Thursday, March 29, 2007

HKS Super Power Flow element change

Pic 1: HKS Super Element (size ~ 200mm)

My HKS Super Power Flow DD (Direct Drive) is kinda on the dirty of things. Well since I've been driving around with it since I got the car, guess it's time for a change. Coupled with the ever dirty smog in Kuala Lumpur, what more excuse one needs? :P

Pic 2: Way dirty eh??

The element is called Super Filter Element (Part. No. 1504-SA013). The element is claimed to be a 2-layer, dual density, wet-type polyurethane filter that uses an impregnated viscid fluid to attract and stop damaging dirt particles from entering your engine. This bonded fluid allows use of a larger pore design for maximum airflow without sacrificing filtration.

Pic 3: MAF hot wires visible behind the filter housing

Upon inspection of the element, one can clearly see the dual layer of the filter element. There's a rougher thinner layer for the outside and a finer thicker layer for the inside. Since the element is out, I took the opportunity to clean up the insides of the HKS Super Power Flow with a wet cloth. The MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor) hot wires can be clearly seen upon the removal of the element. Took a good look and everything looks fine and dandy. :)

Pic 4: Fitting in the element into the 'cage'

Fitting in the new element, one would have to squeeze it into the HKS Super Power Flow 'cage'. Once in, just bolt it back on and voila!, it's as good as new.

At the rear of the packaging it is recommended that the element be changed every 3,000 to 5,000km. Looks like thats gonna be a costly investment as the element in itself isn't that cheap. :(

Pic 5: Done! Looks like new.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nismo Stainless Steel Braided Brake Hose

Pic 1: Nismo Stainless Steel Braided Hose exterior packaging

Yesterday my Nismo Stainless Steel Braided Hose (Part no. 46200-RSR40) arrived via EMS from Japan. Before purchasing the set, I've also considered the unit from APP (Aviation Performance Products). Due to cost considerations I've decided on the Nismo unit, which I reckon is perhaps of equal quality and performance.

Pic 2: Nismo Stainless Steel Braided Hose interior packaging (front)

Pic 3: Nismo Stainless Steel Braided Hose interior packaging (rear)

The original brake hoses are made of rubber and it is not particularly good at heat resistance. In addition, rubber hoses will be swollen (rubber expands!) as an effect of hot brake fluids upon hard braking. With swollen brake hoses, more brake fluid will be required to fill in the voids, which in turn leads to spongy brake pedal feel.

The Nismo Stainless Steel Braided Hose has Teflon PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) tubing inside with stainless steel wire mesh on the outside. In addition, it has clear rubber tubing on the outer most layer to protect the stainless steel mesh. With the strengthen hoses, there will be virtually little or no loss of brake pedal feel.

Pic 4: The contents (4 brake hoses, warranty card and installation manual)

Upon installation, the improvement in brake feel is very noticeable!! The already short brake hoses of the ER34 might dampens the effect if it were to compared with a car of longer rubber brake hoses (for eg. my previous ride's brake hoses are at least 2 times longer!). But after some hard driving I'm amazed at the stronger and firmer brake feel as compared to the stock brake feel.

Pic 5: Front hoses installed

Pic 6: Rear hoses installed

Since my stock hoses will be out, I took the opportunity to change my brake fluids to The Truth Endless Dot 4 Brake Fluid. I had no idea what sort of brake fluids were in the car nor how long it has been in the ER34. Brake fluids being hydroscopic and not knowing the age, it's better to have it changed just to be on the safe side.

Pic 7: The Truth Endless Dot 4 Brake Fluid

At the same time, I had my hand brake cable tighten. Now it's so tight, I'll just need a 'click' of the handbrake when parking. I hope I don't do many handbrake turns till it’s loosened. Hahaha :P

Friday, March 16, 2007

Trust/GReddy Oil Cooler Kit INSTALLED !!!

Pic 1: Trust/GReddy Oil Cooler Installed!!!

Ok. I know I have delayed the installation of the Trust/GReddy Oil Cooler Kit quite bit. Well after dragging my feet around, I finally got it installed.

As mentioned in my previous post, the kit comes with everything you'll need to mount the oil cooler onto the ER34. I sent it to the local speedshop to fix it in for me. What surprises me is the amount of time to actually get the whole kit fitted as per the instruction manual. In total, it took a staggering 3.5 hours just to get it right.

Pic 2: Royal Purple SAE30

Well since the oils will be leaking out, I took the opportunity to change my engine oil as well. This time round I poured in Royal Purple SAE30 and also changed the engine oil filter (Nissan - Part No. 15208-53J00). By the way, the Royal Purple engine oil comes in 1 quart per bottle (0.946 litres), thus the need for the 6 bottles.

I have not taken the car max-ed out since the install but it is running a whole lot cooler as compared to without the oil cooler. After the installation, I took it up to 165km/h for a short stretch and am surprised that the oil temperature did not even surpass the 90 Degrees Celsius mark.

It would be interesting to see how it fares on one of our DILYSI trips with constant revs on the higher range of the rev meter.

Can't wait for that........

Pic 3: GREX sandwich plate on the engine

Pic 4: Trust Oil Cooler mounted in front of the radiator

Pic 5: Sandwich plate with the Earl's hoses fitted in.

Pic 6: Earl's hoses into sandwich plate with oil filter

Pic 7: Earl's braided hoses running from the drivers side to the front mounted oil cooler

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Drive It Like You Stole It #02- Kuala Kelawang

Well today I just came back from another drive.

Drive It Like You Stole It (DILYSI) #02 was to Kuala Kelawang near Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan. We got together the below cars this time 'round.

4 units of the Skyline (3 ER34 and 1 HCR32)
2 units of the Impreza WRX Sti (Ver. 7 and Ver.8)
1 unit of the S13 Silvia

Pic 1: The grouped stopped for a 'lil breather in Kuala Kelawang

Pic 2: Wonder what they are discussing.....

Pic 3: The twisties!!!

The route was from Kuala Lumpur - Hulu Langat - Kuala Kelawang - Seremban - Kuala Lumpur

Total distance travelled is around 250km. We move off around 7:40am towards Cheras via MRR2 to reach Hulu Langat. From here the route in Kuala Kelawang is made out of pure fast and winding left and right hander one after another. Imagine for miles you are just shuffling the steering wheel from the left to the right to the left to the right to the left ............. and so on. The roads are really isolated with little or no traffic at all except for certain sections that are dotted with small villages.

Pic 4: Breakfast stop half-way

Pic 5: Many twin stove tail lights!

What is scary to me is the existence of multiple FAST corners that tightens in the middle of the turn. I drove max-ed out, perhaps at tenth tenth at some parts to catch up with the faster Impreza STi. Those cars certainly are better adapted for these roads with their 4 wheel driven wheels.

Amongst the things I noticed about my ER34 in Kuala Kelawang is the need to have better brakes (yes finally planning on those!) for those late braking maneuvers and better tyres (for more grip!). Besides that perhaps I need to be a better driver too to link those endless corners in a smoother way.

I had the rear of the ER34 twitching on many of the corners as the car oversteers. On a few occasions, my heart beat a few beats faster as I braked too late and turn-in too fast into corners that only reveal its tightening characteristics in the middle of the corner.

Really adrenalin pumping stuffs!!

One of us even spun 180 degrees! Luckily there were no traffic and the car did not veer off the road. Phew....

Pic 6: Excellent roads!!!

Pic 7: Jeram Toi waterfalls

Pic 8: Relaxing in Jeram Toi waterfalls

Upon reaching Jelebu, we stopped by the Jeram Toi waterfalls. The Jeram Toi waterfalls is located about halfway between Seremban and Kuala Kelawang. They were discovered by the British in 1895 and became a popular place for a relaxing bath and a family picnic. The park has shelters, toilets, barbeque pits, and a cemented walkway with steps leading up the gorge. The place is quite desolate when we visited it. Furthermore it's facilities are in a state of decay and neglect. Looks like the local authorities need to do something about it......

After the waterfalls, we head to Seremban town and into the North-South Espressway towards Kuala Lumpur for our well deserved lunch. :)

Great drive guys. Can't wait for DILYSI #03

Monday, March 05, 2007

A week in Beijing, China

No. The ER34 did NOT spend a week in Beijing. I did. :P

I was in Beijing (北京), China for a week for some R&R and yea I did have some fun amidst some mixed emotions. The funny part was when I reached Beijing Capital International Airport, I saw a man holding the below signage. Weird but true. Hahaha

Pic 1: Skyline Connection Travel. Weird but true...

Well Beijing this time of the year is cold, really cold. Temperature ranges from 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius daily when I was there. Coupled with the chilly winter wind, it's not too comfy to stay outdoor for prolonged period of time. It was also really misty/foggy in Beijing and that spoils many of the photographs, sadly. :(

Pic 2: Soldiers marching in Forbidden City

This is my second trip to Beijing. The first being my maiden journey to dear old China many many years ago. It's nice to re-visit the usual tourist spots again after so many years. Went to Tiananmen Square (天安门广场), Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (毛主席纪念堂), Forbidden City (紫禁城), Temple of Heaven (天坛), Summer Palace (颐和园), Ming Dynasty Tombs (明朝十三陵), and of course the Great Wall of China (萬里長城). I find myself looking at all the above historical spots in a different light, during my 1st trip I was ooohhh-ing and ahhhhh-ing away at the grandeur of the buildings. This time around, I spend a 'lil bit of time to look at the more intricate details like the architecture and its surroundings.

Pic 3: Forbidden City

Pic 4: Summer Palace

Pic 5: The long corridor in Summer Palace

Pic 6: Great Wall of China (Juyong Pass)

Pic 7: Ming Dynasty Tombs

Pic 8: Temple of Heaven

There's intense development all around the city as many are preparing for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. I'm sure with the soaring development in properties and the governments' inherent limit on major developments to rid of ugly cranes and unfinished buildings during the Olympics, property prices is gonna boom. It's all good for those in the game and with money but for the common folk it would means harder to own a place to call their own. As of now, the cost of living is heading way high with double digits in inflation rates last year and perhaps this year as well.

Pic 9: Countdown to the 2008 Summer Olympics on the 8th August 2008

I'm sure many would be familiar with the diverse automobile manufacturers in China. There are just so many of them and many of which are only limited to a certain province. So you might see an automobile brand in one part of China and it will remain unknown to the rest of the country.

Pic 9: No parking dude.....

I can foresee within less than 10 years time, many of these manufacturers will consolidate into a few big giants and take on the world. Sure their products and quality may be a bit below par now but give them time, and the world will be shaken by Chinese Automobile Manufacturers.

Pic 10: Funny motorcyle with an enclosure

Just look at the Japanese when they first started and went to America. They are looked upon as trash and laughed at. Now?? Honda and Toyota is making General Motors sweat in its pants! Then came the Koreans. When the first vehicle (Pony) rolled off from Hyundai's production line, it's laughed upon the world over. Look at them now, in a shorter span of time than the Japanese, it has taken America and Europe by storm. Offering quality products at a cheaper price and providing the public an excellent alternative to offerings from America, Europe and Japan.

Now it's China's turn. With their experience in 'reverse engineering', I'm sure this objective will be fulfilled in a shorter span of time. When I was there, I did spot some products that are of familiar origins. I saw the Laibao SR-V (manufactured by Shuanghuan Motors) which is basically a clone of the Honda CR-V and also the Cherry QQ, the infamous clone of the Chevy Spark.

Ok enough about the automobile industry. Looking at subjects more close at heart, I have great respect for the vehicle drivers in Beijing. They're so well behaved. I was told that it costs around RMB 4,000 to obtain a driving license and the penalty for traffic offences are heavy in terms of monitory fines and suspension of license. During my stay there, I have not come across anyone speeding along the expressway. I can imagine if I was a resident in Beijing, I'll get my license suspended in no time for speeding. I would be tearing away along the Badaling Expressway at max speed. Perhaps I'll just stick to motorized bicycles. Hehehehe :P

Food and lodgings
Accomodation was allright. It's not too bad. Stayed in the Holiday Inn Downtown Beijing. Think it's a four star hotel. Some of the bigger hotels are just so nice. I wish and I miss staying in 5 star hotels in China. Simply heaven......

Food was nothing to shout about but I did see some weird stuffs in Wang Fu Jing Street. There's scorpions, sea horses, star fish, centipedes, beetles, baby sharks, grass hoppers, etc....

Errr....nope, I did not have the stomach to try any of those......

Pic 11: Food stalls along Wang Fu Jing Street

Pic 12: Food stalls along Wang Fu Jing Street

Pic 13: Peking Duck at Quanjude Restaurant

Also went to the most well known restaurant for the infamous Peking Duck, Quanjude (全聚德) Restaurant. Quanjude is nationally recognized as the most prestigious restaurant in China for the past 140 years. I went to the latest outlet in Silk Street. It is said that the restaurant chain sells over 2 million roast ducks annually. That’s a whole lots of ducks!

Weird antics?
Well there was this one chilly night around 11:00pm with nothing to do and feeling kinda below the wind. I went out from the hotel in my pajamas (track pants & t-shirt) and walked a block or two in what felt like perhaps 4 degrees Celsius! Many locals look at me with faces that say, "What the hell is this crazy guy doing dressed in t-shirt only". was refreshingly cool and did indeed freshen me up. Luckily I did not catch a cold. :P

I also had a hair cut in Beijing. Yes a hair cut. Hey my hair was long so uhmmm...why not? It only costs RMB 25 for a hair cut and that includes a shoulder massage. Hey not too bad right? I was actually kinda afraid it turns out weird but it was ok at the end.... Thankfully.

Pic 14: Night shopping along Wang Fu Jing Street

Pic 15: Beijing. A blend of old, traditional and modernization

In conclusion?
Overall, Beijing is not a place that I would view as a home. It's just not my style unlike other cities that I've been to in China. I am particularly fond of Yunnan (云南). Especially the 'lil capital in the far southwestern corner of China.

Nevertheless, I'm gonna miss China and it's wonderful melting pot of people, culture and history. I'm looking forward to my 8th trip to China and hopefully it'll be to a place that's close to my heart.

Forever fascinated by China and it's wonderful people.......
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