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Long overdue, since I've had this car and been working on it for about 3 years now, but better late than never. Hopefully it will enable people to stop me from making stupid mistakes when working on the car :P



Disclaimer - I have no automotive background. I just do what research I can when online, and then dive in head first and get the work done. You will probably see me doing a lot of dumb things and end up shaking your head, and hey, if you do, tell me about it so I can learn!



So anyway, to the car:


It's a Dec/70 car that I found on Craigslist after about a year of searching. Bought it from a guy down by Annapolis, MD. It wasn't particularly cheap, but it is a solid enough car with a lot of interesting parts on it. Tokico illuminas, panasports, triple mikunis, electromotive ignition, upgraded brakes, etc.


Interestingly, when I googled the VIN number after buying it, this came up:



Pics from when I bought it:





Edited by ryant67

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The biggest problem I saw when I bought the car was some rust on the floor pans.  I gave them a good few knocks, and all seemed solid though.  Anyway, first order of business was to get that rust off of them, and POR-15.  

Pretty standard rust for these cars, from what I have read.  

16887886509_ed3b26c312_z.jpgrust1 by ryant67, on Flickr

16886328868_fa1a55ed0f_z.jpgrust2 by ryant67, on Flickr

The rear parcel shelf didn't look too bad, but as a while I'm at it... why not do it too?

17072636312_be46f76bbc_z.jpgrust3 by ryant67, on Flickr

17074118975_c3643e999b_z.jpgrust4 by ryant67, on Flickr


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Removed what interior trim I needed to, and then stripped the paint and tar off.  

I found that aircraft paint stripper was pretty ineffective, but gel paint stripper that comes in a big can from home depot, that stuff just melted everything off.  It also, however, ate through rubber gloves in a matter of minutes...  Powerful stuff!  

17074170145_92839e0b42_z.jpgrustR1 by ryant67, on Flickr


17072687112_12c7630f42_z.jpgrustR2 by ryant67, on Flickr


17048204286_486b82f73f_z.jpgrustR3 by ryant67, on Flickr

Once I was satisfied that I had removed as much as I needed to, I did the degrease and metal prep.  This etches the metal and gives the POR15 a tooth to bond to.  

17048204076_3e0ce60432_z.jpgrustRR1 by ryant67, on Flickr


16451716974_74a2835a95_z.jpgrustRR2 by ryant67, on Flickr


16887937059_d683b0de1f_z.jpgrustRR3 by ryant67, on Flickr


16451716504_003daf50b1_z.jpgrustRR4 by ryant67, on Flickr

And POR15 painted on, 2 layers deep.  Not as smooth a finish I would have liked, but so long as it's on there good and strong, it hardly matters.  

16454010823_887e719c3c_z.jpgrustRRR1 by ryant67, on Flickr


16887936219_1c30911a50_z.jpgrustRRR2 by ryant67, on Flickr


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With the POR15 down on all potential problem areas of the interior, it's time to quieten the interior down a little inside.  

It feels very wrong to add weight to a car like this, but I do drive it every day during Spring/Summer/Fall, so it needs to be somewhat liveable.   So I decided to go ahead and add some sound dampening to the car.  This was a pretty fun process actually, aside from all of the cuts on my hands it left me with.

Dynamat was a touch too expensive, and from the reading I had done, there were better products out there for the money.  I eventually settled on a product from Second Skin Audio called Damplifier Pro.   It's a self adhesive butyl dampener with a thick aluminum layer.  At 0.6lbs/square foot, the 55-ish square feet I used won't add too much weight - besides, I can just go on a diet and get that 30lbs back.  As an added benefit, it also works quite well as a thermal barrier, according to their website.  

16866895137_d8907263fe_z.jpgdamp1 by ryant67, on Flickr


16866895037_96c5fed2f1_z.jpgdamp2 by ryant67, on Flickr


16886515228_4f1c8cf3ff_z.jpgdamp3 by ryant67, on Flickr

16451853324_769afe39e6_z.jpgdamp4 by ryant67, on Flickr

As an aside - between the paint stripping, POR15'ing, and sound dampening, I was still driving this car every day.  I would just remove the drivers seat and throw it back in again as needed.  At one point I was driving the car with essentially no interior aside from a drivers seat and dashboard, no shift boots or floor plug.  Talk about LOUD inside!!!  

Anyway, one night I had to work a shift one town over, and since there was a fun country road to there, I took the Z.  Not a good call.  Without any interior, enough weight had been taken off the rear suspension that it had raised up a fair bit.  This effectively meant the front end was pointed down enough that the headlights only illuminated the very dark roads about 20' in front of me.  Not a fun drive on a road plagued with deer and critters.  Full beams to the rescue, thankfully.  

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Aaaand, all the interior is back together.  It made a pretty huge difference overall - the car was much quieter inside.  As an added benefit, the POR15 and dampening covered/sealed up any pinholes or old screw holes that were previously exposed, effectively removing 99% of my fume smell issues!  

Those AC hoses will need to go though.  No idea where the PO put the rest of the system...



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Big gap in pictures for the rest of that 2013's projects.  If I had this going then, I would have been more motivated to take pics as I went.  Ah well!  

Anyway, basically added the following:

Derale controller for the dual electric fans (old relay one had melted)
New holley 12-803 fuel pressure regulator (old one wasn't working properly)
16886883440_fd244de67e_z.jpgderale by ryant67, on Flickr

New ITG air filter (old one was crumbling to pieces)
New door seals from vintage rubber (old ones weren't sealing anything...)
New Alpine CD player (wanted bluetooth)
New Speakers (old ones were junk)

Not a bad year of progress.  Took care of some rust problems, refreshed the interior, and troubleshot some issues.  

Will post 2014's work tomorrow night.  

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Ah, almost forgot, I redid my exhaust system a little in 2013 as well.  When I bought the car it came with a tired old Flowmaster muffler and a Dynomax racing bullet in by the trans tunnel.  This lead to a lot of headaches due to excessive drone.  

11996110086_d4e57b99a1_z.jpgDSC02512 by ryant67, on Flickr

The car had 3" mandrel bent piping back from the header, which looked to be in good shape, so I'd rather not ditch that.  Did lots and lots of hmm'ing and eventually decided I liked the old vertical stack muffler enough to try and come up with some form of affordable DIY solution.  

17074653375_b67b90c1aa_z.jpgmuffler5 by ryant67, on Flickr

In the end I decided on a 3" inlet/dual 2.5" out Magnaflow muffler, with an 18" vibrant resonator in the trans tunnel.  I had the exhaust shop cut and weld on 2 slashed tips, one slightly longer than the other.  

16887097780_b35bfba54b_z.jpgmuffler4 by ryant67, on Flickr

To this day I am very torn on how it looks.  From the right angle, I think it looks killer, but from the wrong one I find myself really wanting to ditch it for a single round canister muffler that would be more hidden from the side.  This spring I reckon I'll go ahead and paint the body of the muffler flat black, and see how I feel about it then.  If it still doesn't sit right on me, then I'll be changing it up.  

It DOES however, sound pretty killer.  It's very loud on WOT, but below 3000rpm, it's mild enough that the police don't seem bothered.  

Anyway, pics.  

17048696556_183bf0d597_z.jpgmuffler3 by ryant67, on Flickr


16888428029_5c9fbc3b0c_z.jpgmuffler2 by ryant67, on Flickr


16886905018_1af70a6cca_z.jpgmuffler6 by ryant67, on Flickr


16454508263_9cdf46ae3e_z.jpgmuffler1 by ryant67, on Flickr

Opinions welcome, no matter how harsh.  Worried I might be seeing things through rose tinted glasses here...

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I actually have a picture of your car saved because I liked what you did with the exhaust tips, and wanted to copy it on my own car. Needless to say, I think it looks great! Painting the muffler black would make it look even better.


My only concern is that patch towards the front of the driver's floor pan. It doesn't look like it's anything more than a piece of metal held on by a few rivets. I'm worried that water is going to seep in, and get trapped under your sound deadening, and make the problem worse. Get that welded up properly.

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Cheers folks!  

Rturbo:  Thanks!  Agreed on the riveted plate by the pedals.  Since I pretty much never drive the car in wet conditions, I decided to overlook it for the time being.  Thankfully the POR15 does a pretty good job at getting in under things too, and when it dries it seals things very well.  When I eventually take care of the rust under the battery tray, if removal and welding in new metal is required, then that would be the time to look at redoing that patch too.

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when I removed the interior to POR15 the floors, I ended up with the original diamond pattern vinyl looking a little sorry.  I had to remove most of the horsehair from the back of the transmission tunnel area, and the vinyl didn't re-apply smoothly or consistently at all.  Time to redo it then!

I ordered new vinyl from Motorsport Auto, as well as a new shift boot and handbrake boot.  While I was at it, I decided to switch over the 3 center gauges to AutoMeter Ultra-Lites to match the speedo and tach that the previous owner had installed. 

Removed the seats and center console again.

16463237484_acc30dac74_z.jpgint1 by ryant67, on Flickr

Decided to use some reflectix heater insulation along the transmission tunnel.  The sound deadening stopped some heat, but with the exhaust running down the transmission tunnel right by my leg, things were still getting pretty toasty.  $15 at the hardware store bought enough to do the transmission tunnel, and what was left over I cut into the shape of the windshield to use as a sunshade.  

16463268494_17fcf20ec5_z.jpgreflectix by ryant67, on Flickr

I applied it with 3m Super77 glue spray.   It's been over a year now, and it's still holding very well.  The reflectix works incredibly well and the transmission tunnel is cool to the touch now.  An additional benefit to the reflectix, aside from being very inexpensive, is that it's MUCH lighter in weight than the old horsehair was.  

Interior all back together again, with the new boots, and gauges.  

17059817756_3c951d9f5a_z.jpgInt3 by ryant67, on Flickr

I went with analog gauges, as I found the oil pressure sender was a little iffy.  This seems far more immediate and accurate now.  It's interesting to watch the water temperature gauge as well, after shutting the car off it will rise quite a bit.  

Water gauge line with auto meter part #2275 to adapt NPT to metric:

17085791195_67d570cfaa_z.jpggauges3 by ryant67, on Flickr

Oil gauge line:
16898008298_ecc23bda26_z.jpggauges2 by ryant67, on Flickr

I plan to switch the oil gauge line from copper to stainless braided this year, and when I do I will take a few pics of the little metal brackets I made to mount the gauges to.  Very pleased with how it all turned out, and no more 0 psi oil pressure on hills or when stopped in traffic anymore!

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With the interior pretty much all done at this point, the time had come to turn my concerns elsewhere.  The engine has had some work done, and is not the original L24.  It's a F54 block with an E31 head.  The triple Mikuni 44's needed some attention though, as the car was running pig rich.  

Time to install a wideband!  I did a bit of reading and the two popular choices seemed to be the AEM UEGO and Innovate LM2.  Having read nothing but good things on the AEM, I went with it.  Where to put it though?

17085079291_f3c069cf03_z.jpggauges1 by ryant67, on Flickr

That will do nicely, easy to read and in line of sight.  The little cup the gauge is in is Glow Shift part #GS-U01B, all metal construction, and a steal at $10.  To mount it I opened up the steering column clamshell, and made a little backing plate out of some spare sheet metal.  A quick drill and bolt later, it was secured tightly.  Piece of cake!


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Unfortunately, before I got any tuning done, this happened...

16878299117_c821293cd4_z.jpgfire2 by ryant67, on Flickr

16878299257_8f8acfab82_z.jpgfire1 by ryant67, on Flickr

Nothing like a $240 air filter catching fire...  

Essentially, what caused with was a failing ignition switch.  I'd go to turn the key and it would catch on and off, failing to start, and flooding the engine.  When the engine would start, it would sometimes backfire through the carbs.  On this occasion, the fuel filter had enough fuel in it to ignite.  

Unfortunately this all happened right as I was pulling out of a Autozone parking lot after showing one of the young kids that works there my car, which he told me was a "sick ride".  Yeah, he was certainly not far off on that one...  I started it up, gave him the thumbs up and went to drive away.  The car started stumbling, and when I took my foot off the pedal the RPMs weren't dropping normally.  I cursed, shut it off, and popped the hood.  Lifted the hood, and "ARRGHHH, F######!!!" I screamed, as I saw the flames.  Looked around quickly for something to put the flames out with, saw nothing, then quickly teared off my t-shirt and used that to smother them.  Thankfully it did the job.  RIP old Joy Division t-shirt...  

No lasting harm to the car at least, the smoke marks on the underside of the hood buffed right out too.  A $40 new ignition switch solved the hard starting issues, and a $240 hit on the credit card for another ITG air filter.  Could have been much worse...  

I also decided to buy an ABC fire extinguisher that day, and mounted it to my roll bar where I can have it in my hands and ready to use in a matter of seconds.  Stands out a little too much though, so I will probably paint it black soon.  

16899993219_3e3c67ed65_z.jpgfireext by ryant67, on Flickr

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Going to skip past updating what I have done historically to the car, since today I finally brought it out of winter storage and put it back on the road.  

After a bit of driving, I decided to start chipping away at the list of spring projects I have.  First up was a simple one - ditch the horrid banjo bolts and the fuel line between carbs that runs directly over the jet covers of the Mikunis.  I had the necessary AN fittings on hand already, so all I had to do was measure up the length of hose needed between each carb.  A little braided line cutting and a bunch bloodied fingers later, all done!  

The left side will need trimmed just a touch so it will line up straight, but it's functional for now.  Jet changes should now be a breeze.  


16927468130_df7c8e3b15_z.jpgIMG_20150411_182235 by ryant67, on Flickr

17115019675_433c90223c_z.jpgIMG_20150411_182241 by ryant67, on Flickr


17113490212_69fafbb270_z.jpgDSC03851 by ryant67, on Flickr

Also decided to throw a new filter on the oil catch can and give the ITG filter a good wash and re-oil.  Seemingly I managed to rub the ITG logo off, bummer....

Hopefully installing an EGT tomorrow afternoon.  

Edited by ryant67

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Today I switched out my Mikuni air horns for longer ones from EFI Hardware.  From what I have read on here, the consensus is generally that the longer intake manifolds perform better on the street.  I am running the short Mikuni manifold, but would rather not part with it, or go through the expense of buying a different one and waste time reworking the linkages.  This seems like an easier solution to try.  



Old setup:

16955162179_240609bd3a_z.jpgDSC04313 by ryant67, on Flickr


16953587988_8de8c4fa4e_z.jpgDSC04312 by ryant67, on Flickr


16518933594_4e4b9d100d_z.jpgDSC04311 by ryant67, on Flickr


17141348115_266aa8a3ea_z.jpgDSC04310 by ryant67, on Flickr




New setup:

17140708821_948dfd4ebd_z.jpgDSC04315 by ryant67, on Flickr


16521173073_a2b499e469_z.jpgDSC04316 by ryant67, on Flickr


17115414266_ac1f80c545_z.jpgDSC04317 by ryant67, on Flickr

17139768382_3f0d6de909_z.jpgDSC04318 by ryant67, on Flickr



The air horns are currently untrimmed, and are 105mm long, 48mm ID at the base, and 89mm at the mouth.  They can be trimmed down to a minimum of 68mm.  I might trim them down to 90mm, just to give just that little extra clearance from the master cylinder.




16521165163_b55cd68226_z.jpgDSC04319 by ryant67, on Flickr



I cheaped out and cut the baseplate myself from some spare 6061 aluminum sheet I had.  I didn't want to hack up the old one, and enlarging the holes would be more difficult than just cutting new ones in a blank.  

17141416025_8c921c4778_z.jpgDSC04289 by ryant67, on Flickr

Good old Wiss tin snips, a file, and a dremel did a decent enough job.  An 83mm hole saw cut the openings, and ITG grommets hold the air horns in place.  This allows 40mm clearance over the mouths inside the air filter, whereas the old setup I had only had 15mm, which would very likely have been disrupting air flow.  

There seems to be a very noticeable gain in low end power/torque, and the rear wheels break loose a lot more readily when I get on the throttle now.  Much louder induction roar too, which I don't mind at all.  Very pleased.  

Now I just need to finish up making my new carb heatshield.  

Edited by ryant67

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Haha, I ran without a filter for a short time when the last one burned.  No noticeable change in performance, but the sound was unreal.  It's pretty crazy how much dirt comes out of these foams filters when you wash them though, they really do their job well. 

Had a massive hangover this afternoon, so productivity wasn't the best.  Decided to finally make a new heatshield for the carbs, since the current one is so damn ugly.  

Nothing too fancy, some 3003 Aluminum sheet, .050 thick.  Cut it to 9"x23".  Bend a 1" lip on the front and drilled holes for the pump rod.    


17206618082_8784668ec4_z.jpgheatshieldbrackets by ryant67, on Flickr

Quite like the brackets that Datsun Spirit uses on their Mikuni heatshield.  Would have liked to have ordered theirs, but I need to watch the pennies, so DIY.  Found these door pivot hinges at Lowes for $3 each.  Drilled a 6mm hole in the base and mounted.  



17182349586_0096f05e13_z.jpgheatshieldreflect by ryant67, on Flickr

Covered the underside with DEI Reflect-a-cool.  A 12"x24" sheet ran me $20.  Doubled up on the parts immediately below where the carb bodies will be.  




17020744900_3510dc118a_z.jpgheatshieldextra by ryant67, on Flickr

With the header pipes right beneath the intake manifold, I imagine a lot of heat will radiate towards the back of the carbs.  Decided to salvage a little material from the old heatshield and make a flap to rest of the headers immediately adjacent to the carbs.  This stuff have proven itself capable of withstanding the direct contact on the header, so it will be fine. 




16585836214_1ce8a12f36_z.jpgheatshieldfinal by ryant67, on Flickr

Done and ready to be mounted.  




17182356096_a4b4823b7f_z.jpgheatshieldon by ryant67, on Flickr

And on!  




16585831544_26f359abec_z.jpgheatshieldcomplete by ryant67, on Flickr

All back together.  Looks tidy enough, no interference with the pump rods on the carbs, and no rattles when running. 




17000853387_e78cfeccdb_z.jpgbirdseyeview by ryant67, on Flickr

It's pretty hidden by the air horns and air filter, but when you are looking down from above, it looks MUCH better than the old heatshield I had on there.  On the test drive I took, the carbs stayed noticeably cooler to the touch as well.  Guessing the reflect-a-cool material is more efficient at reflecting heat.  Result!  




17022233999_6e6c1a4d78_z.jpgheatshieldunderside by ryant67, on Flickr

This is a pic that lets you see the underside.  I do have a touch of concern, since the heatshield does sit against the underside of the carb.  It doesn't impede the movement of the pump rod in any way though.  Could there be anything to worry about here that I am missing? 



Anyway, for now it does the job nicely.  Not bad for $40.  


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Cheers texas30O, appreciate it!  

Nice sunny day today, so I thought I'd attempt to perform my first valve adjustment.  Never done one before, but read up on it and it seems simple enough, just a little fiddly.  Popped off the valve cover, seems the threads on 3 of the allen bolt holes are partially stripped... joy... anyway, that's a problem for another day.  Pulled the plugs, all looked fine there.  

Took the opportunity to set the engine to TDC and check that the crank and cam timing at in sync.  The marks lined up perfectly, nice!  My 60-2 trigger wheel for the Electromotive HPV-1 was also correctly aligned with the magnetic pickup on the 11th tooth from the -2, so I know my timing should be accurate, which is great.  

I did the valves in pairs, turning the camshaft to the next pair as needed.  Almost all of them were out of spec by 1-2 thousands, and one was out by 4 thousands.  Adjusted the intakes to 0.008"  and the exhaust to 0.010", per the cold specs.  

Threw it all back together, and the engine is now running noticeably smoother.  The wideband gauge is much more steady as well, whereas before it had some wild swings going on.  

Tomorrow I'll be pulling the 44's, to give them a check over and clean up.  While I am at it, I am going to play around with the heatshield I made - reckon I can bend up the back of it a touch to gain better header clearance.  


Edited by ryant67

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Had the Z in with my mechanic as it was leaking a fair bit of oil and he suspected the rear main seal.  While he was in there replacing it, he found a spun bearing.  More money I guess.  On a positive note, we did confirm that my engine was indeed a stroker with the V07 crank - hopefully it's undamaged.  Heading back up there later today to tear some parts off the engine, to make it easier for him to pull it.  Will be interesting to see what's all in the engine, rod/piston wise, etc.  

Time to read up some more on engines...

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Trying not to go too crazy with the rebuild here, but since I am already running L24 rods and have a LD28 crankshaft, I guess I might as well take things a step further. 

At the moment I am thinking of going with the following:

E31 head - already ported and polished with enlarged valves (have)
Isky cam - thinking stage III?
F54 block (have)
L24 rods (have)
LZ24 pistons - 89mm
LD28 crankshaft (have)
Clevite bearings
1mm head gasket
BHJ damper

Misc other items I also have:
9qt oil pan
Electromotive HPV-1
Mikuni 44's
Fidanza flywheel
Centerforce II clutch

So, when it comes to pistons, are there any specific brands to seek out or avoid?  Presumably actual Nissan ones would be best, but I haven't been able to find any online so far.  Same question for piston rings I guess - I think I have read that ITM do the job just fine?

I'll be shopping around this week for a decent machine shop to do the rod/crank balancing and engine boring.  I know quite a few serious autocrossers, so it shouldn't be too difficult.  

Ultimately all of the above should leave me with roughly 9.5 compression ratio on a 3.1L stroker.  I was running a 3.0 stroker with what I suspect to have been very low compression (never had any ping, no matter how far I advanced the timing), and an unknown camshaft regrind, which I suspect was very mild.  Looking for a bit more grunt here - I drive the car purely for fun, hitting country roads and occasional track days.  

Any thoughts are more than welcome!  


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Sad pics...   :(

17618190659_c40b7772d8_z.jpgDSC04337 by ryant67, on Flickr


17616621958_558fac483e_z.jpgDSC04335 by ryant67, on Flickr


17181959994_c686917bc3_z.jpgDSC04334 by ryant67, on Flickr

While the engine is out, I will be repainting the engine bay and tidying the wiring and such up quite a bit.  Lots of little brackets and such to POR-15 up too.  

Here is how the head looks, since it's now pulled.  Thankfully the valves have already been switched over to the larger L28 ones, and some head work appears to have been done.


17804867941_52e78f550d_z.jpgDSC04339 by ryant67, on Flickr

17801639662_753554cf19_z.jpgDSC04340 by ryant67, on Flickr 


17618174999_a4fa7851d8_z.jpgDSC04338 by ryant67, on Flickr

Should be hearing from the machine shop this week, and once I know the status of my short block, I can get things rolling.  The sooner the better too, since I am obsessing over details way too much already, idle hands...


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