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  #1  
Old 04-21-2014, 10:47 PM
drummingpariah drummingpariah is offline
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Default s30 Daily Driver build

I've been meaning to start a build thread for awhile, but have been holding off until I get it to what I consider 'square one' (running, driving, street legal). Once it's finished, I'm going to switch from photo/text build logs over to a video series documenting the race season (coming up VERY soon, the first event is May 16!). While this phase of the project is just to get it street legal, the next step is prepping it for hillclimbs (think Pike's Peak, but in NH/VT - everything is smaller scale).

In short, I have a habit of coming back to the s30 chassis. I can't help it. I had been slowly prepping a 240z chassis with a pair of carb'd n42 engines, but came across a deal that was too good pass up on a 280z down in Springfield MA. It just happened to have an l28et (mostly) installed, but the wiring was absolute junk (from the factory, the l28et EFI was abysmal - most swap-into-s30 efforts just make it even worse) so I decided to go with Megasquirt. After dealing with PILES of fiddly little bits, I'm finally assembling the engine.



The car cost $1k, and I immediately sold off the body kit for $500, then sold the BW T5 that came with it for $250, and eventually realized this is the chassis I'm sticking with. I put the 240z up for sale, and immediately had a bunch of offers on it. Now the budget has a little bit of wiggle room, but I'm in the middle of a time crunch since my girlfriend and I are moving at the end of the month. Lots to do, a little bit of a budget remaining (very little), and I'm on the home stretch of buttoning it up so I can start the real work.

There's a bit of rust here and there, but it shouldn't prevent me from passing inspection (there are no holes that reach the passenger cabin, so I think it passes)


The OEM engine management is some of the worst I've ever seen.


A little hacking, a bit of unbolting, and a lot of swearing while holding a tool that spews flames, and I've made it here:


This is the sewage plant that I took out:


And this is what I'm putting in (tomorrow?) - one of the n42 manifolds I had, with a Pallnet rail (can't speak highly enough of Pallnet), and some Mustang EV1 injectors (required a bit of fiddly machining to the intake manifold to get them to fit/seal properly):


In order to give Megasquirt all the signals it needs, I needed some decent sensors. The sensors Nissan/Datsun put on the l28et are crap. The TPS is binary, the barn door air sensor is made of old feces with some metal attached so all its measurements were crap, and the temp sensors measured all the wrong temps.

I took a page (sensor) out of your book, and got a REAL tps to use with megasquirt


but even that didn't bolt up, I had to cut a little bracket for it.


I thought the 'recommended' GM IAT (intake air temperature) would be a lot easier to install, but working with 3/4" NPT taps are more painful than accepting the realization that your penis is as big as it's going to get. It requires a 37/64" hole (9/16" really isn't close enough, speaking from experience) which no local hardware stores stock (of course), and you HAVE to have a 1/2" drive machining tool (I borrowed a good quality hand drill because I don't trust my Harbor Freight one, and it worked fine). I decided to install my IAT after the throttle body, which is a little uncommon. I have concerns about airflow and heat soak, but I'll deal with that after it's running.




Coming Soon!
  • Epic thread chasing action!
  • Awesome weatherpack connector installs!
  • Electricity
  • Something to sit on!
  • A wash (?)
  • Fixing window rails!
  • Fixing door latches!
  • Moving all the way to the other side of town! (if you're in Manchester and want to help, I'll pay you in food!)
  • Registration!
  • Exhaust fabrication (not the exciting, manifold-kind)!
  • Inspection!
  • First drive, triage existing problems!

Coming Later!
  • Underbody panels!
  • Rust Repair!
  • Water/Meth injection (no intercooler, explanation coming later)!
  • Suspension!
  • Smaller turbo off a SAAB!

Really, it's not going to get fun for awhile. Maybe not until next season. For now, I'm just trying to de-crap it. I'm always happy to have an extra set of hands (even an extra set of eyes goes a long way) and would love to meet some locals.
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  #2  
Old 04-21-2014, 11:44 PM
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Steinkrunk Steinkrunk is offline
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Default Re: s30 Daily Driver build

Now why would you put a pink intake manifold on your car?

Lol just bustin, I still can't fathom doing electrical work color blind. You're the right kind of crazy in my book.
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  #3  
Old 04-22-2014, 07:54 AM
drummingpariah drummingpariah is offline
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Default Re: s30 Daily Driver build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steinkrunk View Post
Now why would you put a pink intake manifold on your car?

Lol just bustin, I still can't fathom doing electrical work color blind. You're the right kind of crazy in my book.
Even if it were pink, it's under the hood and I generally don't care how things look on my cars. As long as everything's straight and aligned, paint is just a way to prevent rust.

I can't imagine doing electrical work with the amazing advantage of looking at a section of wire and having some idea of what it connects to, or being able to look at a factory wiring diagram (without pinouts) and knowing which lines correspond to physical wires.

I'll say that that's a nice feature of the DIYautotune harness - all the wires are labeled. The print isn't as clear as I'd really like, and the wires aren't as high quality as I'd REALLY like to see, but it gets the job done.

The more I think about it, the more I want to do video features on some local cars. If there are any particularly interesting builds and/or owners around (Nissan/Datsun/Otherwise) send them my way, I'm always up for a weekend shoot especially if we can do a DIY video on something.
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:07 PM
BigLouKAT BigLouKAT is offline
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Default Re: s30 Daily Driver build

Very cool project.

I'm on megasquirt as well, and would recommend moving that IAT to a place that can't be affected by under hood temps (eventually, see below) - I battled some lean hot restarts (which was attributed to the IAT sensor soaking up the static air temp in the bay while not running). I can imagine having the intake and exhaust manifolds on the same side of the engine will only make this problem worse.
*However, there are ways to tune this out (so I'm told), so I won't tell you that you should move it immediately. Try it and see how it works for you. What megasquirt are you using?

For reference, I placed my GM IAT just up stream of the throttle body, and within 5 minutes of sitting engine off (at operating temperature), the sensor reads 130+ degrees, which is WAY more than required to throw off the fueling equation substantially.
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Quote:
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Red= "chill out with the meat brahh, im working here"
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  #5  
Old 04-22-2014, 08:47 PM
drummingpariah drummingpariah is offline
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Default Re: s30 Daily Driver build

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLouKAT View Post
Very cool project.
Thanks. I'm not doing any cool stuff yet, but the potential to get to cool stuff is definitely there. Hopefully I'll get to do something fun with it next season, but this year is dedicated to giving it a hardcore shakedown.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLouKAT View Post
I'm on megasquirt as well, and would recommend moving that IAT to a place that can't be affected by under hood temps (eventually, see below) - I battled some lean hot restarts (which was attributed to the IAT sensor soaking up the static air temp in the bay while not running). I can imagine having the intake and exhaust manifolds on the same side of the engine will only make this problem worse.
*However, there are ways to tune this out (so I'm told), so I won't tell you that you should move it immediately. Try it and see how it works for you.

For reference, I placed my GM IAT just up stream of the throttle body, and within 5 minutes of sitting engine off (at operating temperature), the sensor reads 130+ degrees, which is WAY more than required to throw off the fueling equation substantially.
Sounds completely reasonable, it's something I've considered a lot. I don't have anywhere good to put it. Ideally I'd want it just after the intercooler but outside the engine bay, but because I won't be running an intercooler, that plan is a non-starter. I may write some code to manage hot starts (or someone else may have already), or add another loop to ignore the IAT if it disagrees with the coolant/head-temp sensor by too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLouKAT View Post
What megasquirt are you using?
I went as dead-simple as possible and got a pre-assembled MS3 kit from diyautotune. I hate soldering as well as wiring, so I really wanted this to be as close to plug-and-play as possible. That was reasonably successful, but I have some caveats about my approach.

Sometime next season or the year after I may upgrade to MS3X for sequential spark/ignition, but that'll be part of a larger effort to increase power output. Right now, I'll be ecstatic if I'm making 150whp or better. There's a lot to sort out with the chassis/suspension/supporting-systems and that'll keep me busy for quite awhile.

As I often say, you should only increase engine output when lack of power is the only thing holding you back. If there's something else you can improve instead, do that first.

UPDATE
This shouldn't be as exciting as it is, but I feel like this is the first time I've installed a part with the intention of keeping it there. For once, I'm done removing components and get to add stuff! Excuse the crappy cellphone pic (the sun was just about to set, and it started to rain, so I just wanted to snap some progress) and the lack of a throttle body (it's in the garage, ready for install).


The other intake manifolds that will either be sold or hacked into:


I'd like to start cleaning the interior; Does anyone have any experience with the small Harbor Freight shop vac? I've been putting off buying a shop vac for awhile, and now that I'm more-or-less ready to take the plunge, craigslist is failing me pretty hard. It'd be nice to know what's under all the sediment and grime and be able to actually paint my floors before they rot through.
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2014, 12:37 PM
drummingpariah drummingpariah is offline
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Default Re: s30 Daily Driver build

Finally moved into the new apartment. A little cleaning goes a long, long way. Now I can SEE where the rust is (and isn't, this car is full of surprises!)



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  #7  
Old 01-11-2016, 01:24 PM
drummingpariah drummingpariah is offline
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Default Re: s30 Daily Driver build

It's been awhile, and there's a lot to catch up on here. Since moving into the new apartment, I decided that the l28et wasn't going to suit my needs, and after test fitting several different powerplant options, I've decided to go with a rotary engine for this build. It's compact, lightweight, easy to maintain/rebuild, and puts me in a competitive class.

Under the Hood
This massive piece of steel and aluminum came out:

and was quickly sold


My shelves of powertrain:

I went through 302's, inline 4's, inline 6's, and a v6 before finally deciding to go with the 13b.

In its place will go this combination:



Yes, this is the whole engine, and yes, it really does just go back together as easily as it looks.


Rear End
After that, I tore out the rear 'subframe' and started shoving a few different options in place. In the end, I ended up stuffing an s13 in its rear end, because it solves all my problems with the 280z rear end:
  1. ujoint axles
  2. bad differential mount design
  3. hard-to-tune chapman suspension
  4. bad damper options
  5. soft, pliable bushings (at best)




It's going to require a lot of extra tuning, but that's pretty much what I've signed up for with this project. It solves nearly all of the problems I have, and keeps the same r200 I've always loved but in the much more common short-nose configuration. The only differential I think would be better is a Ford 8.8, since all the gearing options are so much cheaper.

Body Work
Finally, the chassis needed attention. The more digging I did, the more soft spots I found, and ended up cutting out a lot of car.


I had already caged my Miata, and that was a ton of time that I don't really have to put into this (not to mention borrowed tools that I'd have to buy this time around), so I sent it up to a Subaru fabricator in Vermont that races with us. I trust him, quite literally, with my life.



As soon as I wrap up my CRX daily driver, I'll bring the engine and transmission up to Joey so we can get it aligned, build mounts, and get a driveshaft made for it. I still have a ton of work to do before Ascutney 1 2016, but I'm on track to be able to race it.
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2016, 08:16 AM
chubbs chubbs is offline
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Default Re: s30 Daily Driver build

ugh, i want a datsun bad.
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2016, 01:25 PM
drummingpariah drummingpariah is offline
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Default Re: s30 Daily Driver build

There's only one way to solve that problem: Buy three Datsuns. Then you can put them together and have one running Datsun. They aren't expensive either, I paid $1k for this one with the l28et in it, and a friend just bought a running 280z for $2250 in Manchester. They're certainly out there, you just need to have cash that you can afford to spend when they go up for sale.
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  #10  
Old 11-14-2016, 10:53 PM
drummingpariah drummingpariah is offline
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Default Re: s30 Daily Driver build

It's been awhile since I updated here. A lot has happened, including cutting the cage that I had fabricated out. The main hoop was too far forward, and there really isn't a way to modify it to fix it, so I built a chassis table, bought a tubing bender and am getting to work. I'm also forming my fender plugs for the front. Eventually, they will be either carbon or kevlar.

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