Sunday, January 20, 2013
Recently, I felt it was time to complete my alignment set-up for the suspension on the Z33 and decided to go with a mixture of Moonface Racing and JIC-Magic suspension pieces. Moonface really is a brand that's not heard of so much in the states, but has a wide following and is backed by a lot of racing experience and development in Japan. Check out their web page here: http://moonface.co.jp/. As for the JIC-Magic parts, I lucked out with picking those up directly from JIC during the somewhat of a buyout that happened when the Japanese economy took a severe plummet. Since JIC Japan went out of business, the USA warehouse was trying to liquidate their stock, and I happened across the three alignment pieces that they offered at the time: Rear Camber Arms, Rear Traction Rods, and Inner Tie Rods. Here's a few photos of all the parts before installation:
All together, the parts include the following:
Moonface Racing Bump Adjust Tie Rod Ends
Moonface Racing Front Low Angle Adjusters
Moonface Racing Rear Low Angle Adjusters
JIC-Magic Hardened Inner Tie Rods
JIC-Magic Rear Camber Arms
JIC-Magic Rear Traction Rods
SPC-Parts Rear Toe Bolts (Greater Toe Adjustment)
Circuit Sports Rear Camber Eccentric Bolt Lock-Out Kit
Nissan OEM Steering Boot Kit
Big thanks to Michael Williams at SE-Performance [ http://www.se-performance.com/home.php ] for gathering the Moonface, SPC, and Circuit Sports parts for me, and Mike at Nissan of Bowie for helping me get the exact right boot kit for the goofy steering rack that Nissan decided to use on the 2006 350Z's.
Onto the actual install that Billy Freed of Freed Engineering gladly assisted me with. These guys seriously rock, and know exactly what they're doing. When we didn't have a tool to finish some of the install, Billy decided he would just make some and was able to take one of his existing tools, put it into the lathe to make it work for what we needed it for. Pretty awesome, and all the beer and pizza in the world couldn't say thanks enough to him for me.
We were somehow able to manage getting the car up on the lift. A very delicate procedure.
Here's the rack with the old inner rods and boots removed. We weren't really sure what to expect, because every install write-up I'd read told me that I'd need to install washers and plastic spacers, and this and that. Well when I bought the boot kit from Mike at Nissan of Bowie, I received my parts and was like uh....where's the spacers and all these parts I'm supposed to have? Well apparently the spacers were an extra $25 per spacer, and I said fuck that...I'll just reuse the ones already in there, if I even have them in there. Well sure enough, my retarded 2006, speed-sensing steering rack didn't have any metal spacers in it, or retaining clips at all. Only thing in there was the plastic spacers that still looked primo, and Billy and I felt we'd be OK reusing them. Way-to-go, Nissan!
Here, you can see Billy trying to eyeball the length of the stock inner and outer tie rod to match up the new pieces. Another thing I wanted was to add spacers to the inner tie rods, allowing for more steering angle, and I didn't have time to buy them; I also was very weary about actually using them, since I wanted to be sure that there were enough threads on the inner tie rod actually going into the rack. Well as Billy generously offered to just make me a set, he actually came across one spacer in his shop that was never used. In the meantime while he was finding material to make a set, I actually held up the OEM inner rod to the JIC inner rod, and noticed that JIC actually incorporated a spacer into the joint-mount. I'm mad that I never took a photo of the two side-by-side, but in the above photo, you can kind of tell how the JIC rod (bottom of the pic) has about a 4mm spacer molded into the black joint, prior to the threads. After pointing this out to Billy and his brother, we decided it would be best NOT to add any additional spacers onto the already existing one.
In the above photo you can also see how the spacing on the Moonface tie rod end differs from the OEM tie rod end. The Moonface pieces are supposed to correct bump-steer, hence the "Bump Adjust" name. So by adding additional spacers inside the tie rod end joints, they will actually position the geometry back to an OEM-like angle, and help prevent bump-steer on lowered cars. Pretty cool, huh?
The new parts mostly installed on the car, and awaiting completion.
Now here was the bitch of the install; The Low Angle Adjusters. The way these work, is you remove the OEM washer/spacer that's on the front and rear upper control arms, where the arm and knuckle attach. The new washer is slightly shorter, which helps position the knuckle and arms back in more optimum geometric angles. However, since the OEM pieces had been on the car for 6-7 years, with lots of banging and slamming, these things were a pain in the ass to remove. Luckily, Billy had just recently bought a ball-joint removal kit for the shop that included a bunch of different type of ball-joint removers. However, the one type of remover that would only work in such a small area didn't have a recess large enough to fit around and between the upper control arm, and the stock ball joint. So here is where Billy used his magic, and took the remover tool to the lathe, and just opened up the recess more so that it would actually fit around the ball joint properly and allow us to pop off the OEM washer. Sure enough, it worked! It's amazing how easy things go, when you have the right tools. The photo above shows the new Moonface washer in place on the ball-joint.
Above, you can see the comparison of the two; The Moonface washer on the left, and the OEM washer on the right. The Moonface washer is slightly shorter, which helps bring the geometry back in spec. Oh...and just a turbine housing off to the far right there...
Here is the JIC-Magic Rear Camber Arm, and you can see a peek of the Traction Rod too above it and connecting towards the front of the car. Not much to this, just allows rear camber adjustment, and they look pretty and super beefy!
And then finally, this is the Circuit Sports eccentric lock-out kit. Since I now have adjustable camber arms, I won't need the adjustment ability in the stock form, which is through the OEM eccentric bolts. In fact, it would be pretty detrimental to have kept the OEM bolts in place with the new arms, since they can slip and cause the alignment to fall out of spec. So these washers and bolts make sure that the arm won't move at all from the stock adjustment point, and will only allow adjustment via the camber arm. Later down the road, when I get TRUE coilovers, I'll also need another set of these to use on the OEM toe adjustment location, along with adjustable toe arms. That's about it for now! Just need to go get myself a good alignment, so I don't burn through these Dunlops too soon. Bushido!
Posted by Bushido at 2:30 PM
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Just wanted to throw this post up of our member Pat's new wheels for his WRX. Wheels are now mounted, and on the car which he should have back by this weekend. Really looking forward to seeing it again and getting a shoot in with the new rollers. Keep an eye out for another post when the wheels are on the car and we get some good weather for photos. Specs are:
Emotion CR Ultimate (Kiwami)
18 x 9.5 +20
PCD 5 x 100
Emotion CR Ultimate (Kiwami)
18 x 9.5 +20
PCD 5 x 100
Posted by Bushido at 11:55 PM
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Over this past summer, I made it a point to take a trip down to Virginia International Raceway in Alton, VA to attend the 4 Hour ALMS race known as the VIR 240. Just two weeks after the amazing Grand Prix of Baltimore, teams were pressed for time and practice as they basically made their immediate way down the east coast to Southern Virginia. One of the coolest characteristics about VIR, is that part of the circuit is actually in North Carolina; Maybe that will kind of put it in perspective for how far South into the state this track actually is, for those of you who aren't familiar with it.
In usual modus operandi, my father and I were of course way late to arrive at the track and pick up our credentials. However, I was really stoked about this event and glad that I was able to get him the access that we were able to have and see these vehicles traveling in a much different environment than we've seen previously, including speeds MUCH faster on the straightaways. On the back straight, past Pit Row and between the last and first turns of the circuit, the drivers would reach speeds pushing 200MPH.
Of course, I was really supporting the Falken crew at this race and wished the best for them, but it was really insane to see all the teams again and even some that weren't able to attend the GPofB. Unfortunately, the Falken Porsche just wasn't doing too well that day and seemed to be having some issues. They started out doing decent, but continued to drop places throughout the race.
The fact that the VIR 240 was a 4 hour race was really exciting, because we were used to just seeing the super-short 2 hour races on the streets of Baltimore, which don't provide a lot of passing opportunities, but DO offer serious consequences to any mistakes or wrong moves. The openness of the Full Course at VIR really proved the difference between vehicle classes, engine power, and driving skill.
Anyway, I really won't bore you too much with senseless filler, so enjoy the rest of the photos below. And congratulations to Corvette Racing for taking the win in the GT-Class at this race in the series. Seriously hoping to make it down to Sebring in March 2013 for the Season-Opener!
Posted by Bushido at 9:18 PM