Nissan R31 Skyline Is A Japanese Collectible

Aside from Japan, R31 Nissan Skylines were produced in Australia in the late 1980s to circumvent the stringent import laws of the country at that time. Available locally in sedan and wagon body styles, these Aussie Skylines were powered by the RB30 engine, which is Nissan-speak for an inline-6, normally aspirated engine with a 3-liter displacement. Horsepower for this engine type was rated at 155.

At this point, there is little hope for getting a mint condition vehicle when you buy a used Nissan Skyline R31. These cars would be three decades old or more and would interest enthusiasts more for their historical value than any other reason. Modifying the RB30 by installing a twin cam head and turbo system can see horsepower boosted to more than 450, but the cost would be prohibitive, with the engine losing longevity in the reliability department. But some people still want to buy a used Nissan Skyline R31 for various reasons, so here is a list of things to look for.

1. Rust is any car’s enemy, more so with older cars. In the R31, rust-prone areas include the roof area near the windscreen, door sills and frames (specially at the bottom), the tail light areas and beneath the rear spoilers. Empty the trunk of the car and look for evidence of rust there. While you’re at the rear of the car, check the tail lights and their housings for cracks. 30-year old plastic tends to fade and become brittle. It’s also fairly common for water to leak inside the headlights and tail lights.

2. Inside the car, check the dash lights when you start the car. Check that the gauges and other instruments work. Operate the switch gear to see if the circuits they’re connected to still work. These include the aircon vents, door locks, the rear window defogger and roof and door lights. Check the general condition of the interior. Are the seats firmly anchored? Are the bottoms still supportive? Although it’s not a known issue, it’s also a good idea to check under the carpet to inspect the floorpan for rust.

3. Broken exhaust manifold studs are a known issue with the RB30 engine, as well as a slightly ticking sound from the top of the engine. These are caused by the lifters and are not a cause for concern, unless it’s unusually loud. As with any engine, check the sides and bottom of the engine for excessive leaks. A clean or wiped underside engine sump or tray is a warning sign. The engine coolant should also be free of rust, or worse, evidence of oil. If the car has an automatic, the oil there should be clean and be free of metallic particles. A common component that fails is the crank angle sensor plug due to corrosion in the plug area. Short of a teardown, a very good indicator of an engine’s condition is to conduct a pressure test. All cylinders should test within a few psi of each other.

To be sure, a person who intends to buy a used Nissan Skyline R31 will find some issues with cars these old. It is up to the person who wants to own this classic Japanese car to decide if what he finds is enough to purchase the car or not.

Subwoofer Box Types – Sealed, Ported, Vented And Bandpass

So you just bought your dream subwoofer. Congratulations! Now you’re wondering on exactly where to put that monster woofer you bought. You may be wondering about the different options, whether you want a sealed, ported, or a bandpass subwoofer enclosure. You may have done a little bit of your own research but have come to a confusing conclusion with so many different technical terms. Don’t worry; I’ll summarize the effects and the effectiveness of each one for you without all the technical big words.

Sealed Enclosure

These are generally the smallest of the three. If you have a small or a sports car, I recommend this enclosure for your car. There are pros and cons of course. As mentioned, it is advantageously smaller, allowing you to preserve your precious trunk space. They also allow the subwoofers to produce a highly accurate bass, but with the least amount of “boom” out of the three types of enclosures. This is primarily because the box is airtight, leaving no room for air to escape with the sound waves from the interior of the box. Unfortunately, this restriction does require a much more powerful amplifier and subwoofer combination. Unless you have a high-end set that could handle higher wattage, I do not recommend on getting a sealed enclosure setup.

Ported/Vented Enclosure

Because the ported enclosure requires additional room for the vent, it is typically larger than the sealed boxes. If you’re not too concerned about space, this type is a popular solution for most people. The design is based on the vent with which air is allowed to move much more freely, channeling the sound from the interior and the rear of the enclosure to the outside. This gives it a much more boomy effect with less accurate bass response. With vented enclosures, you do not need as much power coming out of your system since the lack of an airtight box allows your subwoofer to move much more freely and the vents allowing you to hear every bit of sound produced by your subwoofer.

Bandpass Enclosure

Bandpass subwoofer boxes are the largest of the three. This is because the design is based on a number of ports and two main chambers-one for your subwoofer and another for air space within the enclosure to resonate. You could probably imagine the sound produced by this behemoth. It produces the least accurate bass but with the greatest level of “boom”. With this enclosure, you can out-boom anyone on the streets of Los Angeles. But remember that bandpass enclosures require a lot of space, so be prepared to sacrifice a lot of trunk space for your setup. Also be mindful that some subwoofers do not work well in bandpass enclosures, so check your product manual before installing them. Ultimately, bandpass boxes are extremely efficient enclosures and demand much less power than the sealed enclosure. Be sure to have a tight install on a bandpass enclosure since any loose parts will easily rattle and could easily be heard on a bandpass setup.

Other Details on Subwoofer Boxes

There are also a few other things to keep in mind when you are deciding between different subwoofer boxes. Most subwoofer enclosures now are constructed using MDF, or Medium Density Fiberboard, these are excellent for enclosures so be sure you’re buying MDF construction boxes and not cheap plastic or plywood. Fiberboard (even if it says medium density) is much denser than any other material so it does not rattle and could withstand very high temperatures. Particle boards are much lighter material and do not bond as tightly as fiberboard and would therefore not be suitable for harsh environments.

Cosmetically, there are usually two options for you to get-a carpet exterior or a vinyl/paint finish. Carpet will protect the exterior from getting scratched and usually matches the trunk color pretty well (gray, black, and tan). Paint or vinyl finish tend to show exterior blemishes much easier than carpeting, but cleaning them is also much easier-especially valuable if you are installing a non-trunk subwoofer enclosure install.

How many subwoofers in a box? This depends on obviously how much money and space you have. Don’t buy two when you can buy one that could produce the power of two. This will potentially save you money and space. If you can help it, do not settle for a set of two cheap ones when you can buy one good one. Yes, two will help add more power and sound, but it sacrifices sound quality for volume and boom.

I hope this short summary have helped you in your decision making process. At the end of the day, it is truly up to you to research your subwoofer and find the best solution for your system. Happy hunting!

How I Replaced the Rusted Floor Pans in My 1962 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova

I bought my 1962 Chevy II Nova in 1988 from a friend I was serving with in the National Guard. The car was rather sound. There were really no problems and I was able to drive it home, in fact, I did no work to the car for a number of years. I would drive it to work a couple of times a week and again take it out weekends. I was really happy with the car. Three years ago, I decided to repaint it. I know I could have taken it to a body shop, but I wanted to do it myself. I wanted this to be a project my son and I could work on together. I began stripping the car down and this is the beginning of my story.

I figure I will be learning a lot during the process of restoring my Nova back to its original beauty, so I thought I would document the processes I will go through and post them online with plenty of pictures with the intent of maybe helping someone else with their project. So lets’ get started!

I have removed everything that I can remove from the body of the car. I did mount an ignition switch on the firewall so I could start the car and move it around but when the actual painting process begins I will be removing the motor and transmission. I started with the floor pans. There was a descent amount of rust in the front and just a little in the rear. The transmission hump and driveshaft tunnel were fine.

I wanted to buy the entire floor pan and replace it all but it was more expensive than I wanted and I wasn’t sure if I could handle a job quite that big. I wasn’t sure if I had the capability to cut out the entire floor and replace it without possibly twisting or contorting the car (it is a convertible). I decided to buy the left and right floor pan. This covered from the front all the way to the back. After receiving the floor pans, I spent a lot of time thinking and rethinking and strategizing about the best way to go about cutting out the old and welding in the new. Since the entire floor pan was not rusted out, I decided to cut out just the rusted part and cut out what I needed from the new replacement floor pans and weld that into place. I am very happy with this decision. By cutting out just the rusted pieces and replacing with new metal, I was able to avoid any twisting or contorting of the car and probably saved me a lot of time.

I was able to cut out the rusted areas in a couple of hours. I used pneumatic shears that worked very well. Before buying the shears, I tried several other methods such as a pneumatic saw, tin snips and aviation cutters. Trust me when I say that a cheap pair of pneumatic shears will be a lifesaver. I did use the aviation cutters for fine cutting and making small adjustment cuts.

Next I separated the front and back of my new floor pans by cutting them in half. I cut out the front part of the floor pan about 2 inches bigger than what I needed. I then placed this into the front for a test fit. When I had the replacement pan in place, I made it conform to the existing floor pan with a rubber mallet. I then used a can of white spray paint and sprayed around the perimeter of the new pan. By painting around the perimeter, I was able to see where the new pan fit after removing it from the car. I repeated this procedure for the other front side and then both rear areas. This took me about a day to complete.

The next part required welding, please be sure to observe all safety practices when welding to avoid any life altering injuries!

I was now ready to weld the replacement sheet metal into place. This is where my brother was a BIG help! He has a MIG welder. We inserted the new pans and while I held them in place, my brother spot welded each one. After each pan was tacked into place, we stepped back and studied their positions and made sure everything was exactly the way I wanted. My brother then completed the welding process until all four replacement pieces was securely welded into place. I don’t know a lot about welding, but I believe my brother had to spend additional time and take extra precautions since the sheet metal is rather thin. After the replacement floor pan pieces were securely in place, I proceeded to cover the seams with Bondo filler and then I painted the entire floor pan with a rust preventive primer. My brother and I were able to complete the welding on Saturday morning and I took the rest of the afternoon to finish the Bondo. I put several coats of paint on the floor pan over the next several days.

From the pictures on my website, you can tell that it might not be a perfectly smooth floor pan with no flaws, but I can assure you that it is a solid installation that will last many years, even longer if garaged, and will look even better once it is covered with a sound dampening material and new carpet. This worked well for my 1962 Chevy II Nova and I am sure it will work for you and your special project.

Dash Repair – How to Fix a Cracked Padded Dash

Weather change is here and the cracked padded dashes are rolling in. With every weather change I get the phone calls. “My dash is cracked and what can be done to fix it.”

Due to the exposer to old mother nature, these materials become dried out and crack over time leaving you with a crack in your dash. Left unattended this small crack can and will get larger.

There are measures that can be taken to prevent the dash from getting cracked in the first place. Now I know your dash is already cracked and your wanting to know how to fix it, but this will prevent further cracks and keep your car cooler and looking nicer, and well…. for further reference.

One way to prevent this is to use a sunshade. This will not only protect your automotive dash from the sun but also keep your vehicle cooler keeping the plastic pieces cooler and less likely to warp and then crack.

Another way to prevent the materials from drying on your dash is to condition them with a good vinyl conditioner-protectant. Now I know I’ve always said to not put the slimy stuff on your interior pieces and parts … But if your vehicle is exposed to the sun on a constant basis, then I would recommend you use a vinyl conditioner. Now I’m not going to say that any old vinyl conditioner will work, because it won’t. Tire shine is not vinyl conditioner! This is probably one of the biggest mistakes made, and I do a lot of repair because of it. Tire shine contains solvents, which as you know from previous articles, it doesn’t mix well with the water based dyes being used on today’s cars. What it does is lifts the dye from the surface, causing it to peel. So no tire shine…What I recommend to my customers is a product made from a leather conditioning producer that I feel from some of the research I’ve done is safe and should work very well, it’s made by Lexol and it’s called Vinylex. Designed by the guys that really know their stuff when it comes to interior conditioning and protecting.

The last and final tip to keeping your automotive interior, including your dash, looking it’s best and lasting longer is window tint. Now in some states you need to be careful with the tinting laws to make sure you don’t get it too dark, plus you need to think of your safety too. I have tint on our family Tahoe and I kinda wish I would have gone a little lighter, at night it’s really hard to see, my Tahoe stays nice and cool, but it’s a pain in the butt at night. I have to roll the window down sometimes just to see. So keep it light and you will be impressed with the results, plus it looks cool.

Now on with the fix for that crack in your dash.

Depending on where the crack is and how big it is will depend on how to fix it and how expensive the repair will be. If the crack is bigger then 2″-3″ and curled up on the edges, the repair will probably not look that great. There is a limit to the size of crack that can be repaired, too big and it probably won’t hold and will look like crap. If the crack is too big, replace the dash pad, don’t try to fix it. Another thing is location, if the crack is up close to the windshield then it’s almost impossible to do a repair without removing the windshield, which can be costly. So with that said you be the judge.

The first thing I do before I start any repair is to mix my color, this insures that at least the color will be right.

Next I inspect the crack in the dash, if the edges are curled up then you will need to trim that off with a razor blade or Xacto knife. The goal here is to get the area as level as you can. Now when doing so cut at a 45 degree angle and don’t bring the ends to a point, what I mean by this is trim all the way around the crack rounding off the ends of the crack, this will insure that the crack will stop and not crack further after your repair.

Of course your next step is prepping the repair area, use your prep solution with a scotch brite pad and clean the area thoroughly. You might need to clean the entire dash depending on where and how large the crack is.

Now it’s time to determine what fix you going to use.

If the crack is smaller then an 1/2″ I usually grab the super glue and do a super glue repair. I do this by spreading the glue in the crack then sanding it smooth with a 240 grit sandpaper, texture with your water based spray grain, then dye.

But there are times when your vinyl repair compound will need to be used, after all this is vinyl. The low cure usually works best because high heat tends to warp the repair area. This is where your patience comes in when doing your repairs. Thin layers of compound work best, curing and dying between coats until the area is level and smooth. You can texture while layering your compound with your grain pads. One little trick I use to help level the repair when using a grain pad is a little rubber squeegee about 3″x5″, it’s what body shops use to squeegee the water off the painted surface when they wet sand. This little thing works great, when you use your hand to imprint your grain into your repair, your hand kinda molds around the area and doesn’t leave a level area but with the rubber squeegee it gives you a little more backing when you go to imprint. Now graining your repair can be tricky, the low cure compound doesn’t grain that well, but if all else fails make sure the repair is level, this is your best hide. If that is achieved then texture with your spray grain.

One last trick up my sleeve is the use of a great product from Urethane Supply Co. This is a two part epoxy like substance that is specifically designed for padded dashes and the name says it all, Padded Dash Filler.

This stuff is the bomb, when it comes to dash repair. Mixes like Bondo and is even applied like bondo, but its flexible. It’s just what the doctor ordered when it comes to dash repair. If the crack is larger then 1″ this is the stuff to use.

Now this product will require you to trim the area and then sand around the area about 1″ to 2″ out with a heavier grit sandpaper like a 180 grit, this gives it something to bite too. Trim down into the foam a little to, so that you make like a little groove for the compound to lay in.

Mix your compound on a small piece of tile, I like using small tile pieces, they clean up easily and are easier to hold when mixing and applying. Now when you get the product they send you the red catalyst, try the blue, it seems to set up a little quicker. The blue you can get at any automotive parts shop. But the red works just as good just takes it a little longer, time is money in my business.

Apply your compound liberally over the repair area, don’t worry about getting your first coat really smooth, all you need is to get it covered, you’ll be sanding it smooth later. Let it set up for a while, depending on the weather will depend on how long this stuff takes. You can speed it up a little with a heat gun but don’t melt it just give it a little boost.

Once hardened start sanding, I usually start with a 180 grit to knock off the big chunks then progressively move my way up to a finer grit like 240 and then to 400.

One coat won’t be sufficient, I promise, this is another layer thing. Sanding between coats. Each coat you apply you will need to make smoother. Again what your trying to achieve is a smooth level repair.

After all is smooth and level, grain with a spray grain then dye.

As far as texture goes, I use two types of spray grain. One is a water based spray grain and the other is Sems Texture Coat. In fact the Sems Texture Coat almost matches the some of the Pontiac dashes to a tee. Now the Sems Texture coat is a solvent based, but I haven’t had a problem with it peeling up against the water based dyes on the dash, so kudos to Sems.

One other trick I have found with the the Sems Texture Coat is after sprayed if you let it flash out a little but not dry completely, you can take your grain pad and imprint your grain into the texture coat, pretty cool huh.

Dash repair is an art and a craft, just like all automotive interior repairs. If the steps are followed right and patience is used in your repairs you success will be good.

Hope this helps in your dash repair adventure. One thing to always keep in mind is to keep your repair as level as possible, this is your best hide.