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! 

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Oil Catch Can

An Oil Catch Can Tank is a simple device that benefits countless types of vehicles whether they are boosted with turbo or supercharger and normally aspirated vehicles can benefit as well.

To explain it simply, an oil catch can tank is a reservoir, or filter for pipework or PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation)  coming from the valve covers. There is also a Breather line associated with the PCV line. Both lines function together for the PCV emission system to work. When one side is positive pressure, the other side is negative pressure.

So why does somebody need an Oil Catch Can Tank ? The reason is, that the valve rings do not create a perfect seal. If they did the pistons would not be able to move up and down. Because there is a tiny gap between the cylinders and the pistons, a little bit of pressure is able to escape into the valve cover area. At the same time burnt oils are also escaping into the valve cover area. This is called "blow by". This stuff is nasty and does enter the valve cover area and will escape into the PCV line and Breather. The PCV line will recycle these burnt solids back into your manifold which will increase the level of carbon solids, and reduce your octane levels. For a boosted setup with turbo and supercharger, the Breather line will recirculate some of these oils into the intake which will go into the intercooler. Of course, the intercooler works best when the interior surfaces are nice and clean. When the breather line returns any fumes with oils into the intake, this will start to coat the inside of the intercooler with oil, and reduce the heat exchange efficiencies.

So, the simplest solution is to insert an oil catch tank can into each line, this gives these heavy oil solids a place to enter and pool. There are many shapes and sizes, and even different configurations which are closed-loop, and open loop.

If you search the Internet, repository of much good and some terrible information. You will find that there are many differing opinions on forums about open and closed systems. Additionally there are quite a few opinions on if catch cans do anything at all! The way I see it is that they can't hurt the system and indeed, if the can does actually 'catch' some oil then it will have proved it's worth. 

The biggest problem for fitting a catch can was finding a location for it, many R33 owners tend to place it by or indeed, on the fuse box cover. I have also seen Spec one engine bays, with it fitted at the right hand rear, although this only works if you don't have ABS fitted as standard (I do). So what to do? In my case I decided to 'lose' the carbon filter and opt to vent the fuel tank to atmosphere (Why make things easy?). 

Carbon Filter Removal.

Looking at the filter in situ there are two hard pipes that wind their way towards it, these then connect to rubber pipes etc. that attach to the carbon canister. Put simply, the canister has an entry (the top) and exit (the bottom) the exit winds it's way out through the bulkhead. So simply disconnect the carbon canister, remove it from its bracket and place to one side. The two hard lines that are left need to be connected together again and joined to the 'T' piece that vents to atmosphere. As you have to cut the hard pipe to get a decent looking job, the hardest part is actually 'thinking' about what your doing! 
You have to remove the upper hard pipes from the Inlet Manifold and the throttle body. Blanking them off or plugging the pipe with a screw (if your a savage).  

Catch Can fitment. 

The (now free) Carbon Canister bracket was the ideal solution on to how to fit the catch can and I decided that a small round can would squeeze into the newly created hole in the engine bay nicely. 
Catch tank and bits
I have included a picture of a round catch can, so you can see what you actually get in the box. Be careful to order one with 15mm pipe fittings (AN-10) as a few (like the one pictured) are sold with only 9mm fittings. In the pack you also get a set of clips, a bracket with two screws and a length of pipe. 
Why they include a length of pipe, I don't know, as it's the first thing to go into the bin. The bracket is a little suspect as well, but it can be modified for our purpose. The clips would be kept as spares as I use braided hose. The catch cans come with two sets of tapped holes in its body. This means that you do have some adjustment in how it is mounted (in the picture you can just about see two holes in its 'side'), you also have some adjustment in it's lid (as it's round). 

As mentioned, there was some modification to the small black bracket supplied with the can. Basically it just needed the L shape chopping off and the now defunct carbon canisters bracket simply needed a hole drilling in it. The can was then secured to the bracket and a stainless steel clip placed around its body (although it probably didn't need this). 

Breather pipework

Why do I use braided hose? It's a bloody pain to use (quite literally) but what price vanity? As mentioned use AN-10 pipe you will also need two AN-10 finishers (20mm for braided) for the catch can. For the actual Crankcase outlets you will need a size up on finisher as you will not be able to get an AN-10 over the pipe! In fact this was a bit of a 'oh' problem for me and I ended up using the original fittings of 24mm. The pipework is reasonably simple, you just insert the can in between the original breather hose exit. So pipe from crankcase to can, from can to breather (An open system). 

Catch can fitted

AN-10 Hose finishers (20 mm ID)
As you can see it all fits, just. If nothing else it was an interesting and possibly fiddly job to do.