Saturday, June 7, 2008

LapShot lap timer and ATTESSA 4WD controller install

So I spent some time at my in-law's today, in order to observe the 49th day ritual of my father-in-law's passing.

Afterward, my brother-in-law and I took out the center console of my car, in order to do some electrical wiring.

Got out the portable soldering iron (thanks Richard!) and installed the power leads for this Lap Timer - called the LAPSHOT - so I don't have to mess with a cigarette lighter plug.

Also installed the ATTESSA controller - from the UK GTROC online shop -

Here is the wiring, ready to go...

As for the LapShot, I don't know where/how to mount it yet. Fiddling with some suction cups, this might be one place, but it's not very stable.

For wiring the ATTESSA controller, had to make sure we didn't mess up around this unit, the YAW sensor for the ATTESSA:

As for the controller itself, no photos...yet.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Yamano Handling Club PLUS at Motegi

ok, it's been awhile since I last apologies. Been fixing up my car, adding some new parts...we are moving soon, to a place with only mechanical parking, so I am trying to get everything done to the extent possible in the garage space I currently have. (see insert link here)

Anyway - about Yamano Handling Club PLUS... it's an all day event held at a special area at Motegi raceway, the concept is basically to explore your car's limit in a safe, non-high speed course - somewhat like an autocross, but not timed.

I found out about this through my friend Tom (, and so myself, my SDIJ friends Richard and Rumman spent the day at Motegi - Richard in his 2008 Honda S2000 (, and Rumman in his 2008 BMW 335 sedan (turbo!!).

Richard and I, both not being early bird people, decided to stay the night before at the hotel at Motegi. Highly recommended (note, ladies, Richard and I were in SEPARATE rooms, of course). Rumman met us downstairs during breakfast the day of.

Here's what my room looked like:

Richard and Rumman:

Here I am getting ready:

There were a lot of high performance cars that day:

Richard's S2000:

Richard and me on the course, with Richard driving (too bad you can't hear me screaming...)

Afterwards, we headed back to Tokyo. Rumman saved me and Richard from certain capture by an undercover police car by blocking the chase (thank you!), and then we stopped off for some fast food curry-rice at a Parking Area:

On the way home, the odometer hit 90,000 kms!

I made it back in time to have the local Shell gas station guys give my car a hand wash:

Very happy with this, it shows that my repaint job on the front lower lip spoiler survived!! (see related post, previous day)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Painting the lower lip spoiler, part 2

Was pretty happy the lip spoiler was nice and shiny - so I reinstalled the HKS Kansai carbon undercover, only to have it flap at speed when on the expressway and Fuji Speedway. I used some electrical tape to try to fix that problem, but upon removal of the tape, the paint peeled off too! Note the rubber strip underneath - the Nismo add on rubber spoiler, which I had to redo as well.

So I had to paint again, this time after removing the paint I used a better primer (one for plastic, not FRP) in order to maintain flex in the paint. I painted with code Toyota 202 black, then covered in a clear flat.

I also re-installed the rubber NISMO add on spoiler to the front. Theory was, this spoiler would scrape when the car bottomed out, thus sacrificing itself in place of the plastic lip spoiler.

Previously, I found that yes, the spoiler DID give way when scraping, but it also flexed too much - the 6 bolts and the double stick tape was not enough.

Because I didn't think that 6 bolts was strong enough, I went out, bought some smaller screws and proceeded to bolt the entire spoiler to the lip spoiler. Unfortunately, there were some ground up portions of the lip spoiler, which I tried to fill in with with black plastic putty.

In order to make this not as apparent, I've lined the add-on spoiler with black electrical tape - and it works, too, the tape sacrificing itself when scraping, then the rubber add-on spoiler getting scraped.

The end result (PERFECT!) It looks better now than it did when I bought the car!

The true test of this repaint job would come the next day, when I took the car to Motegi circuit on June 4 to partipate in the Yamano Handling Course Plus!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Adding parts, continued.

Some more parts installation today.

Cusco Brake Stopper. This is supposed to prevent the firewall from flexing, thus improving brake pedal feel.
Here it is before I opened the package

Here is the space near the brake master cylinder before:

And after installation:

Installation took a total of 5 minutes. A bolt on affair. The brakes DO feel a bit tighter, but I do notice that after extended use, the bolt holding the stopper to the master cylinder becomes a bit loose. Will have to work a solution to this.

I also swapped out the old lamps for LED ones in the parking lamps:

This installation was really painful - I had to start on the left side of the car first, remove the airbox, in order to easily access the parking light bulbs.

The right side, I had to remove the bolts bolting the windshield washer fluid container and move the container up while struggling to access the bulb. No photos, sorry.

But check out the difference!

After - see the difference?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New parts

Here is an update as to what new bits I have fitted to my car lately.

Since I'll be moving soon to a place without a proper garage space (it's covered, but mechanical parking - will provide photo later) I decided to add the bits I thought would be useful.

1) iPod connectivity:

2) back up camera:


Amazingly useful, especially here in Japan where the streets are really narrow.

While installing these items, here is what the interior of my car looked like. Luckily, as both of these items were Pioneer units, the installation was all plug and play.

3) While I had the panel apart, I installed LEDs in lieu of light bulbs in the A/C unit display.


4) Carbon bumper protector - to protect from flames and exhaust particles spewing out of the muffler. Found on Yahoo Auctions, sticks on with double stick tape. I will need to remove and cut it so it fits better (and not wedge under the rear bumper flares).



5) I also installed this carbon piece in the spoiler.



Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Repainted my lower lip spoiler!

Some background - when I first bought the car, I didn't notice, but the previous owner had painted the lower lip spoiler - poorly, but in an attempt to hide some fading and scratches. Didn't really mind then, but then after a few track days it began to look much worse:

The underside of the spoiler had also seen better days - this is what happens because the car is so low and I hit a couple of speed bumps/high curbs:

So, I figured - I've painted model plastic cars before, I can paint this piece of plastic...

The first step was to remove the lip spoiler, a relatively simple job. Just a bunch of bolts.

The car looks so wimpy without this one piece of plastic! Amazing...

I then had to prep the bumper to be painted. This involved removing old paint, sanding down, applying primer, then painting. I used flat black paint, followed by a few coatings of Toyota 202 gloss black paint (in an effort to replicate the black plastic semi-gloss sheen). And yes, I did everything but the painting in my small Japanese apartment living room (on the ironing board).

Here is the result. Looks pretty good, but this was not to last... (see June 4 post)