Front suspension and brakes
Here is the brake upgrade I did to my car. I completed this upgrade to the car about two years ago. This upgrade at the time was an excellent option and it cost me about 1200.00 Mike at phonebooth.com designed and sells this upgrade. The brakes consist of a 12" 1 1/4" vented Coleman rotor. The calipers are outlaw 4000 calipers. They are four piston calipers, and I decided to run porterfield pads. I wanted a pad that could take some heat, as that was my major problem with the stock brakes. I have realistically experienced brake fade, and let me tell you it is not fun. You begin stopping and about 5 seconds later you have no brakes to speak of, and when you find yourself standing on the brake pedal to stop the car, it is not a good feeling at all. I then got a set of porterfield pads for the stock system and they improved the fading problem by at least 200%, but I went on a few high speed, fast braking runs in the car. The brakes stooped the car, but the last time I did that, so much smoke was coming off of the brakes I literally thought I had a fire under the hood. It was then I decided to get this upgrade and bit the bullet on the cost. This system stops the car like I already mentioned and I have had no smoke from the brakes even under the most severe braking.
if you are running high horse power applications with your car, I would highly suggest that you invest the money to get a system that will stop the car, and yes I like to stop as much as going very fast in a short amount of time.
I decided to go into the wheel spacer issue because the zcar does not have to many options with wheels that fit correctly with the correct back spacing for many applications. I spaced out the wheel about 3/4" to get my centerline wheels to fit the car and not hit the strut tube. I also decided that I would upgrade the wheel studs at the same time to make sure the added stress on the studs would not turn out in disaster for me. I am not keen on losing a wheel, and it has happened to me before, not to much fun at all.
I am running Moroso 3" X 1/2" studs on the car now. I must say these are very high quality studs, and I dot have any worries that they will break. The install went easy, but I did have to drill out the hubs to fit the stud. Also as a note: I tried a press to install the studs but found that if the stud was not started strait in the hub, the press would force them in the hub crooked. I then tried using a good lug nut and washer with grease to draw the stud into the hub, and that way they were strait and the wheel holes lined up correctly. I finished up the install with McGard lug nuts, and with these lug nuts I am able to still use the stock wheels, as the diameter of the nut is standard for just about any wheel.
The last consideration for this install is that the wheel selected will fit over the caliper and not rub. I lucked out and was able to run the centerline wheels and the other wheels I had on the car before. I never verified that a stock wheel would fit and not hit the caliper. Just something to keep in mind when going with larger rotors and after market calipers.
Here is the completed control arm with the rod end installed. I utilized the 3/4" part with the 5/8" eye in the end of the part. This type of rod end is the strongest that is made. I think that the spec sheet said it was able to handle 66,000 pounds of weight on the part. I think that is strong enough. I might even be able to nail the curb and not have it break LOL. I got a set of control arms of a junker, cut them to length and had the steel block drilled, tapped, and welded into the arm, VERY strong. I then had to drill the cross member out to 5/8" holes as the stock blots were 1/2" or so. I used grade 10 bolts and nuts to secure it to the cross member. The one thing to remember is that sense I did not build a coupler for the part, the adjustment is difficult. To adjust this part I will need to remove the bolt through the cross member and pull the arm down and turn the rod end in or out which ever is needed. The install was easy tho, I had the car aligned before I did this upgrade and had the camber set to 1 degree for better handling. When I removed the old control arm, I measured the distance and made the adjustment on the new arm, set the jam nut and installed the part. The results of the alignment were perfect, no adjustment needed.
Here is a picture of the Motor Sport quick links they sell for our cars. All I have to say is they may be quick links for some car but not for mine. I did like the rod end coupling tho, so that is why I decided to use them. I am not all that sure of the strength of the part utilizing the suspension techniques 1 1/8" sway bar, but I can always change out the 3/8" rod end with a 7/16" rod end later if parts start bending.
Note where the link is positioned on my control arm. I moved the link to the center of the arm to stop the tweaking of the arm when the sway bar is in operation. Nissan for some reason decided to install the sway bar link on the leading edge of the control arm. Well, what this did is when I would start using the sway bar to keep the car level, like going up a drive way side ways, it would tweak the control arm. I did not like that too much myself. Would it have caused a failure maybe, maybe not, but it was not good design any way you looked at it. I got some 1/4" steel and made the plate to install on the control arm. I had the plate welded securely to the arm and then drilled the plate on center of the arm for the link bracket. I think it turned out very strong, and very clean. I did not take the time to powder coat the control arms, oh well; black paint will just have to do this time. The link in the picture looks off center to the eye of the rod end, but the car is not laden. The link lines up almost perfectly square with the weight of the car on the control arm.
Here is the pictures of the now FINALLY, fully adjustable strut positioning rods. I first did a setup with rubber bushings, and with only right hand threaded couplers. The parts worked well, but they were not the easiest to adjust because of the right hand thread on both sides of the bar. This set, not only has the 5/8" rod ends, but I made sure I had the correct setup with left and right hand threads on each side of the coupler. They worked excellent. The alignment guy was very impressed with how easy they were to adjust. I set the caster for 6 degrees, for again, better handling. I was going to adjust them to 7 degrees, but I found that with the wheel/tire combination I had on the car, the tire was about 3/8" from the fender. I opted for the 6 degrees, and with the centerline wheels and tires there is plenty of clearance from the fender.
Here is the view of how I installed the rod end into the bracket. VERY strong. Again, I utilized 5/8" rod ends and the bolt through the bracket is also 5/8". I turned the spacers on a lathe to center the rod end, and the spacers are stainless steel to inhibit rusting. These rod ends, as well the control rod ends are the non-greasable type parts that I will not have to grease. I like maintenance free operation, call me lazy its ok LOL. Oh, and disregard the coolant on the part. I fixed that hose leak at the radiator outlet. It took some running and heating and then it started leaking slightly. A quick tightening of the clamp fixed that sucker LOL.
And here my prize, the sway bar one off bracket I designed, and this time had machined. The two brackets cost me 240.00 to get machined. I have the drawing I made if anyone is interested. This bracket is built around the 1 1/8" sway bar, but a slight mod to the drawing will make it extremely suitable for any size bracket. I ripped the cheezy (and yes that is now officially a word) strap suspension techniques provided with that monster sway bar were a joke. I went all out on this one. I did have some trouble with the chassis nut, and the 100 X 1.25 pitch bolt pulled lose and ruined the chassis nut. Being the spazz that I am, talked to a friend and decided to go really radical and design a bracket/bolt/spacer combination to fix the problem. I used a 1/2" grade 12 bolts and nuts. I made spacers of 316 stainless steel. I made the top bracket from 1/4" hitch (square stock) materials. I cut the stock 3/4" high to finish with a good strong C channel to mount to the top of the frame rail. I made C channel the bracket 5 inches long to get a good platform on the rail. I drilled out the chassis nut, and through the top of the frame rail, installed the spacer in the frame rail, and installed the sway bar bracket. Then I installed the C channel bracket on the top of the rail and tightened that sucker down. I also used poly lock nuts and the job was complete. If this part ever pulls lose, well then it is safe to say I will need a new frame rail, because that sucker is not going anywhere for sure.
So that is about it for the front suspension unless I have forgotten something, which I may have. But this will give you a good idea of what can be done with the stock suspension. This is about the best it will get for this setup. I realize I could do a different, better front suspension setup, but it gets to the point that you really have to just yank out all of the components and start all over. Well to go that far, we are opening up a number of upgrades that would just stand to reason would be completed as well. I AINT DOING IT, LOL this is the best it is going to get for this car, so if anyone would like to commission me to build them a race chassis, let me know and we can do that LOL, give me all your money LOL.
Have a good one guys.