Wednesday, December 21, 2011

R33 GT-R Update: R34 GT-R Steering Wheel Swap

Not many people know this but R34 GT-R steering wheels are plug & play when it comes to Series II / late model R33 GT-Rs. Airbang and all mind you, with no error lights showing.

Now theres nothing wrong with the stock R33 GT-R quad steering wheel. Its just that it doesn't have much character going for it. I mean, it only has an embossed 'Nissan' on the horn button, along with the corresponding moon corporate logo and outer red leather stiching. It was also present in the Silvia S14 and other Nissan models like the Skyline GTST (ENR33 / ER33). No offence to the owners of those cars but I wanted a steering wheel that had a tad bit more GT-R exclusivity. Nissan must have really liked the design by the way, because it was still in use in their first generation X-Trail! Ahh, you've served me well old girl...

I've always been a fan of the R34 GT-R steering wheel, mainly because of the tri-star sculpted design and the prominent 'GT-R' horn logo. It's also smaller by an inch or so in terms of diameter. No prizes for guessing where I managed to source a unit (thanks to my good buddy Eu-Jin at JDM Auto Link). Supposedly, these are quite rare and difficult to source.

It was a pretty straight forward affair in removing the stock steering wheel. I knew that the airbags in the two steering wheels were of the same model, but there was no harm in checking. To do this, the side latches were opened up and the airbag housing unscrewed. Fortunately, the sockets all matched up, so we were good to go. Do note that this modification is only possible in Series II / late model R33 GT-R's, that feature driver and passenger side airbags. If you have an older BCNR33, then you're unfortunately out of luck. This is confirmed for Series I R33 GT-Rs. Oh and did you know that airbags have a shelf life? The one in my stock R33 GT-R steering wheel has clearly gone pass it's expiry date (circa 1997!), while I'm hoping the R34 GT-R's airbag is still good for a couple more years. Food for thought, gentle people.

Now all that was left to do was to line up the R34 GT-R steering wheel and bolt it in. I have to say that due to the tri-star design, the steering wheel feels much smaller and more chuckable. I just love it because it's a straight fit (no adaptation needed), looks like it belongs there in the first place, is much smaller than the unit that it replaces and really spruces up my R33's interior. Aki, you should really do this mod, mate ;).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

S13 Update: Engine Upgrades

My Silvia S13 Coupe rebuild project is coming along quite nicely. In fact, after the engine respray, the car has slowly been upgraded with better external parts (note the pictures above and below).

The first to arrive was a brand new Garrett GT2871R turbo, good for 460hp. The reason why I picked this particular unit instead of a larger one like the GT30, was because the GT2871R represents Garrett’s largest turbo available in the T28 series frame size. Based on the popular “Disco Potato”, the GT2871R includes a 71mm compressor wheel coupled with the NS111 quick-spool turbine wheel. The magic of the GT series turbochargers resides in the turbine and rotating assembly, which rides on dual ball-bearings. 

The end result is a pretty responsive turbocharger, which can also flow large amounts of airflow resulting in decent midrange and top-end power. Ideal for track and gymkhana work. Do note however that I will eventually get a GT3071R but only after I get a hang of the S13 on the track.

Which leads me to the next upgrade - a set of four Power Enterprise 800cc Top Feed Injectors. In light of my intention to upgrade to a GT3071R in the near future, I have opted for these large cc injectors as a future proof measure. And why Power Enterprise (PE)? Well it's partly because I've used their injectors in past with my R33 GT-R rebuild and from what I've heard, Sard DENSO makes them.

Next up, we have a fresh-out-of-the-oven TurboSmart Comp-Gate40 external wastegate. It's Turbosmart's new 40mm external wastegate (measuring only 99 mm in height) is designed to fit into tight engine bays with it's new smaller actuator housing.

The Comp-Gate40 has all of the good features you would expect from a quality wastegate: cast stainless body, anodized hat and base, stainless heat shield to protect the diaphragm, a ultra high lift diaphragm, cast stainless body clamps, stainless weld flanges etc. TurboSmart is heavily involved with rotary engines in Australia and turbo rotaries can produce exhaust gas temperatures approaching 1900 degrees F. Now how's that for product testing? Anyway, here are some other features that are worth knowing about.

Locking Ring
The Comp-Gate40 does not use allen screws around the perimeter of the spring hat. It uses a trick "locking ring”. The benefits of the locking ring are no more stripped allen screws, no more stripped hat bases, much easier spring changes, spring changes in less than a minute and an overall reduced height wastegate which allows greater flexibility of wastegate placement.

Reduced Package Size with no Sacrifice in Gas Flow
The Comp-Gate40 is only 99mm (3.89”) tall, but still has .582” of valve lift. It also only measures 74mm (2.91") at its largest diameter making the Comp-Gate40 probably the smallest wastegate on the market.

Unique Rotating Cap
The spring hat can be indexed in 12 different positions allowing for greater installation flexibility. The rotation can also be done in less than a minute by only loosening the locking ring. This really does make things go quicker during the setup of a new custom installation.

All in all, the Comp-Gate40 should work perfectly right out of the box. Be sure to apply some light grease on the locking ring threads if you're installing one.

I think I might be using a couple of Comp-Gate40 wastegates on my other ride, the R33 GT-R, maybe with a Full-Race twin scroll exhaust manifold and a BorgWarner EFR turbo but that's all in the future...

Last but not least, the final piece to the rebuild puzzle is a spankin' new Haltech Platinum Sport 1000/2000.

Personally, I think the Haltech Platinum Sport 1000 is packed with more features than any ECU in it's class. It's capable of controlling sequential injection on 2 and 4 cylinder with semi sequential 6 and 8 cylinder applications. With 8 channels capable of controlling injection and ignition duties, the Haltech unit is able to support most modern engines with multi-coil ignition systems, as well as conventional distributor ignition systems.

Here are some of the Platinum Sport 1000's features:
  • Soft cut rev limiter
  • Closed loop boost control
  • Stepper motor and BAC/IAC closed loop idle control
  • User-definable mapping points
  • Anti-lag launch control with rotational idle
  • Wideband closed loop 02 Control
  • 8 additional user-definable inputs
  • 4 additional user-definable outputs
  • Tuning via TPS with Manifold Correction
  • Numerous Correction Maps
  • Onboard Data logging
  • Windows Software
Well, thats all for now. The engine and car are actually ready and have been subjected to mandatory on-the-road tuning, but that will be covered in a future entry. Cheers.