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Piecemeal or the whole enchilada?


Phacade

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So a few of you may remember (or not) that my '75 280Z runs like a dream but has a total gonzo of a suspension. In short, its in worse shape than David Hasselhoff's singing career. I'm pretty certain it needs new rubber (or poly as it were), new shocks, struts, and u-joints. A new rear diff mount definatly, and perhaps ball joints and or tie rods.

Right now the steering wheel vibrates something awful when driving. Even stopped, the steering wheel has a good 1/2"-1" of play in it. Back tires have gone completly bald, and I don't drive it rough at all. Obviously alignment was out. Think the u-joints are about toast due to the sound I hear when driving. And of course, the infamous Z clunk when shifting; rear diff mount.

I bought some new back tires but I'm nervous about putting them on until I get some of these other issues resolved. But where to start? If I have everything done, parts alone could cost $500-$1000 (God help me if I have a shop put them on). So should I wait and do it all at once when I can afford it or do a little at a time?

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First do the front. Then save some more money, and let your bruises heal. Then when your ready do the rear. On the third day do the middle.:)

It's a big job no matter how you look at it. But I would break it down into sections. Jack-up the end your going to do nice and high so you have plenty of room to work. Use jack stands, and be safe.

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Assuming I wanted to do it right, other than the ball joints and the tie rods, anything else up front I ought to consider replacing?

The steering wheel vibrating could be a result of a tire out of balance. The play in the steering wheel could be a result of the steering coupler, or more likely, the steering rack.

Is the steering rack replaceable? I was also wondering if it couldn't be the "u-joint" on the steering column under the hood. I have no idea if thats replaceable. :stupid:

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I could not find a place that carried them. I bought all the parts and built a new one. I had three or four to get parts from here as well.

But i think victoria british sales them For like 300 dollors. I discovered that after i rebuilt mine.

You have to pull the tie rod ends lose from the car. Not the rack. And take out the 4 bolts that hold it in. After that you have to losen your motor mounts so you can lift the engine some to squeeze the rack out.

Yes its alot of work but it has to be done

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Go to steeringrack.com they sell replacements for a reasonable price. I put one on my 240z.

Alrighty. How difficult is that to change out? And (silly question), is this something you want to buy new or will used work? How much are we talking about here?
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Unless the internal bushings or the gears on your rack are worn a rebuild is fairly easy. Also change the rubber mounting bracket rubber bushings with urathane ones. And like Bill mentioned, to pull the rack is quite involved. You have to loosten the motor mounts and raise the engine.

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As Ed suggested, start with rebuilding the front suspension. I bought an Energy Suspension Hyperflex Urethane bushing set for my 73. It included all the front & rear bushings, including steering rack bushings, steering link bushing (between the steering column & the rod that goes to the steering rack), and the end links that go between the front transverse links & the sway bar. I also got new sway bar bushings & strut rack boots from Victoria British.

I had the engine out of the car at the time, it greatly helped with doing the front end rebuild. It took me a few weeks to finish that project, as I spent a lot of time cleaning & repainting all the parts.

I did the same thing with the rear suspension, cleaned & repainted everything. The spindle pins connecting the rear transverse links to the struts can be a pain. On one side I was able to remove the spindle pin easily. The other side was rusted in, and I had to have a suspension shop remove it. I replaced the rear differential mount while I was in there.

Now I have a nice, firm ride, thanks to the rebuilt suspension. Steering is tight and very responsive, and I get a good feel for the road. It's a blast to drive my Z in the winding mountain roads near home!

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  • 5 weeks later...

I'm just about to take on the same thing. I bought the full Energy Suspension kit and I have a new set of Tokico HP struts and springs on the way. I originally wanted to do the whole sandblast and paint thing but I don't think I can afford it right now so that will have to come later. In the mean time I will be replacing all the bushings, struts, springs and flexible brake lines. Should be fun.

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