kensval

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About kensval

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  • Map Location
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Occupation
    Power Engineer

My Cars

  • About my Cars
    1976 280Z purchased over Ebay then shipped from sunny Florida to chilly Saskatchewan, Canada. Gets driven about 2-3 times a week for 3 months of the year, then back into the garage to hibernate for the winter. The engine has been rebuilt, rear brakes swapped to discs, and bearings, shocks and steering replaced. Currently in the parts-buying stage of an eventual full restoration.
  1. Yup, I made it! Made it almost all the way home too! Will need a little engine work, but I've got all winter. Nobody in their right mind drives a Z up here in the frozen north.
  2. Hey... I did make it to JCCS, and almost all the way home! Blew a heater hose 150 km from Saskatoon, flat decked it home because it got pretty hot and CAA paid for the tow anyway. Took the valve cover off and found a wiped cam lobe. Gonna send the head to Whitehead Performance in Ontario unless anyone has a western Canadian alternative they really recommend. And I still have that wiring problem, but all winter to find and fix it. Basically there was no power to the coil and the ignition fusible link (0.3mm sqd) kept burning as I tried to crank. Replaced the starter cables, had the starter tested, replaced the battery, cleaned the hell out of every connection I could get to. Finally got it starting better, but had to use a separate power feed from my fog lights to power the coil (through the ballast resistor, from which I disconnected everything else). Anyhow, sorry I couldn't chime in from the road, but thanks to Jim for doing it for me! Will be going again by spring with the spare engine. Planning on going back to JCCS, and I highly recommend it to anyone that loves old Japanese cars of any stripe. Great show and great show organizers. Ken
  3. Well, I know how to determine TDC. It was fairly simple before the rebuilt engine was initially run because the piston top was still clean and easy to see. I just moved the crank back and forth from the damper until I was sure the #1 piston was exactly at the top of the bore. Since I'm going to have all the plugs out shortly to change to a colder set, I'm sure it'll be a similar deal this time. What I didn't know was how many degrees being one gear tooth out would put me. I could've counted gear teeth and figured it out, but I didn't. Then I set the timing by ear, a method I have used with success for a long time, but with domestic V8 engines where I wasn't as concerned about detonation due to higher compression. I've since purchased a timing light, but it's a basic unit, no fancy auxiliary functions. I do know what detonation sounds like, and I am running 94 octane fuel, which is available up here in Canada at some Husky and Mohawk gas stations. It is an ethanol blend, but then almost all our fuels up here are these days. I hadn't thought of using regular fuel (that's 87 octane around here, what is it where you are?) to determine at what timing detonation will occur, then backing it off a couple of degrees, but it sounds like a reasonable plan to me. Once I determine for certain that I actually have the dist driveshaft in the correct orientation and the hold-down plate properly adjusted if that ends up being necessary, I'll try that. The colder plugs shoud offer me a measure of reduction in the potential for detonation. Then, the closer I get to sea level, the less inclined I'll be to accelerate hard up to speed. I'm not worried about detonation at part-throttle. The combination of an aluminum head, cooler thermostat, the cooling effect of fuel spray from the injectors, colder plugs, and less spirited acceleration should all work together to keep me fairly safe from a catastrophic engine failure. It's likely that the best I'll be able to find for octane during the trip to California will be 91, maybe even 89 in some places, so I'll carry some octane booster with me.
  4. I googled photos of 280Z distributors and I'm fairly certain I know now what you're referring to as the "other" adjustment on the bottom of the dizzy. Will definitely have a good look at that when I get home, as I can see how it could be used to change the slot position of the main adjustment slot.
  5. I was fairly certain that I had the tang at the 11:25 position. How far out would it look if it were off by one gear tooth? It seems apparent that not being able to advance past 4 deg BTDC that something is out of position. If the centerline of the adjustment slot is theoretically 0 deg BTDC, how many degrees retard or advance should I be able to achieve going each way? The reason I couldn't see the tach is that I was indeed doing the work by myself. Come to think of it, I've got an old aftermarket tach from another car kicking around. Maybe I'll put a magnet base on it and some alligator clips and then I'll have a tach wherever I need it to be to look at it. I think I'm going to swap out the 10mm bolt for one with phillips' head screwdriver slots as well. Easier to loosen and tighten that way. I'll have a look for that 8mm bolt when I get home. It's a pain in the arse putting everything on hold for a week at a time. Regarding the show... I've got a friend who lives in BC (I live in Saskatchewan, Alberta is in between us) who has a really nice 76 Celica. He wants us to do the road trip together. That way we can carry twice as many tools and spare parts :-) My car is far from show worthy. It's a work in progress and will be that way for many years to come, but a long trip with an old buddy sounds like a lot of fun.
  6. It's the factory 1976 distributor as far as I know. It's the one that came with the car, anyhow. I have a ZX unit on a spare engine. As for the tang, I'll have to get back to you on that one. I work away from home and won't be back there for a week. I'll post a photo when I get back home and can get under the hood again.
  7. First off, I was wrong when I said the vaccum line to the dizzy was going to the ported switch on the manifold. Brain fart. It's hooked up to the front vacuum port on the throttle body/BCDD, and the canister is teed into the same line. That's as per the FSM. The back port on the BCDD goes to the ported switch on the manifold. As for "can't", yes, the dizzy runs into the end of the adjustment slot and I physically can't move it any more clockwise. The engine was professionally rebuilt, but they had the dizzy in all wrong. Even had the #1 cylinder position marked on the wrong hole on the dist cap. They were one too far clockwise. So I pulled the oil pump, got the engine to TDC on #1, and reset the dist driveshaft position, then put the wires in the correct holes on the cap. This was all before I had the induction system and exhaust back in place last summer, and I've been driving it ever since, and it's been feeling fine to drive. I timed it by ear at first because I was too cheap to buy a timing light! Only decided to get farther into setting the timing correctly because I'm planning a trip to California this Sept. for a Jap car show at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Since I've got higher compression than stock (about 10:1), I'm a little worried about detonation once I get down closer to sea level, hence the need to check on the timing. Also switching from NGK BPR6 plugs to BPR7s, one heat range colder. I don't recall seeing another adjustment bolt behind the dizzy. Doesn't mean it's not there, I just don't recall seeing it. What does it adjust? I know I can adjust a bit inside the dizzy, maybe get another 4 deg in there. Really I think I'd rather get the dizzy drive set correctly. Right now with the timing light on the damper, and revving the engine up but without a tach to look at, and no offset timing mark, I'm guessing my total advance to be about 30 deg. Like I said, the car is not running badly, but I just want it to be right. It dynoed at about 20 hp over stock recently, and gets excellent gas mileage on the highway. As for coming down to sea level, and not being able to find high octane gas when I get there, I'm hoping that if I just take it easy on the acceleration and RPM I won't cause myself any trouble with detonation.
  8. I'm going to jump on this thread with a similar but reversed problem. I can't get more than 4 deg advance at idle with the vacuum line disconnected from the distributor and plugged. I was pretty sure I had the dizzy in the right place. It's a 1976 280Z, original engine (N42 block/N42 head) rebuilt with flat-top pistons in place of the original dished ones. It doesn't detonate, but then at only 4 deg BTDC with 94 octane gas, it shouldn't! Under normal circumstances, I run with the dizzy vacuum teed into the same vacuum line that goes to the charcoal canister from the ported temp sensing switch on the intake. So, do I pull the dizzy and move it over (counterclockwise?), or do I use the internal adjustment to get another 4 deg or so?
  9. I've got a 1976 280Z. N42 block, N42 head, stock cam, stock FI setup, 160 deg thermostat. The head was recently done as part of a rebuild and got shaved 10 thou. The dished pistons were replaced with flat-tops, pushing the comp ratio up 9.99:1. I think the timing is right around the original factory setting as well. I've been running 94 octane fuel with 10% ethanol in it and not having any problems. I'm planning a road trip from home (Saskatoon, Canada) to Los Angeles for a japanese car show. Is 91 octane premium gonna cut it, or am I going to have to retard the timing and carry octane booster with me? Are there any stations with higher octane fuel in L.A.? I understand the lower altitude is also going to negatively impact my octane needs.
  10. You're right on the approx. cost. I guess the pound isn't as strong as it used to be. Would the T-56 actually fit an S30 without (major) sheetmetal mods? It's been pointed out that a mostly stock L28 probably wouldn't have the torque for 6th gear, but perhaps with a turbo'd stroker it might be go. I've been trying to decide on whether to sell my spare L28 or to look for a diesel crank and build a much stronger engine than my warmed over original engine. If I'm not careful I'll just end up looking for another chassis, build the stroker, buy the 6 speed, do two restorations concurrently, then have to sell both cars to pay for the divorce.
  11. I took a quick look at their website, which took me to the Quaife site. How much did you pay for your 5 speed? I saw £6595.00 for the 6 speed. I might be able to absorb $3000 or so for a tranny, but not $15,000. Cool idea, though. A sequential would be great for when I build my spare L28 into a turbo stroker.
  12. I read somewhere that some later Z cars brought into the U.S. came with Borg-Warner T-5 trannys. I had one of those in a Mustang I used to have. Not a great transmission, at least not the earlier ones. I'll probably stick with the 5 speed I already have. It's gotten me up to 140 MPH. That's fast enough. However, I'm already thinking of looking for another Z to stuff a V8 into and that one I won't really care about changing the sheetmetal on so if I have to make a new tranny tunnel, so be it. Still, if I never asked, I might still be wondering if I could have had another gear...
  13. Hadn't considered that as of yet. Maybe down the road. Went looking online last night to see if I could find anyone producing a new, conventional 6 spd manual with a separate bellhousing, but was mostly unsuccessful. Tremec and Richmond both make 6 speeds, but they're designed, and sized, for American V8 cars and trucks. Might have to do a lot of sheetmetal work to make one of them work in a Z car, and with the original L-series engine's limited power, they'd be overkill. What was the brand of the 4 and 5 speeds in the original Z cars? Did Nissan make their own, or were they outsourced?
  14. I've already got the later 5-speed in my '76, which does help greatly on the highway. I'm just looking for options that will cause me the least amount of headaches should I decide to move up to a 6-speed. Sounds like there's no real easy way to do it. What about a 6-speed from a late model Z?
  15. Does anyone know of a 6 speed tranny that will bolt up to an L-series engine?