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Hella_GTR

Interested in buying this BCNR33 with shock tower repair from Garage Defend

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Hi folks,

 

I'm still a bit new here but I'm interested in the blow BCNR33 V-spec in Aichi prefecture Japan.  I live in Tokyo so it's only about a 3hr train ride to get there.  That said, the shop disclosed that the shock towers have been repaired.  I searched and it seems like this is a common problem and basically unavoidable.  That said, you guys are more expert than me so I wanted to see if you can look at the shock towers in the photos and see if that looks like just some paint on top or if that is more substantial.  Also, has anyone ever used Garage Defend in Japan? They seem to deal mostly with foreigners (non-Japanese).  If you know anything about their reputation, I'd appreciate to hear about it.   I plan to go down there an d look under the car and in the boot as well.

 

I know the price is beast mode but that's the going rate now for one here.  Last week I was bidding on a white grade 4 BCNR33 non-V-spec and it sold for 4,500,000 yen with higher mileage than this car.  Any help/thoughts is appreciated.  It's hard to find a 1995 BCNR33 and only the 1995 r33 is legal to go into California (where i'm going next year) due to 1996+ OBD2 requirements.  

 

https://garage-defend.com/cars/inventory/nissan/328-nissan-skyline-bcnr33-gt-r-v-spec-for-sale-3434

 

BCNR33 Shock Tower.JPG

Edited by Hella_GTR

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Based on the following images i would be getting this car checked by an independant specialist.

I believe (but could be mistaken), that the following image shows new parts in the engine or painted parts. That's not always a bad thing. (Painted intake, probably reconditioned coil valley cover, new rad cap etc etc). I believe Garage Defend often, if not always improve cars for sale to a certain level of quality that suits their business.


The other image i have shows some light corrosion in some pretty normal spots. It's this image that suggests you should have it checked. It might be exactly as it appears, nothing serious or may have some potential to show a car that has been cleaned and prepped ready to go on sale. You just need to be sure there's not any serious rusting/corrosion happening elsewhere.

Also shameless inclusion of my video i made a few weeks ago. Addresses your concern exactly;



I will say that garage defend are a very well known and i gather well trusted gtr/car garage. I don't believe they are in the habit of selling mis-leading/poor condition cars.
I'm sure others could chime in with their opinions. Probably best to google their reviews.

Hope I've been helpful. Good luck!

20190805_211838.jpg20190805_212040.jpg

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Hi Guys thanks SO much.  Steve wow your video is stellar and right on for me in terms of timing.  Your two cars are beautiful btw.  The contrast between you two cars helps folks like me see what a pristine one can look like compared to one with a bit more wear and tear.  Your LM still looks like it's in great shape though.

After watching the video and looking at your strut towers, I am now leaning towards not going for the GTR I originally posted.  The strut tower repairs scare me as well as the other items you identified.  I am now interested in their other GTR, silver 

https://garage-defend.com/cars/inventory/nissan/335-nissan-skyline-bcnr33-gt-r-v-spec-for-sale-3439

The one above has the original strut towers in-tact and they look ok.  Garage Defend does seem like a fun, cool group to work with and they like to keep relationships with their customers so I echo your opinion of them so far after talking to them a couple times now. 

But that said, I need to go check these out and look at the boot, strut tower, and I never knew to look at the drainage in the area where the door sill is.  

Thanks again!  

Edited by Hella_GTR
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On that silver R33 you linked the shift knob has been replaced, if you look at a car with actual ~160k km you will see quite a lot of wear and tear on the steering wheel and shift knob. I will PM you a link to the car I got with links of the auction listing vs the condition when sold. Also, for some reason part of the PCV hose seems to be like a garden hose or something, you need to fix that and get rid of the pods if you really want to do CA registration. I would also make sure to inspect carefully, the hood does not look like it has an even gap relative to the fenders on the left and right side. Might be accident damage. As others have mentioned the plenum has 100% been repainted, a car with any substantial amount of miles is going to have a lot of paint flaking off the plenum. A lot of importers clean this stuff up to make it more presentable.

You do need to go out and PPI these things, never buy a car sight unseen. That KN6 R33 has really poor strut tower repair, a proper repair will be very hard to perceive. If you follow Garage Yoshida at all, a ton of their work these days is strut tower repair and you can see what a proper repair should be: http://www.garage-yoshida.net/process_strut.html

If I had to choose between the two honestly I would go with the KN6 R33, and even then I would tread carefully, absolutely need to get these cars on a lift and see what's going on underneath, stuff like pinch welds are often mangled and rusting out. And if the strut towers and pinch welds are rusting out, a real horror show is awaiting when you take off the front cowling which is another common rust point. A lot of these companies are counting on people to buy sight unseen and not really know what to look for. 

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On that silver R33 you linked the shift knob has been replaced, if you look at a car with actual ~160k km you will see quite a lot of wear and tear on the steering wheel and shift knob. I will PM you a link to the car I got with links of the auction listing vs the condition when sold. Also, for some reason part of the PCV hose seems to be like a garden hose or something, you need to fix that and get rid of the pods if you really want to do CA registration. I would also make sure to inspect carefully, the hood does not look like it has an even gap relative to the fenders on the left and right side. Might be accident damage. As others have mentioned the plenum has 100% been repainted, a car with any substantial amount of miles is going to have a lot of paint flaking off the plenum. A lot of importers clean this stuff up to make it more presentable.
You do need to go out and PPI these things, never buy a car sight unseen. That KN6 R33 has really poor strut tower repair, a proper repair will be very hard to perceive. If you follow Garage Yoshida at all, a ton of their work these days is strut tower repair and you can see what a proper repair should be: http://www.garage-yoshida.net/process_strut.html
If I had to choose between the two honestly I would go with the KN6 R33, and even then I would tread carefully, absolutely need to get these cars on a lift and see what's going on underneath, stuff like pinch welds are often mangled and rusting out. And if the strut towers and pinch welds are rusting out, a real horror show is awaiting when you take off the front cowling which is another common rust point. A lot of these companies are counting on people to buy sight unseen and not really know what to look for. 
Damn. I need to start looking up where to get people to do my PPI. I know some shops offer it but it's so hard to time it with an auction or even dealer since these things sell so fast now. If you have any recommendations for PPI folks, please let me know. I think ProStock of Craft Sports do it but they're a bit far away.

I bought my s15 and r34 from the auctions and experienced the same things as you. There was even rust on my r34 on the trunk that was clearly visible that did not get listed in the auction inspection sheet. Weather striping was gone and light rust in the boot. I sold my r34 to top rank. Hopefully they'll clean it up and sell it right. Imagine they're going to make it shiny and list it for tons more than I sold it for.

One thing I don't like about some of these vendors is its about sales, not the cars. Especially the ones who sell to foreigners overseas. It all feels a bit tense like you have to buy now now now as if the cars were stocks and not something more like they are to car enthusiasts like us.

Maybe the best route is to go to dealers and just look myself. My two last auction experiences haven't been great, it's like a gamble. Makes me want to give up but I'll try to find a PPI inspector or buy directly from a reputable place like Craft Sports (but $$$$).

I appreciate all the input here. It's very enlightening.

Evan
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For kicks, I also found this one, a one owner car, at a local dealer in Kanagawa. They don't speak English which is probably good lol. They want 3,600,000 yen as the asking price. Definitely need to find the original parts though for California compliance.

https://www.goo-net.com/usedcar/spread/iphone/13/700050502330190611001.html

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Of the three you've sent through, i prefer the third. It has had it's steering wheel re-trimmed, and the cluster has been swapped, but otherwise, it looks quite clean. A big part of telling the condition is seeing under the car. Check the rails, the suspension components and for me the HICAS/ATTESSA system shows corrosion very clearly. If you see it under the car, you may be looking at a car from a snowing environment.  
There are PPI specialists our there for cars in Japan. Personally i used Iron Chef to check out a few dud cars for me 😂. It was worth it for me, as they stopped me buying two cars that would have been nightmares.

 

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Thanks Steve.  I just emailed Iron Chef and the dealer to see if I can go check out the 3rd one.  It actually looks pretty decent and is local which is nice.  I'll check the auctions today too and see how it ends up.  I'll keep you posted.  Thanks again for the great help!

-Evan

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2 hours ago, Hella_GTR said:

Thanks Steve.  I just emailed Iron Chef and the dealer to see if I can go check out the 3rd one.  It actually looks pretty decent and is local which is nice.  I'll check the auctions today too and see how it ends up.  I'll keep you posted.  Thanks again for the great help!

-Evan

You're welcome. Would love if you kept us up to date on your efforts. It's great to see the whole story of someones GTR ownership! :D

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That one is ok, as you can see in picture 38 someone mangled the jacking point and it's rusting out but I couldn't spot anything else super obvious. Pretty honest seller to include that in there. So you will have to price the repair of that in.

Toprank was relatively low pressure all things considered. I put down a deposit and they gave me a full two weeks to mull it over and a ton of time to organize a PPI, get a lot of photos + video, etc. And they do have quite the operation out there, if you go to the PDI center you'll often encounter a car stripped to the frame for restoration if a customer requests it.

Another source of cars to consider is Global Auto or HJA. I believe HJA is one of the best importers in the UK, they are extremely thorough in documenting the cars with photos so you can assess condition pretty well even remotely. Helps that most of their cars are already good to go to begin with. 

Edited by joshuaho96
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Evan,

Having just spent a few months trying to buy a GT-R here I would definitely avoid anything that has had strut tower repairs, even more so that you are based in Japan as you should be able to find better quality cars IMO than we can. Avoid any rust - you'll end up having to pay for it later one way or another.

I'd also be trying to find a '96 S2 or '97 S3 if feasible.

There is quite a few on goo-net - pricing looks to be $45k+ - how much are willing to spend? Otherwise I would go an auction and potentially use Garage Defend to find one @ Auction for you.

Links

 

 

 

 

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When it comes to jacking points people often screw it up horribly because of a few reasons:

1. They use a forklift to recover a car on the track. You are not supposed to put pressure on the edge of the pinch weld. When the forklift raises the car it folds the pinch weld over and crushes it. Paint flakes off and then the corrosion starts.

2. They used a floor jack on the pinch weld. You should never do this regardless of what floor jack you use.

3. They weren't careful when lowering a car onto jack stands and did not use the proper pinch weld adapters for the jack stands. You should always use a rubber U-block that uses the flat portions around the pinch weld, not the edge of it. If you look at the scissor jack included in the trunk this is how they work. They also have a very slow action to reduce the odds of excessive force crushing them in.

Generally speaking the 4 pinch weld jack points are only safe to use on a 2 or 4 post lift with the appropriate adapters and for the scissor jack. Otherwise only use it for jack stands.

I have talked to multiple body shop workers about what you have to do to fix bent pinch welds and the answer was not a good one. It is a pretty painful feeling to screw those up as they are formed through the merge of multiple panels and sealed up in a way that is almost impossible to replicate.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIWiaxBl7kM&feature=youtu.be

http://topranktrade.jp/stockdetail/14384

Toprank has this QM1 R33 listed for sale. At first glance I don't see any signs of trouble, could be worth checking out further. Toprank is also partnered with IVI in the US so you will have someone that already has a working relationship with CEE for California emissions. Frankly George Gemayel is hard to reach and he's aware of his unique market position as the gatekeeper for California registration so having someone that can help the process along and is frequently there for R&D + delivering and collecting cars is helpful.

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1 hour ago, joshuaho96 said:

That one is ok, as you can see in picture 38 someone mangled the jacking point and it's rusting out but I couldn't spot anything else super obvious. Pretty honest seller to include that in there. So you will have to price the repair of that in.

Toprank was relatively low pressure all things considered. I put down a deposit and they gave me a full two weeks to mull it over and a ton of time to organize a PPI, get a lot of photos + video, etc. And they do have quite the operation out there, if you go to the PDI center you'll often encounter a car stripped to the frame for restoration if a customer requests it.

Another source of cars to consider is Global Auto or HJA. I believe HJA is one of the best importers in the UK, they are extremely thorough in documenting the cars with photos so you can assess condition pretty well even remotely. Helps that most of their cars are already good to go to begin with. 

 

Wow good catch on the jacking point.  Most the ones I've seen here have some damage like that unfortunately.  I will try to go check this car out still but the language is a bit hard so they're not very responsive with me via email & google translate or Line app.  I'll let you know what I find if I can see it. 

I've been working with Manuel Tasende from Toprank here.  He said he's the only JDM guy there for the American market and is SUPER busy.  He tries though but he's just busy I guess.  He knows I'm looking for a car but hasn't suggested one yet, other than the one you found later ('ll get to that).  Perhaps the markets have changed so he's more busy now but I'll keep trying.  I'll also look up Global Auto and HJA too, thanks for those suggestions.

 

54 minutes ago, Links said:

Evan,

Having just spent a few months trying to buy a GT-R here I would definitely avoid anything that has had strut tower repairs, even more so that you are based in Japan as you should be able to find better quality cars IMO than we can. Avoid any rust - you'll end up having to pay for it later one way or another.

I'd also be trying to find a '96 S2 or '97 S3 if feasible.

There is quite a few on goo-net - pricing looks to be $45k+ - how much are willing to spend? Otherwise I would go an auction and potentially use Garage Defend to find one @ Auction for you.

Links

 

 

 

 

Honestly I would prefer a s2 or s3, but they aren't legal in CA.  Only 1995 and older are legal in California due to OBD2 requirements enacted by CARB for 1996+ vehicles.  I spoke directly with Sean Morris (via email) and he said stick to 1995 and older.  And I agree man I'm going to stay away from the gray pearl one with strut tower repairs.  I'm going to just have to pay for top quality in this crazy market.  I was hoping to spend under $40k but that's just not a reality anymore in this market. 

36 minutes ago, joshuaho96 said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIWiaxBl7kM&feature=youtu.be

http://topranktrade.jp/stockdetail/14384

Toprank has this QM1 R33 listed for sale. At first glance I don't see any signs of trouble, could be worth checking out further. Toprank is also partnered with IVI in the US so you will have someone that already has a working relationship with CEE for California emissions. Frankly George Gemayel is hard to reach and he's aware of his unique market position as the gatekeeper for California registration so having someone that can help the process along and is frequently there for R&D + delivering and collecting cars is helpful.

 Yeah I spoke with Toprank about the QM1 you saw.  He said the car is in pretty good shape, but around 200,000KM's on it but the real mileage is unknown.  Also the hood, and fenders have been replaced due to a prior accident.  I would rather find a virgin one if possible but that one is clean looking.  And for my CA needs, I've been speaking with Toprank's branch in long beach and Sean Morris and his team directly for compliance. The current word is stick to 1995 and older for California.  Bummer!  The struggle is real.  My timing is just off. I bought my r34 when prices were going up, sold lower, now trying to find a 1995 is crazy because they go legal in the US in January...

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5 minutes ago, Hella_GTR said:

  I'm going to just have to pay for top quality in this crazy market.  I was hoping to spend under $40k but that's just not a reality anymore in this market

Unfortunately in the past 6 months the auction prices have risen and average costs are probably mid $45k.

Didn't read properly and realise it's for the US - yeap, prices are crazy for all the reasons you said!

If you weren't in a hurry could you get a '96 and store it locally in Japan for a while? I saw some others seem to be doing that...

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1 minute ago, Links said:

Unfortunately in the past 6 months the auction prices have risen and average costs are probably mid $45k.

Didn't read properly and realise it's for the US - yeap, prices are crazy for all the reasons you said!

If you weren't in a hurry could you get a '96 and store it locally in Japan for a while? I saw some others seem to be doing that...

Hi Links,

I live in Japan for the next 1-2 years or so, but still 1996+ will not work in CA due to OBD2 requirements.  California is different than the rest of the country because they have their own air resources board, ARB, that requires OBD2 systems.  So in CA, even if the car is over 25 years old it will not pass CA requirements and cannot get a CA license plate.  in 2021 a 1996 GTR will not be legal until it can comply with California ARB requirements.  Every other state is OK.  This is what Sean Morris and others are working on right now but essentially they need to build an OBD2 computer system to piggyback on the current car's ECU.  It's crazy.  So storing a car is not an option for me as I have to stick to 1995 and older cars no matter the year I go back to California.  I hope that makes sense. 

I bid on a 1995 GTR last week at the auctions and you're right, they're about $45k for a no repair history car grade 4 car.  Good for current owners though! 

Thanks

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Yeah, you missed a KN6 VSpec that was pretty clean. Interior was a bit munged but pretty solid otherwise. HJA had a super clean MNP R33 that was 100% stock as well. If I wasn't a weird obsessive person about having the VSpec suspension + A-LSD I would've gone for it.

1 minute ago, Links said:

Unfortunately in the past 6 months the auction prices have risen and average costs are probably mid $45k.

Didn't read properly and realise it's for the US - yeap, prices are crazy for all the reasons you said!

If you weren't in a hurry could you get a '96 and store it locally in Japan for a while? I saw some others seem to be doing that...

The issue he's having is that he wants to register the car in California, which mandates OBD2 compliance for all cars 1996 and above. Phase-in began around 1994, my dad has a 1994 Camry that has both the OBD1 Toyota DLC connector and OBD2 for this reason.

For 1995 R33s, CA emissions compliance is 10k USD. For 1996+ R33 and R34 compliance is projected to be ~50k USD, OBD2 requires replacing a bunch of emissions components for monitoring purposes and also an entire piggyback ECU that does all of the monitoring, sets CELs, and has the OBD2 port + protocol. It's all entirely useless because early OBD2 cars often did not follow the standard correctly so only MY 2000 and above are subject to the OBD2 emissions tests. Everything older needs to use the traditional sniffer test anyways. Needless to say this is why many Japanese sports cars were discontinued or gimped in CA after 1995.

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I'm not sure of the specifics of the post 95 rule, but there are plenty of aftermarket ECUs that are OBD2 compliant. So unless you are unable to change the ECU, something like a Haltech plug in will get you there about $38,000 cheaper.

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5 minutes ago, Duncan said:

I'm not sure of the specifics of the post 95 rule, but there are plenty of aftermarket ECUs that are OBD2 compliant. So unless you are unable to change the ECU, something like a Haltech plug in will get you there about $38,000 cheaper.

I also am not too sure on the OB2 requirements, but it sounds like an aftermarket ECU would be ideal. 
The other thing to consider would be the purchase of your car from Aus or NZ? Outside of Japan, these are the biggest markets. 

A car that has been in Aus is unlikely to be as corroded (not that it should be dismissed completely) and there's a lot of GTR people here (including PPI people).

Just throwing ideas out there for you OP. :)

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