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1976 280Z Restoration Project

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Hi everyone! My name is Mark and I will be restoring my 1976 280Z coupe HLS30-271295 starting this year. I look forward to your feedback and help as I am sure most of you have a lot of experience with restoring your own cars! I am hoping you will all chip in and help me avoid some common pitfalls and mistakes along the way.

 

I will post photos and updates as I go. For now, these are pics of the day I picked up the car in Calgary in March of last year.

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The car has sat untouched basically for the last year. I did not have a good place to start such a big project so I bought a new house with lots of garage space PLUS a 24x24 shop garage in the back of the property. I am running a gas line to it this spring, insulating and finishing the inside so I can hook up the furnace for year round workshop use.

 

Once that is done, the teardown will begin! Parts are starting to accumulate too.... A friend is doing a similar resto and has donated his L28 and four spd from a 76 280  that he will not be re-using as he is going with an newer motor (RB25 or VQ35). I will use this block as a spare to rebuild for more fun later...

 

I have sourced another 5 spd tranny from a 78 Z and an R200 3.90 rear end. I also have a P90 head that I will probably shave and reuse on the spare block when I rebuild it. For now, I will re-use my stock L28 and do a mild rebuild with flattop pistons for a higher compression on the N47 head. That's the plan for now...

 

The body will be getting a complete frame up resto with new floor pans etc. Can't wait to tear it all apart! Who knows what I will find...

Edited by wheee!
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The rebuilt starter and cleaned up R200. The rubber rear support has been removed and the studs reconditioned for mounting on the 280Z.

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Sent from Canadia

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The 280 was last driven in 1997. The PO did an engine rebuild in 1992/93 supposedly. The car was also repaired a few times. The original colour was 240 Green and I will be repainting it as such.

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Sent from Canadia

Edited by wheee!

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You're killing me with those garage pics - be still my heart!  I've been down the full resto/rebuild path with my car so here's a few quick tips:

- don't trust your memory!  Bag and tag every nut/screw/bolt/part immediately as it comes off the car.  Become the zip bag king of your block.

- tag both ends of each electrical connection before they come apart or tag a single end with its function/location.

- write down each item to be replaced as soon as you identify it as such.

- throw nothing away until after the replacement is fully installed.

 

I fully dismantled my car and then life intervened.  When I got back to it 10 years later the above practices paid off big time.

 

Looking forward to your updates.

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Excellent advice Jim! I had planned on doing just that... but it doesn't hurt to be reminded of it again!

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OMG your garage! Awesome!

 

Just adding to Jims excellent advice, make sure to take thousands of pictures. Even if you dont think its important. Take pics of everything together, before you disassemble, while you disasemble, and after. I set up a google+ account so whenever I took a picture it automatically saves it on google+. It made it easy to go back and view my pictures while I was assembling. Plus if you break or lose your phone, youre pics will be automatically backed up. Good luck!

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Thanks HaZmatt! Your build thread is awesome too! You have no idea how many people you have inspired with your project...!

Sent from Canadia

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Thanks HaZmatt! Your build thread is awesome too! You have no idea how many people you have inspired with your project...!

Sent from Canadia

 

Well your garage is giving me some inspiration! I wonder if the wife will let me build a shop in the backyard. Hmm

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Nice house Mark! Good to see that you are going through with the project. I have a lot of respect for people that do their own bodywork. Next time if I do a resto, I'm going to do it myself.

 

So where did you find your awsome house? Or did you build it?

 

If you're ever in need of parts, let me know.. I may have what you need. Most likely not, but ya never know.

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Mark, that Z looks like it has lots of potential and it sounds like you are going about it the right way.

It's a fun process, you probably won't have to deal with the kind of rust issues I did but there might be somethings in this build thread from my resto that may be of use to you.

http://www.classiczcars.com/topic/45430-240z-rebuild-restoration-right-down-to-the-shell/?hl=%2Bright+%2Bdown+%2Bshell

Looking forward to watching your progress.

Chris

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Thanks guys! I feel so much more confident having resources like this available to me.

Taka, in no small part your project inspired me as well... I can't wait to see your finished Z soon..... And yeah, I'll text you what I'm looking for. You might have a few things I need!

Thanks for the link grannyknot. I will review that in its entirety.

Sent from Canadia

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Ordering the floor pans from Zedd Findings this month. I also located a new driver side fender NOS from a local Nissan dealer. $272 Cdn! That's about $58.75 US....

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Wow, heck of a deal!

I think so. I had been considering some 40 year old rusted, damaged panels for over $300! Finding brand new ones for under that was very lucky! Check out the web.... Most second hand panels are an arm and a leg...

Sent from Canadia

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Mark, I installed 2 new front fenders 2 yrs ago, Nissan hasn't made them in years so they hired another company to press them out. The new ones don't fit as well as the old ones, at least not on my car.

The trailing edge of the fender that lines up with the door bows out more than the door does.

I worked on it for hours to minimize it but it is still noticeable. At some point I will have to take it to a professional body man and see if he can fix it.

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Hey Mark where in Alberta are you? I'm just outside of Calgary.

Steve

I'm in Fort Saskatchewan. I bought the car in Calgary.

$272 Canada is $216 US. $72 Can. is $57 US (today). Typo in the calculator?

Nope! Just frustration at the current exchange rate. I have a lot of purchases coming up, all from the US..... My Canuck Buck is taking a beating!

Mark, I installed 2 new front fenders 2 yrs ago, Nissan hasn't made them in years so they hired another company to press them out. The new ones don't fit as well as the old ones, at least not on my car.

The trailing edge of the fender that lines up with the door bows out more than the door does.

I worked on it for hours to minimize it but it is still noticeable. At some point I will have to take it to a professional body man and see if he can fix it.

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Wow. I assumed they were re-presses but was hoping fitment was better than that. Still, it's better than the fibreglass panel I have that is more than an inch out of line with the rest of the car!

Sent from Canadia

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hey mark, I ran into similar issues with my car. Fenders weren't fitting quite right. Turns out, the frame was twisted and out of factory specs. Had to get my car straightend out at a frame shop. Fenders fit fine after that. Just another thing to consider.

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Thanks for the warning Taka as the fender I am getting is from the same stock you got yours.

I am also aware that the previous owner mentioned that the car dog tracked when he drove it. I am going to assume some frame issues are there and have it straightened after I finish welding in the floors and frame rails. No point in doing any structural straightening until the welding is done.

Sent from Canadia

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 No point in doing any structural straightening until the welding is done.

 

I think that this might be backward.  Don't forget that these are not "framed" cars.  They are big sheet metal boxes, kind of like an old lunch pail.  AKA monocoque or unibody.  Best to use the welding to hold or create the shape, not bend the welding after it's done.

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