Tuesday 29 November 2011

Braided fuel hoses

 As alluded to in my last post. I have been going braid crazy! As you will see in the photo's I have over braided the top breather pipe (to keep it's shape) the fit is close to the oil cap but it just about clears it.

The un braided 'top pipe' will get the treatment this week as well and I will have two end connectors mated together. Am just awaiting the parts.

U shaped breather and down pipe, top pipe to finish

The fuel lines were easy to do and apart from not tightening the one connected to the filter enough (oops) was a pretty uneventful task! I would have liked the end finishers to have fitted a little tighter and if your doing this at home I would suggest a small amount of electrical tape to increase the outside diameter of the pipes. Although this isn't really important and I can live with it.

Fuel Lines
The most annoying thing I could manage was to drag the braided hose over my engine damper and remove a small amount of paint from it! Luckily I had intended to work on this a bit more anyway, although I didn't expect a repaint so soon! 

Monday 28 November 2011

The reason for pipe work..

I have been working pretty flat out lately on the car, well perhaps 'flat out' is pushing it a bit. I have been working on and off a bit on the car lately. Getting it to the theoretical 'finished' state, yes I have 'in my mind' a finished state for the car. The point where I say 'it's done'!
Anyway per my previous post about silicone pipes and hose braiding.. My good friend 'Dal' sent me a picture of the engine bay just after it had been completed by Serious Performance Autos.
Handy as I didn't take a before shot to compare with the after! You can see here that the only hose available at the time was in a rather fetching 'blue'. I include it not only for the the 'reveal' pictures of the finished item but also for your entertainment and delight!

My slightly suspicious blue 'sex toy' attachment in engine bay.

A Braiding we shall go!

Now I don't have anything in particular against silicone hoses, in fact I think they are good alternative replacements to the existing hoses when needed. What I don't understand is their use as engine dress up items. It seems to me that no matter how tired, dirty, worn out looking peoples engine bays are, the first thing that most people want to do is fit a silicone breather pipe set to it, usually in some awful colour (it seems that the colour 'blue' is too common), like bright green, lurid purple or orange red! Of course it does not help that usually folks on a budget seem to get their pipes a few at a time, like buying a breather set and then the radiator set. This often leads to the 'almost but not quite' school of matching colours. As a further aside you seem to pay a premium for silicone pipes if they have the makers 'logo' inscribed in huge while letters, professing how sporty they are! Of course the real irony of the whole situation in designer pipework is that the most elusive of the colour spectrum appears to be good old honest plain 'black' pipes! (Not that black is a colour, depending on what arty types you know).

I myself (being of a certain age) still like braided hoses. These were all the rage once and an Escort XR3i would be instantly raised a level by having a bit of braiding chucked under the bonnet. Now for all of you who cry out 'old hat' at my reminiscence, I say to you 'retro is in!'

My only problem with braided hoses is that I have never purchased any before. Where do you get them from and what size etc! It is then that it really becomes clear why people like silicone hoses!

Having had a look around braided hose comes in various ways. There is the straight forward inner diameter that you require hose, that is already braided. or there is over braid. Over braid is a bit like a sock that fits over your existing pipework, you can push it together to open it up and feed your rubber pipe through and then pull it tight over the pipe, the braid does all the work then. I usually use tin snips to then cut and trim the braid itself.  
The pre-braided pipework is somewhat easier and just needs to be cut to length. This can be done most effectively by wrapping electrical insulating tape around the braid and sawing it with a fine toothed hacksaw.

Now the actual fitting of the finishers can be a pain, as they are push on but with a jubilee clip built in. This would be fine but they are somewhat a tight fitting push on and can catch the braiding pushing it back! I usually clean up the cut end with my trusty tin snips, wrap electrical tape tightly around the end and tease the finisher into place until I can give it a firm push!
Naturally the wire of the over braid is annoyingly sharp and can fray like crazy, so it is good to make sure that it is tight over your pipe before mucking about with trying to push the end cap on!

For the technically interested, hose and finishers are listed by their 'AN' numbers. For instance 16 mm ID hose and finishers would be AN12. Whereas fuel line is AN6.. Although to confuse things... AN6 seems to apply to 8 mm ID and 6 mm ID. So check what size hose you are getting!

It is a bit of a pain to find one seller that does all the parts you would need for this. Although I have found this supplier Torques UK to be the best.

Now as I have this rather wonderful turbo from HKS fitted to my runabout, my pipework is marginally different and the rocker cover top breather hose is somewhat rather longer than standard. Originally I was going to do away with the Nissan 'bent' pipe connected to another pipe for one great long pipe. This isn't really practical with over braiding though as the silicone flexy pipes that you can get are just too fat to braid properly. Therefore I decided 'what the hell' and am going to connect one braided pipe to another.

AN6 pipe and finisher.

As to how it looks on the car. Well it's looking promising... I don't have any photo's as yet (not finished) but will post 'this week' when I have done. Okay to be honest I needed a couple more connectors (which are on order).

Thursday 24 November 2011

R33 Engine Damper - review

A very popular 'modification' or addition to the engine bay, seems to be 'Engine dampers' the idea of this is, simply it will stop your engine 'moving' about under hard driving conditions and improve the life of your engine mounts.
Also but probably of less importance to the the average user, it also provides some dress up for the engine bay!

As you can see, the kit consists of a couple of brackets, a damper and a couple of screws. The brackets come in what looks like a nickel plate finish and whereby the finish is acceptable, it isn't of the first order. However they are quite passable. There are two brackets, the larger fits to the left hand suspension turret top (requiring your Strut brace to fit over the top of it) and also to the earthing points next to the fuse/relay box. The smaller of the brackets replaces the engine lift/hoist point.
Fitting of the engine bracket is a little fiddly as access isn't easy for bolt removal. This is increased when fitting the new bracket due to the rib that runs down it's center. However it can be done.

The damper has two rough cast ends (which you may want to clean up before fitting) and an anodized body. Usually supplied in red or blue, my example was not well anodised and it seemed slightly patchy on colour. I masked up, primed and painted mine in body colour before fitting.

The screws are zinc plated items.

When fitting (as mentioned) the screws can be a bit of a pain to do, in fact I found the harder ones were the ones located by the fuse box. It could also be said that if I had not been so lazy as to not move the fuse box out of the way beforehand, this would have been a simpler task!

The actual fitting of the item is good and it slots straight in. The unit comes shipped with no instructions or blurb.

Does it work?
Well 'they' say that fitting this to your car you will:
Reduce engine vibration, increasing horsepower to the flywheel as torque reaction is minimised.
Give a smoother, more linear power delivery through the transmission and to the rear wheels.

I say that the above statements are probably big claims, although I'm open to try them out!

Wednesday 16 November 2011

A catch up!

Well, it appears that one thing quicker than Ms Skyline is time. I can't believe that we are rapidly approaching the end of the year. Mind you 'time' itself in terms of a 24 hour day, is an abstract concept I suppose and with my main turbo pipes at the polishers it seems to be taking 'forever' to get them back!

So pockets empty of cash and the economic climate also empty of cheer. We can all amuse our selves of the fact that Christmas rapidly does approach!

So to the car.. It has not sat idly by lately (as if I could stop tinkering). After completing the paint work on the slam panel and whilst the car is laid up STILL waiting for the pipework. I have indulged myself with some other works cosmetically enhancing her already good looks.

With this in mind I took a deep breath and started to work on the front splitter. This will be it's third clean up in a year so far (will get to that). Although the last time it was sprayed it was a rush job of a not very high standard. This time around I was determined to take my time and get it right!

Will not bore you with the photo's, although the finish is to a very high standard. To protect it from the dreaded stone chips I plan to vinyl coat it. Not decided on quite how yet, or if it is a job for me, or for someone that actually knows what they are doing.

I also removed the front Spec 2 Grill. Even though previously I had made do and mended, I was not 100% happy with the actual finish. I decided to 'man up' and completely strip the layers of previous owners paint back to the plastic and do a 'real' job of it. I can confirm that I must be it's third owner as my black coat of paint when removed revealed another black coat of paint and finally a gunmetal layer of paint.
The hard part about getting the paint off was really getting it out of the tight corners and I spent most of a day with a set of small needle files picking paint out.
Finally I was ready to paint and ironically I used a filler primer to smooth out the finish of the plastic. I was so pleased with the results, I then turned my attention to the actual wire mesh of the grill itself. As you can also see below the 'S' logo was also worked on pretty heavily. It isn't perfect where the previous owner was an idiot. However it passes my high standards!
The logo was also stripped back and painted (Tamiya Gold)
This is of an all in one design, consisting of a frame, with mesh attached. As the top of the frame actually is on show when the bonnet is closed, it was pretty important to keep this. The wire mesh is made of steel and is quite strong, also being (for mesh) quite large. I decided that I could use some Ripspeed Stretched competition mesh at £24 it wouldn't break the bank etc. This is of Aluminium construction, so rust will not be an issue. It is also quite thin, so cutting it to size would be easy.

With the old grill I chopped out the old mesh with some tin snips. The mesh is actually spot welded to its top frame making this a one way only deal, so it was just a bit scary. I then just counted up the 'holes' in the mesh and cut out a long strip of mesh. I did think about being scientific about cutting the angled ends etc. But in the end I simply held my strip along side the grill and 'chopped away' with a steady hand. Okay so the first attempt was crap! However the second was spot on and happily you get quite a bit of mesh to play with.
I did leave some of the old mesh (where it was spot welded) in the top of the frame, straightened it out and then after fitting the new mesh, bent this back to hold the new mesh in place. I secured the lower part of the mesh in place with body kit glue (just a bit!).

Finished product!
In some strange way cutting the mesh was an enjoyable task, each length requiring two snips per 'mesh hole'.

There's a fair bit more I have been working at and I will be updating as I catch up!