Tag Archives: Adam

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.


Bringing Up the Rear Part V: I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

9 Apr

As you can tell from my last entry, the latest round of mods to my Z have been nothing short of ‘interesting’. Basically, it’s kicked our collective asses, and it’s taken alot of blood, sweat, tears, money and patience to have it all come together. But we rounded an important corner, and I think I can officially say that for the time being “I’m done!” (well, sorta).

A couple weeks ago, I took the 8 hour drive up to Buffalo to have Mike from Innovative Tuning finalize the Haltech tune. The car decently enough on the way up, no issues. The ride back was even better, firstly because I found a different way to go, saving me about an hour, and secondly because it was nice to be back in a car that was properly tuned.

Last weekend we decided it was time to tackle the 4.3 final drive install. I’ve written alot about this custom setup in previous entries. It’s been sitting here for probably 6 or 7 months now, just waiting. Of course, this seemingly simple swap was not without it’s drama. First, we had a helluva time getting 1 of the exhaust bolts out. After that was solved, the exhaust came down and we found something that we at the shop call “no bueno”. My midpipe was cracked almost all the way around, right where the resonator meets the piping section. In addition it was developing a second crack at the resonator itself. It had noticeable scrape marks on the underside from numerous incidents. Since the car is so low, stuff like this is inevitable. The exhaust has been in the car for probably 5 years now, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Except…it’s titanium. As some may know, welding titanium isn’t exactly like welding anything else. Takes some pretty specialized stuff, that we certainly don’t have here. A few phone calls later and I was hooked up with Joe from Accurate Welding. I immediately ran down there, midpipe in hand, and in no time, I was back on my way!

This is one of the great things about being in NY, and I’m sure other areas of the country too. Everything you can think of is literally a stones throw away. Today we had some spare time so we finished up the install. Unfortunately it’s been raining most of the day, so I haven’t actually had a chance to drive the car yet. Kwame did though, and his words went something like “HOLY SHIT THAT THING IS QUICK!” He was all smiles – I hope I am too!

Moving Forward!

29 Mar

Posted this in my build thread but didn’t want to leave the blog out! It’s LOOONG….you’ve been warned

Been awhile since I posted an update, mainly because I have not had much to report. But, I am happy to say the car is now tuned, running great, and short of a few more changes I plan to do this Spring/Summer, I think it’s done for awhile. I need to just sit back and enjoy it all now, as it’s been a tough road this past 1.5 years. Here’s why

The car was running great, made good, consistent power, and was a blast to drive. In my quest to be different, stand out from the relatively small crowd of built NA guys, and see what we could get out of the current engine package, I decided to embark on an individual throttle body project that I had high hopes for. There is a thread about it somewhere in here. I purposely kept quiet about it all since we really were in unchartered waters. I had never worked with this company before, had never used/installed an ITB setup before, and this was a new project from the ground up. Fast forward a few months and the prototype arrived in our hands. At that point, I had just dodged a major bullet with issues around the previous crank pulley that developed at ZDayz 2008 (that whole ordeal is found in this thread, I forget what page though) and since the car was finally back on the road in the heat of summer (July 2008), I decided to wait till the car was away for the winter to actually start the mock up/install. From December 2008 to Spring 2008 we spent removing my old setup, and test fitting the new ITB’s. By early Spring we thought we had an idea as to what changes needed to be done and prepared for the maiden tune. This was just going to be the test to see if things were on the right path, before we decided to put it into production. Unfortunately, it never panned out. The prototype unit simpl had numerous issues and we were never able to even do basic level dyno testing. We did our best to bandaid our way around them but it wasn’t to be. By summer 2009, I decided to cut my losses and bailed on the project. Now I needed to reconstruct things.

Fast foward to Summer 2009. A good customer and friend in CA with a well known VQ powered project/toy was interested in getting his hands on a factory polished Cosworth plenum, in order to retain a warranty on it. The Cosworth plenum we had previously shipped to him back when they first came out was a ‘first gen’ unit, which he had polished on his own. As such, there was no warranty on it, and he wanted to cover his bases in case it developed any leaks (he’s heavily boosted). We had the ‘second gen’ factory polished ones in stock, so a deal was struck. I got the first gen unit, and we sent him the second gen. By this time, I had already sold all the cool stuff/factory stuff I previously had on my car (carbon intake pipe, Gruppe-M carbon intake, our 3 inch MAF housing, my entire intake plenum setup). I thought with the ITB’s, I would no longer need them, and after investing tons of extra money/time into ancillary parts, I was just trying to recoup some. Not to mention, I thought had no need for these parts. Now I needed them more than ever What’s the addage about best laid plans?

In preparation for the ITB’s, I had also made the switch in December 2008 to the Haltech (since it could run solely off a MAP sensor, unlike my previous UTEC). I also acquired the Racepak dash in preparation to use it completely in place of the factory cluster (more on this later!). In doing so, we did some wiring changes to the Haltech that we felt would help with the packaging of the now defunct ITB setup, namely, using the throttle sensor on the pedal as the TPS. It was really more a cosmetic thing, as we wouldn’t have to worry about mounting/wiring a TPS sensor in the engine bay. I like things clean. We also had obviously converted the car to run a throttle cable instead of the drive by wire, and I had reflashed the ecu accordingly so it would not throw any codes our way. Due to these things, I decided I would contine with the throttle cable-based setup. I found a nice BBK throttle body from I think a Mustang Cobra that measured up almost perfectly to the Cosworth plenum. At 75mm, it was the biggest we could use without totally hacking up the Cosworth. The bolt holt spacing was also extremely close, and since it didn’t have an onboard TPS sensor, it would work out great and allow me to keep the TPS sensor on the pedal as I had done. By Fall 2009, I thought I was ready to tune, so brought my tuner back down to get things sorted. In addition to tuning, he was going to setup my Racepak dash for me, since I didn’t have any experience with such units up until that point. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out too well either. Numerous issues cropped up that day that prevented us from getting the car on the dyno. Once they were finally sorted out, it was simply too late in the day to do any dyno testing. So, we decided to just do a quick down and dirty road tune on the car. While the tune was far from ideal, the car was driveable, and I was able to use it for a few months until it was time to go away for the winter. It ran rich as hell, got crappy gas mileage and didn’t want to idle well….but it ran good enough to take the car out a few times on nice days, and at least well enough to move it in and out of the shop if we needed to.

During this past winter, we took the opportunity to do a bunch of things I had been putting off. Namely, finally finishing my C West hood project, the addition our new urethane transmission mount, making a new bracket for the throttle cable (thanks jiggy!), and other miscellaneous stuff. By this point I had also finally managed to integrate the Racepak cluster into the car completely in place of the factory unit. On the surface it sounds pretty straightforward, but it’s far from it. The factory CAN unit relies heavily on the factory cluster being there, and when it’s taken out of the loop all sorts of funky things happen. Since the car was down for the winter anyway, I also sent the cluster out to Racepak for a firmware update and for them to update the main plug on the back of the unit to the newer style one (which was said to give better screen resolution). I also acquired their USM (Universal Sensor Module) at the same time. This black box is essentially like a Defi control unit, but just for the Racepak. It allows you to add up to 4 auxiliary sensors to the mix and then control their display on the IQ3 cluster. I needed this in order to (hopefully) display fuel level, and also decided an oil temperature display would come in handy too, so I got one of their sensors as well. With the newly updated dash back in hand, I set out to try to integrate the factory fuel level sensor, as well as get it to display an odometer setting. I figured I’d leave oil temp alone for now, until the other 2 things worked. So far, it hasn’t happened. The odometer function is still not operable (clearly a software issue, which we hope to work out with Racepak shortly). The fuel level sensor is connected properly to the USM, but I cannot get it’s values to display properly. We’ve spent alot of time with it so far, and I am confident I’ll have some sort of solution in the near future. Meanwhile, over the winter, I had scheduled dyno time with my tuner to get a real tune done on the car. Rather than have him come down to use and use a local Dyno Dynamics like we tried the previous 2 times, this time I figured it might be best to make the drive up to him. I’ve known Mike from Innovative Tuning since 2001. He has one of our first Subaru customers back when we were doint lots of stuff with those cars. We developed a friendship, and he even designed/maintained our first website for us! Over the years, Mike got more and more hands on and eventually started and opened his own shop. Now he flies all over the place tuning people’s cars for them on various engine management platforms, and also does alot of work at their large shop in Buffalo, NY. I chose Mike because I knew he was proficient with the Haltech, is as straightforward a guy as you can get, and knows the mechanical as well as electrical side of things. The only thing is Buffalo is around an 7.5 hour drive from where I live! Last weekend we had some awesome weather, so decided to take the car outside finally, clean it up and do a quick shakedown run just to make sure everything was ok to take on the long trip. I got about 1/2 mile from the shop when snap…the damn throttle cable snapped! Really? Could you just kick me in the nuts one more time please, I don’t think I felt the last 1.5 years with this car enough. I limped it back homusing a folded business card between the throttle stop and the “rotary” that holds the throttle cable. Now it was Sunday night, I was supposed to drive 7.5 hours in just a few days, I had to tear things apart to get a new throttle cable. The first one I got didn’t work (totally the wrong design) but salvation was discovered at a high end bicycle store! On Thursday night I finally got the car set. All the while I had been going back and forth trying to get the damn fuel level to display on the cluster, but we just couldn’t get it worked properly. Obviously doing a long drive like this without a fuel gauge is less than ideal. Thank god for Apps!!! I found a simple one that tracked mileage travelled and used this to gauge when it was time for fueling stops. Like I said, less than ideal, but it worked out in the end. Crappy gas mileage aside, the car made it up there Friday night without a hiccup.

Saturday AM I got to Innovative, we managed to get the car in the shop and on the dyno with the help of about 25 2×4 boards stacked in various configurations (thanks guys!). Mike’s newest dyno is a Mustang. He previously had a Dyno Dynamics. Both are great units to tune on, since you get to apply load to the car and really put it through it’s paces at all sorts of rpm/load points. Way more convenient than street tuning for hours on end. Anyway, I know you’re all wanting to see the charts, and I will post them as soon as they are emailed to me this week. Basically the car made about the same peak power as it has previously though the new throttle body/intake/plenum did cure the small power loss up top that I previously had. Now the car hits peak power and it stays flat all the way to the 8400 rpm redline. Torque curve is spot on to what it was before, though has a higher peak now that we were able to dial in the intake cam timing a bit better (could not do that with the UTEC, but these cams didn’t need much tweaking here, just a few degrees). The car runs great, holds an idle really nicely at 1000 rpm (without any idle control motor!)

I did find some interesting things while the tune was being done. First, we tried dyno’ing the car without any intake at all – just letting it breath from the throttle body. I got a 10 whp increase and about 10 ft lbs of torque almost across the board. We then put the intake pipe back on, sans filter, and while some power was lost vs just running it open, most of it was still there. So, this HKS filter is costing me about 5-6 whp and about the same amount of torque. I think it may be time to do a real filter test and see what we can come up with. That will make for a nice summer project, and won’t stress me out like all the previous stuff has! On the drive home I noticed that intake temps were right around 67F (about 40 degrees outside) which I’m happy with, considering the sensor is mounted in the plenum itself and not on the intake pipe. Not too shabby , and shows me that the vented hood, and the intake ducting I did last Fall were time well spent. Perhaps I’ll experiment with a longer intake tube as well, or try to create a truly sealed cold air box and see if we can get those temps even closer to ambient since the warm weather is around the corner. Right now my main concern and project is getting this cluster fully 100% integrated into the car. I’ve also got this new rear to install (Quaife + 4.3 final drive!) that was another major project unto itself (I’ve gone through it in detail on our blog), as well as dropping the subframe to do the rear bushings throughout. That stuff will be coming up soon too, and I cannot wait to see how the engine responds to the new gears

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

The Bane of My Existence (or Oh Snap! for you hipsters)

21 Mar

The past few days I’ve watched everyone and their mother take
their cars out from the long winter slumber and stretch their legs a bit. With the rough winter we had here in NY, the past few days has been a welcome change, and proof that spring is officially here. I’ve been struggling for the past 6 weeks trying to get this Racepak dash fully integrated into the car, a project we started last year. While it remains functional, the latest software update I had done was supposed to enable the odometer. Coupled with the addition of an add on sensor module and some wiring, we were also hoping to get the fuel level to display right from the factory sending unit to the dash. So far both “updates” have proven elusive.

Well today I said fuel gauge be damned, I’m taking the car out. I’ve had so much going on in the past month or so in my personal life, that I really needed this for just myself. A catharsis that could only be found at 8400 rpm. Cleaned her up and got about 1500 feet from the shop when WTF – where did my throttle go? The net result is shown. Tomorrow’s project – install a new throttle cable, and do so in such a way that this won’t happen again. Hopefully I can get someone from Racepak to call me back at the same time so we can finally get everything done….for now.

From Hell Part III: In Color

8 Dec

Finally had a break from the nasty rain here and we were able to get the hood sprayed. After a few tries previously, I think this time we got it. This thing kicked our ass for sure, and shaving the large side vents was way more time consuming than I ever could have imagined. For now, just going to give it a few more days in the heat to fully cure, before we wet sand and polish. Also need to spray the mesh black. The car needs a detail anyway, so I’ll probably just wheel it all out soon, and get this thing installed!

From Hell Part II – Purgatory?

14 Nov

Got some more done today …. and going in the right direction

Finished sanding everything and primed it. Got a couple small pinholes to fill in on Monday and then she’s ready for color. Hopefully the weather cooperates and it’s dry out in the next few days. Hopefully all goes smoothly with the paint and clear, and it can resurrect itself into heaven status!

Bringing up the Rear Part IV

5 Oct

Just a few other pictures Ben sent over to me before it all gets sent to NY for install.

The ring gear is now installed on the LSD, and both were rebalanced – it’s now within 1/2 1000’s true – pretty good 🙂


One of the really tricky things when doing a ring and pinion install is setting spacing of the pinion relative to the ring. Since these are machined parts, there can be some differences in tolerances between one set and another. Shims are used to equalize things, so that the pinion has the right mesh pattern with the ring. This ensures that everything runs efficiently, without making noise, and without producing uncessary heat. You apply some paint to the ring and pinion and spin the assembly, and take note of where the 2 are meshing. When I sent this batch of stuff to Ben, I included a bunch of shims that we had laying around. Nissan sells 14 different size shims for these things, so it can be a bit arduous setting it up. The shims we sent down were close, as you can see from the pattern. Ben’s the consummate perfectionist though, and wrote me “as you can see from the pattern on the ring gear I have more adjusting to do. The pattern is acceptable in most shops but, not mine, I know it can be better. I will have to custom grind a shim about 8 to 10 thousands to get it to a standard I can be happy with”. Gotta love someone who only wants things a certain way when they leave his shop! When you’re out there picking an installer for anything as involved as a rear end, or a motor, etc, this is the sort of attention to detail you want. When that project leaves the shop’s doorstep, it’s essentially being signed off as being “perfect”. If something isn’t perfect, it comes back and bites you in the ass. Picking the right parts is important, but picking the right guy to make those parts work is essential. If anyone out there needs a terrific guy to set up their rear differential and/or ring and pinion, Ben @ PuddyMod Racing is your man!

Adam’s Project Z33: Racepak Dash Installed

3 Oct



It’s done! I think we’re probably the to fully replace the factory cluster with an aftermarket unit on a street driven Z, and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. I’ve always lusted after these all in one units from the time I first saw a Stack meter, but they had always been so expensive. Plus, being universal pieces, there was always a mess of wiring to go through. When Racepak announced this affordable unit earlier in the year, I just had to jump on it. The The Racepak IQ3 is a bargain in my opinion, especially considering it comes with the VNet cable to plug right into the Haltech ecu (which used to be over $350 itself).

Of course the install was not without it’s hurdles – but what on the car this year hasn’t been a biotch! We discovered a major hurdle a few weeks back. Apparantly Nissan in their infinite wisdom decided that the alternator should not work if the factory cluster is unplugged. Ask me how I found out! Thanfully I was able to limp it back to the shop. I turned to some buddies who race their Z for help. They are running a Bosch Motorsport cluster on their race car, so I had a feeling they had enountered this same scenario before. After working out the various wiring issues last weekend, today I finally sat down with the software and handled the programming side of things. As of now I have the dash setup to display RPM, Air Inlet Temperature, MPH, Wideband AFR, Water Temperature. The software is pretty slick. I tried snapping some screen shot pics for you guys to look at, but it;s not easy capturing it with a camera, so forgive the low quality pics. Once connected, it lets you select what parameters to display, and what scale to display them on. It also lets you select where you want to display the data on the screen. There are 4 pages total of data it will let you display. To turn the page, you either need to have the laptop connected, or you can purchase optional switches. Since my car is NA, for right now, I am doing without the switches. Should I need to access the other data pages, I’ll do it with the laptop. I left the serial cable connected to the back of the unit, and stashed it up under the dash, so connecting it to the laptop is quick and easy. Since this is primarily a street car, I have the standard display unit. There is also a version of this cluster that has full datalogging capabilities, for those doing more serious track duty. Anything I do need to log, I can do via the Haltech anyway.


To have a real fuel level gauge, there is a separate module that you need to purchase and configure. However, I am fairly confident I can at least get it to display “Miles to Empty” as I believe this info is streamed on the CAN network. I need to get with Racepak and/or Haltech this week and figure out how to access that data though.

This would not have been possible without the awesome work of my buddy Dave from Performance Outfitters Group and Rich from NoHotWireRacingI’m glad I know you guys, otherwise I would not have been able to get this done!

Adam’s Project Z33: Cool(er) Runnings

20 Sep

Now that I’ve driven the car around for the past 3 weeks with the new plenum/throttle body, I’ve started to become accustomed to the “quirks” of the setup. It still hasn’t been dyno tuned, and the street tuning we did was with the car at full temperature. Since we no longer use the drive by wire, there is no cold start setup, which is something we’ll have to tackle soon, especially with the colder months coming up. What I did notice though, was that the car doesn’t like to do a dead cold start, but hot starts are fine. However, once started, it is more willing to idle nicely before the cooling fans have kicked on, telling me that we should be able to play with the Haltech software and make things cooperate nicely. It also idles quite well with the a/c on, which is a welcomed surprise. I also noticed that when things are up to temperature, and the both cooling fans kick on, the idle freaks out a bit, with some minor surging. So, I started looking into what I could do to keep the intake from ingesting the fans air, and also keep the intake temps as low as possible. My previous setup consisted of the Gruppe-M carbon intake, but I sold it when I didn’t think I’d have any use for it during the “I’m doing ITB’s” phase. Of course, that turned out to be just a phase (nightmarish, as I’ve eluded to previously).

The first thing I did was install a heatshield. It is supposed to be used on a 3 inch conical filter, but I took a chance and it turns out to fit perfectly on my 4 inch HKS (which has a 3 inch inlet). Came in a nice polished finish. I think I’ll grab some of the nice silver heat reflective tape from Coast Fabrication just as a bit of extra prevention too.

When Kwame and I were BS’ing the other night, he suggested I also install the NISMO V2 duct that I’ve had sitting here at the shop since forever. It originally came with the bumper I was going to run, but ended up swapping for something else. So today I set about installing the duct. It did require some trimming since it was not designed with my front bumper in mind, but it ended up coming out great. I’ll do some logging with the Haltech over the next few days and hopefully it made a difference!

It’s Alive!

5 Sep

Guess which one belongs with toilet paper?  OEM gasket was my savior last weekend.  The Hondata one turned out to be poo

Guess which one belongs with toilet paper? OEM gasket was my savior last weekend. The Hondata one turned out to be poo

After sitting dormant since December 2008, I finally was able to use the Z again last weekend! After abandoning the ITB project earlier this summer, it really got to me that I hadn’t used the car in so long, so we set to task on getting it all back up and running. The plan was to wrap up the install of the new Cosworth intake manifold/throttle body, etc and then tune her last weekend. In the military they have some saying about planning to fail and failing to plan….we fought with the car all last Saturday but it finally turned out ok.

The plan was to have my buddy Mike from Innovative Tuning come down, tune the car on the road for a bit, and then we would put it on the dyno and see how things turned out. From fighting the alternator, the crappy Hondata intake manifold gasket, to several less than happy coilpacks, the car never made it on the dyno. But, we did get some street tuning in and I even got to drive it around during the week. The weather is supposed to be awesome here for the long weekend, and I’m really looking forward to some seat time.

Dyno will have to wait a few weeks till I can find a good weekend to trek up to Buffalo to Mike’s place. The car feels healthy, revs nicely, and has good pickup despite running stupidly rich (I have to recalibrate the wideband).

Adam’s Project Z33 Continues: A Plan Coming Together

14 Aug

It’s about time we made some real progress on my car. I lost all summer due the ITB project from hell (that I’ve since abandoned, and am much happier for it). After drowning my sorrows of all the wasted time, thousands of dollars, and useless complimentary mods (HR rad support swap anyone…) in some Red Stripe, we’re back at work on her. I figure Summer is here for a bit longer, and Fall is perfect driving weather, so it won’t be a total loss.

First, I got the Cosworth plenum back from the machinist. After putting in on the flow bench, and basically determining that we couldn’t build an engine (NA) that would support what this thing can put out, it’s about to go back on my car. I picked it up from our good customer and friend, Viet (see his amazing FX35 here). Hopefully it blesses my NA engine with as much success as it did on his FI’d FX! Of course, since I sold all the components of my old setup (buh bye stock throttle body and Gruppe-M intake), we had to start from scratch. Not to mention, we had to grab a spare collector and clean that up so it was gasket matched. Here is what we ended up with:

75mm throttle body originally designed for a late model 4.6 liter Mustang. The bolt patterns are very close between the stock TB and the Mustang one , so we were able to slot the holes and machine the outer portion of the body to allow the bolts to slide through. I still need to spec out the right length bolts as the ones provided are a touch too long. Next up, we grabbed a 45 degree silicone elbow, 3 inch in and out. That will connect to a short intake pipe, and culimate in an HKS universal filter. I had one laying around the shop in the display case forever, that as it turns out, had a cracked lip. Some 5 minute epoxy later, and it was good as new. It’s got a 4 inch outlet, so once again, we used a Vibrant silicone connector (4 inch to 3 inch reducer).

Still left to do – swap the driver side valvecover back to one for a Z(and I get to spend tomorrow making the new one wrinkle red to match the other side…oh joy. Another thing I should have just left well enough alone!), ez-out one snapped valvecover bolt that I noticed, coat the lower collector, plenum, and intake pipe, and reinstall! Also need to do a bit of playing around on the throttle linkage, as it’s super close to the metal divider that encloses the master right now. Then, get this thing tuned finally and see where we end up!

I also picked up one of the Hondata gaskets for the collector to manifold connection. As you can see from the pics, this thing is much thicker than stock. I really don’t know if it works or not, but a few shops told me they have measured good results on Honda’s and Evo’s, so it sorta became a ‘while we’re in there’ thing. I’m still sorta baffled as to how this thing doesn’t leak, considering it has no crush ring surfaces, but we’ll see. Hopefully it’s thickness won’t create clearance issues with anything else. If it works, we’ll offer it for sale (yeah, I know its years late, so what!). If it sucks, we’ll use the stock gasket that Cosworth provides with the manifold. Note to self: take stock gasket to the dyno just in case.

All I know is in the end, this better have been worth all the time and money that’s been wasted. What’s done is done and I can’t get it back (and in the process I learned alot), but I won’t lie, I’m really hoping for some solid figures.

Almost forgot, grabbed a rear strut brace cover for the 06 + Z33. They are a darker grey which matches the Silverstone paint nearly perfectly. Small detail, but that’s what makes the car IMHO.

Bringing Up the Rear Part I: 4.3 Equipped Rear Differential in Progress

2 Aug


(Warning – this is a long one)

One of the weird projects I got started with on my 350Z has been installing a 4.3 ring and pinion. The car currently sports a 3.9 ring and pinion mated to a Cusco RS LSD (stock ring and pinion was 3.54 for manual transmssion cars). I figured the 4.3 would nicely compliment the high rpm’s that my engine turns (current redline is 8400), and give the car alot more punch all through the rev range, plus it would be another something to help set the car apart from the rest. It was only after acquiring all the parts that I realized just how difficult this would be!

I started by picking up a spare pumpkin and set to work on dismantling it. That proved to be easier said than done. I don’t know what this rear went through, but the pinion flange would not come off at all. We tried torches, freezing it then torching it, even a 20 ton press – it wouldn’t budge. Strike 1. If at first you don’t success, and the BFH doesn’t work, you go to plan B.

I was able to pick up a spare, empty pumpkin from my buddy Gio (who has a badass G35 coupe that we’ve featured before). With the spare pumpkin in hand, it was time to get to work on piecing this thing together. I decided this time we would try a Quaife LSD. I had a spare one at the shop that had been shipped to a customer but never used. See, he had an auto, and Quiafe mistakenly sent us one one for a manual car, which we sent to him. He tried to install it but it obviously wouldn’t work. So, we sent over the correct one and I decided to keep the returned unit for myself. It had never been used, and I figured I’d rather try it for my own car, rather than take a hit selling it. This took place before Quaife released their drop in differential for factory VLSD equipped cars, so the unit I am using is technically for a base model. No big deal though. A quick call to Nissan and I had the base model output shafts on their way, along with fresh bearings, seals, ring gear bolts – everything needed for the install.

So where was the problem? The ring and pinion itself! See, the 4.3 was sold as an upgrade for 240sx and naturally aspirated 300zx’s. I believe these originally came stock in the S13 180sx in Japan (someone correct me if I’m wrong). As it turns out, while these cars all used an R200 rear (350Z included), there are some differences. I knew this going in, I was just hoping it wouldn’t affect the swap. As it turns out, it did. The problem is basically 3 fold. First, the ring gear. The “old” R200’s use a smaller bolt vs newer R200 in the 350z. Thankfully the bolt hole spacing is the same, so acquiring the new bolts from Nissan easily solves this. The pinion issue is more difficult, and really required some out of the box thinking. First off, the pinion length is at least the same on the old vs new R200….thankfully, something went our way! The problem is that the old R200 uses a thinner diameter pinion shaft vs the later R200. This creates 2 issues. First, the rear pinion bearing for the Z won’t fit, and second, the flange for the driveshaft that goes on the end of the pinion is different. At this point, I decided I was in way over my head, and enlisted the help of an expert. Enter my buddy Ben from Puddymod Racing. Ben is widely known on the S2000 forums as the go to guy when it comes to rear end assembly. He’s meticulous when it comes to this stuff, and he knows the ins and outs of properly putting stuff together. Plus, he’s not afraid of funky projects such as this (his own S2000 runs a bit of an oddball setup). So I spoke to Ben at length about the hodgepodge of stuff we had, and he enthusiastically said to “ship it all down, we’ll make it work”. And off it went.

Fast forward a couple months and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Ben’s been tied up with his day to day stuff, and I’ve been going through the trials and tribulations of the now-abandoned ITB project. Ben contacted me today with some good news and a bit of a “how we did it”.

First, the bearing issue. You have a pumpkin that needs a pinion bearing with a specific outer diameter. The Nissan part for the job for the 350Z fulfills this need, but it’s inner diameter is too big for the pinion gear for the 4.3 setup. The pinion gear that would go with the 4.3 setup has the right inner diameter, but the wrong outer diameter. The solution? Sleeves. Basically what is done is your building up the surface of the pinion shaft so it will accept the larger inner diameter Nissan pinion bearing for the Z. Check the picture above and you’ll see the pinion being worked on.

Part of the process Ben is doing for me is not only deburring the ring and pinion, but also microfinishing them as well as cryo treating. Everything is fully blueprinted, so the tolerences are kept in check, just as you would do to a properly built engine.

The second issue is of course the flange. This is easier to solve but still needs some customization. I’ll post some pictures and details in the next installment.

The labor associated with this project is pretty insane. I’d say 20-30 hours when it’s all said and done…and that doesn’t include R&R of the pumpkin itself. As such, I don’t see it being a feasible thing for us to offer, unless someone has the right engine setup and deep pockets. y reason for going forward with it was pretty simple. I had already invested $ in spare pumpkin #1, and I had the Quaife differential. I had also purchased the ring and pinion from NISMO. At that point, I had already spent the $ on the hardware, that simply ditching it was not really an option.

Next up I’ll post some pics of the finished product, and go into a bit of detail on the pinion flange. This is going to be topped off with the SPL Solid Rear Differential Bushings …maybe even Whitelines Urethane rear subframe set too

Adam’s Project Z33: More Stuff!

25 Jun

No major news, but forward motion never-the-less. Picked up my fuel rails last night from the guys at Action Powdercoating. Vinny and the guys there are the best around – fast turnaround time, great prices, and they’ve been doing this for years. Had them done in a nice satin black, which hopefully will render them as close to invisible as possible once everything is installed

Also got a shipment of in SPL Differential Mount Bushings. We’re now a dealer for all their parts so if you need anything, just hit us up!

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While I don’t have the 4.3 pumpkin back just yet, progress is being made on it. All sorts of custom ‘ish needs to be done to get that workable. I leaped before I looked on that one. Sleeves are being fabbed next week I was told for the pinion. Not sure what all else is involved to be honest….I’m sure it could be it’s own blog lol.

The plenum is still up with the engine guru. I’m going to check up on that tomorrow and see if he found anything interesting. I have picked out a throttle body now just have to acquire it and send it up to have an adapter plate made up so I don’t have to hack up the Cosworth.

Dave – you’re not reading this, but answer my text….I needs a cluster ! Seriously, I can’t wait to see what he works up for that thing – I think I’m looking forward to that part more than anything else at this point!

Adam’s NA Z33- Update

20 Jun

Slowly buy surely we’re making some progress. I seriously can’t wait till this round of stuff is in the bag so I can enjoy the damn car again. She looks lonely sitting there without being used. Thankfully for the car (but sucks in general) the weather here in May and June has been horrendous, so I haven’t missed a ton of driving opportunities. But you know how projects go – at a certain point you just want to see them, or at least phases of them, done!

So today, I dropped the fuel rails off to the powdercoaters – will snap some before/afters when I get them back. Billy came down so we finally finished sanding the hood and did the first coat of primer. While we were at it, primed the cover for a bike that has been on the back burner for a minute (I think it’s from a Gixxer 750, but don’t quote me)

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Adam’s NA Z33- Update

11 Jun

I just can’t seem to leave well enough alone. While I’m still working on finishing the ITB project, I picked up something to have some interim fun with. Much love to Viet for hooking it up!

Since I sold my nice 3 inch carbon intake tube I’m going to have to fab something else up. At least with the Haltech now in the car I don’t have to worry about a MAF housing (good thing, since I sold that too!) or a fancy intake (foiled again…sold the Gruppe-M one I was running). Word to the wise – don’t sell the old shit till the new shit is fully functional! I was going to go all psuedo hardcore and make a nice aluminum one, but who gives a shit…it’s an intake tube and it’s temporary, so some thin walled mild steel, will be just fine. Maybe I’ll even ceramic coat it (or maybe I’ll use ‘House of Krylon’…we’ll see). If I ceramic coat it, I “may” coat the plenum as well – haven’t given it much thought yet.

Not sure what throttle body I will run yet. The left side of my brain says to just put on a stock throttle body, convert the car back to DBW (easy thankfully) and have a go. The right side says…screw it, grab a Q45 tb, leave it as a cable throttle, port the inlet to the plenum (or cut it up and reweld the proper size flange on) and let her rip. Jury is still out…I’ll probably let the guru Steve (engine builder) make that call for me.

Tomorrow it goes out to be evaluated on the bench, see if we can maybe clean up some of the runners a bit so everything lines up nicey-nice. At least now maybe I can drive my car for a bit instead of just looking longingly at her!

Notice the true carbon endcaps…no Seibon/VIS wannabe stuff here. Cosworth always gives you the real deal.

For everyone who says this manifold is “overpriced”, you’re nuts, plain and simple. The asking price for it new, at full MSRP, given it’s thoughful design, cast manufacturing, and the real carbon endcaps and all the fittings to make it work, is a bargain. Is this the manifold for someone who has a stock Z or even one with a mild turbo kit? Nope, not at all (though it looks way nicer than stock!). But if you’re going all out, and want a plenum that will go there with you, this is a bargain IMHO. This isn’t a paperweight/canoe anchor design like some others out there, and it does, without question, solve the flow issues (of which there are many) that the stock setup has.