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1978 280z Black

Guest Noy

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Lets see, 1978 280Z, black. Correct? One thing I would check out is if it is the '78 'Black Pearl' Z. They made a few that were the 'Black Pearl' Z, and then a few others painted their '78 black. The 'Black Pearl Z is worth a little more than other '78 Z's. Check the papers, you might even get a car fax at www.carfax.com. This will tell you all the history of your purchase.

As far as the car goes, give it a general look over before starting. Check undernearth the car, floorboards, fenders, gas tank area, and pull up the floormats (both sides). Your looking for rust. A little can be expected. Southern Z's tend to be a little more rust free than their nothern counterparts. Take a refrigerator magnet with you and check the body for bondo, etc.

Before starting look at your wiring. Look for recently replaced wires and question this. This could be a short or a burnout somewhere. Beware of sellers who 'just happen' to have the car running when you get there. I prefer the car to be cold when I arrive. You never know if they spent 30 minutes starting it before you arrived. Open the oil spout (before you start) and stick a piece of white cloth inside with your index finger bent at a 90 degree angle, whipe and remove. Look at the color. Brown = good. Black = need oil change most likely. What you dont want to see is black (or even brown) with spots, shavings or sludge. Could mean engine has been abused or is not running correctly. Check oil level, water, filters, etc. Now start it.

A decent Z, fuel injected and all, should start in no less than 5-7 seconds cold. Keep an eye on your gauges. AMP should be a hair to the right of center. Z should idle at 750 to 1200 when cold, although I have seen alot of Z's idle at 1500 cold and come down to between 600 and 900 when warm. When you start, listen to any unusal noises. Starter noise, any clanks or rubbing. Any squealing, etc. Get a good explanation for each and pay less accordingly. Get out and go back to engine.

Take the throttle by the white ball and rev engine gently. Listen for same aformentioned sounds. Listen for exhaust leaks. Go to passenger side and look at head gasket. Look for signs of leaks, holes, wear, or goo.Any of the above is bad. If you have a compression gauge you can test the cylinders at this time. When satisfied close the hood. Take note how easy it closes. Difficult close may mean hood was off and therefore may mean extensive work done previously.

Put the car in gear. Now is a good time to test the emergency brake. Feel the sponginess of the clutch. I like mine to grab about halfway in. If it is an automatic, get your head examined. Why would anyone want an automatic Z? Start slowly and listen for clanks or any sound other than the engine. Any sound may be rear-end, u-joints, diff mount, etc. Check all gear, you want a smooth shift into each, no grinding, no stiffness. At the same time it should not shift too sloppy either.

Make a note of each of the problem areas or potential problem areas. Its time to negotiate. No matter how good a deal or desperate you are; act as though you are just barely interested. Tell seller about what you will have to do to get it roadworthy again. Now shut up. Give the seller time to decide if he wants to come down on his price. Its not personal, its business. Good luck to you.


"Go into emptiness, strike voids, bypass his defences; hit him where he does not expect you" -Lao Tzu

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  • 11 months later...

That was very useful info you posted, which applies to buying just about any vehicle. Thanks soo much for that, i sometimes won't take the time to check all those important things before buying, and end up with a headache after.

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