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maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/8/19 6:17 p.m.

Small update. Finally unloaded the tires and tools from 2 weeks ago...so I really haven't done much. But today I did a few things, like straighten the steering wheel, touch up the paint, and DIY an "engine grounding" kit.

The lower door jams and sills were a mix of every color's overspray. They're white now.

Even the screws got attention.

So according to 350z forums circa 2008, you can quicken shifts and improve throttle response by installing a "grounding kit". Sounds like snake oil to me, but you can read for yourself. Shifts have been rather sluggish with this trans, and I have a ton of extra wire from the G35 harness making this a free mod, so why not. I basically just cleaned, sanded, and dielectric greased all the connections, then jumped the e-throttle to the engine, the engine harness ground to the chassis, and the chassis ground all the way back to the battery's ground in the trunk. I haven't tested it yet, but I'll report back if anything changes.

Speaking of engine bay, I could use some opinions. What needs to look better for the Concours judging?

maj75 HalfDork
9/8/19 6:51 p.m.

Clean up all those excess ground wires ;)

eastsideTim UberDork
9/8/19 7:25 p.m.

Looks great to me already, but if I were wanting more points, I’d think polishing the intake manifold smoother so you could get a mirror finish would help.

Edit:  No idea if they are even going to look for this, but IIRC, don’t show cars end up losing points if the bolt heads aren’t all oriented the same way?

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
9/8/19 7:41 p.m.

see what you can do to hude/make uniform/bundle hoses and wiring. It looks awfully busy and cluttered right now to my eye.

Also, black zipties instead of white.

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/8/19 7:55 p.m.

Yeah the re-bundling would really clean up the harnesses. I've been holding onto the stock crap for too long. 

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/8/19 8:21 p.m.

I’d paint a kitty on the plenum.  Everyone likes kitties.  Bonus points for a samurai kitty

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/8/19 8:26 p.m.

The paint fumes are really getting to Patrick!

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/8/19 8:28 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

The kids not going to sleep are really getting to Patrick!


AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/8/19 8:43 p.m.
Patrick said:

I’d paint a kitty on the plenum.  Everyone likes kitties.  Bonus points for a samurai kitty

There’s already a ninja kitty on it.

klodkrawler05 HalfDork
9/9/19 9:19 a.m.

I'm pretty terrible at show car things but to my untrained eye aside from the obvious wire tucking and aluminum polishing I think an hour of elbow grease cleaning would pay dividends in the overall apeal of the engine bay. the white resevoirs look to have some dirt on them, near the hood hinge holes etc. Cleaning that sort of stuff up would lend itself to the feel of a tidier engine bay.

Some sort of hose dressing might help too, although I always have a hard time finding something that gives rubber a nice clean luster without looking like it's coated in armor-all

slowbird Reader
9/9/19 10:14 a.m.

I agree with polishing the intake manifold. Either that, or paint it to match the car.

Also get some chrome bling somewhere in there. I dunno, I'm trashy, I like shiny objects.

Mike924 Reader
9/9/19 10:20 a.m.

Some polishing and wire tucking is a good idea. I would suggest maybe trying to continue the paint scheme into the engine bay. Maybe on to the shock towers.  Could be a unique way to catch the eyes of the judges.

Car looks fantastic though.  

Mezzanine Dork
9/9/19 12:34 p.m.

All the rusty brackets and little parts make a big difference. Go look at a Cousin Eddie thread to see what an engine bay can look like with an eye for details. 

Robbie GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
9/9/19 12:53 p.m.

In reply to Mezzanine :

Good call.  A small brush and a few dips in a can of black semi gloss Rust-Oleum (no disassembly required) can make a big difference quickly. Also, paint your hood prop black. 

Consider making the plastic on top of the headlights blacker.

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/9/19 1:02 p.m.

I didn't even think of paint brush touchup. Good ideas all around.

Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/9/19 1:48 p.m.

And a kitty

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/9/19 1:55 p.m.
Patrick said:

And a kitty

there's already one there.  are you telling me you can't see ninja kitty?

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/9/19 2:59 p.m.

All good suggestions so far. I'd add painting the hood support rod in red.

OjaiM5 Reader
9/9/19 3:06 p.m.

I think painting the plenum wrinkle black would look great. 

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/9/19 3:16 p.m.

In reply to OjaiM5 :

indeed.  that would make ninja kitty not stand out so much.

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/9/19 6:14 p.m.

I think an aluminum cover over the plenum, and maybe some wiring would be keen, along with the aforementioned wire tuck. Any laser/waterjet cutters nearby? A "Datsanity" cut out, or sandblasted into the cover could work. Even a sheet of black plastic with judicious use of a coping saw and files.

Not so fancy, but the general idea:


G_Body_Man UltraDork
9/9/19 9:33 p.m.

I agree with polishing the plenum. A modified 350Z engine cover would hide the bulk of the clutter, and the rest of it could probablt be tucked. Painting all the little hardware black would also spruce things up a fair bit. A little cover made of coroplast painted black would fill the gap between the grille/headlights and the core support might look great.

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/16/19 10:24 a.m.

Yesterday was another auto-cross, where I thoroughly testedwith my Experimental Challenge-Winning Tire Strategy (ECWTS). 

In the morning, I ran ECWTS#1 for 4 runs. Observations: much oversteer, big spins, and can't get the power down. But times got faster as rear pressure went down. Got some weird looks and questions too.

Tire pressures vs time:

Run 1 DNF -72

Run 2 - 67

Run 3 - 66.3

Run 4 - 66.1

In the afternoon, I ran ECWTS#2 for 4 more runs, which is basically the front-rear reverse of ECWTS#1. Observations: much understeer, but it was way more predictable and easier to drive. Times were ultimately much faster, but some of that was due to having practiced the course. Times also got faster as pressure went down. Got some even weirder looks and questions about this one.

Run 1 - 65.6

Run 2 - 64.5

Run 3 - 64.3

Run 4 - 63.8

I'm still unsure of ECWTS, but I have more knowledge to make that decision. I'm going to pick a few "benchmark" competitors and over-analyze these results compared to last month's results on 200tw tires. At least the tires are all scrubbed in well for the Challenge. Notice the difference in wear pattern between the different compounds.


As I crossed the line on my final run with the throttle matted, the car suddenly went into limp mode. I barely made it to the pits where I found the following codes:


Revs suuuuuper slowly and not past 2500 RPM. I suspect the e-throttle actuator or sensor. Normally during startup and shutdown, you can hear the TB "cycling" with some clicking and motor noises. I pretended it was a starter motor and smacked the TB with a big wrench and it made some movement noises and revved right up great, but then died again. P1122 seems to be the big one, which could mean anything from a TB cleaning to replacement and reprogramming the ECM.  Hopefully a junkyard one does the trick. 

Regardless, had to exercise my AAA card.

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/16/19 2:29 p.m.

testing A - B - C - D  and times getting quicker doesn't mean D is better than A.

gotta go A - B - C - D - A to see how much is driver getting better.

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/16/19 2:50 p.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair :

I agree, but notice how my Morning Run 3 and Run 4 were roughly the same, which I'm calling a plateau, then 2 hours later boom 0.5s gone and dropping fast. 

But yeah, lots of grey area with such a limited sample size. I'm tempted to try ECWTS#1 with even lower rear pressure. Also tempted to a try a drag run with A7's out back.

Another tire option is adding 2 wheels and tires to the budget. I could use my $25 used Rivals and two more Jeep wheels, or two used drag slicks if under $50/pair, but only if I DON'T install the roll bar. I think I want the roll bar though...


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