Wednesday, September 17, 2014

9/17/14 Back in the Saddle

Yes, it's been entirely too long since I've updated this. In the nearly 10 months since I last posted a great deal has happened. I've honestly been too busy to update this regularly. It took a call from a friend to spur me into updating this, because he had been using it to keep track of my progress with the various projects and had no idea what I'd been up to. So here's a quick recap of the past 10 months.

When I left off I had just welded up the gas tank. I used an interesting method to find and seal the pinhole leaks, rigging up a smoke machine to pressurize the tank and pinholes were shown by where the smoke poured out.  After welding these, I used a tank sealer to coat it inside and out, and painted the assembly.

After the tank was mounted, Clive and I directed our attention to mounting the engine and transmission. The engine is quite tall, and needs to sit wholly behind the crossmember, which proved to be a pain, but eventually we got it in and mounted and under the hood.

And that's pretty much how it sits now. I ran out of time at Clive's shop, so it's parked at my mom's house waiting for wiring and plumbing, but hopefully that will change in the coming months. More on that later...

The containers at the navy yard have taken up most of my free time as of late. The idea has been to use this place as a shop to work on 3d printing and composites related work. The first product I've chosen to make are velocity stacks for webber carburetors made of carbon fiber. Below is the progression from original part, to 3d printed mockup, to actual composite parts.

Over the past few months I've ironed out the kinks of the process and have had parts installed on Clive's car.

As a result, I've moved to volume production, producing parts for individual sale as well as a large order that is destined for Australia.

We also spent a great deal of time improving the work environment of the shop itself. Notice below the absolutely crucial air conditioner and the window we cut into the side of the container.

We also installed custom CNC cut insulation/pegboard panels on the walls, and roof.

And I did some minor mods to the bike, including new projector headlights, a ZX-6r shock, finally cut down that rear fender,and upgraded regulator/rectifier, new tires(out of necessity), and installed in integrated taillight. 

Because of the lack of a big enough shop, there really hasn't been much progress on the car. In the coming months that should change, because there may be a NEW south bronx speed shop...that's actually in the south bronx!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

3/7/13 Taking Care of the Details

As usual, it's been a while since my last update. I've been working here and there on buttoning up the details of my swap before I jump in and pull my engine. Right now the engine and mount kit are at CB's shop waiting for the car to join them. I'll run though the various systems in order.

First, the wiring. I got all of the wiring from the donor car, including the dash harness and key, but once I got a look at it I decided there is probably no way I'll be able to neatly hide all that wiring in the car. This, combined with the fact that I'll need to get it flash tuned for the mods I'm doing anyway pushed me in the direction of sending the harness to get cut down professionally and flash the ecu for my mods and to get rid of the security system that makes the dash harness necessary. I pulled the engine harness off of the engine last weekend. I'll likely be sending that out this week and when I get it back there will only be 4 wires to hook up to get the engine running. Can't wait.

The fuel system is also a little tricky. Obviously my car is carbureted currently. This means that it has small fuel supply and return lines, no electric fuel pump and no baffling in the tank to keep air bubbles from getting into the fuel lines. To get fuel to the engine there are two typical options. 
1. Get a baffled tank from a 75-76 280z, then buy a fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator and run larger lines to the engine. I would also need to modify the VQ fuel rail to make it have a fuel return(the system is returnless from the factory)
2. Keep the carb tank and to a surge tank setup. This would require a low pressure pump to feed the surge tank, a high pressure pump to feed the engine, a surge tank, fuel pressure regulator and lots of plumbing. I would still have to modify the VQ rail with this as well.

I chose a third option that I don't think anyone has done for a VQ swap before. I bought a 350z fuel tank and pump (which was HUGE). 

I cut out the mounting flange where the internally regulated, in-tank pump mounts. 

I cut open my Z tank

And I welded the new pump flange into my existing tank. 

This pump draws directly from where it mounts, and has a second line the goes to the other side of the tank to combat fuel starvation. The high pressure circuit draws from this built in cup that acts like a surge tank. This is setup to be a returnless system already, so once mounted I should only have to run one fuel line and two wires to get this working. Now that I have it welded up, the tricky part will be tracking down and sealing all of the pinhole leaks that will inevitably be along my seams, but once done this should be a good setup. 

I also have to modify my crossmember to clear the engine. I've already cut it open, and am waiting on some steel to weld it back.

And on a slightly sad note. CB has dismantled his car and sold his shell. He kept most of the components that are going into a new Z, but it is a bit sad to see the red car go.

The benefit of this to me is that I will be using his shop to do my engine swap, and that I'll be inheriting the 3" exhaust (with cutout) he just removed from the car, since he won't be able to use it with his new long tube headers. 

Still left on the list for the swap:
1. Rear end. I have a differential, and 280zx CV axles. I need to get 280z stub axles, CV adapters, and a 280z moustache bar. 
2. Driveshaft. Once I have the engine and diff mounted I can measure for the drive shaft.
3. Exhaust. I'm gonna have to modify the exhaust to fit the new engine. 

Getting there!


Monday, February 11, 2013

2/11/13 Collecting Parts

A few great things happened over the past couple of weeks. First, we finally got our containers moved. We're now on the north end of the navy yard with a much nicer view and no one demanding part of whatever company forms from this venture. Currently we only have temporary power, but we should be able to reconnect our breaker so an adjacent building shortly.

Next, I found another great deal on a mount kit for the VQ. Another member on Hybridz had given up on his swap I suppose and was selling the engine mounts, crossmember, trans mount and shifter relocation bracket for a substantial discount. So now I have that piece of the puzzle ready to go. I would have been nice to make my own mounts, but at this price it would have cost me about the same when all was said and done.

Electrically, the guy who I bought the engine from is sending me the dash harness and BCM from the same car so I should be able start it without having to pay for a harness service. 

That leaves fuel. I am going to try something new for the fuel system. I've ordered a 350z fuel tank with internal pump and regulator. I *should* be able to cut the mounting flange from the 350z tank and weld it into a clean, baffled 280z tank. This would mean that I only have to run one fuel line and two wires to get the fuel system setup, which would be wonderful. The downsides are that welding on a fuel tank is tricky, and getting the pump to be at the right height might be difficult, but I should be able to get around these problems. 

More soon hopefully!


Monday, January 21, 2013

1/21/12 New Engine for the Z!!!

As I posted here, I was going to build a mild L28 and triples while I saved for a more substantial engine swap. I recently found a deal I couldn't pass up on a VQ35 pullout from an 350z for the same price as my now sold triples and the 3 sets of Datsun wheels I sold a few weeks back. 

A guy building a drift 350z sold me his 80k mile VQ, harness, pedal, ECU, radiator and fans, trans, driveshaft, NATS and key, and a pair of leather seats(sold to Clive already) for $1700 delivered to my door! Not bad for effectively tripling the power my slow little 240z will have.

I'll likely be building my own mounts using the cad files another member here posted. I'll probably leave the harness building to Zfever or McKinney, The only real variable at this point is whether I try to find a fuel injection tank for my 240 or build a surge tank, but I feel like I've got a great head start on this project. 

Luckily I've already laid all the groundwork for the swap with frame rails and subframe connectors, coilovers, and AZC Wilwoods all around.

In any case, VQ here I come!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1/16/12 Setting Up Shop

I know it's been a while. I've been hesitant to post too much about things that are not that interesting on the face of it, but to myself and Jordan are pretty darn cool. for the past couple of months, we've been preparing our containers to be the workstations we are picturing.

The first thing on the list was creating a table for the lathe to rest on. Jordan and I spent a good afternoon building and bracing this workbench, only to realize that we hadn't made it deep enough  to accommodate the motor, which I had removed from the lathe because it was destroyed by the flood... Oh well, it will make a good table for the computer or 3D printer, if an over built one.

The next thing on the list was designing workbenches that were built into the wall that could be raised and used as required, but could be folded away to free up space when not in use. To create the prototype bench, I welded a heavy duty door hinge straight to the wall of the container so that we could bolt a table top to. We made the prototype top out of two 5/8" peices of plywood glued together. The front legs are sprinker pipe with flanges bolted to the table top and to the floor. This allows for height adjustment by threading the pipe in or out of the flange. The prototype came out very nice, but we decided to make a few modifications for the rest of them.

Rather than permanently weld the hinges to the wall, we figured that it might be more useful to have a flange with bolts in it welded. This way either a hinge or any number of other things could be bolted to the wall in the future. This also allowed for a flush and much stronger weld. We also used 3 plies of 3/8's board with one layer of masonite on top for a nice work surface.

Lather, rinse, repeat and we had setups for a few tables.

Unfortunately, due to a dispute with another tenant in the navy yard, we are going to have to move our containers. Luckily our new location is substantially nicer than our current space and has a better view. This meant, however, that we needed to paint the roof and remaining sides of the containers, as they would be viewable from the opposite direction. Jordan tackled this last weekend and we are scheduled to move in the next week or so. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

11/26/12 Thanksgiving Week Progress

It was nice to finally have a long weekend so I could get some work done at the shop.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving I brought my triple Weber carb setup to the shop so I could do some wok on them. On the way there I spotted a future ideal home: a Manhattan brownstone with a private garage. Swap out the Porsche with a Datsun and you've got a pretty great setup for me.

Anyway, once I got to the shop, I set to cleaning up the last carb of the set. Webers are shockingly simple, but when you have them apart it looks pretty impressive with all of the components laid out for cleaning.

Once finished with that, I also replaced the curiously missing throttle return springs in the two I had built already for a full set of (hopefully) operational webers. I could only get the trumpets cleaned up but so much because they were rusty, so I'll probably have to order new ones eventually.

Afterwards I cleaned up the intake manifold. Starting to come together! Just for comparison, this is how they started out.

On my way home I spotted this 'Mercedes'

Saturday I brought the E31 head and most of my tools to the shop. It will be great to have a place to work again.

I also have some work to do on the G35 in the near future. The driver's side window has been acting up, so the motor either needs replacing or cleaning. I also need to replace a muffler gasket and throw on new rear tires for a possible sale...

Stay tuned.