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HaZmatt

My Datsun 280Z "Rustoration"

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Hello, I wanted to post a build thread to document the process of my restoration. I have a 1975 280Z that I purchased off a local craigslist ad. Heres the ad.

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Ive wanted one of these cars since I was in high school and was looking for one that was in decent shape without too much rust and that was running. I went and looked at this one and thought it was in pretty good shape. It had a little rust but I was thinking most of it was surface rust. I took it for a test drive and instantly fell in love. The motor was solid, brakes worked, and it cruised down the highway nice and straight. It felt like a great starting point for my project......so I thought.

Here she is the day I brought her home.

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First thing I did was remove the front bumper

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And the brackets

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Edited by HaZmatt
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Welcome to the club of Z ownership. Almost all of us have walked down the path you are now taking. Someone in the forum has encountered just about any problem you will encounter. Don't hesitate to ask for help.

As with any Z, job one will be a thorough inspection for rust. If you have a Colorado or California car, you will probably fair better than most. But be sure to pull the battery and inspect under the mounting tray.

Again Welcome.

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beautiful ride, congrats! the previous post is quite correct: there is a great wealth of information on this forum, coming from folks who take a genuine interest in helping out. i'm a few months ahead of you (picked up my z in november) and thanks to the great help from folks here, she's now a solid daily driver :)

looking forward to seeing what you do with your new project!

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Where abouts in CO? I live up west of Colo. Spgs. and am willing and able, not necessarily real real knowledgeable, to help out. This club has fantastic members with tons of info on anything you might encounter.

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Thanks for the comments! I couldnt agree more, this forum has awesome members with a lot of knowledge that has been priceless on this build. Im actually pretty far along on the build and im just in the process of gathering my photos so I will try and post more tonight.

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Where abouts in CO? I live up west of Colo. Spgs. and am willing and able, not necessarily real real knowledgeable, to help out. This club has fantastic members with tons of info on anything you might encounter.

I live in Castle Rock. Thanks for offer, I may have to take you up on that!

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Just let me know, I'm always up for a little road trip, as long as I don't have to drive in the Denver traffic.LOL

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So once I got her home I had a chance to really look her over.

Spare tire area looked good so thats a good sign.

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Some rust on the rear hatch.

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Dash has the normal Z cracks.

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Interior is rough but complete.

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Also removed the rear bumper

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Fenders need to be replaced

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Drivers floor pan is pretty bad.

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Some more rust

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The drivers frame rail is rusted, both frame rails in the fender wells are rusted, the battery tray is pretty bad, and the rockers are rusted as well.

There are definitely cleaner, more rust free Z's out there but it could be worse. I decided to move forward with the project and began to do a complete tear down for a full restoration.

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Most of the interior is removed.

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Now its time to get the motor out

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Removed the wiring harnesses

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Removed glass and front body panels.

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Some rust porn for you weirdos LOL

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I scraped as much of the undercoating off as I could. This was fun....

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Removed the fuel/brake lines.

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Now shes ready to go to the media blaster.

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She looked pretty pathetic when I left her there so I took a quick pic.

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So with the car gone for awhile I turned my attention to stripping down the motor. I will be shipping it out to Rebello for a high compression 3.0 stroker set up.

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All parts were labeled and sorted with ziploc bags.

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I got the car back after a week. They did a really thorough job. It was nice to finally work on it without getting dirty and greasy.

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Then I worked on removing the suspension.

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Next I started working on the metal work. Now I haven't welded anything since shop class in high school but I was eager to learn so I went out and bought a welder and got to work!

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Heres some welding shots

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More rust repair pics

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All interior frame areas were covered with Eastwood's Internal Frame Coating for rust protection

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Heres the damaged frame rail.

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I got a new piece fabricated by a local fab shop

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Hi and welcome.

Nice work! Did you spray Eastwood frame coating over the rust?

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You've got that great trait, do it right the 1st time! I see you have a HUGE garage to keep the Z out of the weather but here's something to look at Grannyknot did and hopefully I'll get it done before paint. Post #12, http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/body-paint-s30/48317-what-do.html

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Nice work Matt, Couple questions.

How much was the media blasting? And what would have happened if you had delivered the car to them WITHOUT removing the undercoating first? Would the blasting taken care of that, or would the blasting have been ineffective where the tar remained? Was the rest of the car still painted when you dropped it off? I can't tell of it's stripped or silver paint.

This pic of the front rad support... Is that a common rusty area on the Z's? I know some areas are common issues (like floors and doglegs), but I've not seen many pics of that front support.

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nice work haz - thanks for the pics as well. i'm considering building a motor and doing a swap, so seeing your engine bay and supports provides great info.

there are some slick mods that have been done/posted over the years to help out typical problem areas - while you're at it w/the welder, getting mounts set up for a bumper swap to 240 style and shaping your rear valence for your exhaust setup are something to think about. i've seen a couple examples of the rear hatch release welded over and the mechanism either actuated with a solenoid or reversed for a bottom-up system - cleans up the hatch and eliminates another point of entry for water. also a good time to roll the fender edges if you want to use wider tires. i've also seen the antenna and side marker lights closed over - really tidy look there too.

keep posting - LOVE the progress!

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Wow thanks for all the comments and support!

Hi and welcome.

Nice work! Did you spray Eastwood frame coating over the rust?

Thanks, yeah the Internal frame coating is a rust encapsulater so its made to go right over rust. Good stuff.

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You've got that great trait, do it right the 1st time! I see you have a HUGE garage to keep the Z out of the weather but here's something to look at Grannyknot did and hopefully I'll get it done before paint. Post #12, http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/body-paint-s30/48317-what-do.html

Yea im a strong believer in doing it right the 1st time! Thats an interesting mod he did i'll have to look into that, thanks.

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Nice work Matt, Couple questions.

How much was the media blasting? And what would have happened if you had delivered the car to them WITHOUT removing the undercoating first? Would the blasting taken care of that, or would the blasting have been ineffective where the tar remained? Was the rest of the car still painted when you dropped it off? I can't tell of it's stripped or silver paint.

This pic of the front rad support... Is that a common rusty area on the Z's? I know some areas are common issues (like floors and doglegs), but I've not seen many pics of that front support.

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Hi Captain, the car was actually brown but very faded. The media blaster I went charged by the minute so the more he has to blast off the more expensive. It cost me around $900 for everything. He did tell me that he could get most of the undercoating off but it takes a little more.

Im not sure about the radiator support, I actually havent seen anyone else need to repair it. Mine may have had a radiator leak or something.

Edited by HaZmatt

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nice work haz - thanks for the pics as well. i'm considering building a motor and doing a swap, so seeing your engine bay and supports provides great info.

there are some slick mods that have been done/posted over the years to help out typical problem areas - while you're at it w/the welder, getting mounts set up for a bumper swap to 240 style and shaping your rear valence for your exhaust setup are something to think about. i've seen a couple examples of the rear hatch release welded over and the mechanism either actuated with a solenoid or reversed for a bottom-up system - cleans up the hatch and eliminates another point of entry for water. also a good time to roll the fender edges if you want to use wider tires. i've also seen the antenna and side marker lights closed over - really tidy look there too.

keep posting - LOVE the progress!

Thanks rossiz! I debated shaving my rain guards and antenna but decided against it. I will be putting on the 240 bumpers so I shaved the rear bumper bracket holes. Ill post more pics tonight!

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Wow! Your doing the body work yourself! Great effort, gives me some hope after all!

Yeah its not as hard as I thought it would be. I was pretty intimidated at first but I watched a few youtube videos and practiced on some scrap metal first. The most important thing is getting your settings dialed in correctly so you're getting good penetration. The rest is just a lot of grinding.

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Thanks for the additional info Matt.

I think I'd pay $900 for someone to strip my 280. In the off season.

Good luck with the project!!

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