Archive for the 'Hacks' Category

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Euro S14 Cluster

I received my S14 Kouki cluster from the UK in today. The European clusters are nice because the gauges have a lot cleaner look to them Instead of E and F on the fuel gauge there is just a red line at empty. The temp gauge is similarly styled. They’re clusters also went up to a higher speed and the UK is of course in MPH which is nice.

S14 UKDM Euro cluster with Aluminum Trim.

I found a set of Aluminum trim rings for the gauges which I think really improves the look of the cluster. These rings are made of polished aluminum. I’m not 100% sold on the shiny look  I’m tempted to go over the rings with some steel wool to give them a brushed look… I’ll see how I like it polished for a while first.

For reference (not my cluster, but exactly like it) this is what my current cluster looks like:

S14 Zenki Cluster

…I’d say the new setup is way more classy.

I also noticed that the Euro cluster has the interior brightness adjustment right on the cluster, this means I’ll be able to remove the button in my dash which is quite nice since I was considering relocating it so that I could use the spot to mount the ambient temp sensor for the Digital Climate Control system.

If you want something done right…

>rear drum brakes had problems.
>rather than replace them I decide to upgrade to disc brakes.
>disc brakes don’t support an e-brake.
>I buy disc brake parts (a couple hundred bucks).
>I buy the disc brake adapter kit (a couple hundred bucks).
>and I buy a transfer case mounted e-brake kit (a couple hundred bucks).
>e-brake kit doesn’t support my transfer case (even though specs said it was compatible).
>decide I’ll have to throw out most of the kit and build custom to make it work.
>remove old drums destroying them in the process.
>calipers and rotors need to be modified to work (this is normal; part of the installation).
>install disc brake adapters and hardware.
>everything seems to be going well.
>surprise, the calipers wont fit under my wheels (even though the specs said they would).
>calipers wont even fit under the larger wheels I have.
>decide this is bullshit so I start taking measurements and doing research.
>buy completely different disc brake parts based on my research (a couple hundred bucks).
>mock up install and wheels have clearance for days.
>take additional measurements and design my own adapter kit.
>my design would be cheaper to manufacture.
>my design will be easier to install.
>my design requires less expensive brake parts.
>my design doesn’t require modification of the brake parts.
>my design is more appropriately proportioned for the truck.
>oh yeah, and my design clears the wheels with room to spare.
>this isn’t the first time I’ve spent over a grand buying specialized parts to save myself time and engineering.
>I sent my LS1 engine mount kit back 4 times before I finally gave up and just modified it to work.
>this time I didn’t even bother trying to send it back.
>apparently I can’t trust people design these things properly.
>if you want something done properly you have to do it yourself.

Dimensionless Caliper Bracket Drawing

Speaker Color Change White to Black

3 Years ago I got a deal on some Cambridge SoundWorks S305s to help round out my 7.1 surround sound system. Normally they sold for $300 a pair but I got them for $100 a pair on clearance. Part of the reason they were so cheap was due to the fact that they were the less desirable white color.

They’ve been sitting in the box since… I finally go around to painting them and re-upholstering the grills.

Arcade Control Panel

So recently it was announced that they’re releasing a Tournament Edition of the new Mortal Kombat game due out next year.

As a long time Mortal Kombat fan this is obviously something I’m excited for, I’m even more excited since it’s an all new developer making the game and they seem to be making it a true sequel to the original 2D trilogy as opposed to continuing with the 3D mess that the MK series had become.

The Tournament Edition has me really excited because, well it’s a CE, which I love, but it’s also going to be limited to only 20,000 copies. The biggest thing about this CE is that it includes a Joystick as the main bonus item.  I’m making this post because it seems that a lot of people fail to realize how much of the “real deal” this included joystick is.  Allow me to demonstrate.

Here is a photograph showing the joystick included with the Tournament Edition:

Take a close look at the controls, that is a Happ Ultimate Joystick and Happ arcade buttons with Cherry micro-switches. I worked in arcade repair for several years, nearly ever arcade machine from the 2D Mortal Kombat era uses these joysticks and these buttons…

Need further proof? Take a look at these pictures:

That is an actual Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 arcade control panel, it’s a conversion machine but those are the buttons and sticks included with the kit from Midway. I wired this control panel myself, and this machine is sitting in my game room, and those are two Happ Ultimate joysticks and Happ buttons with cherry microswitches way back from 1995.

S14 LS1 Work Photodump

Over the last few weeks I’ve been spending time here and there just tying up lose ends on the S14… basically just going over every litt inch of the engine bay with a fine tooth comb making sure everything is put together correctly and tucked out of the way.

I started on the drivers side and I’m working my way across the engine bay. the passer’s side still has a few days worth of work left in it before I’ll be happy with it.

SR5 Cluster

The battery kept dying in the pickup, I determined it was from the aftermarket tach installed by the previous owner so I decided to install the SR5 cluster I purchased.

Installation was tricky because I had to swap odometers with my old cluster so that the mileage remained correct, Also this new cluster was out of a vehicle originally equipped with a V6 and my truck has an I4. This mean that the tachometer needed to be re-calibrated, thankfully I could use the aftermarket tach to “tune” the new one.

Above, you can see the adjustment potentiometer. No one else (to my knowlege) has ever published the adjustment value for the I4 engine, I found lots of people asking online but no answers. So after I adjusted mine I was kind enough to pull out the gauge and measure the appropriate calibration value.

The 3 circled screws on the left image need to be removed, once that’s done the the two locations on the right can be measured for resistance. The original V6 was tuned to 44.9K ohm, and I tuned the I4 to 63.8K ohm. It will likely vary  from vehicle to vehicle but the most important take away is that it’s a difference of ~19K ohm.

crappy pics I know but I think it’s a big improvement.

Only thing left to do is swap over the oil pressure circuit I got a new sensor since the old one was just an on/off switch for the idiot light. the new cluster has a pressure gauge. I bought a new sensor too but the electrical connector is different so I’ll need to swap that too before the gauge will work.

LS1 S14 Wiring

Here are a bunch of photos for the wiring harness conversion, it’s a lot more simple than it looks, if you can wire a car-stereo than you can do an engine harness, there are just a lot more wires and you need to do a bit more digging to determine what goes where.

MT Parts

wooo… got my 5 speed brake pedal in today.

I must have found the only person on the planet doing an AUTO swap and he traded me all of my auto parts for all of his S15 5-speed parts… the only thing I still needed at this point was the brake pedal but the rest of it is handy to have around.

I spent time time bolting up the new brake pedal, and the swapping the push-rod on the master cylinder and bolting up the clutch pedal.

it’s small but it’s something

I took some pictures documenting how I prepped the Willwood CMC

LS1 and S14 Harness Integration

A minor update on the LS1 swap. I finished removing the LS1 engine harness as well as some other unnecessary stuff. I also got some new tools as well as a proper engine stand (though the motor isn’t up on it yet). The Fujii boys also stopped by briefly last weekend and pulled the starter motor, the Auto flywheel and the headders off… looks like a totally different motor now.

Corvette LS1 Corvette LS1

Next time I have a 2nd set of hands to help me I’ll throw it up on the stand (I don’t trust my ghetto-ass cherry picker to do it myself) then I can swap out the oil pan then drop it back down and throw on the new LS6 clutch… yummy

LS6 Clutch

I also spent some time pulling off a bunch of unneeded brackets and other crap from the transmission and cleaned it up a bit while I was at it and mocked up the new transmission cross member.

T-56 with Daft Innovations Transmission Mount and Crossmember

My main attention now will be on the harness, I dumped all of the harnesses that I need to tie together into a big box and brought it into my office… looks kind of overwhelming.

LS1 engine and tramssion Harness and S14 Engine Control Harness

Though spreading the KA harness out on the floor so you can see the whole thing all at once it doesn’t look so bad. Trimming off the KA bits will be the easy part… the hard part will be weeding through what is and isn’t needed on the LS1 harness.

Nissan 240sx S14 Engine Control Harness

Nissan 240sx S14 Engine Control Harness

Killer Bunnies Case

Years ago a good friend of mine turned me on to a great card game called Killer Bunnies. I instantly fell in love with the game and like most of my hobbies I decided to actively collect all the different expansions and rarities associated with it. The starter box holds a number of cards and Dice and had room to spare for 2 or 3 of the expansion packs. Past that I purchased 4 more expansions but never used them, simply because they wouldn’t fit in the box and carrying a whole stack of boxes around with you when visiting friends and family is rather cumbersome. Not to mention using the starter box you had to be creative when putting the game away to ensure that everything fit.

For months I looked for a reasonable case, poker cases were nice but they only held a small number of cards and the rest of the space was dedicated to chips, not easily modified either. Card cases for baseball collectors were either cheap cardboard boxes that held cards en-masse for storage or books where the cards were made be looked at rather then used. Even card holders for other games were almost always emblazoned with logos and artwork dedicated to that game (like Pokémon or Yugi-oh). I eventually found a company called Vanguard who makes cases for photo equipment. The cases are nice looking sturdy and contain half-cut foam cubes that you can remove to appropriately store your equipment. Most of the cases were too thin or small for what I needed but I finally found a case with a depth appropriate to fit cards, the Vanguard VGP-3202.

Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202) Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202)

Removing a few foam peaces you can easily create rectangular shapes just popping out foam with your hands. Each foam square is 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch and there are 2 depths, half way down the case and all the way down the case. (~2 3/4 inches total depth)

Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202)

After determining the layout I wanted to use I removed all the appropriate foam pieces and did a test fit. I was careful to nail down the layout before I started and not break-off any foam that I didn’t intend to. I suppose I could have tried to glue some of it back on if I made a mistake but luckily that didn’t happen.

Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202)

now that I have the cards in it would seem that the lid requires pressure to close completely. This would be find if I was using it to hold camera equipment but I’d rather not put pressure across the cards. They have a slight amount of pressure across them horizontally and that holds them in place, I would imagine vertical pressure from the uneven foam lid could potentially cause damage to the cards down the road.

Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202)

Checking the depth of the lid’s foam with a needle there is more then enough space for the lid to close comfortably if I remove the foam. Carefully pulling the foam out and testing this proves correct. But now I have a different problem.

Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202)

The glue used on the lid is some nasty stuff, breaking out my trusty Goo-Gone (never failed me in the past) only seemed to make it worse! After scrubbing at it for a half hour and wasting nearly a quarter bottle of goo-gone to no avail i decided it might be best to cover it up. The walls of the case are covered with a a thin foam material similar to what you might find in a crafts store. Off to Walmart down the street I picked up 2 sheets of foam for 48 cents a piece, even better the foam has a peel and stick backing, so I wont even have to break out the spray adhesive. While I was there I had the idea to affix an envelope to the lid to hold the manuals. Now that the original egg-carton foam has been removed there is ample head-room for the game manuals. So picked up some envelopes while I was there.

A single sheet of the foam covered the base of the lid perfectly covering up the bulk of the ugliness.

Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202)

Unfortunately there was some glue spillage from the original foam on the walls as well so using a razor blade (and a scrap 2×4 as a backer to protect my desk) I cut some strips out of the second piece of foam and re-covered the inside walls of the lid

Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202)

Once the lid was completely lined in fresh foam I put an envelope down for a test fit. I specifically went for a square flapped envelope as opposed to a triangle cut. I also have enough foam left over that I’ll be able to cover the envelope once it’s in palace.

Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202)

I peel off the backing from the remaining foam sheet and center the envelop with the bottom aligned along once edge. I then cut off a bit of the envelope’s top so it’s the same size as the foam. The foam should hold it in palace once installed but to keep from accidentally putting the manuals BEHIND the envelope as opposed to IN the envelope I placed a thin strip of electrical tape along the back edge of the envelop that will create a smooth connection between the lid and the envelope making it easier to open the pocket and slide in papers.

Once that’s done the case is ready for use, and holds all the current decks as well as leaving space for the future installments

Killer Bunnies Case (Vanguard VGP-3202)

I’m very please with how the case turned out, it’s portable and durable and holds everything current and future which is exactly what I was looking for. Since it was originally intended as a camera case it has locks on the latches which is also very beneficial considering the card collection inside is easily worth over $100.