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Ross' Sleeper Z

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I am hoping to keep the current setup.  The 8.8 swap sounds awesome but it's more money/effort than I want to spend right now.


I pulled the differential and inspected.  The bearings are trashed but the gearset looks good. Ther is scoring and heat damage.  The guy who assembled it put a TON of shim on the side bearings. Maybe he shimmed it too tight? I dunno.  There is also a bunch of metal shavings inside which I assume contributed or caused to the bearing failure.  I need to find the source of the shavings.  I did drive it for ~100 miles with considerable clutch chatter.  Clutches are coming out this weekend for inspection.

Edited by rossman

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I don't believe my issues are caused by the differential being too weak. It should last a long time if I can get the differential in order.  I haven't seen any guys with relatively small displacement turbo engines (e.g. big phil) run into problems with the R200.  Also, I don't have any plans to upgrade power-wise past the currrent setup. Frankly, I have lost interest in high-horsepower cars and I have another expensive addiction (cycling) that is more satisfying to me. Besides, the speed and power of this car scares the sh!t out of me even at it's current, poorly tuned 10 lbs of boost state!


It's been over 3 years since the differential was rebuilt and I don't trust the guy to do it again.  I'm going to let him know what happened and move on...assuming his assembly was the issue. Here is what's going thru my mind...I take the guy a factory set-up differential, have him swap out bearings and seals and he has to install almost 2X the amount of shims. My money is on an incorrect setup.

Edited by rossman

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Too bad you are not closer, I could do it for you.  If you need some parts let me know, I usually get really good deals.   


Here are a couple shops near you, I haven't used them before, but they are active on TexasNissans.com


Please Feel free to contact Ben and Dane
via email at [email protected]
by Phone at 936 463 8966 or 
Visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/houston.zauto



Powerfab Auto:

Cypress Creek Parkway #703 Houston, TX 77070 Phone: 281-477-0572 [email protected] www.powerfabauto.com

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I've used PowerFab before.  Jeremy is a good guy. They recommend I take the differential to Houston Automatic Transmissions. Scott at HAT told me that if the bearings are shot there is a good chance the gearset is shot.  I'll probably run it by there Friday for an estimate.

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I mounted the bus bars with sheet metal screws painted with rust preventative primer.  I wet install all sheet metal screws to prevent rust.


My differential is at Houston Automatic Transmission awaiting back-ordered parts.  Scott is a good guy.  I have confidence he will do the job right.

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The differential is in and the car is back in action!  I've been breaking in the gear set over the past week, trying to stay out of the throttle.  Man it's hard; the car wants to go like a bat outta hell! 


There are a few issues to work out:


1) The tune needs lots of work.  My AFR's jump around a lot, even at some crusing speeds. Just need to spend some qualty time with it.


2) I'm getting a lot of buzzing after it warms up at the fuel filter mount on my firewall. It only happens when the car is warmed up at idle. The filter is clean.  Not sure what's going on.  It may be that the A1000 pump is just too choked off at idle.  I have 5/8" feed and 1/2" return lines so you wouldn't think that is the case.  I do have a pump speed controller which isn't set up yet, right now it runs full speed all the time.  It should should help as it will reduce the pump speed by up to 50% at idle, thus lowering the fuel pressure and stress on the pump. It also means I have to re-map the ECU but that *should* be pretty straight forward.

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Been doing quite a bit of work on the ol' girl so it's time for an update!  Lots of mods planned for the car.


First and most importantly is installing Vintage Air AC.  This will make the car drivable in the Houston summer heat without getting soaking wet with sweat. Going to replace the stock Hitachi compressor and condenser with a Sanden compressor and high efficiency condenser. This, of course has already been done many times on HZ but here is the compulsory picture of the evaporator in it's new home.  There might be some brackets missing. ;)




Re-routing and opening up the choked-off PCV lines. This isn't much to look at but there WAS a 3/4 NPT to  -8 AN elbow here.  I had to cut it out to remove it without taking the manifolds off.  I'm going to replace it with a straight 1/4' pipe to a -12 AN catch can.



Cleaning up the rat's nest of wires under the dash and in the engine bay. This is what it looked like after pulling the dash.  What a mess!



Here it is now, wires sorted waiting for me to decide where to place everything. I think I'm going to install the ECU, J&S (this is new to the build) and pump speed controller on the passenger side kick panel.  A new power supply box and Hella fuse/relay panels will go on the passenger firewall.



Re-installing the SpeedHut Speedo and Tach. I did have them wedged in the original pods and "bonded" with RTV. One of them fell out when I took the dash out so I decided to change plans. This time I'm installing them in the original metal housings with spacers made from 4" PVC pipe hold them in place. Here are a few pictures showing the process.  I realized I trashed the odd-shaped filler piece from the original gauge.  I'm not yet sure what, if anything I'm going to put in it's place.  I'm going to paint all the non-black parts, flat black so they shouldn't be too noticable set way down in the dash....although it sure would suck to put all this back together and have it bug me.  



You can see the 4" PVC pipe section in this picture.  The way I did this mod, the length only needs to be long enough to cover the little housing screws that hold the plastic shroud onto the metal housing.  I believe I cut the length to 1.25".  Just long enough to engage the side housing screws plus a little edge distance and short enough to avoid interference with the plastic shroud internal lip.  This picture doesn't show the pipe positioned correctly.



Here is the 1.25" long 4" PVC pipe.  It was too tight in the housing (that's what she said :P) so I split the ring with my table saw. The blade kerf was just enough so that it fits nice and snug inside the housing and around the Speedhut gauge diameter.



Here you can see where I ground down the side screw hole edges so the PVC can slide in easily.



Once everything is was cut I pre-assembled the parts, positioned the gauge and marked the side screw hole locations on the PVC pipe section.  Then remove the pipe and drilled out the match marked holes to to the same diameter as the side screws.  Once the screws are installed the PVC pipe is held in position and gauge captured between the plastic shroud and PVC ring.  I'll apply RTV to the back to keep the gauge from spinning and rattling in the hole.


Did I mention that I'm installing 2-5/8" Speedhut gauges in the stock gauge locations? Yep!  Here is a picture from the backside.  I'm using 3 clock gauge housing for each location.  The other gauge housings won't (easily) work for this mod. In the picture you can see how I cut out the backside to allow the Speedhut wires to pass thru.



To mount the gauges in the housings, I cut the stock thin sheet metal faceplate to 2-5/8" and clamped the gauge in place with the Speedhut provided lockring and spacer.  The pictures are pretty self-explanatory. I had tossed out the faceplate from the gauge that came with my car so I had to mod the one from another gauge.  The other gauge faceplates are raised so I cut part of the raised section off (had to figure out the correct length so it would lay flat at the correct diameter), split remaining part with my dremel cut-off blade then hammered the plate flat.  The hole in the faceplate doesn't have to be precise, just small enough to clamp onto.  It was a pain in the ass but it worked.





For the remaining 3 2-5/8" gauges the plan is to design and 3D print a custom ABS gauge pod.  The pod will replace the stock heater control and radio.  First I'm going to digitize the stock panel, then use that model to design a panel that replaces stock heater control and radio locations. I'll have to cut out the stock panel for the printed panel to drop in and bond in place.  That's the "plan" at least.  I'm a little worried that my scanner at work isn't going to pick up all the details of stock panel.  I may have to play around with it the scan and merge each side in CAD.  Here is the panel, ready for scanning.



Other mods on the todo list are...


  • Sound damping everywhere
  • New carpet everywhere (replacing the stock vinyl)
  • Baddog frame rails and floor pans
  • S2000 leather seats (already got those)
  • Ditching the Greddy boost controller for Wolf v500 controlled boost, with gear dependent boost to
  • Adding Wolf v500 controlled turbo timer
  • Adding a hidden kill switch for theft prevention
  • probably more....


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I can't believe it's been almost 2 years since my last update.  Some of these go back prior to my last post but I'll try to avoid duplicates...


Here are a few pictures of the car just before I pulled the dash back in December 2015.





Convinced my 14 year old (now 15) son to help pull the dash




Dash is out!  How about that wiring mess?



Test fit the Vintage Air unit.



What a mess.



Created a radio delete gauge panel from 3D printed ABS.



Vintage Air Sanden style compressor compared to the old Hitachi unit.



Discovered spalled rockers.




There is a separate thread I created on my spalling issue.  I replaced all of the rockers with new OEM units and had the cam polished.



My son helping me with modifying the vents for the new air conditioning system.



Test fit the dash.  Looks pretty good!



Nice sunset in front of my house. Note the water level during low tide...



Replaced the passenger side floor pan.



Installed a new Nismo adjustable cam sprocket while I was messing with the cam.  Currently set to zero.



Fully plumed dash.



Hurricane Harvey hit!  Note the water level!




The Z escaped flooding by a few inches!  There was a water line half way up my disk brakes!  This picture was taken after the water receded quite a it.



Had my daily driver on jack stands. These pictures were taken after the water receded. Missed flooding by less than an inch!  Had 17 inches in my garage.




Installed new TTT mustache bar.  It's quite a bit taller than the stock 280z unit. Need to re-route those fuel lines.  Also stripped all the powder coating off the diff cover.  That was a bad idea.  I feel better now.




Started work on the drivers side floor pan.



Edited by rossman
added descriptions

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Thanks man!  I lost some personal stuff that I was sorting thru trying to decide what to keep and what to recycle/donate.  The flood made that decision easy...off to the trash it went!  Also ruined a finished room downstairs that I never used. I just ripped out the drywall and insulation then sprayed everything wet with vinegar and borax to kill any mold growth.  Still haven't replaced the dry wall and I'm not sure I will any time soon.


I won't give up but sometimes life gets in the way.  I have couple of hobbies and a job that eats up lots of my time.  I'm off work until the 1/2/18.  You should come on by and check it out.  I would love to see your beast!


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Did another 4 hours of so fitting up the drivers side baddog frame rail and snapped a few pictures of things I've done to the car recently.  The drivers side floor pan is done as you can see below.  This one went in much easier than the passenger side.  Lets just say I learned a lot!






Old frame rail cut out and floor pan prepped.



The dumbass PO filled the frame rail with urethane foam from the top side.  I guess he did it to keep his heal from falling thru the floor pan.  



BadDog frame rail fitted up.



Old floor pans with rusty, crushed frame rails.




Rota 16x8 +10 going in soon!  I had to get them to clear my new Wilwood parking brake that you see laying beside it.




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Floor pans, frame rails and seat brackets are done! I used modeling clay to get the as-installed profile of the pan. Downside is that the clay shrinks as it dries. Didn't figure that out until the second bracket that I cut short.



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On 1/20/2018 at 12:19 AM, boosted300 said:

Your Bad Dog frame rail looks like it fit much nicer than mine did...

I'd say the fit was reasonably acceptable only after I cut away most of the existing frame rail.  Even then both the original and BadDog rails required quite a bit of tweaking/panel beating.  


On 1/20/2018 at 12:19 AM, boosted300 said:

Great work, Can't wait to see the finished product!

Thanks!  I have a small bit of welding left to do on the passenger side.  Next will be treating it all with Ospho followed by primer, paint and 3M rubberized undercoating underneath.

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