Sunday, December 16, 2007

Slowtra Gets Dynoed

Have been planning a while to do a small engine/intake/exhaust upgrade program for the Slowtra just to get some extra oomph. And No I'm not planning cams, high compression, mega porting, individual throttles and what nots. Decided to do a baseline dyno to see where I stand before the upgrades. Per my knowledge there are only two dynos in Penang and both are relatively new (circa 2007). Used the dyno in Northern Garage. I believe the other dyno is at M Power. The dyno at Northern Garage is a Dastek unit. Dastek is the same South African company responsible for the famed Unichip series of piggybacks. Having been educated mostly on Dynojet and Dyno Dynamics dynamometers so the Dastek is new to me but so long as it can give me repetitive power readings that are not out of this world (like 700+hp for a friend's 1.5 NA Wira on the Speedworks Dyno Dynamics dyno once) I'm ok. One should never compare or brag about power readings from different dynos anyway. They're all different. The trick here is once you get a baseline on a dyno try to always use the same dyno down the road.

Checked in a very wet Slowtra for dyno after a long day at the office last Thursday. Rained Giraffes and Hippos on my drive to Northern Garage. Pix below of the Slowtra all set up for dyno.
The PC holding the dyno software. The display next to the PC is the Dastek's display.
Pix of the Slowtra all hooked up to the dyno PC and the huge industrial spec blower which is used for cooling during repeated dyno runs. Without such a fan the likelyhood of overheating is high as the car is stationary with no airflow.

The LM-1 is a single self-contained unit that combines a wideband air/fuel ratio sensor controller, a 6-channel data logger, and an easy-to-read backlit LCD display. The LM-1 also features two configurable analog outputs to connect to analog gauges, dyno computers, ECUs, piggyback controllers, and other devices with analog inputs.

Butt plug? Nope, it's the LM-1's Bosch wideband oxygen/lambda sensor plugged into the Slowtra's exhaust. The sensor is a Bosch LSU4.2 5-wire, wide-band O2 sensor.

Slowtra getting dynoed and the horsepower output graph being generated on the PC's monitor.
For car's with manual gearbox dyno should be done in the gear closest to 1:1 ratio which is typically 4th gear on a 5-speed gearbox. If you want a higher reading for bragging purposes you're welcome to try 3rd gear ;)

Closeup of the display

The bill came up to RM100 for the baseline dyno. Did it in a packaged deal along with some friends who were also doing the dyno. Aerotech previously charge RM200+ for a baseline so the cost is very reasonable and competitive with what Speedworks PJ is offering. If you decide to use Northern Garage's dyno, work out the cost with Ah Loy (boss of Northern Garage).

And now on to the question everyone's been waiting (that's if they haven't been bored to death first reading to get here) What did the Slowtra dyno for?

How does 106hp and 150Nm of torque at the engine sound to you? If you ask me that's pretty decent for a stock QG16 engine once you factor in power steering pump losses and weather variables (not sure what correction factor was used and the Northern Garage mechanic couldn't tell me). The only "power mods" I have is a K&N drop-in filter and Nippon Denso Iridium plugs. I did try to get power readings at the wheel but the Dastek gave me a ridiculous 79hp reading. I doubt the manual transmission results in a 25% power loss. The mechanic blamed wheelspin but I think that's even more ridiculous with only 106hp/150 Nm of torque. Dyno graphs to follow once I take a decent picture of the graph printout. The PC was not able generate a softcopy. Bummer!

Monday, December 10, 2007

S**t Happens!

The SP got broken into recently (Nov 30) with numerous parts stolen including the one off full carbon pre-preg bonnet. My heart goes out for Mugil.

Publishing this note on behalf of Mugil...

"SP was broken into on Friday morning and the following items have been stolen from the car:

  1. Full CF Bonnet
  2. Momo Corse 78 Steering Wheel
  3. Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release (only the half connected to the Steering)
  4. CF Side Mirror
  5. Matspeed J5 ECU
  6. R3 CF Gear Knob

If you know or hear or offered any of the parts stated above do contact me at 012-3350607. A small reward will be provided if any of the items above can be recovered."

Anyone wanting more pixs or info on the stolen items is welcomed to email me or comment in this blog.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dietary Supplements

The stock bolts that hold the fuel lid hinge was starting to rust so I took the oppportunity to replace with lightweight aluminium alloy items. Pix of the stock items. Top bolt has a major rust. What an eye sore!

The stock bolts are M5 X 10mm. I replaced them with aluminium alloy silver anodized items. The M5 washer proved too small so I used an M6 washer but alas did not have any M6 silver anodized ones left. Used regular potassium bichromate plated versions. Gold and silver never looked better! Pix below.

Thinking of getting Nismo fuel cap garnish but that will add more weight :( Also replaced the bolts holding the boot lid hinge with aluminium items. Stock crappy bolts..

Pro-Bolt M6 X 40mm aluminium alloy silver anodized bolts installed.

Ordered bolts 5mm shorter than stock. Don't know why the stock bolts need to be so long. There are loads of thread still left once the 40mm aluminium bolt has been fully tightened.

Mike Kojima's Nitto Tyres Sentra Spec V Racecar Ready!

I'll let the pictures do the talking. Needless to say this is probably the fastest Sentra in the world for Time Attack/Circuit Racing.
For those of you familiar with SE-R/ or read Sport Compact Car mag a lot you'd be familiar with the name Mike Kojima. In US Nissan Sentra racing circles the guy's a Guru and this latest project was build to compete in Time Attack events in the States under the Unlimited FWD class. Details of the car's build can be found here. The amount of custom fabrication required to build a competitive professional racecar is out of this world! Enjoy! Can't wait to see a 500hp FWD rear suspension beam Sentra whup cars with independent rear suspension. Really major inspiration for me to make the Slowtra hopefully not so slow...

And to save the best for last I've been in contact with Mike lately and he really took the time to reply my emails and read this blog. Fab guy! Will publish some of our communication when there's time. Watch this space..

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Detailing - Other (Non-Autoglym) Products

Spent many a day and hours during Raya lovingly cleaning, polishing, waxing and detailing the Slowtra. Pix below of the non-Autoglym products I'm using to detail the car
Soft99 Meta-Clean wax
Been using this wax for many years. Ideal for metallic coloured paint. I use it for the wheels/rims and for interior uncovered metalwork such as doors and engine bay. Does not last as long nor is as silky shiny as Autoglym but then I've not complain as the wax costs around half the price of Autoglym Super Resin Polish

Need more be said? Excellent for cleaning engine bays (degreaser) besides protecting metal parts such as shock absorber bodies and spring from rust. Use loads if you hate rust and oily grime.

Car Plan Crystal Clear Glass Cleaner and Glass Polish
I use both especially the cleaner extensiely to clean my windows and windscreen. The glass polish should be used once in a while to polish your glass and leaving it silky smooth and consequently your wipers judder free.

I know it sounds dodgy but this local made product works a treat and is dirt cheap by Autoglym standards. A bottle costs way less than 15 bucks. Leaves a nice glossy coating on interior vinyl trim. Can be used as cheap tyre sidewall detailer too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rear Carbon Number Plate Revisited

Remember the crappy rear carbon number plate that fell out coz it was not flat due to warpage? I finally bit the bullet and emailed Rallytech in the UK for a decent wet lay-up carbon flat plate. The plate dutifully arrived after bout a week. Cost was a massive RM500 including shipping for just the rear plate! Trust me you only want to do this (be so crazy) once in a long long time..

I then had the plate clearcoated in Glasurit to my standards. Job was done by my bro Herbert. As you can see the surface finish quality is absolutely incredible. Smoother than a baby's bottom! Carbon weave I'm using is 1 x 1, 3k. twill weave while looking more racelike is also easier to spot from afar. Not good as far as JPJ is concerned.

Numbers were installed to the carbon plate via double sided tape by Uncle. No super glue involved. Numbers stick better in the long term and will not scar the plate when removed.

After more than a month of monsoon rain and intermittent heat wave there's no warpage in sight. This is clearly a case of UK Engineering and unfortunately Malaysia Tidak Boleh! If I'm crazy enough I might eventually replace the front carbon number plate with a Rallytech item.

Good As New

Been wanting to post this weeks ago but been swamped with work, house and personal issues. Anyway the Raya hols are a welcome breather so I'll like to start the festivities with a post..

Got the Slowtra back from my painter a couple weeks ago and I'm happy to say it looks better than new. Only downside is my "Nismo" & "S-Tune" decals had to removed for painting. Will have to get a new set. Sigh! Two quick pixs below..

Took the opportunity during the wait to order some new clips so that I can reinstall back my boot lid's carpet trim which had been removed previously to install my Mine's wing. The original clips are still in fairly decent nick but you know me. Nissan parts are not cheap btw.

That's RM8.50 per clip and not for the pack. There are 12 clips holding the carpet trim so I ordered the 12 clips without first asking the price. I mean Proton clips only cost me like RM2+ per clip. so how much more expensive can Nissan clips be? The bill came up to RM102. Ouch! Pix below of clip in place holding the trim.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hit & Run

Came back to my car after lunch with colleagues today and saw this..
The road's as wide as any suburban road can be and the parking was perfectly legal. There was also no other car parked directly opposite me so there's plenty of road space. From my assessment whoever hit me was coming from the opposite direction. Also likely to be a lorry/truck or some big SUV/4WD judging by the height of the scrape marks. The thing that pisses me even more is that the f**ker hit my wing mirror and continued going forwards thus scraping my front and rear doors, rear side panel and finally bumper. Luckily my rear light was spared and likewise my wheels. Phew! To the person that did this to my car "May U Rot in Hell!!!!". The Slowtra was parked in Sungai Nibong area on one of the suburban side roads next to Yakki Teppan Japanese restaurant when this happened around 12+pm. If anybody saw the accident pls do let me know. I don't mind giving a reward so long as I can nail whoever did this! The Slowtra's now checked into hospital for some plastic (sorry metal & paint) surgery. Should be better than new in a couple of days...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

15 months and 20,600km later

Latest picture of the Slowtra basking in the evening sun outside my friend's lovely house.
Quality of the car is outstanding and everything's been problem free with the interior still rattle free despite some hard driving. Only downside are the paranoid reverse sensors which beep away the moment I hit reverse gear. Even when the nearest object/wall from my rear bumper is miles away. Have asked TCEAS to fix this 3 times and it's still the same. Oh Boy! :(

The Bridgestone Potenza RE050As are really superb. The effect overall is akin to my shocks being revalved. The stiffer sidewalls means there's less flex and corner turn-in is more positive than the Michelin PP2s I was using previously. The car feels more lighter, more nimble and responsive too! Noise level's pretty consistent and I would rate about the same as PP2s. Despite the stiffer sidewalls I personally prefer the ride quality over the PP2s. Unfortunately I'm getting some noticeable scrapping sounds under full lock. I guess the RE050As must be coming into contact with the inner wheel arch fender. Strange as I never had any contact problem with the same sized Michelin PP2s. I guess one 205 series tyre model will have slightly different width from another different model. Not too bothered but might explore some Eibach wheel spacers later.

Oh.. the stupid power steering & aircond belt is getting squeaky noisy again despite me using Jap made Nissan "Key Value" 2nd Grade belts. Get to hear bloody "chit chit" sounds everytime the engine's cold. Really paiseh for a car looking this fierce. Time to maybe import some original 1st grade Nissan belts from Japan but they're not cheap mind you.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rays Engineering Gram Lights 57S Wheels + Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Tyres

OK, I know my BBS RK + Michelin PP2 tyres are only about 7 months old but the more I look at the Slowtra the more I felt the car looked a little bland with silver coloured wheels. Bronze, Gunmetal or Black wheels are seriously required to make the car look less Uncle like. Getting more expensive the more I look at the car.. Midlife crisis again or maybe I should just stop looking at the car?

For a long time I was really again contemplating the SSR Type C to the point that I was going to drive down to Sillypore just to install the rims. Lotsa office work and my house reno prevented that. Then one night I was researching my old Option/Option2 mags for some other thing when the Gramlights 57s ad in the October 2003 issue of Option 2 magazine caught my eye. Love at first sight? More research soon had me thinking these were perhaps the right wheel for me. For one thing The GL 57S (short for Rays Engineering Gram Lights 57S.. phew, the Japs/Rays are really wordy) are cast rims so should prove cheaper though heavier than the Volk Racing TE37s I was also crazilly considering. No kidding. Ask Jacko on that. The 57S is also unfortunately very slightly also heavier than the BBS RK by bout 200 grammes but what the heck! That's not going to make much difference to the Slowtra's performance or lack of. Was also thinking bout shudder the Nismo/Rays LM-GT4 but that was unavailable in the size I wanted nor the Slowtra's fitment. Anyway budget and logic got the better of me and I soon decided I was gonna go for the Gram Lights 57S. It helps when TE37s are on backorder till July and the price for 4 rims would set me back more than 6K! The 57S is only RM4.5K. Rays wheels are definitely not cheap!

I was going to order the 57s direct from Japan but then decided to give my usual tyre guy at Goh Swee Hin a call to see if perhaps he was able to get the 57S. The Gods of branded wheels must have been shining on me that day when he said he could get those wheels. Better still he can trade in my BBS for decent price. Thank you Mr. Goh @ Goh Swee Hin Jalan Dato Keramat! The only downside to all this was that my rims would take bout 2 months to arrive from JDM land.

Again the Gods of branded wheels must have shining on me again when Mr Goh called me a scant 4 weeks later telling me that my rims had arrived. Unbelievable!. Pix below of my 57S still in the box. There are 2 rims per box.

My wheel specs

Pix of the 57S removed from box. Lovely! Quality is simply unbelievable and simply the best even compared to the like of SSR and BBS. Find it hard to believe the 57S is a cast wheel as the quality and surface finish is more akin a forged wheel..

My rims were manufactured on May 9th 2007. Very new..
By this time the poison had really set in deep and I decided I was going to also get myself some new tyres as I could also get a good trade-in price for my PP2s. The PP2s while having excellent grip in the wet had a wee bit too much noise for my liking at low speeds. Plus the sound was getting more after bout 7K+ of mileage. In the end my choice was limited to the following 3 makes as I wanted similar or better performance (ie grip, steering feedback and roadholding) of the PP2s while giving less noise (hopefully):
  • Continental Conti Sport Contact 3 or CSC3
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE001 Adrenaline
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE050A
The Conti CSC3s unfortunately was not avail for my size while Mr Goh doubted the RE001 Adrenalines would be considered an "upgrade" over the PP2 so in the end I settled on the RE050As per his and my Bro from The Star Motoring Anthony Lim's recommendation.

Per Tire Rack on the RE050A:
"The Potenza RE050A features a high grip tread compound molded into an asymmetric tread design, where a continuous center rib, large tread blocks and stable shoulder elements provide responsive handling, high-speed stability and traction on dry roads. Circumferential and lateral tread grooves are aimed to pump water out from under the tire's footprint to minimize hydroplaning and aid wet traction. Internally, the Potenza RE050A features twin steel belts reinforced by spiral-wrapped nylon to stabilize the tread area and enhance handling, high-speed capability and ride quality while minimizing weight. The fabric cord body and hard rubber sidewall filler help blend ride quality with steering response and lateral stability"

Unfortunately each tyre cost Rm650 per tyre for my sizing. Arrggghh! On Bro Anthony's very strong recomendation I bit the bullet, enlarged my wallet and ordered the tyres which dutifully arrived about a week later. Pix below of my tyres.

Closer pix showing the thread patterns and label. Label says "RE050" but tyre sidewall says "RE050A"

Personally I prefer the Conti or Michelin thread pattern to the typical Japanese. Pix below of all the accessories for the 57S. The air inlet/oulet valves are lightweight aluminium anodized black. Sweet! Stickers are DIY. The adapter key is for my Rays lugnuts (not supplied with rims). Centercaps are optional and very expensive (1500 yen/RM44 per cap) but Taukeh Mr Goh ordered for me FOC. Have elected to temporarily not use the center caps as it makes the Slowtra more racecar looking Fnarrrr... There are proper instructions in English on mounting the tyre to rim and maintenance. A first for a Jap wheel manufacturer. Both my previous SSR and Rally Sparco wheels came with only Jap instructions.

Pix of tyre mounted on the rim waiting to be balanced.

More rims waiting to be deflowered!

Installation, on-wheel balancing and alignment took about an hour plus. Also took some time to WD40 and clean my Nismo shocks. Pix of the new wheels and tyres on the Slowtra.

Closeup this morning before application of the "Gram Lights" decals

Took me bout an hour plus to apply the 4 decals (one per wheel) and wax the wheels. Rays did not provide any instructions so I used the ad in my Option 2 mag for reference. What do you think? Personally I feel things look less cluttered without the "Gram Lights" decal.

A closer shot

Close up of the lightweight aluminium valve. These valves can be purchased separately but a set of 4 will set you back around RM150 (1260 yen each) depending on the exchange rate. Valve covers alone are RM5 each. Ouch!

Being a motorsport oriented wheel there's loads of clearance for larger multi-piston calipers. Wilwoods here I come! :p

Close up of the center cap which I'm currently not using. Should I?

That's all for now. More writeup once I get some decent mileage on the RE050As..

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rear Disk Brakes Wanted!

As you know the N16 manual pathetically comes with rear drum brakes as standard so it's time to upgrade. TCM/Nissan is really unforgiveable for this cost saving exercise as even Kia Spectras come with rear disk brakes. I'm willing to pay decent cash for a good/excellent condition N16 SG-L/XG-L rear cut. Those crashed cars with the front wiped-off would do nicely. Alternatively I'm looking for the complete rear beam assembly complete with calipers. Have contacted TCEAS on this but they don't seem too interested. A new rear beam alone (not including calipers, etc) costs RM3K btw so don't ask me to get only new parts as the whole exercise will cost >5K!

I can source the other parts including the disc/rotors, rear parking brake assembly and brake hoses myself. Have in fact already purchased some Pro RS stainless steel braided brake hoses. The Pro RS branded braided hoses are claimed to be sourced from Eaton Aeroquip so should be decent quality. Shame about the Goodridge lookalike packaging though.
Anybody with leads on some decent N16 rear disk brakes please please contact me. Don't let my spiffy new brake hoses gather dust and feeling lonely in my cabinet..

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mine's Mine - More Beauty Shots!

Here's more takes by popular demand. Close up of the side plate below. Side plates are connected to the wing via 2 M6 allen socket cap head bolts.
Top View. Nice contrast with the Slowtra's new boot silver paintjob. My regular Painter did a massive job but he ain't cheap!
Another shot!
Side view

Last pix before things get too dark. IMHO the Mine's Multi Select wing manages to look aggressive yet subtle at the same time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mine's Mine - Installed!

Finally had some spare time to get the Mine's Multi Select Rear Wing installed today. Installation was relatively painless taking only bout an hour. All that needed to be done was to ensure proper placement of the spoiler before drilling 4 holes for the mounting brackets/legs. Before doing that you have to remove the stock NVH carpet mounted to the bottom of the boot lid. I did junk the supplied rubber washers for the base of the wing's mounting bracket and had washers cut from thicker rubber supplied by a Bro. Also replaced the stock mild steel bolts, nuts and washers with stainless steel items. Oh, and once you install don't forget to adjust the angle of attack and ensure everything's tightened properly. Don't want to have the wing or plates fly off and sushi someone when you're at speed!

Pixs of the wing below before installation. The wing came with everything including the side plates installed but I dismantled them for some decent waxing! Disassembly also showed me the wing is not 100% carbon but primarily frp with carbon only top and bottom layers. Very expensive for the retail price but the quality really shows especially in the perfect weave of the carbon. Did not weight the Mine's wing but I'm convinced it's lighter than the Nismo lip spoiler having carried both.

The machined from aluminium mounting legs. The wing is adjustable for angle of attack only. Height is fixed. The base can be pivoted a couple degrees to the right or left to help ease the installation and placement.
First installed pixs below.

Should I stick a Mine's sticker to the Slowtra? Talk about mid life crisis :P

Have to admit it looks damn good and not too Beng! Even my mech that's normally not into rice or carbon admitted it look good. Come to think of it, this is the smallest lowest spoiler I had. My first car, a Wira 1.3 had the 1.8's tiang gol spoiler while the SP had the Mirage Asti High Spoiler which was also quite massive. More pixs to follow once I get the car back. Have sent it for painting to fix the holes drilled earlier on the boot from the abandoned Nismo carbon spoiler/lip project. Ouch!