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.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rapfix II Steering Quick Release and Short Boss + Momo Model 78 Steering Wheel Installed

I know I know.. Nine months is sufficient to make a baby but that's the length of time between me getting the Works Bell Rapfix II steering quick release and short boss, determining the steering wheel model and fitting the whole hog. Having a long Raya hol helped else it would have taken even longer.

Having contemplated the likes of OMP, Reverie and Sparco I still ended up with the one I am most intimate with - the Momo Model 78. For those that have been following me since the SP days will recall I used the Model 78 on the SP. The key feature that made my decision was the grip shape and contour on the Model 78. Oh and cost too with the Momo coming it at ~760 smackers from Demon Tweeks compared to (shudder) more than RM 2K for a Reverie carbon steering wheel not including shipping costs. Thanks Bro Mugil.

Compared to the airbagless SP installation took quite a bit longer at more than two hours. The stock steering wheel airbag module is held in place by two Torx bolts and an electrical connector for the horn and airbag activation. Works Bell supply the original Torx wrenches to remove the airbag. Picture of the airbag removed. Be very very careful when removing the airbag. Don't want any explosion...

Picture of the back (reverse) side of the airbag module.

After removing the airbag module, loosen one nut to remove the stock steering wheel. The stock steering wheel + airbag weights a ton compared to the Works Bell and Momo.

Start installing the short boss and quick release. Picture below of both installed. The dangling thing is the horn. Works Bell also supply the resistor circuit to ensure the airbag warning light does not lit up permanently. These guys have thought of everything and more to make the installation as seamless as possible.

I used the horn grounding plate from Works Bell rather than the one supplied by Momo. Momo has changed the horn button since I used the same steering wheel more than five years going to a smaller horn button that rest on the boss kit/quick release rather than on the steering wheel. I honestly prefer the "old" Momo Corse horn button. Picture of everything test fitted.

The Model 78 is bolted to the female half of the Rapfix II quick release via six titanium countersunk bolts from Baller Bolts. Picture of the steering wheel.

Close up. Ti bolts also available in blue, green, gold, purple and burned finished if you desire more bling.

Reverse side showing the connectors.

Lotsa fakes around so make sure you get from a reputable Momo dealer

Everything fitted.

Feeling is so much more precise than the loose feeling stock steering wheel although steering effort is slightly increased. Reach to the steering column stalks is slightly more than stock though manageable for me. Ladies might beg to differ though. Definitely less than on the SP with the much longer Momo boss.

And now for the classic trick race car wannabee piccie. Sorry couldn't help it :)

Seats are next as the Slowtra reverts from a luxurious leather interior back to plain old cloth. Right now the Slowtra can attack corners pretty well cept there is nothing to hold me in place. Try my best not to take another nine months.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Rolling Stuff

Got new front wheel hubs. Ordered from Nissan USA but made in Sushi land. Part number is 40202-4M405. Pretty fab casting quality.

Rears later. Also got NSK wheel bearings. Figured I might as well change the wheel bearings when I press out the original 85K km hubs and wheel bearings. You can order the wheel bearings from Bro Nick over at the MY N16 forum. If you need his contact lemme know.

I also ordered aluminium alloy rim centre hub rings to replace the stock plastic ones. These are from Ultralite Wheels in the UK and are forged 7075 aluminium alloy. All N16s and B15s use a 56.1mm hub centre. My Work Emotion CR Kai is 73.3mm as can be seen below.

The Ultralite centre hub ring that fits is the one from 66.1mm to 73mm. Part number is self explanatory - YD-HR73661A.  Comes in a pack of four. Ultralite does not sell direct but you can easily get these from eBay. Available in any colour so long as black. Picture of the centre hub rings. Looks loads better than stock sunkist orange if you ask me.

Am still undecided whether to go for a slightly wider front track utilizing 10mm wheel spacers and longer wheel lugs. H&R make pretty decent ones that are a direct fit and with the lug pattern I want (4 lug 114.3 PCD).