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Detailing Engine Compartment


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Hi, everyone.

I recently purchased a '78 Z. The exterior and interior are are mint condition. I now want to focus my attention on restoring the engine compartment. The engine itself only has 22,000 miles on it, so I don't have to rebuild it, but I want to restore the compartment to show condition. I want to keep it stock, like just out of the showroom. My questions:

Can anyone point me to some good pictures of the compartment when the car was new?

Is it possible to get the parts that were plated that yellowish color (was it zinc or something like that) redone? For instance, I've seen polished and painted valve covers everywhere, but have not seen covers restored to their original coating.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Most of the industrial plating shops will zinc plate and yellow chromate, however they will not guarantee results (yellow chromate can have a blue or purple hue to it). One alternative is to piant the parts (or powder coat) a similar color. I painted several years ago and was very happy (paint has dulled and discolored over the years and I will need to do again at some point).

The best thing you can do is clean, clean, clean the engine compartment. I use Tuff-Stuff foam degreaser/cleaner. It is mild enough not to damage like Purple Stuff or Castrol Degreaser. Spend tons of time in each section and rinse with a light mist.

The Avalon Racing site has a good detail section, also see the ZCCA judging sheets on the ZCCA site. Both will give you some great ideas as to what to look for and how to clean.

Good luck,


78 280Z

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Don't just clean the tops of things, either, clean the undersides. Like the underside of the fan shroud, or the fronts of the fan blades. I hope you already are cleaning inside the wheelwells. If you go to a show, the judges will look there (white-glove treatment?) and it could mean the difference between you and the guy next to you.

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I found that out the hard way last month. I basically just went to meet people and see how my car stacks up against the others. It was fun.

The original owner had bumper guards installed at the dealer and, as I read the ZCCA judging criteria for Stock, that will be a deduction because it was not factory-installed. I wonder if that applies to rear-hatch louvers too? I know the ones I have were dealer installed because I have the original invoice. But, I think they were also factory-installed options, weren't they?

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