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DATSANITI - '80 210 Wagon VQ35 Swap

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If anyone wants to see this junker in person, I'll be at #Gridlife this weekend at Road Atlanta. Datsaniti got accepted into the Showcase (LOL) and will probably be the cheapest car in the whole show.


And I'm making a whole weekend out of it. First hitting the Atlanta Dragway on my way up there Friday night, armed with a much bigger shot and a not-as-faulty pedal sensor. Then the Gridlife Auto-X Saturday morning, following by the Showcase that afternoon. No trailer, just a shitty wagon full of tires and tools. Fingers crossed no breakdowns! 

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Gridlife was AWESOME. What a weekend. I went drag racing, auto-crossing, and car showing with a bunch of other fellow degenerate young gearheads, and got to watch time attack, drifting, and some music in between.


Friday afternoon, I loaded the wagon and slogged 80 miles through rush hour traffic to hit dragstrip test-n-tune. This time armed with a 75 shot of nitrous and a AAA card. Tech was much more thorough this time, but I passed easily.


It's STILL not quite into 12's, but there was much spinning into 2nd this time. I think I can go 12 with this same shot, if I'm more careful with throttle through 1st gear. I was flooring it from launch, then spraying around 4500 and it just let go until 2nd. You can hear the the rev-limiter bouncing for far too long before the gear change. I can't believe how much BS this drivetrain is putting up with. I am still letting the auto shift itself. AFR's seem safe with this jet combo 0.046 N / 0.034 F.


One guy from the crowd came and found me just to let me know my car was shooting flames from the exhaust between shifts. FLAMES. From the EXHAUST. That's all I've ever wanted, life basically complete now.






Then I put the street tires back on, loaded the wagon back up, and drove over to Road Atlanta for Gridlife South. I camped in my buddy's shuttle bus. Here's our accommodations for the weekend. It was rad.






Saturday morning I put on the Experimental Challenge-Winning Tire Strategy (ECWTS) and hit the Gridlife Autocross over at Turn 7. This was a very tight 30-40 sec course. I think with some pressure adjustments, ECWTS can be successful. This was basically break-in for the tires. I spun once in an epic way and tore up the grass pretty bad while cracking my front air dam from the impact with the edge of the pavement. Datsaniti just puts up with it. I was only about 2.5s off FTD, which was set by an INSANE time attack prepped C6 Vette that spent most of the weekend tearing up Road Atlanta. I feel good.


Here's my fastest run: https://youtu.be/RcGcVGfOWhk




The rest of the weekend Datsaniti was parked in the Showcase pavilion where it got a good bit of attention. This is definitely the crowd for this type of car. I also got to help a 300ZX owner do an emergency radiator swap in the parking lot. And apparently the Hoonigans like my car.




This was also my first time watching drifting, which I gotta say, is wayyy cooler in person than I ever thought it would be. Makes me wonder how Datsaniti would look slideways...






Later that night we saw Soulja Boy perform, which meant I waxed poetic about the good old days, like the first time a girl grinded up on me at the high school homecoming dance to the serenades of Lil Jon, Usher, and of course, Soulja Boy. Certainly not my cup of tea, but enough beer makes anything good.



If you get the chance to go to Gridlife, do it, and do it up big time. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Small update. Finally unloaded the tires and tools from 2 weeks ago...so I really haven't done much. But today I did a few things, like straighten the steering wheel, touch up the paint, and DIY an "engine grounding" kit.


The lower door jams and sills were a mix of every color's overspray. They're white now.




Even the screws got attention.




So according to 350z forums circa 2008, you can quicken shifts and improve throttle response by installing a "grounding kit". Sounds like snake oil to me, but you can read for yourself. Shifts have been rather sluggish with this trans, and I have a ton of extra wire from the G35 harness making this a free mod, so why not. I basically just cleaned, sanded, and dielectric greased all the connections, then jumped the e-throttle to the engine, the engine harness ground to the chassis, and the chassis ground all the way back to the battery's ground in the trunk. I haven't tested it yet, but I'll report back if anything changes.




Speaking of engine bay, I could use some opinions. What needs to look better for the Concours judging?



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On 9/8/2019 at 4:19 PM, Maschinenbau said:

So according to 350z forums circa 2008, you can quicken shifts and improve throttle response by installing a "grounding kit". Sounds like snake oil to me, but you can read for yourself.

I've used one of the "hyper grounding" kits from Sun before, and it made a pretty noticeable difference of how my car ran and idled. No more headlights and dash lights fading as your fans kick on and stuff too. 

Lookin' good!

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Got curious as to what it would take to clean up the harness. Found this.
Don't click the link in the first post, just scroll down to see the pics and process.  



Pic from link. 


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Yesterday was another auto-cross, where I thoroughly testedwith my Experimental Challenge-Winning Tire Strategy (ECWTS). 

In the morning, I ran ECWTS#1 for 4 runs. Observations: much oversteer, big spins, and can't get the power down. But times got faster as rear pressure went down. Got some weird looks and questions too.


Tire pressures vs time:


Run 1 DNF -72

Run 2 - 67

Run 3 - 66.3

Run 4 - 66.1




In the afternoon, I ran ECWTS#2 for 4 more runs, which is basically the front-rear reverse of ECWTS#1. Observations: much understeer, but it was way more predictable and easier to drive. Times were ultimately much faster, but some of that was due to having practiced the course. Times also got faster as pressure went down. Got some even weirder looks and questions about this one.


Run 1 - 65.6

Run 2 - 64.5

Run 3 - 64.3

Run 4 - 63.8


I'm still unsure of ECWTS, but I have more knowledge to make that decision. I'm going to pick a few "benchmark" competitors and over-analyze these results compared to last month's results on 200tw tires. At least the tires are all scrubbed in well for the Challenge. Notice the difference in wear pattern between the different compounds.





As I crossed the line on my final run with the throttle matted, the car suddenly went into limp mode. I barely made it to the pits where I found the following codes:




Revs suuuuuper slowly and not past 2500 RPM. I suspect the e-throttle actuator or sensor. Normally during startup and shutdown, you can hear the TB "cycling" with some clicking and motor noises. I pretended it was a starter motor and smacked the TB with a big wrench and it made some movement noises and revved right up great, but then died again. P1122 seems to be the big one, which could mean anything from a TB cleaning to replacement and reprogramming the ECM.  Hopefully a junkyard one does the trick. 


Regardless, had to exercise my AAA card.



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Went to the yard Saturday morning and pulled the TB's from the 2 nicest looking G35s in the lot. I love the ubiquity of this donor car right now! Interesting that half the donors were missing their TBs too...so this is a common problem.


I cleaned the gunk off one, bolted it in, and it fired right up and revved freely! It even set the idle speed automatically and cleared its own codes after warming up. Glad it was this easy! And now I have a backup just in case. Maybe the wet shot a couple inches upstream limits the life of this part.



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Hoping to hit 120 in the 1/4 mile with The Big nitrous shot. It should be theoretically redline-limited to 160 in 5th gear, 135 in 4th gear. No idea what the actual top speed would be, but that probably depends if I'm spraying or not 😎 Either way, I would never test that on a real road. This rattle trap is way too sketchy. 


So this was planned, I swear. 


I'm swapping out the chopped front lowering springs for some chopped OEM springs to free up $79 in the budget. Over a year ago I bought these used G35 lowering springs on eBay with hope they would normalize the ride height again due to the massive decrease in weight. It was still too high, so I had to chop them anyway. But they are non-linear springs, meaning the coil winding density changes along the height for a progressive spring rate. I ended up chopping more than 1 coil from the "stiff end" at the bottom. I should have chopped from the top to keep the spring stiffer. During autocross, the tops of the front UCA's often bottom out against the steel-reinforced upper spring perches. It's not a good sound.


These lowering springs advertise a rate of 384 lbs, but are progressive, and I cut from the stiff end. 7 coils total. So who knows what rate they actually are now.


The OEM springs are 314 lbs and linear, so they have a constant coil spacing. After the chop, they will have 6 coils total. The wire diameter seems a little thicker than the lowering springs too, so they should have an overall similar or stiffer rate than what I've been riding on. Hopefully that means no more bottoming out. And they're free in the budget, which is mainly what I'm after. Now I just have to guess n chop.





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This is the 36 hour roll bar install. Also my first roll bar. I've been putting this off for way too long. I'm tired now.


You don't need a roll bar until 11.49s in the quarter, which this car may never do, but going over 110 MPH in an 80's Japanese tin can that I welded 4x the stock power to is bit sketchy for me. 




1 pre-bent roll bar for a Pinto/Mustang II shipped from Amazon for $43. The other tubes are scrap ag equipment parts from work. Even though they're free for me, I charged them in the Challenge budget at the same rate I pay for off-cuts at the local yard. $0.75/lb





























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OH and now the fucker is throwing P0102 for the MAF sensor. It's acting like the MAF isn't plugged in at all. When you unplug it while running, nothing happens. Tried cleaning it and still won't go away. 


I did try cleaning it last week when I had all the throttle body issues, so maybe it simply doesn't like MAF cleaner. Or it randomly failed in the past week. Or I tugged on some wires or some shit.

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Confirmed the MAF is receiving the correct voltages, and I pulled the ECM plug to verify continuities. All signs point to bad MAF sensor. Amazon'ed one for a speedy fix and I'll pull a backup from the yard this weekend. Caffeine and Octane this Sunday. 

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Junkyard MAF fixed it! Only one 03 on the lot that still had the sensor, so I got lucky. The 05-up is different. I'll order a new one as backup. The Challenge is way too close for comfort for E36 M3 like this to happen. Drove to Caffeine and Octane yesterday without any drama.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last weekend I finally wrapped up the harness install. I had to fab an antisubmarine belt mount and a seat back support. 
















Feels nice and secure with a 5-point harness, especially compared to late 70's econobox seatbelts. The original 3-pointer is still installed and still works. 


Last weekend I saw another '80 210. The 3rd one I've ever seen. Hard to believe mine used to look like this!




Thursday I pack and leave for the $2000 Challenge. The field has swelled to over 60 cars, much larger than years past. Competition will be tough, but I really think I have a shot at winning this year. It's a very competent autocrosser, especially on new Hooser A7s. In quarter mile, low 13s is often a top 5 drag time, and the "trailer spec" nitrous jets should get me into 12s at least once. And the custom widebody and ridiculous paint job should score high in the concours. Last year it scored 19/25 points just on sheer engineering madness, in its rusty primered dirty condition. So, fingers crossed!


Next update should be a race recap. Thanks everyone for the advice and input on this build. It all comes together for the final test next weekend.

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