Posts Tagged ‘S13’

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.

IMG_1576

IMG_1578

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:

IMG_1579

USDM plate ready for the transplant:

IMG_1581

Test fit to make sure I am still on course:

IMG_1582

IMG_1584

Same with the passenger side:

IMG_1580

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.

IMG_1586

IMG_1587

IMG_1590

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!

IMG_1606

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

IMG_1650

IMG_1649

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

IMG_1901

IMG_1909

IMG_1914

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.

IMG_1752

IMG_1719

IMG_1766

IMG_1788

The first one is the driver’s door handle/vent trim from an S14. The customer felt that a boost gauge was more important than a door vent… I can’t say I disagree with him:

IMG_1641

IMG_1636

Next up for another S14, flush mounted Speedhut gauges in place of the HVAC controller:

IMG_1658

IMG_1651

My true love, S13 goodness. Again, three Speedhut gauges flush mounted in place of the HVAC controller:

IMG_1670

IMG_1666

Another S13 utilizing some risky gold bezel Speedhut gauges… I love the outcome!

IMG_1676

IMG_1683

Finished up a batch of clusters recently.  Business seems to be picking up with the release of my new website, Facebook page and the sponsorship I was offering for a short spell.

 

Nissan S14 cluster utilizing a Stack Cluster flanked by 2-1/16″ Speedhut Revolution series gauges with optional 7-step OEM lens polishing:

IMG_1157

 

Nissan S13 cluster housing an array of Defi BF gauges with OEM lens delete:

IMG_1173

 

1998 Honda Civic cluster utilizing a 4″ Speedhut Revolution series GPS speedo dual gauge flanked by 2-5/8″ Speedhut Revolution series gauges with optional 7-step lens polising:

IMG_1373

 

Mazda FC RX-7 cluster housing (2) 4″ Speedhut gauges and AEM boost gauge:

IMG_1398

 

Nissan S14 cluster using an array of Speedhut gauges… (2) 3-3/8″ and (2) 2-1/16″, also 7-step OEM lens polishing:

IMG_1429

 

Nissan S13 cluster utilizing an assortment of Speedhut gauges, optional LED turn signal indicators and optional 7-step OEM lens polishing:

IMG_1358

 

Nissan S14 cluster using (2) 3-3/8″ Speedhut gauges and (2) 52mm AEM gauges:

IMG_1437

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:

IMG077-vi

IMG088-vi

IMG090-vi

IMG096-vi

IMG099-vi

I used compressed air to easily pop out the pistons:

IMG111-vi

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:

IMG114-vi

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:

IMG_3898

IMG_3904

IMG_3912

IMG_3920

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:

IMG_3931

IMG_3928

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:

IMG_3933

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:

    IMG_3951

    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:

    IMG_3938

    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:

    IMG_3955

    IMG_3962

    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:

    IMG_3964

    IMG_3969

    IMG_5844

    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!

    IMG_3975

    IMG_3981

    IMG_3982

    IMG_8728

    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.

    IMG_0656

    IMG_0689

    IMG_0663

    IMG_0668

    IMG_0684

    IMG_0687

    IMG_0681

    IMG_0674

    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!

    I actually had some spare time to work on the car yesterday… that hasn’t happened in like 3-4 months.

    I’m working on the air conditioning setup at the moment:

    IMG_9865

    IMG_9875

    My quest for a clean tidy engine bay has led me to doing a “tucked” air conditioning setup. I don’t really like the idea of lines going everywhere in the bay. So I’m going to simplify it by running the lines out of the compressor directly to some custom bulkheads on the firewall. I can run the lines down the same path as my heater hoses alongside the block. Typically the firewall fittings are at each end of a giant loop that takes place in the engine bay. I will essentially relocate that loop to behind the dash and down the inside upper portion of the passenger fender. Then the dryer and condenser will be up front out of site behind the bumper.

    I want to use all XRP air conditioning hose and fittings. Which means I have to convert everything over to o-ring pilot fittings. Since I bought an aftermarket dryer and condenser, I had the choice to get them with o-ring pilot ports… so those were no big deal. However, I had to figure out what to do with the compressor, evaporator and the ports at the firewall. I’m still in the middle of all of this, but I’ll show you my progress so far.

    First thing was to figure out how to modify the evaporator to work in the “tucked” setup. As it sits from the factory, the evaporator hard lines come out through the firewall. These have to go bye-bye since I’m going to use the firewall locations for my compressor lines. Which means that the connections for the evaporator lines will now need to be done inside the car instead of at the firewall. So I cracked the evaporator plastic housing open to see what I was up against. The evaporator core sits in the middle of the housing as seen below. You can also see where the hard lines exit the housing and normally would protrude through the firewall:

    IMG_9748

    As luck would have it, the evaporator is square. I rotated the evaporator core, inside the housing 90 degrees, so that the hard lines would now point down over the passenger foot well. This would allow me to do my connections inside the car and leave me room on the inside of the firewall for some custom bulkheads. I cut off the plastic protrusions that held the OEM hard lines in place:

    IMG_9758

    Housing back together… I will simply seal over that figure 8 shaped hole with some thin ABS plastic and epoxy:

    IMG_9761

    I cut the hard lines down so that the new 90 degree fittings would hug the housing as close as possible. As mentioned, these are going to exit right above the passenger’s feet. So I don’ want them hanging down where they are going to get kicked. Had some aluminum male o-ring pilot fittings welded on:

    IMG_0110

    IMG_0169

    I hogged out an area in the bottom of the housing for these to exit:

    IMG_0172

    Some closed cell foam on the inside around the fittings and some machined 90 degree o-ring pilot fittings… this part is complete:

    IMG_0182

    Test fit back in the car… they really don’t hang down lower than the surrounding items:

    IMG_0237

    Second order of business are the bulkheads for the compressor lines. It will be a o-ring pilot #10 and a #8 on the firewall. Unfortunately the two holes on the firewall are huge. Had I known I was going to do a tucked setup, I would have welded those closed and made new smaller holes for a pre-made bulkhead. Oh well, time to do something slightly custom and make it work. I bought one of the aforementioned bulkheads from Vintage Air just so I could use the male-to-male fittings. This is what they look like once pulled off the Vintage Air firewall plate:

    IMG_9882

    I figured I would do somewhat of the same setup I did for my heater hose bulkheads… custom machined aluminum plates that would cover the OEM holes and house the male fittings. I came up with these:

    IMG_0106

    IMG_0091

    IMG_0094

    IMG_0101

    Coated with the some black epoxy paint:

    IMG_0115

    IMG_0117

    Mounted in the car:

    IMG_0125

    IMG_0155

    IMG_0156

    This is what I’m looking at inside the cabin:

    IMG_0193

    IMG_0187

    I now need to get all of the XRP AC hoses and fittings ordered up so I can start mocking everything up. I also need to buy a CTS-V compressor. I have both a C5 and C6 compressor and neither one of those are going to work. The C6 compressor fittings exit out the side into the frame rail. There’s not enough clearance by a long shot. The C5 compressor fittings exit out the back. But by the time I add a compressor o-ring pilot adaptor block, the fittings will hit the #2 primary on the header. The CTS-V compressor angles the fittings out the side and angled up.. perfect!… I think!?!?! Once I have the compressor squared away, I can make the two compressor lines for the bay, the lines inside the cabin and the lines down the fender to the front of the car.

    Received my display yesterday… courtesy of Jeff & Jordan Innovations. Thanks again for the hookup! As most of you know I kind of build clusters from time-to-time, so I’m looking forward to building one for myself to house this bad-boy. It should actually be a bit more of a challenge than the clusters I have fabricated in the past, considering it doesn’t exactly fit into the confines of the OEM housing. But I prefer a challenge over easy… the reward is always greater!

    I chose the MXL for a few reasons:

  • AiM Sports appears to be the leader in race displays
  • I like the clean look of the MXL
  • I like the fact that the display is completely customizable via a computer
  • The MXL supports CAN bus hook-up. Which means I can simply wire 4 wires and it will read every sensor off the LS3 ECU. Hookup consists of: IGN, GND, and two CAN wires.
  • Finally had a customer request molding something into the radio trim bezel of a S13. The customer wanted the four AEM 52mm gauges flush mounted in the double din area where the radio/pocket normally reside. However, the gauges will not really fit in that opening… especially flushing them in. So I enlarged the area and bonded a 3/4″ piece of MDF into the opening. I went ahead and marked/routed out the gauge locations prior to bonding. At this time I also cut the opening to flush in the Greddy turbo timer. Once the MDF plate was bonded/cured, I took a couple different sanders and sanded down the MDF plate to match the contour of the S13 trim panel. At first glance it simply looks flat across the entire thing… but it’s not. And since the bottom gauges extend down so far, it gets into to the curved area right before where the shifter opening is.

    All bonded and shaped:

    Next I used a thin coat of body filler to fill in any imperfections. Sanded that all down then hit the panel with several coats of high build primer. Once that fully cured I wet sanded it with 500 grit:

    Several coats of SEM Landau black and we have a finished product. Note: I also coat the back with several coats to prevent the MDF from absorbing any moisture at all.