View Full Version : Cuda's Cars, v2.0

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December 18th, 2014, 08:11 PM
I have cars. I remember when I used to do things to them.

Ha ha, welcome to my world. :p

December 19th, 2014, 04:05 AM

January 10th, 2015, 08:42 AM
More pics of the new car, please. :D

January 10th, 2015, 10:26 PM
It just got somewhat de-stickered and I'd really like to clean it up first but that might have to wait a while. Tomorrow morning I dig into the header/cat swap to make it legal. Yes I'm a glutton for punishment. :)

For having 1200/850 springs and a race seat, it's remarkably comfortable on a 9 hour trip. Custom valved Koni 2812s probably do it no harm. :)

January 11th, 2015, 08:02 AM
Ride is all about the shocks.

And the 2812s are no joke.

January 11th, 2015, 10:26 PM
Inverted in the rear, no less.

More pics of the new car, please. :D









^Raceparts! :D

January 12th, 2015, 09:53 AM
Man, sucks to have to lose those nice pipes!

January 12th, 2015, 01:22 PM
Wait. You are allowed to run headers in ST*... unless the stock ones have cats?

January 12th, 2015, 03:32 PM
Wait. You are allowed to run headers in ST*... unless the stock ones have cats?

You're allowed to run headers in ST* that don't move the cat more than 6 inches from its stock location. Only problematic for the newer cars with close-coupled cats.

I assume that Bryan is removing the ones pictured because they aren't CARB-legal and he needs to smog the car to register it.

January 12th, 2015, 07:31 PM
Yup. Silly state over-regulation. Sniffer should be all that matters!

The OEM headers have no cats, but they are shorties and the cats are right after. These shiny headers are PPE long tubes, which replace the factory cats. The Y-pipe on the car now is custom with high flow cats for ST* legality.

I'm kinda curious about the extension at the rear of the headers - it comes out and does a 90 degree bend, ending in a threaded plug which happens to be O2-sensor sized. But you can see there's already an O2 sensor nearby. What is this thing? World's smallest helmholtz resonator? :p Quick n easy hookup for a wideband O2 for tuning?

Replacing the drivers side header was actually pretty easy. Passenger side was at least 3x harder, because I refused to remove the big coolant hardpipe that everything attaches to. It took 20 minutes for each header nut to figure out which combination of tools/extensions/conversions to use. It's now loose but stuck in place, just barely not clearing the starter and a bracket for fuel lines. Hmph. Suppose I'll have to remove the starter in the light tomorrow.

T is returning her RX8 to stock tomorrow too, swapping parts with a local owner. It'll be a mini wrenching party. :lol:

P.S. - the early VQ has torque for a V6. Only NA car I've owned that can cruise easily up the Grapevine in top gear. The '93 MR2 NA came close, but was only a 5spd and was revving 4k on the highway anyway.
Still, I want more torque. :D The last tune on this car was done with different headers, so I'm hoping a new tune once these go back in will add a few grunt units. I may also look into whether lightwieght pulleys do much for the VQ. Shame I can't change the flywheel. The stock one is something like 27-30lbs. You feel it. Want the revs to drop during an upshift? Tough cookies. The clutch must do the work, unless you are a very patient person.

P.P.S. - Feels racy with the seat, and stiff engine/tranny mounts. :) Even the starter motor can be felt in the chassis before the engine fires.

January 12th, 2015, 08:00 PM
Didn't the WRX peeps run an extra long O2 sensor pipe like that back in the day to keep one of the sensors from freaking out?

January 12th, 2015, 10:18 PM
Damn, that's nice :) Well done you!

January 13th, 2015, 06:15 AM
Extra bung is for wideband.

January 13th, 2015, 07:23 PM
Stock parts are all bolted back up and ready to go. I want to switch back to the stock ECU tune before starting it up. I don't have it (previous owner has been contacted), but I figured maybe the Osiris software I downloaded to my laptop would let me do it anyway. All I see are two options - 1) load a new tune, and 2) "dump ECU." I'm too scared to try the latter. :lol:

I also left one of the header nuts off because it's so difficult to get to. 5 out of 6 should do for a day... (famous last words? :p)

January 13th, 2015, 09:43 PM
Can you not just ebay a replacement ECU? Or does it need to be divorced and remarried from stuff?

January 13th, 2015, 10:50 PM
Shouldn't be a need to replace it. Seems too drastic. People have reasons to flash to stock tune sometimes (trip to the dealer under warranty or whatever), I just have to find the right way to do it in Osiris. I'm pretty sure I need a stock tune file that the software creates the first time you flash to a custom tune. Which has been done... but I have no file. I was given a few tunes (91oct, 100oct) but not that one.

January 14th, 2015, 08:25 PM
Yeah, so.... do you ever worry that you'll wake up some morning and the last 3 years have just been a dream?


January 15th, 2015, 07:08 AM
No shit, eh.

January 29th, 2015, 10:00 PM
You know life is not as glamorous as it might seem. Still, I can't complain and things have definitely been looking up the past few years!

350Z is now back to fast-spec. I want to have Specialty Z dyno tune it sometime soon, see what kind of magic they can work on it. The existing tune was done with an older parts spec, and wasn't the most thorough tune from what I understand.

Next up are the Mazdas - both need a polish and one needs the same routine the 350Z just got.

Oh and the MX-5 got a new shift knob and boot. Woo. It also got autocrossed a couple times. Quick but needs a little work with the handling to be right. Very old tires (as ST* class "race" tires go) could be contributing...


February 16th, 2015, 08:20 PM
Dab of: http://markm.zenfolio.com/p216975545/e25a7a533

And video with several bigger dabs: http://youtu.be/XHHFRXcSgc0

I was hard at work on the MX-5 for a few days when I ran into a few snags with missing/wrong parts and then got quite sick, so that's been sitting apart since Thursday. Gotta get back into it and finish the job. The garage potatoes want their spots back.

February 17th, 2015, 04:53 AM
That Colt is RAD.


February 17th, 2015, 05:10 AM
How did the Stingray do?

Oh, that's right, there was a Z06, too!

February 17th, 2015, 06:18 AM
That Colt is RAD.


Not much Colt left.

February 17th, 2015, 09:20 AM
That's not a Fiesta?

February 17th, 2015, 09:23 AM
You're right, it's a "1978 Ford Fiesta."

IIRC, it's got a V8 of some sort sitting on top of the rear axle. :D

February 17th, 2015, 11:34 PM
A Corvette V8, yes. Sucker's fast.

February 22nd, 2015, 09:49 PM
Silly OBD2. The MX-5 failed smog 'cuz I had been working on it with the battery disconnected and it didn't complete a "drive cycle" for the ECU to feel "ready."

My scanner says there is sufficient readiness now after putting another 30 miles on the car, so we'll try again on Monday.

Get off my lawn, and stuff.

Also, customizing your own intake isn't always easy. AEM's filter changed so it doesn't fit where people said it does, and they supplied MAF bolts that don't fit their own intake tube. Problems solved, but it took a few extra days waiting for parts.

February 23rd, 2015, 09:31 AM
Did the same thing to myself last month with the Suburban. Had the battery unplugged to replace the turn signal switch, drove in the next day to the smog place. "What do you mean the readiness isn't set? Oh, heh, yeah. I did that to me." Derp.

February 27th, 2015, 03:07 PM
The sun sets on the 300ZX for me. It's officially for sale.



February 27th, 2015, 03:29 PM
Sure is a pretty car, I'll be sad to see it go - and it's not even mine!

February 27th, 2015, 03:37 PM
It could be....

February 27th, 2015, 03:49 PM
Quite simply, that ain't gonna happen. But I did send it to a coworker who has expressed interest in a "fun car for $10k," so that'd be cool. I'm sure he'll never do it, but it's worth a shot.

I actually just inherited this:


Partner asked me to sell it for him, and it's mine til it goes. Hopefully it's REAL QUICK 'cause there's money in it for me! ;)

But I *seriously* have no room for anything at home. Praise Jesus the Suburban is getting the xfer case repaired and the Fiat getting its bumper repaired. Excellent timing!

February 27th, 2015, 04:20 PM
Grr I was hoping you were selling the MR2 Turbo, which I would be interested in. :)

February 27th, 2015, 06:07 PM
For the right price... :)

February 27th, 2015, 06:14 PM

February 27th, 2015, 07:25 PM
Does it include Tire Rack sponsorship? :D

February 28th, 2015, 04:27 PM
Same sponsorship deal I get. ;)

February 28th, 2015, 10:53 PM
Seriously? If you're buying the tires, *I'll* take the car!

March 1st, 2015, 09:53 AM
I'm buying the first two sets - they are included with the car. :D

March 3rd, 2015, 08:53 AM
That Colt is RAD.


What's radder are its sweet seats:


:D :up:

March 3rd, 2015, 09:01 AM
Vintage! :up:

March 3rd, 2015, 09:20 AM
I somewhat approve. Obviously plaid inserts would be gooder.

March 10th, 2015, 02:57 PM
RX-8 sold to a kid in LA.

Now someone needs to buy the 300ZX.

Down to 6...

March 10th, 2015, 03:01 PM
My dad's actually interested in the Z...you may see an email from him. I tried to steer him towards something that was maybe a bit less fiddly/tuned/exciting, but he really likes that generation of Z.

March 10th, 2015, 03:04 PM
I love the blue slick top Zed -- can't have it right now but I still love it! ;)

March 10th, 2015, 03:22 PM
I did email with him Russ. He's looking for something more like my red one - more stock, less coin.

March 10th, 2015, 03:22 PM

April 1st, 2015, 04:21 PM
Now that I'm home for a couple weeks, let's give this eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nissan-300ZX-Slicktop-/261833004692) thing a try.

April 6th, 2015, 11:30 PM

We almost managed to get a complete group photo together before Operation Fleet Reduction began. We are missing the MR2 in this photo, and the RX-8 was gone later that day. This will have to do!


In 350Z world there have been a few updates.

* New autocross wheels wrapped in the new hotness in 200TW street tires: Bridgestone RE71Rs. [Side note: anyone else remember how much fun the original RE71 was?] They're a bit small, but that's what's available. The wheels are only 10.5" wide, half an inch down from the XXRs that came with the car (which we are keeping, 'cause we think they're pimp even if they weigh 27lbs each). But they're light. Back to the small tires - with the early VQ our 6900rpm rev limiter (up from the stock 6500 or 6600, whatever it is) only gets us to between 60 and 61mph in 2nd gear on these tires, which isn't ideal for autocross when you're driving a car with decent straight line scoot. The other class contenders, HR 350Zs ('07-'08) have a definite advantage here with their 7500rpm+ rev limits, although those cars do weigh more. The C5 Vette is also very fast and has extra long gears, which will reward it on open courses and kill it on tight ones. I suspect our 2003 Z may have the best torque to weight ratio in the class at certain speeds, say 30-45mph if I had to guess.

* LED taillights from a later model 350Z (used).

* A fresh dyno tune utilizing the latest parts combo. We picked up 10 HP at the wheels but more importantly some good midrange torque under the curve (+13rwtq at the peak). :up: Still want more... what's new. :lol: I've been so jaded by the last few years of driving reasonably rapid rides on track (the names of which tend to start with the letters GT and R). This VQ35DE is making more torque at 2300rpm than my 300ZX's VG30DE can muster at any RPM. Car weight is similar. :) On a side note, one disadvantage to the base model 350Z is the lack of cruise control buttons. UpRev ECU tuning uses these to cleverly switch between tuning maps on the fly. I don't expect to change maps often, but it's a much more involved and time consuming process with the laptop. But hey, it's worth the tradeoff of never having to work around TCS, VSC, or any of that nonsense. Just get in and drive. :up:





Some of my better potatographs I think.

Not bad for a Big Six in my experience. :)

I need to tighten the rear shock nuts (they're rattling) soon and I want to find a quieter muffler than this B-Line thing. It's rather large, so I'm surprised it's this loud. Interestingly the inlet is not a traditional flange, it's a large (3.5"?) V-Band. Like a proper race car. :) I'm hoping it's not too difficult to find something that bolts up (err, clamps up) to the midpipe and quiets things down a bit without costing a fortune.

April 7th, 2015, 06:25 AM
No more Chewbacca?! :( *rawwwwwr*

April 7th, 2015, 07:42 AM
Bryan, you've got possibly one of the better "Real Life Gran Turismo" garage pics there. :up: :up:

There are lots of rich folks that have fantasy garages with supercars up the yin-yang but an eclectic collection of mismatched lightly-modded quality toys? Do not see that every day. #bravo

April 7th, 2015, 10:09 AM
The Chewie exhaust was a different set of headers, cats, possibly Y-pipe, and the tiny race muffler. Most of that stuff is gone. We do have the race muffler, but it probably wouldn't make sound anywhere with the exhaust setup that's on the car now. :)

novi, we are just caught in a transitional phase. Buy first, sell later, right? ;) Still, can't complain of having a few cool cars to choose from any given day!

April 13th, 2015, 10:24 PM
Loud times at the dyno:


Sounds racy, but for the street to be honest I'd love to cut down on some of that rasp. I don't understand much about exhaust tuning for sound but I think the 'problem' I have is there are no resonators, the cats are small and high-flow, and so the rear muffler is the only thing doing much to contain sound, and it's not huge (nor is it tiny, really). The long midpipe is large diameter and probably thin wall material if I had to guess.

The thing is every exhaust part is such high quality and so well put together, I don't want to muck it up with welding something different in place. What to do. :)

Oh and I suppose numbers are required posting after a dyno vid, huh? :) 260hp, 250ft-lbs at the wheels. HP seems a bit short by numbers (engine was rated at 287 crank HP stock) but it feels strong from the seat of the pants.

April 13th, 2015, 11:04 PM
You should expect 10-15% drivetrain loss on a RWD car, so -27hp is well within reason. Some cars are much worse and very few are a little better, but 10-15% is totally respectable!

I don't know much about exhaust tuning either, but without knowing what's inside the mufflers you do have it's all speculation anyway. :) Sounds pretty decent for a VQ - although a great motor I've always found them to sound totally soulless. I could be spoiled by the sounds of Italy, but all the VQs have a very matter of fact mechanical audio output. Yours is one of the better ones IMHO.

April 14th, 2015, 12:27 AM
I've looked for info on this B-Line muffler, I haven't found anything really. It would be cool to have it re-packed by some place that knows their stuff, if I knew where to find that. It sounds bitchin' when caning it at the autocross (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA7q-uTaYI8), or around town at <10% throttle, but accelerate briskly in town and it's slightly fart-can-ish and a little embarrassing if you don't want to race every clown on the road. ;) #getoffmylawn #backinmyday

Typically a car with I/H/E and a good tune will put down to the wheels about what it was rated to have at the flywheel from the factory. My '94 Z was rated 222hp; it puts down 218 to the wheels with 167k miles on it. So I would have expected in the 280s for wheel HP from the '03 with 95k. Its midpipe is huge, but it is a single pipe (there's a Y-pipe right after the headers) so maybe it's not too big after all.

The VQ has a very distinct sound all its own. Some like it some don't. I dig it, but then I don't know that I've met a 6 that I didn't like... :)

April 14th, 2015, 06:40 AM
:up: :up:

I've really only read up on making V8's louder. :D That said, some folks do carry a gutted resonator on their exhaust system (and other folks replace the resonator with a cherry bomb (http://www.summitracing.com/search/brand/cherry-bomb) upstream from the stock muffler to get a muted hot rod crackle).

None of which helps you. :lol: #sorry

The Z doesn't sound particularly congested. Headers + H- or X-pipe crossover + full dual exhaust + tune would probably help but that's a lot of money to go chasing after ~15 HP. :random:

April 14th, 2015, 08:47 AM
I personally wouldn't expect to see a 15% improvement from smog-legal bolt-ons on a modern motor. Old motor? Sure. But manufacturers know what they are doing and rarely leave much on the table in NA motors these days. I think BBK offers a $5,000 IHE kit for the Coyote which offers a 15% improvement - and it isn't smog legal. The 350Z gets 30% more horsepower from a 16% bump in displacement vs the 300ZX. That tells you volumes about the optimizations already done on the motor. To get that 30hp back, I'd expect test pipes, etc.

April 14th, 2015, 03:58 PM
More later on the other stuff, but right now my spidey sense is tingling.

Response to my eBay posting:
"My name is [Joe Blow] I am seriously in the car , like they are My favorite Nissan . I forgot what the asking price is . But I am willing to pay more than that of you would be willing to work with me on payments . And I would also have a friend drive me down , or I could even fly down to you . We could set up A bank transfer payment set up . And I could pay you about 400+ every two weeks possibly more . If you would be willing to work with me it would really help me out . It may not be as much upfront, but it could be 1k - 3k more over time . And that could go along way .


April 14th, 2015, 05:08 PM
novi, it's already got swanky long tube headers, high flow cats, Y-pipe, midpipe, and the aforementioned rear muffler. No stock parts left in the exhaust system. It has a JWT intake which is supposed to be pretty decent. And a solid dyno tune via UpRev. If I want more power bad enough I could always buy an '07-08, swap these parts onto it, and have an extra 30hp or so and nearly another 1000rpm of gearing. :) Those newer 350Zs are not anywhere near as inexpensive as the old ones, though, and the new ones I hear are as much as 200lbs heavier somehow.

Interesting point Justin. I'm not sure how responsive the VQ is to NA mods. I know the VG generally isn't once you go beyond what I did to mine.

April 15th, 2015, 04:00 PM
I suspect the VG suffers from what a lot of contemporary motors suffered from: Bad heads. Manufacturing just wasn't very good back then and heads suffered. It's like the 60*V6 in the Fiero - 160hp from 3.4l is awful, but the heads simply can't flow more than that. Or, the head on the XR4Ti - even totally hogged out it can't flow nearly as well as the Esslinger aluminum head because it's such a poor part to start with. I bet the VG has similar limitations - some of which could be addressed with a head work, some of which is simply not fixable. The VQ OTOH is a modern motor and you just don't find manufacturers leaving anything on the table like they used to have to - each motor is designed specifically to be exactly what it is, and no more. There is no incentive to underdesign or overdesign. While both motors have bolt-on ceilings, they exist for totally different reasons. :)

April 15th, 2015, 04:33 PM
Keep in mind that the VQ has been developed quite a bit over the years as well. I think they started off making 190 hp from 3.0L right? 287 hp from 3.5L is a 51% pop in power for a 17% displacement increase; pretty impressive work Nissan did with it - I bet most of the improvement you'd hope to get, Nissan already got.

Now, that doesn't change the fact that I do not care for the sound or feel of the VQ, but that's personal taste.

April 15th, 2015, 05:23 PM
And it was always on the upper end of commonly available hp/ liter. Sure the odd rare machine could do better, but the VQ was always very good in power vs engine capacity.

April 16th, 2015, 07:07 AM
Nissan V6s :up:

April 16th, 2015, 07:27 AM
novi, it's already got swanky long tube headers, high flow cats, Y-pipe, midpipe, and the aforementioned rear muffler. No stock parts left in the exhaust system. It has a JWT intake which is supposed to be pretty decent. And a solid dyno tune via UpRev.
Yep and it's just my wild-ass guess that full duals + X-pipe crossover might net a few more horse but I just don't see the cost benefit.

Now if you could change the cams... ;)

April 16th, 2015, 10:43 AM
Keep in mind that the VQ has been developed quite a bit over the years as well. I think they started off making 190 hp from 3.0L right?

160 hp in the Z31 VG, 222 in the Z32 VG. Basically with just a change from 12 valves to 24 and from 2 cams to 4.

April 17th, 2015, 12:41 PM
160 hp in the Z31 VG, 222 in the Z32 VG. Basically with just a change from 12 valves to 24 and from 2 cams to 4.

And variable valve timing.

April 17th, 2015, 01:47 PM
And variable valve timing.
Right. Just like I said. ;)

May 11th, 2015, 03:27 PM
Sold. Happy/sad. It's off to Idaho.




In other news.

The MX-5 is back on the road with a fresh cat. I had to swap the header/midpipe again last Friday - knocked it out in a few hours, which makes this World's Slowest Mechanic proud. :) Still a bit too loud for us (get off our lawn), so we are thinking of selling the Race (http://www.good-win-racing.com/Mazda-Performance-Part/60-1326.html) cat-back and replacing it with the Street (http://www.good-win-racing.com/Mazda-Performance-Part/60-13262.html) version.

It also has some strange throttle tip-in behavior and a sometimes-surging idle, which I think may be a shortcoming of the ECU tune. Hopefully I can find someone not too far from us who knows NCs and this Sniper Tuning software (I'd never heard of it).

On the 350Z, the center dash cubby opens itself over bumps now. Going to have to Google that.

May 11th, 2015, 03:28 PM
And on 1-2 shifts. ;)

May 11th, 2015, 07:02 PM
Not even. The launch, bro. :hard:

May 11th, 2015, 07:11 PM

[Totally out of context]:sing: That's fuckin' teamwooork!:sing:[/out of context]

May 11th, 2015, 08:08 PM

June 11th, 2015, 10:59 AM
As the reverse grid begins to take shape first thing in the morning, one of these things is not like the others.


Got camber?


How about oversteer at will?



Last weekend was the second time I've autocrossed this car. It's clear now it's too stiff at the back, and doing some research it looks to have the stiffest rear springs of any autocrossed NC. Front spring rate is more in line with what others have run. We're kind of in a state of total car ADD right now, and we need to decide whether to keep our current autocross cars or go down to one different one. Early thoughts are a later 350Z for better gearing, or another E46 for FStreet or something, even though that's probably not the car to have. Budget minded approach is an EStreet MR2 Spyder, which would be a good daily as well. But they are still expensive for what they are, surprisingly. T also has a desire for a track car, and when the Juke goes away this August I'll feel a void in the jump-in-and-go-and-don't-worry-about-speedbumps-or-having-to-carry-stuff-and-people area. If we weren't so attached to our garage potatoes which we rarely drive, this would be a lot easier. :)

Anyway, if we keep the NC around we'll definitely soften the rear springs, and probably do something different with shocks too. The JIC not-so-Magics aren't our cup of tea. We're getting older and want a cushier ride. :lol:

June 11th, 2015, 11:21 AM
Speaking of garage potatoes, we took the dormant MR2 out for a date up into the foothills.


It has by far the smoothest ride out of anything we own. That felt refreshing. :lol: The brake feel is unmatched by anything, and this car drives home the point that drive by wire blows. Yes it's turbo and there's lag, but the larger point is there is millimetric precision on offer from the throttle pedal, and DBW cars just don't do that. They force the driver to be a bit more clumsy.


I still in the back of my mind want to refresh this car a little bit. One of the hot new turbos that look stock, a better intercooler, different exhaust, and a full detail which is long overdue. And maybe some miscellany like a shift linkage bushing and an ignition system tune-up (cap and rotor and wires - oh my! What strange things from days gone by).

June 11th, 2015, 11:35 AM
In 'proud papa' news, the new owner of the blue 300ZX autocrossed it with his buddy last weekend. They finished 1-2 in a 9 car STX class. :D His friend had some very kind things to say about the balance, like "best handling car I've ever driven" and "I spit on my Honda when I got home." Which is extra surprising given they transposed tire pressures from my notes (I ran a 10lb difference front-to-rear), so I would have expected non-optimal results.

Not sure if I shared here, but I named that 300ZX Gru, after the character in Despicable Me. Dark dull colors, a misunderstood villain that eventually turns into a hero... it was the perfect fit. Anyway, come to find out the current owner of the car is called Gru around his office, and dressed up as the character for Halloween last year.

June 11th, 2015, 11:57 AM

Very cool info. I know of an MR2 for sale...

Freude am Fahren
June 20th, 2015, 04:21 PM
So Nissan is making another Juke-R, with the new Nismo GT-R engine. http://www.topspeed.com/cars/nissan/2016-nissan-juke-r-nismo-ar169915.html I think you should get one this time around Bryan :D

Of course if it's priced like the last one... Maybe you'll get to demo it, and you can um, 'misplace' it.

July 24th, 2015, 09:58 PM
Those things don't get 'misplaced,' trust me. ;)

I did something with a car this month. :eek:

Detailed the MX-5. Oddly my usual crop of products did nothing for the paint. Meguiars Ultimate Compound and M205 polish were no match for whatever was going on with this paint (we are the second owners, so chances are the original owner never took proper care of the paint. Lots of contaminants, swirl marks and scratches). My friend came through with Pinnacle Advanced Swirl Remover and that did the trick. :up: Have now purchased a bottle for myself. :) Along with a few other detail supplies (this stuff is addicting).





More: http://www.pbase.com/bryanh/06mx5

July 24th, 2015, 11:04 PM
Stunning :)

July 25th, 2015, 11:33 AM
I know, that lawn's too green for Califas!!


July 26th, 2015, 08:37 AM
I know I've said this before, but if you ever decide to let that MR2 Turbo go, let me know first. Though, to be fair, one with T-tops would probably make more sense for how I'd use it.

July 26th, 2015, 02:32 PM
I can guarantee I wouldn't let it go for what most MR2Ts go for. :) It's worth more than that to me. I've considered selling it a couple times, to put the money towards a different aspirational car on my list, but I just don't see the value in selling it right now. Values are too low for how unobtanium a car like this is. I know if I sold it now I'd be kicking myself later, because if I sold it their values would take off. ;) It happened with the Cuda.


My lawn is hanging in there, just. :)

July 27th, 2015, 04:04 PM
No worries! I'm more of a "red with t-tops" kind of guy, now that I live where it never rains (except last week, apparently) :)

I wonder if 8400RPM still has his ITR?

July 27th, 2015, 08:34 PM
You know one of my thoughts has been to sell my Turbo, and replace it with a nice but 'ordinary' T-top model and do some mods. 300-350hp, some nice wheels and suspension, good stereo. Call it good. Red would be my first color choice, along with Nautical Blue which is incredibly hard to find.

July 28th, 2015, 04:06 AM
Sweet fancy Moses, that MX-5 looks fantastic!

July 28th, 2015, 06:02 PM
Yeah that's what I'd do as well. That said, I can't imagine buying an MR2 Turbo instead of an FD, though a good FD is easily a $20k car these days.

July 28th, 2015, 07:27 PM
The MX-5 looks high-larious with that much tire stuffed under her. :lol: :up:

July 28th, 2015, 09:52 PM
255s. :) And you're right. A couple subtle changes would make it look much better -- 245 tires, about an inch less ride height, and it looks proper.

August 24th, 2015, 11:22 PM
The Juke is gone. Miss it already. Once the craziness of the season dies down and I'm actually home more than a few days at a time, we'll be actively selling the MX-5 and looking for a more practical car.

August 25th, 2015, 04:55 AM
You should get an IDx!


August 25th, 2015, 04:56 AM
GT-R's have backseats, I hear. ;)

August 25th, 2015, 06:06 AM
According to Nissan's commercials, their racing drivers have Maximas.

Or you could practice driving a FWD hybrid, just in case.

August 25th, 2015, 08:59 AM
The Altima is indistinguishable from a racecar, according to the ads.

August 25th, 2015, 09:27 AM
It's too bad they never came out with the NISMO Sentra concept they did, either.

My rental for the weekend ended up being an Altima, and the 185 hp NA I4 + CVT was great on the highway, even with 5 people in the car. But that's not what it will take to get me back in the fold, and they keep making concepts that then just die of things that might.

MR2 Fan
August 25th, 2015, 03:29 PM
The Altima is indistinguishable from a racecar, according to the ads.

After driving one as a rental car for 2,000 miles, I tend to disagree. It feels heavy and floaty, especially when changing lanes.

August 25th, 2015, 10:03 PM
Budget is more like $10k or less, here... ;) Can't remember if I've mentioned it here or not, but early thoughts lean toward a G35 sedan or a ZHP sedan. Latter would probably be more fun and more 'factory ready' for light track use, former would keep it in the family and be cheaper to buy/maintain most likely.

August 26th, 2015, 01:57 AM
G35 :up:

September 23rd, 2015, 06:42 PM
I want a C5Z06 for SSR. She wants another E46 M3 to keep stock and run F-Street. Chances are neither will happen for a while but we'll see. :)

MX-5 is now on 350lb rear springs, down from 550lb. We'll see if the ride improves and if the handling improves at the Marina autox this Saturday.

350Z is in the process of going back to stock suspension while we have our custom Konis serviced.

September 28th, 2015, 03:19 PM
MX-5: Definitely improved! It's now reasonably fast at autocross and can put its prodigious power down to the pavement. Top PAX on Saturday (if we had run the car in its correct class anyway...) at Marina, 2nd in PAX Sunday at El Toro.

Saturday, with no rear sway bar. Too soft in the back - promoted on throttle understeer and general slop in transitions:


Sunday, with stock rear sway bar connected. Much improved! Could get on the power earlier without pushing wide, and the car felt more direct all around:


The spring and ride height changes alone didn't result in a great car right away, but they got things in the right ballpark and some tweaking on shocks and rear bar got the car pretty good by the end of the weekend.

The softer rear springs are now allowing the tire to contact the fender over dips in the highway. I thought they would self-clearance after a time but it's still hitting, so we should look into an inexpensive way to roll the rear fenders right.

October 16th, 2015, 08:57 PM
Wanted to drive the MR2 a bit this weekend. I decided to clean the interior, which had more sneaky accumulated dirt than I had suspected. What I thought was a faded leather steering wheel was years of caked-on dirt (or whatever - I tend not to drive cars with dirty hands if I can help it, especially this one) that a new cleaning product started to remove. So I worked on the wheel for a while and it's much cleaner. Figured I'd do the same with the leather-wrapped shift knob. And I destroyed it. :lol: It's all gummy now, and fuzzy and even more brown than it was. Going to look for a used one (I don't mind a bit of patina on the shift knob) because a new one is $200. No way Jose.

For driving it this weekend I figured one of my 4 spare shift knobs would fit. Nope. The design of the 93-95 MR2 shifter prevents a countersunk knob from fitting, so that ruled out 3 out of the 4. The 4th one, from a Mazda 3 or something, has the wrong thread pitch or bore size.

Tomorrow I treat the interior with 303 and shampoo the seats if I get to it. I was going to 303 tonight, but the actual cleaning process took so long it was getting dark when I finished.

October 21st, 2015, 12:18 PM
I didn't like any shift knob options for <$50, so I'm going to send out my stock one to get re-covered. The guy who did my 300ZX steering wheel (www.leatherwheels.com), and totally knocked that job out of the park, is going to, erm, wrap my knob. Should be about $45 after shipping both ways. Only thing is I might lose the embossed shift pattern.

Kind of want a cool MOMO knob, for reasons, but I understand they're all universal types. I'm more interested in the specific thread pitch that fits my shifter properly.

In MX-5 news, internet info is scarce on the subject of airbag light codes. I can't even find it in the FSM. Looks like I'm going to have to poke around and maybe take the seats out. I've got a Code 49, whatever that is. Or at least, 4 longs and 9 shorts, which I assume to be 49.

October 21st, 2015, 01:34 PM
I am struggling with the idea of light pulses to produce airbag codes. Is that a thing for real?

October 21st, 2015, 05:05 PM
My eyes tell me the pattern is real. :shrug:

Trained from my OBD1 days I guess. :)

And it would seem to make sense given modern cars have a gajillion different airbags and occupancy weight sensors and seat position sensors and whatnot. Would help to narrow down a suspect area.

Heck, people are even saying when the passenger air bag light in the dash (the one that tells you if you switched the airbag off for a child seat) burns out, it creates an airbag fault light in the instrument cluster.

October 21st, 2015, 05:35 PM
My eyes tell me the pattern is real. :shrug:

Trained from my OBD1 days I guess. :)

And it would seem to make sense given modern cars have a gajillion different airbags and occupancy weight sensors and seat position sensors and whatnot. Would help to narrow down a suspect area.

Heck, people are even saying when the passenger air bag light in the dash (the one that tells you if you switched the airbag off for a child seat) burns out, it creates an airbag fault light in the instrument cluster.

Or if you forget to plug the connector back together after the trim price holding in said light was removed...


October 21st, 2015, 08:19 PM
My eyes tell me the pattern is real. :shrug:

Not doubting the pattern, but the idea of pulling codes via light pulses on anything newer than 1995 seems very strange. Back in the pre-OBDII days that was very common, but after OBDII and *especially* after CAN it's just very unusual for a manufacturer to provide a user-accessible way to pull codes. Truly, I've never even heard of that.

October 21st, 2015, 09:02 PM
The codes are supposedly in the FSM.

If they carried their codes over from the NBs, "4 9" is a pass. occupancy sensor problem.

October 21st, 2015, 09:03 PM
That's pretty amazing to me. I've owned a lot of cars and not one of them has had any sort of trouble code accessible via light flashes. Neato!

October 22nd, 2015, 12:15 AM
If they carried their codes over from the NBs

I've not been able to confirm or deny that with multiple searches. But yeah. At this point my time is probably better spent tearing the interior apart and checking connections. :)

My $20 OBDII scanner is too basic to cover the SRS. It only does CEL and Readiness stuff.

October 22nd, 2015, 12:17 AM
Or if you forget to plug the connector back together after the trim price holding in said light was removed...
That's a good point... there *IS* an iPod adapter plug hanging out in the passenger footwell area that probably is or was at one point connected to the factory stereo... which is right below the passenger airbag light... I'll see if I can make it illuminate.

October 22nd, 2015, 05:45 AM
The s2000 EPAS has fault codes similar to an obdI setup.

October 23rd, 2015, 09:00 PM
What do y'all use to get rid of stubborn water spots? It rained here a couple weeks ago, the MX-5 was outside at the time I didn't wash the car until about a week after that. Normally not a problem. It's sprinkler water you gotta watch out for here. But after washing the car, nasty water spots remain.

So far I've tried:
- Clay bar
- white vinegar
- Meguiar's Ultimate Compound (applied with DA polisher)
- Meguiar's Ultimate Polish (DA polisher)
- Klasse All-In-One
- and Pinnacle Advanced Swirl Remover (DA polisher).

Pinnacle is the only thing that has helped much. But even it can only reduce the appearance of the water marks by about 2/3rds. The first application has the effect. Going back a second time doesn't improve things further.

There are water spot removers out there but I thought they worked on the same principle (to dissolve or emulsify mineral deposits) as vinegar.

October 23rd, 2015, 09:14 PM
This is a tough thing. I'd almost get a water sample tested to see what you are up against.

October 23rd, 2015, 10:21 PM
I have had stubborn water spots on glass that I've Pinnacle's Water Spot Remover on, but that required getting really aggressive with the DA. I've never run into spots on paint that wouldn't come out with a compound. I'm not really sure where you go from there! Maybe email Autogeek or post on their forums?

October 24th, 2015, 11:02 PM
Good call. That was the first place I asked. :)

In one last ditch effort today I decided to get really aggressive. M105, a microfiber cutting disc, and high pad speed and pressure. I don't like all the dusting from 105 and it leaves a haze so I never replaced my old bottle when I ran out, but I guess it's good to have around for the jobs that require the big ammo. Had to get a $35 32oz bottle at Autozone. Ouch. But at least I'll have some for a long while. Wonder what the shelf life is!

It worked. :happydance:

I then did a test to see which would polish out better - Meguiars Ultimate Polish (has some fillers) or Pinnacle Advanced Finishing Polish (no fillers). Quite a price difference between these two. I couldn't tell any difference in appearance.

This is a tough thing. I'd almost get a water sample tested to see what you are up against.

I'll be sure to gather a rain sample next time a storm comes through. ;)

October 25th, 2015, 01:03 AM
Much better:


Testing a couple different polishes to clarify after M105:


October 27th, 2015, 05:42 PM
So it turns out the airbag light was a bad connection all along. Something wasn't plugged in at all under the driver's seat. :lol:

Mazda uses some big electrical block down there that all kinds of things plug into. Must be a universal part for all their cars or something, because it seemed like overkill (only half the ports were used in the MX-5).

I think tomorrow I'll banish the 350Z airbag light, too, now that my resistors have come in (race seat means no airbag there, so I have to fool the car to turn the light off).

October 27th, 2015, 05:54 PM
Speaking of the race seat in the Z, I'm starting to see wear on the side bolster of the Sparco seat. Obviously from getting in and out - as carefully as I try to do it always.

Any ideas for nipping this in the bud before a hole develops? All I can think of is black duct tape, which is a bit more ghetto-fab than I like! And that will peel up by the ends most likely, too, from getting in and out (the seat is a snug fit!).


October 27th, 2015, 07:16 PM
The Sparcos in a friend car have a rubber/plastic there which seemed a good idea... Maybe see an upholsterer about something like that?

October 27th, 2015, 07:41 PM
Yeah, my cheap Momo has those, too.

October 28th, 2015, 08:46 AM
Maybe as a DIY fix some sort of synthetic wear-resistant patch affixed with fabric glue?

October 28th, 2015, 10:06 AM
Hm, interesting, haven't heard of fabric glue. I'll have to look into something like that.

For now, I'm thinking of putting the stock seat back in for the winter as a temporary solution.

October 28th, 2015, 11:00 AM
My girlfriend has done some costuming with fabric glue that I would not have expected to last, and it has. I guess that stuff is pretty sticky!

October 28th, 2015, 05:19 PM
Hmm. (https://www.tear-aid.com/) My concern with anything that isn't sewn on is that it will eventually roll up from us getting out of the seat. Might have to ruminate on this one for a bit. I like the idea of the stock seat for now. Better for DD mode anyway!

October 30th, 2015, 09:10 PM
Oh the ironing. Airbag light fix expectations are the opposite of reality. :)

I expected a headache from the MX-5 and the fix was dead simple. I expected the 350Z to be a no-brainer because it's always had a race seat with no side airbag. I put the stock seat back in (and plugged in ;)) and the SRS light remains flashing. Figures. :) The horn doesn't work from the steering wheel, either (it works with the keyless entry remote), so I'm thinking clock spring. Chinese-made eBay ones are $20, OEM one looks to be about $150.

October 30th, 2015, 09:44 PM
You would think 20 years later steering column clocksprings would be easy to make totally reliable, but no. Sadly no.

October 30th, 2015, 09:48 PM
I'm sure they can be totally reliable, for a price. And there's the rub.

October 30th, 2015, 10:54 PM
I just have trouble envisioning how a few traces on a piece of plastic with connectors at each could made in a way that is unreliable. You'd have to try. And they do.

November 1st, 2015, 02:59 PM
So the 350Z has a 'diagnostic mode' for the SRS system that you can enter with the right timing/sequence of ignition key turns. This is how you reset the SRS dash light. Guess it's not smart enough to reset on its own. I've exited diagnostic mode and the light is now out - we'll see if it comes back. The horn not working from the steering wheel still screams clockspring to me...

November 5th, 2015, 03:54 PM
Riddle me this one.

MX-5: 2L engine, motorcycle battery with 120CCA, parasitic draw measured as 47mA which spikes to 63mA every 2 seconds as the stock security system light blinks.

350Z: 3.5L engine, Odyssey PC680 battery with 170 or 200CCA (internet says 170, battery says 200), parasitic draw measured as 74mA constant. That seems a little high to me, not sure why unless it has something to do with the double-DIN Pioneer head unit with Bluetooth not completely shutting down or something. Everything else electrical is stock. Well, the ECU has been flashed (so has the MX-5) but that shouldn't make a difference.

Both parasitic draw tests were performed with doors shut but unlocked (no security system armed).

The MX-5 kills its battery all the time. One day of sitting and it won't start. The 350Z can go for several days, maybe more than a week, I can't remember, and be fine. At full charge (Battery Tender) the MX-5 battery measures 12.9V at rest, and 14 and change when the car is running, which tells me respectively that the battery isn't dead dead, and the alternator works.

My only theory is 120CCA is just *barely* enough to start the 2L engine, or the WalMart EverStart battery is just overrated junk.

Funny thing is the 350Z has always cranked over slowly. Sometimes the starter even stops after one rotation, but hold the key for a second and it picks back up and starts the car.

The troubles of weight savings measures. :)

November 5th, 2015, 04:39 PM
My stock battery in my 996 is like that when hot. Problem for me though is the battery cable to the starter.

The jumping draw on the mx5 is what concerns me. Are these tests performed after the car has sat 'off' for twenty minutes?

November 5th, 2015, 04:49 PM
Yep. I timed the jumping draw and then timed the blinking dash light (which, yes, blinks even when the car is unlocked, go figure) and they seem to be in synch and it makes sense. My multi meter is probably not quite fast enough to catch every jump (the readout is digital). Makes me wish I had an old analog one so I could see every spike.

November 5th, 2015, 08:30 PM
This keeps getting more interesting.

So now after ~10 hours the MX-5 battery voltage went from 12.9 to 12.7. It baaaarely started the car. I let it run for 20 seconds, shut it off. Started it back up, let it run for 10 seconds, shut it off. I did this about 6 times before stopping. Apparently this battery *can* start the car several times without needing a charge (obviously having some fuel pressure ready to go helps matters). So then why did it die after a 10-15min drive the other day, after I pulled the charger fresh off the battery off for the cold start? I can't trust this car to go anywhere, but I can start it 7 times in my garage after sitting half the day. Makes no sense. This is an AGM battery, I don't think that's the kind that can be "warmed up" like a LiFePO4.

Confuses the heck out of me, but I found a battery with nearly twice the CCA for $35 so I'll just try that. Takes a few days to get here though.

What's the measurement (is there one?) of how a battery retains capacity with the car off? I'm not sure what this Amp-Hours rating I keep seeing is.

November 5th, 2015, 09:44 PM
I gave you the answer but fucking hit the back button and lost my response. I don't have the energy to write it again.

Simply, battery capacity and cranking amps are related but not directly. You cannot look at cranking amps as a measure of a battery's reserve capacity... 120cca vs. 200cca doesn't say anything about how long a battery can power a load. Battery capacity is almost entirely a function of size given a similar chemistry... one lead acid battery to another, bigger is more. AGM, gel, flooded will have slightly variances, but not much.

All that said, if the car died while it was running, you have an alternator problem or a wiring problem. It's about that simple. The discharge rate variances you're seeing are either capacity limitations or age-related capacity issues. Almost certainly, two different things.

November 5th, 2015, 09:51 PM
Ah, to be clear on a couple things, the car never dies while running. It just doesn't like to start. We can drive to a restaurant having started at home just fine, and come out after finishing our meal to a battery too weak to start the car. Stuff like that.

And yeah I know cranking amps are not really a measure of how long a battery can sit and still start a car. My theory is, a battery with say, 300CCA might still have more cranking amps "available" after sitting X number of hours than a battery that started with 150CCA, all else being equal. That's just logic from someone who doesn't really understand electricity. If Battery A is rated 120CCA and 8AH, wouldn't it stand to reason that a battery of the same type and size rated 230CCA and 10AH would be more powerful and have an easier time starting the car?

November 5th, 2015, 10:22 PM
The CA rating has about nothing to do with the RC rating in practice. While they are ultimately related, battery construction plays heavily into CA ratings. Two physically similar batteries could have wildly different CA ratings due to construction variances, but their RC rating will not vary wildly because it's dictated almost entirely by size. Also, the CA rating is limited by battery capacity - the CA rating is based on a full charge. If a tiny battery has self-discharged from sitting, it's CA rating will be compromised

If the battery is not returning to full charge after a 20-30 minute drive or is self-discharging excessively, something is wrong. Sulfated plates or internal damage? Starting a car with an undersized battery - especially a non-sealed one - can cause rapid sulfation leading to an inability to properly charge. Same thing happens when a battery is excessively discharged. Might also look at the alternator or cabling... maybe a shortage there?

November 5th, 2015, 11:15 PM
If the battery posts are seeing 14+V with the car running, doesn't that rule out the alternator and cables?

This battery probably did suffer "excessive discharge" at some point from not using the car for a while. [A normal battery would have been ok for this length of time I suspect. Or, I should at least say, still had some capacity to start the car].

November 6th, 2015, 07:29 AM
Another thing to think about was what the temperature was when you guys tried to restart the car. Go for a drive, get everything up to temp for a good 30 minutes, let some heat soak happen, then try and restart the car after 30. The issue I think you are having is the temperature underhood is driving up the required amperage for turnover, and the 120CA isn't enough with the added issue of a possibly damaged battery.

November 6th, 2015, 09:08 AM
Agreed - the quick restarts in the garage really aren't representative of a battery under the hood of a car. A battery at optimal temp (~80 degrees) is more efficient than a very cold or very hot battery.

What you're facing is what I've been dealing with for way too long... over the last year I've purchased 7 new car batteries and I'm not looking to do that again, hence my sudden interest in desulfating battery maintainers. :)

November 6th, 2015, 10:00 AM
Tempereature related, we've never had a problem starting the car on grid at an autocross between runs, where under-hood temps should be the highest. The last time the car didn't start it was 1) taken off the battery charger and started, 2) driven for 15 minutes with 5 minutes of highway cruising, 3) parked for an hour, 4) started again and driven 10 minutes around town, plus 5 minutes of idling in the driveway, and 5) 5 or 10 minutes later it wouldn't start again.

I have a Battery Tender, bought specifically because it's safe for LiFePO4 batteries and is cheap. Maybe something else is worth looking at.

November 6th, 2015, 10:03 AM
Seems like you've got all the relevant check boxed marked... any chance it's the starter that's having the problem? When it wouldn't start, were other electronics working properly?

November 6th, 2015, 12:32 PM
As far as I know yeah, there's enough power to work the door locks and gauges anyway. Wouldn't a starter not really work or get stuck on when it begins to fail? The symptoms here are classic weak battery - the starter turns slowly until it slows to a stop and then the clicking sound starts.

November 6th, 2015, 12:53 PM
Starters typically begin failure with excessive amp draws. Eventually that becomes inability to do anything, but before functional failure they will require more amperage to work. A weak starter could definitely overpower an undersized battery.

But, yeah, your scenario really sounds like a weak battery and that's obviously the easiest & cheapest approach... just throwing out alternative scenarios.

FWIW, the 120cca is almost a non-starter for an automobile engine. You'll typically see a big inrush demand (250a) followed by a lower continual draw (150a) that can rise rapidly with ongoing cranking as heat (loss) builds. The Miata could be less (even way less) draw, but these numbers are not uncommon. Forcing a 120cca-rated battery to dump 250a would lead to a very short lifespan most likely. IMHO, the PC680 is about the minimum spec I'd run for an average car. That's what led me to Braille (after you suggested them :) ), as their whole "pulse cranking amps" rating suggests they can handle those bigger starter loads. So far, so good. ;)

November 6th, 2015, 03:01 PM
My girl and I have each had issues with short-lived PC680s in the past, so you just never know really.

120CCA definitely seems low. I had no idea it was that low till I looked it up (this is what the car came with).

Today I started the MX-5 (no charger overnight), well, barely. It was cranking really slow but I held the key and it cranked a little faster, a little faster, a little faster till the engine caught and started running. Drove ~7 minutes to the bank. Came out 5 minutes later and the car started just fine, like a normal car. Over the past 2 days it's almost like the battery has been inching back to life on its own.

Such randomness. I'm thoroughly confused but whatever. :) New battery should be here in a few days.

November 6th, 2015, 03:47 PM
If the plates got sulfated, a few charge/discharge cycles could help break the structures and get it back to working okay. It'll have a compromised lifespan, but could be okay in the middle. I nursed an Optima Redtop in my SPG for two years before finally getting tired of being afraid it wasn't going to actually start one day and finally replaced it.

I think a lot of these issues have to do with cheap batteries... there is definitely a push to reduce the cost of production across the board, and crap a battery would have put up with 10 years ago just doesn't fly anymore. Kinda sucks.

December 9th, 2015, 01:51 PM
The new battery (https://www.batterysharks.com/SigmasTek-ST14B-4-p/st14b-4_m12-12-135-k.htm) worked great for the last week we had the MX-5. The car could sit for a few days and start up just like a normal car. No issues. Remains to be seen if the new owner tells me they couldn't get it started to get it off the boat when it gets to port in HI. :o

350Z on stock springs/shocks but retaining all the other go-fast goodies (sway bars, camber arms, diff, bushings, wide wheels and decent tires) is very progressive, and nicely balanced. Just a little lazy in transitions. Stock shocks control the body motion pretty well I think.

January 11th, 2016, 07:38 PM
It finally happened. After 15 years and hundreds of careful, successful tire changes, I broke a stud today. Actually two, right next to each other. :?

Wonder why it happened. Here's how I put a wheel on: I make sure the wheel is on square, with a hubcentric ring and everything. I start the lug nuts by hand, spin 'em all on with my low torque (~70ft-lbs in practical use) impact gun, lower the car enough to get sufficient weight on that tire to keep it from rotating (this was a front tire), then use a torque wrench to tighten in a star pattern, and then lower the car the rest of the way and remove the jack.

The only step I'm aware of that I didn't take to prevent stud breakage is anti-seize. It's one of those things I've been meaning to do but always forget to pick some up at the parts store. However, the lug nuts definitely weren't seized or difficult on the studs. Threads are clean, no issues. I am using 3mm spacers for these wheels.

It's possible the wide wheels and tires contributed to fatigue. I've been running sticky racing tires on most of my cars for years. Significantly wider wheels, that's been less common. I believe stock front wheels on the Base 350Z are 7.5" wide. I run 11s. But, to my knowledge all 350Z studs are the same and the swanky NISMO wheels are 9" and 10"...

Anyway, I'll be learning how to do this tomorrow, provided I can find some (if nothing at the dealer, I'll have to resort to O'Reilly's or the like - hopefully their studs don't suck). I'm going to do the hammer-out-and-draw-in method because I really don't feel like going to a shop with the entire hub assembly removed. Wish me luck!

January 11th, 2016, 08:03 PM
Forearms by Nissan? ;) #goodluck

January 11th, 2016, 09:34 PM
Probably just fatigue. I killed two on the Fiero while on the road! I've heard rumors of XR4Ti owners snapping studs - 4xM12 on doesn't support a lot of load. :(

Unless you have a specific reason to, you don't want to use anti-seize anywhere you don't have to. Anti-seize changes the characteristics of a fastener and will result in over-torquing - eg, your wrench says 90 lb ft but it's actually 110 lb ft. Check this thread:


Based on what you describe, I think the break was lucky coincidence. If it didn't happen now, it would have happened on the road. :)

You can typically hit up Napa for decent quality studs. I would personally not use a hammer to get them out. It will probably work, but it could warp the hub. Run by Autozone, get a ball joint kit, and use it to press the studs out. You may end up removing the hub anyway - a lot of cars don't have enough clearance between hub and flange to actually withdraw the stud. :(

Here's a balljoint tool in action, removing studs:


January 11th, 2016, 11:19 PM
I've heard it's easier to draw a new stud in crooked with a tool like that. It might not be a bad idea to get one anyway, though. I'm sure someday I'll end up having to replace a ball joint.

Up front, the 350Z hub splash shield has a cutout with plenty of room for studs out the back so there's no need to remove the hub. Down the line sometime I'd like to replace the wheel bearings and get a set of bull-nosed extended studs of superior quality, but right now I need the car ready for this weekend.

Interesting tidbit on the anti-seize. Never knew that. So what's the right way to keep wheel studs happy?

Edit - where does most fatigue come from? Overtorquing? Age? Repeated wheel changes? A change in scrub radius? I've owned a ton of 'older' cars and have cornered all of them at their limits, often on much stickier tires than they were designed for. So I'm thinking the fatigue may not have a whole lot to do with that. I know wheel bearings tend to wear out a lot sooner with lots of camber and making full use of the lateral grip capabilities of sticky tires.

January 11th, 2016, 11:36 PM
Reason I had the wheel off (well all the wheels really) was to re-install the race suspension after having the custom Konis serviced. We also had the rear shocks shortened by a half inch or so for more compression travel. We lose a bit of droop travel with this but I don't think it will be a problem autocrossing with the torsen diff based on how little droop there is with the rear sway bar connected, compared to how far the suspension can actually droop with the bar disconnected and both ends of the car in the air.

Speaking of the rear bar, at some point during the couple months with the stock springs/shocks on, the car lost an end link nut and that end of the bar disconnected. Whoops. No idea when that happened. Today I found an identical nut I had lying around so that's back on and hopefully won't come loose this time.

January 11th, 2016, 11:38 PM
Forearms by Nissan? ;) #goodluck

Did I ever tell you about the time I shattered the oven door by opening it? :lol:

January 12th, 2016, 07:02 AM
Sounds like somebody's been weightlifting his trophies.

January 12th, 2016, 07:05 AM
That sucks, but obviously super sweet that it happened when/where it did.

Must have something to do with repeated wheel removal/installation? I'm no metallurgist (despite my user title), so I have no idea. Unless there was a defect in those two studs to begin with.

January 12th, 2016, 08:33 AM
Per the torque spec. Your initial torque load shouldn't be more than 30% of the max torque.

Second level is 66%, then final level is torque load.

Per antisieze, I have a torque sheet that breaks down what the difference is between dry and lubed.

January 12th, 2016, 09:45 AM
breaks down what the difference is between dry and lubed.

January 12th, 2016, 11:01 AM
I've heard it's easier to draw a new stud in crooked with a tool like that. It might not be a bad idea to get one anyway, though. I'm sure someday I'll end up having to replace a ball joint.

Definitely don't install with that tool, just remove. It saves having to bang on the hub flange with a hammer and risk damage. To install, I would personally recommend the Lisle 22800 wheel stud installer. It is perfect and flawless and cheap. Looks like this:


Interesting tidbit on the anti-seize. Never knew that. So what's the right way to keep wheel studs happy?

Given California, just don't overtighten them. That's really it. No need for any sort of treatment. Back east where lug nuts could seize something may (but isn't necessarily) called for. Out here, no need.

January 12th, 2016, 05:22 PM
I can't remember if it's just these wheels, or these lugnuts, or the studs, but I do often hear a squeaking as I'm torquing down the lug nuts. Never liked that. No idea why, it just feels/sounds a little wrong.

Stud replacement was looking pretty grim most of today. I couldn't find the ball joint separator tool anywhere. Finally after 7 stores, Harbor Freight came through. They have a new closer location in town that I didn't know about until today. Score.

Everything went pretty well I'd say. The 22mm caliper bracket bolts didn't give me any grief, the OMG heavy caliper retained the pads, there was a convenient hole in the upper 3rd link to zip-tie the caliper to, and there was plenty of room to work around the hub especially since I turned the wheel. I used the ball joint separator to remove the first broken stud and was cranking, and cranking, and cranking.... starting to get nervous... and BANG! The stud flew. Glad I was wearing eye protection, even though it went nowhere near my face. I devised a new strategy for the second broken stud. I sprayed it with PB Blaster, got the tool to put decent pressure on the stud, and gave a modest hit with the hammer. Came right out. Much better.

I did use the same tool to draw the new studs in. I had them in the freezer for a couple hours. I cleaned up the empty holes and tried to soak up what remaining PB Blaster I could, then started a new stud and put the tool in place. The trick is to align the tool *just so* so that you're drawing the stud in straight. It'll want to go a little crooked at first, but very light taps with the hammer at the end of the threads straighten it out just fine. From there it's easier to keep it straight as it continues to draw in with the tool.

In the end, replacing 2 studs took less time than buying a ball joint separator. :rolleyes:

January 12th, 2016, 05:25 PM

Glad it went so well!

January 12th, 2016, 06:27 PM
So static ride height is determined by spring perch location and spring rate.... right? Right? I can't figure out why the rear end sits about 1/2" lower now after having the shocks shortened 1/2". The 350Z rear suspension has a separate spring and shock, not a coilover. I didn't touch the rear spring perches while they were out. This is going to make me crazy. :lol:

Not my car, but same general idea and location of the adjustable spring perch: http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h179/mdracer76/BC%20Install%20Photos/IMG_3511.jpg

January 12th, 2016, 06:42 PM
Were the shocks de-gassed? That can lower ride height; common "trick" back in the day...

January 12th, 2016, 06:45 PM
Given there is sufficient shock travel and no change to the spring free length, yep. Unless maybe you haven't driven it and the suspension is jacked out and not in their natural resting place.

January 12th, 2016, 06:49 PM
If it is a zero droop design, or if the pressure of the shocks themselves changed, the suspension will have a different ride height. I would contact the company for input.

January 13th, 2016, 10:04 AM
Definitely not zero droop. Gotta have some droop with a torsen! :)

Gas pressure shouldn't have changed according to ProParts.

I'm now wondering if I forgot a spacer or isolator in the rear spring assemblage, but I don't think so. I don't believe either OEM rubber isolator is to be used with the aftermarket rear spring/perch/mount. I've asked the previous owner for confirmation, but I remember being able to take the whole aftermarket spring setup out as one piece, I set it aside in the garage stacked as it would have been in the car, and never touched it. Three cheers for tiny helper springs you can compress by hand. :)

January 13th, 2016, 12:57 PM
So it turns out I'm a forgetful idjit (I know, shock surprise!). I was indeed supposed to re-use one of the OEM rubber isolators in the spring bucket. It's been so long since I removed the race suspension, and I didn't take photos, so I forgot. Silly me.

January 13th, 2016, 01:07 PM
Derp? :D

January 16th, 2016, 06:54 AM
Hey Bryan... this isn't really what this thread is for, but...

Wanna be on my 15 year old son's team for the 24 Hours of Daytona on iRacing next weekend? (23rd & 24th)

(You never know unless you ask, right? ;) )

They could use a West Coast driver... right now they have 2 in Florida and 1 in Vermont. They're gonna run a DP. I asked Ed (NoQuarter), but he doesn't have time. I work all weekend. :( My son is faster than I ever was (GB24Hours) at GT or GPL.

January 17th, 2016, 08:49 AM
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/qEw3QfgYRwMjVBIMieAeTvJ2dWMYhKu0PkwyVfAopqtPMpX_sa lBecuYR5ZM01zy5nXuB10lY02VHWB0jgTHN5GT4x6YyWa7fcTD gCIqc394ml6zcRTOTEXp__1tI34jiwFm174er8R9UULSbXZqaU 5JflubzALtANKzguz3H2YW8CdfbRIZABpdmJw6suAWYJ3HokJa 4vwdE1CJzy0nX4LxLgQgwkTJB8etePYjKJxelnUJ15vPi2nioq _WEAapH_fXR4zSMga5pv2R6U_hhO7MvzeRTWl8cTffayMOG1lT fVrUeKV1TVWWFrQFR6Ov3mK4SswcsMXZrhZw9I4xOI9sZ1WfFL ZW3ApWozduldv2KU-bIy82swk3Q55y3WE4CO-x_TvtA20x84qotA6VhaNVTncY_rOfcACPGCF5ohdWivGXsjGAE _NXOARa9djf4xi23HnweBTiKkW2k0FHlp23QQSl4sGOtNNopMq 0gZDZI_n7NbjzyOHeQi_UJxKaQwannoeuD8QHINWLgNi3bj04D P8WXtp3llMD3ROn3H9pyEml6Ka8l2rht436l1dvw49QKQ=w412-h721-no

January 17th, 2016, 11:08 AM
That is not a valid link.

January 17th, 2016, 02:09 PM


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/y-pbIZi1ff9W10hkK-6-ugef1s9NS0VwV-o1enaDfTU-Rep8b1Wc3Zxxjio4EiAnjqZNcVctyHMtl9G-6YxnVC8yr_kmcbKtCRwdL0dSXVTsAi1fmrEkdo8BA2QkGhoRcG-BhIlkLQkZHWWmFFaraYSUpHQP8qKwcty-f7yCTEVjZCeIw1nR0019bz-NcNlSazZBQM9KU_bpX73Z5L2eP-losUx-cf6Z11mlI1NIe8yACdaAAQ-i0rPeu9bfvojzNU2niAGNcDeYmQ9mp0A_5L5b0mskHszgD-TlvILkAYMbKPpHRxTSLGXltVfBSUrS-Ro4QHWXt7sobbOPRW4U7raQN8BfcKurFFFzwHGHeKG71dKPzlk fYggvIyamG-HEX-pwAP3QfOAYqmHx1EhGw2buN-WwIqQF6aOnsermgLvGEfh7657Z738Z74J9hvI4LNsRCudCKy47 DJbfU1z2K17a-ubVaNWMcx4M8RNXDtQBWz6EgZB0pFeMnc_wLaYpWNsIADLfk0F 72mrO1aGOo66qlVuNW7z6R-3oVab-nAmjQWNtYm2o8LKlNHM87qOOkWVyoA=w412-h721-no

January 17th, 2016, 03:28 PM
Oh yeah, that's it. ;)

January 19th, 2016, 07:41 AM
That kid has amazing hair.

GB, I already turned down my old iRacing team (Podium Assault) for that race. I love it but it's not to be this year. Good luck to your son's team! 24 hour sim races are awesome.

January 19th, 2016, 07:50 PM
Cool man... like I said, you never know unless you ask!

I wonder if DickDastardly (Simon) has iRacing...


January 24th, 2016, 07:53 AM
After 14.5 hours of racing, running in 10th place out of 25 Daytona Prototypes, my son got it wrong passing slower traffic while entering the bus stop. They came together, sending my son into the inside wall at 90mph. :( The repairs were going to take 55 minutes, so they packed it in.

They were doing pretty well. One of the guys dropped out, so there were only 2 of them on their team. My son completed 240 laps, his teammate had 234.

Just wait till next year!

January 24th, 2016, 08:17 AM
Almost make me want to get into that...

January 24th, 2016, 10:38 AM
Sounds stressful!!

January 24th, 2016, 12:35 PM
Yeah, it's not easy. One of the hardest parts of a virtual 24H race is keeping all the drivers ready when they need to be. Stuff happens, pit stops get off sequence so there can be a lot to manage if some drivers are sleeping. Helps to have a global team, with a couple guys to cover the majority of their daylight hours.

350Z is throwing O2 sensor codes (first sensor, driver side + second sensor, passenger side) and a misfire code. It started trembling at idle a couple days ago. I've not had a chance to take a look at the car yet. Hopefully soon.

The car worked great last weekend on the rebuilt/shortened shocks:

January 24th, 2016, 12:47 PM
I have wanted to do a 24 hour online race, but my talent and time zone are not useful enough for anyone.

January 24th, 2016, 02:04 PM
I'd look into the missfire first and foremost, the o2 codes are secondary to the missfire. When was the last time plugs were done on the car?

January 24th, 2016, 02:48 PM
350Z is throwing O2 sensor codes (first sensor, driver side + second sensor, passenger side) and a misfire code. It started trembling at idle a couple days ago. I've not had a chance to take a look at the car yet. Hopefully soon.

That's what happened to the Altima as it slowly died. "Tune up" and plug swaps didn't fix it, some suggested I needed a new timing chain, one place suggested an entire new engine.

January 24th, 2016, 03:52 PM
Went and checked things out for myself. Codes were cleared. Started engine. With A/C off the idle runs a few hundred RPM high for a period of time (I didn't time it - 30secs?), then lower for a period of time. As if the A/C was cycling on and off (but it isn't). As the engine warmed up the 'low' side of the idle (since it's alternating between two idle speeds - and to be honest I have no idea if this is new since the car runs with A/C on 99% of the time) went lower, down to 700RPM or so. Ran kind of rough but not too bad. Trembling a little. I thought the idle RPM was too low because when the RPMs would rise back up to the "high" level, the trembling would stop. So with my laptop I set the idle speed up 100RPM and... it still trembles on the 'low' RPM side even though the RPMs are high enough that they should be fine.

No more O2 sensor codes this time, just a P0300. "Random/multiple" misfire code. Most unhelpful, since I can't narrow it down to one cylinder. I did the cylinder de-activation test, switching off one cylinder at a time, and the car ran worse with each of them. So it doesn't appear to be one particular cylinder causing a problem.

Doing some reading, P0300 on these engines can mean just about anything, from fuel filter to PCV valve to vacuum leak to MAF and everything in between. Now I did put a new PCV valve in a couple weeks ago but that's pretty hard to screw up on these cars, and the hose is silicone so it's not leaking.

So this could end up being a long process.

The fact that it's subtle, and I can't narrow it down to one cylinder, seems to me to indicate something more "outside" the combustion chamber area, like a vacuum leak or dying MAF or something.

January 24th, 2016, 05:31 PM
It's tough to know whether it's an A:F issue or spark issue. I had the same issue on the Volvo and the Jag - the Volvo was bad spark plugs and the Jag was the MAF. Plugging in an OBDII tool can help narrow down the problem if you can watch live data - check out the MAF flow rate, fuel trims, and 1st O2 sensor performance. Those will typically point you in the right direction. The bouncy idle does suggest A:F more than spark, but who knows?

January 24th, 2016, 05:40 PM
I'd describe the idle more as switching between two speeds every ~30 seconds, rather than bouncing. What should I look for MAF readings, fuel trims, and primary O2 sensor readings? I know I can view at least some of that with UpRev data cable and Cipher software on my laptop. My OBDII scan tool is a $20 cheapie with no live viewing abilities.

T already had the MAF out yesterday, was going to clean it, but I looked at the element and it looks squeaky clean so I said not to bother. Maybe will try it anyway and see what happens. The misfire doesn't seem particularly bad, so I'm hopeful that idling the car from time to time isn't going to melt the cats.

Previous owner (meticulous on maintenance and quality parts) says he did the plugs shortly after he bought the car, so it wasn't that long ago. Still could be spark-related with a coil pack or connection somewhere.

Don't know if I mentioned it, but I'm theorizing the misfire led to the O2 sensor codes. O2 sensors usually exhibit different symptoms when they go bad, IME.

January 24th, 2016, 06:56 PM
With the MAF you're looking for consistent response from a given throttle opening & engine speed.
This is a solid page on fuel trims: http://www.easterncatalytic.com/education/tech-tips/fuel-trim-can-be-a-valuable-diagnostic-tool/
Typically, LTTF should be around 5%, but can go a little higher. Generally +/-8% or higher indicates a problem.
I don't know what type of O2 sensors are on the Z, but I'd assume widebands. They don't behave like narrow band sensors bouncing around, so you're looking for changing output with different engine behavior.

What codes are the O2 sensors throwing? I don't think there are too many scenarios when an upstream problem would cause an O2 sensor code. Codes are typically generated from faults (voltage out of range, nonresponse, heater failure, etc.) and not from valid though unexpected readings. That is, I don't think there are any O2 sensor codes a misfire could cause. Is it possible you have the opposite problem? A bad sensor causing goofy fuel trims that result in a misfire?

January 24th, 2016, 08:44 PM
I suppose it's possible. It would seem unlikely that two out of four sensors, on different banks, on different sides of their respective cats, would go bad at the same time. When I did the testing with the laptop today, the O2 sensor codes did not come back (T had found them and cleared them yesterday).

More updates tomorrow, I suspect.

Edit - T remembered the specific O2 sensor codes. P0138 and P0152. High Voltage codes for Bank 1 Sensor 2, and Bank 2 Sensor 1, respectively.

January 24th, 2016, 09:30 PM
I don't know this for certain, but I don't think a rich mixture will yield a high voltage code. I think that would just yield a P0175 or similar. The high voltage codes are for "off the scale" high voltages - that would be a fault in the ECM, the wiring, or the sensor itself. Maybe you have bad wire routing (headers?) and wiring got cooked? Wonky O2 sensors will *definitely* cause idle flux.

January 24th, 2016, 10:25 PM
One of the wires was resting against the header. BUT, it's wrapped in this thick foil heat insulation stuff. That stuff was mildly burned, I peeled it back and the next layer looked perfect. That was the wire for Bank 2 Sensor 1. But could it mess up the wiring inside if the aftermarket heatshield wrap was only 50% compromised?

I figured out a way to ziptie that wire out of the way so it can't rest on the header anymore.

The other side has never been near the header but we got a code for that too.

January 25th, 2016, 08:59 AM
If the header burned the shield, I suppose there is reason for concern the internal wiring could be damaged but it's impossible to know for sure without looking. If you have access to the sensor connector, I'd use a continuity tester to check between each of the presumably five wires. The high voltage code would typically be generated if a signal wire melted to a heater wire (you get 12v back on a 5v circuit). You should not get continuity on any pair of wires, though depending on your tester you might see it across the heating element. I agree it's very unlikely both banks got hosed simultaneously in this way.

Another scenario could be poisoning - if you've got a blown head gasket or put certain chemicals in the fuel that stuff can coat the sensor and create a high voltage. O2 sensors work by comparing oxygen levels in the exhaust to the atmosphere, and if the sensor is coated there will be nothing to compare, causing that abnormally high voltage. That's a pretty specific scenario, but it can exist.

If your scan tool can read the sensor output you'll be able to see what they're reporting and have a better idea of the nature of the problem. If you're getting 12v, you can be assured the heater circuit is backfeeding the sensor. ;) Do note that wideband sensors don't output 0-1v like narrowband sensors, they change current based on an reference voltage. Depending on what your scan tool reads, you may see their native output (in mA) or you may see the ECM reported values (typically in V). Less is richer, more is leaner. The ECM reported voltage varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but I believe 3.3v is a reasonably common stoich reference voltage; 0-5v is the scale. If you're seeing under 5v, you have a high but attainable value. If you see greater than 5v, something is almost certainly broken (wiring, sensors, ECM, etc.)

January 25th, 2016, 09:08 AM
I should have just driven my Altima to California and let you figure it out. I hope Cuda's car doesn't meet the same fate mine did :( #justsaynotocoldairintakes

January 25th, 2016, 09:23 AM
I was trying to find Nissan's reference voltage but found this, a good read if you're curious:


January 25th, 2016, 09:25 AM
I should have just driven my Altima to California and let you figure it out. I hope Cuda's car doesn't meet the same fate mine did :( #justsaynotocoldairintakes

I guess one advantage of having too many cars is that I am free to bang my head against problems basically forever and still get to work. I fought that Jetta for months trying to not have to buy a cat and got real close with reading O2 sensor feedback. Still had to buy a cat, but I did learn something. :)

January 25th, 2016, 12:43 PM
What's wrong with cold air intakes, Keith?

January 25th, 2016, 01:31 PM
From what I understand, the oiled filter on my cold air intake is the reason my MAF sensors kept dying, and the issues brought on by that were very similar if not identical to what eventually could not be rid from the car completely. Now I have a perhaps unwarranted fear of all intake modifications.

January 25th, 2016, 01:52 PM
I think a lot of people go nuts with the oil. If you do it right there really shouldn't be any issues (but definitely still could be). I've had open K&Ns on Saabs since the '90s. Still, now that AEM etc. have dry filters, there isn't much reason to use a K&N anyway. :shrug: Still, given how much work manufacturers put into motors these days, I seriously doubt there is much to be had with an air filter change on most cars. I don't think anybody leaves much on the table anymore.

January 25th, 2016, 02:41 PM
Cai is for the noise more than anything. Some simple math can prove that.

January 25th, 2016, 04:18 PM
Oh yeah, I'm no fan of oiled filter elements either. Seen a few MAF sensor elements coated in black goop in my short time messing with cars. This stuff (http://www.amazon.com/CRC-05110-Mass-Sensor-Cleaner/dp/B000J19XSA) works pretty well for that. But still, I run dry filters when I can.


So I did some datalogging now that I know a bit more about what to look for. I don't have access to fuel pressure data but MAF voltage seems fairly stable, and the one thing I did recognize as an anomaly is the O2 sensor behavior. The post-cat sensors both show constant 0.28v. The pre-cat sensors differ from each other, however. One goes back and forth from near 0v to near 1v (not quite reaching either). Slowly at idle, more quickly at ~2,000RPM. The other sensor moves from about 0.5v and 1.2v at idle, pretty slowly and with no detectable rhythm. At 2,000RPM it reads about 1.8v to 2.5v. That's Bank 2, which is driver's side if I can assume cylinders 2,4,6 are Bank 2. That's the sensor that had the toasty wire resting on the header.

I inspected the cats before starting the car and they look ok to me. The rear O2 sensors have a black appearance on the sensor element. No buildup.

So I am thinking replace the one O2 sensor and go from there. I'll also ask the PO when they were last replaced, see if I should really do them all ($$$). Worth noting I did hold RPMs around 2200 for 30 seconds to see if readings changed significantly, and once I let the car return to idle the trembling didn't return. Funny.

January 25th, 2016, 04:34 PM
Here are the cats, looking towards the rear of the car. Left one shows some signs of melting but nothing too bad in my uneducated opinion. Right one looks perfect.


You can also see the flatspot in the left one. Darn speedbumps. :x

January 25th, 2016, 06:02 PM
So I am thinking replace the one O2 sensor and go from there. I'll also ask the PO when they were last replaced, see if I should really do them all ($$$). Worth noting I did hold RPMs around 2200 for 30 seconds to see if readings changed significantly, and once I let the car return to idle the trembling didn't return. Funny.

WBO2 sensors don't behave like NBO2 sensors, they have a more gradual, linear response relative to input rather than bouncing voltages. The 0-1v is suspect IMHO. None of that is normal. The rhythmless one is a *more* normal behavior but still seems a bit off stoich from what I'd expect... IIRC you have an ECM tune so maybe that explains that. If it's not too much of a pain, before spending money you might consider swapping the two and seeing if the behaviors follow them. I don't know what the test is offhand, but you might check the heater circuits (with an ohm meter) - maybe the sensor(s) isn't getting up to temp, and once you've put some heat in it via the exhaust, it starts working better. Hey, at least the steady low voltage on the second sensors mean your cats are healthy! :)

January 25th, 2016, 06:27 PM
Hm. Doing some reading, the RevUp VQs were the first ones to get wideband O2 sensors. The early VQ35DEs (like mine) have regular O2 sensors. Also the monitoring software, or the ECU, or whatever controls that readout, labels them "NB-O2 Sensor 1, Bank 2" etc. I think I have narrow-band O2 sensors. They have 4 wires each.

January 25th, 2016, 06:53 PM
Good info!

Narrowband sensors operate between 0v and 1v, widebands are presented (via ECM) as 0v-5v. If you are seeing anything greater than 1v on a narrowband, something is wrong. I could very well be mistaken, but I don't think narrowband sensors are electrically capable of presenting >1v. So, yeah. something is wrong on that side - it's not an upstream issue.

I think it'd be worth swapping the O2 sensor connectors. It might make the engine a little screwy, but you will be able to see very quickly whether it's the ECM or its side of the harness, or the O2 sensor and its side.

January 25th, 2016, 06:53 PM
The amount of wires does not denote if they are wide or narrow. the ECM will also not likely say WBO2. Look on the O2 sensors for a part number or something that you might be able to trace down, that will be about the only easy way to tell.

January 26th, 2016, 07:12 PM
ECM or engine harness is unlikely IMO. Possible but unlikely. The engine bay is in pretty good shape, nothing's brittle or tattered. More likely the O2 sensor has failed or the wiring was baked by resting on the header.

I removed the offending sensor and unwrapped the heat shield material. The wiring has been extended, as I suspected. Seems some people are concerned with adding wiring length to O2 sensors and how different methods or materials (some say O2 sensor wiring is not copper?) affect resistance/voltage/whatever (someday I really need to take a class on electricity and learn this stuff proper!). I am probably just going to duplicate what is there so that it (presumably) matches the other side. Some folks use butt connectors but I'm not a big fan of those. I was thinking of using this project to get another soldering lesson from my dad.

New Denso sensor ordered. OEM is NTK but I felt like saving $30 and I think Denso usually makes decent quality parts. RockAuto was $60 shipped sometime in 3 to 9 business days, Amazon was $61 with Prime shipping and tax. Amazon it is.

Thanks as always for the ideas here. Every time I have an issue I learn something. I'll probably be pretty good at this car fixing stuff by the time I'm 80. :lol: But then I'll have to delegate due to geriatricness.

January 27th, 2016, 10:39 AM
I used to worry about extending O2 sensor wire too, but after reading a lot during the initial days of Megasquirt and such I'm less concerned. On narrow band sensors, they are so inaccurate anyway that a little extra resistance isn't going to change anything. Widebands work on a totally different principle and aren't really affected by a typical extension. As long as you use appropriate wire and don't create a big resistance spot with your splice connection, it's just not going to matter in a meaningful way. Resistance of 18ga primary wire is about 6 ohms per 1000' - adding a couple feet in the middle of something is virtually electrically invisible. :) I do believe most O2 sensor wire is not copper, but the chassis-side wiring always is as far as I've seen. Adding a little copper to the sensor side isn't going to hurt anything. :)

Don't rule out butt connectors. In *general*, soldering is frowned upon in an automotive environment because the union is brittle and can be damaged by heat cycles and vibration. You will not find a lot of solder joints in a car - just lots of crimps. Crimped butt connectors are mechanically more secure and using quality butt connectors will give a better, more reliable connection. I would personally recommend either Molex Permaseal or Posi Posi-Lock - the latter are what Bosch recommends, in fact, versus soldering. A cheaper approach is a non-insulated crimp union with heat shrink over it. Do not use those crap Radio Shack nylon-insulated butts - they are the worst of all worlds. :) If you do solder, make sure you also use heat-shrink - in addition to sealing out moisture which can cause corrosion and high resistance, it also mechanically reinforces the union. I've said it elsewhere, but Harbor Freight has *the deal* on their marine-grade (adhesive-lined) heat shrink.

I like the Denso O2 sensors too - I still buy Bosch sensors for the Euro cars for no good reason, but everything else has a Denso. Well, except for the Jag as its OE sensor is Denso. :) Actually, I buy a lot of Denso stuff and have never been let down.

January 27th, 2016, 11:13 AM
Good stuff. :up: I'm a big fan of the Posi-Lock connectors that Crutchfield sells for car stereo installations, but the non-inline shape the wiring ends up with is not ideal for O2 sensor wiring. Interesting to see they make in-line stuff, too. I'll have to find some of that. And some additional length of wiring shroud (whatever it's called) to slip over the extended section.

February 7th, 2016, 11:01 PM
Finally got the extension done. In-line Posi-Lock connectors, heat shrink tubing (had to use 1" diameter tubing to fit over the 4 Posi-Lock connectors but it worked), and braided sleeving. Plus the old heat wrap that was there before. Should be good for a while. :up:

Re-set the ECU, started it up and let it warm up while eyeing the O2 sensor voltage readings. All looked good. In fact the new sensor is making the older sensor on the other bank look a little lazy.

But I think we're back in business. No CEL codes and no trembling idle. It doesn't idle super smoothly so there may be yet a tiny issue, or it might just be a VQ on solid(ish) motor/tranny mounts thing.

February 8th, 2016, 03:36 AM
You found your culprit. Saying the new sebsor makes the other look lazy is the key phrase I was looking to hear.

February 8th, 2016, 06:34 AM
Wait...that was it? I could have fixed the Altima by just extending some sensor wires? Instead I'm making payments on a car that is smaller, slower, less comfortable and with worse mileage...but at least it has Bluetooth :|

February 8th, 2016, 06:47 AM
I thought you had an ms3?

February 8th, 2016, 07:01 AM
Nice fix! I love it when diagnostics point at a problem and that's actually the sum total of it! :D

If you watch the scan tool, you should get some good resolution on MAF and engine speed - helps to divorce what you feel from solid mounts from actual engine fluctuation. :)

February 8th, 2016, 07:14 AM
I thought you had an ms3?

I do now, because the Altima died. The Altima was better than the MS3 in almost all ways.

February 8th, 2016, 08:58 AM
Wait...that was it? I could have fixed the Altima by just extending some sensor wires? Instead I'm making payments on a car that is smaller, slower, less comfortable and with worse mileage...but at least it has Bluetooth :|

Is something broken on your MS3, or do you just not like turbo power delivery?

An MS3 and a 3rd gen Altima are similarly quick, with the MS3 being a bit quicker through the quarter, since they're at least as, if not more powerful and weigh less.

February 8th, 2016, 09:01 AM
The MS3 has slightly more torque, but the Altima (in its heyday) had more power since it doesn't fall off a cliff towards redline.

February 8th, 2016, 09:08 AM
Keith, I've read on The Internet that this (http://www.carmax.com/enus/view-car/default.html?id=12302991&AVi=19&No=0&Rp=R&D=90&zip=53719&N=4294963103+4294962697+4294961236+4294960554+799&Us=15&Q=9bc3baae-4ce6-4aec-99a1-3b741d5d47e9&Ep=search:results:results%20page) would fix that problem with your MS3. #threadjack

February 8th, 2016, 09:19 AM
Dang, I didn't know they were getting that cheap

February 8th, 2016, 09:23 AM
That better top end breathing only manifests itself in objective results above 100mph.

Remember, we're talking about the Altima that's listed at 240 crank horsepower vs the MS3 that frequently makes that much at the wheels. Altimas may have been rated conservatively so as not to take away from Maxima sales, but MS3s were rated conservatively as well.

February 8th, 2016, 11:02 AM
Ok, so the Altima only *felt* faster rather than being faster.

It was still more comfortable (both the seats and the ride), had more interior space, a better turning radius, better (and automatic) headlights, bigger trunk and better real-world mileage.

February 8th, 2016, 11:34 AM
I'll sign off on all the rest of that. Except automatic headlights, as I have a Grand Touring package car that includes auto HIDs and wipers.

February 8th, 2016, 12:36 PM
You just need a bigger turbo, Keith. :D

February 8th, 2016, 05:12 PM
Keith, I imagine something else must have been going on with your Altima if multiple mechanics couldn't fix it. Random misfires can be caused by any number of things. And I'm pretty sure driving it for very long in this condition would start to bring on other problems. In my case the UpRev engine monitoring software was able to tell me one O2 sensor was reading outside of its intended parameters. Now, I didn't know what the paramaters should have been until I learned from the conversation in this thread. But now I know a few more things than I used to. :)

People say working on modern cars is tough, but I have an easier time with it than working on old cars. Better metallurgy, better design, the ability to monitor systems and perform basic tests from a home laptop... the only downside is room to work, in some cases. I may own a classic car again in the future and it sends chills down my spine thinking about the endless rust, fluid/grease seeping, carburetor tuning, electrical gremlins and corrosion, etc.

Here's part of the log from after the sensor replacement. I held RPMs around 2200 for the first part of the test (after the engine was warmed up) and then let it idle for the second part.


February 8th, 2016, 05:15 PM
Wait...that was it? I could have fixed the Altima by just extending some sensor wires?
Just for clarity, I replaced one O2 sensor. The O2 sensor wires were already extended because of the headers on the car, and because the sensor showing bad readings also had some of the wiring rest on the hot header by mistake, I decided to replace all the wiring as well as the sensor itself, just to be sure. I had to make my own extension to match the old one.

February 8th, 2016, 05:19 PM
You just need a bigger turbo, Keith. :D

Heck, a downpipe and a reflash would have him building power almost til redline (https://scontent.ford1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xaf1/v/t1.0-9/29082_10150191587215696_1603961_n.jpg?oh=13263fb49 b72915ecc0226fed0a6d69a&oe=573C7298). I've got a full turboback and intake, but the biggest restriction is the downpipe.

February 8th, 2016, 05:30 PM
Multiple mechanics (private and dealership) either wanted to swap engines, or charge me hundreds of dollars to take it apart to try and figure out which cylinder was misfiring, let alone what was causing it or trying to fix it.

February 8th, 2016, 05:43 PM
When something in the top end is borked, replacing the short block (or more!) is not uncommon with dealers. It's generally faster and given that dealership mechanics mostly do warranty repairs, they don't tend to be all that experienced at rebuilding engines anyway.

At least I know that was VW/Audi's approach for first gen 2.0Ts that had eaten their camshafts after the cam followers with no replacement interval wore out.

February 8th, 2016, 06:03 PM
If you still had the car I would have recommended looking for a shop that specializes in Zs or Nissans. They'd know their way around a VQ better and probably have a bit more enthusiasm for finding and solving the actual problem.

February 8th, 2016, 06:32 PM
I ended up with Potenza S04s because cheapness won out, but they're probably a better street tire anyway (better rain rating).

February 8th, 2016, 07:13 PM
So weird. Any car with sequential injection should be fairly easy to track down misfires with a good scan tool. I mean, the EFI knows there is one, it isn't hard to make it tell you which ones. I am generally sad for the state of mechanicism.

February 15th, 2016, 08:41 PM
Since this is the Garage subforum...

I was offered free sturdy shelves with the caveat that I had to pick them up in Hanford (45 minutes away). I borrowed my parents' truck, brought back one rack for myself and turned around and got one rack for them. I've been needing to help them organize their garage anyway, mostly because I have a bunch of leftover stuff there from the 300ZX project.

Back to my garage...

Starting to make room for the shelves

In place

Organized! Ish.

Now both of our garages have more space. :up: Theirs moreso than mine because I used some of my shelves more for quick access to things rather than stuffing them full for storage. Plus I previously had a couple very tightly and neatly Tetrised piles. Still, a big improvement in organization and access even if I didn't gain a ton of floor space. :) At least I got to move the shop vac out of the spare bedroom and into the garage where it belongs!

I could totally use a peg board for some of my tools. Maybe I could zip-tie the tool holders to the metal racks...

February 16th, 2016, 04:42 AM
Sharp! :up:

Obviously you need more of 'em... ;)

February 16th, 2016, 10:16 AM
Fresh out of room unless I banish a car to the outside, which ain't happening. :) No, what I need :D is a proper sized garage.

February 16th, 2016, 10:38 AM
No, what I need :D is a proper sized garage.
Why don't the CA guys have a shared garage full of tools, project cars and beer?

February 16th, 2016, 11:02 AM
California is a huge state! But, anyone who wants to make the drive is welcome to whatever I've got.

My buddies and I used to co-rent a warehouse 2000' which was a pretty good deal. But, still kind of annoying when you are working on something that's 30 minutes away. That was a big component of getting the house that I got. Acknowledging I can't afford a house that has a 10 car garage, I can at least afford a house that has 20 car driveway. ;)

February 16th, 2016, 12:06 PM
But you guys could have big throwdowns there, in addition to all the bro-tastic car work!

February 16th, 2016, 06:19 PM
I love about as close to Russ & tsg as Pittsburgh is to Chicago.

February 16th, 2016, 06:32 PM
It's settled then. Warehouse in centrally-located Fresno. :D

February 17th, 2016, 08:27 AM
In total seriousness, if we were talking something like Madera *and* there was a better selection of per-mileage insurers, I'd go for it.

February 17th, 2016, 01:15 PM
The curator of my old teal MR2 has done that deal with his buddies in Texas. They all rent out a warehouse, store their racecars/projects/trailers there, and have wrenching parties. Sounds like a lot of fun. No idea what the cost breakdown is per person. At the moment, I haven't enough cars to want/need to store anything off site that badly. Really do want a bigger garage though! If I need to do much work on a car, it either has to go in the driveway or the other car has to live in the driveway. When I put my MR2s in storage to live in England I rented a mini storage unit for about $100/month that was big enough for both cars. But I'm sure they wouldn't allow work there!


In other news...

The 350Z has a bit of play in the left front suspension. While spinning the wheels in the air to check for a noise (which seems to be debris in a brake pad, with the slightly warped rotor making contact with the debris twice per revolution) T reminded me that there was play before when she heard a clunk at an autox (now fixed - upper control arm nut came ever so slightly loose). So I checked again and it's there.

My first thought was a stress-cracked hub assembly. But, the play stays in the same place no matter where the wheel is rotated (I didn't take wheels off - it was about to rain). Leads me to think the problem is elsewhere. My thought at the moment is outer tie rod. The play is most noticeably felt when tugging the wheel side to side and at 10 o clock and 4 o clock. The caliper is located at 10 o clock on that side. The tie rod is about at 5 o clock. It feels like I can pull the wheel away from the center of the car at 3-4 o clock, where it doesn't move at 10 o clock where the caliper is.



It's a rear-steer front suspension design, and there are also two ball joints for the two lower control arms.

More checking on jack stands (under load might be better?) is needed. Am I way off base?

February 17th, 2016, 01:31 PM
I think your steps sound sane, if that's what you're asking!

I had the exact same problem on the XR - also rear steer, also play at 3. Problem turned out to be the INNER tie rod, which I couldn't find until I peeled back the boot with the car off the ground. On the ground, there was too much friction from the tires for me to really move the steering member around.

If you can feel that "pop" of play, you should be able to see it too. Jackstands + wheel off would be my approach. Because you have more pieces involved, you might consider grabbing a bar of steel or even wood, bolting it to the hub with lug nuts, and then thrashing around. That gets your hands out of the way and more grip/leverage on the assembly.

February 18th, 2016, 12:05 PM
More investigations today. It wasn't supposed to rain, but there I was in the driveway with the car in the air and it rained. Heh.

I can feel the slop - something hitting on either side as I tug in and out on the tie rod directly (front end in the air, wheels removed). If I put some vertical load on the suspension via the jack, I could still feel the slop, but if I put full load on that corner I can't get any slop anymore.

Now, the movement is so small I don't think I could see it without being able to peer inside the joint. It feels like the 'hit' might be coming from the inner tie rod but hard to know. I wasn't able to see anything useful by moving the boot to one side (and the stock wire tie was totally brittle and broke, so I used two small zip ties to put the boot back on...).

350Z forums don't seem to have much info on this that I could find.

A 1" long piece of something (rubber?) came out from inside the boot when I pulled the larger end back. I can't remember what things are supposed to look like inside but this seemed a little odd with some thicker or dirty grease built up on the bottom.

Also there's a bolt on the power steering rack where a bit of fluid seemed to be slowly leaking from. I thought I'd try to tighten it up just to see... it's reverse threaded!? Okaaay. Never seen that before.

1592 1593 1594

More knowledge to be gained.

February 18th, 2016, 12:22 PM
Wow! I wonder what that piece of rubber is? It looks like the thick bit of the boot where a clamp would attach, but all that appears intact. I wonder if maybe the Z has a bushing inside the rack body that has disintegrated? I seem to recall some car I've dealt with having that as a potential problem.

You could try unbolting the outer tie rod from the knuckle to zero in on the problem. If the slop stays with the knuckle, it's a control arm. If it doesn't, it's the inner tie rod.

Edit: It seems unusual that a manufacturer would use a wire tie on any boot. Typically that's a crimp clamp of some type:


Maybe someone has been in there before?

February 18th, 2016, 02:44 PM
Yup, someone has tried chasing this out before.

February 18th, 2016, 03:24 PM
The wire tie is the factory method. Here's a replacement kit: https://conceptzperformance.com/nissan-oem-350z-power-steering-rack-inner-tie-rod-06-lh-z33-48521-al686_p_14586.php

Looks like the inner tie rod requires a special removal tool because of the shape of it. I'm thinking that's where the problem is now that I think about the shape and orientation of the two joints. The play is when I pull the tie rods in and out of the rack. I'd think if the outer tie rod was the culprit the play would be more up and down.

Reading the FSM, turns out that big bolt on the steering rack is a tension adjusting bolt. It shouldn't be moved much. I only loosened it less than 1/8 of a turn and then put it back where it was, so hopefully it's ok. I'll know if the steering feels weird that I buggered it up.

February 18th, 2016, 03:52 PM
The inner tie rod looks pretty conventional - you can use a special inner tie rod tool ($40, Harbor Freight) or, if you're like me, use a massive adjustable wrench.

The wire tie thing is *weird*. I have never seen that in my life!

Edit: 1.5" (37mm) of jaw - plenty for most any tie rod. :)


Edit 2: I'll bet you can rent an inner tie rod tool from Autozone or O'Reilly for free.

February 18th, 2016, 04:07 PM
I've see the wire boot ties before, though I can't recall off-hand which of my cars it was on.

February 18th, 2016, 04:08 PM
I thought about a crescent wrench (mine goes to 30mm but I'm sure my dad has a massive old wrench somewhere) but figured that would be too easy, there had to be a reason why there are special tie rod tools for sale/rent.

February 18th, 2016, 04:24 PM
I think I ended up using a 32mm fan clutch wrench when I did the BMW's rack. :D

February 18th, 2016, 06:30 PM
I thought about a crescent wrench (mine goes to 30mm but I'm sure my dad has a massive old wrench somewhere) but figured that would be too easy, there had to be a reason why there are special tie rod tools for sale/rent.

Adjustable tools are never ideal, but if you have a good one that isn't prone to slipping or slop, it shouldn't be a problem... at least in California. In other, rustier places you very well might need a stouter tool to do the job.

February 19th, 2016, 09:56 AM
Well this was a FL car, then an AZ car, now a CA car, so I think I'm good. :D

I never ever want a car that has been in a salty snowy state.

February 19th, 2016, 10:13 AM
The Cadillac spent 40 years in Colorado and has been great to work on, but the Alfa spent five years in New Jersey and that was enough to weld the ABS sensors into the knuckles. The salt really makes it rough! Even though our cars get legislated off the road, they're a pleasure to work on until they do. ;)

On the Z, I should think a big ass adjustable wrench and a good sledge or other heavy hammer would be enough to break the inner tie rod. Get a good grip on the flats and then a few solid smacks. Admittedly, that approach nearly brought me to tears on the Volvo, but it was because I couldn't generate enough force, not because I was damaging anything. On other cars - XR, Fiero, Saab, Hyundai - it's been utterly painless with a 12" adjustable. Of course if you can indeed borrow the tool from Autozone et al, there is about zero reason not to do it. It just never occurred to me to try. :)

February 19th, 2016, 12:05 PM
5 minute drive to visit Dad's tool room is more fun than 10 minute drive to visit Autozone. :)

February 20th, 2016, 11:33 PM
Hm, now getting a P0037 code (post-cat O2 sensor low voltage, on the opposite bank from the pre-cat sensor I just replaced). I don't think it means the car thinks the cat is bad, it's just not happy with the sensor performance or something. It still runs OK. Doing some research it seems to be a common problem on early 350Zs and lots of people have not resolved it with new sensor, new cat, ECU reset, etc. One guy did get it fixed under warranty after a second ECU and O2 sensor replacement. Another tech had to replace the ECU to solve the problem on a customer's car. Scary stuff given what I assume an ECU costs, plus programming at the dealership and dealing with moving my UpRev license to a different ECU.

Guess the first easy step might be to swap sensors left to right and see whether the code follows.

The power steering is cavitating now too, badly, but still drives fine on the street. Previous owner put Royal Purple ATF in the P/S system (it calls for ATF, don't worry). I will try Redline PS fluid next.

February 21st, 2016, 08:05 AM
Do you have a wiring diagram for the o2 sensor to and from the ecm?