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'73 G-Nose 5.3/T-56 Work In Progress

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UPDATE Sept. 6, 2016 - Current state (see post #10 for full update):

 

Finally on the ground with the drivetrain installed!  She's getting close now...

 

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Original post May 8 2014:

 

Hey guys, new member here and thought I would post my progress thus far.

 

I bought my 240z as a roller that previously had a SBC (supposedly), rear-end and brake upgrades, etc... on January 1, 2014.  I had started feeling like I wanted a project car in my life, and was growing bored with my '04 GTO.  So, when I saw this car on Craigslist it was love at first sight.  I immediately sold the GTO and picked this up:

 

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The G Nose conversion looks pretty nice, it all fits really well and looks good in my opinion, though I prefer the look of a standard nose.  The hood is fiberglass and currently doesn't have any hinges.  I plan to pin it at the front and rear with aero latches.  G Nose hood hinges bring some bucks!  The bumpers, door handles and other items have been shaved off the body.  Pretty bummed about that.  I'm not a big fan of electric door poppers.

 

This is what the engine bay looked like when I bought it.  The builder had attempted a smooth firewall I guess, and much decluttering was necessary.  I've since pulled a lot of crap out of here and painted the engine bay black.  Check out the motor mount/crossmember.  When we finally sat the LS in place with SBC->LS adapter plates, the engine say way too low and too close to the firewall.  There would be no way in hell the crank pulley would bolt up, with the steering rack in the way.  I don't know how a SBC would fit in this location, either.

 

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Rear hatch area.  The spare tire well has been deleted and the fuel tank repositioned.  I've taken the fuel tank out and have a Summit Racing 16gal plastic fuel cell to go in its place.  The fuel door was shaved off the body and relocated to behind the license plate, but I plan to just fuel it from inside the hatch and have a piece of carpet or something cover up the holes for the sending unit and fuel door built into the top of the cell.   

 

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The battery "box" has already been thrown away.  I'm going to hide a compact Braille battery in one of the compartments behind the seats.  Notice the weird mechanisms and lack of hatch struts.  The builder had come up with these electric hatch motors.  That crap is being taken out and regular old hatch struts re-installed.  Unfortunately, the key hole/button and latch have been shaved from the hatch.  I may buy a fiberglass hatch to replace mine instead of fixing it, and just pin it to the body. 

 

I guess this was a show/custom build originally.  There are a lot of silly show car touches, like these Dakota digital gauges that I will not be re-using.  I have 5" Autometer Sport-Comp gauges to go in their place.  I've already installed a MOMO hub adapter, and my all time favorite wheel, the Momo Monte Carlo.  The center console is all custom, unfortunately.  I plan to rip that out and have not yet decided if I want to find OEM trim, console, and HVAC controls.  The car still has heat controls, it will probably just wind up with an aluminum or carbon fiber plate in the dash and no center console. 

 

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The door panels, dash, seats, carpet, headliner, etc.. are all pretty decent aside from a few custom touches I don't like.  There are no fewer than EIGHT dome lights in this car.  They're all over the place.  Steering column, door panels, under the dash, trans tunnel, roof, etc... Eight.  Maybe nine, I forget honestly.  The custom center console has to go....

 

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The car did not come with tail-lights, so I bought a set of clean 260z tails from ebay and plan to do a bit of cutting and fitting these up (9/6/16 SOLD, using 240z taillights):

 

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For wheels and tires I am running 15x8 et-13 Basset Racing Inertia Light steel wheels, and 225/50, 235/50 Toyo R888 tires.

 

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I will definitely be running flares.  I could probably get away with not running flares if I get coilovers/camber plates and can adjust camber.

 

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I can't wait to see it at ride height. 

 

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From the paperwork I have and what I can tell, it seems like the car was restored in the early 2000's and was last on the road in 2008.  The guy I bought the car from claimed that when running it had an SBC and t56, but from the location of the motor mounts I highly doubt it.  Maybe 4.3L v6? Unfortunately, the guy who built the car, strangely, was murdered last year so no hopes in getting much info on the build.  The body has very trivial rust.  I believe the floor pans have been replaced and the trans tunnel has been modified quite a bit.  The frame rails have been strengthened, R200 CLSD rear diff, Toyota S12+8 front brakes with SS lines, 240sx rear brakes, drilled rotors, ST sway bars, and unknown "upgraded" suspension.  The springs are orange and it appears that the car will sit about 1" lower than stock. 

 

These are pictures I got from the seller of when it last had a motor in it:

 

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So, what are my plans overall?  I ultimately want a reliable, durable, fun to drive street car that I can autocross or take to the drag strip from time to time.  I'm not a drag racer, but all of my buddies are.  My first end-goal is to get the car running and driving this summer and work out as many bugs as I can.  I'll be taking the car on Hot Rod Drag Week in September (I've gone the last two years in my GTO) and its a fun road-trip event with a lot of amazing cars.  So... it needs to be sorted by then.

 

The engine I bought for $500 with 90k miles, out of a 2001 Tahoe or Suburban.  For that money I got the wiring harness, manifolds, an engine stand and some pretty horrid green paint. It also has a brand new timing chain and Melling high volume oil pump installed.  New intake, valve cover, and oil pan gaskets came with it.  I've got a car intake to go on it, and a set of used heads from a buddy's 5.3 that had mild port work and higher lift valve springs installed.  I'll also be putting in a mild cam.  Eventually I would like to swap this out for an aluminum-block motor.

 

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The trans is an RPM Transmissions level 4 T-56 with an LS7 clutch.  It has an F-body Hurst shifter.

 

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Making my own motor and trans mounts with a help of a friend (I'm not too handy with a welder myself).

Edited by Domesticated

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I've actually considered it!  I have a buddy that has run ECTA at Maxton and the Ohio Mile and I think it would be pretty fun to try.  But, those type events are pretty slow paced and you're lucky if you get 1-2 runs a day.  With all the licensing up to higher speeds and whatnot its more hassle than its worth for me at the moment.  I don't really want a full-on race car.  I don't want to climb over door bars or hit my head on a halo every time I climb in... at most it will probably get a simple 4-point roll bar and Kirkey drivers seat with a harness.  Removable and interchangeable with a stock seat, of course. 

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A few updates!  I had to move the car into a friends shop as I lost the workspace at my house (roommate's shop space) and also changed jobs in July, so progress has been slower than I had hoped.  But several big hurdles have been cleared.  Namly, the CX Racing motor mounts will not work with JTR headers, at least the passenger side.  My driver side mount wouldn't work either because my steering shaft had been moved by a previous owner.  So, I sold that kit and my fabrication buddy whipped up a set of motor mounts for me.  I don't have any pics of these yet, when the motor comes back out for the final time I'll take a few.  It was too dark in the engine bay for any pictures to come out clearly. 

 

Here's the motor/trans in their final position.  Motor and trans mounts are done!

 

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You'll also see my eBay special $140 radiator.  It's pretty nice looking considering the price.  I had ordered a Mishimoto but they were on backorder and I am impatient...

 

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Original crossmember painted and installed.  Steering rack rebuilt and installed:

 

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The trans mount is made up of 3 pieces, with two braces running the full width of the car welded inside the body and running out the trans tunnel, the center piece is removable and locks into the two outer pieces and bolts in.  It was made this way so as to not anchor the transmission to the weaker floorboard, and provide some extra rigidity by tieing the frame rails together.  Still needs work to look finished.

 

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As you can see from the seat mounts, this will be obstructed from view mostly by the front edge of the seat, but also painted and covered by the carpet.  The floorboards were in a little rougher shape than I was hoping, but not bad compared to what a lot of people have to go through.  The carpet held moisture and lead to some rust.  This will all be fixed and cleaned up. 

 

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This is what I found when I first pulled the carpet up.  This fuzzy insulation crap was stuck to the majority of the floor, tunnel, rear fender wells, etc... and had to be scraped out. 

 

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Also started cutting out the 'custom' metal center console that was welded to the trans tunnel.

 

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I cleaned up the wiring/mess that was in the rear hatch.  Also have cut holes, mounted, and made an access box for the fuel cell but forgot to get pictures of that stuff.

 

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With the dash out trying to sort through some of the under-dash rats nest of wires, I thought I would drop my gauges down in and see what they look like.

 

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And, I threw the shifter on and set the driver seat in place to check where the shifter wound up. Its spot on! 

 

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Edited by Domesticated

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This post never saw much action when I first made it, but hopefully someone out there will appreciate me updating it, ha!

 

Its been a long time coming, and I can't believe its been 2 years since I posted an update.  This project stalled out a few times and I struggled with a lack of ambition through most of 2015.  My dad fought cancer and I ultimately lost him last year, so my car was on the back burner for quite some time.  It has really taken me a lot longer than I thought it would, and several times I almost gave up and sold the car.  Around January or February, a friend of mine started motivating me to get back on it and get it done this year.

 

So, 2016 has been a much more ambitious year and I've gotten a lot of work done in my free time.  The engine, transmission, driveshaft, cooling system, fuel cell, fuel pump, are mounted.  Wiring and finalizing the fuel system are the current projects.  I just got an engine harness and started wiring this week.

 

This is how the car currently sits (way too high). It was on jackstands for about a year and a half, and finally sat on the ground with the engine and transmission in place for the first time.  I was a bit disappointed that it didn't settle more, but the suspension feels very stiff.  I can hardly move it by pushing down on it.

 

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I completely re-did the firewall and engine bay and put a semi-professional finish on it.  That body work has been the most time consuming part of the whole build.  You can see the firewall and strut towers look much better than they did before.  We did a lot of work cleaning up the area in front of the radiator support as well (will post better pictures later)  I should also note that I changed my intake setup.  I ditched the LS1 intake and throttle body for an LS2 intake manifold from an 06 GTO.  Since LS2's have 4-bolt throttle bodies and drive by wire, my options were somewhat limited.  I scored a 90mm Edelbrock cable-driven throttle body with the correct bolt pattern.  I am also using the LS2 fuel rails and injectors.

 

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This is my simple accessory drive setup.  I am not running power steering or AC, so I just needed an alternator.  The water pump is an LS3 Camaro pump, and the accessory brackets are 2 kits from ICT Billet.  They're really nice/simple parts that were fairly cheap and work well.  The passenger side alternator mount is adjustable and designed specifically for Truck/LS3 depth, and the driver side tensioner mount uses a 98-02 Camaro stock tensioner (at truck/LS3 depth).  It really doesn't get much more simple!   I intend to replace the balancer with a fresh one on before the engine runs, this one is pretty ugly and needs to be replaced.

 

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Made a radiator fan shroud with flaps for better air flow at cruising speed.  I'm hoping a single 12" SPAL fan will be enough to cool it.

 

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More parts from ICT Billet, these coil brackets are cheap and look pretty cool.  Using the stock truck coils that came with my engine. The MSD plug wires look like garbage and are too long.  I will probably replace these before long, at least 2 are touching the headers and won't last long.  Speaking of headers, I had them ceramic coated black by Calico coatings.

 

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In this pic you can see the Trick Flow steam vent port kit that converts it to AN line.  I am venting both the front and rear of the heads and have a line running to the radiator.

 

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I got really lucky and found some radiator hoses at the local auto parts store. They just needed a small amount of trimming to work perfectly with my radiator inlet and outlet.

 

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I bought an engine harness from Wiring Specialties (I just received it today in fact).  This thing is super nice!  Everything is labeled, and they made a few changes for my specific build (the MAP sensor and alternator wires needed to be lengthened).  Everything plugged right in and was just the right length.  I couldn't be happier with this engine harness.    I still need to cut a hole in the firewall and mount the ECM and fuse box inside the car, and tidy up all the other wiring.

 

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I also bought a fiberglass hatch from ZCCJDM with molded spoiler.  This was a prototype and the first one he made as a "bolt-on" piece with an inner panel.  It needs some work to be perfect, and I need to cut a lexan window and mount in it, but I'm glad someone is finally making hatches... I've been looking for one since I bought my car almost 3 years ago.

 

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Other misc. stuff:

 

Driveshaft Shop aluminum driveshaft

 

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In a previous post I mentioned that I had a set of 260z tail lights I was going to use.  I started to feel like I was doing the car a disservice by running later tail lights, so I sold them and bought a set of 240z assemblies.  They look pretty rough but will clean up nicely.  I have already repainted and straightened up the trim panels.  I disassembled and thoroughly cleaned the light assemblies, they were filthy.  I still need to polish the plastics and get new chrome inserts for the lenses:

 

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JUNK! Its amazing how much worse condition the driver side tail light pieces were compared to the passenger side.  Over the years the exhaust really took its toll I guess...

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There is a lot left to do, but the list is getting shorter.  Here is what I can think of off the top of my head:

-Finish wiring: All body functions, gauges, route engine wiring loom through firewall, mount ECU and fuse box

-Finish fuel system: mount fuel pressure regulator, assemble AN lines, route fuel line to front of car and mount it, build return line from FPR to tank

-Build the exhaust system: I have compact Spintech mufflers, high-flow universal cats (to keep the raspy-ness in check) and will be doing full 3" dual with an x-pipe

-Finish hood hinge (half done at this point) and mount Aerocatch latches

-Finish and mount fiberglass rear hatch and attach Aerocatch latches, cut and mount rear window

-Finish mounting the battery box and run battery cables to front

-Patch a few small holes in the floor and paint/seal floor

-Bleed brake and clutch systems

-Finalize air intake elbow, mount IAT sensor and nipple for crank-case vent

-Mount catch can/driver side PCV line

-Attach tail light assemblies (still need to figure out hardware and finalize fitment of the trim panels)

 

Some other things that I want to do before I consider the car 'done'

-I don't expect the u-joint axles to last any amount of time once the car is on the road.  I need to decide what route to go (it seems several options fell off the market? What CVs should I go with for an R200 CLSD? Wolf Creek?)

-Coil-over suspension w/camber plates & get ride height set(probably BC Racing kit)

-Mount fender flares

-Build a functional front splitter with heim joint braces

-Carpet & center console

-Paint and body work (big step, probably in 2017 after the car runs and gets sorted mechanically)

Edited by Domesticated

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I'm all over this! Great work. I just won a model A off eBay, so our shops are even more similar. I will want to copy your accessory setup when I build a turbo motor. Thanks for such a great post!!

 

Thanks! The old Ford was a car my friend was working on (where I store my car).  I had never really looked at one close enough to notice how the fuel system, carb, and ignition system work on those things... they're crazy simple/ingenious.  And I thought my air-cooled VW was simple.

 

I see from your sig you run the Chequered Flag CVs.  Would you recommend those over the Wolf Creek?

Edited by Domesticated

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RebekahsZ    106

I don't run Cheauered Flag (CF) CVs. I run Z31 CVs with CF adapters and stubs. If CF winds up making the chrome moly kit with 930 CVs I might buy some. But, 930 CVs are a little harder to work with than the Nissan CV system. I don't like Wolf Creek CVs because you can't inspect your fasteners.

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Small update, had to relocate the car again, but now is much closer to home - about 5 minutes from my house, so progress will hopefully go even quicker now. 

 

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I'm working on finishing up the floors, patching a few small holes and coating.  Will have some sound control mat this week and put down after treating the floorboards, then I can start on sorting out the wiring mess.  In the mean time, I tinkered with my tail lights and made use of some aluminum strip as a homemade trim piece.  I think these turned out pretty well:

 

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I just couldn't bring myself to spend $150+ on reproduction chrome pieces, and I think these look pretty cool.  Still need to polish the lenses, and may tint them slightly as well.  Can't decide if I want to polish or paint the aluminum strip.

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I've been making a LOT of progress lately!  The floors are done; holes patched, a few suspect-looking spots shot in rust-reformer, and the whole thing coated in truck bed-liner. Now, I'm finishing up laying sound control mat. 

 

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Maybe a controversial change- I decided that I didn't want to have to open the hatch to access the fuel cell and fill the car up, so I made a fuel neck and put a gas cap outside the car.  I hated to cut a hole in the quarter panel but I didn't have many options since the factory fuel door was shaved years ago.  I thought about putting it back in the same spot as factory, but this sort of cool IMO.  I drilled a hole in the body behind the Z badge and ran my vent line out there to hide it lol (seems no one makes a vented flush-mount gas cap for hot rods... that I could find anyway)

 

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Also started wiring and I'm getting close to test-firing the car for the first time.  The ECM is mounted and engine harness ran thru firewall.  Battery cables have been ran, starter and alternator wiring done.  I also bought a universal body harness/fuse panel to control the accessories and have begun running those wires.  The only thing preventing me from starting the car is the fuel pump wiring (I haven't run any wires to the rear of the car yet) and I want to have the dash back in and gauges functioning before I try to start it.  I will be working on the wiring all weekend and I hope to have the dash and gauges in by Sunday evening.

 

Excuse the temporary mess. 

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Awesome. I am following your build closely as I am just beginning an L33 swap on my 73 240. Im curious to see what kind of power you make when you get it tuned. What cam did you go with? I cannot see the video you posted above bc I am at work.

 

The cam and valve springs were hand-me-down parts from a buddy's engine.  At this point I wish I had bought a new cam but I kept the budget small since I plan to (hopefully) build an LS3 for it one day. Actually I want to do a short stroke LS3 with a 4.8 crank, and a cam to move the power band north and kill some low end torque... maybe even try to spin it to 7500-8000.  And the big part is a set of Jenevy individual runner throttle bodies.  More as a show piece than to build power, but they will look and sound cool, and throttle response would be ridiculous.

 

Anyway, the cam is an Edelbrock. I took a pic of the grind numbers when I installed it, but my phone died at one point and I lost all my pics, so I don't exactly remember.  its one of the first four from this list, and I think its  #2216:  http://www.edelbrock.com/automotive/mc/camshafts/chevy-ls.shtml

 

I will be pretty happy if it makes 350 whp with this setup.  I don't know what to expect with the headers, and the cam being a bit of an unknown variable, but anything over 350 is a bonus in my eyes.

Edited by Domesticated

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I drove the car around the block this weekend, brakes and clutch working well.  Need to make a pedal stop for the clutch, it travels too far for the master cyl.  I hope to get it down to my buddy's shop to get the exhaust done in the next week or two.  She runs pretty good on the base tune once the computer started adjusting the fuel trims, can't wait to have it on the road and drive it properly.

 

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