Monday, September 26, 2022

Yeah, I Could Not Resist the Cupholder Mod

Curious about how I stumbled on this mod? See this post.

Inspired by Murray, and very much against my own strict rule of no food or drink in the car, I went ahead and decided to see how this mod would work for me. (Note - so now water only ok...maybe...?)

Yahoo Auction to the rescue. The seller sent me the GTST center console, all nicely wrapped up. Note that this part is apparently no longer offered new - plus I knew that some work would be required to make it fit properly and thus being an experiment, I preferred working with a used piece anyway.

But talk about DISGUSTING...(shocking for Japan!)

So after thoroughly cleaning AND disinfecting the relevant part, I tried to see if it would fit as is:
Green arrows show where, despite firm pushing and pressure, the piece did not fit snugly

But unfortunately, given the extra thickness of the drop in location due to the awesome leather work by my friend Cesar about 5 years ago (already!), some judicious sanding down was required.

But getting it to fit properly was only one concern - is it me or do you see wear and tear and small scratches?

No? Well here is a close-up. Note the circular patterns from obvious use.

Oh and here is a scratch I found on the side as well. Wonder how this happened?

For you guys who need to look for this piece for your own mod - here is the part number, although you may just want to pick up the entire center console - just remember that this cupholder part will NOT work unless you have swapped out the OEM G-sensor for the new, flatter digital ones available from Do-Luck and other tuners:
Green arrows points to the part number WITH the hole for the GT-R logo

The scratch remover ended up removing more dirt than scratches:

So after another attempt to lessen the scratches, I decided that the quickest and easiest way to lessen the presence of the wear and tear and scratches was to use up the remaining matte black paint I had that I had used on the dashboard surround refresh I did a few months ago.

Before painting

So it looks somewhat thickly laid on here but just the lighting.

As you can see I still kept the fake leather grooves:

Here is a comparison of how it looks the next day after drying, along with the other versions I currently have - wrapped in Alcantara or matte carbon-ized (both from the leather interior project)

I thought I was finished - looks pretty good close-up, right? - but then noticed this. Wear and tear on my car's original GT-R logo.

I tried to use a permanent ink marker to try to touch up the left side of the logo piece

But in the end it was easier to just replace it with new.
New vs. Old. Part number included just in case

So not as perfect as I want - the paint job could have been better, actually - but now the coloring matches the shift surround and the main cluster surround. Plus the new GT-R logo is nice. Details, man!
All done! Still not perfect but good enough fit and finish for now

But the REAL issue is - since no one uses coins anymore at toll gates - it's all electronic now - do you think I should modify those coin holders to the left of the GT-R badge? If so what kind of switches should go there - putting aside the inevitable ejection seat jokes - what do modern cars have in the center console? I need some inspiration! Thanks for reading everyone, looking forward to the feedback.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

LED Scuff Plate - Quick Repair Turnaround!

So during my Marine Day interior upgrades, I realized as I was finishing up that something was not working.

The left side red LED scuff plate I got many years ago from G-Corporation was no longer lighting up!  So of course I was hoping for a loose wire somewhere...

As you can see in the photo, I dug into the rubber sealant portion to see if I could figure out what was broken. No luck. Nothing loose or broken that I could find. This meant I would have to contact G- Corporation, and see if they were willing to do a repair.

The day after I contacted them, they immediately responded and told me they could do so - all I had to do was to send the broken part in, they would give me an estimate, and if I agreed to the repair cost, they would quickly fix it and send it back once I wired them the money.

That seems like a normal response, but I sometimes forget that such customer service, while normal in Japan may not be elsewhere.  So I decided to wait right before my recent trip to Okinawa, whereupon I removed the door scuff plate and then got it wrapped up the best I could.

Lots of paper and tape - and I had some plastic wrap in there too, to prevent scratches on the visible surface:

I got it all wrapped up as such. Forgot to take photos, but then I found a large longish box into which it fit. I then went to the local 7-11 convenience store - in Japan most if not all "combinis" serve as a pick-up point for at least one of the courier companies - nice as I don't have to worry about visiting during banker hours like the post office!

So my car now looked like this:

Hopefully, the turnaround would be quick so no one would have ride in my car like this. And indeed it was - I was gone for 2 weeks but with work, the beach, a car show (maybe a future post?) and meeting up with Murray keeping me preoccupied, when I flew home I found this waiting for me.

Super well wrapped, not surprisingly:

Looks brand new, which is awesome. 

Now of course the chance of receiving something that was NOT properly fixed is close to nil, but old American habits die hard, I guess.
Had to test it before installing - works perfectly!

But, not all was perfect! You see, on the body side there was this connector... and what I had sent to G-Corporation had the matching female side. What they sent me was new and they had not included the old female connector. What to do?

I COULD splice it all in... but there is a certain elegance about being able to disconnect electrical parts... having to cut wires again if I ever had to remove the scuff plate again seems so barbarian.

Thus the hunt was on for a solution.  I finally went to Amazon and found an electrical coupler kit, prepared to cut off the existing male connector and graft on two new matching connectors.

Lucky for me, it turns out that the SM-2A coupler matched the existing coupler!  

This meant I only had to work on one side.  Trying to be neat, I cut off the excess wiring that came with the rebuilt scuff plate, to a manageable length.

Success! (although those tiny metal pins I had to connect to the wires... my aging eyes!)

And yes it works! So now one less thing to worry about. 

Now, I am ready for a photo shoot, or taking a passenger for a ride. Will that be happening? Stay tuned... and thanks to G-Corporation for the quick turnaround!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2022

I've Met Another Crazy Kohki KR4 Owner

Recently, a fellow R33 GT-R owner messaged me on this blog about how he had successfully used a BNR34 part on his car. Murray (Follow him on IG: kaizen.r33) currently lives in Okinawa, Japan, so when I found myself there for a couple weeks of special work, it was natural that we would meet up in person just so I could check out his car (his daily!).

Beautiful! Love the quasi 400R look, reminds me of my car. And the Nismo intercooler
venting is awesome!

Once we met up, of course I had to check out in person what he had tried to explain to me via email and photos about his mod using the BNR34 rear strut tower board, which being two layered (vice the single layer BCNR33 piece) provides more rigidity to the rear of the car.

So I could tell immediately that this looked different from the usual 33 part.  First, the Nismo Performance Damper appears (and is) shorter, but that is because its mounting points are different - you can see in the next photo (kindly provided by Murray) that compares the 33 and 34 rear boards - the 33 is one piece so the rear strut bar (and thus the Nismo Damper) connects on top, while the mounting for the 34 strut bar (and thus Nismo Damper) is a separate piece that lies on top of and bolted underneath the rear board.  Murray told me that because of the different lengths he had to buy a new Nismo Damper for the rear. Because Nismo only sells in front/rear pairs, he sold his new 34 front one on Yahoo Auctions.  

Additionally, Murray informed me that, compared to the 33 board, the 34 board has 4 extra recessed holes, probably M10x50mm in the standard 1.25 pitch. He says the Series 3/Kohki cars already have these holes drilled at the factory so he had no problems adding and tightening these extra bolts down. Otherwise, as I reported in the GT-R magazine article post, this part is a direct easy fit requiring no mods to either the car or the 34 board.

Murray reports he could immediately feel the difference - an increase in rear stability - and this makes sense as the 33 is longer than the 34 and thus I would suspect that an increase in rigidity here in this area would do wonders in how the car feels.  Certainly makes sense given how this 33 was used as the basis for improvements that would end up in the 34. Incidentally, I forgot to take photos, but Murray also has the S15 trunk bar installed as well, so the improvement I think might be noticeable in my car as well.

I am very, very tempted to do this mod! I will have to research the Damper issue- whether the change in structure is effective, etc. Ideally I want not to have to buy a new Nismo Damper...

But of course I had to check out the rest of the car.  I had already noticed that this car was running those beautiful Nismo semi-gloss LMGT4 wheels, and I could already spot some brake mods.

And yes we agreed on tire choice too - PS4S

These are ACRE Dustless-Real pads and Dixcel FS 6 slot rotors. He has the 400R fender flares but told me that Nismo no longer offered the ones for the front. I will have to look into this, but meanwhile we discussed how the Nismo R35 brake package does wonders for the braking ability of the car.  I think if Murray ever takes his car to Fuji Speedway, he will realize that the OEM brakes are the weak point of the car. I did advise him to stay away from adaptor brackets made elsewhere, unless he can overcome the shortcomings I found with the set I sourced from the UK. 

While still at the rear of the car, I noticed that Murray had also installed a BNR34 rear diffuser. But it looked different than mine. And it's not just the 400R rear bumper.

I forgot to ask if the red taping is reflective. If so, nice touch!

Turns out that Murray had the rear diffuser custom-made by CW-collective.  No photos from me as my knees were not cooperating that day (but check out Murray's IG), but I did notice how clean the exhaust cut-out was.  Murray did remark that compared to the OEM 34 version, he did not have a jack up point (so he has to use the arms), but otherwise the install was very clean.  And he even used the OEM 34 plastic fins, which is a smart move because they can get damaged when backing up (although I did not see any damage to the fins on his car).

One more interesting piece in the trunk area was this old-style Nismo badge that is no longer available.  I suspect that Murray and I may have been competing on Yahoo Auctions for the last few years over the same parts...

I also spotted this side turn signal that Murray says came with the car. Yes I have advised him to get it changed out for a more inconspicuous part.

Anyway a well put together and a very clean look that works! (despite the shaved off trunk lock - done by the prior owner of the car).

And the car has a replica carbon 400R double blade rear wing

Ok so let's check what's under the hood(bonnet!).

Hard to tell at this angle, but Murray reports the new HKS GTIII-2530s work really well. I also spotted the carbon fiber Nismo Omori Factory original air intake - great minds think alike?  Also hard to tell at this angle is the deletion of the OEM CAS for a more modern trigger kit, with the engine now controlled by a Haltech Elite 2500.  And yes that is a MASSIVE front strut tower bar! 

I also noted that he was running a non-standard front lip. Murray reminded me that this was also a Nismo piece, I guess my focus has been on other Nismo parts as it didn't register with me when he told me!
A better view of that massive Midori Seibi tower bar

From what else I can recall, Murray told me that he had gotten his Xenons redone with a much brighter bulb set-up, retrofitted with G5-BRT projectors from Lightwerkz Global. Additionally, he told me he is running a very interesting cam set-up - 290 on both intake and exhaust with 10.8mm clearance.  Sounds awesome, but he admits that the decrease in engine pressure was causing him some brake pressure issues; hopefully the Auto Select Large Capacity Brake Master Cylinder he is getting installed soon will mitigate the issue.

But wait - what about the interior? Hold on as this was, to me, the highlight of the tour.

First, I noticed the real carbon treatment on the dash surround. Not my taste as I like matte and not gloss but it worked well here actually. Then I noticed the Garage Yoshida sourced HVAC relocation kit, and the 2DIN screen.  Yep, been there, done that, except of course not Garage Yoshida. 

But of course, I then saw that the instrument cluster is the old Nismo option that has the center screen. Murray told me he sadly does not have the Epson EJ1 computer module that came with it - he is on the hunt for it. 

I would argue however that he does NOT need it. Yeah I know not OEM, but his current execution is WAY better:

And if that wasn't impressive enough, once past the welcome screen:

Here is a close up:

Murray says he was inspired by the R35's graphics when he configured this set up! I am very, very impressed with this!

I really think this is way better than the original:

I mean if you are going to Resto-mod... let's make it modern, right!?

But this wasn't his only interior mod. Check out his camera mount.

We were joking that maybe this gave some more body rigidity as well. Looking forward to whatever video Murray takes from this!

Lastly - and this is something new for me - as I learned something - is this OEM R33 cup holder.
No OEM foglights yet, but Murray is on the hunt for a set!

Ok here is a better shot of the cupholder, without the carbon fiber insert:

So it turns out that the R33 GTST had these cupholders.  Unfortunately for the GT-R, the G-sensor needed for the ATTESA system that is mounted underneath this space prevents this part from fitting, but if you have already replaced the old analog G-sensor for a digital one from Do-Luck or Midori Seibi, then this mod is possible.

So this is another Murray mod that I may have to try out! Not that I EVER drink or eat in my car, but maybe if I get this part I will allow a water bottle in the car... lol.

Anyway, my thanks to Murray for taking time out of his day to swing by and let me check out his car.  I'll close this post with a fantastic photo he took... and I do hope we will be able to meet up again soon!