Jump to content

lordkarma88

New member, anything I must know?

Recommended Posts

Hello! I just joined the forum, as I'm looking to get a First Gen Z-car. I'm relatively new to this car, and would like to learn as much as I can so I know what I'm doing once I buy one. I have a few question:

First, what (in your opinion) is the best year to get? To me, older is better, so I'd rather have a 240z than a 280z, but I know they are getting hard to find... Also, I don't like emission regulations (it's just another part that will fail).

Second, how reliable are they? I know rust is a big problem. But do the L24, L26 or L28 have any major problems? What about the transmission? I want a manual, hopefully a 5-speed, though I'm not sure they were offered in the 240z.

Third, were the 2+2 260z and 280z sold in the US? I've never seen any. It sure would be nice to have, but I bet they aren't that cheap (if they even exist over here).

Fourth, I've seen a few Zs that have 5 lugs instead of 4. Has anyone done that, how expensive was it, and do you recommend it?

Lastly, is there anything else you think should be noted about the First Gen Zs?

I hope you can enlighten me, and thank you very much for your time. Cheers from Texas!

PS: Feel free to show your own Z! I'd love to read what y'all have done, how much work you put into it, basic mods you can do...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't believe you have to get smog on 280's in the lone star state, earlier cars are lighter, late 260 / 280s have minor changes to structure but are heavier. The best car you can get is one that is not structurally damaged, with minimal rust -  checkout "hidden rust areas" http://www.zhome.com 

Personally I like early 260s, you get the benefit of a "lower" weight (not as low as 69/70 240) but you get a little bit of an upgraded interior + can use any 240 part as the chassis is the same. 

These cars are 40+ years owning them is not expensive if you do the work yourself, but if you dont have the time, then you can always pay to play. With that being said stuff will break and need to be replaced, but there is support to get parts on any of the cars, the motors for the most part are pretty solid, I rebuilt mine as a stock rebuild, was a fun summer project.

getting a 2+2 is not a problem in the USA, I'm not sure why you would want the extra seats, maybe for kids, but I prefer being limited to 1 passenger.

any mods you want to do depends on how much time and money you want to spend. brake kits / hubs can go for hundreds of bucks to thousands. I dont mind 4 lugs, but just try to get a 15"-16" wheel the tire selection will be better.

 

Look at the classified section there are a couple Zs for sale. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, lordkarma88 said:

Hello! I just joined the forum, as I'm looking to get a First Gen Z-car. I'm relatively new to this car, and would like to learn as much as I can so I know what I'm doing once I buy one. I have a few question:

First, what (in your opinion) is the best year to get? To me, older is better, so I'd rather have a 240z than a 280z, but I know they are getting hard to find... Also, I don't like emission regulations (it's just another part that will fail).

My opinion is that the best year to get is the one you find that has the least amount of rust.  That said the 240's are more desirable.  They don't have the clunky 5 mph bumpers that the 280 has.  I personally would avoid the 260.  My impression is that they car kind of a mixed bag of parts.  As far as emissions go, most of us take them off anyway.  

Second, how reliable are they? I know rust is a big problem. But do the L24, L26 or L28 have any major problems? What about the transmission? I want a manual, hopefully a 5-speed, though I'm not sure they were offered in the 240z.

The L-series engines are pretty reliable with a lot of performance potential, but I'll leave this to the serious engine guys - same for transmissions.  I don't believe the 240s or 260s had 5 speeds as an option.  I think the first 5 speed was offered as an option on the '79 280z.  You can retrofit the 5 speed with varying degrees of difficulty to the 240z.  Mostly they can be bolted on unless your trying to use one from a 280zx.  One note of caution I'd like to give you... Avoid California Datsun at all costs.  They sell "rebuilt 5 speeds" and other parts.  These are crappy parts run by a dishonest person that have had a rag overhaul at best.  I got rooked for about $1500 on a rebuilt 5 speed that was complete junk.  Not rebuilt, not rebuildable, and it is currently sitting in my shed.

Third, were the 2+2 260z and 280z sold in the US? I've never seen any. It sure would be nice to have, but I bet they aren't that cheap (if they even exist over here).

2+2's were sold in the US.

Fourth, I've seen a few Zs that have 5 lugs instead of 4. Has anyone done that, how expensive was it, and do you recommend it?

5 lugs is a retro fit.  I haven't done it so I'll leave this to others,

Lastly, is there anything else you think should be noted about the First Gen Zs?

Yes, the earlier 240s tended to have electrical problems.  There are many threads for improvements and you should check them out.  The 280s had a better electrical system.

I hope you can enlighten me, and thank you very much for your time. Cheers from Texas!

PS: Feel free to show your own Z! I'd love to read what y'all have done, how much work you put into it, basic mods you can do...

 

All Done.jpg

Edited by ksechler
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's an early 1974 260Z 2+2 in Boonsboro MD for $7900. If it's the car that my friend had to tune up then it's a super solid car and well worth checking out. Only 18,545 miles. Looks like it's brown with a brown interior. Phone 240-527-9991. IDK the seller. Just passing this along. My gf just told me about it an hour ago. I think it had the 240Z round top carbs. The Zs are very good and reliable cars. Rust is the weak spot. Put the headlights on a relay. Dave Irwin sells a nice plug-n-play kit for that.

Chuck

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to the headlight relay mod from Dave Irwin I went LED on all my external lights with LED compatible flasher modules for the blinkers and emergency flashers. I think this very much reduces the load on the whole wiring harness and combo / turn signal switches on the steering column. Other electrical upgrades are swapping the distributer from a ZX to eliminate points/condenser/ballast resistor and alternator upgrade to a 60amp w/internal voltage regulator and eliminate the old mechanical voltage regulator. Most of this stuff is available from MSA - http://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/CTGY/classic10l

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the group, you'll get lots of quality advice and help on this site as you see above.  I see you're deep in the Hill Country so you want to consider watching Craigslist in the surrounding large cities - Austin, San Antonio, Houston, D/FW, Waco.  There's a Z club in Austin - Capital Z is the name.  You might try to contact them for possible leads.  Jeff @Hardway are you listening?

Be cautious of eBay, lots of cars are misrepresented.  The basic advice most of us provide is buy the best car you can possibly afford and the second rule is the rust you see represents only a fraction of what is actually there.  Good luck and keep us posted on your search.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, jfa.series1 said:

Welcome to the group, you'll get lots of quality advice and help on this site as you see above.  I see you're deep in the Hill Country so you want to consider watching Craigslist in the surrounding large cities - Austin, San Antonio, Houston, D/FW, Waco.  There's a Z club in Austin - Capital Z is the name.  You might try to contact them for possible leads.  Jeff @Hardway are you listening?

Be cautious of eBay, lots of cars are misrepresented.  The basic advice most of us provide is buy the best car you can possibly afford and the second rule is the rust you see represents only a fraction of what is actually there.  Good luck and keep us posted on your search.

Jim along with everyone else has hit the nail on the head.  Buy the best car you can afford.  Yes, prices are going up but that is no reason to buy junk or anything with a checkered past.  A friend of mine has a '73 240z here in town he is looking to sell.  Its an automatic but could easily be swapped to a 4-speed or 5-speed if you desired.  PM me if interested and/or we can chat over the phone.  I am in Hutto near Round Rock and Georgetown.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bertram, TX

I've been through there. My wife is from Fredericksburg. Great area!!

Like others have said, you will be money and years ahead to buy the best car you can with the least amount of rust. Always remember with rust, there is at least 100% more rust than what ever you can see!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Things you must know.. buy pb blaster, some parts are stupid expensive or don’t exist anymore, download the FSM for your year and keep it on hand. Go back to the store and get more pb blaster and a torch this time.


Sent from my iPhone using Classic Zcar Club mobile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My best advice is to try to read every post on this forum. The knowledge base is absolutely incredible and you'll come across topics you would never have thought of. Read a few hours a day for at least one month and only then go shopping for that Z! You'll pick much better and save lots of money and headaches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And if you see a car listed for sale on this forum, you will have dozens of solid references and opinions from the members to help you out. Safe bet...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, so many replies! Thanks for all that advice, I'm gonna love this place. Now to answer your posts:

But before that! I'm not currently looking to get a car, I just want to familiarize myself, as I want to get a truck beforehand. But thanks for the offers!

First checkmark: The best year is the best deal I find without rust. This is why these cars are amazing: there are no trouble years, the worst problem you can have is rust! Epitome of reliability.

Second checkmark: No big problems with the L-series or the transmissions. Is four gears enough, if you haven't swapped for the 5-speed? Also, how many miles can you go on the engine and the tranny before needing a rebuild?

Third checkmark: Yay, 2+2s exist! I prefer them because it allows more space, possibly short passengers... And I'm a tall guy, I may not even fit! The longer wheelbase allows me to toy with the seat mounts and move them back if necessary.

Fourth question mark: I looked around a bit for the 5 lug kits, they seems pretty common. Should not be a problem.

Other worth mentioning:
Electrical issues, check. I'm starting to think I'd rather have a 280z, because of that, the tranny, and also they didn't make any 2+2 240z... While I can fix the electrical issues and put in a 5-speed, there's no way I'm making a 2-seater into a 2+2.
@heyitsrama Thanks for all the tips. What do you mean by upgraded interior for the 260z?
@ksechler Rip that California Datsun transmission. I'll heed that advice, thank you. And stunning car.
@cbuczesk @w3wilkes Dave Irwin? Who/what is that? A quick search pointed me to a ski racer... lol
@Mike Woa! The founder! Thank you!
Ebay scams, check. I don't really like them anyway.
@Hardway An easy swap from automatic to manual? Didn't know that was possible. Don't you usually need a donor for that, because it's a different steering column?

Bottom line: Rust is the enemy! If you see any, there probably is a lot more. Other than that, most trouble I'll have will be simple/easy fixes. Damn I love this car, and I don't have it yet!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not all 280’s came with 5 spd’s. 75 & 76 were 4 spds and I think late 77’s came with 5 spd. I might be wrong on when they appeared.

There is a lot of room in the drivers area. And the good news for you is that the 2+2 is the least desirable of the models for most people so you will be able make a good deal if you don’t let on you’re looking for a 2+2!

And the manual tranny swap is mostly pedal box, clutch linkage and a little trimming of the tunnel opening if you are putting a 5 spd in a 240. The steering column is the same.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, wheee! said:

Not all 280’s came with 5 spd’s. 75 & 76 were 4 spds and I think late 77’s came with 5 spd. I might be wrong on when they appeared.

There is a lot of room in the drivers area. And the good news for you is that the 2+2 is the least desirable of the models for most people so you will be able make a good deal if you don’t let on you’re looking for a 2+2!

And the manual tranny swap is mostly pedal box, clutch linkage and a little trimming of the tunnel opening if you are putting a 5 spd in a 240. The steering column is the same.

 

Huh. Guess I'll have to try to fit in one before deciding if I really want a 2+2. And good to know it's easy to swap in a manual, that broadens my search quite a bit, once I do start searching!

Love your avatar btw

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, lordkarma88 said:

how many miles can you go on the engine and the tranny before needing a rebuild?

The L series engine are very long lived, they usually start leaking from old gaskets before they are worn out. Unfortunately a lot of Z's that are up for sale have been sitting for yrs or even decades, those engines may have to be torn down if only to replace seals.

6 hours ago, lordkarma88 said:

Electrical issues, check. I'm starting to think I'd rather have a 280z, because of that,

I wouldn't pass up a good 240 for that reason, the 280 has its own issues just in different areas, the 240 has a much simpler electrical system and for that reason easier to diagnose.  A lot of the time it comes down to bad grounds but that is true for any 40-50 yr old car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

70-76 is 4-speed or AT. 5-speed was optional in 77-78. 77-83 5-speed will bolt in. Easy swap.

A lot of these engines were driven hard but almost everyone I've found has had over 100k miles. They're very good engines.

I'd choose the 240Z over the 280Z for electrical because it's much simpler. But that's just me.

Chuck

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, lordkarma88 said:

Third checkmark: Yay, 2+2s exist! I prefer them because it allows more space, possibly short passengers... And I'm a tall guy, I may not even fit! The longer wheelbase allows me to toy with the seat mounts and move them back if necessary.

I'm 6'5" and have no issues fitting in a 2 seat S30 car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the 2+2s are the unloved child in the family because they're kind of ugly. Unless you are really tall or oddly proportioned, leg room shouldn't be a problem, but roof height might be (I'm ~6'2; there's not a lot of headroom) and a 2+2 won't help much there. Also, many of the body and interior parts are unique to the 2+2s, so replacing things will be extra hard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

do you want AC? if so the 280z has a much improved setup over the 240z. retro fit kits are sold to install in a non AC car, but be warned there is a LOT of fabrication to be done if you go that route.

280zx 5 speed will bolt right up to a 280z 4 speed. the later 280zx think from 81 on have a much taller 5th (.75 iirc) that when coupled with the stock 3.54 rear end will get you 80mph at about 3k rpm. Its really too tall unless you have no hills to chug up. You cant really use it until you are at about 70mph else you risk lugging the engine. a 3.7 or 3.9 is a better fit. Frankly the 4 speed is fine unless you plan to do some hiway speed driving. 70 is 3.5k with the stock setup.

The 280z comes with fuel injection, which I prefer to carbs. This is the stock setup and works very well once sorted out. the biggest problem is corrosion on the connecting wires to the sensors and the sensors themselves. Also the FI has frequently been hacked by folks not really knowing what they are doing which can add to the sorting out process. If everything is there and hooked up, its a good chance the only issue will be to clean up wire connections and grounds and maybe replace temp sensor to get it running well.

Rust also happens in the fuel tanks and lines, so that is something that should be looked into to make sure you get a good fuel supply. The only other weak point I can think of it the somewhat weak stock charging system. If you sit in traffic a lot with the AC on max, at night with the headlights on, you may notice the voltage drop to less than ideal. Alternator swaps are common, but not really needed if you are actually driving the car (not sitting in traffic idling), since the charging system is fine once you get above about 1.5k rpm.

all of the above comments relate to a unmodified car.

 

Edited by Dave WM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mainly stuff like OE head lights, or orig stereos that don't require lots of extra current. On mine I ended up bumping up the idle with the AC idle up servo so I can get about 1.1k with the AC on. That is just about enough to keep from discharging (per the amp meter) the battery. You can still hear the fan slow down in the blower motor some.

Once I get moving all is well again. This is with the stock alt and the mechanical VR. I have not checked but with out the bump up of rpm, with everything on at idle, there is prob about a 5amp discharge (based loosely on the in dash amp meter reading).

Edited by Dave WM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, lordkarma88 said:

 Dave Irwin? Who/what is that? A quick search pointed me to a ski racer... lol

Dave Irwin is a well-respected member of our community who developed relay kits for the headlights and turn signals for 240Z's.  In their wisdom, Nissan chose to run the current directly through the respective switches which eventually resulted in frying a lot of switches and fuse boxes.  Dave's kits solved those problems by using relays tripped by the switches and route power directly from the battery.  His kits are available from MSA and one of the best electrical system investments a 240Z owner can make.  Been there, done that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha, the battle is raging on whether the 240z or the 280z is better LOL

So the electrical system is not that much of a problem in the 240z, and I'll fit fine in a 2-seater (I'm 6'2" but I had back trouble, so most of my height is in my legs).

But the 280z has better AC. Yes, I want AC, this is Texas :cool:. Though a retro fit might be enough?

Just wondering, is the fuel injection electronic on the 280z? I'm that kinda guy who wants a car that will survive an EMP. An electronic fuel pump won't, that's for sure...

And thanks for the answer about Dave Irwin, I'll def check that out.

I guess it goes back to the rust issue, if I find a good deal with little rust, gotta jump on it whether it's a 240z or a 280z ^_^

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.