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Sitting in the garage for 24 years


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I'm 23 years old, and for my entire life there has been a blue 71 240z sitting in my parents garage (Even when we didn't have the room for it). My parents haven't parked in their own garage with their running cars since 1980. From what my parents remember, it originally went in there due to a broken fuel pump.

Well, my father for my entire life has been telling me that he would start fixing it when he retired. Well he retired a year ago and still it sits in the garage. A few years ago my buddy and I decided we wanted to restore it, fix it, race it, and generally supe it up. We don't have any abilities that suggest we're even somewhat up to the challenge, but I figure we can learn as we go along.

My parents moved and I'm paying for all the junk in their garage to be put into storage so I can have room to work on his (and now MY 71 240z). The things should be in storage in a few weeks, so I was just curious if anybody had any suggestions on where to start, and what major issues we may come across. Just from viewing it over the years I can see that everything that was once rubber on the car needs to be replaced including hoses, belts, etc. It was stored with gas in the tank, so I'm assuming we either need a new tank or seriously clean out the one we have.

What my buddy and I were going to do was pretty much just take the engine apart piece by piece and clean the thing. While we were doing that, we'd try to make it ok for unleaded gas, and maybe convert the AC. We've got a lot of work to do and a lot to learn, but I'm thinking a year worth of weekends from now we'll both know what makes a Z tick and maybe even be able to start the engine and take my poor father out for his first ride since 1980.

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Congrats first of all, I am sure you can find lots of threads reguarding finding cars that have been stored for an extended period of time but my suggestions would be

1- drain all fluids <oil, anti-freeze, gas from tank, and tranny >

2- if the gas from the tank has a brownish color or funky smell :sick: assume its turned into varnish and I would recommended dropping the tank and having it cleaned

3- remove all rubber line fuel, coolant, and most anything and assume it will need to be replaced

4-probably expect a rebuild on the carbs if nothing else a very good cleaning you should pick a su carb video from z therapy

5- read some threads in the forums reguarding relubricating an old motor, i know alot of guys recommend putting some oil in the cylinders and manually turning over the motor

6- expect everything you touch to need to be replaced or to break , so don't be surprised when it does LOL :tapemouth

7- Start saving your money and enjoy the Z and the website

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There should be no reason to take the engine apart. Take the spark plugs out, squirt some 3-in-one oil in each cylinder, and hand turn the engine over a few times. Once you get power in the car, crank the engine on the starter motor until the gauge shows oil pressure. The engine should be fine. Put new spark plugs back in, wires, points, condenser, and distributor cap.

Drain all the fluids. The gas tank probably needs to be cleaned. Have fun and be careful with the old vent hoses. If they crack, replace them. If not, wipe them down with a good rubber treatment (no silicone). The carbs probably need to be cleaned and or rebuilt. All of that can be done with them still on the car. Get the video from Ztherapy and read up on carb cleaning. Replace all the rubber fuel lines with new and install a new fuel filter.

Replace all the rubber brake lines and the clutch line with new. Bleed out all the hydraulic fluid and flush the system. If you are lucky the master and slave cylinders will not have to be rebuilt, but be careful. The rubber O-rings in the cylinders could be bad and / or the cylinders will need to be honed or replaced. Flush both systems with new fluid before you attempt to bleed them up to working order. Old hydraulic fluid will be black and new fluid is clear. Make sure all your brake and clutch fluid is clear and not contaminated.

Replace all the rubber water hoses with new. Once you get the car running, do a complete cooling system flush. Pressure test the system for leaks. You will be lucky if the radiator still holds pressure. I would take it out and have it serviced if not re-cored. If it is a 2-row radiator, get a new 3-row core. While you are there, replace the water pump.

You probably don't need to replace the gear oil in the transmission and differential, but I would. Drain it out and fill it back up with new oil.

Replace the tires.

That should get you up and running - short of what was wrong with it when it was put away. Be careful with your brakes. There are good rubber dressings to help you with body rubber and vinyl. If the dash isn't cracked, it is very brittle and should be dressed. I don't like any product with silicone. Do some research and buy the good stuff. It will treat you better.

Have fun

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If you don't want to trust those old but bled brake hydraulic components, I would replace all the masters and slaves along with the rubber brake lines with new off the shelf product from a reputable parts house. And I would open all the new cylinders up and clean the trash from the manufacturing process out and reassemble them.

A vinegar bath for the fuse box and as many electrical connectors will liven up the electron raceways in the vehicle too.

The statement about just about everything you touch will need help is right on the mark. In a lot of instances, sitting can be harder on a vehicle than running.

Oh, and PS: fix that fuel pump.

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I just want to add , that after you have it up and running watch the temp and also it would be a good idea to change the oil and filter again after you have run a couple of hundred miles. Maybe less depending on how dirty it gets. I recommend that you buy a copy of How to restore your DATSUN Z-CAR by Wick Humble . I think you will find it most helpful , also the tape from Ztherapy on the SU carberators , do this before you attempt the work on them. Dont use regular parts dip on the carbs! watch the tape first , it will save you much money. As things come up remember we are here to help. Welcome to the Z ''club'' Gary

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When i got my 280 a couple years ago, I just did all the usual things- strip, clean & vacuum the inside, clean the windows, wash & wax. I did drive it a little to get used to how it works, and I kept a notepad in the car to write down things I noticed. then I worked on those things.

After about a year, I had the whole car cleaned, rubber stuff replaced, new tires, fluids & such, and I only did small things since- like fill the gas tank!

Ifthere is something BIG to do, you'll notice it straight away.

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I agree with the above suggestions. However having just done the same thing here are a few more pointers.

1. Change fuel filter in the electric pump if you have one back by the gas tank.

2. Pull up the floor covers and check to see if you have any holes in the Floor. If you do, fix them. Check the rails for rust also. (Both inside and out)

3. Make sure your exhaust system is functional.

4. Use WD40 or something like it on all bolts a few days prior to putting a wrench to them this will hopefully keep your cursing time to a min for them rusted in place bolts.

Have a small low heat torch available to use in case of stuck bolts. Remember to keep a fire extinguisher handy. The Z-World would morn the loss of another treasure.

Good luck

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Another thing to add to the list...

I've found that since I've been tinkering with my Z and trying to tune the EFI and taking parts off to check for rust... buy yourself some penetrating oil from your local auto store, it comes in handy and is only about 3 bucks.

Get us some pics! :)


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One more suggestion.. definitely drop the fuel tank and have it cleaned. However, you should also consider blowing out the fuel lines. This will avoid any kind of contaminates in the lines such as old sludge.

I inherited a similar vehicle but I had a serious engine malfunction after some of the old sticky gas got on my valves. It ended up causing a valve to stick open and the piston hit it.

Think about it this way... if there is a fluid to be drained.... do it.

-- Mike

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