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post #1 of 290 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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20.01.09
OK well I guess I should start a blog on my car as it's been a long time in the making, but not quite finished yet. Hopefully this information will help anyone who plans to modify a 350Z. The car is coming on five years old and my tenure of ownership is coming onto four years. My previous car was an S15 Silvia and a DC5 Integra before that. While the Sil was quick in a straight line, the car was a handful in the wet, cramped and just starting to get a bit dated. So my motivation for buying the Zed was that it looked modern, had great mod-cons (leather, heated electric seats) and was a lot more spacious than my previous car, although only seating two people as a trade-off. When shopping around I had the choice between a 2004, 2005 Anniversary and 2006 model. The choice for the 2005 was that it had the same 221kw engine and wheels as the 2006, but was the lighter car (at the sacrifice of improved NVH in the 2006 model). I purchased the car sight unseen with around 30,000kms in 2007. My budget also included a first round of modifications. The car was stock except for a Veilside V1 Carbon front-lip

$3,500 - RPM Hiro wheels 19x8.5 and 19x10.5 with Hankook K107 tyres (245/35/19 and 275/30/19)
At the time, Rays GT-C were out of my price range and I wanted a dished wheel, so these would have to suffice. While the wheels were heavy, the tyres are actually pretty good and survived a number of track days before they needed to be changed. In hind-sight I would have researched the optimum offsets and maybe held off for a bit and purchased the wheels I wanted in the first place, not the ones I could afford at the time. Being in too much of a hurry, I left it to the dealer, who sourced the style of wheel I wanted, but the offsets were way to conservative.

$1,800 - Fujitsubo Y-back exhaust
Painstakingly chosen as I didn't want a loud exhaust. The Fujitsubo's claimed just 87dB, which was the lowest out of all the aftermarket exhaust systems. There was a slight increase in power from the mid-range to top-end, nothing to write home about. The tips are pretty big, but design of the exhaust gave the car a nice low-pitch grumble.



$660 - Whiteline blade adjustable swaybars
Noting some understeer in the car, I opted stiffer spring and swaybar setup in an attempt to make the car a bit more neutral. These were originally setup on the softest setting, which still provided a noticeable reduction in body-roll.

$600 - Whiteline control-series lowered springs
Another long(ish) decision. In an attempt to make the car a more neutral steer, I looked up the OEM spring rates of the 350Z (my car had the second revision which already had a stiffer rear-to-front ratio than the original Zed) and looked for a set of springs that would provide a stiffer overall rear-to-front ratio. I found a lot springs actually had a softer rear-to-front ratio, with only a handful of them proving suitable for what I wanted. In the end I went for the Whiteline as it was easier to source locally, I think the other option might have been RSR. The springs provided a claimed 25mm drop in the front and 22mm at the rear (or thereabouts), which evened out the slight height discrepancy of the car (maybe perceived discrepancy).

$250 - Apex'i Pod Filter
Meh - I would have gone back to the stock setup by now if I hadn't given away the original filter. No performance gains, probably even negative as the air in the engine bay starts to get hot. A drop-in filter by Nismo/HKS/Trust/etc would yield the best performance here in my opinion, also the Zed's ram-style OEM setup looks to be very efficient as long as you don't need to stuff a lot more air into intake.

Here is a picture of the car after its first round of modifications:


After this first round of fiddling, the car would remain largely unchanged for about 12 months as I attended as many track days as I could. I developed the opinion that at least ten-percent of the modification budget should be spent on driver improvement and rather than specific power outputs, I would use lap-times as a benchmark for modifications. Of course this isn't an objective measure as the driver is also a big variable, but I'm of the opinion that there's no point in having power and handling if you can't measure it against something solid. This is just my opinion and I know everyone's motivations for modifications are different.

OK well car and driver have come a long way in the past few years, Winton Raceway would prove to become the home track for benchmarking and right from the early stages of owning the car, my preference for supercharging remained fairly constant. Well I'll keep updating this as often as possible...and thanks for reading! :-)

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post #2 of 290 (permalink) Old 01-19-2010, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Track Days

From the end of 2007 unit mid 2008 there were little or no modifications to the car. I used this period to familarize myself with the Zed and the track. Attending a total of four track days in six months, the race bug had well and truly bitten. This was a great period of data collection for me, understanding how to really get a car to 10/10ths and past the limit in a (relatively) safe environment. Also the challenge of trying to best your previous time is what kept me coming back.

Tampered Motorsports @ Winton Raceway 06/11/07
First EVER track-day for the Zed and my first timed-track day ever. This was a real eye-opener for me with regards to the overall handling ability of the 350Z. The car gave plenty of feedback, with linear handling in all directions. Braking with the factory brembos and pads was outstanding, although the OEM pads did start to fade about half way through the day. Overall it was a great experience and the car and I set the benchmark at 1:51.7070.

Session 1 - 2:06.0980 1:57.3130 1:56.4210 1:55.3070 1:54.9890 1:53.6810 1:55.9220 1:54.3270
Session 2 - 1:56.8810 1:56.9000 1:54.1210 1:55.2370 1:52.4970 1:52.1170 1:52.2030 1:54.5830 1:52.5190 1:53.8500
Session 3 - 1:58.7630 1:52.0470 1:51.5380 1:52.3910 1:51.7070 1:53.4220 1:52.7970 1:52.0920 1:53.6040

Winton is a great track because it's technical, but also because there's a lot of comparative data available. My lap time sandwiched me between a pro driver in a Barina SRi (faster) and a pro driver in a V8 for Fairmont Ghia (BA I think). Meanwhile the 2006 350Z might as well have been a lightyear away at 1:42.56. So lots of work to do then...


Tampered Motorsports @ Winton Raceway 28/01/08
Still getting the hang of it, at this point I was starting to feel that the sheer size and weight of the 19-inch wheels were hampering the handling of the car. I managed to take two seconds off my previous time by braking a bit harder and later and improving my driving lines a little...moving a little further up the ranks, my time now a smidge slower than a Volvo S60 :-)

Session 1 - 1:53.5320 1:51.3700 1:52.4830 1:50.2920 1:50.1100 1:51.3850 1:53.0720 1:51.9410 1:50.7260
Session 2 - 1:55.9900 1:49.5250 1:50.4180 1:50.2950 1:50.2640 1:51.2490 1:54.3620 1:51.8560
Session 3 - 1:57.7010 1:50.7570 1:50.6820 1:54.1170 1:50.7090 1:55.8830


Tampered Motorsports @ Winton Raceway 27/04/08 (Rain)
After the last track day, I bought a set of 2003 Touring 17-inch wheels (7.5-inch front, 8-inch rear). My plan would be to eventually have them shod in a set of semi-slicks but while there was some tread on the tyre I thought I'd see how much of a difference 17-inch wheels made to 19-inch wheels. Unfortunately, the data was skewed as it was pouring rain at Winton on that day. Overall though the steering felt much lighter and the brakes worked a lot better, so I felt I might be on to something! Also met a few of the 350Z-tech guys at this day, Ztrack and DavidM.

Session 1 - 2:10.8500 2:06.8500 2:05.2500 2:10.9100 2:03.5800 2:05.4000 2:04.3000
Session 2 - 2:03.6400 2:02.3500 2:02.0100 2:02.4900
Session 3 - 2:05.9000 2:04.0900 2:02.6300 2:02.4400 2:14.3200

I'm sure there was another track day in there somewhere, but I can't seem to find the data but from memory I set a time of 1:48.8, back on my 19-inch wheels and tyres.

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post #3 of 290 (permalink) Old 01-20-2010, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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More Mods
So after a solid six months of hitting the track I decided on the next series of modifications, focusing on the handling aspects of the car.

Smaller wheels & better rubber
Having verified that the touring 17's would clear the brembo brakes, I had them shod in Bridgestone semi-slick RE55 SR2 235/45/17s, as these seemed to be what everyone else was using. The general consensus with semi-slicks was that they were great, but you had to learn how to drive with them.



More progressive handling
While the springs were nice and hard, and the Zed's handling was quite neutral, I felt that the damper stroke was being compromised a bit by the lowered springs. Also, there's very limited camber adjustment with the OEM setup.

I got some Cusco camber arms off Flameboy and bought JimJim's Greddy Type-S coilovers. The Greddy dampers are great as the damper has a long stroke and they're not too hard. On the street I run them at 10/32 and they feel softer than stock. On the track anywhere up to 25/32 makes the car highly responsive. Coilovers are great because you can easily fiddle the car's handling to whatever you want on the day; understeer, neutral, oversteer.

I also replaced the brakes pads with Project Mu HC+ after cooking the EBC RedStuff pads that were in there previously. Despite their massive amounts of squeal during daily driving, these pads have never failed me on any track day and are rated all the way up to 800'C. They're long lasting too, I get anywhere up to six track days plus daily driving with them. The photo below shows the EBC pads on the left after just 1.5 track days, and the HC+ on the right.



Some monitoring
Finally, I was keen to start seeing how the temps in the car were getting, as the Zed was rumoured to run quite hot. I bought a Defi BF oil temp gauge and had it installed at RE Customs so I could keep an eye on engine oil temps. At around this time the car was also undergoing oil consumption testing as it seemed to burning more oil than usual (track days aside). RE went through the firewall on the driver's side, which proved a real PITA. The BF series is good because you can set warning thresholds and it records peak readings.


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post #4 of 290 (permalink) Old 01-20-2010, 04:50 PM
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Kam, great write-up. I like how you have modded from track experience and what the car requires to make it quicker

Looking forward to hearing more.

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post #5 of 290 (permalink) Old 01-20-2010, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve, I guess every approach is different. In contrast to yours, where you've done a lot of research and detailed your modifications to the component, I have tended to know roughly what I wanted the final product to look like but chose to fill in the gaps on the fly. This is sometimes good, sometimes bad, as I've changed a couple of components over multiple times, which could have been avoided with a bit more interwebz research.

EXE-Crew @ Winton 09/06/08
The new RE55s felt really strange to drive on. The car braked much better and you didn't have to correct the steering through the corners. Despite this, the difference between my PB on street tyres and my time on the semi-slicks was dismal, less than a second. I put it down to not knowing the cars new limits and braking way to early for all the corners, but a PB is a PB I told myself, even if I was a bit dissapointed with the result.

Session 1 - 2:07.4400 1:52.1900 1:49.4800 1:48.6300 1:49.3400
Session 2 - 2:13.2000 2:15.6000 2:11.6600 2:04.9900 2:06.7100 2:19.0000 2:21.0100
Session 3 - 2:01.6800 1:58.4700 1:53.5800 1:51.4400 1:51.4100 1:51.9500
Session 4 - 1:56.0400 1:49.0100 1:48.3100 1:51.4400 1:48.7300 1:49.7600
Session 5 - 1:57.0100 1:50.0100 1:49.5400 1:49.9100 1:49.0800 1:50.8500 1:50.5900 1:50.4100

Oil temperatures were also surprisingly hot. The Zed managed a peak temperature of around 135'C! There wasn't much I could do about it for a while as my car was still undergoing oil consumption testing from Nissan.

Tampered Track Day @ Winton, Melbourne Cup Day, 2008
This track day I finally started to get the hang of semi-slick tyres. This was almost by accident as I remember thinking I was going too hot into turn 1 and then the car went round just fine. Then I realized my version of "too hot" was really, really conservative. This was a great day for me as I felt that I'd had a bit of a revelation on the track and the harder I pushed, the faster I went.

I ended the day a bit early as it was really hot, I was getting tired and was happy with my new time, which was a dead-heat with a pro driver in a BA XR6 Turbo.

Session 1 - 2:01.1600, 1:49.7300, 1:48.0800, 1:55.7000, 1:59.2800, 1:54.1300, 1:48.6400, 1:49.2200, 1:52.3700
Session 2 - 1:59.8100, 1:48.6600, 1:50.6400, 1:47.3100, 1:47.8900, 1:48.6700, 1:48.5800, 1:49.0300, 1:49.1600
Session 3 - 1:46.5500, 1:46.6200, 1:46.7200, 1:46.2800, 1:47.2500, 1:46.7100, 1:48.8100

Braking Issues
At this point I was starting to have issues with the brakes, whether it was from age or whehter it was just me getting faster, the pedal height and retardation was inconsistent through the corners. I noticed this occurred more on a sweeper-type corner. I did some research and a few guys on here were also having some issues which seemed to be put down to caliper knock-back, where the brake disc pushes the piston back during cornering. This is a really good site that explains it all:

Stop-Tech : Caliper Knock Back

So the car went through a bit of a braking overhaul, which included a set of DBA 5000 floating discs up front, Nismo braided brake lines and Martini brake fluid. My theory with the floating disc is that when pressure is applied, the disc will flex slightly at the hat, instead of pushing on the pads. While this alleviated the problem, it still exists up to today and I've found the only solution is to "tap-up" the brakes on the corners where I know they'll be issue, although it catches me out on occasion.

DBA5000 floating discs indcate that the disc temperatures exceeded 600'C


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post #6 of 290 (permalink) Old 01-20-2010, 06:19 PM
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Awesome read. Thanks for sharing Kam
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post #7 of 290 (permalink) Old 01-20-2010, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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QUOTE (danielb @ Jan 21 2010, 10:19 AM)
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Awesome read. Thanks for sharing Kam
Thanks! Hoping it helps at least one person out! I have all the info in various places but probably the best place to centralize it all would be a Zed forum, lol!

New Engine!

It all started after a day of driving down the Great Ocean Road with a good friend. We left early in an attempt to miss the traffic and made great time all the way down to Wye River Pub before heading back through the rainforest. After a few corners I noticed my low-oil coming on and glancing at the pressure gauge, I also noted that it pressure was dropping off significantly through the corners. Hmm...

We stopped off at Supercheap on the way back and I filled the car, a full three litres went it! I'd done only one track day after my last oil change, which was less than 3,000kms ago. I came back and hit up the forums for some info and apparently there was a TSB released in the US for cars with Rev.Up engines. Although Nissan doesn't say why, the speculation is that either the piston rings were incorrectly specced, or a batch were manufactured out of tolerances, leading to oil getting into, and burning up in the cylinder chamber.

I took the car into Nissan Glen Waverley, who were initially quite sceptical about my claims but they agreed to do a consumption test. This involved letting Nissan fill the car with their specific oil and taping up the drain-bolt. I then had to bring the car in every 1,000kms for a check. The first check was a fail because I went to the track and had to start again but after that I abstained during the testing period. Though I wasn't given the numbers, I was told the car was burning an average of between 300ml to 500ml of oil every 1,000kms on the Nissan oil.

After testing data was sent off to Nissan HQ, who agreed to replace the long-motor under warranty. This whole process took about 12 months, which didn't really bother me, as the longer I had my old engine, the more I could thrash the shit out of it. On the dyno the new engine makes 10rwkw LESS than the old engine, but it hasn't burnt a drop of oil since it was installed. I also used the "Drive it like you stole it" method of run-in, giving the car a number of redline runs shortly after collecting it from Nissan.

So the new engine went in and shortly after I installed a Just-Jap style oil cooler...which eventually failed as the thread on one of the oil-lines stripped in the sandwich plate...not cool. I decided not to dice with engine death and went for an HKS instead...the kit is far better built and has a thermostat in the sandwich plate so the oil can come up to temperature faster.



I took some sample temperatures before and after the oil cooler install ...

Heavy Traffic
Before cooler : maximum of 110'C
After cooler : maximum of 95'C

Freeway
Before cooler : maximum 95'C
After cooler : maximum 85'C

Track
Before cooler : maximum 135'C
after cooler : maximum 128'C

I think the oil cooler goes a long way to help keep the engine cool. On the track the temperatures stay consistently lower for a longer period of time and haven't hit the same 135'C peak of the previous engine.

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March 2008

I managed to smash the crap out of my veilside lip...it was too far gone for repair so my mate Freddy used the original as a mould and made some modifications. The whole thing was then remade in carbon and looks great, have been very, very careful with it since!



I already posted on my adventures with Drivery Dynamics and MSCA, link:

Driver Dynamics Sandown & MSCA Winton

Up to this point, I was still driving with VDC enabled. Even though the car would cut power very early on corner exit, it saved me a few times (espcially at Sandown) going into a corner too hot. Driving with VDC basically let me concentrate on getting correct driving lines instead of getting too aggressive with the throttle...forcing slower, more linear inputs.

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post #9 of 290 (permalink) Old 01-20-2010, 11:40 PM
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Good read Kam, thanks for sharing and keep it going.

Perry

Go Swannneeeeesssss
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post #10 of 290 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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QUOTE (pez5 @ Jan 21 2010, 03:40 PM)
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Good read Kam, thanks for sharing and keep it going.
Thanks Pez! Getting there slowly!

April & May 2009
Still not completely satisfied with my lap times, I hit up a couple more track days. On-The-Run Motorsport in April and a practice day in May. I was still using VDC at the OTR day, and switched it off towards the end of the practice day in May.

OTR Track Day @ Winton (April 2009)
OTR run a mean track day and pack it full of sessions. I managed to get five full sessions before the end of the day, with a new PB of 1.45.22, line-ball with a Jaguar S-Type R or a smidge fater than a Z4 3.0 with people that can actually drive at the wheel.

Session 1 - 1:52.8900 1:47.3600 1:45.6600 1:46.5700
Session 2 1:45.8900 1:45.3500 1:45.6400 1:52.0600 1:46.4200
Session3 - 1:52.7500 1:51.0100 1:46.7500 1:46.6600 1:46.1800 1:47.4600
Session 4 - 1:47.2800 1:45.2500 1:45.2200 1:45.8100 1:45.8000
Session 5 - 1:51.5000 1:46.7200 1:46.6600 1:48.0100 1:46.5200 2:09.6400 1:45.9200



Winton Practice Day (May 2009)
Goal for the day was to test the new alignment settings and 32 PSI tyre pressures. It took 2 sessions to get the tyre pressures right, as the day and track warmed up it kept putting my front pressures out. There was also the spectre of 911 GT2 race cars on full slicks in the same session as us noobs, I could get 3-4 clean laps before the first of the 911's came thundering around, which wasn't too bad.

At this stage the RE55s were down to the indicator...but I nudged the car into the 1:44s, setting the same time as a Monaro CV8.

Times
Session 1: front tyre pressures too high, sliding everywhere, trying new line around sweeper, 1:45.8
Session 2: front tyre pressures still too high, not getting anywhere with new sweeper lines, 1:45.5
Session 3: Starting to doubt a PB day so turned off VDC and immediately got faster. Last 3 laps with VDC off were 1:45.0, 1:45.2 and 1:44.8
Session 4: Not any faster but having fun with VDC off. Best time was 1:44.8 with a string of low 1:45's.




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