Something New…

This makes the first post on the new journal. I’ve come a long way since 2003, when each post was appended to an html file in a text editor and uploaded via an FTP client. Looking back on the posts a few years ago, I realized how little of it I really wanted public, and tore it all down. The site has essentially lain fallow since. I put this installation of WordPress on my site about a month ago and it marks the most sophisticated thing I’ve done with this domain so far.

With no further ado, stuff about life! Oooooh.

This weekend saw the completion of assembly on the intake / carb overhaul on the Z’s new motor. Next weekend, the motor, trans and radiator will be swapped and a new exhaust hung. I’ve been driving from Rohnert Park to Fremont and back every weekend to work on the motor for a month and a half – with exception to putting in time with my USAF unit – and prepping everything so it’s ready to drop in with minimal fuss or running around for supplies.

The ‘while I’m at it’ syndrome kicked in hard and I found myself doing things that most people don’t even bother with when working on carbs and intakes. Here’s a complete list of everything I did, beginning with simply wanting to swap in the new header for the ‘twice pipes’ exhaust I’m putting on. That was the only thing I had planned when the intake and exhaust came off.

  • Removed carbs, intakes, and exhaust manifold.
  • Removed the smog pump and related plumbing and brackets.
  • Scraped port surface on head to remove old gasket material…and after this, things got out of hand.
  • Removed corrosion and old paint from entire exhaust, header to mufflers using a wire wheel on an angle grinder.
  • Removed smog plumbing from header and had Alex(without whom none of this would be happening) weld up the resulting holes.
  • Repainted the entire exhaust with high-temp flat black paint.
  • Removed intakes from old flattop carb setup that was on the Z when I bought it, cleaned them…and then polished them.
  • Removed the balance tube from the intakes that were on the new engine, and polished it. Mounted it on the polished N38 manifolds from the flattop carbs.
  • Spent the better part of three days spread out over two weekends cleaning all of the years of grease and dirt from the carbs. Discovered that the cadmium plating on the linkage parts was in perfect shape…indicating that the carbs had recently been rebuilt.
  • Removed the carbs from their old manifolds and discovered that the old manifolds had both at one time been cracked or even broken, and welded back together. Wonder what the story behind that was?
  • Cleaned dirt, carbon and grease from the stock air cleaner. Came out looking pretty fresh and new…but I’ve got another that will be getting a Dremel hack job to turn it into a full open element air cleaner, along with a nice expensive K&N filter, which I bought yesterday.
  • Pulled the thick phenolic spacers from the flattop setup and cleaned them of gasket material and silicone.
  • Mounted the carbs to the the polished manifolds and balance bar, using the thick spacers and make-a-gasket sealant.
  • Removed the majority of the intake and exhaust studs, and replaced them with new ones.
  • Mounted the header and completed fuel / intake system. Torqued everything down.
  • Pulled intake manifold preheat fittings and EGR fittings from the intakes and balance tube. Bought plugs and filled the resultant holes.
  • Cleaned and polished the heat shield…this actually does serve a purpose, it reflects heat better than raw metal.
  • One-upped that and bought adhesive aluminized themal barrier and stuck it to just about anywhere I could get it in proximity to the exhaust. I covered the entire underside surfaces of the intake manifolds, the sides of the carb float bowls facing the exhaust, the underside of the balance tube, and the back of the heat shield. The manifolds will heat due to conduction from the head, but they won’t from ambient heat if I can help it! The primary issue I’m concerned with is vapor lock or the fuel boiling in the float bowls…if I can reduce the intake charge temperature while I’m at it, it’s an added bonus. I had enough barrier left over after covering the backside of the heat shield that I figured I could take an hour or two and go hog wild.
  • Did a test fit of the air cleaner. Fits fine.

So, after all this, I don’t expect better performance, just better mileage, cleaner burn, slightly lower underhood temperatures than with no insulation, and some wicked sounds coming out of the back of the car. I’m not sure of the difference in underhood temperatures between the stock exhaust manifold and a header, but I imagine it’s higher with the header, so the extra protection is worth it, in my mind.

I also put a Raydot mirror on the Z’s driver side door in the stock location. This took some doing. The mounting hole is pretty difficult to get at from inside the door, and getting a nut on the threaded end of a mirror’s mounting stud is a test of patience. Alex and I struggled with it for a full hour before getting creative with a few pieces of tape and working out one of the primary issues…getting the nut threaded on while holding the washer on the underside of the door’s surface in place! One it was threaded, we managed pretty well. We got it positioned, then plugged the alignment hole from the stock mirror with a small white plug from a piece of furniture, of all things. While driving home, I got the mirror adjusted properly and was happy with its performance…no vibration at any speed, decent field of view, and no detectable wind noise. Raydots are pretty small and light, and I imagine their drag profile compared to stock Z mirrors is much better. I’m pretty happy with this one and I’m looking forward to getting the other mounted.

Sunday was spent at the shooting range. Alex has 5 guns and we brought two friends, Eric and Justyn, and their guns. Eric brought a friend from work, so we had a posse of 5 with about 15 guns between all of us. We blew the daylights out of a bunch of plastc water bottles. Los Altos Rod & Gun Club has a 100 yard bottles & cans range, where you can set out just about any container that will hold water and isn’t made of glass, and take shots at it to your heart’s content. We discovered that shooting a laundry detergent bottle with a Mosin Nagant 91/30 blows the labels open like a pair of doors on either side and makes the thing essentially explode.

Loads of fun was had by all. Alex and I went back to his place and finished putting a new hard drive in my computer, mounted an extra fan and sent me on my way. I’m exploring all the space I now have to rattle around, and I’m putting my suite of software back together. Nothing like a fresh OS install.

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