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A tale of two Z's - NA vs Turbo

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When I finished up the Turbo headers is when I got the bug to really get back into these projects.  One of the areas I first wanted to focus on was the suspension.  Having a lift made it a good place to start as I can pull the suspension from the NA car and refurbish it, while I completed some of the additional parts I still needed to finish up on the Turbo car.  It makes things easier for fabrication and restoration when you do more than one part at a time.  So I started the suspension on both cars.


The hubs are an area that always bugs me as they get rusty and beat up quick, especially on the mounting surface to the wheel.  I have my own Zinc plating system and Powder Coating, as I got tired of the companies here in California upping their minimum lot charge into the hundreds, Plus most of them won’t touch car parts for fear of contaminating the tanks they use for Aerospace.  Now that I can do it myself I had an idea.  Typically if you had a part with areas you did not want plated or powder coated you would have to use special masking techniques, like a liquid masking for plating or high temp tape for powder.  It’s an extra upcharge and the quality of the masking can be questionable.

So I tried a different approach.  I first blasted and prepped the hubs and rear axles for powder, taping and plugging them myself as needed, then coating all surfaces of the hub and the complete flange area of the rear axles.  After the powder coating I fixtured the hubs in my lathe and carefully turned the powder coat off of the mating surfaces.  Now this make the flanges nice and straight and flat, but also susceptible to rust.  So next I put them in my plating tank, with remaining powder coat acting as a masking so the zinc wont stick to it.  The zinc only plated the freshly machined faces.  After this a gave them a Blue chromate bath to seal the zinc and provide great rust protection.  Finished them up with new studs and replated the labyrinth seal plate on the rear axles.  I ended up with nice powder coat super tight plating to powder lines and perfectly flat and true mounting faces.


The NA car is staying 4 bolt stock hubs and axles, the Turbo not so easy.  Ill post them up tomorrow


Edited by MONZTER
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The NA car is using stock rear axles and the stock front hubs with 4 lugs and has been fine considering the 235HP of the L-24 motor.  However, the Turbo car will have most likely double this HP and everything needs to get beefed up.  I handled this in an interesting way as I like to try and keep everything looking OEM and even using OEM parts when possible.  Far from stock, but stock looking.


My idea was to use all Z-31 Turbo parts to not only get the beefier stub axles and 5 lug hubs, but to also change the hub offset on the car so that it would use 25mm offset wheels the same as the Z-31 Turbo car.


I accomplished this by literally cutting off the rear axle hub from a Z-31 control arm, turning down the diameter to remove the weld and inserting it into the 240z strut after boring out the step for the smaller 240 bearing.  Press fit it in and did a perimeter weld all the way around.  Now I could use a OEM Z-32 axle, bearings, spacers CV flange ect.




This is what it looks like after cutting it off and turning down the weld.  The diameter is near exact to fit in the 240z strut.  I mocked it all up in CAD first.




The outer bearings and diameter of the axle is considerably larger than the 240.  Here is a cross section of it installed into the 240z strut







I thought I had some other pics of them before I finished them up, but I could not find them






For the front hub I also used a Z-31 Turbo hub.  It actually bolts right on with only minor cutting of the outer lip of the grease seal.  So again 5 lug and the same offset wheels as a Z-31.







Edited by MONZTER
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Here are some pics of the actual strut assemblies for the Turbo car.  You can see on the rear how nice the Z-31 hub, bearings and stub axle integrated into the 240 strut as well as looking proper with CV flange.









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Next up on the list of things to do it the strut housings.  Both cars will use coil overs and have already been cut for previous struts cartridges.  The NA car had Tokico BZ 3099 struts and the turbo car had Bilstein P30-0032 re-valved 300/100.  Both now unobtanium


I had problems with the Tokico struts blowing up with stiffer springs and the Bilsteins were a bit much on the street. 


So I decided to go with Konis

- The 8641 1198Sport for the NA car with 300 pound springs front and rear

- The 8610 1437Race for the Turbo car with 300 pound springs front and 325 rear


Getting the ride height correct with the droop travel is important so I cut the front struts to 340mm measured from the bottom inside of the strut housing to the top of the threads and cut the rears to 380mm measured the same way.  The fronts will drop right in with no spacers but the rears need to have a spacer made to go underneath the strut cartridge to get them in the correct location.


Both cars will get biscuit style camber plates from DP Racing as I won’t be changing camber all the time and I could not bring myself to cutting the bodies


I thought I took pictures of the struts and spacers before I assembled them, but I can’t find the pics.  So only shots of the finished assemblies


Pics to follow soon:




Edited by MONZTER
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Just finished up on the front brakes for both cars.  In the typical way I have been developing parts for both cars, the Turbo car will get the over the top treatment and the NA car will continue with heavily modified but OEM looking components.


Since both cars will be using 16” wheels – SSR/Watanabe RS8s for the Turbo car and Panasports for the NA I wanted to keep the brakes fitting withing the 16” rim limit.


Having the ability to build whatever I want for adapters the Turbo car is getting AP 4 piston calipers CP5000-42S4  - It’s a racing caliper and surprisingly light given how big they are.  One of the benefits is the radial mounting, which makes more a low profile caliper and allow for larger 325mm AP rotors to be used and still fit in the 16” RS8s


Here are some pics of the front calipers and adapters









Edited by MONZTER
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Again going with AP,  the front rotors are 325mm vented and drilled with custom 7075 hats I designed and build to make it all line up.  Im super happy with the way it all came out but a little over the top for a 2200lb car










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For the NA car I decided to go with Z-32 calipers, the nice aluminum ones for 30mm rotors with the Nissan Logo on them. 


I did some research and saw many people were using a Honda rotor with a caliper adapter, so this was my initial direction. 


Since I’m making everything myself I figured I would make these as well and started modeling it up in Solidworks.  I started to notice some issues given the size of the Honda rotor.  It looked as if the pads would interfere with the original caliper mounting point on the strut, possible causing the pad to bind.  So I went a different direction and after scouring for drawings and modeling up different rotors I found a rotor from a Jeep Rubicon to be perfect. 


It was a little bigger at 302mm vs 296 for the Honda part.  This offset he caliper just enough to keep the inner pad away from the strut/caliper mounting point.


So I designed it in Solidworks and 3D printed a rotor and caliper adapter bracket to test fit the Z-32 caliper.  After dialing it in for a perfect fit I went and CNC machined them.  Finishing the adapter brackets in a Alodine finish with a clear Cerakote to keep them looking nice.


The Rubicon rotors were available in Brembos premium line of OEM rotors with a nice anti-corrosion coating and big open venting.


Because they had to be re-drilled for the Datsun bolt circle and the ID opened up, tooling was needed to get them all perfect.


 I even went as far as designing an adapter plate for the inside of the rotor to fill in the original holes and provide a nice clamping surface for the hardware


Pics below of the adapter bracket and some steps of machining it on the CNC, also the 3d part vs the machined part









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Here are some pics of the calipers I got from Ebay Japan.  I ended up doing a complete rebuild with a nice Tungsten grey Cerakote finish and post machined Nissan logo.  New pistons, seals and all freshly replated hardware with Stop-Tech pads






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Nice work. 


There is something satisfying for me in designing something in a solid modeling program and then walking out to the shop and actually bringing it to life.


Or throwing it in the scrap bin because you had a better idea while machining it and decided to start over:)  

Edited by Derek
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5 hours ago, Derek said:

Nice work. 


There is something satisfying for me in designing something in a solid modeling program and then walking out to the shop and actually bringing it to life.


Or throwing it in the scrap bin because you had a better idea while machining it and decided to start over:)  

I agree, I like looking at a chunk of billet and thinking anything I can imagine is in there, I just need to figure out how to get to it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

MONZTER, Great to see you back. I loved seeing your manifold project back in the day.  I marveled in your skills and machining capabilities.  While I can humbly say I couldn't design what your making, somehow i find myself in possession of tools that could actually make most of the parts.  Engine Lathe, Welder, CNC Router(not a mill but it can take small cuts in aluminum. Not that Im proficient in any of them but My point is just having the tools has changed my perspective.  When I watched you design the plenum back in the day it was unattainable. Now, My brain goes, Hrmmm how many days would it take to mill that on my cnc router? LOL.


Thanks for bringing some fresh thinking  to the board. Honestly your z31 rear hub conversion seems so simple(not simple or easy, I understand that) that it makes you wonder why hasnt this been done before.  Thanks sharing your journey with us. 

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Thanks for your reply, It makes me happy to know taking the time to post pictures and ideas go on to help keep other motivated and interested in their cars.  Thats what its all about for me.  Funny the manifold is not even a difficult part to machine.  Im working on the rear brake adapters for the Z-32 calipers and Z-31 internal parking brakes for stock struts right now and it is a way more difficult of a part to do.  But will go un-noticed once installed.  It takes 20 different endmills/tools in the changer to make this part.







Edited by aka monZter
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