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So broke - where to start


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#1 Luni260z

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 01:22 PM

Hi everyone.
Suspension is the one part of my car on which I have no idea where to start.

Firstly, as the Subject highlights, I'm stupidly broke.
With this in mind, where would you recommend I start.

I was considering getting a bushing kit, but I seriously don't have the skills to even fiddle with any of it (to my knowledge).
So I figure if I do get one, I'll have to get some suspension place to do it for me.

I figure this wouldn't be an easy thing.

Is there any point in upgrading say just the bushes, or just the shocks, or do I have to wait unitl I'm rich so I can upgrade all these things at once.

Any info would be appreciated.

::)

#2 nizm0zed

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 01:36 PM

assuming you have zero mech knowledge...

First off, you will want to identify what is wrong with your suspension, eg, broken, worn out ect.
No point replacing parts that dont need it when your broke.
I would reccomend one of  those Pedders $14 saftey checks, just bear in mind they'll shitcan things that arent that bad in an attempt to make more money in repairs.
Either way, that'll give you a guide for what to look at yourself.

As for changing them, the swaybar bushes are really easy, anyone can do that, even you.
The radius rod bushes are also pretty easy.
The control arm bushes need to be pressed in, but if you have the time to let the car sit on stands you can pull the arms out and drop them off at a suspension shop.
We can probably walk you through the steps of removing them, but depending on your confidence after doing the swaybar and radius rods, you may not want to do it.
The rear end is much the same, the swaybar is easy as, everything else just takes a bit of consideration.

The steering rack and coupling bushes are a little more involved, probably best to let a shop do that for you.

you can test your shocks by bouncing each corner of the car, it should rebound once or one and a half times.
More than that is a sign they are gone.
Changing them is reasonably easy, it may seem daunting but its just a matter of following the steps.
Again, we can probably walk you through it. Once you get the strut out though, thats where you'd drop it off at a suspension joint to get the inserts swapped over, seeing as its unlikely you'd have the tools.
Springs can be changed at the same time the strut inserts are done, so if you want to lower it, thats the time to do it.

At the end of the day though, you need money, if you have none, there is no point starting.
You'll just pull it apart then lose motivation while saving for the bits.
Best to have them next to you when you start the job.

#3 luvemfast

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 01:41 PM

Well said nizm0zed!

#4 Luni260z

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 02:18 PM

assuming you have zero mech knowledge...


Your assumption is correct.

There doesn't appear to be anything inherantly wrong at present.
But this is my second z. the first was a 2 seater, this ones a 2+2 and the handling has never been as tight. Was a beautifully balanced car my 2 seater, but this one just seems sloppy.

Steering alignment isn't great, but I dont know if poor handling is just that or if its all gone.

Pretty much I've replaced/repaired every other section of my car, but the suspension is still the same as it was when I bought it 8 years ago.

I dont know if poor handling is just the 2+2 being fatter/longer, but to me it seems to much of a difference for something to not need attention.

More than happy to let the car sit.. its sat in my driveway for most of those 8 years, so i'm certainly not in any rush. It currently has no rego (and the electrics are fried, so my first cash expenditure is that).

For now just planning ahead.

I guess I figured rather than just replacing equipment, I'd look at replacing shocks/springs, bushes. Was worried if I replaced only some it'd only put more strain on other underperforming parts.

Really appreciate the info.

;)

#5 luvemfast

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 03:29 PM

Can of worms, but.....

I've always been led to believe that the 2+2's handled better? Just weigh a bit more.

Discuss?

#6 benny

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 03:44 PM

Can of worms, but.....

I've always been led to believe that the 2+2's handled better? Just weigh a bit more.

Discuss?



paging tall lanky dude (aka lurchos) if i remember correctly dad (revzed) seemed to think the 2+2 was alot more "solid" on the road and less twitchy!!

#7 Scando

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 04:01 PM

Personally, I'd start by checking if the shocks are ok as per what Nizmozed said.  If your shocks are buggered then fixing anything else won't make a noticeable difference.  Secondly, you're on the right track with the bushes.  If they're buggered then there's no point upgrading anything else until they're fixed.  Thridly, tyres!  The difference between a good or bad set of tyres is huge.  You don't need to spend a fortune, just something decent that has plenty of support in the sidewalls.

Can of worms, but.....

I've always been led to believe that the 2+2's handled better? Just weigh a bit more.

Discuss?


haha, can of worms indeed!  The main things I could see having an effect are the longer wheelbase should make the 2+2 more stable at high speed but less nimble in tight corners.  Also, I would expect the body of the 2+2 to twist more due to the longer wheelbase.  The other thing is, more weight is not just more to accelerate and stop.  It's also more weight to change the momentum of when you turn into a corner.

I haven't driven a 2+2 so this is all hypothetical.  As to the impact any of the above would have on the way the car feels driving around the streets?  Probably next to nothing!

#8 Luni260z

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 07:17 PM

OMG.
I got a 2k bonus today.  ;D


I seriously am having troubles holding back the tears. 8 yrs is a long time to wait to get your baby on the road (well, legally at least).

This means I can definitely fix up my electrics and get the car registered. (Might look at getting electronic ignition (wrong forum I know).

I do have new tires. So I'll get a set of bushes .. now i'm no expert, but I have had my eye on the set available from http://www.thezstore...-02a/23-4100AZ :

Problem is, I've never seen anyone on a single zed forum mention them .. everyone seems to go with something else, which worries me greatly.

I honestly have no idea about such things, but I like the stuff on that website .. i've always dreamed of getting their Tokico Illumina Struts. No idea if they are even available in Australia (don't mind importing), but aussie forums always go with aussie brands, and I'm a little afraid of such things to be honest. I assume I'd need new springs to go with them (again, apologies for my stupidity).

Anyhoo, I'll start by registering my car, then will look at replacing the bushes.

Where would people go from there on a budget?

#9 haul

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 07:54 PM

Having driven both, on the road you don't notice a great deal of difference in there handling, the only time I noticed quite a difference was on dirt, a 240 gets its bum out faster and comes back faster than the 260 2+2, I liked the 2+2 better on dirt, and no the 2+2 doesn't twist more with its extra length.

Cheers Tony

#10 haul

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 08:01 PM

All I can say is do your home work, shop around and keep asking questions. The bush kit I will be buying soon is the one from energy suspension.

Cheers Tony

congratulations on your bonus

#11 boyblunda

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 09:33 PM

First of all I would reinforce the truly excellent comments made before this post. All too often people fall into the trap of spending money on what they can see and what makes you go fast rather than what really counts - steering, brakes, suspension, tyres. The other key factor in planning your project is the condition of the body. A few photos and a description of what you have could help forum members in the advice they might offer here. My first recommendation would be to summarize what you have, plan your priorities for what you want it to be, and plan the development of your project before you start.

With regard to the matter of a 2+2 versus a 2 seater, I can only offer that I currently have both and that I prefer the 2+2 for touring and open roads. The longer wheelbase smooths out the bumps on minor roads and is more comfortable for longer trips. However, in loose or tighter conditions I find the steering heavier and the handling less responsive. I have put bushing kits into both cars and found the exercise and expense to be more than worthwhile from the immediate improvement in feel and response although the comparative feeling between the two is that 2+2 remains "heavy". I have also replaced the shocks and springs in both cars and fitted front and rear sway bars to both.

If you have an old car then the original rubbers are inevitably likely to have suffered the fatigue and degradation of time that will make their replacement more than worthwhile.

On shocks and springs, I think I would have to say that most Australians stick with Australian products because they tend to suit Australian conditions more. North American roads tend to be of a better quality than we drive on down under and I think I am correct in saying that the USA market Zeds always had softer suspensions than those in the rest of the world. I personally happily run Pedders springs with Koni adjustable shocks. I have no experience of the popular Tokico / Illumina suspension packages.

All the best with your project. This is a great community of contributors - post more details of your car to give them the best opportunity to provide the best advice.

Regards
Dave

#12 reverendzed

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 10:22 PM

The best thing you can do to begin is to get a urethane bushing kit and just progressively replace as you have time, do front and rear separately not bits on both.  In regard to drivability I just loved the way my 2+2 handled, now granted this is my car I wish i never sold so maybe my fond memories have muddied the waters, however after having a 2 seater which had everything replaced and in excellent condition i still remember driving and thinking that it felt 'loose' compared to my bus!
Rev.

#13 haul

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 10:42 PM

I would have to agree with you Rev, the buses are quite good.

Cheers Tony

#14 Luni260z

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 11:37 PM

All too often people fall into the trap of spending money on what they can see and what makes you go fast rather than what really counts - steering, brakes, suspension, tyres.


Well, I definitely fell into that trap. Have rebuilt the engine (with a nice cam in it). Popped in new extractors and exhaust. Rebuilt my SU carbs, upgraded air filters, and got a new radiator. Replaced tires, brakes (but still have drums on the back).Got myself strut braces (always wanted them), but suspension has been totatlly ignored. But otherwise mostly cosmetic upgrades.

I must get electrics fixed so I can start/drive and hopefully register the car.

I figure I should start with an ignition upgrade .. but these things I have some idea on (although limited).

I'm serously out of my depth when it comes to suspension.

I'll get the bushes simply cause I now have some free dollars and i'm sure that won't hurt.

I'm just scared to spend money on shocks and struts cause I don't know what is value and what is unneeded excess. (I don't mind excess when it comes to cosmetic trinkets, but dollar values go up with suspension so I figure I should be careful).

Thanks for the input. I'll get the bushes and see what I can replace.

Maybe I'll come back and ask for more specific info when I have more funds.

Once again, thanks for the help. I fucking love you guys.



#15 Luni260z

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 11:40 PM

I fudgeing love you guys.


Wow, i must be drunk .. don't recall ever self moderating myself like that before (that's seriously not what I intended to type in my last post). Much have even more respect for this community than I thought.

#16 boyblunda

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 11:57 PM

FWIW the most noticeable positive improvements I have made to my cars came from the installation of :
* Electronic distributor and MSD ignition kit
* Urethane bush kit from MSA
You really cannot help but realise the value of these two improvements.

Sounds like you are into your car for the long haul. None of the money you have spent so far is wasted but suspension and brake improvements will help you make the best of them.

All the best with your car. Look forward to hearing how things progress.

Regards
Dave

#17 jamo240

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 09:45 PM

Okay...so here's my contrarian view!....

By way of example. When I was 20 years old, and my 240Z was just 15 years old, I decided that the all the factory bits were no good and I had to upgrade. Over time (about 10 yrs), I removed the standard rubber front lower control arm bushes and replaced them with spherical rod ends. I also went to 245/40R17 Yokohama AO32R tyres. Then I shortened the struts and lowered the car a couple of inches. The result...? A car that is great on a very flat road or race track, but nowhere near as driveable as a road car. On rutted roads (you know, where the trucks where those depressions into the road) the car is very darty and not fun to drive. Why is this??

Well, when it had rubber bushes, a higher ride height and 70 series tyres, when it went over such a rut, the tyre would provide some compliance, as would the bush, and the body would roll a bit, and that way the body stayed more-or-less where it was, and provided a nice stable ride. Now, with a much wider and grippier tyre, when that tyre moves sideways due to the rut, it immediately conveys all of that movement through a very low sidewall straight through a spherical rod end that has zero compliance and hence the body MUST move sideways to accomodate all this movement. That means the car darts sideways until a restorative force is applied by the tyre on the other side and the whole thing settles down.

My point?? If you have a road car, consider that Datsun went to a fair bit of trouble sorting out suspension calibrations to provide a good compromise between performance and comfort. Before you start messing with it, consider how you use the car, and then if you do decide to change things, compromise the car MOST where it matters the LEAST.

So, if you are building a racing car, go right ahead and make things super stiff and rigid as you'll be driving on race tracks that are generally flat and smooth. But, if you're building a road car, where you will mostly be poking along at legal speeds and may have the odd spirited drive through the hills, retain appropriate suspension compliance such that the suspension SYSTEM can do its job, and isolate you from noise, vibration, imperfect surfaces etc.

So, in your case Luni, I'd be happy to stick with replacing any worn components with bog standard factory parts and thereby retain a comfortable factory ride!

As for strut tower braces and all that....who in a road car is howling around corners hard enough to cause appreciable body flex??? If you were, you'd be seeing cracks in the body up around the cat-walks!

Cheers

Jamo

#18 Luni260z

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 10:22 PM

Thanks Jamo.

I guess my car rarely gets driven at all (well, barely for the last 8 years).

I have improved the engine, so I figure a brake upgrade might be in order.

If I were to upgrade suspension I definitely wouldn't be going with race spec hardness. But I'd like something sportier than standard.

For now, I'm stuck waiting for someone to help me with ignition upgrades that will allow me to register the car.

I do currently have 16" wheels, and somewhat lower profile tyres which I'm happy with. I just figured the bushes would be a good start, and I've always dreamed of adjustable suspension (which is why the Tokico easily adjustible struts would be my preference). Sadly, I"ve never seen them mentioned on any aussie car forum.

Thanks for the input mate.

#19 nizm0zed

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 08:48 AM

adjustable suspension is great so long as you have the knowledge and understanding of HOW to adjust it, and the tools to measure HOW FAR you have adjusted it.
Otherwise, for most people with adjustable suspension, it gets set by a workshop and never touched again.
And if the owners do adjust it, they usually make it worse.

Personally, id say get yourself a set of lowered springs to get it sitting where you want.
That'll make it a bit stiffer on the road, so if you are ok with that then go for gold.
The urethane bushes will make it a bit stiffer again, but you can allways go with a combination of urethane and rubber. I would reccomend urethane for your sway bar, radius rod and steering rack bushes, and rubber for your control arm mount bushes and strut top bushes.
Basically, you end up with a softer more compliant bush where the car is resting its weight, but a stiffer more responsive bush when under 'sporty' cornering forces.

Your definately doing the right thing by researching and asking questions, so dont stop, just remember that opinions are like arseholes, every body has a different one.

#20 Whittie

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 11:05 PM

I would reccomend urethane for your  radius rod


Just be careful with this one! Use the urethane on the front of the rod, but NOT on the back!

The radius rod is a solid piece of steel and if there is no give it WILL fatigue and potentially snap... Trust me. Use the urethane on the front to keep the car from squirming under brakes and use a rubber one on the back to keep it supple enough to not fatigue the rod. Best of both worlds :)




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