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tim.d

Tim's 302Z

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Well I think I'm finally ready to make a build thread for this car.  My original intention  had been to really document the snot out of this car and build, and compile it into an extremely thorough and detailed log... which I'd still like to do but meh. I'm tired.  We'll see where this goes.

A little background on me: been a car nut my whole life, originally went to school for engineering before dropping out and changing directions when I stubbornly finally admitted engineering wasn't for me.  But during that time I was lucky to get exposed to some really neat stuff, including working at a race shop on Ferrari Challenge and Star Mazda cars, as well as building street cars when not working on the race cars.  A few years after that I got into Supras and had a built Mk3 with a 1JZ, but eventually got rid of that. Had always been into Zs, but really got into them after going to a Canby, OR Datsun meet back in 2010 with my best friend. Well he got the bug too, we bought his car and started wrenching on that (it's getting a S52...54...shit he'll call me a dumbass for forgetting my BMW engines).  Maybe one day he'll make a build thread for that...hahahhahahahhaa. Anyways, Got married, moved a few times, and finally picked up my Z in 2015.  Now I've got a toddler and holy moly they take up a lot of energy... 

The car is a '72 240z I found up in Virginia, right before the Z market got really hot, where it is today.  Originally I wanted something I could mechanically restore and drive for a while, and then at some point later on break down and do a full restomod/build on.  Well, that didn't happen.  The car I got came with a L28ET, 4spd from a 280, and a CLSD R200, but was all taken apart.  The owner's grandfather bought the car new. It then was passed onto his father and when he died, it left the family for a few years until his son found it and bought it back. He drove it for a few years until he was diagnosed with cancer - it then sat in his garage waiting a restoration for 3 years, untouched, until I got it.  Pictures were hard to get as it sat in a small one car concrete shed.  Did my best for a thorough inspection to know exactly what I was getting myself into, but Zs were already becoming harder and harder to find on the east coast, and this one already had some goodies.

Well, once I dug into the car and started repairing rusted panels, found out that the engine bay frame rails were shot. Royally rusted pieces of rust.  At that point the car went from "get running again" to "just build it now."

End goal of car:  V8 torque immediacy, in a nimble car. Want a "low speed" point and squirt dart.  Got tired of the turbo highway pull machines, want something for bombing NC's back roads.  So, body stiffness and suspension first, power second.  Input feedback is very important.

So, the "quick" rundown of plans for the car:

  • Body
    • Custom full-length frame rails
    • custom floor pans
    • rust repair throughout body
    • Removable upper radiator support
    • S&W kit or locally bent main hoop roll bar with frame rail integration
    • ZG Flares, BRE spoiler, "Type 1" spoiler
    • Fiberglass hood and fenders
    • Stitch welding
    • Lots of reinforcement
  • Interior
    • New seats and custom mounts
    • Speedhut gauges
    • Nardi Wheel
    • Complete rewire
    • Sound deadening
    • Dash restoration
    • Skillard goodies
  • Engine
    • Stock Roller cam SBF 302 5.0
    • 85 - last year of the carb'd engines
    • Plans to go stroker 347 w/heads once car is road worthy
    • Custom fuel system - F body camaro tank, AN lines from carb to tank
    • 2.5 exhaust with Xpipe
  • Trans & Rear end
    • Rebuilt T5 with MGW shifter
    • New master & slave cylinders
    • 3.90 CLSD with new cluches from Gary 
    • Rebuilt Half Shafts
    • Z31 CV conversion?.. Looking like yes.
  • Suspension
    • Poly bushings
    • BC 'DR' digressive coil overs 
    • Raised FCA mounts
    • Bracing everywhere
  • Brakes
    • S12W fronts
    • 82/83 280ZX "Crab" Calipers and rotors
    • Wilwood master & PV
    • AN line conversion
  • Wheels & Tires
    • Rota RKR, 17x8.5, 17x9.5
    • 245/45/17, 275/40/17 tires
  • Whole bunch of other crap

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Where it sits today: 

Majority of major fabrication is done. Going to pick up transmission and gas tank from the family barn to start work on mounts.  I lurk the HBZ forums a few times a day, but the Z has gotten most of it's updates on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tdphoto240z/  Hopefully now that I've taken the first build-thread-step I can keep this going.  

Oh, and there's also some photos on an imgur account for those who want to browse: https://dugants.imgur.com/  Really wish Google Photos had better forum integration...

 

 

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Edited by tim.d

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And then I went AH **** IT at which point the car went from "get back driving and not immediately die" to "time to get not shitty at fabrication and build a car to a level you haven't done before."  I've done a dozen engine swaps, rewires, fuel systems... but never this much metal work.  Made a jig to locate TC buckets and made the main floor rails out of 2x3 .125 IIRC.  Lots of time spent getting things level in an unlevel garage, measuring, making sure things are as square as possible. Lots of mocking up, looking at it for a few weeks, a couple tack welds, adjust...look...think...undo...redo..think...drink beer...  From the time I started cutting the rotten frame rails out to the time they were fully welded in was a bit over a year.

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At which point I realized I fucked up and cut the main length too short, the riser to the engine bay rails would protrude 1.5 inches into the cabin, hitting the throttle pedal. So, had to extend it out. Added in the extension at a point on the length where I thought it would see the least stress - around the seat mounts which I was planning on redoing out of tube too.

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I drilled two sets of cross member and sway bar mounts, the second set 1" further forward from stock... Should I ever decide to push for high caster angles - not exactly sure why i'd do that, I think I read it on blueovalz's build and said to myself "well gee Tim, since you're here... drill the extra holes."  All the various pieces started going back together.

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Making the upper radiator support removable.  I HATE the wiggle of getting an engine and transmission out of an engine bay.  Should have used some wider metal so I wouln't have to worry about the gap at the front but I'll address that later.  Trimmed and ground tabs, it's reasonably flush now.

 

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Edited by tim.d

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I've also spent some time on the passenger side inner fender, made a new panel where the battery tray was...which i'll probably end up mounting in the back of the car. Will wait until fuel tank is in and see how much room I've got. ANYWAY, did most of the forming over my knee with a bunch of hammer and dolley work.  Also stitch welded the first strut tower, and did a bunch of welding on the new frame rails and fender tie ins:

 

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Well done. Might I humbly suggest taking a gander at the old race car pictures floating around with the reinforcement locations? They are old black and white photos floating around someone who knows the car may chime in. I have similar frame rails as you, and I still notice the car twists quite a bit. If I park on a camber My hatch and hood sometimes has trouble latching. Would be something that might be easier to incorporate now to sturdy up the body for the V8 torque.

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9 hours ago, seattlejester said:

Well done. Might I humbly suggest taking a gander at the old race car pictures floating around with the reinforcement locations? They are old black and white photos floating around someone who knows the car may chime in. I have similar frame rails as you, and I still notice the car twists quite a bit. If I park on a camber My hatch and hood sometimes has trouble latching. Would be something that might be easier to incorporate now to sturdy up the body for the V8 torque.

Thanks for the input.. I've been wondering if the thick frame rails would be enough, but after hearing your experience I'm glad I'm planning on additional triangulation.

 

http://s160.photobucket.com/user/psanders240/library/BSR-260Z-IMSA?sort=3&hotlinkfix=1513342061687&page=1

This car, right?  Definitely taking inspiration from him on some fronts, but this is a street car..gotta keep myself from going totally overboard with it.   Finding some compromise on interior space has been something I've been mulling over for a while - Mostly around the firewall and how to reasonably but effectively connect to the rear of the car without a full cage.  Suggestions welcome

 

Here's my photodump of other people's chassis stiffening: https://imgur.com/a/R27sh

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3 hours ago, tim.d said:

Thanks for the input.. I've been wondering if the thick frame rails would be enough, but after hearing your experience I'm glad I'm planning on additional triangulation.

 

http://s160.photobucket.com/user/psanders240/library/BSR-260Z-IMSA?sort=3&hotlinkfix=1513342061687&page=1

This car, right?  Definitely taking inspiration from him on some fronts, but this is a street car..gotta keep myself from going totally overboard with it.   Finding some compromise on interior space has been something I've been mulling over for a while - Mostly around the firewall and how to reasonably but effectively connect to the rear of the car without a full cage.  Suggestions welcome

 

Here's my photodump of other people's chassis stiffening: https://imgur.com/a/R27sh

Very nice compilation! I will be using some of these to calm my chassis lol

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Tim,  bravo on the battery area, it is a bugger to fix that section, actually bravo on all your metal work. I especially like the upper rad support, I wanted to cut mine out for easy engine installation but couldn't come up with a good way to re attach, now I know.

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So the last few weekends I've started tackling the driver's side rocker replacement.  After drilling out many, many spot welds I found that the "tie in panels" (which I didn't even know where there) were rotted out as well. Picked up a set from Prospect-D to save myself some fabrication time, and have been working on removing the rotten metal , treating, and replacing.  I also found that the lower portion of the rear inner fender was completed rotted out; so that's another panel I'll have to make from scratch, but I'll get to that after the rockers are back in.  Looks like the PO was well aware of the rot in this area... as he came up with a rather "Home Depot" approach to repair.

 

What metal was left was brushed down the best I could with wire wheels, and then ospho'd twice, followed by rust converter for anything else I missed, then weld thru and normal primer.  three days of curing just to get through the primer stages!  ugh, le lame.

 

Album: https://imgur.com/a/SkwkJ

 

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30 minutes ago, grannyknot said:

Man that is some serious rust, that's brave of you to tackle the doglegs. Is that wire mesh and bondo the PO fix you mentioned?:blink:

Don't really have much of a choice, I've committed to this body.  Hopefully in the end it's not terrible!   

 

It appears to be window screen and bathtub caulking.

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