350ZR» Tips & Tricks

350ZR» An Unofficial

350Z Roadster Resource

  2004 Nissan 350Z Touring Roadster

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Shake-Down Cruise


Roadster Home Runs, Misses and Fixes

Tips & Tricks

Track Day!

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"Adventure is inconvenience properly perceived." — Llewellyn Thomas
"Places to go, things to do, Porsches to pass..." — 350Z showroom banner
"Think of it as a high-performance park bench with a mechanical beauty far exceeding any external good looks." — the author

On this page, in no particular order...

  6MT gearing, roadster and coupe
Look Ma, no right foot!
Phone home
Top 10 reasons to pick up a 350Z roadster

Last revised on 06/04/2005 at 21 months and 15,400 miles from purchase.


This article gathers up the odd tips and tricks that didn't quite fit elsewhere. The table below links a much more extensive collection of tips in the Misses and Fixes section on the Hits, Misses and Fixes page. Some tips for the track can be found on the Track Day! page. 

Automatic climate controls inscrutable Feathered front tires
Baked ham Fragile paint
Blinkers inaudible Front license plate mount
Bose audio system— improved but still wanting Grounding the engine
Brake dust! Mobile phone— no place to go
Cabin noise Original-equipment " summer performance" tires
Cargo space scarce, especially in the roadster Ragtop pinholes?
Compass gone in 2004 auto-dimming mirror Right drift?
Cup holder shortage VDC, TCS or both?
Dash storage bin doesn't always open "Ventilated" seat bottoms always warm
Visibility limited with top up

If you still can't find what you're looking for, try the keyword search page.

6MT gearing, roadster and coupe

6MT shift pattern

Early rumors and reviews had it that when the roadster took on 240 lbs. of additional chassis stiffening to compensate for the lack of metal on top, Nissan engineers lowered the gearing a bit to keep its jump off the line on par with the couple's. But according to Robert Scholer, a 350Z engineer with Nissan North America writing in the Winter, 2003 issue of Sport Z Magazine, the roadster and coupe are geared the same.

The table below gives approximate travel speeds for selected engine speeds in my 2004 roadster. I grayed out the extrapolations to redline at 6,600 rpm because the ECU's rev limiter won't allow you reach them.

Empirical Gearing Chart, 2004 350Z 6MT with Standard 17" Wheels and Tires
Gear Observed rpm/mph Calculated travel speeds
3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 6,600
1st 190.5 16 21 26 32 35
2nd 111.1 27 36 45 54 59
3rd 78.9 38 51 63 76 84
4th 58.1 52 69 86 103 114
5th 46.5 65 86 108 129 142
6th 33.3 90 120 150 180 198
Table Notes: For each gear, I recorded the speedometer reading at either 4,000 or 5,000 rpm, reproducing each reading at least once. To fill out the table, I then applied the observed rpm/mph proportionality to other engine speeds.
See also 6-speed manual transmission.

Look Ma, no right foot!

Drive-by-wire hand controls
Credit for this tip goes to Paul of the 350ZMotoring.com forum.

Like Dr. Strangelove's barely repressible black-gloved left hand, my accelerator foot has always had a mind of its own—often at the most inopportune times. The 350Z has only made matters worse. Out of self-defense, I've been using the cruise control to take that pesky right foot out of the equation in school zones, behind slow pokes I can't get around, and in the presence of the law, among other situations. I find the cruise control a great stress relief in such circumstances, and the 350Z's drive-by-wire electronic throttle control technology makes it every bit as smooth, stable and responsive as the gas pedal. 

Operation of the hand controls couldn't be easier. It's all in the right thumb. To engage, toggle the hand controls on with the on/off button (in the photo above, the middle control on the right steering wheel spoke) and pull down on the Accel/Res—Set/Coast lever (the top control) to lock in your desired speed once you've reached it. Each subsequent up or down flick of the Accel/Res—Set/Coast lever precisely adjusts your speed in 1 mph increments. You can monitor your speed with similar accuracy via the driving computer's digital display.

See also Cruise control.

Phone home

Credit for this tip goes to Yobri of the 350ZMotoring.com forum.
The best phone rest I've found so far started out as the...
OE coin receptacle
Console recess left by removing the the OE flip-lid coin insert
Home-made foam insert in place but not yet taped down
Insert, phone, headset and coin purse in their new home

The sculpted 350Z interior offers no obvious safe, accessible, out-of-the-way place to mount a car holder for a mobile phone, but the console recess normally inhabited by the coin receptacle makes as good a phone home as any. The recess has room for a phone, a headset and a coin purse that holds nearly as much change as the original receptacle. Better yet, everything stays put, and nothing gets in the way there.

Hand-cut foam insert for the coin recess

To give the recess a padded, non-skid lining and to cover over some potentially problematic openings in its rear wall, I hand-cut an insert (right) from medium-density 3 mm black foam (Darice® Extra Thick Foamies, 8˝x11", $0.99) from a local craft shop and secured it with thin double-stick tape. With the foam in place, the phone, a coiled-up head set and a bulging coin purse still fit easily but with considerably less slop. 

After a year's worth of phone calls and sunny top-down days (on average, over 300 here in Denver), the foam looked like new. BTW, that flimsy cup holder in the dash is a great place to hang your headset.

Assembly Notes

Using the big image behind the thumbnail at right as a template will save you a lot of time and trouble if you give this project a try, but be sure to enlarge it by 200% and print it at 300 dpi to restore actual size. 

Note that while the quarter-round side liners are perfectly symmetrical, the floor liner, the largest piece, is not. The notches in the side liners accept the small horizontal plastic prongs at the right and left top rear edges of the recess. Impale the two rectangular shims at bottom on the 3 vertical plastic prongs sticking up from the floor of the recess, the larger one beneath the smaller one. These shims merely shore up the floor liner—no need to be either pretty or exact. 

See also Mobile phone — no place to go.

Top 10 reasons to pick up a 350Z roadster

What more reason do you need?

Need some talking points to convince yourself or someone special? Well, look no further...

10 You never manage to get up in time to dry your hair before flying out the door.
9 You take a certain pleasure in longing looks from complete strangers.
8 Your Saint Bernard needs a bigger opening to get his face into the air stream. (Come to think of it, you could use a little wind in the face yourself.)
7 You have an aching need to find new meaning in your daily errands.
6 The Yoga lessons didn't help. Squeezing in and out of a fixed-roof car in your 1.8-car garage is harder than ever.
5 Your teenagers will stoop to being seen with you again — in the Z, that is.
4 Your partner unwittingly pre-approved the purchase by once saying in passing, "Gee, those new Z convertibles are kind of sexy, aren't they?"
3 Your other car can actually move in snow.
2 Your right forearm sports a heart-and-scroll tattoo with the word "Torque".


And now, ladies and gentlemen,

See also Shake-down Cruise and Breakout!

350ZR»  All material © Jeremy McCreary unless otherwise credited. Comments and corrections to 350zr@cliffshade.com.
URL: http://www.cliffshade.com/350zr/tips.asp