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January 11th, 2014, 06:41 PM
Since various other Z projects are in a holding pattern, I mock installed a JDM corner lens today.

I'm not actually sure which I like better. I'm not into JDM just because JDM, so I have to think about this one. The US corners look decent on Sapphire Blue I think.



The orange in the JDM lens gets hidden as you move around to the side of the car. That's kind of cool.

I'd lose side running lights with the JDM conversion. Turn signals will still work and light up orange, because the JDM housing has a big orange cover for the clear bulb. The US housing has no such cover, but uses an orange bulb.



I also drove the maroon Z around yesterday. Suspension clunks at low speed over bumps, especially while turning. I think I know why. When putting the stock coilovers and sway bar back in, I tightened all nuts and bolts with the suspension at full droop. I'm going to have to spend a day fixing that... with the car at stock height, I can probably use Rhino ramps now.

Maroon car also feels hilariously fast somehow. I think it's the shorter tires. Or maybe the glorious sound from the rusted mufflers. [Seriously, it's perfect]

January 12th, 2014, 06:40 PM
Blue car's mirror fixed so it no longer rattles the glass (I think... have yet to drive it). Mirror installed on car. Door trim installed. Almost entirely. The clip that holds the rear of the door trim close to the door isn't going into the trim, so the trim sticks out a tad. Don't like.

Roof trim still doesn't want to cooperate. I'll try again Tuesday or something. I've probably spent at least 4-5 hours on this and have nothing to show for it.

Not sure if I'll have time to post pics Monday night after I get back, but I'm picking up something awesome down in LA. :D

January 12th, 2014, 07:10 PM
Hmm... I'm not sure about the lenses either. I think I like the US-spec ones better. The JDM ones have that '90s plastic look to them - modern clear stuff is really clear and often jeweled. I think they date the car a little. My $0.02!

January 12th, 2014, 07:11 PM
I like the US-spec version, too.

January 13th, 2014, 02:13 AM
The modern jeweled lenses look out of place to me, they're kind of gaudy on an older car. Cheap glitz. These will look a little nicer with a polish. The main thing I think that makes the JDM ones a bit questionable is there's no breakup on a large lens. Most corner lenses of the era were much slimmer. The US lens breaks things up a bit.

There are also smoked clears for this car but I think those look best on lighter colors or black.

Mr Wonder
January 13th, 2014, 02:36 AM
I'm with you guys. There's nothing wrong with orange indicators on dark blue or green cars.
The JDM ones look cheap.

January 13th, 2014, 09:01 AM
Yeah - I don't think a modern jeweled light would look good on the Z, only that since they exist they really date the old milky lights look. In 2013, I think very few cars could pull that off.

January 13th, 2014, 01:20 PM
I like the US-spec version, too.
This. :up:

January 13th, 2014, 04:18 PM
Murrica all the way.

January 15th, 2014, 12:45 AM
I am actually warming to the JDM ones, seeing it on the car in different lighting etc. We'll see. Thanks for the inputs. :)

My LA-area score yesterday? More JDM hotness. And lightness.



I couldn't pass up this deal. Like-new 17x9 WedsSport TC105Ns with almost-new 255/40/17 Hankook RS3s, all for less than the cost of a set of TC105Ns new. Plus, I think silver will look better on the blue car. And this will shave another 10lbs (woo, huge percentage of 3100+lbs :p).

I may back-to-back the RS3s against the Z2s once I get a baseline decent setup on the car. I've heard the RS3s don't like to put power down, and that could be their total undoing on this car, which also doesn't like to put power down by its nature. But no harm in trying it since I've got the tires. They're probably the right ones for temperature management at least. Z2s don't like it hot. And a car this heavy gets 'em hot fast.

I was originally thinking to sell the Rota Titans and whatever tires I don't choose, but now I'm thinking that could be a good daily-driving setup which would allow me to save my preferred tires for autocross events. Keep them nicer a little longer.

Acquiring parts is the easiest part of a build, I'm learning. :lol:

Mr Wonder
January 15th, 2014, 12:53 AM
Nice score! Parts acquisition is always the easy part. Anyone can go nuts on ebay. :)

January 15th, 2014, 01:04 PM
I think they will look great as well - nice find!

January 17th, 2014, 04:54 PM
Had a bit of a scare when I noticed they were stamped "5x100" on the reverse side. :o They're 5x114, though, confirmed with a spacer I had lying around. Strange...


My door handles are back and painted, but one of them isn't working. Worth a thousand words:


The handle sticks up/out like that when I get the assembly in place (and thus doesn't function as a door handle). The passenger side went in fine and works properly. I'm not doing anything different between the sides, and there's only one way for things to go anyway. The rods for the lock cylinder and door latch are different diameters, so it's impossible to confuse them. Which is why I'm confused at this problem. I took everything apart carefully, put it back together carefully, and besides, the handle itself wasn't disassembled, I just took the lock cylinder out.

January 17th, 2014, 08:24 PM
I have had that problem on VWs when the lock cylinder isn't installed properly. I highly doubt the assembly is similar, but maybe the problem is?

January 17th, 2014, 10:09 PM
I hadn't thought of that (it's a separate rod for the lock cylinder) but it's something I haven't checked. That was the first handle I put the lock cylinder back into - the second one went faster with the same order/methods as the first.

Side note: try as I might, I couldn't get that handle gasket to clean up and blacken. It's not available separately either, otherwise I would have definitely replaced it. Ugly!

January 18th, 2014, 07:06 PM
Door handle fixed. Turns out the rod in the door somehow sunk down through the retaining clip even though it had a pair of nearly 90 degree bends in it. Its "bad" position looked like it could have been entirely correct. No idea how it managed to get that way. But no matter now. Onward to speaker and door card installation - after some months of the door cards being stored in the living room.

January 18th, 2014, 07:45 PM
So, the Miata.

I bought it from a couple nearing retirement age. They had just replaced it with a Fiat 500E. In orange. Hmm. :) Anyway, it feels like a pretty solid driver with not much work needed.

Paint is mostly pretty good, with some clearcoat peeling on the back panel between the taillights. The swirl marks drive me crazy but my sister probably won't care. The dirty engine bay drove me nuts, too, and that was an easy fix so I had to clean it today. It was still a bit wet when I took the pictures.









- Engine runs well and idles perfectly
- Transmission feels good. I might suggest whatever flavor of Redline is best for these cars, since it can only improve things (and most casual owners never change it).
- Clutch is nice and easy to modulate, but doesn't feel like it's super fresh. Maybe 10k-40k left on it if I had to guess.
- Throttle pedal is slightly stiffer than I expected. Possibly cruise control contributing to this.

- AC is very cold
- There's quite a bit more scuttle shake than I anticipated from a car with a roll bar. Seems like more than the last NA Miata I drove, which had no roll bar.
- Heel toe workable with stock pedals. Score.

- It doesn't feel great. Rough and sloppy ride. Getting back into my 300ZX felt like climbing into a luxury car. I surmised the Miata was running on worn out original shocks, perhaps one or two was blown. I was going to suggest Koni Yellows to my sister as the first upgrade. But... it already has Konis! :? [Which I found out after paying for the car. Owner says "Oh by the way there's this screw in the glovebox for the shocks."] I verified after getting the car home that the fronts are indeed at full soft (which on every other car I've driven is a very comfy, controlled ride). The rear adjusters look quite difficult to get to...
- Squeaky noise from rear suspension. A slight compression of the left rear will do it (ie, pulling away from a stop :lol:).
- Onramp balance check revealed more oversteer bias than I would have expected, or preferred for my sister first starting out. Hmmm.

- Brakes feel good. Plenty of pad material left on the outsides. No ABS.
- Top is in good shape.
- No tears in the seats.
- Oil dipstick is missing the handle.
- Clutch fluid looks dirty.
- Volume knob on the factory premium stereo doesn't always work. Seems to work better if it's pushed to the right as you rotate it. Would be nice if this was an easy fix.
- I'm guessing the Koseis are 6.5" wide, based on how the 195/50/15 tires are just slightly stretched.

- That doesn't look like a Hard Dog HardCore roll bar to me... anyone know what it is? Looks sturdy enough for track use to me. :up:
- The dome light doesn't appear to have a Door function.
- Should there be a plastic undertray panel between the radiator and steering rack?
- Those look like aftermarket plug wires. They also don't seal out water (which is why they're removed...).
- Should the hood prop rod be insulated?

The car was reasonably priced (I got a couple hundred off asking price) and already has a roll bar, which means there's budget left over for some refreshing or upgrades. :up: After confirming good fluids and general health, I think first order of business is to sort out the suspension for not much money. Springs might not be too far off, since my sister wants to go drifting too, and faster weight transfer would be great for that. Also the suspension as is really really unloads the inside tires. Will have to look into a lower/stiffer setup that rides very nicely for long highway journeys.

Based on the roll bar, Koseis and Konis I'm thinking this car was tracked at some point before (I doubt by the previous owners).

I like it. I would really like it if the ride was fixed and I could sit about 6" lower.

January 18th, 2014, 08:52 PM
I didn't think a 15x6.5 K1 existed?

Check the bumpstops. Stock springs on Konis shouldn't be particularly rough. I set mine at about 25% stiff front and rear.

Get a set of the blue NGK wires. Miatas eat plug wires and the NGKs last as long as anything while being inexpensive.

Broken dipstick handle is the default condition. :D

Stiff throttle probably needs lube. My cc-equipped cars felt pretty similar to the no-cc R.

Stock dome light (at the passenger's left knee) should have a door function.

January 18th, 2014, 09:24 PM
Lube at the throttle body? The pedal? Both?

NGK blue wires. Got it. :up:

Check what on the bump stops? (And, um, how, if the suspension is still on the car?) I did check for a spring rubber in the LF. Nothing there.

No light next to the glovebox on this car. It has a dome light between the sun visors.

I know I know, I should probably scour a Miata FAQ at some point. :D

January 19th, 2014, 08:26 AM
Oh yeah, the 97s got a light in the windshield header. Weird.

Check to see if you've got stock bumpstops...which is hard with the suspension in the car--heh.

I think you need to lube the throttle cable itself.

edit: I hthink that's a HD "Ace" bar: http://www.bethania-garage.com/ace.htm

edit2: "Rough and sloppy" ride might mean it needs new bushings.

edit3: there should definitely be an undertray. Looks like this: https://www.flyinmiata.com/index.php?deptid=4544&parentid=0&stocknumber=09-90000

January 19th, 2014, 08:37 AM
Honestly, I wouldn't mess with the suspension, other than getting it back to stock capability. Caveat being if your sister is really planning to drift it, since it's not nearly stiff enough for that. But, for learning RWD+MT, I don't think it gets more benign yet responsive than a Miata.

ps. lower + stiffer doesn't equal "rides nice for long highway trips" on a car with maybe 4" of suspension travel. :D

January 19th, 2014, 08:23 PM
The NorCal autocrosser's street Miata that I test drove rode pretty well I thought. Better than the stock suspension on our new '97. He had springs and shocks, I think a FatCat setup but I'm not sure I remember. Which probably included different bump stops or shock mounts. No roll bar.

We're not looking for stance, yo. Something a little racier but still with some body roll and comfort is what I was thinking. Just not the marshmallow in the turns and jackhammer in the straights suspension that's on there now. ;)

I've only driven two NAs on the street (actually I think I might have driven your white one once, many moons ago - or maybe I rode around in it). Both cars felt like they had an odd interplay between direction change and body roll. Something's not natural or linear - I can't quite put my finger on it. I never notice it autocrossing any Miatas (including ES trim). When our '97 was laterally loaded on an onramp yesterday, and I slowly released the wheel at the exit of the corner, the body roll didn't subside smoothly - it was delayed and then released quickly. Maybe it came off long bump stops. It also feels like in a corner there's disproportionately more extension on the inside than there is compression on the outside.

Thanks for the pro tips. :toast:

January 20th, 2014, 11:39 PM
Back to the blue Z today.

Speakers: In. I experimented with the XTC foam baffles and found that things sounded way, way, waaaaay worse with them in place. I guess they just don't give the speaker enough room to breathe. I fought some door rattles, but eventually gave up as the one or two remaining ones are not terribly annoying and are somewhere internal to the door where I can't reach. I fixed the big rattle, which is progress. See the problem is the old speakers couldn't produce enough bass to rattle the doors. New ones can...

Door cards: In. Now I have an interior again! The things we take for granted...

Wheels: Swapped. T-top Z gets the stock wheels from the blue car. Blue car gets the 17x9 Rotas. The black color, as suspected, doesn't look particularly good on it. Hopefully a bit better in the sunlight.

Car: Washed. Nothing like washing fresh paint and brand new trim. So smooth. :)


4x4 mode ON.

Things are starting to come together. Once all the existing parts here are in place, I think the car is going to end up being pretty nice. If I just replace the interior trim in the hatch area, get a new hood insulator, and ditch the LED dash lights for stock ones, the car will be awesome. Oh and maybe new brakes too. And power steering pump. And drivers door card (someone had a reeaally sharp elbow?). Shoot - that list was longer than I was just thinking it was a minute ago...

January 22nd, 2014, 07:34 AM
The Miata looks racier than I'd have expected from an older couple. :lol:

The blue Z looks sharp save for the black rims. Analytically I understand they're not ghetto but... it's tough to see past.

January 23rd, 2014, 10:16 AM
Black is beautiful :up:

January 23rd, 2014, 01:06 PM
I dig 'em as well. They'd be fine in some other color too, but I have zero complaints. It's a fine looking motor!

January 27th, 2014, 10:46 AM
The Miata looks racier than I'd have expected from an older couple. :lol:

Methinks they purchased it that way. :)

February 5th, 2014, 08:16 AM
I started writing the ad for my '91 Z and am wondering where I might try to sell it. I've sold all my cars through people I know, except the S2k which got posted at S2ki.

I don't know if I want to deal with CL bottom-feeders. I might try to post it to the localish Z32 group but they tend to want crazy deals. eBay was suggested by my girl. I was thinking that might be most appropriate for a more unique/specialty car. Z32s aren't hard to find - just finding the right one for you is the challenge. I also don't have an eBay account and I'm not sure how many eBayers would be comfortable bidding on something so expensive from a user with no feedback/rep.

I still need to smog the car and clean it up a bit, but it's just about ready to go.


Before I left for Daytona I washed the blue Z and put a car cover on it. It's not quite all-weather. And of course *now* it rains in CA! Hopefully the water trapped between the paint and the cover doesn't put stains on the new paint or something. I'll get to survey the situation Tuesday...


My sister will be visiting on Tuesday as well. She'll get to check out her Miata for the first time, and hopefully we can sneak in an MT lesson. It might be a little while before she can take the car home, so it's MINE for now. :twisted:


I also still need to detail the interior of my mom's Camry, sell the old MR2 wheels, and get ready to put suspension/bushings/diff/catchcan/battery on the blue Z. No shortage of car projects here!

February 5th, 2014, 08:43 AM
I'd certainly give CL a try. You can always ignore the responses from ignoramuses and deal only with the people you want to deal with. The folks I sold the 9-3, A4, and GTS to were all cool people, I'm glad to have met them. It costs nothing, whereas ebay takes your $50 right up front. I think Autotrader is also free for "basic" ads, but the quality of user there really isn't any better than CL IME. Maybe advertise it in the SF Bay one instead of Fresno? CL is an SFB staple - the entire population is on it. :)

February 5th, 2014, 08:53 AM
rrax.com and baautox.com are the other obvious places to list it, since people know you there.

February 5th, 2014, 10:26 AM
It's not really an autocross car though. Unless someone wants to copy my build. I don't expect so. :)

I thought eBay was free until your item sells, then they take a cut.

February 5th, 2014, 11:13 AM
I have sold a fair amount on craigslist. I haven't had any troubles. Just weed out the 'tards.

February 5th, 2014, 11:13 AM
Nope, there are both listing fees and final value fees. With high ticket items they have special structures for those fees, and I think that includes cars... Last I looked it was $50 flat rate, but that may have changed. I believe you get a longer auction time with card versus other items, but $50 to try and sell a car was enough to put me off and never try it. Plus, it's not like eBay isolates you from deadbeats, and it adds in the potential complication of long distance buyers. At least with CL you can reasonably expect the buyer will show up, give you cash, and then go away. With eBay, you might end up holding the car for days or weeks and then find out you have a flake. Seems like a lot of trouble for a couple grand (minus $50).

February 5th, 2014, 03:14 PM
Nothing wrong with putting a for sale sign in the window. There are people driving by everyday that see your car, and quite a few admiring it.

i got my current W124 from an enthusiast board. Loads of great pictures. Maintenance records from day one. Problem areas sorted.

February 10th, 2014, 07:16 AM
Not a bad idea with the f/s sign. Kinda curious where I would find one. I know I've seen them occasionally but I don't remember what types of stores.

Guess I will brave CL too since it's priced right and the audience should be decent size.


Early b-day gift from T: Z1 high pressure hatch struts. She is so awesome. Pretty soon I'll be able to do this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRVsKLr8HWM&t=18s). :D

February 10th, 2014, 07:59 AM
Hardware store or office supply store should have them. My local Ace does.

Can you pop the hatch in the last braking zone? :D

February 10th, 2014, 08:56 AM
You can also just print one on paper and tape it to the window. :)

in Sacramento, there are spots where people park cars for sale - dirt lots, parking lots, etc. I know of at least a couple where it's been going on for years so the spots must be blessed. Maybe there is something similar in FresYES? Obviously, don't leave anything valuable showing. :D

February 10th, 2014, 08:59 AM
Make sure you note that it was owned by a famous person.

February 11th, 2014, 04:10 PM
So the cars have been sitting for 3 weeks.

The Miata isn't so happy. It started to run on 3 cylinders shortly after leaving home. And had an extra stumble on accel, too. CEL was blinking, not just on. Turned around and parked it. Took maroon Z, which was fine. :up:

Reading a bit, I probably have an ignition problem with the Miata. I pulled the plugs and they're old dirty Autolites, but nothing looks terminally awful. Found two coil leads not quite pressed all the way on. But that didn't help much. Now the car runs on all 4 cylinders, but the CEL is on (not blinking) and if I give it more than a hint of throttle it stumbles/misses. Light throttle will see the revs rise as normal. It also is reluctant to start, but does stumble to life after a few seconds.

I'll be ordering this scan tool (www.amazon.com/Autel-MaxiScan-MS309-OBD-II-Reader/dp/B007JSGR9Y/) in 2 hours to get it here Thursday with Prime shipping. And convincing my sister we need new plugs and wires at the least. Coils look more expensive so they will be last on the list. Plugs and wires aren't a bad idea in general anyway.

OBD2. Pffft!

February 11th, 2014, 04:13 PM
Check the plugs/boots for oil. The valve cover gasket likes to leak into the plug wells which causes all sorts of fun driveability issues, particularly when the car is cold.

Miatas eat plug wires, so plugs and wires is good idea, as you said. VC gasket is super easy, too. Take a look at the CAS oring while you're in there.

February 11th, 2014, 06:18 PM
Be cautious with the flashing CEL - that means whatever is going on is bad enough to potentially damage the catalytic converter. That is less than ideal.

February 12th, 2014, 09:16 AM
Indeed. We ended up replacing the cats in Mapper's Protege (under warranty!) after a broken connection in one of the coils led to a persistent misfire and, eventually, running on two cylinders while dumping raw gas down the exhaust out of the other two. Heh.

The main cat was bright yellow when we limped it into the dealership. :D I guess we tested the heat shielding on the bottom of the car...*cough*

February 12th, 2014, 10:45 AM
I agree with Kch. Have you considered the fact that you are a celebrity now? However, I predict that you are too humble to use that to your advantage. ;)

February 12th, 2014, 12:58 PM
I don't think it's that kind of sale really. I'm not that famous - only known in certain small circles. Its' not like it was my cherished car for many years either. Just a stepping stone. If a buying audience happens to recognize who I am, fine with me, otherwise, fine with me too. :)

I'm definitely not driving the Miata until it's fixed. My first thought when it was bucking and stumbling, with a couple small backfires, was that the cat could get hurt, and that's one reason I turned right around and parked it at home (I wasn't even a block away yet).

February 12th, 2014, 06:34 PM
So, advertise in the right circles! ;) I think you're underestimating your fame. But like I said, humility. :)

February 13th, 2014, 05:08 PM
$22 code reader worked brilliantly with the Miata. :up: Says #3 cylinder misfire. Or said. New plugs and wires arrived today, went on the car, and it runs properly again. :)

I took the blue Z out for a bit. It's doing something funny. The battery has been disconnected for the past 3 weeks, so I opened the door with the key, popped the hood, connected the battery and started the car. And thennnn...

1) Parked at the bank, closed the door and used the remote to lock the doors. Returned to car, unlocked doors with remote, it wouldn't start. Some kind of starter kill - not a weak battery - because I disconnected the battery, immediately reconnected it, and the car started up fine.

2) Gas stop. Got out, put fuel in the car without locking it, got back in and the starter kill was in effect again. Repeated above sequence for getting it started.

3) Home. Turned off car, closed door, locked it with the remote. Except it didn't lock. Further attempts revealed the remote and the car were incommunicado. Remote works, since it has an audible beep (yes, inside the remote. I know it's weird).

So something funny is going on with the car's keyless entry system. I guess I might have to start by pairing the remote to the car again, but this should not affect the starting, only the locking/unlocking.

I'll probably have to ask around in Z groups since this is probably a Nissan specific thing.

February 14th, 2014, 12:28 AM
Z problem may have been my laziness not tightening the negative battery terminal when I put it back on... :toolbox:

February 14th, 2014, 06:43 AM
Doh! :lol:

February 15th, 2014, 02:48 PM
Does anyone know what brake pads come with this speckled gray/black backing plate? There's plenty of life left in the pads. The rotors feel a bit thin though (just judging by the flare on the outer edge). Stock Miata shouldn't be that tough on pads at the track, methinks. I do feel a bit of warpage or pad deposits in the braking though. I know all new brakes would be ideal but it almost seems a shame to toss nearly new pads.


February 15th, 2014, 03:12 PM
If you need to change the rotors, you should really change the pads too. It's bad form to change rotors without pads. Pads are cheap - no point in saving a few bucks and ending up with improperly bedded-in brakes.

February 15th, 2014, 05:03 PM
I think the set of duralasts I put on my mothers old escort had that finish.

February 15th, 2014, 05:58 PM
I overheated EBC greenstuff pads, so there's your lower quality limit. ;)

February 15th, 2014, 07:32 PM
On a Miata?

Maybe when I'm done with my car stuff and my sister is closer to going to the track I'll see if I can whip up a brake package for not too much cash. NAPA rotors and budget friendly track pads that won't suck on the street either. Fluid of course is a given.

I wouldn't have thought plain Duralast brakes would have a fancier finish like that. Interesting. I know this Miata was tracked or autoxed at one point, based on the Koseis, Konis, roll bar and holes drilled for hardtop strikers. The pads on there now are maybe from past that time period in the car's history.


So earlier tonight I found out there's an autox in Oakland tomorrow and I decided to go. Most likely driving someone else's car. What car to take on the trip? The Miata is new and you always want to drive the shiny new thing, plus it probably gets the best fuel mileage for the trip. But it's not the most comfortable of the fleet for longer trips, and it kinda smells inside (I haven't had a chance to clean it). The maroon Z I'm trying to keep the miles down for selling it (it's at 98k - that sounds a lot better than 100k in an ad), so that's out. Blue Z is comfy and has cruise but needs the battery tied down and wipers installed (just in case), and gets the worst mileage. MR2 is ready to go but I'm sure something else would happen to it on this trip (my luck with that car).

The problem of choice!

At the moment I'm leaning towards the blue Z. Oh and I'd need to install the USDM front corner lens again on the drivers side before leaving.

February 16th, 2014, 07:45 AM
Yeah, on the Miata. Porterfield R4-S or equivalent should do ok.

February 16th, 2014, 12:25 PM
Z problem may have been my laziness not tightening the negative battery terminal when I put it back on... :toolbox:

When you were explaining the situation...this is the first thing I thought...

February 17th, 2014, 07:24 PM
Today's mystery. Why have the two oil leaks, the power steering leak, and the possible brake fluid leak all gone away? The driveway was dry today after the 320 mile drive that ended at 11:30 last night. This makes no sense. :lol:

Am dissatisfied with the dark spots and weird colors of the LED gauge lighting someone put in this car. The pod LEDs were sautered in, instead of the simpler solution of using LEDs with the stock housings. So I suspect the gauge cluster suffered the same fate. This means changing the bulbs again seems too labor intensive. I'm thinking about buying a cluster on eBay and swapping my odometer into it. And finding a good used set of pods with stock lighting. I don't hate LEDs, but the execution in this case is a pretty big fail.


Yeah, on the Miata. Porterfield R4-S or equivalent should do ok.

Cool. :) Gooder pads put on the to-do list before track time. And thus rotors and fluid.

February 17th, 2014, 08:29 PM
Eesh... not really into that either. I personally prefer dim cabin illumination so I never really care for LED swaps.

February 17th, 2014, 08:33 PM
That's atrocious. Not to mention blue is very harsh on the human eye and night vision.

February 18th, 2014, 06:04 PM
It'd be livable if the lighting was even and I could see the ends of the needles properly.

I partially disassembled and inspected the "pods" today and I need new housings as well as pods with proper lighting. Several eBay transactions later... a gauge cluster, pair of pods and pod housings will be on their way soon. The things I do for this car! ;) My pods are in excellent shape (just the housings behind them have damage) so with any luck someone might want to buy my green-LED-lit pods and I can offset the cost a bit.

I do like other LEDs in the car - dome light, foot lighting. The HIDs work nicely too.

I won't link it, but I was able to confirm that swapping the odo between gauge clusters isn't a big deal. Nor is, apparently, rolling it back. :o I thought they were somehow tamper proof. Not that I'd do that anyway.

With luck this will fix my odd coolant temp gauge reading too.

Also ordered new lug nuts. More expensive ones this time (Muteki). Because they don't discolor from what I've heard. My old lug nuts turned gold on the ends (they're supposed to be black).

February 18th, 2014, 08:12 PM
Just in case I have to replace front tie rod ends...

Ingalls, Moog, or SPD? Only Nissan genuine part I found online was double the price, but also said "kit" in the description... not clear if it's for a pair or just one.

Ball joints are only going to happen if absolutely necessary, due to the cost of replacing entire LCAs.

February 18th, 2014, 08:23 PM
I'm a Moog guy. Only because they are supposedly forged and about as good as you'll get. That all could be hearsay though.

February 19th, 2014, 03:47 AM
Yeah, I'm a fan of Moog. When I was selling and delivering parts, we pretty much never needed to replace them under waranty. Brand-wise, they might have had the lowest failure rate of anything in the store.

February 19th, 2014, 08:16 AM
Not as big of a Moog fan as I used to be, as it seems they've somewhat given up competing on quality and have started to compete on price. I've gotten some shady-ass Moog parts in recent times - the LBJs on the Fiero were an embarrassment - indistinguishable from the Raybestos LBJs I hated so much I ordered Moog ones. Doh! Turns out LBJs for shitty old GM cars are just shitty. Who'd have thunk it?

Still, of the brands you listed Moog is most likely to be a good part. You might check out rockauto.com as they also carry the Raybestos Professional Grade line, which is IME also very good - a different quality (and price) than their Service Grade stuff. I'd look into it. Are you doing just outers or inners & outers? Don't forget bellows/boots, too.

February 19th, 2014, 07:16 PM
The Raybestos Pro Grade part is comparable in price to the others I mentioned before. Could be a good way to go, depending on how fast RockAuto could get them to me (I'm thinking I'll inspect the old ones first at my friends' place with the lift).

I thought inner tie rods were integral to the rack. Never done steering work before. :) I'm still also having that power steering problem where the steering is heavy for 5-10 seconds the first time I use it (regardless of how long the car's been idling). A reman pump is not as crazy expensive as I once thought, so I might just replace that if the labor won't kill me. Hoses are not leaking but my old pump is - from the center where the two halves meet. That's a new one.


From the "I can stop anytime I want to" files... :D





It's a bit of work keeping them all clean...

February 19th, 2014, 07:32 PM
Turning Japanese? :lol:

There are some cars that have integral inner tie rods, but not many that have been made since the, ugh, 70s? Maybe? I'm sure the Miata has discrete inners & outers. To remove the inners on virtually every car, you remove the bellows and put a big wrench on a flat spot on them. On some cars there isn't much access and they are frequently difficult to remove. But inners add $40-$80 to the job (including replacement bellows) and mean you only need to get it re-aligned once, so my reluctant advice is to always do both at the same time, save $$$ on alignments... especially on a higher mileage car where it's quite possible the inners have never been done, anyway.

I'll mention just for the sake of mentioning that I'd look at the cost of replacing the whole rack just to know what it costs. On the XR4Ti, inner tie rods + bellows were $75, remanufactured rack including new tie rods and bellows was $125. Doh! That is literally the only time I've ever seen that, and it was partly of function of a big ol' % off coupon from Advance Auto Parts (~$200 rack - 30%) but it's worth looking into, IMHO. And, seriously, look at Advance Auto Parts. It's a rare day they don't have a 30% off coupon in effect. For most stuff, AAP is a total ripoff, but if you happen to catch something they have at only a slightly higher price PLUS one of those coupons, it's awesome! (eg, O2 sensor for the Benz is $70-something on Amazon and $80 something at AAP. But $80-something - 30% = ~$60. ;) )

February 19th, 2014, 07:34 PM
Oh, and the heavy steering could be the pump or it could be the seals in the rack. You might try some Lucas goop, or you might ignore it til it gets worse. Probably once it warms up some more you won't even notice.

February 19th, 2014, 07:56 PM
Rack and tie rod questions are for the Z, not the Miata. I'll tackle that one later! :)

Racks for the Z are $300+, although I did find one for $190 on eBay... http://www.ebay.com/itm/1989-1996-Nissan-300ZX-Power-Steering-Rack-and-Pinion-2-Wheel-Steer-OE-Reman-/171128996476

February 19th, 2014, 07:58 PM
Oh and every car I've ever owned, save for the Cuda way back when for a couple years, has been Japanese. :) Just how it happens. German car upkeep scares me. Not very many American cars appeal to me. A C5 Corvette would be fun if the interior was better.

February 19th, 2014, 08:26 PM
Rockauto lists reman racks for $150... there's a $100+ core, but you get that back. I imagine shipping a rack is probably $30 or so? Somewhere in there, so you get $70+ of that $100+ core back. Maybe not worth doing at nearly $200 vs. just replacing the inner tie rods... unless your morning sickness is the rack, in which case just buying the inners would be not worth doing! DOH!

February 19th, 2014, 09:17 PM
Car problems eh? :)

February 19th, 2014, 09:44 PM
If the pump is spinning fluid, the heavy feel wouldn't likely be the pump. I am guessing the seals internal to the rack are shot. The car did sit for a while didn't it?

February 19th, 2014, 10:32 PM
Maybe. I'm not sure. The maroon car sat for a good few years, and it's fine. Go figure.

The speed sensor can cause intermittent PS assist but the speedometer also fails when this happens. For me though, I only experience this at a low enough speed that my speedo wouldn't register anything anyway...

February 20th, 2014, 02:26 AM
Were the turbos the only ones with assisted rear steering?

What other sensors go in to the use of the PS?

February 20th, 2014, 10:14 AM
Yeah, NAs are 2-wheel steering only.

I know of a steering angle sensor, a pressure sensor/switch, a solenoid on the rack, and the speed sensor.

I just read a thread at TT.net where all kinds of electrical troubleshooting was going on, and the owner eventually replaced the pump and solved the problem. You'd think an intermittent problem would be electrical. And the rack solenoid wiring does go bad sometimes. Since I'm 98% sure it's my pump that's leaking, I might as well replace that and cross my fingers.

Quick check of the FSM shows that you can adjust a "rack retainer" if the steering pulls to one side or doesn't return to center. It doesn't go into any further detail about this 'retainer' or a torque spec or anything.

February 20th, 2014, 01:20 PM
Are all reman P/S pumps created equal? Probably not. A1 Cardone is the cheapest at $63 (+$50 core) at RockAuto.

I just remember stories of people having to replace parts-store starters or alternators every 6 months, then finally getting wise and getting the OEM part so they can fughettaboutit.

It's just a new Nissan pump is quite pricey.

Edit - I'm also hoping remans don't try to improve or alter pump performance. I don't want my steering any lighter than it already is.

February 20th, 2014, 01:44 PM
IME remans are a bit of a mixed bag. Some work, some don't. Those that work tend to work like OE. Personally I don't like Cardone, but I also acknowledge that when it comes to reman hydraulics, there are only a couple brands, so whaddayagonnado?

February 20th, 2014, 01:47 PM
I am not a fan of Cardone either.

What is the price range of the other reman options?

February 20th, 2014, 02:23 PM
ATSCO is $80 and change.

MasterPro (from O'Reilley) is $102.

Whatever Z1 and CZP sell is $190 plus shipping charges.

I've been doing the eBay thing lately. There's always taking a chance on a used one for $70 there...

Speaking of finding stuff on eBay, this looks like it hurt. :twitch: http://www.ebay.com/itm/90-91-92-93-NISSAN-300ZX-POWER-STEERING-PUMP-W-TURBO-/161210268143

February 20th, 2014, 03:13 PM

February 20th, 2014, 09:46 PM
I was thinking more "pulled out in front of a motorcycle."

On reman P/S pumps, there's also:

Duralast for $104
Atlantic Automotive for $160

Did a bit of reading and there are plenty of unsatisfied Cardone buyers, so nix that one.

February 21st, 2014, 08:46 AM
I think you'll find that with any reman... I certainly have. QC ain't what it used to be. Although I think Duralast is about the shittiest of the shitty, there is some merit in buying your reman parts locally. If it doesn't work out, just take it back and get another one. It's better than having to deal with return shipping and the delays that creates.

There are some camps who suggest junkyarding OE parts rather than buy reman, but I a) don't have the time for that and b) don't trust junkyard parts much, either. But I thought I'd throw the wisdom out there.

February 21st, 2014, 12:45 PM
I was thinking that might be pretty risky too. Someone pulls a pump off a junkyard car, doesn't seal the openings right away - you never know what kind of junk is rolling around in the pump when you get it.

I guess there's the rebuild kit option. How likely is it that the housing or something is borked and not just the seals? If I can rebuild a clutch MC can I rebuild a p/s pump?

And how likely is it that I could re-use the expensive hoses without having to replace them? I'm thinking especially the high pressure hose...

February 21st, 2014, 02:48 PM
Zero experience on Nissan pumps, but I've watched people on various forums try rebuilding with various degrees of success. I'd say it's 50/50 at best, maybe worse. On the Nissan pump - which I think has a speed sensing valve - it's probably a lot more complex than other pumps, so I'm not sure I'd try it. If you don't mind the possibility that it doesn't work and it's not tough to replace, rebuild kits are cheap so why not try, but if you just need it to work I think you are minimizing risk with a professional job. Hydraulic pumps aren't ultimately complex, but I think the risk of failure comes from amateurs not properly recognizing worn parts - 100% speculation!

Do the high pressure hoses have fittings, or are they clamped on? If they have fittings, I'd definitely reuse them... you may need new sealing washers depending on the type of fitting, but there is no reason to replace a non-leaking high pressure hose. If they don't have fittings - and very few cars are built like this (the XR4Ti being one of them...) - you will want to replace that hose as getting a fluid & temp hardened hose off and back on again without leaking is an impossibility. To that end, the low pressure (return) hoses are probably just hose clamped on, and I would replace them... it'll add probably $20 or $30 to the process (proper power-steering hose is expensive), but it will save frustration and leaks.

You know, another thing you could try if you don't mind maybe making a mess is flushing the power steering system. Maybe you've got old fluid in there and it's broken down. Flushing the system is broadly just lifting the nose of the car, putting the return hose in a bucket, and having someone start the engine and slowly turn the steering wheel back and forth while you add new fluid to keep it full. Maybe take that opportunity to replace the return hose, and install a microfine filter inline to help keep the pump happy... (been meaning to do that on a couple cars myself... ) I have had very positive results with such flushes on a variety of cars.

February 21st, 2014, 03:53 PM
You forgot the part where you hold on to the bucket of old PS fluid for years because nobody will take it. :p

I'd do that if I didn't have a leak from the pump. Supposedly Redline PS fluid better resists expanding and spilling over when the system is worked hard (ie, autox), so I want to run that anyway. The cap on the reservoir does not seal well at all - perhaps by design. But since my pump seems to be leaking from the center, and not from a hose, I want to put a different pump (or at least seals) in there.

I'm not sure how the hoses attach to the pump, I'll have to look into it. I think most of my weekend may be spent researching car parts and procedures...

February 21st, 2014, 03:57 PM
You should definitely have a county-run "household hazardous waste" facility or event - I think every California county is required to have one. Quick google says:

The City of Fresno and Fresno County co-sponsor two household hazardous waste drop-off events each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Dates are advertised in the Fresno Bee. To find out about the next event dates, call Fresno County, 262-4259 or visit the Website


February 22nd, 2014, 12:16 PM
Flush first, then replace. Some shops might even take the fluid from you if you ask nicely.

Least intrusive diagnosis.

February 22nd, 2014, 01:22 PM
It's possible the car has PS fluid in it to begin with. It calls for ATF. Still, a flush won't fix my leak...

Ah, didn't know they would take random fluids at those things, tsg. I thought it was for CRT monitors and stuff. :p

February 22nd, 2014, 09:27 PM
By and large, there shouldn't be any major issue running PS fluid in an ATF system and vice versa. It's not ideal for a couple reasons, but it probably won't cause any real problems as the two fluids are fairly similar. There are a few instances where manufacturers have switched back and forth between the two across years... my Alfa and the PT Cruiser being two examples.

February 22nd, 2014, 11:37 PM
I've just read in a couple places that ATF is less likely to leak than PS fluid because of the thickness of the fluids. I wonder...

February 23rd, 2014, 01:23 PM
Depends on the fluid. Old ATF had a viscosity index in the 7s (at 100 degrees C), newer ATF has a viscosity index in the 5s. You can look into high mileage ATF - I used Castol Transmax High Mileage in the Alfa as it has an index of 8... Regular Dex VI for comparison is around 5.9.

On the other side of the coin, ATF is more prone to foaming as PSF fluid has anti-foam additives. If you have a suction leak, you may find foamy ATF where power steering fluid would not. The Alfa had both problems, but I prioritized no leaks over groany mornings. ;)

February 23rd, 2014, 10:03 PM
The manual from 1991 just says "Dexron". But I want to use Redline PS fluid since A) it's compatible with that specification and B) it's likely to do a better job of not sucking when worked hard.

Can't I just cover the bottom of the pump in JB Weld? :P

Naturally the car calls for 1 1/8 qt. Gonna have to buy two!

February 24th, 2014, 06:48 AM
2 quarts is no big deal. Especially when a leak is involved. ;)

February 26th, 2014, 10:44 AM
My mom's car is doing something a bit funny now...

'95 Camry V6. 1MZ-FE. 122k miles. Owned since new, no real problems.

It's running rough and kind of stumbly on start-up, at lower than normal idle, almost like it's down a cylinder. It lasts 10 seconds or so before running normally again. BUT it only does this after the engine's been warmed up and the car sits for a bit. Start it right up after turning it off and it won't do it. Let it sit long enough that it cools down and it won't do it.

My thoughts lean towards something fuel or hot-start related but I can't work through what it might be. If it was a leaky injector or something it would have even more trouble after sitting overnight, I'd think.

February 26th, 2014, 11:19 AM
Man, I don't know crap about those motors, but it definitely sounds like a heat soak issue. I'd probably look at the ignition system first, them move on to the fuel system. Something like a coolant temperature sensor or an unhappy fuel pressure regulator could generate that type of activity. Sounds like it's under-ignited or over-rich when at its hottest.

March 6th, 2014, 12:42 AM
Heat soak sounds plausible. Why didn't I think of that? I'll mention it. Most likely the dealer will investigate and fix it but it helps to have the problem be repeatable.


The blue Z now has moar low. Details soon.


March 6th, 2014, 05:33 PM
I'm trying to get the car ready for its debut autox this weekend... it requires a catch can, which requires that the stock battery be removed to make room. Good thing I have a tiny battery. Bad thing it will be a b*tch to secure and the OEM negative terminal is way short, and doesn't fit the post. Nothing is ever straightforward with this car.

This might kinda sorta work in a pinch...


The neg terminal needs to be a couple inches longer. The shortest extension I can find is 12"! So I mocked this up using a second terminal oddly attached to the original. The surfaces on the old terminal that squeeze the base of this shiny new terminal aren't completely flat (third picture), so who knows how good the connection is there, and the new terminal turns into an oval when I tighten it enough to make contact with the post (so it only grabs on two sides, instead of all the way around). The original terminal won't even tighten that much. The pos and neg posts that came with my Shorai are about 2mm different in diameter, both tapered. The positive fits fine in the positive terminal. Neither the positive or negative post fits in either negative terminal I have (the positive post is too large). I would think these would be standard sizes (SAE??).

Weird stuff. I know from doing the install on T's car that Odyssey automotive terminals fit the Shorai. I might make the trip all the way across town tomorrow to Batteries Plus to see what they've got. The Miata just got a fat screw in the tire today, and it's leaking air, so my runabout parts-getter is down too.

Securing the battery will also be a challenge. At least I think I know where the catch cans will sit. Not the most ideal place for hose layout but I can at least secure the cans this way.

March 6th, 2014, 07:15 PM
The battery looks like about the same dimensions as the Braille in the Falcon. This is how I secured it:


It's a piece of rectangular tube aluminum. I cut out a notch in the underside to give the battery lateral support, leaving enough of the vertical wall (like 1/8") to reinforce the bridge across the battery. I used parts of an Autozone battery hold down kit to secure it to the Falcon's tray. I was able to use one end of the tray's existing hold down hole, so the only modification to the tray was a 3/8" hole drilled in the middle for the other side. It would have been easier to use a hole saw and make a 1" hole, but I didn't want that much "damage." End result is that the hold down has to be inserted at an angle and then tilted up. Not a big deal.

I know you know this, but that battery ground situation is hella jenky. I'm sure it'll be fine for a little while, but I would address that sooner rather than later. You can buy battery cable eyelets at Napa (maybe other places, but I don't think Autozone), and I think a few places rent low-end battery terminal crimpers. You could buy that 12" bit, cut the end off, and recrimp it to a new length. Alternatively, sometime this month I am going to buy a real battery crimper (like a $250 Quickcable crimper). If you tell me what you need and don't mind paying for the supplies (I'm guessing $4-$8 :lol:) I'm happy to knock out a custom battery cable for you.

Edit: I have 10' of that tube aluminum. If you want to go that route, I'm happy to cut one for you. I will never use 10' of giant rectangle tube aluminum. Too late to help you for this weekend, though.

March 6th, 2014, 08:45 PM
I do have one of those 2-piece plastic adjustable battery hold downs. It should work. I don't mind drilling an extra hole in the battery tray for the second post. It'll be a lot skinnier in spacing than the stock battery.

I agree the ground setup I mocked up is pretty hokey. Nissan didn't allow much freedom with the chassis ground right there up high by the battery. I suppose I could move it down but I don't know what's behind the sheetmetal there...

I also have L-brackets that came with the battery. I could probably use one for the positive side. Problem is my negative terminal is crimped on to the very old-looking bare wire, which I'd like to not damage. I can't simply unbolt the terminal from an eyelet, because there isn't one. Hmmm.

March 6th, 2014, 08:58 PM
It looks like the weird crimpy thing on the fender is just bolted there... is it not?

March 6th, 2014, 09:28 PM
Time for an update of last week's adventures.

All packed up and ready to drive 2.5 hours to my friends' property, where a lift and many manly tools were waiting (along with a couple of great engineering minds).

Getting started. Exhaust removed, driveshaft disconnected...

The rear u-joint has a little bit of play. I hear these driveshafts aren't serviceable, IIRC. I'd love one of the lightweight 1-piece driveshafts (http://www.z1motorsports.com/product_info.php?products_id=1573), but they aren't legal in STX. :sadbanana:

Hovercraft Mode: ON

The rafters are low enough you can't raise the car to the point where you can stand under it. One has to bend over to walk under the car. Or use the stool. This was my hell for 5 days. Ow my back! ;)

Subframe assembly out!

Quite some time later...

Parts and tools strewn about. Ken looking war-worn from the Battle of the Bushings.

Not even a press could pull the new bushings in straight. They'd wiggle sideways. We resorted to using all-thread, many washers, sockets of various sizes, nuts, ratchets, lots of sticky icky grease, and giant pliers to get the job done. It wasn't pretty - and we broke some tools/hardware. I probably will never do bushings again. So I guess I'd better keep this car a while to enjoy them right?

Some of the old bushings came out using this method. Some did not. For those, a hole saw was used to cut through the rubber, and then the rest of the rubber was burned off. Another tricky thing was some of the bushings had outer sleeves we needed to re-use. The subframe bushings had two outer sleeves - and we had to destroy the inner one while keeping the outer one pristine. Oy.

Die bushing die!

Diff swap! Old VLSD on the far left.

The little blue specks are leftover remnants of paint from checking backlash.

Stinky icky fluid!

I took this opportunity to disassemble the KW coilovers and see if I could add any extra bump travel in the hopes of improving the ride quality on the street. I measured how far the shock could compress before bottoming internally, measured springs to determine when I'd hit coil bind, and cut bump stops appropriately with a margin for the forces of harsh impacts. Cool thing: the rear shocks compress fully without bottoming out. I was able to cut approximately 1" of bump stop for the rears. The fronts did bottom out at a point, so I only took 0.5" of bump stop out.

Completed (and greasy) subframe ready to go back in!

I drove 15 minutes to a shop where another friend worked, to get an alignment. It was a bit... lively. I had about an inch of toe-out up front! That's what happens when you replace one steering rack boot and don't take the extra time to eyeball the toe when you put the tie rod back on. :lol: I didn't want to keep him waiting.


Sitting in the car for the alignment. I ended up choosing, without putting a ton of thought into it:

Front: -3.1 degrees camber, 1/16" total toe out
Rear: -2.4 degrees camber, 1/8" total toe in

So the car now has all new bushings (at least 20 off the top of my head), a Kaaz 1.5-way "SuperQ" clutch LSD, KW Clubsports slightly revised, adjustable upper arms front and rear, Stillen hollow front sway bar, and a proper alignment. On a damp/dirty uphill driveway the diff felt quite locked. I had Kaaz build it at 60% lock (a couple plates de-activated on each side) to hopefully avoid drift-car behavior of a locked diff, which is how they ship from JDM-land. It also chatters sometimes, mainly around sharp turns at parking lot speeds. The SuperQ is not supposed to need break-in, and isn't supposed to chatter. Hmmm.

On the long drive back home the cut bump stops did seem to improve the ride, maybe about 10-15%. I was hoping for more. But at least now I know the stiff, bouncy ride on the street is down to either spring or damping rates. I'd like to figure out which it is, if it can be primarily traced to one source, since this is intended to be a DD. On a decent road it's fine, but anything on the rough side (ie, almost all of LA freeways) really jostles me around. I'd love to play with high speed bump - unfortunately it's fixed, these being the 2-way adjustable Clubsports, not the 3-ways.

I started hearing a light clunk about halfway home. I couldn't feel it through the steering, but I decided to stop and check it out. A guy stopped right after me (in a parking lot) and talked to me about the car for a bit. Anyway, I couldn't get my hands on much of anything with the low ride height and big fat wheel/tire on there, even with the steering at full lock. I surmised it was a loose endlink, as I've had that in the MR2 and this sounded a lot like that. The clunk went away on smooth roads too. But it was really noticeable in some low speed bumps so I was pretty sure it wasn't the semi-loose fender liner whipping into the fender at speed. Hmmm.

The next day I put the front end in the air, both tires removed, and nut-and-bolted everything up there. I found the passenger side adjustable upper arm had finger loose lock nuts, and the chassis mount bracket for that arm could have been made more snug on the bottom. I also broke out a bag of fender liner clips and secured them good. Hopefully the clunk is gone. I haven't driven the car again since doing this.

No pictures but we did drill a hole in the rear interior panels to access the rebound adjustment on the rear dampers. Rubber plugs fit nicely to keep noise down a bit. But they're orange, not black... would like to find some black ones eventually.

Most of my bushings were intact, but a couple of diff mount bushings were torn almost all the way through. The car is now easier to start off from a light while being smooth. Excellent. I've been working a lot with shift feel off and on for a while, too, and it's pretty good now. Went back to the stock shifter (had a short-shifter in there for a while) with fresh nylon bushings, changed shift knobs again. I missed the weighted feel of the stock knob, and I like leather too. That combination in a Nissan thread pitch isn't easy to find. My Duracon knob was kind of tall so I had to reach around it to operate some stereo controls. And the boot never sat flush with the base of the knob. I heard of a Mitsubishi knob (from a Lancer or Galant I think?) that fit Nissans and was weighted and comfortable. They used to be cheap. Mitsu caught on to this, because they're now $120+. Ridiculous. I happened to check eBay and found one, just one, for $40. Jumped on it. :D


Both knobs are about the same height. The Mitsu knob threads deeper onto the shifter, so it actually sits lower. And meets the boot. Now my OCD can relax.


A little over-shiny, I know. I had *just* put leather conditioner on.

Edit - forgot "after" pictures!




The extra camber (compared to -2.0 all around on my red car) makes for less flushness of the wheels and tires. Minor bummer. But this car is for fast, not for furious. I do have 5mm spacers I might put up front. It's wide enough in the back already (gotta be able to sneak between the cones!).

Yessir, some roof trim, mud flaps, silver wheels, black lugnuts, a good detail, maybe some window tint, and this car will be pretty nice. Nicer than my MR2T if I'm not careful! :o When I bought this car I didn't have intentions of making it this much of a restoration project.

March 6th, 2014, 09:36 PM
It looks like the weird crimpy thing on the fender is just bolted there... is it not?

The big rectangle above the catch cans in the top pic? Yeah, but I bet I can't legally remove that holder in my class...

[You're actually looking at the firewall along the upper part of that pic, and the fender slicing through the lower left diagonally]

March 7th, 2014, 02:50 AM
Would it be possible to remove the whole negative cable, hopefully pull that crimped thing off, put it on a new cable+6", and replace?
Of course I can't even begin to guess where the other end of that thing terminates- probably a nightmare to get to, going around to the back of the motor like it appears to be.

March 7th, 2014, 08:05 AM

What is that? That might be what Justin is talking about. Can that be removed? You're not allowed to re-route cables in STX??

March 7th, 2014, 09:28 AM
Yep, that's what I was talking about. :)

I was going to suggest using a cutoff wheel to remove the battery side of that cable, then running a new battery cable from the battery terminal to the bolt that holds that bracket. The bracket remains in place, as you'll need that unless you want to re-run a cable to the other side (which I suspect is the motor). No idea if something like that would be legal, but it would certainly be safer than what's going on now! :D

March 7th, 2014, 11:37 AM
That thing circled in red is the chassis ground, is it not? Seems kind of important. :) There's also a transmission ground I think.

I could relocate the chassis ground if I knew I wouldn't drill into anything if I drilled for that bolt about 3" lower... guessing the firewall is something tricky to tap into though. Slightly longer cable seems more ideal, or maybe *two* blocks of 2x4 under the battery to make it taller.

March 7th, 2014, 11:43 AM
No, don't relocate the ground. Just cut off the side of the cable that runs from the chassis ground to the battery, then run a new cable from the battery back to the chassis ground. It looks like that ground is just bolted onto the firewall, so all you need is an eyelet of the appropriate size.


March 7th, 2014, 02:21 PM
That's a huge wire to splice though. I don't think I have the tools for that.

I have a plan that's slightly less hokey than what I had before. I'll cut that block of wood in half, stack them to make the battery higher, and that should get the neg terminal close enough to the post where I don't have to use the janky double terminal setup. My post is still too small, but I have a sheet of copper I can cut and bend around the post to take up the dead space for now. I have a set of Odyssey posts on order (nobody in town carries them), which *should* fit my terminals, and I know they fit my battery. Summit gives the measurements of the Odyssey posts. My negative post is slightly smaller than those measurements. So in theory this will work...

March 7th, 2014, 02:36 PM
I think we are still not communicating. :)

You need a Dremel with a cutoff wheel or a hacksaw. Cut along the line indicated. That leaves the engine->chassis ground intact.

Then, go to Autozone and buy a battery ground cable. It will have a battery lug on one side, and an eyelet on the other. Make sure the eyelet is big enough to fit around the bolt that is holding the existing engine->chassis ground bracket to the chassis. Bolt the eyelet to the chassis using the bolt that is holding the other ground on.

No splicing anything...


Like so...


March 8th, 2014, 06:15 PM
I have an easier idea. :) It would have been done tomorrow but I'm struggling epically with the drivers side PCV hose (doing the catch can before the battery). Hardest hose ever. After two hours, six pieces came out. And the other half of the hose is still in there. Yeah, it's very difficult to see let alone reach. I spritzed some PB Blaster on there for overnight. Can't hurt...

On a brighter note, the Odyssey terminal post kit arrived today (hooray for Summit having a warehouse close by) and it solves my problem with the terminal/post incompatibility. The supplier of my old posts made the negative extra small and extra tapered, for some reason.

March 8th, 2014, 06:31 PM
I have come to be quite fond of Summit. Stuff gets from Sparks to Sacramento in one day and no tax. :up:

March 8th, 2014, 07:09 PM
Now that both Zs are running properly at the same time... I've just noticed something.

It's most noticeable while blipping a downshift. Regardless of whether the brake is applied at the time. The '91 requires little pedal movement and it zings up the rev counter to where I want. The '94 requires no different rhythm, but a much deeper prod, down to full throttle at the briefest moment, to accomplish the same rise in revs. Under acceleration in gear the '91 feels eager, willing. The '94 feels labored. Not slow, just like it's having to work hard where the '91 engine isn't breaking a sweat.

The '91 is 100% stock except the holes in the mufflers. The '94 has a cone filter, headers, X-pipe and cat-back, lightweight crank and water pump pulleys, a brand new fan clutch, and has been dyno tuned to optimize A/F ratio under WOT. I'm not actually convinced the '94 is that much faster below 6000rpm, if at all. But primarily I want to know why the difference in engine response.

Is it possible there's a vacuum leak which the engine and IACV is able to compensate for? What am I overlooking? Think a MAF swap might reveal anything? The '94 runs smoothly and pulls well to over 7k RPM, so I don't think I'm looking at something like ignition or fuel.

I want the free, willing spirit of my '91 engine in my '94!

March 9th, 2014, 09:35 AM
With mods involved on the '94, it could be anything!

o The '94 could be differently tuned from the factory - different cam on the throttle body, different spring on the throttle body, different weight of the rotating assembly, different weight on the flywheel
o Could be a goofy air measuring system on the '94 not responding quickly enough to changes in intake volume
o Could be a pre-throttle body, post air flow meter vacuum leak
o Could be a weak fuel system not providing sufficient flow or pressure resulting in sluggish throttle response
o Could be a weak ignition system bogging at low revs or not providing optimal spark
o If ignition timing is adjustable, could be a difference there
o Could be a result of the ECU mods
o Could be an obstructed catalytic converter

Do the pedals feel the same with the car off? Can you have someone watch the throttle body while you work the pedal or vice-versa to verify 50% pedal is 50% throttle on each car? That would work towards eliminating #1! :)

As a guy who has frequently had multiple instances of the same car at the same time, I sympathize with your plight!

March 9th, 2014, 02:02 PM
I know, I'm kind of all over the place lately... but...

How important is gravity with a catch can routed between the valve cover vent tube and the PCV valve? I just realized my 6ft of hose will go up and over the engine from the vent tube. Is there enough vacuum that it won't be a problem?

March 9th, 2014, 03:07 PM
On a fuel injected car it shouldn't be an issue at all. Obviously less hose and elevation changes are preferable, but with EFI at sea level you should have plenty of vacuum. Just remember the size of the hose has a bearing on vacuum at the end of it, and you don't want a situation where the crap in the hose could cool and solidify before reaching the catch can. You don't need this car to run tens of thousands of miles between inspections, so just keep an eye on it with tire pressure checks or whatever to be sure it is still doing its job. Based on how much oil you plan on processing, it will probably get plenty of attention. ;)

March 9th, 2014, 05:04 PM
Hmm. Well it's not terribly difficult to disconnect the hoses at the catch can. But the ends that go under the intake manifold are another story, and that's where the oil would pool on the side in question. Those hoses are not coming off without getting destroyed. Just no room for any leverage. So um, tens of thousands of miles between inspections would be ideal. :) Obviously draining the cans will happen more frequently.

The hoses are 9/16" for that side. Passenger side has the short hoses, one is 9/16" and the other is 3/8".

One of the old PCV hoses was already split and so probably leaked a bit of oil. It was wet with the stuff when I took it out. Hopefully this reduces the size of my oil leak(s) now that I have a new hose on there.

And now for a 2-week break before I can get back into it. Continuity!


Now on the throttle response deal...

- I'm not aware of any throttle cam changes. In gear, 20% throttle seems to give similar acceleration in both cars. There is just one flywheel for 90-96 NAs.
- It's the same design as the '91 air measuring system. Same parts. Only difference is the '91 has long tubes inside the bumper that snake around before meeting the air filter box.... while the '94 just has a cone filter off the MAF.
- There are vacuum hoses that come off the intake pipes. This is the only place I can think of there'd be a vacuum leak. Maybe in the EGR vacuum modulator system, or something. Two vacuum hoses that looked slightly cracked were replaced a few months ago.
- Fuel pumps aren't known to be a weak spot. Both cars have new Nissan fuel filters.
- It's coil-on-plug with new plugs. Coil packs aren't known for going bad either, but I suppose it's possible. New ones aren't cheap.
- Timing should be the same on both cars. Unless one of them slipped. Doubtful, given the adjustment mechanism with locking washers on the CAS.
- Maybe. I'm not sure how part-throttle was handled. If it was changed from stock maps. Full throttle definitely was.
- Cats look good from the rear on the blue car.

March 9th, 2014, 07:33 PM
Does the starting speed of the engine have anything to do with it? Is 2k-4k different from 4k-6k?

March 25th, 2014, 06:00 PM
I don't think so. It's just... by the numbers, the blue car should feel faster. It doesn't.

I was doing a thing to it today, and accidentally left a small vacuum line disconnected. I took it for a drive and then remembered when I got home. It didn't seem to drive any differently than normal. This line goes from the passenger side intake tube to the EGR vacuum modulator. Wonder if this means something's wrong with my EGR system?

The long green hose on the left:


My '94 doesn't have the AIV system, though, so part of this diagram doesn't apply.

Oh yeah, and despite nut-and-bolting the entire front suspension 2 weeks ago, and loctiting the adjustable upper arms, I still have a ma-hoo-sive clunk in the RF over bumps. Primarily low speed. I'll put the front in the air and try to find it again, but I'm stumped. Unless the shock is very much broken somehow. Which it shouldn't be. I still can't feel anything funny through the steering either.

March 26th, 2014, 09:13 AM
I'd look at strut bearings, shock bushings, and sway bar bushings & links. Every car I've ever had with a clunky front end has been the swaybar... EXCEPT the PT Cruiser, which had an obliterated inner bushing on the LCA.

I wouldn't read too much into the EGR scenario. On a 20 year old car, I think it'd be a miracle if it even worked right anymore. If it does, it wouldn't make any tangible drivability difference. I blocked off the XR's EGR like six or seven years ago. I remove the blockoff for smog because it won't pass visual otherwise, but it's nonfunctional at best, and leaking boost at worst. It hasn't done anything for that car's emissions in a long, long time.

I'm slightly confused as to why you'd have that green hose if you don't have AIV. The EGR vacuum circuit should just be the yellow hose to the solenoid and the red hose to the valve. What would the green hose be doing if it didn't connect to an AIV solenoid?

March 26th, 2014, 10:02 AM
It connects directly to the EGR solenoid directly, with the blue hose. The metal T-pipe isn't a T on my 1994, since there's no AIV for it to go to. Everything else is the same.

I'm not 1000% sure I checked the tightness of the top nut on the shocks last time, but everything else I guarantee was torqued and inspected. I hope that's it... [I did disassemble the coilovers to cut bump stops and measure shock travel].

March 26th, 2014, 10:26 AM
Ah, got it. So the nipple on the TB connects directly to the second port on the EGR solenoid. That's weird. I'm not sure why that would want to be there. Maybe intake manifold resonance at big throttle openings causes low vacuum and tying the EGR valve to pre-throttle body airflow provides the vacuum needed to operate the EGR valve? That's my best guess. If so, the side effect of leaving that green tube disconnected would be a small amount of unmetered air (causing a slightly lean mixture) and an EGR valve that would probably stay closed at big throttle angles. Not great, but probably no terrible side effects. On a modern car, that'd be a more or less instant CEL, though! :D

March 26th, 2014, 01:03 PM
OBD1 ftw? :)

Top nut (22mm) on the right front coilover was the clunk. Seems to be gone now after tightening it up. :up: Good news, that. Means I didn't have to put the car in the air to hunt for a problem (ask me how long it takes to get the front on jack stands, as low as the car is now...).

If it works loose again I'll remove the nut and apply a bit of blue loctite. I used my impact wrench for the final torque - though it's a bit down on battery power so not at full strength.

March 26th, 2014, 01:10 PM
Supa! Those are the nice fixes! :)

You should invest in a 2x6! They are great to drive onto to make getting a jack under a lowered car easier. Stick a 1' board under each wheel, or stack a couple of them like stairs to add a little more height. Like shitty, cheap, Rhino Ramps. :) I gotta use that setup with the SPG, or I end up using two jacks - a tiny one to get some height under the car so I can fit the large one. A few pieces of wood solves that issue, saves time.

March 26th, 2014, 01:29 PM
Oh yes, I have to drive up on 2x4s, and even then it's a challenge. Stacking a second 2x4 under each front wheel helps.

March 26th, 2014, 01:51 PM
I jack one side of the M3 up, place 4x4 under tire, then jack from front subframe.

March 28th, 2014, 10:44 AM


New wheels and tires and lug nuts mounted. 5mm spacers up front. I seem to have only about 6 turns of thread engagement up front. Not sure if that's enough - I think I once heard that 4 turns is enough for full strength of a bolt, but what about a stud with the engagement at the outer end (wheel + spacer means there's a fair bit of stud length doing nothing)?

March 28th, 2014, 11:16 AM
There are lots of rules of thumb when it comes to thread engagement, and really you can't know anything until you know about the materials and dimensions involved. ;) The rule I've always used for wheel hardware is engagement should equal the diameter of the stud or bolt... so an M12 wheel stud needs 12mm of thread engagement... that's assuming you have steel wheel hardware and not aluminum, in which case you need double that. That's minimum - which isn't good enough for many sanctioning bodies, which generally have rules about exposed threads - eg, at least two threads fully exposed past the nut.

FWIW, I ran the XR4Ti for many years with five full turns on the studs and it made me nervous - it should have been about eight (M12x1.5). Nothing bad ever happened, and when I finally switched to longer wheel studs there was no sign of stress or damage to the old studs or nuts. But, that was for street use. I didn't track that car until I had more engagement.

March 28th, 2014, 11:17 AM
Also, them wheels is ACE!

March 28th, 2014, 11:40 AM
Threads exposed past the nut? But my nuts are huge! ;) [Muteki SR48 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QHMS5S/)]

At 12x1.25, if my math is right that means 9.6 turns of engagement. Seems like a lot!

I wonder who makes quality extended studs besides ARP ($$$). Sometimes OEMs have options - I think my MR2T has front studs from a Land Cruiser or something. I'll look up how difficult it would be to remove/install studs with basic hand tools.

March 28th, 2014, 11:47 AM
just shell out for the ARPs and be done with it.

That's what I did anyways.

March 28th, 2014, 06:58 PM
Go to Dorman's website and look up replacement wheel studs for your car. That will give you the geometry. Then you can search for other cars with similar but longer wheel studs. I gotta believe someone on some forum has done this before, so you may do fine just googling "300zx longer wheel studs."

It's generally not too bad to swap wheel studs, but the gotcha is whether there is sufficient space behind the hub to get the old ones out or the new ones in. A good socket that will just slip over the back and a big c-clamp will do it, and sometimes a quick rap with a heavy (sledge) hammer is enough. Just don't beat on it and damage the hub or wheel bearings. It's helpful to hose things down in PB Blaster long before starting, and judicious use of Freeze Off during the process will help. Given the Z's RWDedness it may be painless to pull the front hubs off entirely and use a press to get the old ones out. That's what I did on the Fiero and XR. You can probably flip a local shop $20 to do it for you. Usually just a big beefy nut.

Installation can be done with a sacrificial lug nut and some heavy duty M12 washers, or there is a $25 Lisle tool which works awesome. Happy to mail mine to you if you like - I won't be installing more wheel studs for a while. ;) You might check O'Reilly's etc, as they may have stud removal/installer kits available for rent.

March 29th, 2014, 03:08 PM
Also, them wheels is ACE!
Aw yeah, now THAT'S the business! :up: :up:

March 31st, 2014, 09:03 AM
I have Nismo wheel studs on the front of my S14, no issues with them and pretty reasonable $$.

Looking good with the wheels.

March 31st, 2014, 10:33 AM
So to catch up a bit on preparation, here's my un-pretty battery and catch can installation. There's no good way to do the catch can on this car, with the dual PCV valves and their locations, so I think that is what it is. Without the small battery giving me the space, I'm not sure where I would have put a catch can. Maybe a single tiny one would have fit on the drivers side amongst the master cylinders.


[Hose routing for the drivers side PCV]

I have drain extensions going down to the bottom of the car. It will be interesting to see which one collects the most oil - so we can know once and for all if one PCV pickup is more troublesome than the other on the VG30DE.

And yeah, I need hose clamps that are less ugly! That was all I could find locally. The next size smaller is too small. It's for a 19/32" hose. If anyone's got a good source of better-looking clamps, do speak up.

Engineered P/S reservoir diaper.

New wheels and tires on. I just noticed this time that the front suspension has noticeably more droop travel than the rear.

And now, a report on its first event...

Next to Charlie Davis' winning BMW:

Obviously I still have some trim to install to make it legal. I ran WRG not for points at this event, with a marque club I've rarely run with, just to test out the car.


I started with the damper settings I ended up with at last year's El Toro ProSolo (almost a year ago, holy cow...) in the T-top car. Of course this blue car has a few important differences (not the least of which is a real diff) but I figured that was as good a place to start as any.

After one run I softened rear bump by 2 clicks. I wanted to get power down without going sideways instantly...
After the second run, having felt a slight improvement, I went down on front bump 2 clicks because I felt more steady state push.
The third and fourth runs I left it alone.

In the end, I think tire temperature had more to do with improving power-down than anything. Surprisingly, tire temperature was not the issue I expected it to be. My temps were all between 90-120 degrees F after four runs with about 5 minutes break in between. It was a sunny but cool day (60F ambient?) with a little breeze and a grippy concrete surface.

Tire temp spread seemed to indicate I could use a bit more negative camber up front, and more pressure as well. I ran 38psi hot with -3.1* camber. On an SLA-like front suspension. That seems like a lot of camber already, to me...

Rear temps showed a similar theme. I have -2.4* back there, and ran 34psi hot. Power-down might have been helped by less tire pressure, but the pyrometer would suggest that less rear camber is not the way to go. However, even in a straight line the car wants to spin the back tires. It's a joke in the wet (on the way to the event this morning). I can get wheelspin in 2nd gear going straight. Not even shifting. On the dry concrete, launching from the line at ~2000rpm, I get a bit of wheelspin.

Comments from a couple friends watching (experienced autocrossers themselves): my car doesn't dive, roll, or squat. At all. It seems too stiff. How to know if it's spring rate or damping? I can imagine if there's a tonload of low speed compression damping in the shock, it might have a similar effect and just never roll onto the spring. I did notice on course it never did feel like the front end would dig in and grip. Even so, I could just barely tuck the nose in with a lift off the throttle mid-corner.

As a (probably fairly useless!) test I opened the hood on my car and Charlie's BMW, and leaned on the shock tower to compress the suspension by hand. My car's front end didn't move. Charlie's did, though not a lot. And his car isn't exactly softly sprung.

Is it true damping has more of an effect on transition ability than spring rate? Suppose I go softer on springs - I don't want to lose the quick transitions this car manages to have given its weight. Getting a 3100lb 71" wide car to slalom well is probably going to be the biggest challenge and also one of the best time gains...

There was some steady state push for sure. It felt worse than it looks in the video. Two things, though. 1) Just about everything pushes a bit at Marina. 2) The majority of this course wasn't representative of anything we'll see at a national level event.

The car doesn't feel very fast in 2nd gear, until it gets to 5000rpm. Then it takes off. Like VTAK. But it doesn't have VTAK. Strange. I remember my '91 T-top car feeling similar at El Toro. Feels like a lack of torque below 4k RPM even though the dyno plots say otherwise. On the street it feels plenty fast in 3rd/4th gear.

So here are my times...

Charlie was my benchmark, since I've run with him since 2012. After our first runs he was 52.5, six tenths quicker than me. I didn't like this. After fourth runs, I was six tenths quicker than him. He took a passenger on his 4th run though, and felt like he didn't quite get what the car had on his 3rd and fastest run. So figure I was ~3 tenths faster. Not fast enough! Again though, I don't know how much we can read into this course and times.

Video of all 4 of my runs is uploading. My genius camera mount turned out to be less genius when the weight of the GoPro made it apparent the dome light lens isn't as firmly attached as it could be. The roll you see in the video is not body roll, it's camera roll as the dome light lens shifts back and forth...

It was a mixed day. On the plus side, nothing blew up and there were no big surprises. But it isn't exactly lighting up the time sheets either. San Diego next weekend could be interesting, as stiff as the car is and as much as it already wants to go sideways on throttle on concrete. Broken up asphalt will be a challenge! As a band-aid, I wonder if running compression damping full soft might give me a bit of compliance in the suspension. And lower rear tire pressures...

Other possible ideas, probably more for the future than for next weekend:
> Softer springs all around (thinking of taking a swing at it... 100-150lbs?)
> less rear camber, less rear toe-in? [fender roll???]
> less front toe-out? Bit darty on street. More front camber? -3.1 static seems like plenty on SLA-like suspension.
> Would softer springs give more compression travel, and gain me more dynamic camber loaded up in a turn? Maybe static camber is fine as-is, then, once I get the suspension to do more work.

One more cool thing, the car did attract a lot of compliments and attention. Especially from people I didn't know. Well if nothing else it makes an impression!

Found a couple shots on course:
http://markm.zenfolio.com/p730463841/h173d490f#h173d490f [going slowly up to the timeslip guy, so don't read anything into the lack of body roll this time]



March 31st, 2014, 11:23 AM
Never found a "good looking" hose clamp, but I positively hate those cheapass parts store clamps. They are made of thin metal and the "gear teeth" chomp on the rubber hose while the edges dig at it. Terrible devices, they should be banned. ABA is what many European cars use for clamps, and they are made to a much higher quality but are usually about $2/ea. Ouch. I found these on Amazon:


which are nice in the fact that the gear teeth are embossed rather than cut and the edges are rolled... like ABA clamps, but not quite as nice - and about half the price.

All that said, for PCV on an NA car, I would consider just using modern spring clamps.


They take up less space and technically are better than worm-gear clamps because they can expand and contract with heat. Although they are factory on all modern cars, they can be a problem in boosted applications and people complain about them. But for a wheezer, they should be exactly what you need. Buy the proper tool (which could just be wide pliers) to remove them and they are incredibly fast to service, which might be nice when emptying or inspecting the cans.

March 31st, 2014, 04:55 PM
6/10's faster than the winner isn't fast enough??

March 31st, 2014, 07:34 PM
Not if Bryan aims to be at the top end of the field at Nationals. :)

April 1st, 2014, 10:49 AM
Car looks awesome

34psi hot sounds a tad high to me, could probably go 2psi lower ?

It does sound like you need the car to move around more. I guess that softening the damping is something you can try easily. If the car gets bouncy, then I guess you need softer springs too.
My S13's poor traction was definitely worsened when it was running coilovers.

Possibly the best solution for slaloming would be some beefy anti-roll bars, rather than having hard springs/dampers ?

I'd reckon leave camber alone for now and try and get the setup a bit softer.

April 1st, 2014, 11:25 AM
Tire pressures don't seem unreasonable based on my experience with similar tires in that environment.

Based on some comments elsewhere, I'm starting to wonder if he didn't get a bad set of KWs. I dismissed that thought (elsewhere), but a lack of movement when leaning on the fender seems bad.

The one asterix, Bryan, would be that I wouldn't chase my tail too much based on minor issues at Marina--it's a weird site for tuning. I do think that the possibly major issue of "why does it seem like my dampers are locked solid" should be checked out, though!

April 1st, 2014, 03:03 PM
Yeah, even the crazy high spring rates and damper rates I run, I can get some flex on my M3.

Is the car hitting bumpstops or anything?

April 1st, 2014, 06:55 PM
It is, up front, but not until it compresses 2". My girl's RX-8 has a tad less compression travel than that before hitting the bump stops, and rides smooth like buttah. So that's not it. :) Bump stops were my initial theory on the maroon Z, and I measured shock travel and calculated coil bind, then cut the stops before putting the coilovers on the blue Z.

Screwy shock damping does seem plausible. It just seems highly unlikely all 4 would have been built wrong. I'd almost think it more likely they engineered the damping that way on purpose - perhaps exclusively for a smooth race track. Other Zs run various other coilovers with similar spring rates to mine and they report a smooth ride on the street.

I'll probably try softer springs first since they're a lot cheaper and easier to change. See if it does anything for me.

I know Marina is a bit of an anomaly. Still I think the suspension has bigger problems than simply balance issues. It needs to work like suspension first. ;)

April 1st, 2014, 07:04 PM
Dampers are what affects the ride quality, I wonder if the dampers are mis-valved....

April 1st, 2014, 09:09 PM
This is what I'm hearing from more and more people. That even quality dampers can ride smoothly with crazy stiff spring rates.

I think there's only one company that revalves these dampers... and I bet it isn't cheap. Or fast.


In other news, I drained the catch cans today...


This is after four (4) autocross runs. That's crazy. I think there's a problem with the PCV pickup point location, yeah? ;) What's interesting is this all came out of one can - the other can was empty. If this pattern holds after several more events, I think I'd be safe to go with a much simpler (and slightly lighter) single catch can for the troublesome side only. It's the passenger side PCV that has the drinking problem. It picks up from the exhaust valve cover low down on the drivers side (both pick ups are close by). And runs to the passenger side PCV valve, which is attached to a part of the intake that crosses back over to the drivers side cylinder bank. Not complicated at all, is it? :)

I did put a lot of work and $$$ into this custom dual catch tank system though... shame to waste it. On the other hand, I've saved my cats and learned something useful in the process.

It'd be nice if I could dump this oil back into the sump but I have a feeling it's probably better not to.

April 1st, 2014, 10:18 PM
The TTs only ever blew smoke going one direction, so I guess it makes sense that only one bank is the problem child?

April 1st, 2014, 11:31 PM
Actually it's not that straightforward from what I can tell. Here are the two vent tubes at the back of the drivers side exhaust valve cover:


They're both in a similar area. The tube on the back of the valve cover is the one that lets all the oil through. Not the tube on the side. I would have thought it'd be the one on the side since the car only goes through oil when autocrossing.

April 1st, 2014, 11:59 PM
What does it look like inside of the valve cover?

April 2nd, 2014, 06:55 AM
Dark and oily.

April 2nd, 2014, 09:46 AM

April 2nd, 2014, 10:04 AM
Presumably with some baffling of some sort, somewhere in there.

April 2nd, 2014, 10:30 AM
That really is a dumb location for a PCV connection. At the back and low, where oil in the head is going to go every time you get on the gas. Crazy they thought that was a good idea on this type of a car.

Is there any option to relocate the PCV port? Or possibly put some sort of baffling (a small canister with steel wool, etc.) very nearby to help return oil directly to the head?

April 2nd, 2014, 10:36 AM
Not within the rule structure that Bryan is following. He's only allowed to add a catch tank.

April 2nd, 2014, 10:45 AM
Yeah, I figured. :(

Pretty much yields one possibility: Live with it.

April 10th, 2014, 11:13 PM
Quick post-SanDiego brain dump.

Went full soft on shocks for Friday TnT. Car felt fun to drive, fairly neutral on TnT course. Maybe a bit too much rotation on throttle above 4k RPM. Played with stiffening front bump. No real improvement in corner exit on power. In fact it got slightly worse as the tires got heat in them. T ran after, and thought the car was too loose on throttle. We disconnected the rear bar. I rode for a run. It felt quite stable but not pushy. So we left it for Saturday competition. Meanwhile a few other shock adjustments were made. Oddly, adding more front rebound relative to rear rebound made the car loose in transitions -- the opposite effect compared to other cars I have run.

On Saturday, car was very loose on throttle. A big difference compared to the practice course - and usually the difference is more subtle. Even with the stock rear bar disconnected the car was happy to over-rotate on part throttle. Front bar is full stiff. We played with adding more front bump again to try to fix it, and we lowered rear tire pressures further. Down to 30psi.

The car seems to roll side to side and feels a bit lazy and soft in the lateral transition. I'm told from observers there is still no perceptible dive or squat. Adding rebound all around seems to sharpen the initial steering response, though you can still feel the weight and slight sluggishness in transitions.

Saturday night we lowered the rear ride height 3 turns on the KW perches. Not knowing what this would do to toe. I asked J-Rho and he said it would lose toe-in. So possibly a net wash in balance. The car was mostly the same I felt, with maybe a slight improvement in power-down, and it had more resistance to turning in well in the off-camber corners. This latter effect could have been due to course design. For our last runs we went down a bit more in rear tire pressure, in spite of our pyrometer readings, and it seemed to help on the last run. Oddly both days I felt my last run was better, but the times didn't show it. The Dunlop Z2s didn't seem to be getting too hot. They were no more than warm. 120 degrees tops. Teddie was sure her final run Sunday was her best but again, the clock disagreed.

Anyway, I talked to a few people who said that their cars were looser on Sunday than on Saturday. So perhaps lowering the rear ride height helped more than I think - if we hadn't, it's possible the car would have been crazy loose Sunday.

The good news is it's not hard to get the front end to work well. The not so good news is it's proving difficult to get that much grip from the rear of the car. We'll keep trying. For El Toro I've hooked up the rear sway bar again, anticipating a more understeery surface, and I've also thrown a complete monkeywrench into the works by throwing Hankooks on the car. :p We'll see what happens. Driving around town the diff chatter has a different feel between the two tires. Strange. Anyway, I haven't checked rear toe since lowering the back of the car mainly because I don't want to spend another $80 fixing it just yet.

Oh, and the catch cans need to be drained after 3 runs. If they aren't, the car burns oil through the exhaust on the 4th run. This is rather tiresome. Can we make a better solution legal in ST?

It's late. Got to drive to El Toro in the morning. I'll have more pictures up when I get back. Here's a quick one for now, and in-car video of (nearly...) all of my runs in San Diego.



I think the few times I turned into a corner and turned out again were mainly due to my habit of having a very quick turn-in. Exacerbated by my time in the E36, and made no better by the light steering in the Z32. It's a quick ratio so you don't really need an armful of steering on turn in. Got to refine that from my side, but also make the car less hyper-responsive to it if I can.

April 11th, 2014, 08:04 AM
I meant to mention the other day your tribulations with the catch can scenario have proven to be really helpful to me. Since I put the Fiero on the good suspension and sticky tires, I've been noticing a fair amount of oil burning that I thought was happening at high RPM or maybe during throttle overrun at high RPM. I assumed that having put a pile of time and money into the handling that was the cue for the engine to develop a problem. It'd only make sense...

Turns out it's happening on higher G right turns at high RPM, eg big freeway on & off ramps. Never happens when turning left, only right. It probably would have taken a LONG time for me to diagnose the actual problem if I hadn't been so familiar with yours. So, thanks!

April 16th, 2014, 10:35 AM
No problem! Glad my hack build could help in some way. :lol:

Warning: Long autox report and bench racing to follow.

A few further SD Tour thoughts.


This is the new alignment system at my local place, with these devices that clamp on to the outside of the tires. I was kind of wondering how accurate that would be (depends more on the operator than the tolerances of the equipment?) compared to the traditional setup. This new thing also can't properly measure toe in inches since it doesn't know the wheel diameter. (I know, I'm crazy for always thinking of toe in inches rather than the more absolute measurement of degrees!).

So, how close was my weight guess of 3100lbs?


Ignore the corner weights - I hear SCCA scales are never leveled. Anyway, with that much fuel I'm sure the car is under 3100lbs normally. I figure 3075 or so on 1/8th of a tank (I wanted to test this at El Toro but the scales were never open when I wanted to weigh). This is a little bit lighter than I expected. I now think a build with a high priority on weight savings (custom light and loud exhaust, aluminum shocks, early no-airbag hardtop, etc) could get to 2,950. Not that I'll go there. I may get to low 3000s if I really feel like throwing more money at the car.

Here are some action shots showing the car working (Teddie driving):


Seems to be enough body roll, without being excessive. San Diego, IMO, has decent grip even though cars feel slidey, loose, and sluggish to respond there.

Squat and dive, on the other hand, doesn't seem to exist much. The car should still be under hard braking here:


Rear sidewall flex...

This angle makes it look as though the rear wheel is slightly toed-out with zero or positive camber. I don't believe either of those would be the case, although toe out is possible, I suppose, after we lowered the rear.

April 16th, 2014, 10:37 AM
El Toro ProSolo debrief, then!


In the week between San Diego and El Toro I reconnected the rear sway bar, changed the transmission fluid to MT90, and bolted on a set of 2011 build date Hankooks RS3s that had barely been used. Local knowledge says this particular tire has an affinity for El Toro's surface, and they came with my WedsSports, so why not. :) [And yeah I'm running them on the Rotas... long story]


The trans drain plug had plenty of metal on it, embedded in a layer of dark grey goop. I wonder if the fluid in this car has ever been changed. In spite of this, it shifts fantastically. Better than the 98k-mile transmission in my 1991. The only hint that anything could be sub-optimal is a whine in 2nd gear. It sure sounds like that whine is coming from the rear end, not the trans, but it only does it in 2nd gear... funny.

So surprise surprise, there was a practice course at El Toro this time. Since the car was still so new, and I hadn't run it on RS3s before, I thought it would be a good idea to get a basic idea for tire pressures and balance. The TnT was on a section of runway that was sandpaper concrete. Super high grip. I could feel the car sort of bind up and release (and repeat) on the initial phase of corner exit. I'm thinking this has to do with the diff being fairly tight. Aside from that, the car felt better than ever, having no real trouble getting power down while straight or otherwise. Braking performance seemed a bit less on the Hankooks. Slaloms felt as good as one could expect from a car this heavy. I was one of the few STX cars in the 39s that I know of, but half a second behind Clint's ITR. I settled on pressures pretty similar to what I ran on Dunlop Z2s.

The area of El Toro we used for the Pro is very good asphalt that behaves much like concrete.

I started with shock settings close to what I used in San Diego, just with the rear bar connected since El Toro tends to promote understeer in comparison with San Diego. In the Saturday AM session, the Z seemed a little loose, and I felt like I had the opportunity to gain a decent chunk of time with a solid run each side so I disconnected the rear bar. And also went down 2 clicks on front compression in an attempt to make sure the car didn't push too much entry to mid corner.

It felt slightly better, though clearly it wasn't a large difference and I still had to wheel it. It felt slightly softer in the back, transitioning that little bit slower.

I wanted to keep looking for more time in the setup. I looked at video Saturday night to make a decision whether to re-attach the rear bar for Sunday (since I didn't improve as much Saturday PM as I thought I would), or to try something else instead. In the end I decided to soften the front shocks both in bump and rebound. Bump in an attempt to further reduce the mild push at times, and rebound in a (futile) attempt to help the car launch a little better. It actually launched worse on Sunday morning. But more than that, I felt like the car had become too soft in lateral. I think I may have gone the wrong way in setup. I made it easier to drive, but probably no faster. Theoretically softening the car would add grip but it ended up that the weight of the car could be felt more.

After sitting 3rd on grid for Sat PM runs, and 2nd on grid for Sun AM runs, I was disappointed to finish competition runs in 4th, later to become 5th when Yanase took his runs (congrats if you're reading this!). I think I drove the car well and pretty much got the most out of it. I did see in data I went nearly 3 tenths faster in the second half of my final Challenge run (second side so the tires had warmed up a bit). That was an all or nothing run scaring all the cones to try to beat Tom Berry after being behind on the first side. It wasn't enough. :p Anyway, there's not a lot more to be done to the car other than fine tuning what's there and maybe taking another 2.2% off the overall weight. From a bench racing perspective, there's good and bad to be seen. The Z32 is still teasing me just enough to make me want to continue with it.

Good: Despite finishing 5th, the bottom end of the trophies, I was only .235 from the win. STX was crazy. :)
Bad: Max threw down a dirty run in his STR ;) BRZ that was .5 faster than what he stood on. So I'm not quite as close as it looks initially.
Good: There may be a bit more time in the car if I can figure out how to make the rear end work better.
Bad: I was giving away 3 tenths to 60ft (perhaps 4-5 tenths to 200ft where the first turn was?) on each side to Max's BRZ. If I could have made the car launch properly, I would have been there at the top. Most of my 60ft times were 2.5 or low 2.6. I think I had one or two high 2.4s. And either lots of wheelspin or lots of wheel hop, or both. Really tricky car to launch. I know Hankooks don't launch well, but I wasn't the only RWD car on them either...

The challenge I see is that acceleration is no better than the typical cars in class, and I don't get any more tire for my extra 300-500lbs of weight. The more transitions on course, and the more slippery the surface, the less competitive the car is. A series of 50-70mph sweepers on concrete would be the perfect autox course for this car. We're not likely to see anything like that at SCCA events.

At the moment I'm thinking the next steps look something like this:

- Softer rear springs (460lbs down to 400?) combined with a stiffer rear bar. I want more squat on acceleration, without softening the car too much in lateral for transitions. The rates for the stock rear bar and Stillen rear bar are unknown... This could be a "try it and see" situation. Perhaps raising the rear ride height back to initial spec would be useful here too. Don't want too much understeer to creep in. Do want stability, but willingness to rotate and change direction are important too.

- Take some locking out of the diff. Easiest way to try is synthetic fluid, and if that's' not enough maybe add some friction modifier. If that fails, I can try to reverse another set of plates but it'd be a major hassle to remove the diff and LSD again. It's not so easy.

One potential downside to this two-pronged change is a stiffer rear bar unloading the inside rear more, making it easier for the diff to spin up the inside tire if it isn't tight enough. I don't know where the margin is with the diff. I definitely don't want to turn it into a $1500 open diff when I could have just run the VLSD for that! Last year my maroon Z felt more free (not loose, mind you) on corner entry and mid corner. Like you could really carry good speed into a turn with little to no drama. The blue Z doesn't feel like that, and I think the diff is the main reason why. I get the impression, without any real data to back it up, that I have to slow the blue Z more in the first half of a corner to get it to turn.

Sometimes on course the steering would get temporarily heavy, I think when turning back the other way quickly, as in the 2-cone "hard slalom" thing near the end of the courses. Would this be a rack issue or a pump issue most likely? I have a persistent slow leak from the pump (not the hose), and often the first time I turn the wheel after having been stopped for several minutes (engine off or on) it's heavy, and then gets light again after 5-10 seconds.

I should probably check where my rear toe is at some point too.

I think for this car to be truly competitive it would need more wheel/tire, or more power, or less weight (on the order of 2-300lbs). The only one of those that's even possible in the current ruleset is more power. I imagine if one were to build an engine to the letter of the rules, spend more time trying other parts and dyno tuning, and running 100 octane, one might gain some more power. Wild guess 10-20 rwhp.

Of course, one would have to figure out how to get that power to the ground for it to be most useful. :)

El Toro is the best!




In-car shenanigans!


The car is still teasing me just enough to make me want to keep trying things... That might change if I ever back-to-back it with a GT86. :lol:

April 16th, 2014, 11:46 AM
The binding up definitely sounds like you have too much deceleration torque applied. I don't know much about adjustable diffs and how to modify that, but that is what it currently sounds like. I would start there before trying to band-aid the issue elsewhere. If might also help with the power down problem you are having. I'd recommend only changing one thing at a time.

I am personally of the mindset to run stiff springs and soft/no bar to allow complete independent action of the suspension.

the heavy steering action might be from fluid cavitation on switchbacks. I'd eliminate the leak before I would chase anything else out.

April 16th, 2014, 10:52 PM
The binding feeling I describe is on corner exit, when I get back to throttle at lower RPM (higher RPM the car would have enough juice to overcome the outside rear tire and powerslide). There may be too much decel locking as you say, but it's less than the accel locking (it's a 1.5-way diff). I'm speculating the diff is overall still too tight despite being set to "60%" locking by KAAZ USA as opposed to the 100% they typically ship with.

In the past I have preferred not to use stiff bars at both ends, too. On this car I'm considering it. The suspension seems to have a lot of resistance to fore/aft pitch movement, proportional to lateral roll. And it's a street car so I don't want to go too crazy on spring rates.

Eliminating the PS leak means buying a $550 pump... don't wanna. :p

My catch can drains also leak oil, considerably. Not cool. Even after I've drained the cans. Go figure.

April 17th, 2014, 06:02 AM

Personally I'd try a 50% lock-up or something lower before I mess with the suspension too much more. And because it is less expensive :).

A search on car-part.com shows a 1991 Power steering pump in Hollister CA for 50$. 831-637-5795

A few are actually in Fresno, CA in "Fresno Foreign Wrecking". Off of a 1990. 559-485-3666

Where are your catch cans leaking at?

April 17th, 2014, 06:53 PM
A pump off a junkyard car is a risk if contaminants get inside. If the pump was easier to change, maybe... kind of a tough one I think.

I don't have the tools to rebuild/change the LSD, honestly. Needs two people and air tools. My friend who helped me the first time went way above and beyond with the car so I don't want to ask him again especially so soon. I'm thinking synthetic diff fluid (Redline 75w90), possibly with a bit of friction modifier added, might accomplish a similar goal as deactivating another set of clutch plates. Kaaz says synthetic oils increase wear on the plates. I just don't know. I not only want to reduce locking under accel and decel, but preload as well. Not sure if a more slippery fluid would accomplish that too.

The catch cans have hose extensions running down to the bottom of the car where brass drains reside. The drains are leaking.

April 17th, 2014, 07:25 PM
Seems the first step by step I found is a 6-8hr job if you rebuild it yourself. Hmm...

Remans are in the 70-200 range.

The Synthetic will cause slippage from the friction modifiers depending on the oil. I'd ask Kaaz about that one. I am sure there is a tech guy that could give you some pointers.

About the drains, do you have a link or photo of what you used?

April 17th, 2014, 07:43 PM
Kaaz wants to sell you their $50+ can of oil...

These are the drains: http://www.veloster.org/forum/attachments/hyundai-veloster-general-discussion/24737d1379790870-saikou-michi-oil-catch-can-group-buy-drain_ext_detailed_gallery.jpg

I did use thread sealant when attaching the bracket to the threaded pipes.

April 17th, 2014, 07:58 PM
I am epicly jealous of your lawn. Looks so tidy that it almost looks fake.

And you have some nommy looking Zed's. :)

And a very good camera by the looks of these photos.

That is all.

April 17th, 2014, 08:24 PM
Ahhhh. Move on with the synthetic says I!

You mention thread sealant, do you mean "plumbers tape"? Did the type you use say it was oil resistant?

April 17th, 2014, 10:39 PM
No it came in a tube with the drains.

What do you mean "move on" with the synthetic? I can't tell if that means "forget it" or "do it." Heh.

Oh and the lawn is fake. :p Installed just before they came out with a new, more realistic looking shade. Oh well. Keeps us from having to mow the lawn or water it. Sprinklers get nasty water spots on cars, so I quite like it actually. :)

April 18th, 2014, 06:21 AM
Sorry, move on = do it in this case!

About the sealant, I am safe to assume it is leaking at the threads? Are the threads NPT design?

April 20th, 2014, 09:07 AM
Nobody seems able to make those petcock style drains properly. I've been through three on the XR4Ti because I thought I was all fancy, but they've all leaked. Not immediately, but within a month. It looks like you've got a barb fitting threaded into the petcock fitting, so while not elegant you could just go to a hardware store and buy a cap with the appropriate style threads and handle it that way. You might also have some luck buying a mess of rubber vacuum port caps and zip tying them over the existing drain. Leaky oil will fairly quickly destroy them, but would probably hold ok for a few weeks between drains. Finally, you could add a foot or so of hose between the drain and can and kink it up a the top to prevent oil from getting down to the drain. When you're ready to empty the can, unkink it. I suspect the issue you're having is because you're catching so much oil - it's an uncommon problem to start with. My buddy's SPG got emptied annually and there was barely anything in it.

I wouldn't worry too much about a junkyard pump being contaminated, especially if it's from a dismantler (versus one sitting outside in the elements in a self-serve). These guys don't want parts coming back. You can always rig up a drill motor to turn the pump and move a couple quarts of fluid through it to clean it out if you're worried. Unless Z pumps are known to suck, I wouldn't waste $500 on a new one - that's a lot o coin on a 20 year old car.

April 24th, 2014, 10:04 AM
My younger son ran the Beep Test in school yesterday in physical fitness. He's in 3rd grade. He had the best score in the whole school... Level 6. :eek:

April 24th, 2014, 02:46 PM
I think you need to buy DLC to get to level 7 anyway!

April 26th, 2014, 11:42 PM
Your new home in Sebastian, FL awaits! Seems like a great deal.


https://www.google.com/maps/place/12965+82nd+Ct/@27.834807,-80.495435,19z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x88de69abbc262429:0x4baa3 f9d0d8d33d1?hl=en

April 27th, 2014, 12:10 AM
Interesting. Too far from a major airport, garage #2 is very detached, neighborhood looks run down, and what's there to do in Sebastian? :)

Other than that, perfect! :p

April 28th, 2014, 04:08 PM
Airport: 1 hour from Orlando International.

6-car garage very detached: That's just how you want it. The 2-car is for the daily-drivers, and the big one is for race karz and projects. You don't want the power tools waking up Bryan Jr., do you??

Run-down area: Don't think of it as run down... it's established. Or eclectic. Seems to be new homes mixed with older. I'd be OK living there... ESPECIALLY with THAT much home for THAT price.

What to do in Sebastian: Well for starters, surf. Sebastian Inlet is a VERY popular Florida surf area. And with the possible exceptions of mountain climbing and snow-skiing, you can do in Sebastian anything you can do anywhere else.


It almost makes me wish I was looking to move.

April 28th, 2014, 04:49 PM
That video does make it look nicer than StreetView did. My idea of close to the airport is <20mins. :) And I'm not ready to buy anything anyway. Houses with custom (larger) garage setups are out there, they're just few and far between. Patience might be the key.

April 28th, 2014, 11:04 PM
Just like when car shopping for that special vehicle

April 29th, 2014, 05:16 AM
Move to Austin. Let us house sit and go to races at COTA while you're going to races around the world.

I have a few options for you:


http://www.redfin.com/TX/Austin/8510-Hillmoore-Dr-78719/home/32320163 (this one has other buildings in addition to the home in a larger lot, and is right next to the airport and therefore the track)


April 29th, 2014, 05:17 AM
Shit, that second one would be PERFECT for a GTXF compound!

Freude am Fahren
May 5th, 2014, 10:07 AM
Move to Jupiter, FL. It's beautiful, and about 20 minutes from West Palm airport, and also PBIR (formerly Moroso) is there. Western areas (like Jupiter Farms and parts of Palm Beach Gardens) would offer more for the $, and would be closer to the track.

Awesome beaches just minutes away, and plenty to do as far as bars, shopping, restaurants, etc. Yeah you lose the stuff like hiking, skiing, good driving roads, etc, but you can't get those anywhere in FL.

Wait, are you actually looking to move :lol:

May 9th, 2014, 02:51 PM
Frequent snow is out of the question. Frequent heat+humidity is very non-optimal. California is nice. :lol:

Moving may or may not happen at some point this year.


I'm doing it. Posting to the dreaded CL. Hold me...

May 9th, 2014, 02:59 PM
How much for just one rim?

May 9th, 2014, 04:46 PM
Funny story. I was at a local bar called johnny walkers, they serve ribs and fries. This guy walks up and asks how much for a serving of fries. He then asks for half order which they don't offer.

I felt like I was in the fricking movie.

May 9th, 2014, 07:29 PM
I have not seen this movie. Explain your cultural reference!

May 9th, 2014, 07:47 PM


May 9th, 2014, 09:51 PM
"You got change for a hundred?" :lol:

May 10th, 2014, 06:18 AM
I'd never seen that, either :lol:

Good luck with the CL foray.

May 10th, 2014, 11:12 AM
Chris rock - I'm gonna get you sucka

May 10th, 2014, 12:42 PM
I'd never seen that, either :lol:

I'm not sure I know you anymore.

June 10th, 2014, 07:35 PM
Wheels are going to be sold this weekend, if the guy isn't a flake at least.

So, might as well up the CL stakes then: http://fresno.craigslist.org/cto/4514531629.html

June 10th, 2014, 07:59 PM
I'd so buy that if I wasn't broke... Trade for the M3?

June 10th, 2014, 09:09 PM
Seriously - that seems like a solid deal.

June 10th, 2014, 09:58 PM
Oh, M3 want is present. However, the point is to pare down the fleet at the moment. :)

Z32 pricing/demand is all over the map. I'm surprised I haven't gotten any messages about how someone's bro got a dope TT for $1500 and I'm crazy.

Anyway, just looking to almost break even on the car if I can.

June 10th, 2014, 10:46 PM
I'm in the same boat tbh. I'd be worse off from the trade, as I'd need to get the cars swapped some 1500 miles apart...and that isn't cheap.

June 11th, 2014, 08:47 AM
I have limited experience, but my experience is that fleets only grow, never shrink. Once you've got that second car you've made the leap, it's just numbers.

June 11th, 2014, 09:05 AM
$4500 offered. Eh... not that desperate yet.

June 11th, 2014, 09:06 AM
Forwarded to my Dad...

June 11th, 2014, 09:27 AM
GTX Friends and Family pricing plan is $4800. :)

June 11th, 2014, 09:45 AM
Dad says he's still in fleet reduction mode; just sold the 84 Toyota PU, thinking about selling the Focus and daily-driving the Tacoma. Booo.

June 11th, 2014, 12:39 PM
Beautiful, beautiful car, Bryan -- but I'm currently full-up on toys. :) :up:

June 16th, 2014, 08:51 AM
It's gone. Guy from Sac-town bought it. I figured meeting at the Crows Landing autox was a good in-between spot since I was going to be there anyway. Got a ride home with a friend last night.

June 16th, 2014, 08:52 AM

June 16th, 2014, 10:19 AM

June 16th, 2014, 10:07 PM
Russ has the right idea, Tyler. :) This is a good thing. That car's been basically redundant for a few months, and I need to make room anyway. I will miss the sweet sweet song of two rusted out stock mufflers, but other than that I'm moving on readily.

June 17th, 2014, 06:59 AM
I know. I was just reminiscing how much work you put into it.

June 17th, 2014, 07:04 AM
I believe Bryan enjoys the work more than the result.

June 17th, 2014, 07:13 AM
I believe Bryan enjoys the work more than the result.

Yeah, I can relate.

I swear it is a disease...

June 17th, 2014, 07:20 AM
It's much healthier and cheaper than enjoying the result more than the work like I do.

June 17th, 2014, 08:03 AM
Nah I enjoy the result more. The work is not my style really, but it's gotta be done sometimes. The blue Z will be a sad one to sell, because I've put a ton of effort into that one (more than any other car I've owned for sure). The maroon Z didn't need a ton of work, just some things here and there. It was a pretty solid car already.

June 17th, 2014, 08:35 AM
It's much healthier and cheaper than enjoying the result more than the work like I do.

I'd disagree, but then comes "the grass is always greener" mentality.

June 17th, 2014, 10:21 PM
Bryan just does the work because he absolutely can. not. stand. for things on his vehicles to be incorrect.

Justin, on the other hand, would be completely lost if he didn't have something to fix/replace/rewire/rebuild/improve/re-purpose. :lol:

June 17th, 2014, 10:36 PM
*Brainstorms plans to lure tsg into spending his weekends here.*

June 17th, 2014, 11:32 PM
*Brainstorms plans to lure tsg into spending his weekends here.*

GTX LAN party/ bbq.

Then you make sure he forgets something.

Maybe have a neighbour with a lovely Saab Sonnet or something go away for a month and leave you to, um,.... keep the fluids circulating.

June 18th, 2014, 06:05 AM

June 25th, 2014, 09:12 PM
Justin, on the other hand, would be completely lost if he didn't have something to fix/replace/rewire/rebuild/improve/re-purpose. :lol:

Largely true, but there was a lot of thought that sent me down this path - not just ADHD. ;) The key factor for me is that I need to be learning something or at least moderately creative. There needs to be something new happening. What I cannot stand is repetitiveness - hell, it's why I don't run and I don't go to the gym. SO. BORING. Way back when I realized I needed to find something I could do to offset a primarily sedentary job and keep me from playing video games (which tend to have a very easy newness about them) all day. The potential to at least break even and possibly make money with the activity was key, because financially I couldn't reconcile the things I wanted to do personally (learn stuff and not be a couch potato) with the things I wanted to socially (I have a tendency to go out WAY too much). Truthfully, I'd be as happy building furniture as I am working on cars - it just so happens that you can get a lot done with basic automotive hand tools and storing those 20 years ago was a lot more doable than storing woodworking tools, so cars got the nod. Not long into it I met a guy (on the internet - YEAH!) with similar tastes and similar tendencies and we really fed off each other. Lots of wrenching on cars, lots of late nights. Trust when I say Burning Man is going to be epic (and then three music festivals the remaining three weekends of September. I'm doomed).

I'd note that recently I've acquired a nice selection of woodworking tools and am eyeballing some more - I still have a dream about building furniture. I also have acquired a certain taste for the yard, and have had a pretty productive garden for a couple years. I mostly only talk about cars here, but when you limit yourself to an a few hours a week of TV and you don't have kids, you end up with a lot of time to fill. With the exception of some household stuff I'm working on) I'm outside at least a few hours every weekday, and pretty much dawn til dusk on the weekends. Someday though I really hope to return to writing. That's what I set out in my adult life to do - it just turns out most writers don't make shit, I'm good at computers, and I got material needs. I figure once my body starts to give out I can dictate a novel or something - in the meantime I'm outside as much as possible.

July 1st, 2014, 11:50 AM
Not my car or my photo of course, but just a snapshot of me having a little fun over a couple of days. :)

http://5HPDecals.zenfolio.com/img/s5/v119/p492710696-5.jpg (http://5HPDecals.zenfolio.com/p644163427/e1d5e2b28)

July 1st, 2014, 12:43 PM
I heard three wheels is very unstable.[/img]

July 7th, 2014, 05:56 PM
Loves me a Teg Type R.

July 8th, 2014, 12:20 PM
The engine note certainly sticks with you.

I had it playing in my head for days.


July 8th, 2014, 12:25 PM


July 8th, 2014, 12:54 PM
Can you say LIMITER!

July 9th, 2014, 07:44 AM
Needs moar VTEKs!

July 9th, 2014, 08:14 AM
Yum. DC2.....

I may be returning to the VTEC fold, though in the new Civic out here next April. A long time to wait so have to suffer the Evo X a bit longer..... :D


Nothing else really fits the bill of bonkers and Japanese. With no Evo, a tamer Impreza with a faulty engine and the "bit too slow" GT86/BRZ being the only other options in the UK.

July 12th, 2014, 03:16 PM
VTEC Hondas are still the best-sounding four-cylinders, IMO. At least among inline-4s.

July 12th, 2014, 11:13 PM
No argument here. F20C remains my favorite. Even the rev limiter sounds cooler than all others. Yeah, I hear limiters often. :p


Today I fired up the MR2 after maybe 2 months of sitting. Been quite busy and not home much. Well actually there was no firing up initially. Dead battery. I put it on the Battery Tender for 6-7 hours. That didn't seem to get me even a dim dome light, much less starter engagement. Needing a car to drive tomorrow (and with the mirror still refusing to stay attached on the Z), I found my stock Z battery, took a couple quick measurements, and determined it should just fit. Group 35 vs Group 24. The larger 35 fits snugly in the MR2 tray. :up: So the car runs.

I hear some gear whine now which I'm fairly certain wasn't there before. Mainly 2nd gear. The car doesn't leak anything. I'm confused, as usual. :) And thinking about a trans fluid change this winter when I can get around to it. I probably last changed it in 2007 or 2008 (Redline MT90).

It's also only boosting 10psi. Methinks it may be time to perform the annual ignition system replacement, which I haven't done since 2008. The car doesn't see a lot of miles...

Someday I want to go through the motor and make it faster but with stock reliability and smoggability. I figure it's possible - make it a stroker 2.2L, CT20b turbo is undetectable, intercoolers are free, and I should be able to get something like 100rwhp extra with stock injectors and a hidden tune. Uninstall the boost controller and go to stock tune every 2 years. I'd love a quick-spool 400hp in this car but that may be a little far fetched (and lots of cash to do it the right way). Eh, just dreaming at this point. :) Things you do when you haven't driven one of your cars in a long time... you reconnect with what you'd like out of it.

July 13th, 2014, 05:35 PM
A leak may not be present when cold & stationary that is present when hot & in motion... fluid get flung into places it wouldn't otherwise be, loss of viscosity allowing it to leak in places it otherwise wouldn't, etc. I'd definitely check the fluid level and not rely on a visual for leaks. Assuming it's not low, gear whine is usually gonna be mechanical, and while "better" fluid may mask the problem, the whine is a sign of damage. Whether that has any practical implication is impossible to know - even c900s with their glass gearboxes can live with positively fatal pinion gear whine for tens or hundreds of thousands of miles. I wouldn't necessarily worry about it. Unless you're planning on that 400hp build now, in which case you're going to want to rebuild it stat. :)

July 13th, 2014, 08:13 PM
These transmissions are strong. :) I believe the case is dry, but it's worth double checking some time and checking the fluid level.

July 14th, 2014, 09:21 AM
Well, strong does not preclude wear... The WCT5 in the XR4Ti is pretty darned strong (for its age) but it whines too.

July 14th, 2014, 10:05 AM
I was thinking simply in terms of handling 400hp. Should be no problem for the stock Turbo transmission.

I don't know why it would wear so quickly, unless it really is low on fluid. A previous owner with a serious(ly awesome) case of OCD put in a brand new Toyota trans so it probably only has 50-60k miles.

July 14th, 2014, 11:11 PM
Woo, more fun. Shorai battery in the Z was completely dead today after 3.5 weeks of non-use (I forgot to disconnect it). I did this before and it was okay, but not this time. It was so low the Battery Tender wouldn't charge it. So I jump-started the car and let the alternator charge it for 15 minutes. Massive spark when hooking up the last jumper cable, and the donor engine almost stalled. :lol: Well then... it's on the Tender again now (and charging overnight) so we'll see if this battery is okay after all. I'd hate to have to buy another one. Dunno why my cars are killing batteries all of a sudden.

Oh and there are some plastic bits inside the outside mirror which have broken, causing the glass to be permanently loose. I think if I find a donor mirror from a junkyard I can piece together a functional mirror without having to repaint another housing.

July 15th, 2014, 04:22 AM
Out of all the tiny things I have taken apart on cars interiors, I find it odd I have never dealt with taking a rearview mirror apart

July 15th, 2014, 08:51 AM
Those are pretty simple. Power/heated/folding outside mirrors a bit more complicated. :)

July 15th, 2014, 10:38 AM
Oh and there are some plastic bits inside the outside mirror which have broken, causing the glass to be permanently loose. I think if I find a donor mirror from a junkyard I can piece together a functional mirror without having to repaint another housing.

Assuming its mirrors are like most other cars, that should be easily doable. IME it's the bracket on the back of the glass that fails in this way, so you probably just need a new glass piece. Might as well get a whole assembly though, then you have a spare motor. I'd try taking one or two apart in the junkyard so you can gain some experience on other peoples' parts. :lol:

July 15th, 2014, 10:39 AM
You down with OPP?

July 15th, 2014, 11:19 AM
I would say I'm about 66% down, if my understanding of ratios is still accurate.

July 15th, 2014, 11:30 AM
The only correct answer is "yeah you know me." You've been disqualified.

July 15th, 2014, 11:42 AM
This being an internet forum, I feel it's important to be clear about one's intentions. I'm only down with approximately 66% of 'em. The other ~33% are cool, but they're not for me.

July 16th, 2014, 05:35 AM
The stewards have reviewed the situation, and your disqualification still stands.

July 16th, 2014, 01:37 PM
Am disappoint.

July 16th, 2014, 01:46 PM

July 16th, 2014, 03:05 PM
Don't think his name is Sue.

July 16th, 2014, 08:18 PM
I haven't located a mirror yet. I don't even care what color it is. Methinks I'm looking in all the wrong places. Anyway the glass backing is not the broken part, it's behind that. Plastic bits that retain the glass backing.

In other news, the shocks are on their way to Texas for revalving. Let's hope it can actually be accomplished. Nobody will do KWs but HVT is going to attempt it. Or at least dyno them first to see what's going on.

September 10th, 2014, 06:45 AM
*waits patiently for the update* :D

September 10th, 2014, 07:14 AM
*waits patiently for the update* :D

*lines up behind Keef* *but not too close* #straightbutnotnarrow

September 10th, 2014, 08:48 AM
No homo, but I like it when my wiener touches your butt.

September 24th, 2014, 06:29 PM

Just on the mirror, I still had nothing and had to drive the car to Nationals the next day so I McGyver'd the mirror glass in place with epoxy and duct tape (and removal of some parts). It works fine, the only little problem is the glass can't point all the way outward anymore. It gets close enough for me though.

More later. It's been a remarkably busy couple of months!

September 28th, 2014, 10:58 PM
Post-Nationals dump.

It's all kind of a blur now, but let's see what I can remember.

Turned out my shocks couldn't be re-valved after all, so I got them back as they were. I wanted to try something. My theory went like this: with all the anti-squat geometry in the rear, and the stiff ride especially from the back of the car, I wanted to lower the rear spring rate but not make the rear of the car too soft in roll. So I replaced the 460 lb/in (8kg) rear springs with 375 lb/in (6.7kg) springs and re-attached the stock rear sway bar. I found a local (ish) autocross event during the one weekend I was home from pro racing. It was with a Corvette club. Turned out their course had no slaloms (big surprise ;)) so I still didn't know how the Z would transition, but I could at least tell that progress had been made on the car behavior in sweepers and getting power down in a more effective and progressive manner.

Fast forward a couple weeks or so. I dislocated my shoulder just before the El Toro practice event I wanted to attend, so I canceled that and the Nationals Test n Tune was going to be my first attempt at transitions on the new setup. I saw a convenient open time slot on Sunday, and a strong STX competitor, Jeff A, was signed up in that group which could have been a good indicator of where I stood.

So T and I packed up the car and drove out to Lincoln on new unshaved Hankook RS3 V2s. The car rode more smoothly on the 375 rear springs (being loaded up with jack and tools probably helped too). Returned about 24mpg average. I run a 91-octane tune for convenience. I don't feel that carrying high octane expensive fuel around is within the spirit of the ST category, at least for me.

Test N Tune time rolls around, and it's looking like rain. I get there and see Jeff is just finishing his runs - he got in early. I prep my car and it starts to rain. I make one run. Hilarity ensues. I park it and try to wait out the rain (so does just about everyone else). It stopped raining after a while and due to the light turnout at the TnT they let us stay a bit longer to get dry-er runs in. I take my runs in mixed conditions, slowly improving to a high 43 (no loop at the start). Dry times for STX were in the 38s and 39s IIRC, and I still didn't have a good idea of how the car would behave in normal conditions. So Tuesday's first run would be a voyage of discovery. I begin to re-adjust my expectations from top 5, to top 10, maybe even just hope for a trophy. My initial goal when starting this build was to keep my streak of top 5s at Nationals alive. That was starting to seem like less of a reality. STX tied this year for the largest class ever at Nationals, at 67. The record was previously achieved in Super Stock in 2007 I believe.

West course, day 1:
The first left turn on this course was a challenge to read during course walks. I never did figure out how I was going to approach it. I was just going to find out when I got there. On my first run, I got there and the car was immediately loose on entry. I lost a few tenths probably in catching it. But the rest of the run, the Z kept taking what I asked of it and asked for more. I kept turning in too early. The front end was really working. But for the first time, so was the other end! I had such good balance I didn't touch a thing for my second run. I'm either lucky or good. ;)

Run 2 was very pretty if I say so myself. Moments of exquisite balance. No mistakes. I even wiggled a cone in the sand castles (which I didn't know until I saw Perry's photos). It was good for 2nd in STX when I took it, although I was an early driver in the run order.


Photos by Perry at autoxpix.com

Run 3 was a half tenth faster. I had one mistake in the middle section, but was more committed through a couple important spots (notably the fast left after the sand castles). An ideal run may have been about 2 tenths faster if I had to guess. Maybe 3. Still, I was very happy about being in the hunt for day 2. I was 3rd, a tenth back from Lance Keeley The top 5 times in STX were covered by less than a tenth and a half, and there was a TIE for 4th. Have I mentioned this class is awesome?

Video of Run 3:


It seemed my theory was correct. Softer rear springs helped the rear end hook up on the power, while re-connecting the stock rear sway bar gave similar lateral roll stiffness to the stiffer rear spring no-rear-bar setup. Some of it may also be attributable to freeing up the rear suspension some, and running a ride height where it was happier. But I'm definitely sticking with the new setup for now. It's a blast. :)

East course, day 2:

After working heat 1 (I ran heat 3) I decided to check on the OPR situation of my tires. I wasn't planning to, but I was in the hunt for a win so I decided it was worth doing. There were several small rolls of it on the Hankooks. I used the best tool I had, a flat-blade screwdriver, and scraped off what I could before I had to get to grid. Thankfully the OPR wasn't very bad.

Everyone had been saying that this would be my course, that the S2000s were all over their rev limiters and I'd have the advantage here over the Twins. I hoped so but based on my course walks I didn't see things being that fast - all the long straights were coming out of reasonably slow elements. Cars with moderate acceleration (STX) wouldn't be challenging their limiters as much. I don't know Twins well but I've heard the highly tuned ones have set their limiters a fair bit higher than stock. The Z has long gearing, especially with this tire size being slightly larger than stock, allowing it to go over 70mph in 2nd with the 500rpm bump on the limiter.

After one run and watching a few Twins take the final turn, I became convinced this course actually didn't favor my car. Digging out of a slow corner for those long straights was critical, and with the weight and gearing of the Z that wasn't its strong suit. My first run was okay, not great. I felt like I needed more rotation on corner entry, so for the first time I adjusted the car. Added rear rebound for run 2.

The run was different but the same. A different handling gremlin popped up. Now the car was too loose in transition. Still I was disappointed to be that far back from what Palotta did on his first run. I figured he would improve - turned out he never did. But that's getting ahead of things. For the third run, I went back to my default setup and lowered front bump a bit, in hopes of getting some more front bite.

That worked. I was able to use the car more effectively in a lot of critical areas. In addition I got very close to a few important cones. It was a high risk run, with a near 7 tenths improvement. I knew I needed a lot of time. No sense putting in a safe run to finish 8th or whatever. I had to go for it, but not to the degree there was a high likelihood of throwing it all away. Calculated risk I suppose you could say. Here is the run:


It was good enough to move up to 2nd overall, just barely ahead of Lance. Andrew was in his own zip code. Michael Yanase had an amazing time on his last run, taking top honors for the day by nearly 3 tenths.

Interesting factoid that Steve O'Blenes pointed out me: if he hadn't coned his first run on the East course, we would have tied on total time and had to go to second fastest runs to break the tie. Crazy!

I weighed the car when there was a lull in official weighing activity. 3114lbs. Slightly higher than I expected but when you account for the Rotas instead of the WedsSports that's 10lbs right there.

So all things considered a success I would say. We hung out for Thu/Fri runs, even a little bit of the Solo Trials on Saturday morning, then drove back to CA without a hitch. The top 5 streak is still alive. And I did something totally unique, charted my own path and learned quite a bit in the process.

What's next? The simplicity of Street is enticing for both of us next year (Stock would have been even better ;)), so who knows what will become of this car. It seems a shame to sell it after so much effort has gone into it recently, and after promising results. It's a really cool street car too - there's nothing quite like a car with reasonable torque everywhere, and it makes great noises too. On the other hand I feel like I've accomplished what I set out to do with this car, and even exceeded my own expectations in Lincoln. I do still want to back-to-back it with Charlie's BMW and T's RX-8 soon though! There's one piece of low-hanging fruit left on this car - the brake pads on it are cheap parts store specials with little initial bite. Other than that it's pretty much there. With more investment it can lose 75lbs or so with seats and lighter brakes. That still doesn't get it to Twin or even BMW/RX8 territory, but with the great suspension and low CG of this car it does well for its weight.

If you go back to my El Toro ProSolo videos from earlier this year and last year, you can see the Z has made a reasonable progression in STX trim. In 2013 it was just suspension, wheels and tires, and it was in dire need of a real diff. 2014 provided that and some weight/power improvements but it still wasn't where it needed to be in terms of working well as a package yet. I believe the way the car is now it could have won STX at the 2014 El Toro Pro.

September 29th, 2014, 06:11 AM
:up: :up:

Great write-up, Bryan, thanks for sharing!

September 29th, 2014, 06:14 AM
Nice write-up, interesting the little stuff that goes into the day.

there's nothing quite like a car with reasonable torque everywhere


September 29th, 2014, 03:11 PM
Very cool - I'm stoked to see some vintage iron out there taking names. Nothing is more satisfying than spanking high tech with low tech. ;)

September 29th, 2014, 07:13 PM

October 1st, 2014, 10:12 PM
Super cool B.

October 18th, 2014, 11:13 AM
Looks like the AC compressor clutch is no longer engaging. The car sat for about a month. I'm thinking most likely scenario is a new leak in the system, or possibly a relay went bad somewhere. The system was tested to hold a charge a little over a year ago when the condenser was replaced.

I haven't really had time to look into it.

December 18th, 2014, 05:54 PM
I have cars. I remember when I used to do things to them.

Still need to start diagnosing that AC failure someday.

We have 6 cars now (going down to 4 is the plan, which will eventually become 3 when I have to give the Juke back). One of these days I want to get a photo of the fleet together since we're not likely to duplicate this number anytime soon. :)