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About Pace

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  1. Pace

    '78 Black Pearl Restoration

    No progress on the S30. But we finally got a warmer, dry, and sunny(!) weekend to get some work done on one of the daily cars. So the Z cars got a bit of sun. I'm sure you can tell which one didn't want to start. Lol. I guess it has been a few months since it was last started. I also have a hunch that someone left the hood popped after showing off the engine bay a few weeks ago.
  2. Pace

    '78 Black Pearl Restoration

    I hope everyone had a good Christmas & new year. Here's a small but encouraging update. I ended up buying a Centric 8" (by the company's words - it was still the proper 8.5" size) brake booster advertised for '75-78 2-seaters. Rock Auto had a couple left, so I jumped on it. While not as nice looking as the A1 unit, it actually fits. The vacuum port is straight, as it should be, although I was a bit annoyed that it's a plastic piece instead of metal. Either way, the booster is in and works. Brakes feel a lot better for their age & condition. Suspension is laughably soft and boat-like. It also feels like the flywheel still has a bit of rust on it, but is getting better the more it drives. There are still a few things I would like to have done before we take it to get a much-needed alignment and actually drive it outside of the neighborhood. Exhaust: I believe I have a deal lined up on a 6-1 header (in exchange for my spare Z31T axles). Also will probably pick up the "premium exhaust" from MSA to go with it. I noticed a couple puffs of exhaust leaking out from in front of the rear wheel well while it was idling in the driveway. Suspension: I currently have a set of Tokico HP struts and matching ST springs along with various poly bushings to be installed. We also somehow ended up with a set of Tokico springs. I need to order strut mounts for the front and rear - so I think the "street camber" kit from MSA should do the trick until we move on to something better. Also looking at picking up the boxed diff mount from Technoversions. Engine: I have a new water temp sensor for the ECU to install. Side note: is it not commonly referred to as a CHTS like later models? I think this will help with our odd idle: since replacing the brake booster, it now idles about 900rpm during warm up, then drops to 750rpm where it starts to miss and sound a bit choppy. Obviously there are plenty of possible culprits, so I'll also go through and re-check timing, vacuum lines for leaks, etc. Wiring: Some of the EFI connectors are broken or have torn boots. Probably contributing to the idle issue I mentioned. I've got my eye on a kit to replace those and upgrade to modern "quick disconnect" connectors. I'm sure we'll find more things in the process that need attention. I also want to address the issue with the crispy and failed headlight wiring. It already has H4 headlight housings, so I'm thinking about swapping in a set of LED headlight bulbs to lower the power draw once we've repaired/replaced that section of wiring. Eventually I'll swap over the Maxima alternator from the Z31 to this, but it otherwise seems to be doing fine with the stock alternator.
  3. Pace

    '78 Black Pearl Restoration

    Good idea. I had forgotten about them. Hopefully MSA has some of the older style if they stock A1 Cardone. I spoke to someone at Z Car Depot and they were able to confirm they have the older style (correct fit) from their supplier.
  4. Pace

    '78 Black Pearl Restoration

    Small update. Work has been keeping us busy and we had to set aside some time and funds for our Jeep - we had a little too much fun offroading. But we finished a few small things here and there while the weather was nice. Replaced the broken pin in the connector and swapped in electronic flasher relays, so it now has properly working turn signals - no more super fast flashing. Hazards aren't working, so my guess is the switch needs some cleaning or replacement. The driver's side headlight also (finally) died while testing various lighting functions. I noticed the wiring to it was pretty bad and it's not a surprise since someone swapped in H4 housings at some point. So that will also need attention later. New vs Old: You could really tell the difference between the hefty electronic relay and the feather-light thermal relay. The next step was to get the brakes working properly again by replacing the worn out brake booster. I noticed inventory for the 8.5" version has been dwindling online and in parts stores, so I took a leap and ordered a replacement from Autozone. After getting the original booster off, it was evident that was the source of poor brake pedal feel & performance: tipping it to one side allows old nasty brake fluid to pour out the vacuum port. Someone replaced a leaky master cylinder a while back and neglected to replace the faulty brake booster apparently. This could also be the vacuum leak affecting the ideal - although probably not the only one. And of course the A1 replacement booster that came in doesn't fit. I initially noticed that the vacuum port is on the opposite side, which seems to be the norm for aftermarket replacements. However, this one has a 90* bend instead of the straight design. Additionally, the studs appear to line up with the firewall but will only go through halfway before stopping. I measured and found that the cylinder in the middle is just barely offset (also slightly bigger) and doesn't allow for the booster to mount up as it should. So I checked inventory with another store and they have one exactly like it - no thanks. A quick online search found a couple posts at the end of this thread about someone else having the same issue: https://www.zcar.com/forum/10-70-83-tech-discussion-forum/377474-brake-booster-won-t-fit-3.html So I'll be returning this booster and ordering a replacement from Z Car Depot after the holidays. And onto the big news: we were not planning on getting different wheels yet. I honestly wanted to get the Z back on the road first and work out a few issues, possibly even start on some body work, but this was too good of a deal to let go. Someone posted a set of SSR Longchamp XR4 wheels in 15x7 with a 0 offset for a good price semi-locally. After confirming some details with the seller, we drove to Junction City, KS to pick up the wheels. Also had a chance to stop for dinner at Q39 in Kansas City on the way back - they have awesome BBQ if you haven't had it. Back home and after quick wipe-down: they could do with a bit of a refinish. We'll probably clean up the hardware, repolish the lips, and touch up the black paint. As we suspected, our measurements show them to actually be 15x7 +10 (for the stepped lip pair) and 15x7.5 -5 (for the slant lip pair). The 175/60/15 tires on them are trash (both in fitment and condition) and will be swapped out for properly-sized tires. So pay no attention to those. Since the weather was nice yesterday, we decided to roll the car out of the garage for a quick test fit. I was thrilled to find that the wheel sizes/offsets were closer to what we thought. For the laughs: it's currently sitting at monster-truck height (after removing the bumpers) and the tiny tires only exaggerate that effect. Front fitment: I'm thinking a pair of 10-15mm slip-on spacers with longer wheel studs should allow for the wheels to sit flush with the fender. I should've measured the distance from wheel to fender but forgot. We had a good laugh as a riced out NA Z32 decided to buzz us from the roadside as he went past. Rear fitment: Pretty much spot on, so I'm leaving it alone. Tire sizing is proving to be a bit difficult. I didn't realize the options for 15" tires had dwindled so much recently. So now we have to decide if we want to try to fit a decent 205/55/15 summer tire or go full stupid with a 225/50/15 streetable race tire. I'm also open to suggestions if anyone knows of better options. Ideally, we would send the wheels off to be upsized to 16x8 with matching slant lips (and probably flipped hardware). Then I could probably get away with a 225/50/16 and have several more options. But that will have to wait.
  5. Sorry about that, guys. I've rehosted the pics, so hopefully they'll show up now. Hoping I haven't accidentally booted the pics in my 280Z thread now.
  6. I thought this ZX subforum could use another ongoing build thread. This is part of an already existing thread from another forum, so please excuse any grammatical errors from the adaptation. I've had this '86 300ZX turbo for nearly 9 years, so I'll try to paraphrase some of important details. Keep in mind that it's a driver's car. I do enter it in shows and try to keep it as clean as possible, but when it comes down to it, it is being built as a car intended to be driven and enjoyed on the backroads of the Ozarks. Another note: I posted this as a "period-correct" restomod, but it obviously has had some modern details added over time. The goal is to have an overall period correct theme and with some subtly upgraded safety and technology. A little background: I bought my Z31 in early spring of 2010 from a friend that had it as a second car. He was a fellow Z-enthusiast, so he knew more about it than your average individual. I originally intended it to be a cheap manual daily to drive while I put together an LS swap for my then-intended project car. Long story short, sold that car and everything to do with it and my 300ZX ended up being the project car. When I bought it: Standard "Hot Red" 86 turbo with GLL package (leather seats, digital dash, etc) and 5-speed. It had 155k miles on it and was pretty much stock. Also had an exhaust leak on the passenger side that sounded like a knock, but we narrowed it down to broken exhaust studs. I drove it off and on when the weather was nice for a bit over a year before the water pump seized. I was in school at the time, so the car sat in storage to be later addressed. In late spring 2013, with the help of my fiance Noah, I finally had enough garage space, time, and motivation to get the car going again. So we hauled it to the house for new timing belt kit, water pump, CHTS sensor, harness, replacement rear caliper, and some other common parts. Got it running the Monday before Branson Z Fest and took it to a friend's shop to get the broken exhaust studs pulled/replaced. Once that was taken care of, it was a lot nicer to drive. It apparently flowed better too, since the muffler split down the seam on the first full throttle pull. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a replacement muffler in before we had to leave, so it went to Branson with a loud crappy exhaust. The rest of our group seemed entertained by that, at least. The Z drove great on the way to Branson, at the event, and back - even on sub-par all season tires. So that summer I picked up a set of Hankook V12 Evo tires in the stock 225/50/16 size. This definitely helped to improve handling, along with new semi metallic brake pads and poly sway bar bushings. Unfortunately later that year the heater core ruptured, so the lines were looped to bypass it. Being a secondary car, it isn't driven much in the winter months, so fixing that wasn't a priority. And since it was a busy year with with graduation, getting married, and moving we weren't able to get much else done until early spring prep for Branson Z Fest in 2014. In preparation for that, we swapped in a set of low-mileage Shiro springs with Konis, wheel spacers to push the wheels out flush with the fenders, and took it in for an alignment. Still fairly stock, but slowly improving. I also spent a number of hours polishing the oxidized original paint to bring back that natural shine. After sitting in storage through the winter months, we pulled it out again in the spring of 2015 for the usual BZF prep. This is where things start to get more exciting. With school and wedding expenses out of the way, we had more time and money to put toward the car. So it was time to kick things up a notch: G2 Boostvalve MBC (highly recommended with their Z31-specific kit), simple Bosch boost gauge, Experimental Engineering solid tension rod bushing kit with new OEM rear bushings, RTPro nRCAs, aluminum 30mm Z32 front calipers with Brembo rotors and Stoptech pads, DIF stainless conversion brake lines, V2 rear diff mount, poly rear subframe bushings (not pictured), and ST/Mach 1 springs. We also gave it the annual oil change and detail to keep things clean and running smooth. Then it was off for an alignment (becoming an annual thing, haha). We had a great time again at BZF. Also enjoyed driving in local cruises and the Ozark backroads. But with improved handling and grip, it was evident the worn leather seats were not enough. So I found these Recaros and bought them off a local wheeler-dealer. Cleaned them up and had the small tears in the material repaired by a local seamstress. Shortly after, we received a package in the mail from a friend in Colorado. I had bought a set of blown out Shiro seats with rails/mounts from a guy in Colorado who was able to meet up with a buddy of ours. He then shipped us the rails/mounts and kept the seats for his own use. Got it all mounted and what an improvement from the original seats. Unfortunately one evening a neighbor backed into the Z while we were over at a friend's house. No note or anything, but the damage was minimal. Although it did cause some rubbing under hard acceleration. After getting some quotes for repair, I took it to a PDR specialist who was able to pull the dent to keep it from destroying the tire as a temporary solution. With the rest of the body still being 29 year old original paint, I didn't want to have one part of the car repainted and mismatch. The plan was for a full repaint in a few years anyway. So this will make do until then. I like to stay positive and think that something good can come out of a bad situation. And so an opportunity was presented to us. A fellow enthusiast and friend offered up a set of two-piece 16x8 SSR-Watanabe RS8's in need of refinishing for a good price. So we accepted the offer. Bonus: I ended up with my dream wheels for this car and got to learn about rebuilding them in the same process. We broke the wheels down to the centers and barrels for cleaning. The centers were sent off to be blasted and powdercoated anthracite grey, while we kept the barrels to be cleaned and polished. Once it was all back, we put them back together with new hardware. Props to Noah for all the hours he spent in polishing and refinishing the wheels. It's not a task for the faint of heart. BZF 2016 was quickly approaching so I gathered the last of the parts to install the wheels and some other goodies: CM Performance downpipe & test pipe, a lightly-used 3" MSA catback exhaust, Personal Grinta 350mm leather steering wheel, Works Bell hub & adapter, a Nismo horn button, and a replacement driver's window regulator. After measuring and some in-depth research, I was able to find a set of SSR center caps that would fit - Watanabe's choice of center caps was limited by the size of the wheel bore and I wasn't fond of the style that was available. I also located a set of lug nuts that would fit the theme of the wheels and hopefully reduce the potential of damage in installing/removing the wheels. Got that all fitted, along with new ball joints and tie rod ends, and it was time to take it in for tint and an alignment. BZF 2016 was more involved for us. We went earlier so I entered the Z31 into the show for the first time and Noah drove it in the autocross competition. We were rewarded for our hard work with first place awards in Z31 class for show and autocross. 2017 rolled around and our schedule was taken up by work and travel. So more time was spent accumulating parts for the Z and less time installing them. We did end up with a wrecked and blown 88T as a parts car to disassemble and scrap. The freshly rebuilt motor was locked up from a loose connecting rod cap that fell into the oil pan. The underbody also had a lot of "hidden" damage from what looked like a ditch. What a shame. We ended up keeping the rear suspension and brakes, along with sway bars, heating/air components, and several other smaller replacements and upgrades for our Z. The rest of the parts were sold off for other enthusiasts cars. Before and after disassembly: During that time we also acquired a few other upgrades for down the road: S13 rear subframe and suspension, Z32 NA 30A transmission and Z31 30A bellhousing, Isky 274/270 cams, poly steering rack bushings, Zspec engine bay hardware kit, along with an early 200ZR hood, single-piece JDM/EUDM headlights, and Fairlady Z badge from our trip to Japan. We were able to install an OBX helical differential, "Wackadino" ackerman knuckles, and install the emissions/idle block-off plates. BZF 2017 was a shorter trip for us. Having recently returned from Japan and with other upcoming trips, our time off work was limited. So we missed the autocross and drag strip runs. I didn't even have time to give the car it's annual detail. But we made it in time for the show and typical shenanigans. Ended up getting 3rd place among some much cleaner competition. Fast forward a few months and we were on the road to Austin, TX for ZCON. We borrowed a trailer from a friend to haul the Z down - there was no way we were going to endure a 9+ hour drive in mid-August heat without air conditioning or attempt to cruise the rough Oklahoma/Texas roads without breakdown. Our diesel Jeep handled the drive down beautifully with that massive trailer and the Z considering all the construction delays as we neared Austin. Then we enjoyed a couple days of visiting with old friends and making new, seeing a lot of cool Z cars - including some historic and newer models brought by Nissan's Heritage Collection - and enjoying local cuisine. We went to the Saturday show and entered without placement - more motivation for next time. We were also going to participate in the parade lap at COTA, but the 102* ambient temps were hard to bear without air conditioning. After waiting an hour in a hot parking lot and told it would be at least another hour before lining up, we decided to skip the parade lap to join some local friends for food and drinks. Turns out this was a good idea since the Z started to overheat once we got off the highway. Apparently the high temps were too much for the Z31's 31 year old cooling system too. Fortunately we weren't far from the house, so it never got too hot and was able to cool down shortly after. Later on it drove normally and fortunately didn't show any signs of damage. Everything else went smoothly other than a trailer tire blowout about 30 min after leaving Austin. But that was handled quickly and didn't delay us too much on the way back home. After ZCON we parked the Z31 in storage early so we could get caught up on a few projects, particularly our old Audi that has been sitting with a broken subframe for several years. Admittedly, we procrastinated and that took too long to get addressed. So with that car now running and rolling again, we brought the Z31 back home this past weekend to once again get it ready for the next upcoming Branson Z Fest. The "to do" list included: install new power steering rack and poly rack bushings, rear camber kit, stainless rear brake lines, cruise control module, new O2 sensor, replacement triangle window seals, replacement side mirrors, and swap over a few remaining parts from the 88T (sway bars, rear control arms and brakes with new rotors and pads). We also installed a new FPR, TPS sensor and harness, and distributor cap and rotor over the weekend. I'm also started working on something I've dreaded for quite a while. I've always been reluctant to open the hood at meets or shows: 30+ years of dust, dirt, and grime with a mix of dry/brittle stock wiring & components just isn't pleasant to look at. So between getting parts in and installed, I spent some time cleaning in the engine bay. We started with installing some matte grey allen bolts from the Zspec engine bay kit to remove some of the worn/rounded OEM hardware. IMO, it currently looks a bit out of place, but I think that will improve once we clean/powdercoat the timing cover, valve covers, and top plate. I also want to pull and strip/repaint the red charge pipe (that I've dubbed the "rice pipe") back to stock color and clean up the patina on the HKS blow off valve. That was a piece that Noah scored for a steal and "temporarily" installed one day. As you can see, I've got my work cut out for me. Haha. A bit more progress: pretty much finished buttoning up the last few things on the Audi for a potential buyer and had to take some time away from the cars for the loss of a family member. Got a few parts ready to go on the Z. Got the front end taken care of. New power steering rack installed with Gary Molitar's poly steering rack bushings and flushed the system. Huge improvement from the slippery rack that moved while driving (annoying and dangerous). Also leads to a cleaner garage floor since the old rack would leak fluid out when the nose was jacked up. Painted and installed the pass-through solid motor mounts (not pictured). Then swapped out the worn out transmission mount for the RTPro mount that deletes the OEM dumbbell setup. Ignore the mess from the old leaky power steering rack. Buttoned that up with a new aluminum under tray that we got from Zach. And it's back on the ground. Ready to be turned around in the garage and get started on the rearend. Post-BZF '18 update. Got a few more things installed, did a rush job on the annual detail since it sat for most of last year (only a post-wash sealant and wax this time), and took off work last Thursday and Friday for a long weekend in Branson. Always fun to catch up with the extended Z family and make new friends. We even came away with a medal from the car show this year. Noah took advantage of a one-day sale and picked up a Cusco strut tower bar for a deal. No complaints on my side. We also got a few things in the mail from Zach: including a desperately-needed replacement relay box label (not pictured yet). Installed that along with the 24mm/26mm sway bars I've had sitting around. Fitment of the Cusco bar as pretty snug with the pass-through motor mounts. I didn't realize how much taller they were than stock. And oddly enough the hood wouldn't shut until we removed the stock strut mount nuts. Also had to clock the HKS blow off valve to get the bar in place and clear the hood. Overall I think it helps to clean up the engine bay... or at least draws attention away from the hard-to-reach spots that are still dirty. I also scored a Z31 flag from a guy in one of the FB groups. Thought it would make a nice addition to the garage wall. Post wash sealant applied and given a 24 hour time to cure before waxing. I really like how Chemical Guy's Jetseal brand sealant works. It's old school compared to modern ceramic coatings, but still holds up nicely and really boosts the shine. Thursday morning we set off for Branson with some of the guys in the local Z club chapter. Stopped for breakfast in Eureka Springs along the way - I highly recommend checking out Mud Street Cafe if you're ever in the area. We got to Branson around early afternoon and spent the rest of the day hanging out and helping with the BBQ. The next morning we got together a group for a drive to Peel Ferry (the last ferry left in Arkansas) and took some of the fun backroads on the way there. Lined up for the ferry: After a hot drive (without air conditioning for most of us) we stopped at a small Cafe in the national forest area across the lake and then took a casual drive back to the hotel. Most of the cars were fairly bug-covered and in need of a wash from the previous night's shower, so we took turns washing off the cars. Picture courtesy of Westin Easley. Kitty litter not included. Cleaned up and ready for the show on Saturday. As Saturday morning rolled around, we lined up the cars at the park next to the hotel and enjoyed the weather and company. In the end, our 86T came out in 1st place for Z31 modified and we won the raffle for a set of bumper to fender braces from XenonZ31. So I'm pretty satisfied for how it did this year. Since we've decided to skip ZCON this year, I'm really aiming to get some bigger things done for the combined BZF/ZCON show in Branson next summer. And finally, we had planned on going to Midwest Z Fest. But with work, getting a new car, recent travel, and the power steering hose leaking like a siv, we unfortunately had to cut our losses this time around. Check out the event t-shirt. And that catches things up to the present. I've got some fun things planned to have this car ready for ZCON 2019 in Branson and the combined BZF show. So stay tuned.
  7. Pace

    '78 Black Pearl Restoration

    That's quite the interesting tool, Captain. I'm hoping we don't need to mess with the AFM. But I wouldn't be surprised if it was already "adjusted" by a previous owner. That would be the only reason for me to calibrate per factory specs. The long-term goal is to ditch the stock EFI in favor of Megasquirt (or Micro if it can handle our needs) and ITBs. Nothing is set in stone obviously. I have a couple options saved, but currently have my eye on a set of OER 45s to go with a mild L28 build. But that's going to be down the road. So I might change my mind in the meantime. I broke a pin while cleaning one of the connectors under the dash that the hazard switch is tied into. In lieu of replacing and repinning the entire connector, I found a set of "Ford style" replacement pins at the local parts store that looks identical. Let's see if I can avoid making things worse.
  8. Pace

    '78 Black Pearl Restoration

    Haha. Thanks for the input. You're correct in that all the above [probably] needs work. We've just barely scraped the surface on the mechanical part of it. I already have some replacement sensors - CHTS, water temp, cold start valve, and possibly the thermo time switch - on my list. Also going to replace a lot of the brittle/worn connectors. The timing on it is certainly out of adjustment: it wants to idle at a higher rpm. So I need to set aside a day to go through it and adjust/check things. Once that's all taken care of, I'll feel more comfortable with taking on the valve adjustment. The rest is just part of the restoration game. Oh, and yes. We did hold the throttle open during compression testing. Followed the outlined technique to a "T". The gauge originally read ~70psi across the board before we tried the wet test (and consequently did the MMO treatment). So I think we had a faulty loaner tester. I'm going to hold off on the next compression test until I have a set of NGK or Taylor wires and a better tester. The new Beck Arnley set we installed broke two boot clips after removing them a couple times. I accidentally omitted this part in my original post. I checked the voltage at the battery and it is at 14V while idling and accelerating, not the 16V that the voltmeter is telling us. The gauge reads neutrally when off, but as soon as you start the car it climbs and pegs out. So unless there is something else going on or I misread it, I'm assuming the gauge is faulty. The filter at the inlet on the intake was our temporary bandaid to get it to idle while we checked other things. The original hose was split. You're correct in that it is not tuned properly: we tried a new piece of hose and with it routed correctly, the idle rpms shoot up. Running the filter allows it to idle close to where it should until we can narrow down the culprit(s) and get things sorted out. I've got the FSM and EFI manual on hand. Currently we're looking at adjusting the MAF and BCDD to straighten things out. But I'm sure we'll find some other fun little things to fix along the way.
  9. Pace

    '78 Black Pearl Restoration

    No harm. I still don't have all the fine details down on these cars. So I'm eager to learn more. Especially something that is unusual on my own and I don't know. I also like to write when it comes to cars... if you can't tell. So I'm glad someone likes to read about them. 👍
  10. Pace

    '78 Black Pearl Restoration

    It's a 4/78 car, so it's a '78 model. Fairly late production, by my understanding. I would love to own a ZAP, but this isn't it. I can't say why it's a 4-speed. I was under the impression that 5-speeds were still an option in 1978. Could be wrong. The spare tire tub is yellow/orange from rust. The spare was still in it and leached residue onto it. The spare was actually stuck to the pan and took a bit of pulling to remove. 😅
  11. Pace

    New 280Z Owner

    You're welcome to join in if you're ever in the area. We always make sure to move the Z's before playing. I would rather put holes in the wall than add more to the S30.
  12. Pace

    New 280Z Owner

    Thanks for the warm welcome and advice, guys. This forum has already helped out with a number of things, so I plan on sticking around and utilizing it to get this BP back to the condition it deserves. May see if I can eventually contribute to the knowledge here and there. 😉 I've started a thread archiving the progress we've made up til now. Be sure to check it out:
  13. I originally started this "build thread" on another forum as an archive of the 280Z's progress. But I am afraid it may not survive much longer there. So I'm bringing it over here and adapting it to be more suitable to the S30 crowd. My SO, Noah, and I have owned an '86 300ZX Turbo for nearly a decade and it has been a fun and educational restomod project. However, despite seeing seeing the sweat, blood, and tears put toward former roommates' and friends' S30s, we decided that we wanted to pick one up as a project. With that said, we are currently renting a house with a two-car garage. So the plan was to start looking after we bought a house with room for a shop on the property. But, as I'm sure you all are well aware, things don't always work out the way we plan. About this time last year I had a long-term client that came into my office and told me he was looking at a new "toy" to drive. He talked about how his old Datsun had been in the shop for a number of years and he just wanted something he could drive and enjoy. Of course, my interest was piqued. He's a bit of a workaholic and therefore a busy guy. So it took me a while to find out what this "old Datsun" actually was. He stopped by once more before the holidays at which point I was able to figure out that it was an S30. He said he was on the fence about fixing it or letting it go. So I did the right thing and gave him some contact info for the local Z Car Club should he want advice on repairs. But I let him know I was interested in checking it out if he decided to sell. A few months went by again and he came back in February. So I asked if he ever got in contact with the club or fixed the Z. He said it was still in the shop and he was ready to let it go at this point. We came to the agreement that if I covered the bill at the shop - a very reasonable amount - I could have it. So I got the shop's info, checked it out, and made the decision to buy it. It's a '78 280Z with 4-speed manual transmission in decent condition. It does have some rust in the typical places from being exposed to the elements: the floor pans and rocker panels need replacement. The frame rails will also receive some attention, along with an area of the spare tire tub where the metal is a bit thin. There are also a few small random spots on the body that could be cleaned up, but otherwise it appears to be a fairly straight body with good potential. How we found it: Within the next few days I had secured a temporary storage unit for it to sit and dry out until we could finish up another project and clear up space in the garage. I was told the car didn't run due to a rusty gas tank. However, when I showed up at the shop to meet the flatbed tow truck, the 280Z was idling (poorly) and had been driven out from the shop's side lot. From there, we got it to the storage facility and unloaded it into its temporary home. We weren't able to do a lot with it since the storage facility rules prohibit "wrenching on" vehicles in storage. With that said, we have been able to do some basic things to get it back to a basic roadworthy status. Mechanically it's a solid base but could use some work. The previous owner said the engine was rebuilt about ten years ago. Then he drove it for a few thousand miles before it started having some problems common to a nearly 40 year old car. So it bounced from shop to shop for various repairs for a few years. The latest invoices we received from the local import shop (which I should point out specialized in European cars), showed a replacement fuel pump, new rear wheel cylinders, and some small changes being done. The invoice recommended replacing the rusty fuel tank - a rather backwards approach, I think. We also noticed the fuel filter had been bypassed at some point and was missing from the engine bay. This of course explained the fouled spark plugs covered in black gunk. It also has a sizable exhaust leak between the exhaust manifold and head that will be addressed later. In the meantime I ordered a few tune-up parts to see if that would help to clean up clear up the misfire and clean out the fuel system. No pics unfortunately, but we swapped in a new fuel filter, spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor, and added a couple gallons of 91 octane to see if things would clear up. Fortunately those changes helped and it was happy to idle on all cylinders. We were able to pull it out of the storage unit and drive it around the back of the empty facility - only dealing with the occasional hiccup from remaining debris upstream of the fuel filter. Eventually we'll probably send the injectors off to be cleaned, but driving it more will help out. During that short drive, Noah commented about how the brakes were super hard, ie., no assist. And after parking it, we tested it and found that neither the headlights, tail lights, or brake lights work. Upon closer inspection, I found a possible culprit: half-assed fusible links. Ordered some more parts: new fusible links, caps, and a brake booster check valve. Noah installed the check valve which brought back power assist to the brakes. We also peeled away the gross silicone casing someone had built and pulled plain thick gauge wires out of the fusible link boxes. After scraping the remaining silicone, replacing with proper fusible links, and installing the caps, the headlights and tail lights started working again. Brake lights are still a negative, but we think a new brake light switch should do the trick. We also sourced a set of 205/60/14 Federal 595 tires to replace the scary cracked and dry rotted tires that are currently on the Enkei 92s. They're cheap but will do until it's undergone some restoration and we can upgrade to a set of 15 or 16 inch wheels. In the meantime the previous owner has been generous enough to bring by some of the extra parts and literature he had in storage. A couple weeks ago he dropped off an old Haynes manual, a Chilton manual, and a few outdated MSA and Black Dragon catalogs. While the MSA and Black Dragon catalogs really only for nostalgic purposes at this point, the Haynes manual has the car's serial number, manufacture date, and an individual's name along with the date February 1999 written on the cover. Apparently those manuals came with the car when the PO bought it, so I did a bit of research. Turns out the name belongs to a local philanthropist that had a small car collection when he passed away in 2001. From what I found, some of the cars got caught up in the estate after his passing and were either sold off, destroyed, or left to rot. Based on the info I got from the previous owner, this car's timeline matches up to that history. He had found the car collecting dust in the corner of a nearby shop in early 2003. Something we didn't expect when getting this S30 was the possibility of it being a special edition model or car of any actual value. But after posting in a few groups, some people suggested it might be a Black Pearl. Since our car has been resprayed at some point, we originally weren't able to find signs of the original striping. But it does have the competition mirrors and louvers common to the SAP cars. Most true Black Pearl cars can be determined by the color code sticker on the radiator core support with the number 638. But of course after 40 years, the color code stamp on this one is worn clean. So we were left to checking paint color in places that typically aren't repainted. One such find involved removing a small section of the body molding to reveal what looks to be original paint (under the adhesive and layer of respray). We've also confirmed the paint on the interior firewall, door jambs, and rear under carpet and spare tire is also black. And lastly, one small purchase compliments of a friend. We made a bit of progressing after getting back from Branson Z Fest in June. The goal was to get the car moved over to our house after the event. To recap: we had replaced the brake booster check valve and were rewarded with minimal power assist for the brakes. We chalked it up to rust buildup within the rotors/cylinders and the fluid needing to be bled. I had also ordered a new brake switch to hopefully restore working brake lights. As it turns out, the switch was fine (unplugged even) but the brake lights were stuck on. The small rubber grommets that go on the brake and clutch pedals had disintegrated so the switch wasn't able to make contact on anything. As a temporary solution, a spare metal interior clip was set in place to make sure the brake lights worked - success. So we got it out to test drive around the backside of the storage facility to see if we could bring back some of the brakes by heating them up. As you can tell, it still that nasty exhaust leak. Noah gave it a few accel/decel runs and said the brake feel started to come back a bit more each time. So that was encouraging. The throttle cable started sticking a bit under hard accel (hence my laughter in the video) so we'll be addressing that soon. Like most 40 year old vehicles that have spent time sitting, there is oftentimes a setback to accompany that progress. We noticed the volt gauge had a habit of creeping up to 16 volts under accel - initially everything checked out and we chalked it up to a faulty gauge. But after putting it back up in the garage I noticed a burn in one of the fusible link caps. As the cap was removed, the middle of the fusible link broke off with it. That particular link was for the alternator and ignition relay, so we knew we would need to bring out the multimeter to hunt down a short and probably replace the existing internally regulated alternator. I'm wanting to upgrade to a higher amp Sentra alternator in the Z31, so it's existing Maxima alternator may make its way to the 280Z. In the meantime, I ordered a new fusible link, cap, and brake/clutch pedal grommets. A few days later, I received the replacement fusible links and cap and installed those. Previously, we had realized we misread the fusible link diagram and accidentally switched the higher rated black and one of the lower rated brown links on original install. So that probably explains why the one burnt up. Live and learn, I guess. Fortunately I don't think anything other than maybe the voltmeter was affected: I suspect it needs to be replaced/rebuilt anyway. We'll have that rebuilt or replaced down the road.The next weekend I called the towing company to bring the flatbed truck and haul it to our house. The Z was drive able but the tires were seriously dry rotted and separating - no risk in chancing anything by driving it to our house. Once it was unloaded we jacked it up and pulled the wheels to get the new tires mounted. Noah also took this opportunity to remove the heavy front 5mph bumper. By the end of the day, we had the new tires on it and pulled it into the garage with the Z31. Sunday is when the real work started. The 280Z was backed into the driveway where we dedicated the morning and afternoon to removing the rest of the interior covering and seeing what we're up against. As expected of a 40 year old Datsun that spent some time outside, there is some rust. And honestly it looks like a previous owner's attempts to prevent water leaks only made things worse (note the foam insulation spray and still intact drain plugs). But so far it looks like we can handle it: passenger floor pan, rocker panels, and the spare tire pan are the areas that were affected the most. We might also do the driver's floor pan since it looks like someone attempted their own shoddy repair. Otherwise there's a touch of surface rust in a few small areas that can easily be repaired before they turn into a problem. Everything else looks to be in pretty good shape so far. We'll know more after chipping off the remaining sound deadening & insulation. The nitty gritty of it all. Good thing we were anticipating a project. After cleaning out the interior, we gave it a thorough hand wash to clean off the built up dirt, grime, and lichen. This also helped to chase down water leaks in the interior. From what I could see there was a small drip from the rear hatch seal (and from the look of the disintegrated remains of the seal, it's no surprise) and what looks like the bottom right corner of the windshield that runs down to the passenger floorboard. The windshield has a crack and needs replacement anyway. I also pulled the A-pillar covers to check for rust and everything looked clean there. We'll likely be pulling the cracked dash cap and dash itself to check for rust underneath before starting any body repairs. All cleaned up. Or at least as good as it gets for now. And to finish off the day we changed the oil, lubricated the throttle linkage, and replaced a few broken vacuum lines. It's running a bit rich after getting the vacuum lines sorted out, so calibrating the MAF is next on the list. Along with finding a replacement for that nasty steering wheel. Work on the Z slowed down in the summer months leading into fall. We've been busy with work, travel, and more recently going halfway across the country to buy a car and drive it home. So the 280Z didn't receive a lot of attention. Most of our time spent focused on it has been researching upcoming repairs and improvements. In addition to the FSM, I downloaded the 280Z "EFI Bible" to bring the ancient EFI up to spec. We don't plan on sticking with the original EFI forever, but it works in the meantime. The digital download of the Datsun/Nissan FAST for S30s has also been super useful for hunting down OEM part numbers to help in our efforts.While attempting to replace the PCV valve, the large formed PCV hose that leads to the intake split. The original part is NLA, but there were some reproduction versions still floating around. So we ordered one along with an EGR block off kit. Someone had already cut the pipe coming off the EGR, so it was essentially an exhaust leak. Only shiny part in the otherwise filthy and messy engine bay. We also ran a compression test and came back with some disappointingly low numbers across the board. I'm not sure how accurate the gauge we used was, but it's evident something's not right. The engine always took a while to start when cold and had a habit of smoking once it warmed up. So we decided redid the test and noticed that the numbers improved once the cylinders got a shot of fluid. So it got a week-long Marvel Mystery Oil treatment with the occasional manual engine turnover. That improved things quite a bit on starting and eliminated the smoking at warm idle. After two of the clips in the new plug wires broke, I've been hesitant to pull them for another test until we have a better quality replacement.Shortly after we had a friend over that wanted to see it running, so it made its maiden voyage down the street. Keep in mind that there is still a large exhaust leak at the manifold. The steering wheel was also temporarily wrapped and will be getting a cheap cover from the parts store until we replace it. And most recently we learned that Dave Irwin is moving and retiring from switch rebuilding. So we got a last minute order in to have the turn signal and headlight switches rebuilt. The headlight switch worked, but was finicky. And the turn signal switch was destroyed: the stalk loosely moved without any up/down clicks. We got the rebuilt units back in record time along with a parking light upgrade harness. While cleaning various connectors in the dash wiring, I finally found proof that our Black Pearl was one with the special appearance package! Note the remainder of the stripes that were removed and painted over. That's it for now. I'm waiting on a couple things to come in the mail before proceeding: connector terminal pins & electronic flasher relays. We got the turn signals working, but all four of them are flashing rapidly. So I'm hoping that cleaning the sockets and switching to electronic relays should help with fault sensitivity.
  14. In the middle of my current mission to recover proper turn signals in my 280Z: I bought and installed a pair of electronic flasher relays to accommodate the rebuilt turn signal stalk. New vs. Old The electronic units have a bit more weight to them. The original bi-thermal relay was super light in comparison.
  15. Pace

    New 280Z Owner

    Thanks for the welcome. And right you are! I forgot to mention that we originally bought this as a non-running car. However, when I arrived to meet the tow truck, the shop had started it and drove it around from the back lot. So it did run, just not well. Turns out the fuel tank was rusty and the shop did nothing to help that by removing the fuel filter (!) and replacing a seized fuel pump. We've since added fresh premium fuel and some HEET, replaced the fuel filter, plugs, wires, distributor cap & rotor, and a few other small things. So basically a small tune up. Driving it around the storage area helped to also burn through some of the crud in the meantime. Eventually we'll have the injectors cleaned or replaced. With that said, I do have the inline filter on my short list. Keeps things cleaner and helps us to see how things are until it's time to drop the tank and do work.

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