3/18/2024 – Lap 2, faster laps need better suspension.

Hayden V -

PROGRESS PROGRESS PROGRESS… and waiting on parts.

The first task I tackled was putting the car on jack stands and beginning to remove the front suspension. This involved undoing 4 bolts that attach the subframe to the car, 6 top hat bolts holding the shocks, and 4 bolts for the steering column. With my dad’s assistance, the process went quickly and smoothly.

The following day, I commenced tearing apart the entire suspension, bolt by bolt. I disassembled the entire suspension system to clean, paint, and install stiffer polyurethane bushings to enhance the car’s responsiveness while driving. Using a wire wheel, I removed rust from the parts before giving them a quick wipe down and spray painting them with chassis paint. Chassis paint is more durable, ensuring it withstands general use, although it may not matter much when the car is lowered to just 2 inches off the ground while driving.

The next step was to install the coilovers. I purchased BC Racing coilovers approximately 3 years ago before the prices increased due to Covid. Due to the age of the car, Datsun/Nissan did not make the shocks removable, so I had to cut the shocks off with a saw and weld the coilovers onto the spindle. Coilovers are a popular suspension upgrade for cars because they allow for ride height adjustment and ride quality adjustment, such as how the car reacts when going over a bump. With the move to air ride, I will have variable height adjustment by swapping the spring for an airbag. I recently received confirmation that my airbags should arrive on Thursday, March 21st.

While I had the entire brake assembly apart, I installed new brake rotors, brake calipers, and brake pads, completing a very common big brake upgrade. I opted for Toyota truck calipers since they are a direct bolt-in, with only minor trimming required for the dust shield. I am considering painting the calipers yellow to add an accent color to the white and black of the car. I believe that yellow would be a great choice to break up the monotony of the car’s color scheme.

 

 

 

While the front suspension was off the car, I took the bold step of applying undercoating to the car. Datsuns are notorious for their rust problems, which is why many owners, myself included, opt to add a protective coating to the underside of the car to prevent rust. I decided to use a black rubber coating typically used on truck beds, based on recommendations from online sources and individuals at TurnStyle. This choice significantly improved the appearance of the underside and provided added protection to the car. Initially, I only applied the coating to the front wheel wells, but I plan to cover the entire underside of the car in the future.

 

 

Thursday morning 3/14, I put the front subframe back in and it went in with ease. I did it myself in about 10 minutes. I wanted to see what kind of wheels will fit my car. My fitment tool says I could fit 10 inch wide wheels in the front, which is a very large wheel for the front.

 

 

 

This weekend, I tackled pulling out the rear subframe to begin working on it. However, I encountered an issue while trying to remove the spindles from the part that connects the rear control arms to the brake hub. I discovered that this was a common problem, with many people ending up destroying their spindles in the process. One person on a forum humorously described the ordeal as causing “tears in grown men and weak knees in others… some have even prayed,” which I found amusing. I’ve placed an order for replacement spindles, but I’m uncertain when they’ll arrive.

In the meantime, I started the process of welding the coilovers onto the rear, which is a similar process to what I did for the front suspension.

One significant difference I encountered with the rear suspension was the need to burn out bushings. Unlike the front suspension, which didn’t require this step, the rear suspension had bushings that needed to be removed. Burning out bushings is a tedious and unpleasant process that I wouldn’t recommend. It involves using a blow torch to burn the rubber until it self-ignites and burns away, leaving behind the metal sleeve. After removing the rubber, I had to cut a slot in the original metal sleeve to release its tension. Then, using a hammer and hole punch, I had to carefully hit the sleeve until it fell out. Fortunately, I only had to remove 4 bushings, but I did have to burn out a total of 8 bushings to install the polyurethane replacements.

 

Currently, I’m awaiting a variety of parts from ZCarDepot and Godzilla Raceworks, as well as airbags from Airmext and badges from Zociety. I’m particularly eager for the parts from Godzilla Raceworks to arrive, as they are essential for the engine. However, I’ll have to be patient and wait for them to arrive in due time.

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