I’ve not posted anything substantial about my Nissan Cedric since August 2016 (see that post here) so I felt it was time I brought everyone up to speed now that I’ve been posting more photos of him (I’ve never been able to refer to the Cedric as “it”, only “him”…I know, I know) as of late.
Truth be told, an awful lot has changed in life since that last post and Cedric has often found himself right at the bottom of my priorities pile. Since leaving my role at Driftworks and moving back to Manchester, buying a house and setting up STL/326POWER UK as a full-time endeavour, working on my own cars has sort of fallen by the wayside. As a result of this, progress on both my Cedric and Laurel has been minimal since the tail end of 2016, something that continues to frustrate me to this day.
The biggest hurdle for Cedric though wasn’t just time. It was the seemingly basic but also incredibly complicated electrical issues that he had been suffering from since the wiring loom relocation into the engine bay. At the time of my last build update, he was running and driving but without windscreen wipers or correctly operating headlights (some stayed on regardless of the headlight switch’s position, whereas some refused to work at all while some wires also got very, very hot). With an extremely limited amount of literature available for the Y32 platform (even in Japan) I knew I had next to no chance of fixing this on my own. Anyway, I’ll get to that later.
This update begins in the Driftworks car park, with Cedric back on his factory wheels and ready to have the coilovers raised as high as possible so that he could be driven straight onto the back of Kevin the Truck. After this, he would be hauled back to Manchester where he was destined to be dumped in a corner until his time would come.
At this point in time, all of my limited free time was spent on Laurel and Cedric was all but forgotten about, aside from a couple of hours in which I got to play around with a set of SSR Gartmaiers off of Max‘s Supra.
The trusty Y32 arches swallowed them up nicely and I drove him up and down the street to capture a few photos and keep the inspiration flame alive.
Max had warned me that the SSRs leaked air and would need topping up every now and then but what he definitely meant to say was that air leaked out of some of the wheels so rapidly that you could both hear and feel it escaping in a matter of minutes. I believe the wheels ended up with Huxley after my stint of borrowing them so I’m assuming they were repaired and straightened nicely while in his ownership!
When a few 326POWER Yabaking display wheels arrived in from Japan, I couldn’t resist giving them a test fit to keep me inspired to keep the build going either.
The goal was (and still is) for Cedric to become a 326POWER UK display car for various shows, as I feel he is still different and obscure enough compared to most 90s Japanese cars to be an attention grabber. Quite what year he will make it to said shows is another question altogether but at this stage I think I still had hopes that 2017 would be his year.
Still, all of this playing around with wheels was my way of diverting my attention from the biggest task at hand: fixing the electrics. After getting in touch with a highly respected local auto electrician who walked away from the job within a couple of minutes of looking at the car, I lost even more hope and realised I was either going to have teach myself some relatively advanced electronic diagnostic skills, or find someone who has a similar obsession for old Nissans while also having incredible electrician abilities and the love of a good challenge.
Thankfully, such a person exists in the form of Norfy. Unfortunately for me, Norfy lives as far away as possible from Manchester, so it wasn’t like he was going to be passing any time soon. That was, until Alex‘s stag do came along and the determined Norfy travelled up a day early in order to tackle Cedric head on. First came the easy tests…
…then things got a little deeper…
…out came more of the dash…
…until the inevitable “can we remove the entire dash?” question arose. “Yes we can” was the answer, so we got cracking.
It was a good thing we did too, as Norfy immediately spotted the problem on a section of the loom that is completely inaccessible without removing the dash (how ideal). The slightly melted diode pack pictured above was mounted to the drivers’ side of the metal cage that surrounds the radio and heater controls in the centre console (you can see the corresponding packs on the passenger side in the photo above the one immediately above).
After some deduction, it was discovered that the problem had been caused entirely by me. On the Y32 Cedric, there is a small sealed relay box behind the drivers’ side suspension turret that has two plugs, both of which control the various headlight operations. Unfortunately for me and my lack of attention to detail, one of these plugs is completely identical to the plug that goes into the windscreen wiper control box. You can probably see where I’m going with this…
The wiper plug had also been buried beneath a section of relocated loom and, after both plugs were rehoused into their correct homes, the melted length of wire that ran to the diode pack was replaced and Cedric was fired up again.
I don’t have any photos of us celebrating jubilantly but I did get this shot of the interior back together, having been reassembled with a very smug grin on my face.
Of course, I had to go for a test drive around the block to show off those fully functional headlights and wipers.
Being super eager to drive the car again, insurance, tax and MOT was sorted right away and I grinned from ear to ear as I drove the car on the road for the first time since winter 2015. The alignment was all over the place and the Nardi Deep Corn was temporarily fixed in position with half of the required bolts but I was over the moon to just be driving Cedric again.
The overwhelming happiness quickly took a turn though when I parked up and noticed that one of the super rare and made-to-order in Japan K-BREAK eyelids had flown off on the bypass. Sigh…
Nevertheless, I put that to the back of my mind by ripping the other eyelid off and concentrated on enjoying automatic VG30DET life again. I made the decision to take my trusty diesel Passat off the road in order to daily Cedric which seemed like a great idea at the time until I noticed the price of V-Power.
And then, after a countryside drive, I remembered the dire MPG. Not that I could care less though; seeing those dim, yellow and quintessentially 90s side lights sit against the summer sunset was a sight I’d been missing for a long time.
For a couple of months this was how the car sat and I was perfectly fine with that. It was driveable, usable, relatively practical and, with it being summer, any inconveniences could be easily overlooked during a chilled out drive with the windows down.
During this period my C33 Laurel was also still on the road, so sometimes choosing which one to drive was a hard choice to make (first world problems, eh). Usually it came down to how much I could be bothered dealing with a clutch or not and if the weather was hot enough to warrant the use of air con (Laurel’s air con setup was removed some time ago in order to make room for the intercooler).
I was still on the fence with regards to wheel choices at the time (both style and colour finishes) so I tried on one of Alex’s 18×10.5J-23 VSXXs. I loved the gold/polish combo against the dull grey paintwork and, with a bit of lowering and additional camber, they’d have fit pretty nicely within the stock front wings.
Oh, before anyone asks, the speedo is still in kph (I wish it did 1500rpm at 65mph!).
I was driving down one particular country lane on a weekend when I had to pull over into this field entrance to take a photo for one particular reason.
I took this photo in September 2015 and it has always been one of my favourite memories of the car, back when it was sat on WORK T7Rs. When Cedric is looking a lot more polished I’ll be sure to return to take some proper photos with my DSLR.
Only when looking at this photo have I realised that petrol prices have increased quite a bit since the summer! What’s going on guys?
At the end of July was the STL 2 event at Driftland that I was hosting. I’d really wanted to be drifting at it myself but, in the end, I decided to cruise up in Cedric and enjoy photographing, filming and hanging out with everyone.
A 600 mile round trip and two nights of sleeping in the passenger seat, all dealt with without a hitch.
Well, apart from drinking a lot of V-Power but hey, that’s life.
Also, should you find yourself in a situation where you need to transport two 326POWER Manriki wings in a Y32, this is the way to do it. You’re welcome!
After a few months of chilling it was time to get serious about planning for a visual makeover. A lot of thought was given to wheel diameters (19″ Yabaking Spoke pictured above) and the possibility of running aero (as it transpires, HM-Sports E36 side skirts are the perfect length).
After some chin scratching, I decided to go with 18″ Yabaking 1-Piece wheels. While 19s have been proven to work on a Y32 (and I was worried that 18s looked a little small while test fitting), I decided to stick with 18s and slightly chunkier tyres. From my past experiments, 18s with tyre sizes that you would usually find on an S-body/Skyline look way too small due to the sheer size of the car. However, by going up a slight amount on the profile (or by running slightly less stretch), you can achieve a good balance.
While I was waiting for my wheels to arrive I picked up my P10 Primera which took over daily duties for a short time while I enjoyed hurling it around and throttling the high revving SR20DE at every opportunity. It felt great to drive FWD and N/A again but it was amazing to see how much less refined the Primera felt in standard form in comparison compared to the Cedric, especially in the interior materials department.
On the other hand though, the P10 had a much more reliable battery!
A few days later, Cedric’s new shoes arrived from Japan (no, not the sublime 326POWER crocs that you can see here).
326POWER Yabaking 1-Piece wheels in 18×9.5J-2 and 18×10.5J+10, finished in Matte Black. I had originally hoped to run the same wheels in GT Silver but 326 bossman Mitsuru Haruguchi assured me that the Matte Black and grey paintwork combo would work out. As you can imagine, I trusted his judgement.
Adam kindly took the wheels to have tyres loaded (225/40 at the front and 235/40 at the rear) and then it was on with getting them fitted and experimenting with ride height and fitment.
I chucked the wheels on, worked out how much the coilovers needed winding down and then cracked on. The two finger benchmark was set!
It was also at this point that I remembered that 5mm slip on spacers were required for the fronts to clear the calipers and that I’d left mine at STL HQ. Not to worry though; a quick lift from an unnamed 4th gear manji hero in a near-300bhp MX5 allowed me to recover the spacers in quick time and get them on.
I decided that this height would do for the time being while I let the suspension settle with its new settings.
Even with the spacers, brake clearance was very tight on the front but, to this day (touch wood) there have been no fouling issues.
With the hard work done, it was time to drive Cedric home and figure out whatever changes needed making on the journey. As it turned out, the rear alignment was definitely all over the place with some excessive toe in, while the front wheels could definitely have done with a tad more camber to aid wing clearance.
I knocked in the front coilover top mounts a tad while also adjusting the toe to compensate. Adjusting the rear toe was now much easier than before due to having wheels that protruded past the doors, so some careful squinting and lying in a puddle to shorten the rear toe arms was needed to dial in the settings. After the first attempt, I took the car for a drive and it drove arrow straight at all speeds, with the Nardi steering wheel central and with no hands on the wheel. Ideal (and probably just pure luck!).
Of course, a 326POWER wing can’t be lying around and not be test fitted to absolutely everything, can it!?
This is where I went a bit crazy with the photos as I was finally happy to have Cedric looking somewhat like how I had envisioned for a long time. Enjoy…!
I decided to drive to Drift Matsuri at Anglesey, so deemed it time to give Cedric his bi-annual wash at a premium cleaning centre (a Tesco petrol station, of course; £3 well spent!).
I’d originally “remodelled” (read: hammered) the rear arches to suit the much more aggressive 18×10.0J-24 Meister M1 wheels that were once fitted, so I feel I can either smooth them back in or add a small wheel spacer now to fill them more. I’m reluctant to dial out some of the camber for two reasons: one being that I hate unequal camber front to rear on anything other than a drift car (a subtle amount of equal negative camber all round is quite nice on a VIP style car) and, the second reason being that I’d have to then lower the rear of the car further in order to compensate for the ride height gain which, in turn, would result in the tyres permanently resting on the upper arch area (they’re already extremely close).
Another couple of hundred miles of driving to and from Anglesey completed, along with being my portable hotel for the evening!
As you can imagine, the Prontry front lip lasted a few weeks before being damaged in deepest darkest Cheshire. Thankfully it wasn’t completely destroyed, nor did it fall off, so I will get round to fixing and refitting it soon (maybe when the awful weather clears).
Speaking of awful weather, the last few weeks have presented some interesting challenges! According to my dad and his infinite wisdom, a RWD automatic car with wide tyres is quite possibly the worst combination of traits to have when driving in the snow and/or ice, so I imagined that having all of these and 4 or 5 degrees of negative camber all round to boot would leave me with a metaphorical Bambi on ice.
There were some days where it just wasn’t safe to be driving anything other than a standard ride height front wheel drive car, so I won’t lie and say that I drove all the way to the Arctic circle and back with my dehumidifier whirring and my Yabakings gleaming. I did do quite a bit of driving when things calmed down a bit though and Cedric handled everything just fine.
I know there are plenty of good reasons for doing it but I can never bring myself to do the whole “taking the car off the road for winter” thing. If it’s off the road, it better be for a good reason in my eyes! Otherwise, just continue to use the vehicle that makes you smile on a daily basis while ironing out faults as they come. In the UK, we moan about it being too cold to work on cars in the winter and then moan that it’s too hot to do so in the summer!
Top tip: pre-heat your mechanics gloves on a warm engine before beginning any work.
Since the worst of the freezing weather has passed, some small problems have reared their heads. The first was entirely my fault due to filling up the washer bottle with nothing but tap water in the summer, so a quick removal, wash out and refill with the correct mix of washer fluid (and some very warm water to melt through the frozen debris) was required.
Another issue to address while I was at it was the lack of horn. During Norfy’s wiring attack, he’d ascertained that the problem was that the wiring ribbon inside this part of the steering column assembly had broken, something I confirmed myself by checking the voltage pre-plug and post-plug. I had an S14 unit to hand that I had hoped was similar but, of course, it wasn’t, so I had to wire a temporary horn switch up for the time being. Ideally though, I’d like to find a replacement so that I can use a proper horn button. Back to Yahoo Auctions I go!
Also, the areas of the rear arches where paint had flaked off during my excessive hammering and flaring sessions needed addressing quickly before any rust could set in (something that would be accelerated at this time of year). I’m really the worst when it comes to bodywork so thankfully my dad stepped in at this point. The finished result wasn’t pretty by any means but it was at least functional and will do the job until the time for a full respray comes around next year.
So there we go, I hope you made it through 3000-odd words and around a hundred photos without falling asleep! In the last few months or so I’ve received an increasing amount of messages from fellow Y32 owners with questions so I thought it was time that I got these images posted. Most of these owners have been from the USA and, by the looks of it, the Y32 platform has become a lot more popular over there now thanks to the 25 year law (the same law that has caused R32 and C33 popularities and values to also soar in the US as of late).
Hopefully, by the time I get round to another update, I’d like to think that a freshly painted Cedric with a set of shiny 326POWER coilovers and array of fancy suspension arms will be adorning these pages but I wouldn’t hold your breath just yet. I’m just having fun driving it most days and answering the frequent question of “is it a Bentley/Mercedes/Cadillac/Rover?”. Although, on that point, I must commend the elderly gentlemen working at a local Shell garage who once looked out onto the forecourt and asked me “is it a Nissan Cedric?”. I couldn’t believe it.