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Swami

Swami's Orange 260z

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So after a few months in hibernation, the Z was finally back on the street today. I'm happy to say that everything came out more or less the way I had hoped. Here's the rundown:

 

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It took forever, but I finally managed to obtain all the wires, in the exact gauges and stripe patterns, to match what i had drafted out in my wiring diagram. I ordered this Bussman fuse block after seeing it on electricsubaru.com. I like how it uses micro blade fuses and micro relays, and keeps everything nice and orderly. No dangling leads for my relays anymore. It also has a nice weatherproof plastic cap, and you can pin the thing however you like, so I was able to isolate some circuits and run others grouped (for example, 1 relay for the ignition system manages power to 3 of the fuses).

 

 

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The aluminum bracket you see here is sort of a 1st draft prototype for something I plan to 3D print in ABS. It's little rough around the edges but the point was to learn from it so that I can start modeling something with a lower profile that really matches the curve of the wheel well. This contraption will do for now, and will make it easier to measure those curves when it comes time to model the thing.

 

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Same goes for this mount I made to house the HID ballasts. They're positioned where I want them, and are easy to service. 3D printed version will be less bulky, and will be all matchy-matchy.

 

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Took a while, but my new EDIS connectors finally arrived, so a few weeks ago, I was able to finish hooking up the coil packs and module. New pins, new solder. and new shielding (reused the jacketing from "strobe wire", found at a local emergency vehicle outfitter). Finally, I removed all the old redundant wires from under the hood, and rewrapped the entire harness, from the firewall to the headlights, using expandable braiding sleeving. At this point, I have definitely achieved my secondary goal for this project, which was to know every inch of this car like the back of my hand. 

 

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At this point it dawned on me that "as long as i'm in here" I may as well just finish the electric fan conversion, because the wiring for it is all done, so what the heck. Snapped up a pair of 12" SPALs on amazon, and dragged out the scroll saw again. And i whipped up a flat  aluminum shroud that I'm actually really happy about. When it's all bolted up, it looks like it was made for that radiator. 

 

So I take it out for a drive this morning, and stop a few times to dial in the fan temp sensor and grab some food. It becomes apparent that I can wait no longer to deal with my exhaust leak issue. Amazingly it got louder from sitting for 2 months. Go figure. So 3 miles into my first drive of the year, I pull back into my driveway, wash the car of my fingerprints and dust, and back on the jack stands she goes, for (hopefully) one more week. 

 

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So now this is happening. Oh and see all that oil on the passenger-side muffler? That's from the output shaft seal, which is next on my to-do list here tonight. Tomorrow I have a date with Driveline Service in West Sacramento. New drive shaft with serviceable U-joints by the end of the week. Meanwhile, I'll be looking for an 02 sensor bung for this header, so I can get the wideband O2 gauge back up and running.

 

So that's where we're at. And what better way to celebrate reaching the next phase of your project than by spending a day at the race track? To conclude this update, here are some pics of some fine looking Nissans at Thunder Hill yesterday, out on the skidpad. My friends were out there testing out their drift Corolla with it's new SR20det powerplant. A super clean rwd R32 made an appearance out there as well. Still drooling a bit about that. 

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Edited by Swami

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Wow, great work with the wiring!  I wish I was aware of that Bussman block when I redid my wiring last summer.  I wound up with 2 separate boxes for relays and fuses - your solution is much tidier!

Great work with the fans and shroud too, as you said, it looks like it was factory made, very professional work.  

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Wow, great work with the wiring!  I wish I was aware of that Bussman block when I redid my wiring last summer.  I wound up with 2 separate boxes for relays and fuses - your solution is much tidier!

 

 

Thanks Ryan! It's the Bussman 15303-4-0-4 that has the open configuration. I mistakenly got a different variant (15303-2-2-4, i think) the first time around, and couldn't use it because all the fuses are pre-routed to a power post. In this pic, you can see how it's missing an entire row of pins on the underside. Good for some applications, just not mine. I might end up using it to replace the factory fusebox inside the car later.

 

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Thanks for the words of support, guys =)

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Well that was awesome. When I dropped off my driveshaft at Driveline Services of Sacramento, I ended up getting a crash course in drivelines. They don't actually machine Datsun yokes anymore since so many off-the-shelf parts are available these days. Also it became more of a hassle in the last 10 years, since Datsun driveshafts are becoming rare, and they can't just machine a whole bunch at once. A freshly built driveshaft with Spicer U-joints (reusing the existing spline) would run about $375 today. But as luck would have it, we scraped off the grease and discovered that these yokes have already been modded. So the price dropped to just $110 for new U-joints and a balance. NICE! =)

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Well that was awesome. When I dropped off my driveshaft at Driveline Services of Sacramento, I ended up getting a crash course in drivelines. They don't actually machine Datsun yokes anymore since so many off-the-shelf parts are available these days. Also it became more of a hassle in the last 10 years, since Datsun driveshafts are becoming rare, and they can't just machine a whole bunch at once. A freshly built driveshaft with Spicer U-joints (reusing the existing spline) would run about $375 today. But as luck would have it, we scraped off the grease and discovered that these yokes have already been modded. So the price dropped to just $110 for new U-joints and a balance. NICE! =)

 

I bought that DS years ago for $110 when I swapped in the 3.9 R200. Thought I got ripped!

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So the reason I'm having it serviced is because of an odd vibration when the car is coasting at freeway speeds. Doesn't happen while accelerating or decelerating... only at that perfect speed where no torsion is being applied to the driveshaft. My assumption is that one of the U joints is rattling. I know loose bolts can cause this symptom, but they felt tight when I checked them.

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So the reason I'm having it serviced is because of an odd vibration when the car is coasting at freeway speeds. Doesn't happen while accelerating or decelerating... only at that perfect speed where no torsion is being applied to the driveshaft. My assumption is that one of the U joints is rattling. I know loose bolts can cause this symptom, but they felt tight when I checked them.

 

Interesting. I fought driveline vibrations with the car until just before I sold it. Make sure you check the rear diff mount (mustache bar nuts) because they cause weird vibration issues when they loosen up.

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Done and back to me in less than 24 hours. I'm impressed. Sounds like the rear U joint was showing signs of early stage failure. Can't wait to see if this changes the vibration issue at all.driveline-1024x575.jpg

 

The 2.5" MSA exhaust system can also be seen in the photo. Was out here last night measuring things, trying to decide if i should install a resonator. Last time I ran without one on this same header/exhaust combo and it was an attention getter. Maybe I could afford to take the edge off, this time. I keep reading good reviews for the Vibrant 18" resonator. Is there really that much difference between brands when it comes to these things?

Edited by Swami

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No idea about any other brands, but I was running a Flowmaster muffler on my 3" exhaust and the 18" Vibrant really removed the awful drone I was getting at highway speeds - it also mellowed things out in general.  Still screamed when you got on it, but for normal driving it worked wonders.  Still have it in my system, but run a Magnaflow muffler now - conflicted about the Magnaflow, it does sound great and it's not as obnoxious as the Flowmaster, but it's a still a touch too loud at times.  

 

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A thing of beauty! The header is now ready for high temp coating. Big thanks to my friend Rick for the fast turnaround and high quality weld. Looking forward to getting the wideband 02 system up and running. 

 

I also spent a significant amount of time on sunday morning laying in bed watching Mighty Car Mods (the series about the 11 second Subaru). Up until yesterday I knew nothing about Haltech products or CAN networks. Really really awesome stuff. Obviously that is way beyond my needs, but it got me wondering if I can somehow connect the wideband to this Megajolt/E computer, or if it's even necessary. Would it be any more helpful for tuning, than simply having the gauge to monitor with my eyeballs? Leon, I suspect you know all the answers to this. =)

 

(edit: looks like most of the info i need can be found right here)

 

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Camera flash = "ugly light" ... revealed some rusty surfaces that could probably stand to be addressed soon. 

Edited by Swami

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WBO2 back in action!

 

Connecting the wideband to the Megajolt won't really get you anywhere, besides maybe being able to incorporate some sort of failsafe (i.e. IF full throttle AND mixture > 14:1 THEN spark cut). I'm not sure whether the Megajolt supports any math/programming in that fashion though...

If you wanted to datalog, it would be nice to have some key inputs like RPM, MAP, and AFR for general logging and tuning purposes. That would be the main reason to hook up the 0-5V wideband output to the Megajolt, IMO. ;)

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More goodies are arriving. This magnaflow 4" round muffler just appeared on my doorstep (thank you amazon prime) and supposedly a new Vibrant Ultra Quiet resonator shouldn't be far behind (damn you amazon prime). Last time I had a round muffler like this paired with a motorsport 6-1 header, it was loud enough to wake the dead. Neighbors used to say it sounded like a Cessna coming in for a landing when I'd come home from work. With that in mind, I opted for the Ultra Quiet resonator, after some deliberation around the SIZE of the silly thing. 4" tall by 6" wide oval body. I took some measurements, and I think it should fit snugly in the tunnel and only hang out 1/2 inch approx. 
 

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Once the system is all welded up, I intend to powdercoat it, from end to end. I've been trying to decide on a color that is timeless, semi-low key, and a good match for the orange paint. It's really hard to make a decision about metallic finishes by looking at images on your computer screen, so I paid a visit to some of the local powdercoating outfits to see high temp coating finishes in-person. The "Titanium" high temp coating from Amerikote (2nd from the right in the above photo) is my #1 choice right now. It dips more into the gold/brown hues than the titanium offered elsewhere, and the guys there tell me that it has the 2nd most desirable heat transfer properties of all their high temp coatings. Seems like a nice balance of form and function. I used to have their super shiny coating on my last set of headers, and it eventually got a little thin around the high-heat bends in the primaries. These guys are telling me that the Titanium finish does not do this, so i'm excited to try this out! I'm also looking forward to seeing the magnaflow with a nice even color on it. It arrived with the makings of a good patina starting around the welds, but that's totally not the look i'm going for. 

Edited by Swami

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So this is interesting. I was re-installing the intake manifold and headers last night, and I thought to myself, "dang, looks like i'm going to have to modify some washers again, because the mounting surfaces of the intake manifold and header are different thicknesses."  Then I took a look at the washers that came with the car, and they had already been modified. 

 

Leon, if you're reading this, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Did you modify these washers yourself? Is this only a problem with the Cannon manifolds because it's the same manifold and the same issue I had last time. Is this SUPER common? How do other people deal with this issue? Does anyone sell "pre-clearanced" washers? Do people just modify their manifolds with a die grinder? Do other brands like TWM fit any better, right out of the box? 

 

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Ahhh yes. Got the car back from the exhaust shop and the guys did a nice job mounting the muffler at the exact position and angle i was hoping for, and also managed to shoehorn that Ultra Quiet resonator in there, with surprisingly good ground clearance. 

 

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You can see in this pic, that center section of pipe bends up a bit to get that resonator as tucked as possible. I can also swap that section out for the straight 2.5" pipe that came with the MSA exhaust kit. So if I ever want to open her up, the setup is kind of modular =)

 

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And in the rear, a nice subtle angle. Nothing too crazy. Just enough to compliment the contour of the body.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnygSNPevbQ&feature=youtu.be

 

Also, I decided to make a before/after video of the exhaust sound, because I wasn't able to find any examples of this particular combo when i was exploring options. Hopefully this will help the next guy make a decision. All in all, I'm pretty darn pleased with the outcome. The resonator reduced a ton of drone in the cabin... to the point that it sounds quieter than the previous exhaust, at idle. But when you floor it, all hell breaks loose. It's aggressive and gutteral, but with all the sharp edges removed.

Edited by Swami

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Yes it made a noticeable difference on the freeway. There is still a drone, but it's not beating up my ears. It sounds more like it's coming from the back of the car and less like it's eminating through the body.

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Good work with the exhaust and the video!

I experienced the same outcome. I've made my own resonator with a friend and the drone / exhaust sound get quieter at steady rpm. Sound at WOT did not change much, which I don't complain about since I love the sound of the L6 with DCOE! 

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Just got back from a 10 day stint in Grand Junction, Colorado, where an unexpected family emergency took command of all my attention, as well as my wallet. Whatever grandiose plans I had for the Z are going to be on hold for a while. Thankfully, I already set aside the money for the Powdercoating, so I can finish my exhaust system. And when I got back home, my last amazon order was waiting for me on my doorstep. So I have stuff to keep my busy for a while.

 

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Last night, I installed said amazon purchase. An analog style AEM wideband controller/gauge. After getting the 14point7 controller installed, I made the difficult decision to replace it with this one, because I really wanted a dial to look at instead of a wandering numerical display. Easier to get at-a-glance info with a big fat red needle to look at. The 14point7 unit DOES have an output for a simulated narrowband signal, but it felt weird to have two gauges. Finally, I found this AEM stepper motor gauge with the UEGO controller built in. Price was steep, but not horrific. Once I learned that you can set the backlighting to green, the decision was made.

 

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Since the factory clock is non-op, I decided to gut it, and install the AEM gauge in the clock housing. Happily, it fit with a slight mod to allow the cables/connectors to fit through the housing. 

 

Gave it a first test drive a few hours ago, and I am very pleased. Amazing how a good data visualization can give you immediate insight into esoteric processes. For instance, I never realized just how lean the exhuast can run at idle. I can actually SEE how the fuel mixture affects the power band. I can see WHY the DOCEs stumble off-idle, sometimes. And I can see WHEN the main jets kick in... and how well-tuned they really are. Pretty sweet!

 

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Oh and finally... Since the AEM kit came with it's own O2 sensor I now have a completely functional 14point7 wideband controller kit sitting here on the bench with nowhere to live. Anyone interested? Drop me a line. Comes with everything you see here. Part of this complete breakfast. 

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Xmas came early this year! Picked up my exhaust from Amerikote this afternoon. Tonight is going to be a BLAST! I spent the last few days changing the head gasket, cleaning the HECK out of the engine compartment, and getting ready for this badboy to go back in. Was going to wait til i had it out in the daylight before posting, but i'm like a kid on Xmas morning right now. Couldn't wait to start unwrapping my present!  :D

 

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