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Long time no post. Life has gotten in the way of the project. It's not dead, just on the back burner for a while.   The exhaust system, including the wastegate dump tube is complete. I'

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  • 9 months later...

Been doing quite a bit of work on the ol' girl so it's time for an update!  Lots of mods planned for the car.


First and most importantly is installing Vintage Air AC.  This will make the car drivable in the Houston summer heat without getting soaking wet with sweat. Going to replace the stock Hitachi compressor and condenser with a Sanden compressor and high efficiency condenser. This, of course has already been done many times on HZ but here is the compulsory picture of the evaporator in it's new home.  There might be some brackets missing. ;)




Re-routing and opening up the choked-off PCV lines. This isn't much to look at but there WAS a 3/4 NPT to  -8 AN elbow here.  I had to cut it out to remove it without taking the manifolds off.  I'm going to replace it with a straight 1/4' pipe to a -12 AN catch can.



Cleaning up the rat's nest of wires under the dash and in the engine bay. This is what it looked like after pulling the dash.  What a mess!



Here it is now, wires sorted waiting for me to decide where to place everything. I think I'm going to install the ECU, J&S (this is new to the build) and pump speed controller on the passenger side kick panel.  A new power supply box and Hella fuse/relay panels will go on the passenger firewall.



Re-installing the SpeedHut Speedo and Tach. I did have them wedged in the original pods and "bonded" with RTV. One of them fell out when I took the dash out so I decided to change plans. This time I'm installing them in the original metal housings with spacers made from 4" PVC pipe hold them in place. Here are a few pictures showing the process.  I realized I trashed the odd-shaped filler piece from the original gauge.  I'm not yet sure what, if anything I'm going to put in it's place.  I'm going to paint all the non-black parts, flat black so they shouldn't be too noticable set way down in the dash....although it sure would suck to put all this back together and have it bug me.  



You can see the 4" PVC pipe section in this picture.  The way I did this mod, the length only needs to be long enough to cover the little housing screws that hold the plastic shroud onto the metal housing.  I believe I cut the length to 1.25".  Just long enough to engage the side housing screws plus a little edge distance and short enough to avoid interference with the plastic shroud internal lip.  This picture doesn't show the pipe positioned correctly.



Here is the 1.25" long 4" PVC pipe.  It was too tight in the housing (that's what she said :P) so I split the ring with my table saw. The blade kerf was just enough so that it fits nice and snug inside the housing and around the Speedhut gauge diameter.



Here you can see where I ground down the side screw hole edges so the PVC can slide in easily.



Once everything is was cut I pre-assembled the parts, positioned the gauge and marked the side screw hole locations on the PVC pipe section.  Then remove the pipe and drilled out the match marked holes to to the same diameter as the side screws.  Once the screws are installed the PVC pipe is held in position and gauge captured between the plastic shroud and PVC ring.  I'll apply RTV to the back to keep the gauge from spinning and rattling in the hole.


Did I mention that I'm installing 2-5/8" Speedhut gauges in the stock gauge locations? Yep!  Here is a picture from the backside.  I'm using 3 clock gauge housing for each location.  The other gauge housings won't (easily) work for this mod. In the picture you can see how I cut out the backside to allow the Speedhut wires to pass thru.



To mount the gauges in the housings, I cut the stock thin sheet metal faceplate to 2-5/8" and clamped the gauge in place with the Speedhut provided lockring and spacer.  The pictures are pretty self-explanatory. I had tossed out the faceplate from the gauge that came with my car so I had to mod the one from another gauge.  The other gauge faceplates are raised so I cut part of the raised section off (had to figure out the correct length so it would lay flat at the correct diameter), split remaining part with my dremel cut-off blade then hammered the plate flat.  The hole in the faceplate doesn't have to be precise, just small enough to clamp onto.  It was a pain in the ass but it worked.





For the remaining 3 2-5/8" gauges the plan is to design and 3D print a custom ABS gauge pod.  The pod will replace the stock heater control and radio.  First I'm going to digitize the stock panel, then use that model to design a panel that replaces stock heater control and radio locations. I'll have to cut out the stock panel for the printed panel to drop in and bond in place.  That's the "plan" at least.  I'm a little worried that my scanner at work isn't going to pick up all the details of stock panel.  I may have to play around with it the scan and merge each side in CAD.  Here is the panel, ready for scanning.



Other mods on the todo list are...


  • Sound damping everywhere
  • New carpet everywhere (replacing the stock vinyl)
  • Baddog frame rails and floor pans
  • S2000 leather seats (already got those)
  • Ditching the Greddy boost controller for Wolf v500 controlled boost, with gear dependent boost to
  • Adding Wolf v500 controlled turbo timer
  • Adding a hidden kill switch for theft prevention
  • probably more....


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  • 1 year later...

I can't believe it's been almost 2 years since my last update.  Some of these go back prior to my last post but I'll try to avoid duplicates...


Here are a few pictures of the car just before I pulled the dash back in December 2015.





Convinced my 14 year old (now 15) son to help pull the dash




Dash is out!  How about that wiring mess?



Test fit the Vintage Air unit.



What a mess.



Created a radio delete gauge panel from 3D printed ABS.



Vintage Air Sanden style compressor compared to the old Hitachi unit.



Discovered spalled rockers.




There is a separate thread I created on my spalling issue.  I replaced all of the rockers with new OEM units and had the cam polished.



My son helping me with modifying the vents for the new air conditioning system.



Test fit the dash.  Looks pretty good!



Nice sunset in front of my house. Note the water level during low tide...



Replaced the passenger side floor pan.



Installed a new Nismo adjustable cam sprocket while I was messing with the cam.  Currently set to zero.



Fully plumed dash.



Hurricane Harvey hit!  Note the water level!




The Z escaped flooding by a few inches!  There was a water line half way up my disk brakes!  This picture was taken after the water receded quite a it.



Had my daily driver on jack stands. These pictures were taken after the water receded. Missed flooding by less than an inch!  Had 17 inches in my garage.




Installed new TTT mustache bar.  It's quite a bit taller than the stock 280z unit. Need to re-route those fuel lines.  Also stripped all the powder coating off the diff cover.  That was a bad idea.  I feel better now.




Started work on the drivers side floor pan.



Edited by rossman
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Thanks man!  I lost some personal stuff that I was sorting thru trying to decide what to keep and what to recycle/donate.  The flood made that decision easy...off to the trash it went!  Also ruined a finished room downstairs that I never used. I just ripped out the drywall and insulation then sprayed everything wet with vinegar and borax to kill any mold growth.  Still haven't replaced the dry wall and I'm not sure I will any time soon.


I won't give up but sometimes life gets in the way.  I have couple of hobbies and a job that eats up lots of my time.  I'm off work until the 1/2/18.  You should come on by and check it out.  I would love to see your beast!


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Did another 4 hours of so fitting up the drivers side baddog frame rail and snapped a few pictures of things I've done to the car recently.  The drivers side floor pan is done as you can see below.  This one went in much easier than the passenger side.  Lets just say I learned a lot!






Old frame rail cut out and floor pan prepped.



The dumbass PO filled the frame rail with urethane foam from the top side.  I guess he did it to keep his heal from falling thru the floor pan.  



BadDog frame rail fitted up.



Old floor pans with rusty, crushed frame rails.




Rota 16x8 +10 going in soon!  I had to get them to clear my new Wilwood parking brake that you see laying beside it.




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On 1/20/2018 at 12:19 AM, boosted300 said:

Your Bad Dog frame rail looks like it fit much nicer than mine did...

I'd say the fit was reasonably acceptable only after I cut away most of the existing frame rail.  Even then both the original and BadDog rails required quite a bit of tweaking/panel beating.  


On 1/20/2018 at 12:19 AM, boosted300 said:

Great work, Can't wait to see the finished product!

Thanks!  I have a small bit of welding left to do on the passenger side.  Next will be treating it all with Ospho followed by primer, paint and 3M rubberized undercoating underneath.

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  • 5 months later...

Update time!  I've been working on the Z intermittently, the inside part of the floor pans are painted and ready for sound damping.  I'm currently working on the underside, wire brushing the surface rust off.  I'll follow that with Ospho, etch primer then finally 3M underbody coating.


Top side of the floor pans done...





Test fit the S2K seats...yah these are gonna work :)



Oh, and I got my son his first car, a Z of course :)  2004 with only 37k on the clock. Spoiled rotten kid!



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Ah! This is perfect timing for this post. Are those just plain holes in the new rails you made? Or do they have a threaded nut welded on the other side? Last question, did you just use some 1x2 steel for that? 


New shell I got doesn't have seat rails and don't quite feel like reusing the originals from my old car since my hair skims the headliner at stock seat height 

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The holes in the rails are currently just plain holes.  I just purchased a cool rivnut installer so I'm planning to drill it out for 1/4" rivnuts.  Regarding the angle, I just used 1x1 angle, tacked it to the sides then welded on 14 gauge to the side to tie in the floors.  If I did it again, I would just use 1x2 as you mentioned.  The challenge is getting the angle to fit on all sides to the irregular shape of the floor.  I made many, many trips back and forth from the car to the bench grinder.  Probably should have just clamped the grinder to the floor pan in the car to save myself so many trips!  If you're that tall I wouldn't recommend using S2K seats.  They sit very tall even with shortened rails.  I'm a tad under 5'11" but have a long torso.  I can only get 3 fingers between my head and the headliner.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I developed a 280zxt rotor cap for my car.  I'm considering printing/selling more.  Let me know what you think!

Here is version 1.0, test fit on the dizzy.  I didn't spend much time making it look good, just testing the fit. Turns out it fit perfectly.



Here is version 1.1 as-uploaded to my print queue.  I spent a lot of time sketching the "Z" and optimizing the look.  My printer is a Markforged Mark Two.  The material will be Onyx, a chopped carbon infused nylon.  I'm not sure how well it will stand up to engine heat. My other option is Stratasys ABS although, if I sell these I'll farm them out so there are many other options including metal.  They could also be machined but the Z will be difficult to produce correctly due to the tiny radii. Any feedback is appreciated!




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Have you thought of using the print as a plug to make a mold and plastic cast the final piece?

I've done this with several projects that need to have a higher heat resistance than what what a typical PLA or Nylon would have. The reason I typically plastic cast is due to cost as well, I don't own a 3D printer and it can become expensive having someone else print in these exotic materials that have a higher heat resistance. It's more cost effective for me to have the print made cheaply in PLA and use it to make a mold to cast from.


Here are a few parts I've made using the casting process:

The material these are made from has a heat deflection temperature of 250 degrees F. I have seen some resins that are resistant to heat up to 400 degrees F as well.


Ash Tray Cup Holder:





240Z Steering Wheel Horn Button:





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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

I apologize for a super delayed response. It's not expensive at all to plastic cast pieces like this. The molds are made from silicon and are taken from the 3d printed part. A few well placed fill and vent holes in the mold and you are good to go. If you're interested in the process there are tons of YouTube video tutorials that show how to do it from beginning to end.

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I have been doing a little work on the Z here and there.  I never was really happy with the sumped original fuel tank so I purchased a Zfever aluminum tank.  After finally getting the tank after 4 months of "patiently" waiting it arrived only to find the filler neck positioned incorrectly.  It was off by exactly one diameter.




Due to the length of time it took to get the tank I didn't want to send it back to zfever.  So I had a local boat shop cut the filler off and reweld it in the correct position.  They ended up welding a plate over the existing hole and drilling a new hole in the correct location and welding the filler neck back on.  Sorry, didn't get a picture of the repair.  Here is one with the tank installed correctly with new straps.




I also pulled the oil pan to attempt to fix an annoying leak at the back of the pan.  Internals look in order, for whatever that's worth. I'm going to reinstall it without a gasket, just using Permatex Ultra Grey, studs and flange nuts along with the stock spreader plates.  





Edited by rossman
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