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#41 whatnow123


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Posted 26 May 2014 - 05:49 AM

Wow, this is a cool car!!!  I like all the "fig-ur-in" you have done to make things work. I love the side mirrors and antenna, I'm probably going to steal this idea from you (much like I have with just about everything else on my car) once I'm ready for a re-paint.



Also, I'm just curious, but in AZ you can exempt your car from emissions if you carry classic car insurance (which has mileage restrictions and other primary vehicle requirement).  CO doesn't have something like that?

5.0 V8 5 speed! Yeah Baby!

#42 clocker


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Posted 26 May 2014 - 06:55 AM



CO may well have such an exemption but this is intended as a daily driven street car and we're not willing to accept restrictions on its use.

We have already brought our V-8 swapped RX-7 through the CO legalization process and it's surprisingly easy and painless, I have no fear of doing the same to the Z when the time comes, if necessary.

#43 AdreView



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Posted 26 May 2014 - 07:19 AM

This is quite entertaining...I may steal your Porsche 944 design element.

1978 2+2 under deconstruction

#44 clocker


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Posted 27 May 2014 - 06:01 AM

You guys can't "steal" that which is freely offered, so knock yourselves out.

#45 clocker


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Posted 01 June 2014 - 05:47 AM

Social obligations severely truncated our work day together but we've still managed to make a bit of (typically unphotogenic) progress.


Most boring, but still vitally important, our quest to waterproof the cabin is nearly over.

As I roam the junkyard, I constantly hoover up widgets, brackets, hardware...anything that looks interesting/potentially useful, so I have a good selection of body plugs and my oh my does the Z have a lot of holes to fill.

I think we're down to nine holes left to fill, six of which are the mounting holes for the bumper shocks in the rear.

Should be all buttoned up with one more junkyard trip, now I know specifically what I need.


After her fourth water test, the glass appears to be totally weathertight.

We're trying to be extra careful about water intrusion because we plan on extensively Dynamatting (or a similar product) the interior and leaks will be hard to see after that.

Starting with such a rust free car, we're mindful not to let her rot on our watch.


Electrical work began by laying out the main power skeleton using a GM power distribution block as the cornerstone.



From left to right, we have:

-+12v to the front relay/fuse cluster (headlights, horn, driving lights and efan)



-+12v to the cabin


This basic power structure finally made it easy to do a compression test, something we've blithely ignored as we concentrated on the body. Although we've always planned on swapping the engine, Stage 1 of the project assumed we'd be able to at least get running on the stock drivetrain as we worked through bugs in the suspension, steering and brakes.

We'd like to evaluate the basic platform before deciding how much/what kind of power to apply.

The compression was awful, three cylinders in the 45psi range.


Hoping for the best (while fearing the worst) we hail Mary-ed with everyones favorite "mechanic in a bottle", MMO.

Over the course of a week she was doused and turned over and miraculously, looks like she'll run again.

Four cylinders came up to 170psi, one is at 160 and the worst (#5) is 145psi. It looks like the treatment is working, we hope the last two cranky cylinders will continue to improve.

It should at least run, even if poorly.


The only cosmetic detail we attacked was the rear wing.

Finally gave up on fitting endcaps, it just wasn't working out, so we decided to reprofile the center section ends to make it appear finished without any more pieces.

Basically, we just rounded off the pointy corners:



A first cut with a hacksaw, followed by some power sculpting with the beltsander and it's done.

I like it.

So does Sigfrid.


Work now begins in earnest on the wiring.



#46 AdreView



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Posted 01 June 2014 - 07:07 AM

I believe the wing came out excellent, it flows nicely without the end caps.

Edited by AdreView, 01 June 2014 - 07:09 AM.

1978 2+2 under deconstruction

#47 clocker


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Posted 08 June 2014 - 06:24 AM

Well, a lot has happened.


Spent the last week or so combing the junkyard for components for the electrical system...getting wiring begun was my main focus and I was all set to start. Then things took an unexpected but long desired turn.

So, instead of boring fuse/relay assemblies, I have more fun stuff to show.


First up is one of the strangest junkyard finds I've ever seen, completely by chance and without even looking, this fell into my hands:



It was laying on the front seat of a '73 Datsun pickup truck and I thought "Cool, a Momo hub that will probably fit the Z". The rim was covered in ratty leather (remnants still visible by the bottom spoke) and I was more interested in the hub than the wheel.

Then I got it home and saw this:




A Nissan branded Momo knockoff (the bolt pattern matches) installed on a pickup truck?

That seems very weird and we've decided it will be cleaned up and used.

It's period correct after all.


Like we care.


Then, out of the blue, we got a phone call from a Craigslist seller we've trying to contact for three weeks now (why do people list stuff for sale and then never respond to inquiries?) and long story short, three hours later we had this:



The dash from a 2003 Miata (and all the associated stuff).


(it's just loosely sitting in place for these shots, bracketry will need to be made to mount it...)





This will mate to the Miata HVAC system we already have and the column switches will work with the Miata wiper motor already in place.

Obviously, there are some issues to address but so far, no apparent dealbreakers and the keystone design element for the interior is now in place.

It's almost overwhelming, the possibilities this opens up are extensive but we'll just start chipping away and tackle the install one step at a time.


I'm really excited.

#48 LanceVance


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Posted 08 June 2014 - 07:14 AM

...Cool, a Momo hub that will probably fit the Z"...

...Then I got it home and saw this...

Nice find! I believe what you've got there is the wheel and adapter out of a Nissan 720 'ST' pickup. I've been looking to pick one up for my 620, which sort of explains why you found it in one (they were a popular swap).
2011 Subaru Impreza STI Limited Sedan - Daily Driver
1973 Datsun 240z - Running tripples, getting the L28ET!
1975 Datsun 620 Pickup - Future SR20/Ratrod project

#49 hwvigo


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Posted 09 June 2014 - 08:45 AM

That Mazda dash looks so nice in there all the things you can do to these Z's blows me a way can not wait to see it all buttoned up.

Sometimes in life rolling with the punches is the only way to get through it. The same goes for us lovers of old cars. We take what comes at us and try to make the best out of it. 


#50 clocker


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Posted 13 June 2014 - 09:15 PM

Electrical has begun in earnest.


With the power grid in place, the next job was to locate and mount all the engine bay chassis electrical components.

Miata wiper motor and arms, original Z linkage:



Horns and coolant recovery tank installed:



And the most time consuming stage of all, the front relay/fuse cluster:



Up front, by the radiator bulkhead, are the fuses & relays for headlight HI/LOW, horns, driving lights, running lights and an electric fan. The fan is a future project but all the requisite wiring is in place. Parts came from Toyota, Saab and Volvo.


Right behind the strut tower is the main power block. The block is a GM truck unit and the three "main" fuses sprouting off it are Mitsubishi Eclipse parts. The main fuses protect the leg going to the front relays, the alternator and the leg feeding the cabin. The starter is unfused.


After an early morning junkyard run, I return to the car tomorrow and locate the relay cluster in the rear of the car.

Then I start wiring towards the middle.

#51 clocker


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Posted 30 June 2014 - 02:02 PM

We took a break from wiring to finish off the body.

It did not go well.


Weather forecasters had promised all week that we'd have 90° and sunny, what we got was 75° and overcast.

That was irritating ( Denver weatherpeople are notoriously crappy) but really not so bad.


What was bad was an intermittant problem with the spray process, a problem that took all day to track down.

Turned out that the pressure feed to the paint pot was randomly leaking and every once in a while the reduced amount of paint was coming out as dust.

We wasted a lot of time and material before that got figured out and were unable to get full, wet coats on any of the pieces.

Disappointing, but not fatal.


The real kick in the balls came at the end of the day.

Sigfrid had just sprayed a few mist coats on the hood (we were practically out of paint by this point) and it was standing upright, drying. Suddenly, completely out of the blue, big gusts of wind blew up and yeah...blew the hood over.

Onto the fresh paint, of course.

And onto the air compressor.

Which caused some denting.


Because of the matte black paint and the mottled finish, it's hard to tell how bad the denting is.

We'll have to strip it back to bare metal and see.


The next day we decided to mount the semi-finished panels and finish paint them in situ later, pretty easy with Plastidip.

After Sigfrid recovers from the shock and depression, he can pull the hood back off and work it separately. I think he's quite good at shadetree bodywork and feel confident he can save it.

Or we get another hood.






Despite the sub-par finish, I am still overjoyed to see the body in one piece again.

It's the first time since last June that she's been "complete" and looking like a car.

We were finally able to mount the front air dam, which has been sitting in the attic for months:




With the main pieces in place, we can now start figuring out what the front end will look like.


While Sigfrid struggled with paint, I was beavering away on the Miata dash install and am happy to report that it's nearly finished.

Installing the dash itself was relatively simple because it fits so well out of the box, the tricky part was the HVAC.

We're using the Miata HVAC unit complete, the Z stuff is totally deleted.

The main/center box (which holds the heater core) has to line up and meet the ducting plenum of the dash and this interface required jiggling both the dash and the box to get close. It's now within @ 3/4" and a thicker foam gasket will bridge the gap.


With the center box in place, the rest fell into place rather easily.

Here is the main box and AC section bolted into place:



Of course, the blower assembly is no where near the original fresh air intake, so that hole has been blocked off and we're pulling fresh air from the passenger side air vent.

That's the plan, at least.

The blower is apart for clean up, refoaming and the modifications necessary for this intake change...it'll be interesting to see how it turns out. It involves an ABS plumbing fitting from Home Depot and that's always a good sign.


Because the dash and the HVAC are from the same car, the harness that came with the dash is plug-n-play...all we need is a 12v feed and a ground and the heater is fully functional.

I found column switchgear from a Toyota I like better than the Miata unit and it's clamshell trim actually fits our install better than the Miata's did.

We'll be using the electronic turn signal/hazard flasher from the Miata (and almost every other Mazda, in fact) and the rear defrost timer/relay from a Honda.


Sigfrid and family go camping over the long 4th weekend but I'll be spending as much time as possible on the car.

#52 clocker


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Posted 07 July 2014 - 03:41 PM


Sigfrid and family go camping over the long 4th weekend but I'll be spending as much time as possible on the car.

That "as much time as possible" ended up being about 35 hours, which I figger puts me about 60% finished with the chassis harness.

Maybe further, I think the hardest part- siting all the components-is over and now I'm just stringing wire.

There isn't a single Z electrical component left- in fact, only the alternator came from Nissan, most of the rest is Mazda and Toyota.

Even the tail light bulbs sockets are new, from a Subaru.

( I reconfigured the bulbs a bit...the two top bulbs are now both dual filament and act as running and brake lights.

Reverse and turn stay single filament.)


It's a somewhat odd, decentralized system and I kinda just made it up as I went along, but it's turning out quite nicely, I think.

It might even work.


I started at the ends of the car and worked to the center and the primary control spot- the steering column.

Locating the components took quite a bit of time as I wanted OEM style mounting, logical orientation for wiring and easy access...all crammed under/around a non-stock dash and HVAC system.

It finally came together:



Shot from the driver seat, in the foreground the Toyota column switchgear is just visible.

Up at the firewall, from left to right:


-the square grey box is a Mazda (and Honda, apparently) electronic turn/hazard flasher


-the double Volvo relay (which they use as a two speed fan control) is the "main/starter cut" relay.


-to the right of the heater box, sitting sideways, is a 40a Volvo relay, here used for the starter


-below the Volvo relay are two small (20a) Toyota relays, one for the wipers, the other for panel lighting


--furthest right is a VW/Audi power distribution block with five fusible links and three blade fuses, the main cabin fuse panel.


Normally, the fuse panel would appear to be in an impossible location, but:



Pop the airbag cover and there it is!

Pretty bloody convenient and a damn sight nicer than rooting around in the footwell.


Most of the main wiring runs are in place but final connecting awaits my last minute "bullshit details" check list.

Little stuff like pigtails for turn signal/high beam indicator lamps and washer pump, etc.


Two days or so and she'll have 12v running through her veins again.


Compared to the chassis harness, the engine control should be a piece of cake.


Assuming it all works (HA!).


We'll drive her around the neighborhood a bit, just to make sure it doesn't burn to the ground, then the harness is removed for final looming. While it's out we'll install the dynamat (or whatever) and the interior can start to go back in.

At this point we have no seats, the doorpanels will look awful with the new dash and we don't know what we'll do with the rear floor.


Piddly stuff.

#53 clocker


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Posted 15 July 2014 - 07:55 AM

Well, tomorrow I move over to Sigfrid's to housesit for (yet another) vacation.

During the five days I hope to finish off the electrical completely.


We spent our last work day reengineering the HVAC system install.

Although we had previously "mounted" all three components, we had never dealt with the fresh air intake for the blower motor and that little detail needed to be addressed. We figured we had two options- we could build a plenum to funnel from the original  intake in the wiper cavity over to the blower housing or we could pull from the passenger air vent  on the a-pillar area.


We chose the second path and it seems to have worked out well.

I'll get some pics after the unit(s) are reassembled and ready to go back in.

Making this intake line up properly required basically redoing the whole mounting arrangement and as is typical with us, the second attempt was far superior to the first.

Everything is mounted on rubber isolators and the whole thing is very secure...dare I say "OEM"?


I dug around the attic and found the headlight buckets, which needed a lot of clean up and all new hardware to be useable.

They're now ready for the lamps we bought which incorporate the running/turn signal lights inside the 7" housing, so we'll not need any further lighting up front. This will free up a lot of space in the nose of the car...not sure what we'll do with it yet but it's nice to have options.


I wire brushed, greased and installed new bulbs in the rear harness, everything functions and looks good.

When I resocketed the bulb harness I doubled up on the dual filament bulbs, the two top bulbs are both now running and brake lights.

I haven't seen the result in the dark yet but I'm hoping for good visibility for our small black car.


I've also combed the junkyard for the little nit-picky bits to finish her off.

Stuff like a nice rubber boot for the alternator cable (Subaru), the adjustable hood leveling rubbers (Mercedes!) and things like that.

I also scored a set of rubber door rub trim from a 1st gen RX7 that I hope can be used in the bumper recess between the airdam and the sugarscoops...this was just a wild guess but is a place to start at least.

We haven't really started on the nose of the car yet, not sure what that will turn out to be.


She could be ready to run in a few short weeks.


Not that I haven't thought that before...

#54 clocker


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Posted 27 July 2014 - 04:33 AM

A milestone, perfectly encapsulated in a pic:
It's been nearly a year but the spark plug wires are finally terminated.
Somehow, during the interval we lost the coil boot but the rest is all done.
Small potatoes admittedly, but we're taking our victories where we find 'em these days.
We made progress on the chassis harness but it's still not finished.
Surprisingly, so far I've only made one (easily rectifiable) mistake...I crossed the turn signals in the rear harness.
The turn signals were a story in themselves, when first powered up you could hear the unit tick-tocking away but no lights were flashing.
This lead to an hour or so of ripping apart and verifying the harness (which was fine) until I realized the HAZARD power feed was not connected (the system is fed by two fuses, one to the switch itself and the second to the flasher box) and when hooked up, it worked.
But it blinks too fast, undoubtedly due to the LED front bulbs.
In HAZARD mode it blinks normally, so it likes the extra draw and I'll just convert the rear bulbs/sockets to dual filament units which should slow it down.
Sigfrid stripped the Miata dash harness of the heater controls, radio connections and cigarette lighter (or "Power Port" for you millenials) and those have been integrated into our firewall harness. Our dash will have no harness of it's own, making removal that much easier.
The only two items left to sort are the regulated dash lighting (which I've ignored completely till now) and the bloody ******* wipers, which are driving me to distraction.
The wipers should be the simplest of all circuits, yet we cannot get them to work.
I have the switch, motor and pigtails all from the same donor 2002 Protege.
The wire number/colors are all consistent with the schematic I have...it should be nearly plug-n-play, yet it is all screwed up.
I've run myself ragged trying to figure it out and finally dumped it off on Sigfrid, hoping that fresh eyes will spot my mistake.
Of course, being junkyard parts it's entirely possible that one or both of the components could be bad but I think that's highly unlikely.
We'll see.
Anyway, excepting the wipers, the chassis harness is basically finished.
Monday I go back and do some detail work and harness wrapping, just neaten things up a bit.
Then I move on to the engine harness.
I'm hoping that will be more straightforward but expecting it won't.

#55 clocker


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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:52 PM

I finally have wipers.


Fearing that the Protege switch and/or motor might be bad, I went back to the yard for replacements.

Unfortunately, I'd already gotten the good examples and didn't want the cracked/faded/gouged ones that were left but discovered that the 1999 Lexus ES300 uses "deluxe" versions of the same switch. We gained adjustable INT and a fog light switch on the light stalk.

The wiper motor is perfect, very low profile with a nicely oriented plug, it even bolted into the stock holes on the mounting plate.

And it all works.


I have mastered the second simplest circuit in the whole car, where's my gold star?


I'll have the chassis harness all finished this weekend (assuming I don't burn the car down...) and can begin on the engine control.


The gauge situation has become more difficult as Sigfrid bought the cluster from a NC Miata. We'd put one in our swapped FD and he really liked them and while I like them too, they don't work too well with the current setup.

Only the oil pressure and water temp will function (after getting the correct sensors). the speedo, tach and fuel level will not.

No idea yet how we'll overcome that.


I've been light with pics because wiring in situ as I've been doing is messy and chaotic (at least the way I do it, it is...) and I'm loathe to immortalize myself as a total pigpen, so I'm waiting till things are more buttoned down to document it.

I want it to look effortless and easy, even though we all know it's not.

#56 Josh280z


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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:39 AM

That is exactly why I don't take pictures of my wiring!
Posted Image

#57 clocker


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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:44 PM

Hmmm, seems like the forum outage ate my last post.

Damn, it was a masterpiece.


Stage One of the chassis harness is done:





Everything is in place, connected and working.

Stage 2 happens when the whole harness is removed for Dynamat install, during which I'll neaten up and wrap it.


I ended up using the column switchset and wiper motor from a Lexus ES300.

This gave us adjustable INT interval and a FOG switch on the light/TS stalk.

The motor is almost a bolt on in the Z and is very low profile with great connector orientation.


Also note the fully installed Mazda HVAC system (well, not the heater core but all this comes out for Dynamat too and that'll go in then). Relatively straightforward install, the biggest mod was adapting the Mazda blower enclosure to pull fresh air from the passenger side fresh air vent, since it was nowhere near the Datsun intake port.

The fan puts out a goodly amount of CFM, probably more than we'll ever need.


The safest place to store the dash is in the car, so it's loosely in position here:





Mentally wrung out by the electrical, I chilled out by cleaning up the interior (which has been a storage shed for months) and giving her a bath. It's impressive how dirty a car can get just queening away in the garage.

I also began fitting the Accord rocker trim, a job that Sigfrid is better suited to finish:





The integrated headlight/running and turn signal assembly sure made wiring the front lights easy:



And, because we have dealt with the lights already, the giant brackets for the stock run/TS lamps can now be cut away, freeing up a bunch of space in the nose. Then we need to adapt struts to the hood so the hinge torsion bars can go away and we'll finally have a nice unobstructed space for radiator ducting, airbox and driving lamps.


Tomorrow we attack some of these "mechanical" issues as I take a break from wiring for a bit.

#58 clocker


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Posted 10 August 2014 - 03:26 AM

"Attack" we did.



And there's an arty cinema verite pic to prove it.

Sigfrid spent an hour or so carving away with a disc grinder to remove as much of the bracketry as possible...there was blood involved, so I knew he was serious.


With the path cleared, we moved on to mounting the driving lights, a key design element in the new front nose:



Then the hood was peeled and the damage from the fall assessed and addressed:



It wasn't all that bad but impossible to really see with the satin dip, so stripping was necessary.

We already have the material and plan a total respray in September.


Meanwhile, we removed the front suspension and cut a coil from the springs to finally get her nose out of the air.

Stance is much improved, no telling about the ride quality.


Also. we heated and reformed the shift lever, necessary to clear the Miata dash and bring the knob into a reasonably ergonomic position.

The car had come with a loosely installed short shift kit (I assume from Motorsports) and I finally took a look to see what was going on. The hardware clamping the "extension ears" is some oddball Tri-Wing aerospace panel fastener and I guess they lost the install tool (if the kit includes one) and were unable to clamp the hardware down.

As I await new bushings (ETA: Wednesday), I'll have to figure that issue out.


Today I'll attend to some more minor mechanical stuff (mostly, reshaping/shortening the Miata wiper arms) before diving back into electrical next week.





#59 MunkEÂ¥ Z

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 09:54 AM

Clocker, any chance you can better discribe how you got the mirrors to fit? That is about as far as I've gotten in the build and so far things look good, AWSOME actually. I like the idea of the triangle/window mounted mirror but haven't thought it was possible. Thanks in advance.

#60 clocker


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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:47 AM

The secret is cheap mirrors...really cheap mirrors.

Ours came from eBay, $25 (shipped!), "Spoon style" for a Honda Civic.


Unlike cars that actually come with window mount mirrors, our glass has to roll up behind the mirror, so we can't have any protruding adjusting levers or electrical harnesses. The really cheap mirrors have neither, the glass is adjusted by pushing on it, which is admittedly inconvenient but a necessary sacrifice for style.


These mirrors came with a molded plastic triangle (to fit the Civic window frame, presumably) through which three screws attach the mirror housing. Unscrew and discard the triangle and you have the housing alone, which is what you want.


I use a lot of ABS sheetstock and for the mirror mounts I turned to some 3/16" scrap that was leftover from something else.

Could have used 1/8" or even aluminum plate instead, whatever you're comfortable working with.


Our newly dismounted housing had a slight arc to it's mounting edge, a few minutes with a beltsander had it laying flat on the new ABS mount plate. (We later sanded the "flat" edge with more of an angle to lay the mirrors back a bit).


We then cut and fit the mounting triangle.

It simply lays on the outside of the upper window frame and on the outside of the bottom window trim flange.

The plate was "glued on" with GOOP (another favorite product) but 3M mounting tape would work as well.


In essence, that's it, the construction details are dead simple.

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