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Ben280 last won the day on July 3 2018

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About Ben280

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  1. The standard flares are VERY thin. I've blown my set up multiple times, I'd go for the special next time. Streeter is great, he'll deal with standard companies in Japan, not just bidding. He's particularly good at making sure you get what you expect to get. Very fast shipping, EMS is usually about 1-2 days to the west coast. Prices can be better than RHD Japan, usually comes in about the same.
  2. It's very believable to me that this piece would flex and crack. It's a pretty poor design with very little lateral stability. Adding the drop bars as Tube80z mentioned would really alleviate stress in the system. Doing it in one piece as you're planning is probably better but might run afoul of some of the rules I'm constrained by.
  3. Thanks guys! Tube80z, been thinking about how best to clean up that whole area for more strength. You have any photos of the braces you made? I boxed the factory body-tranverse link mounts, that seemed to help, but integrating that into the mustache bar seems like the actual solution. I'll put some bolts back into those holes in the struts too. I figured since they were blind it didn't much matter, but it's an easy fix for a potential catastrophic failure! Radiator was going to go into the rear this winter, but I got distracted with Jerico mods. Next year probably, I'll run a scirocco size radiator or something to help keep the weight in line. The to-do list is getting ever shorter, but at the moment it looks like: -Rear suspension re-fit: I'd like to do something with modern wheel bearings/axles, both to add strength and loose some weight. The factory rear knuckles are HEAVY! -Radiator relocate: smaller size, and add an electric water pump -Woodward steering rack -Aero? rule change might happen where we can finally add functional aero to the car. Full front end splitter with canards and end plates along with a big dual element rear wing. Auto-X speeds mean bigger is better. Would be cool to bolt on about 500lbs of function downforce at 60mph.
  4. Car is out of the garage for the first time in a few months, getting aligned, corner balanced and a new tune for ethanol. Hoping for some positive numbers, we'll see what happens! I try to do most of the work on this car myself, I really enjoy the fab, design and implementation. But you gotta know when a job is over your head! I'm always happy to have the pro's do what they do best! (On the rack, getting weighed) (Pre balancing. This is with 235# of ballast and 5 gallons of fuel on board. No driver) (Dyno time!)
  5. Weekend update. No photos, but the modified fuel rail is in, lines are hooked up, trans is bolted in and new brakes are in. Switching from the DTC-30 to HP-Plus compounds, we'll see if they work better. The DTC-30's were great but made all the dust in the universe and didn't work until about 1/2 way through the first run. Hoping the HP-Plus is better on that front. Going through and making the adjustments for the E-85 tune, going into the shop on Thursday for pre-race dyno, alignment and balance work!
  6. "Bread dough for the roll cage" love it! Nice updates, excited to see more, since I *think* the build thread is still behind real life?
  7. Thanks! I'll have to see if the guy who made them wants to spin up another set. The aluminum hubs are pretty good. I haven't noticed any odd behavior yet/flexing and I'm pretty hard on the front end of this thing! Bearings and grease looked good when I inspected them earlier this winter. I will say, having so much less thermal mass in the rotor means it's pretty easy to overheat the rotors if you're not thinking about them. Oh you couldn't use these on track at all! Even with my car at 2100lbs you can get em smoking hot. I'm rebuilding my cast hubs and full disks for time trial events this summer.
  8. Off season 2019. I was going to keep it simple. I was planning to do new injectors, finish the E85 fuel system and might begin work on a new steering rack. I even posted here that I'd do such a thing! And then, as tends to happen, I used The Internet. (WHAT'S IN THE BOX MAN?!) (Shiny!) I'm not sure who to blame here, but I blame somebody! Troy Ermish was selling this Jerico 4sp on a facebook group, and I decided it would be mine. I've often thought about going to a dog box, there are a lot of advantages to them, and after driving a couple a few years ago, I knew it would be a significant speed advantage. One popped up on here years ago, right after I'd bought a new motor. Think it was a Quaife Sierra box. At any rate, this box had a lot of the main issues with a dogbox conversion sorted out. Namely the bellhousing. It also came with all the shifter parts, throw out bearing and a driveshaft (for a 510!) I think this has been the most complex task I've taken on in the car to date. After test fitting, a couple big problems became very apparent. I'd need to move a bunch of metal in the trans tunnel to clear the external shift rods. New crossmember, new driveshaft, new clutch and new pilot bearing would all have to be sourced. The shifter was positioned for a 510, so it was pretty far away in the Z. I'd need to move it back about 5" and then re-do all the shifter rods. All mostly doable, but the most stress inducing issue would be swapping out all the gear ratios. Since this thing was used for road racing, the gear ratios were super tight. Great for your high revving L16, but in my car, the 1.6:1 first gear would see me doing 92mph. Launching off the line would be impossible (1.6 is between 2nd and 3rd in the KA trans I was using) so I had some work in front of me. Luckily, these are still pretty well supported in the aftermarket community, and I was able to get ahold of a full second set of gears. Cue taking this whole thing apart. (Oh dear....) (New gears!! Top set is the old super close ratio ones. Note the differences in sizes, 1st is on the left, 4th is on the right) Ok, box back together with the new gears, and everything works. Great! Now for the rest of the parts.... Needed to source a new clutch. I wasn't super interested in getting a 5.5" or 7.25" clutch, since they have a really hard time slipping, and I like being able to drive this around the paddock and off the trailer without doing a hectic burnout and scaring dogs and children. The Jerico uses a Chevy fine spline input shaft, so I made a call to the local performance parts shop. (Clutch Masters solid 6 puck clutch. Nissan diameter friction disk with a Chevy fine spline center. Also, resurfaced my 8 year old AZC flywheel) Great! Another problem sorted out relatively painlessly. Last problem was the pilot bushing. Fortunately for me, the Chevy input shaft snout is smaller than the Nissan one, so I would be able to fabricate a custom piece out of an oversized GM bushing. Good thing I have a lathe in the garage... (Turned up an arbor to hold the GM bushing so I could turn the OD concentric to the ID and not have to hold the whole thing in a super terrifying way. The brass piece is just superglued to the aluminum here. Once done, I drilled the center of the aluminum out and then used a torch to break the superglue bond.) (Mmmmmmm custom. Plenty of meat left on the GM part, and I managed to keep the 0.001" oversized fit of the factory Z piece) The parts for these shifters are all insanely expensive. I'm not sure why, they don't feel particularly well machined, or crazy toleranced, but the are $$$$. Back to the friends with CNC machines! One of my friends is starting up a general machining job shop, and I thought I'd see if he could make me a new plate for the shifter mount. I did all the measuring and CAD work, he made it look amazing! If you're in the PNW, check out Bigfoot Fabrication! Mike is a rad dude and knows his way around some machines. (Shifter mounts to the top three holes, and the bottom 8 holes allow fore-aft adjustability in 1/2" increments. Once I had it placed correctly, I could measure for shift rods) And that's about where everything sits now. Driveline is back from the shop and installed. Working on making a new front wiring harness for the new injectors (DW 660's) and plating over the huge hole in the trans tunnel from figuring out where the shifter goes.
  9. That brings us up to the beginning of the race season. I was still working on some of the front end cosmetics, but nothing that was keeping us from running the car. End of last year, I had attached the front airdam more permanently to the flares, but that made for a super unwieldy piece of body work. I needed to smooth it all out as well, maybe one day I'll pop a mold of these. Over the course of a few events, I was able to finish the body work on these, and sprayed them with some nice spray paint from the local pro paint shop. Really liked working with that stuff, did a regular black base, then a 2k epoxy clear. (Dirty wheels and clean body work!) I was also beginning to work on relocating my fuel tank. The car is mostly to spec, and it's just about chasing marginal gains at this point. Having a large road racing fuel cell behind the rear axle isn't great for the poler moment, although it was nice for weight distribution (on paper at least). It was also annoying, even with a Holly Hydramat I had to run a fair bit of extra fuel in the tank to prevent fuel starve. A new custom tank will also provide incentive to begin to E85-proof the fuel system, in planning for upcoming mods. (Removing the 65lbs of fuel cell and fuel cell cage left me with this hilarious hole, When full, this added almost 100lbs to the rear of the car) (New fuel tank in its soon to be home! 5 gallon custom aluminum cell, set up to accept my 6x10 fill plate from the old tank. Ballast will go in the area where the passenger seat usually goes) (And finished! Rules require that the tank be separated from the driver by a bulkhead. Some aluminum paneling, rivets and foil tape do the trick nicely.) Car was fairly dialed in at this point. We went to the National Tour stop, did ok and had a lot of fun. Nothing else broke on the car which was great, getting in tune with all the preventative maintenance and nut/bolting this thing after every run day. (Ok, what fell off this time!) I also took the Z international and did an event up in Canada. Was a lot of fun, found a couple more things to fix, and got some excellent photos of the car.
  10. Thought I'd give y'all the photo by photo update from the past 18 months since you've seen proper photos. We'll begin at the beginning, some time in January of last year! I usually take a car vacation from October through Christmas, trying to plan projects and generally procrastinate before having to thrash on the car to get it ready for March race events. January 2019: I decided that I need space in the engine bay for more parts, and having the master cylinders in the traditional location wasn't going to work. Also, the jenky cut up master factory pedal housing was just sad, and needed to be improved. I went with a Wilwood reverse hung pedal assembly, this would make packaging a bit of a hassle, but would give me the most possible space in the engine bay. Plus who doesn't like smashing in panels? Needed to make some clearance for the remote master inlets, but otherwise it fit better than expected. (Brackets on the firewall. Note the big hole that needs to be blanked off, I ended up doing that from the engine bay side) (Pedals installed, need a little more clearance for those inlets) I was also looking up upgrade the front hubs. I've been using the original hubs with Silvermine Motors front brake kit for a while now, and while the kit is great, I don't love having a pretty expensive front rotor package, that needs custom machining to work. It also weighs a bunch, so I figured it was a good place to save some weight. I bought some Aluminum Techno Toy Tuning hubs from a member, and wanted to match them with some equally light weight rotors. Here's where having machinist friends with CNC's in their garage is helpful. (T3 aluminum hub, custom aluminum rotor hat and Speedway scalloped 12" front rotors) (Installed with fresh ARP wheel studs, total piece weighs 11lbs per side less than the factory setup) I also figured that I needed to start doing some work to strengthen and stiffen the front end. Still a work in progress, but I added some bars connecting the frame rails and strut towers. A strut tower bar will be a welcome addition as well, but all in due time! (Down bar connecting the upper and lower portions of the unibody) (Strut tower to frame rail. I'm hoping to add to this area in the future)
  11. JE, Mahle or Wiseco will have great piston options. Modern skirt coatings, top coatings and ring pack are going to be necessary with higher HP goals. For ECU's, anything from Link, Haltech or AEM will be good. Megasquirt is also an option but a lot of it depends on the preference of whoever you have tune this beast.
  12. Going back through and re-reading my old build thread on Ratsun, just because that's fun sometimes. Bit of nostalgia to see the car in its original form, all the moves along the way and things I stumbled on. I for sure know how I'd do the car differently now, but after almost 8 years, this little car is like a younger brother. I can remember most of the welds, hits, scrapes and dents on this thing, each tells a story. Was a different time, back before the explosion of facebook groups and when you could still find these cars in the junkyards. If you want to go way back and see what somebody does building their first car: https://ratsun.net/topic/44762-first-project-car-77-280z-auto-xtrack-car/ Couple big mods in the off season this year. Jerico 4 speed that I got from Troy Ermish going in now, (realized that I'm still using the AZC light weight flywheel, one of the first "performance parts" I bought for this car back in June 2012. That and the control arms are probably the only parts on the car from the version 1 of the build. Bunch of new front air flow parts going on as well, but the trans is the big upgrade. Changing up the rear springs (going a little softer since the rear weighs so little) and a few other maintenance bits and bobs, but it's going pretty smoothly. Hopefully I'll post some photos, usually I get too focused on the work and don't want to get my camera filthy!
  13. If it runs and is getting solid AFR data, that's enough of a base. You might have to babysit it for a little bit, but it should get you in the ballpark. It won't be perfect, but unless you are taking the car to a dyno, you're not going to have a fully optimized tune. If you're fouling plugs, it sounds like something is way off. I'd go back and make sure your initial injector settings are correct, and use the test modes to ensure that they are opening/closing correctly, rather than stuck open. Other things to do if you can: Look at your AFR reading when you're at idle to verify you're running rich. Then, look at your VE and AFR Target tables while it's idling, there might be some obvious changes you can make. You can also do some searching over at MSExtra and see if someone there has a base tune.
  14. If you have a wideband AFR installed, Tuner Studio will auto tune as it idles/drives around if you set up "AutoTune". If you don't have a wideband installed, you need to install one ASAP.
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