-50, but as it's still cold in Tokyo... and bringing my own oil, which I bought at discount, saves me money!  Oh, and for filters, given a choice of Nissan or NISMO, with a price difference of only 300 yen or so, I went with NISMO. Yes, slight brand whore...oh and yes shame on me last time I changed the oil was when I tried out that NISMO motor oil, back in June 2015! (but probably about only 1000kms back).

2) Brake oil change. Remember my drive in Hakone with Dino, Russ and Miguel? At the time it seemed like either the pads were gone or the fluid was boiling too easily. A quick confirmed plenty of pad life left, so new brake fluid was needed. I brought some Endless RF-650 (DOT 5.1) for them to replace the old RF-650. Last time I changed it was...probably 3-4 years ago? Yikes.

3) LSD oil change. I recently heard the OS Giken Super Lock LSD, which is normally very quiet, start making some noise so figured it was time for some new fluid, having never changed the oil since I had it installed more than 6 years ago. I had stock of the OS Giken 80W-250 oil, for exclusive use in this LSD.  

4) Power Steering fluid.  Although I only asked for Nissan OEM, they went ahead (after checking with me) and used NUTEC ZZ51-kai. Which turns out to be AT fluid.

5) Engine Coolant - I told them Nissan OEM was fine.

6) Air Cleaner - I decided to get a new one as the last time I changed mine out was about 20,000kms ago. NISMO of course.

7) Front LSD - this was done when the Getrag was installed last year so I demurred.

8) Clutch oil - I asked them to use whatever RF650 was left over after the brakes were done.

Finally, I also asked them to check to see if the leak they had previously found in the Getrag, was back.

The following weekend, I was back to pick up the car:

Hmm. That doesn't quite look right.

Oh yeah, that looks good. Even the red oil plate looks good here...

Good news - the Getrag leak was confirmed gone, and the shimmy I had noticed was because the two front tires had lost their weights along the way and had to be rebalanced. Alas, as I drove away, I realized I hadn't seen the coolant listed on the invoice. Somehow, there had a been a miscommunication. So I turned the car around... oh well...

Finally this past Thursday, I left work early and took the train to the dealership. First time I had dropped by this late, actually.

No sporty vehicles in sight...
Of course I quickly found my car.
Yamazaki-san had made sure that, in addition to the coolant, the ATTESA fluid had also been changed out.  I have never had this changed out since owning the car, and he told me that the schedule to replace is 60,000 kms or so.

And while I was paying, I asked a bunch of questions about some upcoming NISMO parts. Stay tuned!
The view out the office window. Can you spot the blue R33 lurking in the corner?
When I walked over to talk to the mechanics to ask about the coolant (how dirty it was - they had to flush it out a twice!), I noticed a Bayside Blue BNR34 being worked on, with a totally bling part in the engine bay:

C'mon! Does the carbon part work any better than the aluminum? No, but still...
 There was one last item that I had noticed when I had attempted to pick up the car on Sunday - the gas pedal was a bit "loose" - turns out that the throttle cable had stretched a bit so that was adjusted as well. Amazing how that detail can make the car feel so much more solid!

Yamazaki-san moving my car out of the pit for me to drive home.
And so how does it feel now? In a word, refreshed! Amazing how a simple fluid change can really liven things up. (And actually, I just realized that, my car was registered as a new car in February 1997, meaning that this month, my car is 20 years old!)

Yes, I had a blast or two on the way home, relishing how easy the car is to drive (and now with full confidence that everything is properly lubricated, balanced and cooled). In fact, in some ways, the GT-R is easier to drive than the IS-F; for sure, the steering is both more communicative and lighter, for example, and the Ohlins do a far better job than the stock dampers on the Lexus. Yes, the GT-R rides better than the Lexus...

With more power, the GT-R feels lighter and more nimble (but strangely, not smaller - I think primarily due to the seating position), but this is to be expected. Surprisingly, I prefer the brake feel of the IS-F (also Brembos) so perhaps it's time to look into new pads on the GT-R?

In any case, lots to do to keep improving the car... I promise my next post on Speedhunters will demonstrate that!