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DIY Installation: Rear Differential Bushing

4 Mar

You’re only as strong as your weakest link. To that end, there are many small changes you can make that will literally transform how your car performs.

One issue that plagues the Z and G is rear wheel hop. Some try to “cure” it with an aftermarket differential, only to find the problem magnified. The solution are some rather simple looking, but ultra effective bushing replacements. The Z and G have a rather conventional differential (aka the pumpkin, because of its shape…even though on these cars, it looks more like a squash) mounting system with 2 “ears” at the front and a single, large rear bushing. The front set of bushings are mounted into the pumpkin casing itself. The rear bushing, however is mounted in the subframe. All these bushings are liquid filled rubber, encased in an aluminum shell. OEM’s use this style because its reasonably stiff and strong, but able to dampen out noise and road imperfections. The whole rear differential assembly weighs about 90 lbs, so those bushings are under tremendous strain as the car squats, launches and turns. What many owners find is the rear bushing eventually starts to weep its liquid out, eliminating its effectiveness. The tell tale signs are a black stain on the rear subframe. The subject car here didn’t have that issue, but that does not make the result any less awesome. On this car, the front bushings had previously been replaced with the solid SPL units several years ago. The rear most bushing never was done due to time constraints at the time. But that’s what is being tackled here.

Step one involves using some PB Blast and getting under the car and soaking the bushings. This will cut through any surface rust that may have developed, and give the factory bushings some slickness to help in its removal. Step 1.2 starts with unbolting the mid pipe, and loosening the rear swaybar brackets. This lets the bar spin upside down, granting you more room to work. The pumpkin comes out without the bracket removal but you will appreciate the room when reinstalling it. Next, remove the 4 bolts that connect the rear driveshaft yoke to the pinion flange. Next up, unbolt the output shafts from the axles. The axles will dangle in place which is fine. Next step is drain the differential fluid via the side drain bolt. From there, unbolt the speed sensors at either side. Be careful! your speedometer and ABS use these, so unbolt em and tuck them up top. If you can reach it, use a pair of needlenose pliers and remove the breather hose at the top of the pumpkin. Next, you’ve got the 2 14mm bolts at the front of the pumpkin, and the rear nut that is “in” the bushing in the rear subframe. A tranny jack and a friend are very helpful here. 90 lbs is a lot and this isn’t something you want to drop!

Rear pumpkin with axles disconnected:

20130304-214057.jpg

20130304-214618.jpg

Next up is the big rear cylindrical bushing. Some people stop the whole subframe and use the opportunity to also replace the bushings that mount the whole rear cradle to the chassis. For this job, we are leaving the subframe in place. There are several methods to remove the large factory bushing. What we chose to do is use is a traditional removal tool to push the bushing out. Others choose to drill through the factory rubber, then saw several slits through the casing to collapse the bushing. Both methods work, just depends on your preference and tool collection.

Removal Kit:

20130304-215624.jpg

The removal kit works like a plunger. You have a “pushing end” and a receiver. A bolt rides through the center and is secured with a nut at the other end. As you tighten the assembly, the stock bushing is pushed through its residence until it “falls” into the receptacle. Going slowly is key as is generous amounts of PB Blast. You must ensure torque is applied evenly to avoid doing any damage.

Stock bushing removed with the help of a bushing removal tool:

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Daylight!

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With the factory bushing removed its time to install the new one. We chose the SPL solid aluminum bushing to match the ones previously installed at the front. This is a solid chunk of billet goodness, and provides the strongest possible mount with maximum stiffness. Whiteline and Energy make urethane versions as well. If you go the solid route, a word of advise. A day before you tackle the install, put the factory bushings in the freezer. This will contract then ever so slightly, but will allow them to slide more easily into place. Leave them in the freezer till its time to install them.

To install the new bushing we used a simple mallet and tapped it in place. It’s actually quite easy.

New bushing installed:

20130304-222401.jpg

From there it’s a reversal of the previous pumpkin removal procedure. Make sure you get the pumpkin all the way squared up to the subframe otherwise you will never get those 2 front mounting bolts back in place. We found that by installing the rear bushing nut and tightening first, it “pulled” the pumpkin more into place allowing the front bolts to more easily thread in.

20130304-222521.jpg

Bolt the driveshaft up, then output shafts and you’re done! Torque specs can be found in this diagram:

20130304-222736.jpg

The results? Awesome! You will LOVE this mod. Even though the front bushings have been installed for several years the rear is the most transformative. The car bites down much harder now from a dig as well as in the turns. We noticed a slight increase in noise due to the fully solid mounts but its so faint it’s not even worth mentioning. Launch the car and that “hop-hop-hop-hook” sensation you used to feel is now just a squat and hook. Your axles will thank you……

With the affordability of these bushings, it’s on that list of “must have mods” for this car.

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DIY Install of Whiteline Compression Rod Bushings

30 Dec

A pretty easy DIY install if you have the right tools. This can also be used as a DIY for the SPL solid compression rod bushings too, though they need to be pressed in as well.

What you will need: wratchet and socket set, press, die set, heat gun, pry bar, rubber mallet, factory service manual. Time required: unrushed, you can do it in about 2.5 or so hours.

Process: This is in abridged form, consult the factory service manual for torque specs as I don’t have them handy. Note the front splash gaurd can be left in place, or can be removed totally, your choice. The swaybar can also be left in place, as can the lower control arm.

1. loosen wheels while car is on the ground
2. jack the car up or put on lift. If using a floor jack, suggest putting jack stands under the side points, under the front door.

g35350zjackpoints

3. Remove wheels
4. Remove cotter pin for the ball joint from the compression rod to front hub/knuckle. Use a 19mm socket to remove the nut and free the ball joint.
5. Remove the front crossmember – there are a series of 14mm bolts and 1 19mm bolt.

Front Crossmember Removed:
front350zxmember

6. Remove front compression rod using the prybar

frontcompressionrod350zout

7. Now, the fun stuff! The stock busings are a very soft rubber, and encased in a thin aluminum shell. You will need to go to your press cup set and find the right one to fit the inner section, so that you’re pressing on the aluminum case, not on the arm, and not on the bushing – 1-11/16 is perfect for the job. This will ensure all the torque the press yeilds, is going towards pressing the bushing free. I’ve seen some use sockets for this, and I can’t stress enough how much I don’t recommend this. Sockets were not meant to have this sort of force on their thin walls. Could it work? Sure. Is it smart? Nope. Get a good press cup set. They are inexpensive and designed for this exact type of job.

7A. Depending how old the car is, where you live, and other factors, you may need to provide some liquid, or heat encouragement to the bushings. A small butane or propane torch comes in really hand here, and/or a can of your favorite penetrating oil (Nuts Off works great for these jobs, though it was not used for this install).

Once the factory bushing is removed, you’re left with:

compressionrod350zB

8. Next up, install the Whiteline Bushings. These do not require a press. You’ll notice once side of the recepticle is chamfered, the other side is not. The mallet comes in handy for the side that is not chamfered. Using the supplied grease, generously apply to the inside of the empty “socket” as well as to the side walls of the Whiteline bushings. These install as ‘halves’, sort of like a sandwich. The supplied metal tube is then put in place down the center, and this is what the bolt will ride in. Again, use the grease on the walls of the metal tube too, and tap in place with the mallet.

Installed, the new bushings look like this:

whitelinecomprodbushinginstallZ33

9. Now, re-install the arms back to the car. For the cotter pin, probably best to replace it, as they are thin and don’t like being bent and re-formed back in place. Safety wire can be used as an alternate as well. When reinstalling the compression rod, to get the ball joint to sit, its easiest to have a friend slowly turn the wheel from full lock, back towards center, and use the rubber mallet to tap the arm. This way, the ball joint rests squarely, and you’re able to fully engage all the threads.

10. The rest is self exaplanatory – reinstall the front crossmember to factory torque specs, reinstall the wheels, and lower the car. Don’t forget to torque the lugs in a star pattern once the car is on the ground!

What you’ll feel when you’re done? Holy cow, steering response!!! Particularly if you’ve done, or are doing, the lower control arm bushings at the same time. If your car had any wandering to it, even after an alignment, it will track straight as an arrow now. Where the factory bushings are not fully encased in rubber (which gives them their softness but also what causes them to fail), the Whiteline units are full urethane, much more surface area, and much less deflection.

Enjoy

Tech Tip: How to Install Buddy Club Seat Rails

25 Aug

Mixing and matching parts can sometimes leave you with more questions than answers. Especially when the forums are filled with the ubiquitous “it should work” and “my friend’s cousin’s uncle has it”. Often times you’re left to take an educated guess, or just try it and hope for the best.

In this installment, we’ll talk about installing Buddy Club’s Super Low Down Seat Rail with a Momo Start 2012 Race Seat. These are a combination base/slider and side mount assembly offered for a variety of cars. While originally intended for the Buddy Club seats, they will also fit a wide range of aftermarket buckets that accept side mounting.

Now, many companies make seat bases. The problem is, they often take what I call the sandwhich approach. Seat base on the bottom, followed by a universal slider stacked on top, followed by the seat stacked on top of that. If it’s a side mount seat, you also then need to factor in the side mount bracket also comes into the mix. This means more stuff to buy, more cost, and, with everything stacked one of top of the other, you often find the seat sits higher than even a factory seat does! This is not only unappealing to the eye, it’s uncomfortable to sit in, and, if you’re doing track days with a helmet, you may find you no longer fit in the car once you’re strapped in.

The Buddy Club setup does away with the cluttered sandwhich approach, and does this with a bit of a different twist. The slider and base are incoporated into one cohesive unit – like a factory seat would have. There is an inside and outside base/slider half. The side mounts tabs (included) then attach in place, 2 per side. A handle connects the 2 slider/base halves, and all hardware is included.

This particular setup is being mounted to a Momo Start 2012 seat. It’s an FIA approved one piece fiberglass shell that is not only comfortable, HANS compatible, and very lightweight (19.6 lbs), very strong, and very afforable (just $450 per seat). Other seats from a variety of manufacturers will also work. Given the installation on these Momo seats, I’d say the seat needs to be no wider than 20.7 inches from outside to outside on the seats (these Momo’s are 20.6 inches when measured from outer end to end). Front to back mounting is more forgiving as the side mount tabs are slotted.

First step, is unpack all the parts and lay them out. Each Buddy Club box will contain 2 base/slider ‘halves’, 8 cap nuts, handle, and 2 shorter, and 2 longer side mount bracket tabs. The bracket tabs have multiple holes allowing you to custom tailor the seat height to your own tastes. So, if you need the front a bit higher than the back, you can do that easily.

href=”https://cornerbalance.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/photo8.jpg”> Buddy Club Super Low Seat Rail[/caption]

Next, using the supplied cap nuts, install the brackets to the pre-mounted studs on each rail half. Use the shorter bracket up front, the larger bracket out back. The Buddy Club logo goes on the outside of each seat, and the half with the extra tab (for the seatbelt) goes on the inside. The mounting tabs are slotted both where they mount to the seat and where they mount to the base/slider. This allows them to fit a variety of width seats. Since the Momo are rather wide for a bucket seat, the brackets were installed to allow maximum width between each rail/slider half. If you’re using a seat that is narrower, you’ll need to do this step a couple times so you get the spacing correct, so that the base not only mounts to the seat but lines up with the mounting holes in your car’s floor. Just set them hand tight, rinse, and repeat till you achieve the desired width. Using an open ended 12mm wrench, torque till they are snug.

Next step is mount each assembled rail half to the seat. In this case, the seats come with the necessary allen head bolts and washers. Accessing the threaded side mount holes is done after popping out the plastic insers the seats ship with as shown in the picture below. This is where you’ll have to decide what height you want the seats at. This setup shows the lowest possible setting that would clear the seat. Thread the hardware into the seat by hand first and be careful not to cross thread. Using a wratchet and allen head socket, snug them down. You can choose to finally torque them down here, or, if you want to adjust the front to back pitch, you can fully torque them down once they are installed in the car.

Next up, install the female seatbelt buckle and mount the inner slider/base half to the seat the same way you did the outside one. Make sure you use the same height for the inside bracket half as you did on the outside!

Once done it will look something like this

Next, take the whole seat and base assembly and slide it into the car. Line up the mounting holes on the base to the studs and/or mounting holes on your car’s floor, and retorque the bolts/nuts to spec per your factory service manual. Don’t forget to plug your seatbelt harness back in so you don’t get a light on the dash.

Now take the handle included in the Buddy Club box and slide it onto the tabs on each base/rail. A flashlight comes in handy when lining this up. The tabs are notched in such a way that once the handle is installed it sort of “clicks” into place. You’ll feel it for yourself when installing.

And viola, you’re done! The successful merging of 2 different brand parts. You can now slide the seat back and forth. If you didn’t torque the side mounts to the seats, now is the time to do that.

To order any of the components mentioned, just give us a shout at z1sales@z1auto.com

Choosing the Right Endless Brake Pad for High Performance and Track Use

16 Jul

Endless Brake Compound Characteristics

Click the above link for the Spreadsheet

Selecting the right compound can often be a tricky proposition. Endless is one of the preminent brake component manufacturers in the world. Their pads, fluids, and other parts are used in worldwide motorsport. They happen to have one of the most extensive array of pad offerings in the world. The attached chart will help you choose the correct compound based on the pad characteristics. Please be aware the chart only includes pads that are for ultra high performance street to full out track use. If you’re looking for Endless pads for a tamer street car, or a car that will never ever see the track, contact us and we can help you decide the best compound to use

To order any Endless products, contact z1sales@z1auto.com

Supercup Seats

12 Jul

New from Momo is their latest generation Supercup seat. You guys know the deal – you want a racing seat, it’s got to be quality since it’s such an integral safety item. The ones you find are either: 1. too small that a normal size person can’t fit; 2. too expensive that a normal person can’t afford them; 3. from some knock off, made in god-knows-where country where they don’t give a rat’s rear end about your safety.

Well Momo addressed those concerns and more, and designed what might be the ultimate performance seat.

1. It’s from Momo, a name synonomous with motorsport for decades. They are an Italian firm, and have always pushed the design and manufacturing envelope. Their products are found on everything from Formula cars, to GT race and sports cars, to creations entered at Pikes Peak and Paris-Dakar rally. They are well designed, well built, and last.

2. They are thoughtfully sized. These come in both standard and XL sizes. The standard size will fit someone up to around a 34 inch waiste. The XL version is good for someone up to about a 38-40 inch waiste. They are made using Airtex fabric, which helps keep you cool and lets the seat breathe. Both the standard and XL dimensions are shown in the above pictures.
3. They are FIA Approved (November 2011 specs too!)

4. They are affordable! We’re running specials right now at under $600 per seat and free shipping!

Need a package deal with side mounts, etc? No sweat, we can easily put that together. Want harnesses too? Just ask!

Happy Birthday Mr. K!!!

15 Sep

Happy birthday to Yutaka Katayama – the father of the Z

Love cars, love people, love life!

Energy Urethane Steering Rack Bushing 350Z/G35

27 May

Get rid of the slop in your steering rack with these direct replacement urethane bushings. Includes the mounting bushings and center bushing, these urethane versions will eliminate the tired, dried out factory rubber ones. The reward is much better steering feel and quicker overall response.

We’ll be doing a full install write up soon!

Free Case of Valvoline VR1 Oil

11 May

Figured our readers would love a free offer like this!

http://www.valvolinevr1racingoil.com/

New, Valuable (but non tangiable) Product Available

27 Jan

Got a question about a used part you’re considering? Need some installation pointers on what other items/parts you will need for that upcoming install? We get these questions all day long…but often from people who never purchased the parts from us in the first place. So, if this describes you, we can still help. Our advise starts at $100 per hour, with a minimum 1 hour charge, maximum of 5 hour charge. We’ll help walk you through an install, assist you in scrutinizing that used parts purchase, etc!

Yes, this is serious – contact us to order

New Suspension for the 350Z

20 Sep

Just got a box with Ohlins new Road and Track Coilovers for the 350Z/G35. I will be evaluating these in my own car in the coming weeks. Just from a cursory look at them today, construction is top notch. The machining on the strut housings is much nicer than even the previous Ohlins PCV setup. The casings are These are their newest dampers, so feature the DFV valving, which is the ultimate setup for someone looking for a truly dual purpose coilover. One that is as much at home on the street as it is on the track. Stay tuned here soon as we post a full installation and comprehensive review

SPL Compression Rod Bushings

11 Aug

These just arrived from SPL today for both my car and Kwame’s. Can’t wait to put them in. Kwame’s car is still on his original set, but my car is already on the second set. The first set was trashed about 2 years ago, and I replaced both sides. Unfortunately Nissan doesn’t sell just the bushings alone, you have to replace the complete arm. SPL thoughtfully released these bushings recently, and we’re eager to try them out ourselves. You can see where they install in the 3rd pic.

Click Here to order yours!

@ Stanceworks Meet

6 Aug

Kwame and I drove up to the Stanceworks meet at Bear Mountain last Sunday. Other than a quick bit of wet weather crossing the GWB and getting my nice clean car sprayed by that bus, we enjoyed the drive up north – nice weather, windows down and good tunes are what the summer is about. The original meeting spot was decent with the exception of the quarry-like pavement 🙂 Would have worked out had the park police/troopers decided we couldn’t be there (and the required permit been secured). Then someone had the idea to go to one of the huge lots at an area shopping mall – but the cops/security there didn’t like that either. Aside from the guy playing his techno music at the original meeting spot, no one was doing anything to elicit being asked to leave by anyone. Oh well…that’s how meets out here tend to go. We aren’t really part of the “hella-anything” scene/movement/revolution or whatever you want to call it -we just like meeting cool people and the cars they are passionate about.

Here are a few shots I found of my car – thanks to those who took them!

Adam’s Build: Progress with Racepak Dash

17 Jun

Thanks to Tim at Racepak, we were able to make some good progress on the road towards finalizing integration of the Racepak IQ3 into my Z earlier this week. As far as I know, I’m the first to fully replace the factory cluster with an IQ3, or any other standalone dash, on a street car. It hasn’t been all that easy, but I’ve learned a whlole bunch, both about the car, and the dash itself. The functionality of the dash is great and it gives me tons of display options, and a wealth of data, all right in front of me without the clutter of aftermarket gauges. With the latest software uploaded to the cluster, I am now able to track mileage with a fully functioning odometer, and can even chart gear position in real time. Love it!

note: key was just powered on, car wasn’t running when I shot the above pic with my phone…so ignore the AFR 😉

Insert Grape Juice

8 May

Nothing much going on today except an oil change for my car. Going to try out a K&N filter this time. No particular reason, except that I ran out of the Wix ones I usually use.

2007-2008 350Z Radiator Cooling Panels Now Available!

17 Apr

This is our latest product – the aluminum cooling panel (aka radiator shroud) for the 2007-2008 350Z’s. These are all made here in the US of T6061 aluminum, and powdercoated locally as well to ensure the finish stays, and lasts. Since the radiator core supports are different between the 2003-2006 and 2007-2008 cars, we had to create a new part that would fit properly. Many manufacturers out there have inaccurately said theirs fit all year cars, and it’s simply not the case. While the HR was only around for 2 model years, and is not as popular as the previous DE engines, we felt it deserved some of it’s own attention.

Some highlights of this product:

– Installation literally takes a few minutes. Simply use a small flat head screwdriver to remove the clips are the front of the bumper, slip the cooling panel in place, and reattach the clips. Nothing needs to be trimmed, cut, modified, or altered in any way.

– Will work with any intake, stock or aftermarket.

– Fully powdercoated on both sides to ensure a durable, brilliant finish

– Funtion or form? A little of both, but it’s mainly form. The theory behind the function side is that by covering the open area between the radiator core and the bumper, you are forcing more air through the radiator. This is true to an extent, but the primary function of this piece is to tidy up the engine bay, and help disguise the bulky hood release area.

We have 30 pieces in stock now, and will be ready to ship next week (they are all being coated as we speak).

Pricing for the initial batch (your choice of flat black, or gloss silver) will be $129 shipped in the 48 states. For anyone located outside of the 48 states, simply contact us with your complete shipping address (not just a postal code, or country please!) to z1sales@z1auto.com, or via PM and we can let you know the cost. To order, you can just give us a call at (631)863-3820, or send paypal to z1sales@z1auto.com. Or, just Click Here. Please include your shipping address, telephone #, my350Z screen name in the paypal payment so we know who you are and we send the correct color.

Any questions, let us know