March 29th, 2011

Itinerary | whirlwindweek

So pretty much the day after finishing the skid plate…

I park and fly out for a week to San Francisco and New Orleans for a work research trip.

Day 1 SF… we did a bit of shopping… I bought a Mulholland Angler’s messenger bag.
and ended up in this fishing shop… I do like the colours of the lures… A component on some
of the pieces made by friends at Crocodile Tears.

See that sun… that was just about the last of it… the 2 days following was full of wind and rain.

Up in Haight St… I would love to do an expedition in that… well maybe with a set of Recaros.

What is this??? it has to be at least.. 2 x bigger.

Can you imagine 50 years down the road… I could see myself owning something like this..

SF Day 2 – Fatlace in jpntwn… I do want to get one of those pray for japan stickers.

Rightfully parked outside the store.

After that we headed over the golden gate bridge and ended up by the docks…
i like the camo pattern going on between the rust and moss.

Zee bridge.

I forgot to note… today is the day  I left my sd card in my laptop…
i had about 10 shots worth in the internal memory… so I had to use them wisely.

I don’t recall ever seeing a lit sewer drain…

Wow… Altima Donk!

Ah… Much better… Benz wagon on lm’s… yessir.

Day 4 – New Orleans… I’m glad we decided to come here as a group…
the vibe of this city is unlike any other I’ve been to.

I was alive… 24/7… we got there on a Sunday… and pretty much went to sleep round 2:30 – 3 am every night.

Music… food… culture… art… fun… it’s all here.

Need to recite a drunken poem at 3am?… check.

Nola Day 2 – Willie Mae’s Fried Chicken… it was delicious.   I had pretty much everything.

A view from the river in…

The train goes through the city.


Started the day off just walking around…

then headed off to a swamp tour…

sweet bridge…

and swamp trees…

It’s crazy to think that these houses were under water when Katrina hit.

Ended our night off at NOLA… Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Restaurant… thanks for the tip Scott!

March 16th, 2011

Chop Shop | Skid Plate Fab

So after I got in from my flight… I rushed to the RMV to get the Healey’s plates returned.
After I checked that off my list… it was skid plate time!

Last week… although crazy hectic… I managed to roughly plot a pattern out for the skid plate.

Cut & sanded


and bended!… I guess that brings me to tahday.

The sun was shinning through just right… this is my Zen…

Drilling multiple 1 1/8″ vent holes instead of the 3 x 2 1/4″ as marked… imperial measurements on a bmw… sue me.

Here it is….ready to mount… The 11 holes are for venting of the oil pan… which the splitter will hopefully direct some air into…
the large hole is to access the drain plug… the plate is mounted on the front steering rack/subframe mounting points…
the front is bolted down  along the front rebar.

here’s how it looks underneath… I know it’s just sheet aluminum… but it’s 1/8″ thick…
so I should have some time before it wears down.

As usual…I can never just say enough… I’ve been wanting to take the tint off for the longest time now…
but thought it would just come off horribly… so I started with a little corner… and to my surprise… it peeled off nicely!
This is something I’ve wanted to do since I bought the car…

That’s more like it.

March 11th, 2011

Sightings | Tragedy in Japan

I can’t stop thinking about the catastrophe… My thoughts are with the people in Japan.

March 5th, 2011

Sightings | I like.

March 1st, 2011

Chop Shop | Light up the darkness

This is THE post I’ve been telling everyone about…  roughly 350 shots were taken throughout the process.
I’ve tried my best to filter through them… but I think for this type of build… a new format was necessary.   How everything started off was when I took apart the old fog housing.

The bottom end of the xenon bulb sat lower than a regular H3… So I had to draft up some dimensions and make new bottom covers…

Testing was a large portion of these lights… so a power source was the first thing I needed.  Harbor Freight had a battery charger on sale… and of course… I can’t have anything without modifying.  The small alligator clip was added to the battery lead clamps to pinch the smaller ballast wires.  The last pic was my setup… yeah… let’s just say that was the first fail of many… battery chargers are AC… they’re good for testing some things… but not xenon lighting apparently.

Yes… those are yogurt cups… I thought I could make fibreglass yogurt cups as the new cover… I did mention there were plenty of fails right?

New power source!… here’s the stock fog with a xenon bulb in it… take notice to the beam pattern against the garage door… fuzzy.   Last pic is a head on shot… there’s no way I’m going to allow for that kind of glare.

I attributed the fuzziness of the light to the pitted glass lens, so I took the same bulb and put it in the broken housing… (I painted the inside of the refractor black to lower the glare as well)  the results weren’t bad… the beam pattern is focused and the glare is reduced… but there was still light spill around the projector lens.

So I started stenciling out a shroud…. this part had many requirements besides blocking light spill.
It had to withstand and transfer heat… mount inside the housing without the use of adhesives… have the ability for the housing to be returned to stock specs… AND look good. (yes that was a huge run on sentence)

Fabrication of the aluminum shrouds were tedious… especially shaping the center cutout.  Forsner bits and hand drills are probably not the right tools… let’s just say spent some time filing.

That was the final outcome of that shroud… not bad… I almost forgot to mention… various temp/elapsed time tests were carried out… it was important for me to know how hot they got…  the top portion of the shroud acted as a heat sink… which is a good thing…as the volume of the fog housings were pretty small.

Enough with the tester housing…. time to crack the fogs open… the last pic shows just how pitted the original glass lenses were…. they really diminish the light output.

I scratched the shrouds up pretty bad… so I decided to paint selected areas black to help cover them up….
and added some subtle details along the way.

After testing again… I noticed light spill around the center portion of the light… so I covered it.

Lastly… just to make sure… I made a cutoff sheild that spanned the entire projector lens.  See how small of an area the stock cutoff shield covered?

Again… no adhesives are allowed… it had to be mechanically fit in and it had to withstand vibrations… movement etc… If that were to fall out of place… I’d have to crack em open again.  See the final pic… I just wanted to make sure there was no light transmitting through the lower portion of the lens…

Final output pic… not amazing… but I’m only going to be using them in inclement weather. So these were the yogurt cup moulds that I made… the cardboard was supposed to be the patterns for the fibreglass… I was going to do them in layers… piece by piece… that was the biggest fail… well almost.

New lenses and 3M protective film… they were a pretty penny… but hopefully worth it.

It was Sunday (Last week)… I was going to make those fiberglass caps for the fogs… If I was going to make a mess… (cause I heard it was messy) I might as well try doing the headlight housing as well… it gets interesting…

So I foiled and taped up the back of the housing… mounted it onto a piece of cardboard… and put it into a coffee can…  the can had a bunch of “injection holes”  which I used to spray expanding foam into… Yeah… that did not work… (being sealed in the can did not let the oxygen in… which did not allow the foam to cure…
1hr later… it was still gooey… it was getting late and I needed to get the housing back into the car.

Onto the next fail… remember those yogurt cups… yeah… this was what I was trying to do… lay up piece by piece… I just thought of it like patterns on clothing… I even had pins in the “mould” to center the patterns…
I was  pretty frustrated after that.

But I still didn’t give up on fiberglass… Male mould didn’t work… so a Female one MUST work…

Yeah no…  almost… but there was no way that would have kept a seal as a cap… it was worth a try…
I’ve learned that fibreglass is more suited for larger projects… but I will take another stab at it one day.

Fast forward to this past weekend… Made a quick home depot run…. are those…. Shower Drains??
I can explain.

I chose PVC because of the plastic’s ability to withstand a spectrum of temperatures and still be ok.  Here it is… getting trimmed to fit into the back of the housing.

With all the lenses off you can now see the fitment of the drain and the original housing…. pretty flush… but a quick test fit shows that the projector is sitting too far back.

So I took some more measurements to see exactly how much I had to trim off… While I was doing that… I debated on whether I wanted “smileys”… I ended up going with it.

While that was all drying… I had to tend to this broken adjustor tab on the low beam.

Housings trimmed and fitted… I really like how compact the unit will become.

Here’s the front and back of the projector housing… the 2 screws hold the aluminum mounting plate in the back… and the metal projector housing has a threaded column that allows for mounting hardware.                 All set to finish up the details… then came the classic problem… the rear housing was too short… I calculated measurements incorrectly and the projector was touching the headlight lens.  I had to take the offcut and fuse it back with some PVC weld.

This is how they mount into the front portion of the headlight… brackets were made to allow the rear to click onto the lip inside the front of the housing… no fasteners outside!

I worked until 4:30 Saturday night… and woke up to this…  I thought… with the limited amount of light … let’s just get the wiring harness in…

Final test fit… yessir they fit… before they were put in… I did “pre-instal” modifications on the MH1 projector housing… that is a whole other thread found here.

There she is…

Here is a pic of all 4 after testing… and one in car!… I’m done for now… but there still needs to be a bit of adjusting… and cleaner wiring… time to sleep

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