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JavelinZ

Sakura Garage / Stance Coilover Install

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I finally got around to installing my Sakura Garage / Stance Coilovers in November of last year. The car is a 77 280Z w/ 5 speed. I have been daily driving this car since 2008 and I have put 65000 miles on the chassis in the last 6 years. Most all of those miles were on a poly bushing kit, stock springs, cheap replacement kyb struts, and stock brakes. The only real upgrades to the car have been an o-ring fuel rail with 22RE injectors swapped in, and some custom captive engine mounts built by myself and another engineer friend utilizing the mustache bar bushings. Other than those two items the car was in its stock form up until this swap. I was also running 14X6 turbine wheels w/ 195/70-14 Yokohama Avid S Touring Tires.

 

 

I did this swap almost entirely by myself over a four day period.

Tools I used:

Miller 180 Mig welder (Autoset) w/ Argon CO2 mix and solid wire.

4.5" Angle Grinder with a cutoff wheel and a 120 grit flapper disc

An edge deburring tool

SawZall with Milwaukee Torch blades

Saber Saw (for cutting out the towers, not my first choice but it is what I had at the time.)

Hand Drill

Center Punch

Angle Finder

 

I have a couple thousand miles on this kit now and I am extremely happy with it. 6k front / 7k Rear on 16X8 Rota Grids (5mm spacer in front) w/ 225/50-16 Hankook RS3 tires all the way around. This is a phenomenal R-comp tire. Very happy with the grip. I also swapped to a set of Vented 300ZX rotors and S13W calipers off a 95 4Runner. This is the caliper that other suggest be avoided. Pedal is a bit soft w/ all the vac assist from the motor but I can maintain stock travel and feel if I give the brakes a "confidence pump" when slowing/stopping. I am running Porterfield R4S pads and shoes all the way around. Good pad but very dusty, I will be looking for a new compound to run in the front due to the dust.  The vented rotor spacer is one of my own design. I forgot to take pics of them.

 

Disassemble the front end

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I ground the nub off first (Cover your engine bay/windshield) so you don't spray sparks and grit on them)

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I used the old isolator and bolted the drill template from Sakura Garage in place to hold the pattern in place while I center punched the drill locations.

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I used a small bit (1/8" or slightly smaller) to drill a pilot hole for the 1/4" bit I used for the final hole size.

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I laid the vanity plate over the holes I drilled and traced the slots onto the strut tower with a sharpie and started cutting with the cutoff wheel and the saber saw. I used some blue tape to help keep the saber saw from beating the paint on my towers. If you let it bounce it will hammer your paint.

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Struts

 

Marked a reference location on the ground to measure my strut tube angles (oriented like caster and camber) before welding and after.

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After scribing a line a 1/4" above the spindle casting, I cut off the strut tubes with the cutoff wheel and hack saw just above the scribed cut line. I then used the flapper disc to smooth the cut down to the line and hit the edges with the deburring tool.

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I only had to relieve the adapter tube slightly to fit it around the bump on the spindle.

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I then tacked the 6" tube on to the spindle and checked the angles were the same as the stock tube. Once I had everything where I wanted it I did three caterpillar welds to fuse everything together. I am a welding newb, but I was satisfied and confident with my results, the miller makes it pretty easy.

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All finished inside

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On the car

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I countersunk my plates for M5 Flat Heads since I have access to a mill.

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Rear Struts

 

The rear is kind of a repeat of the front so I will mostly just post the pics for this section. The rear isn't as well documented as I was running out of time to finish since I had to drive this to work on Monday and I was feeling pretty beat. These are the 9" rear tubes for the 280Z. I cut the strut tubes off 3/4" above the casting since the rear on a 280 is taller and the front strut will bottom out before the rear ever will.

 

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I pie sliced and beat down the nub to fit the template the same as I did the front. You could probably do this up front as well. Less mess I think.

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I have a taste for flashy zazzed things.

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I am really happy with how this design turned out and glad I was able to work with Sakura Garage to put it together. If you are looking to do coilovers, I highly recommend this kit. I really do love it, the car has an enjoyable performance ride and the handling is superb. I'm looking forward to taking it on the track next weekend. I will get some after shots of the car put up soon.

 

Thanks for reading

Edited by JavelinZ

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You work FAST! Great job! My coilovers are done with the old-school method of sectioning the strut and I have bolt in camber plates. A couple of suggestions? Get some paint on them quickly and check your front toe-in before you put too many miles on it or you will ruin your tires. Take a tire off a rear wheel and put a jack under the control arm and see how much bump travel you have before you put too many miles on it. Your car is really clean and bottoming out suspension travel will jack-hammer the car to pieces. You probably already have done these things. A camber gauge and toe plates are great tools to have. To me, the first and best mod to do on a Z is a coilover kit. It really makes the car. I'm proud that you didn't go crazy slamming it.

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Well, I had to work fast. I wouldn't choose to do it like that again if I could. I was hurting after it was all said and done. Yeah they already have some rust on them, nothing a wire wheel and DA can't take care of though. They're getting painted in a week or two. Yeah, I already know about the bottoming out and scraping, it will scrape on speed bumps if I'm a bit too eager in some parking lots. It has plenty of bump travel. The ride height adjustment is independent of the damper stroke. That's the one compromise that always kept me from doing the sectioning thing. I didn't want to lose travel because the car was lower.

 

I already have a camber/caster gauge, looking at getting a toe gauge and maybe some turn plates.

 

I'm not into the slammed thing, makes the car pretty worthless.

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Amazing!

 

 

Thanks for the photos, this is awesome help!

Pie cutting the rear nub to hammer it down is a great idea!

 

 

My Sakura/Stance set up has been sitting in boxes in my garage sine June.  I am an ass.  working on having it all done. 

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Thanks for this. Just about to have a shop cut/weld my coilovers so this helps when giving them directions.

 

@JavelinZ if you are still on here, I have a question.

 

Your front you cut about 1/2" from the bottom of the strut tube, and I imagine the coilover sits right on the bottom lip:

 

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Do you remember how far you cut the rear? How far between the bottom of the strut tube is the bottom of the coilover slide-over adapter plate? Any pics?

 

I only want to lower my car maybe 1-2" at the most. I'd probably be happy at stock height, so I don't wanna cut too much.

 

 

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15 hours ago, munters said:

I peronally would not cut so low. More meat underneat gives more styrdiness.

I would keep 2 inches... just my opinion.

 

Not really necessary if you're welding to the hub.  The strut tube mostly serves as a centering device in that scenario.

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@AlbatrossCafe I'm still here floating around.

Actually I only left a 1/4" of old tube  on my front spindle. I think I cut the tube off a 1/2 - 3/4" above the casting for the rear struts. That is more out of necessity than choice as it is hard to get a sawzall in there to get the rear tube cut off with the stock drum backing plates in the way. I would have cut the rear down to only a 1/4" tall stub if I could have fit the saw in there to do it.

 

No extra "sturdiness" is gained in leaving the tube longer as Munters mentioned. That is a weird myth people in the community keep perpetuating. There is no design methodology I am aware of, that mystically grants more strength by leaving dangling tube inside another. For the old tube stub to offer extra strength it would have to be an interference press fit (or fusion welded) between the ID of the adapter tube and the OD of the old tube. That is not the case with any of the mcpherson weld on coilover adapters I have seen offered for these cars. If the adapter slides/drops down over the cut down tube, all afforded strength is in the weld between the spindle casting and the adapter tube (Like I did). I drove my car for 2 more years as a daily before I took it down for a resto, the welded joints are all fine. The new slip on adapter is stronger than the stock tube, Thicker tube wall and larger OD means more cross sectional area in the tube so more load bearing than the stock unit, as far as tube itself is concerned.

 

The fronts bottom out first on a 280Z. At full drop the 280z "frame rails" are 1.25" off the ground on my car. (I ride around at 2.5" rail to ground clearance). I think I could technically lower the car enough in the rear to pick the wheels off the ground at full drop.  Stance actually has a shorter length cartridge you can use for the fronts now I believe. (I could probably put the rails on the ground if I swapped to the new cartridge, but that doesn't interest me.) The rear 280z adapter tubes are about 3 inches longer than the fronts. So technically, when the front bottoms out, you should be able to lower the rears 2-3 more inches, not something you would do, obviously.

 

If you have a 240Z you would use a 6" tall adapter tube front and rear, (different rear strut tower geometry). The amount you can lower the car is directly related to how much tube you leave behind. Leave too much and want to go lower? You won't be able to. Just cut the old strut tubes off 1/4" tall and you'll be fine. Strength is in the weld not the old tube, old stub is just along for the ride. Besides you can't go back and cut them shorter later. I've seen a few guys with the BC coils leave a bunch of tube (also incorrectly thinking it is somehow stronger/safer) and they ultimately can't lower their cars as much as they wanted. A lack of understanding often leads to poor choices and regret sometimes, as it goes with most things in life.

 

Hope that answers your question Albatross. Sorry for the long response.

 

 

Edited by JavelinZ

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I need to add a note here:  JavelinZ used our 9" long threaded adapters for the rear of his 280Z.  Albatross has 6" long threaded adapters all around.  (We were getting inconsistent results from our machinist, so we discontinued having our own threaded adapters made - we now only use the 6" long adapters from Stance USA)

 

With 9" rear tubes, Jav welded them straight to the rear hub.  Using 6" tubes, he would have to come up 3 inches on the stock 280Z  rear strut tube to get the same result.

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