Friday, December 28, 2007

Faulty Alternator

Lately, the ER34 felt really funny. It requires more cranks to start her up and also the headunit would suddenly shut down as if power was cut. On top of that the volt reading was highly irregular. It fluctuates upon usage of the power window and drops to an unhealthy 10 volts whenever I used the flash.

Yes..... Skylines notoriously hate low power. The battery must be weak. The NS40ZL AC Delco Maintenance Free Battery was changed on the 4th January 2007. It couldn't have died less than a year! There must be something wrong with the battery.

I sent in the car for checks and the volt meter suggests that the alternator is not charging the battery fully. It registers only 12 volts where it should be reading 14 volts with the engine started. Looks like a replacement alternator is the only way to solve this problem.

New alternator are costly items, probably in the range of RM2,000 to RM3,000 a unit. That route is definitely out of the question. I need to source for a used alternator. The alternator on the R33 and R34 are supposedly the same thus it is so much easier to find a unit off the R33 than the R34. My appreciation and thanks to bro Emeraude3388 for sourcing an alternator off the BCNR33 (R33 GT-R) halfcut for me. :)

Pic 1: The ER34 Mitsubishi made alternator (Part No. 23100-0V016)

Pic 2: The BCNR33 Hitachi made alternator (Part No. 23100-0V010)

With the alternator on the ER34 removed, I noticed that it is made by Mitsubishi whereas the BCNR33 unit was made by Hitachi. Oh darn, two different manufacturers....... there must be some minute differences.

Sure enough, upon closer inspection, the pulley design is different BUT luckily the alternator belt is the same and fits snugly. The ER34 still requires a couple of extra cranks than usual to start and checks on the battery indicator suggest that it's weak. I'm left with 2 options, either to change to a new battery or to recharge the current one.

Pic 3: Note the diffrent pulleys. The pulley on the left belongs to the BCNR33 while the right pulley belongs to the ER34

Nowadays battery prices are sky high and changing to a new one is going to cost me. There has been at least 3 price hike in 2007. This is due to the rising price of lead. The lead price on the London Metal Exchange (LME) had shot up from US$1,600 (RM5,325.82) a metric tonne early this year to US$3,600 (RM11,983) in November 2007.

Fortunately my current battery is just weak and a recharge on the current battery would fix the problem. I took the battery out to be recharged at a regular workshop and it was working allright after a 4 hours charge. Yea it took that long, luckily bro sakakida kept me company via some parts ogling at speedshops and chop shops. :P

In case you are wondering, nope I did not procure anything at all. :D

Monday, December 24, 2007

R&R to Hatyai, Thailand

Pic 1: The Hatyai city view from my hotel room

Recently, I drove to Hatyai (หาดใหญ่), Thailand which is about 1,200 km to and fro from Kuala Lumpur. I took time off and had a 'lil bit of a rest and relax in the second biggest city in Thailand after Bangkok. Co-incidently at the time of my visit (14th - 16th Dec), it was during the birthday celebration of his Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej Rama IX. The Thai King is the world's longest serving monarch and had served 61 years on the throne.

Actually, the King celebrated his 80th birthday a week prior on 5th December 2008 and is celebrated amidst the nation worrying about his fragile health. The King has just recently undergone treatment in the hospital for inadequate blood flow to the brain.

Pic 2: A concert in the city to celebrate the King's birthday

Pic 3: Some display stands on the King's birthday

Pic 4: Some display stands on the King's birthday

Anyway, what about my trip in Hatyai?? Well, I did nothing much when I was there except to gobble up on the excellent local food and had small walks here and there in shopping malls. The food was of course excellent from beef noodles, fresh seafood, dim sum to fried chickens from street vendors.

I also drove to the Hat Yai Municipal Park located on Kanchanawanit Road approximately 6 kilometers from the city center on the Hat Yai-Songkhla Highway. Within the park, there is a statue of King Rama V that is enshrined at the foot of the hill near the aviary, a hill-top Brahman shrine and a jade statue of Guan-yin, the Chinese Goddess situated, at the southern foothill. I did my prayers and wished for a couple of blessings....... The roads at the hills within the park are indeed very touge like.

Oh btw, I did saw some interesting cars while I was there. Came across 2 quite extensively modded A31 Cefiros and also a Toyota TE72 thats modded to almost drift spec look alike.

Do check out some of the pics.......

Pic 5: Fried stuffs from street vendors

Pic 6: Setting off firecrackers at the 4-faced Buddha shrine

Pic 7: Narrow touge roads?

Pic 8: Hairpin turn!

Pic 9: Touge!

Pic 10: At the border town of Sadao...heading back to Malaysian soil

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Removal of "S K Y L I N E" & 25GTt emblem

Pic 1: The ER34 with the SKYLINE emblem

The rear of the ER34 comes with a row of emblem emphasising the model of the car. The "S K Y L I N E" emblem is not particularly ugly or unsightly but somehow I like a clean look on the rear of the car.

Thus I had the emblem AND also the 25GTt logo removed. I kinda like the way it looked now as compared with the emblems in place. Nice, clean, smooth and tidy.

This is the outcome of it. What do you think?

Pic 2: With the SKYLINE emblem removed

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Top 10: Dangerous cars (A BNR34?!?!?)

I recently read an article on UK's MSN Cars on the Top 10 most dangerous cars. Dan Trent, a motoring journalist wrote down his opinion of the Top 10 most dangerous cars on our roads. And his list goes like this....

1) AC Cobra
2) Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
3) Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)
4) Porsche 911 GT2 (996)
5) Ferrari F40
6) Renault Clio V6
7) Lotus Carlton
8) Peugeot 205 GTI
9) Lamborghini Miura
10) TVR Tuscan S

You guessed what caught my eye. A BNR34 as one of the most dangerous cars? WTF!! This is what Dan wrote about the BNR34,

"Accepted wisdom has it that the Skyline is so high-tech as to be virtually uncrashable. Just keep your foot in and the black boxes will do the rest, right? Partly so. Sure, the armoury of abbreviations and innovations - from ATTESA ET-S PRO torque distribution to Super HICAS four-wheel steering - all contribute to the GT-R's formidable cornering power and Porsche beating performance. And driving a Skyline can be like a video game made real. But personal experience proves the danger comes when you discover all the electronic brain power in the world can't actually over-rule the laws of physics. And that skidding off into the barrier requires more than hitting 'restart' on your PlayStation control pad. "

Geez......makes me wonder.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Found: ER34 half-cut

Half-cuts of the ER34 are extremely hard to find. The vehicle is still very much popular in Japan and if there's any half-cuts, it'll probably go to Australia, New Zealand or United Kingdom where they can afford to pay higher prices for it.

Well, I chanced upon a unit recently with some nice parts in it. The half-cut I found has:-

1) Aluminium radiator
2) Silicone radiator hoses
3) Nismo radiator cap
4) Apexi bubble tank
5) Blitz oil cooler with oil filter relocation kit
6) Blitz LM intercooler kit
7) Blitz SUS power core type LM air filter
8) Apexi N1 coilovers
9) Nismo tension rods

I am interested in a few of the items but too bad, the owner of the half-cut isn’t particularly interested in taking off parts from the unit. Everything will go as a whole for a cool asking price of RM 15,000 (USD 4,440). :O

Here are some pictures of it....

Pic 1: The ER34 half-cut. It was involved in a front end side collision

Pic 2: Blitz Oil Cooler. Love the side mount. Should have ordered this instead of my GReddy/Trust one.

Pic 3: Blitz LM front mount intercooler. One of the intercooler pipe and silicone hose is torn from the accident.

Pic 4: Engine bay. Note the aluminium radiator, silicone radiator hoses, apexi bubble tank with Nismo radiator cap

Pic 5: Nismo tension rods

Pic 6: Apexi N1 coilovers

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Proton's new MPV built with Chinese technology....?

There have been talks of a partnership between Proton Holdings Bhd and Chery Automobiles Co Ltd of China in assembling the models from China in Proton's smacking new high tech plant in Tangjung Malim. In addition, there were also talks about the possibility of Proton to use the technology from the Chinese automaker into producing a MPV of their own.

Ain't that interesting news? Yes....but that has been in the talk since uhm....about September 2006. So what has transpired since then?

I chanced upon a test unit yesterday and managed to snap some pictures of it. The badges and emblems have been covered though. Interesting eh?

Pic 1: Front view

Pic 2: Rear view

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bandung, Jakarta and a BNR32?

Pic 1: Nice statue in Bandung

I was in Indonesia last week and thought I'll share some snippets of my travel there.........

Upon touching down at the Soekarno-Hatta Jakarta International Airport, I bought a bus ticket to Bandung. The ticket is very cheap at IDR 60,000 (USD 6.50) one way. Bandung, located 180 kms away from Jakarta is the capital of West Java and Indonesia's third largest city.

So what's in Bandung? Nothing much actually. Some of the 'attractions' like the Cihampelas Walk (Ciwalk) and Braga City Walk are not interesting at all. There were quite a few factory outlet stores though. :)

Moving around in Bandung is kinda fun. The local transport is called angkot which is a modified minibus that's able to squeeze in up to 18 passengers!! Crazy eh? But one got to be very careful as many muggers/pickpockets operate on these angkots.

Some of the interesting rides I saw in Bandung are a Honda CR-V and a Toyota Frontier with 22 inch wheels and 265mm width tyres!! Madness eh?

Oh yea, Bandung is constantly raining! I've never experienced heavy rain 5 times a day!!! After two nights here, I took a bus back to Jakarta where I spent a night before flying back to Kuala Lumpur. Now Jakarta is a city of extreme contrast.

Pic 2: Jakarta city view from my hotel room

Pic 3: Welcome Monument built in 1962 by President Sukarno

Here you find posh shopping malls selling designer items but outside the main door you find the other extreme, i.e. the poorer folks loitering around the dirty streets. Here, either you are rich or you are poor. The gap in between is so huge in comparison that it's beyond comprehension why there exists little or no middle ground.

The city of Jakarta is not a safe place to be in. Cases of mugging and robbery are so common even the taxi drivers themselves can be muggers!! My advice is to travel only in the most reputable taxi provider, i.e Bluebird. Any other taxis that you travel are a risk in terms of safety and cut throat fares.

Pic 4: A typical bajaj in Jakarta

Besides taxis, bajaj (a form of motorised 3 wheel rickshaws) operate every nook and cranny of the city. These are interesting transportations not unlike those used in Thailand (tuk tuks). But I will not recommend anyone to try them due to the high mugging cases on board.

During my stay in Indonesia, my icthy hands bought another car model. Yes, what else, it's another Nissan Skyline. I came across a 1:18 scale model of the BNR32 that were potrayed in the Japanese anime Inital D. Yes the very one driven by Takeshi Nakazato of the Myogi NightKids. The model is made by Jada Toys and impulse buying got the better of me. And hey, it was on 30% sale!!!

The quality was kind of bad actually, can't compare at all to my rest of my Skyline models by Kyosho and Autoart. Oh well.....

Anyway, here are some pictures…..

Pic 5: Yes it rains and rains in Bandung!!!

Pic 6: Small time traders in Bandung offering their expertise in sign making

Pic 7: Funny statue in my hotel lobby at Jakarta. No durians OR durians encouraged?? :P

Pic 8: Another funny statue in my hotel lobby. A crab bit a women's toe?

Pic 9: Poor living condition of some Jakarta folks

Pic 10: Dirty muddy clogged river/drain?

Pic 11: This bajaj think it's sexy?

Pic 12: A morning market in Jakarta. Felt damn uneasy here...

Pic 13: My NightKids BNR32

Pic 14: Quality and details can be better

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Aquarium headlights ?!?!

Pic 1: The ER34 looks kinda good without headlights ya??

Oh shucks!! I don't know why and I don't know how but one fine day my headlights decided to leak water in. Every time the ER34 is washed or it rained, the passenger side headlights will leak water in.

I've found quite a number of used headlights for sale in Japan and the price is astronomical!! These xenon headlights are not cheap at all!! I've been guilty of delaying this fix and in the process has gotten some pretty weird stares from friends, colleagues and some business associates. A leaky Skyline headlights? How embarrassing!!

Luckily, my buddy at Aeroclear, the guys that refurbishes and repairs aircraft windows are here to rescue me. :P If you recall, they have helped to polish and restore my dull yellowish headlights in July '07 (refer blog entry here).

Anyway, my ER34 was handed to Aeroclear's trusty hands to fix the leakage. Since I'm taking out the leaky headlight, I might as well fixes the other one as well (just incase!).

What was done is incredibly extensive. Both headlights are removed from the ER34 and are taken apart. Yes, literally broken down to individual pieces!
All the factory silicone sealants are removed and new ones are applied in providing a fool proof sealant against any future water leakage. The headlight covers are sandpapered and polished like new. These tedious processes took 48 hours to complete! Amazing!!!

Here are some of pictures.....

Pic 2: A flooded headlight?!?!

Pic 3: The reflectors

Pic 4: Headlight covers

Pic 5: Sandpapering the headlight covers

Pic 6: This is how the headlight covers looked like after sandpapered. The red circles are stone chips on the covers.

Pic 7: Polishing the headlight covers

Pic 8: Squeaky clean eh? Just like new.....

Pic 9: Front view (right side)

Pic 10: Side view (right side)

Pic 11: Front view (left side)

Pic 12: Rear view (left side)
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