Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Blog Address

I've bought my very first own domain hence if you are reading this you can also view this blog @

The old blogspot address is still valid and will redirect to this new address. Thanks.

Monday, December 12, 2011

ARP Main Studs

Like my head studs I purchased stock QG18DE main bolts and had Greg measure them for the closest ARP equivalent. Picture below of the stock main bolts

Here's how the main bolt measure up. Pix courtesy of Greg.

I must be lucky as there are two possible ARP main stud options. Picture below summarizes the two options.

Per Greg, "the stock bolt threads 1.325" (33.655mm) into the engine block, 1.75" (44.45mm) inside the mains and only approximately 0.5" (12.75mm) of bolt head outside. The 4.125" (104.775mm) stud option has more threads at the bottom , assuming it bottoms out equally with the bolt, it has a shorter section of unthreaded partand you would tighten the nut down and there would be threads inside the main. Not the end of the world but there would be approximately 0.625" (16mm) left above the nut as exposed thread. I don't think there will be clearance issues but I'm not familiar with the QG18 motor (engine). The 3.75" (95.25mm) stud has less engagement thread in the block, though at 60 ft/lbs torque, 1" of thread is fine per ARP. This leaves you an equal to the bolt unthreaded section in the main and will only leave you with 0.5" (13mm) exposed"

Per Toby's advice I decided on the 4.125" (104.775mm) main stud option.  Unlike me ARP head studs the main studs were in stock and duly arrived in about two weeks. Greg included a nice ARP box for me this time round.

Opening the box revealed the following contents - main studs, 12-point nuts, washers and a sachet of ARP fastener assembly lubricant. Nice!

Here's how my main studs compare with the stock main bolts.

These are 8740 chromoly alloy rather than the stronger ARP2000 as ARP doesn't have the stronger material for said main stud. Still loads stronger than the stock main bolts though. You can read up about how 8740 chromoly alloy measures up to ARP2000 here. I'll update what application the main studs were originally designed for when and if I get the info from Greg. Am still not done with ARP as I now have their stainless steel manifold studs on order.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Pictures of me cylinder head and engine block after degreasing, cleaning, honing and light skimming. Lovely job I must say. Looks like brand new especially where it matters.

Pictures courtesy of Bro Chew Soon as I'm more than 330 km away. Thanks Bro! I will be repainting the cast iron block black.The dayglo orange suggested by Bro Jack just won't cut it. BTW Congrats Bro on the birth of your son!

While not fast and furious, parts are arriving and the build is progressing slowly but surely. Here's an upskirt teaser pix of my piston. Sexy hand belongs to Bro Chew Soon :)

More to follow.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The bolts holding my brake caliper adapter to the wheel upright/knuckle are begining to rust to fastener heaven after only 5 months hence I recently made an enquiry with Pro-Bolt on some titanium equivalents. Below is the price quotation they sent me.

Total quotation cost after discount and including shipment came up to 128.06 GBP or MYR633 depending on the exchange for a grand total of 16 pieces of bolt, washer and nut. I don't like to whine and I know modding cars is an expensive hobby but this is still very very stupendously outrageously expensive to me! Now you know why F1 teams have an annual budget larger than the GDP of some countries...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Yummy Yummy!!!

Was following up on the delivery status of my K1 conrods with Toby when he sent me this gem with the same subject as this blog post :)

You're in trouble if I need to tell you which is the stock and which is the forgie (forged piston). Pistons are from Ross Racing Pistons and are forged from 2618 billet bar stock and have been heat treated and aged to T61 condition (2618-T61). Per Ross, 2618-T61 is the material that is used when fatigue resistance and durability are of prime importance by all premium racing piston manufacturers. This material has less than 1% silicon particulate content. High silicon content pistons (eg. forged from 4032 or MS75) will not stand up to the most extreme stress placed on many racing pistons. If a crack starts to form in a high silicon piston it will continue until the piston experiences a catastrophic failure. This is because adding sand to the aluminium only makes it more brittle. A crack on a 2618-T61 piston will continue to an area where the stress is not that great and will then stop.

As usual with engineering there are compromises. High silicon content pistons have a lower coefficient of thermal expansion allowing the engine builder to specify much tighter tolerance between the piston and the cylinder wall to ensure excellent ring seal and minimize cylinder bore wear. The larger piston to cylinder wall tolerances on a low silicon content piston will lead to characteristics such as a "rattly" sound when the engine is cold and has not warmed up. While this sound is undesirable to the majority of people it is no issue for what I'm building the Slowtra's engine for. I'll take the much improved piston strength over some additional noise any time any day. Care will also need to be taken to ensure during engine warm up to minimize wear. Even with bone stock QGs one should not rev and thrash the engine when it is cold anyway.

Compression is Toby GT Auto spec which is a tad under 9.0:1. Should result in a very responsive engine. Rings are the excellent Total Seal according to Toby. Now please excuse me while I go clean my pants. More details and pictures to follow...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

K1 Technologies Connecting Rods Here!

While it might have taken more than eight months for me to get my K1 conrods, the rods were with me for less than 96 hours before being sent to GT Auto. Took some pixs before sending the package to Pos Laju. Picture below of the packaging. Four connecting rods are in this box.

Thanks to something called "globalization" many famous brands are now made in the PRC including K1 Technologies. The next time you laugh at "Cina Mari" parts think twice as your branded part could actually be made there! K1 rods are designed and finished machined in the United States though.

Labelling and details of my rods. "5.531" in the top row is the connecting rod center distance (ie. length). The numbers in the bottom row mean that total weight is 474.8g (grams), big end weight is 342.2g and small end weight is 132.6g. Interesting K1 uses metric for weight while length is still in imperial. "ARP2000" is self explanatory but if you are still not sure you can continue reading a bit to understand what it is.

Opening the packaging. The dark coloured liquid thingy is probably assembly lube. Not K1 gel though :)

The K1 Nissan QG18DE conrod. More pixs from Greg can be found in my earlier post.

The big (crank) end. As mentioned in my earlier post, the big end bolts are ARP2000 for their high tensile strength and excellent notch toughness.

The small (piston) end. The two holes are oiling holes that get the oil on the wrist pin. The K1 connecting rod features fruction reducing fully floating wrist pin design.

Each K1 connecting rod is CNC machined from 4340 steel forging and then undergoes core hardening and shot peening process to improve its strength. Each K1 rod is also magnetic particle inspected (MPI). During this inspection process the connecting rod is magnetized and then a magnetic flux such as iron particles is applied to its surface. This attraction helps reveal any surface imperfections or flaws on the conrod's surface.

This should now lead to some nice Ross forgies. I also have ACL engine bearings (crank/main, rod and thrust) on order and plan to WPC treat them. The ACLs are on back order though as the main bearings will only be avail end December. Everything should hopefully be ready for engine assembly some time early next year...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bits n Pieces

Picture below of the stock QG18DE crank pulley and water pump pulley. It's the same as the QG16DE. The QG15 supposedly runs a narrower accessory - power steering and alternator belt (3 belt ribs) compared to the QG16/18. Main crank/power steering belt is 6 ribs. Let's call this 6/3pk belt for the QG15 and 6/4 pk belt for the QG16/18 belt. Now having said this the pulleys on my QG18 looks more like a 6/3 pk arrangement. Bro Fooyc what say you? Anyway be it 3 or 4 pk is no big cause for concern as one would just have to change the accessory belt.

Currently from what I know there are two manufacturers for lightweight aluminium same diameter as stock QG16/18 crank pulley. Alutec and Redline Motorsports which looks pretty similar to the Alutec cept the name. Who ripped who you decide. The Redline is bout 330 bucks or so plur or minus RM10 depending on how you bargain. You can also read up on the Redline crank pulley in the Malaysian N16 forum here. Both (Redline and Alutec) are in the 800+ grammes range which is around or less than half the weight of the stock crank pulley The Alutec is made from 7075 grade aluminium which is stronger than the more common 6061 grade aluminium used on the Redline crank pulley. I previously bought the more expensive Alutec crank pulley and you can read about it here. Never got around to installing it though. The Alutec is only avail down south in Singapore while the Redline is widely avail in the Klang Valley. In addition I also have another project to custom manufacture the crank pulley. More details to follow :)

In addition Unorthodox Racing from the US also make an underdrive (smaller diameter) crank pulley for the QG18. Basically an underdrive pulley is designed to drive the vehicle's accesories at a slower rate than stock. This increases engine horsepower by reducing parasitic drag caused by belt driven accessories such as the aircond and power steering. However too much of a good thing or underdrive will lead to decreased performance from said accessories. Whether that concerns you varies from driver to driver and car to car but IMHO I personally prefer stock diameter for a daily driver.

On a completely different topic, the gearbox mount for my RS5F70A gearbox has arrived. Picture below. The smaller part is the support rod bracket which I ordered just for kicks. Price came up to quite a bit including shipping (bout RM400 or so). These are brand new Nissan items though.

My gearbox is basically ready to go in at this point but I have not decided if I wanna mod my stock puny driveshafts or get Nissan or oem QG18/RS5F70A items or custom some performance ones. Price will be pretty massive for Nissan driveshafts or performance ones though. If you need to know it's in excess of two thousand smackers and possibly more.

Friday, October 21, 2011

K1 Rods Ready and For Sale!

After some eight months my custom K1 Technologies billet h-beam conrods are ready. Pictures courtesy of Greg V while I arrange for shipment.

Those of you following this blog will know that I had the rods custom manufactured as no performance conrod manufacturer with the exception of Pauter has off the shelf rods for the Nissan QG18DE. The K1 conrod is forged and strong enough to withstand the power I am expecting to make (~300bhp). Unless you are crazier than me and plan a >600hp QG18 these conrods are going to be all that you will ever need. Specs of the QG18 K1 conrod can be found here. Material is forged 4340 steel. Finishing is top quality.

The even better news is that my set is not the only set of K1 QG18 conrods in existence. Yes, there is another (only one more set) and these are for sale @ USD675.00 for a set of four. Price does not include shipping and any tax. Lead time is NOT eight months but the amount of time it takes to deliver the rods to your doorstep once you place the order and pay. Serious enquiries only pls contact me. The conrods will also fit the Nissan GA16DE.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slowtra does it Doggy Style - Turbonetics Spearco Intercooler

Collected my intercooler and got taxed big time (40%) by our dear customs. "This is the lowest I can go! Spare part kereta memang mahal" said the customs officer all the while eyeing her prey like a natural born predator. She was not going to let me off this time as I had avoided tax a couple months back with my gear selector rods. She even mentioned "I've seen you here before". I wonder how automotive innovation and engineering is going to grow in our dear country when an enthusiast who is not making a cent out of his or her passion is getting royally screwed?

Anyway my intercooler is an American Turbonetics Spearco unit. When ordering the intercooler I mentioned that I wanted the intercooler from a certain famed Sentra time attack race car. Due to the shape and vents of the Slowtra's front bumper a wider but shorter height intercooler is required versus the more common narrower but taller height intercooler found in Jap performance cars such as the Evo. Picture below of the technical drawing. Spearco can make any specification intercooler to your drawings if necessary.
The Spearco intercooler is a bar and plate type intercooler. This is different from many Japanese aftermarket performance intercoolers which are of the tube and fin type. The most noticeable difference between a bar and plate versus a tube and fin intercooler is the header plate. The header plate is also where the end tanks are welded to. Tube and fin intercoolers utilizes header plates to seal the charge rows from the ambient rows. The header plates seal around the oval tubes during the brazing process and are generally around 0.125" (3.175mm) thick. However, over time and constant vibration the header plate starts to crack away from the tube. Per Turbonetics you will not find this problem with bar and plate intercoolers. The end tanks for a bar and plate intercooler are welded directly to the core. Tube and fin intercooler uses extruded tubes to carry the charge air across. The thickness of the tube ranges but are generally 0.020 (0.5mm) thick compared to 0.125" (3.175mm) solid extruded bar on the bar and plate intercooler. This increased strength comes at the expense of additional weight for the bar and plate intercooler. However the bar and plate intercooler in a given size or space will have more capacity and surface area. Efficiency of both (bar and plate & tube and fin) are about the same. So in summary which type of intercooler is the "best"? There's no such thing unfortunately in engineering. Everything is a compromise.

Picture below of my intercooler. My intercooler is 2-255 assembly part number with custom end tanks based on 2-203 core 3.5" (88.9mm) thick, 6.52" (165.6mm) height and 24" (609.6mm) wide. 640 cubic feet/min flow rate.

The construction is simply superb and I concur with Greg on the lovely quality of the TIG welds. Of course with quality comes higher cost. Paid RM2.5K for the intercooler at USD1 for every MYR3.2 exchange rate including shipping not including tax. Pokai!!! On top of that one inlet/outlet pipe flange is dented from the shipping hence also need to get that repaired :(

Compared to a conventional bar and plate intercooler, Spearco utilizes W.A.V.E. (Wide Area Vane Effectiveness) technology which is also used in the aerospace industry where space is a constrain and performance is critical. A Spearco W.A.V.E. core incorporates a complex network of highly effective vanes to regularly decrease temperatures by as much as 30 degrees Farenheit over conventional tube and fin cores. Spearco W.A.V.E. cores are also capable of withstanding pressure in excess of 200 psi. Spearco cores undergo a strict manufacturing process which require numerous cleansing steps to ensure a 100% braze throughout the entire core. Two close up pixs of the core.

Picture of my upside down intercooler with the Slowtra.

Here's how the intercooler looks like installed on Kojima's Dog III btw. Picture courtesy of MotoIQ.

Install to follow when my engine is ready not so very soon. Also undecided if I should use some trick W900 clamps/connectors from Adel Wiggins although this means I would have to chop off the inlet/outlet pipe flanges.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lightweight ICE - Finale

I was originally going to totally remove the Slowtra's ICE and have the Slowtra's chassis squeaks, engine, wind and tyre noise as my only form of in-car entertainment but got talked out of it by the good uncles @ Golden. They basically convinced me having some music or at least the radio would be less stressful in Penang's many traffic jams. I settled for a used Steg QMOSII 120.2X. Amp is no longer in production and the parent company has gone under but who cares? Having used its brother the 105.4X a couple years back I can vouch for its impressive sound quality. A brand new Alpine PDX-F4 will cost more than twice what I paid for the 120.2X but I doubt it will better the Steg on sound quality. Furthermore the 120.2X only weights about 2.65 kg which is about half the weight of the TRU Technology Billet B2110 amp I was using. The 120.2X has the following specs:
  • 2 X 120W @ 4 ohms
  • 2 X 200W @ 2 ohms
  • 1 X 400W @ 4 ohms bridged
  • Efficiency: > 60% (at 11V, 4 or 2 ohms)
  • Frequency response: 20Hz ~60Hz (-3dB)
  • THD: < 0.05% (4ohms, max power)
  • S/N Ratio: > 95dBA
  • Damping Factor: >500
Picture of the amp installed.

I have also changed the interconnects back to Supra Dual using the Neutrik Profi RCA connectors. Sound quality might be slightly inferior to the Audioquest Sidewinder I was using previously but the Neutriks ensure continued noise free connectivity in the long run. Only downside is the Neutrik Profis cost about as much as a 4.5m pair of Supra Duals. Am only on front 2-way speakers - the excellent Focal 165K2P while head unit continues to be the Blaupunkt Bremen MP74.

Guess this ends my ICE journey for the foreseeable future as I concentrate only and only on making the Slowtra lose its nick. :)

Farewell Gift

No I'm not going anywhere. It was Bro Mugil who gave me these when he moved to Germany.

These are not kids construction toys but genuine Earl's aluminium wrenches. The short handles allow usage in cramped areas and discourages over–tightening. Wrenches are colour coded for quick size identification. Minimizes damage to aluminum alloy AN fittings. You can look up the sizes here.

Kinda felt like Frodo being handed a coat of mithril by Bilbo. These wrenches are not cheap mind you!. Needless to say this left me speechless in gratitude. Thanks Bro! If you ever need these wrenches back just let me know.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Convocation Present

Sitting, all dressed up waiting to receive my scroll and with nowhere to go nearly bored me to death hence decided to check my email. Got this lovely piece of gem from Greg.

"This is a thing of beauty. The welds are incredible. The box it came in was just too large. I need to get a box next week that will protect it and remain in size guidelines."

Picture below tells a thousand words...

This and the convo really made my day. More to follow once I receive the Turbonetics Spearco intercooler...

Sunday, October 2, 2011


It's been a real struggle balancing work, personal life, my studies and of course playing with the Slowtra these past 3+ years but I'll have to say it was worth every blood, sweat and tear. I graduated with an MBA in Supply Chain Management from UUM on the 1st October 2011. In comparison, the last time something like this happened more than 15 years ago was a walk in the park as I had nothing else to worry about then except passing my exams. I have a very very long list of people to thank for all the support, encouragement, advice and even rubbing some sense into me including my wife, family, current and previous bosses, friends, brudders, colleagues, etc. Won't bore this blog with details but you know who you are :)

Having achieved by academic objective I'll have to say I am pretty satisfied and look forward to really utilizing what I have learned.  However there is still one more thing I tend to dream about a lot. A motorsport engineering degree/masters from the likes of Cranfield University. Unfortunately I suck real bad in Physics and getting older by the day doesn't turn this into a strength. At this point of time this shall remain a dream but who knows? Life is full of surprises and like a box of chocolates you'll never know what's gonna come along with the chocolates.....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ARP Head Studs Here!

2 to 3 weeks turned out to be more than a month but me correct ARP head studs have finally arrived. Oh and Pos Laju charged me RM150 to air freight ten incorrect head studs back to the States :( Next time just use regular registered snail mail. Picture of the correct head stud.

The QG18DE requires 10 (there are 12 head bolts but the other 2 is non-load bearing) M10 (Metric 10mm) head studs. Price came up to 470+ smackers not including shipping and any tax for 10 head studs + same quantity washers and 12-point nuts. The reason the price is so reasonable is because I took the closest equivalent off the shelf head stud versus commencing the design and manufacture of custom head studs which would have cost me thousands of hard earned ringgit. Many thousands.

Per Greg (my supplier and boss of GSpec Performance) my head studs are same as the KA24DE. Here's another piccie. If you think you're going to make big power (>500hp) perhaps you can drill the block and try 11mm or larger diameter head studs. I'll stick to 10mm since I'm not.

Picture below shows the stock head bolt versus the ARP head stud assembled with washer and nut. The ARP head stud is about 12mm longer but I've confirmed with Toby there will not be any clearance issues.

As you can see from the picture above the thread length is the same compared with the incorrect head stud. Am working on ARP main bolts now which I'm hoping no praying will not be as problematic. Also need to order some fastener assembly lubricant.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Finally after some ten months work has started on my engine. Engine is in mint condition. During a phone conference Chief Engineer Toby was like "WTF! Your engine looks like it has less than 1000km". Pictures below courtesy of Bro Jacko who went walk walk around snap pictures for me as I am more than 350km away from the work being done. Thanks Bro!

Engine oil is clean and all the bearings are in great condition with no scuff marks or scratches. Picture below of the crankshaft. You can also see the stock main bolts and main bearing caps in the picture.

Per Bro Jacko engine must be from a Klingon warbird as there were some Klingon marks on the rods. Rod is very thin.. Toby mentioned "funny pistons are dished but stock compression is still high" (9.5:1)

Cylinder head being put through the degreaser for cleaning. The intake and exhaust ports are small! Like the ones on a Mitsu 4G13/15. This is a 1.8 engine mind you. Compare it to an engine 10 years its senior the famed Mitsu 4G93 and you can see the glaring differences in port size. Apart from the lower compression this is one of the reason why the QG18 makes 128ps (claimed) compared to 133ps (also claimed) for the 4G93. If you need to ask the larger valve heads are the intake ports. Some cylinder head development work is definitely required!

First need to build up the bottom end starting with some nice forged pistons. There is very little metal between the cylinder bores hence the QG18 is practically maxed out in terms of cylinder bore diameter. Have settled for only a 0.5mm overbore which should suit my 81mm bore Ajusa headgasket nicely. My K1 rods should also hopefully be here in October. ARP head studs are on the way (finally sent last week) and design work has commenced on the main studs. Also need to source for some decent bearings preferably performance coated or WPC treated. More to follow.

Monday, September 5, 2011

BC Racing BR Series Coilover Suspension Installed

Like my brakes me coilover shocks were also installed @ Northern Garage. Before installing I took some measurements of my ride height with the Nismo S-Tune shocks. Measurements were taken from fender to ground as stated in the Nissan FSM. Fronts were 640mm while rears were not equal at 650mm left and 640mm right. In comparison the B15 ride height is stated in table below

Installation was relatively painless. Picture below of the front coilover compared to the Nismo S-Tune shock. Weight for both were surprisingly the same give or take a couple hundred grammes.

Picture of the installed front. Rears are 1 kilo lighter than the Nismo S-Tune (4kg vs 5kg).

Picture of the rears compared to the Nismo S-Tune.

The front damping adjustment knob.

Rear installed.

Took quite a while to find the rear damper turret top as it is in a place where the sun don't shine. At one point had nearly all the carpeting and seats removed to locate the turret top. Once done it was a synch to bolt the damping adjustment extenders to the coilover damping adjuster knob.

Had to make slot holes in the carpet trim to be able to reach the damping adjustment extender knob without having to remove the carpeting.

Ride height can be adjusted without removing the front wheels but you will have to remove the rears (to adjust ride height). I settled for a 645mm front ride height while rear was set at 640mm after alignment. This is about 1.5-2cm lower than stock with 17" rims with 215-45 series tyres. Picture of the Slowtra with this ride height. Will go lower for track days but going lower for daily driving is just looking for trouble unless you don't do multi-story car parks nor have an abundance of speed bumps at your work place.

Damping was initially set at 6 clicks from full soft and then 5 as the damping settled. I also tried 7 and 8 clicks and while the Slowtra handled better my old butt preferred 5 clicks for daily driving especially with the abundance of pot holes in Penang and mainland roads.  At 5 clicks I would say the BC Racing BR is feels about 15% stiffer compared to the Nismo S-Tune. Haven't tried full soft but wouldn't be surprised if it ends up feeling softer compared to the S-Tune. With the stiffer springs I am having going full soft might not dampen the spring sufficiently during high speed though I have yet to try. I would say the BC racing BR does very well in terms of vibration and harshness. Even at 5 clicks there is very little dive during hard braking compared to the Nismo S-Tune. Body roll is minimized. Damping is very controlled with little hint of harsheness despite much stiffer springs. The rebound action is pretty quick and the car doesn't bounce around when riding over road undulation/uneveness. Corner turn-in is faster and the Slowtra's agility is really transformed.

Noise unfortunately is problem due to the abundance of metal to metal contact especially with spherical bearing top mounts. The rears in particular is prone to squeaking especially if the coilover is not kept clean. I am also getting something akin to a scrape sound when going over steep speed bumps from the front right (driver's) side. A call to Daniel from BC Racing Malaysia on this problem came with the recommendation that I should use Autosol on the piston rod. Errr.. The sound does not seem to impact damping hence at this point I'm still observing for further if there are other issues.

I would recommend the BC Racing BR RH series if you are primarily concerned with handling but have no grouch with noise. There is always the ICE to help :) The external build quality is as good as it gets (even better than the Nismo S-Tune) and likewise the damping with little evidence of low speed harshness compared with lets say early gen Hot Bits coilovers I was using once upon a time on my first car. One can feel the difference even with one click change in damping adjustment. The only problem is the noise though going to rubber top mounts would lessen it. Just don't expect stock like no sound. Can't have your icing and cherry to go with the cake.