Time to update for the end of Feb!
Today, I joined up with my friends Dave
(click for his hillclimb build thread) and Ian (hillclimbs an NB Miata) and stopped at a local salvage yard on the way up to Vermont. I searched for a long time to try to find a decent front suspension setup, since the s30 fronts leave so much to be desired for my needs. I wanted the following:
- Match the rear suspension track width as closely as possible
- Get a double-wishbone setup, rather than the macpherson that I have now
- Keep myself open to common aftermarket options
- Retain maximum suspension travel
- Upgrade to vented brake rotors
The 350z/g35 (non-awd) front suspension solves all of these problems admirably. I get 12" vented rotors, floating piston calipers, a great front-steer steering rack, 5x114.3 hubs, and gorgeous double-wishbone suspension. Total cost: $1100. Roughly the same as a set of techno toy tuning coilovers (which are pretty much the best replacement available). I'm pretty happy with how things are looking.
Installation will be 'straightforward' for a custom fabrication job. That is to say that subframe pickup points need to be added to the s30 chassis such that the wheels are placed in the right locations and aligned with the body, and the upper mounts (damper hats and upper control arms) are mounted in the appropriate locations to retain stock-ish geometry. I decided that the conversion from front-steer to rear-steer would be a bit of a nightmare to cobble together, so I took the g35 steering column as well. That should ease the transition quite a bit, but it might require adding an extension to the steering shaft (the 350z/g35 really can't compare to the s30 in terms of firewall-to-crossmember-distance).
The new engine is in place. Just to illustrate my point of how large the l-series is, here's a size comparison.
Cage work is progressing nicely, as Joey ties in more suspension pickup points and triangulates the whole car. It's mostly 1.75" .095 DOM tube, but there's a fair amount of 1" or 1.25" for rigidity reinforcement. I want to ensure that everything outside of the crossmember points works as 'crumple zone' and that everything in the cockpit is treated as structural squishy-human-protection.
I'm really relieved with the seating position, for the most part. It's going to end up a few inches taller than it is to clear the floor and be above the sill bars, but I have gobs of head/leg room. I don't really expect anyone else to want to drive this beast, so that's even better than expected. The shifter location is perfect for that, and I found that I could even move the engine back a few inches to centralize the weight even more.
with this setup, I found, is getting in and out. Especially after adding the FIA bars (semi-vertical bars that connect the bottom-front of the door to the top-rear of the windshield), the halo containment on the seat means my head has no way to comfortably get in/out of the car. Because it's a daily driver, I'm going to have to do some brainstorming to figure out how I'll solve that.