Monday 23 September 2013

It's all in the numbers

Late (as usual) and just time to quickly dust off the old girl before heading out to a local Japanese car meet in town, looking forward to standing around hands in pockets, grunting and struggling to digest a Mc Donald's, rashly purchased because I thought I was starving, but after a bite finding I was less enthusiastic..

I'm rambling am I not?

So yes! Ms Skyline had sprung a leak of the petrol kind and the fuel hose clip had decided to jolly well and truly 'let go'. Never fear, these problems are sent to try the average Skyline owner, not defeat them! After a bit of racing around the garage (I wish I would look in the last place first), the offending hose was replaced with some new (tighter fitting) braided hose and I could now continue with my planned dust off of her lady ship. However something struck me as odd, most odd, like there was something missing from my life.. Wah! The number plate, complete with carbon fibre surround was absent, missing, gone..

My thoughts immediately returned to the summers evening, when as I was howling up a rather fast stretch of road, there was the bang and clatter of something bouncing along the underside of the car. At the time as I appeared to still possess four wheels and much power, I assumed it was a wayward screwdriver that had made its bid for freedom from the engine under tray. Now I feel more confident that this was Ms Skylines rejection of being known by a number and her bid to be a free woman, girl, car, thing (ahem, probably taking the analogy too far now).

So that evening I hunted out my smaller sized plate once more, securing it in place with some handy sticky tape.

What to do? Did I really want to spend yet another day making a surround from out of carbon Fibre? Hell no, not really! But it certainly needs something on the front to make a feature out of the number plate. Especially as I wanted to keep it 100% legal. So I cast around, looking overseas and at home. Eventually I came across some old unwanted stock for a USA sized plate holder for of all things.. A PT Cruiser.

Whilst not perfect to fit out of the packet as the bracket plate was shaped for the nose of a Cruiser, I thought it had some potential. So after setting about the plastic with a hack saw blade I soon had the thing fitting in the recess well enough. So that I could use the bracket properly I made up a mount (from an old number plate ironically) screwing it firmly to the car, then attached the new bracket and finally the number plate.

Oh my I do sincerely hope that this is the last adventure in number plate making I do! It should be as this one is securely bolted together and I think the bumper would fall off before the plate!

Made from the highest quality plastic! 

Monday 5 August 2013

Header Tank Lid

Compared to some mods this is possibly hardly worth a mention! But as it's me I am going to drone on with the details anyway.
Originally I painted my yellow header tank bottle lid with some Plasti Dip coating. This is a cool spray 'paint' that sprays fine coats of coloured rubber over your work piece. Takes ages to build a decent layer up though and the temptation is to blast it thickly on. I was never blown away with the finish, as it lifted around the raised lettering on the cap, the handy thing about plasi dip spray, is that it (like latex) just peels off.

I then sprayed a plastic finish on the cap, I admit to probably doing this in a hurry. The finish didn't adhere very well and in fact came off the top face completely. So basically I had made the cap look a million times worse.

I was under the hood messing about with the plumbing of the turbo pipes and on my millionth break from contorting myself into stupid positions thought. Ah here's a good break, will finish that cap off.

So without much thought and a rummage around in my paints I managed to spray it in primer and then satin black. I then thought it would be cool to hydro-graphic dip the thing and mucked about at that, following up with a coat of clear coat for protection.

The glorious weather continued and I so didn't have anything better to do, in fact I dozed off to sleep at one point!

yellow (with a hint of primer, had to pick off the fluff)

Looks grey? Well I swear it was satin black!

Top view, you can see where a moments indecision on my dipping technique caused a mild confusion in the finished product. It will do me though! 

The carbon effect wrapped itself all the way around filling the grooves. 
So if nothing else, this is a clear demonstration that not everything has to be a hard grind and that on occasion modding can be entertaining (in a silly way).

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Interior Change

Well after assuring everyone, including my nearest and dearest that I was done, finished, had enough and would just maintain Ms Skyline. I went and sourced a GT-R interior, I know your all thinking why mimic what is probably in comparison to mine, a lesser car (I know I was), although it does have a decent front pair of seats, even if they are of what feels an older style in comparison to the later Spec 2 GTS 25t offerings.

The seller was located in Tamworth near Birmingham which made for an entertaining mornings run. He also had a GTS 25t, at some point it must have been a well looked after car, although was starting to show signs of wear it's past glories fading rapidly into the scrap man's sweet embrace. He had brought the car for drifting, removing the interior for a set of buckets, (which needing to fund he took out the interior) much better I have them I say and so a zippy hour and a bit later I was bombing back home with my prize filling every inch of my boot space.

Obviously not as a factory fit to a GTS 25t this must be this interiors third outing in a different Skyline! However the seats and door cards were in excellent condition for age only requiring a good clean up and some TLC.

Having had to fit various parts on and off the car for sometime now. I think I have become a bit of an expert in interior trim. The front seats are held in by four bolts, so removal was simple, what did suprise me is that the standard GTS 25t front seats are somewhat heavier that the GT-R replacements, another bonus I guess.
The rear seats put up their usual fight, although I find that to remove the rear lower bench (after removing its two securing bolts) if you squat in the middle, resting against the back seat, one almighty tug is enough to release it (and near launch you into the boot). With the back rest, again remove the two securing bolts and push the back rest up to free it from its hooks.
It's been very warm in the UK lately and apparently we are in the midst of a heatwave.. This isn't as nice as it sounds, although by no means would I actively complain and welcome back the rain. However when removing and fitting the rear seats it did get a tad 'hot' with the Sun blasting through the rear window and I darn near cooked!
Next off were the door cards in the back, these do require the front seatbelt lower and upper bolts undoing to free them, there is also a small screw in the seatbelt recess that needs to come out. Otherwise these are simplicity to remove. The front door cards were their usual pain in the butt to remove, mainly because I always forget how the plastic trims around the handles comes away (for information it is pull towards the back of the car to release).

Interior Fitted
Then it was a simple case of bolting in the new interior. Reversal of removal.. I love that expression, but in this case it is reasonably accurate. To bring the door cards in the front up to scratch I fitted the pull handle and plastics from my old door cards. The previous, previous owner had done a not too good a job of painting the interior plastic surrounds, they had to go!


Thursday 11 July 2013

LED Side Light Bulbs and DRL's

Wah! It has been a busy time for the girl and myself. Car shows piling on top of car shows it's all I can do to keep up. Met loads of people, did some work, upset some Welsh princess and generally had a good car time. Even if some bit's of that 'car time' were less than enjoyable!

One of those less enjoyable moments happened when changing the side light bulb. I have been working on the headlights, changing them over to High Intensity Discharge on dipped beam. The dark tint being removed for a much lighter shade of film protection and lastly to change the sidelights for something with a little more 'oomf' (technical term).

Replacement LED's
So, I had already replaced the sidelights for a much better LED (shown on right of picture) but now I have explored the LED world (as it were) I thought I would try something different again.
The side lights are somewhat awkward to get at generally, although the opposite side to the fuse box isn't so bad and I thought I would just pop a bulb in to see how it looked. Well after fiddling about trying to get the bulb in, it fell out of its holder and into the lens! Oh my... I tried fishing with wire, sticky tape on a stick, you name it. But it soon became apparent that the only way I would get the darn thing out would be to remove the headlight unit. This in itself is not too bad apart from one really stupid bolt located on the inner wing, what were Nissan thinking of and did they do this deliberately just to spite me??
Anyway after much 'MUCH' battling, the headlight gave in and off she popped. The irony is that as I removed it the bulb dropped straight out, bounced off my foot and under the car. I swear it giggled at me.

With the headlight removed I was impressed at how much space it offered me. Seemed a shame to just put it back together as was, so (not being too bright) I thought a set of Daylight Running Lights would do the trick and these were wired in and hidden away behind the headlight.

DRL's fitted
As for my pesky side lights. I used a little electrical tape to secure them to their holders and fitted them in. Naturally the drivers side is a complete pain to do, as you have to remove the expansion tank, move the water bottle and the fuse box to get 'proper access.

So a five minute job, took at least six hours. We do it for love, I swear (and sweat). 

Friday 31 May 2013

Blogs of Note

How to become a Blog of Note. All you need to know but were afraid to ask.

I was curious to flick through Googles carefully selected 'Blogs of Note' and a strange selection it turned out to be! There I am all ready for some of the top remarks available to a world wide audience, maybe something a little controversial to tickle my fancy. Instead it would appear that Blogs of Note entirely are chosen not for the literal content, but instead for their picture content! I would let that go but it also appears that a fair few of them are pretty crappy pictures, that even my mobile phone could beat, if I was standing on one leg, blindfolded, hoping up and down.

A picture of my car (to keep you all going)
Naturally this sounds a little 'hard cheese' on my part, well it's not, as I continue to be amazed at the fact that there are a handful of folk out there that find some diary about an obscure car, made back in the 90's remotely interesting!
Giving some advanced cogitation to this, regular readers will no doubt be pleased to know that I am planning on maintaining my usual rambling standards of interestingly angled shots and unwise decisions!

On the other side of this grubby coin it may be that whilst desperately looking for how to become a Blog of Note you have fallen onto my corner of the net via a search engine, . In that case, welcome!

I shall view the stats with hooge interest!

A sticky Mammoth

There has been a fair old amount of attaching things to the car lately. Things that I would like to keep attached to the car and preferably not spend my time trudging the verges looking for, after they have made their bid for freedom.
Now in the 'sticky' technology stakes we have many offerings of glues and tapes. All making bigger and better claims of strength, prowess, speed and the ability to attract women. Okay not the last one, that's reserved for a brand of sickly (not sticky, or maybe it is) deodorant.

So up to this point the best thing I could find to secure badges back onto the paintwork are the sticky pads, reserved for things like number plates. The only down side with these is the removal process and the ton of crap that you have to pick off with your fingernail (they should make scrapers for sticky removal from old fingernails?). The only thing I dislike about pads, is that they are a bit 'thick' even 3mm is going to add an extra dimension that I don't want.

So after much 'beta testing' I am going to reveal the secret to all your sticky woes!

Mammoth Powerful Grip Tape

It comes in 12, 25 and 50mm widths. The stuff is just mentally sticky and adherers to about anything, this is a new type of double sided tape, the glued faces are carried on duck tape style weaved material (so its thin) and provide an immediate strong bond strength. I have not actually found anything that it will not stick and hold yet. The claim is that it can be used indoors and outdoors on virtually any material, without degrading under UV light. 
The benefits and applications are endless then, especially considering the need to do without drilling, plugging and unsightly screws. 

I have yet to come across this stuff in stores yet and as a comparison with other 'glues' on the worlds auction site Ebay, it seems too cheap to be of any good, especially comparing it to big name brands (which is why I thought I would give it a go). 

So if you want to stick something and have it stay stuck, you can try this or some young man's deodorant. 

Thursday 30 May 2013

The art of failing

Sometimes things never seem to quite go to plan, be it true love, work, the idea of having an early night... you get the idea.

It was after the fitting of my front number plate that I thought it would be a good idea to match up the rear number plate in its style and look. The one I had fitted was fine, no problem, although it had a black border, which, for some unknown reason always offended my eye to look at! It also had plain black characters, whereas the front now had carbon effect characters. Generally these differences were but small, tiny things, but the remedy was cheap and easy so why not?

If I had known what a saga I was letting myself in for I may have thought twice! I ordered a standard rear yellow plate from the same place I got my front from, secure in the knowledge that it would be of high quality and at 13x7 inches, just drop straight into the holder (no mucking about this time). After a week had passed of non receipt of my order, I contacted the seller with the usual message of 'um, where is it?' Next day there was the message apologising for the delay and that a replacement was being sent straight out. So I wait and after a week, mail the supplier 'not got it yet'. I was then surprised by the supplier giving me an instant refund, so I guess that was the end of that one.

To the internet I go and looked at the web site of I sent them a mail enquiry and to give them their due, they called me right back. So we discussed the fascinating world of number plates "have you heard about Carbon Fibre Gel Characters" they asked and waxed lyrical about how very cool looking they were, with the added bonus of being street legal as well. They actually worked out eye wateringly expensive, considering a plate cost in excess of £40 but I never let budget get in the way of a bad idea and the deal was done.

Not that I'm an un-trusting chap, but I did back up everything discussed with an email spelling out the admittedly limited requirements. A yellow rear plate, the registration, over two lines and Carbon Gel Characters.

A week passes, no plate, so a mail later and am advised it will be sent soon. A few more days pass, a mail chasing, am advised they are waiting on a letter! Okay I can stand it and wait another week, when joy!


Plate arrives, is nothing like as ordered. Numbers are on one line instead of two and the characters are plain old black (and a bit blobby).
The seller was quite apologetic and put the blame onto his manufacturer. He did offer me a full refund and said he would also still try to fulfil his commitment. To date I have not seen either, but as paid on credit card can always claim money back (I think).
Well okay forget all that and back to the drawing board. Third seller now, price suspiciously cheap, same old requirements. Well it only turned up in two days and as the ultimate in anti climax, I took all of a minute to stick it onto the car. Job done and it only took just over a month to complete! Okay lesson learned then.

Tuesday 28 May 2013


The frosting on my headlights was getting to be a real pain. It seems unusual to later 33 headlights the earlier models just seem to go yellow (although not owning one this may be an unfair comment). Looking at my lenses, I was convinced that the hazing was happening on the inside of the headlight, as the front surface looked smooth and clean enough (no yellowing).
I was finding that the frosting effect which was only over my dipped beam headlights was bad enough to really diffuse the light and it seriously felt like I was driving by candle light. I did try turning off my headlights at some points to see if things improved... They only got slightly worse!
I was already fortunate enough to possess a very clean set of R33 headlights, although too lazy to unbolt the front bumper to remove them, however enough was enough and it was time to act!

or was it?

I had been watching a TV show in the UK called Wheeler Dealers - Trading up. Not exactly the top flight of car shows, but a light hearted whimsy in car sales around the world by some dodgy car dealer. In it he had brought a 4x4 car to sell on in Abu Dhabi, the lights of which were dull and sand blasted by the elements. He had the car valeted and as a part of that, the valeters set about the lights with what looked like sanding disks.. They didn't dwell on this part of the show for long but the end result was simply that the lights looked like new again.

So, to the internet we go... I settled on the Lamin-x web site who sell the 3M Headlight restoration kit at £17.99

This kit comes with a sanding pad holder, P500 Grit papers, P800 Grit, a 'Trizact' pad (buffer), a buffing pad and polishing compound. 

So with some trepidation I set about masking the areas I did not want to attack with sandpaper, namely the body work, laying down three strips of masking tape to protect the paint work. Then it was just a case of attaching the disk pad to a drill  and off we go! The P500 makes short work of the light units and there is just enough if your lights are particularly grotty. On really bad headlights it may be an idea to buy two sets of the stuff, although would it kill 3M to include a couple more bits of sandpaper? Whilst sanding you have to keep the disk moving back and forth over the light unit, don't linger as you will generate heat on what is a piece of plastic! Wipe the dust of regularly as you go, eventually you will have covered the whole of the headlight and be ready to switch to the P800 grade. Again the amount of dust you will create is legendary, so perhaps a face mask should also be used (which naturally I didn't!).
When you have the lights sanded off and looking dull but clean, you use the Trizact disc. Basically you want to spray some water over the lenses and onto the disc, four or five passes will soon bring the lights up to a good condition (remember to keep it wet). Then you can switch to the final phase of using the buffing pad, you want to squeeze out about a Dime or Fifty pence size blob of the polishing compound onto the pad.
If you have your bonnet open, cover the engine in a sheet or lay some cloths over it, also do this for yourself! There is a lot of spray at this point.
Run the polishing compound over the lights a few times. It's quite surprising at this stage how quickly the lights come back to clarity and very little effort is required.

The end result is probably as good as nearly new and the headlights are crystal clear again. It seemed strange to see the pattern of the reflectors in the dipped beam once more.
This is not really a modification, although it has been the cheapest way to make one of the biggest differences to my driving experience!

Friday 17 May 2013

Brakes Finally Fitted

Well its been one of 'those' months where all my time seems to have been concentrated from doing very little into doing everything at once, even I have had difficulty in keeping up with events! The car (naturally) has continued to 'simmer' in the background and I managed to hit all of my key dates for completing the thing.

As mentioned in my last post, I managed to secure a set of R34 front and rear Brembo's to upgrade the stopping power on the car. Now these are in place it made all the effort that was put into doing it, worth it.

Original Nissan

New Brembo
Pins etc, crud cleaned off by me!
The total expenditure was/did get a little out of hand and I could have converted the fronts only to a bigger 6 pot set. However this would have only replaced the fronts and although not necessary I would have probably wanted to also do the rears as well. It did help considerably that the garage already had a buyer for my old front set up and the calipers will live on a 200SX (in black).

Originally when I received the brakes they were in a usable but poor state, the discs were of a high quality and showing little signs of wear or unusually corrosion. These are branded DBA, the centres and outer edges being painted black. I took an electric wire brush to these removing all the old tatty paint and repainted them in black VHT paint.
Old Brake Disc & Caliper

Lovely New Disc

The pads supplied were DBA Redstuff, although not showing a great deal of wear I decided pretty early on to bin them as unfit for the job. Some people swear by these and some loathe them. Personally I had no real opinion, it was just that I wanted what 'I know' to be half decent.
The calipers were in a reasonable state, although this was not going to prove to be an issue as it was always my plan to have them rebuilt. At some stage of their life the gold calipers had been over-painted in red by hand. Although it must have been very good caliper paint, as it was rock hard, so I soon abandoned that and left it to the re-furbishers.

I spoke to a few companies specialising in the refurbishment and supply of brake parts. I can safely say that the best I found was Ben at Godspeed brakes (link at the end). No other reason than I liked their web site and liked what he had to say. Currently I am still waiting for one firm to give me a call back which is odd considering the current economic climate, you would think everyone is keen for work!

The process of changing over was reasonably straight forward, the calipers removed and the old discs came off (annoyingly) without any struggle at all. I felt sure that they would be welded into place and looked forwards to watching Andy struggle with them, foiled again!
The old M12 1.25 pitch bolts were used as the GT-R bolts were a lot longer and this saved stuffing a load of washers in to pack them out. The old pipes and brackets from both the front and rear calipers were also ditched as my braided hose fitted straight on. The only modification was to the front disc splash guard which had to have it's lip flattened out to clear the disc. The 300mm rear discs fitted right in without any further work.

Andy @ SPA working well

New disc and caliper fitted

Finished Job

The pads were going to be Ferodo sports pads all round, although true to form this 'easy' bit didn't run smooth with the garages supplier forgetting to order parts. Luckily Andy (keeper of everything) had a set of Lockheed pads hidden away for the rears and the back plates were removed from the original Redstuff pads to fit them.

Living with the new brakes: Well these make me feel like my original brake set up was worn out! I know it wasn't though, so can only say that the result is pretty staggering. They have a great deal of bite from cold and are massively more responsive. They also look good, shouting out from behind my Rota's "hello! Look at meeee!"
Rear Setup

Rear finished

My thanks go out to Godspeed Brakes for having made such a fantastic job at refurbishing  Andy and Nettie at Serious Performance Auto's Eastbourne  Tel: 07501 706023  for having done their normal very high standard of work and lastly to Sarah, who suffered, assisted and put up with my crazy plans.

Black and Red go well together. 

Friday 26 April 2013

Meet my brakes

It is of course ironic that you throw yourself into modifying the car, increasing the power, making it look 'pretty' (depends on taste!) and completely ignore actually stopping the thing!

I have known for a while that my brakes are okay, not great, they stop the car.. but could be better, so I looked at various options and considered a 'big brake kit'. The only difficulty with these is parts, I'm not interested in mucking about when it comes to changing pads and having a limited supplier base in the UK. Only to find out that although available they cost the price of Greece's deficit to buy them.

So I looked for something slightly closer to home, asked around and decided to go for Brembo's which are identical to what's fitted on the R34 GTR and 350Z (in size, fitments differ).

A picture paints a thousand words.

Front Calipers
These were sourced from Godspeed brakes who I must say are incredibly helpful and probably when dealing with folk like me, patient!

All that needs to be done now is the small task of fitting the front and rear discs, calipers, pipes etc. Valiantly I am not going to be doing this and am reverting to the (what I consider) best Skyline garage in the UK Serious Performance Autos (07501 706023). I just hope I have not forgotten anything when it comes to parts! 

Thursday 25 April 2013

Front Plate Surround

After much attacking with a Dremel hand cutter, I managed to get my plate surround into a condition good enough to fit!
A facinating fact I had not given much thought to is that in the US many States do not require front plates (although this may have changed now). Additionally the recess for the plate on the Skyline is practically a perfect fit. Quite ironic as I will not be using it, preferring instead to mount the plate slightly above it, thereby enabling more airflow.
Generally I'm pleased with the results in the two main vital areas. The first being, it looks good and the second? It was cheap!
Looking on line, the only purpose made carbon surround actually weighed in at a whopping 70 UK pounds. I think in Europe this should be called a real carbon tax!
Please excuse the poor quality of pictures!

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Spring is here and time for a bunny look

Think I became bored waiting for the good weather to finally arrive here in the UK. So there have been many and various mods taking place. Some little, some less so, especially in the financial sense.

One thing that I have always felt mildly uncomfortable with is my number plate. Generally drivers of Japanese cars in the UK try to get away with front plates as small as legally possible and in many cases totally illegal. Even for those with a small but legal plate can run into difficulties, as this depends on the local law enforcement actually knowing what the legislation is. I used to get around this by always carrying the department of transports paperwork concerning imported cars, sizing and spacing of letters and plate size.

The main difficulty I had, was that the number plate recess in the GTS 25t is just too small for a rectangular plate with six characters. If I had dug deeper in my pocket when registering the car and gone for five characters it would not have been such an issue. This meant that 'technically' my plate was 2mm 'short' in its overall width, making the car 'a probable' for being found at fault and suitable to causing me a pain in my pocket!

Just stick an import plate on then, although this will significantly reduce airflow to the intercooler. When I thought about it though and with what I already know about the rules for plates. There is no reason why I needed to fit a larger Japanese import plate when a smaller American import plate would do.

Sizes run like this

Japanese 13x7 or smaller at 13x6.5
USA 12x6

Full information about UK plates can be found here

So opting for the smallest two line plate I can, there is still the option of cutting it down at the sides making it even smaller. There is also the option of making the plate a feature with a 'surround' sourced for the American market.

Carbon Fibre Surround
Naturally this would not be a direct fit (that would be too easy) and the surround will require some modification notably in opening up the aperture to suit a double lined UK plate.

Will see how this goes!

Friday 29 March 2013

GT Wing Emblems

I don't know what it so about wing emblems, but the standard red and white badges just don't do it for me. They stick out like a sore thumb and after a while the thin coat of enamel starts to wear away around the edges, making them a feature I could quite happily live without.
Saying that, having some sort of defining badge is okay and unusual. I used to have the R32 gold option emblems on mine befoe swapping them for a tidy 'quick fix' set of newer ones with a lick of gold paint.
However now I am going to run a new set of alloy wheels in matt black, the time has come to think again.
At first I planned just to slap some Matt black over a set of R32 badges, stick them on and have done with it. However this would have been too easy, so in the spirit of making things as difficult as possible, an investigation into hydrograpic dipping was required.
Hydrograpic dipping or wet transfer dipping is a simple process of laying a print into water, spraying the back liberally with some agent, dipping the component through the transfer and then finishing with clear coat.
Google hydrograpic printing for the process to try it yourself, all the components are readily available at small cost.
I decided to try a carbon finish on the wing badges/emblems and although not quite perfection, they are reasonably close. Judge for yourselves.

Monday 18 March 2013

NISMO Spoiler end caps

I spotted a post on the Skyline Owners Forum for a GT-R spoiler for sale. Oh my... Can it be? Yes it is, genuine NISMO end caps for the GT-R spoiler!

Way back when I first got hold of my GT-R spoiler it came with GT-R end caps, (which I peeled off and sold to help fund the spoiler). At that time I wanted to change to a set of NISMO branded ones but they had been out of production for ages at that point. After much searching I had to settle for an unbranded Carbon Fibre end cap. This was okay (I suppose) although it was not as good a cover as the plastic GT-R one that it replaced (Chinese junk (and I don't mean a boat)).

So back to the forum... The deal was done and another spoiler was acquired at a bargain basement price.

A quick assault with a hair dryer soon loosened my prize bits of carbon and they easily came away. I then cleaned the backs with some sticky remover and replaced with double sided tape from eBay.. Talk about strong tape, this stuff could hold up shelves! The end caps were sprayed black, dried and covers glued firmly into place.

Pleased to fly the flag! 
Now all I have to decide is if I should keep the GT-R spoiler as a spare or sell it on for a quick profit!

New Wheels

It's the plan to finish the car off at some point underneath and shortly the Drift-works Lock out kit will be being fitted and this will be one of the last points to the underside. I was going to keep the HICAS unit in place originally as it works okay and as they say 'if it ain't broke'. However my warning light does come on from time to time, so this is the ideal excuse.

I digress slightly from the point (not unusual for me!) and that point is in the future the brakes could really do with being improved. Currently I have grooved and dimpled disks on the front, which work pretty well, although they could probably be a little better. I suppose I have put this change off for a while now as one, it's expensive and two, bigger callipers will not fit behind my alloy wheels... So it makes it really expensive!

However this modification lark is an evolution of thoughts and I decided to go bite the bullet and blow the bank account on a new set of alloys and rubber. No messing about with 8.5 front 9.5 back etc. That's all well and good for looks and probably some nonsense about getting rubber down. But it is harder to live with and prevents swapping around wheels. Admittedly I had quite a cheap set (comparatively) of alloys there in the past but for a Jap car there are only a few makes that will really do on bragging rights.

Sorry for the dull photo's, I come from a very dull country where the Sun does not seem to ever shine! Rains well though!

I now have bags of space to fit a bigger brake conversion (in fact I think the car now cries out for one!). I was surprised at how much it changed the looks of the car as well.

Rota Fighter Drift alloy wheels in Matt bronze

Previous Alloys

18" X 8.5"
5x114 / 5x100 ET30
They are wrapped in Falken Ziex 235/40/18 tyres

LED Dashboard lights - revisited

Gah, Per my previous post. The lack of being able to dim the LED set up is frustrating. The lights have gone from super dim originals to super bright now and I can only have described the night time driving experience as a bit too bright for my liking!
So abandon and go back or search out something a bit more subtle? Well I can't leave well enough alone at standard now can I? So says I, if the set up is a bit too bright then the ideal solution is to go for less bulbs and instead of a nine SMD bulb, I thought I would try a five SMD. Additionally as I would prefer a green illumination I would get coloured bulbs this time instead of the blinding white ones (good for a Sun tan though).
The bulbs were obtained from eBay and were just under £7 UK Pounds and at Pocket money price I didn't mind if it was going to be a disaster!

As previously, I whipped out the dash and replaced the five bulbs one at a time ensuring that they lit up before reassembling the dashboard (remember polarity is critical on these and to just turn the bulb around if not lit).
The camera makes them appear brighter up close
This time around I think I cracked the problem. and the instruments lit up a brighter than standard, yet not 'super nova' bright. You can see on the last picture that they are slightly dimmer towards the bottom, which in my book says that this is about right on brightness!

 I naturally can't vouch for how long the bulbs will last out though and with the white set I tried previously, one bulb did go 'out' although this was due to it moving in its holder (they were big long bulbs though).

I'm going to call this mod complete!

Friday 15 February 2013

LED Dashboard lights

Yaay, I'm happy to confirm that I fitted the LED bulbs as mentioned previously and they work beautifully!

Yes, am surprised at myself! What I can't understand is people selling 'bulb kits' for a substantial amount of money over the odds compared to how much the LED's actually cost.

New and old bulbs
Obviously the instrument panel has to come out. This has been covered in the blog elsewhere, although it's reasonably easy compared to modern cars and there isn't anything to be scared of here. First timers should be able to take the dash apart in thirty odd minutes.

Rear of instrument cluster
It's the brown bulb holders we want to replace, there are five in total and they simply twist out. the bulbs pull free and the new ones simply push in. Note that LED's are sensitive to polarity, you won't blow the bulb but equally if its in 'arse about face' it won't work either. With this in mind it's 'VITAL' to try the bulbs before you do everything back up! I managed to have one the wrong way round, simply remove and refit.

Let there be light! 
The photo shows the instrument panel in all its new glowing glory. Naturally there is a bit of light creep as it was taken without a flash and on a mobile phone, so the photo appears even brighter than reality. However it is gives off a much brighter, crisp light and beats the old dull glow. 

So there we are, a cheap and easy yet almost pointless improvement!

LED Dashboard

Just for fun I am going to try out some LED bulbs on my dashboard. This is just a little 'aside' to working on the clocks and dials. Really I have not a clue what I'm doing, although it should work out. Last famous words!

Anyway to start. I recall that there are about five bulbs in the back of a GTST dashboard (I'm not doing the gauges in the centre console as I don't actually have any!).

I'm going with 9 LED SMD T10 W5W 501 light Bulbs Ultra White (so you can search the web).

LED Bulbs
These are pretty inexpensive at £3.50 UK Pounds per pair, even if it does mean I will have one left over! 

Will post the results shortly, should be interesting to see if my instruments blind me!

Thursday 7 February 2013

Front End Facelift

I was pretty happy with the front end of the car. It had a similar 'but different' front splitter mounted on the original GTST front bumper and it looked quite the part. However as it was a FRP (fibreglass) item and being on the lowest part of the car, it was susceptible to no end of stone chips. Additionally having a true 'splitter' front lip sticking out, extending the length of the front end it would annoyingly 'ground out' on the slightest incline.
It was after another of my grounding incidents and hasty repair jobs at the end of last summer that I finally decided enough is enough, a replacement front of some description being needed.
Now as the casual reader may already know, I do have a habit of forming ideas on what I want to achieve and collecting parts. Be it over weeks or even months!

So my parts list was as follows. Standard GTST bumper, GTST Nissan front spoiler and a set of four door front light indicator units. With these standard bits I set about creating something a bit more distinctive, whilst staying true to the original car and not bolting something vulgar to it!
So lets start with the light units...

Four Door Light Units

Now everyone knows that the specification 2, two door variant comes with a round headlight and indicator unit. The four doors however are fitted with a specification 1 style 'straight' light unit. It is exactly the same style as the dual unit and drops into the light aperture of the bumper with no modification required.

Four door front indicator unit.
You will note from the picture that the four door unit has a grill unit also built into its styling. The amber of the indicator can be clearly seen, giving a 'fried egg' look to the overall design. The aperture for the fog light is there, but no fog light/driving light unit is fitted.

Unit with lens removed
The first order of work was to remove the lens from the unit, allowing me to get to work on the inside. This is done by placing the light in the oven at around 100 degrees for 8 minutes. This allows the gunky glue to get tacky and the lens to pull away from the light.

Indicator lens for that fried egg look.
First thing to go is the indicator lens. This basically allows a white bulb to flash amber! I later replaced the bulb with a silver tech amber bulb. This gives a nice 'clean' look to the lens

Driving Light
As there are no fog light units fitted I obtained these after market items. Happily they slotted into the opening with only a slight modification to the bracket.

Unit with fog light fitted
Once drilled and bolted  up the new light looked as though it had always belonged there.

Lamin-x covering
The lens needed to be reattached, as there was plenty of original glue it was cooked again for five minutes and the lens was pushed home into place. Finally some tinted light protection film was applied.

Exedy Racing Clutch

I wrote this up back in September 2012 and promptly forgot to post it!

Anyway I went for a fun day out on the drag strip at the end of last summer. It rained a lot and I managed to crack the clutch pressure plate. So requiring a new one!

Who knew that this day out would prove such a pain, although I learned that there is an art to drag racing (which I don't seem to have!)

Really there isn't a lot of choice when it comes to buying a clutch and it comes down to two things. Expensive or really bloody expensive. In an ideal world I would have gone for a twin plate, alas the real world in which I inhabit and the urgent need for a car meant I had to go with the best I could scrape the pennies together for. 

 You can't go far wrong with an Exedy clutch and I went with the paddle design as it claims to be able to take marginally more abuse than the more conventional design. It seemed counter intuitive to me at the time as how can four little faces be more 'grippy' than a whole plate!
 There is nothing special about the housing over that of the standard design. To be honest it's rating is slightly below that of my car, although should be fine for normal spirited driving.
The gearbox was removed to fit the clutch, under normal circumstances I would have said this was a lot of work. However I was very wrong and it was whipped off in a few minutes really. 

I included a couple of gearbox snaps as it's such a pretty one. The evidence of a melted clutch can be seen quite clearly.. Ahem.

My old clutch and pressure plate. You can really see how much damage the poor thing suffered reducing it to scrap..

I just love Japanese instructions. Happy clutch! 

The mythical clutch bearing. It always amazes me how many idiots there are that get the wrong one fitted! 

Whilst I was at Serious Performance Autos, God of Skylines himself (Andy) in a fit of generosity donated (at a reasonable price) this item of super rareness.. A Momo Steering wheel, designed specifically as an option on a R33 Spec 2 Skyline!