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More Power and Good Times: Eric’s DR30 Skyline

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 12:32 am on April 18, 2017


Last week our friend Eric Straw visited us for tuning on his incredible RB26DETT-powered 1984 DR30 Skyline. You might remember Eric stopping by the shop last year on his way down to the JCCS show, where the DR30 put down 462hp/348tq on our dyno. Eric expressed interest in more power without sacrificing reliability:

“The only plans I have for it at this point is a pair of GT2860RS, new injectors and Haltech Platinum Pro Tuning by Z Car Garage in spring”

 
 

So spring arrived and Eric collected his parts including new GT2860RS turbos, Radium Engineering fuel supply, Injector Dynamics ID1050x injectors, and a Haltech Platinum Pro from ZCG. Rob began dyno tuning sessions and road data-logging.

 

Eric wanted the Skyline to run on Oregon’s readily available pump gas, and the result was 532hp/389tq to the wheels on 92 octane. Power delivery is very linear and Eric’s fastidious chassis-prep harnesses the power so well it is hard to believe you are riding in a 80’s Japanese car!  Here is video of the DR in action:

 

Our good friend Michael Spreadbury accompanied Eric on the roadtrip down from Oregon. Michael was instrumental in the DR build and is a well-known Datsun-guru building some killer SR20-powered roadsters from his shop at Spriso Motorsports. While the two were in town Rob shared the Nissan Patrol and had the boys put some miles on the DR30 after the fresh tune.

 
 

On Saturday 4/15 we had a great opportunity to take the DR30 to Laguna Seca and watch
Patrick Chio race in the USTCC and our customer Kevin B enjoy a track day. I had to join in on the fun with my roadster 🙂

 

The Skyline was impressive to watch on the freeway. From inside it feels like it is carved from billet with surprising balance between ride stiffness/NVH. Oh, and that RB26 is velvety-smooth with thrust for days. We think Eric is quite happy look at that RHD smile!

 
 
 

Laguna Seca was filled with plenty of eye candy. We even saw a few BAYZA Z32s/Z31s! Always fun to see owner’s solutions to the ever-changing sound restrictions:

 

Laguna Seca also makes a fantastic backdrop for photos.

 

 

At the end of the day we snuck into the garages to capture some “pretend” race-day shots:

 

The trip home was exhilarating. The DR30 has some glorious 80’s lines and those after-burner tail lights glow just right at dusk:

 

We had a rad time with you Michael and Eric!  Enjoy The Boost!

More pictures in the gallery below

More pics in the gallery
…[read more]




80’s Perfection: Eric’s DR30 Nissan Skyline

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Performance
by Alvin G @ 3:30 am on March 22, 2017

 

Eric Straw is a long time friend of the shop and hails from Oregon. Last year he visited Z Car Garage on the way down to the JCCS show where he debuted his latest masterpiece, this 1984 Nissan Skyline RS-X. Most Americans are familiar with the classic 70’s Skylines and later GT-R series, but this 6th generation (R30) chassis remains unknown unless you are a JDM-nerd. In Japan the R30 sold well and had a great following with Nissan enlisting the famous actor/racer Paul Newman to appear in ad campaigns. The R30 also formed the basis for the insanely cool SuperSilhouette race car:

  
 

The details of Eric’s R30 are endless. I don’t want to reveal too much as it deserves a major media feature first. It would be easy to write thousands, if not ten thousand words about the character, the touches, and the simple uniqueness that make the “Straw30” one of a kind. Where I fall short of storytelling, I hope photos suffice.

To get an appreciation of Eric’s talent as a fabricator and his build aesthetic take a quick look at his other Datsuns, a 1969 Datsun Roadster and 1971 Datsun 510:

dsc05084
 

 
 

Both deserve their own feature but can you see a theme starting to build here? Eric has a penchant for white paint and red valve covers…and turbocharged Nissan powerplants!

 

Finding A Skyline

It all started with an ad spotted on our good friend’s site, Bring A Trailer for a 1984 Skyline without an engine. This appeared to be the perfect specimen with the distinctive Tekkamen or “Iron Mask” front end compared to pre-facelift models with a conventional grille. Fellow Datsun enthusiast/restorer Michael Spreadbury of Spriso Motorsports joined Eric on the trek to Washington to pick up the R30.

 

As with most of these vintage Japanese cars, rust was a hidden issue as Eric discovered:

“When I first saw the car I wanted to make a really fun driver with lots of power and for sure RB powered. I didn’t plan on restoring the body when I bought it. After digging in, it was obvious I had to do a complete restoration as there was a lot of rust.”

Chassis restoration

What begun as an engine swap turned into a full blown bare metal restoration. Eric’s work simply goes beyond an OEM restoration. There are so many areas of custom fabrication throughout the chassis. We simply have not seen this level of care and love executed on an R30.  Here is Eric putting in work:
…[read more]




E is for Ethanol: Erik’s G35

Filed under: Featured Cars and Projects,Maintenance,Performance
by Alvin G @ 12:10 am on April 1, 2014

jc 1513 057
 

In 2012 Erik  M. came to Z Car Garage with his bonestock G35 Coupe. With 100k miles on the odometer Erik was confronted with every enthusiast’s  dilemma: sell it off or keep it? Z’s and G’s are hard to let go and Erik chose to modify his car so we gave him the ZCG essentials: JWT POP charger intake, Motordyne plenum spacer, Bassani cat-back exhaust system, JWT clutch/flywheel, Koni shocks, and Hotchkis sway bars:

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Here is the stock exhaust vs the sweet sounding Bassani system:

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JWT intake, JWT heavy duty clutch and flywheel (a prudent upgrade for future power mods!)

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Stock vs Koni dampers plus Hotchkis sways:

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We also performed full 90k services and Erik was off enjoying his G…until he came back for a Stoptech Sport Kit to improve braking. Early last year he stopped by ZCG to consult with Rob on Forced Induction…Erik wanted boost and it would be in the form of a Vortech V-3 supercharger kit!

JC101913 054
 

The build started in Fall ’13, with upgrades like an oil cooler, 900cc Bosch injectors, Aeromotive 340 fuel pump and everything powdercoated satin black-Erik wanted things low profile. This Vortech build was far from ordinary as we planned to run E85 (ethanol) to make more power. What’s the deal with E85?  Tuners have been using this “alternative” fuel for years  to extract power from forced induction setups. Specifically, E85 has an octane rating approaching 105; a significant jump from your typical 91-octane premium pump gas, but for about the same price. This higher octane rating allows wider tuning capabilities,  increasing power and reducing the chance of detonation with high compression or boosted applications.

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Here are few key benefits of E85:

  1. The higher autoignition temperature of Ethanol (689 degrees F, compared to gasoline’s 475 degrees F) enables E85 to be more knock-resistant and handle more boost or higher compression.
  2. E85 initiates a cooler intake charge, allowing for higher boost pressure.
  3. E85’s higher resistance to detonation (autoignition) allows tuners to implement more aggressive ignition timing, for improved combustion efficiency.
  4. E85 can actually be cheaper to run than gasoline, especially compared to high-octane race gas. As I write this, 100 octane is $7.65 and 91 octane is 4.09 compared to E85 which is 3.72.

 

JC102813 033
 

Running E85 is straightforward but critical components are needed as well as tuning. First, E85 requires larger injectors to compensate for 40-50% increase in fuel demand. Second, an aftermarket ECU allows tuning of fuel/timing maps. We used 900c injectors, a Haltech ECU and Flex Fuel Sensor from Zeitronix:

 

JC1110213 002JC102813 015JC102813 011
 

Playing with ethanol-to-gasoline mixtures or periodically switching from gasoline to E85 requires changes in fuel pressures. Switching over isn’t a simple run-to-the-pump-and-fill scenario and that’s the beauty of the Haltech…Erik can run 91 octane, E85, E70, E30 etc. without worrying about manually adjusting timing and A/F!

Erik keeps tabs on engine and air/fuel vitals with a gauge display from Zeitronix. We mounted it stealthily in place of the OEM retractable unit:

JC123013 112JC123013 108JC123013 114
 

So does E85 really make a difference? The answer is a resounding YES! The G35 baseline dyno’d at 249hp/226tq and the Vortech helped increase power to 422hp/342tq to the wheels on 91 octane:

Erik Miller baseline and 91
 

 

With the Haltech and E85, were able to extract 30hp/26tq at the same boost level! Final numbers are 462hp/368tq:

Erik Miller 91 vs E85 haltech
 

We think Erik loves the newfound power…he already took his G35 to the Wednesday Night Fun Drags at Sears Point recently with great results.  Before and after the Vortech/E85.  Erik ran a 14.6@97mph vs 13.6@111mph:

image-1G timeslip
 

With some drag radials and urethane differential bushings Erik is hoping to cure wheel hop issues and dip into the 12’s! Maybe even lower as he plans to do a high compression built engine…of course using E85!

Enjoy the Ride Erik!