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Everything posted by Michael

  1. 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
  2. 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!
  3. Draglines... you mean something like this: http://weldracing.com/street-performance/rt-s-15/15-in-s71.html ?
  4. 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"?
  5. 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 clut
  6. 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,
  7. 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.
  8. Any updates on this?... - cost? - performance? - feel? - durability?
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. 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 compl
  12. 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
  13. The most likely culprit is an incorrect alignment of the spindle pin with respect to the strut tube. It's a manufacturing defect. I have observed this frequently, going though several front struts at junkyards before finding a set that was symmetrical left-right. Actually, what surprises me is that more people don't report this malady more often. Remove the front left and right struts, and stand them up on a level surface, with the strut tubes mutually parallel. The inclination angle of the spindle pin with respect to the horizon will be different between the left and the right strut
  14. I had a Yaris rental car about 4 years ago. It was actually pretty decent, given the price and product-class. The centrally-mounted instrument cluster is extremely annoying. Otherwise ergonomics is OK. I don't care for the upright seating found in most modern subcompacts, preferring the traditional low-slung seating of coupes such as the Civic. But older people might actually prefer the more upright seating... it improves ease of entry and exit into the car. I would actually choose a Yaris over a Honda Fit or Nissan Versa.
  15. Maybe, just maybe, fuel efficiency and environmental considerations will finally drive manufacturers to aggressively reduce vehicle weight. And maybe, just maybe, that weight reduction will retain power-to-weight ratios by reducing HP less than reducing weight. In other words, I'm OK with a smaller and less powerful engine, provided that the overall vehicle is proportionately even smaller. My daily driver is a 1991 Miata, with a hardtop. I did the convertible thing for a while, but have become jaded and now prefer a proper hardtop. Maybe their ND generation will revert to the original
  16. The stock-brakes vs. big-brakes debate is interminable, but I want to interject with this twist: what does one do, if one is agnostic about brakes, but wishes to convert to 5-lug setup with minimal hassle? By "hassle" I mean new/repositioned calipers, proportioning valves and so forth. My application should be fine with stock brakes, pending proper component reconditioning. But I really crave the utility of 5-lugs for the greater wheel choices. Note that the 300ZX setup, which does have 5-lugs, is a fairly major brake upgrade too. For the rear, Modern Motorsports offers an option to
  17. The E90 3-series has really lost its way... too large, too cushy, too heavy. Instead of the E90 M3, have you considered the "M" version of the 1-series? Indeed there really is no modern car that combines decent comfort/quality/features, acceleration and gas mileage. Maybe the C5 Corvette.... I drove an early model (LS1) for a couple of weeks, while acting as caretaker for a friend. It is moderately faster than my lightly-modded E36 M3, and I emphasize "moderately"... not enough to justify a replacement. Low-end torque is better, but overall feel is less connected and more fussy. Plu
  18. There was an article in Hot Rod Magazine a few years ago, on installing a 2JZ in a 1967 (?) Camaro. Then there was a torrent of irate letters to the editor.
  19. If I did the 5-lug swap (something that I'm contemplating right now), I'd love to run Weld 15"x10" Aluma-Stars in the rear, with something like 29.5"x11.5" drag slicks. But that will probably not clear the stock fender, the springs, or both.
  20. Off-topic here, but it sounds like you've stumbled on a conversion-project which essentially does run, but which suffers from myriad problems, because it was done cheaply and without love. This happens often. Presently you have the fuel-pump/fan electrical problem. Once that's solved, other problems will present themselves. And so on, for several months. But on the bright side, you have a more or less functional conversion, which you probably bought for pennies on the dollar. Conceivably a not-too-distant project will be swapping the powertrain to a 350 or 383, with a T5 or simila
  21. The electric fan should have a heavy-gauge black wire to ground (say, 12 gauge or even 10 gauge), a heavy red wire going to a source of +12V (also probably 12 or 10 gauge), a "control" wire which goes to a switch that engages current-flow, and possibly a fourth wire connected to a water temperature gauge, which also goes to a switch of sorts. It sounds like the electric fan was miswired. Cooling fan companies such as Flex-a-lite (the brand that I happen to have, but others should be similar) should have wiring diagrams for free download.
  22. Good gas mileage is mainly about engine tuning and engine management. I don't wish to start a carburetor vs. fuel-injection debate here, but the preponderance of modern practice gives the nod to the tuning advantages of fuel injection. This, I think, is mainly why the LSx engines are delivering better mileage (in most cases) than the older small-blocks. My own example is atrocious: it gets single-digit mpg, but that's mostly because I am inept at tuning, and the carburetor is mismatched to the engine. The second variable is gear ratios and the rpm at which the engine achieves pea
  23. My story doesn't involve serendipitous encounters with smashingly good deals, negotiations with parents, Craigslist scores or barnyard finds, or teenage infatuation. My foray into Z's began in my late 20s, after spending a decade driving various nondescript Toyotas. At the time I was living in Los Angeles, going through graduate school, and bemoaning my impending entry into the "professional world" without getting the sports-car bug out of my system. But I didn't want a "new car" - too expensive and too tame. I bought a Z because I was interested in a limber, attractive older sports-car wit
  24. Might be a worthwhile deal if negotiated down to $500, especially if it comes with the young lady in the 3rd photo in the Craigslist ad.
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