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Jaime’s Y33

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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*

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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…

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DIY: G50 Transmission Cooler/Filter Install

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.

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Sorry for the wait. Stepping up the blog game was one of my goals for this year, but life happens and OGsincebirth.com has been given low priority. Fear not though, things are coming together and while the road may not be smooth I do know that it’s at least leading me in the right direction. I  haven’t even logged on in months and was surprised to see that we’re still  getting 20-30 hits a day. I know it’s a miniscule number in comparison, but I want to say thanks to whoever keeps coming back despite the lack of content. It’s great motivation to reapply myself.

So about the title, Original Garage is going through another big change. We will be moving into our third building, as a result of the termination of OG Paint and Body. I am looking for a local shop to handle any paint/body needs we have/may have in the future, but  until I find someone suitable we’ll just consider this dead in the water. OG is going back to its roots, refocusing on the undercar aspects of our style. Over time we’ve put together a pretty impressive list of offerings, including new partnerships with Battle Version and Swift Springs.

So what does this mean for  Khanh’s UCF30 that has been under construction for almost a year now? It means I will continue to do the custom body work on my own and hope that I can find someone to wrap it up when the time comes. I’ll try to get some new updates on that project within the next couple weeks.

While we’re kind of on the subject, I’d like to shout out the Refined Elegance homies. I don’t think anyone will deny that we’ve kind of  fell off as far as the car thing goes, but we’ve grown very close as friends and have been having some great times hanging out. Regardless, cars are in our blood and there are some things brewing behind the scene. Expect a very different RE line up in the future.

As you may recall I took over ownership of Jeebus’ candy red LS400 a while back. In light of everything else going on progress has been slow. I rounded out the suspension by adding the latest offerings from Studio, and then sent all the links to CNS Custom Works for a glossy coat of Sun Gold powder coat. The air suspension has been swapped out for JIC FLT-TAR VIP coilovers and 14/10K Swifts are on order. I know it’s not as high as a lot of cats are going as far as spring rate, but I have experience driving lower than most on these coils so I’m not too worried about it. Once everything was installed I found myself with a satisfying ride height, so it was time to get  started on the clearance work. The first job I decided to tackle was the harness relocation. You may (or may not) remember we did this procedure on Peter’s car a while back. That was cool then,  but I wanted to go above and beyond this time.

Rather than rerouting the wires high in the wheel well, or running them inside the engine bay, I decided to run them inside the rail. This involved drilling out about 50 spot welds and removing 2 complete sheet metal pieces. Unfortunately there was not enough length in the harness, so it will have to be extended. That’s where we’ll leave off on that one. Stay tuned for more.

Steve and his crew have been showing a lot of love lately also. A while back he brought in his 3GS for a BC coilover install. At the time the car wasn’t all that impressive, but Steve has stepped his game up. He copped some Ordens from a friend and bought some subtle body parts that made a positive impact on the overall look of the car. After some fender rolling and lowering we shot the car over to Chris’ Car Doc for an alignment.

See the improvement for yourself:

So what’s next? Well  besides the new building expect to see a bagged Y33 in the near future, a custom set of 2GS LED tails, some UCF10 LED corner lights, more work on Khanh’s turbo LS430,  and some progress on the UCF20 shop car when time/money permits. I’m going to do my best to update more regularly, but if you want to see what’s going on more often check out the OG Facebook page for day-to-day happenings.