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Everything posted by Michael

  1. The issue, I think, is that in recent years we've had especially harsh winters in transitional-regions, such as the lower Midwest and the Mid Atlantic. These areas are too far south, and typically too warm, for an established snow/winter driving culture. There's just enough snow and extreme-weather to cause substantial inconvenience, but not enough to warrant an outright rethinking of the culture towards "winter mode", where everyone wears warm coats, plugs their car in at night using block-heaters, uses dedicated snow-tires and so forth. Also, with the proliferation of large-diameter wheels and low-profile tires, it's more difficult to get true all-season performance. Dry/warm performance is excellent, but traction in the snow suffers. And if you have 18" rims, are you going to change tires from summer to winter - or will you attempt to cut corners, driving "gingerly" in the winter on summer-tires? Just driving around in my Camry (don't knock it - it's a 3.5L V6!), I get frequent tire-spin in the snow... and that's with all-season passenger radials and FWD. I shudder to think what would have happened with my RWD wide-tired cars.
  2. Some years ago, there was a "general topics" subforum, for political discussions, jokes, personal anecdotes and the like. It was closed and removed, in attempt to diffuse controversy that detracted from our main theme, which was V8 Datsuns (now more broadly high-performance Datsuns). While I miss those non-technical discussions, that's not my main regret about the direction of this forum. Instead, I think that exhortation to "use the search function" has been taken too far. I find considerable value in regurgitating (if necessary) tired old topics, and repeating questions that have already been answered a dozen times. Why? Because the freshness of newly asking the very same thing, is a freshness of style and personal appeal, even if the actual content is stale. It's also worth mentioning that over the years, links disappear, products disappear, methods become obsolete. Imagine that you're building a first-generation small block Chevy, and are worried about wiping the lobes on a flat-tappet cam. This question has, I'm sure, been asked over a dozen times. Should a new reader just use the search-function? Maybe not. Cam profiles have changed since 2000. Valve-spring technology has advanced. So have motor-oils and oil supplements for engine break-in. We're so tremulous over asking a "newbie" question, that good and timely discussions are unable to take root. But the point about social-media is important. Not being a facebook user or a user of smart-phones, I fail to behold how internet usage overall has changed. How many people actually sit down in front of a desktop computer, in the comfort of their office or den, to get online? Realizing this, it stands to reason how forums in general would see decline of activity.
  3. Welcome, Citadel! Mixture of anecdote and experience suggest that the two greatest pitfalls of the Datsun V8 swap are (1) starting with a woefully rusty/dilapidated car, thus having to do a restoration concomitantly with the swap, and (2) the "while I'm at it" syndrome, which is a ceaseless pursuit of "improvements" that preclude timely finishing of the project. Both causes will quickly derail even the most steadfast intentions, turning months-long projects into multi-decade (or perpetual) efforts. It sounds like you've avoided the first pitfall, by starting with a workable baseline vehicle, which might need the usual shocks/bushings/brakes renewal, but nothing drastic. Now you may wish to consider whether there's some means of getting the engine to run, before proceeding with the installation, for example on a dyno. This will forestall all sorts of nasty headaches later, such as weird oil leaks that are difficult to chase down, or engine assembly-errors that might require removing the engine again. Do you really need to rebuild the transmission? That sounds like a chore, and a perfidious opportunity to get frustrated. Perhaps it would be better (if nominally more expensive) to buy an already functioning transmission? Regardless, best of luck, and please keep us posted.
  4. Somehow the pre-LS swap (which is to say, first-generation or second-generation Chevy V8s) has in recent years become rare. Maybe this is because suitable donor-vehicles are becoming antiquated and rare. For traditionalists, the main drawback of LS-series engines is having to deal with the electronics. The aftermarket offers carburetor retrofit, but that defeats the cost-savings and comprehensiveness of using a donor-vehicle. If indeed the only significant impediment is widening the transmission-tunnel to fit the 4L80e, then the swap promises to be successful. Best wishes!
  5. I too am grateful for this site. But even so, things could be better. Over the years, HybridZ has become more of an information-repository than an active discussion forum. The pace of postings as slowed markedly, and the old camaraderie has been replaced by what I can only describe as antiseptic austerity. I remain grateful for the FAQs, the inspiring examples of others' builds, the many fine suggestions peppering so many threads. But it's like sauntering through the stacks of a university library, rather than sitting down at a dining-table, joining the gathering. I miss the social-aspect, the bygone times of easy banter and suggestions and counter-suggestions flashing on the screen with frenetic rapidity. This site is almost 16 years old. Surely by now we have members who weren't yet born when this site began! Can the mods verify this? As of this writing, the year 2016 will begin in only a few hours (in my time-zone). Hybridz began almost exactly with the advent of the 21st century. What a tumultuous century it's been! And ~16 years from now, how many of us will still be tinkering with our Z's?
  6. It's difficult to believe that an increase of one increment in cam-size in one manufacturer's catalog would either result in substantial gains or in substantial ruin of an otherwise well-sorted combination. My recommendation would be to (1) study any of the principal books on small-block Chevy performance (such as those by David Vizard), and (2) look at an engine-simulation program, which estimates the torque-curve based on inputs regarding the various engine components. The key unknown is tuning; carburetor, ignition, and how it all goes together. Engine simulation programs assume a best-case scenario. In practice, it is quite likely that the main problem is less about poor choice of components (unless something outlandish is selected), than in suboptimal tuning.
  7. Using such a kit would imply excising the stock frame-rails in the engine compartment, and what passes for "frame rails" spot-welded to the floorpan. Assuredly this can all be done, and depending on one's objective, might be the best approach. But do please note that it is highly unlikely to save time/labor/money by attempting to fit such a "kit" to the S30 tub. One might as well jig-build an assembly and weld it into the tub.
  8. Around 10 years ago, there was a fellow in the Northern Virginia area - a law-student at the time - who was grafting a C5 front-end onto his S30. I believe that welded together an entire tubular front clip, accommodating the C5 steering rack, K-member and front suspension. For the rear, he was using a C4 suspension and another custom tubular assembly. For the middle there were evidently some Datsun parts. I'm not aware of the disposition of this project, as he's been absent from this Forum for years. There is indeed an incisive philosophical point about a level of modification at which point one might as well start afresh with a brand new car. This is more about cost/effort than about "purism". Still, the enduring appeal of the S30 Datsun is the light weight, compact size and shortcuts in registering such an old car. A 500+ lb weight advantage over the C5 or C6 is not nugatory.
  9. This site started in February 2000, initially with unabashed emphasis on the V8 swap into the S30. It started as a reaction to the rather vituperative aspersions against Datsun engine-swaps in the late 1990s. That was also around the time that the so-called JTR method, or engine setback method, gained popularity as way of configuring the swapped V8. Assuredly there were successful V8 swaps from much earlier, but by my reckoning, the swap went "mainstream" sometime in the mid-late 1990s. Ironically, if one were to judge by post-count on this Forum, in recent years the V8 swap has yielded precedence to various flavors of turbocharging, most of which are for inline engines.
  10. While I agree with the exhortation to experiment for one's own self, to not rely solely on internet-advice as if it were incontrovertible truth, and so forth, it also seems to me that general trends can and should be noted in a sticky. Often the criterion for "does it fit" comes down to a few millimeters. Then of course such factors as manufacturing-tolerances in the McPherson struts will be paramount. Folks noted years ago – and I verified in personal experience – that the angle between the strut housing and the plane of the brake-rotor can be off by a degree or so. It took me several junkyard forays, plus parts-trading with acquaintances, to arrive at a set of front and rear McPherson/Chaplin struts that were mutually square. Well, with a 1/16" available gap between the wheel-rim and the spring perch, said tolerance stackup can make all of the difference between interference and successful fit. A FAQ listing this-or-that as a successful fit, given such tolerances, risks giving false advice. However, in other cases the gap between the wheel rim and the spring-perch is on the order of an inch or more. Surely then we can publish the successful fitment, without running afoul of individual bad examples from tolerance? An example is my 14x7 Western Cyclone wheels and 225/60-14 tires. I measure ~1.5" clearance between the tire and the spring perch in the rear of my 280Z. The wheels have 3.875" backspacing. This suggests that with say a 15x8 wheel, and zero offset (and consequently 4.5" backspacing) ought to fit. However, that directly contradicts JMortensen's point in Post #51 in this thread… unless I misunderstood. Surely such large differences in measurement are a viable topic for general discussion?
  11. There are some very wise words in this thread. Too often, our enthusiasm exceeds our capacities, with the result being frustration, dejection and failure. My car has aspects of a tube chassis, in the sense that the front clip and floor/firewall were cut out, while the rest of the body was welded to a chassis-jig. Separately, the roll cage was welded up, and then welded into the shell. Then the floorpan was shortened, the firewall/floor welded back in, and finally the front-clip (with new structural members to account for the firewall setback. Finally, more bracing was added to connect the roll-cage to the front and rear struts, and to the frame-rails in the engine compartment. It's a forested warren of tubes; but even so, it's not strictly speaking a "tube chassis" because (1) the stock frame rails, albeit modified and reinforced, are still used; (2) the stock strut-towers remain, though they're braced in multiple points; (3) the K-member is mounted in the stock way (but no longer supports the engine); (4) the mustache-bar and associated rear suspension elements are also stock, although again, they're braced. A true tube-chassis car would begin in a computer, with thorough structural analysis to determine tube placement and dimensions. It would account for fatigue-loads and so forth, besides just suspension-loads. It would presumably include some structural optimization, where an optimizer is wrapped around the finite-element calculation. In other words, we are designing a brand new car. We are not restoring or reinforcing a Datsun. We are building something totally new, that superficially resembles a Datsun and carries a Datsun nameplate. I'd love to see MJP147 succeed in his endeavor, especially since he's relatively local to me, and I'd be thrilled to visit and to offer spectator's approbation. But for that very same reason, I'd urge caution and circumspection. Start with a baseline car in better condition. Renew the suspension components... bushings, shocks, brakes and so forth. Maybe do a V8 swap. Drive the thing, get comfortable with it... and on the nth iteration, think about the truly exotic stuff, like tube chassis.
  12. Good point. Casual perusal of Tire Rack's online offerings shows astonishing contrast between what's available in 15" diameter vs. 18" diameter. Toyo makes a semi-streetable wheel in 235-width, 15" diameter. This is what I'd use for my purposes on a 15x8 wheel, but my street-driving would be limited to 3-4 car shows per year, plus maybe a half-dozen angry midnight runs down the rural roads in my locale. Beyond 8" width in a 15"-diameter wheel, the tire selection really becomes paltry. All over the interwebs, though fortunately less so on this Forum, there's talk of using 225-section tires "stretched" onto 9", 10" or even wider wheels. Personally I think that this is idiotic, but preferences brook no objective judgment. However, true drag-racing slicks (not radials or DOT tires) are still typically for 15" diameter wheels. Speaking of wheels, in a perfect world of rainbows and unicorns, I'd be running something like this: http://weldwheels.com/shop/drag-oval/drag/alumastar-series.html on the track, and like this: http://www.americanracing.com/wheel/20414/vf479 on the street. I do however need to more carefully investigate the weight of the latter; it might be heavy. All of these wheels are by my reckoning reasonably-priced. The problem is the preparation and modification of our cars, that would be necessary to accommodate such wheels.
  13. Pardon my ignorance, but I'm baffled as to why 15x8 wheels with zero-offset wouldn't be a natural fit in the rear of an S30 without any spacers whatsoever? Or is the concern just aesthetics, of "filling out" the flares? Perhaps the flares could just be removed? And at the risk of changing the topic, how and where did kerrys914 manage to find 15x8s with zero offset in 4x114.3 bolt-pattern and 73mm hub-diameter (assuming that these are what he has)? Congratulations, sir!
  14. We seem to have a miscommunication here. I'm not pitting Enkei against Rota, other than perhaps to observe that at least according to the advertised numbers, the X04s weigh about 2 pounds less than the Apache-II's. Rather, my point is that (1) both are "knockoffs" and both are cast wheels, and (2) there is no 15" 4-spoke alternative that is truly forged and still available from its original designer. So even if by some stroke of extravagant stupidity I chose to drop $2K per wheel - let alone per set! - on forged 15" 4-spoke wheels that fit the S30, I'd be out of luck! Plan B is 5-lug conversion (because 5-spoke wheels are ubiquitous), which isn't all that complicated for the front end. For the rear however it involves either a dicey and unreliable redrilling of the stub axles, or completely new stub axles - which aren't all that expensive, but trigger a cascade of other mods that one may not necessary wish to do.
  15. It seems to me that part of the issue is that persons inclined towards moderate-cost wheels, who for whatever reason place priority on fashion over function, choose larger diameters. Paradoxically, this (1) reduces the options in smaller-diameters, by curtailing demand, and (2) improves the breed for the higher diameters, so that oddly it is the higher-diameter options that are becoming the more functional. In the 17+ world, there are some cast wheels and forged wheels of impressive quality. We don't need to resort to marginal knock-offs of Minilites or other storied "classic" designs. In 15" diameter, especially for our backspacing, bolt-pattern and hub diameter, we are limited to literally a handful of offerings. The Enkei Apache-II is one of them. BTW, I am unaware of non-knockoff 4-spoke wheels in 15" diameter, at ANY price, from any manufacturer or vendor. The "originals" on which is based the Rota X04 are, from what I gather, no longer in production. Hayashi makes a fine 8-spoke (see for example http://www.hayashiracingusa.com/products/wheel/cr/typecr.html), while Rays makes impressive 6-spoke wheels. I've not run the finite-element analysis, but it seems to me that a 4-lug bolt pattern would have less stress concentrations, and therefore higher stiffness to weight ratio, with 4 spokes. But maybe I'm woefully mistaken, as manufacturers don't seem to agree.
  16. While I can't correlate a particular wheel-mass to this or that detriment in performance, I wholeheartedly agree that lighter-is-better. But as we've ubiquitously noted, choices are not broad, and are getting narrower every year. How many cars are running 4x114.3 with our backspacing and hub-diameter? I'm amazed at the plethora of options for the the NA/NB Miata, and am equally amazed how most of those manufacturers are unable to produce a wheel with Z specifications. In recent threads there's been mention of Spinwerkes (one word, or two?) wheels. They appear to be out of production. The same fate was met by several other niche manufacturers. Weld and Centerline? Good luck getting our bolt-pattern and hub diameter. Local machine shops won't even touch custom redrilling. Where does that leave us? Meanwhile, a 5-lug conversion - just at the rear - is at least a $1000 proposition, if properly done. This is in addition to any upgrade of the brakes or half-shafts. Frankly, I'm baffled as to why this hasn't emerged as a serious problem in the performance S30 community. Am I overlooking something glaringly obvious?
  17. For some reason, Enkei Apache-II wheels are not popular choices on this Forum, though from an aesthetic viewpoint (obviously subjective) and available offset/hub-diameter/bolt-circle they seem like an obvious choice. A search reveals surprisingly few threads; a useful recent one is http://forums.hybridz.org/topic/115886-widest-wheels-without-flares/?hl=apache&do=findComment&comment=1086532 . One detriment to the Apache wheels is their comparatively high weight. For this reason, I prefer the similarly-styled Rota X04, which are lighter, but are even less common and less widely known. I'm looking at the X04s in 15x8, zero offset, to run a 15" drag slick (obviously in the rear) on a non-lowered (and if anything, elevated) S30.
  18. This is a carburetor-equipped engine from the 1970s, with a mechanical fuel pump. At present I am not interested in doing a full EFI conversion - especially one that could support a 461 cubic inch engine. However, I'm unimpressed with the timing-control available with a conventional HEI distributor, or with the bandaid measures available for it. I've not heard overly favorable reviews of MSD ignition components - and MSD dominated the mainstream aftermarket for such engines. Thus the curiosity about unorthodox alternatives. I'm from the pre-computer-literate, knuckle-dragging generation.
  19. Is there any interest in developing a Megasquirt wiring harness for the Gen-1 Chevrolet small block and big block? This presumably would leave the distributor as a mere connection between the oil pump shaft and the cam-gear, with a block-off plate on the intake manifold. A toothed wheel ahead of the crank-pulley would serve as ignition pickup (or would that still be at the distributor???), going to a stand-alone, programmable ignition system. Fuel metering would remain via traditional carburation.
  20. Just to clarify - by "AZC knuckles", is the reference to the aluminum contraption in the bottom photograph of http://www.arizonazcar.com/lowarms.html ? As the photo opening this thread is of the rear, I'd assumed that the question is mainly about the rear wheel/tire fitment. Also, to Dat73z's point, there is ample evidence that 15x7 wheels sporting 225-width tires indeed clear in the rear (sorry for unintentional puerile rhyme). The matter is less certain for 15x8, let alone 15x9, especially if we assume stock springs, instead of coilovers. The question of wider 15" wheels also begs the question of tires. If we limit ourselves to 225-width tires, why bother with wider than 7" wheels? But what are the offerings in tires of 15" inner diameter and widths wider than 225?
  21. Front, rear, or both? My measurements in the rear (well, my 1978 280Z's measurements - not mine personally) with a 14x7 wheel and 225/60-14 tires: approximately 1.25" clearance between the rim and the spring-perch, for a wheel with 3 7/8" backspacing. In a 15x8 with 0 offset, that's 4.5" backspacing, taking up 0.625" clearance between rim lip and spring perch --> should fit. This is what I am contemplating for my car. But with a 15x9 and 0 offset, that's 5" backspacing, and perhaps 1/8" of clearance... not enough, in my opinion... especially if tolerances stack up. This is the inboard clearance. Outboard, I'm not starkly worried about the tire rubbing the fender, as my car is "elevated" (unintentionally) and space is ample. This is all assuming stock camber and reasonable comportment between tire width and wheel width. For a 15x8, I'd prefer a 245 or 255 tire, but only 235 is available in semi-streetable compounds, and only 225 in truly streetable compounds. For a 15x9, if I were to have attempted such a thing, I would have preferred a 275 tire - which for 15" diameter does not exist. For the front, I am aiming for a 15x7 wheel, with zero offset. This should fit comfortably with stock brakes and suspension, supporting a 215 or 225 tire.
  22. The trouble with the T5 is its rather paltry torque capacity. This has been discussed at some length in the "drivetrain" subforum. Even JTR admits the questionable torque capacity of the T5. However, I've not heard testaments of the T5 breaking - at least not on this Forum. There are aftermarket suppliers who rework the T5 for much higher strength; see for example http://www.gforcetransmissions.com/tran_gt-5.asp . It might be a reasonable strategy to do a normal T5 swap, see if it breaks, and if so, do the upgrade; otherwise leave it alone. Yet another issue is the bellhousing. I ended up with the very heavy but very strong Lakewood unit. It's strictly aftermarket (see Jegs or Summit), but should bolt to the T5.
  23. Thanks for the input. Further research suggests that there are plenty of low-buck options in 195-60/14 for my 14x7 Westerns, but quite a paucity even if going up to 205. It's also very disappointing how the Goodrich T/A so dominates the market in 205, 225 and wider tires in 14" and 15" diameters. We already have numerous threads on wheels - aesthetics, fitment, group-buys. So I'm loath to broach the subject here, but curiosity is overwhelming, so here goes.... Opinions on the Rota X04 15x8? See for example here: http://www.racinglab.com/rota-xo4-158-4114-001.html . I espouse no preference for one brand or another, and definitely hear the point about large width only causing headaches in wheel/tire fitment. But I admit being intrigued by the combination of low weight and "ideal" (according to my measurements) geometry. Is there a catch?
  24. Any thoughts on these tires: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Toyo&tireModel=Proxes+R888&partnum=35WR5R888&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes ?
  25. There's incessant tension between doing too temporary and shoddy of a job, and getting carried away with "while I'm at it". In the former, we end up repeating our labors, buying new parts all over again, cutting and refitting what was already assembled, because the first iteration turns out to be unworkable. In the latter, ambition prevents our ever getting to a practical result, for any progress with the original problem only begets new ventures. How to find the happy medium? My immediate goal is return to streetable operation. This means enough roadgoing manners as to not be a pernicious danger, while things like timing, jetting and other aspects of tuning are sorted out; and maybe swapping to a proper overdrive transmission. The currently-installed tires are >25 years old. Intuition suggests that replacement is unavoidable before anything else is attempted. But should that replacement be new tires (in 225/60-14) on the existing rims, new rims and tires of moderate size, or something blazingly ambitious, that may require coilovers and fender-rolling or even flares? How to find the happy medium? The longer-term goal is credible performance at the local drag strip, and possibly an occasional outing at the local commercial airport, which has been converted into an autocross track. This would presumably be with different wheel/tire combinations, and possible other specializations of the suspension. Budget? Like most, I have no desire to waste money on dead-ends, useless frippery or maladroit research-projects. But there comes a point in life when time becomes more valuable than money. I can be persuaded to spend $400 per wheel and $250 per tire – for a proven combination. If it's going to be a research project, wherein one tries and fails and ends up selling the whole ensemble on Craigslist for $0.30 on the dollar, then I'd rather go for $100 wheels first… except for the above point about doing too temporary and shoddy of a job. I plan on putting maybe 500 street-miles on the tires annually.
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