Monday, August 11, 2014

Bride RO Super Seat Rails - Part 1

The quality of the local made H Performance seat rails for the Recaro SR4s leaves a lot to be desired. Apart from the crappy weld quality and stiff sliding action of the slider rail, the seat belt buckles would occasionally "disappear" rotating backward and downward away from sight. This would often invite the occasional heavy metal music especially if the front passenger is my dear wifey.

Original Recaro Germany seat rails cost a bomb (2K upwards for a pair of seat rails) so I researched for lower cost but similar quality alternatives. Short of repeating myself to death, one knows that aftermarket seat rails for the Slowtra are not exactly in abundance and that such research typically ends up in a dead end. However for once the Gods of Car Mods were smiling on me and the research led me to conclude that a N16/B15/G10 uses the same seat rails as a JDM B15 Sunny and when it comes to Jap cars, Bride is the most popular and well known brand for seats and seat rails. And Bride does have a seat rail application for the B15. Part number of the Bride seat rail for JDM B15 Sunny.

As can be seen above, Bride has multiple seat rail models but these are meant for their varied range of seats or side (vs bottom mount) for full bucket single piece competition seats. Only the RO and MO models fit my Recaro SR4. I decided to bite the bullet and order the RO as this can later be upgraded to MO type by buying and installing the optional MO adapter plates on the RO seat rail. I was initially going to order from RHD Japan but pondered and procrastinated on this for ages. More than a year in fact as I was very concerned about the taxation costs. In the end Bro Eu Jin came to my rescue and sourced the RO seat rails for me. Bro Eu Jin is the boss of JDM Auto Link and he can get any JDM part you want so look the man up!

Price of a pair of seat rails came up to more than 1.5K MYR direct to your doorstep. Price will differ according to the exchange rate of the Japanese Yen vs Malaysian Ringgit so best to check with Eu Jin. Lead time between placement of order and deposit and arrival at one's doorstep is between 1 to 3 months depending on the shipment schedule between Japan to Bolehland. If you want fast you can always order from RHD Japan and airfreight to your house but good luck in between. Picture of the shipping packaging.

Part number and application. Looks like the Y11 Wingroad also use the same seat rail.

The seat rail. Also included is a detailed and idiot proof installation "manual" complete with drawings. No knowledge of Japanese is required to know what goes or fits where. Also included is a Bride seat rail specific anchor bolt for the seat belt buckle. Only one anchor bolt is supplied per seat rail so don't lose it.

One of several identification labels.

Be careful of fakes when it comes to Bride seats or seat rails. I have seen many. A seat and it's seat rail is a major critical safety component of any car so you decide if you wanna mess around with that. Original Bride seat rails uses slider rails sourced from Faurecia in France. Faurecia oems for PSA (Peugeot and Citroen), Nissan, GM and Volkswagen so they definitely know what they are doing. The upper rail metal thickness is 2mm while the lower rail is 2.3mm. Beefy!

I also decided to replace all the seat rail fasteners with titanium equivalents. You will need six M6 X 25mm bolts to secure each SR type seat to its seat rail meaning 12 total unless you only have one seat. Likewise four M10 X 30mm bolt secures each seat + seat rail to the car (8 total). Don't forget the washers.

Took me forever to find a M10 X 25mm diameter washer for the bolt securing seat rail to car. Standard diameter for a M10 titanium washer is 20mm. 20mm diameter might have insufficient surface clamp area as the bolt hole on the seat rail is way larger than 10mm to allow for some adjustment. In the end the closest I could find is a 30mm diameter washer from Allied Titanium in the US.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I install the seat rails.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Panasonic Maintenance Free Car Batteries

When one thinks of Panasonic, electronic/electrical home appliances comes to mind and not car batteries. Well Pana makes not one but two different grades of maintenance free car batteries for N16s and most other popular cars sold in Bolehland. In fact, the Panasonic is the recommended oem replacement battery for MYDM Hondas.

I first used the Standard Grade Pana in 2012 while Slowtra was being transformed into Sharkie. It has a white casing and black top. Picture below on Sharkie sometime in 2013. Just look at the size of the battery in comparison with the K&N air filter.

IMHO the battery size is the worse design on a N16 apart from the wheelbarrow rear suspension. Like most Jap cars, Nissan decided to put such a heavy component on the front corner mostly for convenience as having the batt in the boot/trunk takes up free space. Unfortunately, while most C segment cars of the same period use a NS60 sized batt, Nissan decided on a bigger and heavier NS70. So much for mass centralization and better weight distribution for better handling. Family oriented sedan mah! Picture below of a smaller Pana batt in my wife's Civic. Older gen Civics have the batt next to the firewall which is even better.

Weight below of the Pana Std Spec maintenance free battery. You didn't see wrong. That's 17 kilos (not pounds) of flab in a place where you would least want it to be :(

I recently decided to replace the Std Spec Pana I was using with a High Spec model. The whole batt is black in colour to differentiate it from the standard spec. Panasonic uses Silver Alloy technology to strengthen the battery against high temperature which is a plus as Sharkie's engine bay is way hotter than any regular N16. The reserve capacity of the High Spec is also longer @ 75Ah vs 65 Ah for the Standard Spec. Having said this the Standard Spec Pana lasted me a good two years or so and had not yet failed when I replaced it. Picture below of the High Spec in its packaging.

I did weight the High Spec but was totally demotivated to take a pix at this point as it weighs 1kg more than the Standard Spec (~18kg). Super Sigh!!! :( Cost is also more than the Std Spec @ MYR 350 for the High Spec vs 260 for the Std Spec. Picture below of the High Spec installed.

My long term upgrade plan is to relocated the batt to the boot and/or try a dry cell Lithium Ion Phosphate battery. The only problems are finding a suitable CE to undertake this (relocation) work and the massive cost of a lithium ion batt. RM3 to 6K+ anyone?