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Everything posted by Michael

  1. Welcome indeed! When this site first started (in a few weeks it will have been 19 years!), there was much debate about "optimal" engine longitudinal placement. The main strategy for higher setback ran into conflict between the Chevy distributor and the stock Datsun hood latch. So, the latch would get relocated. In Techie's photos, the stock hood latch appears to be intact. It would help to take a closer photo, standing at the side of the car. Also take a photo of the engine-mounts. Are they long and cantilevered off of the steering crossmember? More engine setback is generally a good thing, but cutting the firewall is an adventurous exercise that often leads to having to gut the interior, rendering the car, ahem, "specialized". Most crucial after picking up a vehicle with an engine swap, is sorting out maintenance issues. How is the compression? Are the valves in adjustment? Is the ignition timing correct? It's remarkable how large can be the performance-difference between an engine that's in good tune, and one that's lacking. By this I mean simple things, like spark plugs or carburetor settings. An engine with well-flowing aftermarket heads, big cam, port-matching everywhere, free exhaust, high compression and so forth... maybe more sluggish that the most prosaic economy-engine from a taxicab, if the latter is well-tuned, and the former is not.
  2. Congratulations on a successful resolution! It is indeed frustrating, how one might spend years on remediating rust, building a roll cage, inserting new frame rails, building an engine, etc., only to suffer deep disappointment because of some minor but insidious problem with the tuning (spark and/or fuel). But this happens often. Even if we can't diagnose the problem, and only solve it by swapping parts, well, at least the problem has been solved. Given your stack of receipts, perhaps you can do some sleuthing on the provenance of this engine... its parameters and properties. From that, it would be possible to select the "ideal" intake manifold and carb. And then maybe the final step would be tuning on a dyno.
  3. Welcome! There are actually people around, who have been working on their V8 swap for 30 years. I've only been working on mine for around 20... plenty more experience to acquire. Surprisingly, nobody has yet ventured with the gruff admonition, to buy and read the "JTR manual". It glosses over the electrical details specific to the LT1, but is otherwise relevant, especially for engine mounting and interface with the transmission. By way of advice, I suggest first establishing a sound condition for the car itself: rust abatement/mitigation, brakes, suspension, that sort of thing. Swaps often fail not because of the swap itself, but because the installation of a different engine is part of an overall restoration project. It's so much easier when with the stock-engine the vehicle is already in good functional condition... especially if you have no reason for any aggressive chassis reinforcement or re-engineering (new frame rails, setting the firewall back, installation of roll cage, etc.). Good luck!
  4. 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 (GM firing order)... In your case, every other cylinder is non-firing? Such systematic failure is peculiar. HEI module? Is there a spare distributor, to replace the current one (the complete thing)?
  5. The Muncie M20 was a "wide ratio" (for the times!) 4-speed. First gear is around 2.56, and fourth is of course 1.0.... not the best choice for a Z. Unfortunately there has been little progress in V8-suited manual transmissions over the past 20 years. This is understandable, as the Gen-1 small block and Mark-IV big block have been obsolete for 20 years. Several aftermarket vendors modify the venerable T5, or its peers (Tremec etc.). At 350 hp, one supposes that a fairly conventional T5 would suit. Mine is an older build, with. Doug Nash 5-speed (not overdrive!), but then again, the engine is not 350 hp. If I were doing it all over again, I would probably go with a G-Force variant of a T5. As Miles noted, the JTR book remains useful as summary of the OEM options. There may be reason to improve on it, as it were, using a blow proof bellhousing and a hydraulic throwout bearing.
  6. The inevitable question is whether the effort in doing something ambitious (research, sourcing components, fabrication, testing and adjusting) is justified by the eventual benefits. My personal feeling is that for those who have the skills and resources to do this successfully, the question no longer needs to be asked. For the rest of us, it's too easy to get seduced by impressive theoretical options, that end up only causing frustration and dejection. That said, my preference would be to start with some kind of suspension modeling software. The more sophisticated ones are doubtless expensive, but there should be a basic one available as freeware. A swap that used at one time to be popular, or at least occasionally encountered, was the front suspension from the C5 Corvette.
  7. The Mark-IV big block 454 is not to be confused with the LSX bored/stroked out to 454. The latter will fit anywhere that a Gen III-IV small-block will fit. The former is going to be challenging in a 300ZX. In the above post, the first photo is of a Mark-IV big block, while the second is the LSX. An fellow named Grumpyvette for some number of years posted expert advice on the care and feeding of the big-block 454, achieving both impressive performance-numbers and reliability. Doing this requires both an intuition for how parts go together, and as goes without saying, for acquiring said parts. Begin with the casting numbers on the heads and block. Are these a candidate for refurbishment, or ought one to ditch them, in favor of new (or at least alternative) parts? Writing today, in the summer of 2018, it is hard to justify a Mark-IV big block, unless one is particularly fond of them, has the parts and equipment to support them, and has a particular hankering for such a novel swap. I did this swap (with copious help) in an S30. That project included setting the firewall back 6". The big block will fit even without a firewall setback, and at least 2-3 people on this forum have built big-block S30s with stock firewall. Opinions on weight-distribution are of course their own matter. In a 300ZX, one supposes that the fit will be considerably less accommodating. If one is truly keen on doing this, one could aggressively cut metal and secure an eventual fit. Is it worth it? Again, very much a matter of opinion.
  8. This site began (now over 18 years ago!) as an antidote to “purism”. Purism is a zealous affection for one particular brand or model, to the exclusion of all others, where one regards said brand as being inviolable, and any introduction of alternative components is “impure”. In particular, in the late 1990s, the V8 swap was first becoming systematized, and this site was built as a home for persons interested in such a swap, without facing taunts and vitriol of detractors. Later, we realized that it’s all too easy to become clannish and insular about the V8 swap itself, and so, all sorts of variants came to be welcomed. Technology and tastes moved on. Today, perusal of sub-forums immediately shows that the most popular thing is the turbo, quite often on a straight-6, whether from the original S30, another Datsun/Nissan, or an entirely different brand. Mechanics aren’t known for being philosophers, but to the extent that there is a prevailing philosophy, I’d summarize it as being an easy-going minimalism and openness to alternatives. The easy-going part, means that there’s no stark loyalty to any brand, year, national-origin or technology. If it works, use it. The minimalism means that the best approach is the simplest. Why add complexity for complexity’s sake, let alone, for mere appearances? The openness combines the aforementioned two. If upon completing a swap, there comes to be a demonstrably better way of doing things, the old gets yanked, and the new attempted; unless of course one grows tired of too much tinkering, and has the maturity to accept things as they are. Some of the most venerable members on this Forum have died. Others have lost interest, faded away, or just gone silent. I miss them, and I miss those heady early days, when seemingly by the hour there were new, insightful, stimulating posts – the repository of knowledge growing. Forums themselves have changed. Now there’s you-tube and facebook… online guides and quicky updates. Who has time anymore, to craft lengthy and detailed essays? My own car has now been in various stages of incompletion and completion, for some 20 years. I’ve often lost motivation, and honestly, haven’t had much of it over the past couple of years. But this stasis and somnolence are not permanent. I look forward to renewed garage-sessions… and maybe even a recrudescence of spirited posting on this forum.
  9. Well, isn't it time now to be celebrating HybridZ's 18th birthday? It's now old enough to vote, to be drafted, to be criminally charged as an adult. It's not old enough to order its own parts, using its own credit card, with its own legally-valid signature. How will it function with its newfound maturity? On a more serious note - there must, there absolutely MUST be a HybridZ member somewhere out there, who wasn't yet born, when this site was started! Pray tell, who are you?
  10. Rebuilding an automatic transmission is definitely a higher-end venture. Few of us here (even the seasoned veterans) would be in a position to offer actionable advice. Have you ascertained the condition of your engine? You found a local transmission shop, evidently building a good rapport with them. If you could do likewise with an engine shop, perhaps you could put the engine on a dynamometer, thus optimizing its tune?
  11. This is probably the L31 block, built between around 1995 and 2000, designed for a hydraulic roller cam. It's a Gen-II 350, so yes, you're in the correct forum. The casting to which you refer is not on the "bell housing", but on the portion of the block just head of the flat surface to which the bell housing would bolt... a minor quibble, but somebody already noted insistence of terminology, so one might as well continue. "Vortec" is GM's play-on-words, referring to cylinder heads that supposedly had better flow-numbers, and more efficient mixing in the combustion chamber. For stock heads, this is a reasonable combination. If you go about messing with the engine, in a quest for more power, that venture would require synchronizing changing of all sorts of components, as they work together. So, a larger cam might mean different valve-springs, or possibly even different pistons, depending on piston-to-valve clearance, combustion ratio and various other things. This is why most enthusiasts only change the exhaust manifolds (you already have "block hugger" headers, which are fine), the intake manifold and carb. The engine's mating to a TH350 is certainly possible, but I would have suspected a 700R4, or similar variant. Ultimately, do you want an automatic, or a manual? A non-overdrive transmission is not necessarily such a horrendous evil, especially if you install a 3.54 rear-end. Looking at the second photo that you posted, the distributor housing is only about 1" from the firewall, and the stock hood-latch receiver panel appears to have been removed. These are telltale signs that the engine is already in the "JTR" position, or close to it, even if the engine-mounts were custom-made according to some other rubric. So, I'd leave that alone. The absence of a transmission talehousing mount would be outright ridiculous - but not inconceivable. One can be fabricated according to the ubiquitous JTR method. The JTR web-site used to sell (do they anymore?) their parts, and if not, there are patterns floating around the internet. By my reckoning, the first step would be a tune-up... get the engine running, set the timing and so forth. Upgrades can come later (possibly much later). Overall, this looks like a clean car, and a successful buy. Congratulations!
  12. Not to be the acerbic dissenter here, but sometimes it is more satisfying (not to mention, more illuminating) to get components that are of marginal robustness, but which are standard, common and well-researched... try them out, see if they happen to work, and then replace if/when failure happens. Too often, we overbuild; we overspend, end up for example with a clutch that's too heavy to be comfortable, with a "bulletproof" transmission with heavy/cumbersome gear-engagement, and so forth. I personally made this mistake, in going with a Doug Nash 4+1 transmission... "bulletproof" indeed, but a chore to shift, with gears that are too closely spaced. At least the clutch was a success... Centerforce dual-friction; Hayes 168-tooth aluminum flywheel - both from the Summit catalog. The one semi-unorthodox piece was the McLeod hydraulic throwout bearing, obviating a clutch-fork or pivot point. In sum, consider the typical small-block build from the Summit or Jegs catalog. It should work fine.
  13. "Drifting from side to side" at highway speeds is often imputed to bad aerodynamics. In my view, this is partially correct. If the consumables in the suspension are worn, but only slightly worn, then with sedate driving on surface-streets, there may be no sensation of there being anything amiss. But at highway speeds, the steering might grow light, or otherwise twitchy. In steady straight-line driving on smooth pavement, there are presumably no strong transient forces - or than those having to do with wind. So, it's not the case that the aerodynamics are inherently bad (and least, not entirely), but rather, than wind-effects at higher speeds expose problems with the (front) suspension, that would not otherwise have been noticed. That at least was my own experience, driving a worn but serviceable 240z on the highway, now so many years ago.
  14. Here's adding my voice to the chorus advocating for having BOTH cars: the S30Z, and a much newer model for general driving-duty. With an older car, attaining a high level of performance almost invariably means sacrificing comfort, utility and the general niceties of care-free hopping into the vehicle, and just taking off. This, I think, is a worthwhile trade, for building something truly personalized and invigorating to drive. But especially as we get older, and come to rely on transportation for stodgy and utilitarian duties, the various compromises become less and less tenable. We're forced to relent and to avail ourselves of something newer. But why should that mean dispensing with the pride of decades' tinkering and achievement?
  15. Yes. I'm too lazy/inept to include definitive links here, but I have a 454 with a few bits to improve it, a Doug Nash 5-speed and some chassis mods to accommodate the setup. Several others have big block Chevy engines with stock firewall/frame rails. About 15 years ago we had on this Forum a couple of really impressive bbc Datsun drag cars... full tube chassis, back-halved. With the ubiquity of the Gen-IV small block, the old-school big block has understandably become a rarity.
  16. It's bittersweet, Mike. On the one hand, congratulations on a successful sale. On the other hand, after 15 years (or wasn't it longer?) of your avid participation (and leadership) in this hobby/adventure/obsession, it's disheartening to see you conclude this path.
  17. There's a plethora of reviews online for Gen-1 SBC aftermarket heads; see Hot Rod and similar magazines, who regularly publish comparison-articles. A specific recommendation is not possible, because (1) aftermarket offerings change rapidly, and (2) it depends very much on one' particular application (displacement, desired rpm band, compression ratio and so forth). If completely lost, call Summit or Jegs, and they'll offer some verbal advice.
  18. The years roll on, and despite an ever-increasing proliferation of brake options, there remains tense debate on whether "stock is best, if well-maintained", or whether now in 2016 an upgrade is sensible. Like many of us, I've had a car sleeping for decades. If it awakes, it will need thorough overhaul of brakes - and if that's stock, it will be some form of rebuilt components. Towards that end, I keep wondering: is there an incrementally lighter and more aggressive variant on the stock 280Z front brakes? Does anyone make the stock casting of the brake-caliper, but in aluminum? Or perhaps another caliper that works with the stock rotors, without an adapter-bracket, but which offers more piston-capacity, and/or less weight? I say this because on the one hand, I'm leery of an ambitious brake-upgrade venture. But on the other hand, it seems to be timid and unimaginative to merely be replacing 40-year-old components with identical (but rebuilt) parts.
  19. Aesthetics aside, the appeal is that a 4-lug pattern is propagated into the webbing of the wheel. I'm not a structural engineer, but intuition suggests that such usage of a 4-pattern makes possible a lighter/stronger wheel, than if the lug-pattern were ignored (meaning, for example, a 5-spoke wheel in 4-lug pattern). Unfortunately this wheel does not appear on Rota's web site, http://www.rotawheels.com/wheels.php . A simpleminded Google search reveals an offering from Amazon, in 15x8, but unfortunately in the Miata lug spacing, 4x100mm: https://www.amazon.com/NEW-ROTA-TBT-15X8-PCD/dp/B01DB7M8R6 . Has anyone seen this wheel in 4x114.3? Or any specs on weight?
  20. Texis30O, at the risk of dragging this thread off topic, could you please provide a link where you describe your 5-lug setup (front and rear) enabling these wheels/tires to fit? I recall mention of it in the wheels/tires/suspension sub-forum, but the huge plethora of keyword search-hits makes it frustrating to find actionable information.
  21. Apologies in advance if I'm making an obtuse or condemnatory point, but what is the advantage of mounting 245-series tires on 9.5" wheels? Would it not be more sensible to use narrower wheels for 245 tires, or perhaps to attempt wider tires for 9.5" wheels? Tirerack.com recommends 8"-9.5" wheels for 245/40-17, with something like 8.5" as standard. That being the case, if the objective is 245/40-17 wheels, might there not be an advantage in fitment (and lower rotating mass) in going with a narrower wheel?
  22. Time passes. The OP evidently sold his Z last year. The person to whom is ascribed above the mention of irritation, has recently passed away.
  23. That is pretty astonishing news! Wilmington is literally one zip code away from me. If anyone needs a staging-area or free lodging, let me know. Unfortunately I'll likely be on business-travel for part of that time, but something could presumably be worked out.
  24. The car was resting on three points: the bottom of the differential housing, a point on the driver's side of the front cross-member, and a point on the passenger's side of the cross-member... correct? Was the floor level? Were the two front jackstands at equal height? If the answer is "yes" to both, then that's evidence (but not proof) that the unibody is in OK shape. First, I wanted to publicly compliment you on the aesthetic beauty of your suspension components - even if they're not level or not yet fully functional. Many of us armchair-critics can't sport something so elegant. Second, it may be the case that the McPherson struts themselves are uneven. On my car, the front axles (correct term?) were improperly aligned with respect to the strut housings... an OEM defect. The late John Coffey pointed out that this problem is fairly widespread. It took several junkyard outings to find a matching pair of front strut assemblies. Well, this may or may not be a culprit in the car-leveling issue, but it is suggestive that some other source of unevenness could reasonably be traced to the strut assemblies.
  25. It is indeed. This site has become an austere and staid repository, rather than a discussion-group. But that's an issue beyond the scope of the present thread. Resuming the topic, perhaps it might be worthwhile to remove the McPherson struts from all four corners, stack them up alongside each other, and compare. There may be some obscure anomaly that mere under-car inspection can't detect. It may for example be possible that the rubber isolators atop of each strut-housing are broken, or mismatched, or that something else is mockingly dangling. There might have been mixing between 240Z and 280Z components.
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