Monday, April 30, 2012

Ball Joints

So my car's had 110K kms on it after 20 years on the road. The last few years in my care it's been lavished a lot of money and gifts but at the same time has seen more than a few hard laps at various trackdays and HPDEs.

Being supercharged, stiffened and lowered will do a few things.  1) the valve covers have started leaking oil. and 2) The right front lower ball joint is shot.  It's a common one to go since its the curbside one, which tend to make it victim to ditches, potholes and track turtles :)

Thanks to some advice from fellow Primers I was put in touch with Steve Ghent ("SMGNSX") who will take your worn knuckles and swap in new ball joints.  He recommend removing the old ones and having them shipped to his door. Turnaround is usually 2 weeks. However, being in Canada the idea of having my car sit on a hoist at Autovation while this is going on (as well as potential delays at customs) does not sound very enticing so I found my way to Ben Schaeffer at Daisy Auto ("Redbird 92").  Based in Maryland, he's a great guy to deal with and has helped a lot of club members with his expertise on all things NSX.  He's also able to source a lot of parts without going through the parts guy at the dealership.  We had a few calls and he was able set me up with a set of valve cover gaskets and left and right knuckles (which he sent to Steve in California to have the ball joints retrofitted).  My mechanic also mentioned the upper arms were looking shabby and might be worthwhile to look for a new set, which Ben also happened to have in stock.  10 days later the gaskets and upper arms arrived looking incredibly delicate and beautiful.

Two weeks after that, Steve sent over the newly reconditioned knuckles with the upper and lower ball joints:
In total it took 35 days from the time I ordered the parts to when they arrived at my doorstep.  There's currently some debate on the NSXPrime Facebook page over the value of this as its been revealed by a member that the oem knuckles can be had for $500 plus tax each (which would put its cost on par with what I paid for the reconditioned ones).  If I had known I could have gone the oem route but the Acura sources I checked with had said I needed to buy the entire assembly, not just the knuckles at a considerably higher cost, which was why I went the refurb way.  People like Ben at Daisy swears by the quality of Steve's work, so I'll wait and see how they are once installed.  Here's My Facebook thread if you want to read the comments.
Since I'm going to have to have the supercharger removed for the gaskets, I decided it was finally time to order a set of red type R covers from Garrick Lau of the NSXCC ("Lithiumus").  If you ever look up the phrase "anal retentive", it will bring up the faces of 2 guys I know: Mike Kojima of MotoIQ (google his 300ZX project) and Garrick.  He painstakingly took the time to buy an authentic NSX-R valve cover and had both the colour and texture matched at a local powdercoater.  His work is so well-liked he's doing it for other commercial concerns catering to the Honda world (who will be unnamed, but lets just say they charge a lot more).  We are lucky to have him in the Canadian club.  I've always liked the look but the blower in the way made it impractical.  When we discovered the oil sweating from the old gaskets I was almost jumping for joy.  Here's the link Garrick's service on NSXPrime.
To give you an idea of how beautiful the covers are, here's an installed pic of the product in Rick's ("BTRTHNSX") NSX :

Just to show you how much I like the looks of his powdercoating, last summer I had him do the covers on my R33 Skyline GT-R's RB26 to give it the Nismo Omori Factory S2 look:

God is in the details...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Hottest NSX

Here's the link:  Worlds Hottest NSX on Prime

There's been a very popular thread that was started last November where Primers can nominate their favourite NSXs on the website.  Pretty neat concept, and a great way to pass the winter doldrums.  I was pleasantly surprised my humble ride was listed in the OP's nominations.

The thread really took off with Lud (admin of the website) even offering to throw in a prize for the winner.  Sometime in the near future there should be a vote, so we'll see what happens.  One thing I was kind of surprised to see was how the 2002+ bugeye look netted a lot of appreciation. I was in the same camp as I've wanted to do the conversion for a while but I can honestly say that since the NSX Concept was released, I've come to really appreciate the classic needlenose of the NA1 design.  It was what the car was designed as, and it still looks great after 20+ years.

I think a common pitfall a lot of NSX owners are victim to is trying to make our cars "modern" as in relevant when compared to a R35 GTR.  It was a groundbreaking design and execution in 1991, and it is the inherent goodness of the design which still makes it relevant today.  However, let's face it, cars have improved by leaps and bounds since then and it would be unfair to try and keep up with the GT-Rs, Porsches and even the STis of today with their electronic launch control, rev-matching and paddle shifters.  If you really want to see how great the NSX is, you need to watch a bit of the video linked below and see what it was up against in its day.  Ferrari 348s, Lotus Esprit, air cooled 911's and the R32 GTR.  They look so dated next to the NA1.

Timeless beauty...check out these "hottest NSXs" and soak in the glory of Aryton's car.