Sep 29, 2014

CR-Z in Fukuoka

by Dustin Mankin

On the way back from Up Garage in Fukuoka, I noticed this CR-Z. We've been talking about CR-Zs a little bit in the comments section of the Quick Snap Type R article, as well as the haggard one that I posted as a TBT last week, so I thought this might be a good time to touch on one.

For a hybrid that was developed when it was, it's not a bad car. We will soon forget about cars like this as better hybrids come out (wtf am I saying?), but as for all the hybrids right now, its probably the most sporty, even going against it's Lexus counterparts. When going against the Prius, it's a no brainer... this thing even has an exhaust note at launch... not the sound of a papa-aged transformer desperately trying to beat off.

I see what he was trying to do here, and unlike the ghetto sled from last week's TBT, this thing looks a lot better, but it just barely misses the mark. To me, to do blue on blue like this, the wheels either need to be perfectly matched, or maybe sky blue would also work... but the almost navy blue and royal blue do not complement each other well. If it was me, I would go for white or bronze wheels, or if you wanted to go highlighter colored, then maybe yellow or lime green.

But most definitely an A for effort.

And if you think the car selection has been a little bland lately, so do I. Hang in there though. I got something really nice coming later this week. I literally just post them in the order that I take them.

Sep 26, 2014

Project 180SX:

Making Fender Braces

by Dustin Mankin

These pictures are just a rough overview of the brace I made for the passenger side of the car. I learned a few things in the process of this, and thought I would share the process a little bit more in depth for the driver's side of the car.

If you couldn't tell from the first set of pictures, these braces are rusted all to hell. That's the reason I have to make a new set. As I tried to unscrew the bolt from the fender side of the brace, the seized bolt caused the brace to twist like the stories police tell after they shoot an unarmed person to death.

That scared the hell out of me when it came to the frame side of the brace. If the brace twists and the bolt snaps that's ok, It will still come out of the fender. But if the rusted head breaks off in the frame, then that ranks a little higher on the "your screwed" scale. The bolts they used are all hardered which makes drilling and using an easy out a pain in the ass.

Because of this, I wanted to use something similar to some PB Blaster or WD-40. This is a step above. The Wurth SaBesto line is really amazing. The "Rost Off Plus" product is awesome in its own right, but this "Rost Off Ice" is insane. As the word "ice" implies, not only does it lubricate and break down the rust on seized bolts, the ice lineup is super cold, and cable of shrinking the metal slightly. This gives the bolt more room to turn free in the threads. One can is about $30 I'm told, but if you only use it on the impossible jobs, a can will last a long time. For the time you save, the price is invaluable. Keep this along with your normal penetrating oil of choice.

I broke the fender side bolt, because I knew I was making a new bracket, and I didn't want to waste money on wasting the ice. None given on the fender side. Now the frame side, I soaked pretty good, and she came out like a charm. Love that stuff.

And here is the bracket chilling on top of the vice. I bought a small piece of tubing, and held the pieces together, and eyes about about where I needed to cut and marked it with a red paint marker. I allowed for space to account for the bend, you can always cut it down later, and wiggle room is good for when you bend your own bracket.

I used a tubing cutter to cut the tubing easily and cleanly. These tools are around $5-$10 and make all kinds of jobs like this easier. Too much horse power, too big of boobs, and too many tools.... all phrases that are totally false.

Now I laid the tube next to the factory bracket and marked where the flat mounting tab was with a red paint marker, as well as marking where the bend begins.

After that, I crushed the end flat, so we can mount the brace.

I also pressed a small bend higher up where I need to bend the pipe. Naturally it would be better to bend it with a pipe or tube bender, but I didn't have one handy, and for this bracket's job, it will be tough enough, it just won't look as cool.

I bent the rod slightly and gently by hand until it matched the bend of the factory bracket.

At the second crease made by the press, I bent it more to complete the curve of the bracket. Once again, not pretty, but functional.

I crushed the last mounting area flat, and bent it to finish out the curve.

I eyed the holes out and then marked this with the red paint marker pen. This is where I will drill the holes out for the M6x15 bolts.

Drill, baby, drill.

I lightly sanded with 400 grit, and hit it with some oil based acrylic flat black paint. This stuff dries pretty fast in the sun. At least enough to be handled.

And here it is on the car. Now the fenders are really solid, even without a bumper bracing them, just like the factory. Seriously stiff... like a pedophile at an elementary school play. They are not the most beautiful... like that same pedophile, but they work...unlike the restraining order on the pedophile.

Well, I'm off to comb my mustache and polish my black frame glasses before I pick up my trench coat from the dry cleaners.


Sep 25, 2014

Throw Back Thursday:


by Dustin Mankin

I was just telling my friend that all of the CR-Zs over here are making me want to do a K-Swap into one, one day.... then I just saw this thing, and it made me rethink it all. Granted this was built really early in the CR-Zs life, but there is no excuse for this thing looking like it came from a Trick Daddy music video.... classic wheels like the TE37 have existed long before this car came out. That JC Whitney Import Parts catalog from 2000 called.... they want their parts back. By the way... circa 2011 and this shit is still going on.

Sep 24, 2014

Quick Snap:

Honda FD2 Civic Type- R in Minami-Ku

by Dustin Mankin

Hey guys and gals. Just working on a couple of future blog posts (one I know you are really going to like), so I thought I'd drop off a Quick Snap. We haven't had one of those in a while. Enjoy!

Sep 23, 2014

Sometimes I just like to do non car related stuff on the blog. With the internet blurring the lines between what's USDM, JDM, Euro, etc., sometimes you lose that touch with what your covering, and I feel like posts like this bring it back. To me JDM isn't a car style it's a lifestyle. I mean, if that wasn't true, I wouldn't have moved here.

Anyway this is one of a few shots I took around the temple. You might think this is Sakura, but it's actually Ume (plum) blossoms. Before Sakura became so popular, these actually had more importance than Sakura... just like the car culture, even nature fanatics change their style up, every once in a while.

This wooden Buddha statue is an impressive 2 stories tall. This is the main attraction to Tochoji Temple, even though you can see that the grounds are nice as well. I am not a Buddhist, but this is still very impressive, just as a work of art. The way that the light floods the room also adds to the sense of awe and majesty.

Lastly, I took this picture, just because the juxtaposition of Old and New. This is always the most spectacular thing about Japan. I love how they managed to keep the old stuff, while building a completely modern city. This temple is in one of the busiest part of Fukuoka city, but when you step into it's gardens, the hustle and bustle just seem to disappear. Maybe that is the true mission of a Zen garden...

If anyone ever wants to come and visit, hit me up. I can give them very reasonable accommodations, and we can visit Fukuoka. Hit up some car shops, stop at a bar or two, visit the beautiful cultural landmarks and just enjoy life....

Sep 19, 2014

Project 180SX:

Roof Repair and Glass Install

by Dustin Mankin

In the past couple of articles, I've been talking about how I need to change my windshield for Shaken, or Government Car inspection. I'm finally getting around to it. The sad thing is, that the glass itself was only $150. It isn't OEM, but on the drift car, who cares. Especially when I had to pay around $400 for the weather molding surrounding the glass.Everyone who says that they want to come to Japan because the parts are so cheap... think again. Yes, used aftermarket parts are cheaper in Japan, but a lot of stuff you either A) can't get here, or B) It's expensive as hell. I think I looked on Courtesy Parts and the same set was like $250 dollars, give or take.

Anyway, here she is with the glass out. To get the glass out, you need to remove the  rearview mirror, map light, sun visors, interior weather stripping....all that crap. Then pull the roof panel down, gently, and use some cardboard wedged in there to keep it down. You don't wanna mess it up or get it dirty.

After that, you can use a few things to cut the sealer loose. They make an electric hot wire maching, but that's expensive. Then on the opposite end, if you are dirt poor, or not a professional windshield installer, you can use a piano or thin metal wire. Or if you are smack dab in the middle, like our shop, they make a manual powered tool that cuts it out. It looks like a sex toy that I saw at your mom's once, but that's another story, for another website.

However you go about it. It's a pain in the ass. It'll take a while, just keep at it. Now you can see all the stuff you wanted to ignore... namely rust. Look in that bottom passenger side corner...

This passenger side corner. When I saw that, I about threw up my lunch. I was really hoping it didn't go all the way through. But, it looked like it did. Damn this car is rusty as hell. It's a 1996 model, and it's worse than my damn 1989 model back in Kentucky.

And here is my old windshield laying on some tires. RIP.

But sitting there scared doesn't get you anywhere, so I just dug in. A lot of it was spot rust.

And getting into the corners was the worst part. Not difficult, just tedious. Sometimes shit like that makes me bored, so I have to just tell myself, if you quit it will take even longer to finish.

I just kept going. You can see that corner wasn't as bad as I thought, which is a really awesome thing.

Really I got lucky, because only one area had rust so bad that it ate through. And it was not a big area, so it will be easy to fix. You can see the other picture above to get an idea of the scale. It was probably about an inch of metal.

And with night fall, the end of my work came. I'll pick back up the next day where I left off.

I started taping the car off to put on some rust changer, which also is an epoxy at the same time. It does a double job of changing rust into an inert material, and the epoxy gives you a smooth surface to sand and paint on. It can be sprayed if you have a thick enough tip on your gun, but this time, we just thought it would be easier to brush since these areas won't be seen so much.

I'm going to primer later, but this greenish brown stuff you see is the factory e-coat. I really wish there was a way to get this stuff.... I mean almost NOTHING rusts where this stuff is applied, and it's hard as hell to remove.

In the above pictures, you can see some of the Rust Changer in action, set up as an epoxy. Some of the brush bristles even got stuck into it. I'll also tell you that when we reinstalled bolts, we had to use a thread tap to clean the holes out first to easier install the bolts. That's how hard this stuff gets. I really like this stuff, actually. It is a little difficult to sand though, and it takes about 3-6 hours to get to a hardness that is sandable, althought I would say 24 hours is preferred.

After the rust sealer cured, we pushed her into the garage to tack some metal into the little area on the cowl where the rust ate through.

I can't weld, so I let Taira-san handle that. I don't have any pics inbetween this and priming, but we did go to the welds with a 60 grit belt sander after this to clean them up.

The car was then taped and primed and this is the result. You can see some rough areas under the body, where we didn't sand the epoxy so smooth, but this will never be seen so no need to waste time making it look like it's perfect.

After that, I sanded down the metal roof trim. This is going to be the same color as the roof, which I believe is KH3 Black, just the standard one stage Nissan black. It will match everything, so if I ever want to change color, I only have to do the body, which will save me time and money... providing I always want a two-tone car.

And the B-Pillar I slaved away on in the first part of this project? Stripped and ready to be resprayed. I didn't like that color on the B-Pillar. I mean I like the color... enough that I'm considering spraying the car with it, but it just didn't blend well as a B-Pillar. This part will also be KH3 Black.

At this point, I had to come back home to get ready for work in the evening, so I planned to paint it the next day. When I showed up ready to work, the roof was painted and the glass was set. And for all of that they only charged me $80. No shop in the world would do all of that for that cheap. I haven't had enough practice painting, so I likely would have wasted more money in paint. And I can always practice later on scrap parts.

Here you can see how far we went with the black paint. I'm really happy with the outcome of this up to this stage.

And here is the little multi-color wonder sitting in my driveway the next day.... sadly it was raining. But it did wash a lot of the dust off of the car. I took it out the next day for a good wash.... still looked like primered shit, lol.

Well... this was a long one, guys.... how about a little comment love?
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