Tuning trip in Australia

Quite some time back, I got the honor to be invited to Australia to get a bunch of cars tuned.

I had customers from Perth and Sydney who sorely needed their Hondas tuned.  According to them, it seemed like there was a lack of good tuners there for the modified Honda scene.  Personally I find that quite surprising.  I know for a fact that there are a bunch of damn good tuners there, but probably they might be too busy with their own work and the comparatively cheaper Singapore Dollar makes it a little cheaper.  Then again, to fly me all the way, I do not know if it is such a worthwhile deal anymore.  I decided to fly Qantas Economy class, budget flights occasionally come with the unpleasant surprise of delays and the subsequent trouble.

We had about 7-8 cars in Perth and had already booked the rental of the dyno at Tokyo Motorsports beforehand.  It is a fantastic workshop, one of the best layout I have ever come across for a dyno room.

The thing that struck me most about the workshop was the simplistic, minimalistic outlook of the whole place.  Most workshops I’ve been in are just places to get the job done.  Here the work shop stocks a huge amount of tools in their dyno room.  It has ample ventilation, a good strong blower to cool the car down and a powerful suction fan to extract spent gases.  Top notch tools like a Snap-On Rattle gun to remove the lug nuts are also provided.  You don’t have spare parts lying around, unnecessary wires and grease on the floor.  It was really a great workshop to tune in.

Unlike many other work shops that have a Computer unit next to the car for tuning purposes, the workshop at Tokyo Motor sport has the computer screen wall mounted. You can see me looking intently at it at the left of the photo. They also have a wireless key board that is connected to the computer. No climbing over and stretching wires. Very convenient indeed!

If you look at the ceiling you’ll realize that all the cooling cables for the dyno have been strapped to the ceiling of the workshop.  You don’t have them lying all over the floor of the shop.  This allows the workshop to be this neat.

I was surprisingly energetic though the whole process of mounting and dismounting 8 cars.  It left a good sense of achievement and satisfaction after a thoroughly exhausting day!  Of course, the 14 degrees Celsius winter weather sure helps in keeping any frustration at bay.  Much more comfortable than the average 30 degrees Celsius we get here in Singapore.

Here are some nice shots of the day.

After Perth, it was time to head to Sydney.  Sinh of Touge Distribution Australia has already organized the tuning session with his customers and made an appointment with the Mainline dyno factory (yes, this is where they manufacture dynos for the rest of the world) to specially open up the factory for us to run their brand new dyno ON A SUNDAY!  To the uninitiated, what I know from my Aussie friends is that they don’t even want to lift a finger after 4:30pm on friday afternoons… much less on a cold winter Sunday morning.  That morning, was the first time I ever saw some funny insignia that appeared on the dash of the FN2′s futuristic looking cluster.  It showed 3 degrees C outside temperature.  Thanks Todd for the fantastic arrangement, it could not have been any better.

This is the same dyno that I use almost daily in Singapore at Uber Garage, so it probably needs no introduction to most Singaporean Honda owners.  I can safely say I have tuned over 600 cars on this dyno and know the intricacies of it inside out.

Here are also some pictures and dyno from the Sydney tuning day.  Do note that the Mainline dyno reads a lot less than most other dynos, so a direct comparisons between the cars in 2 states would be an unfair comparison.

I would like to write about my life changing experience on the morning that I was supposed to leave Sydney for Singapore though.  It was a first for me in many aspects… Sure, I have done many tunings outside Singapore.  Sure, you sometimes have to tune the car right till the last minute when the customer drops you off at the airport before you get to shut down the laptop.  Sure, you wake up extra early just to ensure you have an extra 45mins-1hour more of time to work.  I pride myself at being able to make it just in time.  It’s a kind of a skill I developed cramming for exams last minute

BUT, for Sinh’s car, it just took it to a whole new level.  For once I really did feel that I wouldn’t be able to complete the job in time.

We were supposed to have the car ready for the tune on Sunday along with everyone else, and be done with all the cars in Sydney.  However, the cams that he ordered did not show up on time.  The tracking details online showed that it was likely to arrive on Monday, which was also the day that I was scheduled to head back home.  My flight was at 4PM, so generally speaking, I needed to get to the airport by around 230PM to be safe since I am not some super-duper Qantas frequent flyer member who can be whizzed into the plane directly.

We woke up early at 630AM, and I remember, that morning was 5 degrees C.  It was fucking freezing.  We went to his driveway and started tearing the car down in preparation for the postman to come by with the cams.  Normally the postal guy would come at around 9.30-10am with the delivery.

So now, here is the many firsts for me.

FIRST for waking up extra early in such weather

FIRST for having to work on customers car on something major like a cam change on a overseas tuning trip

FIRST ever, changing cams of the K20A in the driveway of someone’s home!

FIRST, having to rush to the dyno to get a tune during the Mainline’s factory lunch break.

FIRST, rushing off to the airport after the tune and more fine tuning along the way.

FIRST (well not exactly, it has happened before), heading off to Sydney airport just in time to catch my flight with minutes to spare.

However, all this rushing did indeed have its own silver lining.

On the Sunday that we were supposed to do Sinh’s car (Which we could not do because his cams were late) we decided to take the day off to chill instead.  My hosts decided to take me for a drive through the Royal National Park just south of Sydney.  We drove on a road right through the Nature reserve and south along the coastal road south towards Wollongong instead of using the Southern Freeway.  The scenery was beautiful and we passed dozens of small little towns on the way.  It was a laid back kind of road trip and a thoroughly refreshing drive.

The Map below shows the exact the road that I drove!



This Australia trip was a most enjoyable experience and I would be most glad to do it over again if given a chance!

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