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JoeK

Slow Build 240Z LS1/MN12 - Build Thread

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Hi All,

 

I thought I might as well start a build thread at some point. I've been lurking for a couple years and posting a few questions and comments here and there. I bought my '71 Z on Labor Day weekend, 2013. It came with an uncompleted RB25 swap in it. When I bought the car I was looking for a 240z to swap an LS1 into, but this looked like a great deal so I picked it. I thought I would complete that, but gave it some thought and decided I really wanted the V8 rumble and torque without having to figure out turbo technology or spend too much time on a dyno figuring out how to get what I wanted, which was a V8 anyway. So pulled that swap and sold it for what I bought the whole car for.

 

Since then I've completely disassembled the car and put it on a homemade rotisserie. I've replaced some rusty panels, most notably the battery area and part of the firewall, one of the tool boxes, and part of the rear tray. The floors were a little beat up but pretty solid overall so I installed Bad Dog front and rear frame rails. Fabricated a mount system for a F-Body gas tank, which has it's own thread. I stripped the underside of the car to bare metal and am in the process of coating that now.

 

I've been collecting parts for a while as well. I picked up a '98 LS1 with about 87k on it. I have the JCI mounts and headers. A nice Griffin 4 row aluminum radiator. A MN12 from a GTO that has bad 3-4 synchro that I'll rebuild.

 

I'm also going with the TTT R230 rear end setup. Waiting on those parts to arrive in the mail any day now, along with an AZC coilover set. Already have the r230 and all associated parts out of a Z32TT.

 

At this point, I'm not too far off from dropping the car back on the ground. I'm trying to do all that I can while it is up in the air but not sure how far I can go on the suspension while it's on it's side. Maybe the control arms and diff mount, potentially the coilovers but I'm not sure I can weld I the camber plates with the car so high up on the rotisserie. Definitely want to get the brake lines and fuel lines back in first.

 

As for the cars intended purpose. It will be primarily a street car. I'll find some time for autoxing, but I don't care about being competitive so I'll just run in whatever class they let me. But for me it's more about the build than the completion. Something to do with the spare time I don't even have. As my signature points out, this car will get done when it gets done, and not a minute sooner.

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Sounds great!  I've been finishing my car for 25 years and it is just about beyond repair.  The willingness to have fun and not get bent about classes and points is your greatest asset.  I challenge ANYBODY to have more fun with their Z-car than I do:  mostly broken and in pieces (in the 2-car garage I share with my wife), sometimes drag race (I race my last pass at test and tune), sometimes autocross (I just do the best I can and try to be somewhat intellectual about it), and street drive (I drove it to work today), and now landspeed (only clean pavement: Georgia 1/2-mile and this weekend I do the Ohio Mile).  Try not to get too worked up about every scratch or rusty spot and you will have invested your concerns wisely.

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You're definitely taking the right approach.  My 280Z has a '98 Camaro LS1 in it.  It was the lowest rated HP engine and has different heads/valve covers than the later cars.  FWIW though the car makes 325 RWHP and is totally stock except for the JCI Sanderson headers and a K&N intake.  TTT makes great stuff.  I have some of their suspension stuff and am impressed with the quality. I'm running an R200 LSD which has proven to be plenty for a stock '98 LS1. The R230 with CV's will be a nice upgrade.  I thought about an R230 upgrade but I have a torque tube set-up between my T56 and the R200 and I'm concerned the change could become really complicated.  Since my car is primarily a daily driver it has endured pretty well over the past 13 years and 34,000 miles.

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Planning on getting my headers ceramic coated. Whenever possible, I like to install the headers on the engine before I drop it into engine bay. Is this possible with the JCI headers and mounts?

 

If it is possible, I'd like to coat them before initial motor install. Do you think I would be safe welding a V-Band flange on, then sending them out to get coated. Or might they get cut shorter or something at the exhaust shop?

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Planning on getting my headers ceramic coated. Whenever possible, I like to install the headers on the engine before I drop it into engine bay. Is this possible with the JCI headers and mounts?

 

If it is possible, I'd like to coat them before initial motor install. Do you think I would be safe welding a V-Band flange on, then sending them out to get coated. Or might they get cut shorter or something at the exhaust shop?

V band is a great idea. Get a self aligning style one and it will work perfectly.

 

Also if you have the patience, what RebekasZ recommended is the way to go. I never find I have that level of patience though haha

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Check aceraceparts.com, I'm pretty sure that's where I got mine. One side has a machined recess and the other has a little step up to match. It's still a pain in the arse putting my exhaust back together but they are definitely easier to align than the standard v-bands I had before.

Edited by SRRTz

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Planning on getting my headers ceramic coated. Whenever possible, I like to install the headers on the engine before I drop it into engine bay. Is this possible with the JCI headers and mounts?

 

If it is possible, I'd like to coat them before initial motor install. Do you think I would be safe welding a V-Band flange on, then sending them out to get coated. Or might they get cut shorter or something at the exhaust shop?

 

I welded my v bands on before install and had them ceramic coated. Installed engine, installed headers, built exhaust. No problem. Using the JCI stuff as well. Also in regard to v-bands, buy good ones like Vibrant. Expensive yes but you'll be happy you did.

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Well, I already ordered some cheapo fleabay sets. I'll have to see the quality when they arrive. I also feel I need mild steel flanges, I don't want to get into welding stainless to mild steel headers. I don't think I have the skills for that, and I know I don't have the equipment.

 

As for ceramic coating, who else is out there other than Jet-Hot? Not that I have anything against Jet-Hot, just wondering what others games are around. Also, coating inside and out?

Edited by joek

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WOOHOO, I was finally able to do some work on the Z today, after heart surgery almost 3 weeks ago. Didn't get much done, but felt good to get back to it. Temporarily mounted up the R230 mustache bar and rear suspension drop mounts, to check for clearance on my gas tank mount set up. All looked good and will be able to start welding that in, hope to finish it up by the end dog the weekend. Then back to undercoating.

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After the surgery, which was an endoscopic thing, my only restriction was not to lift more than 10lbs for 2 weeks. No dietary changes, doc says if I can do, then do it. Was more laid up than they led me to believe though. I think that was partially due to being under general anesthesia for 8 hours. I would have been back at it sooner, but the wife said I needed to help around the house to make up for leaving all familial duties to her for 2 weeks. I guess that was fair. Then we're hosting our block party on Saturday, so I'll miss that day to work on the car as well. Sometimes life gets in the way, but better than death gettin' in the way. Sorry for the dark humor ;)

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Some progress, albeit slight, it is a milestone of sorts. Finished up the tank mount, welded it in the car, and undercoated the back half. Using the 3M rattle can undercoating. I really like the look of this stuff, it lies pretty flat with just a little texture. I did a test about a month ago, after 24 hours it was still soft, but after a week it was quite hard and pretty tough to scratch.

 

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Also got the rest of the floors primed, seam sealed, and ready for undercoating as well.

 

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And got my TTT R230 mount stuff test fitted, to be sure I wouldn't have any conflicts with the tank placement. No pictures of that, but it sure looked nice.

 

Ordering some more of the undercoater next. That stuff flies out the can fast. I think I'll need at least 4 more cans.

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More progress. Painted the engine bay today. Been working on it for a while, but it's also hard for me to get the large block of time required for actual spaying. Wrangled 4 hours a couple weeks back, and 4 more hours today. I went with a Chrysler color called Orange Crush, and a flat clear. Had a couple sags in the clear, on the shock towers, which I will be able to isolate and redo, but it will go pretty quick.

 

Anyway now I just have to finish undercoating the car, something I can do in 1 hour spurts, and then get to assembling this big pile of parts I have accumulated. I've got all the parts for the T3 R230 rear end swap sitting on the shelf, along with new T3 rear control arms. All the new fuel lines to run, brake lines to put back in, coilovers, and probably a few more parts I'm not thinking of.

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Edited by JoeK

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Got some more stuff done.

 

Finished the undercoating with the 3M rattle can stuff. Man, that stuff off gasses pretty bad. Way worse than painting did. I had to install a small ventilation fan in the garage to the outside, to avoid having to sleep in the dog house, as it was still putting off a smell days later.

 

Got the gas tank in and plumbed. Supply and return to the corvette style filter, and supply into the engine bay. I decided to run the same oath the original line went, since I was using aluminum and it seems pretty well protected up in there. If I ever have a problem, I'll just abandon it and run a stainless line along the frame rail.

 

Started bolting in the rear suspension, only to find out that the TTT R230 install requires a large notch to the cross frame. So out came the fuel line, which will need to be redone and rerouted so it doesn't go between the drop mounts like it did originally. Off came the rear suspension, out came some of the brake lines, and out came the grinder for some cutting action. Took less time than I was expecting it to take, and now back to installing new parts, and restoring old parts.

 

Won't be able to work on the car this weekend, going to a vintage trailer rally ;)

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Just some light progress. Found some termites in the vintage trailer, so that has been taking some time, plus the holidays, yada yada.

 

Got the rear suspension bolted in, and a little further along with it. Had some of the stock parts powdercoated he same color as the TTT parts, so it all looks nice and clean and matchy matchy.

 

Also had the front crossmember, coilovers and JCI parts powdercoated. Sure makes some old parts look brand new.

 

Been spending the few spare minutes I have prepping the interior for paint. Biggest issue is removing all of the old vinyl adhesive. I tried the 3M adhesive remover. While it works fine, it's a little slow and darn stinky. That can be a problem at my house since the wife is pretty sensitive and worried about the kids brain cells. I have been using a big rubber wheel primarily designed for removing pinstriping, but seems to work pretty good on adhesive removal as well.

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I hadn't realized the JCI kit reuses the driver side motor mount, and I'm pretty sure I tossed mine when clearing junk out of the garage. I can find the motor mounts all day long, but they are just the isolators, not the clamshell part. Anybody know of aftermarket clamshells? I think there are solid mounts that do the same thing, but I think I'd like to have that little bit of isolation, even if I opt for a poly mount.

 

To that end, it is my understanding that the clamshells are the same on both sides of the LS platform motors. But the JCI kit only uses one of the original mounts, and the other side, the passenger side, uses another motor mount. Can anyone confirm that it's a small block Chevy mount on the right side? I'm thinking I'd buy a poly mount set for the LSx and poly mount set for an SBC. Then I'd have poly mounts on both sides, and set for someone else, since I don't think there is left or right for either.

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It's a tank out of 2000 LS1 Camaro. '99-'02 should all be the same tank, '98 was a steel tank. I think the 6 cylinder cars have the same tank with a different pump, but was never able to confirm this.

 

Others have done this swap successfully as well. Lots of ways to mount the tank. I think mine is probably way stouter than it'll ever need to be. Bars are welded in side to side, then front to back on top of those, so in case of a rear end accident, the rear crossmember isn't connected to the ass end of the car, guaranteeing a totaled car. 

 

Frame was made with 1 x 2 x 1/16" tubing. Straps are stock replacement straps. I glued cork on the straps, though wish I had used rubber.

 

I haven't really figured out how I'm going to deal with the filler hose, but I don't think it looks very hard. Biggest issue is the LS1 tank has a pretty small filler hose and the 240Z original filler hose is really big.

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