Zandara -Zee drives 350Z

Zandara -Zee drives 350Z

If you follow Zanadara for any time at all you'll learn she has the worst luck. I have personally watched her car hit the evergreen bank wall due to a mechanical problem, lose a brand new crate engine due to a manufacturer error and more recently via instagram catch on fire. 

I reached out to her to see if I could help after the fire, as the engine wiring harness was destroyed or compromised. In no time at all I was out looking at a car fresh out of the oven figuring out what we were going to do.

These things never happen at an ideal time. The Z is her practice car to maintain getting seat time while her FD Prospec S14 was being finished. The Z is also the car she takes to events like Gridlife where you need a capable car but don't want to risk you pro car. So other then not meeting every corner of the rulebook, its a pro drift car.

The car had been driven hard and put away wet for some time now, it was ready for a re-fresh and her hand was forced to do it now. It had many track side fixes, many different hands and harnesses spliced together.
Holley graciously stepped up and sent her a PDM, ECU, digital dash and accessories to get all this happening. Being that the timeline was so tight we had to do things like cardboard cutouts of components we didn't have and leaned heavily on my past experiences for routing etc. I always ask a million questions and she found it quite helpful to think as far ahead as I was. There was a few fab things getting done and the whole car was being replumbed as well as the wiring.

Holley sent us a Racepack Smartwire, which is a 30 channel PDM. This was the first consumer grade PDM and while its showing its age compared to some other newer tech available it still does the job well and gives us the advantages of a PDM. Not a single fuse or relay was used and it adds a massive safety factor which I'll get into later.

I really enjoy it when I don't have to use a bunch of OEM type connectors. This car did keep power windows and a blower fan (which did not survive the fire lol) so there was a handful. Most of the connectors you see are Amphenol AT and ATM. They have shrink boot lips on the male and female connectors which allows basically the whole harness to be sealed and still mount the male side connectors with clips.

The Z has a Radium fuel cell with the integrated surge tank. I do like those but the little M5 nuts are not the fastest thing to service. The whole FCST is now disconnect-able wiring wise with a single ATP 6 way connector. This probably cuts half the time off swapping a fuel pump and there's less risk of accidently touching the ring terminals together.
The car has 3 fuel pumps, and with the PDM's programming ability if the main pump trips its fuse setting, the 2nd pump instantly kicks on. 

You can see the factory blower fan connector, which is PWM controlled. You can also see the other side of the USB cables that are integrated into the harness. They are potted ensuring a reliable connection. All 3 USB using devices (PDM, Dash, ECU) are run to the same point on the passenger side of the dash making them easy to access and they can all share the same type of cable.

We got an expansion harness for the digital dash, needed a few extra inputs as is but this allows some growth.

The DB9 connector is for the ECUmaster battery isolator. The car's battery has been relocated to a bit of a tricky spot between the Z strut tower brace and a firewall. It needs a kill switch per the regulations, and the Isolator acts as a kill switch and circuit breaker and happens to fit in the space neatly. 

350Z engine bays are a bit tricky routing wise, especially with a V8 and long tube headers. There's only so many places to put things, and serviceability suffers when area's are crowded with plumbing wiring etc. I elected to run the wiper wiring under the dash and poke a bulkhead connector on the driver's side in order to feed the wiper motor and the LED work light instead of cross over the engine bay in a compromising location. 

Seen above is also the tail light harnesses and 2 spare tail light harnesses. The back of the car isn't tubed or anything, so the tail light wiring still passes through a sheet metal trunk. In the event of a wall drag or rear ender etc there's a good chance the tail light wiring will be damaged even with a grommet in place. The tail lights are on a removeable sub harness that's quick and easy to replace.

the car doesn't have much up front past the firewall, aside from the engine. We used a bulkhead connector and ran 3 fans and headlights as well as some future proofing stuff. Heat affected areas are covered in silicone fire sleeve.

The car has a work LED light in each wheel well, as well as an LED strip in the trunk for servicing the fuel system and another strip in the cabin. They are on separate keypad buttons to prevent Zandara going blind after her night vision has set in. I also built her 2 spares just in case.

Power cables featuring Rad lock connectors for power to the starter and main engine ground. I love using these things for those 2 purposes, they make a starter removal much easier and they don't vibrate loose. A problem on a solid mounted race car.

Here's everything in one place, Holley 7" digital dash and Terminator X, Smartwire, keypad, chassis harness, front haress, fuel and tail light sub harnesses, led lights, wiper sub harness and power cables.
All in this represents just over 100 hours of work. Usually that takes me a month with no other projects on my plate, but the timeline here was tight and I committed to making it. Some late nights and a grueling 5 days once it was ready to go into the car before our dyno appointment. Was a fun trip thought, met some great people; have to give a shout out to the Drift Cave boys for their hospitality and assistance. A big shout out to Kline who drove me around the whole time. And the biggest shoutout to Zandara for taking me on and hiring me in the first place! I am happy with the end result and the car did well on the dyno.

So regarding the safety thing I mentioned earlier. When she realized her car was on fire she pulled off to the side of the track, killed the engine, threw it in gear, got her passenger out and pulled the fire suppression. Then emptied the backup bottle in the car on it. The the safety truck showed up and dumped another couple extinguishers and a ton of water on it. At some point something either melted or shorted together and the starter fired and the car starting moving forward, basically out of control. 
So there is a kill switch that controls the isolator, and the isolator enables the PDM. There is a 2nd kill that is in reach of the driver. In the event of an emergency, either switch is flipped and the isolator tells the PDM to turn off, waits a second for the engine to stop turning and the alternator to stop producing voltage and then kills the battery 12" from the source. What happened to her the first time, can't happen again.
The PDM also has internal fusing protecting over current situations and can warn the driver of an issue. It can also retry a circuit after a set time, for a set number of tries. It can log amperages and give insight into things like pump and fan health. It has functions programmed into it that if a fan fails the other 2 kick on to help limp the car home or finish the event. The level of safety and functionality that a PDM can provide really can't be looked over.


Back to blog