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Lowrider's 260z

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Thanks for the love man! I haven't updated this thread in a while. Rest assured, the car is still progressing and I need to snap some pictures and update things.


I actually have a cv conversion in the works that should be installed in the next couple of weeks.


Why get a $500 jeep when you could get a roof rack for $30?! The deflector on the roof rack actually keeps rain from getting under the sunroof when I drive in the rain. So I call it a win win!


I love the wheels too, when rota started making the more affordable imitation I knew I had to have them!

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Great work on all parts of the Z. If you could price it right to be able to make it worth your while, you probably have a product that you could sell in that surge tank assembly. I can't believe the kayak doesn't launch off at that angle! I like having drip rails on my old cars just for racks-so handy, but new cars don't have them. I ran my car that low for a while then had to raise it up a bit. It just got so aggravating having to plan trips to avoid speed bumps. Gets old. Awesome car!

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I have been lurking alot more on the forums recently, and I've started to feel guilty about the lack of contribution on my end in the past several years. Life has gotten in the way, but my Z has slowly still been progressing.

Since my last update, alot has happened both with me and the car. I graduated college in 2014 with a BS in mechanical engineering and started work as a manufacturing engineer. I got married in 2014 as well and we bought a house in 2015. Enough about me, the car has also progressed quite a bit in the passed couple of years, unfortunately I haven't documented everything well picture wise.


The last update I had mentioned replacing the stock radiator with an aluminum cross flow radiator. I had to make all kinds of modifications to the generic eBay radiator to get it to fit the car. I cut off both the inlet and outlet of the radiator and had to weld a 90 degree section of tubing on both of them to keep from hitting my intercooler piping and the alternator. I also had to fabricate some brackets to hold it in the car. I ditched the twin 12" eBay fans in favor for a Derale 16217 2 speed 17" fan with the new radiator.


You can kind-of see the radiator and fan in the engine bay picture below:



I finally bit the bullet and did a CV-axle swap using 280zx Turbo cv axles. I had a friend of mine that was parting a zx turbo out and in exchange for helping him pull the motor, trans, and a few other various parts I got the differential, axles, and stub axle flanges. I had done some reading and read that the 280zx turbo stub axle spline was the same as the 240Z which would have made the axles a bolt in affair. However, one of the joys of owning a 260z is not knowing what component parts you have. I made the assumption that my 260, being an early 74' with 240z struts, would have the smaller 25 spline stub axles but I was wrong. This meant that the zxt stub axle flanges would not bolt up so I had to go back to the drawing board. I did some more research and a fair bit of measuring and decided to make an adapter that would bolt to the existing stub flange and convert to the zxt cv bolt pattern. A couple of hunks of CRS, some time in the lathe and the mill, and I had myself a set of cv axle adapters. The install was straight forward, and only required the modification of the sheet metal grease shield of the outer cv joint.






The difference that the cv-axles made in the smoothness of power delivery is amazing. The car used to shake and rattle on acceleration when it had the half shafts installed, all of that went away after the cv-axles were installed.


After the CV swap, things started slowing down as far as upgrades are concerned. I spent the majority of the time driving and enjoying the car. I had identified a few areas that I wanted to focus on but I had recently bought a house, so the attention kinda was shifted towards that.


I had wanted to construct a support for my flexible xenon front air dam for a few years, so I went ahead and build a bar to reinforce the lower lip of the air dam. The while I'm at it bug hit during the project and I went ahead and constructed a front splitter for the car as well. I constructed the splitter from a scrap bit of .25" alumalite my uncle had brought into the shop from his job as an industrial sign maker. I designed the splitter to mount to the tow hook on the front frame rails of the car. The mount would allow the splitter to pivot in the case of it contacting the ground leaving steep driveways or contacting curbs when pulling to close into parking spots. Because it was pivoted and I wanted to allow movement upwards in case of contact, that meant I couldn't use the usual support rods that are seen everywhere. I chose to secure the front of the splitter with cable so that it could have to freedom of movement upwards but as soon as the high pressure air in front of the air dam would try and force it down, the cables would be in tension and not allow downward movement. I looped the support cables through the bumper mounts and attached both ends to u-shaped mounts on the leading edge of the splitter via ball detent pins for quick removal. Overall, the addition of the car makes the front feel more stable at higher speeds. I have yet to use my monomer to determine the pressure difference on the front of the air dam before and after the splitter addition, but I can say that it cost me 2 MPG with what I assume is drag created by the addition area for the high pressure region to act on.







I have taken the car to a few different meets and shows below are a few pictures from those:










Recently, I have been planning/building my brake upgrade. I currently have 4 piston Toyota front calipers with the stock drums in the rear. I've kind of taken it as a design exercise to fit a set of front and rear disk brakes to the car that have a few criteria:

1) The calipers and rotors are easily sourced at local auto parts stores.

2) Both front and rear brakes are vented to reduce thermal overload and cause brake fade.

3) Must fit under my 15" wheels.

4) Must retain ebrake function.


I started with the idea of using Z32 front calipers paired with Honda Odyssey front rotors. I then did a little research and some calculation which let me to the idea of using late Z31 rear calipers and rotors for a closely matched bias.

I then had to come up with some way to mount the calipers and rotors to the struts/spindles. I modeled both the front and rear struts and designed mounts for both the Z32 front calipers and the Z31 rear. This pretty much brings me up to date on the car. It is currently sitting in my car port awaiting for me to install the front and rear brakes. I had both the front and rear caliper mounts made, I purchased my rotors and calipers for the front and the rear as well as drilling the rotors to accept the respective 4-lug patterns.


I have tested fitted the front brakes using a spare strut and luckily everything fits and clears the wheels, just barely.







Edited by lowrider

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On 2/2/2018 at 1:17 PM, nmehdikh said:

I love your front splitter setup. Can you get some more pics of it? I'm trying to figure out how it's mounted underneath the car and where it pivots.

I thought I included a picture or two of the rear mounting point with the pivot.  The pivot is made of 1/4" CRS that was laser cut at the same place I did my CoOp. I attached the mounts to the same location that the factory tow hooks attached to on the front frame rails.




The front cables were made to "pre-load" the front of the splitter and slightly deflect the air dam to get a decent seal along the front edge. The picture above just has the front sat on boxes for mock up, hence the gaps.

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I finally have the brakes assembled on the car. It's been IN-OP for too long. I had a laundry list of things that I wanted to get done along with the brakes before Zdayz this year. These included:

1) Finishing up the brake upgrade

2) Cleaning/ installing new fuel tank

3) Re-installing the surge tank that I made a few years back

4) Re-vamping the engine bay/ adding thermal wraps and protection to a few things

5) Getting the car to run cooler with A/C on.


So far, I've completed the first 3 items on my list.

I installed the new to me fuel tank and surge tank this passed weekend. I ran into some issues with the surge tank that ended with a ton of spilled gas. I had originally sealed the hole that the wires for the pump inside the surge tank with JB weld. Apparently JB weld degrades with time and exposure to gasoline, I didn't find this out until the surge tank was filled by the lift pump and the fuel poured out of the top of it. I dropped the surge tank and pulled one hose off to drain a portion of the fuel out before using gas tank repair epoxy on the wire opening. I wasn't able to get to it that evening (due to a dinner date with the wife) so for an extra precaution, I placed vice grips on the tank supply line to keep the fuel from siphoning out of the tank and into the surge tank. Apparently I didn't clamp it tight enough, I returned from dinner to find a river of 93 octane gas running out of the car port and into the drive way. DOH. I re positioned the vice grips and it quit leaking, thankfully. I put some epoxy on the wire opening the next morning and all was well again.


I got the chance to take the car down the road briefly and found out that I need to clearance the front calipers a bit.They were making a terrible racket rubbing against the front wheels. I need to fab up ebrake brackets for the rear calipers to completely finish the conversion. I also need to re-bleed the brakes the peddle is very mushy.




The rear brake disks are actually larger than the original front rotors...




One of the biggest reasons that I've been forced to re-vamp the engine bay is due to rats. The car has been parked in my enclosed car port for a good while now and I live next to a cow field. Apparently the field rats decided that the engine bay of my car would serve as a suitable hangout. Fortunately, they had mostly just hung out on top of the intake and valve cover and hadn't built a nest. They at some point during their hangout session decided to chew through one of the injector wires and the wires to my boost control solenoid. The war to kill/keep them at bay has been trying to say the least. I can't catch the little buggers in traps and they apparently wont die of poisoning (They have eaten almost 3 lbs of poison). I'm trying a bunch of repellents and such now with pretty good results thus far I am now looking into putting a garage door up to permanently solve the problem, but I freaking hate these suckers.


I've started on number 4 on the list as well. I've added some of the DEI gold heat reflective wrapping to the cold intercooler piping to try and reduce the amount of heat soak, as well as coating the heat shield for the brake master. I've already got a new turbo blanket and some DEI Titanium exhaust wrap to re-wrap the exhaust manifold and down pipe with. I'm also planning on using a reflective heat barrier on the heat shield that goes under the intake manifold as well. I'm tired of having heat issues in the humid 100+F southern summers.


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The last post covered the most of the prep work that I had done before Zdayz this year. I finished up my brake install, as well as installing the gas tank/surge tank. Before I "slayed the dragon" I wanted to make sure I had adequate brakes and sticky rubber to match. I re-bled the brakes at my dad's shop on the lift, and talk about feel awesome. I have a ton of stopping power now and it seems like the calculations I did has biased the brakes perfectly. It really makes me wonder how I've done without thus far. The next thing on the list was to install some new sticky rubber before my trip. After a lot of research in trying to find a 200tw street tire that didn't break the budget I found that I would likely end up having to go down a size from 225 - 205. I finally settled on the Federal 595rs-r' s and tried to buy a set that would be delivered it in time for Zdayz, but I had no such luck. Apparently these bad-boys are highly sought after in the autocross crowds and as soon as they hit the shelves they are gone. I called every company in the US that sold them and everywhere was factory back ordered 3 months. I did some more research and finally settled on a set of 205-50-15 Yokohama S-drives which were delivered 2 days after I placed the order.

I don't trust tire shops raising/taking the wheels off of the car so I decided to take a trip to my dad's shop to put the car on the lift, remove the wheels, and take the tires to be mounted. The only issue was I had no way to get the car and the tires to the shop without a huge logistics nightmare. So, I made use of that awesome roof rack I purchased several years back. I loaded all 4 tires across the roof rack and strapped them down tightly so there was no chance of a tire escaping during the 15min drive to dad's. I thought it looked freaking awesome but I got a ton of odd looks and stares driving down the road. Got to dad's and the got tires mounted and the wheels back on the car just a week before Zdayz.











The trip to the Dragon was a blast. I woke up around 8:00am, washed the car, went over the check list, and started my trip. It takes me around 2 hours to get from my house in North Knoxville to the Overlook at the beginning of the Dragon. I made one pass through feeling out the tires and brakes (the roads were wet from a morning shower) and headed to Fontana Village to check out the Zdayz festivities. I parked the car and walked around looking at the cars entered into the car show and generally parked around the campus. Around 12:00pm I loaded up and decided that I would start making my way back home. On the way back through the sun had been out long enough to dry up the roads from the shower it had gotten in the morning. Since the roads were dry I felt a little more comfortable pushing the car on the way back, and boy was I impressed. The new tires were tons better than my past sets of Kumho ecsta ast's. On top of the tire grip, I was actually able to brake properly with more force and without having to worry about usage that would lead to brake fade. I was incredibly satisfied with the tire and brake combination. Unfortunately I didn't have anyone running with me to compare how well the combination improved my pace. I pulled over at the Overlook and inspected the brakes, which were barely hot. Sucess!


I was fortunate enough to have been highlighted by a few companies that take pictures from the sides of the road on the dragon. Below are a couple that I found on their facebook/websites.







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I just realized that this will be my 4th update this year, talk about a major improvement from years past.

I believe I left off with attending Zdayz this past May. In previous updates I had set a list of things that I wanted to get done on the Z. The list was:


On 4/24/2018 at 11:24 AM, lowrider said:


1) Finishing up the brake upgrade

2) Cleaning/ installing new fuel tank

3) Re-installing the surge tank that I made a few years back

4) Re-vamping the engine bay/ adding thermal wraps and protection to a few things

5) Getting the car to run cooler with A/C on. 


I completed the marked out items before going to Zdayz, which left numbers 4 and 5 on my list. I decided to start tearing the engine bay apart after I got back from Zdayz with the deadline of taking the car to the Cars and Coffee event that is put on three times a year here in Knoxville. I started by tearing the intake and exhaust manifolds off along with the connected components.


You can see how tattered and worn the old heat wrap was on the exhaust manifold and how rusty the exhaust housing has gotten. The valve cover paint had also been wrecked by the freaking rats defecating and urinating on it. So, I pulled the intake manifold first and the turbo, down pipe, and exhaust manifold followed.


I started with the down pipe and turbo first. Everything got a thorough inspection for anything out of the ordinary like wear or cracking. This was followed up by a deep cleaning and fresh 1200 degree high temp flat black grill paint. Once everything was painted, it got a liberal wrapping in DEI Titanium "header" wrap. The turbo exhaust housing also was treated to a matching "lava" turbo blanket.




This picture also shows how I added the external wastegate to the factory exhaust manifold.


The intake manifold got a thorough cleaning as well. The heat shield was repainted in the same flat black grill paint and the underside of the heat shield and intake manifold received a fiberglass mat/ silver reflective heat barrier to try and repel the heat from the exhaust manifold. I also added DEI heat tape to the fuel injector bodies as well as adding reflective heat blankets that wrapped around the injectors. I actually did alot of research into the fuel vapor lock situation that plagues these cars and found that the 4.0L Jeep L6 has the same problems. I found numerous posts on the Jeep forums referring people to wrap their injectors in heat tape and urging people to purchase the "injector blankets" to solve the heat soak issue. I figured for the price I would be more than willing to give it a try and see if it solves my hot start problems.

I also got tired of destroying wastegate diaphragm on my eBay wastegate and went ahead and installed the Tial piece I've had on the shelf for the past few years.



Last but not least I repainted my valve cover in wrinkle black and put everything back together.




At this point, I enjoyed driving the car on occasion during the summer. It kinda took the back burner to driving, working on, fabricating, and installing bike carbs on my daily:




I made the deadline to get the Z to Cars and Coffee. I was even able to park next to my good friend that also has an early 260Z he is in the process of building.



As far the heat management is concerned on the Z, its crazy what some exhaust wrap, turbo blanket, and reflective heat wrap can do. I immediately noticed an improvement in the turbo spool response. I now had issues with the compressor hitting the surge line while using the throttle to try and regulate boost pressure. I did some re-configuring on my BOV so that under high pressure differentials between the intake manifold and before the throttle blade it will vent slightly, allowing the compressor flow to move right of the surge line. The car was driven on occasion with no real issues, even in the heat of summer it never had a problem. It is now in "winter storage" with tons of rat and mice repellent in and around the car.


Bonus content:

Recently I was given a hand-me-down Canon AE-1 Program from my wife when she upgraded to a digital Nikon. I am a complete Noob when it comes to doing any kind of photography let alone using 35mm film (which you cant tell how the photos turned out until developed). I have a good friend of mine that is super into analog photography so we got together and did a slight photo shoot of the Z and the Wagon.









Hopefully this isn't a picture overload on the server.

Those of you that see this and make it to the end: I hope you have a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!!





Edited by lowrider
extra pics

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