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Everything posted by Michael

  1. I second Mike KZ's comments. Regardless of the eventual details of your front suspension, you'll have to have something that spans wheel-to-wheel to accommodate the steering, and it would be great to get the crankshaft pulley behind that something. That makes working on the engine MUCH easier, not to mention the improvement in weight distribution. Will the windshield and A-pillars remain in the stock location? If so, you still have something like 10" of space to set back the firewall, before the distributor cap hits the front windshield lip. That's because of the awfully deep valence
  2. I suppose that like most upgrades, this one comes down to a matter of personal preference. About a year ago I was also thinking about an aluminum block - aluminum big block, that is. GM performance parts had reissued the much-vaunted ZL1 "aluminum cylinder case", and Merlin (World Products?) has a whole line of aluminum big and small blocks. The cheapest aluminum BB is around $4-5k; SB may be around $3K. Costs aside, one issue is how to mount the bearing caps. The GM LS1 is cross-bolted, which I was told works very well, although another chorus claims that LS1's are notorious for spinning
  3. Stay away from Supras! I used to own a '87 Supra turbo. The engine reputedly weighs more than a Chevy small block, and though the bottom end is truly stout, head gaskets blow very easily. The turbo is tame in stock form, and Supra tinkerers claim huge performance increases due to higher boost (the stock electronics and plumbing will allow up to 13 psi before fuel cutoff issues appear). BUT, we're still stuck with the low end torque issue. Turbo lag on these things is tremendous, and very frustrating off the line. Years ago, I thought of yanking the inline-6 in my Supra, and swappi
  4. I'm using a Doug Nash 5-speed, which is a modest evolution of a 25 year old design. 5th gear is actually 1:1, so in terms of mileage and top end, it's a four speed. This and some of the older Detroit transmissions are "externally shifted", which means that the linkages are outside of the transmission case. In my '78 280z, that required substantial modification to the transmission tunnel (cutting sheet metal around the shifter, and welding in a new cver patch). However, the external shifting does have one advantage - you can move the shifter around, to get it physically where it's the most c
  5. Regarding the California stuff - What Gene writes is very true. But, fortunately there's a break for pre-'74 cars. They are not required to submit to semi-annual smog inspections, and presumably, there is no "shake down" process at the smog referee station the first time that the vehicle is registered. The word on the street is that a "gross polluter" can still be pulled over on the street. But I have never actually heard of this happen. Besides, a properly tuned engine with reasonable cam should not be a gross polluter anyway, even with no smog equipment at all. As
  6. Owen, I won't be in Pasadena for too long - in fact, I'll be relocating to Dayton, Ohio, in two weeks. My Z will probably not be finished yet , which presents some logistics problems. Make sure to take good pictures at the MSA show!
  7. I'm chiming in kinda late, but for what it's worth, I was probably the guy that started this mess with my posting on Camaro front rotors (this post evidently got lost in our recent crash). At a pick-a-part junk yard, I removed the rotor and hub assembly, complete with bearings and all the guts, from a Gen II Camaro (70 1/2 - 81; this looked like a '75), and slapped them onto the spindle of a 280Z. With the possible exception of the inner oil sealing ring, everything fit perfectly. I could not rigorously check the oil seal thing, because evidently that would require torquing down the re
  8. Folks, We've covered a lot of ground on the issues of roll cages, subframe connectors, floor pans, torque tubes, etc. But, I probably speak for many people when I say that the actual effect of these modifications is still shrouded in mystery. in other words, do we really know what increase in, say, torsional rigidity such modifications produce? So, here's my question: has anyone attempted a "test" of their chassis's torsional stiffness, e.g. by shoving a long beam in the vicinity of the steering crossmember, clamping the rear fixed, loading the far end of the beam, and
  9. Folks, I just wanted to interject a question about suspension design into the discussion. The 4-link has various advantages for drag racing purposes; specifically, the ability to tune for anti-squat, while managing wheel hop, etc. Yet, the 4-link is generally regarded as inferior for road-type applications - even inferior to the Satchell link arrangement (two longitudinal links, two links angled toward the center of the car) or the NASCAR-style trailing link arrangement, because of poor roll compliance. That's actually a plus for drag racing, but evidently a minus for road r
  10. Michael


    The old driveshaft will work. However, you will almost certainly want to replace the driveshaft for V8 purposes. I bought JTR's driveshaft flange for adapting Chevy-size U-joints to the R200/R180 input flange, and a yoke for the opposite end of the driveshaft to fit my transmission. Everything takes Spicer 1310 U-joints (maybe 1350 - I can't recall the specific number). The rest of the job is left to a driveshaft shop.
  11. Matt, As far as a suitable candidate for a block, probably any junkyard refugee (350) will do, even a 2-bolt. In the build-up process, most likely you will have to replace absolutely everything except for the block itself. Shameless commercial plug - consider my stuff in the "for sale" section. However, if you farm out all of the work to a machine shop (that is, they build you a turnkey engine), they may be reluctant to work on a block that you supply to them, because that's less profit for them. Check ahead of time. Yet another option is to buy an assembled shortblo
  12. Is this a Ford 428 (FE, or maybe a cammer?)? Assuming that it's about the same size and weight as a Chevy 396/427/454/etc., you're looking at about 150 lbs more than for a small block. It will be about 3" longer, with similar increases in width and height. If you plan on using a stock bellhousing and oil pan, ground clearance issues will force placement of the engine such that the air cleaner sticks out above the hood line (unless you get a really low rise intake manifold). I'm installing a 454 in my '78 280Z. But, the firewall was set over 6" back from stock, by cutting out the fire
  13. Folks, Thanks for all the advice! My original posting on this topic was quite some time ago, and since then, I have already bought the unit from Stealth Conversions. It looks very well made (much better than the TH400 yoke that I bought for the opposite end of the driveshaft). When we lost a bunch of postings on the forum, this particular topic floated up to the top of the heap, since it apparently was the latest posting that was not deleted. By the way, do we know whether the damage to the site was due to a technical malfunction, or hacking???
  14. Is this the same for all 70-81 half shafts (i.e. 240's, 260's, 280's, and early 280zx's that still have U-joints)?
  15. I can't say that the rear spoiler will entirely fix the exhaust fume problem, because there will still be some flow separation - just not as much. The front spoilers often come with "ducts" to accommodate plumbing for brake cooling, or just to install fog lamps. If you don't have either, just fill up the holes with, well, duct tape.
  16. Hi Matt, The engine is a 350 with 4-bolt mains. The bores are 0.030" over, and in pretty good shape, though there may not be enough material for a further overbore. Casting on the block says 1970. Carb was a Rochester 4-barrel spreadbore on a cast iron intake manifold. Basically, that indicates that the engine was of mild high performance, but not top of the line. Heads have 1.94/1.50 valves. Everything is disassembled, and in boxes. Most likely, the engine was not run in quite a while. I pulled it from a Jaguar that some one converted to V8 (with JTR methods, in fact!
  17. The BRE stuff is hard to beat for being unobtrusive yet effective. The lower air dam is a mixed blessing for some cars, but it's very effective for the Z, because 1) the Z has severe front lift problems, and 2) these problems are caused by relatively minor but far-reaching design mistakes. After some digging (I don't want to elevate it to the status of "research", so let's just call it digging), I've come to the conclusion that the original wind tunnel testing done by the Nissan engineers had the car elevated on blocks underneath the wheels, possibly in a misguided effort to get around
  18. JTR sells a Datsun-to-Chevy driveshaft adaptor, evidently to be used with Spicer #1310 U-joints. Has anyone ordered this piece from them, and if so, what do you think of it? has anyone made their own? The flange of a Chevy driveshaft can probably be machined for the appropriate Datsun "pilot diameter" (2.25"), but I wonder if there is enough room to drill the Datsun-compatible bolt pattern.
  19. This probably belongs on the "for sale" message board, but it fits the thread so I'll list it here. I have a 4-bolt 350 block, from back when I wanted to install a small block. In fact, I have the whole engine (heads, crank, etc.), in unassembled form. Ironically, I pulled it out of a Jaguar for which some one did a JTR V8 conversion. Chevy small blocks have almost no value stock and unassembled, so if some one gave me $100 for the lot, I'd love to get rid of it. Unfortunately, I'm in Pasadena, CA, which is a long way from Washington. Shipping will cost far more than th
  20. SpencZ, Well, first of all, this car is still under construction, so it will be a while before I actually kill myself. Second, it's a full tube car, with what amounts to a GT2 roll cage and extensive reinforcements beyond those required by the various race sanctioning bodies, and well beyond those described by JTR. The assembly is currently on a chassis jig, custom built just for this car. There is not much loading ahead of the strut towers. Funny cars, trans-am cars, and many others don't have any structure ahead of the strut towers (except for a lower bar to tie together the l
  21. Does anyone have any particular preferences for electric cooling fans? I'm using a Griffin aluminum 2-core radiator, 27 1/2" by 19" (it fits when angled forward, and when the stock Datsun sheet metal crossmember connecting the inner fender is cut out), and I'm trying to cool a 350 hp 454" big block. With the angled radiator, a pulley-driven fan is not practical. Also, I'm sure that people have noticed the claims that while pulley driven fans may absorb on the order of 10 hp, electric fans supposedly draw less than 1 hp max (1 hp at 12 volts = ~60 amps!). Granted, the blades of e
  22. I'm no welding expert, but I'm working with a guy that is. He definitely recommends mild steel instead of chromoly for anything short of a pro race car. The Chassis Shop guy might be a pompous twit, but basically, he has a point. Chromoly steel tends to brittle. The heating and (cooling down) inherent in the welding process tends to exacerbate the natural brittleness of the material, and may cause the formation of local microscale imperfections. These are the weak links in the chain. The result will still be strong in continuously applied loads, but if you whack the welded are with
  23. It's great that we're addressing handling issues for a car that's supposed to be "all straight line"!!! I have a question for the cognoscenti: why are V8 Z cars reputed to understeer? Of course, this is a rather complex issue. But stripping it down to the essential details, nose heavy cars will tend to understeer, but tail heavy cars will oversteer. Things change if the rear tires are much stickier than the front, if the front suspension has different camber gain than the rear, if one end has a stiffer roll bar than the other, etc., etc. But in general, I'd intuitively expect a V8 Z
  24. Though I've annoyed some people by saying this, I really think that moderate performance cars don't really benefit from roll cages etc. My guess is that your stock 305 conservatively makes about 160 hp and 220 ft-lbs of torque, in real-world numbers. A more precise estimate would depend on the head casting (and valve size, and many other things). With a decent dual-plane intake manifold, four-barrel carb, 1 5/8" block hugger headers, mild cam and a little tuning, plan on about 220-250 hp and maybe 280 ft-lbs of torque. If that feels like too little, consider that my '78 454 big block,
  25. As far as I know, NHRA indeed requires 0.120" thick DOM mild steel tubing. Chromoly, if you choose to use that, only has to be something like 0.83". Oddly enough, the industry standard for mild steel is 0.118" ! And that apparently won't pass tech. So what I did was reluctantly follow my hot rodding mentor's advice, and went for the 0.134" tubes - these are the next thickest size. In 1 5/8" diameter, these are kinda beefy. I figure the whole cage will weight at least 100 lbs, maybe 150. That's with diagonally crossed "door bars" (really more to connect the dash-area bars to the B-pillar
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