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drummingpariah

Daily Hillclimb Build (s30)

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If you want to spend some money and get a guy who is really good at welding, I know a guy down in Manchvegas. He builds 240SXs for a living and he's a skilled welder, and I'm sure he'd be willing to do the weld work, for the right price. If you don't want to spend the money either he'd be a good guy to meet and maybe learn a few welding tricks from.

 

Love this build so far man.

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If you want to spend some money and get a guy who is really good at welding, I know a guy down in Manchvegas. He builds 240SXs for a living and he's a skilled welder, and I'm sure he'd be willing to do the weld work, for the right price. If you don't want to spend the money either he'd be a good guy to meet and maybe learn a few welding tricks from.

 

Love this build so far man.

Thanks for the recommendation, I have a friend who ran a foundry and is now a pro welder and welding instructor showing me the ropes. She's pretty awesome, and I've been enjoying the learning process a lot. I'm probably going to have the cage installed at a proper race shop, so I can lean on their experience for crumple zone assessment and ensuring that the cage is legal for all the events I want to participate in.

 

I spent most of my night last night at the NH EMS/Fire awards ceremony. Call me crazy, but I really like seeing the people who put their lives at risk for others get public recognition for their hard work and sacrifice (I have mixed feelings on posthumous medals). When I got home I felt pretty ambitious after hearing about the firefighters who made human ladders to save people because their ladders aren't tall enough, and started to clean up the wheels that should (hopefully) become my daily driven wheels this weekened. Photos to come once I make a bit more progress.

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Well, that explains why my ebrake never worked. There are no rear brakes! Anyone have some extras that they want to offload?

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Why not go disc? If you're going into it you might as well go all the way, it would probably be easier to find some easy to swap discs than new drums.

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Why not go disc? If you're going into it you might as well go all the way, it would probably be easier to find some easy to swap discs than new drums.

There isn't really any reason to swap; Nothing I'm doing with the car requires much braking power. It would also mean adding a prop valve and retuning the brakes. Its also a lot of hassle, Id need maxima rears and a machined offset plate just to get started, and I just don't see an advantage. Drums require infrequent, easy maintenance and offer plenty of brake for a light little Datsun. I'll ask John at Bad Dog if he has some drums lying around somewhere, used or otherwise.

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It needed enough parts that I started looking around for a donor along with somewhere to stash the donor. I got lucky and one of my coworkers agreed to keep it at his place, outside under a tarp. This weekend I went down to look at a donor ... that ... really isn't going to be a donor. I'm going to register it then tow it home next weekend (not running of course, this is a Zcar).

 

All told, it cost me $1k

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It's much closer to street-worthy than the 240z is, so I think I'm going to toss it back together as-is. From the looks of things, all it needs is wiring and tires, but I'll know more when I get it home. In the long term, I'll probably put a carb n42 l28 in this and run it in 'stock prepared' class, since putting one of those in the 240z would put me in a higher class because the 240z never came with a 2.8. Since I don't have a salvageable 2.4 and don't really care to build a 2.4, I'll probably put the l28et that came in this one into that. The 240z has the class hit for going up to 2.8 either way, so I may as well cage it, put wide grippy tires on it, and built it into a more 'serious' hillclimb car than I was originally planning.

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Keep an eye out for rust under those side skirts. Great find if there is no rust!

There's rust behind the skirts (end caps) but not under them. It was one of the first places I checked. I'm going to discover some punky areas that need patching I'm sure, but if all goes well I may have it running by the end of this weekend.

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Update time!

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The money shot:

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I used an array of high-precision rust-identification tools (screwdrivers) to identify any potential rust problems, and this was all I found:

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I'll call that a win, and an easy fix.

 

There's a nice MSA (I think) downpipe that could use some header paint, and an o2 sensor!

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The most damaged of the wheels. These things weigh NOTHING, and they're currently fitted with 195/75-14 tires. Haven't checked their width yet, but the lack of heft has me a bit excited to use these for race wheels.

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I couldn't find the l28et afm, but I found a stock l28 one (I think?)

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I really hope this is an l28et ecu, not an l28e:

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but BW t5? I think I'll keep the Datsun 4speeds I have, and put this up for sale. What's the going rate these days?

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I have some major server changes to push out this weekend, so I won't have much time to work on it, but I may hire a friend to rewire the l28et for me. Being colorblind and working with wires that have been fading for the past 40 years isn't a good combination, overall. Has anyone put together a minimal l28et wiring diagram with the 'bare essentials' and nothing extra?

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I finally got both bumper skirts/covers off, along with one of the side skirts. The driver's side skirt is being somewhat problematic, so my drill is charging and my stepper bit is waiting for action.
 
Something was living in one of the rocker panels, and had nested in there. That nest absorbed some water, and ... you know where this is going.
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I found another small patch that'll need to be cut and welded in under the front wheelwell also:
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In more positive news, my first look under the car was really encouraging. The frame rails are reinforced and extended to the back of the car. It looks like all they need is paint and underbody coating, and I'm in business.
 
It's nowhere near as bad as I had expected, and replacement panels are available, inexpensive, and straightforward to weld in. I'll visit Bad Dog soon to pick up a pile of little things I need. Most of the other rust is just going to take some wire wheeling and a fresh coat of paint, but I'm sure there are a couple other spots I'll have to patch. I certainly didn't expect perfection out of a near-40-year-old car for $1k.
 
I temporarily repaired the passenger window (it's up, but only two of four tracks are attached, so it doesn't move from 'up'), and found that the ratcheting latch mechanism on the driver's door is broken. It's kind of a pain to remove, but I'm going to pull it this weekend and see if it's salvageable or if I need to order a replacement.
 
I haven't tried starting it yet (I'm slightly nervous to, if I'm honest) and haven't tried the brakes yet. I'll bleed them this weekend, hopefully prime the fuel pump, and possibly start it up.
 
After that, I think the tail lights are going to have to go back to stock. Corvettes can get away with Corvette lights, I don't find them pleasing on an s30.
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There's quite a bit to update on, I've neglected this thread for almost the whole winter. I got sick of the bad/incomplete documentation on the stock wiring, and really haven't ever been impressed with the stock Nissan EFI, so I'm at the tail end of replacing it all with Megasquirt3. I wanted to do as little soldering as possible, so I ordered a pile of stuff from diyautotune. I've been very happy with some of it, and disappointed with other parts, but I'll update on that after the install is finished.

 

The wiring is nearly complete, I just need to figure out how I'm going to wire in the stock 280z dropping resistor pack to be able to use the stock low-z injectors with Megasquirt. The only soldering that's been my responsibility so far are the three primary leads for the relay box here:

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Today, I tackled the problem of the l28et using a very very crude Throttle Position Sensor (it's effectively binary, either you're IN the throttle or you're not). I've read that a lot of people swap to the ka24 throttle body on l28et's. I did some math, and came to the conclusion that a turbocharged 2.8liter only really needs a 50mm throttle body (up until around 300hp), and I can't think of a reason to swap to a ka24 throttle body in the near future. The problem with the 50mm l28et throttle body is that it doesn't really have a throttle position sensor. I measured the resistance output from the "l28et tps" and found it to be binary, either your throttle is ~75% open or more, or it's considered "closed". Megasquirt requires a real throttle position sensor (that offers different resistance at each throttle angle), I decided to swap to the ka24de tps.

 
I immediately noticed that the ka24de tps fits the throttle shaft of the l28et throttle body, but somewhere along the lines the mounting hole locations were changed.
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Not a huge deal, I thought. I'll just make up a little bracket to mount the ka24de tps. I grabbed some cardboard and a sharpie and started to mock up a design.
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I looked through the metal stock in my 'garage' (it's a sad, sorry excuse for a garage, but it generally works for me) and found some 1/4" steel plate that would work well enough for this little bracket. In general, you want to try to avoid putting steel against aluminum, as the materials react to all environmental conditions differently and can actually speed corrosion, but this is a small and non-precision part so it's not a big deal. I took my template and scribed the steel stock, and drilled a couple holes:
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Everything looked good at this point, so I decided to clean up the shape a little so it wasn't an awkward triangle on the throttle body.
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Unfortunately, I found a problem at this point. It's not a dealbreaker, and is easy enough to solve, but I'm pretty sure it's going to cause me to make a new copy of this part.
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The l28et throttle shaft bottoms out on the ka24 TPS, where the l28et "TPS" was a little deeper and fit flush. I'm going to take some measurements of this prototype, specify that the thickness should be doubled (1/2" thickness), and either send it off for 3d printing (a nylon printed part would be perfectly fine for this) or have it milled out of aluminum.
 
For the time being, I'm just going to keep everything as-is and stick some washers in to space it out, but I'm not happy with that as a long-term solution. I'll make the final technical drawing (and/or 3d file) available for download, and might order a small stock of these to sell if anyone else is interested.

 

Other Stuff

I also picked up a seat and some basic suspension tuning bits to prepare for the upcoming hillclimb season.

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The seat might look a little garish, but that's just my camera going crazy with saturation. It isn't nearly as overwhelming in person, and more importantly, it meets my technical needs of FIA approval and good bolstering.

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I cleaned up that TPS mounting plate, decided on a final mounting location for the relay box, and decided to try out riv-nuts as an installation method (it's easier than trying to weld nuts to the underside of the fender well). I think i also figured out my 'what muffler/exhaust setup to go with' issue: a friend was throwing away a few OEM F4 CBR600 exhaust cans and I snagged them.

 

They're pretty nice quality stainless with a 3" inlet and a 2.5" outlet. Once I figure out exactly how I'd like to mount them, I think I'm going to end up running a 1 > 2 muffler upstream into these. I've never been a huge fan of dual exhaust pipes, but two of these should give me just the right amount of flow for the l28et.

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I also had a little mishap with my grinder that caused me to go inside for the rest of the day and think about what I had done. In the scheme of things, this isn't bad at all, but it really puts into perspective how bad it could've been. I was wearing all the right protective gear (armored gloves, eye/ear, grinding hood, etc) but power tools definitely command my respect.

 

Photo not necessarily for the squeamish.

 

 

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Wiring has been slow going, but it's nearly all wrapped up. I still need to solder in the resistor for the distributor +12v signal and wire in the connectors for the injectors (along with the injector resistor box).

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The l28et is nearly ready to start, so I tested a few of the vac lines on the current l28et manifold. One broke off when I touched it, the other two leaked. I'm starting to think I should just use the n42 manifold, so I'm making a big push to get that prepped and ready to install this weekend, along with the high impedance Cobra Mustang injectors. The main problem I have right now is that they don't sit deep enough in the intake manifold - the orings sit ON the manifold bungs, rather than IN them.

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I just don't trust that to seal with 43psi of fuel pushing against it, I'm sending the manifold off to my friend sometime this week, and I'll have her machine them for me (I lack accurate tooling to do it myself).

 

Current progress:

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Time to order a catch can, a bunch of AN lines/fittings, and wait for my new ka24de TPS pigtail to come in so I can wire that up.

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Did you ever get the bart wheels? Do they have the inner safety bead? I am considering cheap wide alternatives to alloys. Although it will be a weekend car I am not sure I want to risk a blowout being more catastrophic. Maybe its not that big a deal. I have only blown one tire beforw and I was dumb an new the tires were dry rotted...

 

I am enjoying the build. Look forward to updates!

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If blowout control is a big concern, you could always just get beadlocks rings and install them.

 

http://www.bart-wheel.com/beadlock.htm

 

I'm really looking at the bart wheels as race-only wheels (a little lightweight aluminum wheel trailer is in autoCAD right now, but not quite ready to be fabricated - and I still need to design a proper tow hitch). The only thing holding this project up right now is that MONSTEROUS iat sensor. I just got home from the parts store where I looked at 20 different sensors. No love. Altogether too many cars use plastic connectors to hold them in, and I really want to keep the sensor in the intake manifold.

 

I also just received a spare manifold that I can really hack apart.

 

I borrowed some grown-up tools

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which allowed me to seat the injectors deeper (maybe too deep, I got overzealous with my exciting new tools) and now the orings should provide a great seal.

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More updates coming over the weekend, and I might even get some real, grown-up shop space!

 

In other news...

I sold the 240z. That means I have slightly more budget to put this together (or to move into the better shop space). I'm moving at the end of this month though, so that's going to eat up a lot of time. Gotta get it running!

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Ha ha ha... how awesome to find someone in a similar field who uses trello to track their progress on their car. I'm a software engineer. I don't use trello for my car, but I do something very similar... however when I'm tracking things to do for projects/etc i do use trello.

 

Awesome stuff. Excited to read through the rest of this build.

 

 

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

https://trello.com/b/ku1N8onG/s30-hillclimb

 

Otherwise, stay tuned for further updates.

 

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If it has the capability for gas, use it. I had a similar problem until i hooked up gas at which point all my welds started coming out MUCH better. Keep at it.

 

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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I spent the day today picking up my xs650 from the shop, and it's ready to sell. However, riding it home was so much fun that I'm not entirely 100% sure I want to sell it any more. What a great bike!

Ha ha ha... how awesome to find someone in a similar field who uses trello to track their progress on their car. I'm a software engineer. I don't use trello for my car, but I do something very similar... however when I'm tracking things to do for projects/etc i do use trello.

 

Awesome stuff. Excited to read through the rest of this build.

 

I have a bunch of complaints about Trello, and I can't imagine using it for work (I absolutely require ticket dependencies, which Trello sadly lacks). I also really like having the ability to estimate cost (based on estimated hours plus materials/hardware needed).

 

I don't know what kind of software you write, but I've spent a lot of time building out LAMP stacks and Python/nginx applications over the past ~10 years, and am FINALLY wrapping up a project to create a CMS based on Markdown. It's as basic as I could possibly make it. It only has a few interesting components, like no database (not even nosql, a complete lack of depdencence on a database). It also COMPLETLY segregates content from distribution, which means I can write one piece of content and easily turn that into a PDF, ePub, doc/docx, and publish it as web content, all with metadata built right into the plaintext-formatted source file (which is tracked in revision control, btw). It's really nothing special or fantastic, but it's an elegant solution to a problem that I've been trying to fight for years, so I'm proud of it.

 

If it has the capability for gas, use it. I had a similar problem until i hooked up gas at which point all my welds started coming out MUCH better. Keep at it.

Now I have a Hobart Handler, but no tank/regulator yet. The Due MIG is just sitting on a shelf. The new shop space has absolutely everything so I may just sell them both off and stop trying to do all this rented-garage-with-apartment stuff.

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We're going to have to discuss PDF generation with PHP some time LOL. I'm sure you've run into the same issues we did. I built this: https://signnow.com.

 

Gas is the way to go for MIG. I bought a lincoln electric from home depot and it was the best investment I've made for working on cars so far. I'm still learning to weld but the gas makes it pretty easy, it's way more forgiving. I use trello for maintain a list of todos. The rest goes into phabricator or jira. I agree that ticketing is key... 

 

Excited for your car! Moar updates pls.

 

:D

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We're going to have to discuss PDF generation with PHP some time LOL. I'm sure you've run into the same issues we did. I built this: https://signnow.com.

 

Gas is the way to go for MIG. I bought a lincoln electric from home depot and it was the best investment I've made for working on cars so far. I'm still learning to weld but the gas makes it pretty easy, it's way more forgiving. I use trello for maintain a list of todos. The rest goes into phabricator or jira. I agree that ticketing is key... 

 

Excited for your car! Moar updates pls.

 

:D

That's exactly why I didn't use PHP to generate the PDFs. We do that at work, and it's an absolute nightmare. I've never loved PHP libs for ... anything, really. They all feel incomplete. Django would've been a good second choice, but that was a LOT more overhead than I wanted to manage. I'm just using PHP for the new website delivery, but all the other media is handled by other frameworks entirely.

 

No REAL updates today. I basically forced the intake manifold into submission by hogging out the 9/16" hole with the 9/16" bit to get it close-enough-ish to 37/64" that I could cut SOME threads with the 3/4" NPT tap. I really hate that I haven't been able to find a decent suitable IAT sensor that's metal, threaded, open-element, and reasonably sized ... so I guess I'm stuck with the GM. I definitely don't trust my installation (pictures to come), but it'll be close enough for the current build. At least it isn't keeping me from getting the thing running.

 

At this point, it looks like I won't be able to get the car into the new shop space because there isn't enough storage, and there's no overnight outdoor storage available there (not for lack of space, just because the landlord says no). Instead, I think I'm going to end up working on it at my new apartment, since there isn't too much left to do.

 

The intake manifold is being a bit of a nightmare, and I tore something in my shoulder working on it today so I'm going to get back to it tomorrow when I have another set of eyes/hands. I finally managed to get the j-pipe, throttle linkage, coolant lines (for the throttle body), and fuel lines off, but haven't been able to wrangle the intake/exhaust shared-stud manifold nuts off yet. Basically, I'm being a little bitch about it and decided that packing up to move (over the next two weeks) and riding some of my motorcycles (they keep multiplying!) is higher priority right now.

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Minor follow-up update (with photos)

 

The GM IAT sensor was (still is) a huge thorn in the side but I think I have it to the point that it's good enough. We'll see if it leaks or heat soaks when I actually start up the car. Hopefully it's good enough that it won't outright prevent me from driving (the correct 37/64" bit is on its way to me).

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One of the bolt-bulges (I don't know what to call them) largely blocks off that section of the manifold, so I don't know if this sensor will get adequate airflow to get good readings OR to prevent heat soak.

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There's a lot more meat both on the manifold and on the sensor, but I'm already applying more force to the tap than I'm comfortable with, so until I can hog out the 'pilot hole' I'm stuck with this solution that makes me unhappy.

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Off-topic, but the kids are all back in the garage, inspected and waiting to go to their new home (someone buy the xs650!)

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I am an idiot.

 

I gave both manifold gaskets that I had to the new owner of the 240z, but he didn't need either. I needed one though, and totally forgot that one was supposed to go with the l28et.

 

It took awhile, but I finally got the intake manifold off.

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... then I saw the manifold gasket's condition (for some reason, I thought I might be able to salvage/reuse it - which you should never do even if you can) and decided it was time to pull the exhaust manifold off as well, so I could replace that gasket. The oil lines are a bit difficult to remove, and I don't want to make this more of a mess than I already have, so I'm just leaving it here for now.

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The manifold gasket was just crap. All crap. Made of crap, with crap smeared on top of it.

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Speaking of crap, I'm really really happy to have the stock manifold off this thing.

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Once the new gasket comes in, I can slap this guy in there. I'm going to order new manifold fasteners while I'm at it, my old collection of fasteners appears to have disappeared.

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It would be NICE to install my new water cooled saab t3, and to clean up the block, paint the exhaust, and lots of other 'while im in there' things, but I'm going to leave this as crusty as I think I can get away with ... but all those things push back the 'running date' and I won't allow that. Once it's running and driving, I have no problem pulling things back apart, but I have no tolerance for stuff that prevents me from getting to that initial running-driving condition. I need a starting point before I start making improvements.

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I was under the impression that the IAT needs to be ~6" before the throttle body and not inside the intake manifold because of all the turbulence. I could be wrong though, just thought i would mention it.  

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