Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Friction improvements time.

I've recently improved a couple of things in my S2000.
I've installed a set of EBC Red Stuff Brake Pads in the front and a set of EBC green Stuff at the back and to make the huge braking performance increase justifiable, I've decided to re-paint my 5Zigen Proracer GN+ rims with a BMW 400 reference Gun-Metal Paint and fit a set of grips-as-nothing-else-around Toyo R888 Tires.
Here are some pictures:

I now have a new hobby called - "Overtaking on the OutSide".... it's very cool. While everyone else is on their brakes trying to stay on the inside lane of a hard bend, I just flyby on the outside with massive grip and control flooring it like a bat out of hell.
Since I'm now so fast in the bends, I normally find a lot of slower moving vehicles when exiting bends but since the brake bite a grip is so huge I immediately slow down to speed without a fuss.

It's a brilliant Setup and I RECOMMEND it over just about anything I've tested so far. I mean I've been on High performance tires before, but race tires are just a different level of grip. The same goes to EBC.. I've been on Red-Stuff before, but RedStuff on 300mm discs are very different from what I've tested before.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rear wheel bearing replacement

Hi all.
As expected, 4000km after the first rear wheel bearing gone bad, the second followed.
This time however it happened in the middle of summer vacations.
Portugal is a difficult country for people like me. You see I work my ass off, and in return I get to buy most the stuff I want. In order to do so, I have to deliver 75% of my earnings to Taxation. Most Portuguese however live off state funding and get to spend my 75% taxes... and still argue that I drive a rich man's car ... odd at the minimum.
During this austerity times being lived all across Europe, and in particular, Portugal, while I worked across the summer, most took their vacations.
During my summer-at-work the bearing went bad. I ordered a new one from Honda Portugal, as having one sent from the states would cost the same because of stupid excessive taxation of imports. I placed the order and it took a full week to arrive. Why? Spanish truck-drivers were on strike and no parts stock is kept in Portugal for the S2000.
After getting the new bearing I arranged an in-a-day intervention like the last time. However the mechanic told-me the Lathe's craftsman was on vacation!
I finally got that scheduled to a Saturday (sacrificing my time-to-recover my sleep) a full month latter.
All that month driving the S2000 on a bad bearing is only describable as pure torture. 1st because the car is not meant to drive slow. 2nd because the S2000 has little or none acoustic shielding. You find your self being overtaken by old man at 50km/h. The worse comes after the heating up of the bearing and the squeal... constant squeal. After 1 km you tell the ATM pin to the car, speaking all by your self... and 2km into this you are ready to tell ho is you lover, how many laws you've ever broken, the drugs you've done and each and every other dark secret you may have... believe-me Opus and the Masons would want their car's allways on good bearings.
The month went by and by the end of it it stopped squealing and started popping. By that time you either stop or embrace for accident.
So everything was set and I was going to spend a full day in the garage but have the problem solved the same day. Saturday came... I got up 50% in pain for being that early and 50% in relieve as the squealing and popping was about to end.
I was 10% the way to the garage when I got a call from the mechanic saying : not today man! going for some vacation.
I was ready to start killing people.
I immediately turned around, and drive the car into my garage. I took the tool box out and the 2ton jack under the car... and hands on the job. And that's my way of doing things! If you are willing to pay for something you know how to do yourself, than you are doing it for the speed and comfort of service. If that's not happening...than screw them all and teach them a valuable lesson: vacation if good but you will not be making any money while sitting on the beach.

I also went to the business garage where me and my partner had some car's to sell and grab a Citroen C4 picasso to drive arround while this was being done (and this is a desperate measure as I hate diesels and particularly big ones).

So hands On... First part: dismantle everything:
with the car still on the ground, loosen the screw on the wheel and the centre hub.
 To do the centre hub you'll need to unlock-it by tapping the deformed part of the nut border using a hammer and a screw driver.
 Then you can loosen-it just enough to be able to unscrew-it with the wheel off the ground.

Then use the jack and lift the car off the ground. Remove the wheel.
 Then a good set of drivers to unscrew the brake calliper.

 Remember to lock the nut with another driver like shown.

 Gently pull out...

Place-it somewhere where it's not in the way of anything  but don't let it hanging from the brake-lines
 It's then time for the brake-pads and the brake calliper bracket.

 Then, gently remove the ABS sensor and place-it in a protected location (the upper triangle is perfect).

 With a big screw-driver and a hammer, unscrew the rotor holder screws. They probably will be difficult to remove and failing to remove will damage the screws, SO use the hammer and hit the screw driver against the screws twice with some conviction, and you're done.
 To remove the ball-joints, first unlock the nut by removing the locking pins. You'll find them in all three ball joints (upper triangle, lower arm and lower control arm).

 Unscrew the nuts from the ball joint.

 To remove the Ball-joints, most people use a ball-joint separator. However that is a conic assembly. I decided to drop some of the car's weight on a wood stick that set between the ground and the ball-joint screw on the rear lower arm. THEN I used a 1.5Kg sledge hammer and tapped it (gently being a 1.5kg one) twice on the hub body near the ball-joint screw. This will send a shock-wave through the metal, good enough to shake it loose, but not enough to damage.
Then the same for the rear control arm (but without the wood stick... this one comes out much more easily).

Then it's time to unscrew the hub nut.
To remove the semi-axle from the wheel centre hub, use a rubber sledge hammer and hammer it vigorously. Some people use metal ones and do it gently... I honestly recommend the rubber ones.
This will both loose the semi-axle and the ball-joint from the upper triangle.

 This is the end result. Time to use a metal brush and do a little metal maintenance work on that rust while you sent the hub to the lathe's smith.
On the picture you can see the old hammer with the wodden stick I used "hurt" by the ball-joint screw, the rubber sledge hammer, the small metal hammer and the 1,5kg sledge hammer. Plus the hub assembly ready to go to the lathes shop and the break disk.

 Send THIS to the lathe shop:

The Lathe shop will:
- Press the hub out of the bearing. Half of the inner race will remain attached to the hub itself. It will need cutting to be removed. Probably the hub is also bad so either a filling and machining or machining and sleeving will need to be done.
- Remove the snap ring that holds the bearing in the hub. Press bearing to remove it out.
- Press the new bearing in.
- Place the snap ring.
- Press the hub in.

The final assembly should look exactly like this. Since bearings are directional, the black ring must be visible.

Re-install everything and tighten everything according to Honda's manual torque specs. EXCEPT the big HUB nut.
Honda issued a call-back (ignored by most dealers) to change the tightening torque from 185nm to over 298nm...but never ever less than 245nm.
Failing to do that will kill the bearings sooner, and if you have after-market wheels with different offsets, it will happen even sooner.

That's it! ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rear wheel bearing gone bad

I've just returned from the shop with a brand new bearing.
The old one went bad and I researched the web to find a couple of very interesting posts about this recurring incident.
First things first FACTS:
- The S2000 rear and front bearing are equal.
- If you buy them in Portugal, get ready to pay 75€ for a bearing and 11€ for the bearing stop ring. I recommend you to go online and buy from an US site from under 30$ and just clean the stop ring and re-use.
- If you are replacing the wheel hub too (not needed, but explained later), in Portugal you will buy one for 116€... again fly them from the US and pay 68$ for the same part.
Second is the reading: I recommend this link here because I really liked the article.

Why does it go bad? 2 reasons:
- If you drive like me, it's heat and stress that will kill it.
- If you don't drive like me, than you have your car poorly serviced. Honda issued a warning about the wheel nut tightening specs long ago. The car's came poorly tightened from factory (190nm instead of 295nm) and this would prematurely kill the bearing.

Now for the juicy part:
You could buy an hydraulic press for around 100$ and do it yourself. BUT if that it the case, THEN go a buy the bearing AND hub.
On the other hand, if you go to a lathe shop, you can do better!

This article didn't include images because Rob Robinette's article if good enough.
The cherry on the top of the cake here is HOW to re-use the hub.
On Robbinette's 11th image you can clearly see the bearing broken open. This means that the rest of it is "glued" (by rust and heat effect) to the hub. Typically, If the bearing goes (has Rob clearly says), the hub is gone too. Well, not quite.
The Not buying the press for 100$ and going to a Lathe-shop for 50€ is the trick.
The hub gets really hurt by slippage, hurting the metal and eating it up. Although you can press-it, it will never be the same again and some Km's latter you'll be back where you started.
In my case, the Lathe master took the hub out, grinned the remaining bearing housing "glued" to the hub enough to allow a grip onto-it and that pressed it out. He than machined the hub to smoothness, and proceeded to machine a "sleeve". The Sleeve went into a oven, the hub to a freezer, that the hub was sleeved and inserted back into the bearing.

So either you spend 100$ once on a press, then 68$+30$ every time you kill a bearing, ooooor, you sleeve-it and never ever need to change the hub again.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Improvements - VisionGuard 8000 Alarm Instalation

During the repair process that my car had about a year and a half ago, I decided it was time to make a couple of mods.
 This is a series of posts from that time.

Video1 - ShockSensor instalation and location as close to the car's strongest center point as possible.
Video 2 - How it looks (everything I've done) in the end.

Improvements - Video Cameras Instalation

During the repair process that my car had about a year and a half ago, I decided it was time to make a couple of mods.
 This is a series of posts from that time.

Video 1 - Passing UPT Class5 cable from the front and rear of the car to the inside passenger seat.And then turning them into USB cable extension for the cameras.
Video 2 -Transforming a standard webcam into an infrared webcam. This is soooo very easy. The CCD inside a webcam is more than capable of interpreting infrared light. So capable that the lens need a infrared filter (the red glow you can see when looking into a webcam? that's the infrared filter). All you have to do is to remove this filter and replace-it with a normal light filter.
Video 3 - Testing the normal cameras.
Video 4 - Testing the IR cameras after tweaking
Video 5 - How it looks (everything I've done) in the end.
Video 6 - Final cameras and laptop.
Video 7 - Transformation of the X5Tech camera from powerleds to IR leds

Improvements - AudioSystem / Speakers inside the rollbar

During the repair process that my car had about a year and a half ago, I decided it was time to make a couple of mods.
 This is a series of posts from that time.

Video 1 - Installing the SonyXplode crossover.
Video 2 - Relocating Subwoofer, amplifiers, alarm and GPS locator to the car's center of gravity.
The weight of the amplifiers + subwoofers + speakers are almost equal to the spare "bicicle" wheel and jack.
Video 3 - Speakers inside the head protection bars
Video 4 - Another layer of silicone on the speaker adaptor
Video 5 - Sculpting the adapter to a nice look and feel
Video 6 - How it looks in the end.
Video 7 - The speaker mounts

Repairing the S2000 after a aquaplaning crash

Over an year ago, in one of the worse nights I've seen to date, under heavy rain and with my tires quite used, I aquaplanned.
How did that happen? The infamous IC19 in Portugal has a bad design, worse pavement and even worse drainage. So, starting a downhill, left turn with opposite relevé, the car hit a bump and landed in what is best described as a 10mts wide river crossing the pavement. Evidently, it immediately started a drift into the concrete, hitting the concrete with it's front right headlamp. Bad things can always go worse, so the airbag sensor is located exactly under the right front headlamp, so they deployed, shutting down the engine and locking the rear wheels, leading to a spin motion witch then culminated with the rear right end of the car in the concrete wall.
The entire accident happened in low speeds as it was raining heavily...causing little damage to the body panels and no damage at all to the chassis.
These videos where taken during the car's repair at AUTOCAMBOTA.
Why did I repair the car at a Renault dealer? Simple:
1- this car is hand built in japan by a group of craftsman with over 10year of fine craftsmanship at honda.
2- if I was to repair it at Honda in Portugal however, it would be repaired by the lowest cost in the business (and ultimately lowest quality in the business). The same guys that do the oil change in the Honda Jazz!
3- I have good friends at AutoCambota, and that means assurance that a qualified craftshman will repair my car... and so it happened, with video proof.

The Foto-report from post crash to full repair


That's it! ;)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Improving tear resistance and water impermeability

As Promised in my other Post about how to solve tears and avoid new ones, this one is to improve water impermeability and also increase overall resistance of the soft-top.
So how?
Go to a civil-construction material warehouse near by and buy these products:

  • Liquid Silicone Insulator for roofs with 400% elastic property (16-to-18€)
  • SuperGel (3€)
  • A brush+tape+roll pain kit (3 to 4€) 

Paying particular attention to this... it's the silicone and NOT THE LIQUID RUBBER. Ohhhh and in BLACK.
Then use the roll and pour the silicone till it looks good.
Do it : a layer a day until it is satisfactory.

And this is the end result:
That's it... This is my original Honda Soft Top... on a car built in 06/2004... and I live in Portugal with hot dry summers, and cold wet winters... oh and some STUPID ass burgers that think they can open the car by cutting the soft-top and passing steel wires to try and unlock the door.

Taken care of, the soft-top does go a long way.