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Posts posted by Michael

  1. I'd like to see more dedicated tube-chassis and other radical mods.  Whatever happened to jos260z's project?  Promising start, but then...?


    One approach is to build a proper round-tube chassis on a jig, with the desired front/rear subframes (or even better, mount the suspension directly to the chassis, eliding subframes and their associated weight).  Hollow-out (technical term?) the Datsun body, and then wrap it onto the chassis.  This has been done before, but recent examples are hard to come by.  In the 90s there were some drag racers... the name Ron Jones comes to mind.  Ron used to post heavily here, then drifted away.  That car, if memory serves, used the stock 240Z front suspension pick-up points (including K-member) and a fiberglass front clip (hood, valence panel, fenders and "bumper").  In back was the obligatory tubbing, 4-link and Ford 9".


    The salient question is of course why one would do this, apart from the tackling of a challenge and the desire for originality.  One answer is weight reduction and stiffness-increase for drag racing.  Dedicated drag-cars tend to converge towards one common solution.  The "bones" are all one triangulated tube frame, and the body amounts to the aforementioned wrapping, be it a Datsun or a Chevelle or a Fiat Topolino.  


    I'd also like to see more cars with firewall setback.  Put the largest and heaviest component of the car further aft... that is, the engine.  Zs are famous for their enormous passenger-cabin.  With the seatback securely pressed against the rear tire-well (stock or tubbed), there is plenty of room for setting the firewall aft.  Why go to all the trouble of a tube chassis, if retaining the stock location of the principal components?  Get creative!

  2. Cute dog, and attractive young lady.


    That out of the way, the 2nd-generation Camaro front hubs/rotors also fit the 280Z spindles.  I confirmed this in a "pick-a-part" junkyard in Ontario, California, some 20 years ago.  But, whether with the Mustang or the Camaro, we have the issues noted in the video: rotor diameter is too large (needs to be machined-down), and brake caliper has to be replaced with a larger and beefier unit --> more weight.


    So... what if instead one prefers the comparatively svelte weight of the stock hub/rotor and stock brake calipers... but wishes to avail oneself of the much more common 5x114.3mm bolt pattern?  Maybe redrill the front (and rear) hubs?  This was tried a decade ago, here: 

     .  But I have not seen an update.


    The topic was casually revisited here: 

    ... evidently with consensus to redrill nothing, but instead to spend $500 (then) on some aftermarket parts (link to parts is in above-linked thread).


    In the spirit of this thread - machining, instead of buying new stuff - it would be nice to see an update.... or am I being petulantly cheap?

  3. Inspired by an ad for 15x9 wheels in our classified sections (sincere best-wishes to the seller, but those particular wheels are a bit too heavy for my tastes), a search on tirerack.com for 15" tires isn't as bleak as I'd worried.  For example, these: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=BFGoodrich&tireModel=g-Force+Rival+S+1.5&partnum=44VR5GFRS&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes look like a good candidate.  Not to dissuade Spdrcr or anyone else, but perhaps our misgivings about 15" tire selection are a bit excessive.


    That said, a bigger problem, I think, is finding reasonably light-and-wide wheels in the Datsun 114.3 mm bolt circle.  The aftermarket offers fantastic support for the Miata and its 100mm bolt circle, but selection for 114.3 mm is poor.


    We had somewhere (maybe moved to the FAQ?) a handy recitation of proven diameter/width/offset combinations.  Unfortunately the more dedicated enthusiasts seem to have all moved to coilovers, and with the resulting narrower spring-perches, that allows for more positive offset.  Then there's the lament, that modern wheel choices skew towards FWD offsets anyway, especially for 4-lug bolt patterns.  Perhaps I should reconsider the aforementioned gentleman's ad for those 15x9s?  Sorry to have merely stirred the pot, instead of offering anything actionable.


    Oh, and Spdrcr - what was the weight on those wheels?



  4. The coolant/oil mix suggests a blown head gasket (best case), cracked heads (can be repaired) or cracked block (a serious problem).  it may make sense to pull the engine, and to completely disassemble it.  The machine shop will then perform tests to ascertain if the blocks is cracked.  Even if the block is fine, there may be merit to installing new bearings (crank and rod) and new rod bolts.


    The stroke of the crank can be easily confirmed by measuring the vertical displacement of a piston across one half-revolution.  If it's a 383, that displacement (which is the stroke!) will be".  If it's a "normal" 350 (nominally) engine, the stroke will be 3.48".  The difference is sufficiently large, that it can shouldn't require precision gauges (like a dial indicator) to measure it.

  5. Good points, Miles, but with all due respect, this is not a "newbie" question.  I've owned and worked-on this car for 22 years.  Wick's book (among others) has probably been sitting on my shelf for nearly 30 years.   It's just that the car (not unlike the book) has sat more or less ignored for the majority of those years.  Recently I moved, together with the car, to a locale where I have no garage, no parking space, no tools, no place to work on the car, and no time to work on it either.  But the car was too precious, too storied and too unique to sell.  And paradoxically, even Quixotically, I have no what that of which I had nearly zero, for so long: motivation.


    The point now is to start and maintain a discussion on modest, incremental steps to take a car from being a piece of furniture, to a piece of transportation.

  6. To summarize, the approach appears to be:


    1. Disconnect lines to the calipers (front) and slave cylinders (rear).  Pass fluid through the whole system.  Hopefully the master cylinder and vacuum booster are OK.  If not, do something...


    2. Replace the slave cylinders (rear) while being mindful of the parking-brake pawl.  Check drum diameter, and if out of spec, replace.  Replace shoes.


    3. Replace the calipers (front), rotors and pads.  Presumably also do the bearings... or split the hubs/rotors and just replace the rotors?


    4. New fluid, and bleeding.


    5. Careful adjustments in the rear, while the front is self-adjusting.


    I found one source for parts, here: https://zcardepot.com/collections/280z?constraint=rear-brakes .  Any other recommendations?

  7. Despite surfeit of information on upgrade options (in this sub-forum, or the FAQ), and some wise advice on leaving things alone for the more modest applications, there seems to be little information regarding refreshing of stock brakes.


    Here’s the problem: car has been in hibernation for years, maybe decades.  Fluids are old.  Pads are probably from the early 1990s. Brake lines were custom bent and installed around the year 2000 (long story), but the brake hardware (calipers, rotors, drums, cylinders,…) were left alone.  Car was driven sporadically over the years,  but hasn’t been a daily driver since 1999.


    Thus, the question: what ought to be refreshed, repacked, replumbed?  Having sat for a while, the rear drums seized.  A winch eventually un-froze them. The brake pedal is somewhat (not entirely) mushy, and hitting the brakes “hard” results in a jerking to the left followed by a four-wheel slide (tires are probably 30 years old).


    Do we have a step by step checklist, for what ought to be done?  And to reiterate, this isn’t a plea for advice on upgrades.  I just want this car to brake and handle like it would have done, 25+ years ago.

  8. The ideal solution would be to find a local mentor... somebody who knows what to see/smell/touch/hear, whose intuition would quickly diagnose things.  To be learning on one's own, could be intensely rewarding - but just as intensely frustrating.  The learning-curve is easier to ascend, if there's a fellow-traveler.  Unfortunately this is all the harder in the present 'rona cataclysm.


    I'm going to make a potentially specious, but not entirely phone speculation: the engine is just worn.  Nothing is seriously damaged, but it is "out of tune".  It likely needs some carb and distributor adjustments.  Maybe some gaskets.  Maybe there are carbon deposits, or worst case, bad valve seals.  


    Can the car be driven as-is?  Does it run sufficiently well, to brave California's highways?  That may be the best (if risky) way to test it.


    Good luck, and as goes without saying, congratulations on your recovery!

  9. A “big block” was a mid-1960s development of the Chevy engine family, with larger bore-spacing than the then already-venerable small block.  The small blocks are, for those who remember, the stars of the original “Jags that run” Datsun V8 swap manual, that was popular in the 1990s.  


    Big blocks were installed in passenger cars through at least the mid 1970s, but subsequently were limited to trucks.  Mine originally came out of a 1978 Suburban.  It had the hapless “peanut port” cylinder heads, meant for low-rpm yeoman duty.  Big blocks continued to serve in GM trucks through the 1990s, but were eventually replaced by a new generation of engine – completely different from the LS-x series, and limited to trucks.  


    The classical big block beloved by hot-rodders is the so-called Mark-IV, and the largest mainstream displacement is 454 cubic inches: 4.25” bore and 4.00” stroke.  A 0.030” overbore, which is what I have, takes us to 461 cubic inches.  Also common is 0.060” overbore, resulting in a 468.  Beyond that, stroker cranks are available, but they get expensive, especially if the intent is to retain good rod-stroke ratio.


    15-20 years ago, the aftermarket had a bevy of aluminum cylinder head designs.  Mine are from Brodix… the so-called “Race Rite” oval-port heads.  There were two port designs… rectangular and oval… the former for higher-rpm, higher displacement applications, and the latter for more street-oriented uses.  


    As for the history of big blocks on HybridZ, well, as we transitioned from zcar.com, or whatever it was, there were two outstanding examples.  One, a gentleman named Brad Barkley, campaigned a big block dragster.  Another, Ron Jones, had an alternative design.  Both kept the firewall in the stock location, but back-halved the rear, installing a solid axle.  As the application was drag-racing, these design choices were eminently sensible.  In at least one of those, the front-end was also redone, maybe with a lift-off hood/fender/bumper clip. But the basic McPherson strut front suspension geometry was retained.  Ron had a stunningly powerful engine – something like a 540 cubic inch, maybe with nitrous.  Brad ran, if memory serves, a 496 – a popular combination, which is a 454 with 0.060” overbore plus a 0.25” stroker crank.  This is popular because such a crank fits in the stock block, with maybe just a tad of clearancing for the rod big-ends.  With suitable pistons, the rod-stroke ratio remains OK.


    My idea was an all-around car, with low polar moment of inertia and nearly 50-50 weight distribution. I retained the stock Datsun rear-end, except for welding the differential spider gears (“Lincoln Locker”). Yup, stock half-shafts and everything else.  In the front however there were some changes.


    I worked with a gifted under-the-radar custom builder named Nick Tierno, based out of Las Vegas.  Nick raced motorcycles, and built some pretty impressive custom cars.  In my case he did all of the frame-work and welding.  Details are still online, hosted on Pete Paraska’s web site (I need to find the link).  But in brief, the front clip was cut off, then the firewall and floorboards removed, and a cage built on a jig.  The cage was welded into the car, then the floorboards cut, and the floorboards and firewall welded back in, 6.25” further aft than stock.  Sheet metal was constructed to reconnect the front clip, and the whole thing was secured with diagonal members from the roll-cage to the front strut towers.


    This was all fantastic, but the aforementioned wiped cam rudely stopped the project.  It languished for 4-5 years, in a dejected questioning of what went wrong.

    Rescue was in the form of another member here; active, then, but now long-gone.  He went by “Denny411”… a semi-professional mechanic, a pillar of his local community in a smallish town hidden in Ohio’s countryside.  AAA graciously towed the Datsun to his garage, and then for some months, we’d chisel-away at the mound of granite, hoping to reveal a sculpture.  After a while the engine deigned to be restarted… but only for a while.


    What then?  Well, I used a “Cloyes adjustable timing chain”.  The classical small and big block Chevys had a basic timing chain between the cam gear and the crank gear.  Timing was literally cast into the gears, with Woodruff keys and corresponding slots.  In some cases there were alternative keyways for advancing or retarding the cam, typically by 4 degrees.  Indeed, a common trick to render tamer an aggressive cam was to install it 4 degrees advanced.  Cloyes came up with an improvement: the cam-gear was two pieces.  One had sprockets, engaging the timing chain.  The other bolted to the cam.  Between them was a rosette of six 1/4-20 bolts, riding in slots.  To advance or retard timing, loosen the six bolts, and rotate the crank, while the cam stays fixed.  Then retighten.


    Well, in my case, the six bolts somehow worked loose, sending the cam into its most retarded position.  Fortunately there was no piston to valve contact, but the heads of the bolts, having gotten threaded-out, worked themselves into the aluminum timing-cover, sending aluminum shavings all over the engine’s oil galley. The result was a pile of aluminum crud in the oil filter, and elsewhere.  Thus, yet another rebuild.  That was around 2009… for a car that was originally built in 2000.


    The story continues in the next segment….

  10. And here it is!  HybridZ is now 21, fully and properly having attained the age of consent!  Does this not call for a round of drinks?


    In all seriousness, folks... thanks to everyone, frequent or irregular, veteran or neophyte, or anything in between. The journey/saga/whatever continues!

  11. We hear incessantly about “the one that got away”.  That’s either the crotchety old neighbor’s garage-queen, which we’ve been hankering to buy, but the neighbor would never acquiesce… until one day the old coot dies, and his widow donates the car to some obscure charity, or outright junks it.  Or it’s our teenage love, that vehicle in which we blew our first head-gasket, in which we learned the joys of long-distance pushing (uphill, both ways, in the snow,…)… until college, a new job or a new spouse render iron demands: me, or it… and decades later, we regret…


    As of this writing, it’s mere days until this site turns 21.  And it’s been even longer since the selfsame project has been… maturing.  Remember the 20th century, folks?  Remember the fervor over prep for the Y2K bug, how automotive ECUs were going to reverse the rotational direction of the crankshaft, and anti-lock brakes would switch to anti-release?  Our attention was rapt, and the more irreverent or quirky types were praising carburetors, as the fix for a modernity gone bonkers with surfeit of tech.


    Well then…. my project began in 1998-1999.  It never left.  It never “got away”.  It was hardly all my doing, but instead lurched ahead when I found a fellow who could help.  It was his idea to do a firewall setback, noticing how S30 Zs have ample room, and ample distance between the firewall and the windshield lower lip.  Then, after good progress, the engine wiped its camshaft.  Back then we mostly used flat tappet cams.  Remember those?  Motor oils reputedly went weak.  The car-magazines wrote copiously about the resulting wiped cam-lobes.  Dejection followed, lassitude, a loss of interest and vim.  Years!  Subsequent efforts, some good, some purely a perfunctory self-salve, a show of sorts, too brief.


    Now I am moving back from Ohio to Los Angeles, reprising youth’s initial sally.  The Datsun follows, on a tow-trailer.  House, career, a former marriage… they all “got away”, but the car somehow endured.  It’s only meet to mention its return.  With luck, elaborations follow. Until then, a question: is anyone still left, who’s still running a big block?


  12. 5 months later, the latest buzz is "patent filings" (how does one patent a car design???) confirming the images from September 2020; see for example https://www.autoblog.com/2021/01/14/nissan-z-proto-400z-patent-renderings/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAAgQm6F5psC-cVjBNOmi7kDKu_U4c7lx-EWczI4ZidrrHD0CClr7rko-img5XUobX72U_EUpAw-XurkQsSFSNLgSubNYlAp10RBqGFfuhqwV0yRCMDZpn4UwlIH6TkS0cSjdW8Z6ymS-7PObyRS70Ol_Jt8eg1gJAkKwsHU7dxNF .


    The current situation with the 400Z reminds me of our mutterings from back around 2009, when the 350Z was coming out... lots of criticisms of the aesthetics, of bumpers and spoilers and headlights and grills, but what of the most crucial item of all: the weight?


    My dream would be a car with the size and weight of a BRZ, but the power of a current-generation V8 Camaro.  How likely is that?  Remember when the Z32 300ZX came out, and we were aghast at how heavy it was?  Today that would be a comparative featherweight.  It seems that only Mazda has made a serious achievement in keeping down the weight of its sports cars (ND Miata is only 100 pounds heavier than the early-90s NA).  Could Nissan do something similar?  One can dream...

  13. Distributor choices are legion.  But they're rarely sold "with" the wires.  Replacing the distributor should be a last-resort, as there's a trick to getting it properly reinstalled...namely aligning the tang at the bottom of the distributor shaft, with corresponding receptacle on the camshaft.  This is simplified if the #1 piston is brought to TDC on the intake stroke, before the distributor is disturbed.


    In any case, it's not yet clear to me, that it was determined that there is no spark at all.  But if it is indeed the case, that there is no spark, then my first hunch would be something with the HEI coil (inside of the HEI distributor cap) or the connectors thereto... or possibly the HEI module.  HEI is a bit weird, in that the coil is actually inside of the cap.  Contrast that with the conventional setup, where the coil is a cylindrical piece (resembles a 12-oz aluminum can) typically hung from the firewall, with a high-tension wire from its apex, to the distributor.


    This is the sort of diagnosis that is relatively straightforward for an old-hand (or so it's claimed!), but exasperatingly bewildering to some one who's unacquainted with the parts and lingo.  Best would be to find a local mentor, if for no other reason than to offer companionship and an additional pair of eyes.

  14. Jaconense, first, welcome to the Forum.  Second, before proceeding to the main response, a word on philosophy.  It sounds like you recently acquired a fairly well-built but slightly ailing V8 Z.  It also sounds like the previous owner got it to run, sold it to you, and then various travails manifested themselves.  Correct?  From the various pictures, your purchase looks to be fundamentally sound - assuming that the price was appropriate.  So, please pause to congratulate yourself on what at least on first blush appears to be a decent baseline.


    Now moving on to your specific question.  1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2.  This is the canonical Chevy firing-order.  Check that yours follows that.  I've often made the mistake of confusing the wires, and wondering why the engine runs poorly.  If enough wires are crossed, it won't fire at all, even with starting fluid.  And speaking of starting-fluid, if there isn't even the faintest gasp, despite said fluid, then almost certainly the problem is ignition related.  Pull a spark plug, reattach its respective wire, hold the arm of the electrode to ground (like a cylinder head), have a friend crank the engine, and watch for spark.  If you have no spark, there's the problem right there.  If there is a spark, we move to the next culprit.


    Try the aforementioned (check firing order, and check for spark from a pulled plug), and report back to us.  Good luck!

  15. If it's a "Goodwrench crate engine", then it was originally an "orphan" engine manufactured by GM (so, not aftermarket) but never installed in a factory car.  Instead, the engine went straight to replacement (or hot rodding) applications.  A crate engine has advantages over something pulled from a factory-car.  It likely has less mileage, and may have better parts.  But it also has disadvantages...it might have been installed by amateurs, and/or abused.


    If you need a token vehicle for purposes of saying something at a parts-store, try "1978 Chevy Truck, small block 350".  That would get you "close".  


    As for your other thread, for some reason it's not loading correctly.  Re-post your question in this thread.

  16. On 4/23/2020 at 3:11 PM, slimjim said:

    68 Camaros can range from 2700-3500lbs depending on a LOT of options. Pro-touring styled builds aim to be on the lower side so I'm hoping I'll be  somewhere around 3000lbs without driver since ALL body panels have been replaced with aftermarket AMD panels which are considerably lighter than the original GM sheet metal. an Aluminum LS3 drops the weight considerably over the original motor. 


    The 240Z was around 2300 pounds, and the 280Z around 2800 pounds.   More precise weights are available elsewhere on this site.


    More weight is removed from the 280 than from the 240, as part of the sort of upgrades that one does, to make the vehicle of a more sporting nature.  But quite a bit of weight is gained to strengthen components, both structurally and in the powertrain.  On the other hand, the Nova/Camaro cars that are winning the elite "amateur" drag races are... well, you know better than me.  Some of them are down to Miata weight.


    My guess is that an S30 Z, subjected to the same aggressive treatment as a serious Camaro (built LS3 possibly with turbo, T56 or equivalent, 9" rear on a 4-link, fuel cell, partial or full tube chassis, sheet-metal floor, lexan-everything, full roll cage, single aluminum seat bolted to the cage, aluminum "dash", no HVAC,..) would come in at around 300 pounds less than a Camaro.  The savings are from shorter wheelbase and shorter car; commensurately less metal to hold it together, thinner/lighter suspension bits, smaller brakes for the same braking-performance and so forth.  The difference is more of cost/effort, than weight.  The Camaro would not longer have a Chevy steering system; it would be an aftermarket rack.  All those suspension control arms and ball joints and bushing?  Gone, replaced with tubular/delrin stuff.  The Z could keep its stock steering rack and basic design of the stock suspension (probably coilovers and so forth... but same basic topology).  The Z can get maybe 70% of the way there, with very minimal changes to the brakes, while the Camaro is looking at getting the Wilwood catalog thrown at it.  And so forth.

  17. 6 hours ago, Twisted46 said:

    ...many, like me, fall for the illusion that getting the engine in to the bay is the hard part. That is the easy part, there are so many random bolts and fittings that cause delays I bet I have 3 boxes of swap parts that "should have been correct". ...


    Indeed.  And that's the scope of the problem if we do "only" a standard swap.  It assumes a well-running car, and a well-sorted engine.  Building a new engine is its own separate task.  As is restoration of the car.  The JTR swap-manual is just that... a swap manual.  It tells, in general terms, how to take a working car and a working engine, and to make them work together, more or less.  That already is hard enough!  It gets much harder if any major component is at all questionable, unready or deficient.


    One of the first things that happened to me, after "completing" my swap, was that a cam-change in my engine resulted in wiped lobes.  That led to descent into all sorts of travails, lasting several years.  And eventually a second engine rebuild... where the cam-sprocket adjustment bolts backed out, and wore against the timing cover.  Third rebuild.  By then the car had spent a decade in the garage, and needed something approaching a restoration, just to return to the condition that is had, when it was first parked and disassembled.  That "restoration" has taken another decade.  I doubt that my case is entirely unusual.

  18. 4 hours ago, Nelson123 said:

    Do you know what rebuild kit I should get for the block ? My options are anything to get it running with a little power and then upgrade certain components

    What do you suggest I do first ? At the moment I only have the block nothing else. 


    Wait, you only have the bare block?  As in, no crank, rods, pistons etc.?  Or are you contemplating replacing some of these components?


    If money isn't the most aching concern, you're a good candidate for buying a crate-engine from GM.  It will be comprehensive, camshaft etc. already matched, and it will carry a warranty.  But as others have noted, please don't let this be your only daily driver!

  19. 2 minutes ago, Nelson123 said:

    Yes the manual has arrived but I need to get certain parts, I still need to order the mounts from them 


    Yes my car runs well since it's my daily, some things need fixing like the control arm bushing and need slotted brakes for the front, also would like to upgrade to a big brake kit, do you know of any ?


    Yes I have the engine but it's a block for now, I'm rebuilding it from the ground up so I'm looking for rebuild kits for it but don't know what stage cam to get. Also I haven't thought of a tranny but I would like to keep it manual. 



    I would most assiduously recommend building the engine, sourcing a transmission, and mating the two - before proceeding with the swap.  Otherwise your car be disabled/dismantled for a long time.


    Cam selection is its own science/art. It's part of an integrated effort... heads, intake/exhaust, and so forth, and so on.  It is a vast subject in its own right.  And then there's the question of just getting the engine to run reliably ... never mind the "high performance".   Flat-tappet cams in particular are a dicey proposition, owing to the danger of "wiping" them.

  20. And now the "is it dead?" thread is itself knocking on 3-years longevity.  Meta-irony?


    The present viral crisis has convinced me that no form of media, "social" or otherwise, can replace direct personal contact.  The way to learn automotive skills isn't through you-tube videos, facebook, or forums... even forums as replete with useful-facts, as this one.  Nothing replaces direct mentorship and camaraderie.  My best experiences with this site were via meeting other members in person, befriending them and spending years together.  Unfortunately most (all?) of those friendships have declined, petering-out in some way.  A fellow whom I've met 20+ years ago - even before this site was created, before it moved from an e-mail list to this newfangled format called a "forum" - was a treasured mentor.  Then an event happened that obliterated so much of my own life and career... and collateral damage included this friendship.  I still regret it.


    Just today I came across a posting by a local fellow asking for help with a traditional V8 swap.  Such posting can easily draw scorn, as being "newbie" or contrary to some rules.  I disagree!  Online resources are fantastic, for well-versed people who need specific pointers on specific platforms.  Doing a suspension modification to race Z's in autocross?  Great!  There's fantastic data on alignment-settings on this forum.  Also wheel/tire choices, discussions on bumpsteer, on one kind of bushing vs. another, and on and on.  But what if you just found a ragged Z on Craigslist, and have no experience removing a suspension bushing?  What if you don't even know the difference between a bushing and a bearing?  Rectifying that, is going to take some actual mentorship.  For that purpose, this site is a portal and a conduit, rather than an end in itself.


    And that is the tragedy with modern social media... it's become a replacement for physical contact, rather than a jumping-off point.  Good social media should be like online dating: people scope out the possibilities, agree to meet, and then real-life begins.  Instead, and especially now, people are retreating into their digital cocoons.  Business-travel and college graduations are being replaced with Zoom meetings.  It's a miracle that cars themselves haven't been supplanted with video games.  Or have they?

  21. Has your JTR manual arrived?


    The 280zx (what you have) differs from the 240-260-280Z (what the JTR manual assumes).  The swap has been done in the ZX too, but it will be less straightforward to avail yourself of the details.


    Does your car currently run well?  Handling, brakes and so forth?  Chassis integrity (no rust)?  If these attributes are faulty, the swap will be frustrating, protracted and maybe eventually abandoned.


    Regardless of the vehicle, it's imperative to figure out the engine and transmission first.  Do you already have them?  Are they in good working order?  A successful swap is quite literally that.. a "swap" of engines, where the new engine is already good, where the recipient chassis is already good, and where "all" that's needed is to properly mate them together.


    My "home" is Ohio, but presently I'm not far from your locale.  Send a PM to discuss.

  22. On 3/17/2020 at 7:38 AM, slimjim said:

    My reason for wanting a Datsun (or ford maverick) is because I want something totally different to the Camaro, something smaller, lighter, CHEAPER with simpler bolt on suspension, and preferably a modern 6 cylinder turbo which will never have it's head cracked. something with a simplified interior that remains street legal that I will never take a second glance at a paint chip.

    But most importantly to further my basic fab skills in a way I couldn't bring myself to do with this Camaro.


    There are copious and considerable reasons to build a Z - even today, with vastly higher prices and reduced availability.  Certainly I don't mean to dissuade you.  Rather, the point is that you may find that it's not altogether different from building your Camaro.  Costs would be driven by very similar issues.  Sourcing/dealing/waiting for parts, would be similar.  Rust repair is rust repair.  Likewise with body work, electricals, suspension, and so forth.


    Out of curiosity, what do your Camaro weigh?  

  23. The reason of shoving the engine as far back (nearly against the firewall) is to improve fore-aft weight distribution.  This mattered more, in the now ancient-days of cast iron V8s.  But there is still a certain feeling of achievement and engineering-aesthetics, to get that setback to be as large as possible, even if it isn't strictly necessary.  Towards that end, have you considered cutting/notching the firewall, to accommodate the fuel-pump connections?

  24. An aggressive build - including something like a modern V8 and a commensurate development of the suspension and chassis - means that the eventual product will differ little, whether it is a Camaro, an S30 Z, a Henry J, a Fiat Topolino, a Pontiac Tempest, a Toyota Corolla or a Plymouth Roadrunner.




    Lighter cars get heavier.  Heavier cars get lighter.  Big wheels and big brakes make a heavy car stop faster, but add unsprung mass to a lighter car.  Designs converge.


    I've spent 20 years building (using the term sparingly) an S30 Datsun with an aggressive cage, firewall setback and Chevy big block (454) engine.  It is basically a... Camaro.  The Datsun purists of the 80s and 90s actually had a point.  And that point is: finish your Camaro, give it the acceleration and braking and handling that you like, and call it a day.  Why?  Because if/when you build a Datsun, to the same level of dedication, craftsmanship and hi-po parts, in the end you'll have another Camaro.  It will be a little bit lighter and a little bit more nimble, owing to a shorter wheelbase.  It might -subjectively - be prettier.  But conceptually it will be similar. 


    So, what would I do differently today?  Something light, Japanese, simple to work on, with strong performance potential?  I'd do an early 1990s Mazda Miata.  Maybe a V6 swap or a turbo.  And mostly leave the chassis and suspension alone.

  25. On 2/8/2020 at 2:59 PM, ihavearustedz said:

     Now that i think about it its been 10+ years that ive been hitting that "unread content" button. 

    And that's precisely the point that I've been lamenting now for several years.  20 years ago, something pithy and valuable would pop up every minute... weight comparison of different engines, a new method of mounting the differential, carburetor selection advice, dynamic compression ratio, JTR vs. Scarab weight distribution.  This continued apace for maybe 5 years, before settling into a more steady maturity.  Maturity inevitably led to senescence.  

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