Saturday, November 25, 2017

Nismo Heritage Program Update

Good news for R32 owners as Nissan sheds more light on the Nismo Heritage Program as well as a release date for the first batch of parts.

Around 80 parts will go on sale in Japan starting December 1st, spanning from aero to mechanical parts indispensable for the car to function or pass shaken (Japanese mandatory roadworthiness test).

No news yet about a release outside Japan market, but I’m sure that they will make their way overseas through third party channels (hopefully without too much speculation).

Some of the parts will be on display at Nismo Festival tomorrow and it should be interesting to see how owners will react.

Nismo has also released more information about the S1 engine menu and aero parts for the R35.

The “new” GT-R is now a 10 years old car and the new aero surely adds a fresh factor to one of the most iconic car designs in modern times.

That’s it for today: up nice and early tomorrow for Nismo Festival at Fuji Speedway.

Until next time.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Maintenance - Update

It's been exactly one one week since Aki and I dropped off our cars at Nismo, and today I got the call I was waiting for from Yamazaki-san: "It's ready". 

Timing belt and water pump replacement are pretty standard operations, so everything went smoothly, except for a stubborn bolt in the rear differential that needed replacement when Yamada-san attempted to change the oil.

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post is that, along with the N1 water pump, also the radiator pipe and thermostat connected to it have been replaced. Call it placebo effect, but now the water temperature seems to read a couple of degree lower than before. Picking up the car refreshened and all cleaned up is a great feeling.

Sugimoto-san was carrying out the final touches on a R35 Nismo MY2017 that just came back from a track day. Unlike the BNR34 these are mighty machines that can be taken straight to the track in their stock form.

Speaking of track-ready machines, I must admit that the Z33 Nismo is really growing on me: I think it has aged very well and still looks great.

This particular model was painted in the same KY0 that was used on the Z-tune and was fitted with optional clear rear taillights.

On my way back I got stuck in traffic between Setagaya and Shibuya, but once arrived in the Minato area I jumped on the expressway and let the GT-R stretch its legs before getting home: cruising around Tokyo bay never gets old.

And some yakitori to wrap up the day.

I'm really looking forward to Nismo Festival: I don't really expect any surprise as these events are all about slightly evolving the same formula every year, but it's been way too long since I've been trackside, and Fuji Speedway is always great in winter. Nismo is celebrating the countdown on Facebook with some nostalgic posts, like this throwback to 2001.

Until next time.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Autumn Maintenance at Nismo - N1 Parts & Refresh

In one of my last posts I mentioned that I had some maintenance planned for the GT-R in October, but a rather busy work schedule and horrible weather pushed it back a bit. 

With a three day weekend and finally sunny weather yesterday seemed the perfect day to visit Nismo.

But let's go with order: after a mandatory coffee pit-stop at Turret Coffee (check these guys out of you are in the Tsukiji area - some seriously good coffee!) I decided that the car deserved a long overdue wash.

I managed to find a good place that uses deionized water and, after a chat with the manager - Takahashi-san (who is a bit of a Alfa Romeo nut, having owned two 156 GTA) - I dropped the car off and went for walk around Ginza.

One of the richest neighborhood in the city, it never disappoints when it comes to car spotting: this F40 sounded absolutely mental.

While the GT-R Vision Gran Turismo Concept was on display at Nissan Crossing.

Aki was already there when I arrived at Nismo. He is carrying out the final touches on his BCNR33 after the interior leather upgrade that I wrote about in my last post.

Strange to think about, but this was the first in a long time since our cars were last reunited and Aki took his time to look at my car. If you are not familiar with him then I would recommend visiting his excellent blog, which is arguably the ultimate owners guide for BCNR33. 

Aki is renowned for his fastidious attention to detail and, while nervous at first, I am pleased to report that I passed the test with full marks as he had plenty of praises for the cleanliness of my engine bay.

So, what about maintenance? Nissan recommends replacing the timing belt after 100,000km or 10 years and, while my car is still far from hitting that mileage milestone, it will turn 16 years old next March: time to freshen things up. After a lengthy consultation with Yamazaki-san, this is the recommended menu he came up with.

We opted for a Nismo timing belt: reinforced with tempered glass core wires it's about 1.2 times stronger and 1.8 times more heat resistant than a standard OEM one. Replacing a timing belt can be seen as a fairly standard plug-and-play kind of job, but we took things a bit further and decided to replace 7 different hoses, some clamps and other small rubber bits and pieces, all amounting to a quite lengthy parts list. The other big item that we decided to refresh was the water pump which, to my surprise, revealed to be extremely expensive: 42,228¥ expensive to be precise! With my car being a Nür spec, it comes equipped with a N1 water pump (part number recognizable by the 24U code, as all the other N1 parts), which turns out to be about three times the price of a standard one!

This triggered my curiosity and I did some research on Minkara (ミンカラ) to find a comparison between N1 and standard. The N1 (top) has visibly a larger diameter and 6 blades compared to the standard 8: this is aimed to reduce cavitation (formation of vapour cavities in a liquid, small liquid-free zones that are the consequence of forces acting upon the liquid), which would negatively affect cooling performances and possibly damage the blades or the pump itself in high-stress situations. Additionally, the N1 pump is reinforced with an extra metal disk welded at the bottom. Like for the metal turbos (vs. standard ceramic ones), there is a bit of a trade off as the water temperature might rise slightly more at slow speed compared to the standard pump, but significantly prevents cavitation and provides better cooling for extended time in sport driving condition.

To top the refresh menu off, I decided to go with a full fluid change for the engine, transmission and differential. Nismo 10W60 for RB26DETT was the oil of choice for the engine.

The total bill was a bit higher than expected, but having Yamada-san going through the process of replacing all the hoses and other bits with fresh OEM grade parts will make it all worth it and bring back the car to factory finish: it's all in the details and I am convinced that things like this really set apart truly well maintained cars from the others.

I also ended up buying some extra spare parts (more on this later), and we managed to score free tickets for Nismo Festival, courtesy of Yamazaki-san.

Time flew by and we ended up spending over three hours at Nismo; there were also other interesting cars in for service and, as always, I had to take photos.

The want for R35 brakes is very strong.

As the guys at the Nissan dealership next door where having a slow day we decided to test drive the new Note E-power.

Currently the best selling model in Nissan lineup, it's powered by a tiny 1.2L engine augmented by an electric battery that provides a good balance between performance and consumption. 

The interior quality is also pretty good and, all in all, it's a nice little car with a very reasonable price-tag for what has to offer.

It will be interesting to see how Nissan will apply hybrid technology to its next generation of sportscars, although it looks like we will not see the new GT-R before 2020. After leaving, Aki insisted that we shared a moment of bromance, so we ended up getting some food and drinks to wrap up the day. 

Until next time.