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76' 260Z - Ratsun

project ratsun 260z rebuild weber diy

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#1 Ahoysandy

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 12:46 AM

hey guys!

My name's Sandy, I've been on the forums for quite some time and have been in contact with a number of members who have been able to help me out as well as guide me in the right direction. To these guys I am very thankful! But I have not yet talked of the Zed i own and am currently working on. 

In mid 2015 i began searching for a car that was a little more fun to drive as well as more appealing than my (still current) toyota echo. By the time november came around, I had in my possession a 1976 Datsun 260z that was in dire need of a little TLC. I will include a few snaps i took when inspected. This is my first interaction with these cars, dad is an MG guy and the extent of mechanical knowledge I had was no where beyond swapping out struts for bolt in coilovers. 

 

Despite my mates saying that this is a huge project (both of these guys had restored pre-1975 cars), and dad knowing as much as i know about engines, I was hooked on the idea of a classic car and building it up from scratch. So a week later, me and my best friend (he owned a ke55 coupe) drove to pick up this datsun for $4,200 and trailer it back. (looking back it was a bloody good deal on one of these cars even though i was told thats crazy for the condition). 

 

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The first thing I got to work on was getting the engine in running condition again. The guy i bought it off said it was running when parked (last registered over 10 years ago but looked like it had been used as a paddock basher from the amount of dirt on the underside) so we chucked a battery in and got stuck in to checking for fuel, spark and any leaks.

We found the only issue to the initial engine was the timing was 180 degrees out! She ran well up until the first week i had it registered but we'll get to this part later!

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After i was able to get her to move under her own power, the next and in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of safety was the brakes. I wasn't going to skimp here and nor did i know anything about how the hydraulic systems worked. So i took it on up to my local brake and clutch who i have since become pretty known to and had him inspect the rusty rotors and seized cylinders (yes this was the issue). We didn't end up actually doing any work and i took it home the same day, reason being, was as soon he got up on the hoist, these was a significant amount of rust that i had failed to spot. all through the chassis rails and floor pans. so instead, George (the brake and clutch guy) gave me the contact of another local fabricator who would be able to fix this up for me.

It wasn't until mid March 2016 that the car would actually go in for these repairs...

In the time between late 2015 and April 2016, The car sat in the garage where I was able tinker with wiring that was not correctly hooked up or not working, replace required parts and even got a hand on some small panel work, pulling out the small dent in the rear lower where the bumper had been nudged in. This period of time also included some preventative maintenance like replacing fuel hoses, filters and a bigger radiator. I was also able to save up a little extra and get my hands on some nice classic SSR XR4 longchamps from japan and had them wrapped in Toyo R888's! 

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Speaking with the guy who was doing the rust repairs (his brother is apparently a huge datsun guy as well as himself preferring classics) was a huge help in getting the car toward passing registration. He basically swapped out the whole fiberglass front end i had purchased as well as working on all the structural rust repairs required. When he was finished work on it, he essentially said that he'd gotten to understand how the car was in condition and said he could take it for rego, so off it went. I was so excited as it was my birthday 2 days after this and i'd be getting my license back within 5 days also. But i was devastated when it came back that afternoon and had failed... cracked tyres and a parker bulb was out. to be fair i hadn't changed my new ones on yet and i think the bulb might've gone when he was swapping the front end. So this was an easy fix! i essentially brought my jack, wheels and tyres and a new bulb from bunnings down to his shop and changed them in front of him. He was Happy! It had passed!! I was over the moon, my plates i had ordered for it already had arrived, the RMS were happy with all the documentation i had brought along and she was road worthy 3 days before my birthday!

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I was driving it every second day after this. Had put a solid night or two in to upgrading the audio system as well as routing all the wiring for this. Not taking in to consideration the fact that it is an old car and i wasn't quite taking note of how i should be inspecting it frequently in every other mechanical area. I must've been too busy enjoying it? Turns out those gauges that i was fixing the wiring on actually work and low and behold, the engine ran dry of oil and she seized up completely on the highway back from university in wollongong one afternoon... on later inspection by James Flett at MIA. She's a goner, and for the price of L series engines, not worth the $$ considering it wasn't numbers matching either.

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So this leads me to the next period of time that is was on the road! I had been contacted by Geoff, a local to me, who kindly helped me out selling his old L24 and has since been of great assistance across many of the problems i've stumbled upon. it was this swap that i though would be a simple weekend, old one out. New one in, but it didn't quite work like that.

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It took about a month and a half for it to be back running and in full action. The problems being, there was a fuel pressure leak, causing the engine to fire but not run. I hacksawed the exhaust off the headers so that i could remove them from the engine bay, there was a MASSIVE oil leak from the rocker cover. I'm talking 4 liters a week of semi-daily driving and two gaskets later aannnddd little did i know, but the trans is a 5speed out of something else too, and i had ordered the wrong sized pressure plate and couldn't figure out the geometry of the clutch slave/fork/pressure plate so off the george at the clutch shop again it was where it had a new Exedy HD clutch put in! after that it was a quick pit stop at Kirrawee Mufflers to have a new 2.5" headers back exhaust (with flange) made up. now, The guy who did my rust repairs is the brother of one of the guys at kirrawee mufflers!. I can't remember which, but that was a funny connection!

After this i drove her for another month to two, slowing fixing things like alternator tensioning, squeaky water pump belts and that oil leak! during this time, as one would expect with an exhaust this loud, i had number of run ins with the police. including one where i was driving without lights on as my alternator was loose and she wouldn't run right with them on, it was completely puking oil and coolant all through the engine bay and it was about 2 am on my way home. I should not have been driving it but heck it was fun! 

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At one point, it was quite a nice day out, and i had just shifted jobs to one that allowed me to have the day on weekends off occasionally. A couple of mates with subarus were heading down through the national park toward mac pass so i decided to take the Ratsun along too. Again. The gauges work and the temp gauge was sitting way too high. It soon begins to show the symptoms of a blown head gasket and/or cracked block so it was back to the drawing board after parking it in the garage that afternoon. 

Unsure as to what path i should take now with my engine I contemplated and considered what options i had regarding swapping, fixing and building. 

Do i try and swap the head gasket in hope it was only that? I could pick up a straight swap RB30 package from a smashed datsun for sale for $3k and get myself some spares too. Or i could source another L26 to rebuild completely and plonk back in it. 

This is the pretty much point that we're at currently up to in the build! I ruled out any possibility of RB swapping the car for so many reasons inc. engineering, P plate legality and not to mention the incredible sound of triple carbs from these cars. Trying to replace a head gasket May or may not fix the issue and even still there is potential for more issues to arise with an engine this old. 
I chose the find another running L26 (actually from the other 'RAT50N' in sydney!) and send this off to James and MIA to be rebuilt from the ground up. This gives me the certainty of an engine without failure due to its age and i get to hot it up a bit too ;) initially i was going to stick with a completely stock engine build. I feel as though the car was designed and build for an L26 so it should somewhat stay with this power plant. But after talking to a few members, other people who know a thing or two about engines and james himself, i was advised that by bolting triple webers on the side of a factory engine, there wouldn't be much positive outcome without some engine head work and/or cam. So the engine that's being built at the moment with have a few little pieces of fruit in it that i'm not 100% certain on what that is yet. i do already have a 280zx electronic dizzy and alternator. 

Yes i did order a New set of Triple 45mm webers, linkage kit and manifold but have been waiting 3 or so weeks for the redline manifold which has been on back order :( I think the 45's will pair nicely with the 2.5" exhaust and HD clutch, as well as a few of the compression internals from the rebuilt engine! (I resprayed an old rocker cover wrinkle coat red today because red things go faster)

In the 2 month period it has been off the road, i took some time to tidy it up a little, painting the engine bay in hammertone charcoal, fitting new electronic gauges in the 3 center pieces as well as their sending unit + relocating my fuel gauge so i still have one!, and installing an OEM electronic fuel pump in the rear next to the tank. 

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I'm still slowly working on little issues and projects within it, for example, im trying to fabricate a rear strut bar that i can connect my harness to but its still in early fabrication and needs some design altering. 
I really am now just waiting on parts to be ready to install! i thought about sanding all of my paint back and doing more body work at the same time as spraying the whole thing in primer. something like this ; thoughts?

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I'll be posting on this forum more as i progress and things move along as they have been so keep posted!! :)

Cheers, Sandy
P.S.
I have an instagram account that i post regular pictures on about what i'm doing and the mods :)
http://www.instagram.com/thegoldenturd
Shoutout to Geoff and Cozza for making me feel welcome to owning a datsun and helping out when need be!


Edited by Ahoysandy, 08 September 2016 - 12:47 AM.

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#2 PeterAllen

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 04:14 AM

Well, "Hello Sailor" - you're probably too young to get that... 

 

Your post has put a smile on my face and gone a long long way to restoring my faith in the mechanical awareness/appreciation of the younger generation. Such enthusiasm and willingness to 'have a go', but understanding limits, is very refreshing and encouraging. On top of that, a 'Shire Boy'. Well done.

 

By the way, don't do it in primer, it'll just soak up moisture and expedite the rusting process.


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#3 CBR Jeff

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 07:38 AM

Great read Sandy thanks for posting.
I'm already looking forward to the next few chapters. Love the new wheels.
Take Peters advice and don't paint it in primer.
Jeff

#4 Cozza

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 08:47 AM

Great read Sandy. You have been through quite an ordeal already.
I agree with the comments above, no primer but there is a great patina z car thread on here that I reckon you'd like.
I'll try find it and post up.

No doubt you will appreciate MIA's fruit.😉

Cheers Mate
Mick

Edit. Here's the link to Ledges patina build.
http://www.viczcar.c...patina-project/

Edited by Cozza, 08 September 2016 - 08:56 AM.


#5 ScottyD

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 12:22 PM

Hi Sandy, Here is a picture of my rear strut bar and harness location for some ideas and inspiration.
P.s. Enjoyed the read keep up the good work.

https://lh3.googleus...sPTnnhLxY9sbReI

#6 Ahoysandy

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 01:21 PM

Your post has put a smile on my face and gone a long long way to restoring my faith in the mechanical awareness/appreciation of the younger generation. Such enthusiasm and willingness to 'have a go', but understanding limits, is very refreshing and encouraging. On top of that, a 'Shire Boy'. Well done.

 

By the way, don't do it in primer, it'll just soak up moisture and expedite the rusting process.


Thanks Peter! Having a little common sense and a few mates that know something about what I'm doing has helped me a lot! 

Someone did mention this when i was doing the patch work with primer to begin with and how i should get a sealing primer too? Anyhow, i think we're going to go with what's mention below! 

 

Edit. Here's the link to Ledges patina build.
http://www.viczcar.c...patina-project/

This is just the inspiration i needed for the look im after!! I will have to PM Ledges soon to see how things went down. seem relatively simple, but i would like my base coat to be the 920 safari gold they came with rather than the metallic one it currently has. 

 

Hi Sandy, Here is a picture of my rear strut bar and harness location for some ideas and inspiration.
P.s. Enjoyed the read keep up the good work.

https://lh3.googleus...sPTnnhLxY9sbReI

 

thanks for the pic Scotty! there is clearly a lot of fabrication work that has gone it to that. it looks fantastic! i was thinking of taking a path that was a lot more simple and very basic in terms of being able to put it together. 
I did however go to bunning to buy a very expensive holesaw drill bit to take out the center of the strut tower hole in the plate. ended up returning the bit as it didn't do the job and bunnings didn't ask a single question either about it being used! i found that to be odd from a companies perspective. 

 

Great read Sandy thanks for posting.
I'm already looking forward to the next few chapters. Love the new wheels.
Take Peters advice and don't paint it in primer.
Jeff

cheers Jeff, they're a real show stopper, everyone who sees the car comments on the tyres lol



#7 Ahoysandy

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 11:51 AM

So a few things happened over the past weeks!

I looked a little deeper in to the whole 'patina paint job' idea and decided that would be something i'd like to have a go at, besides there's not much I can do to make the current paint worse!

So I did some sanding of the body and got out most of the old paint imperfections and flaking, layed down 2-3 coats of grey primer and I'm currently in the process of the base 'safari gold 920' coats I decided to go with instead of the metallic gold.

Couple of reasons behind this. You can't beat factory colours, and with the engine bay and new engine cleaned up, the exterior I felt needed some continuity. I have a friend that works at a parts store so he was able to source the factory colour match 920 for a quarter of the retail price (y) !

Still waiting for the carburettors to arrive but the engine build is moving along nicely and I got word back saying the engine I sent off was in pretty good nick this time around :)

I also felt the need to buy race car parts due to the lack of movement on the project for a few weeks, so I picked up a second (passenger) Takata harnes whilst also, with my mate, fabricated the strut/harness bar I've mentioned earlier. This mounts underneath the exiting seat belt retractors.

I will upload some photos of progress when I get home this evening but it won't let me do it off my phone for now.
Admins maybe mobile friendly image uploading would be awesome?? :))

#8 Ahoysandy

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 12:06 PM

image5.JPG
cool to see the second harness in with the mounting bar

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here's a wide shot of the bar we made up between the strut towers

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Did the car in primer here first. Mind you, there is minimal body/panel work and prep done on this job so i wasnt expecting anything spectacular as an outcome, particularly using rattle cans!

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Came out looking good in the photos though ;) when i edit the shots from my camera, i will post these too.

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The paint has these small cracks all over it with isnt perfect and are quite noticeable up close, but i think it kind of suits the age of the car. I do still have the opportunity to sand things back and go for the 'patina paint job' i had in mind.



#9 WA240Z

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 06:51 PM

Have really enjoyed reading your progress, well done. I bet you cant wait to get the engine back in and hit the road.

Just one comment if I may, your harness bar, I am not an automotive engineer but to me the rhs/shs section looks too small for the load that may be subjected to it in an acident. I very much reconmend you spending $600-800 with a roll cage fabricator to produce a harness bar for you.

Anyway I look forward to your updates.

Billy.

#10 Agno

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 08:42 AM

As an Engineer that harness bar looks pretty significantly undersized... is it 30x30 SHS?

 

Also, if you bought those harnesses brand new off eBay or Gumtree for less than $400 each I probably wouldn't use them while driving.


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#11 blu260z

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 07:10 AM

Hi Sandy as the guys have said 30x30 shs is way to small.
In construction a fall arrest where a harness point will be attatched needs to be able to take 15kn (1530kg) for single or 21kn (2140kg) for double. It seems alot but that is the standard across industry, these numbers may not relate to automotive but it gives you an idea of the force that can be generated during an accident. Personally a bit of shs wouldnt cut it for me.

Chris

#12 Ahoysandy

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 05:42 PM

Thanks for your interest guys!

I guess i got a little too caught up on where the mounting points of the harness should be (as i originally had them on top of the strut tower.no good at all.) that i overlooked the structual integrity of what i was mounting it too. 
none the less, the bar makes for good rear chassis stiffening and there's no way i was going to use it for any track events. lets be real, I made it myself... being a creative arts student (lol). It's also too impractical to be using a harness daily in the car haha so really just for a show thing.

On a lighter note, i used a cutting compound and then a polish on the paint and damn! the clear coat came up amazing!!



#13 CBR Jeff

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 06:52 PM

Sandy
It's a good idea when mounting your harness to a rear bar like that not to use the "I" bolt mounting system. Drilling holes into a tube will greatly reduce its strength. If you remove the end section of the harness then wrap the long shoulder strap around the tube then feed it back onto itself going through the clasp/bucket in both directions. This will give it much more strength. Hope I have explained my self?
But a better/best option is to use the harness as you have them and get 4 seat belt mounts from a seat belt supplier. Something like this https://www.seatsafe...ssories/740-211
You could then get these mounting points approved (although the Takata harness would not comply). Having one for each mounting point will spread the load and increase redundancy. The way you currently have it is basically one point for all. If the tube fails you are screwed.
Jeff

#14 Ahoysandy

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 11:07 PM

hey guys, 
thanks for your tips and concerns about how the harness is set up. I certainly won't be running them anytime soon and until i can get a proper bar made up (looking at a half cage in the distant future). 
In the mean time, things are getting closer with the engine! I received the triple weber carbs today! (after 9 weeks of back order from Redline) as much as everyone says buying carbs from weber is one of the better options, I ordered the 45mm conversion kit and it was a bit of a screw around. Daniel from Weber was very nice a patient with me but yeh, can't say i've had the best experience there! still waiting on the manifold from Redline (they're meant to send it direct to me). 
Always good news from the boys at MIA Engines and things are moving smoothly, getting work done on the head currently! I've seen a few engines that have come out of MIA recently and they're some pretty impressive engines! 

 

image1.JPG  image2.JPG

As for work on my project, i'm fiddling with the driver door reg so my window will go all the way down and also the fuel delivery system!

How can i delete my Charcoal canister or set it up with triples ? (I'm not concerned with emissions at this point in time) I'm more than happy to keep it in my engine bay but if it's as simple as running a vacuum line from the manifold back to the tank vent hard line, i will do that.
rsz_image3.jpg
Cheers, Sandy!


Edited by Ahoysandy, 18 October 2016 - 11:09 PM.


#15 Ahoysandy

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 10:32 PM

I thought i'd do a quick update on what's happened recently!
I'll pick where i left off with the engine. It's still at MIA. I went and saw it when i went to take all the carburettors and the manifold (arrived a few days after) plus a few other little pieces to him. There was no work on the head started yet as i had mentioned in the previous post and the bottom end is completely disassembled still. 

I know the boys at MIA know what they're doing with the L series and no doubt will provide top quality work but when I call 8 days after i've been to visit them and they say they haven't touched it all week... considering it has been 12 weeks in to the engine build and they haven't started assembling it, you can kind of see the impression i am starting to get here. 

Anyway, they gave me a time frame of 1-2 months completion time so fingers crossed there -.- 

 

I managed to get the drivers door regulator all sorted and working now for summer! but coincidentally, my fan/control unit as well as windscreen wiper +washer jets have stopped working. can't figure out why on this one. i've replaced fuses and had the center console out multiple times about it... but not sure where the source problem is, something i have to look in to further before rego.

Got the O2 sensor installed in my exhaust and all wired up ready and today, I replaced the flasher relay unit which was the source of my slow/frozen indicator! so thats a positive :)

Me and my uncle(who's an electrician by trade but loves tinkering as much as i do) came up with this cool little idea for a water temp gauge. now, this won't be very accurate but its just an indication as i have an oil temp gauge fitted now. 
we had a little fixed temp thermostat laying around the garage and thought to use it as the switch for some electronic radiator fans, which we will eventually do, after this gauge mod. but if we were to get 4 of these, at varying temps (50c, 70c, 90c, 100c) and place them on the radiator hose, then running individual circuits with an LED bulb so that when the thermostat shuts, the LED comes on, giving a rough indication of temp. i'd also run one that is constant so on startup i can see when it reaches operating temp from 0c. we also had the idea of running green, yellow and red LED bulbs to indicate a rough temp for this.

 

If anyone has any feedback, on anything. or tips on what to do with any of the things mention so far, feel free to come! I always love reading what other people think or what they would do :)

Ps. still not sure what to do about the Charcoal canister??

here's some photos from the wash i gave the the other day after towing it out of the garage and up the driveway with my mates car lol

_MG_3448.jpg _MG_3452.jpg _MG_3453.jpg


Edited by Ahoysandy, 06 November 2016 - 10:36 PM.


#16 Cozza

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 07:51 AM

Hey Sandy
You mention that the warning light system may not be very accurate. Why don't you just use a gauge that is accurate for monitoring of temps and then a warning light for high temps.
Other warning lamps you might think about are low oil pressure and high oil temp.
Just a thought.
Good luck with getting your donk back soon so you can terrorise the Shire :)
Mick
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#17 Ahoysandy

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 10:18 AM

Hey Sandy
You mention that the warning light system may not be very accurate. Why don't you just use a gauge that is accurate for monitoring of temps and then a warning light for high temps.
Other warning lamps you might think about are low oil pressure and high oil temp.
Just a thought.
Good luck with getting your donk back soon so you can terrorise the Shire :)
Mick


As I replaced the 3 center gauges, I wanted to keep extra gauges on the dash to a minimal and thought this little light idea would be discreet enough. I do have an Oil temp gauge (also includes high temp warning) now which I was going to use as my main source of engine temps as I've herd an oil temp is more accurate regarding what the engine is doing rather than water, hence I was going to just use 20 degree indicators for water to accompany the oil temps :) any suggestions on hiding extra gauges if I do go with a proper gauge later on down the track? I thought about in the glove box? I did also relocate my fuel gauge tucked up underneath the steering column which was sneaky I thought!

Haha terrorise?! Nooo, what makes you think a P plater with a loud car would do that??

#18 krizza

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Posted 07 November 2016 - 02:26 PM

Hi Sandy,

 

with regards to the charcoal canister this is what I did recently. I have just fitted triple webers to my 260z and deleted the charcoal canister. The only vacuum connections i kept were the brake booster and A/C  / heater vent controls, both of which come off the brake booster fitting in the back of the manifold. Like you have already suggested I just ran the vacuum hose from the fuel tank vent across the front of the engine and into the air cleaner of the first carby, as each air cleaner already came with a hole that could be used for PCV etc or blocked up with a grommet.

 

So far I haven't had any issues with fuel smell in the engine bay, so it looks like that setup is fine and I didn't need to tap another fitting into the manifold for it.

Regards,

Kris



#19 Ahoysandy

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:11 PM

I don't know how enthused i am about updating this as it's been so long since i last did (lol)

but i had the car running over christmas/new year break which was great. sheared the harmonic balancer right off, had that replaced. Did the trans and diff bushings which made a MASSIVE difference to driveability (highly recommend if you have changed these). Had all the final tune up and dyno with MIA engines just last month coming out with 180RwHp & 232FtLb of torque. and managed to pass Rego again this year (Woo!!). Replaced a speedo cable as it stripped the end near the transmission. Really fun car now to drive, gets up and goes when you want it to and can cruise down the motorway in 5th without and issue. Big props to MIA having them drop in the motor as well as building it, getting it running again and consistently being great to talk to about what it needs. They know what they're doing when it comes down to it!! 

I've since made a few changes, with RE003 tyres all round, not as fat which is slightly disappointing but the 235/50/15 don't exist anymore. There's a set of Rota RKR's that are in the garage i'm contemplating putting on. Right next to a box with BC Br racing coilovers which are yet to be welded in. 

 

I also wrote up a feature article on the car and owning it.
http://speednation.c...the-rat-ratsun/

 

there's probably a bunch of others things i should be updating on here that i've left unaddressed, but i'm sure someone will ask about it if they want lol.

I'm also having an issue with my fuel tank/filter. car leans and/or misfires out and after i replace the filter (i've done this twice now) its all fine. i've gotta clean out the tank somehow. 


  • CBR Jeff and blu260z like this

#20 gav240z

gav240z

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 11:18 PM

I'm glad to see you're enjoying the car, good article.

FYI: Your overrider bars on the front bumper are upside down.





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