Towards the end of January I snagged a trio of Omori Meter period gauges for less than the intended budget, but they arrived in Nagoya a day too late for Ewan from Hayatonka.com to squeeze into the container. Fortunately, there's always EMS shipping....... so five days later, they turned up in New Zealand:
The backlighting is dead (on all three, oddly enough) but that's a relatively minor setback. More on that later, actually, below.
With the gauges now here I sketched out a quick design brief for the gauge/boost controller panel and templated it out of cardboard with hopes of getting one laser-cut out of some form of metal once the final layout is determined. Briefly toyed with the idea of including panel-mount 3.5mm audio and USB jacks (for the stereo and Link respectively) but have decided against this for aesthetic and safety's sake - the last thing I want to happen is for some unwitting passenger to attempt plugging their USB device into the port and somehow frying the Link
Included the 3.5mm and Link inputs in the template to see how they'd look once positioned, even though I'm still undecided as to their merits. The little black vivid dots indicate where the factory mounting holes are located for the bracket which usually sits behind the fascia (and has since long disappeared from this car).
I then realized I was still missing some ignition-related componentry for the Link, so in lieu of getting fancy coil-on-plug sequential gubbins (which, as pointed out by some people, can be susceptible to heat failure due to their location atop the engine) I decided to keep it simple with a set of coilpacks instead. Hopefully these prove to be satisfactory for 300-400PS (they're from a Mitsubishi 4G63)... if not, back to the drawing board. NZEFI do a performance coil setup for a shade under $600, which could be an alternative, albeit pricey, solution. I just hope this won't be the weak link in the entire chain.
The mounting hardware finally arrived for the TS-X11 box speakers as well, so I wired and fitted those:
Don't mind the blue towel, that's only there to protect the new rear seat from the worst of the sun's rays. Which just leaves the giant rat's nest up front to take care of.
The old gauges will find a new lease of life in my track car, a mid '80s FWD Ford Laser TX3 (same as Mazda 323 GT) which I've been hacking around in (and blowing up countless engines) for some years now.
And on that bombshell, the epic parts collection mission for squid which has taken somewhere in the order of four years has finally concluded. Period-correct gauges were the very last thing(s) that needed crossed off the big list, so it is time to write up a plan to bolt things on and get stuff fabricated, etc, and present said plan to the right people.
Meanwhile, over the last few months the coupe started exhibiting all the signs of a rattly timing chain, which has been a constant thorn in my side. It's done a shade over 146,000km which isn't exactly high mileage, but nonetheless, in the interests of keeping the car in healthy shape the rocker cover was removed for inspection and possible overhaul of said component. I was a bit apprehensive of what I'd find under the cover, as many horror stories abound of sludged-up Nissans due to lack of servicing.
To my surprise though, there's nothing to see except sparkly clean internals. No horrid buildups of sludge to be found anywhere, I guess this car really was looked after in Japan.
as I suspected, the chain is in fact slack, and moves way too easily with one finger - at a guess, about 2-3cm of play? The red arrow indicates the amount of lateral movement along the left hand chain guide, which is a fair amount actually. Guides themselves all look fine, with minimal grooving.
The underside of the rocker cover is super mint, even the mesh is perfectly unblocked. Ah well, at least I can rest assured knowing that this engine hasn't been cooked during its lifetime. I also found the source of a small rear rocker cover leak - as you can see, the pesky gasket is all misaligned and pinched. Will fix that up as well as a couple of other issues that need remedying, the most serious of which is the braided hose leading to the clutch slave, which has split from age and started leaking.
Ordered a new top timing chain from Stewart Wilkins Motorsport in Australia, which arrived in New Zealand after a four day wait (thanks express courier!)
Geez I hope this all goes back together easily enough...
as it turns out: not only had the chain stretched laterally, but the modified Mazda ratchet tensioner (which was originally fitted to cure the well-known FJ20 startup rattle) had also fallen apart, which didn't help matters any. I do wonder how long parts of it have been swimming around in the sump for...
...where the hell is the rest of it?
Anyway, I had planned to pick the coupe up this weekend fully repaired and ready but circumstances dictated otherwise, so instead I spent yesterday morning pulling apart one of the Omoris I'd bought for squid in the hopes of resurrecting the dead backlighting. Managed to find a disassembly guide on the interwebs and after somewhat apprehensively prying the front bezel off I carefully de-soldered the old-style incandescent lamps (which were in fact blown) from the existing circuit board and replaced them with a pair of white LEDs and in-line resistors.
As you can see, there's not much to the whole package, although I was pretty careful not to upset the calibration on the gauge itself.
Success! There are a couple of bright spots thanks to the LED positioning, but once in the car it shouldn't be as noticeable. One gauge down, two to go.
Re-assembly will take place once I buy some paint to touch up the bezel, as unfortunately the only way to disassemble these gauges is with excessive prying force. Hopefully once they are mounted in the panel the damage/markings won't be visible.