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Everything posted by Michael

  1. 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".
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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???
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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)?
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Having reached a point in my multi-decade build where finally I'm turning to suspension, brakes and tires, it would indeed be welcome to have a vetted, quantified listing of wheel/tire combinations that have been successfully tried. This isn't from laziness or lack of imagination (though I can't profess freedom from either), but in a situation where mistakes are costly and irreversible, it would be eminently useful to lean upon the experience of others. One way to do this is to buy somebody's used wheel/tire combination from the classifieds here, and actually that's my preferred approach. But in recent months/years, for some reason there have been fewer ads for S30-suitable wheels for sale here.
  12. Not to detract in the least from Boosted300's achievement, but would it have been easier, for drag-racing purposes, to fit 15x9 wheels with 275 drag radials? Or would these, being of lower diameter, actually exacerbate the interference-problem at the coil spring perch (depending on offset, of course)?
  13. That sounds like a promising swap! I've long been asserting that for a high-torque engine in a lightweight car, the last thing that we need is a transmission with a large number of gears. A 4-speed with large drop between each successive ratio would be ideal. Are the gear ratios 3.09, 1.67, 1.00 and .73 ? Is it a cast-iron case, or aluminum? Weight? Any guesses on torque-capacity? Currently I'm running a Doug Nash 5-speed, where 5th gear is actually 1:1. It's the exact antithesis of what I've been advocating about wide-ratio vs. close-ratio. But I wonder... could 4th gear be replaced with overdrive, retaining 5th gear as 1:1?
  14. This is a very fair point. It's difficult to justify indulging in a hobby, when comparative necessities go neglected. Nevertheless, there's much to be said for a cheap option that gets a dilapidated older car back on the road safely. It should be cheap even if plenty of funds are available, because the owner/driver is still experimenting and hasn't yet converged towards a cogent plan for what's reasonable to do with the car. For that purpose, the most logical route is stock-replacement. But what truly "stock" options do we have for 40-year-old cars? And how can one so contain one's enthusiasm - even on a stringent budget - to effect strict remediation and maintenance, with no eye towards modifications or improvement? Returning to technical matters, I also recommend cutting the stock springs (with a hacksaw). This procedure would also be excellent occasion to renew the various bushings.
  15. This question would have garnered more active response some 10 or 15 years ago. Today most persons with interest in the classical (first-generation) SBC would build their own, working with a local machine shop. Others would gravitate towards the LS-series. For evidence, consider what's happened to the post-count in the respective forums in recent years. For a person interested in a crate engine, two possibilities come to mind. The first is buying directly from GM. This won't be a "custom" engine, but the specifications are reliably known, and surprises should be few. The second possibility is to consult with local drag-racing participants, for their views on the local engine-building scene. They should have recommendations on reputable local builders. What ails the presently-installed 350? Is it too stock, too tired, or otherwise failing? There might be value in performing relative modest refurbishment, or replacement of a few readily-accessible components (intake manifold, cam and lifters, etc.), and thereby obtaining a comparatively large power increase with little cost outlay.
  16. There IS some interference in my case (280Z, big block Chevy engine, firewall set back 6"). To install/remove the engine, the starter and oil-filter have to be removed; otherwise there is no way to clear the strut-tower diagonals on top, and the engine mounts (welded to the frame-rails) on the bottom. Once the engine is in place, removing the rocker-covers requires some contortion, but with practice one gets the hang of it. All of this notwithstanding, the front strut-tower diagonals are in my opinion a huge benefit, especially if braced behind the firewall.
  17. A couple of points/questions, both somewhat off topic: 1. Have you considered passing the front strut-tower diagonals through the firewall, to meet at a common apex in the dash-area, connecting to a dash-bar (or even better, to a "spine" running parallel to the transmission tunnel)? 2. The wheels of the red car are an eminently popular model, but the name escapes me. What are they, and what are the specifications?
  18. While it's a bit premature to be celebrating the 15th anniversary (4 months left), I'd wager that my prediction from 2011 is now fulfilled: somewhere there must now be a HybridZ member who was not yet born when this site was created! On a more somber note, there's a downside to our policy of assiduous searching and not rehashing old topics. The Forum is starting to feel like a museum, like a great repository of knowledge that's both elegant and sterile. Consider in particular the Gen I/II V8 subforum, which arguably started it all, when we split off from the "purist" discussion groups (does the term "purist" exist anymore?). That place feels like a Medieval castle. Back in the day, OBD-II was a newfangled curiosity, GM's LS engine series was obtainable only from rare insurance-company write-offs of the latest machinery wrapped around a tree by idiot "enthusiasts", and the hot setup for truly high power was the Big Block V8. Turbos were the domain of esoteric tinkering, and so many Datsun enthusiasts were veterans of first-generation Mustangs and Camaros. Today, some of our finest craftsmen are IT admins and network programmers by day, thoroughly comfortable with engine-management software, and the most popular swap (judging by post-count) isn't the V8 at all, but some form of turbo-6. Language changes, and with changing terms the inherent meaning doesn't remain invariant either. Today the term "Hybrid" refers to a combination of electric motor and internal combustion engine. I wonder how many people stumble onto this forum in hopes of hopping-up their Prius! Hopefully the youngest teenager on this Forum will see this posting, and will be inspired to remark, with half-fawning half-mocking tone, "Grandfather, will you tell me again about how things were back in the 20th century?"
  19. Welcome back! My nursing home recently upgraded its internet connectivity, so I know exactly what it feels to return after protracted hiatus. Don't the 461 and 700R4 need to be extracted from the Suburban and put into a Z?
  20. Whenever I park my 1991 Miata next to my S30 Z, it's amazing how the Z is... large!
  21. I have decidedly mixed feelings. A V8 Z is a temperamental, fragile beast. It requires constant, incessant tuning. The chassis can be made firm (with copious welding), the suspension can be sorted out. But anything high-performance will require unrelenting attention. I'm lazy and careless. I don't want to be bothered to constantly be thinking about monitoring engine parameters, tuning, pulling out the screwdriver and tinkering with things. I want to mash the go-pedal and, well, just go. Oh yeah, and unlike 20 years ago, I want to be reasonably comfortable (not Buick cushy comfortable, but least 1980s midline sedan comfortable), not sitting in a stripped tin-can that's raucous, ferocious, rancid and loud. Short of dire emergency or mental collapse, I'll never sell my V8Z. But neither do I really enjoy it. It's a rolling lesson, a collection of experiences. I'll retain it as a sobering lesson. Was it worth it? Yes and no. It scratched an itch. It fulfilled a need. It answered a question. Would have I preferred to keep my Z stock? No, because stock was boring, and even the stock Z would by now have become tired and brittle and copiously needy of TLC. Where to go from here? I don't want a muscle car, or an exotic, or something too excessively optimized for doing just one thing. Honestly, I don't know what I'd get… maybe a C63 Mercedes, or a C6 Z06 Corvette. I definitely want something with a V8, but with fuel injection, air conditioning, a proper interior, double-digit gas mileage, something that I could drive while wearing a business-suit, without having a screwdriver sticking out my pocket. Maybe that's the price of getting older.
  22. We tend to jump into these elaborate vehicular upgrade-ventures when we're young, hankering for something fast but not too terribly expensive, anxious to prove our skills and to assert our individuality. But life remains inchoate and unestablished. Then comes college, or grad school; job search, maybe relocation, maybe hopping from job to job, building one's career. Then perhaps buying a house. Maybe romantic relationships, family. In brief, life happens. And as life happens, the car-hobby can fade to insignificance. What was so crucial and self-defining at age 19, becomes peripheral and vestigial at age 29 or 39. Eventually time becomes more expensive than money, and a new Z06 becomes cheaper than hopping-up one's Datsun. Things evolve, life evolves, but the car remains invariant, frozen at when we were 19. So then what? Then the fellow who's now middle-aged starts yearning nostalgically for when he was 19. And then the motivation returns. Don't worry about lack of progress over 7 years. Give it another 7, and another, and another. Then come back to the car once your kids are in college.
  23. I'm about 60 miles SW of you... not a mechanic by any conventional definition, and a bit too fatalistic to offer the sort of spunk and temerity needed to complete a successful swap quickly... but I'd be happy to offer advice, and to show an example of what's possible. Send me a PM if interested.
  24. Good point! Unless one happens to be very experienced, generally one doesn't know what one wants, until the car is more or less already built. So attempting to "do it right the first time" might just be a waste of labor. Example: suppose that you're building a custom house. You like castles, and want to build a castle-like house. You excavate a huge area to support high stone walls, erect said walls, build a moat and so forth. 20 years later, you realize that what your really wanted was a modernist house with floor to ceiling windows and a vaulted roof. Oops! So I'll revise the tired old adage. Everything ends up getting done multiple times anyway, so you might as well do a crappy job the first time, to minimize one's investment (financial and emotional) and to most rapidly move to assessing one's progress. Then, if it turns out to not have been what one wanted, the harm and waste are minimal.
  25. One year is hardly a "never ending project"! Many of us never-enders have been tinkering on the same Z since the 20th century, in many cases since the early 1990s or even earlier. After many travails and efforts, the car eventually runs - more or less - but doesn't run right, or isn't as fast as expected, or suffers from some other malady causing its relegation to secondary status. By then the fellow buys a more modern car, essentially stock - and that becomes his daily driver. My Z first officially ran in 2000, and promptly wiped its camshaft. Then it ran again circa 2006, before scattering aluminum shavings all over the oil-gallery. Then it ran again in 2011, and has been more or less "functional" ever since, logging perhaps 50 miles on the odometer, but never as well as its theoretical promise. The moral isn't to completely desist from swaps and improvements, but to keep plans modest and incremental. Change only one thing at a time. And never stray too far from daily-driver status!
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