Jump to content

A musician's therapist (The $300 Z)

Recommended Posts

Your goals definitely create space constraints. If I swapped, I'd probably choose a VVTi 1jz or maybe even a UZ engine. I've always preferred high revving or smooth torque and power delivery over raw torque and numbers. 


For now, I already have a turbo manifold and oil pan which are the parts I can't just get in the aftermarket short of making custom. 


My big concern trying to go turbo right away was small costs were adding up and I just want to be able to drive and enjoy it for a long while while I do things properly. I didn't want to risk breaking half shafts or transmissions and having to wait on fixing them or upgrading them at an inconvenient time due to budgeting and have the car just sit another while. Even if I went for turbo and babied it, I'd still have spent my budget on power instead of the sorts of things that make me enjoy driving it every day.


So instead I'm going to build it from the rear end forward for reliability once it's a bit more presentable then upgrade the power later. When I sort of have an interior back together and it's getting me places I'll start with CV joints. The 3.9 R200 clsd will be far more than enough for my goals. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
  • Replies 526
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Car officially drove around the block today!


Interior is still just a mess of wires, but everything is now functional. Finally swapped over the clutch slave cylinder I had on the old shell and bled the system again as well as bleeding the brakes (again). My tune is VERY rough and it seems like I have a charging issue. Likely a blown alternator/ignition fusible link, or the light in my voltmeter. Swapping over to a maxi fuse block this week and maybe bypassing the stock voltage regulator to one with a digital readout that fits almost perfectly in the old fuel warning light.


It's incredibly nice to have new hardware everywhere underneath the car. Not dealing with corroded bolts when working on things and rust falling on your face. It was so easy to drop the tank down when I decided to redo the fuel pump and ditch the o-ring plate and just use the foam gasket for the extra 1/4" of clearance. Now in tank pump sits 1/4" above the hard rubber isolator that's still left on the top side of the tank and it took maybe 10 minutes of my time.


Sadly, my d sub connector tool broke first time trying it. Still have a bundle of spare wires hanging out and the mount I had made for the ecu won't work since the DB37 connectors in the back are barely too wide to slot farther back.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Car is now registered! Took it on a slightly longer drive yesterday and did some more tuning and tweaking. Feels good at cruise, but on acceleration I'm hearing a ticking or tapping sound. I know the valve train is a bit noisy on these, and it doesn't sound like knocking. Seems like it might be an exhaust leak at the manifold gasket or the Y pipe into the 02 sensor not seating properly. 


Today's job is swapping over the 240z tail lights, welding the rear valence.


Already pulled the rest of the unnecessary interior, will tape things up and scuff and clean the interior for lizard skin tomorrow!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool to hear!!! I've been seeing your post for  while now. Never really followed to close as I'm a s130 guy but to hear your driving it is awsome!!. So often there are threads of builds that go longer than expected. I've been a victim of it too. So congrats on beeing a guy that's completing one to a point you can drive it again. They are never done, so keep it up...

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, G-Tech said:

Very cool to hear!!! I've been seeing your post for  while now. Never really followed to close as I'm a s130 guy but to hear your driving it is awsome!!. So often there are threads of builds that go longer than expected. I've been a victim of it too. So congrats on beeing a guy that's completing one to a point you can drive it again. They are never done, so keep it up...


Thanks! The debate between the two gets annoying. By any objective measure, the s130 is the better chassis. The early hard tops were even lighter than the last 280z. A 280zx turbo in a junkyard when I was a kid is actually what first led me to discovering Datsun Zs. First car I drove was a 620 when my dad taught me before getting my license. 


This thing will be fun, but right now the exhaust leak coupled with the serious drone from the empty and un-deadened interior is driving me crazy. Want to do more work but sometimes I'm just tempted to have someone take care of the bodywork and paint already so I can move on with more mechanical things and just enjoy driving it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh here are a few random pictures since I haven't been posting many. :)


The engine is actually even more tidied up than the pic shows. Bundled the sensor wires a little better. Didn't really have to cut much, just route them to the firewall then alongside the injector harness. 


My intake piping is slow to ship so I just had a mesh filter tied over the throttle with the intake temp sensor just hanging off the front. 


Today I welded the rear valence and test fit the 240z lights. Looks MUCH cleaner than with the holes since I don't have the rear bumper. Picture makes it look much neater than it is though. Will need to be properly prepped and evened out before paint. 



Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Jboogsthethug said:

Dude, awesome updates! Glad to see it's back on the road, keep on tinkering and get it to where you want it!  I am very jealous ha


It's only mostly  back on the road haha. I tidied up the engine wiring just slightly to get an idea of lengths before taking things apart, but my interior was held together with lik a half dozen bolts haha. I tore out everything yesterday including the steering rack and pedal assembly to finally spray lizard skin.


This stuff is messy! I had some tape lift that I didn't notice until I went to check on how the sound deadening was curing  this morning and unfortunately got some splatter on the windshield and a couple other spots. I can already notice it's not fully adhered to the harder to reach spots I couldn't scuff up, so hopefully it's not too hard to clean off the glass once it's hardened, even if it'll be a bit tedious.



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

TONS of progress on big and small things the last few weeks. Will try to give more of a list form in no particular order than excessive details on each. Pictures to come, I haven't been taking many


-Ceramic coat applied and cured

-Most of the bits that had stuck to the windshield scraped off

-Leash relay board fits almost perfectly where the old ignition box used to be, just needed to notch the ends to get the bolts 1mm inward

-Removed and tucked away most excess wiring on the chassis harness

-Wiring back in the car, mostly mounted where it will be

-Rear wiring tucked into frame around wheel well where it belongs

-Headlight issue power issue solved

-Dapper lighting LED Sevens installed (went for chrome housing with "OE" glass to make them look close to original when turned off)

-Custom pigtails for the headlights and front turn signals made (with LED halo tied to the front signals as daytime running light and redundant turn signal)

-Dash, seats, and tail lights back in

-Hazard switch cleaned and repaired so it's not finicky

-Rear coilovers lowered by 1.5" to sit more level. Double function was getting rid of the slight positive camber in the rear (when I first installed them I measured everything to factory lengths. Kept things even left to right and allowed me make more accurate adjustments without going back and forth)


And.... That's it I think. I think. I'll add some pictures to this post when I sort through some stuff on my phone. 


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pigtails I made for the early turn signal/halo (don't mind the mismatched plugs... I ran out of 3 pin weather pack connectors and those were the last two I had with 4 pin. Repinning when more connectors are shipped will take maybe 5 minutes)



Wiring under dash in progress. Still don't have an ideal location and routing for the O2 sensor. Was thinking of expanding the original speedo cable hole and running it through there since that's the only way to avoid drilling new holes. It's still just running through one of the old AC holes until I pick which AC I'm going with. 




Honestly, even without HVAC and the center console installed, this is a cleaner and straighter interior than I ever dreamed I'd have. 20200527_121003.jpg.756949057a4eb922e9d1f80fa9e62b65.jpg


Best phone pic I could get of the lights. Went for a drive and everything is going great but the bullet connector for the wire that powers the lights at the combination switch seems to keep coming loose or is making poor contact. Lights will sometimes not turn on and even touching the bullet connector will suddenly make contact. Might have to get a new connector or make use of the excess single pin weather pack connectors I have. 





Went for a long-ish drive and the engine is feeling great! Even with the 4 speed it's fun to drive. Highway cruising is a bit annoying but surprisingly still doable even with the 3.9 rear. 


Week links are starting to show themselves starting with my old roller tires that only mostly hold air. 


Next big money items will be:

-Commit to a wheel/tire package

-Order lighter flywheel and new clutch to put in the same time as the close ratio 5 speed I have going in

-Pick modern AC and install at least the cabin stuff so I can stop pulling the dash repeatedly.

-.... Get a quote on paint???

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2020 at 9:25 AM, Jboogsthethug said:

Dang dude!!!! That is awesome! So glad to see this coming to a head for you, it looks way clean on the interior! 


The pictures only show the best stuff haha. The front definitely looks nicer than the rear (patched holes are uneven and still just primered, and there is some masking tape over the pin holes and mounting holes for a spoiler in the hatch)

old wheels with skinny worn out tires are probably detracting the most from performance and looks even with the old mismatched paint right now. Got some quotes on paint and it's a bit painful to say the least, but I want it to look great. I want to end with a car I'm happy to show off and can drive any day the weather allows. The MZR Sport is kind of my visual motivation right now. If I could somehow perfectly match that color I would. Not totally sure It would flow, but that blue color paired with their brown/tan interior would be a dream. 


On 6/1/2020 at 11:26 AM, 1969honda said:

Good work Omar, if you can ditch the bullet connector do it, there's a reason no one uses them on auto harnesses anymore. Either replace it with a

weatherpak as mentioned or if you can leave a small service loop in the harness just do away with the connector entirely?

I'm not sure there's a way to do what you're suggesting. the connector right now is what splits the controls on the steering column from the dash sub-harness.  I think I found the culprit, it's a connector with two grounds going in. and on out to the dash harness. Haven't had issues with it yet now that I got them to plug in fully, but hopefully it stays that way. I've avoided installing any interior panels and trim like the column cover so things are easy to service. Still a long way to go before I can just reassemble everything and enjoy driving it.






Link to post
Share on other sites

Outstanding photos Omar! I like the inspiration. I like the interior, seats are modern/race with a touch of retro. I've been toying with the saddle/buckskin colors. Not sure about the weight of leather. I'm also torn between a wrapped vs carbon dash. Anyway, I like where you are going with your car. 

Edited by jpndave
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/7/2020 at 6:58 PM, jpndave said:

Outstanding photos Omar! I like the inspiration. I like the interior, seats are modern/race with a touch of retro. I've been toying with the saddle/buckskin colors. Not sure about the weight of leather. I'm also torn between a wrapped vs carbon dash. Anyway, I like where you are going with your car. 


Weight is definitely a downside. I don't think I'd go that deep into the interior without going the turbo route first to compensate for extra weight.

Speaking of power. I've been fine tuning some things and getting feedback from people familiar with the engine and megasquirt. Just saw someone with a nearly identical setup to mine dyno their car with a comparison on the same dyno to the stock efi. About a 9% increas in whp, and 11% increase in tq. Not. Bad.

Was about 158 whp and 178 ft/lb of torque. That's without an upgraded cam and stock compression. That's very similar hp to dyno charts I've seen for stock BRZ's and FRS's, but with noticeably more torque and a few hundred pouns ligher (more considering how empty my interior is and the weight I've shaved from stuff in the engine bay). I think I'll be pretty satisfied with that for now once I dial things in. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Comparing the power/acceleration of the FR-S is a very low bar. My son Colton has one and I love the car but power is severely lacking. He recently picked up a Triumph Spitfire that I think will replace the FR-S, largely because of what it would take to get it to satisfactory acceleration on top of the cost of the car compared to a complete build on the Triumph.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...