Monday, October 31, 2011

paid rework

TDC Auto dropped off the car last week and my friend Deepak made it over to check it out. Yes, Mr. "I'll swing by on Saturday" came by!

All the parts I gave them were inside the car or installed.

Guess someone mistook the G35 throttle body as an ash tray. Good thing I don't smoke, I can see how you could confuse the two.

Take note of these two bolts, they become important later.

They even returned the old FMIC bolts that are no longer needed.

Any ideas on what this bolt used to be used for, not to mention the extra nut and washer? It's pretty large, could be important.

Front sway bar links with frame bolts.

Flange cut-off from the intake plenum.

Intake all connected.

Strange residue all over the plenum. They did say they were doing construction in the shop, maybe they meant above my car.

Take note of the intake plenum bolt, remind you of anything?

I guess those two bolt holes were too hard to get to. At least they gave me the bolts back to put in myself.

I'm really curious what this is. It's like a white powdery substance that seems to cover plenum but nothing else, giving it a somewhat prickly appearance.

New throttle body, 9o mm opening from Godspeed. Much cleaner than the OEM G35, same flow. Comes with a matched weld-on flange. Combine that with a proficient welder and you get a repositioned and angled throttle body, placed with respect to the engine and car it's installed in. The throttle cable bracket was also relocated with respect to the newly oriented wheel, 9o* from where it once sat. This all places the TPS sensor below the plenum entirely hiding it from view, making hiding the wires that much easier.

The holes in the core support were JUST over 3", perfect for large intercooler piping. It was too snug for comfort to run hard piping through, however, and extended silicone couplers were used to prevent rubbing a hole. With the wall thickness added to the 3" id's of the silicone, the coupler cinches in a bit as it passes through the core support.

The goal was not to bang my knuckles under the core support every time things need to be disconnected. The band clamp is now rubbing against the underside of the core support. This was probably unavoidable while trying to fit the largest pipes possible through a 240z core support. Deepak suggested adding a rubber strip in between to protect the core support and band clamp from wear.

The FMIC end tanks were modified based on it's new mounted position, re-using the old vibrant connectors, in order to place the intake pipes at the correct angle and position to pass through the un-modified OEM openings.

The upper mounts were cut off and welded over for a finished look, but they created dimples on the upper intercooler plate. A thin piece of aluminum was welded to the the top of the FMIC to finish it out smoothly.

Similar modifications to the opposing driver side FMIC end tank connections, including coupler fit and band clamp rubbing. At least it's symmetric.

New turbo side piping, simple 3" opposing radius bends with my old 5o mm bov welded on low and out of the way. This fits in the car much more cleanly than on the upper bend facing upwards as in the 280z rubbing against the engine bay wall.

Note rubbing from previous install.

New unexpected downward facing dump tube. I found out after the fact that TDC added to the workscope while I was gone.

Great tig welding and part positioning.

Lower intercooler mounts were relocated and used to solidly mount the FMIC from the bottom. The car-side mounts are stainless steel to weather the elements, hidden underneath, and hold the intercooler level above the OEM bumper mount while utilizing OEM holes in the core support.

This is where it starts to get a bit sticky.

The downpipe was missing a v-band clamp that I provided for installation. As a reference, moving the downpipe up into position against the turbo flange does not significantly affect the installed position of the remainder of the exhaust.

The welding looks good on the new section, but the downpipe was installed backwards.

This is why the OEM throttle cable linkage no longer has enough room to function. If you look down the vertical path of the downpipe it curves. When installed in the other orientation, it curves from the turbo closer to the headers and the valve cover before it drops vertically, instead of coming straight front to back horizontally as it sits now. Bummer.

To confirm this, I searched and searched for as installed pictures of the downpipe in the 280z. Ironically, the only one I could find was taken at the TDC dyno night, by them. Look at how the curved portion is installed onto the turbo.

When the downpipe is moved laterally inline with the turbo outlet the exhaust does not touch the frame rail, but in its as-delivered-state, it rests on it, and one can also begin to realize how low the exhaust actually is.

There is significantly more room above, between the exhaust and the floor pans, than there is below, between it and the ground. Really?!

The muffler outlet rests nicely in the OEM hole, albeit a bit to one side. The sole hanger left on the exhaust at the muffler tip was relocated, the muffler and exhaust turned circumferentially and re-welded, causing the piping to sit extremely low below the car. I assume this was needed for the exhaust to meet up with the extremely low downpipe connection due to it's own miss-installation of backwards. There is more horizontal distance between the turbo and the firewall than vertical distance between the horizontal downpipe section and the lower exhaust connection. When installed backwards, the turbo connection had to be extended while the exhaust connection was much lower.

So low, in fact, that it dragged on the ground.

After assessing the situation, Deepak and I rolled the car back into the barn and jacked her up. We removed the exhaust and tried to correctly install the downpipe by flip-flopping it around in hopes that the other end would fit as it did before. In vain, we discovered that about an inch had been taken out of the curved section right at the v-band flange. I can only assume this was to raise the exhaust mounting position, or re-angle the flange so that it's mate on the exhaust would connect flush without rotating the exhaust anymore than required, making it that much lower. The o2 bung also had to be relocated because with the downpipe installed in it's new backwards position, the bung was unusable against the firewall. If the downpipe is going to be installed correctly, the turbo side needs to be re-extended, the exhaust side shortened, and the o2 bung moved - all again.

On a side note, I was told that the v-band flange on the fabled-turbo-side of the downpipe didn't quite fit it's mate. I wonder why.

I discussed the cost of this with TDC 2 weeks prior to delivery, which was 3 weeks into the shop's build, and was given this hand written receipt. I was told it included the exhaust work even though it didn't have it's own line item on the bill, it was built in. We also discussed connecting the throttle body cable to the gas pedal, but that wasn't to be. Luckily-so, as I didn't want the shell modified and it turns out Mckinney sells a very simple throttle cable and bracket which utilizes OEM holes on the firewall to attach a cable to the stock bell crank, assuming my downpipe can be modified to fit it again. Finally, we discussed the possibility of creating a new aluminum radiator. This turned out to be too expensive, especially when the trades decreased and labor increased on the day of delivery.

Regardless of receipt, we had a few conversations about the miss-communication of price, and settled on trading my fuel cell and used nitrous kit, instead of the harnesses, with 5oo$ cash for the work discussed prior to delivery. I completely understand the difficulties of fabrication and financial estimation with respect to materials and manpower cost. I'm not sure where the breakdown was, but it could have been worse and I'm thankful we were able to resolve it amicably. I think between not buying the radiator core they ordered before getting my OK, and not paying 2x the cash agreed upon prior to delivery due to more labor and less trades than on the receipt above, they may have stopped work and simply attached the exhaust as is.

But more importantly, really? a cigarette in the throttle body?