Project Z

Discussion in 'Member's Garage' started by pmac, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. scottyoz1962

    scottyoz1962 Active Member

    :rofl: poor girl, learning off you, send her off to a real mechanical school :p
  2. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!

    Leather Seats

    It's been a while and a hell of a lot of work
    Picked up some Interior Innovations seat leather from another forum member here in WA.
    Very pleased with the result.


    Compared with the old

  3. WazTTed

    WazTTed Grease Monkey

    pimping interior mate !!! find a auto computer to sus out your issues?
  4. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!

    De Brazil

    I invited some Brazilians mates around and look what they did to my car!!!!



    Looks far better anyway in my opinion.
    Long weekend here in WA so managed to get a few things done including the wing removal.
    Changed the plugs which has solved the miss fire issue I was having above 400rpm.
    Swapped out the balance tube and preped it for painting. This consequently helped me resolve one of those annoyingly tiny vacuum hose leaks that I knew was there but could not trace.
    The big success though was fixing my auto trans problem that I have had since the car has been back on the road, only having 2 gears, 2nd & 3rd (I thought it was 1st & 2nd but now know what first should feel like).
    I had actually changed everything I could, yes I did swap the complete trans for one with a high stall converter so I thought this was a good upgrade and would fix the problem, but no it did not. I then swapped out the ATCU (trans computer) but still no result. So what was left? Wiring, so today I tested for power to the ATCU and then continuity back down to the trans.
    The result was good power but one wire with no continuity.
    I traced it back to this connector up the front of the engine bay.

    Well very frustratingly this did not solve the problem but I did notice the shifting (or singular shift) was much much sharper. Then on a gut feeling I swapped back to the original ATCU and at that stage I felt like a miracle had happened. YES FINALLY it all worked, 4 speeds, OD and awesome off the mark with that high stall.
    Also a a bonus I found this while rummaging around in there.


    HKS Automatic line pressure controller, basically boosts your line pressure to give you quicker shifting. Certainly down shifts like lightning, up shifts don't seem much different.
    All in all a pretty successful weekend.
  5. WazTTed

    WazTTed Grease Monkey

    good result dude that alc is a bonus aswell that trans will be rocking in your z now !!! !! nice wing removal how was the paint underneath? what are you going to do bout the holes ??
  6. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!

    Engine bay

    Just repainted the balance tube and fuel lines, deleted a couple of unnecessary vacuum tubes along the way.


    Engine bay is starting to look reasonable now, deliberated weather to remove the fuel hard pipes on the plenum but decided to leave them in place for now.

  7. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!

    Big Guns

    Had to pull off the rear half of the exhaust system to repair some shit welds that had cracked around 2 pipe/muffler joints. I won't post photos of the welding because while the joints are now strong and sealed, it's doesn't make for a pretty sight going over porosity and poorly done repairs.
    But here's some shots of those huge Veilside Cannons, didn't realise how big they actually where until I had them off, and Heavy too, I reckon the whole system would weigh at least 60kg.
    They came up pretty bling with a buff up.

  8. Anti

    Anti 14.7 x 14.7 = 44.1

    Didn't realize you had an Evolution. One of the best sounding exhausts out there, but yes damn heavy. Part of what gives it its sound.
  9. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!

    Engine freshen up.

    So just gonna go back a few months. After having a horrendous time with engine failures including fitting a guarenteed low km engine with known service history, which lasted about 1 hour running time before it blew up (piston failure). I decided to rebuild my original engine so at least I would then know what I was dealing with and have known factors involved instead of dealing with the unknown. I was not interested in high horsepower, just getting a good reliable runner.

    This photo shows the slight damage caused from when the head gasket failed and having coolant in the wrong places.

    So measured everything up and there was little to no wear in all cylinders (0.1mm max) and gave it a good hone and set of rings and bearings to freshen her up.


    New bits ready for reassemble. Used the original pistons as they had virtually no wear.


    I was pretty happy with the way it all went back together since this is the most extensive engine work I have done, enjoyed the whole process actually.

    Finally back in a day before we had to vacate our rental property, the last couple of weekends where a bit of a blur.

    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  10. SrAfciGeR

    SrAfciGeR Member

    Hi pmac,

    May I know what piston rings have you used ?

    Some materials need smooth surface of the cylinder walls...
  11. scottyoz1962

    scottyoz1962 Active Member

    :thumbup: nice work mate, hope it runs as well as you want it too. Did you do the honing work or get it sent off ?
  12. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!

    Piston rings

    The invoice says ACL but the box says MAHLE, also check out the price, you can't beat that, thanks Veals!!
    That would be a very old school ring that would require a smooth surface finish.

  13. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!


    Thanks Scotty, runs great, had a few electrical problems at first but they are all sorted now, idles nicely @ 750rpm and has a ton of power. Has been my daily drive for the last 2 months.
    As this is the first Z I have owned and had never even been in one before this I have nothing to compare it too, might have too get one of the experienced guys to take it for a spin at the cruise day this Sunday to get some feedback.
    Just did the honing with a bottle brush hone and at work, I was just giving the cylinders a surface finish not actually removing material.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  14. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!

    Cam Gears & oil leaks 101.

    Just had to pull all of the front off my engine trying to solve an annoying oil leak. Pretty frustrating as I had replaced all the seals during the rebuild.
    First I thought it was the front main (crank) seal but soon realized the problem was higher than that. Looked like it maybe the power steering pump as it was covered in oil but then I noticed oil on top of the water pump.
    So out came radiator, fan, belts, water pipes etc to finally get at the cam covers. Traced it back to oil coming from behind one of the cam intake gears so suspected the seal was damaged even though it was new. After removing the gear and seal it showed no signs of damage. There was a slight wear mark on the seal surface so I decided to polish this out using the lathe at work, while doing this I found that the centre section of the gear was turning inside the outer housing, but this was not present with the other intake gear.
    This was far beyond my knowledge so further research was needed.
    I found this great article on Z32 WIKI gave me a very good understanding of the VTC system, how it functions and thankfully problems associated with it. Which explained exactly the gear failure I had, which is posted below.

    As with any complex system, the VTC system has a couple of common problems that tend to materialize on our 20-year-old Datsuns.
    VTC rattle (or tick, knock). There are a few different theories as to why this happens, but the common understanding is it has to do with the helical piston slapping back and forth inside the housing. This is not uncommon in high-mileage engines, but will no doubt begin happening (even with new gears) on engines with heavier valve springs.
    Leakage. In a VTC gear that has begun to fail (usually exhibiting the rattle/knocking noise), the rear/inner shaft becomes "broken" from the gear housing. These two components are pressed together from the factory. When this happens, oil can leak from the rear of the VTC gear.
    Spring fatigue. A common perceived failure is that the small spring at the front of the gear becomes fatigued, allowing the piston to slap around, causing the VTC rattle noise. It is now understood that these springs practically never wear out. While JWT makes "heavy duty" VTC springs, this is essentially a "band-aid" fix for the gear assembly itself wearing out in some manner, and owners who replace their VTC springs with JWT HD springs virtually unanimously report the noise returning shortly thereafter. Some claim that the JWT HD springs actually hinder performance by essentially locking the VTC mechanism.
    Variable Timing Control (VTC, sometimes called Variable Cam Timing (VCT), or NVCS (Nissan Variable [timing] Control System or Nissan Variable Cam System) was the name given to the variable cam phasing system featured on the VG30DE(TT) and other similar engines from the era. While similar in application, it is functionally very different and should not be confused with Honda's VTEC system, which was introduced around the same time.

    VTC Solenoids being installed in a VG30DE's head.

    Variable Timing Control was, at least in the case of the VG30DE, used only on the intake cams. Interestingly, the exhaust side of the head features a cutout that would otherwise appear to accommodate a VTC solenoid. It was a relatively simple (yet mind-bendingly impressive, from an engineering standpoint) solution to a common problem that faces engine designers: timing the cams for good low-end torque or high-end power. Most engines compromise somewhere in the middle, but VTC allowed Nissan to have it's cake and eat it, too.
    In short, the VTC system allowed the ECU to advance the cam phasing on the intake cams, depending on different engine situations. This allowed the VG30DE to maintain good low-end torque and smoothness, without sacrificing top-end power.

    ECU Control
    The ECU controls the VTC mechanisms through the two solenoids, mounted on the back of each head (see "VTC Solenoid" below). The NA and TT ECUs use different parameters to control the VTC function.

    For the VTC to turn on, the following conditions must be true:
    Temperature between -58°F and 230°F.
    Vehicle speed 6 MPH or higher (0 MPH on some earlier ECUs)
    Then, the ECU will enable the VTC if the RPM is between 1800 RPM and 5800 RPM. If the RPM is below the range, it will enable as soon as the TP (the calculated engine load) is above 39ms.

    Twin Turbo
    For the VTC to turn on, the following conditions must be true:
    Temperature between -49°F and 230°F.
    Vehicle speed 6 MPH or higher (0 MPH on some earlier ECUs)
    Then, the ECU will enable the VTC when the TP (calculated engine load) is above 23ms. The VTC is cut (disabled) at 5900 RPM. The TT ECU still has a parameter to enable VTC by RPM alone, but it is set at 6100 RPM, above the 5900 RPM VTC cut. Because of this, it is essentially ignored. The TT's VTC is enabled by TP and disabled by RPM.

    The VTC System was made up of three major components:

    Main Article: Camshaft
    The Intake Cams feature a ball-spring check valve at the back of the camshaft and a hollow oil passageway throughout, with an opening towards the front. The oil passageway allows oil to enter the cam near the front, and either drain back out at the rear (VTC off) or pressurize the helical piston assembly inside the cam gear (VTC On).
    VTC Solenoid
    The VTC solenoid (illustrated above and pictured at the beginning of this article) is a solenoid valve mounted to the back of the head, directly behind the intake camshaft. In it's "resting state" (off), it allows oil which had entered the front of the camshaft to drain back out through the rear. Once activated, the VTC solenoid "plunger" presses on a check-valve at the rear of the cam, effectively blocking the flow of oil from leaving the cam through the rear. This forces oil to pressurize the front chamber in the VTC gear at the front of the cam.

    VTC Gear
    Credit to Ash for the original photo.

    The intake gears on equipped Zs (all but USDM 1996 models) featured an internal helical piston assembly. It was made up of three basic components:
    The main gear, which actually comes into contact with the timing belt. The inside of the gear housing had helical teeth all the way around the inside of it.
    The Inner Shaft. This part connects directly to the camshaft and has a helical teeth all the way around the outside of it.
    The Helical "piston". This part was a sort of metal "ring" with helical teeth on the inside and outside of it. This went between the two halves.
    When the VTC Solenoid is activated, it allows oil to flow into the front of the gear and pressurize. This pushes the helical piston back (towards the engine). Because the piston links the inner shaft and outer housing via helical teeth, the movement towards the engine causes the inner shaft (and thus, the camshaft) to rotate the camshaft about 20 degrees clockwise.
  15. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!


    Front brakes where pretty worn so swapped the pads for some that I bought in a box of random stuff I bought a while ago. Unfortunately these pads made a horrendous squeal that proved rather embarrassing on the last Perth Z cruise.
    Bought some Ultimate pads and decided to machine the discs as well just to make sure there was no problem there and as I am a machinist really it would be rude not too!!
    Ended up only taking 0.5mm total off each disc, just enough to true them up and take out the wear pattern.
    Here's some pretty photos. :)




    I was trying to insert a video of the machining but cant seem to do it, can anyone help with that?
  16. scottyoz1962

    scottyoz1962 Active Member

  17. SIM300


    I had a intake sprocket fail and cause a messy leak also. Thought it was the cam seal but like you after putting in a new one there was still a leak, I had never heard of the sprocket failing and causing a leak until I encountered it myself almost a decade ago now.
  18. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!

    News flash

    Unfortunately the news is not very flash.
    Pulled out of work last Wednesday and stopped in some traffic, went to drive off and no go, no drive in any gear. Managed to roll back down the hill and park her up, towed back to work the next day. One very nackered transmission, there was no warning signs, strange noises or anything, just a box full of neutrals.

    This vehicle really is trying it's best to grind me down, my mental state was pretty black for a couple of days.
    So today took some time off and swapped out the trans, going back to the original one that should be fine but who really knows with second hand gear.
    Unfortunately I wasn't able to use the high stall converter from the blown trans as it will be contaminated with crap from whatever failed inside the box.
    Should be ready to run again next week, waiting on a drive shaft centre bearing as this one is on its way out.
  19. pmac

    pmac Z,, IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!

    The Big Wrap Up

    After a lot of thought, advice, prices umming ar arring etc, I decided to vinyl wrap the Z. My mainly consideration was that it would work out a lot cheaper and I could do it myself.
    The colour I decided on (after another month or so of pondering and research) was Matt Griego (grey) by Avery Denison. It's actually more of a titanium colour which is exactly what I wanted.
    My main problem was that the car had had such a crap paint job last time that the whole thing required rubbing back to 600 grit as well as repairing dents scrapes etc.
    Hers a photo essay of the progress.

    Just after this photo was taken I had an epic fail. In the top left of the photo there are a few wrinkles, I was lifting the wrap to reposition it when it pulled up a hand sized section of paint about 3 layers deep. Needless to say I was less than amused. So that's the largest section of wrap on the whole car which had to be scrapped, filled painted and sanded, a day later I was back to where I started.

    Loosing the indicators.
    Wrapping the rear bar, by far the most difficult opperation, especially with no one around to help.
    I went for a half and half look here, still not convinced that I'll keep it.
    I reckon thats a sexy booty!!!!!!!!!!!
    Also pimped out the tail lights and infill panel with some tint film, makes all of the plastic work look a uniform shade.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2015
  20. Jinxed

    Jinxed Moderator

    looking good mate, big improvemnt from the old paintwork......

    your car keeps getting better and better aye!

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