Thursday 30 January 2014

Possibly art?

With so many AN fittings to choose from you would think that connecting up a catch can to be easy!
Starts out simple enough but does depend on if your going to use an inlet from the rockers, with an outlet to the pcv or just both outlets and vent to atmosphere. I'm assuming I will still have a pcv to connect to, so have worked out piping similar to stock.
You would think I was inventing the wheel! 
AN pipe fittings were sourced from Torques UK.

Tuesday 28 January 2014


Just spent an entertaining couple of hours putting the pipework back in. It's cold, it's wet, I'm dressed like a Dunlop tire man... And the irony? All the pipework is going to be junked at the end of the week!

We are due snow as well!

Looks good though!

RB26 ornament plate

Well it took a whole five days after ordering for the ornament plate to arrive. Pretty good considering there is a weekend included in that time scale and the part was shipped from Virginia USA (know where I want to go on holiday now).
Nissan of Chesapeake you are the men!

They have everything one could ask for to feed that Skyline addiction.

Monday 27 January 2014

Cheap part = Cheap joke!

Just halfway through its three-month lunar mission, China's Jade Rabbit has experienced a "mechanical control abnormality." Experts now fear the lunar rover may be permanently lost.

No data on it's 0 to 60 times

Now.. What did I tell you about cheap Chinese parts?

AN10 fittings

All the way from Australia I managed to get some AN10 breather pipe fittings for the rocker covers.
They are sized to be a tight fit and have been told that a rubber mallet is the way to go (for banging in purposes!).
The pair were reassuringly expensive but are machined items of a high quality.
Note that it's important to get the right size for your particular make of engine (duh!) As an RB25 takes a smaller diameter to that of an RB26.

Will post my success (or otherwise) after I get the covers back from paint.
Available in -10 and -12 AN sizes

Made from Aluminium, and replace the standard rocker cover breathers so you can use a -10 AN fitting like Speedflow/Earls/PFE etc

These are very easy to fit, and once fitted will provide a tight seal and not leak any oil at all.

Saturday 25 January 2014

Wrapping is addictive

Well I started with the slam panel and now it's spreading. Whilst outside this morning in an unsual weather window, when the Sun actually popped out to say hi briefly. I thought I would take the opportunity to clean the object of my desire/frustration (delete as appropriate). Did not take me long to get under the bonnet and start to fiddle!
Was looking in the area where the water bottle used to be, thinking how bare it was (compared to the rest of the junk in the engine bay) and thought 'I feel a wrap coming on'.
It isn't as though I don't have miles of the stuff to play with! So a bit of trimming, snipping and hairdrying later ...


Wonder how I fill the relocated washer bottle? An old milk bottle makes the perfect funnel!

Thursday 23 January 2014

Parts here, there, deliver, get worked on, deliver....

A couple of bits of work in progress to report.

In keeping with the planned major changes in the works, I decided that I wanted to lose the rather beautiful chromed look under the bonnet and go with something a little more 'retro' feeling more in keeping with my advanced years.

Going with a top mount set up, the original rocker covers for the RB25 look wrong to me with the recesses for the cross over J pipe now a redundant feature. So looking at alternatives I considered RB20 type covers and those of the RB26. The RB20's proved too hard to find, which was a shame as I preferred them over the more glamorous alternate 26's. Additionally fitting the RB26 can be problematic, with modifications being required to the front cover for the 25's engines Variable Valve Timing (VVT).

So if you want to have a go at this, ensure that you get both rocker covers and the coil pack cover (duh). Plus the front cover and it's back plate, it would be possible to modify the 25's cover think, although not the simple choice (why make it harder).
Top TIP! Be warned that the front pulley covers were made out of plastic on late model cars, if your plan is to powder coat it will need to be aluminium! If you don't plan on powder coating then plastic would be easier to mod at home.

To modify the front cover, basically you need to make a hole... Although strictly speaking not a hard task, anything can be made difficult! I wanted to keep the 'OEM' type bulge though, so opted to speak to someone who knows how to bend metal and weld aluminium.
RB26 in fetching HKS 'purplesque' flip paint
You can see from the pictures that the finished job looks pretty OEM and am really pleased with the end result.

Somewhat modified front cover
The plan is to go with a crinkle paint finish (just like a Nismo engine) and the parts are currently at Maldon Shot Blasting & Powder Coating in Essex UK being worked on.

Side view
The NISSAN Twin Cam 'ornament' (logo) was showing some small signs of age. Seemed a shame to put this back onto the finished covers, so I hunted for a new one. It wasn't all that hard to find for a part that has been out of production for some time and took about a minute! Well I cheated a bit and know a supplier in the USA that seems to have a whole store room of parts gathering dust. (Top Secret TIP!) So a mail message to Nissan of Chesapeake and a brand new part is winging its way to me. They are brilliant really and you can source various parts there for a fraction of second hand costs.

Effectively with what some people in the UK are charging for a tired out (usually rubbish) scrap part, you can have brand spanking new at the same price. Makes sense to me!

Lastly a peek at my nice new turbo. Auto Extreme have advertised that they can do polished turbo's now. Although I do have to add this was originally at my insistence! Rough castings are not for me.

Garrett GTX 3076R polished turbo housing
So a bit of an eclectic posting, there is plenty more going on at the moment, everything feels rushed which is me holding stuff up as my 'education' into a top mount set up slowly increases.

Monday 20 January 2014

It's a wrap

Sometimes I wish I could stand back and actually say "its a wrap" on the relentless work that gets put into the Skyline. However it isn't and I can't.. Like an addiction I am compelled to work on it, especially with deadlines approaching (of which more to come later).

So, I have the requirement of getting rid of my stainless steel heat shield in the engine bay. This in itself isn't too much work as it is only held in by three bolts, so I thought I could cope. The only downside with the removal is the mess it leaves behind when looking at the slam panel. This has been a constant source of annoyance and has been painted a couple of times already, so make this a third! This time however I filled the holes left for the heat shield/aid box and if I don't say myself made quite a tidy job of things.
Slam Panel 'in Paint'

However I do like a bit of a fiddle and basically thought "well that was easy". Surely there is some way I can make this a lot harder for myself.
In Progress

So whilst lounging upon the sofa surfing the web I brought a length of 4D carbon wrap. I was obviously not really thinking about what I was doing though (as I'm sure we have all done) and only looked at the width not taking into account the length of the roll of wrap. So with enough vinyl wrap for a whole car I set about my task.
4D Carbon Wrap

It was pretty easy actually, although I was getting better at it as I went along (naturally). I found a hair dryer would make the material pretty flexible with a bit of stretching and pulling to get the form around more interesting shapes. I did find that it wouldn't pay to try and go around tight internal corners, choosing to cut and apply another strip in these areas. Overlapping does produce an edge, although I couldn't see a better way of doing it. So all in all a good job and was good to put my wall papering skills to the test.

Finished Job

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Solder two wires together

Just a quick informational post.. TOP TIP!

A while ago I was shown how to solder two wires together.. Probably not breaking news and I am qualified in Digital Electronics. However when doing my own automotive electronics I used to go to great lengths twisting wire joints together and then applying the solder.

It turns out that this is a bit of a waste of effort!

Next time your working on the electrics and are going to make a proper joint (not the silly little connectors from the car shop) is to 'tin' applying solder to both wires first and then put them together, melt the solder from one of them and they will stick together easily.

This makes for fast accurate and easy to correct wiring. If your concerned about the join and feel it can't be better than creating a big old twisted lump, try doing it and then pulling the wires apart. They will not budge and the wire will snap in its un-soldered portion before the join gives way.

Oh and the best 'top tip' I can give myself... When using heat shrink wrap to cover the joint, remember to slide it over the wire first. My recent wiring I forgot to do it on every single joint!

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Washer Bottle Relocation 'how to'

As per my previous post, speculating and test fitting the windscreen washer bottle in the boot. I have now gone ahead, wired it and plumbed it in.

In my particular case I wanted to investigate alternate ways of supplying the front screen washer (a legal requirement in the UK) and also the rear screen (as I like everything to work). This is due to the planned installation of a different inlet plenum which would mean an alternative would be required. Off the shelf there are a few options, plastic smaller bottles, fabricated metal cans and washer bags. These are all very well and good but only come with one outlet, so no good to me. In fact the best washer bottle seemed to be the very one I had fitted from the factory, anything else being a 'cheap' but strangely expensive alternative. 

Thinking about the problem it seemed clear that I could utilise the already plumbed in rear washer pipe and use this to feed the front washers. There is also a reasonable amount of wasted space in the boot of the car behind the wheel arch, so I could tuck the washer bottle away in its new position. 

As per my previous posting, for mounting, I purchased a small sheet of MDF board, made myself a paper template around the inside of the spare wheel cover with an extension over the empty wheel arch area. Took a little bit of fiddling around to get the board to sit flat due to the joint sealer that Nissan slap into place. A couple of strong double sided automotive sticky tape holds everything in place nicely. 

Well that is a scant description of the mounting, am sure there are any number of ways and ideas for doing that bit. The main 'meat' has to be actually doing the re-plumbing!

First or all consider the wiring. The pump connectors have four wires, two on each one. These are both 12 volt, so will both need taking back to the relocated pump. For me the best way of doing this was to cut the connectors and wire back to the pumps. It's not as terrible as it sounds, basically the main loom exits the engine bay behind the radiator expansion tank, you will have to remove the drivers side front wheel and upper inner wheel arch cover, where all will become clear. Once the cover is off you will also see the washer bottle pipe work. The front washer bottle pipe is black, whereas the rear is a clear pipe. I found the best way to feed wires was to make a small hole in the large wiring rubber grommet, feed a single wire through to the drivers compartment and then attach all the wires to this, pulling them through the inner wing. Remember that it's quite a long run for the wiring and would be a drag to be feeding from the other direction! 
Solder the wires for plugs onto your new wiring

Remember you will need a fair amount of cable and should tape it up.
To run the wires along the interior of the car is quite simple, remove the foot well trim, the side step cover, the rear seats. The carpet lifts easily and has a couple of plastic hooks holding it to the car.  

As to the washer plastic pipes. I purchased a couple of lengths of 4mm pipe and two straight pipe connectors. The rear washer has a non return feed valve joiner behind the rear seat, disconnect the pipe here and connect a length of new pipe, feed this through the rear bulkhead (this will now be your front washer pipe.
Non return pipe behind rear seats

 The other now disconnected section goes to the rear washer, connect your in-line connector here with your other length of new pipe, this will be your rear washer pipe. 
The other in-line connector I used at the front of the car to connect the old clear rear pipe to the front black pipe going to the front washers. There would have been enough clear pipe to actually do this without connecting it this way, although I preferred the look of a black pipe (vanity!).

All wired up? Be sure to test before final fitting of all seats etc.
 That is the main 'meat' of the job. There are no real pitfalls or terrible mountains to overcome. You just have to plod your way through it.

Finished job in place. 

Thursday 9 January 2014

Cheap is expensive!

Spent some time 'window shopping' or as the French call it, 'window licking' (which I much prefer) on line. Starting out with that old favourite, ebay and gradually filtering my way up the scale to bespoke manufacturers.
One thing that immediately grabbed me is just how many cheap Chinese parts are available and how tempting it must be when on a limited budget to go down this route. It's funny, but after a few years of owning a reasonably high performance car, the amount of stories that filter back on blown turbo's and cracked manifolds add up.
It's difficult and tempting for the layman not to be lured in with the promise of great performance and power for pocket money prices. Although with turbo's in mind it is easy to have a copy housing, it's what lurks beneath that counts and a domestic $1000+ Garrett isn't remotely the same as a copy pretending to be one. I can only assume at these sort of prices the compressor wheel is made from Fairy Dust.
Anyway, from one extreme to another. I found this most excellent film on You tube which if nothing else is good for a laugh, in it they test a Holset turbo to destruction and then copy turbos. The commentary is amusing, if probably a little misleading and there is a part where they ask 'what if this turbo was on a school bus?' A real laugh out loud moment!
As many would say, the best way to counter fakes is simple, manufacturers, reduce your prices! But then if you can't afford it then maybe you shouldn't be playing the game (Pretty much like all hobbies, drinking, drug taking, gambling).

Anyway here is the video

Monday 6 January 2014

R33 GTST washer bottle relocation

The washer bottle on the Skyline R33 GTST is of a reasonable size, in fact some might say, huge! For me it is annoyingly in the way and takes up space, even with a stainless cover and lid it still looks as attractive as Jeremy Clarkson after a late night and early morning.

Casting around for options on changing the washer bottle I looked at various items, ranging from cheap, nasty plastic replacements, overpriced fabricated tin cans and washer 'bags' which looked like they belonged in a hospital! Even if I did plumb (plumb, good choice of words for a washer bottle!) for any of these options they all only had one outlet, so the rear washer would become non-functional. No big deal, but I do like everything to work as it should (even if it is a rare event I use the washers!).

Keeping the original washer bottle still seemed the cheapest and best option. The only place it could go would be that cavern of space, the boot. I did give passing consideration to perhaps stuffing it behind the rear panel in the boot, but discarded that as it would be a pain to fill. I looked at the left side where the wheel brace fitting is, removing the three bolts that hold it in, although the right side seemed strangely more appealing to me. I could sit the bottle on top of the carpet.. not exactly a thing of beauty even if it is tucked away in the boot and I would loose valuable space. However there is a reasonable amount of space still behind the flimsy side panel trim, fitting the water bottle here would mean that the pumps would be out of sight, the filler still accessible and the boot carpet would tuck underneath it without issue.

To mount the bottle securely (as the fixing points would be floating in thin air) I made a paper template out of newspaper, cut some MDF to fit the boot space around the spare wheel cover, extending over the void. Drilled the mounting points and bolted it firmly into position. I then cut a hole in the flimsy side panel with a pair of scissors and dropped the whole lot into place.

Washer Bottle secured into place
You will notice from the picture some water marks on the side panel. I live in a ghastly country where it rains, a lot!
Naturally I have not actually plumbed it all in yet and am currently working on the wiring. To get the water back to the front screen I will simply use the rear washer pipe and plumb in a new rear washer pipe. That is the theory anyway! Currently at the time of writing I have managed to bring the electrics into the cars cabin and will have the tedious task of hiding them away to get them to the boot space.

Quick visit to the real world

Took myself off to car rehab a bit and did me a bit of home maintenance (it had to happen sooner or later). Where there was chaos, now there is a functional kitchen. Naturally this has it's own rewards, although it can rather put a crimp on ones time to do things, anything in fact, to the car.

One of the difficulties encountered having a kitchen fitted is that when delivered it needed to be stored somewhere. The garage may not have been my preferred but was the logical choice, so a hasty purchase was made of a car cover and my beloved car was shipped off to my girl friends mothers house. Wonderfully I was asked the question just why did I need a car cover and wasn't this an unnecessary expense. As it turned out we experienced various storms and some shocking weather all the time the car was away. 

The garage itself was admittedly for me, untidy. However after the kitchen fitter had machine sawn and made various woody bits for the kitchen. It resembled the Sahara on a windy day, there was dust everywhere, nothing was spared from, at the very least, a fine covering that you could get very Ying and Yang with, creating soothing wave patterns of great complex designs in.

Anyhoo, this bout of domesticity has now been firmly placed in the past. All my collected car junk has been recycled and tinkering resumed.