Positively a long time ago my car started out life as a Automatic, this was slow and not the mid life crisis cure that I was looking for at all. The auto box consigned to the bin and a reassuringly expensive reconditioned box bolted in its place. I would not say that the change went well as am on my second gearbox and third clutch now. However with an Xtreme Twin Plate and box with R34 internals from Garage D at least I am at that happy place (for now).
The only trouble with changing from auto to manual is that the interior plastics are second hand. Well this is fine if they are like new (which Spec 2's usually are). The Spec ones and GTRs of a certain age, usually come with a rubber coating which is horrible to the touch and usually scratched, so no wonder they changed it.
Its the gaiters that presented me with my most recent wish to change... Improve upon.
A while back I sent of my Momo option wheel to have it recovered by Royal Steering Wheels in Smooth leather, Blue 1318 & Grey 415 stitching. This was great, in fact better than I could have hoped. The only thing? Well didn't match the other leather did it!
So went back to Royal Steering Wheels and got them to make the rest and cover my Nismo shift whilst they were at it.
Obviously I never thought it through really, as obviously the hand brake handle is still black. But what the hell I can learn to live with the most minor of things... I hope!
This is of course the most expensive way that you can change these items and you have to send a pattern of the part so they can wreck it for making the new ones! Compare this to buying a leather gaiter set on eBay will set you back anywhere from £7 to £10 (not much) whereas this way? £50.. BANG! But it is just another little detail which makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
However one added bonus is that rather than say I have leather gaiters or custom gaiters... I can say, mine are 'bespoke' custom gaiters.
Wednesday 21 September 2016
Thursday 15 September 2016
Been blogging less and driving a lot more, this kept me away from the keyboard but not out of the garage! Time for a catch up; let’s do the painful stuff first.
Lighting the way.
So I could go back to standard or do something else… Well where is the fun in being standard? So it had to be something else didn’t it!
So I spoke to a business called Headlight Retro Fits, agreed a price and sent them a pristine set of Spec 2 headlights. The idea was to have projectors fitted, these units bolt in place into the existing reflectors, the units have actuators inside them which allow them to dip, cutting off the beam. The upside being that you have good light and do not blind the other oncoming traffic. Typically the conversion did not go well and although this is long after the event, I unfortunately had to strip the lights down and rebuild them. One unit was particularly faulty, the case had been warped so didn’t fit the car well, one bulb was constantly playing up and there was dust in the case. On stripping the case it became evident that they had blundered on this one already as when compared to the driver’s side, the sealant was practically non-existent when removing the lens. On taking the projector out I could see that unlike the other units they had drilled the hole for the wiring in a bad position, so the wires were pinched, a continuity test showed that there was a bad wire and all became clear. The experience was not great if I am honest, the plastic case came back with the top clip broken that they had tried (badly) to repair and I suspect that this is where most of the plastic bits came from that were inside the lens (which were attracted to the inside of the lens). So in all good heart I would NOT recommend using these guys!
So what seemed like a good idea turned into a bit of a bodge, 10 out of 10 for the idea but 0 out of 10 for execution? What to do then, as I was back at square one.
Luckily as I had my old spare set I could either put these back in or do something with them. As one of my new projector cases was warped and didn’t fit correctly, I decided to strip old and new down and rebuild from scratch. As it turns out this risky strategy seems to have paid off!
I have heard various about the best way to get a lens off, mostly about sticking them into an oven and prising the lens with a screwdriver. I didn’t much fancy this as it chews up the casing. I simply used a heat gun, starting on the bottom (not seen side) of the lights the lens put up a fight, but it wasn’t too bad. The lenses are glued in place with a black mastic that becomes malleable when hot, the worst part of the whole process was cleaning out the gunk afterwards. This was a laborious task of heating it up a bit and using a small screwdriver to scrape it out.
|Just an example of the gunk removal|
Fitting the projectors:Not all that hard to do and I’m not going to go into massive detail. The basics are that you need to remove the existing bulb housing or reflector. You need to grind off some of the fittings on the back of the reflector housing, you need to drill a small hole for the wiring. The projector unit then simply bolts into place. Reattach the reflector in the light housing and you are done. Options here are to paint the reflector black (as we are no longer using reflected light).
|Clamped back together|
|The camera makes them look brighter!|
Choices:As you may have gathered, the projector light units dip beam and Skylines technically have four lights (2x full and 2x dip). You could just do one light unit and have full beam on both. You could probably just fit a HID and have it on dip with full beam working normally. Or you could go mad and replace all of them.. Like me!
Admittedly I went the extra mile with LED side lights and Halo’s fitted simply wired to side lights. However the choice is all individual and up to your tastes.
|Spec 1 (left) has standard lenses|