Jon Dickson

Trying to get my 1973 Fairlady (RHD) back on the road

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    I am new to this forum and under qualified to have an educated conversation with a Z enthusiast. Despite being undeserving of a Fairlady, I do own one and am in the process of trying to get it back on the road. I purchased the car from my uncle while I was in high school in 1997. I had the rust replaced and body work completed as well as the engine rebuilt before leaving it my parents garage for nearly 20yrs. I now have it in my garage and am looking to bring it back to life. I am looking to make connections with others that have done similar projects and that can help me do a respectable restoration of this car. I admire everyone's passions for these cars but I have to be honest I don't know all of the history and am not a gear head so I don't mean any disrespect by my ignorance. If you have one of these and always wanted one, I would like to know how you did the restoration or would do the restoration. I don't have the original engine as of now, it has a 280 dual carb engine and has had that since I purchased it. I was told that they used to race it in Japan, someone brought it over to WA state, my uncle bought it from him in the early 90s and I bought it from my uncle. Just throwing all of this out there to the Z world, what do you think?

    Z CAR.JPG

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    Welcome to the forum.  Nice looking project you have.  I found a thread I remember reading not too long ago that may be of interest to you.  You could send him a private message maybe for more information?  I'll tag him here and maybe he'll reply.  @scotta

     

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    Jon

    Welcome to classic Z car. If you have a rust free or repaired and painted you have the most important part of getting it road worthy. There are numerous experts here and some are RHD experts.

    If you are wishing to get it drivable and are a DIY person you should be able to without robbing your wallet.

    Best thing you can do is start the build thread which you have done. Sit down and outline your goal and your experience level. There are several threads already and we can point you to them your review. Then post your questions to this thread. Be sure to provide information such as 73 RHD, or 19Xx 280z, 5 speed, SUs carb, etc. you will get quick reply’s round really experienced followers.

    Where are you located.

     

    Ps Want to sell it.?

     

    72 body and block, everything else 71, Tokico springs, Illumina, R180 CLSD, 83 close ratio, 3.90 gears, Ztherapy SUs, BRE 15X7 Libre wheels and BRE front spoiler.

     

     

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    Hi Jon, welcome to the forum from a fellow eastern Washingtonian! My wife is from Cashmere and has a lot of family there so we are over that way fairly often. Headed there next weekend in fact. Bought my 240 from a gentleman in Wenatchee.

    This forum is amazing. You have come to the right place. I too am new to the z thing, although I have been a fan of them since I was a teenager, thanks to my grandfather who owned one. I check in here regularly, reading up on various topics. Trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can in anticipation of tearing into my car (hopefully a little later this year). So much information here, and people are so helpful. It is a very special corner of the interwebs.

    Love your car and its story too. Best of luck in getting it back on the road. Will be following your progress with interest.

    Scott

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    Jon, welcome to the forum. I am the owner of the Z @siteunseen mentioned.  The forum has been a great resource for me and there are some fantastic people in the community.

    What is the Vin of your car?

    I got my car about 2 years ago as an inoperable vehicle. The previous owner (PO) had owned it for 21 years, been restoring it the entire time but had not finished it. Some of it he had experts do, some of it he did himself.  Most of the heavy lifting was done; body repairs, engine rebuilt, brake cylinders / clutch cylinders replace, but much was not finished. A bit of electrical needed finishing, gauges connected, door seals, some trim work,  some other work needed redoing some of as it was not great quality, plus all the maint work on a vehicle that had not even moved for 6+ years;  oils, brake fluids, gas, etc. 

    I was quite disciplined and broke up the work in phases and target timelines; Phase 1 - Running & Registered, Phase 2 - High priority, ...... + a small fun distractions list (eg, restoring steering wheel) 

    (in case you can't tell I am ex engineer, ex project manager. Some would argue somewhat OCD 😉 .   I did work in the auto industry for a couple of years on the tools when I was studying, with the forum, youtube , factory servcie manual, I was confident I could figure stuff out again after 30+ years off the tools 

    Generally the 240z and the FS-L are almost identical, however a few got ya's. 99.9% of questions you have and problems you encounter will be the same as the 240z owners. 

    A summary of some of my findings of 240z vs JDM fairlady z. Some of these are hard learnt. 

    Electrical: there are some subtle differences. The main one I experienced is the  indicators stalk - FZ-L have a push to pass button on the indicator arm. As a result the wiring is different  (My PO  had installed a US arm on my car and the lights would come on when the indicator way moved).
    Another difference is the the FZL do not have the same fusible link the 240z does. 

    Engine and Carbs: given you do not have the original engine probably wont matter. Mine is a factor 2.0l engine with the orginal 5 speed box. The SU type carbs are smaller (38mm) compared to the 240z versions (which I think were 42mm?) also the bolt layout is different on them. The air filter box on FZL also did not have the warm air inlet. 

    Some differences in the seat belt layout. However there were also changes across series 1 and 2 240z, and 260z that might be in your car as well. 

    check out the thread for more details + JDM electrical diagram

     

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    Thanks for the warm welcome and info. I am located in Wenatchee Washington a little less than 3hrs out of Seattle. I wish I was more of a DIY guy with cars but it’s hard to find the room and time with six kids running around the house. Today I sent my lady off to the shop to have a mechanic look her over and help me start putting the pieces back together. I couldn’t find the engine tag (must have been removed when it was last painted and must have it in a box somewhere) but the VIN that I did find on my old insurance card is S30100541. How do I determine what type of engine I have in there now. I know it’s not the original and I know it’s from a 280. The car is a five speed and the engine is a dual carb. Does anyone have a diagram for what emblems we’re located where on a 73 240 Fairlady? I have most of the original emblems but someone took one of the side roof pillar Zs. Are those hard to find for this particular model? 

    73 RHD

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    Edited by Jon Dickson

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    Jon, with that vin, your car is a 1972. Likely around April/May. 

    Engine will have some cast numbers on the block; this will be the engine type, LHS low on the block. the head will also have a cast number, RHS. Below is the main factory combinations. But you will find heads are quite often swapped out. 

    ENGINE.  DISPLACEMENT.  BLOCK CASTING CODE. HEADS
    L20A (JDM Fairlady Z)   2.0 litre #E30 head    E30

    L24 (1970 240Z)    2.4 litre    # E31 (flattop pistons)    E31
    L24 ('71-73 240Z)    2.4 litre    # P30 (flattop pistons)    E88
    L26 ('74 260Z)    2.6 litre    # P30 (flattop pistons)    E88
    L28 ('75-80 280Z/ZX). 2.8 litre    # N42 (dished pistons)    N42, N47
    L28 ('81-83 280ZX)    2.8 litre    # F54 (flattop/dished pistons, siamesed cylinders)    P79, P90, P90a

          Would love to see more pics particularly of the dash, instruments, radio and engine bay. 

     

     

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    3 hours ago, Jon Dickson said:

    Does anyone have a diagram for what emblems we’re located where on a 73 240 Fairlady? I have most of the original emblems but someone took one of the side roof pillar Zs. Are those hard to find for this particular model?

    Fairlady Z emblem - 1.jpg

    1972 Fairlady Z-L would have the above 'Fairlady Z' script emblems at the bottom of both front fenders and one on the RH side of the rear hatch, mounted at an angle...

    Nissan-emb-2.jpg

    ...and underneath the 'Fairlady Z' script on the rear hatch, mounted horizontally, the 'NISSAN' emblem.
    However, the mounting of a rear spoiler interfered with the mounting positions of the hatch emblems.

    Bonnet emblems-1.JPG

    Bonnet/Hood emblem was the 'Z' script version, on the left above.

    Rear quarter emblems for 1972 were the vented type 'Z' script version, exactly the same as north American market type of the same year - so you should have no trouble locating a good pair.

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    The chassis looks done and painted and that is more than half the battle! I totally understand the large family issues. I have 5 and that is partly why my car is still unfinished after so many years. A lot of this stuff you can learn and you could pass those skills on to your kids. Most of what your car needs is reassembly. 

    If money isn't a problem find someone to put it together and give it back to you. Otherwise consider having some one reassemble the electrical and get it running and you could take it from there.

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    Very nice looking FLZ. Are you on Facebook also? There is a Fairlady Z group there also. Most lean on HS30-H anyway for info but some information is out there. Check the block and head to see if you have a L20/E30 block/head combo. 

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    I went and checked on the Z’s progress. The engine was ceased up but they finally broke it loose. They were very impressed by the engine block. The mechanic seems to think that it is missing a small tube that runs the length of the block. I don’t remember seeing it. I will attach a pic and please let me know if you know if you see anything missing from the block, he seems to think it should be running along the right side of the block in the last picture. It’s a 280 engine so he may be getting confused with a 240 engine.

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    The last picture is of the cylinder head. Is the mechanic saying there is a tube missing down the right side of the cylinder head? On the later cylinder heads the valve train is oiled from the internally drilled cam. The little holes in the cam lobes. There is no spray bar on the later heads like on the earlier car.

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    Patton is correct. You can see the small oil outlet holes in the cams.

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    I wonder if that's a non-US market L28.  They kept carbs in the rest of the world for quite a few years after the US market went to EFI.

    You have the mechanical fuel pump mounts, for carb'ed engines, along with the self-oiling camshaft that came in about 1977 in the US market.  Here's a picture of the boss for the pump, but unmachined, on a 1978 US market engine.  A snip from your picture follows.

    image.png

    image.png

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    Or it might just have had a cam swapped in.

    My 78 head number is 247788.  Yours is earlier.  Could be a 75 or 76 US market head head which still had the spot for the pump, but used the spray bar (oil tube).  Or a 77 head, which was the transition year.

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    5 hours ago, Patcon said:

    The last picture is of the cylinder head. Is the mechanic saying there is a tube missing down the right side of the cylinder head? On the later cylinder heads the valve train is oiled from the internally drilled cam. The little holes in the cam lobes. There is no spray bar on the later heads like on the earlier car.

    Yes, sorry the cylinder head, I am learning as I go on this project, the mechanic is saying that there is a tube missing down the right side of the cylinder head. So in your opinion this an a later model that has little can holes and is not missing a small tube or spray bar? 

    Thanks

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    Here's a shot of my E88 with the early spray bar attached and the newer design laying beside it.  The newer one came off an N42 head that was changed to a newer oiler cam.  This was a common upgrade from all I've read.  Those spray bars a problematic and should be checked often, like every oil change for my 240.

    240 spray bars...

    DSC00883.JPG

    280 with a oiler cam...

    Image result for spray bar siteunseen classiczcars.com

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    6 hours ago, Jon Dickson said:

    Yes, sorry the cylinder head, I am learning as I go on this project, the mechanic is saying that there is a tube missing down the right side of the cylinder head. So in your opinion this an a later model that has little can holes and is not missing a small tube or spray bar? 

    Thanks

    Correct. Your version of your head and the cam does not require the oiler bar. 

    For more info on heads. http://www.zhome.com/ZCMnL/tech/head.htm

     

    Edited by scotta
    Additional info

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    The cam towers look to be the early type. You can see the bolts just sticking out. Someone may have been running both the internally oiled cam and the spray bar. You need to block off the cam tower spray bar locations. Also on start up you need to verify that the cam is oiling. Don't assume it feeds oil out all the holes, verify!

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    On 3/7/2019 at 10:02 AM, Jon Dickson said:

     I purchased the car from my uncle while I was in high school in 1997.

    I had the rust replaced and body work completed as well as the engine rebuilt before leaving it my parents garage for nearly 20yrs.

    I don't have the original engine as of now, it has a 280 dual carb engine and has had that since I purchased it.

    I was told that they used to race it in Japan, someone brought it over to WA state, my uncle bought it from him in the early 90s and I bought it from my uncle.

     

    On 3/8/2019 at 7:56 PM, Jon Dickson said:

    I couldn’t find the engine tag (must have been removed when it was last painted and must have it in a box somewhere) but the VIN that I did find on my old insurance card is S30100541. How do I determine what type of engine I have in there now. I know it’s not the original and I know it’s from a 280. The car is a five speed and the engine is a dual carb.

     

     

    19 hours ago, Jon Dickson said:

    I went and checked on the Z’s progress. The engine was ceased up but they finally broke it loose. They were very impressed by the engine block. The mechanic seems to think that it is missing a small tube that runs the length of the block. I don’t remember seeing it. I will attach a pic and please let me know if you know if you see anything missing from the block, he seems to think it should be running along the right side of the block in the last picture. It’s a 280 engine so he may be getting confused with a 240 engine.

    E44CCDD7-0CD1-41C7-AB97-A058C4500129.jpeg

     

    So it sounds like the mechanic was was right or partially right.  If you look even more closely at the head it looks like it's been shaved, the combustion chambers aren't round.  It might not be a typical "L28" head.  Maybe an E88,which was a popular head for modifying, with a cam swap to a later self-oiling cam.  The cam towers might already be blocked off if it's been running after it was rebuilt.  

    Look at the bottom edge of the head right about where I circled in the picture below and you should see a letter and two numbers cast in to the head.  E88 or N42 are most likely.

    image.png

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    Forgot to ask also, does it have flat tops or dished pistons?  It "should" have dished if it's a US market 280Z engine.  Take a picture of the top of the block if you can.

    If it's built for racing you might not be able to get much out of it on pump gas.  Might want to have it reset for street driving.

    Edited by Zed Head

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    The mechanic was going to order some new arches that go over the cam because he doesn’t know how to plug the small oil holes, any suggestions? Or would it be better to just replace the arches, they already had to do a weld where they found a crack. Looks like the pistons are dished. The number I found on the head was E31. He has also had quite a bit of trouble collapsing the oil rings on the pistons. Any tricks that I can send his way. He said that the red and green need to be butted up against each other and with them butted he has not been able to collapse the ring. Thanks for your help! 

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    Does he not have a ring compressor? All of the rings need to be checked for end gap in their corresponding bores. This should have already been done before trying to install them. If he hasn't done this then I would take my toys and go home.

    I would not replace the cam towers. You would be asking for trouble. Make some simple flat block off plates with a gasket under them. Not too hard to do really

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