Monday, December 31, 2012

Oil Change Wrap - It's in the Details

As they say the work never stops but this post brings to a close 2012 and the 8 month plus build job which transformed the Slowtra into the Shark. Some of the work was completed before I drove the Shark home and some back home in Penang.

Toby got the ZeroOne oil catch tank powdercoated wrinkle black to match the intercooler piping. No more ricey logo :)

My AEM water/methanol injection filter has been installed.

Close up of the installed filter.

Turbosmart mechanical fuel pressure regulator gauge installed. Allows for easy troubleshooting should the fpr fail (touch wood) like what happened with the Tomei. I might have an electronic sensor and associated wiring installed in the future so my dash can display fuel pressure.

I replaced the bonnet switch as the rubber covering was torn and had come apart.

Picture of the new switch.

Install is simple DIY as the switch is secured via a Phillips bolt underneath the rubber cover.

The stock top radiator brackets were previously re-drilled to move the radiator further forward in the engine bay for more room with the stock cooling fans. Big mild steel washers were used to try and cover up the unused stock hole. Very unsightly (to me).

Moving the radiator further forward was also creating a problem as the front edge of the radiator cap would occasionally come into contact with the underside of the bonnet during engine movement. I did not measure the height of the Mishimoto and stock radiator but suspect the Mishi could be very slightly taller in height when compared to the stock radiator. Also suspect with the smaller profile of the Mishi radiator cap this might not be a problem but then again I don't dig the Mishi radiator cap.

With the SPAL fans giving more clearance this is no longer required so I took the opportunity to purchase a pair of new top radiator brackets from TCEAS. Cost me RM90+ for a pair after a measly 5% discount.

Left hand side (passenger) bracket installed. Used black anodized fasteners this time. Looks more sinister. Will not try my Cosworth radiator cap till I am absolutely sure there are no contact issues.

Also took the opportunity to replace the stock rubber coolant overflow hose with a bling blue Samco silicone item. Will do my windscreen wiper nozzle hoses when time permits. Need to look at heat shielding for the alternator.

Speaking of blue here's the only blue bolt in my engine bay. Blue for air mah! Where's the MAF sensor?

My bottom intercooler piping is very close to both the radiator and front lower engine mount with the occasional contact. No amount of adjustment is going to resolve this issue so I will just soldier on for the time being with a redesign/mod of the bottom intercooler piping on a list of things to upgrade for the future. This list is getting longer by the week. Sigh.. With the lower intercooler piping of for inspection I took the opportunity to wrap it with the unused downpipe wrap from my Design Engineering (DEI) Titanium Turbo Shield turbo blanket. I will try the DEI Reflect-A-Gold in the future in place of the downpipe wrap.

This is my last post of the year btw. Bye bye 2012...

Development Issues

With the amount of customization, one-offs and R&D going on with the Shark, issues are unavoidable. I already mentioned the COP failures and the Tomei fuel pressure regulator failure but there were two more to-date.

First my intercooler piping detached itself resulting in zero boost. But wait a minute? Am I not using trick Turbosmart Murray constant tension clamps? The detachment still happened so it's either the clamp was not sufficient tightened or it's a possible design issue :( Simple fix to just bolt everything back but if the piping detaches itself again a support bracket might be required to minimize movement of the piping. Picture below of the culprit.

Next my oil pressure sensor failed in a most interesting way. It failed by consistently showing a low reading of 0 to 0.6 bar max oil pressure causing the low oil pressure warning led on my AIM MXL Strada Icon  to go into a fit. The really bright led caused a heart attack as I initially thought my oil pump had failed. A test with a mechanical pump confirmed the issue to be with the oil pressure sensor. Toby promptly sent a replacement and Thank God it was only the sensor. Picture below of the faulty oil pressure sensor (top) and the replacement (bottom).

I reused the o-ring during installation of the replacement sensor but that failed too and was caught during post install testing. Don't save a couple ringgit and get a yourself brand new o-ring. Sharkie has now done 900++ km to-date according to the odo on my AIM MXL Strada Icon dash and I hope to get more consistent kilometres in to fully and thoroughly run-in the engine.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pedal Pad-igree

Here's a shot of the Shark's upgraded pedal pads.

As mentioned in previous posts the pads are Nissan Z33 for brake and clutch (part number: 46531-AB000) which are plug and play and Ultimate Pedals for accelerator which will require removal of your plastic accelerator pedal pad and some drilling. Countersunk bolts on the accelerator pedal pad are titanium.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Autronic SM4 Glam Shots

I had a chance recently to take some pictures of my Autronic SM4 full standalone ECU with latest 1.09 firmware. ECU casing is anodized aluminium. Pictures below.

Specs located here. It's amazing how compact the SM4 is considering its multitude of features and famed capability. Dimensions are 130mm x 124mm x 48mm (Length x Width x Height). Both the SM4 and stock ECU can comfortably fit on a magazine as shown in the picture below. Weight of the SM4 is only 0.5 kg.

Contact Toby Lee @ GT Auto if you're interested in the Autronic SM4. An ECU no matter how capable is only as good as the person doing the installing/mapping/tuning and this is where Toby makes the difference! For example, how many people will send my stock throttle body's IACV (Idle Air Control Valve) to Autronic Down Under for a better idle map to improve idle quality? Price is not cheap though in the low five figure range for a new unit. This ain't no E-Manage though..

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

All I Want for Christmas is a More Reliable COP

I have had the stock ignition coil over plugs (COPs) failed twice now. Once on the dyno and Toby got second hand replacements. The second time when I was back in Penang. Every time this happens the Shark sounded like a Subaru Impreza WRX wannabee minus the power as the engine was only running on three cylinders. Imagine not being able to exceed 2000rpm in fourth with a top speed of 60km/h :(

The QG18DE runs a distributorless ignition coil over plug setup which Nissan calls NDIS or Nissan Direct Ignition System. This means that the ignition signal is directly sent from the ECU to the inductive ignition COPs which are responsible for igniting/firing the spark plugs. The signal is carried via three very thin wires so don't bother about fatter spark plug cables because a direct ignition system does NOT USE ONE. The COPs that come with all MYDM Nissan Sentra N16s with Series 1 QG15, 16 and 18DEs are of the pencil coil type and are made by Hitachi. Pencil coils have a compact "head" because the coil's magnetic windings are all located in the tube that forms the length of the coil. This results in a neater sleeker looking cylinder head top.

Picture below of the stock Hitachi pencil coils installed.

To date I am not sure why the stock coils are failing on my engine. It could be due to one or a combination of two reasons:
1. A much hotter turbocharged engine/engine bay. Having the coil windings deep into a much hotter engine ain't gonna help and pencil coils are notoriously prone to failing because of this.
2. The ECU will know in advance when it wants the spark from the coil. The target is to start the dwell period (coil charging time) enough in advance of spark event for the primary coil current to reach full energy storage. On a stock engine with stock compression this is not a problem. However a turbocharged engine results in higher cylinder pressure and is more difficult to ignite. A common trick if you are running a programmable ECU like the Autronic SM4 is to increase the dwell period so that the coils have sufficient charge but I believe the dwell tolerance of the stock coils is crap. Increasing it just eventually burns out the windings in the coil creating a short in the circuit. The dwell period is reduced in my Autronic ECU to a very low 2 milliseconds. Anything less and there will not be sufficient charge to ignite the combustion mixture when Sharkie is on boost. Dwell is controlled via software for the SM4.

I believe Nissan also realized this and went for a conventional coil on top of plug type COP on later Series 1 QGs and eventually becoming standard on Series 2 QGs which never made it to Bolehland. The newer coils have the windings in the head versus the tube. Every centimetre farther away from the heat helps. Illustration extracted from Hitachi's website shows both type of ignition COPs.

Picture below of my stock and "newer" ignition coils. Stock COP is at the bottom. Both fits your QG.

Disregard the perspective from my camera making the stock coil appear bigger than the newer type coil. Here's a picture with the newer coil at the bottom if you don't believe me.

I am currently testing the "newer" type COPs which are from the engine I bought. The coils look like crap externally but the important parts inside are in good nick and seem to be holding out fine at this point. A brand new set of 4 newer type ignition coils will be around RM 1.1K-1.3K original Nissan without shipping depending if you purchase from Greg or my Jap supplier Nakahara-san. Picture of the newer type COPs installed. Kinda reminds me of the stock pencil coils being fed the same gamma ray as what turns Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk.

The original part number of the newer type COP - 22448-6N001. These are made by Hanshin which is a subsidary of Hitachi. 22448-6N000 is also used. Hitachi's excellent website lists compatible coils. Nissan also uses another oem supplier for JDM QG10 Bluebird Sylphys. The other supplier is Bosch. I am not sure if Bosch COPs fit as I have yet to get my hands on one.

22448-6N001 has been superseeded by 22448-6N015. Use this part number if you have the intention to order some new ones for testing. Below is the part number of all MYDM N16 COPs - 22448-4M500. It's like our N16s are caught in a time warp and have never progressed beyond first gen apart from looks :( I think this is a common Bolehland issue as another example would be the Toyota Camry for its engine and gearbox. If it makes you feel better 22448-6N015 is also used by the Latio/Tiida with HR15/16 engine if I'm not mistaken.

So what is my upgrade plan? I am going to persevere with the newer type stock COPs for the moment as all my upgrade options are expensive and I'm still undecided if to retain the stock inductive ignition or go CDI. More research required. Of course if the newer type COPs also fail prematurely (touch wood) it will then force the decision. Will see how things play out.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MotoIQ improves the RS5F70A

There is also a technical explanation on the 70A's strength. The excellent write up can be found here. Those ARP flywheel bolts sure does look familiar :)

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shark Season Starts in Penang

Yes, Sharkie's finally home. Picture of the Shark being given the final check over.  Car behind and on the hydraulic lift is Bro Mugil's legendary SP.

A quick shot just prior to leaving its home for the last eight months. The three monsters in the background are from left - The Lemon, Toby's TA R35 and the famed GT Auto Evo III drag car which if I understand correctly now has a new owner.

The drive home was fairly uneventful. Brakes are squealing like mad most of the time now especially at low speeds with the Hard Brakes titanium brake backing plate heat shield shims installed. Apologize to all the motorist I frightened when slowing down at traffic lights. Need to get that checked. Clutch also likes to make "Oot Oot!" noises when I slip it driving very slowly or moving from standstill in reverse or first gear but otherwise works like a charm with a very livable pedal feel just a tad stiffer than stock believe it or not. First gear is boost limited via the ecu to 1 bar but Sharkie happily wheelspins at will and freaked wife heck even myself out in 2-3rd gear. Even 4th is damn scary with an abundance of torque steer and a sense of the scenery moving faster than you can react. Hit 180km/h without even trying in fifth till my automatic speed limiter sorry wife instantly cut-in to reduce speed. Super effective!

Unfortunately something akin to Murphy's Law then decided to strike and Sharkie's stay in Penang has so far been anything but uneventful. More to follow...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teaser Shots

Jack and Mugil were at GT Auto and made my day sending me some teasing pixs of the Shark. Here's a couple..

Cusco Smart Cross Wrench

Those of you with aftermarket rims and lug nuts will know that the stock tyre removal wrench that comes with the Sentra is useless and won't fit aftermarket lug nuts such as my Rays. One will have to buy an aftermarket wrench to accomodate the new lug nuts else sit by the side of the road and call your (pls insert appropriate) towing service/friend/spouse/anyone when you have a puncture. From their experiene competing in rallies, Cusco has come up with an innovative lug nut removal tool called the Smart Cross Wrench and boy does it work wonders. The cross wrench actually comes in one piece so that it can be conveniently stored anywhere in the car and will fit 12 hex 17mm, 19mm or 21mm sized lug nuts. Weight is only 0.9kg. I ordered my Cusco Smart Cross Wrench from IRS Japan which took just a couple days to arrive in a nice tube shipping packaging.

Picture below of the Smart Cross Wrench in its own pack. There is only one variant but here's the part number anyway - 00B 060 A. Available in any colour so long it's Cusco blue.

Removing the wrench from its packaging also reveal a freebie Cusco sticker. Cusco claims the cross wrench is 100% made in Japan.

Disassemble the cross wrench by sliding the inner chromed shaft from it's blue coloured outer sleeve. Cusco claims material used is chromed molybdenum (steel I presumed). Dimensions are 400mm X 400mm. Torque capability is 450 Nm.

Below's a picture of the cross wrench with my Rays Engineering Duralumin lug nut which uses the 19mm socket. The chromed shaft should go all the way through the blue shaft to form a "+" instead of a "T" in the picture for more leverage. More details on using the cross wrench can be found @ Cusco's website on the Smart Cross Wrench. You can even watch a video of it courtesy of here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Grooming Job

The Shark after a polish and grooming job. Thanks Bro Jack for the c*ck tease! Needs less ride heigh, wider stance and more camber. Hellaflush Yo! Just kidding :)

It's also been a long while since I did some detailing DIY and some of my Autoglym stuff have run out necessitating the purchase of a new batch.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thermal Management Part 1

As mentioned previously a turbocharged engine produces lots and lots of heat. Managing this heat is critical if the engine and its ancillaries are to produce the expected power yet last a long time. I have implemented several thermal management/control solutions on the Shark. Let's begin with a turbo blanket. The turbo blanket is basically a cover for the turbine section of the snail and provide the means of reducing turbo lag and more importantly as a heat barrier/shield to protect engine components and other parts in close proximity to the turbo. I settled for a Design Engineering (DEI) Titanium Turbo Shield turbo blanket.

DEI states that the Titanium Turbo Shield is made from pulverized volcanic rock then strained into a fiber material, Titanium Turbo Shields can withstand direct heat up to 1800 F (982.222 Celsius) and 2500 F (1371.111 Celsius) radiant heat. This means retaining more heat in the turbine and less damaging underhood (underbonnet) heat. The result is a cooler air intake temperature and a boost in horsepower! DEI also claims that Titanium Turbo Shield  is stronger and more durable than other turbo blankets or shields, Titanium Turbo Shields include a hi-temp rated silica insulation padding under the tight outer layer for extra added protection against extreme turbo-generated heat.

Due to the size of the EFR6258 I was initially worried bout fitment issues as the EFR is larger than many a Garrett T25/T28 sized snail. Luckily the fit was perfect. The DEI Titanium Turbo Shield turbo blanket T25/T28 application is the same size anyway as the larger T3 application with the only difference being the flange area. You can get the dimensions here. Picture below of my Turbo Shield Kit, part number #010149.

The difference between the kit and Turbo Shield only is the kit includes a downpipe wrap (in the middle of the turbo blanket in the picture above) made of similar material. I should have settled for just the Turbo Shield/blanket as my downpipe is already ceramic coated. Anybody interested in the downpipe wrap? Picture below of the turbo + turbo blanket installed.

Closer up. Pardon the quality. Space is a premium down there and a dark work shop does not help. Dunno why but it is pretty dark and always rains whenever I visit GT Auto. As you can see the turbine is quite near the SPAL radiator fan hence any form of heat shielding helps. Pictures of snails glowing red hot under hard use are not exaggerated.

I was initially interested in an inlet manifold thermal spacer/gasket kit from Outlaw Engineering in the US. However it looks like Outlaw went out of biz while I procrastinated. Luckily MotoIQ led me to Sikky Manufacturing with a similar product called the Thermalnator. Thermalnator is a high temperature shielding gasket which replaces the stock intake manifold gasket. The inlet manifold thermal spacer/gasket's cooling properties reduce heat by stopping metal to metal contact between the intake manifold and the engine block thus reducing the heat of the air entering your engine and robbing horsepower. Sikky claims that this will enable the engine to make up to 5% more power. The basic formula for this is for every 5 degrees F increase in intake air temp, air density is reduced by 1%. The denser the air is, the better the gain in horsepower. Average testing has shown an 25 degrees F drop and up to 35 degrees in some applications. And most importantly Sikky has a Thermalnator application for the QG16/18. Part number of the QG18 Thermalnator is TN_037. Price is also pretty decent at US$ 49.95 not including shipping. Picture below of the QG16/18DE Thermalnator inlet manifold thermal gasket and diagram fro service manual showing where it fits.

I would like to thank Bro Peter for helping to transport the Thermalnator back from the States to Bolehland. Thanks Bro for all the effort and patience in locating the gasket despite the hotel misplacing it. Toby has installed the Thermalnator but I've yet to take any piccies. Going to be super tough for a decent pix as the inlet manifold and gasket is at a place in the engine bay where the sun don't shine.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Dyno Charts

Here are my official dyno charts. Toby managed to squeeze another couple horsies for the final run. All power quoted is at the wheels. You can do the engine power translation assuming about 10-15% transmission loss.

1.3 bar boost pressure with methanol/water injection activated. Fuel is pumped 97 RON.

Without. The AEM methanol/water injection is adding approximately 11ps at the wheels.

"Only" 1 bar boost.

As mentioned previously the stock COP ignition is fully maxed out at only 1.3 bar of boost. Spark plugs are Denso Iridium Power IK22 which is equivalent to NGK heat range 7 or 1 heat range colder than what I was using on my stock engine. My original goal was 1.5 bar boost but since I already hit my horsepower goals with "only" 1.3 bar this will more than suffice at this point :) Plan is to upgrade the ignition to CDI with the Autronic 500R being a strong contender since I'm on the Autronic SM4 ECU. Other options include M&W or Sparktech.

Oil Change Progress Part 8

There has been progress made but due to personal issues (me mom's health has taken a down turn) I have barely had time to follow up let alone visit GT Auto. Finally did so last weekend and here's a brief summary on the progress and some set backs which have or are in process of being rectified.

The Recaro SR4 seats have been fitted. Car spent a couple of weeks at the installer and came back for the worse cosmetically. There were approximately 10 different scratches/marks all round the Shark. The installer blamed Toby/GT Auto. My car has been @ GT Auto for more than 6 months at this point and never noticed any scratches whenever I visited to check out the Shark so I will not comment further. The installer volunteered to fix the scratches for me but would you go back? I said I will fix the scratches myself and send them the bill but they refused. Despite getting attractive pricing/discount on my seats I will not recommend the Recaro MY distributor/installer to anyone. If you need to get some Recaros have it installed elsewhere please.

This means the Shark had to have its second paint job in two months and was just out of the oven when I arrived @ the paint shop to take a look at it. All the badging and Mine's wing were removed for the paint job and will have to be reapplied/reinstalled once the polish work is done. After 5 years I have also decided to have my Mine's Multi Select rear wing re-clearcoated. The clear coat was starting to fade especially on the end plates.

I asked the boss - Ms Lim BB of Mega Spray (shop is practically next door to GT Auto) how much it would cost to paint all of the Shark together with Glasurit clear coat and was quoted 3K+. Am solely tempted to do this at a latter date. Took some opportunities to snap some pictures but please pardon the quality as it was pretty dark in the shop with a major thunderstorm impending. I also barely had any space to take better angle pictures.

Me dash. No gear indicator problem has been resolved.

Closer up. The Beng blue backlighting can be independently turned on and off. Sorry the flash mucked everything up. 

The dash has been configured on the Shark to display the following:
  • Vehicle speed
  • RPM
  • Gear indicator
  • Turbo boost pressure
  • AFR
  • Oil pressure
  • Water temperature
  • Odometer/mileage
  • Trip
  • Battery voltage
  • Clock
The warning lights on both sides are self explanatory. The low fuel warning light is quite erratic and I might fit a proper fuel gauge later. Some hiccups with the idling were also resolved by sending my stock throttle body complete with IACV to Autronic in OZ whom then responded with a perfected idle map.

The Recaro SR4s. Too much flash from my old camera.

Better but still not quite alright. No budget for SLR la :(

Took a pix also of the driver side but it got screwed up by noise. Better pixs later I guess. The SR4 is basically the same seat fitted to the JDM Honda Integra Type R DC5. Fabric material is Velour Black with JDM red stiching at the sides.

Picture below of the engine bay. Mishimoto radiator + two 12" SPAL fans have been fitted. Will do a write up on the SPAL fans later. There is lots more clearance between the snail and radiator/fans now. Me old battery also decided to retire after many months of lack of usage and got replaced with a Panasonic equivalent. Maintenance free of course. Upgraded Kelford cams have not been installed and will go in next year when I upgrade the ignition. What else is new from the picture? Hint, it's something blue.

Guess it yet? Here's the story. The Shark threw a fit at its mistreatment and refused to start when it was back @ GT Auto after the seat installation. Apparently it already refused to start at the seat installer's but no one told Toby. After some tedious of troubleshooting Toby found out the culprit to be my Tomei Type S fuel pressure regulator. Apparently the diaphgram failed. The Tomei has done < 150km mileage at this point hence Toby is suspecting a fake. More to follow on this. Troubleshooting also took longer because I initially wanted to save some moolah and did not fit a fuel pressure sensor hence me AIM MXL Strada Icon dash could not display fuel pressure. Bummer! Learned my lesson and I've asked Toby to fit a fuel pressure sensor. I have replaced the fpr with a Turbosmart FPR-800. Close up picture of the Turbosmart fpr. The ghetto fpr mount bracket is making itchy for a carbon or aluminium upgrade.

The Turbosmart FPR-800 gets its name because it can flow enough fuel to support 800hp. Base pressure adjustment range is 30-70 PSI. Part number of the blue is TS-0401-1001. Black (1002) is also available which I wanted but Toby says too much black in my engine bay :P

Just a few ends to tie up then it's homecoming time. I know I've mentioned this previously before and I've learned hence won't commit to a date but it will be soon. Can't believe it's been 8 months!