Customizing Your Nissan 350Z

The Nissan 350Z is arguably the most popular car to customize in the auto tuning world. The car has mass appeal due to it’s superior handling, performance, and sporty look. The customization route will differ based on your end goal. You can customize for speed, drifting, handling, looks, or all of the above.

Engine Modifications – If you want to take your engine’s performance to the next level, then you definitely want to consider custom headers, intake, downpipe and exhaust. If you are really hardcore you can add a custom oil pan.

Drivetrain Modifications – Most drivers will leave the drive train alone. That is just fine. But if you are racing your car on the track, then drivetrain modifications may be something you should consider. The modifications you would want to look into are a custom clutch and flywheel followed by a 2 way LSD.

Suspension – Most drivers who modify for performance will make changes to the suspension. Suspension modification can add significant gains to your controlability and overall performance. The changes you want to make are: coilovers and rear control arms,strut bar, antiroll bars and tie rods.

Wheels, Tires And Brakes – This is a must for looks and can add some performance enhancement. Your obvious customizations are rims, tires, and brake lines.

Exterior Modifications – No 350Z customization is complete until you add some exterior flair. How else will anyone know you’re not a regular Joe? This area is relies more on personal preference than anything. If you really want a different look, you can add a full body kit (front bumper, side skirts, and rear bumper). If you want to stay true to the 350Z’s stock look, you can probably get all of the customization you want from a lip kit (front lip spoiler, side skirts, and rear lip.)

Interior Modifications – Some thing that interior modifications are purely for look; the truth is that the right interior gear can increase safety and performance. The interior modifications I recommend are custom racing seats, a harness, and a custom steering wheel. A bolt in rollcage is also great to have.

Perhaps the greatest thing about customizing a 350Z is the wide range of options that you have. Since this car has become so popular, many companies have thrown their hat in the ring and made products for customization. The above information should be more than enough to get you headed down the right path with your customization.

How to Install the SPC Performance 72125 – Camber Arms For Infiniti G35 and Nissan 350z

SPC Performance’s arm/shim kit is the first on the market to provide a substantial amount of positive camber change. It has more than enough camber and caster change to correct cars that have been lowered, or for vehicles used in drifting. These new arms allow for precise changes when fine tuning suspension alignment angles necessary when racing or drifting. The hub and caliper shims extend out the center of the wheel making it possible for the forged and fabricated arm to make up to 5 degrees total camber change and +/- 1 deg. of caster change. Using a sliding and rotating ball joint, techs can fine tune both camber and caster to save tires and improve your handling and tire to surface contact. The kit includes everything you need, including the ABS sensor bracket, shims, and arms for both sides of the vehicle. Fits G35 and 350Z applications.

Adjustment Range

Camber: -1.5 degree to +3.5 degree Caster ±1.0 degree

Installation Time: 1.8 hr/side

Required: 1 kit per axle


Infiniti: 2003 – 07 G35 Coupe. 2003 – 05 Sedan

Nissan: 2002 & 2008 350Z

Before beginning, Record the alignment readings, determine the amount of caster and/or camber change needed. Installing the control arm alone should provide +.5 degree to -1.5 degree of camber change along with stated caster change.

If more camber change is needed install the hub shim kit which will provide an additional 2 degrees of positive camber.

Control Arm Installation

1. Always check for loose or worn parts, tire pressure and tire wear.

2. Raise vehicle by body pinch welds and support with jack stands. Remove front tire and wheel assembly.

3. Remove the cotter pin and nut from the upper ball joint and remove the ball joint from the spindle. Support the spindle.

4. Remove the bushing bolts holding the upper control arm to the body. Remove the upper control arm.

5. Using a small puller, remove the ball joint stud seat from the stock ball joint.

6. Install the new adjustable control arm into the vehicle and lightly tighten bushing support bolts. Match up the new arm with the old arm to make sure the correct arm is installed on each side.

7. If caster adjustment is necessary, loosen and remove the large adjusting nut washer from the upper ball joint, then remove the ball joint assembly from control arm. Separate the lock plate from the engagement hex and rotate it as illustrated in Fig #1 for the required caster change then press it back onto the engagement hex

8. Reinstall the adjustable ball joint assembly back into the control arm. Install the washer and nut and lightly tighten.

9. Install the stock ball joint upper seat onto the ball joint stud then install the stud into the spindle, Install the supplied flat washer and then the supplied ball joint castle nut and tighten to 40-46 lb-ft. (54-63 Nm) Install a new cotter pin.

NOTE: Make sure to install flat washer under castle nut to prevent control arm separation from the spindle.

10. Load suspension to normal ride height and tighten upper control arm bushing bolts to 48-55 ft-lb (65-75 Nm).

11. If shim kit is not required, follow steps 10 through 12 below.

Hub Shim Kit Installation

1. Remove brake caliper and support it out of the way so there is no strain on the brake line then remove brake rotor.

2. Remove the ABS sensor on the back of the hub.

3. Remove the 4 bolts holding the bearing hub and remove the hub from the spindle along with the brake shield. Use caution not to damage the back of the bearing hub that supplies the ABS signal.

4. Install the hub spacer so the thickest part of the shim is up and all 4 bolt holes line up properly.

5. Install the plastic dust shield so the ABS sensor opening is pointed straight up towards the very top hub retaining bolt hole. Now install the bearing hub and brake shield. Use the two longer supplied bolts on the top two hub bolts. The bolt with the threaded 8mm hole is installed at the top of the hub directly above the opening in the plastic dust shield. Use the stock bolts on the lower two holes. Tighten bolts to 58-72 ft-lb (78-98Nm).

6. Using the stock ABS bracket bolt install the ABS sensor onto the top hub retaining bolt using the two supplied shims and the retaining bracket as illustrated in Fig #2. Tighten the bolt making sure the ABS sensor does not touch the rotating bearing hub. Fig #3

7. Reinstall brake rotor.

8. Install the caliper spacer between the caliper mount and caliper with the thickest part up. Tighten caliper bolts to 112 lb-ft (150Nm). Make sure brake rotor turns freely.

9. Reinstall the tire and wheel assembly. Remove the vehicle from the jack stands, and lower the car.

10. Determine the amount of camber change needed and verify caster reading. Raise the vehicle far enough to have access to the camber adjusting nut.

11. To adjust camber, loosen the adjusting nut and move the adjustable ball joint in or out in the control arm slot to obtain the desired camber reading then torque the adjusting nut to 120 lb-ft. (162Nm).

Always check for proper clearance between suspension components and other components of the vehicle.

12.Recheck alignment readings, adjust toe, and road test vehicle. Confirm that Anti-Lock Brake and Traction Control systems are working properly.

13. If hub shim kit is installed and the ABS or Traction Control light is illuminated the air gap will need to be adjusted as follows:

a. Remove the ABS sensor retaining bolt and bracket. Remove one shim and reinstall bracket, sensor and bolt. If an issue is still present the second shim can be removed.

b. The ABS sensor gap can be checked if needed. Using a non-magnetic feeler gauge check the gap between the sensor and back of the bearing hub. There should be no more than.016″ (.41mm) gap and the nose of the sensor should be square with the hub. If both shims are removed make sure the nose of the ABS sensor does not touch the rotating hub.

The Joy of Six – Nissan 100SX V8

Slap bang in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean is a spot where this V8-engined Nissan 200SX would be right at home. Originally built with a turbocharged four-pot engine, this Japanese coupe has been given an all-American push rod V8 heart by UK firm Apex Performance Parts. The result is effortless speed, impeccable reliability and an incredible grin factor from that V8 noise.

Bren Simpson, managing director of Apex Performance, is no stranger to highly tuned Japanese machinery. The company has quickly grown with the help of 200SX enthusiasts who like Bren’s way of doing business: every Apex part is extensively tested. From suspension components to exhaust manifolds, Apex Performance put their parts on their cars and their money where their mouth is. They have a strongpresence in both Time Attack and the European Drift Championship, and anyone buying parts for their road or track car benefits.

So why the change to V8 power? Well, the story is a long one, but essentially it boils down to reliability and cost. Bren explains, “A few years ago, 1 got tired of unreliability with our 596’bhp RS3 GTS-t track and drift car. I spent tens of thousands on it to try to get to an acceptable level of reliability. We had issues with engine failures, turbo failures, manifold failures and gearbox failures. It was a nightmare.”

Bren continues, “In the end it was running an expensive straightcut dog ‘box, MoTeC M800 management and a custom GReddv/ Garrett turbo kit. We still had issues with surge at the end of the season, and after destroying another RB25 engine because of poor oil control, enough was enough. The RB25 came out and an old-school 6.3ltr V8 went in, running 53lbhp and 500lb/ft of torque. The car was great. Powerful, grunt coming out of its ears and, more importantly, it ran an entire season with no issues.”

This was the seed that eventually grew into the V8 200SX you see here. Bren found an engine and gearbox in America from a 2006 Pontiac GTO with just 18k miles on the clock. The moment it arrived, the whole package was installed by Gary Hay ward at AP-Tuning. Bren provided Gary with a ‘Sikky’ conversion kit from the States for the job, which consisted of all the engine and gearbox mounts and the propshaft. With Gary’s spanner wielding expertise, the car soon fired up. Only the transmission tunnel needed very gentle persuasion. However, like so many of Apex’s products, this was only the start of the journey.

Bren adds, “This was always intended to be our test mule for the V8 conversions, which we are now offering on our website.” The car was running within weeks. This was at the start of 2009, and for the rest of the year and throughout 2010, the car has been undergoing changes. The aim has always been to keep this a comfortable road car – a daily driver for both Bren and his wife Ann, and their expanding family.

Yet it has still claimed the scalp of stripped-out competition cars. It has a minimal but MSA-approved roll cage, kill switch and a plumbed-in fire extinguisher, so it was able to enter competitive events. It finished second in a hillclimb at Prescott Hill organized by the SX Owners’ Club. It also consistently finished above midfield in the Time Attack Club Challenge. Even a last-minute decision to let Apex drifter Kieran Cameron drive it in a round of the FJ)C at Knockhill resulted in a podium finish. Quite remarkable for a daily-driven car with a bogstandard engine!

In fact, it was a moment of EDC competition that resulted in a minor bump on the front end and the start of the custom widebody conversion. The car already had wide arches from ABW Designs, but they were reworked expertly by Richard at RT Autobodies. After trying several aftermarket front bumpers that had really poor fitment, Richard ended up creating his own using an OE bumper as a base, l ie then took a mould of the bumper and recreated it in FRR The result is an aggressive-looking car, not unlike the C-West Silvias raced in the Japanese Super GT series.

In fact, you could definitely imagine NISMO releasing a roadgoing version of those GT racers, and the result would look very much J like this. A look that is enhanced further by the growling presence of that V8 motor and the wide track provided by 9-5in wide wheels, pushed out by Apex adjustable suspension arms to provide a wider wheelbase and much greater grip.

So, what does Bren say to people who see the GM LS2 engine as old technology, with its pushrod design and only two valves per cylinder? “Just try one,” he smiles, “You’ll quickly understand why I love it. We haven’t turned our back on the SR20DET engine – in fact, we’ve been building a very special 200SX for a long time. It has a Tomei 2.2ltr forged engine and will run a large T78 turbocharger. The Chevy V8 is simply another option for our customers – once you’ve experienced one and done the sums, the conversion makes perfect sense.” You can’t put a price on happiness, but after three years Bren has no plans to sell this car. It still puts a smile on his face every time he turns the key and hears that 6.0ltr V8 roar into life. The joy of six indeed!