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Arif

The making of Zilla Z

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Nice work, but here are suggestions for your cage. The rear bars should go beside the shock tower, not the rear floor. The cage will just punch through the rear floor in the event of a rollover and you dont get the benefit of stiffening the chassis by tyng into a suspension point. If youre worried about your seatbelts, you will need to relocate them to the pillar. harnesses are another option.

The rear harness bar should be swept back, or main hoop tilted back. I don't know how tall you are but with the way it is now your knees will be touching the dash.

Also that main hoop should run much tighter to the body than that. The main hoop should be well above your head. 

 

Also you need door bars. weld them to the floor by the rocker as far forward as possible. This will strengthen your front frame rails and tie the rear shock towers into the front rails. You can make it low if you dont want it intrusive. This will serve as a "secondary" frame rail which will help stiffen the front of the car significantly.

 

The nail polish suggestion is strange. It will probably look like shit. If it were me I'd paint the entire cage once its welded in with the same color as your powdercoat. That way it would be one uniform color, and the high wear areas woudlnt scratch as easily. The tricky part will be feathering the areas where you stripped the powder coat for welding, itll all show through.

 

Again, these are just suggestions, some people enjoy them others dont.

Edited by 240zdan

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Nice work, but here are suggestions for your cage. The rear bars should go beside the shock tower, not the rear floor. The cage will just punch through the rear floor in the event of a rollover and you dont get the benefit of stiffening the chassis by tyng into a suspension point. If youre worried about your seatbelts, you will need to relocate them to the pillar. harnesses are another option.

The rear harness bar should be swept back, or main hoop tilted back. I don't know how tall you are but with the way it is now your knees will be touching the dash.

Also that main hoop should run much tighter to the body than that. The main hoop should be well above your head. 

 

Also you need door bars. weld them to the floor by the rocker as far forward as possible. This will strengthen your front frame rails and tie the rear shock towers into the front rails. You can make it low if you dont want it intrusive. This will serve as a "secondary" frame rail which will help stiffen the front of the car significantly.

 

The nail polish suggestion is strange. It will probably look like shit. If it were me I'd paint the entire cage once its welded in with the same color as your powdercoat. That way it would be one uniform color, and the high wear areas woudlnt scratch as easily. The tricky part will be feathering the areas where you stripped the powder coat for welding, itll all show through.

 

Again, these are just suggestions, some people enjoy them others dont.

I'm not sure what you mean by the rear bars beside the shock towers. After we welded the cage in we removed the jacks and you could see that the chassis was much stiffer than before. By jacking up the rear passenger the entire side came up off the ground similar to my Z32. That never happened before. It also tells me it's a lot stiffer than before. Your opinion sounds more like speculation than fact but I'll take my experience instead.

 

The hoop is tilted back. We could have tilted it more but it was based on my seating position. Since I'm 5'5" not much room was needed. 

 

The nail polish worked perfectly for me YMMV.

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No, he's right, and I had the exact same thought, and I fully agree with his suggestions. Just because your car seemed stiffer when you took it off the jack stands doesn't mean it's a good cage. Quite honestly, I'd remove it and start over. Have a good shop design one for you instead.

 

 

 If youre worried about your seatbelts, you will need to relocate them to the pillar. harnesses are another option.

 

76+ Zs with strut tower mounted seat belts don't have the threaded nut in the C pillar like the earlier cars do, so he can't really do that. He can either work the cage design around the stock seat belts (which is what I plan to do) or ditch them and go with harnesses.

Edited by rturbo 930

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I'm not sure what you mean by the rear bars beside the shock towers. After we welded the cage in we removed the jacks and you could see that the chassis was much stiffer than before. By jacking up the rear passenger the entire side came up off the ground similar to my Z32. That never happened before. It also tells me it's a lot stiffer than before. Your opinion sounds more like speculation than fact but I'll take my experience instead.

 

The hoop is tilted back. We could have tilted it more but it was based on my seating position. Since I'm 5'5" not much room was needed. 

 

The nail polish worked perfectly for me YMMV.

 

 

If you look underneath your car you will see that the rear floor doesnt really tie into the suspension of your car or any frame rails. In fact, you could theoretically cut out your entire rear floor and probably not notice much stiffness change at all. In addition, the rear support bars need to go to a place that  can bear load. The rear shock towers are pretty much the only part of the car that can do that. The only load your rear floor bears is holding up your spare tire and groceries.

 

Speculation...  Constructive criticism on forums is what this place is all about, I'm trying to help you.

 

Here are a few examples of what your rear support bars should look like.

cage-rotc-008.jpg

 

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This one takes things a step further and ties into the rear towers as well as the rear diff mount. Pretty slick

DSCF0966.jpg

 

Here is Sung Kangs Greddy 240z, which has one of the worst cages I have seen. It looks like they welded the rear support bars to the floor, then realized it wouldnt do much to stiffen the suspension points. They then later added bars running to the shock towers which looks like an afterthought.

20-fugu-z-1.jpg

The only thing you are stiffening by tying into the rear floors is your bumper mounts. Your rear shock towers are still free to do whatever they please. Additionally its a safety concern. Like I said, you roll, the cage will punch through that thin sheetmetal floor. Also that main hoop needs to be tight!!! If you can fit 2 fingers between your main hoop and body you have some issues.

 

You can leave it, I'm not telling you to redo it. Its your car do whatever. But if I were to buy a car with a cage like that the first thing I'd be doing is cutting it out.

Nice work otherwise!

Edited by 240zdan
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Good post 240zdan, I agree that the hoop needs to fit much tighter. If your not going to replace it and do proper, then maybe at least add gussets. Really the people to talk to are those who build these for a living for pro racers or heck even call up scca or email them about it and read the rules about cages if you plan to compete in events. Even if you are not competing would be nice to still have your cage done properly. I have seen the rear bars of the cage mounted either way or having both mounted, guess just depends on the type of car the cage is being made for. Again best thing to do is talk to an expert/professional, not a diy garage guy who welded in a few cages before and assumed it was correct because the cars they welded for never got into a wreck yet. Also your jack test to see if your car was stiffer after wleding in your hoop and rear bars shouldnt be taken seriously in confirming that it made your car stiffer in a good way. I dont know much science but even i know professionals dont base their results by saying because i jacked the car and both side lifted at the same time, the cage is proper and the car is in proper balance in being stiff through out and any force applied to the chassis should be equal through out or whatever, starting to talk outside my knowledge, hehe. I just hate to see an awesome car like your z and all the good work you put into it to have to settle for a poorly made cage. None the less keep up the good work.

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I ran into ZTR at Zdayz and we talked about his swap. One of the issues he was dealing with was the amount of heat the motor put off. Since the motor was still out I decided to get the manifolds, downpipes and exhaust housing heat coated and wrapped with a metallic shielding. It was way more difficult getting the motor in than I remembered but it finally went. One of the downpipes hits the steering column so I've got to figure that out.

 

The next project is to modify the Z33 transmission which includes cutting the bellhousing and coming up with a solution for the shifter. The saga continues.

 

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Edited by Arif

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Well I think I'm averaging one post a year so here it is. First I'd like to thank those that pointed out the issues with the roll cage. When I took the car to the fabricator he mentioned the same thing and even said it was dangerous. So for those looking to follow in my footsteps don't install the cage like that.

 

Now to the fun stuff. The car spent 3 months at the fabricator getting the following items taken care of:

1. Custom intercooler mount and piping

2. Radiator mounted along with piping

3. Full exhaust off the downpipes

4. Modified the 350z bellhousing to accept the Collins Adapter, custom shifter linkeage and Datsun Roadster starter

5. Modified diff mount

6. Mounted S2000 seats

7. Complete AC system!!

 

I'll install the front airdam, driveshaft, pulleys before it heads off for tuning. It's looking like I'll be able to get it tuned in a couple months after my car fund recovers. 

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