It’s been a struggle simply trying to set this car ont he ground. I overlooked the fact that the aftermarket Techno Toy Tuning coilovers must be installed with the camber plates they provide, creating yet another bump in the road that delays the installation of the rear suspension.
The whole process of getting to the strut tower tops wasn’t as simple as I was hoping. I wanted to pull back the factory upholstery and preserve it as best as I could, but in order to do that, I had to remove all the interior pieces. Away I went, pulling out the plastic rivets and removing the thin tired yellow interior pieces.
Once I removed all the interior pieces, I was able to strip back the glued on upholstery that was attached to the strut towers and reveal the bare metal of the towers (well, they’re painted, but you get what I’m saying).
At this point, I called it a day and returned later that week with new tools in hand to install the weld in plates. The 3″ cut off wheel I picked up from Home Depot was great, but I think my compressor is too weak to handle the requirement of the wheel. At any rate, I busted out that and recruited the work of my DeWalt grinder and away I went.
On top of the strut towers lies a welded on reinforcement plate from the factory. I assume these are slapped on their without a jig or anything because the surfaces has different angles when measured with a level and the pieces just seem really rough in general. By cutting these off, I was able to expose the true shock tower skin and use this as a guide to measure the angle of the top of the strut tower relative to the ground so that I can weld in the new camber plates at the same angle.
Once these plates were removed, I whipped out my iPhone (or you can use a digital protractor) and measure the angles in the X and Y directions in order to mimic these when it comes time to throw in the new camber plates.
Jotted down my angles and then started marking where my cuts needed to be by laying the new camber plates on top of the strut towers. Once I had my marks, it was time to cut the factory strut tops. Very nerve racking!
From there I used a clean up bit (I forget what they’re called) to clean up the edges and make them silky smooth. Okay, not that smooth, but enough to allow the camber plates to drop in there without interference from the little burrs that remain. I will say that this was one of the more important steps since right away, the camber plates didn’t want to sit in there without some serious cleaning up in the corners. If you take too much out, you end up having to do a lot of filling (which I did have to on the passenger side, probably about 1/8″ worth).
One thing I refuse to do is half ass this stuff. When it comes to welding, I think it’s vital to make sure you set your welding properties correctly for the job at hand. So many people weld things that are super unsafe, and when it comes to welding on something you’re trusting your life with, this is nothing to be cutting corner on.
Lucky for me, I filled my tanks a few months back when I was going to start welding in my subframe connectors. Unfortunately, that’s when I hurt the 510 and stopped progress on the Z altogether. Worked out though since I had the right stuff for the job without having to make a trip to the local welding shop to get my shit together.
I really enjoy welding when I get everything set up right. It’s very satisfying joining two pieces of metal together.
Like I said, my welds aren’t the prettiest, and I know grinding down welds isn’t really ideal. But unfortunately, there were a couple high spots where the bead stuck up and jutted out and I hated the way it looks. I grabbed my grinder and went to work.
I was able to finish this task without any major hiccups, thankfully. At this point I’m able to bolt in the coilovers and move onto getting the rear end put together.
Next up, I’ll put the car on the ground and start moving my toolbox and eventually, put the 2J-Z in the third car stall. I’m also in the process of finishing up my garage build. I think all I have left is to get my workbench in order and get some other things like an air hose reel, extension cord reel and some other organizational tool.
Until next time!
Here are the tools I used in this process:
Safety Glasses: http://amzn.to/2l0vQvY
Ear Protection: http://amzn.to/2kF1djm
Digital Protractor (I used my iPhone): http://amzn.to/2l0mu3q
3” Cut Off Wheel: http://amzn.to/2lEbbS2