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Gollum's Never Ending 280Z

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Sux.  I know the feeling all too well.  The PO of my car filled holes in the frame rails and corresponding holes in the floorboard with Great Stuff then covered them with dynamat.  He told me with a straight face that the frame rails and floor pans were "solid."   

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Well, in his defense, expanding urethane foam can be pretty "solid" stuff! :-)


I'm not all that upset, and it's not like I ever felt this was a completely rust free car... It's just a "well I guess this is the state of things". The front chassis ears where the hood hinges mount are all rusted out, my fenders have rust in the rocker area. and there's other mild signs of rust elsewhere. My interest in digging into the problem is low, largely because I don't have welding equipment (yet), and no interest in fixing for the sake of "pretty".


That said, if I'm going to work on a part of the car, I might as well do what I can while I'm in there.

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9 hours ago, rossman said:

Sux.  I know the feeling all too well.  The PO of my car filled holes in the frame rails and corresponding holes in the floorboard with Great Stuff then covered them with dynamat.  He told me with a straight face that the frame rails and floor pans were "solid."   


Oh man. I thought I was alone with a PO that crazy. My PO "repaired" the floor boards with a harbor freight welder and Great Stuff in all the holes. 

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It really is hard to imagine it being MORE work to just replace the whole pan from the right edge of the faux rail to the rocker and from the firewall to the seat rail.




There's definitely some decent pitting in other unmarked areas but they seem solid enough that I'd be happy with a rust converter and some paint. But after patching those four sections I'll have already done a fair bit of metal shaping and welding.







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Shes idling nice. I would get a wideband in there as soon as you can. If you need connectors, for coils , injectors or any of the sensors I have those in stock. 


With that much patch work I would go with full floors or atleast front one big patch it will look much better. How does it lookI know the 280 fuel lines run on the floor vs 240z so something to think about. How does it look behind seats?

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If the integrity of the seat mounts and frame rail is not affected by the rust, I'd patch.  Especially if you're not worried about aesthetics.  I replaced my Swiss cheese floors mainly because the rust was in all the edges of the rail underneath and the front seat mount.  I also cut the roof off so I needed the floors to be solid along with the addition of stiffening tubing.  It looks great, but it's a lot more involved than patching. 

I have a cheap flux core wire feed welder you can borrow if you'd like.  It's what I used to do my floors.


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Yeah, I need to remove my seats to be sure, but when I put them back in not that long ago I don't remember noticing any major rust. I'll likely just end up doing some patching. As far as a welder, thanks for the offer. Someone else also offered me long-term borrowing of a flux core so we'll see how that works out. I also have a neighbor willing to let me bring the car over to do some welding, but that would mean needing to have a set of patches fitting and ready. If I have a welder handy, I'm going to also go about plugging the corner light holes, maybe cleaning up the rear bumper area, etc. So having a few winter months to peck away at the problem might be ideal.

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  • 2 weeks later...

More dynamat and factory floor liner removed.


I think I'm going to call my car "rust free" because my rust runs wild like free roaming cattle. Some people call rust cancer, but I've taken to calling it anorexia. And while anorexia is bad in general, it's kind of dismissed in some lines of work and/or social settings, right?




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So I didn't have much of an "idea" for what should be on my christmas list. Then I realize that my "car list" on amazon was 90% low buck items that I just hadn't gotten around to ordering. So I transferred all the items over and told the family to have at it. Got around to installing one of the gifts from the wife.




Wired up the Angel DRL as an always-on DRL. Could be configured to a manual switch, but then it'd also need to be tied into the turn indicator circuit as it's required for the amber indication. So always-on was easy and meets my goal of being noticed on the road. I don't exactly trust other drivers...





And there's the amber. It's tirgger wire is hooked into the flasher circuit output I built and the headlamp handles a graceful transition from amber to off and takes about 2 seconds to go back to white so you get a nice high contrast OFF/Amber when signaling, same as all the modern cars do.




And that's low beam. I oriented the lamp to have the DOT label face up, position on the bottom, which puts the wiring plug at the bottom of the back. I THINK that's correct, but I'll verify once I got the beams shooting more than 3 feet.




And there's high beams. No need to run LOW+HIGH on your circuit with these. High will bridge low so you can use a single relay to toggle NORM-OPEN and NORM-CLOSED between hi-low if you wanted. I wired my circuit so HIGH has both circuits on, because the old lamps I had were that way, but leaving it as such shouln't be an issue.




You can see there's a bit of color wash with high beams on trying to indicate, but to the human eye it's still pretty visible. That said, why are you indicating while flashing high beams?




Low beams have very nice contrast while signaling. Something the last pair of cheap headlights I bought with turn signals DIDN'T do. But those were also still halogen lamps and I think were like $60/pair.




I knew I'd been playing around with the electrical system a lot without running the car, and my battery is on it's last legs so voltage would be down. This is the other side with low beams on.... Plugged my battery charger in and it read the battery at 47%.... So voltage was pretty low. That said, even with the engine running, driving at night was... not fun.


EDIT: Forgot to mention, you can run these without the DRL on with high/low beams on if you wanted. My headlight power source bypasses my main relay as a safety concern so I can easily kill everything and keep headlights as well as turn signals, and verified the Angel circuit is completely separated from the main beams other than sharing ground from the main connector. So, wire up as you desire.


If you were chasing ounces, these are heavier. No doubt. In theory my MAX electrical load went down a good bit I bet, but I'd have to measure to be sure. Advertisements says high is 60 watts, but I'm not entirely sure that's accurate. Also, I think the front is glass. It's certainly not a cheap/light plastic. You could save a lot of weight compared to these using an all plastic housing with a lightweight halogen lamp.


Exact Amazon Item:



And since that link will likely die in time, the description:

LIMICAR 2PCS 7" High Low Sealed Beam Led Headlights White DRL/Angel Eyes & Amber Turning Signal Lights Round Headlamps for Jeep Wrangler JK CJ TJ Hummer H1 H2 Truck 4x4 Off-Road Headlights Assembly



You'll see my review on that amazon page, and I really do mean it: these are great for the price. I've seen a lot of guys saying you need to spend $500+ to get nice headlamp units, but I just don't see what that cost difference gets you. If these last 5 years, I can still buy 4+ of them before I've spent what other say I need to spend in order to get "quality" units.


Also, here's another "cheap christmas item" that I'll be installing soon:



I'm not thrilled with how low those sit, and will likely fab up a wedge shaped washer/spacer that I may or may not weld to the door to bring the angle up. Right now, I don't like how swinging the mirror to see closer to the car or farther away creates height differences, so I'll try to target a level swing on that rotating plane. This might make the upper arch of the mirror slightly awkward, but meh. Does anyone here actually think I care that much about form?

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Also, because my curiosity was nagging, I busted out the DMM.


LED Low Beam = 1.77A @ 11.5 Volts = 20 Watts

Halogen Low Beam = 2.5A @ 11.5 Volts = 28 Watts (or round up to 29W)

LED High Beam = 3.9A @ 11.2 Volts = 43 Watts (or round up if you care)

Halogen High Beam = 3.77A @ 11.2 Volts = 42 Watts


Now, if I did these same tests with the engine running, and getting full alternator voltage, and let's just assume we're running HOT at 14volts, that puts max halogen wattage around 50 watts on high beams and around 35 watts on low beams. In my experience, halogens tend to be pretty linear in a certain range, and amps will go up with volts and lumens increase as well, to a certain point. In the automotive range of 9-14V, that tends to be the case. So if the amps eek up a touch, these halogens might max out around 37/55 watts. By contrast LEDs tend to provide most of their lumens well under max voltage, maybe somewhere halfway between forward voltage and max voltage. Seeing as these fire up just fine on a 9V (common PP3 alkaline) I'm betting I won't notice any difference between my just measured readings versus engine running. But... they WILL waste more energy in the form of heat. I wouldn't anticipate amperage going up much at all, but with the raise in voltage this does put high beam mode at 55watts and low beam at 25 watts. They'll most likely consume just as much, if not more energy in high beam mode, and I honestly didn't think high beam was THAT much brighter, but we'll see once I get these on the road. But what's amazing, is how much lower consumption the low beam mode is with SO MUCH MORE LIGHT. Words don't even begin to describe the difference. I'll try to get a picture before I convert the other side.


It is refreshing to actually see the numbers though. I can see why these are rated at 60 Watts, and likely DO consume that at peak voltage. I'd be nice if the manufacture or reseller also shared specs on the low beam setting though. I'm also not so sad my headlight wiring is over-gauged, and these still pull plenty of power to warrant being careful.


Also, I didn't get power draw on the halo, yet. I plan to, but I also anticipate it being super low, around the .5A or less range.

Edited by Gollum
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Engine  running readings were enlightening. First off, the angel light runs at a whopping .15A, so roughly 2 watts. Might not seem like much, but it's also not running through any kind of lens so there's just mild diffusion and otherwise very forward facing beams. But under running condition, the halogen went up in amperage as I expected, while the LEDs went DOWN a fair amount. I expected them to stabilize, not drop so much. Anyhoo, here's the readings.


LED Low Beam = 1.48A @ 13.6 Volts = 20 Watts

Halogen Low Beam = 2.65A @ 13.6 Volts = 36 Watts

LED High Beam = 3.05A @ 13.5 Volts = 41 Watts

Halogen High Beam = 3.9A @ 13.5 Volts = 53 Watts


So there ya go, low beams are HALF the power, but far FAR more useful. Under high beam operation the halogens aren't AS obviously behind, but the LEDs cast a lot further and wider, while using considerably less power. It's less enough power that I'd consider running a LED light bar tucked under the hood lip in parallel to the high beam wiring.


And now for the pictures (because everyone loves photos). All photos were taken in manual mode and I attempted to get as close to what my eye saw as an actual output. I could have bumped these photos up/down to show detail otherwise lost, but my goal is to give some real world perspective. I want to start by showing just how bright the angel eyes are at night. Obviously their use case is daytime, so they'd better at least be decently bright.



(note my LED Interior lights are on and they light up the cabin pretty good)




Pretty close to what my eye saw




Yeah, a good bit of light for a measly 2 watts




That's just the halo/angel light. And that's about how blinding it feels when down on it's level.




And there's the low beams. It's pretty sad the halogen hardly even looks like it's on.




And that's what they look like when standing above the beam line. It was hard to get the expose right, but halogen didn't look quite that bright in person, as I could easily make out the detail of the glass texturing.




And here's what the low beams look like down on the beam's level. I was able to get the exposure closer, and you can really feel the difference here. I got the exposure low enough that it's close to what I saw, and the LED is on fire compared to the halogen.




High Beams. You can see now the halogen is registering a lot better, but it's still not competing with the LED in any reasonable fashion.




High beams standing above the beam line. You can tell the halogen is casting a lot of diffused light in all directions with the LEDs a bit more focused.


I didn't get a good in-beam picture of the high beams. So moving on.




Here's what the low beams look like from the driver's seat in context of on the road. LED's cast well enough to get solid reflection from the stop sign ahead, with lots of local light being cast within the first 50'.




I was surprised how well the halogen lights were showing in the high beam pics, because it wasn't so obvious to my naked eye. But here you can see the halogen is casting a lot of useful light finally, but the LED is keeping up just fine and casting a lot of it's bluer light (obvious on the neighbor's lawn), and still casting it's sharp edges on the left side, refusing to be bled out by the warm halogen glow (note the tone of green in the "slow children at play" sign, indicating the LEDs are reflecting off that more than the halogen).


Now I just need to measure the aim so I'm not that a-hole blinding everyone... Never been a problem before, but I guess there's a first time for everything.

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More lights:






Unlike the headlights, these definitely FEEL their price. The angle of the first mounting area is also puts the mirror a bit low for my taste, and lower than I was hoping. Would have worked much better for my liking mounted closer to a flat surface. But I really don't want to go through the effort of mounting the up at the back of the fender, though that does put them at a better angle. I'll likely keep these as-is for now, and in the future either replace them, or making a new mount for them. I'm thinking a double-ball system as common for photography gear would work well. Would just need to make a custom ball for the mirror side with the correct thread. But, by that time I'd have as much $ into the mounting as the mirrors themselves. That said, I can't find a happy medium between "ultra cheap crap" mirrors and "extremely expensive I have no life other than my motorcycle" mirrors. That said, I DO like the length, as obnoxious as it feels at first. And I like having more "look at me, I exist in this tiny car next to you tanks" lights that are easily visible.



Also, yesterday I got the second headlight installed:






Now I need to answer the question I've had rolling around my head. "weld the O2 bung with exhaust on the car, or pull the exhaust off"... Hopefully the answer will be made manifest this weekend.

Edited by Gollum
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Welp, a large step forward has been made:




And then of course it's rained all weekend, nonstop. But on the upside, my 20-30KPA 800-4500RPM cells are a lot more on the money than they used to be. :-)


And for those curious, my pre-adjusted startup AFRs on the Spartan were 13.3 and 16.6. So I guess my wiring is pretty solid! :-) (for those unaware, the spartan wideband outputs calibration voltages so you can compensate for the common ground offsets, or even potential regulated 5v offsets in the wideband controller versus ECU).


I also got some mics in for doing detonation frequency testing... Stay tuned (get it?)

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  • Gollum changed the title to Gollum's Never Ending 280Z

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