Jump to content


Looking for some advice on my "new" '73


Recommended Posts

[re-posted from "Getting help with your Z" forum]

So, I had a '78 in high school and a '77 briefly while in college (don't ask where they are now, it hurts too much... suffice to say that they are in heaven). It has been years, my wife and I have been sharing a Murano (LOVE that car btw, we just moved to FL, and I have never had such a satisfying road trip), but she's working now and we needed a second car, something we could buy cash to avoid another car payment. I started looking at Civics and whatnot when I slapped myself on the head and realized what an opportunity I had to finally get the car I'd always wanted (or something reasonably close). The hunt began... I really wanted a '72 but after much headache (I was pretty close to a really nice '72 on e-bay but was outbid) settled on a '73 I found in pretty nice shape. Long term, this will end up being a daily driver and I will eventually hunt down a '72 I can rebuild over a long-relaxing stretch of time.

Anyway, that's my story. Where I am now is that I want to do most of the work on the car myself. I have a high general mechanical aptitude but very little actual experience working with cars (above and beyond simple brake pad and oil change related maintenance). I had to leave the car unattended for the first week and a half I owned it (the aforementioned Florida trip), and it is running a little rough now, noticeably rougher than a road trip from CT to MA where it drove like a honey. I want to tune the car up a bit myself -- I had initially thought to start with the carbs, but one poster suggested ignition timing (by the by, I have been shopping for good carb books and been looking at this and this and this , but am happy for recommendations). I'd love to get some advice on where to start with the car, including some help identifying which model weber is under the hood (pics up in my gallery). I have done a pile of looking on the internet, but most of what you see out there related to webers is fairly advanced, very little for a n00b such as me.

The car really is in pretty nice shape, and I am pretty happy about the price. I have a growing list of things I want to do to it (mostly small project stuff, fun stuff) -- it needs an AC, that will be my spring project, and I will probably paint it at some point (though I admit the yellow is growing on me, but the blue and red chrome under the hood is still not my style) and re-carpet, the doors need to be re-hung (it's taking in water -- the weather stripping looks OK but will get replaced and I am 99% positive that the passenger door does not match the body) and it absolutely REQUIRES an original shift knob and steering wheel, plus the wheel caps are not Z. I have not decided yet if I want to go back to a stock chrome look for the bumpers or keep them painted as they are (I am surprised to admit that I really like the way they look, and I think that they have been taken in a few inches as well). I've even entertained the idea of possibly dropping in fuel injectors one day, but every time I do, i tend to back off (ultimately I think I would like to keep the car mechanical and not electrical, but I have a lot more to learn about it and it's low on the list right now). Oh, also, if anyone can identify that rollbar (need a front sway bar too...), I need to pad it (it is RIGHT at head height) and if whoever make the bar makes a pad, it will save me work custom-making one. I wish it was as simple as getting one off of a jeep or something, but the part right behind my head that I need to pad is where two bars meet...

In any case, I am thrilled about the car and love how much of a community there is around them! Thanks in advance... I'll try to be more brief next post, but this reflects a lot of pent-up enthusiasm!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Minregi:

Welcome to Florida.. Good to hear you had a good road trip coming down, but sorry to say that moving to Florida in July is about the worst time to make the move from the North!! If you stick it out for a couple years, you'll adjust to the heat and humidity... but that first few months aren't too much fun.. especially in the middle of the State!!

Welcome also - back to the wonderful world of Datsun Z ownership.

I'm in Clearwater now, born and raised in Ohio... lived in Texas, California and moved here from Washington State. That was anything BUT a great road trip!! But the warm winters and the beach here in Clearwater made up for it!!

I've been driving 240-Z's since 1970. Without question in my mind the 240-Z is the best Sports/GT I've ever owned.. without regard to price. For that matter it's most likely the best car I've ever owned.

That's a good looking 240-Z you have there and I'd guess someone put a ton of money into it, before they let it go.

It looks like it's sitting somewhat low... do you know if it has lowered springs, and/or what type of suspension it has? (just wondering if you need to do some suspension work or not?)

Just my personal opinion - offered as something to think about:

1. I'd pull the Webers off.. and replace them with the 70-72 SU's. Why?: a)that would eliminate one needless variable while tuning and trouble shooting engine operation... running the stock SU's you are in a configuration that is supported by a broad and vast knowledge base, running the Webers you will find three or five people that can tell you what they have encountered.... B) the only reasons I've seen people install the Weber conversion is because they found it cheaper than replacing/rebuilding the SU's - or they somehow bought the hype that they could improve performance. A rebuilt set of SU's is about $650.00 as I recall, plus you'd have some linkage to replace, maybe a few gaskets etc... Second alternative, because you mentioned it.. go with Fuel Injection. (it would be a good learning curve to go though.. as well).

2. Install the Vintage Air system... it's the only system I've found that will actually cool a 240-Z, in Florida to any degree of satisfaction. Vintage Air produces A/C systems for Classic, Custom and Special Interest Cars.. It isn't "stock" but it works and is easy to install. See: VintageAir.Com

Most of all.. have fun with your wife and the car.

kind regards,


Carl Beck

Clearwater, FL


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Matt,

Welcome to sunny central Florida. Come join us (Central Florida Z Car Club) we meet at the Tony Romas Place for Ribs at the corner of 434 and 436. The restaurant isn't right on the corner but more like a block west of 436. Meeting this Thursday at 6:30 pm. We're not a real big club but we do have a good time. And we host one of the biggest Z car meets on the East coast. Hope to see you Thursday.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Carl, no need for the long intro, I know who you are! I have been doing a lot of research at ZHome already, and I actually lived in the Tampa area when I owned my '78, so I'd heard of you before =)

Funny you should mention the SU's... I was literally _just_ talking to a co-worker about the webers and confessed that I had considered going back to stock just so I would have an easier time working on them (besides which, I bought the car to drive it, not race it -- the speed is a just a fun bonus! though by all accounts here, the SU's done right are hardly a performance hit). I am having a little trouble convincing myself to pull the webers out, but I suppose I can e-bay them and make some back. You mentioned the 70-72 SU's, I assume this is because of the smog stuff the '73's were hit with? I assume the older ones will bolt in just fine? I actually have not yet confirmed that the engine is original, but the owner told me it was (I am actually still in MASS finishing up some business, my wife is in FL now where the Murano blew an alternator last night... bah! 'nother story, 'nother forum). I would love to do fuel injectors, but that will be a "someday" thing, the AC and the various little things are (at least for the moment) a higher priority for my limited budget.

I am downloading the Vintage Air catalog now, tanks for the advice. I have seen stock replacements at a few places for around 900 bucks, but i'd rather take the recommendation. Looks like they don't make a kit specifically for the Datsun, but I'm looking forward to looking around at the universal systems. Again, I am assuming I will have no trouble dropping the AC in to a car that never had one (I'll also have to track down a control panel for the dash, but I don't get the sense that will be a problem).

And I'm not certain, but I too suspected that the car was lowered a bit. Not something I probably would have done on my own, but I'm not hating it. I have no idea what suspension is in there either (at least not yet), but it feels pretty ok, pretty comparable to how I remember the '78 feeling. In general, the car has a more "mushy" feel than I recall in the '78, but its been a while and I have been driving the murano for the last few years, so its tough to say. I want to get a front sway bar, and the car is as you know lighter than the other one, so I suspect that makes for the different feel. the paranoid part of me fears that the undercoating is hiding something and the unibody is structurally compromised, but anecdotal evidence suggests this isn't the case.. gah! don't want to think about it =/ Eventually I will get it up in the air, rip that stuff off and get a good look at it.

Here I go again rambling... I'm really genuinely excited about working on the car (stupid job, getting between me and my Z)! So yeah...

The car was obviously re-painted at least once, but the paint job is remarkably thorough to the point that I suspect it was originally yellow (yellow on black was an offering that year).

I know exactly where that Tony Roma's is! It is not far from our apartment, I will definitely join you once I get settled. Do you guys have a website or anything?

Thanks again everyone =)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mimregi:

Just looking at the pictures of your car, the paint job and detailing look pretty through and fairly well done. So if there is undercoating under the floorboards, it may be there to cover some repairs... but it is most likely they were done with the same care and attention to detail as the rest of the body work.

I forgot to mention - you said the doors were leaking... but that the door seals seemed to be OK.. Look on the top of the door frame, in the front where it closes under the dogleg of the front fender.. (outer-door skin, door frame, inner-door skin). On the top of that door frame there is supposed to be a rubber seal, about six to eight inches long.. held on with about three or four plastic rivets. A lot of times they are removed when repainting the car... then not replaced. If they aren't replaced, water will run inside the car when you wash it or in heavy rain.

From memory.. the Vintage Air Super Cooler II was about $495.00. The Super Cooler has both the A./C evap. and heater core in one box and includes a new blower ...The new blower moves about three times the air that the old Dealer Installed A/C systems did. They now have complete electronic controls... so no vacuum tubes to deal with either). The stock ducting pretty much just reattaches to the new SuperCooler unit.

Then you need a compressor and a new condenser.. plus the hoses, dryers... I used a rebuilt 280ZX compressor and compressor mount for the L6... plus a new condenser designed specifically for 134a. Likewise you'll need hoses and fittings designed for 134a... (O-ring'ed fittings, shielded hoses etc).

The 280Zx compressor is a Hatachi unit, very expensive even as a rebuilt unit. I used it because I could easily find the proper mount and it lined up with the crankshaft pullies... I wouldn't recommend it. If I had to do it again, I'd go with a new Sanden or Sanyo.. and get the proper mounts. Less money and better compressors actually.

If you want to see the installation and talk Z's ...drop me an e-mail and run on over to Clearwater. (but keep your eyes open for alligators crossing I-4! )

kind regards,

Carl B.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Something to think about....

If the Webers are running fine, I'd just leave them alone...they don't have to be adjusted very often...I had them on a 74 260z...ran good with them...yes, 9/72 until the 280z in 1975 came with the 'flat top' SUs which were smog compromised, and replaced on almost all Zeds. If you replace the webers, the SUs from 70-72 are what to get, although they do require synchronization more often.

I sold my perfect condition weber's that look exactly like yours for $150 total with manifolds...so you're not going to get as much as you might think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I probably will end up sticking with the webers, at least until I either a) have issues with them or B) have the money and time to upgrade (at which time I weigh the options of SUs vs. EFI) -- whichever comes first.

Carl, are you talking about this:

http://www.classiczcars.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=16226&cat=500&page=1p><p>The funny thing is that that partic

' alt='>'>http://www.classiczcars.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=16227&cat=500&page=1


I basically took a bungee strap, cut a length of it, slapped some black silicon on the back and stuck it to the frame. It seems to be doing the trick as a temp soluution, but I'm committed to pulling it out, cleaning out the silicon and getting to the bottom of why so much water was getting in (there really was quite a bit that first day). There is noticeable wind coming in that side of the car at cruising speed to, so the whole thing needs a look.

Anyway, thanks again (again) to everyone. I am very happy to be getting all the good advice!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.