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Hardway

Hardway's Red Rocket 1972 240z Build Thread

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Looking good. We are doing the same things at the same time. Im waiting on some parts. Cleaning and slapping on paint. Steering rack bushings just arrived. 

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Been making some progress over the past few weekends.  My coated MSA header arrived so I went about mocking it up on the engine.  Upon initial test fit of the intake with the header I noticed it was a pretty tight fit.  Then once I attempted to install the water outlet base, it would not line up.  I knew I would need to shave off a little material to keep the intake and header from touching along with removing some material from the base of the water outlet.  A little time with the grinder solved all my problems.  I did a few rounds of grind, test fit, and grind a little more as I did not want to remove anymore material than was absolutely necessary.  The end result was achieved with everything fitting in its proper location with no touching or interference between parts.

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With the header successfully installed I turned my attention to making a heat shield.  Using some pieces of cardboard from a cereal box I did some initial mockups.  I know there are several ready to install options that run $100+ but this was going to be a much more affordable DIY solution.  I stopped by a local metal supply shop and found a scrap piece of .040 aluminum that measured 20 x 28 inches with some minor damage for $10.85 out the door.  I only needed something that was approx. 12 x 24 so I knew I could trim away the damaged sections.  Next was to find a way to make a consistent 90 degree bend.  I needed a metal brake of some sort so I bought a 6 foot section of angle iron at HD for $18, cut in half to make two 3ft sections, and wrapped them in some painters tape so the rough edge would not damage the aluminum.  With the angle iron and sheet of aluminum in my vice, after a few adjustments I went for it and bent the sheet.  I may have slightly underestimated how strong .040 aluminum is but I got it done.  After drilling some holes and more trimming I got it to where it would slide on and not catch the levers of the accelerator pumps on the bottom of the carbs.  Happy with the outcome I laid down some self-adhesive heat reflective material I bought off Amazon for $21.94.  I doubled up where the bend was as this was the closest point to the header.  Not too bad for a DIY effort and once the carbs and air cleaners are on, you will see very little of it. 

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The engine was now ready to come off the engine stand.  I purchased a lightweight Fidanza flywheel to accompany the Stage-2 cam that was now in the engine.  The Centerforce II clutch was in great shape so it was going to be re-used. With the flywheel on the table, I took a few minutes to get it indexed correctly and made some marks with a sharpie.  New flywheel and clutch cover bolts were used along with a little blue Loc-tite, torqued to 100ft/lbs and 14ft/lbs respectively.  The instructions that came with the flywheel said to remove the green coating and wipe everything clean before installing the clutch.  A little brake cleaner and a lint-free rag made short work of it.  The clutch went on with no issues.  With the engine out I also took a few minutes to install the new oil pump, gasket, and bolts.  One step closer! 

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Edited by Hardway

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I celebrated my 40th birthday over the Memorial Day weekend and my wife asked me what I wanted.  My wish list was three things, 1. Lunch at Gloria's 2. Make me a homemade chocolate meringue pie and 3. help me put the engine back in the Z car.  Needless to say I have a wonderful wife and I got everything I wanted for my birthday.  It took us about an hour and a half to get the engine in.  Getting it lined up on to the transmission and tilting the motor over at the same time proved to be harder than we anticipated.  In the end we go it done together.  I used some long bolts to help draw the engine the last inch to the transmission.  If I ever do this again, I will just pull the transmission with the engine like I have done in the past with other cars and re-install in reverse fashion.

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Got a few updates as the finish line gets closer.  I ordered a new 160 degree thermostat and Fel-Pro t-stat gasket.  The gasket is labeled for a small block Chevy.  It was sorta close and after some trimming it was much better.  With the upper t-stat housing installed I put on a new Wix filter and filled it up with fresh Valvoline 20w-50 VR1 racing oil.  I never made a tool to prime the pump but I did pour some oil in it when I installed it.  With no spark plugs the engine turned over pretty easily.  I pulled the valve cover and asked my wife to watch the cam and tell me when the oil starts flowing out.  After about 10 turns the cam was liberally covered so the valve cover went back on.  I spent the rest of the day  getting everything buttoned up.  As I started to organize the new carb linkage components, I quickly realized an oversight I had made.  I should have setup the linkage bar before installing the intake.  No biggie, a few minutes pulling the intake and about 20 minutes spent getting the bar straight and the linkage arms on.

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My new o-rings from McMaster-Carr arrived.  These were to replace the flattened o-rings in the soft mount holders.  I glued them in with a little shoe goo and laid a board with a book on top to provide even pressure over night.  The next day was carb install day.  Getting the carbs on with the heat shield is a bit challenging as it adds another item you have to contend with in an already tight space.  Some patience and care not to drop anything saw it come together in the end. I left the linkages loose for now as I know syncing and tuning would be in my near future.

With a cursory system and fuel pressure check complete and a fire extinguisher at the ready, I put my wife in the driver seat and had her turn the key while I worked the carbs and choke.  After about 7 spins of the engine I could tell there was nothing happening.  A second inspection revealed a coil ground wire I had removed and forgot to re-connect.  Once connected my wife turned the key again and I don't think the engine turned a full rotation before IT FIRED UP!  It scared my wife as the open header exits right under the driver seat.  (sorry sweetie)  I dis-engaged the choke and was shocked to see the engine settle in to an idle at 1k RPM.  With the open header, it sounded awesome!  I had to rev it a little bit just to hear it.  WOW!  With the stage-2 cam, new timing chain, and lightened flywheel, it revs super quick.  It really sounds like a race car.  Unfortunately it cannot stay that way.

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3 hours ago, Sailor Bob said:

Glad to hear its running. Gives me hope. ?  engine looks great!

Thank you Bob.  Stick with it, you will get it done.  If it were easy, everyone would do it.  

I believe key is being organized and planning ahead.  If you can have all the parts you need on hand before you start, makes things go a lot faster.

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47 minutes ago, Hardway said:

Thank you Bob.  Stick with it, you will get it done.  If it were easy, everyone would do it.  

I believe key is being organized and planning ahead.  If you can have all the parts you need on hand before you start, makes things go a lot faster.

No doubt that is an issue for me... having parts on hand. Along the way theres always an item or two that gets ya thinkin “yep better deal with this now while its all apart” then im up against shipping cost/time to eastern canada.. i have one more order on the way, after that shes going together ready or not.

Keep posting pics

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Last weekend I ran the car up to Taylor Muffler to the get header collector welded to the existing pipe.  Its a small Mom-n-Pop shop but they do good work for all budgets.  After about 15 minutes and a $20 bill later I was headed back home. In 5th gear while cruising the drone is pretty bad so I will probably be back to get a resonator installed at some point.  With the car running and driving again this officially wraps up the timing chain project I started on July 22nd 2018.  Like all of our cars, as soon as you finish one project, another is waiting for you. 

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On my drive out to the exhaust shop and back I noticed the car was not tracking straight.  This is due to the rack being moved when I was installing the new rack bushings.  The car needed its rack boots replaced and I already new ones along with new outer tie rods waiting for me in the parts bin.  I used Empi 88-1509K boots and Moog ES2109R and ES2110R outer tie rods just like I have used in the past with the same success.  I also installed a pair of MSA aluminum bump steer/kick back spacers since I already had them.  Took about a full 1.5 days worth of work but I spread it out over two weekend as I painted the outer tie rods with satin black Rustoleum to keep them looking decent.  The locking nuts that come with the new outer tie rods are thicker than the originals.  Based upon the measurements I took during tear down, the passenger side tie rods needed to be as close to the rack as possible and thus I needed to use a thinner nut.  In the end, I could have used the new ones after adjusting everything but wanted to point this out.  Using the center cover of my lift as a ramp I was able to quickly do several rounds of adjust & drive to get the alignment really close.  I will be buying new tires in the future and will wait to drop $80 on an alignment.  The list gets a little shorter!

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After the final align & drive session I made a quick video to show the progress and current state of the car.  Still need to do some carb tuning as I am getting some inconsistent spitting and popping but it does run and if you lay down the accelerator in second, it absolutely screams.  I plan to work on the carbs throughout the week as time allows.  The next big project is raising the rear a little using some 280z strut insulators, install the RT mount I have, and change the gear oil in the diff.  Stay tuned!

 

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13 hours ago, 240260280 said:

Looks great!  All shades of red look great on a Z!

Thank you Philip!  The car could definitely use a cut and buff.  One day I will focus more on the cosmetics but for now, I just want to get the mechanical systems up to scratch.

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Been pretty busy since my last post.  I started driving the car more to help dial in the steering.  Luckily I am able to park the car on the center cover of my lift to make adjustments quickly with the weight of the car on the wheels.  As I drove the car it seemed to idle higher and higher and that is when I discovered the I had some air leaks at seals between the carbs and the intake.  In an effort to remedy this I had gotten the carbs out of sync so it was time to start fresh.  I got carbs tightened down and all the air leaks stopped.  As I set out to start re-syncing the carbs the car would not stay running once the engine started.  I verified this as I was getting a full 12V at the key start position but nothing at the run position.  I spent the better part of a weekend tracking down the issue which turned out to be the 12V wire going from the resistor to the coil.  Simply moving the wire around seemed to fix the issue but I am sure I was knocking some corrosion loose.  I have not doubt the issue will return in the future but for now it was running again.

Back to my original plan of syncing the carbs which was very straight forward.  Now the car consistently idles at 900rpm, set to 9 degrees BTDC, and runs much better overall.  In the video below I still have an occasional pop on cylinder #4 which was remedied with a half turn of the mixture screw.

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Edited by Hardway

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In an effort to make the interior a little nicer, I ordered a real leather shift boot and parking brake boot off of Ebay.  For $35 I was happy enough.  Its meant for a stock shift setup but with the 280ZXT T5 transmission and Hurst Mustang 5.0 shifter, the shifter sits forward of its original location so the leather boot demonstrates the compromise.  One day I will have a custom one made that looks more correct but for now, its much nicer to look at and still smells good!

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Edited by Hardway
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A few weekends ago I got back on the Z as I wanted to address some items before the ideal Fall driving season arrived.  It is unknown when the diff fluid had been changed so I wanted to change it.  However, due to the placement of the ST sway bar bracket it would require dropping the diff to do so.  This actually worked in my favor as I wanted to replace the strap type upper diff mount with an RT mount I had on the shelf and see what could be done about the sagging rear suspension.  First things first, getting the diff out.  After about an hour or so of wrench turning and some assistance from wife it was out and safely on the ground.  It was not leaking and a quick removal of the fill plug revealed it was full.  I drained it and looked the gears over. Its an R200 with a Precision LDS and 3.54 gears.  There was also no material found stuck to the magnetic drain plug. Moving forward.

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With everything checked out I spent some time cleaning everything up and painting it.  A fresh cover gasket was installed with a light smear of black RTV.  I used Red Line fluid that is designed for use in LSD differentials.  Been using Red Line for years with nothing but great results.

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While the paint was drying I set about installing the RT mount. With the diff out of the way it was the easiest project so far.  This is my 3rd time installing one of these so I was going to use the same "sandwich" recipe as before.  Cutting one layer of the snubber mount off and retaining the original lower mount.  You do have to use some longer bolts to get the lower mounting bracket started but the factory bolts can be used once you have it drawn up and into place.

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Next up was the struts.  With the half-shafts removed and brake hose disconnected it was just a matter of dropping it down and swinging it out. No surprise, the strut cartridge was shot. When it came time to remove it, no surprise that it was stuck in place.  No surprise = No problem.  I needed to make a handle of some sort to pull it out.  Using a piece of scrap angled steel I drilled a hole in the middle, bolted it to the the strut and with a few hits of the mini sledge on the bottom it happily saw things my way.

I had some Tokico struts and springs for a 280z that a fellow Z owner traded me for lunch at Torchy's Tacos.  I already had some correct KYB rear strut cartridges but compared the rear springs and figured I would give them a shot.  They are about 3/4 of a coil longer than the ST springs that were on the car.  If this did not work I also had some 280z rear strut mounts that I could try as well.

The ST springs did not have to be compressed to remove them but I did have to compress the Tokico springs a little which to me was a good sign.  Reassembly was straight forward with no drama.  The driver side received the same treatment as its strut cartridge was dead as well.

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With the struts wrapped up the rear brake hoses looked suspect and since the system was already open now was the time to replace them.  A pair of Dorman H96862 hoses were ordered on Amazon for $8.32/each and arrived in 2 days.  Installation was straight forward but I did have to heat up the ends of the old hoses to break the unions loose. The diff, half-shafts, and everything else was re-installed.  A few rounds of brake bleeding commenced and with a firm pedal achieved the rear wheels went back on and the car lowered back on to the ground.  The initial impression of the rear spring change was good but only a test drive would tell.

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