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Wass

76 280z Restoration

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    Hey y'all! I'm Kyle out of Austin, TX and I'm just starting a ground-up restoration of my 1976 280z - a few months into the teardown so far. I end up traveling for work a lot which limits my time in the garage significantly, so progress is slow so far, but I will try and update this thread as progress happens. 

    I'm the lucky 2nd owner of this beauty and had the opportunity to attend ZCON in Austin last year before starting the tear down. I'd highly recommend ZCON for anyone who hasn't gone yet. I'll start with a few pictures of the "before" state and add pictures/video as I have the time to edit and upload. 

    I'm a complete novice but have learned a lot already through trial and error, and especially from the local Z group of friends. Looking forward to sharing the trials of this project and getting everyones insight on how to handle certain aspects of the teardown and rebuild. I want to do as much of the work as possible myself - from welding frame rails to reupholstery to wiring and more. It won't be a concours car, but it will be a (mostly) home-built rebuild that I can say I did most of the work on.

    Enough background, below are some starting pictures before work started. If I have time today I'll add a list of known issues that I'll need to tackle and would appreciate any preliminary feedback!

     

     

    The day I bought the car in May 2017. Bought from the original owner. Didn't trust myself to even test drive it, you could tell he was sad to let it go but happy it was going to a fellow enthusiast.

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    A month after I bought her ZCON was in town. Met Matsuo-san, designer of the S30 and had him sign some original Datsun ads I had purchased. 

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    At the judged car show, photo by professional photographer. Credit to Westin Easley Productions. At this point I had done almost no work to the car - not enough time and more importantly, I was still at an apartment with a single stall and no extra room for working/disassembly. Not perfect by a long shot, but she's mine!

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    At COTA for parade laps.

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    At Cars and Coffee with some friends and their beautiful Zs. 

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    That's all for now! 

     

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    Welcome and congrats! Feel free to check out my similar build thread for tips from all the pros on this forum.

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    43 minutes ago, wheee! said:

    Welcome and congrats! Feel free to check out my similar build thread for tips from all the pros on this forum.

    Appreciate it! Your thread is partially what inspired me to do as much of it myself as I can, or at least try to. Love the ingenuity and fearlessness of trying things out - like the DIY heat lamp and powder coating station.

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    44 minutes ago, siteunseen said:

    Yes, welcome aboard.  You have a very nice car to start out with. :victorious:

    Zed Head has a '76 and knows them inside and out.  He's a frequent flier on here, good guy and very helpful.

    Thank you! I'll keep an eye out for Zed Head - any and all help is appreciated!

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    1 hour ago, siteunseen said:

    Zed Head has a '76 and knows them inside and out.  He's a frequent flier on here, good guy and very helpful.

    You don't know me man!  Stop spreading rumors!

    I'm not really a resto guy though.  I see the typical rotting saggy bumper rubber.  Keep an eye out for that piece and don't think you'll ever find a perfect one.  Very hard to find good ones.

    image.png

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    What month production is your 76? Post August 76 and the common parts or 75-76 production with unicorn pieces.

    Edited by wheee!
    clarified date

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    12 minutes ago, wheee! said:

    What month production is your 76? Pre August and the common parts or 75-76 production with unicorn pieces.

    I believe it's pre-August 76. HLS30-305984. If I'm reading the charts right it puts it early in the Aug75-Aug76 production. I didn't realize there were versions with unicorn parts - I assume that's due to the changes made in the 77's? Would those just be 77 280z parts, or were they truly unicorn parts that were stop gaps until the 77 changes were finalized in production?

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    3 minutes ago, Wass said:

    I believe it's pre-August 76. HLS30-305984. If I'm reading the charts right it puts it early in the Aug75-Aug76 production. I didn't realize there were versions with unicorn parts - I assume that's due to the changes made in the 77's? Would those just be 77 280z parts, or were they truly unicorn parts that were stop gaps until the 77 changes were finalized in production?

    The early 75 280's, up until August 76 were different in some ways. They used a lot of the 260Z parts. The door cards are the biggest headache. The doors and cards switched to the new style in August and finding the old style cards is next to impossible. A 240 door card is a closer match. The door latches and hardware changed as well. Your production date is in the driver door jamb tag.

    Edited by wheee!

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    Long overdue update incoming! Well, an old update. Finally getting some time to go through all the video from earlier this year that I have on the teardown process. Here's the first one from back in May, just getting the carpet, seats center console, etc removed.

    Below you can see all the crap that was falling out of the seats and the amp the PO had installed behind the passenger seat. You can also see the new shifter boot I hand stitched/sewed with new vinyl last year. It was an early exploration of sewing/stitching vinyl by hand, not to confident about redoing all the seats by hand and may need to invest in a used sewing machine heavy duty enough for vinyl/leather. 

    A later shot of the passenger side with center console out.

    And shot from the back. You can't really make out the rust in the photo, but it's on the far right of the spare tire well. The sound deadening was hiding most of it.

    Also a clarification from an earlier post. This isn't intended to be an OEM restoration. There will plenty of customization as the teardown/rebuild continues. While I respect and love seeing truly OEM restorations, I am more focused on building my skills around wiring, engine bay organization, welding, fabricating, painting, car upholstery, etc. and that will require a bit of deviation from a true OEM restoration. Also some fun upgrades of course, but those are TBD still.

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    Looking for some guidance on building a rotisserie, getting near that point in the teardown.

    I've looked at a couple different styles, like the one from @wheee! thread that looks to use a lot of angle iron. Or the ones that cobble Harbor Freight pieces together. Visited a friend in town that had one  made from 3" square (pic below, not my car) which looks like the style from Red Wing Steel manual.

    Any input is appreciated on do's/don'ts! And I'm still working on the dozen or so videos to get y'all caught up to present on the teardown.

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    Very quick interior teardown continuation when I had an hour. Got the camera in the car for a bit more detail. Nothing too exciting besides exposing more of the rust in the spare wheel well.

    A closeup of the spare wheel well. 

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    2 hours ago, Wass said:

    Looking for some guidance on building a rotisserie, getting near that point in the teardown.

    I've looked at a couple different styles, like the one from @wheee! thread that looks to use a lot of angle iron. Or the ones that cobble Harbor Freight pieces together. Visited a friend in town that had one  made from 3" square (pic below, not my car) which looks like the style from Red Wing Steel manual.

    Any input is appreciated on do's/don'ts! And I'm still working on the dozen or so videos to get y'all caught up to present on the teardown.

    Hi @Wass and welcome to the forum.  I'm not an admin or the owner of this thread but as a friendly suggestion it would be a good idea start your own new build thread.  That way we can follow it better as this thread is really, really long and is heading towards completion (maybe, or probably, or who really knows? except @wheee!).

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    33 minutes ago, gwri8 said:

    Oops, sorry. 

    Hey @gwri8!  I think I posted it in the right thread, but I do have @wheee! thread open in multiple tabs for reference so you gave me a scare! We have same year car and similar thread names. Maybe the mods can change my thread name to avoid confusion and just add a "Wass" to the front of it? Either way, thanks for stopping by and Happy New year!

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    Yep, sorry about the false alarm.  I thought I was reading Mark's thread and I had missed a whole bunch of stuff 😊.  All good now  (he say's with a beer in hand).

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    Removed the hatch and continued getting rid of interior carpet and trim. Still pretty boring stuff, but fun to look back on the early progress!

    About a year prior I had realized my reverse whites didn't work and I couldn't figure out why. Bulbs were good, reverse sensor was fine, etc. Not a smoking gun, but this seems pretty suspect 😂

    And the parts are starting to stack up back in May 2018 already!

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    Pulling the engine and transmission back in May 2018. This was the last major progress I made until closer to November 2018 due to work travel and life in general getting in the way. I'll keep uploading these as I have time to do the voice overs from the timelapse video. I'm trying to get caught up to present so I can start getting your input on fabrication and rust repair as that's a whole new ball game for me.

    Almost had it perfectly setup on our first go, just a half inch off.

    One of my buddy's raising the engine and tranny out of the engine bay.

    Back to the present

    As I was looking at the car today, I noticed a LOT of rust behind the driver side hood bracket. Here it is with the bracket on from before.

    And today after I knocked the loose rust off. Yikes! It looks like there is a pocket between the interior panel and the exterior panel - the rust hadn't gotten through to what would be under the headlight bucket yet.

    I got curious if the passenger side was the same. While there wasn't any apparent rust, I ground off a bunch of bondo/putty/silicone. Looks like the PO may have had some work done on this part at some point. I believe the car had been in a minor fender bender in the front passenger area, so probably related to that. Luckily no rust from what I cleared off so far, just some pitting and valleys between what appears to be welds.

    While I'm at it, here's the rest rust I've identified so far (You can see the spare tire well rust earlier in the thread)

    Passenger door hinge.

    Passenger cowl/windshield/door joint.

    Passenger floorboard.

    And finally, one of the primary reasons I decided to take her down to bare metal, the rails. Oof!

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    12 minutes ago, wheee! said:

    Keep going! Good work so far.

    Thanks @wheee!/Mark 🙂 I'm almost to the point of building a rotisserie. Any feedback on the design of the one you've used, things you would change? I like the simplicity of the square steel one back in post #12, but not sure what to watch out for when designing/building.

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    Mine was given to me by a friend that welded it up. I would make it adjustable for centre of balance... mine was unwieldy at times when rotating and I had to watch out for fingers etc!

    The dual engine stand method works too, but I would try and build something that allowed for some vertical offset positioning. or a retail version that can be resold for minimal loss later or re-used on the next project!

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    Something to consider is buying a rotisserie instead of building it.  After all, you're going to be working under the thing!  I bought one from Eastwood for $1400 and sold it when I was done for $850 after using it for 3 years.  Not a bad deal in my mind.

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