No announcement yet.

Dr. Marus or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the RB26DETT

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • I like.

    Originally posted by MarusGTR View Post
    I'm sure I could have made a better design with more than a 30$ budget. I had actually started with another design idea, a fully functional three-piece box design for the apex'i intakes that could be easily dissasembled at the track, but it would have required some proper CNCing and industrial bending. But if I'd go ever go that far, I'd be better off designing my own intake -box- from scratch and use a rectangular apex'i filter. Simpler and more efficient (I think?).
    If you do the calculations, you'll probably find out a stock airbox panel filter flows slightly better than both of those pod filters combined. Main problem with stock airbox is getting enough air to it.

    The most epic signature ever "epic".


    • Originally posted by Skym View Post
      If you do the calculations, you'll probably find out a stock airbox panel filter flows slightly better than both of those pod filters combined. Main problem with stock airbox is getting enough air to it.
      My thoughts exactly. That's one of the reasons (other than simplicity) that I settled with the heat shield, not knowing what kind of intake flow I required. It's interesting that, in the same vein, I think I'd keep something similar to the stock box on an R34 or R33, being that they're fed fresh air from an appreciably-sized induction box in the hood, they must be good until 500-600hp (just look at the Z-tune, even if it is in Kevlar, not plastic). Still though, I can remember the mental difference in sound that pods made to my car, from nothing to total awareness of the induction process.

      Anyway, I'm glad (and surprised) that you guys like the shield, I wasn't sure if I had pulled it off.
      1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR


      • I have to say that I absolutely love this thread. Its refreshing to see someone making parts (well) and not buying everything off the shelf. Not to mention the updates are thorough and pictures are of decent quality. Makes me wish I could work on my car (I have to wait until spring for that)

        Keep It up

        Jordie Lewis
        1993 Skyline Type M


        • 2013 - Put me down; Things going wrong (Part 2)

          So I had a fancy new intake shield and the interior was functional. It was time to go for a ride in the backroads.

          Which I did, hoping to see some magical changes to the still-too-rich AFRs, but nothing. Ah well. Nonetheless, she was running like a top and as I was driving back home I brought her to... er, a high rate of speed and flew over a crest, to which the suspension came unsprung and suddenly loaded again.


          The sound came from the left rear of the car, I was sure of it. Still when I (obviously) bled off the excess speed, I couldn't feel anything wrong. Fortunately it was a very short trip back home, so slow and steady she went. Now back in the garage I lifted her up on all four corners, something that I had become oh-too-accustomed to.

          My first hypothesis what that one of my coilover bushings had failed. I had been having a nasty slow-speed clunk in the past two years that I been driving me crazy, and I had bought Whiteline bushings to replace the strut mount bushings. How did I know that the Whiteline bushings would fit my ZEALs? I didn't. Well actually, I compared a picture that I had taken a year prior of my FL coilover's torn bushing to what was picture on the Whiteline site. I mainly concentrated on the scale of the cylindrical lip of the bushing to the shaft's hole. To my eyes they matched up. Yeah, big gamble, but I was desperate as apparently no one on the whole interwebs has even changed their Skyline's coilover bushings (including an unanswered thread I made on GTRC).

          "Problem? Just pillowball this and pillowball that", ...right.

          But even before that I had to inspect something that I had put off for too long. I knew for certain that it was going to be bad news, but ignoring it wouldn't make it go away.

          The front AMS control arms.

          My front wheels had been holding on for dear life since the control arms had failed at the track, and I needed to see how mental I was with still running them. I checked Bobbo's patched up FUCA first. Turns out I was completely mental.

          The right collar had been the one crushed at the track. On what, I still to this day don't quite know. There were no indentations on the body, only on the (soft) clamp. My guess would be that they hit the inside of the kingpin arm at the angle between the two would get extremely acute as the unsprung assembly would rise in compression. That consideration would be taken into account later.

          But for now, I had to accept the fact that I couldn't let myself drive the car like this. Basically, I had come to the exact reason I had delayed my inspection.

          The first issue was the collars. While Bobbo's fix did hold the collar in place, and I hadn't detected the same front to back play as I had at the track, the locking mechanism was completely useless; the mounting end was free to rotate, there was no pressure on the threads. However, with the ends seemingly in great structural condition (except for the bushings already binding a bit...) I resolved to taking the arm apart, cleaning it and using T-bolt clamps to lock the assembly into place.

          What's the little metal wires, you may wonder? They're the collars' threads.

          Its only later that night I realized that maybe the problem was with the engineering, not just the materials. As I was lurking on Skylines Australia, I came across a thread debating a few local tuner shop designs, with one featuring a control arm extremely similar to the AMS control arm (in fact I'm willing to bet they're the same). They came up as being a 300ZX variation of a control arm designed by a Japanese tuning shop, Midori.

          However, the further discussion on SAU of other control arms thread made me realize the idiocy of the Midori design. The threads were clamped. This meant that they were locked purely through interface shearing. This meant no thread deflection. its hard to convey, but I guess I could put it this way: this locked the coaxial movement but nowhere near what was needed to lock rotation.

          If you've ever looked into why you should torque bolts to spec, this was the equivalent of properly torquing a bolt, to hand-snug.

          So now I had total distrust of the control arms. GREAT. Its wasn't enough I didn't trust the car's capabilities and cheap parts before, now I couldn't even trust the principle of its FUCA's design. So T bolt clamping was out the window. That night, I decided on improving the Midori design. I actually came up with the solution as I got to sleep. It was a relatively simple modification, but some of it would need some machining.

          So the next day I went to a local machine shop with a CAD drawing of my modifications. The manager, a guy about my age with good machining knowledgeability. He had another project in the works, modifying a pump action shotgun for competition use, so he had to put my work into backlog. So we discussed my material options in order of cost; aluminium, carbon steel, stainless steel. I went with carbon steel, since it was going to be a friction fit, but ideally I would have went with a two piece aluminium/chromoly design. Also, fastfoward to the end of the summer and the carbon developped (as I had anticipated) a nice thin coat of surface rust, even if I did coat them in grease prior to assembly. Beggars can't be choosers. It was a temp fix.

          Turns out the machinist was pretty impressed with the simplicity of my solution. He asked if I had considered making arms from scratch, after which he proposed (out of the blue) that I should start a product line, which he'd back up with his machine shop. Oh okay, wow. Even if I didn't do a structural analysis of my designs we started talking about how much it would cost to build units simply on the complexity and materials. We could only come up with a competitive price at 10 units minimum (each). It was a fruitless but entertaining exercise.

          I left the parts with him and it would take a few days for them to be completed.

          So why the secrecy and lack of pictures? Well one of the designs I came up with (and improved my AMS FUCAS) could certainly, in my opinion, compete with what's currently avaiable on the market. Instead of locking by clamping pressure (e.g. Midori) or by classic turnbuckle (e.g. Stillen), I was using both at the same time, in the same component of the part. No wacky gktech-style fancy-dandy engineering, just pure solid function. So maybe one day, if I ever get the chance to test my designs on my car, I'd like to produce them.

          It's nice to dream (again) but I had to go back home and continue working on the suspension.

          So I took the front coilovers off and proceeded to clean them, grease them and reload the springs with the new Whiteline bushings. Fun fact, the black whiteline bushings are actually a very deep translucent red. Yum.

          Guess which is which.

          Like my fancy jig? Turns out the mount angle was 60deg, not 45deg. Oops. Close enough though, as with bushings, the less you rotate the damper shaft, the less chance you have of tearing a diaphragm.

          As I was working on the front of the car, I also started thinking about swapping the brake fluid from DOT3 to my Motul DOT5.1. The DOT3 in the reservoir had already been changing colour (probably from dissolving what was left of the grime that had been caked in the system) so it was due for a change. But while I was at it... why not put some stainless brake lines in the front? I ended up finding some used Goodridge brake lines on GTRC.

          This came at a right time because the car wasn't about to move anytime soon.

          As I was putting the coilovers back on I noticed that, with the whole unsprung assembly was drooping on the LUCAs and tension rod, that the tension rod bushing wasn't looking too hot. Like veiny about to burst not too hot. Lo and behold.

          I'd have to change them too.
          Last edited by MarusGTR; 01-25-2014, 10:47 PM.
          1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR


          • 2013 - Put me down; Things going wrong (Part 3)

            While the inspection of the front suspension hadn't been exactly a joyous occasion, I still hadn't completed my assessment.

            I was already loathing what I could find at the back of the car.

            As I had been taken aback by the state of my front tension rods, I judged that it was time to make a thorough inspection of the bushings and links. Naturally, I started by checking for lashing by the classic way. The rear wheels were still on, so by grabbing the wheels and swaying them in pitch and yaw I could check for looseness. Nothing, stiff, on both sides... until I noticed a bit of a clunk sound on the right side. No play, just a clunk. A barely audible version of the clunk that would drive me crazy on slow bumps.

            It was time to take the wheels off for a visual and more agressive inspection. I tried to spare myself the trouble and kept the rear left, that is what I was sure was the source of the sudden metallic noise I had experienced, for last.

            I started by sliding myself under the car and pulling the right Driftworks toe arm.

            *clunk* *clunk*

            It didn't help that I immediately noticed the torn rubber covers on the pillowballs. In no way in hell they expected the rubber to actualy clear the subframe mounts. Also the paint made me reminisce of my old Tonkas from when I was a kid. Just old thick paint flaking in big chunks. Another dissapointment in super duper "brand-name" parts.

            Still, the more I pulled, the more I focussed on the arm itself, the less I thought the arm was at the source of the clunk.

            *clunk* *scrape* *clunk* *scrape*

            "That's a new sound."

            It then occured to me that the sound was coming from the same level as me, next to my head. The jackstand adjacent to my face was coming loose.

            Welp that was a scare. A quick reset was due.

            While I was putting the car back on the stand, something caught my eye.

            ... and would you look at that.

            Hmmkay, completely bent rear swaybar link.

            Although this wasn't the worst of it. I started pulling on the rear traction rod, nothing, AMS RUCAS, *clunk*.

            *clunk, clunk*

            *clunk, clunk, clunkclunkclunkclunkclunkclunk*

            In my bit of anger I had taken off some grime off the welds of the knuckle mount.

            Well I had to sit down for that one.

            Don't see it? Here, let me help you.

            Clean through. And it looked considerably aged from the oxidation. A year old, maybe?

            It then went through me like lightning. I went to the left side, took the wheel off.

            It was fresh, as I had suspected.

            So I sulked and did what I've been doing for the past few years to keep me going, count my blessings. I was mortified of what could have happened that day at the track if I hadn't went so slow in the corners. I'm glad I had made that call.

            That night I took the numbers off the rear windows. I wasn't a race driver and this wasn't a race car, not in the foreseeable future anyway.

            It would only be a few days later where my dread would truly sink in though.
            Last edited by MarusGTR; 01-26-2014, 10:37 PM.
            1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR


            • wow, i didn't see that coming about the AMS RUCAs, but not really that suprising in the end, but bejesus it will be one of the first things to check this upcoming season

              and about the DW toe arms, i have problems with the rod ends getting really loose, obviously the rubber covers are completely torn too, i already found the right part number from a high quality manufacturer (aurora) if i ever need to replace them next season,

              at one point, i would hear the rear left rod end "clunk" everytime i would get in or out of the car, so i took the rod end off, cleaned it, greased it and put it back on my duct tape to cover it

              [links to all chapters in first post]


              • Originally posted by frankiman View Post
                wow, i didn't see that coming about the AMS RUCAs, but not really that suprising in the end, but bejesus it will be one of the first things to check this upcoming season
                Really? Didn't they have a big issue with their Z32/GTR links a while ago? And then there was the rotors...Lots of people swore their parts off then.


                • I never had any issues with the AMS rotors and they certainly saw some abuse.
                  $hi+ Marc sorry to hear about your misfortune with your parts. If I were you I'd try to contact Vuk and inform him about this. Although we all know nothing will come of it at least you exercised due diligence.
                  Do you still have your oem RUCAs?


                  • Originally posted by frankiman View Post
                    wow, i didn't see that coming about the AMS RUCAs, but not really that suprising in the end, but bejesus it will be one of the first things to check this upcoming season

                    and about the DW toe arms, i have problems with the rod ends getting really loose, obviously the rubber covers are completely torn too, i already found the right part number from a high quality manufacturer (aurora) if i ever need to replace them next season,

                    at one point, i would hear the rear left rod end "clunk" everytime i would get in or out of the car, so i took the rod end off, cleaned it, greased it and put it back on my duct tape to cover it
                    The bearings (aka pillowballs) themselves looked ok, but its definitely an advantage of solid arms where you can find bearing replacements (if they're in standard industrial sizes).

                    Originally posted by EMAGDNIM View Post
                    Really? Didn't they have a big issue with their Z32/GTR links a while ago? And then there was the rotors...Lots of people swore their parts off then.
                    IIRC his fronts' collars went loose; he fixed them with Tbolt clamps as I had initially planned to.

                    As for the rotors, they have been a surprisingly good alternative (for their worth). They're not made of the best material but they serve their purpose. No regrets on that end.

                    Originally posted by bobbo View Post
                    $hi+ Marc sorry to hear about your misfortune with your parts. If I were you I'd try to contact Vuk and inform him about this. Although we all know nothing will come of it at least you exercised due diligence.
                    Do you still have your oem RUCAs?
                    Contacting Vuk... there's a site out there specifically made for customers calling out on their sub-par parts with pictures. I agree that I should, but like you said I doubt anything will come form it and I just want to move on.

                    I had fortunately kept the OEM control arms in a dusty box at the back of the garage, just in case. There's still more to come from down the rabbit hole. I'll continue writing once I get back home later this week.
                    1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR


                    • 2013 - A rollercoaster of emotions

                      So, all my control arms had been FUBAR.

                      While I had managed to salvage what was left of my FUCAS by coming up with an effective modification, the rears were beyond salvageable. Not only had they cracked, by removing them I noticed that the clunk, the clunk that made me found the critical structural failure in the first place, had actually been caused by the right-RUCAS's spherical bearing; it was shot. With the cupped bearing locked between my my index and thumb, I could easily detect play. It was unsuspected, but from what had happened to the construction itself, not surprising.

                      In any case, the RUCAS would be swapped for their OEM counterparts. The caveat would be that my camber couldn't be corrected to the extent I needed anymore, but I had no other alternative. Still, reassembly of the front geometry was my priority; I didn't like the kingpin assembly idly dangling from the FLCAS, traction rod and swaybar links.

                      So I adjusted the RUCAS the closest I could to what I had measured before dissassembly; 180mm IIRC, which is -5mm off the OEM 185mm. If you know your NISMO FUCAS, this means it coincided with their -5mm offet. Nice little quirk. Also worthy of note, my mod would lock with the help of two 21mm wrenches. It wasn't about to come loose anymore.

                      I went to install the modified FUCAS and I bitterly noticed a mistake I had made. The AMS design, that is the 300ZX variation of the Midori design, had the turnbuckle offcenter so to clear the bracket (or kingpin arm, whichever are different shape in 300ZXs). The offset had initially been towards the kingpin arm, but to clear my mod, I had figured I could just flip the arm to have the fatty part closer to the body. Not only it would help with clearance and reachability, it would reduce the moment of inertia of the arm (make the assembly less heavy to respond). The problem what that I forgot the reason why the arm had been set in that direction in the first place; they're unidirectional, something I quickly confirmed in the OEM arms. Also, funny observation that I've never seen accounted for in any aftermarket FUCAS design (probably excluding NISMO?): the kingping-side bearing is actually slightly not perpendicular to the arm axis. What does this mean to the front-end geometry? I don't quite know, except that it probably doesn't make any difference in the grand scheme of things, considering how even farther from OEM the rest of the geometry becomes with an aftermarket suspension setup.

                      In any case, so yeah, the body side bearing is actually 2mm longer than the kingpin side. This meant that the FUCAS would need some more machining. Awesome. I first set out to shave the longer side and save by only having to get shims machined for the shorter bearing. After oh, about 1-2hours of using a bastard file:

                      Only .5mm down. Well this wasn't going to work. And it was close to midnight.

                      So I went back inside for the night and started my now-regular habit of going down the rabbit hole on Youtube. I stumbled on a few vintage tribute videos of Group B rallye with straight pipes roaring which made me think about how a GT-R would sound straight pipe...

                      I figured I needed to cheer myself up so I again took the bit of money I had left and the next day I was off to the machine shop. I subsequently made a package deal with the boss; I'd get the larger bearings faced, get shims done for the shorter ends and bring my Kakimoto exhaust in to get the resonator removed. If I was going to enjoy what little was left of the summer, I wanted to do it roaring.

                      Problem: the machine shop didn't have access to that size of stainless pipe. So I set out to find some in the region, easier said than done, with most places wondering what kind of truck I was working on or having no clue about stainless nomenclature. I obviously wanted 304 or 316 so that the welds would be compatible and of course so that the new piping wouldn't rust. After going around the city and nearly giving up I went by a local auto parts store which didn't have what I needed, but maybe knew someone who could. Turns out a garage farther in the outskirts had a supply of real stainless.

                      I drove by and asked the guy, so its 300 series? To which he shrugged, of course, its real stainless!


                      So I bought the length I needed and went to the machine shop so that the work could get started. Meanwhile I was looking at keeping myself busy, why not finish off the interior, I thought. First, I had wondered if the fabric pads on the door cars were easily removable. Bobbo's car had them off and I had loved how it had made the interior more sombre. So I started with my trusty hook pick and took a corner off the door fabric to check the glue... it was peeling off very easily. Actually too easily, I was already past the point of no return so I went ahead and removed it all. It was surprisingly a clean job, they came off looking mint.

                      Still, the panels were full of old glue, so I set out to remove it with a mixture of goo gone and a MrClean magic eraser I had picked up at the dollar store.

                      On the next few days I set out on doing something else I had on my mind: tinting the seat fabric with denim dye. Easier said than done, since I brought the seats to a local upholsterer who called me back to say that the fabric had fused to the foam of the seat. Alternative: use duplicolor fabric dye. Yes that's pretty low, but I had found an old thread on GTRC which the user had used it with success, although he never updated after doing it.

                      And in any case, they were old seats and I was willing to be a guinea pig for you guys and test if the tint would hold.

                      I first tried it on the floor mats. I wasn't a fan of the rainbow colors. I like my 90s but there's a limit.

                      It worked and it seemed to hold on. So next, the seats.

                      If you're wondering what the assembly looks like and where to unbolt the backrest:

                      So the plan was to use copious amounts of dye. The point was to have a decent amount of damp dye on top of the fabric so that I could then rub the fabric with a rag soaked with paint thinner and get the excess dye to seep deeper. Going the classic route of thin coats would just make a crusty shell over the fabric. A friendly warning though, naturally this procedure would make the seats reek of paint thinner. It took 24 to 48 hours to the vapours to vent the fabric in the garage. The seats had no trace of unpleasant smell afterwards.

                      And completed:

                      I was feeling pretty pleased about myself. So still looking at stuff to pass time (mind you these were done from day to day just so that I wouldn't go insane doing nothing just alone at home) so I went for my yearly routine of cleaning the chassis and underbody with a clean rag soaked with WD-40.

                      Normally I had done this at night but that time it was in the morning, and I noticed a few orange-discolored seams on the underbody, something that's natural for a car that old. So after cleaning the car I set out to do a visual inspection of the car and rust-check the problematic spots.

                      Why do I keep doing this to myself.

                      I noticed doing through the frame rail length that the underbody undercoating had some cracks in some spots, which I filled with rust check. I knew that these were bad news for rust, but I was happy it wasn't worse. That is until I found a crack that had a brown-orange hue. I knew what it meant, but I had to check, I couldn't let it go. So I took a knife to the undercoating and started doing a biopsy, a simple square cut. But to my horror I had to cut more. And more. And more.

                      I did what I could, scraping off what was loose with a screwdriver until it hooked on a ridge and proceeded through the body. I just layed on the cold cement for a good while, screwdriver in hand, just bitterly looking at the face of failure. I had failed. I had wanted to keep the car in one piece so that someday I could do something decent with it. Sure, It was just a hole, but I was faced with cold reality. I was alone, jobless and looking at a peep hole I had driven through the underbody.

                      Still, I eventually resolved that sulking wasn't going to make things better. So I continued cleaning the wound so that eventually it could be bondoed and sealed with a rust primer, rust paint and a few thousand coats of rubberized undercoating.
                      Last edited by MarusGTR; 02-07-2014, 11:51 PM.
                      1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR


                      • 2013 - Pick me up, spruicing things up (Part 4)

                        [There's also an update on the previous page. I thought I might as well continue on since this was a small chapter]

                        So again, idle hands are the devil's playthings. They also eat away sanity. And I had an interior to finish.

                        With the short shifter successfully tested (also I securely fastened it in place by using 25mm M6 socket heads to replace the kits 15mm) I needed to made a new version of my center console trim. Lucky me, I still had a piece of the plastic I had used for the custom wideband plate. Here, the plan was to discard the shifter surround piece of the console trim which held the skirt in place.

                        A picture helps:

                        I wanted to make a plate which would slip in between the wideband plate and the console surround. So I made a carboard prototype and made a few hundred measurements to check for interference with the shifter. While this was all nice and good, the new plate would need to be flush to look anywhere near decent, but the console trim is actually slightly arced.

                        I had picked up a trick by accident while making the wideband plate the year prior. I was going to use heat to mold the plate to shape. So I made the final cut of the plate and started heating the underside with a propane torch. I had noticed the year prior while playing with the torch and the plastic that if I had just enough heat on one side that I could make the plastic bend very neatly without even touching it. This was because the temperature on the exposed side would cause an expansion, while the cold side would remain contracted. The result was a nice, natural looking, curvature. So I started lapping the part of the plate which would require the most bending, the transition near the ribs that connect the horizontal to the vertical part of the center console trim. Pleased with the shape, I then took it a step further and made the plastic soft enough so that I could just push it on the trim and mold it to the exact shape for a flush fit.

                        The tape was so that I wouldn't burn the trim's plastic. So with the plate adjusted, there was still a few inteference issues with the wideband and the shifter hole would need to be cut. Note the smooth tapered gap on the top right corner. This gap was needed so that the plate with the wideband could be slipped back on.

                        And assembled:

                        Still needed paint and the mounting holes to be done. That's for later as my friend was in town and being an amateur DJ he just HAD to make the biggest cottage party that the northern shore of the province had ever had. I was going to be the photograph with my crap camera. It had manual exposure settings so to them it was better than nothing.

                        And when I meant big, I mean that a sizable portion of the populace drove that night to a random spot deep in the middle of nowhere.

                        Last edited by MarusGTR; 02-08-2014, 12:18 AM.
                        1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR


                        • 2013 - Exhaust shenanigans

                          So on a rainy day I went to pick up my exhaust and twice-modified FUCAS at the machinist. I was greeted with an exhaust with nice welds, and furthermore, I think I made enough of an impression on him so that he had gone the extra mile by chamfering the inner bore of the new pipe for smooth flow. The new pipe addition was 3" OD, but the Kakimoto exhaust was 3" ID. So some tweaking had to be done to mate the ends. But being me, I still went for a closer look. The machinist let me do my thing and then after a few seconds my brow line tensed up and looked up at him, pointing:

                          "The pipe I bought, it isn't 300 series, isn't it?"

                          He immediately understood what I was thinking as he looked at where I pointed at. A small speck of rust. Faint, looked like dirt, but it was rust.

                          It had been a few days of very damp weather. The air was full of moisture and naturally the pipe would have been exposed to airborne water as it was being welded. I continued my inspection and the whole perimeter of the weld was affected. We were stumped. He went to his office and grabbed a magnet off his file drawer and as he brought it close to the pipe, *ting*.

                          "Its pretty much official man, it isn't 300 series, there's stainless in there, 100, 200 at most maybe?"

                          I'm not the kind to get riled up. People walk on me all the time, but they just don't know about my explosive boiling point.

                          I asked the machinist I could borrow the midsection of the exhaust and bring it to the garage where I had bought the stainless. Even if he had said no was out the door, on my way in my crap car, driving to that crap garage, just to know what the hell was going on. As I walked through the door, I was greeted by the owner, the mechanic that had sold me the pipe. Mental picture, I'm 6'1" with a bit of muscle and he was at least one head length above me, and he had a whole lot more bulk to boot. Still, I was unphased, but I had tempered down to a point of just looking soured so I was keeping things civilized. So after asking him if he remembered me, I asked him what he had sold me. He answered back with a resentful "real stainless!". That just rubbed me the wrong way, made me wince a bit, and at the corner of my eye I noticed that the younger mechanic had stopped working on his jeep and was looking at us. I didn't like that he looked worried, so I read that as a warning and took a step back and asked the boss to follow me to the car.

                          "Here's actual real stainless. Probably 300 series. Its at least 15 to 20 years old.", as I was pointing to the spotless kakimoto part of the exhaust. "Here's your stainless. Its rusting just by looking at it. Now tell me what's I'm getting wrong here?"

                          "It's exhaust stainless I've sold you, I have no business ripping you off! Check for yourself, I have a full exhaust built with the same stuff out back."

                          I follow him and he points to a pile of rusted junk. I'm not too sure what I'm supposed to look at until I realized that I was looking at a crossflow exhaust that looked like it had come back from Mars. It looked like red-orange ass.

                          "Exhaust stainless! No holes from being here through winters and everything! What do you want from me!?"

                          In that instant I had washed away the rest of the anger. It had, again, just been a case of my circumstances. I couldn't expect him to know what he was selling. I knew it that I was pushing a lost cause, so I was first to admit that I drove there not expecting money, just an explanation and that I had found it. But now, he wouldn't understand my point, HE was the victim, I was trying to rip HIM off! I knew he was probably an honest person, but he just didn't get it. The only thing I could do was just to walk away.

                          On my way home I picked up the rest of my gear at the machinist, gave him the rundown on what had happened, and gave him the happy news that the rear control arms had broken on the GT-R and couldn't do anything about it. He wished me good luck, we shook hands and I was on my way.

                          So, what now? I had, what I considered an exquisite exhaust, modified into a bastardization of what it had once been. The rust would just consume the pipe in no time if kept unchecked. My only option was paint. Caliper paint to be exact. I surmized that manifold paint required a lot more heat to cure than it would be possible to achieve that far into the exhaust, so caliper paint was the logical temperature-tier.

                          But its worth to note beforehand, that the exhaust hanger that hold the muffler portion of the exhaust was in bad shape. I don't know about you guys, but my hanger looked like a rust lightning rod, probably a result of exhaust heat catalysing the oxidation process. It had for a lack of word exploded, rust shards everywhere as the metal had expanded. I had to use two vats of Vapo-Rust to convert the metal but managed to get what was left bare enough for a coat of paint. It was nasty, but like everything else, it was hopefully temporary.

                          Since I was painting the pipe, why not paint my muffler too? As much as I love cannon exhausts for their functionality, I'm not a fan of some of them on R32 GTRs, for the simple reason that cannons like the Kakimotos are too prominent and low compared to the rest of the bumper line. Painting it black would make it blend better with the lines of the car, or so I figured. Also, I went to see my fastener friend, yes the one that had screwed up my order. Like I said, I don't hold grudges and I had remembered he had a very nice selection of pure stainless fasteners, which would be the cherry on my exhaust cake.

                          Being me, I was also going to brush the paint. Yes, I'm brush crazy, but I found that with brushing the paint would become more robust and slick. How? I tried to ding the paint in between coats. The brushed part won.

                          With the exhaust done it was time to install! Alone!


                          "SON OF A BI-"

                          I had bent the muffler's tip and scratched the paint. Nothing a piece of firewood, a bodyhammer and a new coat of paint/brushing won't fix. Just another day down the drain. That was meaningless to me, I had plenty of time to kill, but I hated to have to repeat work that I spent so much attention and care on.

                          Eventually I had the exhaust in place and was finally able to turn her over with the open throat. I was blown away. I started revving her up to enjoy some of the lower range. My dad was at the same time walking back from getting the mail. As he reached the tip of our long driveway, he turned towards my neighbour's house that was being worked on and started laughing. From what I could tell, I apparently had made fans from the carpenters working outside. My dad walked back to the house saying nothing, as usual. He never comments on my work, other than pointing out what I do "wrong" from time to time.

                          And a few seconds later I was in tears. Not because of the moment though, I was starting to get choked up on the exhaust gasses.

                          I went outside for fresh air, it was a beautiful day.
                          Last edited by MarusGTR; 02-14-2014, 03:00 AM.
                          1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR


                          • 2013 - Last stretch?

                            The car was up for an inspection on the next week.

                            And she was still up in the air and I hadn't fixed anything yet.

                            So first up, fixing the bent swaybar link. Luckily, the whineline swaybar bushings I had ordered had arrived, so my options were replacing the bolt and worn cups with OEM items or going for an aftermarket 240sx kit. The best price I could get for the nissan hardware would get above 100$, as the bolts only were $30 each. Being penny pinching, I ordered a Raybestos 240sx kit at a local car parts shop and see what they had to offer. I was assured I could return it if I wasn't satisfied with it.

                            And boy I wasn't.

                            I picked up the box and, since there were no customers around, immediately opened the box on the counter. Incredible. The OEM shaft is a bolt threaded on both ends with a thick shank at the middle to space the cups at a certain distance. Here, I was faced with one plain white zinc plated hex bolt (OEM is yellow), which was ungraded, that used a cylindrically-folded square sheet of brass as a spacer.

                            A folded piece of brass.

                            A fol...

                            Well that wouldn't do.

                            Also the bushings were made out of fisher price plastic. So did I go OEM? Nope. Because I could make my own kit for 1/3 of the cost. First off I hunted around for a spacer. Easier said than done. I was looking for something at least white zinc coated with a 10mm bore and 50mm length. No suppliers around had them, so I resorted in finding an alternative; I went to an old, old parts store, the kind that still thinks the metric system is a myth, and found a Grade 5 zinc coupler with a 3/8 threaded bore. Approximately 50mm (2").

                            It would do. IIRC, the stock spacer was 45mm but 50mm with the car lower would just make the sway bar rest in a more neutral position. So I went back home and tapped the threads with a 10mm bit. Perfect, it slid snugly around the shank of the OEM bolts.

                            As for the bolt, as you may have guessed I went the plain bolt route, more specifically, I went for a class 10.9 M10 120mm bolt, yellow zinc, fine threaded. The fine threads are usually used in vibrational applications, as the threads are more deflected than in a coarse thread. So I went again to fastenal, where I found that the bolt was in backorder, but they had it in coarse thread. I went ahead with the purchase but instead paired it with two nyloc yellow zinc nuts; they'd take the vibrational abuse.

                            Lo and behold my order arrived and, again at the counter, I went to inspect them and the nut they ordered was fine thread.

                            They had it right the next time I went there.

                            Total cost? $10. With the bushings and OEM nissan cups ($23, I wouldn't play around with those), under $60. Better than $100+.

                            Done. Now for the control arms. Well changing them back to OEM required the coilovers to be removed, so since they needed a refresh that kindof was a one stone two birds situation. Just like the front coilovers, the back were getting cleaned and greased, with their bushings replaced by the Whiteline items (same as front).

                            With the coilovers about to get reinstalled, I put swapped the control arms. But before putting everything together, here's the magic of solid bushings, the suspension had to be loaded to its neutral point.

                            Just to make sure everything was in order, I unloaded all the traction bushings too.

                            And everything was torqued back to spec in a neutral position (a position I ballparked from the radius of the wheels and the eyechrometered gap in between that radius and the fender).

                            As for the front, the modified FUCAS were installed and shimmed. Now the tension/castor rods were in a bad shape, so I had reluctantly bought a used set of KTS rods from a GTRC member. This would be my final purchase (or so I thought). At least the bearings wouldn't need to be set in a neutral position.

                            I was actually surprised at the weight difference between the two, it was staggering... even on the worriyingly light side. Before installing, I wanted a half-decent alignment so I sized up the lengths with the OEM arms.

                            Satisfied, I went to install them and... the socket cap screws' heads were too thick. I was impossible to install them with the CV shaft boot in the way. Since this wouldn't even be remotely a problem with conventional hex cap screws, and I didn't have a good experience with black oxide fasteners, I went to my local fastener supplier, yes that guy, again. He had what I needed in yellow zinc, 10.9, although he only had white zinc nyloc nuts, they'd do. Also what I love about nylocs is that they seal the threads from crass/grime entering. An alternative would have been solid thread lock nuts, but these are a bit overkill, especially since I think they should be used in permanent applications.

                            I'd like to take this time to say that man... I wish for a day where the whole car could be assembled with quality fasteners. Damn that'd look good from under the car.

                            With all these little things done, I was getting close to the inspection date (actually, it was on the next day). As I was keen on making sure my intake system wasn't leaking. Since I was running rich, I had two possibilities (remember?). One was that the system was leaking, so I took the bumper off so that the whole circuit could be held by T-bolt clamps. They cost me an arm at a local shop but I didn't have anywhere else to go to. That and I was fed up with having bought more than a dozen useless clamps from ebay.

                            Also removing the front facia gave me an opportunity to fix something that was gnawing at the back of my mind.

                            Everytime I'd look at the car I'd see it. The bumper facia was a hair (like a 1/2mm) too high on the left side. That wasn't my fault; I put it back where I it had been since I bought it, and it had been like that since Japan, most likely. I also took the time to change the old school thread clips for new Nissan items while I was there.

                            I litterally made it to the last minute, rushed to put the bumper back on and drove to the appointment with my friend the mechanic. And we talked. And talked, and helped him with guiding a 20 year old F-250 he was pulling in with a winch powered by a welder. I finally asked him if he was going to look at the car, to which he laughed. He wouldn't even bother; he knew me and that the car was in better shape than anything in the region, so he just looked under the car to look at my custom swaybar links and gave me the sticker.

                            Sadly, there wasn't much left of the summer, so after the inspection I went out for a short drive to test out the new wacky suspension. It was a bit embarrasing driving her around with no lip on, she hadn't even been on its wheels long enough to be washed. She still had the grime from driving her back from the storage.
                            Last edited by MarusGTR; 02-18-2014, 12:54 AM.
                            1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR


                            • 2013 - The ride never ends.

                              With the GTR still propped up in the garage, I figured it was time for an oil change. The summer was nearly to an end, I had maybe 300k on the clock and on the Mobil 1 oil, but this oil was from the season's first oil change and in my mind was due for a change. I usually consider the Mobil 1 5w-30 I use in and out of storage as being contaminated, as I use its thiness and detergents to flush the circuit before putting in more serious oil for the summer heat.

                              I wanted to find an alternative to the Motul 5w40 oil I had tried the year prior. As much as I had been pleased by it, it cost too much and it certainly wasn't worth purchasing with what was left of the summer. After looking at my options, I opted for Rotella T6, as it was getting good reviews from Viper and boosted C6 Corvette owners that would track their cars regularly and, surprisingly, it cost less per litre than Mobil 1.

                              A bit later that night, I came across about one of Skym's posts in the GTS subforum. I don't usually pay attention to GTS threads (no offense) but this one was about more serious tuning your fuel mixture with an aftermarket ECU. My interest was piqued on the discussion.

                              If you remember, I had given myself two hypotheses; 1. the piping was leaking or 2. something was wrong with the fueling. Even with all the T-bolt clamps I had installed, I was still running rich driving back from my inspection. I had crossed off the former, thus the latter remained. I didn't know why or how my fueling system could give out more fuel that the map was set for during boosting, until Skym brought up the subject of pairing a fuel pressure regulator to an aftermarket pump flow output. It hit me.

                              To put back into perspective: I had swapped my GTR pump for a 255lph Walbro in 2011; I don't recall anyone considering the repercussions on the fuel system from the 60lph increase. It was so simple; the injectors are essentially a magnetically driven ball-valve; the amount of fuel that it injected into the cylinder is simply a factor of time (dictated by the injector) and pressure (dictated by the rail as the jet cone is formed from the pressure expelled from it). The job of the FPR is to reduce pressure by adjusting the bottleneck in the rail, that is, pressure head of the system. But in this case, I surmized that my increase in flowrate resulted in a increase in pressure because the FPR would effectively become a bottleneck in itself, too small to expell the excess flow. Since the injectors are simply factored by time, this would cause an increase in the volume of fuel injected during the time window that was set for the injectors' operation. The mixture would become richened. In closed loop this would be mitigated by the engine narrowing the injection window (time) with the feedback of the O2 sensors. In open loop however, this contigency wasn't present. Richness would ensue.

                              To test my theory I asked Drew6 for help and he drove through the region to drop me off his fuel pressure gauge, which I immediately tee'd off the fuel filter outlet.

                              The result: 50 psi with the FPR closed (vaccum at atmosphere). FSM called for 43psi. With the FPR open at idle vaccum, 42psi over the FSM's 36psi. I had found my fueling problem.

                              Now I was on the hunt for a Nismo FPR. As much as I know there are fancy ones out there, I was far past any reasonable budgetary limit. The nismo unit was both the most cost efficient, was bolt-on and it was essentially OEM in quality. Even if people who like to tighten their screws with 10ft long wrenches and corkscrew their Nismo FPRs from the pressure would tell you otherwise (sarcasm).

                              I was surprised by my luck; an importer on ebay was selling an old RB26 rail with its 'OEM' FPR for dirt cheap. Lo and behold, I noticed the screw on the FPR. He had no clue what he was selling.

                              I bought it and even told him to keep the rail. Meanwhile I was left to finishing my interior. Eventually, with fasteners I bought on ebay, I was able to get it done. Notice the slim cap screws of the QR hub, I found it was a nice touch.

                              The FPR arrived a week later.

                              Yeah. See what I meant about people tightening too hard? No wonder some people whine that Nismo FPRs leak. They're made of tin, not unobtainium. Fortunately, I was able to get a DOA return from the seller and went to Nengun to buy a proper new unit. Lucky me, on sale! But this would take at least 3 more weeks, being backordered... and in Japan.

                              In any case, I'd meanwhile continue my (woefully basic) maintenance regiment with an opportunity to do a compression test and check the plugs/piston heads for the engine health since with the first oil change usually came the spark plug swap. I keep a yearly rotation on my copper plugs to keep the ignition in shape. A cost-efficient insurance. But this time, with NGK BCPRs getting incredibly scarce, I had to concede in using their ISO brethren, the BKR.

                              I was adamant that these shorter plugs were incompatible with the JIS configuration of the RB26 ignition, but the internet seemed to say to the contrary. I caved in to necessity. I would come to regret not taking my own advice.

                              Nevertheless, the refresh in itself had been a good call as some of the copper in the current BCPR electrodes had started to oxidize (giving the metal a green hue). Also, sometimes I'd use this opportunity of having the ignition out to inspect the coilpacks. Here I noticed something new; no.6 had some scorch marks on its casing, although the resistance checked out. It was promply swapped with cylinder no.1, a cooler location.

                              As for the compression test, normally the engine would have been warmed up a bit beforehand, but this time the engine had been left 2 weeks in the ever-increasing cold of august. Maybe this was why I got the following dissapointing results: 155, 155, 165, 165, 150, 160. Conversely, you may think this is fine, but these numbers were 10psi lower than the year prior. I just hoped it was caused by the contracted rings and not ring degradation. Another sign that made this conclusion more plausible came with my inspection of the plugs; I could easily correlate the observation that the plugs of the cylinders at 160+ were excessively dry-fouled, that is, had more exposure to a heavy combustible such as from oil. My valve guides were probably unevenly leaking from age, and the oil would contribute to the better sealing of the cylinders in a dry startup heave like the compression test I had just completed.

                              Oh and I also washed/scrubbed the head's valley.

                              Fastfoward to September.

                              I had succumbed to temptation and driven the car a few times, trying to enjoy what I could of a the embarassing setup I had made for myself. One thing that certainly cought me by surprise is how the steering had changed. It was a lot more snappy, and the high speed pulsing I would get while breaking at high speed was gone. Most likely, these were the result of the new traction rods. Understandibly though, before driving her too much I made a beeline for an alignment, as not only did the OEM RUCAS increase the camber, it had affected toe with it (most probably by affecting the rear caster). I'd rather pay 80$ than buy new tires which I couldn't afford anyway. From maxing out the cambolts, I had deduced with a ruler and a level that my rear camber was around 2.0 to 2.5 degrees (i.e. horrible). Turns out I wasn't too far from the truth. I had 2.2 in the rear. The toe was subsequently reduced to as close to 0 as possible (without crossing into the positive threshold). The 0.1-0.2 deg OEM toe-in was: 1. probably to increase HICAS stability, which I didn't need 2. going to eat the tires when mixed with the awful camber.

                              Driving her these few times also made me wonder about the quality of my brake fluid bleeding. I had bled the brakes 3-5 times (I lost count), and yet I would still not be satisfied with the brake pressure's linearity (or lack thereof). The top end of the stroke had a subtle play, something that at the back of my mind was foreign and it certainly didn't make sense to be less confident with a line upgrade. I was confident that I could get some more stiffness out of the system so I started hammering on the calipers with the bodyhammer, hoping to dislodge trapped airpockets. Eventually, this helped the rear left caliper to cough up a huge stream of bubbles which finally brought back the stiffness I had aimed for.

                              That made for good timing, as my Nismo FPR had finally arrived. I hurredly installed it, unplugging the grounds near the FPR location so that I wouldn't nick them by accident, and read the pressure. I had done my pressure test with the engine running, but now I was doing with the pump priming only. This came up as more troublesome that I anticipated; no one knew when to take/set the pressure with only the pump engaged (engine not running). Should it be at the initial surge or after when the pressure levels? Instinctively I thought at surge, so I initially gave myself around 40psi in surge for good measure.

                              I then noticed the grounds I had removed were still off. No problem there, I thought, just put them back on.

                              Satisfied, I went to crank the engine. She turned her over... and over... and over.


                              Cleared the cylinders out, and repeated.


                              Last edited by MarusGTR; 02-27-2014, 09:41 PM.
                              1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR


                              • 2013 - This is the end.

                                After flooding the car a few times, I admitted defeat. Somewhat.

                                I figured that the pretty fresh plugs had been repeatedly soaked so they'd need to be changed for piece of mind. So I'd need to change the BKRs again. But before purchasing a new set of plugs, I realized that maybe the ECU could tell me what's wrong. I thought it was a longshot that such an old software could hold the answer, but I gave it a try. One thing that made me think I was on the right path is that the tach wouldn't work during the cranking; something -was- off.

                                My first thought was a dead ECU.

                                So I proceeded to take the ECU out and putting it into diagnostic mode (thing is, in hindsight I should have shorted the pins on the driver-side scanner socket, not only would it have been much less trouble, but putting it into diagnostic mode I lost the knob's position where the idle had been set). I was flabberghasted by the accuracy of the error code: error 21.

                                Code 21: Problem in the harness before the ignitor (ignitor included), -excluding the CAS-.

                                Well, that narrowed it down pretty neatly. So with the old plugs out and the cylinders vented, I asked my dad to crank the engine while I'd check the multimeter for the ignitor's signal. It was abysmally off, but I figured that without an oscilloscope you really couldn't tell; the refresh rate of a multimeter and its tendency to project the value made it really impossible to get an accurate result over the firing sequence. But I was still willing to put my money on the ignitor.

                                240sxcollector again came in to the diagnostic rescue. He was able to lend me some time and drive quite a long distance to bring me his GTR's ignitor, which we installed with fresh plugs and BAM. Engine fired with LOTS of fuel in the exhaust. Not wanting to put anymore strain on the piston rings, we shut the car off and went for an oil change. It was due, the filter reeked with gas.

                                Or two of them. It wasn't enough that I had bought a new set of plugs, over my excitement, I forgot to put the oil plug on the pan. I more than half of my 5L oil jug right through the sump. Litterally, money down the drain. How could I live with myself, I wondered. Oh, and also I obviously needed to buy another ignitor which I found on GTRC. Collector would lend me his meanwhile.

                                In any case, we finally got her running. I tweaked the fuel pressure to have it to exact FSM specs and offered collector a ride. The fuel ratio was finally tight, solid 11.6 in boost, far from the wonky low 10s I had been running. She did run a bit slow though... but then again I only shift at 5500-6000, not wanting to break anything else.

                                I was happy and all, but by that time I had reached the end of September. The plates were expiring on Oct 31st.

                                A few days later I was out and about, trying to get my mind of things and get a photoshoot going. The results were dissapointing, to say the least. The bad lighting of the season paired with the (colourful) foliage that had fallen too early, the monotony of the looks of my car and my camera's incompetence in low-light just made things eerily depressing. Still, she would swoon me on my drives back and forth with her singing. For what she was worth, I was still in love.

                                Funny bit I just reminded myself of. On one of these late night drives, I made a courrier double take so hard that if his arms had followed he would have thrown his package across the street.

                                And one of the pictures I managed to save with post-processing. I blame the camera but really its never the tool, isn't it? I'm probably not setting the exposure weighting properly.

                                Everything was certainly bittersweet with the end of the season incoming.

                                I wasn't out of the woods yet. It first started while I was driving to an old friend's for a chat. On a straight I caught myself behind slow traffic; a kid on a scooter. I slowly overtook him, just so I wouldn't rustle him too much. It was slow enough that I needed to go from 5th to 4th. So rolling next to the kid, I eventually reached 3000RPM and boost, to which the car responded with a massive missfire/backfire. My first thought? Stay on throttle, go off boost by shifting to 5th. Second? I checked the mirror to see if I hadn't blown the kid off the road. Third? What in the **** had just happened?

                                Off boost, the car ran fine so I went to the friends' place. He wasn't there, so I blipped the throttle plates trying to find some clue to what had caused the miss. Everything was smooth and solid, so I left for the highway and on the onramp, put 4th in and backfired all my way to 100kmh, barely enough to overtake an incoming car. I was going home limping, a sad dog with its tail in between its legs.

                                At home I finally cracked open my CONSULT scanner. I was going to scan the car and the MTX-L while driving. But the reciever had to be modified to fit the socket so I cut a corner of the box and taped it back together with hockey stick tape for grip. My laptop kept crashing trying to pair the MTX-L and consult, so I gave up on the idea. No matter; on the small drives I had gone to check the car, it ran fine in boost and it wasn't even warmed up yet.

                                Maybe it was a fluke?

                                But with October steadily rolling in, the nights became especially snappy. I went out for a late-night drive and as I went farther than the previous times, let the engine warm up and gave a bit of gas. It was missing more often than it was firing and I could detect the smell of melted plastic. I limped back home and started taking the ignition at around midnight. Something was off with my spark, it was getting snuffed out. The likely culprit? The BKR spark plugs.

                                The issue had two variables; the engine had to be warm and, figuring it out pretty quickly, it was dependant on air temperature. The colder the air, the worst it was getting. Both have a common denominator; electrical resistance. Denser, colder air, is less electrically conductive. Solid electrical resistances, on the other hand, are increased proportionally to heat.

                                I started pissing myself off even more with my idiocy. The proof that the BKRs were the cause? With the coilpacks off I started inspecting them. They were all scorched.

                                All 6 of them. Basically the 3mm gap between the ISO-length BKRs and the JIS-length BCPRs was enough for the whole spark to be rerouted towards the boot, go through its flange and short on the coilpack's bracket. I needed to find BCPR plugs ASAP. I was two weeks away from the plates expiring and having to drive 300km to the storage.

                                As I mentionned, BCPR plugs in New Brunswick are pretty much extinct. BUT, I was able to come across a local carquest dealer that I was friendly with (the manager used to detail the GTR back when I had money) and urged him to look deeper. He found 8 plugs at a dealer 100kms away. I ordered them of course.

                                A week went by with incessant "tomorrows" to each of my calls. Eventually they arrived. All four plugs.

                                This was on a Friday. The plates were expiring next Wednesday. I told him I wanted, no needed, those plugs. He got them rushed for Monday.

                                And if you recall the picture I posted earlier this year, there was a reason why they were lost in the databases. These were vintage, probably as old as the car. It honestly put a smile on my face; maybe it was my way of looking at the positives. I gapped them, prepped them, installed them and tested them.

                                I was still missfiring. The damage had been done. Each time the short would be successful, it would become more efficient by burning a "beaten path", so to speak. I looked around on the internet and came across an old guy with a stock R33 GTR talking about fixing his rampant missfires by sealing the boots. It was a long shot but it made sense, so I proceeded to do as much as I could to stop the short. I cleaned the bodies and boots to remove carbon and used dialectric grease on the seals.

                                I woke up the next morning and started packing. She had to be in Moncton one way or another. I crossed my fingers for my fix to have worked.

                                And it did. This was taken a few kms from the storage.

                                Last edited by MarusGTR; 03-03-2014, 10:29 AM.
                                1992 BNR32 SKYLINE GTR