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Discussion Starter #1
So as Covid19 started gripping down on the nation .. I decided to create my own version of the Roadkill ORC off road challenger.

I found a front end totalled
“engine start program” VQ35HR roadster on Copart because I knew I could get one cheap and needed to hack most of the front to make room for M/T tires. I wanted an automatic so that I didn’t have to deal with clutch upgrades to handle the much higher effective gear ratio. $700 bucks and not much risk, since I daily drive a 2007 z coupe and having an engine donor was the worst case scenario.

I had some unused 32-11.5x15s sitting around from when I upped the wheel size on my mud truck so the two main ingredients were ready, set. MR platform should be able to handle the big tires with some cutting and splicing..

The top assembly will be removed (it works, astonishingly). The radiator will relocate to the top compartment for protection. The front end will be caged to protect the block and accessories.

Should be fun.



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First thing first.. stripping off all the mangled junk.. two hours with some hand tools and a saws all.. ready to figure out a new serpentine routing since the tensioner was broken off. Knowing I don’t need the AC I have some flexibility..




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I picked up 4 different auto store tensioners under $40 bucks each and found one that would work and returned the other 3.. first major victory. A/C compressor works BTW so it willl be removed eventually and put up for bid.

After a lot of bashing and more cutting.. time to see if the 15s will fit around the front calipers.

I bought a set of adapters to fit the 6 bolt pattern of my old truck wheels and add 2” offset and EUREKA.. they fit.

Tech tip , a 15” steel wheel will fit the enthusiast calipers with a 2” offset





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Drove it back to the shop for the full on hacking operation.. now the fun part.





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Some more trimming and bashing and I got the rears on.. Frankenstein’s monster is starting to look like a buggy now the tension is huge I need to make room for the rear end suspension travel and get her out in the yard for a roll around .. a few hours of cutting (BTW a jigsaw works way better than a cutoff wheel or saws all)



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Discussion Starter #6
ToyKiller zip-tie moment.. new radiator “installed” .. transmission fluids adjusted for losses .. ready for a hot lap!!






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She RIPS!! still some rubbing front and back so more bashing up front.. plan is to cut and weld sleeve extensions on all four shocks, and swap out the rear springs for some G35 sedan springs and add spacers to the springs if I need more height.

Got the spring set for under $50 .. some DOM tubing to sleeve the shocks, but should show up tomorrow!

Then it’s on like Donkey Kong .. and so of course Track the Donkey decided he wants to supervise...



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OK- looks like an interesting project. Why don't you retain the power top since it still operates? Also, are you planning any tie rod upgrades, as the stresses with those huge wheels and tires will far exceed what the designers intended?
 

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Hey OP- two days of posting and then...nothing. Have you already wrecked that poor ZR or did you get it running? Needs a rollcage if you're serious about taking it off-road...
 

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Back to the grinding, lifting and bashing. And some auto trans tips for y’all who have had issues with the select gear.

So I decided to go for a 2.5” lift. For the rear I got a used pair of G35 rear springs for next to nothing (350z stock springs up for grabs) which gets me a measured 1/2-3/4” of height, and some 2” boosters from oreillys, had to cut about an inch out of the circumference (ride effex brand coil boosters) and drill some holes for ZIP TIES.



For the shocks I had to figure out how to gain 2” on the studs so I got 8 “heavy duty” M8x1.25 x 1” coupling nuts , grinded them down then threaded 2 onto a screw and butt welded.. a little paint and good to go. Yes i could have gotten 50mm couplers but they were $4 each at McMaster Carr and Ace had the 25mm in stock for $0.80 each so... Now I can use blind M8x1.25 screws through the top flange and add height as I need. The plan for a spacers is just to stack up 3/4” thick rubber (that I will cut with a jigsaw and drill clearance for the new couplers.. material will be cut out of a 3/4” horse stall mat I had laying around.. three layers gets me
2.25” and I can add or subtract with longer screws.



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Front shocks are cut, sleeved and welded with 1”x.095 DOM tubing. The shocks clearly say “do not heat” so I took care to cut as far away from the body as I could. 3.5” Steel tube cut and indexed 1/2” each side, a little paint and voila. Once the paint dries they’ll get installed.

Regarding a roll cage, the plan when I get to it is just welding tubes between the windshield and head rest roll bars. The beauty of a convertible converted to a death kart is that it’s already DOT rated to roll over with no top and not crush the inhabitants.







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Auto trans tech tip. This car wouldn’t start in “park” and wouldn’t let me go into manual shift mode. It felt like there was something blocking the shifter from traveling all the way forward into park. It would start in neutral so I knew it wasn’t a neutral safety thing. I took the shifter housing apart and everything looked in order. I got under the car and I could see that the shifter linkage had moved. It’s one screw holding a slotted lever onto the linkage. I readjusted it and it’s flawless. Seeing how it’s going to be geared so high on 32’s I’m going to spend all day in 1 and 2.. thank the car gods I got the manual select working.

I searched forever to find somebody who had issues with starting in park and manual shift mode selection but was unsuccessful. Hopefully this helps somebody find the root cause.


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