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gotham22

Rust Advice 78 280z

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I started working on the front suspension of my car and found some rot that looks structural.  I have never really worked on cars so I was wondering if some of you might chime in and tell me how bad it really is and can it be fixed\.  From what I can tell the rust is isolated to the drivers side front.  The passenger side and trunk only have minor surface rust but seem to be in good shape.  Also the floor boards seem to be in good shape on both sides.  I do not have the skills to do this myself and I am very nervous bringing it to someone as I want it done right and not half arse.  Take a look at the pics and let me know what you think.   By the way, does anyone know of a good body shop on Long Island?

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Yes sir that's structural, your 1st and 3rd pics shows that the rail going under the D/S floor has been repaired before but they probably just patched over the rust and so it kept spreading. Whatever shop you take it to make sure they don't do the same thing, that rust has to be cut back to clean metal and new metal welded on not riveted like the last repair. Collision shops probably aren't your best bet because they like the work that is under insurance, they may not even want to do that job. The repair might be able to be done with the engine still in place but the carpets and seat on the D/S will need to come out.

I just looked hard at the 4th pic and you can see they riveted a patch on the that entire rail, probably won't be very pretty once those rivets are removed. You might want to take it to an automotive restorer and get a quote, it could be a bigger job than you originally thought.

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Thanks  grannyknot.   Sounds pretty bad and expensive.  Do you think it is worth saving?   I love the car but I don’t want to play 10+ grand to fix it.  

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IMHO it's doubtful you could get that fixed for less than $10K.  There's probably a mess on the other side too.  Rust is like cockroaches.  If you see one, there's a lot more you can't see.  I'm sorry if that sounds discouraging.  You should still get it checked out.  Just keep your hopes realistic.  

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Thats what I was thinking as well.  I am being realistic.  I love this car but when you start to pay that much then you just want a full restoration which I can not afford!  Ugggh.  Hardest decision I have had to make.

if I didn't get it fixed what do you think the best course of action is?  Sell it as is?  Sell it for parts?

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You are going to need some frame rails and maybe floor supports from Charlie

http://www.datsunzparts.com/products.html

I could get it fixed here for a lot less than 10k. However in New York, I don't know. I wouldn't think it will cost that much but it might. The others are right, in that the rust needs to be removed and any other surface rust neutralized! The biggest challenge is finding someone willing to take this on. It's not that hard, but most shops want to do the easy work

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Thanks Patcon.  Appreciate the advice.  That is the challenge and I want it done properly

 

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I've fixed/replaced most of that before. How's the frame on the engine side?

Chuck

 

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I have to get some pic from inside the engine.  Here are pics from the passenger side.  Does anyone see glaring issues?

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I think you're facing what most Z owners come to realize after they bring one home. The rust repair can be daunting, intimidating, expensive and time consuming.  That being said, I've seen much worse that has been repaired, ie: mine.  Like Charles said, most Body Shops around me wouldn't touch rust work like that because Insurance money is more Lucrative.  However, you might be able to find someone local or on CL who does that kind of work in their spare time.  It may take longer but it may be less expensive also. My 2 cents...

Edit to say, the passenger side looks good but inspect it well along with the Battery tray and firewall area. 

Edited by gwri8

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GOTHAM 22

I like others have seen much worse. As a matter of fact if you look through the archives on this site several members have replaced everything forward of the bulkhead with great success. But these jobs (projects) were done by the owner of the vehicle in most cases. Don't get discouraged or daunted by your issue. Someone will do this for you but you should plan on the repair shop having the car for 90 days minimum and thats on the low end. But it would give you time to save up the $$$$$. Your car is increasing in value everyday and if you should decide to sell it you get your money back plus a decent profit if you can show a potential buyer what a good platform they have. I am currently putting #6333 back together and I did work in the same areas you have issues in although not quite as bad. I am doing my own cutting fitting and welding. It can be done but it is not a quick process. The comment about "RUST BEING LIKE ROACHES".....right on! If you do decide to have the work done I would suggest stripping all the undercoat off the bottom of the car to inspect the condition of the entire bottom. No point fixing it without fixing all of it. Chin up, Good Luck!

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Edited by esmit208
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Thanks for all the advice.  I really appreciate it.  I know what I am going through is no different than others, I just wish I could do the work myself.  And I agree with you esmit208, if it is going to be done it needs to be done right (i.e. remove all undercoating). 

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5 hours ago, gotham22 said:

Thanks for all the advice.  I really appreciate it.  I know what I am going through is no different than others, I just wish I could do the work myself.  And I agree with you esmit208, if it is going to be done it needs to be done right (i.e. remove all undercoating). 

 keep in mind that "I just wish I could do the work myself" was the first step for all of us. If you have the space and time, go for it. Many of the Zs here have been rescued from becoming a parts car, most by owners who started off not knowing how to do the work and learning as the job progressed. Take it one step at a time and ask questions. You can do it.

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12 hours ago, gotham22 said:

Thanks  grannyknot.   Sounds pretty bad and expensive.  Do you think it is worth saving?   I love the car but I don’t want to play 10+ grand to fix it.  

Absolutely it's worth saving, I agree with the others, if you have it done by someone else it could get expensive but if you are willing to get filthy dirty you can learn to do it yourself and save lots of money, in the end you will have a solid car that you saved and I can tell you that first drive after putting it back on the road is a pretty wonderful feeling. Have a look through the archives, there are dozens of threads where someone just like yourself repaired extensive rust and brought their Z back to life, the peanut gallery here on this forum will talk you through the whole procedure.

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Gotham, any reason you don't or cannot fix it yourself? learning how to use a mig is easy, they can be had for cheap, sheet metal is cheap and besides that...all you need is a hammer and an angle grinder. 

Start by exposing good metal with a flapper or a fiber disc, next draw a pattern to cut and chop it using a metal cutting blade. trim cardboard to the size of your cut, transfer it to sheet metal. if it needs to be curved...that is where the hammer comes in, once you trim/form the sheet to the hole ...line it up and tack it in place, continue stitching it 1 inch at a time to minimise distortion, work on one side then switch to the other. finish cleaning the welds with a flap wheel to perfection..apply seam sealer where needed.

Even a novice welder (that cares) will do a better job then any commercial body shop (that don't). I'll bet you can get it all done for an total expense of about $500...including buying the mig (ok, using shielded wire, no gas) grinder, assorted wheels and sheet metal...unless you score a killer deal on a used mig setup.

It's really easy once you get the hang of it....it doesn't take long to get to "getting the hang of it".

 

Edited by tzagi1
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I really would like to do it myself. My concern is I don’t have a garage (car is always covered in the driveway).  Not sure what fire precautions I need to take welding in my driveway next to my house. I don’t have a ton of room  

I actually love love trying to do new things and I have been reading up on mig welding. Plus thI satisfaction of doing something yourself is amazing. 

 

 

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I took some pictures from inside the engine bay.  It doesnt look as bad as I thought it would.  

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Also, does the steering cross member need to be replaced?  Or can it be reinforced?

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OMG.... that is bad... the front frame rails are done along with that front cross member.... Get new parts/metal in there soon.

 

Start reading here: 

 

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You're not still driving that are you?  The first and second picture are concerning.  It doesn't look like there is any structure left for the tension rod.  I gotta be honest with you, I'd pass.  I think you'd be better off trying to find a shell from California or Arizona and using the parts from your car to make something road worthy.    

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How does the rest of the car look?  Might be more important.  There are other rust prone areas.  Looks salty.

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Weird that the one side would be that bad, but the other side looks fine. And I don't see a lot of rust on your floors. I agree that the whole car needs to be evaluated before you continue, if the damage is limited to the driver's frame rail, then I would consider fixing it to be worthwhile. Wonder if the car was in an accident, or if someone was really sloppy when topping up the brake fluid. But that wouldn't really explain the condition of the crossmember.

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5 hours ago, gotham22 said:

Also, does the steering cross member need to be replaced?  Or can it be reinforced?

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I have an extra crossmember. I will even sandblast and seal it for you before shipping. No hurry $50 you pay shipping. Shipping is maybe $10. Reinforcing it will work if you use the proper gage of metal. Once again it has to be welded into place. Did you ever think about moving away from places that salt or sand the roads? My goodness don't think I have ever seen a crossmember rotted through. 

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1 hour ago, ksechler said:

You're not still driving that are you?  The first and second picture are concerning.  It doesn't look like there is any structure left for the tension rod.  I gotta be honest with you, I'd pass.  I think you'd be better off trying to find a shell from California or Arizona and using the parts from your car to make something road worthy.    

Not a bad idea. It is probably not safe to drive at this point only because it might completely collapse hitting a pothole. WOW! But once again I have seen them replaced from the bulkhead forward

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