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plucker

280 FUN CAR

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Hello new member here, wanted to introduce myself and document my new z project

I have had a 77 280z race car for 5 or so years, I have raced it in SCCA club racing and it has been the best race car I have ever had.  I really really enjoyed the car. the only problem has been I want something to drive on the street  and enjoy more often

I have been looking for a good project car for a bit and I finally pulled the trigger in September

found this on craigslist  looked ok in the pictures so I drove 5 hours and bought it , paid 2k  probably a it too much but hey.. 

1) the plan

when I first got it, I was going to tear into it and start restoring it right away.  on further thought I am going to get it running and driving upgrade and enjoy it as a beater/ rat rod  and "restore" it later

2) rust assessment

first I inspected it for rust .  when I looked at it before buying the rust seemed like a really mixed bag, no rust in lots of typical areas but seemingly bad rust in others. 

no rear hatch rust, nothing in the rear quarters,no front frame rail rust,  very little bit of bubbling in the rockers, one lower front fender was bad but the other was very good. and only the drivers side pan was rusted, but it was pretty bad.  both doors have quite a bit of bubbling along the lower edge , luckily I have probably have 5 doors sitting behind the shop

3) mechanical assessment

not so worried about the mechanics truthfully, as I have so many spares from my race car that I could re-build the engine and only buy a few things.  shocks that did not work out as good, old sway bars etc,etc.   I think at last count I had 7-8 heads on the shelf !  

engine ran , but it bogged so bad on application of throttle you could barely move the car !

clutch and gearbox worked okay

brakes kinda hinted they might slow the car, but it was only a hint....

the left rear strut was either broken or so loose from the mount that it flopped around with a huge thud when you got on and off the gas !

and the drivers seat frame was broken, so it was like trying to drive sitting on a stool !

attached are pics of the car, and for fun one of my race car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIR 5-9-10 Chris at Speed.jpg

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Welcome! I think I've raced with you at VIR over the last few years when MARRS is there. Here's my race car.

 

Chuck

 

front-left.jpg

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yea those SARRC MARRS races have been great thru the years,  especially back in the heyday !   remember racing with you  several times.

 

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Getting it running

so it idles but does not really run,  falls on its face with any really throttle application

the previous owner put  on a new fuel pump, fuel filter, and pressure regulator. so he was thinking fuel just like I am. put on the fuel pressure gauge,  shows, 10 psi at first , then gradually climbs up to 28 at idle,  just what you need... however if I would rev it up the pressure would drop off and the thing would wheeze and cough and backfire.. aha....   my guess after searching the internet is clogged tank and lines . 

so I get out the handy dandy fiberscope camera,   drop it thru the fuel filler and it looks like the rusty titanic down in there .drain the tank    pull the tank and sure enough looks like there is a solid 1/4" of varnish rust combination  on all of the insides of the tank realy rally bad. 

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1st I use my pressure washer thru the openings, loose nuts, etc,   then I bring out the big guns.... muratic acid...

after 1/2 hour the tank looks like it has been sandblasted inside, except for a few places in the corners and inside the fuel pickup "well" right in the center.    make a 90 pressure washer lance to shoot the water stream right into the "well"  and most of that out as well..

rinse it out with navel jelly ( phosphoric acid ) and  rinse and rinse and rinse trying to get the muratic out.    still flash rusted a bit, but I coated it with oil and gas mixture to retard that a bit.

going to try to get the tank back in in the next day or so and see what happens. 

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Congrats on the acquisition Plucker!  Sounds like a to-do list is getting put together fairly quickly.  Are you going to keep the FI system or run carbs?  I think your plan of getting it up to scratch as a driver is the best idea.  Once you have some seat time you will figure out how far and in what direction you want to take certain aspects of the car.  Based on the picture and info I think $2K is pretty fair.  Prices seem to be all over to map for everything these days.  You drove 5 hours which means you really drove 10 round trip so as they always say "the best time to buy something is when it is in front of you"  I look forward to your updates.

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short term I will run the stock F.I.   long term I have always wanted DCOE's   for the sound and the mechanical-ness of them .

when I went to get the car, I was traveling for work 1 hour from it, so I just took the truck and trailer..  so I really got paid $.56 a mile to go get the car .  nice coincidence  huh? 

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18 minutes ago, plucker said:

short term I will run the stock F.I.   long term I have always wanted DCOE's   for the sound and the mechanical-ness of them .

when I went to get the car, I was traveling for work 1 hour from it, so I just took the truck and trailer..  so I really got paid $.56 a mile to go get the car .  nice coincidence  huh? 

I hear ya on the triple Webers.  If my car was not an early VIN car and so original, I would invest in a cam and some triples.  

Traveling for work and buying a vintage Z, there is something to be said for good planning and efficiency!

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Hiya plucker...

I'm Redwing, a "mature" lady of 74. I have the sister to your red Z,  my '76 RedBird.  I bought her almost 2 years ago.  She came from Scottsdale, a 1 owner car.  I was exceedingly fortunate to get her, she is in real good shape.  Does not have the rust you mentioned your Z has, but she had a myriad of senseless problems, to which my friends here helped me with.  The final thing that corrected the last of the dogging problems was to put in a new/old ECU.  Once that was installed, all other problems vanished.  She is a super driving car now, quite the sweet little lady.

I was told about your joining and how much your Z looks like RedBird.  I have to agree.  Did you say yours was a '77?  

Anyway, welcome to this great group.  They love Z's, and are willing to help figure out problems.

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yep.. red bird looks almost like my car !  yours looks much much better though !

made some progress,  got the tank painted and back in the car  and it runs ok now. it is amazing how good fuel pressure makes a car run alot better!   ( still setting on jack stands )   now need to focus on getting the brakes working, and the suspension from flopping around... then i can drive it... oh and a functioning seat..

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so have made some progress on the car,  still did not run right, after cleaning the tank,  fuel pressure was sometimes low and was getting worse,   so I put a new ( old ) fuel pump and a new fuel filter,  and added a clear pre-pump filter on the car.  it is running even better. 

got the front calipers re-built.  had to pick thru my pile of caliper pistons to find some that were not too pitted.  question, does anybody sell new pistons ?  I am running out of good ones,   was thinking about having a set made out of 304 stainless.  ( buddy has a machine shop )

started working on the rear brakes.  and the curse of the stuck pistons raised its head.   modified a puller to work on the drums but still not go. need to get some heat on there

 

next I patched up the drivers side floor pan for the short term so my feet dont fall thrugh !

found a great way to get the  tar pad off,  I have read all the forums on using dry ice etc. but that would require me going to buy the stuff,  that was not going to happen,  so I got out the trusty needle scaler.   worked like a charm,  if you get the right angle  on the leading edge, it falls off like  crazy.  

cut out some sheetmetal and pop riveted in place and Voila a temporary floor !

 

 

 

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progress update : 

finally got the rear drums off, my puller and a propane torch, plus persistence payed off,  they finally came off. the drivers side fell apart in pieces, the shoe linings were no longer connected. and there was about 1/2 cup of debris in the drums...  of course the wheel cylinders were shot.   ordered cheap chinese shoes and wheel cylinders.   got the drivers side assembled . hopefully soon will have a car that is capable of stopping !

The shift lever seemed vaugely attached to something in the gearbox...  that would not do.  took it apart and found no bushings whatsoever on the shift lever.. that would explain it !      went ahead and made a bushing on the lathe. could not find my bronze material so I just made it out of aluminum.    works great ! and near zero cost !    while I was on the lathe,  I  made a cool stainless shift knob to replace the knob-shaped thing that was there.  of curse I forgot to take a picture , next time

 

 

 

 

 

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progress update : 

finally got the rear drums off, my puller and a propane torch, plus persistence payed off,  they finally came off. the drivers side fell apart in pieces, the shoe linings were no longer connected. and there was about 1/2 cup of debris in the drums...  of course the wheel cylinders were shot.   ordered cheap chinese shoes and wheel cylinders.   got the drivers side assembled . hopefully soon will have a car that is capable of stopping !

The shift lever seemed vaugely attached to something in the gearbox...  that would not do.  took it apart and found no bushings whatsoever on the shift lever.. that would explain it !      went ahead and made a bushing on the lathe. could not find my bronze material so I just made it out of aluminum.    works great ! and near zero cost !    while I was on the lathe,  I  made a cool stainless shift knob to replace the knob-shaped thing that was there.  of curse I forgot to take a picture , next time

 

 

 

 

 

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FUEL INJECTION HARNESS RE-BUILD

I have been playing around with the engine trying to get it to run reasonably..  I pulled the injectors to replace them with anothere set I had laying around, unfortunately a few of the fuel injector connectors crumbled to dust as i tried to recconect them..  oh well I guess I needed to fix that anyway.

so I ordered a connector kit from e-bay that had all of the ev-1 style of connectors, including the air meter. picked the style with boots and 8" long pigtails.. that had enough wire to replace the crumbly wires.  stole some heat shrink out of the electrical shop at work and went to town . I think the kit was about $65.00 or so seemed like a good deal.

brought an old roll around cabinet up the the car so i had a surface to work on, taped the harness to the top and marked out the lengths of each connector branch. pulled the boots off and added heat shrink to the pigtails.replaced the boots,  cut the harness wires stripped the ends and soldered the wires together.  you have to make sure the heat shrink is in place before you so the soldering.  with all the branches and splits you really have to pay attention to how you can get the heat shrink on, after you solder on a connector you cannot get the heat shrink on over the connector !

I did not worry about polarity of the connectors except for the thermo-time switch and the throttle switch ( hope I am right ) ,

I did not replace the air meter connector as it was in really good shape. I also eliminated the bullet connectors on the  water temp and thermo-time part of the harness, I figured less connectors mean less problems right ?

might be ready for a test tommorow

 

 

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needle scalers rock!  I used it to  remove about 12 lbs of undercoating off of my race car a year or so ago.  temperature makes a ton of difference !

glad it worked out for you

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update;

the harness re-build worked out well, got the car running good enough for a test drive....

car ran ok.  brakes are still terrible..  realized the problem is no power boost,   looked thru my pile of parts and found a 7.5" booster.  held vacuum some of the time, but if you touched the output rod, it would leak.  after a bit of investigation the problem was corrosion on the output rod. took it out, polished the corrosion off of the rod, greased it up and no more leaks.  had to really worked to get that rod adjusted to the shop manual specified .380"    had to heat and soak in oil to get it loosened up. 

put it back on the car and now I have too much boost, but I will make a few changes to make that better. 

 

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4 hours ago, plucker said:

too much boost, but I will make a few changes to make that better. 

Sounds like your reaction disc is no longer in place.

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that might be why I had to adjust the push rod about  1/4"  I know there was not one on that booster.  and the symptoms are what everyone talks about,  long travel then too grabby when they do engage !   wil see if that is the issue .  thank you !

 

 

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