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what damage makes a Z unrestoreable


What is too much damage to restore use these to start  

194 members have voted

  1. 1. What is too much damage to restore use these to start

    • 1) Gaping holes in the floors.
    • 2) A bottomless spare tire well.
    • 3) Rusted away tc rod mounts/Rockers/Framerails
    • 4) Serious Panel misalignments( Bumper/ Nacelle/ hatch/ Door)
    • 5) One side of the body being noticeably longer than the other
    • 5) Needs too much panel bumping (or several gallons of filler)
    • 6) Needs too many replacement parts
    • 7) Not Numbers Matching
    • 8) Several noticeable Kinks in the Unibody
    • 9) Obvious insanity in the work done by the PO (hacked Harnesses, shortcuts...)
    • 10) Where you find it-to tough to remove
    • 11) "Upgrades"
    • 12) Unknown History
    • 13) Not as described
    • 14) Previous Owner

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What damage would make a reasonable person let a Z become a sacrifice to the universe-or Rust diety?

What does it take:

Serious unibody body damage, Rusted away floors and framerails, the ability to get volume discounts on the sheer amount of filler needed for the car(over and above/instead of metal work).

What collection of damage is it that would make those of you that aren't afraid of some rust, bumps, and panel misalignment walk away from a Z project?

Post pictures if you have them!

Edited by hls30.com
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Anything that would cost more than the car is worth to repair. (based on an individuals skills, resources, etc.) You'll probably never be able to get what it's worth anyway but why start out by planning to lose money? See it all the time, especially with Zs and Japanese cars in general.

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It depends on where you are located. Here on the west coast where rust is not as prevalent, it's not too hard to find a Z with minimal rust that is relatively easy to repair. That makes it difficult to justify repairing a rusty car that might be considered to be an ideal restoration candidate back in the rust belt.

On the other hand, serious structural damage to the unibody is almost always fatal.

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There is a recent post made by someone who was given a car. The car has mucho rust and bad unibody damage. That is the kind of car I'd say is past the point of reasonable return. Sometimes people get emotional attachments to cars so my idea of beyond hope is going to be different from that persons idea of a good project.

And as Arne said, there are still a lot of good s30's out there. Look on the west coast and the southwest states for good deals.

Buying a car out there is worth the cost of shipping.

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The TC mounts are my go/no-go gauge. If they are weak, the car is scrap. That said, I'm too old to take on a rust bucket. What I used to take on and what I will currently take on are very different. I'd rather fly across the country and get a rust-free Z than deal with rust. These days, even floor rust turns me away.

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Voted for the things that would basically assume the car has had a serious hit at some point, or has serious rust. Also, if the PO did enough hack jobs to basically double the work that would have been needed initially, that will do it to. That said, I want to sell my shell, and get an original, complete, straight (structurally) and rust free (or very close) shell. I'm not sure if anyone would want to restore my car, since it's really not THAT rusty, but it's more than I want to deal with. I just wanna drive something already. I am also a perfectionist, and my car won't be "perfect" without a ton of work (and $$$$$).

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Ah, Owen hit the nail on the head. If it costs more time or money than I have or want to spend to get the car on the road so I can drive it sooner than later ("I just wanna drive something already"), then its too much. Totally relative to the individual and situation.


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Guys-use specifics-this thread gets its meaning from details, not generalities-address the Newby that does not know what repairs cost in terms of time energy and money! All the Newby knows is the car was advertised as "Rust Free-ready to drive-except it does not run."

This is more of a tell an excited newby what to look for and avoid-he wants a Z, knows nothing except that he wants a Z, and has no clue what to walk away from...

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1. Is the frame (uni-body) straight and solid? Measure the wheel hubs front to back on each side and diagonally across. If the numbers do not match from left to right or diagonal to diagonal, walk away.

2. Is there obvious significant rust damage to the main frame rails or floor?

3. Is the drivetrain complete and intact?

4. Are the windows all present and in serviceable condition? The Windshield is probably easier to purchase than the side windows. (That is true on most cars.)

Obviously some of this depends on the area of the world where you live. Most "restorable" cars in the rust belt wouldn't be considered worthy of parts car status in California, regardless of the brand or nation of origin. But be realistic. If you start with a parts car, at least don't pay a premium for the thing.

Oh, and starting with a rusted hulk that needs lots of work is the easiest way to end up sinking thousands of dollars into a failed project.

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