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G1en's 95% race car 5% stickers Zed build


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Right, lets bring this upto date a little. 

So with the hillclimb season over it was time to see what I could spend some money on to get the car a step forward. All cosmetic enhancements went out of the window a while back so it was only functional upgrades from now.

With the car handling about as good as it can get (well sort of, more on that later) the obvious other major consideration is power so still not having the budget or desire/worry for turbos I decided to put some high lift cams in so booked in at @Jez @ H-Dev in November.

I smartly booked the MOT for the week before as apparently sport/race cams can make it very hard to pass an MOT, needless to say it did get through although one of the readings, can't remember which, was right on the limit for pass/fail which is probably to do with the cobra sports cats possibly degrading.

So off I popped for the 200 miles to Horham and dropped off the car Tuesday and arranged to collect Friday.



Now the list of Jobs I left them with was quite extensive and not known to me at the time was about to get even bigger.


Many of you will know one of the very few flaws on the 350z HR motor is the dread oil gallery gaskets, so even though I have never had any issues with the oil pressure and the car is on around 70k it only seemed right that whilst the engine was apart, we may as well get the gaskets replaced with the uprated version for peace of mind, it also makes financial sense as the cost is minimal if the engine is stripped already. 




The great thing with trusted garage such as Horsham Developments is the guys ring you with updates as they are going along especially if they hit any snags/issues. The gallery gaskets in the main were still ok, which is obviously why my pressure has been fine to date but Craig did say one part had broken loose and over time would have failed so like many HRs, they WILL need doing at some point even if you have an unblemished service record. This was mine below:




I also decided to purchase an uprated fuel pump, even though not required because I wasn't going Forced induction, for peace of mind and to keep my credit card busy I insisted anyway as the existing pump was now almost 12 years old and after reading up on it, the oem pump is surprisingly small/low pressure, whatever the correct terminology is. I think (but don't quote me) the standard fuel pump is 90 l/min where as the uprated one Horsham offer is something like 210-250 l/min so again, it just means peace of mine and I am not gonna have a lack of fuel when thrashing it on track.




So next on the build list was hardrace engine mounts, now for the last few months I have experienced a lot of juddering or wheel hopping when setting off that I put down to worn engine mounts or because most parts underneath were polybushed and I already had the hardrace gearbox mount, I assumed this was the last sloppy piece in the jigsaw, it was only when they got it up on the ramp that they told me the likely real cause.




The front ultra racing strut brace (not the w brace) that I replaced last year had been hit/bent so many times (due to the car being so low, me going off track and bottoming out over humps/bumps) that 2 of the 6 fixing bolts had sheered off and the 2 banana arm poly bushes either side had been ripped out of the arms, this may well explain the progressive vaugeness in steering I had put down to wear and tear (turns out it was quite literally wear and tear)

So added to the list of jobs was new banana arm poly bushes and a new front brace, OEM this time sourced speedily from @ZMANALEX as its much stronger and a full alignment required. I also asked them to raise the front coilovers as much as they could and lower the rear slightly. I had always been under the impression they were on the maximum height but it turns out they were kind of in the middle of the adjustment range so we were able to raise the front suspension around 20mm and lower the rear around 10mm which has made a big difference to front clearance for speed humps and now the car sits kind of level rather than raked lower to the front which should also help me get off the line as the centre of mass will move slightly rearwards (if you ever watch old rallying with the escorts you will notice the rear end is always squatted lower to the ground for traction)


So, finally, all the routine yearly service tasks were carried out, new titan race oil, new coolant, new diff oil, and its was aligned to my request, the few bumps and scrapes over the year had knocked the alignment out slightly so its always best to get it done every year. we went for the maximum the camber arms would give us on the front (-2.5) It was -3 at some point in the past but raising the suspension means you take off camber, conversely, lowering a car adds camber, not teaching anyone to suck eggs. and -1.5 on the rear with neutral toe, as I have mentioned before, I find this is a good neutral setup for my driving style and having a square tyre setup eliminates a lot of the terrible understeer the standard car offers. 


Onto the dyno, now Horsham were disappointed with the results and they think a CAT may be degraded/blocking some of the exhaust gases, this may well be the case as it keeps throwing up the same EML light periodically which is O2 sensor 1 &2 Bank 1 but I don't have the time/money to sort the exhaust so that's something for future, it could also be the manifold but its not major as it did make 10bhp over last time which was 2 years ago. They did not have a start point as apparently with new cams you can't do a base run/before run as you need to download different things to ecu or it runs like a pig. so we are basing this against last dyno printout, previous in this build thread which as stated is 2 years ago, the car may have naturally lost some power since then, who know, I know I have never changed the K&N air filters so that may restrict the airflow, anyway, we still got an improvement at the top end which is where I need it for track driving and it seems obvious the Tomie cams are working as the power is still there/increasing at red line. Its hard to tell whether I will see any actual time improvements (watch this space) but the sound at WOT is proper race car now and amazing. shame I cannot de-cat the exhaust because of hillclimb regs (and general mot regs!) as it would sound even better and release even more power (another reason the gains had been low) all the cars previously dyno with high lift cams had been de-catted and uprated cold air intakes for breathing, so although slightly disappointed, I know I can certainly get more power down the line if I sort out the intake and exhaust.




Coming next, I attempt to paint the front bumper plus other TLC jobs on the car.

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After spending most of last year with a bare polyurethane bumper I decided to get round to giving it a lick of paint. The original plan was to either get it professionally sprayed or wrapped but with both options costing around £250-£300 I plumped for me having a go with rattle cans at a cost of £50 all in, so here was the line-up:




Now I will be up front and say the final outcome is not that great. The orange peel is more like a Spanish orchard of naranjas BUT from afar, and by afar I imply something like 200mtrs you cant tell. In hindsight, I should of wet sanded the clearcoat, before that I should not skimped on the main colour and bought 3 cans instead of 2 and I have no idea how long it will even stay on the bumper anyway as many internet threads worn of the perils of painting polyurethane, even the paint shop and a vehicle paint repair man who was in at the same time as me had different views as to what you do/don't do or need. So with that and me confused as hell, I purchased some cans and thought to myself, even if it turns out terrible, its only a bumper and can be re-done or wrapped later on.


Below you will see the 6 stages from top left to bottom right. Firstly I had already cleaned the bumper before sanding with 400/800 grit sandpaper and wiping clean with panel wipe and painters wipes. Next I sprayed the adhesion aid, this didn't stick and cover as I expected, I'm not sure you should use it or not but some places say to so I did, because it kind of run, I smeared it across the surface with a cloth and let it become tacky before applying another coat and doing the same. Maybe I didn't clean/degrease/sand properly to start with, maybe its the wrong product, I havn't got a scooby. All I knew was I was carrying on regardless. Next I sprayed the high build primer (again, I asked for a plastic primer and got told at the shop this was best) It seemed to go on great and the adhesion promotor definitely must have helped. Next was the base colour, I had it mixed to the car colour, I sprayed 2 coats as I had 2 cans and because its a large bumper it took almost a can per coat. This just isn't enough really as you can tell in the odd spot at the finish where you can see there is barely and black paint in areas. The other problem with spray cans is because I was mainly spraying downwards, every now and then I would get a drop of paint fall off the nozzle and onto the bumper making a blob here and there. I tried to wipe one off with my finger only to find it took the whole paint off back to primer so quickly realised I would just have to live with it or spend hours refining the finish afterwards. Final stage was 2 coats of 2k clearcoat. Now 2k is, I am told, a chemical resistant clearcoat like normally found on your car and is resistant to petrol/oils, "normal" clearcoat is not, its all a learning curve. I let that dry and then weeped at the results.


I decided to push ahead and ""protect" my work of sh**e 

I used some old polish I had in the garage, some scholl deep cut, then general cut/finish grade to try and flat out the orange peel but it didn't it, it just served to enhance the shininess of the turd I had created, Anyways I could just not be bothered with wet sanding or starting again so my intention was to coat the bumper with Gtechniq EXO I had left from doing the car but as soon as I tried panel wiping the finish to get the polish remnents off it made all the paint go really weird. it was like I was scratching the finish and creating marks and dull spots so I quickly stopped and got the cutting polish back out which got the finish back to the shiny turd. I changed approach and grabbed something else I had in the garage instead, some ptfe polish followed by hydro-coat from carchem, This went on fine and ggive the very thin paint another layer of protection. 




So, What have we learnt?

1- Part of what you are paying for professionally is the "expertise" and right equipment to do a great job

2- If you attempt something like this, make sure you do several weeks training on your index finger as by the end I couldn't even press the nozzle down

3- Polyurethane may or may not be harder than other materials? I don't know

4- I will probably have to pay someone to sort it later this year anyway as either A- The paint will flake off or B- I will crash and take the paint off


Anyway, onto some easier tasks, I had not had a right front arch liner for a while after my wheel decided to chew the original one up so whilst the car was off the road I purchased a cheap replica off ebay. Now normally I would not recommend buying cheap Chinese tat but at around £25 I though it was worth a punt. It came rolled up in a tube, not great I thought, but after opening it sprung into some sort of shape and because its a much more plyable type of plastic than the OEM one, you can bend and shape it really easily. I had a big shock when I put it in the arch and it fit perfectly with all the holes lining up for the clips, RESULT for once:




Next, after stating in last post, I had not checked my K&N filters for 3 years I thought I best do, turns out they are still very clean, just a little shrubbery stuck in them from grassy excursions but much better than expected, They are good for at least another year or two.




Finally, anyone that has transported wheels and tyres in their car will know its a pain and can be messy so I plumped for some wheel covers which will keep the wheels dry/clean/safe and look the part too. They even indicate which wheel on the car it is so should prevent any errors when swapping wheels in a rush on track. Before I put the wheels to bed I gave the front two a clean and re-coated with gtechniq C5 as after changing the brake fluid last year some spilt onto the inner drums eating into the finish and staining them so that was 95% sorted now and re-protected for the next "incident"




Harewood Practice day coming this month, then 3 championship rounds booked, JPS show at Coventry booked for August. Onwards and upwards....

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I can't keep up on these bulk updates, we need drip feeding for these rest of 2020. Tomei cams, nice!!! Did you go for the Pon or Pro cams? Such a shame you can't bin the failing HFC's in favour for some art pipes as there's still more hp to be had. 


Oh no with the DIY paint effort, tip always us your thumb as it's way stronger than any finger. Warm the cans up in a mugs of hot water helps the application also. Spraying down for such a larger surface with a rattle can be problematic. Definitely lessons learnt and fair play for attempt such a larger item yourselves. 

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@davey_83 ive seen trigger attachments that go on the top of rattle cans which i would get if i was doing this again. I never realised how weak and pathetic your finger gets constantly pressing a trigger. I was struggling to wipe my back side for 2 days due to lack of finger dexterity. Anyway moving on....


@andy james my free time is the 2 hours little mason sleeps at lunchtime. Ella, now 9 is coming to the age for girls when she cant stand dad, another couple of years and she will be hurling abuse at me. Lol

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  • 2 months later...

Update 17/05/20


Well what a crazy couple of months its been for the world. As if life isn't stressful enough, its goes and throws a biblical plague in the form of Covid-19 at everyone. I'm sure like most people, the end of March was summed up with one line, What the F-KFC is going on? The company I work for closed all branches the following morning after the "Stay at home Message" and being a branch manager meant my workload went crazy having to do HR and Security things completely out of the normal. Anyway, I am back at work now but its going to be a long time before we see "normal" again. Putting a hold on the wax and shine hobby could have come at just the right time or completely wrong time depending if your glass is half empty or half full. It got me out of all the extra work, uncertainty and financial ties but going by this forum and the wider social media, I reckon I could have shifted a boat load of car cleaning goodies as everyone has been washing their cars 5 times a week. It is as they say history now and luckily for me my employers have paid most staff in full so I am very thankfull for that.

My main use for the 350z is enjoying it competing at Hillclimbing as you will have gathered by now but unfortunately, like all other sports, many events have been cancelled. As it stands currently, no motorsport is going to happen before July at the earliest so I will just have to see when and If the Zed can stretch its legs this year. I must say, on the couple of occasions I have took her out for a blast just to keep the juices flowing and battery charged, it felt like a different animal now its got the tomei cams and tune.

So, speaking of keeping the battery going, I decided to invest the money I wasn't spending of Mcdonalds and KFC during this lockdown on a Lithium-Ion battery. I saw a post on this forum about someone getting one and couldn't believe the price. I thought they were around 700-800 quid (and they are at demon-tweeks and the like) but this one from Powerlite is only £250 ish and in theory should be fine for the Zed. it says on their website something about upto 4ltr engines I think. So here it is next to the Bosch S4 I took out:



So as you might guess, first problem was the size and getting it secured down in the battery bay. The height was too low for the standard clamp so onto bodge 1, how to make it sit higher, after trip to local car parts store and wandering the isles, I came up with this:




4 cork sanding blocks gaffer taped together which would raise the battery to a "standard" height. Cork is fairly dense so shouldn't squash under pressure, its water tight now with the tape over and it doesn't slide when secured down so its a win in my eyes. It now fits:




I then proceeded to connect the terminals only for the positive to be too loose and not secure enough, as the copper terminals are tapered it was just sliding off, time for bodge-it number 2, thanks to the forum again, I remember reading about using a bit of thin copper to wrap around the post thus so enlarging the diameter. I nipped down to B&Q to find some.

On entering the carpark on a Saturday lunchtime, I was greeted with a queue that stretched for what seemed like 4 and a half miles to get in. with nothing else to do that day, another negative of lockdown, I waited in line, truth be told it was around a hour wait to get in, where I found these bad boys:




Just the ticket I assumed, so I cut off the nibs and measured around the copper terminal like so:




My delight soon turned to "what a fc*kwit" as the copper sleeve was too big to fit inside the positive terminal and at that point I realised that the terminals were 2 different sizes and I had attached them to the battery the wrong way round, after swapping them over , both were coupled up no hassle and I threw the B&Q purchase at the wall shouting a few obsbletives for good measure. Now please take pity on me as I had wasted 2 hours of my life to learn this valuable lesson that had never dawned on me, you see when you buy a battery, you just connect it up, you never usually have to attached the terminals to it and because they look the same size, I assumed they were, anyway turned out bodge number 2 was not needed and here it is, sat in all its glory and the car sitting 13KGs? lighter so win win. As a side note, it actually served its secondary reason for purchase, it started the car!

took it for a quick blast, charged up fine, it has a handy button on the top that you press and it shows you the voltage, apparently anything over 13 is fine. It read 13.9 after a drive, the car has been sat for a week and I tested today and it shows 13.6 so by quick man maths that tells you when its coupled up and powering the alarm etc. it will be good for around 3 weeks before needing to be started/topped up. Will keep an eye on it.




Next Quarentine job that you wouldn't normally do but do because your bored and trying to fill time was Gold reflective tape for the intakes. Now this can be a bit marmite, and after looking online its a bit like the whole intake debate, their is no conclusive proof reflective tape actually helps lower intake temps so armed with this "its a waste of time" info I proceeded to start and waste my time. The tape was £20 for 10mt which was enough to do the 2 air boxes (apart from the bottoms) I had a little left over but I have silicone hoses for top part so didn't need it/ use it on those. First things first, air boxes out, found a little surface rust around some bolts so got the small wire brush out, why not hey, while we are in there.




Though about hammerite but didn't have a little brush to hand so had a tin of bilt hamber Dynax-s50 left so sprayed some of this over to protect it:




Next I thought I would check the intakes just to see if there was any oil/crap build up. Great news, they looked very clean including the throttle body which kind of confirms as well why the car hardly uses any oil. Fingers crossed It looks like I have a good engine.




So, onto the arts and crafts. The design of the stupid air boxes meant it took my half a day to tape these thing up. I wanted them to look semi-decent so didn't just wrap he tape all the way around like some Egyptian mummy, instead I cut out bits to sit between the various fins and nobbly bits. It was never gonna be perfect but thanks to my patience we ended up with this:




I also noticed the foam was hanging off where the intake connects to the duct behind the bumper. I don't know how functional this is as when I have sorted it and re-fitted, there is still a gap anyway all way round but it gave me another excuse to play - how long is the queue at B&Q? for anyone that's not played this game, get yourself down, you don't know what your missing. I also played the sister game today aswell - How long will I be, at KFC? that was only 30 mins and was well worth it. back to the post, purchase some foam draught excluder and wrapped around like so:




Intakes complete, I reinstalled and admired my work, definitely need some more gold now in the bay to complement it, possibly paint the engine cover and strut brace? I reckon they are now good for an extra 0.1hp Can't wait to find out.

Keep safe everyone and hopefully we can get doing some normal stuff soon if the small minority of idiots don't ruin it for us.



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Good work on the battery. I had one that was working on my VX but leave it a couple of weeks and it was dead...changing the battery on a VX is a nightmare, so I put it off but in the end just did it and now it fires up on the button each time, fantastic! And yes, you need to gold the rest of the engine bay now!

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Those air boxes are a work of art! Reminds me of the gold reflective surfaces on satellites and spacecraft. And it’s not just for bling if there’s the smallest chance it could help performance, so all is good. 

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@msitpro 267 whp think it was, they were dissapointed as usually they are 10-20bhp more but all others dyno,d with cam swap had  decats, headers and full cold air intakes, i have to have cats for racing so it restricts the flow obviously but does leave me with option of increasing in future. Forgetting the numbers the torque/power is noticeable above 5k and it sounds great. 

@Kieran O'Quick as soon as i posted the battery jobby i knew you would be on it. It has slightly more CCA than a standard battery but only half the AH. And im fairly sure you cant jump these off, you have to recharge them with a dedicated charger so thats the risk. 

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Yeah, in theory it should be fine. Its supposed to have an overcharge/undercharge safety cut off anyway so it wont charge above a certain voltage and cuts off to protect itself when it drops below a set voltage. The bonus is it displays the voltage when you press the button on it so will see how it goes

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15 hours ago, G1en said:

@msitpro 267 whp think it was, they were dissapointed as usually they are 10-20bhp more but all others dyno,d with cam swap had  decats, headers and full cold air intakes, i have to have cats for racing so it restricts the flow obviously but does leave me with option of increasing in future. Forgetting the numbers the torque/power is noticeable above 5k and it sounds great. 

@Kieran O'Quick as soon as i posted the battery jobby i knew you would be on it. It has slightly more CCA than a standard battery but only half the AH. And im fairly sure you cant jump these off, you have to recharge them with a dedicated charger so thats the risk. 

There must be something wrong with those cats.... I've read that 200 cell cats have probably less than 1hp restriction on our engines. It's only once you get to 1000-1500hp they become worth worrying about. Online articles I studied were lab tests on american V8s and also another smaller engined car with OEM cats vs 200 cell vs no cats.


So it sounds to me like maybe one of them has dislodged and is blocking flow drastically.


I hit 269hp@6800rpm @ hubs on my 04 DE with headers (your HR has very good headers stock), 3" exhaust, 3x 200 cell cats, full intake and Kinetix Velocity plenum - stock cams.


I'd be expecting 290-295 whp from an HR with say 270 deg cams, exhaust, sports cats. On Abbey's hub dyno maybe even 300 @ hubs.





I'm really really interested in that battery as well - been looking at them but like you say, everything that fits the spec seemed to be £700-900.

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Horsham did say they thought the cats were degraded/blocking the flow. I may have to swap them over, i need a new y pipe anyway so could renew and see what that does. Thanks for the info  

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  • 3 months later...

Update 06/09/2020


Just a small update as like for most people, Covid has ruined this year but at least we have our Zeds to put a smile on our faces. After last update and being bored with the standard engine cover I decided to buy some gold spray cans and give a touch of colour to the bay and try and make the shiney air boxes blend in a little more. It turned out ok and certainly captures the eye when i open the hood now. Is it ok to say hood, watching all this youtube content in lockdown has me fully americanised.



I then had my first hillclimb event of the year at the beginning of August (finally) and while i was a little rusty it just about stayed dry all day and it was refreshing to stretch the cars legs, although i had taken it out for some spirited drives over the summer, its not the same as actually flooring it on a track. My times were a little off but very consistent, in the 65's all day with best being 65.64 and good enough for second in class (out of 13)  



During August I decided to have another go and painting the front bumper. I had rushed it far too quickly last time resulting in a shower of s6!t finish and it may be no show car anymore, it still needs to be presentable in the paddock. So bumper spray job part duex ensued and this time putting the base colour down as a mist, 3 light coats followed by one light clear coat, then 2 heavy coats of clear. left overnight to dry/cure. then wet sanded back with P800 and P1200 resulting in this:



Then hand polished with a gtechniq hand polishing sponge, course side (white) with some scholl S3 compound i had left then the soft side (black) with some S40 for the finish. I opted to do by hand with plenty of elbow grease as the DA polisher was just not cutting it. It was taking 3 times as long to get the same results. Just confirming that DA machines may be great for finishing they are too "safe" for heavy cutting if required. Anyway final result was this, which for a diy job in the garage i was happy with, overall 6/10 rather than the 2/10 i had before. I did finish with my right bicep a good 1" bigger than my left counterpart:



What I will add is that if like me, you decide to do this inside, cover everything. I masked up the floor in front and the engine bay and wheels behind but the overspray from the base coat and clear goes f-ing everywhere! literally, it gets where water can't. Luckily as the car is ceramic coated, the layer of whatever it is was sat on top of the paintwork so a quick snowfoam and wash afterwards cleared the mess, not sure how lucky i would have been if either the car paint was "bare" or i'd left it several days/weeks before cleaning.

Next up was installing some bits i'd had lying around for months. If you have read this build from the beginning then apart from being in solitary confinement with only this to look at, you will know that I have had issues with the clutch fluid boiling. I put some heat sleeve on all the lines I could see running close to the cats (obviously the heat issue is made worse by the high flow cats not having heat shields like the OEM ones. I also wrapped the main clutch line in some gold tape i had left over from the air boxes and then (after this photo) cable tied where i needed to make sure everything stayed in placed.




Then I had been umming and arring for a while on whether to put some heat wrap on the exhaust so just bit the bullet and went for it. I had 10mt of volcano wrap bought on E-bay. It doesn't state what volcano it comes from but i suspect its one in China!! This was only enough to do the CATS so i had to purchase some more from a local car shop. This was the standard fibreglass stuff which is all they had so i used that for the y-pipe and finished it off there, I think there is little point doing any further along, there may be little point doing any of the exhaust reading the internet but what the hell. I started the car and left it running for 15-20 mins to cure the wrap as per instructions. It does smoke a bit and stinks and you certainly have to open the hood if your stationary to let the smoke/fumes out. The next day i sprayed some high temp silicone spray over the wrap purchased from Demon-Tweeks which supposidly helps seal the exterior preventing moisture and dirt getting engrained into the wrap and causing corrosion. 

The problem I have is that i was doing this in the garage with car on axle stands, I barely had enough room to scratch my ar5e let alone install the wrap so it wasn't anywhere near as tight as it should be and I struggled to get it taught around the cats which chamfer out and in, I just had to do best i could and use lots of jubilee clips but there are still small gaps here and there so crap can get in. Worth noting i used white silicone spray so finish isn't the most aesthetically pleasing but it was the only colour in stock, you can get black and others if you prefer.



While under the car i chose to put some underseal around the kidney brackets as like many, they were starting to rust even though i'd protected them previously, so out with the wire brush to scrape off the loose rust and brush on a heavy coat of underseal:




I have just remembered, I paid another visit to Horsham sometime in the last few months to try and sort out an issue I had with the revs dropping and car spluttering around 2k revs. I also needed to get the car mapped again as i had also replaced the high flow cats and y-pipe courtesy of @buster in order to try and free up a few more ponies. It was after this install the car developed the problem with the revs (nothing to do with the exhaust) As usual for me I didn't take any photos at Tarmac HQ or Horsham but it was great to see Bob again and the guys at Tarmac for the first time, you don't need me to tell you, pay them a visit if you need anything for your Zed, likewise the guys at Horsham. Jez did manage to replicate the stuttering and put it down to the VVT controllers sticking which is a semi-common fault. He has managed to map most of it out and get me 2 extra BHP so its only evident in nuetral now but to fix it for good i am gonna need some used VVT bits from Zmanalex at £200 or new from Nissan at £2k I know which way i will be going.

Fast forward to last week and it was the second event at Harewood, weather was the same as previous, dry but very cold for August (about 14 degrees) and very windy on the hill so it was never going to be a record setting day but nether the less on Run 2 I put in a flawless run to net a 64.61 Think this is third best ever so given the conditions and the fact the grip was just not there, i was chuffed, every corner on the run hooked up and i even managed to get the car launched semi-reasonable. I have just come to the conclusion that starting "normally" and feeding the throttle in over 2-3 seconds is quicker than any other method at Harewood. Overall I was second in class again (out of 12) missing out on win by 0.15 secs



Car was looking good, just noticed I have also fitted some quick release bolts for front bumper as i was fed up cutting my hands getting into the wheel wells every month. Another quick mod although I cringed when i was drilling the wings (fenders if you like) I have actually done a fair bit looking back. Photo below of some of the class, including a fully stripped out GT4 Aston (that if it was a regular championship event I don't think would be in this class)




And Finally last week, the family and I had a much needed break in Wales. I will leave you with the view from the top of our hill:



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Unreal to think you was able to polish that back up by hand wow!! you must be chuffed. Bumper great, heat wrap effort though.......

Very much worth removing the y pipe (x6 nuts/bolt) to do neat, as its only a job you ever want to do once. Also when on the move going forward in the wet means, water will collect the way you've installed the wrap ie starting front to back instead of back to front if that makes sense. You want the folds to be facing towards the rear of the car so any water just hits and runs off rather than collects. Ideally also the wraps needed to be installed damp, this allows for tighter fitting and when you start the car the burning smell goes after the first drive and doesn't come back. Correct head wrap ties are very cheap also and wont attract heat soak nearly as much as a jubilee.




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Yes mate, yours looks much neater and more like a pro job. I suppose its easier when you stick to the same size pipe. With the cats and flexis i was going over and with no room to move under the car along with starting at the wrong end which i didnt realise was an issue until after it was never gonna be great. I guess at some point i may end up pulling it all off and doing again (bit like the bumper) do it once, screw it up, leave it a bit then do it right next time round. 
what i would say is it does seem to have given me a few extra bhp as at last event i was hitting rev limiter in places a good few metres before i ever have previously so definitely think it helps with both temps and getting the gases out quicker, just need to find out how long the bodge will last...

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  • 1 month later...

Mid September saw the last 2 events at Harewood in a condensed covid hit year. I must say the weather has been great for the few events we have had. This was a full weekend Saturday and Sunday to finish with. Saturday was near perfect conditions for the zed, cool enough at around 20 deg to get some cooler air into the engine and not worry about heal soak but sunny enough to warm the tyres and track up. Sunday started very drizzly then gradually dried up and warmed up as the day progressed to finish with similar conditions to Saturday meaning times just got faster and faster on the day. 
pic below of the weekends backdrop:


timing wise, this resulted in me breaking my personal best several times, The car was feeling great and i even managed some quick getaways at around the 2.5 sec mark. Now this is a little misleading as we were starting about 500mm behind the start beam European style so this got everyone a tenth or so but even still, I will take consistent 2.6 sec 64ft times all day and the key to this new launch?

Starting as if on the road, i know, it peed me off as well. ignore the rev level and clutch point and just pull away as normal (kind of what you do instinctively) then feed in the power over a second or two. 
Anyhow, this helped me achieve a PB of 64.09 on the Saturday and 64.17 on the Sunday. 
getting very close to a 63 now which i think would be incredible for a NA heavy Zed. Must admit i felt a few of the runs were near on perfect and very little (if any) room for improvement. I mean three years of flying up a 64 second hill leaves me chasing hundredths now, not tenths and much depends on the conditions. 
Really pleased with how the car is now though, there was just a small annoyance in that it was pulling/steering slightly left, not massive but noticeable on the motorway when nice flat road with no camber so after reading up online, i realise this can be dangerous i decided to attempt a diy alignment fix whilst putting on the standard rays for the winter. 
There were 2 reasons for the car pulling left. First, the camber was maxed out both sides at the front on the adjustable arms, this was done to keep things simple, max camber, max attack, if it gets knocked, easy to put back, but this resulted in the drivers side being around 15 minutes more than the passenger side, also the castor was around the same 15 minutes more. (Toe was identical from prev alignment) so although only minor and on a standard car you may not ever notice, on a race prepped machine with poly bushes, stiff springs, anti roll bars etc it accentuates the tiniest of variants. So armed with my impact gun and torque wrench i decided to have a go safe in the knowledge i would not be driving it in earnest for a while. 
I started by measuring out the adjustability on the camber plates which was around 3.5 deg then trying to work out how little gap was 15 minutes, basically its a small one, around 3mm, so adjusted that back, then tried to find online the castor specs along with my last printout. The passenger side was right on the upper limit (8.55mins) drivers side was just over 9 deg (out of spec) luckily the eibach camber arms also have adjustable caster plates that can adjust the castor either .5 .75 or 1 deg plus or minus so taking .5 off the passenger and .75 off the drivers side meant they were almost identical number wise and bang in the middle of tolerance  oem spec wise, win win. This left me with one last issue, when you change camber it affects toe so i needed to tweak the toe on the drivers side to compensate for the 15minutes less camber. 
back to the tinterwebs and the zed American forum had someone do some self alignment and worked out (rightly or wrongly) i may never know that 1/8th turn on the tie rods resulted in 15 mins toe which is what i needed so thats what i did. 
wheels back on, jumped in and took the girl out for a quick spin and to my amazement she handled superb, 100% straight on the flat and following the camber of the road both left and right as applicable. Now i don’t condone everyone to self align as in my defence i was only tweaking the front, i dare say if the camber/toe was way off i would have probably screwed it up even further but nevertheless i was chuffed to bits with this. 

Fresh from above i decided to do a yearly service myself ready for the winter and mot next month, so i purchased these along with some new copper and alloy washers in various sizes as i wasn't sure which size i would need for the oil sump plug and diff plugs. 


I decided to soak the differential drain and fill plugs in wd40 to be working away whilst i jacked up the front and took off the undertray. Then off with the oil sump plug and drain the oil filling up my oil pan to the brim (which was significant) I then looked at the oil filter and thought, this could be awkward. It was! As i have an oil cooler, the lines run to the sandwich plate attached to the filter meaning there is next to no room, enough to get your hand in but i couldn’t get any grip/leverage to twist the oil filter off so I had to resort to the smack a screwdriver through and turn. Problem was i only had space for the screwdriver to turn less than an inch and it was bending as well as tearing the metal case of the filter as well as not budging as well as covering my arm and the floor in oil. Many expletives later i came to the conclusion i would have to take off the oil cooler lines, cue even more oil pouring over my arms and the floor! Then whacked a long allen key through the filter and just about managed to twist it off, boy was that thing on tight! Not wanting to be in the same predicament next time i made sure the new filter went on hand tight only!

on a plus note, the magnetic plug and oil was in good nick with only minimal metal particles, pic below:


new washer and cleaned plug back in, refilled with the fuchs oil and after about 3 hours finally that was done, spin car around and jack the rear end up now. Now the upside (and downside) of having a plated diff like my Kaaz is that you have to change the oil yearly as it uses mineral oil rather than synthetic which doesn't have the same longevity but this means that the plugs get removed regularly so came out easy as pie. Again like the engine oil, the gear oil seemed in very good condition with the magnetic plug again only having a small amount of metal particles stuck to it (around 4 or 5 but actual metal bits 1mm rather than shavings) not bad for a diff that takes a fair amount of abuse. 


Then i got to use my new oil transfer pump and filled with fresh dedicated kaaz gear oil, halfway through i was pumping away not paying attention when the plastic tube popped out of the fill hole and topped up the pool of oil that was now soaking into the tarmac. I used an 18mm internal diameter copper washer for the plugs if anyone wants to know, you could also use a 17.5mm

Plugs back in, quick drive out and all was fine, put back away in garage with no leaks or oil drops on garage floor so a productive Sunday afternoon. I finished off by parking the wifes car over the 2ft wide oil stained tarmac and waited to see if she would ring me at work the next day to say her car might have an oil leak. Still waiting...

Just the MOT to do in November, will see how the kinetix high flow cats get on, not had any engine light come on since installing so fingers crossed then I like everyone am looking forward to next year when we “may” have some car shows and a full season of racing. 

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  • 3 months later...

Latest update Jan 2021

With the Zed in hibernation over winter i decided to eventually do what many folk do and replace the archaic stereo whilst at the same time removing the sat-nav and bose amps and anything else i found related with the view of modernising the system whilst saving any weight i could which would be an added bonus. 
So i set about removing trim and screws and clips to see how many i could lose over time as this took a few weeks doing a couple of hours after work a couple of nights a week. 
First thing i took advantage of when removing the centre console was that 6th gear has always been a crunch if not slowly guided in. I think i read somewhere that adjusting the shifter plate can somewhat alleviate this so i slacken off the bolts and reset the plate in the best position i could so (when stationary) all the gears engage smoothly. Whether this equates to no crunch in 6th i will have to wait and see. Worth noting though that i initially moved the plate to the furthest right i could but then i could not get 5th or 6th as it sets the stop point past the channel to engage 5th/6th so i had to apply a little trial and error. 

I then carried on taking all the trim pieces out from behind the seats and in the boot area to see what i could find. 
Now to my surprise there is a fair amount of wiring, amps, nav, audio stuff lurking in the orifices of the Zed. So without thinking too much about it i think i removed:

main head unit radio/tape/cd changer

sat nav screen and control panel

sub and amp and mount behind drivers seat

tray and some module behind passenger seat

bluetooth unit in centre console

sat nav cd unit behind seats

speakers behind seats

speakers in doors

amp unit plus sat nav aerial plus metal cage in boot. 
This left loads of wires and connectors unplugged so was unsure how this would impact the new head unit. I decided for ease of install plus weight saving i would just fit new speakers behind the seats and run new speaker wire straight from new stereo. 
So i bought this basic setup from halfords, again as sad as this may seem, i bought a lightweight non cd unit so its a single din but also only half the size of a normal single din, who has a load of cds in their car anyway now?



Because of the diminutive nature of the unit this created its own challenge in securing it into the 350z centre console. I had bought the fascia adaptor so that was fine but i had to use a little fabrication to secure the head unit to the fascia. 


Fortunately for me, as i already have an aftermarket steering wheel i don’t require or have use of steering wheel controls so just purchased the basic non bose iso connector hoping this would be ok. 
I soldered the new speaker cable into the harness for the relevant rear left and right speaker wires and run them past the gear stick and handbrake and into the housing behind the seats. There are plenty of holes and voids for this making it very easy. In the pic below the new cable is the orangey wire, you can see the new stereo in the hole where the bose sub was to see how compact it is. 


Fitted the new speakers which again went straight into the existing holes using the same bolts. Very straight forward when you do a bit of research first and get the correct size. 6.5” for anyone wanting to do this. 


So with the stereo fitted, speakers in and coupled up. I was left with 2 holes in the dash where the sat nav screen and control panel used to be. I bought a sheet of 3mm black plastic that i cut down to blank these off. The screen part was easy as its just a rectangle so i just put a small bolt/nut either side. The plan for this area moving forward is to house a GPS lap timer/analytics unit so i can make best use of info to improve lap times when i start doing track days in earnest. I have been looking at the Aim solo 2 DL which seems a good bit of kit, you can program the leds for multiple things such as shift lights and the gps timing is accurate to just 2/100th sec. anyway, with it being a nice flat surface i could use it for lots of future options.
The slanted section was a bit more tricky to sort. I have blanked off with plastic best i can but as its sloped and curved it isnt flush. I did manage to use existing fixing points though by tapering some more plastic and screwing through into them. Finally added a few stickers to make it look less plain. 


The little microphone on the rhs is part of the bluetooth stereo and sticks nicely to the side for hands free calling. So at this point I reconnected the battery and fired the stereo up. Now i must admit just having 2 speakers means the sound isn't great but its good enough for my use. The main thing is i have bluetooth calls, apple link up for music and radio. I then realised i had no radio.... or at least no reception anyway. I did a little googling that said the powered aerial needs a turn in signal from the car so battery back off and some more soldering. To try and help others, if you remove the bose amp in the boot, you just about lose all the sound system as everything seems to run through it. I had to connect the remote amp wire (blue) that was on the iso harness to the power wire for the aerial (brown or green) cant exactly remember but the aerial has its own little connector behind the standard head unit. I then figured out that the aerial power or signal runs through the amp so had to cut the connectors off and re-solder together. This was the hardest part of all as aerial wire has an inner and outer copper wire separated by a plastic sleeve. The inner copper strands are so thin they just break when you try and cut through the plastic sleeving so i had to slowly wittle the plastic away to expose the few strands then use plenty of solder and electrical tape to hold together. If you zoom in on pic below you will see what i mean. 


Anyway, result, this sorted the reception and i now have radio again. With that sorted and all the plastic trim off i decided to “bed liner” the boot area. This would get it neatened up, looking better and protect it as well as giving it a little anti slip property. So i bought some bed liner spray cans from local automotive shop. I used a little sandpaper to rough it up first, masked off and sheeted off as much as i could then firstly used the half can of grey primer i had lying in the garage before 2 coats of the black bed liner. 
3 pics below of before, after then after with plastic trim back in. Looks half decent. Also managed to relocate the alarm siron box to the rhs onto a bracket. 






Finally, purchased a new gear gaiter, black suede with red stitching as the original oem one was looking tired. Unfortunately i destroyed my knob extension (insert innuendo) removing the gear knob at the start of this so may have to purchase another if i don't get on with the short shift look and feel of this. 


Next up, touch up handbrake paint as the orange is beginning to come back through. A good blast out as its been a couple of months and a good wash and wax as its filthy. 
Keep Safe, Keep sane everyone. 

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The rays alloys that are on are in need of a refurb so when i refit the ssr wheels i may have a go at refurbing them. Could also pick a colour of choice which would be cool. Always liked the light bronze look. 

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  • 3 months later...

Lets have a little update....

Not much happeened for the first few months of the year during another lockdown but April arrived and so did my 40th birthday. Could not do much as restrictions were in full force but i did get this cake!



Then a few days later it was the first hillclimb of the year at Harewood, no spectators  or catering but it was still good to get out, stretch the Zed and chat to other petroheads. It was nice weather but bitterly cold as you can see from the picture below, there had been a snow flurry through the night (you can make out the snow topped hills in background) and during the day we had all weathers, rain, snow, sun and cloud. Don't think it got above 5 degrees all day so the tyres were never working at optimum but luckily it was the same for everyone.



I was ready to take up battle with Terry once more in his rapid Talbot Sunbeam but unfortunately for him, he could only manage one timed run as he had misfire issues so that put pay to his chances leaving me to take the win in a mediocre 65.63

As mentioned, the track/tyre temp was too low to maximize the Zed and my starts were as usual horrific. I did manage to get a PB in the last sector, steepest part of the track so obviously the cold air did help the intakes and raw power.

1st 350z 65.63

2nd Porsche Cayman S 66.22

3rd Mini JCWorks 66.56

4th Talbot Sunbeam 67.02


Then came the May double header weekend and as many of you will know, much of May has been a washout, It had been P***ing it down all week and was forcast >95% rain for Saturday so friday night I stuck the rays wheels back on with the PS4 tyres, I decided to take the SSR wheels with the Semi slicks on just in case the iphone had got it wrong (and it wouldn't be the first time) Unfortunately the Greater than 95% chance resulted in it absolutely hammering it down all day. I opened the curtains in the morning saying thank god i had put the road tyres on. 

Forgot to say, what a job getting 4 wheels in the Zed along with all my other gear for a race day but it just squeezed in, 2 tyres on passenger seat leaves about half an inch of room to select first gear, wheel in boot, normal position then another balancing on speakers housing and resting against back of seats and everything else crammed in around them. This was the scene at Harewood for all of Saturday:



The picture doesn't really show just how awful it was for everyone, especially the marshalls who were heros on the day. There were actually less "incidents" (crashes) than normal as i think everyone was more intent on trying to stay dry and keeping the car in one piece than actually racing. So with all that and my abysmal history in the wet, I was bricking it. Most people including me were over 80 secs or worse for practice, some were struggling to register a time as it was over the 99.99 on display. But the Michellin PS4 tyres gave me an unexpected confidence in the wet and sure enough i got faster and braver with each run culminating in the last 2 runs registering in 71 secs. I finished feeling that was the best i could do on the day and I think my previous best full wet time (with wet track) was 78 secs with semi slicks so can vouch for what many of you guys may already know that a premium road tyre is better in the wet than a semi slick, and also having driven them in the dry, confirm that the PS4 are a great all rounder. My best time also meant i sneaked the win by just a tenth second and continued my good start to the season.

1st 350z 71.04

2nd BMW M3 71.15

3rd Polo GTI 72.52

4th Mini JCWorks 74.09


Onto the Sunday (9th May) and conditions were forecast to be much better, it was damp to start the day but gradually warmed up and dried out meaning the afternoon runs were approaching optimal if never quite getting there. I did the first run on the PS4s but like everyone else, realising the track was drying rapidly, I put the extreme tyres/wheels on for the timed runs. Terry was back in the fold after fixing his mis-firing engine and we were joined in battle by no less than 7 Porsches' (don't ask me which models, they all look the same..... lame old joke) no but even the drivers (some in the owners club) were asking each other what year/model they were as they had no idea, one thing i did know is that the GT3 that showed up looked mega quick, with its carbon brakes and calipers (a very expensive option, as quoted by the owner) that only just squeezed into the 20" rims it was reassuring to find out he would not be gunning it (or so he told us) It turned out that battle for the win was once again between me and Terry and it went right to the wire, my second run beating his 4th run by just 8 hundreths of a second, its getting like F1 now, they made need to upgrade to thousands second timing! As i held my breath in anticipation of what Terrys last time was, he looked down at the floor and told me I had just pipped him (or held on as i saw it) so a 3rd win on the spin, just. It will be neck and neck every time and Terry won most of the battles last year so i will take this while i can. Luckily @Kieran O'Quick is not competing this year of it would have been another load of second places. Unfortunately with covid restrictions there are no trophies presented but i'm not really fussed. Whats more important is trying to finish in the top 10 at year end (this is out of all competitors, all classes) something which Terry and I have been trying to do for last few years, its going to be very hard but i am currently lying 8th at this early stage so will just keep on giving it everything.

1st 350z 64.77

2nd Talbot Sunbeam 64.85

3rd Porsche GT3 67.95

4th Porsche 911 68.82 


On that subject, my starts are always one of the slowest so I thought i would try the ARC launch control feature and see if that offers any help moving forward. Now only one problem with this, and it was a significant one, in that I don't have any cruise control buttons anymore after putting the aftermarket steering wheel and hub on, so I looked online at possible solutions, it turns out that every option requires you to use the cruise module and most people use a braket to go on the boss and then mount the cruise button/module to that. In my opinion it looks gash and i am concerned that in the heat of the moment you could whack them with your knee as i have the wheel in the lowest position. So i searched some more and found that some people have re-wired and routed the module to somewhere else in the cabin, be it cutting a hole in the dash or using the centre console or replacing the heated seat controls. It was all too involved/barbaric for me so I decided to mount it in the blank off panel i had installed recently just below the other blank off for the sat nav. This meant i was not butchering any OEM panels and i had easy access to it as it just meant unscrewing 2 screws rather than half the interior. I could do a full post on just how you re-wire the cruise buttons somewhere else but thats for another day, let me just say i had lots of conflicting info online but I did find one useful post online somewhere which explained which connector the cruise is behind the steering wheel and which colour wire runs to the ecu (or wherever they go) and how they corolate to the colours on the wires od the cruise buttons, as the wires are all different colours, makes it very cofusing, then throw into the mix 4 core wire to use to run to new point in the car and you have for example- pink wire from connector, soldered to blue wire on 4core cable soldered to green/yellow wire on cruise module (and you have 4 to do) so what i would say to anybody trying to do this, triple check everything and write it all down on some paper before you start soldering/heat shrinking. regardless to all that I did it and it worked, i took the car out for a spin and cruise works again and map changing works, all ready to get the ARC features loaded on are Horsham next week.



And on that subject, the 2-step launch control works by setting the lower rev limit while stationary then reverts to the normal rev limit when you release the clutch but i read somewhere that you can keep the artificial (launch) limiter stay on upto a certain speed? Jez did know about this and every video online shows the revs shoot up as soon as moving, but i found this online for arc setting and it does state under the launch control bit a vehicle speed which defaults to 0.5mph I am hoping this can be adjusted to say 10mph which i think would massively help my launches as we start on concrete at Harewood with very little grip so if the car can hold the revs at say 2.5k or 3k until 10mph when your rolling i think it would work better. Like i said, not sure if this is possible but will mention again to horsham next week and update you guys.




Final thing to update was as part of my Birthday presents i got a supercar expierence day which I did today. I selected a Porsche 911 (don't you dare ask me which one! lol) a Lamberghini (LP640? or something) a Nissan GTR (as its the Zeds big brother) and the only one i wwas actually excited about, the Arial Atom. Well my expectations (or lack of ) were met by all 4 cars. The lambo, as in previous supercar days i have done, was the most in tune with my driving style, felt the most connection between my buttocks, hands and the road and confirmed to me if i ever win the lottery that I would definately visit their showroom. The Porsche was too numb, and the GTR far too heavy/wallowy for the track at Blyton. incidently as you may know, in order to cater for all abilities and weather they run the cars with all assists on and crappy avon all weather tyres which severly limit the fun for a proper drive, indeed I had it said to me numerous times throughout the day, watch your speed, this is not a track day, its an "experience" day. All 3 of those cars left me feeling like in their current trim/tyres my zed would be faster round Blyton. The Atom on the other hand was a different beast, even with crappy tyres it was like a go-kart on steroids. The acceleration and pick up in any gear was supreme, instructor told me to leave it in 5th and concentrate on driving smooth but i couldn't help but change down, even with that though 4th was fine for even tight corners, the lack of any computer aided assistance, no abs, no power steering is just up my street and i was getting right in the groove until i went out wide to take a corner at full speed, turned in and the back end went round spinning me out. I had found either the flaws of the crappy tires or the limit of my ability. needless to say the instuctor, who was no spring chicken, was breathing very heavily and asked me to return to the pits, Job done. So would i recommend the day, yes and no, for true racers its a waste of time, for someone looking to buy one of the cars its a good way to explore the car much more than you could on a test drive, for Jo Public, its great as they were only driving at 5 tengths and they get their picture taken and feel great.

Its put me off ever getting a GTR as they just don't suit my driving style and what i want from a car, think an elise would be be much better for me for the road or an atom as a track day toy, I don't get a thrill from planting my foot and having my eyeballs go to the back of my head only then to have to slam on the brakes and return my eyeballs to the the correct sockets as i can only take the corner at 40mph. would rather sacrifice some out and out speed/power for more nimble cornering and apex speed but each to their own as they say. anyway some pics of the cars at Blyton:





So next up will be visiting Horsham Developments as previously mentioned to get some new poly bushings and tie rods, Brake fluid flush and the ARC features added (flat foot shifting, launch control) FFS, no not that FFS, flat floot shifting! will take some serious muscle memory refigeration i expect.

And then another round of Harewood at start of June.

Ah, also got car aligned before season and got them to check weight, corner balancing. I was pleasently suprised. The car weighed in at 1503kg (with me sat in but very little fuel) 50.7% cross weight again close enough for me that no tweaking was worth the while but also confirmed the front weight bias, didn't take a picture but should have done, i can remember the front axle being over 400kg each side, maybe 430 and the rear 300 and something each side, 330? which again doesn't help with traction off the line but i suppose from factory with the spare wheel and tools, plus standard back box it would have been a bit closer to the perfect 50/50.

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  • G1en changed the title to G1en's 95% race car 5% stickers Zed build

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