The Enjuku Racing #916 LS3 350z Time Attack Build Thread
****Latest Revision 8/6/17 So, I do my best to keep this thread up to date. It has been broken down into sections to make it easier to navigate for those of you looking for specific information. You'll see some notes from me at the bottom of each section, most of them pertain to installation tips, mistakes I may have made, and other things of that nature. Any time you see ^^^ at the end of a sentence, refer to the notes at the end of that section for more info. If you have a specific question about a product, an installation, or anything else you find here: Email me, Message me on Facebook or Instagram. I am happy to help!*****
Back in September of 2014 I bought this stock 2008 350z base model with 21,000 miles on it. I had always liked cars, but knew nothing about them really. My brother taught me to drive a manual as a kid, so I decided to get a manual car since it would be cheaper. Well, I started going to local Z club meets and such, when one day my club invited me to track day at one of the local race tracks in December of 2014. I had no idea what I was getting into, but hell, I signed up anyways. I still remember a lot about that day, how terrified I was, how hard it was raining (my painter's tape numbers couldn't hang haha), how helpful and cool everyone was... I remember how in love I was with the sensory overld, with the car, with the track, the people, all of it. And I remember thinking: damn, I really like this.
And here we are now, she's a completely transformed beast. And I'm an addict, powerless to resist her when she calls.
Anyways, after getting completely hooked and getting a ton of seat time in 2015, I decided I wanted to start building her for Global Time Attack Limited RWD / GRIDLIFE Track Mod RWD. So I set forth on this awesome journey to build a race car!
I started with safety. I knew that no matter how much money I dumped into making this car fast, I could spare no expense on safety. So in October of 2015, I scheduled to have a local shop, Enjuku Racing, build me a custom 16pt roll cage. Of course I knew who they were, being the Formula Drift fan girl that I am. But what I didn't know is that it would be the beginning of my relationship with an awesome team of extremely motivated and talented people who would take me under their wings and contribute tons of resources, time, and guidance into this build.
The Cage & Gutting the Interior:
At this point in the Z's life (October of 2015) I committed to the idea she would no longer be a daily driver. So I began preparation to drop her off at Enjuku Racing for the first of what would be many times, for some serious modifications. It started with a custom roll cage.
I prepared the car for the cage myself, completely gutting the interior and removing all the sound deadener I could. Its a painful process, but I found the old Dry Ice trick to be the most effective. ^^^ I had a friend help me with pulling the heater core and other components behind the dash, and we removed everything we could no longer
Since we knew we could get the car below 3000 lbs without a driver, we opted to go with the smaller 1.75 x .095 tubing to make it ST class legal. Knowing I would never race with passengers in the car, we saved some weight on the passenger side with a simple "X" door bar, while running a NASCAR style door bar on the driver's side. Per my fabricator's wise request, we added "intrusion bars" or "ankle bars" to help prevent damage to my feet/legs in a side impact or front impact. We cut out as much of the weak, hollow, factory bracing as possible, and used cross bars to tighten the chassis up. We also had the chassis painted gloss white by a local Ford Dealership, to give it a very clean finished look, and of course we had to paint the cage teal.
DRY ICE: SOUND DEADENER REMOVAL TIPS---- Basically, buy 5-10lbs of Dry Ice, keep it in a cooler, and take few handfuls at a time, lay it on the Sound Deadener for a few minutes until it appears frosted over. Then, use a hammer and a stout flat head screw-driver, putty knife, or chisel to chip it away from the chassis. (I don't feel like I should have to say this, but don't touch the Dry Ice without thick gloves on). Its tedious, to say the least. But I found that burning it off or melting it off turned it into an insanely sticky putty like substance that made removal less effective and more messy. You probably won't be able to remove it all, and you'll notice a sort of scratchy residue left over in some places. You can get that off with a sander, which is what we did before the chassis went for paint before SEMA.
One mistake I did make (at least while the VQ was still in the car) was that when I gutted the car, I threw away a white, rectangular box that the AC control dials plugged into behind the dash, just below the head unit. Well, that seemingly useless box is an amp, that controls your factory gauge cluster, haha, so LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE, and don't get rid of that box. Its not the end of the world, but your gauge cluster won't work, no speedo, no odometer, no fuel gauge, and no CEL or Warning Lights will appear. Because the body harness of z33/z34 and similar chassis is all intertwined CANBUS, you should really take care when gutting the car and cutting out sensors, wires, etc.
Seat, Harnesses, and Fire Suppression
For a seat I have the Sparco Pro ADV. I also run a Sparco 6pt FIA harness, which the shoulder straps run 3" to 2" for my HANS device.^^^
Finally, we have a two stage SafeCraft Fire Suppression System. Just like every part on a race car, it is important that a suppression system is installed properly, and that the tab housing the pull-cable is strong enough to handle you pulling the cable to break the seal. I have had friends pull the cable, straight of the car without breaking the seal and therefore without suppressing the fire, due to the tab breaking. For that reason, we welded that tab to the chassis.
Seriously people, DON"T GET IN A HARNESSED RACE CAR WITHOUT A HANS. This is an infuriating, often overlooked trend I see all the time at the track and I can not wrap my head around it. Yes, I know HANS are expensive. So is a neck/back injury or funeral bills.// End tangent//
After the safety equipment, I moved onto suspension and brakes. I already had some entry level track coilovers on the car, but that was about it. For all my assorted
suspension needs, I went with SPL Parts, of course. Their product's quality is unparalleled as far the Z33 chassis is concerned. I set her up with all the SPL goodies I could get my hands on, Front Upper control arms, tie rods, end links, bushings, rear camber arms, rear traction and toe arms,
In addition to upgrading all the stock suspension components, I also upgraded to a set of Fortune Auto 510's series coilovers on custom swift springs.
Next up was upgrading the brakes. I went with the Wilwood 6 Piston SuperLite Calipers up front, paired with Wilwood slotted 14" two piece rotors. In the rear, Wilwood 4 Piston SuperLite's with Wilwood slotted 13.25" two piece rotors. Since we were still utilizing the factory brake booster and ABS, we upgraded the lines, the master, and went with Wilwood BP-40 pads all around.
Lastly, I powder coated (Teal) a set of Hotchkis adjustable sway bars and threw those in the mix as well. We later decided we preferred the softness of the OEM rear sway bar, so we now run Hotchkis only in the front
Next on my list were wheels and tires. If you are not familiar with the GTA Limited Class rules, I am required to run a 100tw tire. Since I had a connection over a Maxxis Tires, I decided to give their new Victra RC-1 a shot. Needless to say, I have been very happy with the performance of the tire. Since I was only running a 275/35/18 square set up at this point, it served the 300hp car very well.
Around the same time Konig Wheels USA came on board as a sponsor and provided me with a few sets of their new flow formed wheels, the HyperGram. Weighing exactly the same as an RPF1 (but perhaps a tad more stylish in my opinion), I decided to run a 10..5 x 18 + 22 set up.
So now we're approaching February of 2016 on the timeline. I'm gearing up to compete in my first race ever. By this point I was still able to get a fair amount of seat time in during the winter while undergoing the modifications.
Before I went, we decided to tackle some of the body and aero stuff. Kind of a mistake at this point, but fortunately it has worked okay for me, I picked a rear spoiler for nothing more than aesthetics (I know, I know. It's getting changed this off season). Still, it works, it just doesn't offer the fine tuning we ultimately need when hunting for a tenth of a second at the track. So, here it is, It's pretty at least....
Moving on, we also cut the rear bumper to clear the way for a nasty, custom, chassis mount rear diffuser which my bad ass fabricator (always chasing us around the US to crew chief our race team or buried up to his nose in needy drift cars LOVE YOU KEVIN & NATE) hasn't had time to tackle that project yet.
I did get DEVSPORT to make me an awesome custom chassis mount front splitter for my Nismo V3 front bumper. As well as some custom side splitters and stand offs.
I had been running the Seibon TS Style Vented Carbon Fiber hood (complete with aerocatch hood pins) for some time at this point. My fabricator also got around to venting the oem fenders.
Things we have yet to do: Carbon Fiber Hatch, Lexan Hatch window, Carbon Fiber Mirrors, Rear Diffuser, Adjustable Chassis mount wing stands, custom end plates, front canards. We'll get there.... eventually.
So I went and I raced. In my out classed, under powered, stock VQ for about as long as I could until we decided as a team that it was time to turn up the power. This of course, didn't come without me scaring the living hell out of myself driving 11/10th's to muster a 1:38.3 at Road Atlanta for Global Time Attack Round 1 in May 2016. Which was a feat in itself for a 284whp car on 100tw tires. So, we started weighing our options. I insisted drivability, reliability, and weight were my utmost priorities, so we tossed the idea of going forced induction on the VQ35HR. Here comes the JDM Fan boy, Nissan purist hate train. Yeah, yeah. I get it. Anyways, we decided that an LS would best suit my build's needs. Competitive cars in Limited RWD fall into the 6:1 Weight to Power ratio. In order to achieve that at my current weight, I'd need to make 500whp. We decided to go with a cam only 6.2L LS3 GM Performance crate motor from Summit Racing. We figured that with some race gas and a tune would put us right where we wanted to be.
Once I got a break in my race schedule, after Ultimate Track Car Challenge: HyperFest at VIR in late May 2016, we got started on the swap.
With only 8 weeks to finish the swap before my next race, the team over at Enjuku Racing got busy right away. We would be using the ISR Performance prototype for their z33 LSX Swap Kit. Using an custom fabricated adapter plate, this kit allowed us to utilize the factory Z Transmission, in my case, the CD8.
As for the clutch, Exedy USA hooked us up with their HD Twin disk. The flywheel we had custom made to account for the thickness of the ISR Performance adapter plate on the transmission.
Because the LS is shorter, than the VQ, we were able to mount it very low, and very far back. So we had to pick up a custom 5" shorter driveshaft from the DriveShaft Shop.
In anticipation of the power, we also upgraded the differential to an OS Giken SuperLock, which we had tuned by OS Giken.
Eventually we got around to doing the chassis harness, removing about 25lbs of wires. Holley Performance stepped in to hook me up with their newest ECU the Holley Dominator EFI, as well as the Holley touch screen dash (that is fully customizable), valve covers, fuel pressure regulator, fuel rails, sensors and a bunch of other goodies.
About one week out, we dropped the motor in along with the ISR Performance prototype long tube headers, which mate up with the Z Y-Pipe allowing the use of just about any catback 350z exhaust, stock or aftermarket.
As for cooling mods, we upgraded to a Koyo Racing Radiator, a custom oil cooler, and a transmission cooler.
To help offset the added weight from the LS motor (approx. 20lbs more than the VQ. However, because of the mounting position any added weight was added behind the "axles" and lower than where the VQ sat.), XS Power supplied us with their S1200 Lightweight Battery, which we relocated to rear.
While the car was down we decided to address the infamous Z Chassis fuel starve issue. The fabricator at Enjuku Racing designed me a prototype in tank over flow canister feeding from one side of the saddle tank to the other and back to a secondary fuel pump. Because the factory saddle tank is in such an ideal location for weight distribution, we wanted to avoid running a fuel cell. We later tested the device to the last drop (literally) at Road Atlanta the following weekend. With zero fuel starve symptoms, I was able to run the car out of fuel at turn 3. We pulled the canister to check how much fuel was left in the tank, and there was about a 1/4" left in the bottom because the line sits about 1/2" off the bottom of the tank. Pretty neat!
We suffered a few ridiculous last minute set backs (to be expected) thanks to some products getting damaged in shipping and some incorrect part numbers, but got the car started at about 7pm on Wednesday night, the week of my next race, GridLife South. We filled up the tank with some VP 110 and threw her on the scales again, with driver and a full tank she came in at 3022lbs with a cross weight at 50.2% with no corner balancing adjustments.
With #GRIDLIFE fast approaching, I had no time to spare. I got her on the trailer at about 8:30pm and headed down to West Palm Beach (3 hour drive) to get her tuned by Horsepower Logic. HP Logic of course, saved the day and got her on the dyno and tuned at 1am. Since we still had to break in the new motor we opted for a conservative tune focused on drivability. Jack at HP Logic gave me just that, leaving her sitting at about 505whp/500wtq.
So I loaded her back up on the trailer and headed back up to Enjuku to depart for my next race, #GRIDLIFE South at Road Atlanta. The weekend went off without a hitch, I couldn't have asked for a smoother shake down as we literally ran into zero issues with the new set up aside from me needing to relearn how to brake without ABS (haha).
After my shake down at #GRIDLIFE, I went straight to Kentucky for Holley's LS Fest and managed to take home the win in class and third over all. I've still got a ways to go before I'd consider myself 100% comfortable and familiar with the new set up, but damn, am I happy with the performance so far!
The ISR Performance LSX Swap Kit will be available through Enjuku Racing later this year, so keep your eye out!
I will do my best to keep this thread updated as the build progresses! Feel free to email me if you have any questions: email@example.com
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Special thanks to all my Sponsors that have contributed to this beast!
Konig Wheels USA
Wilwood Disc Brakes
Chase L Warner