Monday, March 29, 2010

Super Silhouette.. MX6?

Familiar with this monster?
Nice huh? Super Silhoutte R30 Skyline. I gotta say i prefer R30s more than the later generations of Skyline. There's something about the angled body design that really gets to me.

What do you do when you want a ride like that so bad but just don't have enough dough for R30s? You could get an MX6..
and turn it into this..
LOL got some time on my hands and decided to waste it on realizing an idea that has been floating in my head for some time. I am just imagining what my next project would be if i have the money and seeing this result, i gotta say it would make a very nice project. Sad that MX6s are FWD..

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Addicted to Ebay

Learning new stuff is one of the pleasures of this project. I learned a bit about importing stuff when i bought my Prothane kit last time. There are import taxes that i need to settle by picking up the stuff at the post office myself. But that's for stuff worth over US$50. What about things cheaper? Other than that, i heard that used stuff are also not allowed at the customs.

Curious about learning the actual facts, i went again searching on Ebay for parts at said conditions: previously owned and priced under US$50. Here's what interest me the most.

That's used 4AGE injector plugs. Why did i choose that? I already have injector plugs on my DIY harness but somehow they're of a different type. The ones i have got no clips to fix the plugs securely to the injectors. That's nothing cable ties couldn't solve but since these are for sale (and cheap), i chose to get them anyway. I paid only 15 bucks shipped. So there you go.. Used stuff for less than US$50.

How did it go? Well just a few days ago, this was delivered.
Yes it's actually delivered. I don't have to pick it up at the post office to pay for the import tax. There was a fee that i had to pay when the stuff was delivered home but it was less than a dollar.

In total, i was only paying around US$16 for those plugs. I am pretty sure i'd be paying more if i buy them locally, that's if i can find them. Who says imported stuff are always more expensive?

What did we learn, ladies and gentlemen? Stuff worth less than US$50 will be actually be delivered by the post office while anything more expensive, will have to picked up by the recipient since he/she has to settle some import taxes. Used stuff are also allowed!

Ebay is becoming more as my daily stop lately. I am eyeing on some adjustable cam sprockets and lightweight pulleys currently. Who knows when a good bargain comes up..

Monday, March 15, 2010

Coilover Suspension Hunt

On my search for the ultimate suspension setup, i have come across a variety of options to choose. What makes the journey easier is that Charmant has the exact suspension system with AE86 (i've been saying this over and over, i guess you got bored with it, eh?) and there's an extensive list of aftermarket suspension parts for said model.

My priorities in no particular order when it comes to suspension setup are:
- Performance
- Long-term cost
- Initial price

In short, i want a suspension system which performs well which is cheap enough and allows me to keep running it with as minimum of maintenance cost as possible. Well, don't we all?

You see, i don't really care if it's adjustable-height coilover or not. I don't think i'll change the height often enough to justify me a purchase. However, if there's a system which fulfills said priorities, why not? Here's some of the options i found so far..

Taiwanese Coil-overs
You know, D2 Racing, Ksport, G4 Racing or the sorts. Of course i can be wrong when i say that those brands are actually made in Taiwan but i am just channeling what hundreds have said on many web forums. Their coil-overs are ridiculously cheap. I got an offer for Ksport's cheapest AE86 coilover line Kontrol Pro for less than a thousand dollars!

Those brands look like they come from one manufacturer in Taiwan. They look very much alike except for the color. Don't believe me? Here you go.

Above is Ksport and below is D2. I am sure someone with adequate photoshop skills (and time) can alter Ksport's orange color to purple and end up with similar looking kit with D2.

A coilover for less than a grand?! So what's keeping me from buying them? Notice the rear shocks on these kits and compare it with Charmant's stock ones. One major drawback that's keeping me from these kits is how they now combine the springs with the damper while on the stock system, the springs and dampers are separated. On the stock system, the vehicle's weight is exerted on the spring perches and mounts that is designed and meant to hold such load. Since these kits now combine the spring with the damper, the load would now be on the damper mounts. That doesn't sound as a good idea for me. The top damper mount on the chassis is not what worries me. It's actually the lower mount on the axle which got me scared. See here..

I am no expert in metallurgic but i am not comfortable putting such weight on a very small shock mount. However, Yohann has been using D2 with no problem. So it's now up to you whether you want this kit or not.
One good point to note about these kits is that you keep the stock strut case and no altering is needed to be done. The front dampers which come with the kit slide inside the strut case while the adjustable sleeves sit on top of the stock spring perches. Also, they come with monotube dampers which is said to outperform twintube dampers.

In case you're wondering, the stock Charmant strut case is integrated with the spindle (the shaft where your disk brake and wheel spin) as seen below.

This means, any coilover kit manufacturer must figure out a way to fit spindles on their kit. It can either be from making their own spindles (like in Greddy Type-S kit) or somehow fit the stock spindles on the kit (by keeping the stock strut case ala Ksport/D2 or modifying the strut case). I personally prefer a kit which keeps the stock strut case as usually it's the cheap and allows you to use other brand of strut inserts (dampers) such as the way Ksport or D2 do above. A kit which comes with their own spindle can be very expensive and while ensures you easy installation, leaves you with a question of whether can you use any strut inserts on the kit.

JDM Coilovers
Shiny, top notch performance and expensive are the treats of these coilovers. Greddy Type-S and Tein SS-P both retail at around US$2,000. With shipping and tax, i'll be paying close to US$3,000 for these kits and that's nearly half of what i've spent on The Dog so far. LOL.

While i am sure the kit is certainly worth the price, i just don't have the budget (and sanity) to shell out that kind of money when i have no plans to use The Dog as a dedicated track ride. Pictured below is Greddy Type-S taken from a very good review of them here. You can see that they come with spindles so you can ditch those stock strut cases or use them as dildos if you prefer.
Look how they also keep the rear springs separated from the dampers which ensures you that the load is where it was designed to be.

Megan Coilovers
Megan coilovers could be just another Taiwanese coilover. However, i chose to write about them separately to share you a unique thing i learned about them. Here's their kit.
First you'll notice that on the rear, they did it Greddy style as the springs and dampers are kept separated. This is certainly a good decision. However, pay attention to the front parts. See that they have the brake cable mounts? That tells you that these are not meant to slide inside the stock strut case i.e the strut case is also provided on the kit. But where are the spindles? This is what i am going to share about this kit. Taken from Megan's website:

These dampers are NOT a Direct Bolt-On, however, because you need to Re-Use your OEM front spindles. We did this to maintain a lower cost for the enthusiast, as the OEM spindles are perfectly able to be reused in most cases. The operation is simple and most shops that have the ability to weld using either a MIG or TIG welder can complete the operation in usually under an hour.

After removing your front Shock casings with the spindles, mark off 40mm from the top of the spindle base and cut. Once you have the spindles with 40mm of tubing protruding from them, simply slide the Megan Casings over the shock casings until they are butted up against the spindle casting, and simply weld COMPLETELY around the casing with either a MIG or TIG welder (NOT AN ARC WELDER!!!). Once this is done, simply screw on the bottom bracket onto the suspension system and you are ready to go reassemble your front suspension.

So basically you need to cut your stock strut case keeping the spindle part and weld the kit's front dampers on it. Though simple, it sounds like a risky job to me. If I am going to pay a thousand dollars for a coilover kit, i certainly don't like that it comes with a risk of messed up welding process which leaves you with a useless kit.

Short Stroke Conversion
I won't bother you with details. See here.

This is basically modding your stock strut cases by shortening them to fit shorter stroke strut inserts, cutting the spring perches to allow adjustable perch sleeves to be welded over the strut case.

You'll need to get short stroke dampers, adjustable sleeves and springs (Ground Control Coilover kit is a good idea) and adjustable camber top mounts. These alone would cost me at least a grand. I still have to pay for the conversion work and still left with the stock suspension on the rear. Being sure that this would outperform any Taiwanese coilovers mentioned above, I was going to pick this option until i found another option below.

Hotbits Coilovers
My good friend Stanley might have heard about them as the manufacturer is based in Malaysia (if you do, share us about it, will you Stanley?). Hotbits have a few options for AE86. The first one is monotube shock dampers that requires you to reuse the old springs and are non-adjustable height. The second one is coilover kit that you can upgrade as you and your wallet allow. The basic coilover kit comes with non-adjustable monotube dampers with adjustable height. For extra, you can either get a one-way or two-way adjustable dampers. One-way adjustable dampers allow you to adjust the compression and rebound damping rate simultaneously. This is called the DT1 series. Two-way adjustable dampers allow you to separately adjust said damping rates and known as the DT2 series. Need more? How about progressive springs (known as helper springs by Hotbits)? Separate canisters on the dampers? Adjustable camber top mounts? These will be added to the kit if you're willing to shell out extra.

What i like about them is that they are rebuild-able meaning that you don't have get new dampers when the old ones are busted. You just take the old ones to a certified Hot Bits service center and they'll renew your old dampers. The rebuild cost is of course much cheaper than getting new dampers and guess what, we have a certified distributor in Indonesia!

I am still currently corresponding with our local Hot Bits distributor, digging out information about their AE86 coilover kit. So far i have been told that they don't have any stock in Indonesia and need to order from Malaysia. Also i was told that the rear springs are kept separated from the shocks (sweet!). However, they have no pics of the actual AE86 coilover kit so i can't tell how they do it for the front part. I sure hope that the kit comes with their own spindle like Greddy but i can only guess until i get a reply from them. Will update this post when i have more info.

The basic coilover kit (non-adjustable rate damper, no adjustable camber top mounts and no helper springs) cost me pretty much the same as Taiwanese coilovers. So you can see why i am so eager to know more about this kit. The three priorities i mentioned earlier in this post are fulfilled by Hot Bits. Cheap initial price, low long term cost (rebuild-able dampers yo!) and good performance. Well i can't really say much about performance yet but testimonies from other Hot Bits user in Indonesia promise me a satisfactory purchase so if everything goes well, most probably i'll invest in one of their kits.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

For Sale: Daihatsu Charmant Community T-Shirt

For Sale

Made from combed cotton so you can be sure it's high up there on the comfort level
Front label says The Daihatsu Charmant is one of the last of the rear-drive family cars
Back label says
One size fits all homo sapiens or similarly structured species. If you can read this, yes it fits you!
Only black color available

IDR 85,000 + shipping, translates to approximately US$9.5

Contact me on for ordering!

Monday, March 8, 2010

PROTHANE Bushings Delivered!

I bought PROTHANE Bushing Total Kit from Ebay about 5 weeks ago and had been waiting anxiously for it since it was my first time importing stuff from overseas.

Well, no more waiting for me. Look what i have here..

When i bought the kit, i wasn't only interested in the stuff but also, i wanted to know the rules and procedures in Indonesia's customs office. If this kit is successfully delivered, i won't hesitate no more when buying stuff from overseas. Well now i know and will be happy to share you the experience.

The seller uses USPS Priority Mail Service and they have "Track and Confirm" service which allows you to see the status and whereabouts of your package. You might have to ask the seller for the tracking number like i did. Here's what i got from USPS's Track and Confirm page when i checked late February.

See the question mark label? Attempted Delivery Abroad happens when they tried to deliver the package but no one was at the delivery address to receive it. But i tell you, in the words of my friend Dereck, that's BLATANT LIEZZZ.. LOL. My mom was always at home and she never was visited by any delivery guy. It turned out after an inquiry was made to our local post office, they never did and never will make the package delivery. What they're supposed to do is send us a notification letter informing us to pickup the package with all the details of the required payment. Afterward, we need pick it up ourselves and pay some import tax. The inquiry to the post office was made before they get to send that letter so we just made those f*cker's job even easier. My mom helped me pick up the letter and package after showing proof that i appointed her to represent me (i ordered it, hence it was my name on the package) and paying the tax.

Enough about the shipping details. These are what's inside the package. Mind that these bushings are made for AE86s but as Charmants share many common parts with AE86, most of these bushings will fit The Dog. Yohann warned me that i will be left with some bushings unused as he has bought the same kit for his Charmant. I for certain know that i won't be using the rear sway bar bushings as Charmants don't have them. I have asked Yohann to comment on this post informing us which bushings are unused. Help us out here Yohann!

I am guessing E and F aren't used as they're both for rear sway bars. Am i right Yohann?
Kit Includes:
# Rear Control Arm Bushing Kit (#18-305)
# Front Strut Rod Bushing Kit (#18-1203)
# Rear Endlink Bushing Kit (#18-401)
# Rear Track Arm Bushing Kit (#18-1205)
# Front Control Arm Bushing Kit (#18-210)
# Sway Bar Bushings (#19-1120)
# Sway Bar Endlinks (#19-421)
# Rear Sway Bar Bushings (#18-1130)
Can't wait to fit them in.. Next stop, shall i go coilovers or just lowered springs + gas shocks?

Friday, March 5, 2010

AE86 Cusco RS LSD, Crossing My Fingers


It's not (yet) mine. My workshop offered it to me when i told them i was looking to put LSD on my Charmant. Apparently, one of the workshop's customer bought the wrong type and couldn't fit it to his KE70 so apart from how the box looks, it's actually brand new. He did replace the rear axle with one from the GT version. I don't know much about KE70s but the GT version had DOHC engine, most probably 2T-G. I can only guess that it also came with T-series axle.

I tried to figure out what car this LSD is for and here's what i got.

See the 6.7 writing? It's the ring gear diameter. A T-series comes with similarly sized ring gear. That's good news for sure. The only thing left to do is to make sure whether this is for Zenki or Kouki T-series. Hopefully it's Zenki but the 131 F2 marking told me it's not.. *sigh*

131 F2 series are Cusco's 2-Way RS-type LSDs and sadly this pdf from Cusco explained that it's for Kouki AE86 which is not what i need. I need the Zenki version as i am going to fit a Corona RT132 T-series diff in and it has the same half shaft diameter as Zenki AE86.

Ah well, there's still the minor possibility that it's the wrong box and it's actually a Zenki AE86 LSD. LOL one can hope, right? All i need to do is get me that Corona axle and try to see if it fits. Counting the half-shaft insert splines didn't help as both Zenki and Kouki axle have 23 splines, only the diameters are different. Sadly, i didn't have the tool to measure the LSD's half shaft insert diameter as it was too deep for my slide ruler to measure properly.

If a Corona RT132 half shaft fits, i will surely pay for this LSD. The price offered for it was cheaper than what i would have to pay if i order a new one and i also won't have to wait two months for it to ship from Japan to Indonesia.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

DIY 4A-GE Smallport EFI Wiring Pt.4: Harness Done

After a few weeks of this..

.. took me a while to finish it, squeezing time between office work to solder, cut and measure the cables but finally the EFI harness is done. Here's the end result.

That noodle spread across my room is what will be seen on The Dog in a few weeks from now. It will be wrapped in spiral wrapping so as to keep it neat but first i have to make sure that it works. Not much to say about how the harness-making goes except you have to have lots of cables in different colors. I used about 25 different colors. You don't have to follow exactly the cable colors mentioned in the diagram but try to get as many colors as possible. It'll help you one day when you troubleshoot. Take your time and triple check every connection. I work on the harness only 2-3 hours per day at a very slow pace. Use heat shrink tubes, avoid electrical tapes at all cost. You will forget to insert the heat shrink tubes BEFORE soldering but try to keep that minimum.

Gee, what's to share about harness? Cable harnesses aren't exactly interesting to make a story about. Anyway, at least i can show you this modification i did.

See the two connectors on below right? The first one on the left is a cut i made on the engine Coolant Temp Sensor wire (CLT) so that i can insert a variable resistor. The purpose of this is to "fool" the ECU into thinking that the engine is colder than it actually is. If the ECU thinks that the engine is cold, it will control to injector to put more gas and advance the timing.. thus increasing the horsepower, claimed to improve off-idle and midrange RPM response. There are lots of sensor that can be modded this way like the Intake Air Temp (IAT) sensor but CLT has more weight for the injector pulse width calculation. The idea is taken from yotatech here.

Here's diagram which shows the relation between engine coolant temperature and CLT sensor readout.
See that at low temperatures, the CLT has higher resistance? Now what i did is insert a potentiometer or pot which will add to CLT's own resistance. This way, ECU will think that the CLT is reading lower temperatures. This is basically what i did.

It's better to use 500 ohm pot but i can't find one so i went with 1 kohm. This will make a slightly coarser control over the CLT manipulation but will do just fine.
Right now i have the connector jumpered but if i want to insert the pot, i just unplug the jumper cable and connect the pot.

The second connector, on the right, is a splice i did on the Oxygen sensor wire. This way i can add the Air/Fuel Ratio meter i have without damaging the cable.

Did the harness work? I can't say right now as the engine is not ready to run yet. Harness comes later when all parts like the fuel pump are installed properly. So for now, i can only hope for the best. Wish me luck!

Oh by the way, it would've taken me longer time to finish it if i didn't have an assistant to accompany me. Here's my lovely assistant slash girlfriend..

Cute pose.. LOL. That's what you call maximizing your resource. All limbs are used just to solder two wires together. I was surprised that my girlfriend could do such a neat soldering all by herself and all the soldering lesson she had was back in junior high!

It wasn't just me who was relieved to see that the harness has been completed. My girlfriend was as excited as well as she had been aching to clean the mess that is my room due to all the wire cutting, soldering and measuring i did. Here's the aftermath of all those things.

I used only around 50% of all the cables i bought and left with the cables shown above. I have no idea what will i do with those leftovers but considering that i only spent a third of the price i was charged if i let the workshop do the cabling instead, i really don't mind.