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trogdor1138

Don't own one... yet

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I don't yet own a Z, but I've been reading through this forum to get an idea of what I'm looking at. I'm in Utah, USA and am seriously considering the purchase of HLS30-42702. It's titled as a 1971 240Z and from my research the known data seem to confirm this.

I'm not looking to restore it to pristine showroom quality, but I do want to restore it insofar as my budget allows. Maybe to 1970's daily driver status, if that makes sense.

I got this crazy idea to get a project car a little while ago and my father suggested a Datsun or similar. My mom's first car was a 510 while my dad drove a VW Karmann Ghia. While both would be fun, the Z series has won me over.

The Z in question appears to be a good starter. Little, if any, frame and undercarriage rust with a recent paint job. The engine starts, but it's not driveable due to a bad clutch (as postulated by current owner's mechanic). The engine serials on the block and ID plate don't match, but the engine does appear to be a L24 with E88 heads. The interior is pretty much in shambles; carpet, dash, seats, and panels will need replacement.

I like the Z because it seems simple and fun. I've always done my own car repairs and enjoy working under the hood. The Z looks like a car from a much simpler era of engines and has plenty of space under the hood to work in. I'm not interested in performance upgrades or 260/280 transplants or swaps, so this one seems like a good candidate.

Before I dive in I do have a few questions; hopefully this is an appropriate place to ask. I appreciate any input:

I've never done a clutch replacement before, but I was planning to do it myself. The owner would include the restoration guide he bought and I plan to purchase a repair manual. Although I haven't done this specific repair I have done pretty much every pump under a hood, A/C repair, alternator, starter, etc. How big of a job is this and what kind of time frame?

What are questions I should ask and things to look for before purchasing, ie common caveats of these cars?

What are honest estimates of total cost? Keep in mind my goals as set out above. I don't need the car to look brand-new, but I do want to repair/replace visible cracks and broken parts. I plan to do as much work as possible myself (isn't that the point? :)).

What is a fair price? Seller has listed at $2500 and I planned to offer a little less than that.

Any other guidance or "I wish I had known" points are much appreciated.

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Try the "Search" function using variations of terms for the info to which you you want answers. I guaranty you'll find more threads discussing everything, regarding repairs, suppliers, etc., than you will have time to read!

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Looks like you have at the least done some homework. Check for rust (even with fresh paint). The car pictured has a 280z hood, missing rear bumper sides and a really strange looking front bumper (perhaps a front end incedent).

Clutch replacement is one of the easer jobs and should not cost much, $100-$150 if you do it yourself. Talk him way down considering it is not a running car. Good luck.

Edited by grantf

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Agreed - the replacement hood and wonky front bumper suggests collision damage so give a good look where the hood mounts to the body and along the inner fenders / frame rails. How is the battery tray and surrounding area? Get inside and pull the carpets to check the floorboards all over and check the spare tire well. Run a magnet along the rocker panels and at the dogleg area. Check for rust on the tray under the hatch. Any repair records available from said mechanic? With a running engine but non-driver status, ratted-out interior, and visible exterior cosmetic items this is probably a $1500-1800 car IF you do not find other issues with your inspection. Remember - as a non-driver, you can't check out the driveline, brakes, steering, suspension. As the man said, good luck.

Jim

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Another thing to look at closely - the rear louvers pictured are the type that require holes drilled in the tailgate for the hinges and lower latches. Those holes are a prime spot to develop rust.

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Thanks for all of the response. Based on input I think I'm going to pull the trigger, but I'll go and look at the car again tomorrow before a final decision.

I thought that the hood was wrong, but the seller isn't all that knowledgeable. He knew enough to know that when the car was going to be junked that it was a shame, but I don't think he's that familiar with the series. Also, shouldn't there be turn signals under the front bumper?

I plan to replace the clutch myself. I'm leaning toward a Centerforce unit, not because I plan to race but because my wife doesn't know how to drive stick; I foresee clutch abuse in the future and want something durable ;)

Again, thanks everyone for the help. I'll post back what happens...

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Good luck with your negotiations. Don't worry about your wife being hard on the clutch, women are typically very easy on them. We men are the ones who can generally take a clutch out in a hurry! I would go with a stock clutch, you can even buy a kit including a new flywheel for $150 or so, so you don't even have to worry about re-surfacing your flywheel. Very easy job even for the novice. Put the car on stands mid-morning on a Saturday, and you will be taking a test drive before the end of the afternoon. Play up the fact that the car needs a clutch in your negotiations, a shop would charge $450-550 (or more depending on the labor rate).

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So, I bought it. Based on everyone's input I offered $1800 and he accepted. I think between his need to sell and my displayed passion for the car he felt it was fair. He's even towing it to my house (45 mi), so I think I got a good deal. Now I'm addicted; all my free time the past few days has been spent looking up parts and planning the interior.

Then, on the way home last night from the seller, we hit a deer (NOT in the Z). Luckily no one was injured and we have good insurance (USAA), but we grow deer pretty big here and the estimate for damage to our van is for $2700. We only have to pay the deductible, but I can't help but measure that in vinyl seat kits or interior carpet. :(

So yeah, a good and bad day all around.

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Nice job on the purchase. Too bad about hitting the deer. I hit one with my then brand new Murano a couple years ago, and my 12 year-old said, "holy crap Dad, what was that?" (as anyone who has ever hit one knows, they come out of NOWHERE) I replied, well son, I think we just bagged our first deer together!

Seriously, though, looking forward to hearing about your progress. If you had the clutch kit, you could be taking it for a spin this weekend! (weather permitting, of course)

Congrats!

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Brandon,

Congratulations on your first Z purchase! I am still looking for a 240Z to restore, but it's exciting when someone else makes a good find! Also, I see you are in the software industry. I'm a software engineer myself! Look forward to seeing your progress on the Z and sorry about your mishap with the deer!

Robert s.

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Thanks everyone for the well-wishing. The insurance estimate was $2700 before going in to the shop... stupid deer.

Anyway, the 240Z lives! I finished the tranny rebuild and she's up and driving. First step in a long process :)

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