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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Z31 NA2T complete. Update and personal thoughts.

Greetings,

well, the turbo conversion on my 87na 2+2 is complete. finally.

that being said, I just wanted to talk a bit about it. long story short, some minor problems during the project that were unexpected, but resolved with slight modifications. will talk about these items later.
as far as running and performance, it runs. a few issues exist however. turbo spools up nicely and no strange abnormalities during acceleration accept for a few hesitations that I noticed, thought very short. the idle is not very good, and I'm still trying to tune it and make adjustments. some of the issues that I am attempting to correct:

engine does not start initially after sitting cold. I have to crank it several times before it will start... I believe this is due to the 84 ECU and the lean/surge problem that the early Zenki cars have.
for a test, I swapped back to my 87na ECU and she fired right up, no excessive cranking or hesitation. didn't idle well of course. plugged the turbo ECU back in and same thing happened -hard time starting.
once it warms up, it seems to start and run fine. I have sourced out an 87T ECU that I am going to use as I think it will be a bit more compatible with my setup, plus it will give me a spare.
hopefully the no start issue goes away.

timing and idle. I checked my idle timing and it is sitting right around 25 degrees BTDC according to the marks. 87na and 84-85T application calls for 20 degrees. the 87T calls for 15, all +/- 2.
so, I plan on setting it to 15 when I get the 87T ECU. I'm hoping to see a better idle and smoother running. I have the turbo idle control valve installed, but the idle seems to stay high (above 1000) and seems to fluctuate as well, but when the a/c kicks on it goes down to about 900. still high. for testing purposes, I am thinking about removing the valve completely and then see how it will run. I just want it to be steady with no hesitation.

oil and water temps. the cooling system was replaced with as much stuff as I could possible replace or repair while the engine was out. so far, so good. the temp gauge stays on the cool side and barely even got up to mid temp even after an hour long freeway drive. I did install a 160 degree T-stat in hopes that it will open quicker during the hotter summer season here in the UAE. one thing that I did change (and I was very hesitant at first) was going from traditional 50/50 green to BMW blue coolant. this was not an easy decision, but based on my mech's recommendations for the best cooling possible, I am trying it. I was reading some stories and hearing awful things about the new orange Dex-cool (Dex-Kill) and was horrified to learn that they use it a lot over here. apparently some folks have had damaged cooling systems after using dex-cool and so I have decided I will never put that in my car! maybe its only good for the newer GM vehicles? I don't know. anyways, the green pre-diluted coolant is not the best quality here, so I'm sticking with the blue. so far, so good. btw, the new dual core turbo radiator seems to be flowing and cooling nicely, much more so than the single n/a core that we pulled out of the car... I am truly amazed that it lasted this long and that I drove through three ridiculously hot summers with it and it still managed to keep things cool. based on visual inspection, looks like a factory original from 1987. dinky thin core too. again, amazed at its longevity.
oil seems to be holding up well. now that my oil temp gauge works due to a new OEM Nissan sensor installed, it hasn't gone past mid-range during driving. I fear that it will however when the summer comes.
I'm not using an oil cooler, but I think I may install one at later time depending on how the temperature goes. I do smell of hint of burnt oil after running (I don't know if this is normal, but I smell the same thing on my 280z NA2T as well) I hope the oil is not getting cooked in that turbo. is this normal?

performance overall. its not as powerful as I thought it would be, however this could be due to the turbo being a TB250 which came from the JDM VG20ET engine. I don't have a boost gauge as of yet, so I don't know for sure how much boost is going through. I can say that it does spool nicely and pushes hard when I open the throttle. high speed pulls on the freeway seem strong. its nice to have the extra boost, as I was not able to gain much extra power going that speed (120K/ph - 140K/ph) with the N/A. the pull feels great, even for a stock setup with stock boost.
one thing that does concern me, is if I really get on it and rev high during boost, I can hear a slight rattling sound... like taking a soda can filled with small pebbles and shaking it, the best way to describe it. I'm not sure if it detonating as I don't yet have the ear for it, however it only does it when its boosting and at high RPMs. (I am new to turbo driving, and still learning how to drive it properly, so please forgive that)
I read another post about some guy/kid who blew his motor up by driving like a maniac at high speeds, so I don't want to end up like him or his car.
no offense, kid.

exhaust. nothing to complain about really. I got the 2.5 turbo back from CM with the dual muffler pipes. I didn't go 3" because I was only wanting a stock setup for my car. I did however go with the off-road pipe and do away with the CAT as it is not required here for emissions, however I am coming to regret this, as the system is loud at freeway speed with an unmistakable "drone" that gets annoying after a while. I might change this and go with a high-flow CAT from CM, if it will quiet things down some.

final thoughts. though I am happy with the setup, it is taking a bit to get used to. I have found that as far as drivability is concerned, I have traded comfort for speed. I like the extra power and get-up speed, but I do miss the comfort factor that my car had when it was N/A. I never once had trouble starting, or ignition issues, or idle issues. driving and shifting was more smooth and comfortable. my car may not be very comfortable during long drives and doesn't seem to be as reliable as was before. that being said, I don't regret foregoing the comfort in exchange for power.
in hindsight, financially-wise and reliability-wise, it may have been better to have just stayed N/A, and just repairing the cooling system and getting a good 3" cat-back exhaust and enjoying the high compression, zip-around-town, smooth driving pleasure.

I am still in testing phases, looking for problems, and observing the behaviors of my car and its new setup. I am hopeful and optimistic that it will not experience any major problems or have a catastrophic failure.... but if that does happen, well, there are plenty of RB motors sitting around that I could try

Your thoughts and observations, please.

Cheers,

Bon from Abu Dhabi

Nos, primer paint, piller gauges, fart cans, funky spoilers, low riders, annoying drivers...
Oooh, I'm trembling with fear as the stop light is near, I sit in my Z in the presence of thee....
Whatever man. Leave that dumb crap to the Honda goons!

Pooja -- 1987 300zx 2+2 non-turbo. International DD
Suzanna -- 1983 280zx coupe non-turbo. Stateside DD
Alana -- 1976 280z coupe NA2T. Weekend Warrior
Dianna -- 1980 280zx coupe slick-top. Former DD ~ Sold.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 10:33 AM
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Congrats on Completion. I have the 3" CM with the hi-flo cat. Still has a little drone. Not terrible.

1986ZXT GLL: K & N, CM 3" turbo back, Turbosmart MBC @ 11 psi, fmic (old guy kept the A/C), Dual Fans, Maxima Alternator, ASCO plenum, Eibach/KYB, Champion 3 row
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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thanks, 86T.


not too bad, eh? I figured that the turbo would quiet things down a bit, at least compared to my exhaust when it was NA... good lord was it loud, though. I kinda miss it.
maybe it would have been better off to go with the 3", but too late for that now. will see how it sounds and performs with the high flow cat.
is your car a factory turbo or conversion?


at this time, I'm not going to be driving my car, as I have discovered a water leak at the heater hoses going to the firewall. my heater core was already shot before the turbo stuff was ever started, so we just capped off the ends on the inlet and return pipes on the engine. I noticed a small amount of coolant slowly dripping from the cap onto the rear manifold. I could just tighten the clamp but if its leaking, it will probably just get worse or possible have a blow out... don't want that. so, when my heater core gets here the dash is coming out. fun fun fun!
actually its good that I do this because I need to get in there anyways and fix some other issues the with a/c system's vacuum and actuators (a/c air is coming out through the top dash defroster vents when that passage should be closed during operation.)


87T ECU is on its way


Bonny

Nos, primer paint, piller gauges, fart cans, funky spoilers, low riders, annoying drivers...
Oooh, I'm trembling with fear as the stop light is near, I sit in my Z in the presence of thee....
Whatever man. Leave that dumb crap to the Honda goons!

Pooja -- 1987 300zx 2+2 non-turbo. International DD
Suzanna -- 1983 280zx coupe non-turbo. Stateside DD
Alana -- 1976 280z coupe NA2T. Weekend Warrior
Dianna -- 1980 280zx coupe slick-top. Former DD ~ Sold.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 03:51 PM
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I have a factory turbo

1986ZXT GLL: K & N, CM 3" turbo back, Turbosmart MBC @ 11 psi, fmic (old guy kept the A/C), Dual Fans, Maxima Alternator, ASCO plenum, Eibach/KYB, Champion 3 row
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 05:28 PM
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congrats mate!

glad to know someone from Abu Dhabi too.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 12:48 PM
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Bonny,

You're smart to park it you were on your way to popping your ringlands or worse!

That marbles sound is detonation, bad detonation
.

Too much timing causes detonation and Ruins pistons, heads, and can even ruin your rod and main bearings over time. It also causes a high idle.

25 degrees timing is absolutely, totally way way too high for anything turbo, just for future reference. Anything NA-T you usually have to Subtract 2-3 degrees. If you drive it again set it to 13* BTDC, and slowly raise it from there to 15, then mayyybe 17 if you hear no "marbles".

the VG20et turbo can also cause extra detonation. Smaller turbo = hotter air = more detonation.

Get a boost gauge ASAP! If you're spiking to 15psi you could blow the motor within a week of driving with how it's configured now.

Once you get the boost gauge, you can start raising the timing up to 15-17 once you've verified that you're not over-boosting.

Good luck! Turbos are a lot of fun but oh man, they will be a heart breaker if you aren't careful. By careful I mean, doing things by the numbers.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bailey Groutage View Post
Bonny,

You're smart to park it you were on your way to popping your ringlands or worse!

That marbles sound is detonation, bad detonation.

Too much timing causes detonation and Ruins pistons, heads, and can even ruin your rod and main bearings over time. It also causes a high idle.

25 degrees timing is absolutely, totally way way too high for anything turbo, just for future reference. Anything NA-T you usually have to Subtract 2-3 degrees. If you drive it again set it to 13* BTDC, and slowly raise it from there to 15, then mayyybe 17 if you hear no "marbles".

the VG20et turbo can also cause extra detonation. Smaller turbo = hotter air = more detonation.

Get a boost gauge ASAP! If you're spiking to 15psi you could blow the motor within a week of driving with how it's configured now.

Once you get the boost gauge, you can start raising the timing up to 15-17 once you've verified that you're not over-boosting.

Good luck! Turbos are a lot of fun but oh man, they will be a heart breaker if you aren't careful. By careful I mean, doing things by the numbers.

BaileyG,


thank you for your info, Sir. very glad to hear it.


so, I am getting a gauge as soon as I can. I don't think it is spiking as it sounds and boosts (spools normally, then lets off) but its hard to say. evidently, the VG20ET turbo has this dual function waste-gate where it closes and low speeds and stays open at high speeds, so I don't know if that is causing any abnormal noises or operations. this turbo looks just like a T3 (in my eyes), but it did come off a VG20ET engine, I watched 'em pull it off. and I agree, the smaller, the hotter. there is a T-3 turbo with the exhaust elbow for sale on line that I think I might get while it is available and swap out the TB250.


the rattling sound is not loud. its very subtle and only occurs when pushed hard and at very high rpms. it doesn't do it during normal take-off boost and normal driving conditions. only when I really get on it.
I am going to adjust the timing down to around 13 like you said and see how it does. it may help with cold start and idling issue as well. I am wondering if the early turbo ECU will react well to that? (states should be at 20 timing for that one).
I wish I could really capture the sound on it. I might try and secure my GoPro cam in the engine bay and maybe I can get a good audio of the noise. I'm not driving the car daily... just during troubleshooting and testing during my time off.


is there a good (proper to do by myself) way of adjusting the timing at idle? (not total curve, I think I need two people for that)
when I check it, I can clearly see it at 25 but as it idles, the ECU does its little auto-timing computation thing and it jumps all over. I probably need to disconnect my dual fans and aux fan and keep the a/c off to keep it steady. however, the idle-control valve wants to do its thing along with the ECU, so its tough to keep it steady. any suggestions?


if this is bad detonation and its starts to go, what are immediate signs of failure? will I know it right away, I mean will the engine just blow and start spilling smoke everywhere, or will it just shut down and stop running and not want to crank anymore? just curious.


again, thank you for your info. ready for more...


Bonny

Nos, primer paint, piller gauges, fart cans, funky spoilers, low riders, annoying drivers...
Oooh, I'm trembling with fear as the stop light is near, I sit in my Z in the presence of thee....
Whatever man. Leave that dumb crap to the Honda goons!

Pooja -- 1987 300zx 2+2 non-turbo. International DD
Suzanna -- 1983 280zx coupe non-turbo. Stateside DD
Alana -- 1976 280z coupe NA2T. Weekend Warrior
Dianna -- 1980 280zx coupe slick-top. Former DD ~ Sold.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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congrats mate!

glad to know someone from Abu Dhabi too.

me too, mate. where about in AD are you? I live in Khalifa City.


Bon

Nos, primer paint, piller gauges, fart cans, funky spoilers, low riders, annoying drivers...
Oooh, I'm trembling with fear as the stop light is near, I sit in my Z in the presence of thee....
Whatever man. Leave that dumb crap to the Honda goons!

Pooja -- 1987 300zx 2+2 non-turbo. International DD
Suzanna -- 1983 280zx coupe non-turbo. Stateside DD
Alana -- 1976 280z coupe NA2T. Weekend Warrior
Dianna -- 1980 280zx coupe slick-top. Former DD ~ Sold.
bonfire79 is online now  
post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 11:37 PM
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BaileyG,


thank you for your info, Sir. very glad to hear it.

You betcha.

so, I am getting a gauge as soon as I can. I don't think it is spiking as it sounds and boosts (spools normally, then lets off) but its hard to say. evidently, the VG20ET turbo has this dual function waste-gate where it closes and low speeds and stays open at high speeds, so I don't know if that is causing any abnormal noises or operations. this turbo looks just like a T3 (in my eyes), but it did come off a VG20ET engine, I watched 'em pull it off. and I agree, the smaller, the hotter. there is a T-3 turbo with the exhaust elbow for sale on line that I think I might get while it is available and swap out the TB250.

I'm not 100% sure if the vg20 turbo is smaller or not, I truly can't remember the specs of all of them, but i figured I'd mention it!

the rattling sound is not loud. its very subtle and only occurs when pushed hard and at very high rpms. it doesn't do it during normal take-off boost and normal driving conditions. only when I really get on it.
That would be detonation haha, definitely. When you floor it, you're getting up to 3,500 or 4,000 under boost and your NA ecu isn't compensating enough fuel and can't get enough in there. your timing is lighting off early and the piston gets so hot and the pressures are so high that it causes mini explosions as the piston is traveling upwards. I'm assuming you are running the highest level gas you can get for these tests as well, but I'm tellin you only 2 or 3 runs if it were spiking boost on an NA ecu and you could be looking at needing a complete rebuild.

I am going to adjust the timing down to around 13 like you said and see how it does. it may help with cold start and idling issue as well. I am wondering if the early turbo ECU will react well to that? (states should be at 20 timing for that one). In my personal opinion, even with the turbo ECU I would still run at minimum 3 degrees less timing than was specified for your year engine. The timing goes with the engine first. So if your NA says set it to 20, then you add a turbo, I'd run at MOST 17 ever, 15 would be fine.

I wish I could really capture the sound on it. I might try and secure my GoPro cam in the engine bay and maybe I can get a good audio of the noise. I'm not driving the car daily... just during troubleshooting and testing during my time off.


is there a good (proper to do by myself) way of adjusting the timing at idle? (not total curve, I think I need two people for that)
when I check it, I can clearly see it at 25 but as it idles, the ECU does its little auto-timing computation thing and it jumps all over. I probably need to disconnect my dual fans and aux fan and keep the a/c off to keep it steady. however, the idle-control valve wants to do its thing along with the ECU, so its tough to keep it steady. any suggestions?

To set the timing let it warm up completely, turn everything off like headlights and fans, A/c. then do your best to get it to 15-17. rev it up a few times and let it stabilize. it should still be at the same setting. if it is, tighten up the bolt and you're good to go.

if this is bad detonation and its starts to go, what are immediate signs of failure? will I know it right away, I mean will the engine just blow and start spilling smoke everywhere, or will it just shut down and stop running and not want to crank anymore? just curious.

One case is you'll sieze up the engine from pure heat, then it will unsieze and probably have very little power and blow a ton of smoke, it may never start up again after that. Another situation is blowing the headgasket, a ton of smoke. Sometimes you just blow a hole in a piston or two. other times a chunk of the piston ringland breaks off and messes up the valve on the way out and hits the turbo wheel as it goes through the manifold. Spark plugs can chip off. Rod bearings wear thin under detonation as well.

again, thank you for your info. ready for more...


Bonny

Also, are you running turbo injectors or stock injectors?? If you're on stock injectors the turbo ECU will be bad bad bad. it runs less injector duty cycle because it is programmed to run the fatter injectors on the turbo model.

If you are on a serious budget, or simply just can't get turbo injectors or anything larger, you'll need something like an RRFPR (also called an FMU) 8:1 or so along with your stock ECU and that will set you up to be safe for up to 8 psi.

Basically if you just make sure you have enough fuel, and you keep the timing low enough not to pop your engine, you are in a pretty safe spot for a VG30, they're super tough. If you get yourself a wideband O2 sensor and gauge (they're around $120 USD~~) and keep it between 11.5-12.5 AFR at anything over 3psi your motor should be OK as long as you don't encounter detonation. It doesn't really matter how you achieve this, it can be with a turbo ECU and turbo injectors(best if you want good mpg, and good driveability). It can be with an aftermarket ECU and big injectors, maybe even a big ol turbo (best if you want a lot of horsepower). Or a stock ecu and stock injectors with an FMU (good if you want to keep it cheap and easy, but you will have to mess and fiddle around a lot, and you can't run high boost, maybe 10 psi).

If you get turbo injectors and a turbo ECU, some people try to stack an FMU on it when you get a bigger turbo. That can work but it's fairly complicated. Here is a website showing a lot of info about the FMU way of doing it: http s://web.archive.org/web/20150218233302/ht tp://redz31.net/pages/fuel/fmu.h tml

Last edited by Bailey Groutage; 02-25-2017 at 02:08 AM.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Also, are you running turbo injectors or stock injectors?? If you're on stock injectors the turbo ECU will be bad bad bad. it runs less injector duty cycle because it is programmed to run the fatter injectors on the turbo model.

If you are on a serious budget, or simply just can't get turbo injectors or anything larger, you'll need something like an RRFPR (also called an FMU) 8:1 or so along with your stock ECU and that will set you up to be safe for up to 8 psi.

Basically if you just make sure you have enough fuel, and you keep the timing low enough not to pop your engine, you are in a pretty safe spot for a VG30, they're super tough. If you get yourself a wideband O2 sensor and gauge (they're around $120 USD~~) and keep it between 11.5-12.5 AFR at anything over 3psi your motor should be OK as long as you don't encounter detonation. It doesn't really matter how you achieve this, it can be with a turbo ECU and turbo injectors(best if you want good mpg, and good driveability). It can be with an aftermarket ECU and big injectors, maybe even a big ol turbo (best if you want a lot of horsepower). Or a stock ecu and stock injectors with an FMU (good if you want to keep it cheap and easy, but you will have to mess and fiddle around a lot, and you can't run high boost, maybe 10 psi).

If you get turbo injectors and a turbo ECU, some people try to stack an FMU on it when you get a bigger turbo. That can work but it's fairly complicated. Here is a website showing a lot of info about the FMU way of doing it: http s://web.archive.org/web/20150218233302/ht tp://redz31.net/pages/fuel/fmu.h tml

again, lots of great information. thank you. so a few things I need to shed to light...


I am not running my n/a ECU, but a turbo ECU that was pulled from a JDM 200Z/S/G with the VG20ET. in fact every part for my NA2T came from this same turbo charged car.. most likely an 84. so the 260cc top feed injectors (green), O2 sensor, and ECU all match. I did use my 87na ECU for a test, as the turbo ECU doesn't like to start cold. it takes a lot of cranking to get it going, but once it finally warms up and stabilizes, it works good and starts up fine... so I connected my NA ECU to see if there was a change at start up and the car seems to start just fine. I don't drive with the NA computer at all. the gas over here goes up to super 98, which is what I am using, so there should be no issues with the petrol that I'm using.


I am going to readjust the timing this weekend hopefully. if I can get it down to around 15 or 17 and keep it there, I will drive it and see if it drives better. I am optimistic for this test. should I stay around 15, or should I go down further to 13? would that be a problem, or would it be harmful to try?

you're the second person to tell me I should run a wide-band O2 sensor. well, now I need to ask. forgive my ignorance, but isn't it useless if I'm not using a fuel management system like NISTUNE or other? how will be able use it without a diagnostic display? or whatever is used. please note that I am only running a stock turbo system, as it was designed, but on my NA car, hence NA2T. I changed every part required for the conversion, except for the wiring harness and nothing was mix and match. I did install the Zirconia sensor from the turbo car, which fortunately is the same sensor on my 87na. (from my reading, the changes started in 86 and up on Turbos.) I did not do the wiring change though... I thought it would just plug right up and work, which it seems to do fine. I even disconnected it and noticed no changes in engine start-up, idle, normal driving, or boost performance. so, back to the wide-band..... is this something that will fit directly in the stock location and that uses a gauge to monitor? can it be adjusted or is it automatic? I did a google search, didn't come up with too much on it as far as using it in a Z31 with a turbo conversion.


last thing I wanted to ask you is about the idle control valve... I read another of your posts and you mention removing this and blocking it off and having things run okay... so, I was doing some research and found out that the turbo valve, must be set after installation.. I'm sure this was not done. when the car is started on a cold engine, it doesn't start well at first, and when it does the idle is very low and eventually dies. but, when it does start and manages to stay running, after the car warms up, the idle is erratic and is high. I am hoping to set it right and get the idle where it needs to be, by unplugging the AAC, adjusting the idle screw CW to lower the idle to 625, and then plug back the AAC, and see if it goes back up to 700-750 where it should be. this is the procedure that I read earlier. so my question to you is, in your experience is it better to remove all this and run the car like normal, or will there be complications. I am well aware that the FICS controls the high idle in order to compensate for accessory load draw. I am also running dual maxima fans, a turbo aux front fan, high power headlights, power steering, and an amped up stereo system.
I don't mind having the valve on there, but I believe it is in part causing the no start and idling issues and I just want it to run right, like it did before when the car was NA.


one last note on the above statement-- my car ran great prior to turbo. no idle or start up issues, no dying of the engine, no hesitations, etc..
I have not in any way messed with or adjusted my MAF, timing, Throttle body, TPS, TB idle screw, or Air regulator valve. these components functioned properly with the N/A setup. this leads me to believe that one or more components from the turbo parts is not right (ECU, idle control valve, O2 sensor)


Sorry for the long post, but I need you to know everything that has been done for the conversion.


your thoughts?


Bon

Nos, primer paint, piller gauges, fart cans, funky spoilers, low riders, annoying drivers...
Oooh, I'm trembling with fear as the stop light is near, I sit in my Z in the presence of thee....
Whatever man. Leave that dumb crap to the Honda goons!

Pooja -- 1987 300zx 2+2 non-turbo. International DD
Suzanna -- 1983 280zx coupe non-turbo. Stateside DD
Alana -- 1976 280z coupe NA2T. Weekend Warrior
Dianna -- 1980 280zx coupe slick-top. Former DD ~ Sold.
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