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...