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Everything posted by Michael

  1. I'm pleased to see that this thread hasn't been relegated to the "tool shed", as the original question is almost one of philosophy and not auto-mechanics, and such open questions receive short shrift here. That said, the most accurate answer would be the trite "it depends". Why? Because so much depends on the builder's skill and resources, the goals of the build, and in other words, on the amount of confluence between ambition and wherewithal. As others have said, an experienced swapper with a full complement of parts at the ready, could do the swap in one weekend. Multiply by 10 if you haven't done the swap before, and by another 10 if parts are "being sourced" in some litany of deals, searches, swaps, sleuths and sales. Multiply by another 10 if the real goal is "restification" of a tired rusty car to competitive racing condition, or show condition. And do please note: a V8 Z is not a daily driver. Some people do drive theirs daily, but more for personal satisfaction than financial imperatives, and they have at least one other backup car. Perhaps it would be wiser to purchase an already swapped car, and then if necessary to modify it to one's liking?
  2. My favorite part about Haynes manuals is that "Installation is the reverse of disassembly". Nothing like a tautology to start a wrenching session!
  3. The Miata rear suspension left and right lower A-arm support members are not interconnected under the car. So building an interconnect is eminently useful. The S30 suspension does not suffer from this problem. Has anyone tried welding brackets to the mustache bar? As it is a form of spring-steel, I wonder if the welds would be suitably strong and whether the heating would not have deleterious consequences for the elastic properties of the mustache bar. But if welding brackets to the mustache bar does indeed work, it would be an elegant solution.
  4. Your idea of modifying the "uprights" to allow the differential cover to engage the mustache bar (via spacers of suitable shape) is a good one. But I'd worry about retaining (and ideally, improving) the strength of those "uprights" - something not yet attained in your second sketch.
  5. If the carb ran reasonably well in 2006 and there have been no additions or deletions of components, but after sitting for 5 years the carb is now running poorly, there are two likely culprits: 1. A rubber gasket or O-ring somewhere rotted/frayed/disintegrated. It could be the O-ring in the needle/seat assembly, for example. This happened to me after a similarly long downtime. 2. A fulcrum/pivoting mechanism is binding or otherwise stuck; for example, a stuck float.
  6. Hp/torque at the rear wheels? 1/4-mile times? I am curious what power level would cause the input-shafts to fail thus. Perusing other threads of breakage of rear-end parts, the OP's reported mishap strikes me as rather unusual. For maximal availability of ratios, the Ford 9" appears to be the favorite. There are vendors such as Kugel Komponents who make hot-rod-oriented IRS using the 9". Their stuff is pricey and the setup is like a Jaguar or C3 Vette, with the halfshafts as active suspension-linkages. But their approach to a "narrowed" Ford 9" center-section could be adapted to a Chapman-strut suspension. Then your problem would be finding halfshafts of the proper length.
  7. It's been done by about a half-dozen members here... both Ford 9" and Chevy 12-bolt. I even recall one fellow installing a Dana 60. However, the emerging "wisdom" is that judicious selection of components, together with chassis reinforcement, is sufficient to put a S30 into the 9-second range retaining the basic OEM suspension architecture. This of course can be debated back and forth. Built "properly", neither option is cheap. BTW I'm about 60 miles north-west of you (speaking to the original poster).... 1978Z with a big-block Chevy engine, basically stock suspension, chassis heavily altered/reinforced.
  8. Please elaborate more on what aftermarket engineering was done to raise the torque rating of this transmission. Is it as strong as a G-Force T5 (http://www.gforcetransmissions.com/tran_gt-5.asp)? That link is to a $3000 transmission.
  9. Thanks, guys! It was indeed the same belt each time. I played around with adding spacer-washers behind the alternator in hope of better aligning it with the plane of the crank pulley and water pump pulley... TBD. I'm rather accidentally buzzing the engine into its upper rpm range, because I still don't have a rev-limiter and there is no traction (despite welding the rear end... now I get two beautiful parallel stripes on my driveway). A decent rev-limiter is now priority #1. Any recommendations? The top-end is perfectly capable of supporting the high rpm (Brodix Race-Rite heads with dual valve springs matched to the cam, Cam Motion mechanical roller cam, Isky roller lifters, 3/8" hardened pushrods, Comp Cams roller rockers, blah blah blah), but the bottom-end is basically stock! Different topic now: oil-leak through front main seal. Hamburger oil pan, Bo Laws 3-piece aluminum timing cover. What's a good recommendation for an oil seal? The harmonic damper is stock 8" for externally-balanced 4.00-stroke BBC.
  10. Now that my car "runs", I'm tackling practical problems. One such problem is the spontaneous ejection of the accessory belt (crank pulley, water pump pulley and alternator pulley). This is a Mark IV 454 with "long" (from a 1978 truck) crank pulley, a Stewart Components "long" water pump with stock GM pulley, and GM alternator on a semi-custom bracket. With belt tension adjusted for 1/2" of belt deflection with something like a 50-lb push, the belt will be thrown after ~1 mile of driving, if rpms ever rise above 6500 or so. I played around with offsetting the alternator to get all three pulleys more of less in-plane; doesn't help. Advice? Spend $2000 of fancy polished aluminum pullies?
  11. Update: installed the new differential and drove the car up and down my driveway (~300' paved strip, plus a 40'-diameter circle). At driveway speeds (up to 30 mph?), I can't report any scrubbing or awkward steering sensations. But the car now lays down to nice fat burnout marks!
  12. After some contemplation of pro vs. con, I proceeded to weld the spider-gears of my spare 3.7 R200. I removed the "spool" and ring-gear, but did not remove the bearings. Instead I wrapped the bearings in aluminum foil in (possibly vain) attempt to attenuate heat-flux. I pre-heated the gears with a propane torch, and used a MIG welder to unite the four gears to one another, and where possible to the differential case, taking breaks to give the work-piece a chance to somewhat cool down. After cooling overnight, the "differential" fit snugly into its case, with some forcing via rubber mallet required to seat the assembly into the case (using the original shims and bearing races). I smothered the bearings with bearing-grease and torqued the bearing-cup bolts to 100 ft-lbs (not having a reference for the proper torque rating). The "differential" is not yet installed in the car, but preliminary inspection is positive. spinning the front-flange of the differential indeed spins the whole unit, with no binding/clicking/slop. I'll post a photo of the welding shortly. The next step is wheels/tires....
  13. Unfortunately manufacturers won't be rushing to build such cars based merely on endorsement of autocrosses and hobbyists. The mainstream market is about fashion, prestige, utility, value and economy (in no particular order). While I wish Toyota and Subaru all the best with their new venture, it's likely that after the initial wave of euphoria, sales will fizzle. The foreseeable future will not see a repeat of the 240z (early 70s), RX-7 (early 80s) or Miata (early 90s). Let's hope that I'm wrong!
  14. Draglines... you mean something like this: http://weldracing.com/street-performance/rt-s-15/15-in-s71.html ?
  15. I'm also contemplating welding an open 3.7 R200 (it's a spare). The application is drag racing and "street driving" - that is, to and from the drag strip under the car's own power, and maybe to a car-show 3-4 times every summer. Since I can't weld, I'm taking the project to a shop. The plan is to remove the differential from the case, thoroughly degrease/clean, have it welded, and then reinstall. Thoughts? Advice? Any more experiences with welded differentials "on the street"?
  16. Some years ago, I broke my left ankle but only had vehicles with manual transmission. The single-leg operation for all three pedals was unpleasant and dangerous, but it did work, for two reasons: (1) very level local terrain, where the car would not roll backwards; and (2) low-powered vehicle with a soft/forgiving clutch. The procedure was to pull the hand brake, press the clutch pedal, shift into first, ease off the clutch, then rapidly dump the clutch and punch the throttle while releasing the parking brake. That won't work for a high-powered car which requires more feathering of the clutch to avoid a jackrabbit start.
  17. John, you didn't mention wheels/tires. Maybe this is obvious, but some of us obtuse fellows (such as yours truly) are still running on suicidal 20+ year-old tires, because our cars have been on jackstands since the 20th century. When a car emerges from lengthy hibernation, the necessities of making it safe, can easily snowball into making it goldplated. Tires choices suggest new wheels, new wheels beg for new brakes, new brakes precipitate shock/spring mods which lead to coilovers and camber plates and so forth. For dragstrip use, I'm contemplating welding my spare differential, instead of going the LSD route (mostly because of cost). Is this reasonable?
  18. If this is one-time usage, then perhaps the easier and cheaper option is to pay for a car-transport service? Years ago, my Z was under the knife, as it happens also in Las Vegas. This is when I lived in Los Angeles. Then I moved to Ohio. It cost $800 for an 18-wheeler to transport the car from Las Vegas to Ohio. If this is a multi-usage situation (you'll be using a truck to tow the Z to race tracks, shops etc.), then one option would be a city maintenance truck sold at auction. They tend to be 3/4-ton GM/Ford/Dodge, with the basic 350-style V8, regular cab, long-bed.
  19. Any updates on this?... - cost? - performance? - feel? - durability?
  20. Nice job indeed! I'm particularly amazed by the similarity in weight between the two suspensions. Tangential and embarrassingly elementary question: how well do the stock E36 M3 wheels (17x8 front, 17x9 rear) fit the stock-suspension S30 (no coilovers, stock or slightly above-stock ride height)? Hopefully soon I'll be answering my own question, as I have a 1978 Z and a 1996 M3. The idea would be to use Modern Motorsports 5-lug conversion spindles (front) and stub axles (rear), with brakes TBD (probably Silvermine).
  21. The main hassle in doing a swap isn't the swap itself, but the and feeding of the engine. If you're comfortable with the 360 Ford, then that's already 75% of the battle. The fabrication will involve standard issues such as routing the driver's side exhaust past the steering shaft, fitting the exhaust pipes around the transmission in the transmission tunnel, locating the shifter and so forth. But these are fairly minor for a person skilled in welding. So, again, go for it... if the engine build is reliable, the car will be reliable.
  22. Reading through all 20 pages of the evolution of this thread, I'd like to venture an opinion from the viewpoint of a fellow who had an interminable garage-queen project, which is slowly venturing out into preliminary testing. These are 40-year old cars. In many cases, we have 20-year old tires and brake pads. Some of our calipers have seized, to the point that the car is difficult to push on level-ground. Even modest application of the brakes from 20 mph causes the car to dart laterally. It's blatantly unsafe and requires through refurbishment. The point is, if you're going to completely go through the braking system, and are not planning on campaigning the cars in a class where rules dictate usage of particular brakes, is it worthwhile to attempt a stock refresh, or to go for an upgrade? I don't need fancy brakes, and don't want the excess weight. I neither have the skill, the experience, the access to venues or the panache to drive my car at 9/10ths. I'll be driving it at 3/10ths and calling it "high performance". But I do need to fix my brakes so as not to be a danger to myself or to fellow drivers on the street. So I ask again: why not use the present opportunity to upgrade the braking system? But the countervailing point is: why goldplate the thing? The proverbial happy-medium is the obvious solution, but it gets complicated because modifying/replacing one set of components triggers a cascade of newly necessary changes.
  23. Weight is the real enemy here. Sure, the poise of modern cars – the suspension development, rigidity and so forth – makes them comparatively “boring†at modest speeds, whereas older cars require a higher level of driver attention, making them in that sense less boring. But the real problem is that a 4000 lb car just doesn’t have the effortless dynamics of a 2000 lb car, regardless of its power or engineering-refinement. Even a base-model showroom-stock modern Mustang can take corners at higher constant speed with more predictability than my Z – and it can doing it more safely and more consistently. In other words, it does it at higher V^2/R. But my Z can be made to dart hither and fro much more easily. A couple of years ago, I test-drove a supercharged 2006 GTO. Pretty car, only modestly heavy by 2012 muscle-car standards (3800 lbs), with a claimed 550 hp, and actually quite good ergonomics. And yet, it just didn’t have the delight of tossability that I had expected. And it really is not a matter of “sports car†vs. commuter car, or even – gasp! – FWD vs. RWD. My former 1990 Toyota Corolla had that feeling of tossability, with its 90 hp 4-banger and FWD. In some ways, that car was more satisfying to drive than a modern muscle car, because its weight was so low.
  24. Weight (as measured on an actual scale, not manufacturer's quote)/ Do they fit on stock S30 suspension (that is, without coilover conversion)?
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