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280z FP Build


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Ok! Picking up where I left off 6 months ago:

 

The first major event of the season (2015) was NissanFest up at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe WA. This was the first time I’d had the car up at high speeds since putting the cage and everything in so it was a good test of all the systems. I had been having brake issues (not releasing pressure) and so it was going to be a test event for that as well. Turns out I just didn’t have any brakes! Once I got home I hit up Edan at Silvermine motorsports and got their smaller brake kit. Don’t have enough weight to really need the full size kit, and I can’t go fast enough to generate massive heat slowing down!

 

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The backing plates put up a pretty good fight, but I won.

 

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Rear brakes looked pretty, so here's a photo of that! 

 

I also used this as an opportunity to upgrade to a dual master setup. After a lot of calculations, I decided to go with 7/8” driving the fronts and 3/4” driving the rears. I used some of the info from here and a couple other posts to modify my pedal box for dual masters, as well as modifying the pedal for a wilwood balance bar

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All installed, note the large chunk I took out of the side of the pedal box for balance bar clearance.

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Larger hole cut out of the firewall.

 

I was thoroughly unhappy with the Wilwood remote reservoirs, they leaked EVERYWHERE!! Not even sure why they bother. The main failure point that I noticed was the joint/o-ring at the bottom, so I decided rather than fiddling with finicky o-rings, I would go with a Tilton 1 piece resevoir. Very happy with this new piece, significantly better build quality

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Also had time to get the car dyno’ed! I won a baseline at PSI at the 2014 national tour, and figured it would be good to seen what the car was actually doing! Surprise surprise it was a minor disaster. Running super lean, and very down on power. I rolled into the shop making 115hp at the top end, and left making almost 150!

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Edited by Ben280
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2015 race season was overall pretty successful, with a couple major disappointments! The National Tour stop in Packwood was more frustrating than fun. 2nd run in, and the car developed a major misfire and my co-driver and I realized that it was fuel related. We also smashed off a flare! Luckily an observant station worker grabbed the 2 pieces and brought them back to the pits for me.

 

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Overcast day, time to bust out the tire bags.

 

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What’s better than destroying nice parts from the motherland?

 

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Swapping out injectors at 2am before a major event! That’s what.

 

The injector swap didn’t work as we managed to clog 2 more the next day, and only had one spare. Thanks to Rock Auto for speedy shipping! Arrived just in time to be installed and head back up for the ProSolo.

 

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Like mana from heaven!

 

I also managed to get out to Lincoln NE for the SCCA Solo Nationals. As far as an event goes, it’s phenomenal. As far as driving goes, I was driving a new car with not nearly enough seat time! Mental note, Formula Ford’s are bastards to drive in the rain.

 

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OS Giken bringing the H20 for human lubrication on hot Lincoln days.

 

I didn’t get to watch as much of the FP competition as I wanted to, and only saw one FP Z car. He was having some kind of EMS issue, so I didn’t want to distract him too much! Somewhere I have a photo of it. Saw a few XP Z cars, basically glorified converted GT2 cars from back in the day. I also got a chance to meet Tom Holt, one of the gods of FP competition. He was driving a Boxster that was missing its windshield, and wicked fast! Hopefully he brings his Z out this year. I also met Kirkster and his BSP Z car!

 

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The last big event of the season was a track day out at Oregon Raceway Park. It’s an amazing track in a beautiful location. Can’t wait to get back there!

 

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The “Halfpipe” on the far end of the track, HUGE banked turns.

 

The night before loading the car, that misfire came back, and I again found myself swapping injectors. This time with the car already on the trailer! Luckily I had the 4 good ones that were replaced earlier in the season, so I swapped the bad one out, and tossed the rest in the truck.

 

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This is becoming an all too common experience.

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Time for some major upgrades (again). Seems like in each off season I try to pick one system and upgrade it. This year I knew that with all my fuel system issues, it was time for the stock tank setup to go. I also suspected that a big chunk of my issue was that I was pushing close to 50psi through the injectors and really overdoing their duty cycle, so an injector upgrade and new fuel pump would also be needed. I lucked out in a major way and found a Fuel Safe FIA cell on craigslist of all places, complete with mini surge tank and pump, all wired with an Amphenol connector.

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The woman I got it from said it was in her husband’s car for a while, and he was just going to toss it.

 

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Goodbye old buddy!

 

I knew right where I wanted to put it, and I started to make the hole!

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No turning back now!

 

I also knew that I needed to make a full cage for it. I see a lot of light duty strapping holding these in place, but I wanted to safeguard in case of a rear end collision.

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It’s gonna weigh more, but I can deal with adding weight back there, and for safety, additional weight is worth it.

 

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Fuel cell mocked up in its final position.

 

Not pictured is the new SVT Focus fuel pump in the tank, and a really nice Aeromotive fuel filter. No more clogged injectors for me!

 
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I also knew this year that I wanted to get into more reliable power and be able to document everything that was happening with the car. The ECU was definitely the final stumbling point and really the only area that had been left untouched, and was holding back more power and engine upgrades. I explored several options for ECU’s and kept coming back to MegaSquirt for feature list and expandability.

 

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Spoils of a rare DIYAutoTune black friday sale.

 

If I was going to go with a full stand alone system, the stock dizzy had to go as well. This will unlock infinite timing curves and I won’t have to worry about vacuum advance, or trying to lock the weights on the dizzy. I really liked the ease of the Hoke Performance crank trigger kit, and jumped on that to run a wasted COP setup for the car.

 

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Bolts right to the back of a SFI Pro Products damper. The damper leaves something to be desired, I had to take it to a friends shop and re-bore the hole. After we did that though, it was a good fit.

 

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Quality machined block off plate for where the dizzy used to live!

 

Once that was mounted up, I needed to fabricate a bracket to hold all the coil packs. I decided to use LS1 coils, since they are readily available. One of the goals was to use easy to source parts for faster repairs if something breaks.

 

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Start of the bracket.

 

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Installed on the motor. Still needs some refinement, but it’s doing the trick!

 

I also was tired of my huge stupid Optima red top battery, so I opted for one of those fancy lithium batteries. Been having great luck with it for the past few months, just have to be careful with the load at idle, and I got the special charger for it. Also needed to make a new bracket!

 

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s……

 

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Oh. Thats boring.

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Fits like a glove thought! This assembly is getting bolted to the firewall right about where the original battery used to live. I realized after I did this that I’ve had 3 different batteries in 5 locations.

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After a few rounds of buying pizza and beers for friends, I finally got the wiring all sorted out. Still not 100% with where it’s all at, so no photo, but it finally is all together!

 

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Engine side coil harness. Nice fat insulated NASCAR spark plug wires. Go Ebay!

 

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Branch on the firewall, splits out coil harness and injector/sensor loom

 

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Injector side wiring, I’m using 440cc ‘87 Mazda RX7 injectors. They are everywhere, and high impedance, so you don’t have to wire in dropping resistors.

 

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Mmmmmmm wires.

 

To complete bringing the car into the 21st century, I added an Autosports Labs RaceCapture Pro/2 data logger box. This will let me track GPS data for runs, along with TPS, brake %, steering angle (once I get the sensor hooked up) along with all the functions monitored by the MS3 box via CANBUS! The setup on this has been a little of a chore, but their customer service is phenomenal, and I can’t say enough good things about it. AND an added advantage is that I can bluetooth into it from a tablet, and now I have a low budget digi dash!

 

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This is custom configurable with all sorts of options! Even has a screen for predicted lap times, although if you are looking at it rather than the track, I’m sure you’re gonna have a slower lap!

 

Once I got the car to idle, I decided to get the whole thing tuned on a dyno. The purpose of doing a stand alone system is 100% defeated if I just road tuned it to the best of my poor abilities. I wanted to make sure I was making as much power as I could make safely!

 

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Aaron at English Racing took amazing care of me, and got this thing running like a top. A keen eye will notice that I picked up about 10% on my HP and torque numbers all across the range compared to the PSI dyno this time last year. While that’s awesome, the major upgrade is that the AFR numbers are in a safe range, rather than the 18.x that we were reading at the first dyno. So, more power and room to grow!

 

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Silly baby wheels on the car for dyno tuning! These are a 15x6 (240sx stock wheel)!! Now you may be wondering where the Gotti wheels went, and the short answer is that they are gone. I got tired of their finicky leaks and bead locks, so they have found a new home in SoCal with a collector who I believe will be putting them on an extremely cool project shortly.

 

I had to replace them with something, and was lucky enough to team up with a local company Bagged Proper, to source some new wheels! They sourced a VERY cool 4 spoke that harks back to the old Enkei Apache 1, or an SSR Mk2. Both fabulous wheels, but at this point, very rare and aging. Bagged Proper got in touch with a company in the Bay area, Art In Motion, where they had this design on ice, fully drafted, but never produced, just waiting for the perfect customer!

 

After a few months of waiting, they finally arrived just in time to bolt up and take to the first couple events of the season.

 

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16x12-35 (x4) These are monsters, they are light and they are AWESOME!

 

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Of course it’s on a trailer, but damn! So excited how it all worked out.

 

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Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, but better!

We are officially in the height of race season now, so hopefully I’ll be able to post some more small progress updates, as well as some good photos!

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Those wheels are sick. Are they one off, or available for purchase? BTW if you want to shave some weight, I might suggest removing the rear subframe reinforcement on the rear deck, and the impact bumper support structure in the front and rear if you haven't done that yet. That should all be good for at least 20lbs, probably more.

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Those wheels are sick. Are they one off, or available for purchase? BTW if you want to shave some weight, I might suggest removing the rear subframe reinforcement on the rear deck, and the impact bumper support structure in the front and rear if you haven't done that yet. That should all be good for at least 20lbs, probably more.

They are available for purchase. This was their first set, but I think he is offering them now! I'll have to look into those areas for weight savings. Getting anything out of the nose and tail of the car is perfect, keeps the weight inboard. I imagine there are some pieces left in the rear, although the front is pretty stripped out!

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Beautiful car, fantastic fab work. We demand some video!! 

 

Thanks Nelsonian! Here are a couple videos from last season. One at National Tour (before the injector exploded) and a few longer ones from ORP. One is where I realized that my hood was seriously deflecting at speed!

 

National Tour: https://youtu.be/xrVM4rVbvCQ

ORP Session 2: https://youtu.be/MuhEKT8anXo

ORP Session 4: https://youtu.be/PeG4XwHKOj4

 

 

There was a photo of your car in Sportscar Magazine that comes with an SCCA membership. I think it was last month. Aren't these cars a blast??

I saw that! Too funny, particularly as it was for a different region! ORSCCA doesn't advertise our events in Sportscar, although we probably should. These cars are a blast, even if they are increasingly less competitive on the national stage.

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