Project Nissan 350Z Part One: Installing an ACT Clutch and a Nismo LSD
By Mike Kojima
Our friend Sera is a stuntwoman by trade who does a lot of driving for movies, commercials and TV. If you see a woman driving in a car commercial, chances are it's Sera. She also does track days with NASA and is into drifting. She had bought a Nissan 350Z to use as a car to do some track days and also for her to practice her stunt driving and drifting. The trouble is as soon as she hit the track, she encountered some problems.
First, her car was pretty hard to drift as it was equipped with a stock open differential. If she tried low speed drifting the car would simply spin its inside tire and go into understeer. At higher speeds it was hard to keep the car in drift. Second, after doing a few clutch kicks to initiate drifts, the stock factory clutch packed it in rendering the car undriveable. The clutch would just slip and the car would only creep forward.
To return Sera’s Z to roadworthy condition we installed a few parts to help make things easier for her and to get the car back on the road. In Sera’s case it was going to be somewhat difficult. Her car is a do all car, she not only tracks and practices in it but she also drives it to and from the track and sometimes drives it on the street. The requirements for a track car and a drift/stunt car are also different. Highly focused race car parts were not going to work. This made our job harder. It is often harder to spec a multipurpose car like this than to build an all out race car. Too hardcore makes the car unpleasant for street use.
Getting rid of the slipping stock clutch was the first order of business. We had to pick something that was streetable with smooth engagement that could withstand clutch kicking drift initiations. The pedal effort could not be through the roof either as Sera is tiny without a buff left leg. A stiff, fast wearing and grabby full race clutch with light switch engagement would not cut it. To meet these requirements we decided to use an ACT SS heavy duty clutch.
|The ACT HD clutch disc features smooth reinforced organic friction material and a sprung hub with HD spring retainers.|
|The pressure plate has 30% more clamping force than stock while maintaining a stock pedal pressure.|
|The fulcrum point for the diaphragm spring on the ACT clutch is moved toward the outside of the pressure ring. This gives the TO bearing more leverage on the spring, reducing pedal pressure. Cool engineering!|