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Another new guy

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Hello, I lived with my aunt and uncle growing up and they had a 1983 280 zx turbo 2+2 bought new. It was my aunts daily driver and I was allowed to use it on special occasions, my proms, birthdays, etc. Long story short 20 years later they offered me the car so I went and picked it up last Sunday and I am fired up. It is in horrible shape however. It was parked four years ago when it started billowing white smoke. They said it was not making any funny sounds so I assume it was a head gasket, but after four years of sitting I'm concerned that rust may have formed on the cylanders or any number of other problems. I am ultimately going to rebuild and beef up the engine a bit but would sure like to at least be able to drive it occasionally in the proccess of the build up, what is the general opinion?

Also I have already stripped the interior because the t-tops have been leaking and it was rancid. I am not having much luck in finding floor pans that say they are specifically for a 2+2. Are they possibly the same size as a two seater, if not any ideas on where to find some. I appreciate any input, ZThanks, Matt

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Hi Matt, welcome to the club!

This past spring my '73 began to emit white billowy smoke. I had hoped it would be a bad head gasket, as the car ran just fine. I pulled the head and found that the head itself had developed a pit that was allowing coolant to leak into a couple of cylinders.

I guess it depends on your goals for the car, but you may consider rebuilding the engine as part of you plan to make the car safe to drive. After sitting for four years there are probably several other items that may need attention, such as brakes, suspension, etc...

I'm not sure about the floor pans. Have you tried www.tabcobodyparts.com? A good body shop that specializes in restoration work could probably fabricate replacements for you.

Hopefully you'll be able to find the parts you need as you begin working on your car. I think both MSA and Victoria British carry ZX parts.

Good luck with your ZX!

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thanks for the reply. It shows 182000 on the odo and as far as I know is correct. All of the service had been done at the dealer to that point so at least there has not been anything rigged together, they just never got it looked at when it started smoking. Eventually I am going to rebuild the engine as my ultimate goal is to show it and keep it around for my kids and beyond...I guess my question is this, If I take the cheaper way out for now and just get the head rebuilt and put on a new gasket etc. do you think I am risking any irreperable damage to the bottom half of the engine by not just ponying up the money and doing it all at once?

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Hi Matt,

Well, you'll be able to tell whether you can get by with only rebuilding the head once you remove it from the engine. For instance, when I pulled the head off my engine I discovered that there was pitting in the head itself that caused the problem. All of the pistons looked good, there was hardly any lip at the top of the cylinders, and you could still make out the cross hatching on the cylinder walls.

I was tempted to only get the head redone, but I wanted to pull the engine out any way to rebuild the front suspension and refinish the engine bay. So, I figured while it is out, I might as well have the whole engine rebuilt.

I spent around $1900 to get my engine rebuilt. I think I've heard of folks getting rebuilt engines for half that, if your not concerned with matching numbers.

Hopefully your engine block/cylinders/pistons are in good shape!

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