Babalouie

Babalouie ISF Maintenance Thread

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Hi Babalouie - Tyre Reviews & WPR Lap Times & Data Response

Thanks for your tyre reviews and comparisons ... certainly helps with making a informed decision for your Track Day!

Thanks for also sharing your lap times and data above and previously, I really appreciate it.

I now have Nitto 01’s, however haven’t had the chance to use them at Wakefield yet. 

They are certainly a lot gripper than my previous Federal 595 RS-RR’s & Hankook RS3’s, although I was using an IS 350 with those.

Previously on the ISF I had Nitto 05’s, so like the 595 RS-RR’s & RS3’s UTQG rating was the same / similar as the AD08R’s.

I think the Nitto 05’s were hard though, as I went more 4 seconds a lap quicker at SMSP GP Circuit with Nitto 01’s ... and everybody tells me that an R compound semi-slick should be worth approximately 2 seconds a lap ... and I can assure you it certainly wasn’t anything to do with driver improvement.

Have you had the ISF out at SMSP yet ... would be happy to share lap times and data if you like.

Thanks again for the tyre reviews and sharing the WPR lap times & data.

Regards,

Matthew

 

 

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Lately I've been noticing a weird "click" sound when I'm turning the wheel from lock to lock, like when you're reverse parking.  It's sorta a a click or ka-tack sound, which I have heard before in a higher-mileage GS430 I used to own.  It's a sign that the suspension ball joints are on the way out.  My car's done only 78k, but maybe thwacking into ripple strips at trackdays isn't too good for ball joints...but whatever the reason, they need to be changed.

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There are plenty of aftermarket options if you look them up on eBay, but thankfully the proper oem parts are quite reasonably priced.  You'll need all of these; one each of the part numbers on the right and two of each of the part numbers on the left.  All up it was $175 delivered from Amayama.com.

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A bit of a peek under the car confirmed that I did indeed have an issue with the balljoints, and the telltale sign is that dark, oily looking area around the balljoint.  That's a sign that the lubricant has leaked out.  Interestingly, the main balljoint (the one that holds up the weight of the car) looks fine, and it was the steering tie rod balljoint that is leaking.

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It's not actually that big of a job, and the first step is to remove the two big 19mm bolts that you can see in the pic above.  This allows the wishbone upright to be swivelled out of the way.  Don't worry, nothing falls down when you remove those bolts, the tension in the suspension bushes keeps everything in place.

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The next part is the only part that's a little tricky.  Well not really tricky, but it does need some explaining.  If you look closely at the pic of the new balljoint assembly below, you'll notice that the bit below the threaded part is like a cone-shape. The suspension and steering arms have a hole with an inverse cone shape, and the idea is that the cone drives deep and gets solidly wedged in there for a super tight fit with no slop.  If it was a regular straight-sided bolt, there is the possibility for some side to side play. 

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But the downside is that over time, the two parts get wedged together so hard, that you'll need a special tool to force them apart.  You can whack at the balljoint with a hammer until you go deaf or your arm falls off, and it won't do any good.  Instead, you need to prise them apart with a special tool called a balljoint separator.

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There are many types and they come in many shapes, but I've found that this type works on Lexus suspension.  The silver part hooks underneath the steering or suspension arm, and the bolt at the top pushes down on the balljoint to try to force it out of the hole that it's wedged in.  

Now the important tip, is to undo the balljoint nut, but not to remove it altogether.

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So what you do, is you put the balljoint separator in place, and start to tighten the bolt at the top.  As it starts to press down on the balljoint, everything will start to strain, but you keep tightening it.  And just when you think that there's so much force on it that surely something is about to break...nothing happens.  So you keep tightening it and its beginning to require quite a lot of strength.  And well after the point where you think it must be welded together, it goes...BANG...tools go flying, and you go flying across the garage as all that unholy pent up force suddenly gets released.  And as you dust yourself off, you expect the balljoint to have flown off and embedded itself in your other car...but instead it's just hanging limply from the suspension, because you left the nut on.

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Okay, now remove the other three balljoints the same way 🙂 The new balljoints are far stiffer than the old ones, which move a lot more freely but don't have any obvious slop. There's a spring loaded cup inside, so I think it's unlikely that you can feel any wear by twiddling it like a joystick, unless it's really, really dead.

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Pop the new ones on, torque the big castellated nut to 120ft-lbs the little one to 50fg-lbs, and then install the new safety clips.

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Then the big 19mm bolts go back on underneath (they get tightened to 90ft-lbs) and you're done.  It was about 2hrs go to whoa for both sides.

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And the result is...no more clicking sounds.  I'd also noticed recently that over bumps there has been a bit of a rattling noise, which I figured were either the coilovers or the worn brake pads moving around in the calipers.  But it must have been the balljpoints, because that noise is gone now too.

Dynamically, I can't say that I'm feeling any difference in steering feel, but I do think that I'm doing less corrections when I'm driving the car straight.  And the lack of noise from the front end sure does make it feel subjectively more solid.  For the money and time spent, it's a pretty rewarding maintenance item to do.

  

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When I remove ball joints ( a couple of ways ) but with the tool above when under tension hit mating part with a large hammer and it should pop open without bits flying everywhere.

Also be careful with the pressure on the nut as you can distort it making removal difficult.

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I've been very happy with the HKS coilovers in the past few months and the car looks great with its new lower ride height.  But of course whenever you lower a car on stock wheels, it can look a little like something is missing.  And so in what I can now describe as "a dangerous frame of mind", I started to...y'know...hypothetically look for wheels that might look nice on the ISF.

Now everybody likes the classic BBS cross spoke wheels that came with the 2012-14 ISFs, but even second hand, they're more expensive than most aftermarket wheels.  Sure are nice though, and being a little wider than the "katana" wheels on my car, they fill out the arches a little bit more.
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Other nice options were the Rays Gram Lights 57CR, but I was starting to think that the 5 spoke look was better suited to something like the FD RX-7 than a sedan, so I kept looking for a BBS style cross spoke wheel...
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...which led me to the Work Emotion M8R. Which was also available in ISF sizes.
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And while the M8R was very nice, I thought the Rays equivalent was a bit nicer.  Rays have a huge range of classic cross spoke wheels, but the model which was in ISF sizes was the Homura 2x7.  Compared to the M8R it was curvier and more dishy....and now fast forward to May and there's a set of Homuras on the kitchen floor 🙂
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They're pretty reasonably priced, are from the cheaper cast Rays wheel range and are pitched at luxury cars and SUVs, so they're not an overtly sporting wheel, but just the same they were a little bit lighter than the stock forged BBS-made Katana
wheels that were coming off the car; the stock wheels were 11.2 and 12.2kg, so are about 400g heavier than the Homuras.  The stockers are 19x8.0+45 and 19x9.0+55, and the Homuras are a bit wider and more poke-outey at 19x8.5+38 and 19x9.5+38.
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First things first...the guards will have to be rolled.  The Homuras stick out 23mm more at the back than the stock wheels, and a bit of measuring showed that there was no way that the stock wheelarch lips could co-exist with the new wheels.  So Nelson from Sydney Guard Rolling came to sort it out, and there is now heaps of space between the guard and where the edge of the tyre will be.  Although that won't be the end of our problems as you'll see later.
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At the front, the new wheels stuck out much less, only 13mm and while it did look like we'd have enough room, Nelson suggested that it would be pretty close and the tyre might possibly catch the guard on opposite lock, so to be safe I asked him to do the front guards too.
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I am running wider tyres than stock; 245/35 and 275/30 instead of 225/40 and 255/35, and if I had stock tire sizes, maybe we'd have been fine at the front without rolling the guard, but I think it would still be necessary at the back.

And now we can mess with the wheels. I'd gone for the Spark Silver colour, which would look terrible with a coating of brake dust, so I'm applying the Gyeon Rim coating to the new wheels before I fit them.
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I use it on all my wheels and it really does make it easier to keep clean.
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First you spray the wheel with Gyeon Prep to get the surface squeaky clean, and then wipe it all dry.  Now dribble some of the fluid onto the applicator, which you wrap with a suede cloth.
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Then you rub it all over the wheel, and it leaves a (very hard to see) greasy sheen.  For fiddly bits, I cut up a polish applicator into wedges to get into all the nooks and crannies.
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Then you buff it all off, wait an hour and then add a second coat.
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And that's it...it's very easy to apply.  It's also a good opportunity to fondle the new wheels, which are quite extravagantly sculpted 🙂
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The unboxing was quite a bit of fun, and there's lots of nice attention to detail, like how the inflation valves come in a fancy little box.
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For wheelnuts, the stock ones won't do, as they're the flat-faced shank style, while the Rays need a tapered wheelnut.  So I'm using these Knight Sports wheelnuts I had bought for my old FD RX-7 but never fitted.  They're made by Project KICS and are 2 piece: the red bit on the bottom rotates separately, so it just means that you don't get that stiction when you undo the wheelnuts, where it's stiff and then cracks loose with a bang.  These ones tighten up and come off more silkily, which isn't strictly necessary, but is nice.
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So what does it look like?
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I think they turned out pretty good!
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Compared to the stock wheels, they poke out HEAPS more.  At the back it's neatly flush with the guard.
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And at the front it's slightly inward from the guard, but I think this is safer for track use to keep a bit of distance between the tyre and the guard.
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I was expecting them to look a bit like the MY12-14 oem wheels, but they actually look very different.  The spokes are more arched, they concave more dramatically into the centre, and the spokes are more slender.  If they were sisters, then the Homuras would be the one with the looser morals 🙂
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Problems?  Yes there were some...while there was plenty of clearance between tyre and guard, when you took a corner fast or hit a big bump there would be a horrible rubbing noise from the back. Not a hollow scraping noise, but a really screechy noise that reverberated around the car, as if the tyre was hitting something sharp and immovable. Rather helpfully, when I jacked up the rear of the car, one of the threaded studs that the plastic liners bolt to, had its blue paint rubbed off, and was helpfully also covered in rubber shavings.
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So that got chopped, and the noise is gone.
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You can see in the pic above that the furry wheelarch liner is black in spots...that's the tyre shine from when the rubber rubs against it.  But the liner has a lot of give, and compared to the protruding bolt, you can barely hear it scraping, which it only does over big speed bumps.  At the front, the tyres touch this one spot on the plastic liner very occasionally, and it looks like there's nothing behind it, so if it eventually wear a little hole, it won't be the end of the world.  
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Overall I'm pretty happy with how the new wheels turned out, but let's wait and see at the next trackday if they're a scraping dysfunctional mess or not 🙂

Oh and the Gyeon Rim works a treat. I also fitted some new Endless SSM pads, which are extremely low dust...this is a week's worth of dust and the jet washer basically removes it with a few passes.  I still give it the once over with a sponge, as the jet washer always seems to miss a spot on the underside of a spoke, but it's now very easy to keep clean.

 

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With the new wheels filling out the wheelarches better, I stared to think that it needed a little "something" at the front.  The car has a very nicely deep side skirt as stock, but the front bumper chin doesn't quite stick out enough to balance everything out. When you follow the line of the side skirt, there seems to be a missing lower piece when you get to the bumper.

A good option seemed to be these Aero Workz split lips, and a few weeks ago when I scratched the underside of the bumper on one of those concrete bars at the end of parking bays (it looks like Thanos' chin under there now), it seemed as good a time as any to buy a set to hide the evidence.
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There weren't any retailers in Japan who were willing to ship overseas, and strangely there aren't any listed on Yahoo Auctions (hence you can't use Buyee) so I went and opened a Global Rakuten Express account.  It's a mail forwarding service; you're assigned a local address, which you use when purchasing from any Japanese online store, and they're happy to combine several packages into one box to save on shipping.  Japan being Japan....a week later they're at my door.  The package contains the 2 lips, some screws and speednuts, and some very brief instructions.
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And up the car goes onto axle stands, so that we can have some proper space to work underneath.
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After a bit of a test, the pieces seem to be pretty good quality and of a good fit.
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First step is to apply some 3M body mounting tape onto the bit where it screws onto the bumper.  The 3M stuff sets after a while to be very sticky, but when you're initially applying it, it's quite forgiving if you need to unpeel and reposition it. If you had a spare pair of hands, you could get someone to hold it in place while you drilled the holes, but given that it's such a precise fit, I'd strongly recommend double sided tape to hold it just so, while you make the holes.
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The lip has to butt up snugly against the back of the bumper, so that part of the fitment is not negotiable, so I start here, and wrap the lip around the front, sticking it down onto the tape when it's all lined up. 
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I'd thought that it was just a bit of carbon that stuck on below the bumper, but actually it has to follow the contours of the lower bumper very closely. The hard part being this bit, where the lip has to follow the curve of the brake duct.
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For it to fit quite snugly all the way around is pretty good, and the quality of the resin and carbon weave is very nice.
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Now that it's held in place, I can now drill the holes to secure it, but first the undertray has to be partially unbolted, so that you can move this washer fluid pipe out of the way.  It sits exactly where the drill bit will go, but fits loosely enough that it can be pulled back an inch or so. 
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Then drill 3 holes along the front edge of the bumper, and fit the supplied screws and speednuts.  Between the fasteners and the tape, it seems solid enough.  The last part is to drill the hole and secure the back of the lip against the bumper.  Left to its own devices, the lip curls up a bit as it goes towards the wheel, so I drill it so that the top surface is parallel to the door shutline, and when it's in that position, the lower surface angles downwards towards the wheel, like the side skirt does.  For a bit more clearance, you can fit it so that the bottom surface is parallel to the ground, but I thought it looked a bit inconsistent with everything else that's going on.
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And the result
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I think it's nice and subtle, and balances out the front end of the car a bit better.
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I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out...fingers crossed I stay away from those concrete barriers in the future 🙂

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Great choice of wheels ... really suit your ISF and complement the blue colour!

The Split Lips are a nice touch too!

 

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15 hours ago, Matthew said:

Great choice of wheels ... really suit your ISF and complement the blue colour!

The Split Lips are a nice touch too!

 

I agree on both the wheel choice and the front lip. Looks really nice and classy. I wish i had known this lip existed before i purchased the BaysonR one.

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look good are you selling you original wheels ??

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I'm planning to hang onto the wheels...whenever I sell the stock wheels, years later when I sell the car, everyone wants me to part it out but I won't be able to 🙂

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Now that the car LOOKS great, there was a concern that the new wheel and tyre setup might not be all that track-friendly; compared to the stock wheels they poke out a mile.  But July and August turned out to be a pretty busy period, with a trackday and dragracing with the Lexus F Club Australia, as well as a private trackday at my favourite circuit, Wakefield.

The first event was the drags, where the crisp winter air promised an improvement on the previous best of 12.7@114mph, however I struggled all night.  Top end speed was improved at 115mph but the best I could manage was a 12.9 with lots of juddering axle tramp.  The rear Advan AD08s are getting pretty worn out, and with the cold track temperature, I think that little bit of extra wheelspin wound up the diff into violent-feeling axle tramp, which meant that I could only launch with very little throttle.

It's possible that there isn't any axle tramp issues with fresh new tyres, but I thought I'd try a solution that I'd seen in Japan.  Years ago, I was rummaging around at https://www.kts-web.com/ in Tokyo and they had these diff collars for the Toyota Chaser which fitted into the diff rubber bushes to stiffen them up.  They were from a Chaser-only brand called Weld, and I thought they were pretty clever...but after a bit of Googling, it turns out that they are available for the ISF.

They're from a brand called Think Design (http://www.think-design.jp/) who mainly sell appearance items, and their extravagantly named Duracon Diff Mount Collar.  Think Design is a bit of a premium brand, and so their diff mount collar kit would have been about A$800 landed, but as luck would have it, a second hand set appeared on Yahoo Auctions and I managed to grab them for a more reasonable sum.
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The back of the diff mounts into these big soft rubber bushes in the subframe:
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The bushes are weird in that they aren't symmetrical: one has two bolts and the other has just one.  The two-bolt bush is like a cup-shape:
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Whereas the single-bolt bush is more flat.
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So what happens is that you remove the diff bolts, insert the collars into the bush and bolt them down with the huge bolts supplied...the metal collars dig into the rubber and prevent most of it from flexing. There is still some movement possible, but the shape of the collar limits it.
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And at the front, there are these two outrigger arms which attach to the floorpan via rubber bushes.
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The diff collar kit replaces the flat plate at the bottom, with one that has a raised donut in the middle, that fills the void in the rubber bush and limits it's movement too.   
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And does it work?  Well it definitely does something. There is now a sense of less "slack" being taken up when the car is moving off, and gearchanges that previously were slurred and smooth are now a tiny bit jerky.  It feels more solid overall, and goes from grip to wheelspin more crisply.  And in terms of noise and vibration, there's no change to before. Axle tramp isn't 100% eliminated, but most of it is.  If the road is really wet, I can still get it to axle tramp, but the severity is maybe half.  And if the road is only slightly wet, there is no tramp, so it's an improvement.  We'll have to return to the drags to properly test it though.

The Think Design kit doesn't have anything to replace the top stock rubber at the front outrigger mounts, but I thought I'd experiment with a similar kit for a Supra (it was a $85 no-name eBay thing, so why not) which did have an extra metal collar for the top.  I haven't fitted it yet, so I might install just that piece and see how we go, it might remove that last bit of axle tramp.
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After the drags, it was a trackday at the Luddenham circuit, which I'd never tried before.  As you can see from the vid below, it's certainly a very compact track, with 5 hairpins!  
https://youtu.be/Po0ArF1vrBc

Not really very well suited to the heavy Lexus F cars, and my front left AD08 was pretty much toast by the end of the day.  It's definitely handling a lot better with the HKS Hipermax coilovers though; all the snappiness has gone and it's much more approachable at the limit.
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I got down to 54.2 and 5th overall, and had a lot of fun chasing the Mustangs that came in 1st and 2nd.  The silver one was supercharged and while it didn't seem to have much on me down the straight, he definitely made some time on me on the entry to the one sweeping corner, where I think he pulled about 2 car lengths up to the apex.  I had to wait for the front end to settle before getting on the power, and while it neutralised nicely into a gentle drift at the apex, the Mustang went in much harder, and it did get me thinking.  The Mustang had a very nice wheel/tyre combo which looked like a 285/305 setup. Drool.

So with the Wakefield date looming and needing new front rubber, I decided to upsize from 245/35 to 255/35. I know there is a (old)school of thought that says that it's possible to overtyre a car and end up going slower, but I think nowadays the tyres are so good, and the cars so fast and heavy, that the more rubber the merrier.  The issue is that it's not that easy cramming more rubber under an ISF if you have wheels with more aggressive offset. 
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Stock front tyres are 225/40 so this is much wider, and the new 255s certainly seem a fair bit wider than the 245s that they replaced...will I have rubbing issues (more which anon)...
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And it's off to Wakefield!
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…where I had some interesting bedfellows in my run group: a 911 GT2RS and Nismo R35
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The result was a new PB on the AD08s of 1’09.2, an improvement of 0.4.  Apologies for the shaky footage: a dud charging cable meant that the GoPro was flat, and so this is off the phone; the footage is actually okat but I clearly need a better phone mount.
https://youtu.be/eprOE10_GMs

I’m not sure if it’s the new front tyres or the coilovers, but it’s definitely much easier to drive and more consistent now. The thing that always held back the ISF, was the corner entry.  After the apex it’s absolutely fine, but the phase before the apex was always a bit of a challenge.  The ISF would always turn in really sharply, but then it would fall into a bit of an understeer up to the apex.  At Wakefield it meant that you were leaving a bit of time on the table going into Turn 2 and the sweeping right hander on the back straight: which are the two most critical corners on the track.

If you look at pictures of ISFs on the track, they always look like they’re leaning on the outside front wheel, so my theory was that maybe the stock suspension was allowing the weight to transfer too heavily onto the bumpstop, which caused that entry understeer.  Trailbraking to offset the understeer was tricky, as you could then make the already sharp turn-in a bit too sharp, and be over-rotated.  It was one of those things where you sometimes fluked it and nailed the corner (and hopefully would fluke the other critical corner too!) and then got the stellar lap time…but most of the time you never got the formula just right and were at least a half second off the pace.  The ISF was never like the FD3S or 911, where you could get several laps one after another just a hair off your best pace; my ISF lap times jumped all over the place. 

I thought that the stiffer HKS coilovers might address that weight transition, and it’s certainly MUCH more consistent and easy to drive, diving into the 1’09s quite effortlessly.  The basic trait is still there though, and the main challenge is still to nail the entry into the faster corners, but it’s a lot easier than  before.
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Tyre wear is also now brilliant, with very little of the wear on the outside shoulders.  I’d started to fiddle with the shock setting, and was surprised to find that it responded better to softer settings.  My fastest laps were on the half-stiff setting I use for the street, and it felt noticeably more fluid and less spiky when I started to soften things up. I was going to experiment with going even softer than my street setting, when a Lancer Evo developed an inspection hole in the engine block, spilled a whole bunch of black stuff onto the track, and that was that for the day.

I guess we’ll have to go back to Wakefield to finish the testing 😊  Is there a 1’08 lap in the car?  Hmmm…I reckon there might be.  I’ll get some fresh new rear tyres and have another go.

Oh…you may have also noticed in the in-car vid (in between all the shaking) that there’s a dramatic sounding scraping noise under brakes. This was the wider front tyres just touching one of the bolts on the fender liner.  It didn't seem to be bad enough to leave a mark on the tyres, so I kept lapping. 
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So I got some dome-headed 14G stainless screws and ground off the domes.
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And now it’s nice and flush in there, there's about 6mm more room.
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Fingers crossed it sorts out the rubbing issue, but for the next trackday I might raise the nose a tiny bit just to be sure.  Oh and how did I do against the GT2RS?  Well it was well-driven and got down to a 1'03, and hit 235 down the main chute.  That's 6s and a whole 50km/h faster than the ISF....the fastest car I've owned 🙂  I think I need to work a bit harder...or rob a bank or something.

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Great stuff I have been around Wakefield in there cars (don't know if they still do it ) but I have to get the ISF up there its a good track, any chance you could measure the front lower gold spacers as I would love to make some on my lathe cheers.  

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Ah, quite a few things have happened.

First thing is a good thing (to come out of a bad thing that transpired).  I've had a Wald carbon ducktail spoiler stored away for ages, and now it's on the car.
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The ISF has a big flat ass, so even though it sticks out quite a bit, it is still a little subtle.  It's a little bit like the moulded-in spoiler on the BMW E92 M3 and is rounded across the top instead of flat like the stock boot lip.
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It's actually carbon, which I bought slightly scratched years ago, and as is common with JDM carbon, it had slightly faded to grey.
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Getting it restored by Sydney Composites was an option, but I figured it would be quite a big, upright cliff of contrasting carbon against the blue, when you're looking at the car from the back, so body colour was the go.
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The first step is to remove the stock bootlip, whicjh is bolted in at the ends, but has clip-in bayonet fittings in the middle.  The plastic bungs for the bayonet fittings aren't in the way, but the holes were filled with sealant.  The front lip of the Wald spoiler goes across the 2 boltholes, so I'll sort that anon.
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The spoiler was beautifully high-filled and painted by Chatswood Lexus, which has its own bodyshop behind the regular service area.  It's a shared facility that looks after their Ferrari/Maserati dealership, so the ISF rubbed shoulders with an F12 Superfast right next to it as it was being fettled.  I'd asked them to hi-fill the carbon, to make the carbon weave less obvious once it was painted.

Then you apply the body mounting tape to the underside of the spoiler, but to fit it, I unpeel a little section of tape at each corner.
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Then I secure the little tail of backing tape on the other side.
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The idea is that the little square of unpeeled tape at each corner is sufficient to lightly hold it in place, but isn't so sticky that you can't unstick it for fine tuning the position.  I figure the critical dimension is to have it centred from side to side, and flush with the bottom edge of the bootlid. The Wald doesn't quite match the shape of the corner of the bootlid, so you secure the bottom edge, then get a second person to push the spoiler hard against the boot to make it flex to the right shape.  Once it's held in place by your mate and the tape at each corner, you unpeel the backing tape like so.
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First do the critical spot, which is the bottom edge; then the sides....
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...then the front edge.  Once that's unpeeled, it's stuck for good!
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The end result is that it still has a bit too much of a gap on the sides, so I mask it up and spam a bead of Body Sealant into the gap.
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And then use a selection of improvised tools, like the rounded butt of a paintbrush and toothpicks to smush the sealant into the gap and leave a nice rounded edge.
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There is a huge space under the spoiler, so quite a lot of water can be sloshing around in there.  The main potential point of water ingress is at the front corners, where there is a slight gap between the tape, so I keep the bead of sealant going from the sides to around the front.
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Then daub some sealant on the underside of the 2 boltholes inside the boot.
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And I think it looks pretty good!
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Now the reason why I suddenly had an opportunity to go to a panel shop was because of this poorly-placed speedbump at Sydney's Queen Victoria Building.
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It's right at the base of a ramp, and as I had passengers in the back the tail was riding low.  The metal scoop for the exhaust tips caught on the speedbump and....
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...pulled off the bumper.  I was crawling at a super slow speed and the suspension had rebounded to full height, but the angle and position of the speedbump effortlessly removed the bumper in slowmotion.  Two of my friends had their rear bumpers torn off at the same spot, and while I was commiserating over my ruined bumper, every second car coming down the ramp (even SUVs) grounded noisily over the speedbump, so this isn't its first rodeo by long shot.
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So the ISF (and carbon spoiler) was dropped off at Chatswood Lexus for a brand new rear bumper and they did a magnificent job on the paint finish.  I can't fault it; it's not that common for bodyshops nowadays to want to touch aftermarket stuff, so it's nice to discover this one stop shop at Chatswood Lexus.
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Bumper misadvantures aside, the ISF also scored a few treats recently in a fit of internet impulse purchasing.  The stock steering wheel had gone a little shiny, and no matter how much I scrubbed it, the matte finish would last all of 5mins since the leather was mechanically polished smooth by a decade of hands on the rim.
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Lexusboutique.net has a sale on new steering wheels, and at US$600 it seemed like a good deal.  And the new leather is far softer and squishier than the old one.
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To remove the old wheel, first you unplug the battery.  Then you pop off these 2 covers on the side of the steering wheel and remove the 2 torx bolts as shown.
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This allows you to slide out the Claymore By Takata(TM), and you prise out those yellow retaining clips on the 2 main wires going into it. 
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Then undo the main nut, but leave it on a few turns loose...then give the wheel a big yank.  Leaving the nut on means the wheel doesn't come flying off with all your strength and you have permanent indentations in your face from this job.
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The new wheel comes with the paddles but not the controls for stereo etc, but that just unscrews and transfers across.
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Putting it back is the reverse of taking it off, one of the easier jobs you can do on the car.

Oh and we can't forget the most important mod....a Lexus Japan dealer option coathanger, which attaches to the headrest legs.
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It can stow away when you're not using it, although it seems like it's somewhat more lethal to a passenger's forehead when it's in this mode.  
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I guess maybe that's why they don't sell it here 🙂

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Looks great, the owner before me had a body shop fill in and paint the Wald spoiler into the boot and also raised the rear quarter panels for a uniform line.

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he also added the Wald rear diffuser, have to be very careful on my drive as the strakes a easily scraped and already have a bit of homemade 'chamfer'..

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Also got these emblem door projectors off eBay after seeing them on a few forums and couldn't resist.$1587 for four (before I realised they're only in the front doors der). Just as well as one shorted out as soon as I installed it so had spares.

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Ah yeah, that was the car that was for sale in Newcastle a couple of years ago, wasn't it?  I recall it had some tasty mods.

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Yep Daniel upgraded to RC F. I did a Bradbury to get the car - original sale fell through but I had flicked him a note to say 'I'm here' if sale didn't go through. Novel headers, Joe Z exhaust and intake, tune, throttle controller, Figs lower arm rear bushings, Superpro front lower control arm bushings. All I've done is replace rear tyres! I much prefer your colour. Someday I'll use the voucher for the track day at Eastern Creek I was given...

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Looking good babs, that is one sh#t speed bump (there isn't a panel beater around the corner) Hey babs I made my diff bush inserts thanks for the pics, just haven't had time to put them in. I hope "biscut" didn't pay $1587 for the lights $25 of EBay cheers. 

 

 

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missed the decimal point yep even cheaper $15.87 and got a $7.95 refund for the one that shat itself too

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Under the thick plastic engine cover, hides the various gubbins for the direct injection system, but surprisingly also a large portion of the wiring loom. The loom is inside a plastic case, which after years of living with the heat trapped under the engine cover, becomes brittle. Mine already shows some patina.
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It's made of that soft, floppy plastic, and at 9yrs old, mine is brittle to the point where it'll shatter into a zillion pieces if say, if you stare at it for too long or if a butterfly lands on it.
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A new one is only $85 and replacing it is a simple enough procedure, if you're patient.
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The old part has a top cover which clips on, and the first step is to remove it. But in my case, the plastic was so brittle that just prising the clip a tiny little bit, would see it snap off. So the top cover comes off pretty easy!
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Where the loom exits the harness cover, in some points the bunch of wires are taped to the neck of the plastic and at other spots there's a slot in the plastic where a cable tie passes thru. Whoever was incharge of applying the tape at the factory really loved his job, since it's several mm thick. I'd suggest taking the long route and carefully unwinding all the layers of tape; if you are going to take a short cut and use a blade to cut through it, be super careful that you don't nick any wires.
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Actually the bottom comes off easy too...it's bolted onto the manifold at 4 points, so you remove the nuts and to avoid stretching or stressing the wiring, it's easy to just break the plastic into several pieces where they can be removed gracefully.
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The now-denuded wiring harness in all its glory. The plastic cover does deserve some credit, as the wiring is still supple and doesn't seem too heat affected.
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The old harness cover came out in pieces, but the new one has to be inserted in one piece 🙂 So to make some room, I disconnect all the wiring loom points at the front of the engine.
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And unhook the harness from its various holders around the engine bay
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This gives just about enough wriggle room to slide in the new part under the harness. Thankfully the new part is flexible enough that you can twist and flex it to fit underneath, without tugging on the wiring too much. Having a second person gently lift the wiring while you persuade the new one into place is a big help, and doing it this way means you don't have to take any chances with removing any of the the brittle plastic wiring plugs from on top of the engine.
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Once it's in place, make sure the wiring is all happy and relaxed, that none of it is stretched or might poke out of the cover when you clip the top on.
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Re-tape the harness to three of the necks of the wiring cover, and another 3 exits have a slot where you can snug up the wiring with a cable tie.
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And we're done!
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Fingers crossed this is good for another 10years, and while I'd say this is a straightforward job with a 2/10 for technical difficulty, it does also require a 9/10 for patience 🙂

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