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Daily Hillclimb Build (s30)

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And so it begins.




... began, really. Months ago. This was originally supposed to be a 10-week project to slap some carbs on the l24 and get the car running. Like all projects, it has snowballed. Significantly. This photo is how it all began, we grunted it off the flatbed and rolled it into my undersized 1-bay garage.


As it turned out, the l24 wasn't recoverable. It was a pit of wasted effort, but at least I didn't spend a lot of money on it.



To replace it, I eventually sourced a pair of n42 l28's and just finished attaching some roundtop SU's and 4speed transmissions to them. In the process, I swapped out the automatic do-dads (pedals) for manual do-dads (pedals).


The goal here isn't to build some street monster or a dedicated track car. The goal is to have a daily driver that's both fun and reliable. I have redundant powertrains since they tend to be the parts that need downtime-inducing maintenance. If I'm going to rebuild or modify an engine, I'd rather do it at a leisurely pace on an engine stand with the other engine installed rather than trying to muscle through a ring swap with the engine still in the car over a single weekend. In my industry (systems administration), this is considered a basic tenet of 'high availability'. It also means that I don't have to be terrified that I'll break my precious car while I'm at a hillclimb event (which I hope to start once this car is on the road, I've never actually been to a hillclimb event).


Here's the current situation. I have an engine installed, I have a transmission installed, and I have a drivetrain installed. I have no fuel lines, no brake lines, no master cylinder or brake booster, no electronics installed at all, and the floors could really use a replacement. All told, it's a healthy project that's seen a lot of progress recently.



I have a couple fun little projects in store for this, but we'll get into those in detail after it's running.



If you're looking for all the nitty-gritty details on the project, check my project manager here:



Otherwise, stay tuned for further updates.

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I accomplished so much in the garage tonight that I didn't even have time to take pictures. Let's say that this is what the engine bay looked like this morning, and it no longer looks like that.


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Just placed another order with RockAuto, and even after everything shows up I'll have to visit John from Bad Dog when he gets back from Korea. I'll have to bring a grand or so to him, and just hope he has everything else that I need.

Order Total - $ 237.96


Now that that's finished, I'm off to the garage to get the photos I had promised.




... and we're back!



Here's the engine bay, as of today. It's not finished by any stretch, but most of the major components are mocked up and held in place by some number of bolts (all of which are in the process of being converted to stainless). The bolt kit was pretty reasonably priced from http://stores.ebay.com/acadianasportscarorphanage/ on ebay, and I couldn't be happier with the quality or the level of service I received. However, I'm pretty sure I installed the manifold studs backwards (this is just a dry run, so I have plenty of time to correct that). The deep-threaded side of studs go into the head, not the other way around.



I'm taking a page from work again and staging my build before final assembly, to make sure I'm not missing a critical piece. There's nothing worse than going over every bolt with a torque wrench just to realize you forgot to order a gasket you'll need, or didn't route a line that you were supposed to just before final assembly.  Since I wasn't the one who took everything apart, the dry run is essential. As I assemble, I'm listing out the parts that are missing and ordering them now, rather than having several interruptions later on when I have to wait for parts to come in to continue assembly.



There's still no battery, for instance (and the wiring required for it is sitting on the workbench, so I don't know if it's all there/intact yet).



I'll need a radiator and mounts for final assembly as well.



I've had a really hard time finding the throttle linkage that attaches to the firewall as well. If anyone has a lead on one, let me know!


Valve Cover




You may have also noticed that the valve cover looks a lot less terrible. I really loved the results Anth ended up with on his valve cover (http://www.build-threads.com/general-car-stuff/diyhow-to-wrinkle-texture-paint/) so I went ahead and did it as well. I'm more than pleased. I'm ecstatic.



The driveshaft and transmission are both in, and you can see the ugly chop I made with my angle grinder. It works fine, but I'll probably deburr it when I prep the whole chassis for paint.


I'm not sure how many updates I'll have this weekend, but I have a definite goal lined up for the car. I wasn't sure if there was going to BE another climb to the clouds, but now it looks like it's happening. Even if I'm sputtering on lean carbs at the bottom and rich carbs at the top, I'm going to do everything I can to get in on this event. I can't imagine ANY race I could possibly be more excited for (even Pike's Peak isn't as exciting as this is, and that's saying something).



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Today I repaired some of the wiring in my (rental) garage and managed to get my cheapo (Due Mig) welder working. I spent most of the day on that and running some test welds to see what this thing's capable of on some scrap metal that I don't plan on using. Please don't make fun of my welds, I'm well aware of how bad they are. Once I slowed down and cranked up the wire speed, things started looking a lot better.



After that, I ran off to Harbor Freight and spent another $250 on their Labor Day sale. This is shaping up to be a pretty expensive weekend!


Finally, I found that my pedal box and firewall aren't compatible. The 260z/280z chassis used a slightly different pedal box, so the 240z firewall has slightly offset holes. I may cut a new firewall insert and weld it in as my first welding project on the car. Just another drop in the bucket, on this project.

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... I wasn't sure if there was going to BE another climb to the clouds, but now it looks like it's happening. Even if I'm sputtering on lean carbs at the bottom and rich carbs at the top, I'm going to do everything I can to get in on this event. I can't imagine ANY race I could possibly be more excited for (even Pike's Peak isn't as exciting as this is, and that's saying something).




I've raced a 510 at The Climb to the Clouds every year since it was revived in 1990.


Here is my 2011 Sunday CTTC run (in car).



and a short clip of me coming thru half way


I'd love to stop by and see your build, give me a call.

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I had no idea there were any 510's in New England, especially so close to me. I'm right in the rotten pit of Manchganistan, in a tiny undersized 1bay, but I seem to be getting things done in it somehow. I'd love to meet up, I'll shoot a PM your way with contact info.

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My door support broke



So I worked with a friend from hybridz to 3d print some replacements, and he went ahead and ruggedized them as well



I also set up to start some "very minor" rust repair with my cheap little Chicago "due mig" welder.




... I should have tested that panel with a screwdriver first, and let's just leave it at that for right now. Details to follow tomorrow.


ALSO, we just started a big content push on Driven Daily, do me a favor and take a peek (and if you really like what you see, you can subscribe by email, but only if you're actually interested in reading future updates).

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Good god, that door alignment piece is a pain to remove. Two of the screws is seized, one just punched right through the door frame and cracked it (not a huge deal, at least it's not in the way any more), and the other just won't move. EZ-out, heat, PB Blaster, and a BFH didn't do anything. It doesn't care. That screw is mighty.


However, it's the only thing stopping me from fixing a problem with my car, so it has to die. Tomorrow though, I'm beat. I spent the past couple of days in the ER with a sick girlfriend, and didn't get a whole lot of sleep.


I did receive some parts today, but didn't get a chance to install anything but one of the valve cover gaskets yet.


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I didn't get much done this week, I've been busy with other obligations (organizing content for Driven Daily, working on my cl360, and getting ready for this weekend's event) and won't get anything done this weekend either. It's off to VT with me to capture some photos and video of the Ascutney hillclimb. I'll spend most of my weekend in my hammock or behind my main recording rig:



Back at the s30 project next week though!

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You're probably going to start hating that seat after the 3rd time you get in/out.

Duly noted. I have a reputation for hating excessive creature comforts (like air conditioning) and sacrificing a lot for enjoyable performance. For example, I ride a motorcycle right up till permafrost sets in and wear full gear even when its a humid 102f. Most people call me a crazy extremist, I say my body's preferences are less important than my mental priorities. I just keep telling myself that its a street legal racecar, not a raceable street car.

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I seem to have started a good discussion on Hybridz regarding tire widths, and I've pretty much decided on some 15x8 or 15x9 wheels for racing, and hauling them on a small trailer along with some tools and spare parts. The exhaust manifold is now painted (it was paid forward to me right here on Ratsun) but I need to cure that paint before installing it. After that, I need to get some fuel and brake lines, wire up the engine, install the seat, fabricate (or purchase?) an exhaust, replace my tires, get a battery in there, and add some cooling equipment. If things go perfectly, it could be running next month.


I'm also headed out to Mt. Philo on Oct 18th for another hillclimb event. I'd like to rent a bunch of video equipment and film this one properly.

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Ya daily and hill climb (at least competitively) dont really mesh to me lol. Nice progress though...

Did you go to the convention, since it was in your home state and everything. I drove up for it with the wife. 

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Ya daily and hill climb (at least competitively) dont really mesh to me lol. Nice progress though...


Did you go to the convention, since it was in your home state and everything. I drove up for it with the wife.


Convention? I don't know anything about it.


I'll be in street prepared, which allows me to be competitive with a street car. I think I'll be competing with n/a Subarus and tuned Miatas, and possibly some VWs (there are a lot of fast ones out here, oddly enough).

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Really? National Z car convention, biggest event of the year. Next year it is in SD but the year after it will be back on the east coat again. I'm sure you'll be good to go by then. 

Ah in class is good, My neighbor/budy has a pretty fast vw. To me most are for getting groceries in but hey to each their own :-).

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I got a little bit done this weekend, I've been fighting my welder quite a bit lately. It's developed a studder, so being able to work with a nice puddle just isn't happening. At best, I can get a reasonable tack. I'm not going to fall into this gumption trap though, so I moved forward with seam welding. It's slow going, but that just ensures that I take my time and let the very thin (20ga) sheet metal that makes up the majority of the body has time to cool in between tacks.





I also took a little time to clean up the exhaust manifold that was paid forward to me (thanks Maltese!). A little VHT high-temp (1300F) paint, a little time in the over at 250F, and it's good to go back on the engine.


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I also priced out my grip setup for the 2014 season. I'm not in a rush to order everything, but I wanted to log my thoughts here.


BART steel wheels - 15x8 with 3" backspacing (so the wheel would be 1" offset toward the outside of the car, fender interference is easier to solve than suspension interference)




For tires, I'm looking at BFGoodrich G-Force Rivals. 200 treadwear ensures that they're considered 'street legal' for any event, and I won't immediately fly into the nearest lake if a little rain comes out of the sky.



$44.84 shipping

$60/set mounting


All told, getting sticky stuff (without overfenders, which may be necessary) comes to $752.72

That's not bad, if you ask me. Hopefully that'd last me a full season.


I may also order a set of inexpensive all-season tires since the price is right:


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Your welds: not enough heat / not enough wire, one of the two. Nice project man!

Yeah, I'm pretty frustrated. The wire feed has a studder so my pool starts to cool before it gets hot enough to get good penetration. If I turn the voltage up accordingly, I burn through the 22ga sheets, so I'm stuck until I can fix whatever's wrong. It only happens when I have a slight bend in the line (read: any time the gun is pointed toward the car) so it must be either a liner problem or frayed wire inside the line. I'll pull it apart this weekend, and if I get it sorted out I'll just go through all my previous welds again.

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