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280z Progress. Frame, Floors, Exhaust, Fuel Cell - Lots of Pics!

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I think I may have not thought through the plans for my turbo - welding the v-band clamp to it... My plan was to stick it in the grill and get it good and hot - pull it out - weld an inch - peen the weld with a hammer a few times - and then put it back in the grill for 30min - repeat until fully welded and then stick it in a big pile of dry sand overnight... Does anybody have any faith that this joint will hold up?


As a backup plan - anybody know if this turbine housing would bolt to my very low mile HE351?


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Paint got here Saturday as promised. This weeked I mounted the intercooler, assembled the front swaybar, sanded the paint off of the lettering on the valve cover, installed the oil pan on the engine, painted the underside of the car and painted the inside-roof and pillar bars.


Tomorrow I hope to finish painting and do some seam sealing. More pictures when I start assembly.

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- Anybody used that 2000 degree paint they sell at the auto parts stores? Comes in a spray can. I bought 2 cans today planning to do my exhaust manifold, turbine housing, and exhaust with it. There are some pretty extensive "baking" instructions.


Yes, I have. I used the cheaper stuff on my manifold, and it burned off quickly. I recently used the expensive "VHT" brand on my downpipe; it burned off at the flange but the rest of it that isn't wrapped seems to be holding up reasonably well.


In my experience - spray cans are useless on the high-temps. If you want it super-fancy, get those parts coated.

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I know I know... I owe everybody an update.... Pics be up soon (tomorrow probably). This weekend I've finished all the seam sealing, painting and undercoating - Chased all the threads in the head (holy crap there was a lot of junk came out of the holes when i ran a tap in them) - put the engine and trans back in - put the rollbar in - put on new door seals - and started hooking up misc wiring/water/etc. Like I said - pics are coming soon.


2 things....

1) I tried out 2 kinds of undercoating - duplicolor and rustoleum.

Duplicolor - VERY rubbery... Almost came out of the spray can in chunks. Really hard to control. Looks the most like factory undercoating.

Rustoleum - I REALLY preferred this. It appears very durable and sprays really evenly out of the can. This might have something to do with this high tech cap they have built into the can. If you are working on your back spraying upward like I was - you'll soon find the ability to hold the cap upside down and spray things invaluable. I will always buy this brand undercoating from now on.


2) I bought all the tbolt clamps for my intercooler connections at ATP turbo. I'm using 2.5" tube - so I figured I'd need a bunch of 2.5" clamps... WRONG! The 2.5" clamps BARELY fit around a 2.5" tube when they are all the way open. I sent them all back to be exchanged for clamps that are a half inch bigger in diameter. I hope they update their website like I suggested so this doesn't happen to other people like me that haven't ever ordered this kind of stuff before.


More to come... As I see it the big chunks of work to get it running are fuel lines, rear swaybar mounts, interior (sound deadening, seats, harnesses, and a few dash modifications), oil lines (this should be easy), turbo modifications, and all of the air system plumbing/welding. I find all of that stuff to be super fun to work through though... Some Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Old school Metallica (and their new one), Nirvana, and 311 mixed with a few beers on a hot summer day farting around in the garage is just the ticket.


Heavy85 here on the site (my actual boss in real life) has challenged me to a drag race the week of the 20th followed up by a road racing in Joliet (Autobahn) the next weekend. I'm pretty confident if I can get through most of the fab work this week and weekend I'll be able to order the rest of the parts I'm missing next week in time to have the car rocking and rolling. I know Cameron will cream me with his lighter 240z powered by an LS1 - but is that really what its about? Maybe he'll lose traction? BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ... PPPHHHSSSSSHHH..... BZZZZZZ... PPHHHSHHH...

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Pics were taken before the engine and trans were put back in. Here is the firewall and front frame connections.



A crappy picture of the tunnel.



Front swaybar bolted to the car... I use white lithium grease on the joints. Anybody reccomend anything better?



Intercooler bolted to the car.



Engine and trans waiting to go in the car.



So no real progress the last 2 days. Buttoned up a bunch of stuff on the engine, started my plan of attack on the fuel lines, and put the freshly painted valve cover on the engine.


I've had my father and law and a few other people see the car the last week and it is kind of frustrating to show it to them because right now it looks very similar to how it did before I started cutting the frame out of it a year ago. Details like new frame rails, floors, seam sealing, and undercoating are not very "bling"... Most people go straight to the back of the car and point out the fuel cell with "oooohs and aaaaahs" - by FAR the easiest and quickest fab work I've done in the last year. I feel like I show people and they are thinking "so wtf have you been working on... it looks same but with black paint". Oh well... Parts pile will be shrinking this weekend as stuff is put on the car and everything will get more exciting. At least some of you hybridz guys understand my pain. Thanks and more to come in a few days.

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your project is looking good ,what are you plans for it Street ? or track ? :burnout:


Street legal but really fun on the track. This is my very first project car so I'm really learning as I go - trying not to make many expensive mistakes. I'll likely start going to the local autocross events and blow the doors off of the local honda owners with cut springs and K&N stickers on the bumber.


Great progress so far. Looking through threads like these make me want to start my chassis reinforcement project before the auto-x season is even over. Did you raise the floor pans up at all? Can't tell from the pics.


The floor was raised up about an inch. The stock floor welds to the rockers using spot welds and then the floor "arches" down some. I put the new floor right in line with where the old floor took a 90 degree off of the rocker - make sense or am I talking gibberish?


did you just bolt the sway bars through the frame?


Yup - it is a very common way to strengthen this area of the frame. The swaybar mounts on the frame are notorious for cracking/breaking. The metal is pretty thin. If you just drill through the frame to the top side and run a bolt - you will "squash" the frame rail when you tighten the bolt. Putting some tubing in for a good bolted joint is a good fix. Look up a few posts and you'll see the parts I fabbed up for it. Like I said - I'm not doing anything special here... very common way to fix this area as can be found on this site.

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The floor was raised up about an inch. The stock floor welds to the rockers using spot welds and then the floor "arches" down some. I put the new floor right in line with where the old floor took a 90 degree off of the rocker - make sense or am I talking gibberish?


Yep makes sense. Also for the sway bar bushings, putting a zerk fitting on the straps and drilling a hole in the bushings works well for lubing them up.

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Did you seal off the top of your fuel cell area? And if you did how did you run your vent and return lines. I have the same tank and set up as yours but to be NHRA certified my tank cant be open to the inside of the car and the vent lines can not penetrate the inside floor area. Just wondering how your got around that. Thanks.....

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I haven't done it yet, but the plan is to build some kind of artsy metal cover using some 3/4" square tubing covered in steel (lined with sound deadening) and bolt it down over the top of the cell. All the lines will be run under this cover / out of the driver compartment. I'll probably seal the two together with some rubber.


I can run the car without it so I thought I'd spend a lot of time on the cover and make something really nice after I get it running and driving.

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Taking the day off work tomorrow :)


I spent tonight working up my turbo setup. I got the turbo all ground down to accept the 4" v-band clamp and it looks like it is supposed to be on there. My old man is a seasoned welding engineer and he's going to weld the mild steel flange to the cast iron housing tomorrow using some 99% nickel stick electrode he bought today for this purpose. He said that nickel will make a huge difference rather than using regular mild mig wire. We're going to do preheating and slowed cooldown as well. I'm feeling much better that the joint will hold up now that I have an expert involved.


I also drilled my stock manifold for the 90 degree elbow to go off to the wastegate.


My only real problem now is space... The 4" mandrel bends I got have a MASSIVE radius on them and as they are now will not fit between the turbo and firewall without pie-cutting / re-welding them a few times and shallowing up the radius. It is almost a requirement anyway in order to have room for the wastegate and wastegate dump between the block and the 4" tubing. Like I said - things are tight in there.


Tomorrow morning my dad will help me weld up the turbo and manifold. I'll be leaving them in the oven at his place for a slow cool down and get them back on Saturday. I should be able to do a bunch of work finishing up placement of the turbo/wastegate/downpipe on Sunday. After welding on the turbo tomorrow morning I'll be plumbing fuel until dinner. It is going to be a productive weekend on the Z. I'll be taking pictures.

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I think the best lube you could use would be anti seize. yes, crazy, but it does wonders. My dad used to go through more of it than most people since he used it on quite a few important areas on old VW's. the best use was for the bushing used for the shifter rod. Made it so smooth that it didn't feel like it could be stock haha.

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An update on progress...


Engine and trans back in chassis:



My old man welded up my turbo manifold and the turbo housing with some 99% nickel rod. He stick welded it - old school style. It turned out awesome. I watched him weld it through a welding hood. During welding it didn't look anything like a regular mild steel puddle - the nickel melted and looked almost like butter... really strange looking. Here are the manifold and the turbo:



Here is a picture of my 4" exhaust outlet problem. That'll have to get some gentle pie cuts to tighten up the radius:



Here is where I want to put my wastegate. I posted another thread with more picture and questions about this setup here:




It may look like a lot, but I had a terribly frusterating weekend on the Z. I worked on assembling my tail-lights back in the car and I turned around and they both dropped on the ground. The surrounding bezel for BOTH taillights broke into a bunch of pieces... I'm shopping for replacements now, *sigh*. I also noticed that the flange on my turbo exhaust manifold was not flat. It was pitted, dented, etc from use. The only way to properly to fix this is to remove the studs and take it to the belt sander for a cleanup. Two of the studs broke off when I tried to remove them and I spent six F*******G hours removing the two broken studs and another hour today heli-coiling them up so I can use bolts. Very frusterating last 2 days.


And some progress on the fuel lines. Made a plate for the pre-fuel pump filter, the Walbro pump, and the return line (on top). I'm looking through the right side rear wheel well at the right side of the fuel cell. The plate flexes a little more than I'd like so I'm going to bend down the bottom of it back toward the cell so it is in an L-shape - more stiff... no bending:



And another picture of the worst part of the routing - over the moustache bar. I think this routing looks awesome - made a bracket to hold the lines off of the bar that bolts to the fuel cell cage. The lines are clamped on either side of the bar. Should be smooth sailing all the way up to the firewall from here:



So I found with my old setup there was one continuous run of line from the outlet of the fuel pump to the fuel rail - and another from the bottom of the fuel pressure regulator back to the tank and it made it a massive pain in the ass to do any kind of work on the fuel system. I really don't think I'll be messing with the back portion of the car all that much anymore, but I probably will be the front half - so I decided to put in a bulkhead for the send and return and put it just behind the firewall under the car. Here is the bracket I made up for it:


It doesn't look like much - but designing heavy equipment I've learned to really pay attention to the servicability aspects of a design. I guess heavy85 has something to do with that. These kinds of details take a project from good to awesome in my opinion.


That's it for now. More work this week. I plan on finishing up the fuel lines to the bulkhead connection and fabbing/welding the exhaust side / wastegate / dowpipe / exhaust that is left this week. That should leave me with a very small amount of fuel work in the engine compartment, a bit of interior, and fresh/charge air piping left before I get to drive it again.


Thanks for the feedback/comments.

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Taking a break from the car to redo a bathroom in my house and paint the baby room. Stuff I've gotten done since last time are to route the fuel lines up to the bulkhead fitting and to weld the bulkhead to the bottom of the car.


I also ordered a tighter radius 4" mandrel bend (you can get them tighter than what I ordered if you just get a 90 degree bend"), the rest of my fuel line parts, the 1.5" mandrel bend for the wastegate outlet, and the oil line fittings. Summit tracking says the parts will be here mid-next week.


Major frustration with my intercooler clamps. I'm not happy at all:



Only stuff left to buy are an aircleaner, new T-Bolt clamps, one more silicone coupling, and an oil feed line (I'll measure for it when I get things a little more put together and I know how to route it).


Sit tight while I work on my house - I hope to be back on the car next weekend.

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Stony. Thanks for the heads up. Running Fuel injection (pallnet rail, 440 supra injectors, aeromotive FPR)

Before the pump:



Before the fuel rail:



I'm not going to be pushing big number like you at the start, but I'll keep an eye out for fuel starvation at the pump and rail. It is increcible how small the inlet and outlet of the walbro 392 pump is tho. Seems like the weakest chink in the chain in my fuel system at the moment. We'll see when I get it tuned up.


I'm mostly upping to -8 all around so I won't have to touch the hoses much more. At most I'll need better filters, pump, and FPR (running the "normal" aeromotive one) - the rest should be golden for whatever HP I'm interested in achieving with my Z.

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These Earl's inline fuel filters provide maximum protection for fuel systems. They're available in your choice of a screen filter or a sintered bronze element. Either unit can be easily disassembled for inspection and cleaning. The filter housings are available with size -6 AN, -8 AN, or hose barb ends (bronze element only) for use with Earl's high performance fuel line and fittings. They have a fuel flow of 4 to 5 gpm and come in a nice blue anodized finish.


Thats not good for a fuel injected motor!!!


this is what you want....



Mount one of these Summit® inline billet fuel filters and forget about dirt and grunge getting into your high performance fuel system. These filters flow 150 gph and can handle up to 1,000 hp. The lightweight 6061 aluminum filters feature a blue anodized finish, and are available with a 10 micron cellulose element or a 100 micron stainless pleated element.

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