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d3c0y

Garage San Maru

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[How To] Install headlight covers in fiberglass headlight buckets!

 

Not something that everyone does to their Z, but for those that want headlight covers specifically in fiberglass headlight buckets, I've come up with what i regard to be a pretty good way to mount them (will work for metal too though). 

 

Generally they are just screwed in with self-tapping screws and that's not the best for us running FRP buckets as over time the vibrations will loosen the screws. Less than ideal for us running a G-Nose, early 240Z OEM or aftermarket buckets especially when exposed to the high speeds encountered on a race track.

 

My solution to the problem is to use rubber wellnuts, the same things used to secure windscreens to ABS plastic fairings on motorcycles. As you tighten the bolt, the rubber shaft bulges out much like a pop rivet, providing you with a secure fastening that is insulated to vibration.

 

They are cheap and easy to get and take metric counter-sunk machine screws which fit perfectly into the recesses of the headlight cover trim.

 

To do this installation on a G-Nose, you will need 12 x M4 x 12mm Wellnuts and 12 x M4 x 24mm counter-sunk Allen machine screws in your desired finish - I used stainless steel as they will be exposed to the weather.

 

I can't help out too with an exact positions for the covers on the G, as I just based mine on photos of cars that I thought looked right. If anyone wants I am happy to do up a diagram of where mine are mounted. There are a few tricks to getting them right, but the covers will generally sit where they want to:

 

1. The covers will sit differently when you put the trim on them and I recommend you mark the holes without the trim towards the outside of the holes. Then re-fit the trim and check that you are close to your marks.

 

2. Check for gaps, especially around the rear upper corner. If you don't push down on the cover when you are marking the holes and stretch the cover out, it won't hug the headlight bucket and you will end up with gaps under the seal which will suck dirt in and put dirt on the inside of the cover.

 

3. Make sure the front of the trim doesn't sit too low. One of the biggest things to worry about when positioning the covers to drill the holes is to make sure the hole doesn't hang down and contact the bumper. I ended up doing pretty much everything I could to push the front of the cover as high as I could (while maintaining the natural fit) to keep the trim high and even then its only 1mm off the bumper.

 

4. Start with the smallest drill bit you have and step up in small increments. I like a really snug fit for any sort of rivet/rivnut/wellnut and found that i could fit the M4 with a 7.5mm drill bit (it's 8mm wide). I started out with a 3mm then went 4mm and 5mm before switching to 0.5mm increments for the final step ups. Make sure you put some sort of masking tape over the holes before you drill them and and put a fresh bit of tape down each time if you have already painted your buckets. This minimizes the paint from chipping while drilling. A mistake i made was not to drill these holes before painting them! 

 

5. Be super careful drilling the holes on the side of the bucket! There is not a lot of space between the side of the bucket and where the inside curve comes down behind it. I actually had the last drill bit pull through the hole and contact the inside curve of the bucket and put a hole in it! You will also need to shorten one of the screws about 8mm for the same reason, I just cut the end off one with a hacksaw. Make sure you thread a nut on before you cut it!

 

Hopefully after all that you will end up with something like the pictures.

 

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I finally got the brackets made for my front brake kit that I've been talking about for years. 16" Wats barely clear the caliper, but a couple of millimeters is all you need, any more is a waste. Also the rotor combo combined with a 260Z hub means no spacers to clear the calipers like the Z32 upgrade. Now it's finished I want to weigh this setup vs the stock setup. I have done this once before and the weights were pretty close especially for the size! The strut also had a hole drilled in it to fit the clicker extenders for the shocks since they are an inverted monotube. No pulling the suspension apart to adjust the suspension for me.

 

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The rears will be next and I'm running a Porsche caliper on the rear too, so I need to figure out the handbrake caliper setup.

 

I ruled out internal drum for two reasons:

  • Weight: can't run a two piece rotor
  • Comlexity and Cost

The first step will be to determine the rotor offset and there should be tones more options since i can run a 114.3x4 PCD on the back!

 

I think it all looks pretty good to me.

 

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I also bought a new crank pulley for my ATI balancer from SW Motorsport since the standard one is full race and under drives the alternator so much that driving at night with the fans going is a worrying situation. Even driving in the traffic during the day was a bit nervy with twin plate clutch in the car. On one of the few times I drove it, I nearly got stuck on a bridge in traffic due to stalling it while hot a couple of times trying to move in stop go traffic.

Edited by d3c0y

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Even driving in the traffic during the day was a bit nervy with twin plate clutch in the car. On one of the few times I drove it, I nearly got stuck on a bridge in traffic due to stalling it while hot a couple of times trying to move in stop go traffic.

Wow, so what sort of revs did you start to get above 13 volts?

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it's a 240Z so it's only got an amp gauge, but like 2000rpm or something from vague memory.

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Nice work, all that's needed now is to delete the P name from the calipers and put an auto trans in the Z to handle the traffic.

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The calipers are going to be repainted and i'm tossing up between Brembo stickers or doing up some San Maru heat proof stickers with the logo.

 

And I already have an automatic racecar!

 

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After pretty much getting the drive line sorted, I decided that I didn't want to potentially destroy a perfectly good R180 LSD. Talking to some of the old hands in the Datsun business, it looked like using an R180 with the L34 on the track and at the drags, that it would only be a matter of time before it broke. On top of that horror stories of uni half shafts braking I chickened out my light weight diff idea.
 
Fortunately a mechanical 4.375 R200 came up for sale with CV shafts from an HR31 Skyline for a reasonable price so i jumped on it. Not having looked into the R200 & CV conversion much I was unpleasantly surprised that it was typical Datsun bolt in modification of having to custom make parts and change everything.
 
For anyone that hasn't done it, you need 27 spline 260Z/280Z stub axles, custom made companion flanges to bolt on to the outter CVs and shorter axles in between the CVs, particularly as it will be a low car with adjustable lower arms, that if anything will probably be adjusted inwards. For what it's worth, doing this conversion in Australia could easily set you back $3k depending on what you pay for the second hand parts!
 
I have also pulled out a rear strut and taken it into BHSS who helped me out with the front caliper adapters. I'm using the rear calipers off a Boxster on the back of the Z to match the front and at this point it looks like an HSV rear rotor is pretty close in the measurements we require and a decent diameter with a skinny width at 315mm x 18mm. I should have this back in the next week or so with caliper mounted ready to go back in the car for some pictures.
 
Many hours were spent looking into a hand brake setup, but it all ended up being either too expensive or not working well enough. In the end both Doug and I have decided we are going to run a hydraulic handbrake from Stewart Wilkins Motorsport in this and the purple car. I know it's not legal, but the car isn't going to be parked on a hill somewhere for any amount of time and its not going to cost $1000 like a pair of Brembo handbrake calipers (which were the other option). We should be able to hide the master cylinder pretty well beside the seat and the custom plumbing will integrate a brake pressure adjustment valve under the driver's seat.
 
It was also great to see the panel beater had managed to get overspray all over my new suspension and drive train parts...
 
Complete R180 LSD setup is for sale for $2000 if anyone is interested:
 
Mechanical 4.444 R180 LSD with fresh oil
Brand new solid uni axles
Plug in Subi diff stubs
R180 Mustache bar with brand new bushes

 

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Edited by d3c0y

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I like to try and be mindful of the weight of the parts I put on my cars and I had a stack of wheels in the garage so I weighed them for interest's sake.

Enkie GTC-01 19x10 with 225/35/19
Koya 18x8 with 235/40/18
Linea Sport 17x9 with 235/45/17
Watanabe R-Type 16x9.5 with 245/45/16

 

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Enkies are going on the Rx-7 as the street wheels (with more sensible tyres). I want to find a set of 17x9 and 17x10s for the track.
Watanabes for the 240Z obviously.

 

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Edited by d3c0y

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Speaking of weight and brakes, I'm seriously looking at using two piece rotors on Project Z31, mainly for the lower unsprung weight benefit plus less power wastage in accelerating. The obvious concerns are cost and replacement availability but it just seems to be something worth doing for the performance benefits. Agree with your thoughts on the transmission plus who wants a breakage at high speed? As for a handbrake, no Wilwood park brake option available?

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BHSS have talked me out of a two piece rotor initially for the rear, as it will only save around 200g a side and the HSV disks are like $100ea which is a welcome saving when the caliper brackets are so expensive. I would like a two piece on the back for bragging rights, so i'll change them over when they come up for the right price, which is how i got the fronts. Another advantage of the two piece is not putting heat into your wheel bearings which again is less of an issue in the rear with such big brakes for the size.

 

The handbrake comes down to the fact that EVERYONE says they suck. The Brembos are used by lots of OEMs, but I just don't want to spend $1000+ mounting and cable mods to fit them when there are other areas that need the money more to get the car drivable.

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Thanks for the info on your rear brakes, agree with your analysis. PS like the big red spot on the side of the Toyamota.

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Yeah it's supposed to look like a zero, it has some bullet holes to come. 

Just picked up a big rear wing and splitter for the front of it too.

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Rear brakes are done! I've really enjoyed doing something different with the brakes and not just following the mod your 240Z by numbers approach. BHSS in Capalaba have done all the fab work and Johnny there is an ex240z owner and have been great to work with.

 

The setup we landed on uses the rear Boxster 986 calipers to match the front. While they look the same these have smaller pistons and pads. A VS/VZ HSV rear rotor was bang on for offset, thickness and centre hole, so only required the 4x114.3 PCD drilling to fit and they are cheap at $100ea in an RDA. BHSS said they prefer to buy plain rotors and slot them opposed to the off the shelf RDA slotted as they make the slots too wide and dont offset them on the faces of the rotor so they are noisy and cause vibration, which I can attest to having had those rotors on my 350Z and XR6 ute previously.

 

Here are the numbers for those who care:

 

986 Boxster weight: 1280kg

240Z weight: 1050kg

 

Non 'S':

F Disc 298mm x 24mm, Pistons in Calipers 2x40,2x36 mm , pad area 216 cm^2

R Disc 292mm x 20mm, Pistons in Calipers 2x30,2x28 mm , pad area 196 cm^2

 

"S/996 Carrera":

F Disc 319mm x 28mm, Pistons in Calipers 2x40,2x36 mm, pad area 254 cm^2

R Disc 299mm x 22mm, Pistons in Calipers 2x30,2x28 mm, pad area 196 cm^2

 

"240Z"

F Disc 323mm x 24mm (RX-8 Sport), Pistons in Calipers 2x40,2x36 mm , pad area 216 cm^2

R Disc 315mm x 18mm (HSV), Pistons in Calipers 2x30,2x28 mm , pad area 196 cm^2

 

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My friend went a different route with his 260Z and got all new gear from one of those China/Taiwanese brands, Ceika to be specific. The cost has turned out to be pretty much the same, his brakes are bigger 6 piston calipers with 335mm front rotors, but heavier components, brackets etc. However, he is still trying to deal with some guy overseas to get parts changed that don't quite fit (probably a bit his fault as he left it so long to get back to the guy). I think that using Australian based suppliers for this kind of custom is definitely the right way to go and is the reason I ended up with MCA doing the suspension. I actually looked into Ceika doing a custom suspension setup as it was really really cheap, but the lack of communication and trying to relay details over email did my head in and promptly got him to refund the money. Just my observations from having done this sort of stuff for the first time and obviously nothing new here, but you can beat being able to pick up the phone or go and see the guys with the parts.

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Pretty impressive brakes, being off a P car a good assortment of pads will be readily available too. Another way to go with suspension is to get a well made set from another supplier, like Arizona Z, and then if necessary get MCA to do their magic if you want them improved.

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MCA did it for what i thought was a very reasonable price. I just got the blues (even though the bits are red) and will have them re-valve it when the package is together and can be tested.

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Boxster calipers are a great option. Readily avalable lots of pad options etc etc. Great choice. So is your choice on the MCA kit. I think you have hit the nail on the head with being able to deal with a local company. That added to Murray and Josh's comitment and knowledge is hard to go past. I went for the reds after talking to Josh about plans for the car.

Great work

Jeff.

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I've been doing some suspension work recently, to get some bits back in the car and in the process, clear off the work bench. Disks, hubs, bearings, lower struts, and calipers for both ends of the car spread out a lot when they are all separated. So to start the reassembly process, I needed to perform a modification to the lower strut that I had been putting off; not that every modification remaining to do to the car doesn't fall into that category at this point.

The coilover setup I used has an inverted mono-tube damper for the front, which when modifying old struts that have the knuckle on the bottom means you end up with the problem of your adjuster knob being inside the tube. This proved to be a massive pain in ass for tweaking the suspension setup another 240Z we built (red one for those who follow SMG) so for the 240Z-G I did some research on the best way to address this.

 

Front shock is far left, the other two are the rears.

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The trick to making easy adjustments is to use shock adjust extensions, which is basically a cable that is secured to the standard adjuster with an allen screw in a cap that fits over the top. It sounds a bit crazy, but talking to people in the suspension know, it's fine to drill a hole in the side of the strut to route the cable through and it doesn't affect the strength of the strut at all. Some coilovers have large windows cut in the side of the strut big enough to get your finds inside to access the adjuster without even using an extension.

 

The next consideration when making this modification, is to get the hole low enough in the strut so the metal cable can make a gentle radius inside and have enough room to wind the shock down in the strut to get your optimal strut length.

 

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The cable can't do a 90 degree turn inside the space of the strut either, so drilling the hole on a 45 degree angle down helped this a lot. You will need to make sure your pilot holes are drilled as close to this angle as you can, as in the case of the 240Z the bottom is very thick and just levering the drill up and down won't get the desired result. My hole was close but I did snap a 10mm drill bit trying to relieve the hole a bit more on the first one finding the right angle.

So we finally get to the end product of adjustable shocks again! I really like the size of the damper in a McPherson strut setup like the zed and with a small amount of work you can have the best of both worlds!

Edited by d3c0y

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