Monday, March 1, 2021

It's Always the Details that Count!

 In my last post, I showed you how I changed out the ceiling lights - both front and middle - to OEM S15 pieces which came in black, versus the light grey for the R33 parts, in order to match the new Alcantara headliner I had first modified at Robson Leather and then installed at Nismo Omori Factory back in July of last year as part of a lot of extra work I had them take care of.

However, there was one small detail that had been bothering me ever since I got the headliner installed, which I had actually forgotten about, but then in the course of swapping out the lights this little problem made itself apparent, which forced me to find and then have this sent to me.

What is it? Well, take a close look. Yep, another pair of S15 sunvisors. And in this case, the only difference being the printed lettering on the warning label:
Blue arrow pointing to the mount - note it is DIFFERENT than how the current visors were mounted at Nismo Omori Factory.

Can you tell that the ones installed in the car already (top) have smeared lettering? At the time I found them on Yahoo Auctions, they were the cleanest sample I could find. Luckily this time around, I found an even CLEANER pair.  You can see clearly how bad it was in this next photo, after I removed it and lined it up with the one I had newly bought.  
After I unbolted the one installed on my car, laid it out with the one I just got.

The one on the passenger side, however, did not require replacement as it was super clean to begin with:

In fact the one that was already installed seemed to have slightly more vivid colors...

The better condition driver's side visor wasn't perfect:

Can you see how there seems to be a scratch on the mirror cover, as well as a small indent on the right as indicated by the arrows? Nothing I can't polish out and also apply a heat gun to (which is what I did to eliminate the indent).

The bigger problem was, as I indicated above, the mounts on both of these were different. Here is what the one one on the newly purchased ones looked like:

And as you can see here, the ones on the Nismo installed ones looked like this.

Took a bit of heat and some muscle, but finally loosened the teeth on wider mounts:

Then all I had to do was to undo the cover, held in place by two small indents on each side (as shown by the blue arrows):

Which then revealed two screws:

And then the sunvisor simply came off and left this hole:

The final step was to swap out the mounts, and then reinstall the cleaner sunvisor. Hard to tell how good it looks as I took the next two photos at night, under artificial light, but I think you get the idea!

Was tough getting the right lighting...

So again yes small details like this really add to making the car even more perfect! Ok nothing is perfect, but if a small issue can be fixed, then why not fix it? Maybe this year is where I do nothing major but just keep making small upgrades like this? Then again, we are already done with 2 months of 2021, better save up some more soon for some interesting projects in the back of my mind...

Friday, February 19, 2021

A Couple More Parts for the Interior

 So even though I am thrilled at the work that Nismo Omori Factory and Robson did to modernize my interior, there was one final thing that I had left undone.

Witness the overhead lamps and the front spot lamps - see how they are still the original grey that I had before the black alcantara lining? Below you can see how the S15 Spec R visors I got are black, and even though they are Nissan OEM vinyl, match the interior much better.  And yes, before anyone asks, I had thought about getting Robson to re-do my OEM sun visors, but as I will explain in an upcoming post, there was an OCD level reason for my decision to use the S15 visors.

Anyway, with respect to the two overhead light clusters, I had asked Nismo Omori about the CRS car, and I think someone told me that they had simply painted them black. I will have to check it out next time I am at Nismo, but for me, I decided the easier way for now was to find the equivalent S15 Spec R ones, which came in black plastic.

It took awhile, but after a few months of searching on Yahoo Auctions, I was finally able to find the two pieces I needed in used, but decent condition. 

First thing I did of course was to open them both up to make sure they had all the required internal lighting parts. And behold, they even came with the lighbulbs!

Back to my car - long time readers will know that a few years ago, I had evolved from a "white" interior LED bulb to PIAA's COB flat LEDs.  These COB LEDs are super bright, and while I think as my friend Matt will no doubt remind me there are now LEDs that replicate daylight (link please Matt?), I haven't yet gotten around to making that swap.  These PIAAs however are extremely bright and since I don't drive my car enough anyway...
The double yellow things are the COB LEDs.

Here is a close up - see how they use the light bulb form factor to be able to be retrofitted to these older cars:

So it was easy enough to take out the bulbs, but now I had a problem. I couldn't figure out how to remove the plastic unit, as there were no screws! And I wasn't about to start pushing and pulling and risk damaging the Alcantara...

So I shifted my attention to the center light unit, which I know has screws that attach it to the ceiling. After removing the clear plastic lens you can see the PIAA COB I installed.

And yes, a few turns of the screwdriver later and the unit just dropped out. I DID have to undo the wiring harness clip though.

Speaking of the harness clip, that turned out to be a momentary challenge. Take a look below at the green arrows, my old unit on the left has the white female clip facing to the right, while the black S15 unit has no such separate female clip, with the terminals being built into a molded in clip and facing left.
Note also the purple clip - the R33 OEM unit has a very tangible and mechanical switch. The S15 one is "built in"

The technological advancement continues on the underside as well - see how the R33 unit has actual wires connecting the bulb leads with the switch, while the S15 unit seems to be built with a one piece metal circuit.

In any case, I hooked up the S15 unit to the male connector on the car side, and was able to confirm it worked!

Very hot bulb, but I managed to get it out and replace with the PIAA COB LED unit.

Oops, forgot to turn it off. Here it is now.

Meanwhile, now having a pair of clear lamp covers, I decided to see which one was in better condition, as they are interchangeable - and why not use the cleaner one?

At first glance, the one on the right (which came with the S15 unit) DOES appear cleaner.  But, I got out the Novus plastic polish just in case.

I also decided to extend this prep to the clear lens for the front spotlights - the S15 unit is on the bottom.

After polishing all 4, this is what I ended up with. And yes, the S15 ones were in better shape.

Now, I finally had a chance to figure out how to remove the front spotlight unit assembly. Looking closely at the S15 one, I noticed one side had a metal clip, while the other was solid plastic.

That was my AHA moment. So I decided to use some Novus to clean this piece up:

And then after some scrubbing and a wipe down:

I was able to pull the R33 unit towards the right, where the metal clip is, and then pop out the left side. It happened very quickly!
Note the 3M sound and heat deadening installed when Nismo Omori installed the Alcantara roof liner!

These two units ALSO had some mechanical differences.  Again the terminal clip is built in on the S15 one (yellow arrow) while the R33 one had the separate external clip (light blue arrow).

And on the bottom side, differences as well in how the bulbs are held in place.

Here is a close up of the S15 one - you can see how the bulb goes in and then is twisted/locked into place, due to the indent (light blue arrow).

It was a small struggle to reinstall the two PIAA COB LEDs that I had mounted to a strip of spare aluminum, back when I first installed them. (I had to bend the aluminum a bit to make them fit better - or rather, exactly square this time!).

Installation was the same as the center lamp, as the harness was long enough to reach around and snap into place nicely

And once installed, I went ahead and snapped in the cleaner clear lenses for both.

So what do you think? Slowly but surely, fixing the small details is really adding to the overall impression and quality of my "modernized" R33 GT-R!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

And the Goodies Continue... Truly Honored... (Part 2)

But the Nismo floor mats that I wrote about in my previous post, weren't the only goodies included in the care package I got from "Mr. E"!

Digging further the box revealed this - yes another bit of Nismo bling I hadn't bothered to purchase for myself yet:

And the reason I haven't, isn't because I didn't want it - it was because there was no matching pair for the rear.  It's not as easy as simply using two, one for the front and the back, because in Japan the rear plate is mounted securely so it cannot be removed without destroying a metal cap (circled in blue below) that is installed when the car is registered at the local Japanese DMV. 

Note there are also these 2 black metal clips (circled in red above) which hold the plate in place. So affixing any kind of cover is tough if you try to do after the car has been registered. So what to do (legally)?

A quick search on Amazon and...
For those who read Japanese, the packaging says "front" but the frame itself is for the rear

Of course, my OCD meant that I had to double check to see how it would look compared to the NISMO one.

And here they are close up. What do you think? Very close, at least the grain is a similar size and direction!

So now it was time to get the Nismo frame ready. Note how the bottom of the frame has not only the sticker in the middle, but the sides are indented slightly.

My front plate. Looks dirty, and what is that weird cracking next to the bolt hole?

Actually, this is what happened after I applied clear PlastiDip as an attempt to protect the front plate from rocks and bugs.

Close up of the backside of the Nismo carbon fiber!

Proper back shot:

And you just slide the license plate in. 

Now for the rear. Basically since it was only a frame (unlike the Nismo one) I simply draped it over the rear plate and tightened the one screw.  But as you can see by the green arrows, the bottom clips were preventing a flush mount.

Time to experiment with some double stick tape.

Which I applied to those bottom clips.

Doesn't look bad, but doesn't look great either.  I think the bottom of the frame is a bit too thick?

Ok sorry for the camera angle. But you get the idea.

On the front however it attaches solidly. I think I will have to get used to this look, it does give the car a bit of polish up front but sadly as there is no other carbon fiber in front, doesn't match with anything (the rear has the wing and the exhaust surround made of carbon).

So what do people think? Yay or nay? Obviously I am totally thankful for the kind gesture by "Mr. E" and so want to make this work. I think maybe if I can figure out a way to get the back to match the front...