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charliekwin

Project Boondoggle (or, so I went and bought a Z!)

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Long weekend of prep work is finally over.  Got around to knocking out the bushings from the rear control arm, which a ball joint press made decently-quick (though not easy: I broke a ratchet when the impact wrench was going too slow) work of.  I'm considering myself fortunate that these were the only original bushings I needed to remove.

 

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After being inspired by Hardway, I took the wire wheel to the rear strut assembly, which cleaned up pretty well.  Then bagged the front and stuffed some foam in the back of the rear hub and masked it off so I could media blast it without -- hopefully! -- getting any of that crud in the inner works.

 

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A few hours later, I looked like this, but I was finally done with blasting and wouldn't have to go through this again for a while.  Parts were cleaned with acetone and hung up so I could spray with a bit of rust-converting paint, which is where things went sideways.

 

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I have a non-glorious history of finding ways to make a stupid mistake on my projects.  Previous highlights include cutting holes on the wrong side of a subwoofer box and tapping the wrong sides of hard-to-reach wires under a dashboard.  Anyway, it was getting late in the day and I was tired, but determined to get the paint on, so I grabbed the can. Rustoleum, by the way, has some similar art on some of their cans.  So you can guess where this is going.

 

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Yup, I shot everything except for the struts with engine paint.  So, Sunday, I did it all again.  My pile of parts, ready for blasting.

 

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But at least I'm really, really done with that now.  I've got the right paint on there now (better believe I checked that can multiple times) and will be shooting a couple coats each of Eastwood extreme chassis black primer and satin over the next few days.

 

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That's too funny!  I do some goofy stuff late in the day myself, but it's usually the beer I've been drinking all day. :D 

 

I just received a quart of Eastwood's chassis black satin and will be watching for your results.  Thanks for posting the pictures. 

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Ha, I can't even blame it on beer!

 

I used the same Eastwood paint on the fuel tank and the vent tank cover.  Limited experience, but a few things I learned about it:

 

- It's brushable, but won't come out very well.  MUCH better results when sprayed.

- Recoating with a brush will cause lifting.

- Keep any solvents away for a while.  I could lift the finish coat off in a sheet after using some 3M90 on it a couple days after I sprayed the finish.

- The fuel tank DID come out looking really nice and hasn't chipped or flaked off yet.  I'm not inclined to test the finish, but it seems pretty durable now.  I think Eastwood gives a 48-72 hour cure time, but I'm not sure if that's enough.  I'm going to let the suspension parts cure for a week.

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Time for an update.  Last weekend was all about painting, which meant I had to set up my spray booth again.  This time, with upgrades!  I had some 1x1s in the garage that worked better than tree branches for hanging parts.  Shot two coats of primer:

 

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Then two finish coats, the last of which went on last Sunday.  Parts came out looking good.  Looks can be deceiving, but we'll get to that.

 

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Also shot the brake drums with some rattle can high temp paint.  Double checked I had the right one this time.

 

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I was hoping to get everything reinstalled this weekend, but hit a couple speed bumps along the way.  The biggest came on Saturday trying to remove the old bushing sleeves from the rear control arms.  I tried a ball joint press after my hacksaw wasn't getting the job done; didn't work.  Accepted that I was just going to have to sweat and be sore, and went back to the hacksaw.  3 hours later, they were all out.

 

By the end of Saturday, I had the mustache bar and control arms back in place.

 

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But Eastwood's paint disappointed yet again.  One shot with an air compressor did this to one of the control arms.  Not what I want to see.  I blew off anything else that came loose and brushed on another coat.  I don't know what you need to do to make this paint stick, but I'm almost out of it and not buying it again.  Hopefully the rest of it stays on.

 

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On to Sunday!  Ordered new wheel cylinders and brake hardware, which I installed with only a mild amount of cursing.  First time ever doing drum brakes, so that's off the list.

 

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Moving on to the shocks and springs.  Here's the stock springs next to the Vogtlands.  I put some silicone tubing on the ends of the springs thinking it might help quiet things down and protect the paint on the struts.  And one of the Stagg struts.  We'll see about longevity on these things.  The included gland nut for the fronts looked oxidized; the rears were shiny.  All four installed and the tubes filled with ATF.

 

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Speedbump number two: the KYB strut boots are too big by about 1/4" all around, so there's no way to tie the bottom of these things.  I'm debating between trying to exchange them at Rockauto or just going down to the hardware store to find something I can wrap around the struts to fill the gap.  Anyone have suggestions?

 

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That's where I called it a day.  Now it's time for that beer!

 

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looks like great work - congrats!

i ran into the same problem with boots too big to clamp. i wound up re-using 3 of my oems, but the 4th oem was split so i had to use the new one - i cut out a v-notch to allow it to wrap tightly with a band clamp. just cut a little at a time and keep testing until the ends meet - too much and you'll wind up with a hole. not perfect, but much better than the split one...

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Good work Charlie!  You have been busy my friend.  Sorry to hear about the issues with the Eastwood paint.  There stuff is usually top notch.  I used satin black Rustoleum rattle can paint when I did my suspension and to my knowledge it is still holding up.  It never flaked off or anything while I was reinstalling the components.  Hopefully the rest of yours holds up.

 

On the strut gator boot, if possible, get the dimensions of what you need and then Google them.  I had the same problem with the steering rack boots for our cars.  The companies make them too big and I ended up using a pair made by EMPI for a VW.  I had to do enlarge the outer hole on each boot but the fit was 5x better than the stuff that is labeled to work on our cars.  The auto parts store might have something that works but if not the Internet is your friend.

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A good paint job is 90% surface preparation.  If the paint doesn't stick, but has fully cured/hardened, it's most likely not the paint but something on the surface that was painted.  It could be something as simple as the fabric softener on that freshly washed rag you wiped the surface down with to be sure it was super-clean.  Or the lubricating oil from your air compressor if you used an air hose to blow the dust off.  Or residue from that carb cleaner that looks like it all evaporated.  You should follow the instructions to the T and don't add anything more.  No cleaning solvents of your own, no extra wipes with a rag, no tweaking the formulation for a faster cure.  There are chemists out there who spent years developing those formulations and procedures to make it all seem so easy.

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I made every effort to follow Eastwood's instructions as closely as I could, but between my space/equipment (i.e. outdoors next to the garage) and almost complete lack of experience spraying paint, I'm well aware of my limitations.  I've read about other people having the same problem, so I suppose it's possible that that paint just has a smaller margin of error than my (meager, I'm sure) abilities allow for.  Hopefully the rest of the job holds up alright -- it looks good, at least! -- and for future jobs I can go back to the rattle can...not sexy, but I've had good results with it.

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charliekwin,

 

The progress looks great. One thing though... I don't like the positioning of the lower spring on one of your rear brake setups. Looks like the spring is bent around the adjuster mechanism and that shouldn't need to be the case. I can't tell what the problem is, but if it's together correctly, everything should fit comfortably. I'm not sure why the one side looks weird:

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One side looks fine, but the other looks questionable.

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Oy, yeah... that spring put up a surprising amount of resistance.  I ended up bending it a little to get it in place.  Those new springs are a lot springier than the old ones!  It doesn't seem to be interfering with the adjuster and I figure it'll probably get pulled back into shape during normal use, but you're right -- it's probably a good idea to tweak it anyway.

 

Happily though, I think I solved my strut boot problem with a $5 roll of weatherstripping.

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Well congratulations to me for managing to tear one of the spindle pin bushings while trying to force the strut in there.

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This one is basically useless and it seems like the only way to get another one is to buy the whole tear control arm kit. That's about $50 worth of screwup I really could have done without.

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That's a bummer. Only suggestions I can offer are to make sure all the mating surfaces are very clean and rust free and use some silicone lube. Rust on the faces of the involved surfaces not only takes up room that you need, but it also won't slide as easy as a clean cast iron surface.

 

Unlike the stock rubber bushings, the poly bushings need to slide against the faces of the strut casting. The sliding surfaces need to be clean and lubed.

 

Do you think the poly parts were made properly or is the shoulder too thick?

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You've already done all of the hard work.  Carve that torn section off and use it.  If it starts to degrade you can pop the pin out, drop the casting,  and insert a new one, probably without removing any brake lines or strut mount bolts.

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After successfully mangling that bushing, I put one of the good ones on the inside and tried using that one on the outside, but It spreads apart too much and won't work there.  I don't dare tempt the fates by disassembling everything to try it on inside again, so I bit the bullet and just ordered a new set from Amazon.

 

It's been that kind of a weekend...on Sunday I went for a nice dip in the pool for a full 5 minutes before realizing that I forgot to take my phone out of my pocket.  I'm getting kinda tired of doing this much self-inflicted damage to my wallet! :)

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Been kind of slow-going the last few weeks with life and all that getting in the way, but I've managed to squeeze in some progress here and there.

 

So that strut boot problem...first attempt was to cut notches out of the collar.  That was enough to get the clips around, but it still moved too much, so I went to my local hardware store for inspiration and found this stuff, which I trimmed down and lined the inside with.  Then tied with CV boot clamps.  Fits great.

 

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The bump stops I'm still not sure about...the instructions have the tapered end pointing down, but that leaves the piston exposed when it expands, which seemed wrong.  I left them turned around so the taper fits into the top of the perch.

 

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The outer rubber layer on the insulators was long gone, so I got some 1/16" rubber sheet and cut some "washers" to stick on the top.  The fronts, ready to be installed, and in the car.  Suspension Techniques sway bars went in too.  Progress!

 

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The troubles with the rear end I don't need to revisit, but it's back together as well.  The driver's side, complete with 2 black bushings, just to be matchy.

 

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This weekend I moved on to the hubs.  They were kinda rough looking and a bit rusty, so I hit them with a wire wheel and some high-temp paint I had left.  The bearings looked decent-enough when I pulled them out, but one of the POs did -- big surprise -- a lousy job greasing the hubs, and a complete set of Timkens was something like $30, so I figured replacing them now is cheap insurance.  Not too many pictures here...cleaning and packing a hub with grease is messy business, but here's what someone before me managed to do when knocking out a race.

 

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Both sides are finished and my parts piles are getting smaller!  Then nature intervenes.  Despite being in the middle of an historic drought, it still manages to rain whenever I want to work on a car.  There's always next weekend.

 

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That is some good work Charlie!  Yeah, mother nature seems and Murphy's Law seem to sync up when we work on our cars.  I like your idea of using the self adhesive foam to take up the room in the strut boot.  On the bump stops, when I installed my poly bumps stops in my '72 240z, the tapered end was facing down.  I did not install a boot around them but at the end of the day no matter what direction they are facing I think they will accomplish the same thing.  Maybe someone who has had experience with them installed both ways will post up.

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It's some kind of miracle, I actually drove the car today.

 

This morning, I went to Harbor Freight and bought a grease gun for the ball joints and tie rod ends.  First time I've greased anything with a zerk fitting in probably 20 years!  But naturally, nothing goes without problems.  One of the half shafts has a fitting, so I figured I should grease that one too.  Can't hurt anything, right?

 

Not right.  Snapped clean off.

 

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Back to the hardware store to get a screw extractor.  For once, at least, the gods smiled upon me: it came out easily.  Back to the same hardware store to get a screw to plug the hole.  Local hardware store has everything except 1/4" - 28 machine screws.  Special trip to OSH, then, and back to work.

 

Bled the brakes, everything else goes back together without incident and the car is finally sitting on its own wheels!

 

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Overall drop ended up being about an inch all around, but it'll probably settle a bit more.  I'm actually pretty happy with way it's sitting.  The wheels are kind of a bummer.  Just another item for the shopping list!

 

Driving impressions: not many so far.  I've only done a few very cautious laps around the block.  Partly because I don't want to do anything too exciting until I'm convinced I put everything back together correctly and partly because the brakes felt awful squishy.  I'm going to bleed them again tomorrow to see if that helps.

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It only took 4 months, but I finally got to put some miles on the Z last week!

 

 

I bled the master cylinder last weekend (and re-bled the rest of the brakes), and that really helped with the pedal feel.  The brakes aren't great, but at least are safe.  Some betterpads will help, but mostly I think I just need to remember that brakes from 1978 aren't going to stop like modern ones do.

 

Handling is greatly improved, and the terrifying oh-god-the-car-is-falling-apart-and-I'm-going-to-die noises it made going over bumps are, thankfully, gone now.  Steering feels a little heavy and there's a bit of play. I don't know if it's in normal range, but I'll take a closer look at the steering rack.  I'm sure it also needs an alignment, but I'll wait until the rear tires (which are not long for this world) wear out and then do wheels, tires, alignment all at once.

 

I really want to get the interior cleaned up and put together so it doesn't feel like such a jalopy.  I think that's up next, but that project will have to wait for a bit.  The house we're in just sold, so we're moving in a couple weeks.  Our new place has a big two-car garage with work space and tons of storage (awesome!), but we're paying a fortune in rent (less awesome!) so project car funds are going to be limited for a while.  Best laid plans, indeed.

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great to hear you're getting out on the road. a simple check for steering play is the rubber steering rack mounts - they are isolators that go around the rack on either side and are held in place by the steel c-shaped tie down clamps. you can actually see the rack move if you stand just outside the drivers side door with the hood open and move the steering wheel back and forth while eyeing the rack below the engine.

i have a thread on here somewhere that shows this job on my car - there was quite a bit of play due to the mounts being old and distorted. new ones are cheap and it's about an hour's job to replace them. next to check is ball joints and then the round rubber disk in the steering rod just below the break master reservoirs.

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Well...crap.

 

Filled the car with gas and took it out to run a few errands last night.  Walking down the driveway I thought to myself "Huh.  Smells like gas out here.  That's weird."  On the way back up, one of the outdoor lights comes on and I see a puddle.

 

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Something is leaking around the filler, but it was too dark and late for me to be able to pinpoint what or where.  I drained enough to get below the leak, so at least I won't have the fire department knocking on my door.  The damage, however, is done: the gas sitting on the tank lifted the paint, so in addition to finding and fixing the leak, I also have to re-drop, re-strip and re-paint the tank.  Wasn't exactly part of the plan.  Of course this happens two days before we move.

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Look at the EF section in the FSM. I believe it will have a diagram of the vent hoses. It's likely that either the filler hose or a vent hose is leaking.

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Haha! And if you're going to paint a gas tank, I would try to find a paint that is fuel proof....

 

Signed, Captain Obvious.  :D

 

PS - Maybe some of Eastwoods "catalyzed in a can" spray paint? I haven't tried it, but I suspect it's fuel proof or at least fuel resistant. Wear a good respirator...

 

http://www.eastwood.com/paints/2k-aero-spray-paints.html

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Haha! And if you're going to paint a gas tank, I would try to find a paint that is fuel proof....

Signed, Captain Obvious. :D

PS - Maybe some of Eastwoods "catalyzed in a can" spray paint? I haven't tried it, but I suspect it's fuel proof or at least fuel resistant. Wear a good respirator...

http://www.eastwood.com/paints/2k-aero-spray-paints.html

That's the worst part of it, the Eastwood paint I used (Extreme Chassis Black) is *supposed* to be fuel, solvent and brake fluid resistant. In my case, it hasn't resisted any of them. I'll be looking at other options!

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Yeah, now that you mention it, I remember you had issues with the paint. I've read reviews of Eastwood's stuff and it seems their stuff can be very sensitive to the application process. With that in mind, I took a quick look at the instructions for the chassis black stuff and I'm confused about what is the correct application procedure...

 

The chassis black primer  instructions say you can recoat or topcoat after 24 hours. However, the chassis black top coat  instructions say wait 4 hours and then spray the top coat. Doesn't make sense to me.

 

In any event, I'm not a paint guy, but I've never had good solvent resistance from any paint that wasn't catalyzed or at least CA based (like POR15). The 2K aerosol stuff (I linked to above) is catalyzed and I would expect it to be much more solvent resistant.
 

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Agreed, the top coat instructions aren't especially clear, and I swear Eastwood has a few different instruction sheets with contradictory information about application timing.  I was confused and emailed them a while back for clarification, and did what the guy said, but I just can't seem to make the stuff work for me.  I've been looking at other paints and came to a similar conclusion about using a POR15-type product or a 2k automotive paint, but still trying to get a bettergrasp on it.  All I know for sure is that I don't know much! :)

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