Archive for the ‘Exterior’ Category

Posting in this blog about my misfortune with finding a K’s aero bumper was the best thing I ever did.  I have received an onslaught of help/support from people trying to locate me a bumper and/or trying to sell me theirs.  Today I received a PM from the member kouki-gymkhana over on Zilvia.  Here is his PM in short:


I know you are in the market for an s13 aero bumper that meets your discriminating taste. I have a pretty mint bumper that I want to let go and I wanted to give you the first crack at it before I make a general for sale posting.
Why am I offering it you first? Well, I appreciate how active you are with how-to posts and your willingness to help other members out on this forum and on NICO. I would also take great satisfaction in knowing that this bumper helped to complete your awesome coupe build!


So that’s great stuff right there!  I really appreciate him helping me out.  Not to mention that it’s the cheapest aero bumper I have seen for sale regardless of condition.  This thing is pretty damn mint, along with the vent grills etc.  No warping whatsoever… which is common with these bumpers.  So obviously I bought it.  Hell, it’s not even cut out for a front mount yet…. which is bonus since I will be doing a V8 swap and not needing an intercooler.

I’m going to start out by saying that I have been trying to get a K’s aero bumper for almost 4 years now. The price seems to be going up… so it’s usually around $700 plus another $150 to ship it with UPS or Fedex. Even if I was willing to pay $850 shipped, almost every one of these bumpers that pop up for sale are located in California. And for some reason Cali guys refuse to ship. Then by chance if I do find one that the seller is willing to ship, I’m usually too late and it’s already sold.

So last week Kyle sent me two aero bumpers that went up for sale on Zilvia. BUT, they would not ship… go figure! I posted on the one thread where the guy was asking a fair price and it happened to be in perfect condition. I told him that shipping with Greyhound is the way to go. It’s only $60 for something that size and it will actually arrive quicker than with any of the standard shipping methods. He replied back that he really wanted me to have the bumper and he would drive around to some local body shops and try to find a box to ship it in. Very cool, finally someone willing to ship. The next day he PM’s me and says he drove around for 3 hours but ultimately found a box. He told me if I wanted it, to Paypal him the money, and he would get it packed up and ready to ship. Awesome, I instantly pay him and he replies back that he was excited that I was the one buying it and was really looking forward to see how it would look on my car. So now I’m totally pumped that I found an aero bumper at a really good price, really cheap shipping costs and a seller that was actually willing to ship the damn thing. FINALLY!!!!! But hold up… I get an email 6 hours later from Paypal stating that the seller has refunded my money. WTF!?!?! So I go and check my PM’s and sure enough I have a new one from the seller. The seller tells me he should of gave it more thought, but now he doesn’t want to sell the bumper. Are you kidding me? So the elusive aero bumper stays elusive for at least another day. I just don’t think I was meant to have this bumper.

Went out the other evening on what I would call an impromptu photo shoot. I called up Kyle with the intentions of him going along, but me doing the shooting with my camera. He scopes out the spot, then of course grabs the camera out of my hand and just does it himself. So I’m not surprised, nor was I going to make him hand the camera back over. Our buddy Jeff and I got to be the human flash stands as Kyle went to work doing his thing. Unfortunately, Kyle said he must of had crack hands, because most of them were out of focus as he was reviewing them after download… so most of them got scrapped. A few were acceptable though. You can also check out some of his wonderful work on various vehicles on his Flickr: Kyle M. Smith’s Flickr

I figured I better post up some pics of the car and wheel fitment before an angry mob comes and burns my house down. I am always hesitant to post pics because I’m used to the quality of what Kyle can do. Taking build pics and my fabrication at work is no big deal, because well….. they are build pics. But these are like “finished” pics. They deserve someone taking them that is better than me. However, it is just a blog. So here are some average pics after I washed it this evening. I must also say that it is very satisfying washing it for the first time after all of the hard work…… although it doesn’t really look like I did much.

A simple side shot to show stance. I need to go a smidge lower in front…. I’m talking like 1/4″ or so.

Rear fitment…. I likey! No stretched crap here. 18×11 +30 with a 285/30

Front fitment….. overall pretty happy. The fenders came out nice. They are not perfect like the OEM, but they are damn close! 18×9.5 +12 with a 245/35

Front bumper with the license plate holes filled.

Tucked bay: As mentioned in a previous post, I have some more goodies coming next week.

I guess that’s enough for now. Stay tuned for some new bay pics once my shipment arrives next week. Then it’s off to Import Alliance in Nashville a week from today!

As I’m sure most of you know, I wouldn’t be caught dead with vented fenders on my car.  For the life of me I can’t figure out why all of these wide fender manufacturers feel it necessary to have vents on their fenders.  While I had the fiberglass mat and resin out, I figured it would be a good idea to strengthen most of the fender mounting locations.  Another issue of mine is that with most of the product I buy, I feel it could be made better by some modifications/adjustments by me.  So I added 3-4 layers of mat and resin to the aforementioned areas.  Then trimmed the area and re-drilled the mounting holes.  I wanted to make absolutely sure that the mounting points were nasty strong.  I’ll be cranking down on these mounting points to make sure everything lines up and sucks together.

Time to move onto the vents.  Cut the vent sections out, but left the vertical areas for support until I had the area solid with fiberglass.   Next was to seal off the front with some plastic and cardboard for support.  Then simply add multiple layers of mat and resin.


Before I added another couple layers of mat to the outside, I went ahead and ground down the wheel arch inner lip to mimic a rolled lip on a metal fender.  I then went ahead and added that fiberglass to the outide.  After that I hit it with 24 grit and then did some body filler action.  Last thing was to cut out those vertical vent areas on the backside

Got the tires mounted on the wheels last Friday and finally found some time to test fit the ChargeSpeed fenders and the wheels.  I’ve been busy with the Halo Reach beta….. priorities!  Kyle stopped by and figured he would shoot some action shots of yours truly.

Getting the OEM fender ready for removal.  I kept the fender liner as I will be modifying the front and back lower sections to put back in the wheel well.

When I first laid hands on these ChargeSpeed fenders, I was amazed at the quality.  Everything on this fender, the mounts, the shape, the edges, the fit are exactly like OEM.  Even the area behind the corner lamp, the lower main mounting points  and the main top fender bolt mounts etc. have the waves in it just like the OEM metal.  They are exact replicas of the OEM sheet metal.

Time to mount up the wide fender.

These things fit like OEM…. no lie.  The first thing I did was bolt up the bumper with only one nut.  You can see in the pic below how it fits like OEM….. with only one nut at that.

I didn’t bother with installing the bolts by the door.  I could tell by pushing the fender in that it was going to line up just fine.  Slapped a wheel on and jacked it up a little to see how flush it was going to sit.  Perfect!  I will be getting new coilovers so I can go lower though.  Which is a shame, because the Cuscos I have on there are arguably one of the best street coilovers made.  I’m gonna have to step down in quality, probably Stance, just to go a little lower.

So now that the test fit passed my standards, it’s time to take this one off and get them both ready for paint.  I need to shave down the wheel arch lip and fill the vents closed.  A good amount of blocking the fenders down to get them perfect and they’re off to the paint shop.

One of the highlights of the night was this cheap aluminum race jack I bought from AutoZone.  It’s a pain in the ass to haul my big Matco jack home from work.  So I bought this Duralast aluminum jack, which was still $129, but cheap for a full aluminum jack.  Much to my surprise,  it has LED’s flushed down in the cup.  They actually work very, very well.

I about forgot that I snapped a pic of one of the rears.

I am still undecided on what wide fenders I am going to run up front once the new wheels get here.  I have looked at so many fenders, that I am sick of looking at fenders.  I’m not even sure exactly what size I need.  It will be anywhere from +20mm to +40mm.  But I am definitely thinking +25mm or +30mm.  Since I am running a full width tire, I am going to need more than the average stretched tire lover.  I’m almost positive that a +20mm isn’t going to cut it.  Vertex makes some really good quality stuff, but their front fenders are only +12mm.  So my only viable options are the D-Max N1 +25mm, Origin +20mm or +40mm, Version Select +20mm, Bmagic +20mm and I’m sure there are some cheap fake crap like Chaser Aerodynamics etc.  Actually, I am only assuming the Chaser stuff is crap…. I honestly don’t know.  Maybe someone will chime in and comment if they have any experience with any of these.  I’m probably not going to do, or need, +40mm.  First off, I shouldn’t need that much width.  Second of all, I don’t want the front wide fender to look out of place on the car since I won’t be doing rear over fenders and aggressive aero.  I’m trying to get the best quality possible, but since my options are dwindling, I’m assuming I’ll just have to “make” them fit perfect.  I don’t care about the vent style, as I will be filling those anyway.  So if anyone has any other ideas of brands or comments on the brands I listed, please comment!

One other thing:  My good friend Nate has a set of +20mm Chargespeed fenders sitting in his basement.  So I think I am going to hold off on buying fenders at the moment.  I’ll wait till I get the wheels, then bolt on one of his fenders to see how much more I need over the +20mm.   Then I’ll make my decision and pull the trigger.

Man it’s been nice around here in central Illinois the last 2 -3 days.  Average for this time of year is mid to low 50’s.  It’s been close to 70 degrees here.  I got the car out for the first time this year on Monday.   Rushed home from work today and washed it…. it felt good to get it clean and pristine.  I had put it away a little dirty from last November.  Then every time I open the garage door during the winter, the trunk gets wet if it’s rainy, snowy etc. outside.  So the trunk and rear bumper looked like crap.  Tried out some of my new soap and wheel brushes I bought at the end of Fall last year.  I also had spent a load on an orbital buffer, eight pads of varying coarseness, six different compounds, a new glaze and wax I have never tried, pad cleaner and rejuvenator……. and I’m sure some other crap I can’t remember at the moment.  I can’t wait to try all of that stuff out this year.  I have to recommend this site I bought all of this stuff from:  Phenomenal selection and great pricing…… it’s tough to not go hog wild!

I thought it would be best to post up some pics of my S13’s current exterior state.  The new wheels will be here soon and I’ll be running wider front fenders.  And with any luck, OEM Silvia aero by the end of the summer.  But that’s looking bleak now for reasons other than availability of the product…. more on that in a later post.  Now most of you have already seen these pics, but I just wanted them located somewhere on the blog for future reference.

I have been going back and forth on aero and have finally decided to pull the trigger.  And I figured if I’m going to do it, I might as well REALLY do it.  So I have decided on Version Select version III.  I think this will really help give me that look I’m going for this year.  Ok, I’m F’n with you.  But I really have been considering OEM Silvia aero for the last three years.  It’s very subtle and will lower the overall body about an inch or a little more.  I have always loved the aero bumper, but naturally I need the skirts and rear valances to complete the package.  The aero bumper is fairly hard to find, especially at a good price.  It seems when I do find one,  it’s either $650 + $150 shipping, or it’s a private classified in Cali.  And Cali guys don’t ship…. period!  The Silvia skirts are almost impossible to find.  I always see the 180sx skirts, but those are not going to cut it.  So I finally found some Silvia skirts and rear valances from a guy on Nico Club that has a business where he imports JDM parts.  Very cool, but I am awaiting a quote for shipping to the US.  I figured I would break the bank(since I just spent my load on wheels) and buy the skirts and valances while they are available.  I’ll just hold onto them until I can source an aero bumper for a fair price, or until I give in , and spend too much on one : )