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Babalouie last won the day on June 11

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About Babalouie

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  1. Thanks for the awesome find 🙂 Just ordered a pair at the bargain price
  2. 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 🙂
  3. 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. 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. And up the car goes onto axle stands, so that we can have some proper space to work underneath. After a bit of a test, the pieces seem to be pretty good quality and of a good fit. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. And the result I think it's nice and subtle, and balances out the front end of the car a bit better. I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out...fingers crossed I stay away from those concrete barriers in the future 🙂
  4. 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. 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... ...which led me to the Work Emotion M8R. Which was also available in ISF sizes. 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 🙂 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. 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. 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. 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. I use it on all my wheels and it really does make it easier to keep clean. 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. 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. Then you buff it all off, wait an hour and then add a second coat. And that's's very easy to apply. It's also a good opportunity to fondle the new wheels, which are quite extravagantly sculpted 🙂 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. 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. So what does it look like? I think they turned out pretty good! Compared to the stock wheels, they poke out HEAPS more. At the back it's neatly flush with the guard. 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. 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 🙂 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. So that got chopped, and the noise is gone. 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. 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.
  5. The Gyeon coating helps with the hosing-off, but unfortunately the brake dust doesn't just fly off on its own accord 🙂 This is a week's driving with the Endless MX72 track pads, which are maybe slightly less dusty than stock, not not exactly low dust. The oem rims were also Gyeon coated, and it doesn't stop the dust from settling on the wheel, but it does make it easier to clean. It's pretty easy to apply, so I'd definitely recommend it.
  6. Just so you know, this is the Endless SSM after 1 wk of daily driving, which included a sunday morning winding road jaunt 🙂 The wheel is coated with Gyeon Rim tho, so it's meant to prevent the dust from sticking, but it basically all comes off with a jet washer. You still need to give it a once over with a sponge tho, since I always end up missing the underside of a spoke or something with the jet washer.
  7. If you're happy to stick with oem, Brembo pads are cheapest here: $153 and $117. They're proper Brembo (which means duuuuuuuust) and are actually for the AMG CLK55...which just happens to use the same caliper as the ISF 🙂 More expensive option is Endless MX72 or SS-M, which are about $800 for a set of 4. MX72 is an awesome road/track pad with little downside, and are slightly less dusty than stock (which still means way too much dust) and SS-M are street-only pads which seem to emit invisible dust but aren't up for a trackday. I have NS400 Project Mu on the wife's IS250, and I wouldn't call them low dust, more like...okay dust.
  8. Give these guys a try :)
  9. 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. 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 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. 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. 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. And the result 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.
  10. I wonder....if you made some ducting to divert some cool air to the varex motors...would they last longer
  11. Ah yeah. Remember the Bridgestone Potenza S007A that I was given to try out? I wrote a blog post for Bridgestone, which they just put up on their corporate blog, but they also support a few forums too, so they turn up there as well.
  12. No, I've only had the car out at Wakefield.
  13. On second thoughts, they were $89.50 per pair + $8.50 shipping, so under $100 delivered, from
  14. I've had/have poly bushes in my other cars, and I prefer the softer feel of a rubber bush. Also the RCF bushes are dirt cheap at $100pr from Amayama 🙂
  15. One thing I haven't managed to do with the ISF yet, was take it to the drags. So when the Lexus F Owners club organised a night at WSID, it seemed like a good chance to see what the car could do. It was the first ever drag event for the club, and we had five ISFs and one RCF turn up. Winning means cheating, so there's no way that I was going to rock up without trying to get an advantage over the other guys 🙂 So to start with, I rolled up with just fumes in the tank, and all the engine cover plastics removed. The stock ecu is a bit of an overprotective mother, and it is way too keen to dial back the power to save the engine. So the experience that everyone has with ISFs at the drags, is that the car progressively gets slower as the night progresses. The engine bay heats up, and the insulated engine cover retains all that heat, which causes the intake air temps to rise and the ecu dials back the timing as a result. So between runs, everyone popped the bonnet to let out the heat. The first run was thankfully a good one: 12.88 at 113mph. I was hoping for a sub-13, and having that first run in the bank meant that I could relax and enjoy the rest of the event and experiment a little to improve the time. In the end, the approach that seemed to be best was: Sport Mode, traction off, manual shifting after one bounce off the limiter, and no brake stalling off the line. I suspect that, like many modern cars, the ISF might have a torque limiting on a brake-stall, so stalling it up to 1500rpm on the launch seemed to actually make it bog down a little. The best launch seemed to be to hold the car lightly on the brake with the left foot....right foot poised over the accelerator, the lift the brake and mash the throttle on the last yellow light. You'd get a little hesitation off the line, then at the 4000rpm point, the power would come in, and you'd get a little flurry of wheelspin, and I held it flat through it. After 4 runs, we decided to park up the cars and have a chat for a bit to let them cool down, and in the meantime it got dark and quite cool. So that was ideal and everyone got better times after that. My times got down a little bit more to 12.7 @ 114mph It was an interesting comparison against the other F cars. Everyone had different mods, and my car might be faster in the first part of the quarter or the second half, none of the cars were exactly equal, although in the end the times were very close. The RCF has an axleback exhaust and got down to a 13.041 @ 110mph, another ISF with headers was at about the same time as me, and the ISFs without a full catback exhaust and only an axleback, were a couple of tenths behind. Dead stock was 13.095, so overall not a huge difference in times. I suspect the trick with getting consistent times with the ISF, is to manage the ecu. I'd done a top engine clean (kinda like seafoam) changed the plugs and air filter, so I should have less chance of the ecu recording a misfire and dialling things back. I'd checked the ecu with the Toyota Techstream software earlier that day, and the KCLV ("Knock Correction Learning Value") was nice and high at 21.0. I believe that's the key metric for the ecu to control power output, if the value is high, it means that the ecu is nice and content, and if the value is low, the ecu will be in overprotective mother mode, and basically will have the motor tucked up on the sofa under a blanket with chicken soup (and the power output will be potentially noticeably less). I'll do a proper post later with my findings about the ecu and what it reacts to, but I'm pretty happy with the 12.7 🙂