Monday 28 February 2011

Lower Inlet Manifold finished

It has been a long slow task, but one that hopefully will yield good results. It is my plan to replace the lower inlet manifold with a painted one, the original idea of chroming being shelved early on in proceedings in favour of painting. I actually made it quite a big job for myself by not only removing casting lines but additionally polishing the whole of the units visible faces for when fitted to the car.

Casting, polished, masked and ready for paint
 Polishing aluminium can be a boring task and with the rough sand cast faces of the manifold I found that a coarse 120 grit wet and dry paper was the ideal for initial smoothing. Naturally on an item with so many facets as this, it is very difficult to get into all nooks and crannies. So I also used some small head grinding stones, it's not ideal using these as you may cut too deeply, creating more of a blemish that that which you were trying to remove.
In primer, back face with top polished and lower rough cast.
When the manifold was ready for paint, it was given a good wash. I used a jet washer at close rage in all the awkward areas to make sure that they were 'really' clean. Although a high powered water jet into a small area does involve an amount of 'splash back' so I had my bath for the week!

Some product!
When the manifold was finally clean it had to be masked. There are so many holes and threads it took around one and a half hours to do properly. It seemed every time I turned the unit, I would find another hole wanting my attention.

Lastly at the end of the process I noticed that the manifold I am working on has slightly different fixings to the one that is actually fitted to the car. However after closer examination it would appear that the unit will fit and the extra fittings are for fuel rail location only.

To keep things simple I went with a paint finish of satin black. The main pipes that will be 'seen' have a high smooth finish. Whereas the rear pipes are 'half' finished, with the lower unseen portion remaining rough cast.

Sunday 27 February 2011

R33 Rocker Cover Fitted

Well it got to late Saturday evening and after an entertaining session priming up a lower inlet manifold, I decided to spend a quick five minutes and bolt in the new rocker cover.

Naturally the fitment was terrible and I spent a lot longer than at first hoped. My original plan of whipping the old plastic cover out and slotting this one in soon went out the window. But hey this is why we do it no?

Basically on test fitting the cover sat towards the left too snugly, leaving a large gap all down the right side (this was a bad thing). The cover had been supplied with screws and an amount of sticky backed rubber tape. My first thought being that perhaps the tape ran the side length of the metal rocker covers, the only problem with this plan being that it was a bit too wide to do this successfully, the second problem being that it simply wasn't long enough to do both sides. So that idea in the bin.

I compared like for like holding the old cover up against the new. After some study it looked as though the original cover actually sits quite tight to the left, although it isn't noticeable due to rubber seals along each edge.

Well shit or bust time then and I removed the rubber strips, which obviously is a one way only deal. I attached them to my now fingerprint covered replacement part with a good dose of that old favourite, superglue.

After unsticking my fingers for the millionth time. I started to get the knack of glue to rubber ratio and allowed for the capillary action of the glue (holding the work piece upright and allowing gravity to work) managed to get the strip into a reasonable placement.

I then took some of my 'too short' sticky backed rubber and chopped it lengthwise, attaching it to the bottom of the cover against the newly attached rubber strips.

Test fitting showed that it was 'acceptable' and a sigh of happiness was to be heard.

The simple task of screwing the cover on was the next pain.

Where the holes are a bit 'out' but have been drilled at a large diameter meant that I was limited with making them bigger myself, for fear of them being a bit too big. This meant that loose placement of screws was required. It was still a bit of a faff as keeping the screws true and happy meant a bit of fiddling around. You don't really want them going in at an angle as the rocker covers themselves are made of soft aluminium and can quite easily cross thread. The idea is improvement, not destruction!

I still have a screw to attach, although this is due to not having the correct key. Will come back to this as it isn't actually seen.

So finally my simple five minutes took a good two hours, although the parts supplied are good and sound. I would suggest that the drill holds could be a shade lower from the top perhaps by .5mm.

Passenger side

Drivers side

The offending article!
I have included some shots from all angles. This shows how quickly this mod gets lost in the orgy of shining metal that is my engine bay.

Thursday 24 February 2011

R33 rocker cover - first look

Well I have received my 'custom' rocker/coil pack cover, it's pretty impressive and seems worth the money! My only difficulty is with getting a photo without too many reflections or my ugly mug smiling back at me from it's shining face.

There is the option of colour coding... But my colour is black!

Reflections of everything around you are not optional
 Will be fitting it probably this weekend, so stay tuned dear reader for the exciting reveal (if I don't blind my self with the reflection from the flash!)

If you would like something similar then simply mail with your request or look up the seller customs_2000 on that fine supplier of parts, ebay

Tuesday 22 February 2011

In the works - racing to the finish line

Currently am in talks with Andy at Serious Performance Autos to 'finish' the mechanical side. I'm not sure if I have tired of doing it, but am trying to get everything done and complete in one massive hit.

It's not the ideal way of working, although there is a fair chunk of work that goes way beyond my level of mechanical expertise or equipment.

Works will be undertaken at Serious Performance Autos and include
  • Fitting of hybrid turbo
  • Fitting of my current work in progress, the lower inlet manifold (see posts)
  • Supply and fit of front upper camber bushes (for wheel aligning)
  • supply and fit of rear camber bushes (wheel aligning)
  • Rear diff oil
  • Supply and fit of bigger fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator
  • Fitting larger 555 injectors
  • Fitting APEXi Power FC Engine Control Unit (ECU)
  • Mapping at Abbey Motor Sport
  • Wheel alignment at Abbey Motor Sport
  • MOT so the car is legal in the UK
  • possibly spark plugs (if mine are no good)
  • The all important juices, coolant, oil etc.
Through my 'collecting' habit I have a high flow fuel filter and oil filter (every little helps!).
Will be very interesting to see what the finished power output will be when all is said and done. This work will complete the second stage of tuning (which is where I will stop!).

Skyline R33 Stock Take!

Ms Skyline moves along so rapidly, she sometimes takes me quite by surprise. I thought it might be nice dear reader if I were to share a few photographs of her transition from beautiful car to um, more beautiful car! Beautiful, but different?

Naturally these photo's are all out of date. But I have been waiting for the Sun to appear... I'm sure it will one day! 
Original front end

After fitting of front mount intercooler and splitter
Above we have the original nose (how she arrived) and the changed front. Originally it was the plan to fit an M spec front 'splitter' to the car (see garden post). However after cutting of the bumper to fit the intercooler the car seemed very 'blunt' on the front end and lost some character with the huge chunk of Aluminium looking out.

If you are not keen on defacing and cutting up the front bumper for a front splitter, there is always the option of fitting a side mount intercooler from a R34. this however does have its drawbacks being only able (I say 'only') to handle 300 BHP.

I did think about putting mesh in the aperture, although this would have looked silly and cheap. The car needed to regain it's front stance and this was done with a Knight Racer front splitter click here you will see from the advert that Ms Skyline is the star, although I would mention that she only does it for fame and no fee's were exchanged.
Side view with standard ride height

Lowered 30mm, alloy's added, side skirts, spats and colour coded wind deflectors around window.
 Side views. As you can see a drop of 30mm is sensible. I have kept the standard Nissan shocks and fitted Tein springs. This gives a more pleasing look to the eye and does transform handling into and out of corners. Coil overs are not for me as it isn't a track car and the plan was to improve the car, not ruin it.

The side skirts, rear spats and wind deflectors are all genuine Nissan parts. These were sourced from Tim at the Moff Shop If your in the UK or Europe, always drop Tim a line. Will add more about the Moff shop in services of note at some point.

The wind deflectors come in a rather nasty shade of brown clear plastic. I had these sprayed to match the rest of the car.

The side indicators (or amusingly titled 'winkers') were replaced with Nismo Clear Indicators (almost £60) and just below them you can make out the gold 'GT' badges.

Lastly you would have to be blind not to notice the wheels!

Original Automatic Dials

White dial replacements with chrome dial rings.
As a part of the major modifications Ms Skyline underwent, one of the biggest was converting from an Auto to a manual gearbox (more about that saga to come). This meant that clocks and dials had to be changed as an Auto speedo is actually calibrated differently. Additional to this I would not be needing the automatic indicators for drive, park etc.
So a new clock console was sourced (spec 1). White dials fitted (Andy at SPA said I was a brave man) with chrome dial rings. Fitting new dials is not for the faint hearted, you have to actually remove the needles to fit the new dials. Although more about that later.

Well there you have a very basic run down of some of the changes from old to new. this isn't meant as a do it guide and is just all showboating!

Monday 21 February 2011

Coil Pack Cover

Have been hunting around for a while now to get something to replace my plastic coil pack cover. A little like the washer bottle question... It's possible I have gone too far, although found a chap who makes bespoke items (see example)
stainless coil pack cover
Naturally mine would not be in the fair shade of blue and will be black. There is a wire mesh over the cut out area and the lettering is infilled in black. To have it made up is ridicuously expensive though and there is no change from £69.
Will update as and when the part turns up!

Friday 18 February 2011

Enforced relaxation?

One thing about being in the UK that we seem to be top at is avoiding hitting each other in cars. I remember one visitor to our island in the Sun, returning his hire car a day into his holiday stating 'you people drive in an 80MPH car park!'. So yeah, perhaps the roads can be a bit hectic which kind of defeats owning a sports car a bit.
However the real killer is when your on the motorway and there is a juicy accident!
Here is my current view, which I have been looking at for an hour, only the odd ambulance or cop car wizzing past for entertainment. Is funny as feel completely unsympathetic towards the poor people who are squished or dead. In fact if dead we may move sooner. Aw don't throw stones at me, you try sitting here for an hour!
I don't mind doing nothing, but not in my own time!

Voting Time - Comments

I think a stainless washer bottle over would be uncool, but on the other hand it would be very cool.. What are everyones thoughts on the subject?
Washer Bottle cover

At £46.50 it is a bit steep, although by a (very) rough rule of thumb I think I can justify it to myself... What do you think people? A step too far, or an addition of note?

What's cooking? Skyline Engine parts

Welcome to the average Skyline owners kitchen. Here I like to prepare fine microwave dishes, quality (tomato) sauces and (dirty old) engine parts. This is the current state of my lower manifold.

R33 Lower inlet manifold
It is possible to polish and the pipework has already started to come up, (about three hours work in) although I am going to stick to my original plan of a paint finish. I think in the long run it should be a lot faster and give me a decent ish result. This part is buried in the engine after all and the main aim is for it to be 'not noticed' rather than shouting 'I'm unloved' when you stick your head under the bonnet.

I must confess looking at the pictures recently posted. Now my eye is starting to be drawn to the Alternator which is looking a tad RUSTY! gah!

Thursday 17 February 2011

Engine bay - an alternative to using a plate to eat off!

Engine Bay Time

A friend of mine did recently accuse me of not including a gratuitous shot of the engine bay. A bit of a hobby of mine as you can probably see. When Ms Skyline arrived she was covered in a film of light brown dirt, where she had obviously sat immobile for months on end, enduring all mother nature could do to age her good looks.. I always like to think that my approach to the engine bay is one as of a child opening the bonnet on a toy car to reveal the highly plated plastic lump within! To open the bonnet of the average Skyline is to experience a great sense of disappointment, with a wealth of dirty rotten old pipes and dull grey, weathered aluminium.

Displaying one of my GT badge collection!

So with this in mind, anything Aluminium has been polished, anything that can be stainless steel replaced. Being un-tempted to go for silicone pipework in one of the many fetching shades, I have stuck with the original piping. Anyone buying into the silicone scene are fooling themselves!

Dedicated to polishing!
 Am not quite there yet, as you can make out, the lower inlet manifold badly lets the engine bay down. Serious Performance Autos have lent me one to start work on, although Andy suggested I just paint it... After a few hours of relentless sanding, I am thinking that he may be onto something. So I will take down the cast lines as much as possible and resort to a black spray coat. One idea is to 'dust' with something like Plasticoat glitter spray, although Gold spray is also tempting..

Tune in again soon when I have some charge in my camera battery.. The true horror of metal polishing will be revealed!

Sunday 13 February 2011

Light up Skyline rear panel

One of the first 'have a go' mod's I made to the car was a light up rear panel. It was actually pretty straight forward in the end.

Just in case I forget what car I have at night!
Alas I did not take a gazzilion pictures, although to make it is simple.
You will need a spec 1 clear rear panel, LED strips, red translucent paint (tamiya clear red will do), masking tape, hot glue gun, some thin plastic card.

1. cut a window either side of the central lug to the end lug on the back of the panel.
2. spray the interior with red translucent paint. You will need a couple of coats to get this a nice dark shade.
3. motor factors now sell LED strips for front light fittings c/w wiring, they also have an adhesive strip on the back. They are just the right size too. It is a little fiddly but stick one top and bottom.
4. you don't have to but it is a good finish. Cut out of your plastic card two rectangles to cover the holes you cut previously, glue with black hot glue. Spray the back or the panel with satin black.
5. mask the external lettering of 'SKYLINE' then prime and paint.
6. Fit panel and wire into your main rear lights with a connector.

Things to check. Make sure that you do not have any old silver paint on the skyline lettering. When masking use a scalpel to cute the tape, trimming around the top's of the lettering and not the base.
Do test the lights before you seal everything up, they will run off any 12 V source well enough.
Make sure that the red you paint internally is dark enough, use four coats at least (dependant on thinners).
Do remember in the UK you can only have red illumination on the rear of your car!

Going off piste? There are now red LED's available. This may make the job 100% simpler. I have never spoken to anyone else about how they did theirs, although cold cathode tubes look crap!

R33 Bonnet catch fitted

Well as you saw previously I had obtained a new bonnet catch for the car as my old one was rotten. 
Out with the old

In with the new improved version

To say the old one was a 'bit tatty' was an understatement. I'm just glad that Nissan didn't build the whole car out of the same metal as the bonnet catch! It is a bit of a design flaw though as the catch sits leaning slightly forwards, so it gets a regular soaking every time it rains.

As previously blogged, I went with a high finished gloss coat originally. This was again abandoned for a more in keeping black satin finish. Although I would be the first to admit that the satin looks a bit gloss to me! Still that is probably my poor spray work rather than anything wrong with the paint (What am I saying!).
A rough idea on overdoing things!
Here is a full on shot of the engine bay. Replacing the bonnet catch is just a question of removing the three retaining bolts and unclipping the release cable. The hardest part being wriggling it out, clipping the release cable back in and then teasing it back into place!
Yes, I did scratch the new paint a tiny bit... But that adds character!

Dimming Down!

 Ms Skyline is an attractive beast, although it has to be said she does have some big amber eyes!
Much has been made of home Len's bodge jobs made from plastic strip light material. I don't think the purpose is to replace one ugly mess with another.
I have seen some aftermarket clear lenses but these are pretty elusive to find and in today's 'I want it now' society, especially with me, well I just can't wait maybe forever.
However I do have some old window tinting film and decided to experiment.
 Here we have the results. No comments on my sloppy work (this was a test!). I didn't think that the change was going to make any difference at first (being so close to it) as the lights looked pretty much still 'very' amber. However stepping back away from the car I think that you will agree, not only is the indicator 'toned down' it is actually pretty mean looking!
Spot the difference!

So one of the more easy modifications to do!

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Meet my Wheels

I am currently riding on 18" Cruize Sakura Alloy Wheels
2 x 8.5 x 18 ET 32 (Fronts)
2 x 9.5 x 18 ET 35 (Rears)

Lovely wheels on a black car. I won't mention anything about the mistake the seller made sending me silver wheels and then blaming me for ordering wrong ones... Am hardly going to say silver when I wanted gold am I! I dunno.... Where's the service eh?

Bonnet release catch

I don't know what it is about Skyline's but the pressed metal parts are so badly made, or at least badly protected. On mine the bonnet release catch was (well currently is) a ugly shade of rust brown. I guess this is down to the non existent grill design at the front, meaning that any road crap automatically covers the bonnet release.

So rather than muck about I got hold of another bonnet release mechanism (which was still cruddy). Firstly giving it a bath to remove most of the muck and then setting to work with the good old wet and dry sand paper.

A fair bit of rubbing later and was a nice shiny lump.. At this point I had to decide if to send to chroming or paint. After a bit of umm'ing and arr'ing I decided that paint would be the way to go. I think that the cmponent would be just too much of a pain to completely strip, requiring drilling out of big rivets etc. Also the idea is not to notice such delights as bonnet catches, not highlight them. Besides, would probably be a swine to keep clean.

A small detail perhaps but now like new.
I used Gloss Black Plasticoat paint rather than conventional car body paint as it goes on quite thick and covers up a multitude of sins. Additionally it looks like it will be very hard wearing, although time will answer that statement.
I did consider getting 'artistic' and giving a light blast of glitter paint, but again this isn't supposed to be the highlight of the engine bay!
Probably would have been better in a satin coat, although the gloss black was all I had to plan (pending work starting on the main inlet). I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

Coming soon... Fitting of bonnet catch!

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Wing Badges! A'hem, I mean Emblems

All Skylines have GT badges/emblems on their wings/fenders. As with everything Skyline they do follow a certain pattern up to a point and then go off at a tangent!
Lets unravel so emblems and see where we end up.

Starting with the 'original' C110, C210 GTR styles, these come in red or black and have the shape of GTR with what looks like a typically 70's font set (everything was cheesey in the 70's? I was).

Old school originals

Next up are two examples of R33 GTR emblems, they are notable being a smaller size. The difference in colours signifies that blue is non turbo and red is turbo. These badges come from a 370z, Infinity G37 which are USA branding.

Next is a R34 GT Emblems, both in red and silver. Notice that the red is a lot paler than those shown above.

R34 GTR Emblem

R34 GTS Emblem

Now we get interesting. Proper GT badges for proper Skylines. Well my Skyline at least! We have the red and white, which in the UK at least is pretty much the standard. These do not wear well and getting good ones is difficult.

For sure R33 GTST Emblem

Here we have the normally aspirated Blue and White badge.

R33 normally aspirated (non turbo model)
But the rule that blue means normally aspirated goes wrong with this emblem, again in blue and white but for a R34 GTR.


Here's an odd one, genuine Nissan but in green and white. I'm assuming that this is made for non Japan markets, and is probably for a Silvia.

R33/Silvia model

Here's my badge, I actually brought this in Malaysia of all places. It is not (I believe) an official Nissan product and probably made as a JDM item.
R33/34 JDM aftermarket emblem
So basically they are all correct to some degree, although it is easy to get confused by the sheer array of badges available! Even asking the question on an owners forum will bring back many different answers (probably wrong) or no answer at all.

Sunday 6 February 2011

GT-R Logos actually sold!

Well if I didn't have the money in my hot and sweaty hands, I would not have believed it. The GT-R Carbon End Cap covers actually sold for £41.00 UK pounds.
Whereby most would not think that this is in any way remarkable, it is the first time my hobby/obsession has returned a profit to me. Perhaps this is a red letter day!
Will immediatley put a deposit down on a villa in the South of France, that or buy a brothel...

What's in a name?

Way back when the world was young and I first got Ms Skyline. She had a sorry looking name badge tattooed to her rear end. It had to go and painstakingly was picked off.. Even then there was a slight blemish and outline of where the sticker had been, but this was fixed when I had the whole boot lid and back bumper resprayed.

So no name then and long may it continue.
Well not that long....
This was until whilst visiting Tim Nichols at the Moff Shop Skyline breakers. I was actually there to hunt down a bonnet catch (will get to that later in the next week). Tim had just dragged another dead Skyline in for him to mercilessly strip and profit from. Another example dead and gone forever.. Before we cast stones at Tim for seeing a business opportunity, I myself noticed a rather nice looking GTST badge on the back of the soon to be 'despatched' car, shoved ten pounds into his hands and made off with my new acquisition!

after some slight boredom of picking off the old sticky from the back and even more patience of making a new sticky pad to replace all I had peeled. Ms Skyline once again sports the name of which she is so proud.

Yes she is looking at you with her eye!

 I so hate sticking anything onto the body. I am one of those people who after getting it right first time, then start to wonder if possibly it isn't 100% straight... I must stop listening to the voices, although details, details!

You be the judge.. Does that look right to you?

Close up of Ms Skylines Right Cheek

Only this time it is a metal badge, outlined in chrome with black enamel lettering (the photo taken at night does no justice!).
So from a dead car, a small piece (very small in this case) will live on. The bonus being that Ms Skyline is just a little bit more different and exclusive to all the 'other' Ms Skyline wannabes!

Saturday 5 February 2011

Garden Front Bumper

Recently I made a trip to Essex to meet up with a fellow petrol head. He was planning a change to his car and fitting a Top Secret style spoiler to his GTST. Naturally in my never ending quest for parts I grabbed his bumper to add to the pile of bits I secrete around my house, loft, garden, garage and shed...

Wonder if it will take root
I was particularly please to see that not only does it have the complete indicator and fog light assembly but it also has a rather wonderful Nissan 'M' style spoiler. People would give their right arm for these! However I couldn't sell it, as it will possibly make a rather fabulous alternative to the aggressive front splitter I currently have bolted on and means I can drive with even more abandon!

Found a neat little application

Amazingly it's possible to now post from an Android mobile phone! Whatever next? Well will be very handy for blogging on the run. Must try and find things to blog about!

Friday 4 February 2011

Rear Speaker Fitting

Whilst not claiming to be an expert on speakers, anything is better than the standard Nissan fitments! Remember she is an old girl and it's only in recent years that 'ICE' (In Car Entertainment) has become a real selling point on your average car.

So to work!

First problem is getting at the speakers. There are speaker covers, but they don't budge! No the only way into the speakers is by removing the actual rear shelf and the only way to do this is by removing... yep you guessed it... The seats.

Slide the passenger and drivers seats forwards as far as they will go, this will give you room to work.
Remove the two 12mm bolts from the lower rear seat. Once removed the seat needs to be pulled up and out. There are two pins/clips near where you just removed the bolts. Sit on the centre console with a hand each side and give it a sharp tug.
Bolt removal!
They soon pop free. Remember to feed the lap belt through the hole to remove though!
Up and out with her!

Now you can remove the back rest part of the seat. There are two 10mm bolts either side. The seat is held in position by being dropped down onto hooks, so simply lift backrest up and away.

The shelf...  OMG what a job but easy when you know how.
Lift shelf in the middle and 'pop' two trim studs out. Tug it towards you to release back clips or go into boot and flick them with a screwdriver.
You will now need to free the shelf from the pillar trim. On the bottom of the pillar trim there is a tongue that goes into a slot in the shelf.
The trim edge
I removed by pulling the trim away from the glass side, giving me just enough room to free the shelf and did one side at a time.
All will now be revealed!
Nasty old factory fit
Remove the speaker housings three 10mm bolts and remove the housing.

Old and new

6.5 component speakers will drop straight in.
Remember to keep the speaker cable connectors towards the front, as the wiring is not very long.

Speaker Connectors
Also remember to get the proper clips. No dodgy soldering please!
Fit everything back again. You can do it!

This completes the speakers. I can crank the stereo up to ear shattering levels and annoy the neighbours cat now.
Note although completed, stereo install coming soon! Bet my one reader can't wait!

Many thanks' to the legend Andy of Serious Performance Autos for pointing out what to smack with a hammer.

The Slot at the back edge of the shelf