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About Exile

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    Dallas, TX

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  1. Alright, I got out to the car for a little under an hour today (it's at a storage lot for the time being, unfortunately). I wanted to inspect/clean all of the EFI related stuff, as well as inspect the spark plugs. Bad news on that front, they appear to have oil deposits. F*** me, I really wanted to avoid pulling crap off of the engine for as long as possible. I still intend on taking care of other things before changing any head gaskets, but that's besides the point. I have the spark plugs arranged in reverse order (6 to 1 from left to right). It looks to me like Cylinders 4-6 are pretty okay, but cylinders 1-3 have excessive oil leakage. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Besides that, I went ahead and finished removing my old transistor ignition unit that I'm no longer using, as well as putting some contact cleaner on some of the connectors for sensors related to the EFI system, specifically the thermotime switch, the coolant sensor, and the TPS. I was about to hit the AFM, but it actually appears to be in very good condition. It must have been looked at before I bought the car, because it still has a lot of fresh-ish dielectric grease on the connectors, and the module for the AFM doesn't appear to have been cracked open. The flap also doesn't have any hangups throughout it's full range of motion, though it does stick closed slightly. I may address that later, but for now it's a pretty small problem. Could be a good or bad thing, but I'm not gonna mess with something if it doesn't show any indication of being damaged or too worn. I also went ahead and pulled that sub harness so that I could take a look at how I can go about re-wiring it. I know it's basically completely superfluous when I have much bigger fish to fry, but I do need something to practice re-pinning/wiring electrical components anyhow. Another little project I've been working on is taking the steering wheel and making a wooden cover for it. I'm still in the early stages of getting the wood shaped, I still need to get them cut such that I can glue them together, and then I need to work on the routing and all of that nonsense. I took two long planks of cherry wood to make the two halves and cut them into trapezoidal lengths to make a hexagon shape, then sandwich them together when it comes time to assemble the whole thing. So far, the cuts are the only thing I've gotten done. This is the first half that I cut. Take a lesson from me and don't try to eyeball these things, because this is AFTER I made corrective cuts to a couple of these lengths of wood, and as you can see, it is far from perfect. Being in Texas at this time of year, my brain was pretty cooked and I forgot how to actually make equally-dimensional pieces of wood that would form a hexagon, as if it's difficult to set a miter saw to 30 degrees and measure out 3 equal-length segments, and then split those segments in half in the opposite direction. So, I just took my plank and made some rough cuts based on speculative, half-assed measurements. Jesus I'm an idiot. As you can see, the second piece came out a LOT better, since I actually put in the effort to properly measure things out. I think the results speak for themselves. I don't have a router on hand, so I'm going to head to a wood shop close to me and see if they have one that I can use to make some cuts to fit and glue these pieces together and go from there. The next pieces of the car I intend on tackling are going to be the wiring for the headlights. As a test, I'm going to start by just re-wiring the leads to go to a toggle switch for the parking and headlights to see if the headlight circuit is f***ed, or if it's just the combination switch. I intend on using toggle switches for the lights regardless, just because I like the way they feel anyways. I'll do the typical relay upgrade at some point, but for now, I just want to make sure they're getting power.
  2. Ahhhhh, that explains it. I saved a copy of the wiring harness, but I removed all of the shit that I didn't think mine would have (all of the A/T stuff, for example). So yeah, I had that wire deleted on my copy. Makes me feel a bit stupid for not realizing that, but thanks for that! I can now safely remove it. Hell, I'll probably just re-wire that whole sub-harness.
  3. Hey all. I'd been thinking about doing this for a while and was wondering if anyone had any input. Now that I'm making some significant progress on my 280 build and getting it more and more streetable, I figured it was time to look into audio options. For starts, I really don't care to have a radio. I tore out the old one and savagely beat it into submission with a length of rebar for funsies, but I did want to have an audio system that was still integral to the car. I imagined a system that's bluetooth and/or 3.5mm inline only. I thought of something as simple as one of those little portable bluetooth speakers custom-mounted where the radio used to be, but I also don't want the audio quality to be hot garbage. Not to mention charging would become an issue as well if it were to be hard-mounted. So then I thought "surely there are bluetooth receivers that are just that, and you can just wire them to speakers of your choice, right?" Well, I looked into it, and I actually found a few options that would do pretty much exactly what I want it to do! The cheapest option seems to be getting a "marine" audio unit that's supposed to be used on boats. It's meant to be a supplement to an existing audio system, and the BT receiver just splices into the existing wiring, but I've seen write-ups of people who take the receiver, hook it up to an amp, and wire it into their car. A system like that can work for around $100-$150, which seems pretty reasonable for what is effectively a completely custom audio system. Another option I found, which I far prefer for it's simplicity, is a module called Out of Sight Audio: http://www.outofsightaudio.com/home.html. But oh my god, $250 for a 2-channel module and $300 for 4-channels? What the hell? I mean, I guess you pay for the amplification as well, but that seems ridiculous. It's a glorified Bluetooth stereo, surely this can be done for cheaper! Well, anyways, I was wondering if anyone else has done something like this with their Z, what you did, how you did it, what products you used, etc.
  4. Ayyyyy, so I've made quite a bit of progress since I first started this project. It's been a hot second since I made this thread, but I'm going to try to summarize what all I've been up to since I got started. I've had a lot of time to re-evaluate what I really want to get out of this car, and I realized that getting it to be a "drift missile" is a bit of a pipedream as of right now. For the time being, I'm just gonna focus on getting it to drive reliably enough to daily, address the rust and body, and do as many upgrades/performance enhancements along the way as I can. Not gonna lie, I had a long hiatus on the car for the better part of 2019. Pretty ashamed of that, but I've been hitting it hard these last few months. Recently moved to the DFW area, so my options have broadened a lot as far as finding mechanical shops and whatnot goes. So far, I haven't had to do that, but the option is there now. ANYHOW. Onto a rough summary of what I've done. I'd been tracking down a hard start/rough running problem for a while with the car. I did find that the short length of hose between the AFM and the throttle body was riddled with cracks, so talk about vacuum leaks. I procured a replacement and stuck it on there, which was abundantly helpful, but the problem seemed to persist. (I still need to take it back off and cut it to the proper length). After that, I hit my 3rd year in the Air force and they kicked me out of the barracks. I was lucky enough to make it drive all the way from the base to the house I moved into without any hiccups. It ran rough, but it made it the whole way without stalling, so that's a win. After that, it sat... (See those freshly painted, ready to mount sway bars on the peg-board? We'll get back to those later.) And then a few months later, I finally decided to get at it again, since it was starting to cool off a bit. I started by removing the bumpers, which I'm sure sounds like a weird place to start, but I figured it would lighten the car somewhat and free up some space to do more work. Unfortunately, that bumper shock in the above photo was stuck on there good and I ended up gouging the crap out of the condenser with my breaker bar to get the bolts out. Whatever, the A/C system needs to be completely rebuilt or replaced anyways. After I took the bumpers to the curb for the trash people to pick up, Halloween happened! Back to work. I decided I would remove some things I would no longer be using, such as the radio, antenna, and the EGR valve. I also wanted to remove the tail light housings to see if I could restore those a bit. I never actually got around to that; I can worry about it later. One thing I did do was plug the hole left by the antenna with some RTV and the cigarette lighter, because why not? After all of that nonsense, I finally got around to doing some more meaningful things to the car! I followed a lot of the instructionals on Atlanticz about converting to the 280zx dizzy and internally-regulated alternator. No photos of that, unfortunately, but I did both of those within about a month of each other. It was also at this time that I discovered some awesome tools called solder-shrink connectors. Oh my god, they made splicing the wires to remove the external voltage regulator so easy, and as someone who's never soldered anything before in their life, they were a godsend! Highly recommend for anyone who is getting into the electrical stuff on their car! The alternator upgrade was very straightforward. I bought it reman'd from an O'Reilly and it came with a new condenser and everything. The only problem I encountered was that there was an extra connector on the alternator that I ended up not finding a use for. It did come from a zxt, so maybe it was something exclusive to those. Everything else was very straightforward, and it seems to work normally, so my only other guess is that it's supposed to be used as a second ground. Important note about the distributor upgrade. I did not come prepared enough for that. I got the zx dizzy from a junkyard, but I forgot one important thing. It mentions in the Atlanticz guide that you want to keep the connector for the ignition module, and they aren't kidding. I tried just sourcing the connector when I realized my mistake, and maybe I didn't look hard enough, but it seemed impossible to find. Seems stupid for a simple little 2-wire connector, but them's the breaks. I ended up just using two insulated wire connectors that I got at O'Reilly, and while it was a tight fit getting them to plug in right next to each other, it gets the job done. Another important detail about that is using the right wire size. As a result of not getting the pigtail from the donor 280zx, I ended up using a couple of lengths of wire from the transistor ignition unit at first. It didn't occur to me at the time that they might be too thin to carry the amount of current that the ignition controller needs. Again, without the source materials, I ended up getting some 14 AWG wire from O'Reilly and using that (can you tell what my favored auto-parts store is yet?). It may have been fine as it was, but I'm pretty sure it probably needed more current. Then again I'm a complete monkey when it comes to electrical nonsense, so I could be completely wrong! After all of that, I finally got the car to the point where I could turn the key and it would... click. After sitting for so long, my damn battery died. Got a new one, and was able to get the car to crank. I hadn't even tried to set the timing on the distributor yet, so I had my girlfriend turn the key while I slowly turned it to see where it seemed most likely to catch. It seemed that full advance was the place to put it, but it still wouldn't quite start. I remembered the AFM had been finicky in the past, so I had her move the flap by hand while I tried to start it. After a couple of more promising sputters, it finally started and ran! After nearly a year of just sitting around, I was finally able to get it to run again! It's hard to properly convey how good it felt to know that all of those electrical modifications didn't result on something getting fried, or the car running worse. I even noticed after a few times that it started almost instantly every time after this point, so I call that a win. Now, remember how I mentioned those sway bars? It was only at this point, over a year later, that I bothered trying to put them back in. I had ordered some energy suspension end links for them after I removed them, but didn't actually get the mounts or bushings. So at this point, I got those ordered. I got the front ones in without a problem, but the rear ones... It took me trying to use a floor jack to try to shove the bushings into the slots, but instead picking up the car before they went in, to come to the conclusion that they weren't going to fit into those stupid square slots without some serious persuasion (and these were made specifically for these mounts!). So, I got my hands on a bench grinder and shaved down the sides of the bushings. It took quite a bit more material than I thought it would to get them to fit. At least a millimeter or two on each side. I tried to get all of the sides even, but at that point I had been trying to get them to fit for hours and just wanted to get the stupid things to fit, so I wasn't paying very close attention. Thankfully, I finally got them to fit properly! And then I had to cut off the nutplates with a dremel because I forgot that I had sheared off the bolts to remove the rear sway bar in the first place! I'm pretty sure the majority of my raw effort in this car has gone to the motherf***ing rear sway bar mounting brackets, followed closely by removing the driveshaft bolts. Even replacing the clutch wasn't as arduous. BUT! After all of that, I am happy to say that it is streetable, if a bit rough. I still have a problem in the ignition or EFI system, because the car does like to bog down at about 3,500 and 4,500 RPM or so. I did notice that the distributor rotor and cap seem to build up deposits quickly. I have yet to inspect the spark plugs, but they're less than two years old and have barely seen road use. Of course, sitting around for a while probably doesn't do them any favors. I did buy a new cap and rotor, as well as getting one of those MSD plug wire kits and getting that all sized and hooked up. That seemed to help to some extent, but I'm thinking the next step may need to be getting a new coil to round out the whole ignition system. If it's not the ignition, then my top two suspects for what's causing the problem are the coolant temp. sensor (heard that can cause this exact problem) and the AFM. So, with all that being said and done, I am happy to report that I've come a long way with this project, but I definitely have longer to go, especially if I want to meet my original goal of drifting it, lol. I'm gonna try to keep this thread updated more often the further I get into it. My next immediate problem is going to be tracking down the bogging/misfiring issue, followed closely by finding out why my headlights aren't working anymore. I'm thinking I'm going to completely re-wire some of the sub-harnesses at some point, but that can come later. I actually started removing some wiring that I no longer need or intend to use from the center console wiring harness, such as the radio and antenna wires, and even unpinned the wires that I don't need from the connectors, but then I found something odd. There's this bladed connector that has a red/blue wire going to it. I referenced the wiring diagram, but the only red/blue wires on this part of the harness are for the radio (left connector) and the hazard switch (right connector). What's wild is that it's crimped to the wiring harness with all of the other splicing points for the other wires as if it's part of the factory wiring, but I have no idea what it's supposed to go to. Anyone have any input on that?
  5. I'm pretty sure I've already made a couple of posts, but I haven't started a build thread yet. Guess now's the time to do that. So, brief introduction. I bought this '77 280z on September 17th for $3k (probably paid too much, considering it wasn't driveable at the time), and I had big plans for it from the moment I saw it. I've already come to terms with the fact that I'm gonna be throwing a lot of money at this car, which I can live with considering I intend to keep it for a long time. I've already had to fix several things, including wheels and tires, the clutch, hatch, EGR valve, starter, and now I'm gonna have to replace the fuel pump and intake/exhaust gasket. I'm mostly making this thread to motivate myself to keep working on it, and to have a single place to reference for what I plan to do with it, and of course to bring anyone who is interested along for the ride. Also, if anyone here knows someone in the Sh(it)port, LA area who is good with S30s, any good body shops, and/or anyone with a dyno, please let me know. The main goal I have in mind for now is to get it to where it will run reliably in (mostly) stock form to the point that it can be a reliable DD, then I'm going to move on to upgrading whatever I can to make it drift ready and get it to at least 300whp. This is also my first project car, so I'm gonna try to do as much of the work myself as I can, but I may end up outsourcing some of the work to shops and stuff. Now, to list out what all I have in mind, roughly in the order of when I intend to get to it (I'll be adding things as they come to mind; I'm sure I'm missing a thing or two): -fuel pump -intake/exhaust -bushing replacements -replace all weather seals -suspension upgrades (coilovers/sway bars) -engine inspection (rebuild with upgraded components if necessary. Likely will replace motor mounts as well, unless they're really solid.) -flush and change all fluids -body work/rust removal/rustproofing/patching/reinforcing/painting/trim (all the metal work will likely be outsourced to a shop. Possibly painting as well.) -Interior repairs, reupholstery, and some custom work (gated shifter is a must) -brake upgrades, including rear disc conversion -driveline upgrades (trans rebuild or FS5W71C swap, competition clutch, driveshaft, CV axle and hub conversion) -upgraded control arms/crossmembers/other support structure stuff (might happen earlier in the build) -engine upgrades (rebuild w/forged internals, bore cylinders, cam/valve upgrades) -EFI/ignition upgrades (computer/full sensor swap, full fuel system replacement, DIS/COP ignition, cleaning out unnecessary crap) -miscellaneous stuff (LED/HID lights and other electronic work, bolt-on body stuff, possible forced induction) And now for a couple pictures. First one was the day I got it home. The clutch was completely shot, so I had to be towed. Second picture was right after putting on the new hatch because the old one was rusted to all hell.
  6. Sounds good duderino. I don't care too much about the defrost grids, as long as it'll mount up and seal properly with my 280.
  7. I'd like to see a handful more pictures of Hatch #2, but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna buy it. The one on my 280z is rusted to hell. I'm in the Shreveport, LA area, but will pay for shipping.
  8. Sweet, I guess I've got some options now. Unfortunately, using heat might not really be an option for me (in the military and still live in the shitty junior enlisted dorms. No flammable shit allowed, much less a blowtorch), but I do appreciate all of the other suggestions. It completely didn't occur to me to put something through the u-joint, so... my bad. I'm gonna try to get at it again this next weekend.
  9. Right, so me and my buddies have been trying for 6 hours to remove this damn driveshaft off my 1977 280z coupe. The nuts are stuck on there good. We went so far as getting a wrench on there and turning on the car and running it such as to try to knock a nut loose by engine torque (yes, I know this was probably one of the dumbest things we could have done, but we needed results). Ended up wrapping a wrench around the driveshaft (not even exaggerating). The only thing we haven't yet done is heating up the nuts with a torch, but with all the other things we've done, I get the impression even that won't have promising results, so if anyone knows anything about this, what is a good, safe way to remove the driveshaft? Our next step, if that doesn't work, is to just dremel the nuts/heads off of the flange and go from there. I don't even mind if, at this point, I'd have to buy a new driveshaft (probably not a bad idea anyhow, what with the above mentioned shitshow), but I have heard the U-joints are a pain in the ass to find. If anyone has any advice at all, it would be much appreciated.
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