Project Kumo - 2001 E50 VQ35 "X"

Karl

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#1
The time has come for one project to end, and a new one to begin.

For anyone that doesn't know, my previous Elgrand "Project Marmite" was exactly that, loved or hated, never a middle ground.

I am now awaiting delivery of my new Elgrand. She's a 2001 (face-lift) E50, "X" model, VQ35 3.5l V6, Pearl white, 116k kms on the clock (72k miles). This one has been sourced courtesy of "The Elgrand Warehouse" and at the moment is sitting on a boat heading for the UK.

She's due to arrive mid Feb, and collection date has been set as 25th March, so I'm in countdown mode now.

To get the ball rolling, here are the current pics I have of her and what I know.

Fully adjustable TEIN suspension
Works LS103 Wheels
Unknown brand aftermarket exhaust

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So initial plans will be to get it SUPER clean. A proper detailing session with the best stuff I can get my hands on. Hoping to pick up some tips from our resident OCD clean freak @Rapperfrapper.
I'll be giving her a full service, new oil, filters, plugs and do a check of everything else including brakes etc to make sure she is in perfect working order.

Luckily, due to the time she's arriving, the evenings should be lighter, the weather a bit warmer/drier, so I will be able to get everything I want done before JAE.

Obviously the speakers will be upgraded, my amps fitted and the sub woofers.

Once all that is done, I think I'm going to MOSTLY leave her alone. I'll know when I've got her exactly what I'm going to do. After all, this is me we're talking about, so I need to make her mine :D

More will follow as I know more and obviously once I get her. But the project has now officially began.
 
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Karl

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#5
No, just called it that for now. I'll decide on a name when she's here, registered and I've got a feel for her personality :rofl:

Update already on this. When I collect her, she'll have a vinyl wrap that should look something like this...

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Harvo

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#7
That looks the mutts.

Could go for a blue stripe on the top and call it project Aquafresh.:rofl:
 

Madfish

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#9
No, just called it that for now. I'll decide on a name when she's here, registered and I've got a feel for her personality :rofl:

Update already on this. When I collect her, she'll have a vinyl wrap that should look something like this...

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Looks spot on that mate, good choice!
 

Karl

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#12
Probably about time I updated this thread a little! The van arrived in the UK on the 22nd Feb and promptly made its way to The Elgrand Warehouse courtesy of Giles. Here it would stay for the next 4 weeks whilst the MOT was sorted, underseal done, oil change and basic service, and DVLA provided registration. To whet my appetite, Giles was kind enough to send me a few more pics of the beast :)

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Karl

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#13
The latest bunch of pictures gave me a little more information about what I should be expecting.

The TEIN coilovers come with the EDFC (Electronic Dampening Force Controller). This is a clever little box that sits in the cabin and allows you to adjust the stiffness of the suspension from the comfort of the drivers seat! It also has 3 programmable settings so you can quickly swap depending on the type of driving you are doing or how many passengers you have.

It also has a rather fancy looking earthing kit attached (you can see in the engine bay pic). Not entirely sure what this does, but it's there, so it must be cool.

It has Xenon lights which I love!

The only downsides at this point are the small crack in the front bumper around the nearside fog light. There is cracking in the rear bumper above the exhaust. And lastly there is a small dent in the drivers door. That's it. It's 16 years old, and that's all there is wrong with it! I can't believe how immaculate she really is. I will at some point get the bumpers resprayed to make them perfect, and I'll get a dent tech out for the door. Other than that, she's absolutely stunning.
 

Karl

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#14
Eventually, the 24th March came around, and it was time for me to head from Hartlepool down to Cornwall. The drive wasn't particularly exciting, especially getting stuck on the M52 for an hour around Birmingham. I had my lovely other half to keep me company though, so we made it with minimal stress. A massive thank you to @Barney59 for allowing us a spare room to sleep in over night!

We finished the last leg to St Austell on Saturday morning for me to get my hands on the new motor, and I couldn't believe the condition. It looked better than all the pictures I'd seen and was sat prepped ready and waiting for me. I got there at 10:30 and my insurance didn't start until 12, so I did some fettling before I could drive off.

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First up, fit my radio! I wasn't prepared to drive 7 hours home with Radio 2... quickly ripped it out of Marmite and fitted into the new one with no hassle at all. Had to create my own Earth despite it not having the navigation pack which confused me... but still, it worked!

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Next job was adding an obligatory EOC sticker ;)

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Then it was time to say goodbye to the old girl. I took everything else out of the van that I wanted to keep, including the LED rear lights, and waved farewell to the old girl. I wasn't sad. At all lol.

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Karl

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#15
Within 5 minutes of leaving the workshop... I was flashing my lights like a lunatic, hazards on and pulled over at the side of the road. As we had gone around a right hand bend, I noticed in my wing mirror that the offside rear wheel was sticking out about 4" from the body. Obviously something not right!

Giles had a quick look underneath and noticed that the aftermarket adjustable panhard rod had snapped. I'd never even heard of them before! But because the van was so low, it needed an adjustable one to keep the rear axle in line. You can see from the picture that this had been weakened for some time, but wasn't noticable. It was just a matter of time before it went, and I'm glad it did as soon as we left. Giles quickly ran back to the workshop and with the help of his mechanic had a new panhard rod fitted.

Here's the broken offending item!

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Karl

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#16
We stopped off for some food, filled up, and set off on a nice cruise back to the north east. The change in drive from the QD32 to the VQ35 is indescribable. The VQ35 is so quiet and smooth and the power is instantly available. I'm still getting used to the change in driving and I've had it in my possession a week now.

On the first leg, from Cornwall to Birmingham, I managed 22.2 mpg @ an average of 70mph. The second leg back to Hartlepool and some town driving gave me 19.5mpg. I think my next full tank is going to give me between 14 and 16mpg (gulp!).

Anyway. I was really impressed with the quality of the sound from the standard speakers (door woofers and tweeters in A piller / rear passenger handle). But, after completing the 7 hour drive back up north, and a couple of days driving around town, I noticed that the front door speakers weren't working! All the mid-range sound was coming solely from the rears, with only the tweeters up front giving treble. I couldn't be having this, so I decided to fit the Pheonix Gold woofers that I obtained from @chris wills. As soon as I removed the door card I could see that the usual cardboard speakers had just disintegrated. Also, I managed to break the passenger side door card when taking it off. The new vans first injury from being manhandled by me!

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All working and, wow, what a difference those made! I also took the time to wire up the twin Alpine sub woofers in the boot... I got my bass back too :D

I had noticed there was a slight wheel wobble at low speed. Seemed the front tyres were not round. Quick trip to the local tyre shop, two new tyres later, and she's almost spot on now!

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Next job on the list was to get my LED rear lights fitted. This was a little more interesting than I had first envisaged. The rear curtain rail is attached to the panel that needs to come off to change the lights, which gave me my first problem. An easy one to get around though. It also then became apparent that one of the rear lights was held on with ONE out of FIVE nuts... so I've taken two from the other side to give me three each side now. But the LED lights look so much better.

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Karl

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#17
All I've got left to do at the moment is sort out the adjustable panhard rod once I've received it from Giles. I'll get it to a local engineering shop to be fixed. As there is now a standard one on, the rear axle is slightly misaligned causing one of the rear wheels to scrub on the arch (it is very low) and gives a slight judder between 20-30kmph.

I've got a standard spoiler to go on the back, so I'll get rid of that horrible reversing mirror and get the spoiler attached ASAP.

I also need to give her a damn good clean which will be a job for the weekend. But here are some pics as she stands now :)

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Karl

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#19
Well, this weekend I needed to get the reversing mirror removed and the spoiler fitted. And thanks to the help of @Madfish, this was achieved. Think she's just about there externally. She needs a damn good detailing though. Some of the panels are really rough to the touch, but I gave her a quick bath and she does look good in the sun :)

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