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Everything posted by Michael

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
  10. I'm also impressed by the seller's admission that if necessary, one could "go bait larger". But perhaps linguistic finesse is not essential for the workman's acumen? Actually, I'm quite interested in what was done to back-halve the car (as likely otherwise there would be no means of fitting those who slicks).
  11. 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.
  12. 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?
  13. Any thoughts on these tires: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Toyo&tireModel=Proxes+R888&partnum=35WR5R888&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes ?
  14. 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.
  15. I was afraid of the BF Goodrich Radial T/A being too good to be true; unfortunately that tire is one of the few stalwarts of streetable type offering substantial width on a 15" diameter. But if the coefficient of friction is low, the point of width is defeated. It was necessary to resort to Google to understand "curb scraper rim fad". Sadly, a quick perusal through the tirerack.com catalog shows utterly meager offerings in 15" diameter performance tires. The performance world evidently today begins at 17", with yesterday's ghetto fashions having not only gone mainstream, but dominant. As the wheel should mate with the tire, it only makes sense to reason from the tire-offerings back to the wheel. If we dismiss the Radial T/A, what's left? I don't see myself doing leisurely test-drives on Hoosier R7's. If I retain my current wheels - 14x7 - the choices are actually even worse than for 15x8, at least if we follow the tirerack.com catalog. Thus the question is begged: is one effectively forced to "upgrade" to 16"-diameter tires, let alone 17"? As for my car, a somewhat obsolete but still illustrative documentation is hosted (after all of these years!) on Pete Paraska's site at http://alteredz.com/MichaelOlsBBZ.htm . The engine and some of the bodywork have since been substantially redone. U-tube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFYrrBJRY9U . ------- Correction: I found this "Hankook" tire in 265/50-15: http://www.onlinetires.com/products/vehicle/tires/hankook/265%252F50-15+hankook+ventus+h101+99s+rwl.html. Also, Summit Racing offers a Dunlop SP Sport 8000 in 245/50-15: http://www.summitracing.com/search/part-type/tires?ibanner=SREPD1&N=4294898495%2B4294920795 . It exists, but is "not available".
  16. For some months, I've been mulling the reintroduction of my 1978 280Z to something resembling occasional roadworthiness. Save for cut coils and the JTR K-member mod, the suspension is stock. The driveline is also stock, except for welding the gears of the R200, a Doug Nash 5-speed transmission, and a 461 cubic inch engine. The body is notionally stock, though there are a few structural reinforcements, and the firewall is set back 6". My objective is maximal lightness and simplicity, without regard to racing-prowess or aesthetic appeal. Towards that end, I became enthused about wheels with relatively small diameter and large-ish (but not outlandish) width. With the currently-installed Western Cyclone (?) wheels, 14x7, and 225/60-14 tires, I measure ~1.5" clearance between the tire and the spring perch in the rear, though the measurement is only approximate because of parallax and the curvature of the tire. The wheels have 3.875" backspacing. At least for the moment, I've given up on 5-lug redrilling of the stub axles. Were the 5-lug option to have been realizable, I'd love to have run Centerline "Rev" wheels; see As things stand, the tentative choice for the rear is Rota Grid-V 15x8 wheels (see http://www.racinglab.com/rota-wheel-grid-v.html), with zero offset, 4x114.3 and 73mm hub. The first choice of wheels will be BF Goodrich Radial T/A, http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=BFGoodrich&tireModel=Radial+T%2FA&sidewall=Raised%20White%20Letters&partnum=46SR5RADTARWL2V2&tab=Sizes, in 245/60 R15. These should clear the spring perch, and may come close to the fender lip. However, given the high "stance" of my car, I'm cautiously optimistic. Phase II is Mickey Thompson slicks; something like the model 3052, 26.0/8.5-15 (see for example http://www.mickeythompsontires.com/strip.php?item=ETDrag) . Fitment may become a problem, but again I'm hoping that my car's elevated stance will help. Otherwise there's fender-surgery. My purpose here in posting is to solicit comments, suggestions or perhaps notes of caution.
  17. Coincidentally, I came across the "Roadkill" videos featuring their turbo-V6 Z literally yesterday, and noticed this thread today. The show, like all shows, is intended to amuse and enthrall the audience. It's not intended to pursue maximally wise engineering decisions or to build the best possible car for a given purpose, with a given budget. That said, the show's stars are alumni of Peterson automotive magazines. The main star was editor of Hot Rod magazine for a number of years, and has decades of experience in drag racing and Bonneville-style top speed racing. So while the Roadkill Datsun is a horrible role-model of how to do a functional and reliable swap in a Z, it's amusing and a great plot-device for the show. As others have said, a straight-up swap of the Gen-I 350 Small Block Chevy, based on the venerable JTR handbook, is probably the most straightforward approach. For a 1978 280z, there is no need to worry about driveline robustness in the rear (unless it's an automatic; the automatics came with the weaker R180 differential). The only challenge, which is not adequately covered in the JTR book, is what to do for a manual transmission, if you choose to run a manual. This wasn't well-covered in the book 15-20 years ago (when this whole craze first went mainstream), and progress in intervening years has been minor at best, because the LS-based swap has overtaken the Gen-I swap in popularity.
  18. Unfortunately I missed the bellhousing discussions! The point was to suggest the Lakewood blowproof bellhousing, which presumably fits the NP440, as it also fits my Doug Nash 5-speed. About the shorter length from bellhousing case to shifter.... For an externally-shifted transmission this can be adjusted, but it's it going to be challenging to weld-in linkage-extensions, and to adjust the linkages? Would it have been easier to cut the shifter hole in the Datsun transmission tunnel? In my case, the firewall is set back, so even with the shorter transmission, the shifter pokes out well aft of the stock location in the transmission tunnel. It was also necessary to widen the tunnel on the driver's side, to accommodate the shift-linkages. Between the gear-ratio spacing, the compact size, the torque capacity and the smoothing shifting, this sounds like an incredibly appealing and overlooked option for the higher-torque V8 swaps! Make this thread a FAQ???
  19. Thanks, Phantom and Rebekah. The reason for going to 5-lugs is for expanding options for wheels, rather than for structural strength of rear-end components. If anything, I see redrilling of the stock stub-axles (27-spline 280Z) as a weakening, not a strengthening. And there is indeed accumulation of evidence that the weak-point is the splines of the stub-axle or the U-joints of the halfshafts, rather than the wheel-studs. Arizona Zcar offers what looks like a comprehensive rear strut assembly, but I was unable to find any documentation specifically of the stub-axles. Their stub-axle scheme appears to be very different from anything native to the S30, which means that individual components could not be fitted to an otherwise stock setup, even if they were sold separately. Local machine shops have been leery of redrilling my stub-axles for the 5-lug pattern. They're worried about being able to hold tolerance, and on top of that, expressed concern about the two bolt-holes (of the 5) that end up close to the edge of the stub-axle face. When I showed the the Chequered Flag aftermarket stub axle, both shops that I visited recommended that I buy the new units, instead of trying to modify the stock ones. Swapping to a solid rear-axle is another perennial idea that's been discussed now for 15 years. In my case, there is already an extensive roll-cage (effectively a tube chassis) that would have to be substantially modified. Also, we've seen several examples in recent years of folks running 9's in the quarter-mile, on nominally stock rear suspension. Two brothers who go by "JnJ" come to mind (see http://www.jnjdragracing.com/ourcar.htm). They used to post actively a few years ago. I hasten to add: while indeed many parts are liable to breakage, especially with sticky tires and proper alignment-setting (that is, good traction), the aim is to learn incrementally, by breaking parts incrementally. After all, broken individual parts bespeak a strong motor and good traction; otherwise there is a more benign failure, which paradoxically represents less progress. However, all of this is contingent on good tires, and good tires require suitable wheels. I find myself fretting over lug-patterns and wheel-selection before sorting out many details of the suspension (though the infamous spindle-pins have various bushings have been duly replaced). Yes, this is a misallocation of priorities, but an unavoidable one, when so many increments of progress are cascading and sequential.
  20. Perusal of the "Brakes Wheels Chassis" subforum reveals that the 5-lug conversion option, that is to 5x114.3mm, has been entertained literally since the day that this site was started. Back then, options for wide wheels in our backspacing and bolt-pattern were limited. Time and changing fashions have only exacerbated the problem. Look for example at the various wheel choices in the "Show your wheels" thread that are now no longer available. Meanwhile, businesses offering redrilling of the S30 stub axles, or completely new parts, have come and gone. One such business, "fonebooth", at one time had a splendid selection of brake and suspension parts. It is evidently now defunct. Likewise with a very fine gentleman, Mr. Ross Corrigan and his Modern Motorsports, from whom I ordered wheel bearings and related parts some years ago. Rest in peace, Ross! Ross' 5-lug hubs are mentioned in Jon Mortenson's celebrated FAQ on Datsun differentials (http://forums.hybridz.org/topic/49194-differential-cv-lsd-hp-torque-r160-r180-r200-r230-diff-mount/) as "the strongest option". Several newcomers, such as Techno Toy Tuning, offer front-end 5-lug conversion. But the front end is easier than the rear, at least when it comes to Datsun-Z suspensions. I've found two options on the current market for rear-end S30 5-lug conversion: 1. Silvermine Motors. Stock stub-axles redrilled for 5x114.3 are offered here: http://www.silverminemotors.com/datsun/datsun-280z/brake-upgrades/5-lug-hub-stub-axles-for-240z-260z-280z . This, in my opinion, is a very reasonable price, and the simplest solution. The caveat is concern about structural integrity of the two studs that end up being so close to the edge of the stub-axle face. 2. Chequered Flag Racing offers a brand-new 4 or 5 lug (dual pattern) stub axle, which is not an OEM redrilling, here: http://www.chequeredflagracing.net/Datsun.html . White Head Performance appears to be selling the exact same thing. (http://whiteheadperformance.com/products/whp-billet-chromoly-stub-axles-27-spline-datsun-240z-260z-280z/ ) . It looks impressive, but (1) doesn't have the studs pressed in, (2) the dual hole-pattern does nothing for strength, and (3) the price is $730 per piece!!! Also, Modern Motorsports appears to still exist in some form, offering Chequered flag, here: http://www.modern-motorsports.com/stub-axles.html . As far as I can discern, the Chequered Flag stub-axles are NOT the same thing that Ross used to sell; his units only had the 5-lug single pattern. Questions: 1. Are there any other suppliers that I may have missed? 2. Is anyone still selling the exact same parts that Ross used to carry? 3. Does anyone have personal experience with the Silvermine redrilled stub axles behind a high-torque engine? By way of context, I have a 461-cubic-inch big block making an estimated >500 ft-lbs of torque, a Doug Nash 5-speed manual transmission with a 3.27:1 first-gear, 3.7 R200 rear-end (welded), and I plan on running slicks. That's over 6000 foot-pounds of torque at the rear axle, plus the shock-loading of a dumped clutch at 4000 rpm.
  21. Andy, Apologies if this has already been mentioned and I missed it, but could you please provide details on these wheels? Manufacturer, diameter, width, backspacing? I take it that you installed them before you converted the stock suspension to coilovers, correct? What was the gap between the rim edge and the spring-perch (front and rear)?
  22. Though it's somewhat peripheral to our topic here, it merits mentioning that many of our S30's sit considerably higher than what's taken to be the aesthetic ideal. As a consequence, wheels/tires that might otherwise contact the fender-lip would in fact clear safely. This happens when the car is lightened from stock, bushings replaced etc., but the suspension is otherwise unchanged. I don't have "professional" equipment to exercise the suspension through its bump/rebound, but tried a crude simulation by stacking 2"x12" wood segments underneath three wheels, leaving the fourth level on the ground, and assessing spacing between the tire and the fender-well. Having considered the benefits of lowering my car beyond its present condition (1.5 spring-turns cut), I would indeed prefer the visual appeal of a lower posture, but am not persuaded that it's worth the trouble. The implication is that a wide wheel and commensurately wide tire would fit, given sufficient negative offset. This however is not such a fantastic solution, because the off-the-shelf selection of negative-offset wheels in 4x114.3 is remarkably low.
  23. Michael

    XXR 531

    My apologies for being two and half years late, but I can't help wondering... 1. Did this group-buy ever reach fruition? 2. Have participants been satisfied with wheel fitment, quality and weight? 3. Has the question of negative-offset (alternatively, suitable backspacing) been resolved?
  24. As others have said, the V8-version of the venerable T5 remains an attractive choice for moderately-powered engines. This advice really hasn't changed in 15 years, and is covered with some thoroughness in the much-recommended JTR swap book/manual/bible. Unfortunately, there aren't any spectacularly appealing manual transmission options for higher-powered engines. They are notchy (Richmond gear), or heavy and expensive (T56). OEM manual transmissions for powerful cars haven't evolved much in recent years, save for boutique applications, so junkyard choices aren't exactly broad. We've covered so much ground in nearly every other aspect of the swap, but manual transmission options remain doggedly sparse. Another option is aftermarket strengthening of the T5, where the gearset is modified and all sorts of other changes are done - for a price. This may however be beyond the scope of what the originator of this thread intends.
  25. On face value, that's an entirely reasonable approach, and merits further delving. Unfortunately HybridZ has become a staid, archival site - a kind of exalted and austere library, rather than a discussion forum. 10-15 years ago, this was a very different site. Oh well. In any case, to summarize my situation - which is likely quite typical... I'm not enthused in the near-term in doing a coilover conversion or the addition of flares, though I could be persuaded to roll the fenders. As often happens with V8 swaps in 280Zs, the car sits considerably higher than stock, in my case despite cutting 1.5 coils from the stock springs. The interior top of the arch of the front and rear fenders, and the centerpoint of the door-lock keyhole (a common reference) are approximately 25.5" inches off of the ground, with 225-60/14 tires. The aim for the rear is a wheel of modest diameter (15"?) and large-ish (by modern standards) width, mainly for drag-radials (or slicks). Searching this subforum offers much sporadic and anecdotal insight, but as most applications have drifted towards 17" diameter or larger, a solid consensus remains elusive. In fact best archival reference seems to be the venerable JTR conversion manual.
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