Posts Tagged ‘Broadfield’

Well, this job was slightly unexpected for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s right up my alley. However, the cost for me to do something this tedious is not cheap… and for what most onlookers would refer to as a waste of money. With that being said, I completely understand the customer’s reasoning. Hell, I do the same sort of thing all the time… spend tons of money or time on things that will go unnoticed by most.

So down to it! This customer had a set of S13 JDM window switch plates/switches that he wanted in his S13 USDM vehicle. Seems easy enough, just unsnap/unscrew the switch assemblies from the back of the JDM plates and attach them to the back of the USDM plates. WRONG! The switch assemblies are of completely different design from the JDM to the USDM version. Not only that, the window switch plates have the opposite curve to them since the plates are obviously on opposite sides of the car in JDM land. If you take a look at the images below, comparing the JDM and USDM, it quickly becomes apparent the differences. The switches themselves are also different. The USDM switches(not pictured)are a simple push forward and push back. Whereas the JDM switches are a pull up and a push down style. Which means there also needs to be a “cup’ formed in the plastic in front of the switch. That way your finger doesn’t just poke through when you are trying to pull up on the switch. In the following images, the USDM plates are the ones without the actual switches in them.

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So the only way to properly do this was to cut out the section that has the JDM button openings, thus retaining the original JDM button mounting setup on the back. Then hack out a similar size opening in the USDM plates and retrofit the JDM assemblies into them:

The cut out JDM assembly on the right needing to go into the USDM plate on the left:

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USDM plate ready for the transplant:

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Test fit to make sure I am still on course:

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Same with the passenger side:

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Next it was time to bond these permanently into place with one of my favorite products… Norton Speed Grip 2-part adhesive. Note: just to get setup with this stuff it will cost a minimum of $100. The glue is very expensive and it takes a special applicator gun to apply it. But it’s so worth it if you need to bond plastic.

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At this point it’s time to get it looking good. A lot of rough sanding, shaping, forming, a tad bit of Evercoat Fiber Tech filler, some primer and here you go. Well, some of those steps need to be done numerous times!

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My customer also requested a white LED to be mounted in the driver side switch:

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Last but not least, some SEM Satin Black Color Coat:

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This customer wanted a little bit of flare without going overboard. I did a full Speedhut gauge setup with flip-flop color scheme. He needed to squeeze two other gauges somewhere so I closed off the small vents and lower switch areas on the cluster shroud. Then flushed in a 2-1/16″ Speedhut gauge on each side.

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I have had some interest lately on how I did the refinishing on the brake setup for the S13… specifically the plating of all the bolts/hardware. I tackled this project before the birth of this blog, so I’m going to revisit the process so it will now be in writing for others to reference.

I have Stoptech 4-piston BBK on the front and Z32 rears. The Stoptechs were the original black color and the Z32’s were the OEM dark cast iron color…virtually a flat black. Back in 2009 I decided that I wanted something a little more flashy. So I set my heart on white… not over the top but would still “pop” behind the wheels. I contemplated between painting the calipers and powder coating the calipers. After seeing how the paint on the OEM STi Brembos would discolor from high heat and the clear coat would come off the OEM EVO Brembos, powder coating was an easy choice. So the first thing was to disassemble everything:

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I used compressed air to easily pop out the pistons:

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I decided to keep everything organized the way it was removed… that way each piston etc. would be in the same exact spot as when it came out:

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Back from the powder coater… I also had the hats on the front rotors done in black and taped off the rear rotors to do those. I went ahead and also had them coat the front caps for the hubs:

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Next was all the hardware. Since I couldn’t powder coat those items, I did some research and decided I would zinc plate them myself. I stumbled upon Caswellplating.com… I was in heaven. I put together a kit to zinc plate my hardware and ordered it up. I wanted to try a couple different things, so I also ordered black chromate and gold chromate to “tint” the hardware. This is my at home setup:

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All of the hardware had to be completely stripped of all paint, corrosion etc. down to bare steel before plating. Here is what it looks like right before plating:

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This is a rough listing of the steps involved in plating:

  • Wire brush hardware to remove all paint and loose rust
  • Acid bath hardware to remove all corrosion
  • Bath hardware in distilled water
  • Bath hardware in a heated degreaser solution
  • Bath hardware in distilled water
  • Insert hardware in plating bath
  • Bath hardware in distilled water
  • Insert hardware in chromate bath if you so choose
  • Bath hardware in distilled water
  • Let dry
  • I did all the top hat hardware in a gold chromate:

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    I also coated some of the other pieces in a gold chromate. For some reason the 4 bolts and 4 pins in the picture ended up in the batch. So I had to strip those back down and do them in black chromate:

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    I did the crossover lines and all the main bolts that would be visible in a black chromate. If you are wondering why they look “wet” in the pictures, it’s because I sprayed them with WD-40 as a final step. This is suggested after they are taken out of the black chromate bath and they are dry:

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    Here are some pictures of the rears right after assembly. I also sanded the powder coat off the top of the raised “NISSAN” lettering and hand painted those with some Duplicolor gloss black:

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    Here are some pictures of the fronts right after assembly. I had a sticker place make me some high-temp die cut Stoptech stickers since the original “STOPTECH” lettering from the factory is painted on. The stickers are still perfect today!

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    Finalized the work on a pretty challenging piece…. I would venture to say the most tedious work I have done with no margin for error. I removed the small vents that sit high on the shroud above the lower buttons on each side. That area is highly contoured, so I had to recess the gauges back in to clear the curve on the top edge. I first bonded in some 1/4″ thick ABS to fill the rectangular openings where the vents were. I sanded the ABS down to duplicate the OEM contour. I then filled the backside with Norton Speedgrip. I made a form on the backside and filled it about an inch deep. I then used a hole saw and made a precision opening just above the lower button openings. Anyone that has ever used a hole saw knows that the thing kind of wobbles around a little to make the hole. And as you can see in the pictures, I didn’t have much room for error above the lower button openings. Unfortunately the opening had to be big enough to flush a 52mm gauge in, which meant the contour at the top of the panel rounded over to fast and the hole saw opening had a weird cutout to it. So I molded in some visors on the top portion to take care of the issue. I think the final outcome looks very natural. Like most of my work, the final product looks simple, but the work involved to get said simple look is mind-boggling.

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    Just completed some more S14 interior work last night. A customer of mine bought a complete set of Speedhut Revolution gauges from me and had me retrofit four of them into the cluster and the other three flushed mounted into the vent area on the HVAC panel.

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    Last week I finished some fabrication work for a S14 customer. I angle mounted his AEM gauges into the vent area on the HVAC panel. I also made a spot to fit his Greddy boost controller. I did this in the area below the HVAC controller where four buttons/panels typically reside. He didn’t mind getting rid of the security light panel and the blank panel… which sit on the outside corners. So I moved the rear defogger button and hazard button to the outside locations. I had to modify them since they needed to have a rounded outside corner to mount in the corner locations properly. I then bonded in ABS material and shaped it to form a housing for the boost controller. I have talked about this exact process on another customer’s project in the past… so I’m not going to go in-depth about it again. You can simply search for my Custom Interior Fabrication off to the left if you want to see step-by-step process.

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    I also fit his Greddy turbo timer into the cluster shroud on the right side. There use to be a couple of OEM buttons located in that area that were no longer of use to the customer. So I removed those, plastic bonded the area closed then opened an area back up to fit the turbo timer.

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    I have been at a stand still with the S13 lately. I have been really busy with custom work for other 240sx enthusiast and spending my late nights playing the Arma III alpha on PC… well, my new iMac 🙂 I have been trying to save up for a new tool for my home garage that will help me tremendously. Like test fitting the TR6060 and hopefully test fitting Sikky’s prototype TR6060 mount. That tool would be the MaxJax which is manufactured by Danmar. I’m pretty pumped about getting it…. I should have it within the next few weeks. I highly recommend checking this thing out. It’s way over engineered, thus being really safe. It has a 443% safety factor for those wondering. You can check out a video below… and I’ll be sure to have a full write-up on it once it arrives and I get it installed. It is designed for residential garages with average ceiling heights. It is portable and can be set up in 10-15 minutes…. just stow it away in the corner when not in use. I have seen guys that even install another set of inserts out in their flat driveway so they can use the lift out in the sun!