It's been awhile since I've posted any updates, so prepare for a novel! I was out of town for a good while, but have had the pleasure of putting about 3,000 miles on the car. She has performed better than I ever imagined! As with any car that you've dismantled to this degree, I've slowly been working out the kinks and shaking her down. I took her on a road trip to El Paso, about 1100 miles round trip. On the way there, the bolt that holds the shifter to the shifter linkage wriggled it's way out as I got off of the intersate. Luckily it was in neutral, and there was a NAPA just down the street. Got the bolt and went on our way. Then on the way back, about 45 minutes from my house, I ran over a dead raccoon. The raccoon got snagged on the wiring/plug for my Crank Angle Sensor, and ripped it all apart. Totally destroyed the plug! The car died and wouldn't start. I got a ride to my house and managed to crimp the wires directly to the pins. This was obviously a temporary solution, just to get the vehicle back to my place. I would have left it, and gotten a tow the next day, but I had just exited the interstate, and ended up parking it in a shady apartment complex parking lot. So, I managed to get it home and then I left town for a few months.
I'm now back, and have been working on her a lot. I have had the chance to autocross her a few times, and it was a blast! The vehicle actually handles really well, but I have grip issues. The rear tires are pretty old. They were on the rims when I got them. Also, my front tires are relatively crappy. They're new tires, but not very grippy ones. I think if I can get the power down a little better as the vehicle transitions out of turns, I'll be able to knock a considerable amount of time off of my laps.
Now, for those of you into VQ's, you'll know that the transmissions on the 03-04 350Z/G35 tend to go bad. My motorset was pulled from a 2003 G35, so I was waiting for it to die. Of course I hoped it would be an exception, but it was a bit sketchy from the get go. 5th would grind almost all of the time, and sometimes 3rd would as well.
But, the worst problem was reverse. When I first got things running, reverse worked fine. Then it started making a weird noise as I'd reverse. Then it started popping out of gear, and eventually got to where it wouldn't stay in reverse at all.
So, I tracked down a CD009 transmission, that has the upgrade synchros and such. In order to swap tranny's, I had to pull the whole motor. While it was out I went ahead and upgraded the clutch and flywheel. I just so happened to check eBay, and stumble upon a barely used OS Giken Super Single Clutch for $300! I snatched it up and threw it on there. The OS Giken setup is a clutch/flywheel combo that is quite interesting. The whole assembly weighs 27lbs, compared to 50lbs stock.
While the engine was out, I finally had space to wrap my headers. They are already ceramic coated, but that only does so much. I used the “titanium” wrap stuff. I strongly recommend it over the fiberglass kind. I tried used the fiberglass wrap once, but the stuff was so damned itchy/scratchy and annoying that I barely got through one runner before I returned the stuff. I used very thin gauge stainless wire to retain the wrap, and it worked great once I got the method down for getting that stuff to twist really tight without snapping. I do recommend this stuff to anybody having heat management issues. I saw more than a 20 degree difference in Air Intake Temps after wrapping them. They say that ceramic plus wrap is the best way to do it, so hopefully it all holds up.
Everything got installed and went back together just fine. I got to drive it for about a week, and am blown away at how responsive the motor is with the new flywheel setup! I can feel a very noticeable difference!
Sadly, I only got about a week, before the car was wrecked. I swerved to try and avoid a deer on my way to work last week, and slid off of the road into a bit of a ditch. I'm thankful that nobody was hurt, because there was a point when the car was going sideways through the dirt, and starting to roll over. Thank God it stopped and settle safely. There wasn't a massive amount of damage done, but it's enough to warrant repainting the whole car. A lot of rocks and stuff got knocked into the passenger side, so pretty much that whole side has to get repainted. But, the front bumper actually cracked, and the rear bumper had a good bit of paint come off. So, essentially, 2/3 of the car already needs to be repainted, so we're just going to get the whole thing.
There are two huge dents around the gas tank. One in front, one underneath. There's also a lot of damage further down the panel, near the bumper
It's hard to see, but if we'd slid another 2 feet, we would have fallen off of a 3ft drop off. Most likely would've rolled!
Lower quarter damage
Big gouge out of quarter panel, near door
My buddy and I can do all of the body work ourselves, so we'll be saving a lot of money on labor. While everything is apart, we have decided to modify the stock hood to make it clear the engine. Can't wait to have the hood sit flush again! Every time I autocross, somebody runs up to tell me my hood is open....very annoying. We were looking around at a ton of spare parts/cars behind the body shop that we are doing the work at, and we stumble about a steel hood that has a big cowl on it. I'm not going to tell what car the cowl came out of, but I would be amazed if anybody could ever guess.
I didn't think it would work, but my buddy was sure it would. He cut it out, laid it over the 240 hood, and amazingly, it looked like it would work. After some more measuring, we decided it could clear the motor, and would probably look pretty cool. I understand that it's a bit of a muscle car style, but I think it's pretty cool looking. It's functional, solves our hood gap problem, and also brings the car a cool custom edge.
Anyways, I've documented (sort of) the custom hood creation process. ENJOY!
First, we laid tape along the edges and marked 3 inches down from the back of the hood, on each side.
Now you lay tape across the hood, connecting those two point. Now you have obvious reference points and can find center on the hood easily. Measure across and mark the center point.
Lay another piece of tape acros the nose of the hood, making sure it's straight. Measure to the center and mark. Now you can connect your two centerlines and you have created a grid. Find a way to do the same thing to your scoop/cowl or whatever you're putting in the hood. This will make lining the two of them up really easy.
Here's the back of the cowl, lined up with the center point on the back of the hood
Once you are totally sure about the placement, outline the scoop with something that you'll be able to see really well. Now check all of your measurements 10 times, because it's hard to turn back after the next step!
It's time to get out the cutting wheel. Remove the cowl and cut out what you outlined. Be very careful, and compensate for blade thickness as you cut. Otherwise it will be just too big or too small. Also, be mindful of how deep you cut, because we don't want to cut up the skeleton just yet. If you cut out the skeleton, it will become incredibly hard to keep the hood straight. It'd be like trying to work with aluminum foil! (not really, but wobbly!) We will be modifying it later, but leave it for now
For some reason I didn't take any pictures after the cutting of the hole, but the cowl is now tacked into place at this point. The fitment is surprisingly good. I've never done much metal working, and this is totally new territory for me!
Be mindful of heat when you weld on material like this. It's really easy to warp the panel and create some huge bodywork issues for later on. So, I just slowly spot welded it. Moving around the panel in a way that helped to not put too much heat into the panel.
Then came the moment of truth! We cut out the skeleton (to be used later), but only the parts that would be in the way Now that the cowl is in place, the hood can maintain some ridgidity without this section of skeleton. Here's the fun part; Test Fit!
I'm sure plenty of guys won't dig this style, but I think it's a pretty bad a** looking solution! That's it for now. I'll update over the next few weeks as we finish the paint and supercharge it!