Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Front Windscreen and 3M Crystalline Tint

Sharkie's front windscreen has accumulated it's fair share of stone chips over the years as a result of contact with small pebbles while driving at speed especially on the Penang Bridge. Two of the stone chips were large enough to cause concern hence I finally decided to replace the windscreen. Pix below of one such chip which also caused a small crack of a couple mm. Might look like nothing now but from experience the crack will grow.

The windscreen replacement job was done @ TCEAS Bandar Perda. A brand new original Nissan front windscreen was grafted onto Sharkie after removing the old windscreen. Replacement job took bout slightly more than half a day. To allow the windscreen adhesive/sealant to fully dry do not wash the car/windscreen or drive in a heavy downpour at least 24 hours after the install. I elected not to drive Sharkie for 72 hours just to be sure given the almost daily evening showers hitting Penang recently.

Cost came up to bout RM 1123ish including install labour and top seal. Many of you will ask what about windscreen insurance? Well I did not buy any. Considering the fact the insurance is about 200++ per year and it took me 7 years to replace the windscreen we are about break even. I will definitely be insuring my new windscreen though especially with the expensive new tint. And yes, you can even insure the tint nowadays @ extra cost to the premium of course.

The tint I settled for is the 3M Crystalline having first used this on my wife's Civic. Cost came up to a massive MYR 2.5K after discount for me wife's Civic but 3M offered me a promo deal of 40% discount for the second car so Sharkie's tint was done for only 1.6K. Those of you who know me will know I use au naturale tint (i.e. NO tint for SP and Slowtra/Sharkie) so why the change now? I initially though the UV coated glass on MYDM N16 Slowtras would be sufficient but can regretfully tell you from experience that our strong MY sun will over the years damage and harden the leather upholstery and discolour the stitching without a decent tint. With the new upholstery I'm not taking any chances.

The Crystalline tint uses 3M's proprietary multi-layer technology. The working middle substrate of the film consists of over 200 vacuum deposited nano particle individual layers that block damaging UV and heat inducing IR light while letting visible light you will need to see pass through. The process used to create Crystalline was developed from 3M's aerospace division for IR (Infra-Red) sensors on satellites. This heat blocking technology means the car's air conditioning system works less resulting in improved fuel efficiency. A less taxed aircond system also means less strain on the car's cooling system which is important on a turbocharged car like Sharkie. The tint's top layer is a special scratch resistant layer while the bottom layer is an adhesive layer. The tint is non-metallic which means it will not interfere with h/phones and GPS. Your Touch 'n Go Smart Tag unfortunately will not work. 3M claims the non-metallic tint will not internally oxidise or fade purple ensuring a longer life when compared to lesser tints.

I decided to use the almost clear Crystalline 70 for the front windscreen and Crystalline 60 everywhere else. Don't want to attract unwanted attention from JPJ. The number denotes the amount of visible light transmitted through the tint or in simple English the lesser the number the darker the tint. Specs below of the various Crystalline films.

Picture below of the Crystalline tint. (70 methinks but can't really remember). Sorry.

The tint was professionally installed by Shine Guard @ Auto City, Juru, Penang. Apat from Auto City, Shine Guard branches are also located at Jelutong on the island and Jalan Song Ban Kheng BM on the mainland.

The install took about 4 hours but bear in mind there was no old tint to remove from the Shark. Picture of the Shark post installation.

Shine Guard took the trouble to place these stickers on all my power window switches and also the rear demister button.

The 3M logo watermarks are everywhere to indicate you are using the original 3M tint and not a counterfeit. Beware of fakes. I am told these are in abundance. 3M issues a warranty card and serial number for every install.

The Crystalline works pretty well and cools pretty fast the moment you get into the car and drive with the aircond turned on after a hot day. Of course don't expect miracles and a cool car especially after your car is parked under a hot sun the entire day. The front windscreen tint developed a small bubble post install and the entire windscreen tint was replaced no questions asked. Excellent service!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Leather Fetish

Had my rear seats re-trimmed in black leather with red side stitching to match the front Recaros.

The leather upholstery was done by the good guys over at DK Schweizer whom also previously did my seat leather upholstery. As usual the black is blacker cept my ancient Olympus camera had trouble resolving the actual colour. Close up pictures.

I also had the doors trimmed. 

Likewise the front centre arm rest cover.

Damage was RM 1.7K for the rear seats, door trim and front centre arm rest cover. DK was giving me excuses about the gearshift boot so I bit the bullet and ordered one in top grade Nappa leather from Redline Accessories USA. Ordered the front centre arm rest also in Nappa leather to match. Cost for the shift boot and front centre arm rest cover was USD122.82 including shipping. Picture below. 

Pictures to follow once I install. 

Monday, April 8, 2013


AIM is about to launch the all new MXL2 dash logger.

Availability is stated as early 2013 but it is now April and AIM's corporate website has still not been updated with full details and cost of the new dash. Price is not going to be cheap as this is a full dash logger with everything a track day kaki will ever need and more rather than just the dash itself. I really dig the new display and the MXL2's capability to display the track and your location but you will need to get the GPS expansion module which is sold separately. Going by how much the GPS module costs for my MXL Strada Icon expect to pay in the region of 1XXX or slightly below.

I do not know if and when AIM is planning to launch just the dash. You can read up more on the AIM MXL2 at:

Meanwhile I will start dreaming and saving.. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tyre (Replacement) Time

At anything over half throttle on second gear the Shark will wheelspin at will. The ECU is tightly reigning in boost in first else first the Shark will just be limited to 4 usable gears (2nd to 5th). The problem here are my aging Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT tyres. Remember this sat unused for more than 9 months during the build. The rubber in your tyres degrade, hardened and loses grip with age due to a process know as vulcanisation. Also please don't forget the Shark makes 3+ times more power than the Slowtra.

With this in mind I decided on Extreme Performance tyres which offer the ultimate dry road grip and holding ability but at the expense of more wear due to the softer grippier rubber compound, increased road noise and less wet weather performance. Such tyres typically combine big-block tread designs with aggressive tread compounds and reinforced internal constructions to emphasise dry road response, traction, handling and high speed capabilities for serious driving enthusiasts and are the limit to what a sane driver would use on a road for daily driving. Extreme Performance tyres are one rung up on the Max Performance tyre category which the Sport Maxx TT and other similar class tyres (e.g. Michelin Pilot Sport 3 and Goodyear Asymmetric 2) belongs. I guess so long as you don't do a touge or max speed run during Penang/Bolehland's typical torrential downpours you should be ok. I say that with experience having used the AD07 on the SP. The accelerated wear however would be a problem in regards to the $ in your pocket so can't afford a tyre that is too expensive. Most Extreme Performance tyres have a UTQG thread-wear rating between 140-180. This is much less than the 220-280 tread-wear rating of Max Performance tyres. Such tyres typically last between 15K to 25K km max. Also with me being in Penang, the options available would be a big big problem. My options would be very limited and consists of:

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11. The cost of the tyre is astronomical @ Malaysian Ringgit 1200 per piece for a 215-45 17". Yes, per piece. This means a set of 4 will cost RM 4800 for tyres lasting less than 25K km. Sorry but I don't print money. UTQG is 180 AA. The RE-11 has also been replaced by the recently launched RE-11A. I don't even want to know how much these cost.

Hankook Ventus R-S3 Z222. Not brought in by MY Hankook distributor so one would have to source from local speedshops like Pentagon Racing. Also not available in the size I want with closest being 225-45 17". To fit such a tyre would require a 10mm spacer as I am already hitting the inner wheel arch at max lock with a 215mm wide tyre. A 10mm spacer also means I would need to buy an extended lug. Since I am on a tight budget (need to la with the Shark's build exceeding my original budget two fold) these are probably my last option if nothing else is avail. Oh, and my dash will also need to be re-calibrated for 225-45 17" due to the larger rolling diameter. UTQG is 140 AA. Cost should be in the RM 600++ range assuming I can find the size I want. Flames on the thread are capable of reducing your track/drag times and increasing your top speed :)

Federal 595RS-R. I talked about this previously. Heard these are about to be replaced soon. Am apprehensive on this tyre due to the much talked thread surface crack/split problem. Google the problem if you want to find out more.

Toyo Proxes R1R. Price ranging from RM 520 to RM580+ so shop around. These tyres have been in the market for around quite some time. Thread-wear is your typical 140 AA. Interestingly the R1R tires are engineered to elevate performance in dry and wet conditions. Some people use these as track wet weather tyres. Compound is apparently super soft but these are the cheapest extreme performance tyres I can find locally.

Advan Neova AD08. This was initially my number one choice but the price has increased massively compared to the previous gen AD07. I was quoted RM800 per tyre after discount by YHI SA. Also very difficult to find locally and will need to wait 1-2 months. UTQG thread-wear is 180 AA which like the Bridgestone is what most Japs usually state for their Extreme Performance tyres. Recently found out that these are supposed to be replaced by the just launched (in early March) AD08R which is why there is no stock for the AD08.

Kumho Ecsta XS KU36. Gave up trying to find this in Penang. UTQG is competitive with its competitors at 180 AA.

Grassroots Motorsport mag did an excellent comparison review of these tyres. You can read it up more here:

I've made my decision and ordered the Toyo Proxes R1R. It's comparatively "reasonably priced" for me to be able to test and see. Stay tuned.