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stevef1972z

Update on Floorpan Rail Replacement

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Been out in the garage working on the rust. I got way more than I bargined for!!! Got the frame rail/support off, then went to work on the pans. If you have not picked up an air nibbler get one. It worked great, started in the rust hole, there were plenty to choose from, and cut a nice smooth line down and around and dropped the offending rusted pan right out. Went to work on the piece where the Torsion Control Rod mounts and guess what I found? Paper thin rust infestation! Not much left to work with there. The mount is solid, but where it mounts is seperating from inner fender. I have no idea what to do about this.

Am I going to have to cut this all out, cut off the mount, cut off more car and then get it all replaced? This looks like it is above my skill level. I cant locate the parts made elsewhere so I am guessing they are going to have to be fabbed. If this is the case I am sunk for a while as I gather the funds.

Anyone have a cure, or am I just going to have to hack it all out and replace. If it goes much further, I am going to have to pull the engine, and front fenders. This is a disaster.

Ideas welcomed!

Edited by stevef1972z

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Ive replaced my floors, rails, and rockers so I can feel your pain. New floorpans and framerails are available still. Charlie has them and ships out. MSA uses his floors and rails I've heard http://www.datsunzparts.com/

As far as your skill level goes, if youre not confident you should find a good shop and let them take care of it for you. If the motor has to be pulled then its a good time to clean everything up in there. It's not going to be cheap, but if you find a good garage it should be at least fair. Since all that metal is structural you really can't leave it rusty. You're other option is to abandon that body and find another shell, but it may be cheaper to do the repairs.

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Looks like RIP (Rust In Pieces) for this car. I am really mad at myself for getting it and not going over it better. I am an Idiot, I know better, and I am out a nice piece of change. I dont think I have the desire to do this much work on the car, I bought it to drive and enjoy getting rid of a street strip Camaro because the contstant wrenching was begining to take the fun out of it.

I should have bought a Miata.

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The Z is a great car.. maybe get what you can for it and find another one thats in better shape. Don't beat yourself up over it because rust can hide very well on these. Everything can look great till you get the undercoating off and start poking around.

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i say stick with it steve. the floor of my 280 is shot and will need replacing as well. im going to be replacing the entire floor and supports. sounds like thats what you are needing. to me, it sounds like the best way for you to do it is weld in a bunch of supports in side the car. this will keep the body straight and solid. than cut out the entire floor and replace it as 1 piece. itll take a bit more time and work, but in the end it would be easier than replacing it a piece at a time.

good luck, and i hope you stay with the z. im sure youll be glad you did.

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Floors dont scare me, thats not a problem, replacing the entire front frame rail is the problem, have to take off the entire suspension, cut out the old, and I dont have a plasma cutter, then weld it all back in and get the suspension points right. That is beyond my skill level, and I refuse to pay the huge amount it would take to have a shop do it. Its a shame, the car has replacement quarters, doors, hood, hatch has been redone, bumpers rechromed, there are a lot of good parts. Parted out I might get enough to make me feel better.

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Bummer man, I feel for you. It looks like someone already welded in some replacement metal in battery box area all the way down to the frame rail. Note that there are full frame rails available for these car that include the box that's all rusted out on yours

http://www.baddogparts.com/

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Just dont know what to do here at all, I guess I cant hurt it anymore if I try to fix it myself, since its already sneaking up on the bone yard. I am going to mess with it some this weekend, since it is going to SNOW this weekend here near St. Louis. I am just so fustrated right now. Hate to have to part it out, wont spend to have a shop do it (good money after bad) and right at the edge of my skill and comfort level. What to do what to do???

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Steve, I had this same decision to make about 18 months ago. I agonized over whether to fix it or part it. In the end, I parted mine out.

However -- by that time I already had purchased my red 240Z, which is/was a low miles, rust-free car. So the decision in my case was whether or not to throw a bunch of money at a car that I was not going to keep. Looked at in that light, it made no sense to repair it. I would have way more in it than I could sell it for.

But if it was the only Z that I had? I probably would have bit the bullet and fixed it. By the time I found more and worse rust than I had expected, I had the car fairly well debugged mechanically, and repairing the rust and painting it would have gotten it back on the road. For a car that I would keep and drive, getting in a bit overboard would have irked me, but I'd have done it anyway. Wouldn't have been the first time I've been upside-down in a car, nor the last, I suspect. I can live with that if I'm driving and enjoying it.

So if you really want a Z, I'd consider fixing the known car that you already have. Because there's no guarantee that you'll be able to find one much better in your part of the country.

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I will go with Arne on this, cheer up it's just work and believe me, being that i'm from rusty Denmark, i have seen lot worse rusted out cars rebuild.

Try to look at this, it might make you feel better: http://forums.hybridz.org/showthread.php?t=134765 it can be done.

Chris

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When I bought my '72 240 in dec 2007 i knew that it needed (and still does) some serious rust repair, but almost everythig is now replaceable on these cars. Some how my entire frame rail is solid except for two matching rust holes tight above the front sway bar, other than that the floorboards and doglegs and rear wheel wells are shot. In my mind my Z is my project car, and yes it does need work, but I hope to NEVER part with it (if it comes to it i'll have it crushed into a cube and i'll put it in the corner of my garage!). I hope to do a majority of the rust repair myself... did i mention i've never welded before (ok i bought a little welder and did alittle welding on a fence... that poor fence!), but with some more practice I would feel confortable taking on the rust and saving my Z! Hang in there. -Todd

-Have you looked into the Gateway Z Club?, a high ranking member owns a body shop, and does some nice work on Z's, and may be able to help out some.

Edited by Pleiner87

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Steve,

I had to replace both my floorpans, dog legs, rear deck lid, rear tail light panel and that was with a car I bought from ebay that claimed rust free. That work is not cheap but the good thing is once it is finalized you know exactly what you have.

If you are a die hard Z fan then I would say spend the money and do it. If this was just going to be a project with the Z's not in your blood, I would say part it out. There is a lot of money made on ebay selling good parts to us goof balls that are willing to pay the price.

I wish you luck on your descision, keep us posted.

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I have been under the car all day. Cutting, grinding and poking on the rust trying to get enough of it cleaned up to make a decision. It is still to early to tell. It looks like the rust extends back to the firewall from the T/C mount but only forward about 4 inches. The rest of the rail forward appears solid. Replacing a section may be just as difficult as replacing the entire piece. Once I have it all clean I can have a better idea of what to do. I am still very much up in the air about this. I will post more photos after it is cleaned up and will take some hints and ideas from the board.

I consider myself a very good mechanic, I have a wide range of tools and experience using all of them. I have MIG, air tools (nibblers, die grinders, cut off tools, impacts, etc.) and a large assortment of hand tools. Under the hood and trans I am comfortable. Body skills are average, maybe even a touch below, and I am not a master welder, I can run a bead and spot weld, but nothing special. I have a double long extra wide one bay garage to work with and that is it. Figured this info would help with the advice. Floor board type repairs dont scare me, boxing a frame is something I have done before, but would not weld my own roll cages for NHRA inspection. I have average fabrication skills, brackets, crossmember type work. Replacing the frame seems above those skill levels.

What do you think? Honestly.

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I think you should go for it, just take your time, after all you have the car now.

My own car had only minor rust (see photo below) but it had and still have tons of other small issues i have to attend to, small parts in need of replacing or missing, i have to get them from the US pay a lot in shipping and import tax, but one day i will get there and so will you.

Maybe you should pull the motor and tranny and put it on a rottesire(i know spell error) it will make things a lot easiet to work on.

Chris

post-14427-14150806590331_thumb.jpg

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The tar is only making things worse normally. I think the rust is eating a long way on your Z, if you do the work half, rust will continue eating. Best way is to strip the whole car down if you want to enjoy it longer. If you want to see how far rust can eat away, check my old topic!

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Steve - Sounds like you have all the skills and tools needed to do the job...

If you decide to go ahead, consider replacing the floors first, then do the rails (that way you have good metal to weld the back of the rails to). Measure the engine bay "box" before removing the old rails, then replace one rail at a time to keep your measurements true.

Good luck.

GWGarrard

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If this is the case I am sunk for a while as I gather the funds.

Anyone have a cure, or am I just going to have to hack it all out and replace. If it goes much further, I am going to have to pull the engine, and front fenders. This is a disaster.

Ideas welcomed!

Hi Steve:

My best advice is - cut your losses short now. Hard as that may be to swallow, it is the best medicine I could prescribe.

If you cut and patch, cut and patch... and you wind up with anything less than an original looking undercarriage - - - the car will be fixed - but it's market value will be very low.

Looking at the amount of rust under that Z - I would not devote the time and money it will take to fix it properly. On the other hand, if your just building a future street rod, or race car - fixing it "properly" to maintain an OEM vehicle - won't matter.

To repair it properly, such that at some future point in time, it would still have the market value of a solid Datsun 240-Z - you would have to replace the original sheet-metal panels with new OEM panels, or very good reproduction parts. NOT just metal patch the hell out of everything.

It is a uni-body car - so you would have to remove the damaged panels entirely - buy breaking the spot-welds, then replace them with new panels and re-weld the spots. Given the expense of OEM frame rails, reproduction floorboards - - - and what ever else is rust damaged - - - I would be far better to simply buy a 240-Z with a far more solid body to begin with. There are still lots of 240-Z's on the West Coast that could be far more easily refreshed or restored - and purchased for under $4,500.00.

Put your time and hard work into a car that will be worth the effort in the end...

FWIW,

Carl B.

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I feel your pain. I think a few of us have been in your shoes and know what it's like when you find ALOT more rust damage then you had thought. I was looking at the postings today and saw one member that had a 280Z with the 240Z bumpers and it got me thinking about your headache. If your only looking for a fun driver here is a 260Z that I found on craigs list for $250 OBO. http://http://joplin.craigslist.org/cto/1089221078.html

Just a thought........ I know the guys that are into the pure resto cars will be upset that I say it. But you could use your 240 parts on that 260 and get a fun little driver outa the deal.

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I feel your pain. I think a few of us have been in your shoes and know what it's like when you find ALOT more rust damage then you had thought. I was looking at the postings today and saw one member that had a 280Z with the 240Z bumpers and it got me thinking about your headache. If your only looking for a fun driver here is a 260Z that I found on craigs list for $250 OBO. http://http://joplin.craigslist.org/cto/1089221078.html

car with no glass, meaning water getting on top of the floor boards, AND sitting on wet grass, seems like it could have a lot of Fe203 on those floors. You could play like you're on the SiO2Stones and use your feet for propulsion. ;)

Good idea about finding a rust free car and using yours for parts, though.

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You dont know untill you ask or look. I wouldnt think its alot of car for $250. But at the same time this car is out on the edge of no salt land. So whos ta say what the underside looks like. Plus no telling if the windows are gone. They may just be broken with a BB hole in the glass.

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I sat down and looked at the problems, possible fixes, costs, and my desire for the car. I then went through and read all of the comments and ideas. Thank you all for your input and ideas. Everything from cut and run to faint heart never won fare maiden! I expect no less from such a wide ranging and educated board.

The car is just a 72, #77850 made 5/72. So really it isnt anything that special. Average price on the car is not that high, its not like they are selling like hotcakes at Barrett Jackson! So value wise unless I am willing to put $10,000 in all original parts its really not worth much more than the sticker when new (and I have that sticker, and the cancled check that bought it!)

I sold my 1979 T top Z28 after the comments of GM CEO, I wanted away from the product and the Street Stip branch of the hobby. I bought the 240 because it had been a long time since I owned a GT car. My intent was a fun to drive sport GT that didnt look like anything else on the lot. The Z has a good performance history and a nice look.

Weighing all of this, and the fact that my ego is severly bruised by the car, I decided to fix it. My ego will not let me take it someplace and have it done, I never have with any other car, except to get certified saftey equipment put in. So, smart or not, I will make the car what I want it to be. I am making the templates to build the new pieces to replace the frame section and part of the inner fender. I have the floor pans I had bent to fit what I had removed, and the Bad Dog rail for the floor support. This keeps the costs down, and gets the car back into driving condition. After that, it is upgrading the systems to some more modern equipment for ease of use and correcting some factory faults.

If I fail, then you guys will have first crack at the large assortment of solid parts on the car, if I suceed, then I get my fun to drive GT! I will let you know how it goes.

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Steve,

It looks like you have a lot of work ahead. I had to help make a decision like this for a client the other week. his car however is #379, which gives it a little more value. His car was a little better shape, but still a lot of work. If it had been a little worse, or not #379, or a strong sentimental value, I would have gone with arne's advice and told him to look for another body. If I was asked my opinion on your car based on the pics, I would say take some time and try and find another body before you get too determined with that car. That is some pretty bad corrosion. It depends on how you want to look at it--a challenge to your skills maybe . I travel into Collinsville sometime on the CSX railroad. I'd like to see your car sometime. I'd offer my services, but I think you have the skills and determination already, but do you have desire to do that much work on that car. I wish you all the luck.

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