Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Forums are dead? Long live the Forum!

Is social media the new, new coming of age?

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I last shared my infinite pearls of wisdom as I (sometimes foolishly) pick apart my Skyline into a bazzilion unrecognisable bits and then in a rather haphazard way suggest that you all have a go at it on here.
This is in part to do with the fact that there is not an awful lot left of the car for me to improve (vandalise) on. It is pretty much where it needs to be (even if it is having some work right now, that is the end of it I swear!).
I have actually been quite busy with Facebook... Now you may say that social media is the Devils work, that you don't want to be looked at or look at endless pictures of someones dinner, child, right or left wing ideals and even helping to rig US elections. But there is another side to it and three years ago four chaps started a group page the Skyline Owners Forum, with the vague idea that a few people in the UK may enjoy an independent, non sponsored place to post their thoughts. Well it kind of took off and is now hitting at 23k members and has a team of enthusiasts looking after it.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/skylineownersforum/
  

Lets face it anyone with half a clue can start a Facebook group for whatever they like and quickly build a community of like minded people. Although it is something else again to start a group, keep it active and topical. Just by searching the Skyline name you will find dozens.

Now I am sure that you are all saying this is very commendable, well done and all that (if you have not switched to something much more entertaining by now).

Groups for Facebook may have started sometime ago. But before smartphones were in everyone's hot little hands and back at that time if you had a passing interest in a Skyline, you would probably have to join one of the forums on the internet. These were strange places where it wasn't always easy to post, especially pictures and other regular users seemed to be in some little private club all of their own. These cliques never to be penetrated by the average man on the street. It never suited forums to have a proper Facebook presence and comments were often discouraged or deleted.

Every old style forum has its politics, what is allowed, what isn't. The local troll, the local keyboard warrior, that one new user who keeps asking seemingly stupid questions. There will also be a group who feel over moderated.
With Facebook, Groups are run by 'benevolent dictatorships' It isn't always fair but it can just about work. It is almost the wild west of the old style forum in some regards. Alas there is not a 'one fit' solution to groups and there are difficulties in running one. Negatives include (apart from the human condition) limited posting ability (no book writing) and searching out topical items, not to mention Facebook themselves constantly changing how things work!

It was by chance that I became an Admin early on in proceedings. I thought (quite wrongly) that everyone would be mad for car shows and meets. If I knew the truth of organising these things I would never have done it! There have been many 'bad' times with disgruntled users wanting to do physically impossible things and people who want to humiliate in public. However it can also be amazingly good fun with friendships made indulging in a hobby/way of life! In 2019 at Japfest Silverstone the Skyline Owners Forum won Best Club Stand. Possibly more significant as a breakthrough from the old style forums and showing that things have now pretty much come full circle.
A rare picture of 'yours truly' 
   Where things are going in the future I don't know. A lot of old style forums have already given up either making the transition or just dying a death. There is a new updated platform version of V-Bulletin coming, which old school Administrators/owners are excited about. However it may be a case of too little, too late? Lets face it, even blogging is a dead art now (who wants to read stuff?!?). The advent of Drive Tribe was trumpeted from the rooftops and immediately dropped down deader than flared trousers. Looking at the socials we like fast consumption of 'things', people want to be Instagram hero's or tweeting maniacs and have people who love and adore their photos or 'blip' vert comments.

I dunno about any thing.
This isn't true...
I know what I like, basically keep doing what you like. If it makes you unhappy, stop doing it.




Spit and polish

Well less spit and more polish please.

Having changed the Garrett GTX3076r core on the turbo it comes complete with a new front housing. The general finish is shot blast rough matt.
Horsepower: 400 - 750HP
Displacement: 1.8 - 3.0L

- Gen2 Aerodynamics feature increased horsepower range.
- Improved ported shroud design for surge resistance.
- New compressor housing aesthetics.
- Integrated speed sensor port.
- Standard rotation.
- Compressor side: TRIM 58 A/R 0.60
- Compressor Air Inlet: Hose 4,00" (101.60mm)
- Compressor Air Outlet: Hose 2.00" (50.80mm)
- Turbine side: TRIM 84 A/R 0.82
- Turbine Inlet: T3
- Turbine Outlet: V-band 3.55" (90.20mm)
- Bearing housing: Water and Oil cooled system.

Turbo in place

Sand blast finish

I have to confess that this would be more of a vanity project than one of urgent necessity! The photos are taken for my reference, as I have found (often to my cost) that weeks later when you come back to bolting things up, the distant memory does not serve well!
I used to work in the casting industry and a fine blast finish is great, it hides a multitude of sins and casting marks, but it is also a magnet for dirt and crud that is impossible to remove (let alone dirty finger prints!).

So I had a word with Johnathan @ Basingstoke Metal Finishers to take a look. Polishing is something I have done before, but for a true quality finish it is always best to speak to the pro's.

So will be back next week sometime to show how it turned out! The fun will be in trying to bolt the thing back on I suspect!

Monday, 23 September 2019

Flight of Fancy

I mean c'mon! There can't be anything left can there?

I swear my money talks, it mostly says goodbye. Especially when it comes to old cars which have way too much power for their own good. The current trend seems to be more and more these days not to modify a Skyline and leave it as standard as possible. Apparently that is where the value is!

Yes, yes I wish my car were like that, boring and predictable!

So what I been at this time? Well will tell you.

Kept on hearing about the startling results of the Garrett Turbo GTX3076 2nd generation (I have the original). It started out simple, like all I need to do to upgrade my setup is replace the core on my current Garrett. Now not that I need to, but may as well unlock the potential.... Nice cheap mod...

Actually no, I would also need to upgrade the wategate from a 44mm to a 50mm. This means chopping off the old one and welding on new. Obviously this is to the manifold which also would need to be removed and reattached. Not to mention once the whole is reassembled the car would require mapping.

Now considering I can't weld or map that adds 'garage services' to the mix.

Should have said no. In fact I thought, no. But my voice said yeesssss
Not only did it say yes to changing the turbo and wastegate but it also said "hey, lets fit a crank trigger kit as well!"

Updates coming soon...

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Nose job and bum tuck picture post

Confucius say, man who runs behind car will get exhausted, but man who runs in front of car will get tired.

So anyway following on from my last post, here is the collection of dynamic action shots of car parts in various stages of paint. Naturally it will get added to as the work progresses... unless things go horribly wrong... that's when this post vanishes and we never speak of it again. 

Gratuitous link and thanks to the following folk - included for reference and delight.

Fully Loaded Cars (Paint Shop) 
EastBear sports (Body Kit)
TGR Motorsport (Wheel Nuts)
EFI Solutions (Wing Emblems)

N1 Detail on vent

Masterpiece Bumper (Fnaarrrr!)


Bumper and splitter


Winkers ... (snigger)
Test Fit




Hidden parts need love too
Side skirt supports and crash bar


Front upright for grill/bonnet catch

Front splitter


Intercooler now devoid of stone chips



Primer coat

Vent work
There are things in life where you think "I could do that, given the tools and time" well fabricating vents in the fenders is one that given the tools and a lot of time... I reckon I would still be struggling to pass 'go' let alone be on the beach vigorously towelling myself off. As it is my car these photos hold a strange and worrying fascination. I have always advocated hitting things with a hammer, but not usually bodywork!

Action shot


You are all encouraged to try this at home.


Assorted Musings: If you are compelled to ask 'how much?' then you probably can't afford it. 

If I was clever I would have just brought another pair of wings to have chopped up and kept the others as spares. But then owning the car isn't particularly clever in the first place, so it all balances out.

Automotive art, is it a thing? Or is that John Lennon's badly painted Rolls Royce?


18/01/2019 progress pictures
Progress on vents

Clearer shot of mesh in vents

21/01/2019

Parts Order of new GT emblems for fenders. At least I will be back to standard on something. A pair ordered brand new from EFI Solutions in Australia.

Steady progress is being made on the vented wings at Fully Loaded Cars and they are starting to look respectable again!


22/01/2019

The wings/fenders are moving on at a good pace now and starting to look like wings/fenders again. 



More assorted musings (I know.. I love to muse)
When is a fender a wing?
"Back in the day" British designers (yes Britain used to design and manufacture cars, just reference the Austin Allegro) after putting down their HB pencils from designing Spitfires etc. Looked upon the flowing sweeping curves with poetic eyes, finding them to resemble the wings of birds. So in the UK, fenders became wings. 
Meanwhile 'over there' in the USA the designers gave them the name fenders, which reflects their purpose. To stop rubbish being thrown up from the road, fending off the detritus. 

In the UK we still call fenders wings although the meaning has now been lost with them becoming more integrated into a cars overall shape. 1-0 to the USA then. Personally I quite like the word "fender" as it means in an accident we can have "fender benders". However no one in the UK would say that for fear of being adjudged to be an "idiot" or in the USA a "dumb ass". 

The Japanese use the word fender which translated is fendaa 



22/01/2019 (PM)



Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Body work - Nose job and bum tuck

Welcome back!

Oh my God, things have been so busy since buying a new house that the car has really taken a back seat, I remember a time when I had a hobby/habit. However they may chain my body to drill bits and paint brushes, but they can't chain my mind! Or in other words, I have been planning in secret and when I say secret it is mainly because I have no friends and my wife isn't interested..

So confession is good for the soul. Well obviously mine could do with a jolly good tidy up.

I have no issues with the GTS-25t ECR33 front bumper (also known as KOUKI in Japanese made from 1996 to 1998). It's okay, the indicators in original form were a bit 'hmmm' but I had changed them to a (in my opinion) cooler four door single lens option. Plus I had the front lip or splitter Nissan option which really helped finish the car and was a great (if hard to find) addition.

Specification 2 GTS cars are hard to find decent fitting parts for, especially on the front of the car. When Nissan gave the car its midlife update for engine and styling, the only areas they changed externally (in a physical can't swap parts way) was the front end. Having a different bumper, lights and bonnet. Nissan moving the car away from GT-R looks and creating a similar but distinctively different car. This was not so great when it came to aftermarket parts and although parts were made it was for a short time and production has long ceased and the spec two is naturally the rarer of the species. So options were limited and although there is a healthy market in the UK for repro parts in fibreglass they are all a little bit "shonky" (a new word for sh*t and wonky).

So with that in mind I spoke to Eastbear Sports in Japan. They will still manufacture parts to order and after a few mail exchanges of my non existent Japanese and their interesting to decode English. We finally agreed on the "masterpiece" (feels like there should be a fanfare of trumpets whenever I use the word "masterpiece" perhaps you can mentally play one in your heads).

Link to Eastbear
Shipping was just out of this world... I mean, expensive and cost more than the bumper. However it was sent via DHL and amazingly efficient (Parcel Force take note! (Parcel Force being a UK delivery firm of ill repute)).

Anyway.. I got the bumper.
Masterpiece (fnarrrr!)

N1 vents (no moulded in copy crap)

Bumper and splitter
As you can see the splitter is a splitter and not some moulded on part (see Vents above)

Mesh in original Japanese newspaper (now framed and hanging in the toilet)

Umm... Side view!

Indicators (otherwise amusingly known as 'winkers'
There is a box of screws and assorted parts... But you know what screws are... right?


Other wish list requirements. or Unnecessary tinkering.


Always liked vented wings but never liked the shonky (there it is again, were you paying attention earlier?) fitment. Fiberglas parts... nothing wrong with them if made properly, preferably by a skilled artisan and not 'Fred in his shed'.
So the only way to do vented wings properly is to fabricate them from steel (hang the expense). 


This work is being carried out at Fully Loaded Cars and to use the word "artisan" they are real experts in paint and body work. Personally I think that they are beyond working on old Skylines now and have clients with some amazing cars these days (this isn't a paid promotion but just in case...)

Slam panel


Am having the slam panel tidied up. Mine was/is currently wrapped (by me!) and was shocking for being dented, scratched, badly repaired (by me!) 
Slam panel in it's current 'look'

Rear boot/trunk

I had the car de-locked at the rear, which is great although in the light you could always just about make out a faint outline of the old boot lock. This has obviously become more pronounced as time has ticked by, probably by the filler shrinking. So lets do it again! 

Intercooler

The black Mishimoto intercooler takes the brunt of stones being flung at it and had a few chips plus... well, it just wasn't painted very well from factory already showing signs of paint flaking from the aluminium. So this will have a blast and paint. 


Side skirts

The metal support structure for my NISMO side skirts was getting rusty as some of the paint/underseal had bee peeled back like a flap. 
Side skirt supports and bumper bar (details on things no one sees!) 
Front grill, bonnet catch support

Gratuitous strip down picture (always scary) 

The flying car that Back to the Future should have had?

Assorted musings

Watched a You tube video of a young chap fitting a bumper to his 33. Amusing, bubbly and excited as he was. It makes me wonder if this is the future, why read when you can watch. However as this is my diary of sorts and you are guests in my 'front room' I have decided I have a face made for text...
I did like his approach, no thought given to indicators, cutting the front crash bar or fitment (he got away with it as well) and it reminded me of the good old days.

A friend said "don't vent the wings, why do you want to do it?" (I paraphrase and remove rude words). To be honest, I have no idea! Why do anything.. Just because I think that they look cool and it is really hard to do? Did consider some Skyline bull shizz at this point and claim that the high power of the car made extra venting for the braking system a must.... brr I need a wash now. 

If you really want to ruin your car, modify it.

Fully Loaded Cars - Making dreams reality. 
EASTBEAR of quality and trust !  (yeah not sure about that tag lines translation to English)

My thanks and undying admiration go to Mr S. Iwamoto / EASTBEAR SPORTS and Marco Vasconcelos / Fully Loaded Cars

Coming soon: More progress! 





Thursday, 27 September 2018

It has been a busy year for me personally and whilst still writing the blog most of the posts have been confined to the draft folder, awaiting pictures or project completions.

So what have I been up to? 

Toucan display 


The biggest project this year was fitting a Toucan display to the car. It required a lot more effort than at first thought, I unexpectedly found that I needed to fit oil pressure and temperature sensors. Not only for the Toucan to show the details, but also for the Link ECU to monitor them correctly. I brought into the Link selling razzmatazz, with them blowing the trumpet for all the safety features incorporated and assumed that the Link already monitored these two quite important aspects, well yes it can, but no not without sensors. 


Oil Pressure and Temperature sensors


The advantage of fitting sensors did mean that I could relocate the oil filter, which to say the least being buried under everything else was difficult to get to! The unit now resides at the front of the car with the work being done at Bells Auto Services in Ropley (near Winchester) UK. 

Bells also helped set up the Toucan (My Link knowledge being little to non existent). A word of warning here though, the Toucan needs an unlocked map to function correctly. A lot of mappers will lock and password protect their maps these days. You need to check with your mapper before purchasing a Toucan or other display. 

Traction Coil overs, Differentials and Tyres


Traction in a 600hp rear wheel drive car can be just a bit of an issue.
Just how do you convert the power and torque into something a bit more useful than spinning wheels? It seemed everything I did just knocked the problem on a step. The car was running standard shocks and Tein springs poly bushed all round.
The Auto diff I had been running (which was great when at 350 hp) had to go, for drifting it would be great but for driving it was a liability. 

So the diff ratio was changed to a 4.1 and a Kaaz 1.5 way locking differential fitted. The shocks and springs were changed to MeisterR CRDs and the wheel widths were changed from 8.5 to 9.5 for good measure.
MeisterR

Kaaz 1.5 way fitted
Traction was greatly improved although the car was still on 'normal' road going tyres. So I then upgraded these as well to Yokohama Advan AD08r's.
Although buying the exact same size as what was already fitted to the car, the contact between the tyre and the road is a lot squarer (the road going tyres having a chamfered edge) and this meant that the new tyres were rubbing on the wheel arch lip at the rear (who knew!). So this also meant that I either had to have the arches rolled or buy new tyres. I opted for rolling the arches (arch enemy UK). Again I found myself working on something completely different when wrongly assuming it was a straight forward task! 


Yokohama AD08R

Wheel Arches rolled by 'Arch Enemy'


Am confident that wheel spin from this point on is more the fault of the driver (me) rather than anything mechanical that can be added to the car! (in it's current configuration). 


Associated yearly problems.

After a very hot summer in the UK I was finding it alarming to have an alarm, with the engine light flickering after a run and restarting the car.Turns out that this was heat soak in the bay and the Link ECU warning me about ambient temperatures! Solution.. turn up the setting! 

Had some issues with the gearbox thrust bearing that got progressively worse. Annoyingly the car still worked fine but now and again the box/clutch would make a terrific grinding noise. Being on the gearbox this would go all the way through the car and rattle my fillings. So had the box removed and the bearing replaced at Bells Auto Services. 

Small water leak. Had to replace a Nissan clip on a hose near the cold side inlet. Still have no idea where the hose actually goes or why it is there! On start up the car would leak a little fluid (only on start!) and leave a small puddle on the floor. I had been puzzling over this for ages and having to top up the expansion tank until I caught the culprit at it! I actually had to go to Bells and asked them to take a look. Pressure testing the system they found no leaks, however they changed the clip for me (I couldn't get the darn thing off!) and the problem was solved. Nothing made sense about this, am convinced Bells Autos thought I was making it up and just wanted the attention!

Thanks

It would be a disservice to Richard at Bells Auto Services not to take a moment to thank them not only for their patience with me this year but also the fantastic work and assistance offered to me. Find them on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/bellsautoservices.co.uk/


What's next?

A Nismo short shifter is winging it's way to my door. 
I am currently looking at changing the front end of the old girl and giving her a face lift in favour of an East Bear Masterpiece front bumper. Communication can be laboured with both parties being fluent in other languages! However at the time of writing I believe they are preparing an invoice, I just hope it is not taking time because the figures are so large!