Category Archives: Installs
It’s gone. Yes, finally. I’ve always disliked 2nd generation Q45s and I don’t see that ever changing. I jumped at the first opportunity to work on one, feeling experience on the platform was necessary. What followed was many months of regret. Mistakes were made, lessons were (hopefully) learned. I’m not saying that this particular car is responsible for all of my problems. What I’m saying is I didn’t like them then, I like them even less now, and this particular car will always remind me of a dark period in my professional career and personal life. That being said, I am happy to see it go, happy that Jamie got some quality work done, and hopeful that I can turn things around. How very manic-depressive…
I didn’t take any pics of the entire car because, frankly, there isn’t anything to see. The car came directly off a shady cash lot in horrible condition. Some may say it’s future only got dimmer as it sat in the shop for almost 2 years, some may say Jaime got a great deal on some quality work at the expense of time. What’s for sure is if this car is going to be a top caliber build it is going to bring a lot more headaches to someone, just not me.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The setup was initially pulled from the once famous brown Refined Elegance LS430. The wiring was a mess, not worth recovering, so I dug into my stash and snaked Stinger Pro Series 4 gauge power wire wrapped in TechFlex Clean Cut through the bay. A generic fuse block was also donated to the cause.
Universal Air Suspension Aero Sport bags were carried over from the UCF31. They were applied to BC Racing Type BR coilovers using the correct UAS supplied brackets. This was the first full spindle set imported and the caliper mounting holes had to be drilled out to US spec. The original suspension was worn/seized so Moog ball joints and tie rod ends were installed. Nismo extended studs were pressed in place of the boogered up stocks, as a BBK/spacers are in the future plans. After wasting time/money with a “mock-up” set of adjustable arms a full set of Battle Version arms were eventually ordered. Do it right the first time right? Well on this car everything was done at least twice.
Moving toward the rear (no homo) there is an Easystreet Auto Pilot controller molded in place of the cup holders, under the factory console hatch. I find the air management fitting for the car. Outdated, just enough features, just enough function, looks just “OK”. Fortunately, there was a near complete second setup at my disposal. The original controller was pried from a less than impressive molding job and plastic welded into place. Cleaned up and worked in, missing/damaged parts were borrowed from a second controller.
For rear suspension you’ll find more of the same: BC, UAS, Battle Version. Slight trimming was needed to get sufficient clearance for the bags. I find it strange that I have never heard anyone mention the extreme bind in the lower coilover bracket, due to the stud type mount. I suggested a G50/Z32 fork style swap to allow articulation on the limited axis, but was shot down. So much for camber adjustment. I expect bushing failure in the future. And to think, the clowns at 9K Racing intentionally swapped TO this type of spindle on their G50 build. *Hack*
If you’ve been paying attention to FB/IG you were probably expecting to see a stainless hardline setup in the trunk. Unfortunately, stainless is much harder to work with than aluminum or copper and the parts to make it work are relatively expensive. Hours of work was scrapped along with the out-of-pocket cost of trial and error. The birch trunk floor was raised 3 inches. New compressors were installed after one of the transplants quickly failed. Both valve manifolds were replaced because they were partially seized due to corrosion. All pressure senders were installed and then later replaced due to the same reason. A 75 amp relay from AccuAir was used to clean up the install under the press fit cover. The ECU was swapped out with a new unit just because there was one on hand. Against the back wall of the trunk you’ll see the surviving brown painted steel tank from the original build. Unfortunately it’s just as brown on the inside, which will surely have the same effect down the line.
Third times a charm…
It’s been a few months since I did an update. Happy to see that we’re still getting some hits daily. I’ve been posting mostly from my phone to the OG Facebook page, but I’m going to get back to this for more in depth coverage. Here’s what I’ve been working on:
Sessions USA 2GS Retrofit
I took this as a quick money project but, as usual, even the slightest bit of custom work turns pretty serious pretty quickly around here. The low beams will be retrofitted with LS460 projectors. No sweat. The high beams will contain a 3″ clear lens surrounded by metal Sessions rings, creating a second 3″ faux projector. Sounds simple enough right? I thought so too. I’m sure I am overkilling it, but whatever…
Initially i didn’t think mounting the lens would be an issue, but once I got everything in my hand I was without a solution. I kind of just jumped in heads first and, after some trial and error, I made a couple molds to make a housing for the lens. Obviously, they’re not 100% in the pics but I wanted to show the construction.
Like I said, it gets kinda serious. This is the process for making the rear cap. That’s where I’m at now but these should be wrapped up in the next few days. It takes a while because I like to let the fiberglass set overnight before i work with it.
This project has been going on for a while but it’s coming to it’s conclusion. I won’t get too much into it but along the way this car has accumulated custom BC coilovers, Battle Version arms, some parts have been replaced, and install of the initial Autopilot system (with some new additions) has commenced.
The first thing I tackled was pulling power to the back. It’s nothing major, but I can’t stand opening the hood to ugly wiring in the bay. Stinger power wire was Tech Flexed and terminated with adhesive lined heat shrink. The fuse holder isn’t beautiful, but it was a freebie so whatever…
One of the next projects knocked out was molding the Autopilot controller. We chose to eliminate the cup holders so that the controller will be covered by a factory hatch in the center console when not in use. I put in some work on this. A filler piece was piece was plastic welded into the trimmed down OEM insert, and the controller was melded into that (there are a couple progress pics on the FB page). The face was smoothed out and flocked. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to reuse this controller since it was previously molded not so well, but I cut it out, stripped it down, and made it work. Go me.
The trunk on this one took a while to figure out. We wanted to hide the compressors initially but because of the factory layout it just wasn’t going to work. Instead, the compressors will be above the Birch ply floor. I mentioned the material for any of you guys still using MDF for your trunks. Birch is lighter, stiffer, and more durable. Get with it. Stay tuned for multiple hardline projects running concurrently.
460 x 2 = 920?
I’m also working on 2 nearly identical LS460 installs at the same damn time. One in shop, one to be completed in steps for a friend/team member (hint, hint).
Ken’s Lexus will be receiving BC coilovers, UAS bags/Brackets, and an Accuair eLevel system. We had some parts powdercoated from one of my sources and purchased some extra stuff for the sake of dress up. Up to this point it’s pretty much been sending stuff out and parts gathering, but I did cut a floor for it today.
Birch ply again of course. This will be duplicated for the second install, however the display will be different for both. Ken’s will be more clean and compact, while the second one will be a bit more showy.
Thanks for checking out the blog, and thanks to those who have been tuning in while nothing was really being posted.
As you probably know by now, I am a G50 fanatic. I hate to see these cars scrapped because the owner did not do the required maintenance, even more so when money was spent on mods instead. I am guilty of this as well. As you may recall my ’90 Q met it’s fate a couple years ago because I failed to give the transmission the proper attention (in my defense I had the parts and was preparing to install). The transmission cooling on this chassis is insufficient from the factory, particularly on ’90-’93 models, so it’s a good idea to do preventive maintenance regardless of the year.
Let’s start with a little back story. The OG stable has acquired a new resident, a black beauty of a ’95 Q45, after the shop steed was hydroplaned into a barrier wall (everyone is OK, thanks for the concern). A new project was most definitely not in the plans, but this car was purchased out of necessity. If anyone is thinking about getting into a G50 in the near future it may benefit you to wait a couple months, as this car will be for sale.
Because this car is my current commuter it is a must that it be dependable. The last thing I need is another 2 ton paperweight; so one of the first items of business was a BG tranny flush, followed by the install of an external cooler along with an external filter. I had these parts already, but during the process of planning I discovered that the kits (purchased separately) had different size fittings. I opted to stick with the 5/16″ barbs and 3/8″ hose setup that came with the cooler, which required me ordering a couple hard to find fittings (3x 5/16″ barb tee, 2x 5/16″ barb to 1/2″ MPT) and having them overnighted.
Now there are some DIYs out there, but anything that starts off with “start slashing lines” can’t be taken too seriously IMO. This is how I did it.
First things first was mounting the cooler. According to the literature that came with the cooler in order to get 100% efficiency the cooler must be installed in front of the AC condenser. That wasn’t happening, so I opted for the 60% efficient location between the condenser and radiator. After messing around with the radiator zip ties I decided to mount the cooler directly to the radiator using self tapping screws (1 existing hole, 1 OG made). Before permanently mounting the cooler I attached 4′ of transmission cooler hose to each inlet/outlet and fed it out the bottom (I purchased 25′ and used about half).
The external filter was mounted to an existing hole in the frame rail with a bolt, washer, and lock washer. The car will be lowered therefore the fender liners will not be replaced, making this an easily accessible location that is well protected. When I got farther along I realized the aftermarket filter was similar in design to the OEM external filter (’94-’96 unless retrofitted, deleted) so I felt good about my choice vs. the more popular Magnefine.
Now here’s the part where intelligence, as well as a little common sense, comes into play. There seems to be some uncertainty in the community as to the direction of flow in the system. For the record; the fluid flows out of the transmission, into the filter, splits parallel to dual coolers, then merges back together and flows back into the transmission. The B&M instructions require the external cooler to be added after the OEM coolers. Here is how the new setup flows: out of the transmission, into the B&M filter, teed into the OEM lines where the external filter used to be, into the inlets (lower pair) of the OEM coolers, out of the outlets (upper pair), teed into the inlet of the B&M cooler, then teed out of the outlet of the aftermarket cooler and back into the dual inlets to the transmission. It sounds complicated but if you get under there and trace the flow it will make sense. In the end no OEM lines were cut, only 1 was deleted along with the OEM external filter.
Expect the entire project to take a few hours, no special tools required. At this point, if you’re like me, you will never want to see another hose clamp in your life.