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Everything posted by Michael

  1. Speaking of revolutionizing the industry – why don’t cam manufacturers alter their present practice, and start grinding the cam dot 180 degrees away from its current position?
  2. Well, one reason for mixing Corvette suspension components with Z sheet metal – instead of just modifying the Corvette itself – is the same as the reason for swapping a Chevy engine into a Z in the first place: you choose the best aspects of two entirely different vehicles, and build a combination vehicle – a.k.a. a hybrid – that is superior to both. That said, I am not impressed with the C4 suspension design, nor do I believe that a ladder frame designed to accept C4 front and rear suspension, plus the Z unibody, plus a roll cage, plus all the tabs and gussets and protuberances necessary to
  3. no no no, you guys have completely missed the original point… dark is faster than light (proof: open a desk drawer slowly; first its interior is dark, but eventually it gets lighter, until finally you can see the contents; therefore, dark is faster than light). So the dark car will be faster than the light car. Also, if you use a supercarburetor with cold fusion, you will get 250 mpg and the exhaust will consist of pure water. A further modification, especially common in the Southeast, features a special exhaust catalyst that converts the exhaust water into alcohol, which can b
  4. An idealization of a unibody car is a box, closed on all sides but hollow inside. Provided that every side of the box is closed, and loads are only applied at edges and corners, the structure is pretty stiff. But the advantage of the tube frame is that (1) now the box can have diagonals inside it, and (2) tubes can be placed strategically in anticipation of where the loads are applied, and what sort of loads they are. With that in mind, you can hack away metal that used to form the sides of the box, and still retain the same or greater strength. If the metal hacked away weighs more than th
  5. Once you remove everything from the shell, it’s difficult to stick to the plan of full reassembly. The desire to save weight by leaving out “unnecessary” components, to leave exposed areas of sheet metal where additional attention to fighting rust is required, or to make room for roll cage attachment points, will conspire to turn a once-stripped car into a permanently-stripped car. It becomes a race car, or a race car-wannabe. 20 years... what can I say? That has become a life’s labor.
  6. Comparing what’s currently available commercially, Milwaukee is the brand to beat. Milwaukee is currently updating their product line. Stores such as Home Depot have them on clearance sale. A few weeks ago I bought a 8.5 Amp quick-change model for $50.
  7. I have a similar mod to my radiator support on my ’78 280Z. The lower crossmember remains, but the rest of the radiator support was removed with a sawsall and the spot-welded guts were ground away from the inner fenders. A 3/4" tube with clevices on each end supports the radiator and electric fan on top, while down below a similar tube is welded to the frame rails, supporting the bottom of the radiator and reinforcing the front sway bar mounting locations. The lower tube is also braced to the stock lower crossmember. The upper tube’s clevices connect to tabs welded to reinforcement pads, t
  8. The 454 big block formerly in my Z (and for the past 18 months on an engine stand!) came with small oval port heads; it’s from a 1978 Suburban. In an effort to decide whether aftermarket aluminum heads are the best approach for my purposes, of if the stock heads can be modified with reasonable success, I “ported” one of the heads with an electric grinder and a Dremel. Results were measured on a “superflow” flow bench at the local machine shop. I did not take measurements of the stock heads, but here is a comparison of the data in Chevy High Performance (available on their web site) with the
  9. Looks good – especially how the roll bar is pushed as far outboard as possible. In your second photograph – why not weld the roll bar/diagonal junction to the unibody sheet metal (at the front-bottom corners of the valence windows)? Then the roll bar doubles as a “B pillar” for the unibody – and the unibody acts as a shear web for the roll bar.
  10. The problem with the torque vs. hp argument (build for hp, use gearing for torque) is the fact that the engine has to spool up to reach the rpms for its “sweet spot”. Engines built for high power, without priority for high torque, almost universally have a power band that favors high rpm. In a racing situation, the driver can plan ahead, by revving the motor before he drops the clutch, pre-positioning the engine in its favored rpm band and preselecting the appropriate gear. In a street situation, off-idle throttle response (and torque!) is what produces the seat-of-the-pants acceleration.
  11. Lewis, Regarding the strut housings - if you have all four, and they aren't bent (many Z's have a 2 degree (or more) runout on the kingpin inclination angle), I'll pay $100 for the set. But first I have to make sure that the late 260Z is the same as the 280Z. Thanks.
  12. In California the pick-a-part yards probably consume most of the stock parts business. The first Z that I owned was a ’72 rustbucket (back when I lived in Pasadena). I was overwhelmed with my purchase – it was useless as a candidate for daily driving, let alone a conversion to V8. When I couldn’t sell it, I tried parting it out. After about a year of advertising on recycler.com (a very useful Los Angeles-area automotive classifieds site and newspaper), I sold most of my parts, for a total of about 50% of what I originally paid for the car. I cut up the shell with a sawzall and threw the p
  13. This may or may not be an appropriate place to make this comment.... but I think that the consensus here is that an incremental approach is preferable. Begin with a stock Z. Replace the suspension bushings and brake pads. Then go to an SCCA club-racing event. Get to the point where you have outgrown the car as a competitive driver. Then consider the first round of upgrades. Maybe a typical Chevy small block, or a Ford, or a turbo L6. But such mods kick you into highly competitive racing categories. So if competitive success is more important than raw performance, consider buildi
  14. Lewis, I need McPherson strut housings (all 4 corners) – stock will do just fine. I don't need the brakes, or springs. I’m in Dayton, Ohio – evidently about a 3 or 4 hour drive from you.
  15. Besides those mentioned already, there are several full tube frames on this board. Perhaps the most thorough belongs to “japtin”. Ron Jones has a similar variant. Mine is essentially a tube frame, though it’s welded into the unibody and uses the unibody panels as shear webs etc. It was built on a jig. The car was sawed into three pieces, the frame was welded into the unibody, and then the unibody was welded back together. The tradeoff in this approach vs. a true tube frame is less welding and design work for the frame, but more sheet metal work. A true tube frame differs from a “la
  16. Grumpy – To slightly change the subject.... I’ve been following your advice on big blocks in various posts (such as the 496 marine build-up), but prior to this thread I didn’t realize that you had a big-block Z! Do you have pictures/text about this car? Would you summarize the characteristics of the engine build that you chose? You’ve heard the story with mine – chassis is together, but engine is ailing, while I waffle as to what to do with it (for instance, whether to cough up >$2000 for aluminum heads, especially when AFR comes out with oval-port heads, or to mess with my 346236 castin
  17. Pondering the examples of hybrid Healeys, MG's, etc. - and the more radical Z's on this forum, I'm intrigued by the next question - has anyone built a car completely from scratch (in the spirit of something like Bill Thomas's Cheetah of the 1960's)? I mean, your own frame, bodywork, windshield, doors, everything? Considering the extremes to which some members have gone to, this would be the next logical step....
  18. I have a '78 454 from a Suburban. Sure enough, it has the "hi perf pass" casting. My impression is that ALL standard-deck 454 blocks from the 70's had that casting. It also has the oil-line bosses above the oil filter mount, but it's a 2-bolt block with cast crank. I don't know of any post-1973 454 with had a factory forged crank. Forged-crank 454's basically died with the LS5. Heads are 346236 - yours are probably the same. 113 cc oval port heads, but they're not "peanut port"; those are even smaller. Some people claim that with pocket porting and upgrade to 2.25"/1.88" valves, these
  19. I agree about the R/S matter. Plotting the “crank-slider” model of piston displacement, speed and acceleration vs. crank position, and varying the rod to stroke ratio, reveals how little the piston kinematics are affected by changes in rod length. And the one or two degree difference in rod angularity - yeah, I don't see how that could be significant, either. Importance of rod to stroke ratio is one of those debates that will never get settled, simply because we just don’t have a rigorous way to quantify exactly what happens – in terms of engine output or cylinder bore wear – for different
  20. Pete, Frankly, I find it somewhat difficult to understand how one could fret over spending an additional $300 on one set of heads vs. another, when >$30,000 was already spent on the project! Canfield might be the unsung hidden gem, and AFR the celebrated show horse, but if you buy the Canfield heads you would still wonder whether the AFRs might not have been better, whereas if you buy AFR, quite possibly you would not be concerned over the alternative. So if it’s just a matter of $300 price difference, spend the bucks! Once upon a time you gave me essentially the same advice....
  21. Don't know if this got mentioned already or not, but there's a fellow in the Los Angeles area who did the Caddy 500 swap about 5-10 years ago. He showed his car every year at the Motorsport show in Orange County. I believe he's the same guy who recently set the top-speed record with a sorta-stock 2+2 Z at Bonneville. Anyway, back around 1998 I had a conversation with him. He claimed a 50/50 weight distribution, with aluminum intake but stock heads (if I recall correctly; also, I think he used a GM corporate TH-400, or maybe 700R4) and stock firewall location. The distributor location make
  22. Thanks for the compliment, Mike! The guy who welded my roll cage was a rare find - and even he had some choice remarks when describing the difficulty of the job. As for books on roll cages, one standard reference among those currently in print is "Chassis Engineering", by Herb Adams. A company called Steve Smith Autosports had a series of guidebook-type publications on chassis and roll cage design, back in the 70's. They focused on NASCAR-type cars, back when they actually resembled "stock" cars. Those books are probably out of print, but try a web search on "Steve Smith Autosports".
  23. Street Legal, You’re making the big-block installation look easy! Looks beautiful! My ’78 used to have a big block – now it just has a big hole. I’d love to compare notes on all things BBC. Unfortunately, big block activity on this site is moderate at best. Brad Barkley started a site dedicated to Chevy big blocks, but sadly, that one isn’t much of a happening place, either. Perhaps the best venue is e-mail off-line?
  24. I also used to be a student in the school of life. I would attend class regularly, take good notes, study for the exams and perform relatively well on them. But then – perhaps suddenly, perhaps gradually – came a transformation. Increasingly I found myself losing interest. It became more and more difficult to concentrate, to make my study time worthwhile. My grades slipped. I could no longer keep up. I was losing the respect of other life-students. So, in disgust, I dropped out. On the advice of professionals, I started wearing jackets with really long sleeves. Moved to a town wh
  25. Hitman47 - To somewhat change the subject, could you please provide some more information on the 540 BBC in your Bel Air? My '78 Z is set up for big block Chevy (long, long story) and I'm finally getting serious about dropping in an engine worthy of the frame; the 454 formerly in the car died last year. One plan is to get a 0.25" stroker crank for my 454 block, and get the AFR oval-port BBC heads, which supposedly are coming out this spring. But I am also considering stepping up to an aftermarket block. Budget considerations are rather elastic, but I'm eyeing something in the $5
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