koop21

Koop21 ISF Build Thread

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Hi Everyone,

I recently got my I-SF late last year (2017) and haven't had much of a chance to drive or do much to it. I wasn't going to make a build thread about my car but figured there isn't much IS-F activity out there and thought it would be useful and entertaining to note down my experience with the F. This build thread probably won't have frequent updates so i'll only post updates when there is something  worth sharing.

I got my I-SF 2012 (MY13) from Lexus of Springwood in Brisbane.

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It was very interesting purchase as I bought the car unseen and relied on photos of the sales ad, speaking with salesman and most importantly getting a mobile inspection on the car. I used Stateroad  to carry out the inspection. At the end of the inspection they produce a very comprehensive report and they followed up with a call afterwards to talk through any concerns or issues, thankfully this proved very useful and reliable as it helped me score free replacement for both rear tyres :yahoo:. Oh and for those wondering, no i didn't pay sticker price that wouldn't be much fun buying any car from the stealership.

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Here she is being delivered to me. I decided against flying up and driving it myself and some may think its a crime since it's the bonding time and memory but given the cost to fly up, fill up petrol and worst of all increase the possibility of damaging the car from debris on the highway, i wasn't going to risk it and shipping was cheaper and logistically easier.

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Safe and sound.

Conveniently there was an IS-F meet-up and was a great opportunity to meet the IS-F community. I hope there will be more meet ups in the future and would love to see some RC-F and GS-F too.

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Given the excellent condition of the car i had plans to preserve the quality of the car the best i can, this meant paint protection film (PPF) and a nano/ceramic coating on top of it.

I'll have to take shots of this so i'll post it when i get a chance and write down my experience about it.

 

 

Edited by koop21
update photo

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Paint Protection (PPF + Nano Coating)

My objective is to preserve the IS-F as best as possible, this meant some form of physical protection against the elements and commonly this meant a ceramic or nano coating over the entire car. However coating along isn't enough as it lacks durability and strength against small debris chipping paint work or scratches over time as the coating degrades. At the moment the ultimate form of protection against the elements  is to apply paint protection film (PPF) which protects the paint work against physical damage and ceramic coating for its hydrophobic properties and chemical resistances. For those that don't know paint protection film in the simplest terms is a clear film you place over your paint work. 

Unfortunately for us in Australia this still seems to be a very new concept and there are not many dealers, installers or reviews so i hope my experience will help anyone considering this OCD level of protection for their vehicle.

I went through Project Detail back in late December 2017 which offered both Xpel and Suntek PPF. I went with Xpel Ultimate as it still appears to be the market leader for its 10 year warranty period (which includes UV yellowing), self healing properties, chemical resistance and thickness. Xpel also provide pre-cut films that the installer can modify to perform either a to-the-edge or wrap-around fitment of the film.  As for the nano coating I went with Gtechniq as they have recently release a new product called Ultra Serum at SEMA 2017 that has 9 year warranty .

I decide on getting the full front end kit (bumper, fenders, mirrors, headlight), full bonnet, side skirts and rear bumper for the PPF and also go GTechniq Ultra and Gtechniq EVO3 over the entire car, wheels and ppf. 

Cost:

  • $2500 -  PPF Front end kit + side skirts
  • $600 - PPF Rear Bumper
  • $400 - Gtechniq Ultra + EVO3
  • Total - $3,500 AUD

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Here are some shots of it done. It is difficult to tell there is even a film over parts of the car until you're literally right up to it.

My Experience

I dealt with Richard for the entire process in which he performed the installation of the PPF and coating. I have only recently got my IS-F back (Feb 2018), yes that's right almost 2 months... During the initial quote the installation time was only meant to take 2 weeks maximum to perform the entire job. However due to a lot of back and forth issues with the installation of the film failing due either dirt stuck under the film, lifting, or poor installation (cuts in the film) this made things very difficult for installer to complete things on time. It is very lucky for Richard i am very patient and do not drive the IS-F often enough hence why i tolerated the slow completion time. I do not exactly know how common it is for a PPF application which is meant to take 2 weeks on average (from what i have read online) to blow out by 2 months but it alot of the reasoning i got was due to difficulty applying a thick PPF like Xpel, poor time management and health issues with installer (thankfully his in good health now); however in my opinion it seem the installer lacked enough experience, attention to detail to avoid poor installation and the level of accuracy of pre-cut films available for certain cars.

Here are some photos of the issues i faced

Precision

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Jagged cuts around the parking senors. This piece is a pre-cut piece for the front bumper so I'm exactly sure why it needed to be manually cut; perhaps low quality measurements from Xpel which as a required to be manually cut which was also poorly done.

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Here is another example of poor knife work. This is a shot of the mirror, this piece was a bulk fitment (meaning manually cut to size and fitted). As you can see the edge of the film itself is not cut straight and there are multiple cuts in the paintwork.

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There are also quite a few cuts on the paint work on areas that needed manual trimming to get the PPF to fit. Areas such as parking sensor, mirrors (see above), corners near the fog light, rear bumper reflector, bonnet, corner edges of the front bumper and side skirt.

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Here is a cut in the side skirt which needed manual trimming to cut out dirt that got stuck on the edge of the PPF

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Rear bumper reflector cut in paint work

Dirt

Sadly i did not take enough shots of this as it was no brainer to replace when speaking with Richard, however here is an example.

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Dirt trapped near the foglight at the front bumper. I also had dirt trapped under the side skirt and other areas of the front bumper.

 

Lifting

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Lift on the edge of the front bar near the wheel and mirrors. This occurred a lot and i was told to pressed them back down and they should eventually stick down, unfortunately this was not case and if not attended to in time dirt was going to get trapped. 

Odd issues

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This is the edge edge of the bonnet as you can see the PPF has folded over itself and left a sizeable crease

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Random cut in the PPF near the brake duct. Also those with keen eye may see the bubble on the left of it and cuts in the paint work near the foglight.

One of the strangest issues was one of the fender PPF was cut into two pieces leaving a decent gap for dirt to get trapped into. The PPF piece is meant to be one piece. There was also alignment issues with the PPF on the fender which resulted in the PPF bunching up on the F Logo. I did not have a photo of this.

There was also curing issue from the Gtechniq Ultra serum on the driver mirror which left a tough residue, it seems the nano coating was not buffered off in time.

Rear Bumper

I did mention i had the rear bumper included as part of the PPF job, sadly however this was not completed due to Richard having difficulty installing the rear ppf piece. This was a bulk fitment, meaning it had to be cut to size and measured manually. I have been told he attempted to fit it multiple times however due to the shape of the rear bumper it proved to be too difficult due to the thickness of Xpel not bending and stretching across complex curves (corners where the bumper meets the trunk). He even had a go with Suntek which is meant to be more pliable but this also failed. As a result this took too long to complete and I was unhappy with continuing any further so a refund was provided.

 

As you can see i experienced quite a lot of issues hence the reason why this entire job took 2 months to complete. With the issues you see above all of them were dealt with by either fully replacing the entire PPF piece or by trimming. Here is a break down:

  • Bonnent PPF was replaced 3x
  • Front bumper peice was replaced 1x; the replaced piece had the odd cut near the brake duct, no attended too. I decided against it due to time.
  • Passenger sideskirt was replaced 1x; the replaced piece also needed to be trimmed for dirt trapped (see above)
  • Passenger fender was replaced 1x
  • Driver fender was replaced 1x
  • Both Mirrors Xpel pre-cut piece replaced with bulk fitment due to coverage
    • Driver side bulk fitment piece was replaced 1x Suntek film. i.e meaning the PPF coverage is Xpel except for the Driver mirror which is Suntek (still keeping an eye on this piece as it seems like its failing due to stretching and lifting at the edges)
  • Rear bumper was bulk fitted with Xpel 2x, 1x Suntek, 1x Clear Shield Pro - Pre-cut piece - Failed and not applied

I would also like to note getting any failed piece was rectified without question or issues. All of PPF pieces were recoated after they were installed.

 

At this point you must be thinking no way would anyone jump through hoops and I would agree with you. However, I appreciate the ability the drive my IS-F in any condition weather it's long distance (think about small debris hitting your front bumper), track (think about small rocks, debris being kicked up from the car in front of you) or suburban driving (think bird poo, tree sap and the small debris) I know it's protected the best way possible in any condition there and then.

 

Summary

In summary, i would not recommend PPF for anyone and did not feel it was worth it due the amount of issues i faced, if it was a problem free installation i'd be thinking differently about it.

For those still considering it here is a break down why i wouldn't recommend it.

  1. It is very expensive for what is offers. Some may argue a respray is more cost effective (it can cost around $5k-$6k for entire PPF wrap) but then you open the discussion up to for colour matching... You decide whats worth it.
  2. Quality of work is gamble, you'll find in my experience above i mentioned nothing wrong with Xpel and alot of my issues was due to installation so you are at the mercy of the installer. For Sydney alone, i was only able to find 3 installers that offered Xpel and could do the job. I went with Project Detail due to detailed break down of what was exactly involved and it was not the cheapest.
  3. Your expectation may not line up with the installers
  4. Understand that the film will eventually degrade and requires the same level as care as any other non protected care. It is not something you set and forget
  5. It can be cosmetically disturbing to some, with my car being white there is a very light yellow tone (difficult to notice and not eye-catch) when you compare it a PPF panel against a non-PPF panel. There is also a very likely chance, almost certain chance that bits of dust/particles will be trapped under the film, darker cars help hide this fact. Having PPF will never win you any beauty awards.
  6. Understand that any point in time a blade is required to trim or correct PPF you risk getting cuts in your paint work. Nothing can undo this kind of damage.

 

For those that can accept the above here are some tips i can offer which may help you in your PPF journey:

  1. Call every single installer that offers the PPF you want. It doesn't matter weather its Xpel, Suntek, 3M, Opti-coat you need to speak with them and discuss:
    • What is exactly involved before and after they apply the PPF
    • Ask weather they wrap-to-the-edge or wrap-around the edge
    • Ask to see some examples of the work - I did not do this but really wish i did! You should pay attention to how corners are wrapped, edges of the ppf are straight and aligned with the body line and look for any stretch marks.
    • Ask about their warranty procedure and what happens if something goes wrong with the install. - You can see how useful it was for me
  2. I would recommend getting only pre-cut pieces to reduce the amount of blade work required.
  3. Only bulk fit when its absolutely necessary
  4. I would recommend getting things wrapped-to-the-edge as there is less chance of the PPF lifting and getting dirt trapped. Your installer may have preferences here which will determine this too.
  5. Apply some kind of nano coating on top, this will greatly help the longevity of the PPF in terms of chemical burns like bird poop, harsh cleaners, UV staining and ease of cleaning. Note: The coating must be applied after the PPF is installed not on the paint work.

 

For those that are on the fence about paint protection in general i would strongly recommend you look into nano coating a lot closely as they do offer a lot of benefits and no real disadvantages over your traditional wax protection. Researching and comparing is the least you could do if you care about how your care ages under your ownership.

 

I will be posting yearly updates on how the PPF and coating holds up over too, so you can join me on my journey.

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I feel for ya...the pics of the bodgy film look terrible.

 

So they applied the coating onto the paint, and THEN they put the film over the top?

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10 minutes ago, Babalouie said:

I feel for ya...the pics of the bodgy film look terrible.

 

So they applied the coating onto the paint, and THEN they put the film over the top?

Hey Babs,

No, the procedure involved:

  1. Washing an decontaminating the entire car
  2. Paint correction on the entire car. I believe this involved various stages of polishing depending on the need of each panel
  3. Prepare surface for PPF
  4. PPF applied
  5. Coating on the entire car

Applying a coating before PPF would be incorrect and would cause the PPF to fail over time. The main benefit of a nano coating is it's hydrophobic properties so trying to stick PPF down to something that makes adhesion difficult isn't going to work out.

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Well done with the effort. Id say no one will even notice the issues unless you point them out or they are inspecting it.

I have been involved in getting commercial vehicles "vinyl wrapped" in the past.  (Note: Not saying it is the same stuff but is subject to similar installation issues etc).There was always some issues.  Air in concave areas, no matter how much it was pushed, eventually our heat made it try to take up its flat profile, dust under the film. Even when done in dust filtered paint booths there was always some. Stretch marks and bubbles that showed up when certain angles of the sun hit the vehicles.. Dulling of the surface, esp if colored....:(  You're right re darker, mat colors, etc being more forgiving. Does work well to protect the original paint though esp from stone chips.

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yeah that is just ridiculous ..  two months (wtf!) and that's what you are presented with? shoddy backyard style work..

sorry you had to go through that!

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mate the only guys I would get PPF through in Sydney would be Pro Vinyl. 

Yes they are more expensive, but it will be x10 better and it would take 1 week. 

Less than satisfactory finish and experience

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On 2/21/2018 at 8:47 PM, bazzle said:

Well done with the effort. Id say no one will even notice the issues unless you point them out or they are inspecting it.

I have been involved in getting commercial vehicles "vinyl wrapped" in the past.  (Note: Not saying it is the same stuff but is subject to similar installation issues etc).There was always some issues.  Air in concave areas, no matter how much it was pushed, eventually our heat made it try to take up its flat profile, dust under the film. Even when done in dust filtered paint booths there was always some. Stretch marks and bubbles that showed up when certain angles of the sun hit the vehicles.. Dulling of the surface, esp if colored....:(  You're right re darker, mat colors, etc being more forgiving. Does work well to protect the original paint though esp from stone chips.

Agree with everything you've said. It just seems next to impossible to have a clean installation of PPF and I suspect it down to the pre-cut pieces and low level of skill (which is probably due to low level of interest/competition in the market and high risk to correct faults)

On 2/22/2018 at 10:20 PM, BCHLER said:

mate the only guys I would get PPF through in Sydney would be Pro Vinyl. 

Yes they are more expensive, but it will be x10 better and it would take 1 week. 

Less than satisfactory finish and experience

That's great to hear how passionate you are about them however i don't think its wise to say they're 10x better than anyone else especially without any first hand experience or results to prove this.

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11 hours ago, koop21 said:

Agree with everything you've said. It just seems next to impossible to have a clean installation of PPF and I suspect it down to the pre-cut pieces and low level of skill (which is probably due to low level of interest/competition in the market and high risk to correct faults)

That's great to hear how passionate you are about them however i don't think its wise to say they're 10x better than anyone else especially without any first hand experience or results to prove this.

Bro you said it yourself- low level of skill and using pre cut piecesZ I’m going by your photos - the fact that there were random cut marks, and pieces folded up over each other leaving creases is in my opinion not satisfactory.

im not having a dig. Just giving you my opinion on what I would expect fornforking out that money.

FYI - i have had direct experience with their services and recommended them to friends who have then used them. No such issues. But again I was fortunate to have found them. 

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HKS (JDM) Mid Pipe

Given the limited quantity, availability and exposure I'll add my 2c about this ultra rare mid-pipe offering from HKS.

HKS offered two variants:

  • Japan - You read more about here
    • Part number: 33005-AT004
    • one piece
    • catalytic converter  change to a 150c psi from 600c psi
    • Resonator increased to control sound level to mimic stock sound
  • America - Here is a detailed review of both the mid pip and the axle back.
    • Part number: 33004-BT001
    • two piece
    • both mid catalytic converter have been removed
    • Resonator smaller

The clear differences can be seen here. It should also be noted that the JDM needed to comply to JASMA standards hence why the catalytic converter remain so naturally this would mean the USDM version should produce more HP performance.

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I was lucky enough to find a near perfect condition HKS Mid-pipe from UP Garage! which I was able to successfully purchase. All of the logistics involved was taken care of by Jesse Streeter which i would i highly recommended if you are keen on anything from Japan and prepared to pay for the shipping costs.

Cost:

  • HKS Mid-pipe: ¥79,900
  • Fees: ¥8,310
  • Shipping: ¥23,899

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Here it is compared to stock side by side

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In all honesty they dont appear to be to different however given the modification to the resonator, catalytic converter, Y-pipe should increase the volume of the stock exhaust sound slightly and it is axle outlet is compatible with many other axle back systems. I did not purchase it for its HP. If i wanted more HP though it would only make sense to change out the exhaust headers as they are the biggest restriction and most to gain from for our cars but we must not forget this is a luxury car after!

For those that are not convinced this is what having the HKS mid-pipe is like. All jokes aside, this is one of those pieces you buy for the rare factor and it does not detract the car from its sensible side like many other exhaust on the market would. I don't have a video showing the differences from before or after and you shouldn't expect it too as the rear muffler are responsible for the sound, so just think of the stock exhaust sounding a bit louder in volume, say about 15%.

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Wow, this is a very rare part indeed I tried to track one down for a while when I had the ssm axle! Very nice addition 

 

 

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On ‎24‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 12:40 PM, koop21 said:

HKS (JDM) Mid Pipe

Given the limited quantity, availability and exposure I'll add my 2c about this ultra rare mid-pipe offering from HKS.

HKS offered two variants:

  • Japan - You read more about here
    • Part number: 33005-AT004
    • one piece
    • catalytic converter  change to a 150c psi from 600c psi
    • Resonator increased to control sound level to mimic stock sound
  • America - Here is a detailed review of both the mid pip and the axle back.
    • Part number: 33004-BT001
    • two piece
    • both mid catalytic converter have been removed
    • Resonator smaller

The clear differences can be seen here. It should also be noted that the JDM needed to comply to JASMA standards hence why the catalytic converter remain so naturally this would mean the USDM version should produce more HP performance.

Nice write-up mate, you beat me to it, mine HKS SSM is still in a container from Japan. And I've been looking for a used HKS mid-pipe for months. Rare piece indeed.

I thought the US mid-pipe was designed & made by HKS USA and got discontinued after they shutdown HKS USA.

And I never know there was ever a JDM HKS mid-pipe. Also discontinued now?

Consider the two HKS are all discontinued, the third and only aftermarket option left is FIGS custom mid-pipe, read here. Danny of Lexmania should able to order one at a reasonable price.

I'm getting my HKS SSM installed at Chatswood hopefully in early march and see how I like it first with stock midpipe, then will consider the FIGS option.

You going to the South Coast cruise? Love to do a comparison video, but yet again I have PPE header, so may sound different to yours.

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kyo, with the stock mid it sounds almost as quiet as the OEM axleback section.

the mid pipe is essential (sound wise) IMO anyway! I struggled to find the JDM mid pipe so I gave up on the project.

 

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16 hours ago, Vaku said:

kyo, with the stock mid it sounds almost as quiet as the OEM axleback section.

the mid pipe is essential (sound wise) IMO anyway! I struggled to find the JDM mid pipe so I gave up on the project.

 

Thanks man for the clip, Danny shown me once before on his phone. Was that with stock header too?

I've also saw a YouTube clip with Novel header + SSM, it sounds really good.

But I couldn't find any clip with PPE + HKS or FIGS Mid + SSM, which is the setup I'm going for. Maybe the PPE header will add a different flavour to the SSM sound.

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yep stock headers, check the clip of the silver F with the hks mid + axle..damn..

PPE will help for sure! much louder than stock? still yet to get headers.

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Foot Brake Bling bling!

I think I might be the only one annoyed that the Foot break pedal is a crappy rubber cover which doesn't match the rest of silver aluminum pedal covers. Thankfully working in the design industry allows access to certain tools such as 3D printer which helps address this niggly trim issues.

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As you can see the pedal box is pretty bland and the foot break pedal is eye sore. Thankfully there's a solution to that!

The foot break pedal is simply a rubber cover which can be easily pedal away and replace by a Altezza clutch pedal cover (31321-53010)

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And with the power of 3D printing you can design and print anything you want. My design revolved around a M6 bolt/nut and nut.

Here is an example of one of the version i made which included 3D print threads. Those of you which have a keen eye, what you're looking at is a 3D printed Carbon fiber piece! Sadly even 3D printed carbon fiber pieces have their limits to axial loading; this design failed at the threads as it would snap after a certain torque.

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My final design simply was tight fit tolerance of the OEM Altezza clutch pedal with a captive bolt to accommodate the head of the M6 nut so it sits flush against the Pedal cover and the M6 bolts fits through the stock hole in the hand brake pedal.

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The final version was also printed in carbon fiber :yahoo:

The end result is pure bling and the way Lexus should have design the pedal box

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  • Like 1

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Great idea - i have looked at the park brake pedal on multiple occasions before and wondered how i could fix that. I'd be interested to buy a pedal mount off you if you wanted to make more (although i can also understand if you want to keep that little invention to yourself).

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Looks good. 

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Thanks for complements. I'm very happy with the results :)

On 4/16/2018 at 4:29 PM, _ISF said:

Great idea - i have looked at the park brake pedal on multiple occasions before and wondered how i could fix that. I'd be interested to buy a pedal mount off you if you wanted to make more (although i can also understand if you want to keep that little invention to yourself).

I'd be happy to share the 3d file although i'm not sure what good it would be as i suppose 3D printing and having carbon fiber filament isn't very common at all.... Selling them you would also be kinda sketchy too seeing as i'd be making money of my work. I'd probably have to get the all clear from someone about producing more to sell....

You could achieve the same results as I did if you had some scrap metal, bolt (m6), dremel and welder?

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13 hours ago, koop21 said:

Thanks for complements. I'm very happy with the results :)

I'd be happy to share the 3d file although i'm not sure what good it would be as i suppose 3D printing and having carbon fiber filament isn't very common at all.... Selling them you would also be kinda sketchy too seeing as i'd be making money of my work. I'd probably have to get the all clear from someone about producing more to sell....

You could achieve the same results as I did if you had some scrap metal, bolt (m6), dremel and welder?

That's fine - i understand. I do not have a 3D printer nor do i have access to one so the file itself will be of no use to me. My brother on the other hand is a metal fabricator so i might buy the IS200 clutch pedal cover and get him to make up a basic mounting plate for me to mount it to the existing handbrake pedal.

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6 hours ago, _ISF said:

That's fine - i understand. I do not have a 3D printer nor do i have access to one so the file itself will be of no use to me. My brother on the other hand is a metal fabricator so i might buy the IS200 clutch pedal cover and get him to make up a basic mounting plate for me to mount it to the existing handbrake pedal.

In that case it will be a dead easy job for your brother. The rubber cover simply pulls off exposing a hole you can pass the bolt through. Good luck!

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