Saturday, March 21, 2020

In Addition to the Nismo Omori Factory Chassis Refresh...Extras!

This will be my last post before I pick up the car tomorrow - finally! Can't wait to drive it home, admittedly on old-ish tires, but that will help me keep the speed down (at least until I can afford new tires...)

So as I hinted in a previous post, in addition to the Nismo Omori Factory Chassis Refresh, the guys went ahead and, with my permission, fixed a few things they spotted while most of the undercarriage was off the car.

First, they replaced this - the ATTESA ETS nitrogen accumulator (Click here for a nice DIY on how to do it yourself on an R32 GT-R. Thanks to Sean Morris for the information. And here is a good explanation of how ATTESA itself works -thanks to DSportMag). Maybe this will fix the slowish response of the ATTESA that I had always wondered about (granted the digital DTMII G-sensor massively improved things but I always felt there was still a slight delay).
Old Nitrogen accumulator
I confirmed in a phone call this morning that, this part is erroneously shown as part of the Chassis Refresh menu (in Japanese) - it's an OPTION but NOT part of the actual Chassis Refresh Package.  And that makes sense, as it was NOT shown in the following photo of all the parts that are replaced in the Package:
From an earlier update post. Do you see the accumulator? Me neither.
So here it is, the new part (green arrow).
Here is the new piece. 
You would think they would do me a favor and, while the cover was off, clean up some of that dirt - I'm planning to go back in and clean up the rubber hoses, remove some of that dirt/surface rust on the rear tow hook (purple arrow)... someday...
Yeah that dirt bothers me...everything else is SO clean...
Next - as long time readers know, my car has an HKS engine oil cooler installed. Air gets sucked in via the Series 3 (kohki-後期) only left hand turn signal assembly with the cutout (see photo below):
Curious about other Series 3 (kohki) differences? Read this.
and then the heated air has to exit somewhere.  When I had the oil cooler installed at Nissan Prince Tokyo Motorsports, they did their best to use wire mesh and rivets to provide an outlet.
You can see the intercooler fins on the left of the mesh.
This is where the guys at Nismo really know their stuff.  They knew that the R33 GTS25t (aka ECR33) came with an OEM grill for the front left fender, so sourced an ECR inner fender, cut out the grill, and then sourced a brand new BCNR33 inner fender cover (I may have to get a new inner fender for the front right side to, cut out the required space, then used "magic" to make it all fit properly.  They even used black rivets (OEM, sourced from Autech!) to make for an almost OEM appearance.

So what else? Well as everyone knows Nismo has re-released their GT shift knobs in both titanium and urethane, so of course I had to get one too.  No photos yet as that will be when I pick up the car...

Tomorrow will be a good day!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Finishing the Garage Floor! (Garage Series)

Epoxy floor coatings for personal garages aren't a popular thing in Japan, so it took me a while to find the right company. Luckily, Google WAS able to find a specialist that seemed to be exactly what I wanted, Hikari Coating.

First, Nagai-san, the owner of the business, came over in early February, right after the repairs to flatten the floor were made, and we discussed exactly what I wanted. He also provided an estimate and I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable it was.  So I immediately made a reservation to get the work done in early March.

Even though the weather wasn't cooperating, Nagai-san and his crew from Hikari showed up as promised on Sunday morning to begin preparing the floor of the garage for the epoxy coating.

After some discussion, I had elected to go with a high gloss white epoxy coating for the garage floor, and a grey anti-slip coating for the parking spot/driveway outside the shutter door.  Nagai-san had actually recommended I go with a light grey for the inside because, as he put it, white has a tendency to show dirt very easily and in some circumstances can yellow if exposed to too much sunlight. However, I decided to go ahead and stick with the original plan of gloss white - I'll just keep the garage door closed as much as possible!

The first step was to prepare the cement floor. In order to prevent future peeling, the crew ended up removing the foam cushioning that the house manufacturer had installed between the flat concrete floor slates and the walls of the garage, replacing the foam with an elastic putty like material.
You can see the grey putty they used
That was all they had time for the first day.

The second day, a single guy showed up - but he went ahead and prepared the floor of the garage by way of some polishing and then application of primer.
The polish machine. You can see the dust on the floor.
Looks very ugly. I was surprised

This primer dried pretty quickly, and before he left, he had gone ahead and spread out the middle coat of white epoxy.

He had also gone ahead and prepped a few cm that extended past where the shutter door came down on the ground.
From the outside. Wasn't quite sure what to make of this actually
The next day was rainy as well but out of the elements the inside floor dried very well, except I (being OCD) of course noticed some slight grey areas peeking through the epoxy.
Hard to tell but there are vague grey patches in the white floor
Some more grey patches can be seen here too

Concerned, I emailed Nagai-san who told me don't worry, he wasn't done yet and and when the top coat would be applied the next day, it wouldn't be visible.

And indeed the next day was very sunny, and even though I had to be at work I watched via my security cameras as the crew finished up the inside of the garage by application of the top coat, which then extended past the floors and up 45 cm to the bottom of the cement walls.
Was grey before - see the previous photos.
At the same time, the crew was cleaning, then laying primer on the outside parking spot/driveway.  By the time I checked the cameras at 5pm, they were done with applying a grey epoxy coat, and by the next morning it looked like this.
But not quite done yet - see how shiny the grey is?
On the third day of work, the workers added the grey top coat and added some sand, to make for an anti-slip surface. They also touched up the interior where some dust/bugs had inevitably ended up in the paint. Then left it to all dry overnight.
Looks like a sneaker to me...
Unfortunately, overnight some a-hole had decided to purposely step into the wet paint. His foot prints extended from the middle of the driveway all the way to in front of the front stairs to the house.

But when the worker showed up, he reassured me that he could remove it, and further was going to add a quick drying clear anti-fade top coat.
Look at that masking! Wow!
Now I have to figure out how to correct the other uglies around the house, especially that concrete wall!
And the end result?
From back looking out to the street-side
Wow! I have to say it turned out better than I had expected.
From the front, looking towards the back. Yes, I have a garage door leading into the yard...
This being Japan, it looks good not just from a distance, but also up close. It's the details that make all the difference...
Grey anti-slip, meet white gloss. Check out how crisp that line is.
Look at that precision!
And the grey spots in the upper left are reflections of the EV charger and electrical outlets on the wall!
In conclusion, it looks great! I am very happy. However, my next challenge is to keep the floor as white and clean as long as possible. I will have to get creative - even though I don't plan to keep the shutters open on a frequent basis, if Nagai-san is correct about yellowing from exposure to the sun, then I need to lay some protective carpeting or tiles or something in areas where the sun hits the most.

But now that it's dry - it also means I can finally start moving things into the garage from storage areas throughout the house, and can start planning on garage fixtures such as cabinets and tool chests.  But first, maybe I should go pick up my GT-R and see how it looks in the new garage...

Saturday, March 14, 2020

NISMO Omori Factory Chassis Refresh

So as we saw in my last post, I took the opportunity while my car was at NISMO Omori Factory to have them remove all the worn out, rusted and otherwise ugly suspension links and related parts off my car and replace with new.  Of particular interest to me was the rear suspension member - usually the bushes there harden or deteriorate with age and then the traditional easy solution is to add solid collars between the body and the member - I have not had that done yet so can't opine on whether that is the right solution, but certainly for most owners who don't want to bother removing everything to get to that rear member in order to replace the bushes, the solid mount solution is probably adequate, eliminating any weird flex.

One of my first upgrades to the car, before installing the Mine's engine, was to begin upgrading the suspension and chassis with the full Nismo suspension link set. I remember how the car immediately felt much more controllable and stable when I had the work done back in 2006 and 2007.  That means that for the past 13 years - longer than the time when the car ran on its OEM links and bushes from 1997 to 2006 (9 years) the car has been on the Nismo link set.  I don't know what the common wisdom is for when suspension link rubber bushes need to be replaced, but new ones should definitely give the car a "new car feel." I am looking forward to experiencing the brand new car feel!

Incidentally, I also have a full set of the SuperPro poly bushes, but never got around to installing them. Of course, now that I have a spare (used) set of the Nismo links...

Anyway, let's take a look underneath.
I get excited every time...
Left rear - silver is new, black is repainted
Right rear wheel - check out that beautiful "new" driveshaft!
This may be easier to see the extent of new goodness..
Of course the front is also looking great! Nice and clean...
Left front wheel 
Left front wheel, different angle - looks like I need to steam clean the oil pan!

 So a few things. One, they removed the plastic brake air guides - they were broken as the upper fin parts had snapped off.  These original Nismo ones, no longer available, cost about 19,000 yen per pair but the new dry carbon ones Nismo offers cost about ten times more! Not sure if I want to pay for parts my car probably doesn't need, given the oversize R35 brakes I now have. I guess I COULD go aftermarket here...
But damn they look good
So this adds about 150,000 yen to the price. What fool has these installed? (Thanks to Ale$$andro for the photos
Two, you may have noticed Omori Factory removed the Do-Luck floor support bars. The mechanics didn't really care for them not because they don't work, but because they interfere with their car lifts.  I will have to think about how to get them back on.  More importantly, I wonder how the car drives without them on. Maybe not go for them any more but look into spot welding around the door frames...They also removed, I think, the Spoon Rigid Collars (at least in the rear) - these will be an easy fix.

Three, yeah my tires are old. Will have to replace them soon.  And yes they look huge, very meaty. NISMO is pushing me to replace with the Michelin Pilot Sport 4s, but I don't know. Doesn't feel right to put on French tires on a Japanese car...And what is the current best Japanese tire out there?

Four, yes there are still many parts that need to be refreshed. Financially speaking, this is all I could afford at this time. Plus, most parts can be cleaned up or replaced at home, so I intend to do that as much as possible. To me that's part of the fun of ownership.

Fifth, I did mention in a previous post that Omori Factory did a few special extras - that's for the next post!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Almost Done...

Photo courtesy of Takasu-san at NISMO Omori Factory
So I got a call last evening (Friday) from Takasu-san from NISMO Omori Factory. It seems that the used G&Yu NeXT battery that Nakamura at Worx Autoalarm had installed without my permission (and thrown out my trusted Optima Yellow Top - he claimed they were well marketed but not a good battery!) had reached a point where it could not hold a charge. And in fact, attempting to charge it (whether when the car was running or by charger) resulted in a weird chemical burning smell... not good...
Here it is - Model number is NX 115D26L
So I did some research and I think G&Yu (formerly Yuasa) had stopped making this model about 2-3 generations ago. It does appear on Rakuten and Amazon but doesn't look like you can order it anymore.  In any case, looks like it has a capacity of 68Ah (higher than the Yellow Top, as below) but I couldn't find any CCA rating.  Also, I am sure there is a technical reason why this one is no longer made but the Yellow Top still is... and of course being a USED battery, who knows what state the NeXT battery was too when it was installed in my car.

Who da F installs a USED battery in a customer's car??

So, I'll have to buy a new Optima Yellow Top, as I think they are the best out there... Good news is that NISMO agrees and recommends the Optima Yellow Top, so I promptly went online and bought one (model number YT925S-L/YR R 3.7?) from the online dealer I had dealt with before (in order to avoid the NISMO tax, of course...) and had them send the battery directly to NISMO for me.
Here is a closeup of the battery that fits the 33/34 GT-Rs. You can see it has a claimed 660 A Cold Cranking Amps and capacity of 48 Amp hours
This is the GT-R specific mounting kit they supply.
Showing this shop is an official Optima dealer, the terminals are pre-polished, compatible with the smaller type battery leads, this is a deep cycle battery, etc.

Also Takasu-san informed me -  good news - my car is almost done, for real!

The next day (today) being Saturday I decided to drop into NISMO in the afternoon. Yes, NISMO Omori Factory is currently closed to the public due to the coronavirus scare (from March 4 to March 18) but hey this is where being a senior Nissan employee has its advantages...

So as I have written previously, the initial goal of having the car serviced at Nismo Omori Factory was to verify the extent, and then as needed, undo the damage incurred when the car sat outside the Worx Autoalarm garage, exposed to ocean winds, which I suspect then led to rust on parts of the car's undercarriage.

I did take care of the rust that had savagely appeared on the rotors, as I wrote in this post.

And for those suspension parts and links that developed rust, as I wrote recently I simply had those parts removed and replaced.

Then there are some places on the body that simply had to be repaired at a body shop.
For example, here is how their body shop fixed up the sills (the jack up points, having been scratched up in use, had developed some minor rust even before the Worx episode but the amount of rust seemed to increase tenfold afterwards).  My sills weren't bent up like many I've seen, but the outside flanges seemed to be more skewed to the outside than they should be. So now no rust and straight sills!

So you can see how the middle part of the bottom chassis - where the exhaust and driveshaft are - were left alone.
Just dirty, no rust. A future project for me!
So while I left the fixing up and re-protection of the bottom of the car to the pros, if all the rusted parts had to come off anyway, what other parts could come off due to age, not functioning and wear and tear?

 Funny you should ask...
Box of mostly banged up, but still quite usable, NISMO suspension link set parts!
Nothing new bushes and some paint can't fix! Anyone interested?
The hub bearings
Driveshaft boots and steering bushing
Nitrogen accumulator thing for the ATTESSA. After 23 years, pretty much non-functioning apparently...can't wait to take that first corner in the wet and see how much more quickly the front wheels get power!
 (I'd always wondered, why even with Do-Luck's digital G-sensor, response seemed a bit slow...hope this resolves it!).
More Nismo links and body rigidity parts. On the bottom, what remains of my Nismo brake air deflectors (that were attached to the tension rods - these are out of production now, replaced by the 10x more expensive dry carbon ones)
As mentioned last time, the driveshafts had to be either overhauled (front) or replaced (in the rear) with rebuilts
-these are the rears that couldn't be rebuilt at Nismo
The rear suspension member was taken off too and replaced with a new one. 
So, some parts were a simple replacement of the various Nismo parts I had installed long ago. Other parts were OEM parts that had not been changed out since the car left the factory, such as the rear member suspension brace!

Basically - I had the NISMO Omori Factory's Chassis Refresh done - plus a few cool extras.  In my next posts, I will show photos of all the new parts on the car, so you can see the difference, as well as the extras!