Thursday, May 3, 2018

There Goes My Z

I finally got to drive my Z... after 4 YEARS of sitting in the garage today I drove her... unfortunately it was just a glide the driveway so the flat bed could pick her up from the front... Tear, tear, tear...

I got the Z in 2010 and had a ton of fun with her. I got to drive her for two seasons in autocross with my club. On this blog you can read about my seat restoration, picking out parts, driving around the state to get used Datsun stuff, and work that I got to do on her. I love just time getting my hands dirty.

I won my autocross class (Street Touring R - STR) in 2010, but didn't get back to the trophy range cause the car started to struggle. She had fuel pressure issues, and try as I might things just got worse. New fuel pump, nothing. Dropped and cleaned the fuel tank, nothing. Took it to a local mechanic, nothing. At that point it was over my head what was wrong so she sat waiting for help.

Then I changed jobs, got too busy to work on her, and then she got put under a cover and sat... each year I thought, this year I will have time (and $) to get her running... well as you can see from the time stamp on the posts... neither happened. I work in non-profit world and have three kids, its hard to save money to get her the work she probably needs. So fingers crossed that we can get her back on the street.

Well so today she got towed, Tony's came and got her for me and hauled her off to EurAsia Import Specialists. They have a Datsun Master Mechanic there who will finally get to the bottom of my baby's issues. Hopefully I can afford to get her fixed...

So for now the garage has a big empty hole, where my Z used to be. Well now a major cleaning and organizing of the garage can happen. So lets do that while I take my mind off my baby being gone...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Long Winters Nap

The Z got dusty... she sat all summer. I popped the hood once and started to mess with her but never really got into it before I got side tracked again. So she sat and got dusty, VERY dusty.

Well just before the cold really set in we rolled her out of the garage, gave her a good bath, and then put a cover on her. She has settled in for a long winters nap... and hopefully this spring we can finally make some things happen and get her rolling again. I hope so, I didn't do a single race this year... obviously not in the Z, but even worse I never even went to an event to run a borrowed car.
So here are some pictures, washing her reminded me how much I wish I had time to work on her, and how I look forward to teaching the kids more about cars. Novali likes being handy, and hopefully Cruz will as well... and this spring they can help me get her on the road.

The Z looks nice all washed up huh... now if I can just get her running, and then teach Novali how to drive her...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

To Build or Not to Build: Datsun EZ

So the results from my last post were not favorable. My poor little Datsun was bounced from one shop to another, to finally come to a slow rest in my garage. What originally seemed to be a starter, turned into a new pump, and what I had hope was just a head rebuild turned into my baby needing a whole new heart (engine).

Obviously when my baby is in the shop it is hard for me to think about much else... visions of car repair bills dance in my head and keep me up. Well my shop was able to get her running, only on three cylinders but she made it home and is at least cozy among my powertools and rakes again.

As I did some research into rebuild costs, looking for a shop to take on the task, figuring out what phase two after the rebuild would be a thought came into my head...

For those who don't know me that well, or know the "College Sam", or the "Beta Sam" or the new "Grown Up Married Sam"... you might need some background on my love of cars.

I love cars. I love driving them. In high school I joined the Electrical Vehicle team. I learned how to draft, how to CNC machine aluminum parts and use a lathe. I designed custom tube frames and learned how to lay fiberglass. We designed a recumbent electric motor assisted bike one year and one year a three wheel electric cart (we painted it like a cow and called it QuickSilver).

One summer in high school I did a week long program at Western Michigan with their solar powered car program and when I attended WMU planned to get involved with the team (other involvements - ie Fraternity took my time and I never fully joined the team). I always followed the progress of the GM Electric car and of course the hybrids.... but over the years my passion for electric cars died out.

So my issue with the Datsun got me thinking... and then Google confirmed my notion that yes, yes a Datsun Z could make a good electric car. I can't rebuild a motor... but you know what I can do, work on an electric car conversion. So if the Datsun needs a motor ($2000), and then new exhaust ($400), and then new fuel injectors ($300) and then I am sure a new this... and a new that...

Why Don't I Make an Electric Z! I feel like if I say it out loud more I will actually make the leap... I could build it for the cost of fixing all the Datsun motor related items and I could get a car that would do 60 miles per charge... I could still autocross it and have fun (gotta make a good battery case to handle the whipping around).

I haven't ripped the gas tank out of her yet... as I am still debating a little in my head. I am actually shopping for a replacement for the Altima right now...

For now... the Datsun is down for the count... how long depends on what I do... electric convert would take a year or two... engine swap a couple months and some loot. No wonder I can't sleep at night...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

She rolled for the first time this year... unfortunately not under her own power. This winter she wouldn't start. Thought it was the starter, but it ended up the battery got drained. So I charged the battery but she still wouldn't go... I tinkered a little but didn't have time to figure out what was wrong.

So thankfully our AAA came in useful again and she rolled onto a flat bed and went to the shop. I figured, well if she is at the shop lets get that head rebuilt while she is in there all at once. Well the shop didn't want to tackle the head, so I just had them tackle the starting issue.

The fuel pump died... I tracked down and ordered parts. I hopes that iwas all that she needs. Rebuilding the head isn't going to be cheap, so the less I have to spend on the other stuff the better! I was thinking if she runs well enough with a new pump I can squeeze another summer out of the head and do the rebuild next winter.

The fingers were crossed... it was sad watching my baby drive away... and then worse news came. The shop she was at can't rebuild the head, and even with the new fuel pump couldn't get her running. Power isn't getting to the injectors for some reason and they don't have to tools and experience to get it fixed. So now I have to find a new shop and let the work continue...

All this just to get my baby running... ARGH. Hopefully soon she will be rolling, rolling, rolling... on her own power.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

#1 Trophy

Well I got my first class trophy from the South Bend Region of the Sports Car Club of America. The past two years I got a trophy for being in the top 20 in overall points from the club... and I repeated this year but made it into the top 10! I have won individual events with the Furrin Group, SBR and placed in several other regional events (Detroit, Saginaw Valley and Fort Wayne). I have not however won an annual class trophy until now...

So this is a good feeling... I am the Street Tire Restricted (STR) class champion for my region. I already posted the info about the award... and wanted to show off my new swap... a great roller duffle bag for hauling all my stuff to future races!

For the record four other members and one novice ran in my class. So I didn't just win by default... well maybe a little, I ran the most races and got the most points. Either way it is a win, its a trophy and I am happy with my bag (even though it isn't a tire rack from the Tire Rack. Ha).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

STR Champion and Top Ten Overall

Well the final results for the South Bend Region SCCA Autocross season got posted. I already knew, but it is now official that I won my class. This year the Datsun ran in Street Tire R (STR) and even though I won mostly because I ran the most races I am still excited to win and I hope the trophies this year are cool. Last year class champs got garage tire racks from the Tire Rack ($100+ value). I could use a set for the second set of wheels for the Z...

I also now have the final results of the overall points leaders for the entire club (200+). This year I ranked in 7th place overall! We get points for attending meetings, write blog articles, winning races, and for holding leadership positions within the club. This year I was chair of two Street Survival Schools, co-chair of timing and scoring for autocross events and on the autocross leadership team (plan events, set up, etc.). The prize for being a top twenty member is usually a polo shirt or a jacket. I can always use more car gear!

The awards banquet is on January 15th... when I have family in town. So not sure yet, but I think I might take my dad and brother Andres if they want to go. If not, I will miss it and get my trophies later. Just excited to be ranked and to have won my class.

Now on the downside... went to move the Datsun tonight and she wouldn't start for me... sounds like a bad starter or solenoid... so I need to track down that part ASAP. I need to move her and make room in the garage, in the winter we keep the Jetta inside for Heather.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Worried Parent

I took the Z this week into Tough Guy Industries to get the gas tank removed, restored and replaced. It is a common problem on the Zs, and more especially on a 35 year old car that sat in storage for years. You never know if the tank was dirty inside, rusting, or if it is keeping pressure well still.

Whenever the Z is in a shop... I am like a worried parent wondering when the shop will call, what if its a bad news and I have a huge bill, or worse if the call is saying that the car is no good. I lose sleep, I am searching online for new gas tanks in case I need to buy one, and looking at other Zs in case mine is junk and I need to buy a new car.

After a day of waiting I got a call from them... they said the tank had been removed and restored before. The inside of the tank had a new lining, so they cleaned it for me again, and put it back in. Saves me money, and while she was in there they were able to pull off my bumper shock towers for me, so the rear end of the Z is looking good (you have to remove the exhaust and gas tank to get the bumper shocks out).

Now the down side is that this saving me money, but I have not found the issue with why the Z is lacking power... so the work continues on trying to get her faster! At least I can worry about one less item...