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Best project car: Regular 370Z or NISMO?

5 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Hello, one and all!

It's nice to be posting on this forum for the first time. I'll introduce myself, and then get to the reason I've joined this forum.

I am a 45 year old man with a love of old-school performance cars. I've owned numerous Honda Type Rs and an S2000, as well as a couple of Renault Clio RS models. I like cars that handle like go-karts, rev like crazy, and are as close as possible to analogue motoring.

My job requires me to have a new car every four years, and I am looking to trade-in my four year old Renault Clio RS Sport for the kind of car that is almost extinct: a manual, rear wheel drive coupe; just because I still can. I do a lot of country driving, and I take my cars to the track, so I want a car that will be a proper and entertaining machine at the limit. I have looked at the current options for a new RWD, manual coupe, and there aren't many that come in under $100,000. In fact, the only cars still being made that aren't tanks from America are the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ and the Nissan 370Z. The BMW M2 is $110,00 plus, and then we come to Porsche Cayman and Lotus Evora ($150,000 to $200,000+).

So, I am looking to spend no more than $60,000 on a Nissan 370Z, and add some serious coilovers, brakes, exhaust and tuning to the package so as to turn it into an M2-beater.

My questions are these:

1. What are the differences between the regular 370Z and the NISMO, and could those differences be improved upon if I bought a regular 370Z and got it properly suspended and tuned?

2. How does the 370Z respond to suspension upgrades? I want a car that I can throw into corners, and be confident it will stick. I'm used to Honda Type R and RenaultSport models that turn in as if they're on rails. Does the 370Z chassis respond well to coilovers and camber change? I'm looking at KW Clubsport or something similar.

3. What is the best option for tuning the 3.7 litre V6? Can much be gained from lightened flywheel, upgraded exhaust, remapped ECU, cams, etc., or is supercharging or turboing the best way to liberate the engine? I like a free-revving engine, and I've read the 3.7 litre V6 is quite lazy. If so, can this be significantly improved upon?

Okay, I'll leave it there for now. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Cheers, everyone.

Ralph

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Posted · Report post

Hey Ralph, Depending on what sort of power plant you left the clio in (in terms of mods and such) The nismo will be a far greater contender with the right mods attached. Depending on your overall budget for the car, off the top of my head. Everyones go-to mods are: Intake, hfc, cbe, tune, coilovers will set you a good 7k give or take on install costs. And given the right tuner you’ll see 240kw atrw. If you want to go turbo or supercharger. You’ll need deeper pockets unfortunately. Some turbo kits from the states are an easy 15k without clutch, flywheel and some without fuel pump and injectors. And obviously a tune on top. Then you add your coilovers and exhaust to that equation too. I’d personally set aside a potential 80k including cost of the car if you were looking for a daily driven track car. And i wouldn’t really expect a great return on investment at the end of the 4 years regardless of the mods. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Posted · Report post

Hi Ralph

im also 45 YO. And own the very car you describe, For me it’s a road registered track only car and sometimes it gets taken out for the odd cruise (twice in a year). I bought a used 2014 Non Nismo 370z Manual and did the following mods, the intention was to always have this as a track toy. 

Oil cooler Z1- This needs to be your first Mod 

New Hardrace bushes and rear arms throughout the car.

stillen exhaust

front upper control arms (SPL) 

good set of 2 piece disks and race pads- brakes are really good for about 6 -7 Hard laps  Then you have to back off for 1- I may get brake ducting, I see no need for an upgrade here.

MCA Red coil overs - best Mod ever I can turn them down and they are very comfy. 

white line front sway Bar 

standard rear sway bar 

Standard subframe and diff bushes ( I need to do the diff ones) 

1 race seat 😀

1 professional race level alignment and corner balance 

Nt01 semi slick 275 40 18 all round 

car has a basic tune to enable left foot braking and maybe get it a little more responsive -uprev

Nismo body kit for the looks - 😎

the car is absolutely on Rails And turn In is Porsche like. In the correct hands will Keep up with a hi end sports Car ( Not on the straights however, but Its not drag racing! ) 

 

Things I’d do to it now? 
half cage (For my well-being) 

Mechanical LSD As the VLSD doesn’t like getting hot and I have to change fluids every track day to keep it working.

a few instructors have jumped in with me and they have been surprised on the cars composure and balance and those guys get to see a lot of cars.

https://youtu.be/olkAcVSDwYs

Im after something Lighter and more track only for my next car and am contemplating selling the Z but I would do so with a heavy heart, Maybe I can convince the Wife to keep it for her Daily.... 

 

All the best 

 

 

 

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Posted · Report post

Hey Ralph, Depending on what sort of power plant you left the clio in (in terms of mods and such) The nismo will be a far greater contender with the right mods attached. Depending on your overall budget for the car, off the top of my head. Everyones go-to mods are: Intake, hfc, cbe, tune, coilovers will set you a good 7k give or take on install costs. And given the right tuner you’ll see 240kw atrw. If you want to go turbo or supercharger. You’ll need deeper pockets unfortunately. Some turbo kits from the states are an easy 15k without clutch, flywheel and some without fuel pump and injectors. And obviously a tune on top. Then you add your coilovers and exhaust to that equation too. I’d personally set aside a potential 80k including cost of the car if you were looking for a daily driven track car. And i wouldn’t really expect a great return on investment at the end of the 4 years regardless of the mods. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Hi, 370Cal.

Thanks for replying to my post.

I can see it'll be pricey to turn my 370z into an M2 beater, but I think it's worth it. I like the looks, old-school layout, and classic Japanese tuner's dream aura. I think it'll be a blast to get it up to speed. As for return on investment, I'm not concerned about that. I just need to turn-over my cars every four years to continue to benefit from depreciation at tax time. I might keep this one, after four years, and write something else off.

Cheers.

Hi Ralph

im also 45 YO. And own the very car you describe, For me it’s a road registered track only car and sometimes it gets taken out for the odd cruise (twice in a year). I bought a used 2014 Non Nismo 370z Manual and did the following mods, the intention was to always have this as a track toy. 

Oil cooler Z1- This needs to be your first Mod 

New Hardrace bushes and rear arms throughout the car.

stillen exhaust

front upper control arms (SPL) 

good set of 2 piece disks and race pads- brakes are really good for about 6 -7 Hard laps  Then you have to back off for 1- I may get brake ducting, I see no need for an upgrade here.

MCA Red coil overs - best Mod ever I can turn them down and they are very comfy. 

white line front sway Bar 

standard rear sway bar 

Standard subframe and diff bushes ( I need to do the diff ones) 

1 race seat 😀

1 professional race level alignment and corner balance 

Nt01 semi slick 275 40 18 all round 

car has a basic tune to enable left foot braking and maybe get it a little more responsive -uprev

Nismo body kit for the looks - 😎

the car is absolutely on Rails And turn In is Porsche like. In the correct hands will Keep up with a hi end sports Car ( Not on the straights however, but Its not drag racing! ) 

 

Things I’d do to it now? 
half cage (For my well-being) 

Mechanical LSD As the VLSD doesn’t like getting hot and I have to change fluids every track day to keep it working.

a few instructors have jumped in with me and they have been surprised on the cars composure and balance and those guys get to see a lot of cars.

https://youtu.be/olkAcVSDwYs

Im after something Lighter and more track only for my next car and am contemplating selling the Z but I would do so with a heavy heart, Maybe I can convince the Wife to keep it for her Daily.... 

 

All the best 

 

 

 

Hi, Marsh.

Thanks for the specific details regarding tuning.

I like your approach: everything other than the engine first. That's always been mine too. The first things I would do are to tighten and tie-down the body, which I know isn't light. I also like what you said about a mechanical LSD. Those things are the best additions to a car's performance parts, in most cases.

It's good to hear your car's on rails. I have struggled to find anything by car reviewers that goes into the inherent balance of the car. I just want to avoid  a car that understeers. For example, an Audi RS3, which has loads of power, a short wheel base, and isn't very heavy (although also not light). It understeers like a boat, and that handling flaw just can't be fully corrected by street legal suspension changes. 

As far as the engine is concerned, I'd be very interested to see what the 370z can do short of forced induction. If I go down that route, I'll get a supercharger because I want to retain sharp throttle response.

I checked-out the link you provided; it looks like your car goes where it's pointed.

Cheers,

Ralph 

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Posted · Report post

Hi Ralph

Not sure how you went with getting a Z, but I 2nd Marsh's list of mods, except I would do the the brakes 1st, my 1st full track day in my Z a few years ago at Sandown, 2nd lap end of the main straight' pedal went to the floor at around 190kmh. turned in and pulled the handbrake on. (brake fluid boiled)  all ended surprisingly well. DBA4000 slotted brake rotors are a cheaper option that work well on the track and road. I had set on but now have 2 piece rotors for weight. Also use hi temp brake fluid, braided brake lines and race pads.. = $. I made brake cooling ducts, (that look remarkably like Stillens) they definitely help.

Short of forced induction, 230 - 235kw with list of standard mods, CAI,Full Stillen exhaust, headers, with hi flow cats, lightweight pulleys, lightweight clutch, lightweight flywheel. Full dynotune at Revzone peaked at 235.3kw at the wheels. They said this was the most they had seen out of a N/A Zed. Have just put in  JW C2 hi lift cams and changed to E85, but can't get to the dyno due to covid. Am hoping to get around 250kw at the wheels.

I can keep up or beat pretty much anyone in the corners, but get rolled on the straights by the bigger turbos and big v8's. The Zed is a lot of fun and is really easy to drift around bendy bits, is easy to control in slides and takes a lot to get out of control. (see below about traction control )

I had a half roll cage but have gone full national roll cage after seeing a few crashes that did'nt end so well..  wife was very supportive of this mod. Race seat and 6 point race harness as standard seats & belts are not so good if it all goes wrong. . if you are tracking regularly get at least a half cage, apart from the crash safety aspect it gives you a place to mount a proper race harness and stiffens the car up considerably. Keep the standard belts for daily driving and to keep legal.

Engine bay gets hot, so getting heat out is useful. I have a vented hood, plus removed part of the rubber seal at the back of the engine bay that seals  engine bay and the hood.

Cusco 1.5 diff with 4.08 ratio. will change back to 3.69 as 4.08 messes with the synchro match. Not sure how much you would like this diff on the road as they are not fun at slow speed. a lot of banging and clunking around town, when reversing etc.

Nissan seats weigh 25kg each, so they are gone. Velo race seat and 6 pt harness.

MCA Coilovers. Reds. car feels much more planted, but I didn't gain any time out of them over the eibach pro lowering springs they replaced, which worked surprisingly well.

Zeds need about -3.5o front -2o rear camber and a bit of tow to corner well. I run 295 rear 265 front 18" on 11" and 10" rims with a bigger offset. A050's Medium Compound. these are a good tire. thinking of going 295 all round.

my Zed is now track only, I live a long way from any track so were trailering it in any case, and the full cage makes it illegal, along with being too low, now no cats, and nothing much left inside the car.

Traction control. if you are going to track your Zed, consider putting a Vdc disable switch in. When you turn off Vdc, it doesn't really go off, and lurks in the background waiting its chance to kill you when you least expect it. search this site for Vdc to tell you how to disable it completely. i have no traction control as I removed anything that was related to it after it twice decided that it should intervene at Sandown resulting in a spin and and an off track excursion that could have ended really badly, and once at PI at turn 8 at ~180kmh on a slightly damp track. I ended up in this crazy tank slapper when I did a steering correction for a bit of a slide and Vdc in its infinite wisdom applied a bit of braking which wasn't helpful, anyway, you end up fighting the vdc for control of the car. its sort of like having a crazy person with 4 brake pedals that starts applying them when the car starts to step out a bit. Since its been gone, no issues.

Biggest thermostatically controlled oil cooler you can fit. Power steering cooler also. No oil cooler I was hitting 140c in winter. Now max at ~110c in summer. E85 should bring that back a bit more.

things happening now

Diff and transmission coolers. Diff and gearbox get quite hot and gbox gets quite crunchy after a few laps.

if you cant beat them, join them.Topgun SC kit arriving late October. Looking for 600+whp.

cheers

Ian

 

 

Ianzz_1.jpg

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