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    Thread: My 300zx Build

    1. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      06-08-2011 08:10 AM #26
      Finally made some REAL progress last night.

      I wish I would have taken more pictures but the workspace was cramped and all I had was my Iphone which was busy pumping out tunes from my Ke$ha Pandora station. Ke$ha and flip-flops while working on the Z. I felt like a real man yesterday.

      I bought a cheap pneumatic jigsaw at HF on Saturday, and attempted to use it last night to cut through my heater core hoses. The hoses are tucked too far up there to get at with a dremel. Believe me, I tried. I hooked this thing up to my 8 gallon 2hp compressor (also from HF) and with a full tank it was enough to cut through each hose. I was pretty impressed. Although initially, it took about 10 seconds to get started, I was afraid I'd have to find another tool. It just took a little force and once it dug in it went right through.

      I pulled the old heater core out which just barely fit. This might have been easier pulling the dash out and replacing it the right way (kidding...sort of).

      This is what I was left with:


      And this was my work area:


      You all know how big the interior of a 2 seater Z is. Now imagine someone 6'4" crawled up under the dash. That's where I was. Not fun. For some reason Nissan left all the edges underneath the dash sharp so my forearms are all scratched up.

      My cubicle:


      Old heater core vs new heater core:


      The old one didn't even look that bad, although one of the plastic adapters for the water pipes looked a little green. I'm guessing (hoping) that's where it was leaking.

      I ran across the street to Lowe's (I love being so close) and picked up 1 foot of 5/8" ID heater hose and a few hose clamps. It was 5/8" ID and 1" OD, this was THICK beefy hose. I was (and still am) worried it might not clamp tight enough or leak.

      I used the saw to cut the new heater core in the same location as the old one. Unfortunately when I was cutting the old hoses I couldn't make cuts perpendicular to the hose so I had to leave the heater hose a little long to make sure I got a good clamp. But after I got the hoses cut and the new heater core wedged into place everything went pretty smoothly. There is NO room to work up there, I used the shortest screwdrivers I could find and had some good luck finding holes I couldn't see. It's easiest if you take the feed/return hoses off the new heater core before you put it in. I'm pretty sure you HAVE to take the bottom one off or you'll never get it up there.

      New heater core in place with bottom hose removed:


      I didn't leave the hoses as rough as they looked. I wormed some emery cloth up there and sanded down all the edges in hopes of preventing future leaks.

      I got my hose clamps tightened up as good as I could and called it a night. My girlfriend got home just as I was tightening the last one and didn't feel like putting it all back together just yet. I think I want to run the car before I put all that back in to make sure I don't have any leaks. I gotta say....with the 90+ degree heat we've been having lately, I'm not nearly as excited to have working heat in my car as I was a few weeks ago. But I know come fall it'll be worth it.

      Job completed! Mostly...


      Now all I have to do is replace the O rings in the AC system and the dryer and the motor goes back in on Saturday! As long as the water pipe gets here in time...

      Woo!



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    2. Member .andreas's Avatar
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      06-08-2011 11:19 AM #27
      this thread

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      06-08-2011 11:39 AM #28
      Nice work. I couldn't even fathom working in that cramped engine compartment and I owned a SW20 MR2.

    4. Member mellbergVWfan's Avatar
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      06-09-2011 01:28 AM #29
      In for more later.


      Also this is how I think all engines should look. Red with Black and Silver.

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      Quote Originally Posted by TheDarkEnergist View Post
      Oh mellberg is cool, but his car certainly isn't helping that happen.

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      06-09-2011 10:35 AM #30
      Thanks for sharing! Always loved these cars.

      Quote Originally Posted by megaDan View Post
      Tune in tomorrow for hot Z jacking Spotted Cow drinking action! :burnout:

      mmmmmmmmmm.........New Glarus.




      Dan, you from WI?

    6. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      06-13-2011 09:17 AM #31
      patrikman:

      I spent the first 24 years of my life in WI and will always be a Wisconsinite. My goal is to have this thing ready to go for our week long road trip to Madison and Milwaukee for Katy Perry at Summerfest during the week of July 4th. I'm just worried there won't be enough storage space in the hatch to bring back extra Spotted Cow. :-(





      The motor is back in!!!!!!!!! :cheers:

      I think I did a little work Friday night but don't remember what. Probably prep work.

      Saturday after a late start my girlfriend and I started getting the motor ready to go in. I thought it would be pretty much ready to go, but there were a lot of little things.

      Since I put the turbos on the oil return lines were always off by about 1/4" from the ports in the oil pan. After doing a little bit of reading I realized I needed to clock the turbos. This wasn't a big deal, except the drivers side turbo can't be clocked. It can, but it can't be moved in the direction it needs to because the stainless steel oil feed line gets in the way. The passenger side we clocked and it lines up fine. Does anyone think this will be a problem? I've got Z1 silicone oil return lines bridging the gap, but I have a feeling that this is something that will leak eventually. I'm also not really sure what to do about it.

      I forgot one of the other big struggles Saturday was getting the AT pilot bushing out and putting a new MT bushing in. I got the AT bushing out by locking my channel locks onto the bushing, and driving a chisel into the gap between that and the crank. After maybe 2-3 minutes it was out. Relatively pain free and I was very proud of myself for coming up with a new method. I had heard that the bushing puller was kind of useless and didn't wanna make a trip for nothing. I didn't realize there was a MT bushing behind the auto one, so I used the same chisel which was about 1mm smaller in diameter than the bushing to cut it in half and pull it out. The whole process took maybe 20 minutes to remove both bushings, but it worked with simple tools I had on hand.

      Putting the motor in was the easy part. Getting the accessories lined up...not so much. We worked for about 20 minutes on the power steering pump and couldn't get it in position. We skipped that and got the AC and alternator in place. Unfortunately when we pulled this apart she pulled the accessories off and now doesn't remember how it all went back together (this is why I usually like to do things myself) so it took a while to figure everything out.

      I've got the pivot bolt in the alternator, but I'm not sure where the second bolt goes or how it holds tension on the belt. The AC is in place without much issue. Still cant get the power steering pump in place. Anyone have any suggestions? The FSM really isn't any help.

      Sadly, everything mentioned above took about 6 hours. We worked until a little after 7pm and called it quits to take the dog on a walk and take Mal out to dinner.

      Sunday I put the flywheel on and put new hose clamps on every line and hose I could find. Brand new Z1 oil cooler lines, silicone oil return lines, and silicone water lines for the turbos, and PCV hoses. I sure hope nothing leaks after all this.

      As of right now I can't do a whole lot more until I figure out how to get the power steering pump on and until I get my outer water hose on the passenger side from Coz. I still have to put on my new injector connectors but I don't want to do that until the plenum is on so I don't make ANY mistakes. (Feel terrible cutting up a NEW OEM harness).

      Things are still on track for getting it started this weekend...as long as that water pipe gets here mid-week sometime. Fingers crossed!






      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    7. Member jay3737's Avatar
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      06-13-2011 11:27 AM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by BltByKrmn View Post
      Nice work. I couldn't even fathom working in that cramped engine compartment and I owned a SW20 MR2.
      Lol...I was thinking the same thing!(SW21 owner)

      OP: nice work so far...can't wait to see once your Z is complete!
      '11 Forester | '93 MR2

    8. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      06-15-2011 08:01 AM #33
      Sadly no pics today.

      I had a little time to kill after work yesterday so I hooked up the accordion pipes on the drivers side and my new silicone PCV hoses and etc. Non eventful. This time it took all of 30 seconds to get the power steering pump in place. I have no idea why it took over an hour to mess with it this weekend and still not figure it out. But I got it in place and the bolt to thread all the way to the back. Woot. After I realized I didn't have the adjustment bolts hooked up (and totally forgot how they went on) I had to go through the FSM page by page until I found a picture of how they should be setup. The FSM is TERRIBLE. How bout an index or something? Jebus.

      After finding the pictures and hunting down my alternator bracket, I got those in place and the water pump-alt-crank belt on. I have a UR underdrive crank pulley and HI overdrive water pump pulley. Supposedly the guy who sent me the water pump pulley was sending the correct set of belts...but...I cant find a belt that fits the power steering, everything is way too long. I guess I'll just have to measure with string and see if autozone has something.

      The only snag of the evening came when I realized I completely lost my AC adjustment bolt. Does anyone know the specs on that?

      I've done just about everything I can do now until that water pipe comes in. I don't wanna take the chance of installing the donwpipes or transmission or even intake hoses in case I have to pull it all off again just to access that hose. Poo.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    9. Member Dr. Woo's Avatar
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      06-15-2011 08:37 AM #34
      Fascinating stuff. Great thread. Your writing makes this a pleasure to read, even though it also solidifies in my mind the fact that I'll never be able to take on a project like this.
      ├┼┤2003 S2000 | 2012 Focus SE Sport (2011-2014) | 2009 G8 GT (2011-2011) | 2008 R32 (2007-2011) | 2006 GTI (2006-2007) | 2001 A4 (2002-2006)
      SAVETHERING

    10. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      06-15-2011 02:45 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Woo View Post
      Fascinating stuff. Great thread. Your writing makes this a pleasure to read, even though it also solidifies in my mind the fact that I'll never be able to take on a project like this.
      Thanks for the compliments. I really didn't think people would enjoy reading about tightening hose clamps and losing my tools so much.

      And as far as not being able to take on a project of this size:

      Nonsense!

      As long as you have access to tools and even a little bit of know-how (you're on TCL, you've probably got an inkling) you can handle something like this. How many engine builds have I done before this? None. How many project cars have I had before this? Zero.

      I'm doing all of this in a 1 car garage at my condo. My neighbors think I'm crazy but I think its fun. Yes, its taking me way longer than I anticipated but I'm learning more than I ever imagined.

      If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend tackling a project like this. It's one hell of a confidence booster.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    11. Member todras's Avatar
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      06-15-2011 03:14 PM #36
      Quote Originally Posted by megaDan View Post
      As long as you have access to tools and even a little bit of know-how (you're on TCL, you've probably got an inkling) you can handle something like this. How many engine builds have I done before this? None. How many project cars have I had before this? Zero.

      Haha awesome! And you picked a Z! You can work on anything if you can work on that.
      rynodyno312: Just curious, but what makes it a "controversial" engine?
      Fritz27: The LS7 made some anti-Semitic remarks back in 2008. Look it up.

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      06-15-2011 03:23 PM #37
      This thread is pretty awesome! Keep up the good work
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    13. Member Lupo TDI's Avatar
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      06-15-2011 04:02 PM #38
      Nice car and great thread!

      Does yours have the diff. cooling unit?
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    14. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      06-27-2011 09:05 AM #39
      Well....I've done a fair amount in the last week. Not ambitious enough to type it all.

      The transmission went up with my girlfriends help on Sunday, but I didn't get the clutch lined up right so I had to do it again on Monday. (Note: Advance has clutch alignment tools for $2) After using the alignment tool the trans slid right on and everything after that was pretty simple as I've done a plenum install with this top feed fuel rail about a dozen times now. I took my time and labeled every connector on the wiring harness using the layout in the back of the FSM. I know what all the sensors ON the engine are, but wasn't sure what was where on the harness (mainly coils connectors and injector connectors). I soldered on new injector connectors for my EV14 top feeds and was nervous about cutting into a brand new harness.

      All in all, I've got everything hooked up as far as I can tell (already triple checked) and I built a rig to prime the oil pump (shop vac + filter with a hose) and after cranking I had oil pressure! Woo. Step 1 good.

      Step 2 was actually trying to start the car. I worked for a good 9 hours on Saturday starting with finishing the transmission install, getting the exhaust on, getting the plenum put back together, sorting out the wiring harness, installing new connectors, and retracing my vacuum system. After all of this obviously I really wanted it to start, but I had planned on having to sort out some kind of problem.

      I guess that made it sting a little less when the car didn't start.

      After first couple attempts: Code 11
      Checked CAS ground connection and it was iffy so I grounded it straight to the battery.
      No more code 11, and it sounded like it almost fired for a second.
      I can smell fuel, we checked for spark on 2 cylinders and both were good, I have 60psi of fuel pressure when the pump is primed. And then we gave up. Battery is almost dead too

      Things I need to check after work today:
      I heard you can just hook an LED up to an unplugged injector connector and the LED will go on when the injector is supposed to fire.
      Either that or I gotta pull a lot off to pull the CAS and test it.

      I also heard if the CAS isn't working all the plugs fire at the same time, so I have to pull 2 plugs and check them at the same time.

      Aside from that I don't know where to go Oh well. One thing at a time. I was REALLY hoping to take the car up to WI for the week. If it doesn't start tonight I can't see that happening.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    15. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:29 AM #40
      This thread needs an update!

      Had some major problems with this car last fall. Rather major problems with the work that was done. Gonna copy and paste posts I made over at 3zc to get everyone up to speed with where I am now. Sadly, few pictures as of late. But I got my girlfriend a Pentax K-x for her birthday so you better believe when this is running there will be PLENTY of pics :-)



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    16. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:30 AM #41
      Originally posted 6-28-11

      Borrowed a timing light from a friend, but before I went to check timing I figured compression would be a better check.

      1: 65
      2: 70
      3: 82
      4: 65
      5: 70
      6: 60

      Sooo. I'm thinking its timing. I added oil to cyl 1 and it only went up 5 psi to 70, so likely not ring gap or a build issue. Unless its something in the heads.

      But I pulled the front timing covers back off, pulled the plenum, and all the coolant pipes. I'll have to pull the lower timing cover now too, I don't remember that being pleasant. Looks like I'll have to cross my fingers for august now. Ugh.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    17. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:32 AM #42
      Originally posted 9-20-11

      Finally pulled the motor back out and took the heads off sunday night. When I set the head down on the ground, a bunch of grit poured out. It seems someone didn't do a good enough job cleaning out the heads after they machined them. I wonder if grit is holding the valves open.

      Now I have to hope the shop will correct the problem 6 months later at no cost to me. And hope that it didn't work its way anywhere else. The bores were clean and grit free, for what its worth.

      Not happy.




      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    18. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:32 AM #43
      Originally posted 9-20-11


      I just stopped by the shop with receipt (from april) and picture in hand.

      I was completely calm and friendly and I think it went a long way. I stated my case and they said they'd take care of it. I'm really surprised.

      Might even be able to put it back together by the weekend. yay! (leak check BEFORE assembling the longblock though)

      And yeah, I was terrified the bores would be ruined. Surprisingly not. Lucky me?



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    19. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:33 AM #44
      Originally posted 9-22-11


      So I got a call from the machinist and he said he pulled the heads apart and hand lapped the valves (shouldn't that have been done in the first place?), cleaned everything, and put it back together.

      When I got there I used some armor all window cleaner (i had it in the backseat) to spray into the ports and check for leaks. Most of the valves weeped. Some held pretty steady, but 3 or for sprays was gone in about 5 seconds. This seems like too much to me.

      I can't find anything difinitive online, but if the heads are assembled with spring pressure on the valves, shouldn't they form a perfect seal to liquid at 0psi?

      One of the guys at the counter (not the machinist) said he filled the ports last night to leak check them and they stayed full. Clearly that didn't happen.

      A) Should fresh cut and lapped valves leak?
      B) Am I getting hosed?

      Keep in mind these are my used heads with a supposed 3 angle valve job.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    20. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:34 AM #45
      Originally posted 10-5-11

      Just picked up the heads from the shop again. He said they held water overnight, but...he said that last time too. So I wasn't/am not getting my hopes up.

      When I got to the car I sprayed some water in them and they held water for ~30 seconds before one valve slowly began to weep. MUCH BETTER. From what I can tell so far at least. Still not getting my hopes up.

      I'll put the heads back on tonight and put some air in the cylinders and see how they hold.

      Can I get excited now?



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    21. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:35 AM #46
      Originally posted 1-5-12

      Nope. Put the heads back on the car, when I got the lifters in, they were sitting way too high.

      Sent my heads to Z1. They confirmed my suspicions. Federated auto parts in Painesville, OH royally borked my heads. Even after 3 tries. They didn't bother cutting the tips of the valves after the seats were cut, didn't clean out the ports, etc. Z1 took care of everything and painted them for me.

      I JUST unpacked them and hope to put them back on the motor tomorrow. I've finally got some room in my garage and I've got the motor sitting on a stand waiting for work. Maybe I'll get to drive the Z this year.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    22. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:36 AM #47
      Originally posted 1-23-12
      Alright, should have taken pictures, but since this is my 4th(?) time doing this, I'm sure I've already posted these. Did a leakdown test yesterday and everything was in the green (20-25%) on a ice cold motor. I'll do the same test after I put the cams in.

      Yesterday I built my new IKEA workbench, torqued the heads down, and installed all hardware related to both turbos. When I removed them all I took off was the stainless steel oil feed lines and the 4 turbo-exhaust manifold bolts so it was mostly pretty easy to get back on. I had to grind away at the exhaust flange a few mm to make the oil feed line easier to install.

      Afterwards I rebuilt and cleaned all my lifters just to be safe since they have been sitting for about a year now. Tonight I'll be installing the cams and hopefully timing the motor.

      Trying to get everything ready to go by Friday. The plan is to install the motor this weekend. I just need to figure out how to transport the motor 4+ miles to the car.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    23. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:37 AM #48
      Originally posted 3-11-12

      Finally installed the motor! My buddy pat came over this weekend from Chicago and we knocked everything out. A week after I posted my last message my Grandpa was in the hospital so the car was put on hold for a while.

      After 2 full days of working on it this weekend, we got to try to start it without any accessories installed. AND IT FIRED UP!!!!!!!! It had a searching idle for about 20 seconds, and then died. No time to check codes or boost leak. We finished 15 minutes before we had to leave for girlfriends birthday dinner.

      BUT IT STARTED! Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    24. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      03-20-2012 08:38 AM #49
      Originally posted 3-15-12

      I had a few problems after the initial startup. During the first startup, I neglected to let the wideband warm up, so I didn't get any information from it. Also, I had a pretty bad oil leak (supposedly). And it died after about 15 seconds.

      I finished buttoning everything up monday night and tried to start it again, this time with nissan datascan. I learned a few things

      A) My wideband is hooked up to the gage, but not to the wiring harness, and I cant find the connecter. I don't remember if it was ever plugged into the harness. I'm not really sure what to do about this one. The oem O2 on the drivers side works fine.

      B) I DID have a nasty oil leak. I forgot to tighten the drivers side turbo oil feed for some stupid reason. I was able to remove the AC condensor and the bracket with the motor in the car with minimal effort and tighten it down. No leaks this time.

      C) While I was playing around underneath the car I realized I didn't have my boost solenoid hooked up properly, the hard line going to the drivers side throttle body had a vacuum connection wide open which showed on my wideband as a very lean condition. Hopefully that's all I missed. My Z1 boost leak tester broke (THESE THINGS ARE SUPER FRAGILE, kind of pissed about this) so I have to wait until a replacement shows up.

      D) The passenger side neck on my OEM radiator has a tiny leak, so I ordered new silicone coolant hoses and a Mishimoto radiator. I was having problems deciding which radiator to buy because I've never had temp problems before (other than too cold) with the OEM rad, but at some point I would like to drive out at Mid-Ohio so I should probably have adequate cooling. Next spring I'll be installing 2.5" intake piping, intercoolers, and TB's and I've heard installation can be a pain/impossible with a larger radiator. I guess I'll find out.

      So for right now the car sits and I wait for my radiator before doing anything else.

      Oh, almost forgot

      E) I can't get the exhaust to line up for the life of me. When the test pipes are LOOSELY fixed to the downpipes, they sorta line up length-wise, but as soon as I bolt them down (in any order) they differ in length by almost .25". I'm totally stumped as to what to do. They fit fine before, but I understand that exhaust location is based on turbo type (sport 500's = OEm housings) and exhaust manifold placement (AMS). Is it possible the mounting of my AMS manis are misshapen and preventing my exhaust from lining up? Should I just bolt the test pipes to the H pipe and hope that holds it?


      I've reduced the "damnit not again" problems from 3 down to just the exhaust problem. I'm still pretty optimistic.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    25. Member megaDan's Avatar
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      1,209
      Vehicles
      1990 300ZX TT, 2002 Jetta TDI
      03-20-2012 08:41 AM #50
      Mishimoto radiator and new radiator lines get delivered tomorrow after work. The girlfriend will be out of town this weekend so I'll have all weekend to either button everything up, or take it for a test drive.

      Sadly my registration is expired and its still on 'storage' insurace so I need to get both of those items taken care of at lunch today.

      I've got a Nistune ECU waiting to go in after I get the motor broken in. Some big name Z tuners are coming to Cincinatti in May and I hope to be able to take the car down there and get a top quality professional tune. I just hope I'm not getting ahead of myself again.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

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