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77 280z Restoration


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On 3/18/2022 at 5:17 PM, Av8ferg said:

ZHome page shows that they didn’t make a 3.9 in the R180.   So looking a pics online Ii found 3.9 R200’s that looks like mine and others that have the bolts around the where the hang shafts attach.  So did they change the designs in the later years of the ZX?  
 
 
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i have an r180 here with 3.90, but it's from a 240z non us, so they did make them, just not on the later z's

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Looks sharp!  Said this before, but good to have a look at this to keep me inspired toward completing my 78 project.  You may have reported this before, but where did you find the steering wheel?  It’s a nice addition.  

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23 minutes ago, 280Zrewind said:

Looks sharp!  Said this before, but good to have a look at this to keep me inspired toward completing my 78 project.  You may have reported this before, but where did you find the steering wheel?  It’s a nice addition.  

Found the steering wheel in a junkyard on a 240z.  I acquired 2 on them that way and bought one for $165.  This one in the pics was the worst condition one of the batch.   It was really bad.   I decided to attempt a refurbishment of this one as a test and it came out great so I didn’t bother with the other one.   I donated the one I bought to a friend that has helped me out on this build.  Will probably sell the last one I have. 
Here is what it looked like when I got it. 
 

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I have an ignition switch/cylinder lock question.  I bought a whole new in ignition assembly because mine is worn so bad the key practically falls out  and it’s finicky.  Hard to turn, hard to know what position the key is in, key goes in both ways etc..

The new one arrived and reading the forum is appears I have to cut a notch in two of the mounting screws to remove them. Secondly my old assembly has two wires coming out of a small black plastic piece right near the key.  This is separate from the actually switch.  I’m assuming this is what activates the buzzer to let you know the key is inserted. The new assembly just has a plastic piece there, no place to attach wires.  Is this something I need to remove and then attach my old wires too?  I didn’t want to pry that plastic piece off and break something.   Anyone else down this job recently?  

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I would leave the new switch alone.  There are probably no electrical contacts under that plastic piece since it is a aftermarket switch.   Just abandon the buzzer. it is annoying anyway, at least for me.

I have never had to slot the anti theft screws on the lock.  I remove them with a small screwdriver, tap them with something counter clockwise to get them started.  Some have drilled a small dent near the screw edge to help with the screwdriver or punch.

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21 hours ago, S30Driver said:

I would leave the new switch alone.  There are probably no electrical contacts under that plastic piece since it is a aftermarket switch.   Just abandon the buzzer. it is annoying anyway, at least for me.

I have never had to slot the anti theft screws on the lock.  I remove them with a small screwdriver, tap them with something counter clockwise to get them started.  Some have drilled a small dent near the screw edge to help with the screwdriver or punch.

I know this is going to sound crazy but I don’t mind the buzzer.  I actually bought a replacement buzzer when rebuilding the dash   Good reminder you left the key in the car.  
I looked tat the wiring diagram and it doesn’t show those  two red w/ blue strip wires for the key anywhere.   I know it’s for the buzzer because it’s the only connection left on the ignition assembly and the buzzer sounds when the key is in.   
 

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Yes, those two wires are for the warning chime. You can find the switch on the wiring diagram labeled as "Steering Lock Switch". On the wiring diagram, you will find it between the dimmer rheostat and the turn signal switch. The colors of the wires right at the switch are shown as red/w and black. I suspect that's what those pair of red/blue wires connect to at the harness end.

And as for being able to move the switch over to the new lock assembly, it would depend on how accurately the new aftermarket copied the original assembly. I suspect that the switch might port over OK, but I'm not so sure about the semi-circular black plastic actuator arm.

Here's some pics that might help:

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P1140492.JPG

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Turn signals broken again.  Will check fuse and see what’s happening.  Frustrating! 
 

I finally got around to doing the first oil change.  The engine has about 300 miles on it.  I’m glad I changed it now because I thought about going to 500 miles but after looking at the oil it should have been done sooner.   The oil looked very thin first off, it is 10w-30 VR1 oil but I think all the start attempts early on trying to get it running has introduced a lot of fuel into the oil.   The oil has a fairly strong gasoline smell, way more that usual.  The oil was darker than I expected, on a engine that was immaculately clean inside.  

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I bought a 2.4 motor with an E88 head once and it had a really gassy smell. Started disassembling and saw that the the head was squeaky clean under the valve cover. Turned out to be a flooding carb was dumping all that fuel then mixing off the head into the oil. Did you use new injectors? You may have one that is over spraying or possibly the CSV is dumping too much fuel? Just a thought...

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Can’t say for certain, but seems to me that fuel you got into the oil early on should have evaporated off at normal operating temperatures since then.  Just recalling how oil dilution worked on old radial aircraft engines.  When a cold weather start was anticipated, fuel was deliberately added to the oil and would evaporate off quickly once the engine was up to temperature.  A bit of a puzzle because I’m assuming you’re not getting indication that you are running  excessively rich.  Can’t think of a path that would dump fuel into the oil that would bypass combustion.   Maybe a heavier oil for now and a quick change or just pull a sample to see if this persists.   
 

If injectors were used and need cleaning they will stay open too long and run rich.  Had that experience many years ago when my 76 (my first new car) wouldn’t pass emissions check here in Arizona.  
 

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Good comments; so the injectors were sent off to be reconditioned and they were cleaned, spray volume tested.  They looked brand new when I got them back.  Cost me $130 for all 6.   The CSV is a good idea.   It is not new and I haven’t tested it.  Maybe I could disconnect it and see.   Car doesn’t seem to run rich, at least no more rich then these cars tend to run on this old injection technology.   I think that the fact the ECU fires all injectors every time is going to set the car up to be running rich.  I also want to make sure the CSV isn’t staying on longer that required and might just test the pig tail after start to ensure it’s no longer getting power after the key is released.  
 

Im no expert, I think gasoline flash point is around -45F and I’d imagine mixed in oil it would be much higher.  I never small gasoline in my garage either.  
 

I saved a 8 ounce sample of the oil and on next oil change I will send both off for a lab analysis.   My neighbor does this on every oil change on his cars.  He has a Porsche GT3 RS but also does it on his Subaru Outback.  🤨

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CVS may be leaking by even if it’s not getting a signal. I don’t know if this has ever been a problem or not.  Just fyi, I use 20w-50 VR1 in my older vehicles and will probably use it in my 78 when the time comes, but I live in Phoenix. 

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Probably guilty of excess cleverness here, but recall that this vintage of fuel injection was an open loop system so a bad input, like a failed temperature sensor telling the engine it was still cold might signal the system to continue to run excessively rich.  Some place that has an exhaust analyzer could tell you if that excessively rich thing was going on.  

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15 hours ago, 280Zrewind said:

CVS may be leaking by even if it’s not getting a signal. I don’t know if this has ever been a problem or not.  Just fyi, I use 20w-50 VR1 in my older vehicles and will probably use it in my 78 when the time comes, but I live in Phoenix. 

So what is the consensus on oil weight for these engines.  I don’t disagree with you on an older (as in lots of miles) engine.   My engine was a complete rebuild, as in all new rings, bearings, seals etc.   I agree 10W-30 seems thin but I bought this weight because I read somewhere back when  doing my rebuild that this was the weight to use.  I live in a temperate climate.   It’s been in the 80’s the past few weeks, we get some mid 90’s now and then and the winters are very mild too.   We might get 10 days with temps below where the clear liquid turn to a solid.  High 40’s to high 50’s in the dead of winter.   We had a 24deg day last year and people freaked out and were chanting to the pagan gods asking for forgiveness.   
Good question to throw out to the community.  
What oil are you all using …..let’s hear it and why.  
 

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In your situation with possible fuel dilution, I was thinking that going w a heavier oil to start with could be a good idea until you get that cleared up. 
In my day to day drive vehicles I go with the recommended oil weight.  My understanding is that newer vehicles have gone to lighter oils for better fuel economy and that’s a good thing for vehicles I put significant miles on.  I also have heard newer engines have tighter tolerances to go along with that lower weight oil.

The engine I’m rebuilding came w a set of Ross racing piston that called for using 20w50 to coat the rings for installation.  I already use 20w50 VR1 in an 70 Buick Riviera 455 engine because of some oil pressure issues common to that engine.  I live in a hot climate and don’t think that’s a bad choice for the Z if nothing more than to just not having  a lot of different oils around.  

Also I understand that muti-weight oil is base weight plus polymers to got the second weight.  (20w50 is 20 weight oil w polymers to make it act like 50 at high temps.)  I suppose it’s overkill, but I kind of like that if you get polymer failure you still have 20w oil.  Just my two cents. 

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I’ve never heard of that HR1 oil.   I’ve been using the Valvoline VR1 oil.  
So I opened the owners manual for my car to see what it said about oil.  It was pretty generic unlike what new cars recommend.  

I took a picture of the section.  It basically says that the weight is dependent on the a temperature you plan to operate the car in as your leading factor with the caveat of not to use 5W-20 for sustained high speed driving.  Reading this chart, I should probably use a higher weight oil.  The chart is a bit cryptic as it shows 10W-30 and 10W-40 in the 0-60deg F range and also list those oils in the 20-100def F range?  I have 5 more quarts of 10W-30 in my garage and will use that and then swap over to a heavier oil.  Maybe 10W-40 next purchase.  
Check it out.  
 

085FCEC1-EFEC-4490-A212-3F57C74342E5.jpeg

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I’ve never heard of that HR1 oil.   I’ve been using the Valvoline VR1 oil.  
So I opened the owners manual for my car to see what it said about oil.  It was pretty generic unlike what new cars recommend.  

I took a picture of the section.  It basically says that the weight is dependent on the a temperature you plan to operate the car in as your leading factor with the caveat of not to use 5W-20 for sustained high speed driving.  Reading this chart, I should probably use a higher weight oil.  The chart is a bit cryptic as it shows 10W-30 and 10W-40 in the 0-60deg F range and also list those oils in the 20-100def F range?  I have 5 more quarts of 10W-30 in my garage and will use that and then swap over to a heavier oil.  Maybe 10W-40 next purchase.  
Check it out.  
 

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I run 10W-40 in my car. Why? Because back when these cars were new, 10W-40 reigned supreme.

You could find 10W-30, but it wasn't nearly as prevalent as 10W-40. And you could find 20W-50 as well, but only at specialty "high performance" shops that used to have brick-n-mortar locations, but pretty much don't anymore.

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Okay, squirrel moment here. 
I got a couple things I’m working on.  One is I pulled my thermostat to confirm the temp rating and it was in fact 180 deg.   I did this because I felt the car is running on the warm side.  Wanted to make sure it wasn’t a 190 deg unit.   I ordered a new “high flow” thermostat made by motorad.  The Nissan ones are no longer available.  I also order a Gates premium one.  Mine I pulled from the car is a Stant.  I’ll post pics of the differences once they arrive from Rock Auto.  The Stant outlet orifice seems too small.  And why it is offset from center?  The stock Nissan one doesn’t appear offset lie that when I looked at stock pictures. 
I think my problem might be the lack of a lower radiator fan shroud.  
 

Second thing on my mind is after my flameout due to an ignition failure I’ve lost confidence in the car.  That e12-82 module is in a location that is so susceptible to heat that I want to go with a different option.  I read a lot about the GM HEI but it seems like a poorer option.  These GM modules have high failure rates and many complain about issues above 5000 rpm.   I need reliability not headache and not doing module swap outs on the side of a highway.   So I’ve been now considering a MSD 6AL ignition unit.   I haven’t read a bad review from someone who is using one.  See a lot of install errors but once worked out they run smooth, better idle, cleaner acceleration.  Im not expecting a increase in power, just a reliable option to what I have.  A capacitive discharge ignition like the MSD with my 280ZX distributor is supposedly a good way to go.  
I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts and options, on these topics. 

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