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Cost of maintaining a classic car


logan1

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Hi,

I'm new to the site and have been doing a lot of reading over the last few day about the Datsun Z cars. I am about to buy my first Z car and wanted to get a few critical question answered before i partake of the madness.

I would like to buy a 240Z and use it as a dependable and fun daily driver. I realize that the Z cars have a tendency to rust and will require restoration. I intend to run the Stock engine for the now. I will be upgrading the breaks and the suspension in the near future.

So here is my question to you Z car owners:

I would like to know what is the costs involved with keeping these cars running?

I have seen how much time, effort and money is required to maintain some of the 1960's and 70's European sports cars. And do not wish to get into that kind of a situation.

thank you for all for putting in the time and effort required to maintain a website with such a vast amount of useful information in regard to the Z cars. It is greatly appreciated.

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Welcome!

1) Depends completely on the condition of the car you start off with.

Notice I said condition and not how much you spent on the car-sometimes a sows ear is painted up as a silk purse.

2) A Z in good condition is pretty inexpensive to operate. Most of the maintenance items easier for an owner to do than on most new cars. Taking care of Maintenance yourself saves money!

My experience with daily driving a Z has been keep the fluids changed and lubricate everything regularly, and the car will play timex/energiZer bunny. The key is to fix all the little stuf as it happens.

The last Z I drove daily and treated as described above cost me less than 1/10th what my new cars cost the first year I owned them-when taxes, tag, insurance, maintenance and gas were added in. About the same as those cars have aged-taxes have gone down, but repair costs have exceeded what the taxes lost.

The key is to get a good Z, mechanically sound, with a sound chassis. The key to that is in the pre-purchase inspection. Get someone who knows Zs to do it with or for you.

Get either a good experienced Z mechanic, or a good set of metric tools and a Factory Service Manual.

Will

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As was mentioned, it depends on what you start with. I bought my Z new in 1971, drove it for about 12 years as primary transportation, let it become a seldom used car, and finally stored it for 15 years. When I brought it out of storage, I poured about twice what it cost new into making it roadworthy, and have driven it for only the price of gas for the last two years. Could I/Will I spend more? Certainly. But, for now, it offers great driving pleasure at far less expense than the late model family Audi.

Dennis

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Typical maintenance parts costs'72 240Z-from AutoZone.com-in stock local to me.

These prices are typical of stores in my area(Oreilly, Parts America, Napa is higher)

Starter auto or manual $35

Alternator $33

Alt belt $7-$14

Water Pump $20-$35

PH8A oil filter $4

Fuel Pump Mechanical $40

Fuel Pump Electric $50

Thermostat $6-$20

NGK BPR6ES2 $4 each

Cap and Rotor $12-$26

Airfilter $13-$48

Wipers $6-$18

Brake shoes $ 18

Brake Pads $19-$22

Loaded pair of Calipers $108

Rear Wheel Cyl $40 each

All readily available at my local store....

Will

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I don't drive mine daily, but regularly. Several times per week, generally. And I can echo the comments above. A solid, well-maintained Z will not need a lot of maintenance to keep it going, and what it will need is generally within the skill level of most backyard mechanics.

That said, condition is everything. I used a '67 MGB as a daily driver for the better part of 6 years. Never any problems, and the maintenance it required was quite reasonable—a far cry from the MG horror stories we've all heard. The difference? I restored that car from the ground up myself. So I had no qualms about driving it anywhere, anytime. I knew every part on the car.

My current Z is a somewhat different story. It was/is a fairly low mileage car that I have refreshed, but not totally restored. I bought it supposedly "ready-to-drive" with 59,500 miles on it. It still needed a fair bit of refreshing to get it to the point where I trusted it to be right. And that's something to consider—no matter how good the car you buy may be, it will likely still need a few things done to make it ready for daily service.

You don't mention what part of the country you are in, but rust will be an issue in most cases. Watch especially for rust in the critical front frame rails and suspension mounts.

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Logan,

Your thread should have been titled "cost of maintaining a daily driver".

Classic cars sit in the garage and require not much.

Daily drivers either nicklel and dime you to death or you pay good money for a done one and drive it, knowing everything has been re-newed.

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One of the things i've learned:

If you care about it, are enthusiastic, want to enjoy it for years to come. DON'T DAILY DRIVE IT.

I drove modified Jeeps for a few years, used to off-road them on weekends and let me tell you trying to find a ride to work on Monday after busting your truck up Off-Roading on Sunday sucks.

So finally I bought a low mileage 98 Cavalier to drive everyday. It's never let me down with regular maintanance in the 2 years i've had it. Cheap to insure, cheap enough on gas. I drive approx. 20kms one way to work.

Doing so has allowed me to avoid the frustration of fixing my "toy" so I can get to work, focus the proper amount of time into fixing/modifying the Datsun and the same with the Jeeps.

Also, daily drivers are subjected to far more strain in weather, people at large (door dings, accidents, theft, etc.), general un-needed wear and tear. Driving that boring automatic, gutless 2.2L Cavalier makes me appreciate the days I do drive the Datsun and Jeeps. I'll drive the Datsun to work the odd time, but having another vehicle allows me to always have reliable transportation.

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buy the best you can find, have it inspected by a knowledgeable member and don't be shy to spend top dollars for the best you can afford.

Atop of that, be aware that they are close to 40 YO cars and you will have to spend time and money to have your toy reliable because if you expect to drive it on a daily basis, one day or another it will need major work and don't expect to find "reliable" parts at Autozone. Better to pay more and go to NAPA, CARQUEST and MSA.

Depending of what has been the previous traceable maintenance records, you will never know what to expect about maintenance to come or potential breakdowns.

Try to buy a documented car you will be able to check what has been done in written and don't rely on what you will be told.

Ten years ago, I have been lucky to buy a very low mileage fully original and I paid big bucks at the time. Today, I know exactly what to expect from my car to be reliable.

The key is very meticulous maintenance to be sure that everything is running fine and A LOT OF PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE.

I never read on this board posters speaking about preventive maintenance and I believe that it is the key to have our Zs on the road and be reliable.

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... don't expect to find "reliable" parts at Autozone. Better to pay more and go to NAPA, CARQUEST and MSA.

...

While I don't want to be seen as endorcing AutoZone, I have to disagree with you,

For my drivers, I have been using Autozone parts in My Zs since AutoZone opened here in Savannah, Mostly because they are the closest parts place to me-before that it was Kutcheys Auto Supply.

For most typical(and easily swapped) replacement parts-those I listed earlier, I have no hesitation in using parts from them or the other discount chains-a lifetime warranty is more valuable to me when a replacement part is only a drive down the street away-with no return Shipping or wait to deal with-but in more than 10 years of buying at Autozone for more than seven Zs, I have only had to use the warranty on three items-my experience is their parts are dependable. Add to that replacing a bad starter under warranty with them takes less than an hour under the car and round trip, and it is kinda hard to justify spending more money or time for one.

Granted, If I am after ball joints, engine kits, and the high wear high dependability parts, I generally hit the Dealer. Most parts places generally draw from the same sources, and Beck Arne is Beck Arne, AC Delco is AC Delco, Bosch is Bosh, KNN is KNN, etc. regardless of what outlet it is bought through. As I illustrated with a price range, you can go cheep, or higher quality even at Autozone.

I normally price AutoZone, and PartsAmerica for parts I need "to get the car back into service" now because of convenience, I generally shop them and RockAuto for the things that are planned in advance.

I openly admit that the only mechanical parts I have bought through MSA or Black Dragon were a Camber kit, and a set of speed bleeders.

Will

PS, I have to agree with you on maintenance-it keeps the car on the road, and we don't post much about it here-I guess we take it for granted that all members know the wisdom in beating wear and time to the punch-or since the most given advice is to buy a FSM and use it, we assume that it will be done.

Edited by hls30.com
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they are generic parts that fit a Chrysler, GM or a Ford product and they will fail only after a few months and cause more problem on your electrical system.(believe me....i have facts)

It is lifetime warranty because it is garbage to bring you back and buy more parts that most of the time are not available to their network.

Have you ever tried to find an air filter for your original twin carbs engine? You will never find. The only option is the K&N at 50 bucks you can clean and put back.

Cheap parts are not making an old S30 Z reliable.......and believe me, I have learned from the last ten years.

I would not say that we need deep pockets to maintain an early Z but if the new member wants to buy for his pleasure of the hobby, cheap stuff to service his car is not the right way to go.

My opinion only......cheap price VS long term reliability

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Have you ever tried to find an air filter for your original twin carbs engine? You will never find. The only option is the K&N at 50 bucks you can clean and put back.

I beg to differ....I bought one at my local parts store a year ago, and here's one online for you.

http://www.courtesyparts.com/air-filter-1970-1972-240z-p-569040.html?cPath=7724_7752_8889&

.

.

Edited by =Enigma=
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they are generic parts that fit a Chrysler, GM or a Ford product and they will fail only after a few months and cause more problem on your electrical system.(believe me....i have facts)

Your facts and my experience differ, I have been into S30s for more than 30 years. When a Alternator looks just like the one that came off(down to the manufacturers cast housing-and works flawlessly for 124K and 10 years on my '76 2+2 I find it tough to agree with you.

It is lifetime warranty because it is garbage

to bring you back and buy more parts that most of the time are not available to their network.

It looks like You missed the part where ALL of the parts I listed earlier are currently in stock at my local store-and generally stay that way, and I have used the Warranty three times-that is three times in 97 replacement parts(I keep the warranty receipts), one Alternator(in 12-after three years), one Master Vac( in 2 quite possibly my fault), and one injector(in 37 DOA) Granted my quantities are too small for a meaningful statistical analysis of chain wide failure rate, but over all just over a 3% failure rate is acceptable-given the convenience of warranty fulfilment.

On a daily driver, I would rather take a 3% failure rate with seriously convenient local instock position and a far lower price than a 1% failure rate with a five day turnaround at a higher price with shipping on top of it!

Have you ever tried to find an air filter for your original twin carbs engine? You will never find. The only option is the K&N at 50 bucks you can clean and put back.

Again, ALL of the parts I listed above were in stock-including the Fram airfilter(Though I do admit, the KNN has to be ordered)

Cheap parts are not making an old S30 Z reliable.......and believe me, I have learned from the last ten years.

Sometimes the same cheep parts are sold more expensively elsewhere.

I would not say that we need deep pockets to maintain an early Z but if the new member wants to buy for his pleasure of the hobby, cheap stuff to service his car is not the right way to go.
My opinion only......cheap price VS long term reliability

I agree better quality parts are a good thing, I simply have not found a need to research a quality difference. When there is only a price difference, and no proven quality difference, the low price wins.

If I had complete specs to compare, I would buy the better spec'd part. To my knowledge, no parts supplier (MSA, Black Dragon, Napa, AutoZone, Rock Auto, etc. actually publishes a quantifiable and defendable quality difference.

"Ours is better than theirs", "we are the best", "nobody beats our quality" etc are the same "reasons" the owners of the "higher end" Marques felt that at they were superior before and took consolation after being whipped by S30s at the race track. Hype and feelings are not proof.

I recently had to buy a replacement tire for my truck, I went in to my local Goodyear store,(the tire was warranted, but not covered)and got a price for the tire of $189.99, plus $40 for mounting and Balancing. I called Tire rack from the Lobby and the same brand and Model of tire was $93. The manager came over and essentially told me that he would knock $20 off, but scoffed that Tire Rack sold only seconds...and he could not price match a first quality tire and a second. I bought the tire at TireRack, Picked it up the next day and had it mounted and balanced by Asian Automotive for $20. I know the equipment used to mount and balance my tire was far better at Asian Automotive, and as the owner did it himself, I expect the experience and knowledge behind it was better too.

I Prefer to get higher quality-and expect to pay more for it, I just have to know I am getting higher quality to pay more.

I am like most people, when I find a satisfactory answer, I quit looking for one.

Will

Edited by hls30.com
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I've been daily driving my 280z for a year and a half. And its been great and very dependable. So far it has been very low maintance. The only parts I had to replace because of failure so far were a clutch slave cylinder, window regulator, and an alternator.

Now don't get me wrong, I have had some issues with mine. (Valve lash popping off, fuel lines leaking, Clutch fan seized) But the Z community is freaking awesome. There are several helpful forums and very helpful members including this site the have helped me through them.

The only thing I can say about getting parts, is sometimes you have to call around and check to see if they have it in stock and you may have to drive to get it, if you need it right away. Almost all stores can order and get it to you within a day or so.

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buying "reliable" parts at Autozone but my experience has not been a good one.

Two years ago, I bought a new alternator. Two months after it was defective. They gave me another one. In the same period of time it failed again. I made the decision to buy a nissan original rebuilt from NAPA and the problem was fixed.

Here in Vegas, it is impossible to find an air filter replacement for s30 models and it is not even listed as available at Autozone, Pep Boys or Checkers. My only option is to buy from MSA or Courtesy (plus shipping) and it become very expensive. It is the reason I switched to KN.

No problem to find original fuel pumps at the NAPA warehouse and even point sets, rotors and distributor caps with real brass components under the STANDARD brand name. they are the best products after the OEM Nissan parts.

Maybe it is because we are in the middle of the desert here but it is impossible to find major maintenance parts at local parts stores aside of NAPA and Carquest and they are not even listed on many of them.

We have an import parts supplier in town, Meyer Auto parts. They have jobber parts under the name of OEM. Once, I bought a distributor cap with aluminum contacts. my engine was idling bad. Even points sets from MSA are garbage and don't fit right with gap set right. The engine don't start at all because the parts are not manufactured to quality standards required to have the cars to run properly.

To conclude this comment, this is my own story with after market parts and how costly it can be to have good parts to have a reliable daily driver in what I consider severe climate in my case or just a week end driver to go to the grocery store.

I have owned several classic cars in the last twenty years and they have all been ground up restoration projects. My Z is the only one that has never been restored because there is no need to do it. My goal is to maintain as an original as far as I can but being able to enjoy it as a daily driver that i would not be shy to bring to a car show. It is far from perfect and not a trailer queen.

It is the way I enjoy my driver....shiny original paint, ugly original hubcaps, A/C serviced and.......I enjoy the ride.

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Hey Houston TExas, Where at? I live near Kemah

I'm in Spring TX. Amazing how we can both say we are from Houston, but we live over 50 miles from each other and the drive would be well over an hour with no traffic! haha.

I haven't had much success with NAPA or CarQuest. Mostly because there are not many around me. I have had some success with Advance Auto Parts. They seem to be springing up everywhere around here.

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Bruce,

Unlike my friends, who get blamed for everything when they are not around;), we don't have a CarQuest 'round here, so I have no experience with them to comment on!

Again, I can't say Autozone is better or worse than any other parts house, only that I have not needed to look further than their convenience because I have gotten good pricing on good mechanical maintenance parts from them.

Will

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