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S130 Fairlady 280Z 2 seater


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#1 luvemfast

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:31 PM

Background.
My parents helped start the NDSOC before I was even born, way back in the late 60's. So I grew up in pit lane surrounded by Datsuns in the late 70's onwards. First time at 6 weeks old. Mum and dad owned a number of Roadsters over the years. They were commitee members aswell, including President. Both won multiple club championships. They even tried to stop the merger with the evil "Tin tops" (Z's) joining the club. But eventually saw the light and so begun my first Z to play with.
We bought a 260 2+2 from a family friend in the late 80's early 90's (I was still a kid). It had not been looked after too well.
On with the restoration. Full bare metal resto, not to mention the introduction of the dash restoration....Fun. I think it took 3 years to get on the road. Dad moved around with a new job, so at the ripe old age of 16. I converted it from auto to manual pretty much by myself. This is the car I learnt to drive in.

When I was 19, dad and I bought a 2 seater together as a project to take to the track. This was also a bare metal job, which means that it took longer than planned with finding rust. Oh, and did I mention that I was 19. So I lacked motivation when there was skirts to be chased and nightclubs to explore. Meaning nights were out and mornings were hazy. We bought a rebuilt motor from the trading post and put extractors with a 2.5" exhaust on. Our suspension technology was primitive at best, it involved the standard springs and an angle grinder. Half a coil at each end. Yes folks, that is the progressive part of the springs. Meaning it was like a billy cart to drive, not even Viagra could make it stiffer. But it still wasn't "race ready". We fitted a race seat, 4 point harness and new brake pads. Done. Its officially a race car. By this stage I was 22. Off to Winton we go. What a ball I had. Pity I have to sell it to buy a house after one event. At least I beat my dad.
To be cont.....

#2 luvemfast

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 07:57 PM

I've always been a fan of cars on thier own merit. Not a Ford or Holden kind of guy, that's for be narrow minded bogans. (saying that, my wife drives a Commonwhore wagon and I drive...well read on) There are alot of cars, unheard of to some but loved by others. I wanted an old car, looked at Torana GTR's, Falcon GT's omg sooo many cars but ended up buying a VG Valiant Pacer 2 door hardtop just before the muscle car values went crazy. This was my daily driver for a few years. It taught that to keep a car looking sweet, you have to keep some originality as a good looking model car just needs to be fresh and shiny. Highlight of ownership was when it managed to be the cover and feature car for "Australian Classic Car" magazine. BUT I started a new job that changed my daily trip from 30km to 75km. Too much for a 1971 unmolested and unrestored classic that I bought with 54,000 miles on it. So I felt it was the right time to sell it, making a very TIDY profit. Anyone feel like a Euro? E34 535iS was the next daily for me. OMG this car was amazing to drive. For a big car, it was suprisingly nimble due to a previous owner being a BMW Tech. Modified suspension was unbeleivable. This set the new benchmark for me with how a car should handle, every corner now needed an apex. Then petrol prices started to soar (about $100 a week), a very tidy EL XR6 became available through a family member, cheap. Gas conversion was done and it is now just a car to take me to and from work.

This all seems a bit wierd to be writing on a Z website, but these cars helped me determine what is important in a car for me from here on. The Pacer was by far my favorite car to cruise around in, even though it was hard to drive, without power anything. But you'd pull up at a set of lights with the windows down on a sunny day and think "YEAH this is the shit!". The BMW was a real drivers car. It was TIGHT. It redefined how a car should be balanced. Not the most powerful engine, about 180kW's. But I would have loved to have taken it to the track. I taught me that the overall set-up of a car's suspension is more important than how much power it has.
Each of these cars gave me different reactions from the driving public. The Pacer got the thumbs up and the "Hey Charger" Vee. Where the BMW got me the bird and abused ALOT, amazing.
To be continued......

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#3 luvemfast

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 08:08 PM

During that time, I got the itch for another Z. I went with my dad to look at 2 280ZX 2 seater's, both in the trading post the same week. The first place had a 240Z sitting in the corner of the garage. Half stripped of parts and paint, looked very, very sorry. Under closer inspection, I noticed it was turbo'ed and had nitrous.....sick. I ended up buying that to restore. While dad bought the other 280ZX 2 seater from a farmhouse out near Ballarat, it had been sitting in a barn for about 8 years.
My 240Z sat under a tarp for about a year while I built the garage. Then I stripped it down to just a rolling shell and started on the bodywork with my fathers help. He would help me with my Z, I would help him with his Z.
But, it all got too much for me though as I had becoming a father soon and I already had no time to work on cars. So my new best friend Ebay had a job to do. I sold the car for parts and used that money to go halves in the 280ZX 2 seater with Dad.
It had a quick paint job, a rear end transplant from a series 2 and a new clutch. That’s all we did to it before I bought in on it.

To be continued.........The fun stuff

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#4 Scando

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 08:32 AM

Sounds like you've got great taste in cars to me.  Z's (obviously), a mate of mine had a VF with a very hot 265, not a Pacer but it sure had some go, and the couple of times I've driven BMW's I've been left thinking 'not much power but what an amazing chassis to drive'.  Looking forward to the rest of this story  :)

#5 Toecutter

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 08:49 AM

...enoying the read. Looking forward to the next instalment!  :)

Sulio

#6 luvemfast

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 03:56 PM

JDM S130
Now I had gone in halves with dad, I actually had some money to spend on upgrades thanks to Ebay. First we needed a deadline, so we entered Sandown in October 2007. The car at this point was still only a paddock basher. As everyone would agree, these cars of ours are an ongoing project no matter what stage you are at. Both dad and myself clashed heads on what to do next. He wanted to increase the power of the car and I wanted to improve handling. Luckily for me, fate would intervene. As we were bleeding the brakes we had a failure coming from the master cylinder. As we had already booked it in to have extractors and a 2.5” exhaust, we got them to replace the m/c too. The mechanic claimed that new m/c were now not available and the only solution was to rebuild, which involved a re-bore and sleeve increasing it from 15/16 to 1”. I was happy to do that as I had plans in the future for the brakes. We had also bought a 200ZR rear end that has an R200 4.375 LSD in it. I am a toolmaker by trade and have access to some pretty cool equipment at work, due to a nice boss. So I made some adaptor plates to fit the CV driven diff. If like us, you have a stash of spares lying around. I was able to fit double sway bars front and rear. Semi slicks from Ebay were to be used for the first time for us too. We also changed the oil and coolant then fitted an extinguisher and off we went to our first sprint.

Wow, it was a 35°C day. Which on the track is bloody hot. Mum entered in the 200ZR, it had a dodgy ignition module we found out later (Even I could drag it down the straight). To the Datto’s credit, it did fantastic to take 2 drivers without an engine failure after all that time sitting in a barn. I have the philosophy from my 4X4 days. “When in doubt, rev it out”. I tend to go as fast as possible, find the line of being out of control, then pegg it back a bit. After setting my best time for the day, I had a brain fade at the end of the front straight, when braking I dropped it from 5th to 3rd. This created the biggest compression lock up that I have ever experienced. I didn’t jump on the brakes, I thought to myself. “I can accelerate out of this”. Boy was I wrong, maybe with more power. But what happened was the car flicked around to be travelling at over 100km/h on the grass, backwards. It was all in slow motion. When it stopped, I thought “WOW that was fun”. Don’t think I want to do it again anytime soon though. That was the last lap of the 3rd session. Dad went out on his 4th run and set his best time for the day. Then back to me to jump back on the horse. I set another fastest lap and on my 2nd lap of my 4th run, after dad had his 4 runs, I was having a blinder. “Fingers and thumbs…….fingers and thumbs” I thought to myself as each corner was smooth and fluent. Until, approaching turn 9 after racing through the chicane’s I jumped on the brakes…….. "Ping". My foot went straight to the floor. Which meant I was carrying a lot of speed into a 90° left hand corner. I threw the car sideways to wash off speed and try to get around the corner without luck and end up with the front of the car in the sand trap. I limp back to the pits only to find that I spat out a front driver side brake pad. I think my driving philosophy changed that day! My best time was a 1:43.31, 2nd last in class only to my dad in the same paddock basher.
There are things to take away from every negative event. First, check underwear. 2nd You're not as good as you think you are. 3rd Make sure that you can slow the car down and go around the corner.
Things have got to change.
To be continued………

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#7 Lurch ™

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 05:30 PM

Great reading Simon!

Keep updateing!

#8 Hunter

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 01:24 AM

great read

#9 luvemfast

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 10:44 PM

Suspension
After Sandown the car went up on blocks. Brakes and suspension needed work. Brakes are a big job that I'm not ready for just yet, so handling it is. Research showed that Tokico shocks seemed to be the best bang for buck and it’s hard to go past King Springs. Only one problem, no one in this damn country carries performance parts for my car. WTF's with that? The Aussie dollar was strong against the greenback so the USA was ripe for the picking. I found a guy through HybridZ willing to send to Australia. So I got Illumina's for the front and HP's for the rear (don't make adjustable rears). King Springs also made me custom extra low coils (2"), std lowered height is 1". Great now I have the parts, time to fit them. Off comes the front end, springs off. WOW. I can push the front shocks down with my pinky easily. When I pulled them apart to fit the cartridges, it was all perished and doing NOTHING to dampen. Very good choice for replacement.

Captain obvious tip of the day.
While everything is all-apart, I highly recommend to clean the bits and pieces. Then get some spray paint and go for your life. Cleaning components gives you a very good opportunity to inspect them for condition and fatigue. While the spray paint makes it look da sh1t.

Put all the parts into a paper bag. Shake it until the rattling stops. Now pull out the complete assembled strut. It’s that easy. Once fitted on the car, I remembered my “mishap” at Sandown. Brakes. No time or money just yet for the upgrade. A very nice and noble man, Dave Toleman, “loaned” us some standard 280ZX front calipers as ours needed an overhaul. New pads and a bleed and its time to test. YAY, my favorite part to upgrades!

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#10 NZeder

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 10:54 PM

If you want to upgrade the brakes on the 280zx there is a guy here in NZ who has changed his mind on his brake upgrade (I would guess going for something better or different ie floating rotors maybe) this stuff is all new and never been used only installed and removed again.

See here for info
http://zclub.org.nz/...opic.php?t=1171

But they cost him over $5000 and will sell for $2500 that is NZ peso too

#11 luvemfast

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 11:14 PM

As I have a wife and child living off a single income, I can't enter as many events as I would like. So dad was entering at Winton, mum was sharing with him. They got up bright and early on a cold Sunday morning to make the trek up. They got about 500m before turning around due to a bad vibration in the steering. Luckily they took up the 200ZR instead. However this takes me to the next chapter.
Front End
Once again, the car is up on blocks and the front end tinkered with to find out whets going on. There is some movement in the draglink arms. That’s right folks. Due to cost cutting in the late 70's, the peeps in Japan took a step backwards for the series one S130 model Z’s from rack and pinion used in S30 cars. The boys on the tiny continent saw the error of there ways and changed it back to R&P for series two onwards.
So I picked up the phone and rang Rob Mills at Ringwood Auto for some replacement parts. I went to him as he’s been racing Datto’s for years and is familiar with them. When in doubt, replace the whole lot. Tie rods, idler arm, ball joints and all bushes were ordered. Once again not all parts available easily. New draglink $300 ex Jp. Same money for reco. Alan Entwhistle said there was a series one 280ZX at Centre Rd wreckers, so of we go…. Before we took it off the car we checked it as nice and tight, no slop at all. When I undid the idler arm knuckle, a small rubber washer fell off. The penny dropped. Ours must have perished and fallen off. We have spent hundreds of dollars and hours of work for a 20cent washer.

When in doubt, don’t replace the whole lot, just yet.  Check all the parts are actually on the car.
Oh well, at least we know its all good now!

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#12 luvemfast

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 11:19 PM

If you want to upgrade the brakes on the 280zx

Thanks NZeder.
The last installment that I just posted was work done earlier in the year.
I have done a few bits since, I'm just trying to do a journal in stages. Only 8 more months to catch up on. ::)

#13 NZeder

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 04:57 AM

Thanks NZeder.
The last installment that I just posted was work done earlier in the year.
I have done a few bits since, I'm just trying to do a journal in stages. Only 8 more months to catch up on. ::)

Cool keep the journal coming - now waiting to see what you did with the brakes ;) - I wish I have kept one of my 280zx 2 seaters....

#14 luvemfast

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:47 PM

The next event was Calder Park, on a very gloomy and wet morning. Since my experience at Sandown, and early conditions being slippery, I had lost my confidence. Rather, I lost my balls. As the day progressed, I started feeling much better. Going from slowest in my group, to being held up and quicker than some cars. What impressed me the most was the fact that the M5 and other little BMW’s were really holding me up on the corners. The Z’s major downfall was the 4.3 ratio diff, making the top speed not so good and made it hard to pass on the straights (My plan of making the car handle first, then improve power was starting to be very annoying). The car was also farting and stuttering about half way up the straight, costing lots of top speed time. Late in the day I was about to change to a larger diameter rear tyre (to try and increase top speed) when I noticed that the rear brake pads were getting low. End of the day for me, with a best time of 1:18.85
Rather than replace the pads, lets do the
Brake Upgrade
Quick version
Z32 300ZXTT 4 spots on front with 296mm x 30mm slotted rotors
Standard rears with slotted rotors
Stainless lines
Machined a custom bracket to fit front caliper to the strut

Full details, check this link.
http://www.viczcar.c...pic,2546.0.html

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#15 HELLFIRE!

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 11:03 PM

Enjoyable read Simon, keep it coming.

#16 luvemfast

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 07:08 PM

Cheers Matt.
I'm having trouble remembering what I have done and when I did it….
One addition that I should have had in the last post was in regards to the car farting and carrying on up the straight at Calder. It was the simplest problem to fix, but an easy oversight.
Clean the filter in the fuel pump. Duh.

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#17 luvemfast

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 07:46 PM

The next event was one of my favorites for the year.
Haunted Hills…..wooooooo.(that’s supposed to be a scary sound)
For anyone who hasn’t been to this new hill climb track, you’re missing out. My first run was tentative at 1:11.49, more like having a feel for the traps of the layout. And it does have its traps. Once you finish you are wondering why your face hurts, only to realize that it’s from smiling soo much. My second run felt better at 1:08.47, 3 seconds off wasn’t bad. But I felt that I could go much faster on my next run. Once again I was sharing the car with my dad, as we are co-owners. He went out for his 3rd run for the day. After the infamous dip and hairpin, there is a hill going up with a few corners. This is where the Z stopped.
Another of my oversights in this journal is the diff. As mentioned earlier, we have an R200 4.3 LSD in the rear from a Z31, which runs CV joints. I made up some adaptor plates out of M200 tool steel that I had laying on my bench at work. I thought that it would be ok to use, was I wrong.
The reason the Z stopped was due to the passenger side CV adaptor shearing the bolts. End of the day for yet another mechanical failure, only this time I had to take responsibility. Luckily for us, we took the car down on a trailer.
So it was now time for CV adaptor mkII. My best mate works at Hollinger and turned me up a couple of blanks out of EN36A. I then milled them to make the strongest CV plates in the world. Now its not relying on the bolts for clamping pressure, they just hold it on. The hub is now fully recessed into the adaptor. If this breaks I will eat my hat!

Overall, pretty happy with the cars performance and improvements made. I’m starting to pull away from the bottom in class. Coming 6th out of 14 with only 2 runs compared to 4. Beating more powerful cars, which was a thorn in my side at the last event. This project is starting to come along…..
link to review page-
http://www.viczcar.c...pic,2897.0.html

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#18 Zedback

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 09:44 PM

Great write up, keep it coming.  I'll be copying your double sway bar setup for sure, much appreciated!

#19 luvemfast

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 09:29 PM

As I'm low on cash atm, I've been working on cheap upgrades.
But how can I improve handling for little $$$$$ ?
Easy, make stuff from scrap steel from work, YAY.
Strut bars
Front
Stainless mounts folded with a solid steel bar.
Took a few hours after work, probably more time to design it than to actual make it. I tend to go overboard with 3D models and doing cosmos analysis on it to get better results before I actually make it. I also left a bigger inside dia so I can fit adjustable camber plates in the future.
Used a wire cutter (EDM) to cut the mounts out.
Used an oxy-acetelyne to heat up and bend the bar, then weld it to the end bushes that I turned on the lathe.
Also the plates were a bastard to bend as they interfere with each other on the bender...... ended up using a vice and a hammer.

Rear
I used dia 34mm mild steel tube with 3mm wall thickness. Welded to 3mm mount plates and harness mounts either side and camera mount in the middle. Note that the harness mounts wrap around the bar, I thought that this would make it much safer as it will be holding my life on the track.
The plates were wirecut, then turned for clearance.
I found a pipe bender at work, so that was used to bend the bar.
Put it in the car and tacked it together. Took it out to finish welds. Lined up the harness mounts by eye, and weld.

Test
WOO HOO, this has made it stiffer than a teenager with a playboy. Can really feel the difference. If only it had more power, anyone say drift?

#20 luvemfast

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 08:19 PM

Ok, time to reserect an old thread.
Wow, so much more has been done to the car since last updated on this journal.
Heres the quick version, there are threads on the forum in mod specific areas.
Race seat, smoothed rear end, front spoiler, paint, mechanised dizzy, triple mikuni carbies, oil catch can and Watanabe's.
Now we're up to date, I'll try not to get so far behind.

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