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Archive for January, 2010

Mine’s Complete Engine for Nissan GT-R: First Impressions

January 30, 2010 Comments off

Regular readers will remember that we were fortunate enough to be able to pay a visit to Mine’s headquarters in Yokosuka, Japan recently. It was the Mine’s Meeting Event that we were invited along to to get the scoop on their latest parts including their amazing new dry carbon front bumper.

Some readers with long memories will also recall the brief update Mine’s released back in November 2009 about the first test day after completion of their very first Mine’s Complete Engine. It was great to read their excitement over the finished product which they had been planning, designing and building for quite some time. Moreover, I was intrigued to experience it for myself to see if the end result was as good as a sum of it’s parts. So lets step back to the beginning to talk about the Mine’s Complete Engine and what exactly it is.

To understand the complete engine you should first start with understanding the Mine’s tuning philosophy. Since day one, tuning has been about feeling for Mine’s, and one feeling above most others in particular – response. The ability to get up and go is valued above almost anything at Mine’s, and that includes raw horsepower numbers. So when tuning the VR38, a big displacement engine with small turbochargers attached, that is to say already quite perky, Mine’s have to go to extremes to improve. This is, in a nutshell, what they have done.

The engine is built from the ground up using lightweight components. The VR’s cast pistons are replaced with forged lightweight items sourced from Mahle. These are forged from aluminum silicon alloy and are coated to lower friction. These are also combined with lightweight pins to bring down the total piston assembly weight.

Next, the stock forged conrods are upgraded. For this task, Mine’s chose ultra-lightweight titanium I-beam conrods. Combine these with the lightweight piston assemblies and each cylinder is down 320grams of reciprocating mass, a saving of over 1.92kg (4.232lbs) spread out over the six cylinder VR38DETT engine.

Working our way up to the head now where the Mine’s Super Chamshaft Shore Pro are utilized. An ideal match for the turbos used, they help the engine breath better. You need to move a lot of air quickly to keep an engine like this happy so proper camshaft choice is crucial to the end result.

The Mine’s demo car is also obviously fitted with pretty much the entire Mine’s R35 GT-R catalog. We should touch on these modifications too to ensure everything is detailed properly.

Ensuring air can get to the engine to begin with is another big focus of the Mine’s complete engine. Painstaking attention has been paid at every stage and to get an full picture of what we mean. lets describe the intake airflow. Starting at the beginning; air enters the system at the standard airbox where it’s filtered with a Mine’s VX-Air filter. It moves along to the Mine’s Titanium Suction Pipe into the turbo compressor side where it’s compressed and forced into the Mine’s Titanium Intercooler Hard Pipe kit. Then it’s off to the intercoolers to be cooled and back out towards the engine again. It then travels via the OEM piping and hose setup properly reinforced to keep it from expanding or popping off by the Mine’s Induction Support and Clamp kit.

Finally, before it enters the intake plenum, it passes through the Mine’s High Flow throttle body which has been smoothed and tweaked in just the right ways to provide as little obstruction as possible.

Phew there’s a lot there but just about the only part Mine’s hasn’t improved in there is the turbochargers themselves, and we’ll get back to that later because we’ve some secrets to let you in on there.

Fuel delivery is just as important, so no chances are taken here either but in comparison the modifications seem simple and perhaps that is part of their beauty. The standard fuel pumps are upgraded with the Mine’s variety. They feed a set of twin upgraded Mine’s Fuel rails into six larger than standard 650cc fuel injectors. While these aren’t giant injectors, they are perfectly sized for the desired output.

Driving the whole thing at an electronic level is the Mine’s VX-ROM with Mine’s legendary tuning ability in full force under the hood.

So that’s how it’s put together, but how does it go? Well to say quick is putting it mildly. It’s a fair bit insane actually.

Shortly after our arrival at Mine’s workshop we had a chance to go for a spin in it. With Niikura-san behind the wheel we took off at a brisk pace out on to the freeway for a short thrash. I guess the first impression you really get is surprise, it’s also the look on your face when you’re told that the Mine’s GT-R is making around 650hp. 650hp shouldn’t be so instant, there should be some spool, some lag before the bulk of the power is delivered. Even if it’s imperceptible, surely it should be there? There just isn’t any time to think about that though as we quickly blow through another gear on our way out of town.

The real key to the Mine’s setup is the instantaneous usability of the power. That is what is most attractive and what would be addictive. The car seems connected more aggressively than ever before to the driver’s right foot. From low RPM in high gears, the GT-R already shines out as atypical for a turbo car but the Mine’s car redefines what is possible to do with the right selection of parts and know how.

So yes, the Mine’s engine in it’s current packaging in the Mine’s demo car is making about 650hp. It does not seem to stress the car at all and it feels like daily driver material when you’re not stabbing the throttle to experience the rush again. The transmission is mildly tweaked in this car with some one off coolers (two transmission coolers) and and a piston oil seal upgrade, the TCM is also upgraded with the latest code from Nissan but is otherwise quite standard.

So it can be well and truly concluded that Mine’s have reached their goal of a 600ps+ response master Nissan GT-R. We’d like to see it hit the track now to set and break some benchmark times. Mine’s current best lap with the Spec-X 6.0 kit at Fuji Speedway is 1:49.782 with Eiji Tarzan Yamada driving, we need to see what the new record will be and we’re assured that this test is coming soon.

So will that be all we see from Mine’s in terms of power modifications? Hardly! They’re already in serious development of a turbocharger upgrade that is set to easily crack 700hp while still maintaining the ultimate response of the standard setup. We’ll keep you posted there.

The Mine’s Complete Engine should be ready for sale in the early part of this year so look out for the announcement. Until then you can set your desktop to the top photo in this post to remind you to check back every so often…

Link: Mine’s Website (English)

Varis Runduce Price Carbon Aero Parts for Nissan GT-R

January 29, 2010 Comments off

It’s not their widebody masterpiece (yet) but it’s the first stage of carbon fibre upgrades for the Nissan GT-R to come out of Japanese legend Varis. Renowned for their amazing Evo and STi work in the past we’re hoping their final stage of GT-R modifications “fills the shoes” so to speak.

Anyways, pricing is now out for both Japan and US regions thanks to Varis and GT-RR as well as the official product shots. Their kit will be available in Varis Semi Dry Carbon (VSDC) versions as well as wet carbon with separate pricing for each.

The VSDC option allows Varis to produce some very lightweight rigid parts without the full extra cost of a traditional dry carbon production.

The Varis Front Diffuser for example weighs in at 4.5kg versus the 6.5kg standard OEM front underspoiler – more than 30% weight savings. It’s priced at about $2740 USD but probably a little less for the wet carbon version.

Next take a look at the Varis Aero Hood, featuring some unique venting it also looks to be well constructed from underneath. The VSDC version goes for around the $4620 mark but the wet carbon version is just $2845. There’s a weight reduction to just 8.5kg in the VSDC version of the hood.

The rear diffuser round back is again quite an original look, personally I think it needs time to grow on me but if its your cup of tea you can pick one up for $1250 in wet carbon. There is currently no VSDC version of this item.

The sideskirts were quite a hit for me, they really work well with the lines of the car but stand out at the same time. They’re also pretty cheap at just $1250 a set in Varis Semi Dry Carbon. Again you can knock off a bit of that price for the normal wet carbon version if you wanted.

Lastly we have the Varis Rear Wing and Trunk Spoiler available in full VSDC or in VSDC with a FRP trunk spoiler. It’s again an original looking wing that will certainly set your car apart from all the others. I’m not feeling the trunk spoiler but the wing itself looks great. The price is $3350 for the VSDC version or $2750 for the VSDC FRP combo.

For more information and to order, hit up the GT-RR website in the link below!

Link: Varis Runduce Carbon Online @ GT-RR
Link: Varis Carbon Aero for R35 Website (Japanese)
Link: Varis x Runduce GT-R at Tokyo AutoSalon 2010

Switzer and Dodson Join to Offer Strengthened Nissan Transmissions

January 28, 2010 Comments off

Nissan GT-R gearbox upgrades are popping up more and more these days. Dodson Motorsports out of New Zealand are the pioneers in the field of upgrading the known weak spots in the Nissan’s GR6 DCT.

Switzer are joining forces with Dodson to offer the latest upgrades and strengthening parts for the GT-R transmission. They’ll also be using them in their own upcoming builds so have the advantage of having the real world test data to back them up. One of the very next upgrades that should feature in the Switzer builds are the above upgraded heavy duty GR6 clutch assemblies.

Should be some more info soon on packages and pricing, either way its great to see more options on the market outside of doing the hard work of finding a transmission shop you can trust.

Link: Switzer: New Development Partner: Dodson Motorsport
Link: Dodson Motorsport

Cobb Tuning Announce Transmission Control Module Tuning Beta Testing for GT-R

January 27, 2010 Comments off

At first there was the Nissan’s “uncrackable” ECU that was toppled in record time and has since gone on to be completely conquered. Next on the block is the even more cryptic TCM – the transmission control module.

For those who aren’t keeping track of the latest tuning trends, the TCM has been causing some grief for quite a while now. Ever since GT-R owners were cracking 10’s down the quarter mile the TCM has been getting it’s 2 cents in to dampen the fun when and where it can. Soft and hard limp modes, protection modes, error codes, conservative limiters and a general lack of tunability has led a few people to frustration with their mid to high horsepower cars.

Some companies have so far claimed the ability to tune the TCM but so far the services are limited or expensive and sometimes have little in the way of published data to back their GT-R experiences.

Cobb Tuning on the other hand have begun the first campaign to get TCM tuning data out into the community with some solid goals in mind. They’ve figured out how to speak to and flash the TCM via the OBDII port and are set on the path to create TCM maps that can eventually be uploaded using the Cobb Tuning AccessPORT hand held device.

While there’s still a very long ways to go, and 4500 TCM maps to decode, this announcement is one of the most positive steps in the right direction we’ve seen to date. Kudos to Cobb for being open about their progress.

We already know that the estimated RRP will be $1,495 when completed, for more information check out the thread over on the NAGTROC forums…

Link: Cobb Tuning Announcement @ NAGTROC

Happy Australia Day GT-R Lovers

January 26, 2010 Comments off

Australia Day, celebrated the 26th of January every year is the best day of the year to get out in the back yard with a case of beer and fire up the BBQ in the stinking summer heat. It got up to about 40 something Celsius today but fortunately it’s also a public holiday so we don’t need to go to work.

Anyways, lets celebrate Australia Day with some fine pics of a Aussie GT-R! One of the finest in the country, we’re going to be looking out for this car in some upcoming tarmac rallys.

Tokyo AutoSalon 2010: Blitz FR Drift GT-R and New Gear at the Blitz Booth

January 25, 2010 Comments off

Blitz had another strong showing at Tokyo AutoSalon this year. Always a popular booth it can be tough to make your way through as it’s litterally swarming with enthusiasts! We got our hands on the man Kawabata-san again to have a chat about what’s new with Blitz, the drift car and plans for the future.

We were pleased to hear they had been continuing to make progress with the famous Blitz R35 GT-R rear wheel drive drift car. In case you hadn’t heard, Blitz debuted this GT-R at Tokyo AutoSalon 2009 converted to RWD with a Hollinger 6 speed sequential manual transmission bolted firmly to the rear of the VR38. The third pedal looks right at home in the drivers footwell doesn’t it?

Other modifications to the drivetrain include fitting an R34GT-R NISMO GT rear LSD and an ORC709 R35 SPL clutch.

Power modifications wise, the Blitz drifter is actually running now, as opposed to last year where it was barely bolted together. It’s tuned by a MoTeC M800 DBW4 SKM ECU and breaths through a Blitz intake piping kit and Blitz‘s new Intercooler CS for the R35 GT-R. The turbo’s as stock and their internal wastegates are actuated by a pair of Blitz Upgrade Actuators for R35. Out back there’s a Blitz Nur-Spec C-Ti Quad exhaust system.

On the inside Bride seats hold Nomuken in place and Blitz Racepak IQ3 with an array of Blitz Racing Meter’s (Boost, Temp) in carbon fixtures keep him informed.

The car is fitted with a custom DG-5 suspension setup particular to this very unusual car and stops with the help of Blitz MR-VS brake pads. The wheels are the ultra nice BRW-09 forged magnesium deals in 20×9.5 +38 up front and 20×10 +18 in back and come wrapped with Dunlop SP Sport DSST tyres thanks to their sponsor.

We’re hoping to see this car in action this year but when I asked Blitz, they were kind of shy about answering. I really think they may be shooting for next season to debut this car. Even some friendly encouragement about the American’s and their Dynamic AutoSports/Hankook drift GT-R couldn’t pursuade him to commit to 2010.

Either way it’ll be interesting when it debuts.

Also at the booth was Blitz’s current and planned lineup of parts for the GT-R. We have this front mount intercooler unit which is another take on the dual core single unit design that is really popular. It’s known as the Intercooler CS-R which means it features the “Chemical Shine” coating for extra shiny appearance with added durability. It’s also corrosion resistant which is a plus. The price marked was 260,400 yen.

Blitz also had their new wastegate actuators on display. These were some stand out actuators but too bad you’ll never see them buried way under your turbo and piping.

Next to the actuators were a set of Carillo conrods for the GT-R and CP pistons as well, what they were doing there we weren’t able to find out.

In terms of new parts on the horizon, Blitz is shortly going to release a new set of air filters for the GT-R. A replacement kit for the airbox utilising the filters you see here. Obviously they will ship with an intake piping kit of some sort but where they will finally mount I’m not sure.

Lastly, Blitz announced that they will be developing a version of their latest data logging multifunction display computer, known as the Touch Brain for the GT-R. It will connect up via OBDII port and possibly solve a lot of the data logging type problems. We asked if it would record output to flash memory and they couldn’t confirm at this stage of the development. We hope so really.

Well that’s about it from the Blitz booth 2010, if I remember anything else I’ll pop an update in this article. For now, check out the rest of the photos in the gallery below!

Link: Blitz Website

MCR Release Stainless Downpipes for Nissan GT-R

January 24, 2010 Comments off

It’s been a while since we’ve updated new parts from MCR but they’ve been keeping themselves quite busy. Recently they’ve released a new set of stainless downpipes for the GT-R that delete the primary catalytic convertors.

Built from SUS304 grade stainless steel, these weigh in at 8kg less than the standard pipes. They measure 70mm in diameter and go for around 105,000 yen in Japan.

Link: MCR Website

AMS Performance 1000hp GT-R Build Update

January 23, 2010 Comments off

The build up of this monster Godzilla is not being rushed in any way. AMS have gained their solid reputation from doing things right and so, in that tradition here’s their progress so far.

Last update we showed you how they used a co-ordinate mapping machine to map the inside of the GT-R engine bay. This was done so they could correctly size the turbo, manifold, wastegate and downpipe configuration to completely maximise the available space. Since then they have spent a lot of time at the CAD software designing how the manifolds will meet all of their design goals like:

  • Completely equal length
  • Port matched
  • Smooth transitions
  • Ease of manifold bolt access
  • Cast in 304 stainless steel

They finished their preliminary design earlier this month and so it was time to move to the fitment testing part of the project. AMS use a plastic composite mock up of the complete part. This is printed in a sophisticated 3D printer by building up layer upon layer of plastic material to slowly build out a exact size replica part within a very tight tolerance.

Once out of the printer they can actually bolt this up to the car to ensure their design matches reality and that it truly will fit into the car. This is the next steps. As you can see in these photos it’s already bolted up to the VR38, next step is to drop the motor in the car and check if the custom heat shields bolt up as planned.

If everything checks out, AMS can organize to have the part cast in stainless steel. Once that is done then they’ll have the moulds for production for other customer cars.

For more pics and details, hit up the AMS Performance website and blog linked below!

Link: AMS Performance
Link: AMS Performance Blog

Forge Motorsport Release Intercooler Upgrade for Nissan GT-R

January 22, 2010 Comments off

Forge Motorsports have finally released their anticipated intercooler upgrade kit for the Nissan GT-R. The upgrade turns the tables on the conventional GT-R intercooler design. Instead of two cores side by side this uses one long tube and fin core above another in a single long unit. The core size is 740mmx250mmx100mm. The benefits of this design are a greater overall volume and reduced pressure loss versus the standard intercooler. Overall the whole setup actually works out lighter than standard also with around 0.9kg shaved off the cooler and pipework setup.

In terms of performance improvement, Forge Motorsports noticed more area under the curve when dynoing this against a stock intercooler with improved cooling as well. With the standard cooler air intake temps were around the 43 degree C mark, with the Forge Motorsport cooler this dropped to 32 degrees C.

Everything you need for installation is included in the kit at just £1,800 GBP plus shipping. For UK residents that price is minus VAT.

Thanks to Ben @ GTC-R for the tip off.

Link: Forge Motorsport R35 Intercooler Product Page

Tokyo AutoSalon 2010: JUN Camshafts TypeZero and Short Block with Liners

January 21, 2010 Comments off

Well the work-in-progress JUN 1000ps build with big cams is a great thing no doubt but not everyone is shooting for that level of ultimate power so they need a camshaft that will operate reliably with a more standard engine build. To fill that need, JUN Auto have produced this High Lift Camshaft TypeZero for the Nissan GT-R’s VR38DETT suitable for use with the standard ECU.

These camshafts feature identical duration and lift on both intake and exhaust sides which is 256 degrees duration and 10.3mm of lift. Not the 264 degrees and 10.5mm lift we heard for their big power build.

The price for these is set at a interesting 84,000 yen in Japan and about the $1,200 USD mark over in the states.

Update: You can now pick up a set for lower than our estimate, just $1150, online @ GT-RR

On the short block front, JUN Auto were also showing off their VR38 bare blocks with liners fitted. This is the kind of thing useful when you’ve spent the cash on the JUN Auto 4.0l stroker kit.

No pricing on the short blocks with liners just yet.

Link: JUN Camshafts, buy online @ GT-RR.com
Link: JUN Auto TypeZero Camshafts Website
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