Monday, April 26, 2021

So the Latest Work at Nismo Omori Factory... (Part 2) - Carbon Parts!

So as I hinted in my last post, the remaining stuff I had done at Nismo Omori Factory involved carbon fiber. And of course, being Nismo carbon fiber, not inexpensive.

But long time readers know me, I try to keep all of my mods functional first, with bling a distant secondary issue, although my OCD compels me to, for example, try to match up the carbon fiber weave on all the carbon parts I've added to my car.

Anyway - the first bit of carbon began when a certain someone from the UK had Trust Kikaku send over this:

Which I promptly installed on the front. 

But for the rear due to the official non-removable metal cap on the license plate I gave up trying to install the Nismo carbon fiber license plate frame and bought a cheap one I found on Amazon which I installed, with very limited success. Basically it was held on by one screw, and some double stick tape. Not ideal...

So I was thrilled when the guys at Nismo sent me this photo:

Of course, I am not going to ask how it was done. But as an OEM tuning shop, I am sure they have their official connections. And the thinner frame, with the three dimensional shape, looks awesome! 

But all of this is minor compared to the next two items. First, behold this:

So I had these removed, and replaced with the Carbon Air Inlet Pipe set from the Nismo catalog:

Now I know what you are thinking. Why? Aki just said he wasn't into bling... well right. It turns out that Nismo engineers realized that the aluminum air inlet pipes allowed engine heat to be transmitted to the air flowing into the turbos, while carbon fiber, coated with a heat resistant resin, would do a better job of insulating the air from engine heat and therefore, cooler air would consistently flow into the turbos.  Therefore, there is a technical reason to swap out to carbon fiber piping. Especially in the case of a non-vented hood/bonnet, heat is the enemy, right? Makes sense and if I can't tell the difference during spirited driving, then I will pretend to notice an improvement. Because bling.

Have to admit, it might LOOK better than this...

The last piece is the following - which is not in the catalog BUT IS available for sale, apparently:

Yep - this is the air inlet that was developed for and installed on the Nismo R33 GT-R Clubman Race Spec car!  You see, when using the aluminum air inlet pipes, you can continue to use the OEM snorkel, albeit Nismo claim it loses some effectiveness because it becomes more restrictive as you are forced to melt the underside where it otherwise comes into contact with the aluminum pipes, in order to make it fit snugly in the OEM position...

Underside of my OEM snorkel, melted and actually flattened in 2 places

However, upon installation of the carbon air inlet pipes, the concern is that it is possible that the ABS plastic OEM snorkel might rub against and scratch the carbon piping (you can polish out aluminum, but not carbon...):

This section rubs against each other. Maybe I can melt the snorkel more? Does it mean the carbon pipes have a wider diameter than the aluminum ones? Something to verify.

More importantly, Nismo engineers wanted to explore whether there was a way to get more air into the air box.  They claim that this new design consistently delivers more air into the airbox, at any speed.

Ok - so I was thinking what you are thinking - the OEM snorkel looks like it would actually deliver not just the same amount of air, but COOLER air since the mouth of the snorkel is located at the lip of the hood/bonnet, not behind the headlight like this Nismo snorkel.
Carbon vs ABS plastic - but shape is same to where it attaches to the airbox.

In order to verify the claim of more air flow, I took some rough measurements (not all shown here). I could also see with my eye that indeed the Nismo airbox appeared to be less constrictive as it doesn't have the support ribs the OEM snorkel does, and it also is 40mm at its narrowest, while the OEM snorkel is around 40mm at its widest.

So you can see that the CRS piece appears to have a much taller opening, and then wider in the back towards the neck, than the melted OEM snorkel arrangement.  On the other hand, I wasn't convinced that the design really lets in cool air - it seems to me that its location is not optimal for air flow - Ochiai-san told me that it should not be a problem while the car is in motion, but honestly I have my doubts.  I guess I will see how it works and if need more air, will have to figure out a solution. I assume Nismo engineers measured actual airflow differences, however.

Anyway, I've decided to try this set up for a while, and see how it works out. Ideally, a dry carbon, OEM snorkel set up with sufficient clearance to the CFRP air inlet pipes would be the best I think.  Especially if I could tie it into a cold air intake system like I had developed a long time ago.

Finally, a video of someone who I know can drive properly, moving my car from its place of glory next to the Nismo R33 GT-R CRS to the exit.

So is that it for a while for work at Nismo? The car may now be outwardly cosmetically in good shape, but as indicated in my previous post there are a few more minor items I need to fix up. And because Omori Factory is actually geographically the closest Nissan OEM repair facility, I will be back...when they let me...

Bonus - did any of you sharp eyed readers spot this new sticker? The only visual proof that I've spent alot of money with them...

Sunday, April 25, 2021

So the Latest Work at Nismo Omori Factory... (Part 1)...Mostly Cosmetic?

As I mentioned in my last post, I had dropped off my car at Nismo Omori Factory for some additional work. This time, I decided I would take the train and walk there from the nearest station, which is Namamugi Station on the Keikyu train line. If you ever choose to do this, just make sure you have enough battery charge on your phone for Google Maps to guide you, although essentially it is a left out of the station onto the main road, then a right turn onto the large street that takes you all the way to Nismo, which you will see on your left after about a leisurely 20 minute walk in a very industrial, and dirty, party of Yokohama. Sad but true.

First, as many of you may recall during the car's long stay at Omori Factory we found that the OEM cigarette lighter wiring had been completely hacked out and the mechanics didn't have time to restore it.   So this time around the guys had to create a new cigarette lighter lead and wire it into the main harness. 

Not the original clip but it works

To show me it was working, Ochiai-san sent me this video:

That was the big one (I need to mount and charge my phone somehow!), but there were also a few other details that had to also be perfected. For example - a minor point but the valve stems of the aftermarket tire pressure sensors (post coming soon?) were silver and detracted from the overall look of the wheel. So I asked them to paint them all flat black to match the wheels.


From a past post -

...and after:

Looks much better, right? The RAYS caps look good too!

Speaking of wheels, for some reason even though they had done some wheel repair on the left side wheels, they had forgotten to apply the RAYS/VOLKS stickers. Oops - no way I could offer the car for a photo shoot, if I was lucky enough to be offered one, with such an important detail missing!


During the excess wiring removal project

After, close up of front left wheel:

But I also had some additional things I wanted to discuss, and hopefully have remedied. For example, while I was fixing the mess caused by Worx, restoring the stereo to the OEM cassette deck and adding a modern DSP amp, I realized certain areas of the interior could be improved.

For example - take a look at this, which I posted last time: 

While I was able to find both covers for the rear tracks of the front seats, for some reason I couldn't make the inboard ones fit properly, as I mentioned last time.

Somehow they got them to fit properly...thanks!

One thing that Ochiai-san recommended was to replace the door strikers with new ones - the old ones still worked, but were somewhat ugly from 24 years of use.  I forgot to take a photo of the old ones, but they were ugly, with the thin layer of plastic peeling off.

Yeah, I have to remove that leftover oil change sticker residue there...

Finally, the trunk - when I finished wiring up the amp in the trunk, for some reason the interior trunk liners just did not seem to fit properly.  

I had noticed they were "off" when I took them out, and at the time I wasn't really paying attention but when I put it all together they were still off, and just didn't seem right to me that Nissan would sell a car with such messy trunk liners. 

Well this turned out to be an easy fix - those flaps that stick out from the side trunk liners, get tucked INSIDE the black reinforcement frame. Doh!

Much cleaner, but...

So much better, but the green arrows point to imperfections. On top, the flap on the center liner that attaches by velcro to the top of the left liner, is torn; and for some reason the left liner is cut? So now I will have to find OEM replacements...

Unfortunately, there were also a few mechanical issues that were NOT fixed - one was this weird sound that I could hear when the ignition was in ACC mode (excuse my breathing)... 

...which I traced to the servo that changes the direction of the air blowing into the cabin. After tracing all the wiring, I got the sound to stop by disconnecting the temperature sensor.  However, when I asked them to look into this, I had forgotten to mention that I had disconnected the temperature sensor. As a result, when they tested it, the whirring sound could not be replicated.  We agree it's probably just a faulty temperature sensor. Next time!

So is that it? Did I really just blog about a visit to Nismo where they did mostly cosmetic repairs, drop a hint about a future repair, and not even talk about sexy stuff like carbon parts or parts not normally found in the Nismo catalog?  Well, tune in for Part 2 tomorrow then...

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Back In Yokohama...

Right after I got back from my recent trip to Okinawa, I got a call from Ochiai-san at Nismo Omori Factory - even though I'm not spending the megabucks their other customers are, they had a slot for me to come by so they could fix a few things - things that they just didn't have time to work on or complete last time my car was in their care.

Obviously I wasn't going to say no, even if I had to scrounge up some spare change in order to afford the visit. So I jumped into the GT-R and...

Nismo Omori Factory is actually in a fairly industrial area.

Of course had to get THE perfect photo...
Except I had forgotten to tuck away the CTEK charger dongle above the license plate. Oops

Ochiai-san was busy trying to convince a customer to spend a lot of money fixing up, or actually keeping the car maintained, by way of a complete engine rebuild. The numbers I overheard are probably on par with the median annual salary here in Japan.
This is what happens when I get bored, I start taking photos of any 33 I can find.

I did find some very comfortable seats however:
Funny they chose those numbers. And no, no "3 2" or "3 4"... they DID have a "2 3" chair there though.

Finally when it was my turn to discuss what my car needed, I asked Ochiai-san to take a look at this:

In my quest to fix up the interior, I noticed some of these bolt covers missing. They were gone from the front seat rails, and the ones in the back were not exactly fitting well, as above.  Also, the carpeted liners in the trunk area aren't in perfect condition so I was hoping he could order me some new ones.  Alas, that was not meant to be as it appears everything is out of stock! So I will have to hunt on Yahoo Auctions I guess, like everyone else!

Of course, these weren't the ONLY things I asked them to fix or replace. There were a few other things but I will post on that once I get the car back!

Meanwhile, right after I jumped in the taxi they called for me to take home, I spotted this right before we exited the gate:

Finally, earlier today my friend Adam texted me this:

And so yeah I admitted this was my car - of course sharp eyed readers can see the exclusive Club R33 sticker in the rear quarter window!  Stay tuned for my next post where you can check out what I had done!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Cars and Coffee Okinawa, Part 2

So here in Part 2, I want to take a look at these three 33 GT-Rs that I found at the event.

First, let's look at this custom colored 33 - owned by our friend "Nismo" Jefferson, he is quite active in the local Okinawan car scene, with his own Facebook channel where he shows off some pretty interesting things he's done to his car. Check out the folder called "King Midas Kaiju-R" (Kaiju-R is the name of his car!)

Most important mod is the ClubR33 sticker, obviously...

"Nismo" was making minute changes on his ECU map that day

I don't understand the rubber ducky thing but...

Since he's a much better photographer than me, let me share some photos he took recently. Really shows off his custom color scheme, I think!! Check out how different lighting results in different shades of the color! Especially the front lip!

Most amazing are these infinity tailights he installed - check out that 3-D effect!!!

Next is this white machine owned by Jay - unfortunately I probably won't be able to check it out next time I'm in Okinawa as Jay is moving to Guam at the end of the month, but those of you in Guam, you are forwarned! 

The car's complete spec and history is long, so I had to ask Jay himself - but basically his obsession started when the stock turbine disintegrated after the boost line came apart - he admits he did not have an external boost controller.  He says he saw the boost gauge a bit erratic, and was going to borrow an external controller to try to diagnosis it, but the ceramic wheel came apart before he could do so.

The ceramic pieces went into the engine/combustion chamber and destroyed it. So of course, he got a new/upgraded block from the Nismo Heritage Parts program.  While he was rebuilding, he decided to improve everything - so he started with an N1 oil pump, and Spool spline drive kit machined into the crank.  The crank is an Eagle billet/lightweight knife edge crank - balanced and checked by NAPREC (they did all the machining work).

"ACL race bearings, with ARP main studs, and TOMEI head gasket. Pistons are Manly Turbo Tough and upgraded CP/Carillo wrist pins.  Brian Crower H-beam rods..  Pistons were 86.5mm bore and with the crankshaft (77.7mm) makes it a 2,741 cc engine. The head is brand new, also from Nissan, and NAPREC machined it to clear the cams. Their High Response Kit comes with new valves, seals, valve guides, and I believe oversized intake valves, polishing, etc. Dual Supertech valve springs, titanium retainers, and TOMEI 272 10.25mm lift cams. TOMEI gears and belt.  PRP crank trigger kit (eliminates CAS).

Turbo is BorgWarner SXE-369.  6 boost manifold, Turbosmart 50mm wastegate. Greddy 4" intercooler and radiator.  New R32 GT-R transmission from Nissan, forged OS Giken internals, cross-cut. X clutch twin ceramic clutch from Australia.  R35 coil kit from PRP. Haltech 2500 ECU and all Haltech sensors."

He estimates HP between 650-750 and he is going to try to dyno it when he gets to Guam. Probably a water/methanol combo when in Guam, and when he is finally back in the USA, E85.  Chasing 800/850 hp!

Finally, the newcomer to the Okinawa car scene is this gorgeous series 2 AR1 33 owned by Ryan.  

Ryan told me he's been saving since high school to buy his dream car, and this is it!  He just got it a few months ago so he is currently educating himself and plotting how to preserve/modify/improve his car.  However, one of the first mods he put in were some Ohlins DFV Road and Tracks, and having ridden in the car, I can vouch that they are doing their job.   He's also installed a Tomei Expreme Ti titanium exhaust, which of course I am very familiar with.   When I followed him in my rental I didn't see any flames shoot out of the rear which means the engine is running near normal, but Ryan tells me he has some plans in that area. 

Can't wait to see what he decides to do.

Anyway, next time I am in Okinawa I'l be hanging out with Nismo and Ryan again - hope to meet some others next time.  Jay - good luck in Guam, and keep me posted on your next mods!!

Thanks to the guys I met at Cars and Coffee Okinawa for their hospitality!