Sunday 5 April 2015

Dashboard Strip

How To:

Remove The Dash

Well it has to be done, for numerous of reasons. In this particular instance for myself, the speedometer had decided it would only work when it wanted to and had an annoying habit of just dying on me at the most inconvenient of opportunities! However to fit a gear gaiter, replace the radio or anything dash orientated the method remains the same.

Tools required: A cross head screw driver.

Step One

Remove the gear stick surround (Note this is a manual model).
First open and remove the ash tray (use this opportunity to remove all sweet wrappers). 

Remove 1x screw in ashtray cavity.

Unscrew gear knob (this is a M10 thread should you want a new gear knob). Lift the gear stick panel at the rear, next to where the drivers leg would be. This pulls down and away from the upper dashboard area.

 Once the gear stick surround is removed, two screws are revealed in the main upper part of the dashboard surround. Remove both of these. Also note the securing screws are located here for the centre console and cubby box.

Step Two

Remove the steering column shroud, this clips into place and is held together by four screws (note one of the screws hides under the steering wheel height adjusting lever. Leave the steering column in its lowest position.

Step Three

Now the front of the dash will pull away towards you. Use a plastic pry tool if it is stiff (resist the urge to pry with a screwdriver. (I often use a bicycle tyre lever!). It should come away quite easy though. The main difficulty (and lack of pictures) comes when disconnecting the switches. Start at the far right with the wing mirror adjusters, then it will allow a little flexibility to 'get at' the other switches. All of the switches can be removed by pressing in their release latches. However they can be super stiff to pull out. Patience! 
Top Tip! Beware that if you disconnect the hazard light, whilst it is disconnected you will have no indicators! Good to know if your having a 'test run'.

Step Four

Clock removal

The instrument cluster is held in by seven screws, four in the outer surround, two bottom ones shown here...

...And two upper screws shown here. The shroud simply lifts up and out. The instrument panel then has an additional two screws at the bottom and one at the top. Again and rather awkwardly you will have to remove the three connectors on the back of the cluster. First remove the two connectors on the oil pressure side and then the far connector on the fuel side. Note, Automatics will have a further connector on the right side. 

This concludes the whole business of getting the dashboard apart. All in all it is reasonably straight forward with minimal swearing (apart from disconnecting the plugs). If you don't want to disconnect the plugs you can simply unscrew them. There is no need for excessive force and everything should come apart easily. remember to tighten but not over tighten screws as this can lead to rattles!

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Reproduction Tax Disc

Product review

Tax Discs

Here in the UK we have or at least, had, tax discs small round bits of paper that we stick in our windscreens, a circular document, displayed on all road vehicles, to prove payment of the tax for the use a public highway in the United Kingdom. This all started back in 1921, with the implementation of the Roads and Finance Act 1920. In fact technically it goes back to even before then with tolls or turnpikes created for payment on the use of a specific length of road.
But enough of the History, Tax discs have now been abolished in this technical age (The discs, not the actual tax) and all the UK's 35 million cars (I counted) are now stored away by the Driver and Licencing Agency on computer. 



I actually quite like my tax disc on my car, it has a brilliant holder and was more of a feature rather than a bug! What shall I do, just leave the old one in there or perhaps put in a picture of me, or something else that is sexy (Ooerr). 

Bolton News ran an article Police come up with imaginative new use for tax disc holder (Bolton News Website) "This is a really useful replacement for your tax disc. if a driver is involved in a collision or has a medical emergency whilst at the wheel, a first responder will have easy access to vital medical information and we can quickly contact next of kin."

"The way the disc folds in on itself means all the information is kept private until needed by emergency services personnel."
A PDF is available here

Sure it's practical, not really what I'm after and on another note, I want to follow Malvern Cops about as much as I want them following me!

This headline caught my eye on 'this is money' 
Car tax disc frenzy on eBay where some are selling for nearly £50 – is it time to list yours for easy cash?
Some motorists are listing their tax discs for huge sums
More realistic to expect £50 for one in perfect condition dated next year
Velologists have been on the rise in recent years 
You can read Lee Boyce's full article here

Who knows maybe yours is worth a few quid!

Admittedly I was not aware that there was such a thing as a 'Velologist', someone who collects tax discs. Now I know you are all thinking 'loony tunes' but men, real men, like to collect shit.

So back to my problem.

What can I stick in my holder (no need for comments).

Armed with the information that people sell old tax discs I immediately let loose on eBay. Low and behold there were a plethera of available discs for all years. Although the car make would be wrong and what year did I want? I did find a disc for an 'agricultural vehicle' which appealed to my sense of humor and started to watch it in anticipation of auctions end.


Idol fingers and all that. I thought that there must be drivers of the 'older' classic out there, all spokes, chrome, bull shit and strange facial hair. They would surely want something original? YES! Of course why didn't I think of that. There is an army of people out there recreating car tax discs.
 So I contacted a chap called Terry here and he had exactly what I was looking for. 
As Supplied by 'Terry'
I sent over a few details mostly nonsense, like the cars manufacture date (it would not have been in the UK at this point) and chose a 6 month period (so it would expire in May, my birthday month) and chose the area of Hammersmith as saw some deafening bands there when younger (the Skyline makes my ears ring too). So a fuzzy logic and a worrying insight into the workings of my mind there.
One inaccuracy is that I used the word 'Skyline' and of course it should have been 'Nissan'. Looking at it, Nissan Skyline would probably have fitted.

In pride of place

So I have an old fashioned tax disc still in my engraved 'SKYLINE' tax disc holder. It has all the right details and is correct for the period that the car was made. It did cost me £6 to do and the maker sent me four discs printed on high grade stock. 

So this is all a bit convoluted as a blog goes however we had a nice journey didn't we? That's what counts these days.

Tuesday 31 March 2015

Seat Belt Replacement

Services - review 

Yes, yes, I expect you all would love me to belt up. But you can't suppress the truth! That there is always something that can be changed on a car (although not necessarily improved). 

I got to thinking about an old MG Metro I once had. It had a mainly grey interior with red seat belts (this was a while back). So with my current less than exciting black belts, I started to wonder if it was possible to change them for something a bit more 'disco'. Firstly I had a look on eBay and yes there did appear to be generic belts for sale. Expensive and by no means guaranteed to fit. I also mooched about in the second hand market to see if I could find anything that fitted, but they were all, a bit 'second hand'. Lastly (Google being my friend) I did a search, low and behold, I was not the first one to think of this (link) and a forum user called Ms33 had already been here. So with thanks to this trail blazer I got in touch with Sue Taylor of FDTS Ltd. 

Turns out that FDTS do seat-belts... All kinds of belts, you have a classic car? No problem! Want something bespoke, Okay! A harness? Sure! Or like me, a change of colour? Go Crazy..
Courtesy of Ms33
In Ms33's instance, red would work well with the interior of a spec 3 GTR as this would already have red accents on the trim and seats. 

A quick exchange of emails and swatches were soon winging their way to me. I had been particularly annoying in the respect that I wanted red, but suspecting that it would not work had also asked for a blue selection as well. A few days later I had more swatches, in all shades than you could shake a poopy stick at!
Now all I needed to do was decide on a colour.. This actually was not so painful and soon I had a couple of candidates, one in a red and one in a blue/grey. The red blended  well, with more 'pop' and wow factor. Whereas the blue/grey blended in just like a factory finish. I decided I had enough wow factor and went for the safe look. 

I won't bore you with the actual process of belt removal. Although may do a Skyline interior strip out post at some point. Suffice to say if I can do it anyone can! 

So now all u had to do was get the belts up to FDTS and seeing as when packed up they are surprisingly heavy, I decided to take them in person (rather than pay postage).  
Belts being changed, note all hardware was left on.
After managing to finally find the place (it is well hidden) the lovely Sue Taylor insisted that they could make up the belts whilst I waited. It is always a joy to be able to watch something be made before your very eyes and this was a real treat! I would not call it a science however and sometimes simple is the way to go. Sue laid out the belts and made straight copies. Although with regard to the rears she actually improved on the original finish. 
A most exciting machine.
FDTS obviously have a selection of sewing machines, being a man I liked this one which does the main webbing stitching in a pre-determined pattern. 

Interior back in and belts in place. 

You don't have to go to the detail that I went to. For instance I removed all the belts from the back for replacement and you don't even see some of them. In addition I have the blacked out rear windows so you don't really see the shoulder belts in the back either. However I couldn't live with a mix! Perhaps you can though? 
All in with VAT added it set me back £191.40 which is actually pretty reasonable, coffee and biscuits were thrown in as well!

Contact details:
Susan Taylor - Managing Director
Highfield Works
Rear of 1-3 Parvis Road
West Byfleet
Surrey KT14 6LP
Tel +44 (0) 1932 342043

Monday 30 March 2015

Nismo Lighter Kill Switch


Accessory socket 'kill switch'

Asking price - £90 posted
Okay so I'm being silly now... Nissan made a pull out lighter/accessory socket in the shape of a kill switch as a accessory, in my opinion it is a bit of fun. However obviously that is if you can find one, although if you can, it is a world of supply and demand. A quick search on Google will lead you to the land of silly prices which somehow (to me at least) diminishes its value as a conversation piece and a 'bit of fun'. 

Note the use of the word 'accessory socket' is for the younger readers who don't know what smoking is..

A genuine kill switch worth about £2.00

Not having the required lack of sanity to search out and pay for this the rarest of items I had a look on that top auction web site ebay and searched for 'lighter kill switch' plenty came up starting at £6.00 

Mostly the only thing that actually gets plugged into the accessory socket is my phone and that is because it is where I have my sat nav installed. So actually as a review goes this is a bit rubbish considering I have not even tried it and to be brutally honest... My original never used to stay pressed in anyway! When I say what it is, what it then does is get laughs and to me that is more invaluable than being sensible any day! 

Rear Quarter Glass Surrounds Refresh

Product Review


Great little product this and I have yet to find a surface it does not stick to. As a plastic texture spray it does what it says on the tin, textures! Spray up close for more texture and further away for less. The colour dries matt black although this can easily be over-painted. I have known a few modders who have worked on dashboards etc then go to all the effort of flocking, with this product you can keep that OEM look.


The plastics around my rear side windows were looking a bit, um... worn. I had managed to 'damage' one with an orbital polisher some time back. I was young and naive back then! Additionally the hard plastic/rubber was tired and blotchy. I did a reasonably good job of cover up with some satin paint (nothing that would win an award). However after the glass had been removed for the cars respray this finish was cracked and crazed. Not the paint effect I was looking for! So something had to be done. 
Initially I had to clean up the plastics, removing the old paint I appreciate most of you won't have to do this, although I did find that the finish would have been probably good enough to leave without all the messing about with paint (I just wanted to try the paint method!). There was nothing special about my cleanup, fine grade wet and dry paper was used down to 800 Grit. and then the surfaces were cleaned up with thinners. The thinners actually do eat at the surface a little and this is where you can get a really good finish. 

Texture spraying
As with everything, preparation is king and I went for a super masking session, in the UK we have what are called broadsheet newspapers, I favour one called the Telegraph for my masking up as it covers large areas easily and I can also expand my mind whilst doing it! For the fine masking work I have adopted the use of green 'frog' masking tape as this eliminates any paint bleed, generally everywhere else I use standard masking tape that you can pick up anywhere. 

Top Tip!
The plastic texture spray has a wide angle spray jet which projects at about a million miles an hour. Test it first and mask very wide and well!

So after the application of a fine surface texture and just 30 minutes later the surface had dried to a matt finish. To this I applied some standard Satin black acrylic. 

Finished product. It may be difficult to see in the photo but the surrounds really do look like new. As with every untried method, it is always a bit of a risk although on this occasion I am going to call it a win! 

Sunday 29 March 2015

Tool Corner

Hello and welcome to 'Daft Tool Corner' 
No it isn't the local ale house's care in the community old Master Well Hard, the mumbling mad beggar a quivering in the corner supping his cider. 
No this is the first in my shiny but not necessarily useful tool time reviews!

First off is my CoTech LED work light. I have a couple of work lights now all as bad as each other, one that takes a conventional light bulb (which always blows), an LED magnetic affair that of course I can never find enough metal for it to stick to and something similar to that which I'm always wiggling the batteries around in. 

So anyway I was in my local town and thought I would search for something more suitable at my Clas Olson store. 
I love this store and sometimes dread going in there for this, as I always come out with that! Anyway this time I actually got what I wanted (along with what I didn't want). 

The Work Light is reasonably powerful only mildly blinding me and giving me a Close Encounters of the Third Kind suntan when turning it on. It features 5-6 hours of use/charge Rechargeable, 60 powerful LEDs. Long life. Rotatable hanging hook. On/off switch on handle. Length incl. hook: 43cm. Comes with charger for 230V and 12V so is fully portable and can run of a car accessory socket.

If you don't live in Sweden or don't have a local store, then follow this link (correct at time of posting).

As you can see from the packaging this Work Light can be used by men or women! The scope here for comments can be compared to a scale of a fleet of JCB heavy diggers scooping their way to China. So will leave that one there. 

Adjustable ring spanner 5 -19mm (link)
I don't know if I will ever find a nut I can crack with this. It has a large head, not great for squeezing in the most awkward of places and it looks like it would be great for slipping.. However, it is a thing of 'lovelyness' and I needed it in my Toolbox! 

Olfa SVR-2 Snap-Off Blade Knife (Link)
We all need knifes in our tool box don't we? Being a clumsy oaf I primarily use mine to cut myself with, although on rare occasion I do some things constructively. My preference is for this snap off type blade as I hate loading up the 'Stanley' variety with blades and they blunt very quickly. 
However ignoring all of it's practical considerations, what I really like about this knife (apart from it is just sexy looking) is its title, what a great name for a humble knife with a disposable blade!

Mechanics 8 Drawer Tool Box Chest & Roller Cabinet (Link)
Everything that you would expect from a tool chest, lined drawers, lovely bearing smooth closing drawers and lockable lid...  Yes it's very good. However there is a problem with this tool chest and that is it's very cheap! I simply don't understand why tool chests are so overpriced although put a lot of it down to 'tool snobbery', come on people a spanner is a spanner (although I do have my favourites!). So do yourself a favour and check these tool chests out, for my garage it is perfect,

Summer Blogging

Hello Folks! 

Well Spring is officially here and all of us sleepy motor heads are staggering once more out into the strange new world made of tarmac, potholes and hopefully at some point, Sun. Yes that’s right (at the time of writing) it’s the yearly hurrah of having to change our watches to British Summer Time. Naturally being so, Mother Nature wants to join in with the celebration and it has been chucking rain down, with bonus, great gusts of wind thrown in for good measure. These have just enough force to catch the garage door, slamming it down. Usually on my head; just randomly enough that I forget what happened right on time to catch another face full of door!

So apparently the king of car shows is dead due to Jeremy Clarkson being mostly a buffoon (this is an English term for complete idiot). Possibly more sympathy would go out to the receiver of Clarkson’s right hook Oisin Tymon if (in his photograph doing the rounds) he didn't look so damn ‘odd’. It has since been reported that he will not press charges, presumably because he has already had enough of the (insert hated group here) knuckle dragging fraternity who love to hand out a death threat or two. 

I myself have had a few threats this year and my own share of internet trolling offered up. It certainly can be a drag and gets you to the point of saying ‘to hell with it’ and keeping my head down. However some considerable thought later, I have decided that this is my interest and I shouldn't be put off by trolls!

I feel disappointment in Clarkson really, I mean we all know he is a fool and a dinosaur (even he admits it), but in a world where it is fashionable for the general media to hate the motorist, he let all petrol heads down.
You see it really does not matter who you are, black, white, pink, green even a Honda driver; do not let small minded bullies rule your life. You just have to learn to live with the paranoia and feeling that everyone hates you! 

My other disappointment over the Winter months was my failure in collecting Shell Lego cars. You have to buy Shell 'Nitro' TM fuel. Which although for the Skyline, no problem. Is a bit of a drag for a diesel chug a lug. So I managed to get two before the 'deal' ended.. Not only did you have to buy fuel but you had to pay for the cars too. I'm still not sure why I have two of them and it must be my inner 12 year old demanding to be entertained!
Shell 'Lego' Racing Garage.
Anyway enough internal navel gazing there is a motoring blog to write!