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Thread: omg! my z is awesome! new suspension and more..

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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Default omg! my z is awesome! new suspension and more..

    I've owned my 280 now for about 3 months and have slowly been working through various mechanical and getting the car in good running order. I've done all the usual stuff, brakes, clutch, tune ups, adjustments, etc.. and resolved a lean running issue that took me forever to work through.

    I still have a few a small list of minor maintenance items a couple more issues to resolve however I've just finished a big job and one that has made a huge difference. I went through the entire suspension on the car, replaced all the bushings with the MSA urethane kit, put Tokico HP struts in, and the Eibach spring kit. In addition I yanked off the old beat up exhaust that was on the car, which had some el cheapo muffler stick welded to the end of it, and replaced with the MSA Premium exhaust kit w/ Dynomax muffler.

    This job took me a couple of weekends, and a hour here and there throughout the work week. It was a big job for me I think, I would have rather replaced the clutch again.... Some of those bushings were a major PITA. The blues tech tips were a great resource however. Also the exhaust took me quite a bit of time as well since the PO had the old muffler cut off and replaced, and they cut or broke off the original exhaust hangers so I had to weld up some new ones. I had a good time doing that as soon as I figured out how I was going to fabricate them, as I have a brand new mig welder I was dying to use. I've wanted to weld for a long time and this car gave me the excuse to buy one and try it out.

    I finally got it back together last night and took it for a test drive. WOW!!!! . This car feels brand new!! It's running so well and feels so tight. I can't believe the difference. I was worried a little that it would be too rough, or harsh, but not at all. It's firm and planted, but has just enough dampening to soak up the bumps. No more body roll, no more front end dive on the brakes, no more big vibration from wore out mustache bar bushings. It's just solid and smooth and responsive, and, and, etc...

    I was also worried about mixed reviews that the MSA exhaust would be too loud without a resonator. Not at all. It's effin perfect.

    I am effin ecstatic.. Just thought I'd share how much I'm pleased with these upgrades.

    Next up is a visit to a dyno for gas analysis to double check my butt dyno. I've got to say though, this car feels like it's running tops!!!
    1978 280z 4sp

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    Registered User ZCurves's Avatar
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    Sooo you post about all of your hard work and how excited you are and then forget to post pictures!! For Shame! How can we fully share your excitement without pics??

    Seriously, congrats! Savor the reward from your hardwork! Enjoy the ride.
    (Then start looking for something else to replace, upgrade or enhance!)
    Last edited by ZCurves; 12-07-2010 at 08:36 AM.
    Andrew (ZCurves)
    1978 Coupe - HLS30-440105
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    pro deo et patria
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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZCurves View Post
    Sooo you post about all of your hard work and how excited you are and then forget to post pictures!! For Shame! How can we fully share your excitement without pics??

    Seriously, congrats! Savor the reward from your hardwork! Enjoy the ride.
    (Then start looking for something else to replace, upgrade or enhance!)
    eh.. my Z still isn't pretty yet. I'll post a pic or two later, it looks like a 33 year old Z (although garage kept mostly), but drives like a 2011
    1978 280z 4sp

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    Z geek at large FastWoman's Avatar
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    Wow, congrats, Cozye!

    This inspires me to take care of a couple of back-burner issues -- differential mount, gronky steering column, mystery transmission issue (see other post). Still, I think I can share your ecstasy when not milling about in a tight parking area or shifting gears! I can't help but smile when I drive my Z.
    My last three sports cars while I still owned all three:

    2001 BMW Z3 Roadster 3.0i soft/hard top (sold)
    1966 Ford Mustang Coupe (sold)
    1978 Datsun 280Z (enjoying very much )

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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Thanks Sarah.
    Yes, it's very inspiring. It's nice for a change after working on so many little issues to just get it running, then doing something that makes a really big difference. Very motivating, and it's a big PITA job out of the way ! One step closer to paint time..
    1978 280z 4sp

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    Registered User olzed's Avatar
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    It's great when all the hard work pays off Cozye. The single biggest improvement on my 240 was when I fitted power steering. I did this mod three years ago and still get a huge feeling of satisfaction when I drive her. It's like a modern car.(except the diff clunk) Parking is a breeze now. No more looking for space to turn.

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    Marooned Fish cygnusx1's Avatar
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    Waaaay to go!!! Make it rock and roll....THEN make it pretty. That's the right way to do it! Enjoy every minute of it.
    Dave C, Putnam, NY
    NYZCC - Membership Director

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    Cool Your new/old bumpers?

    Cozeye, baby!
    Both Billy and I are anxious to see your sweetheart with the bumpers you got from us. Will be a mucho-fun car, fer sure! A big Texas congrats to ya, Eric.
    Herb

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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbsteiner View Post
    Cozeye, baby!
    Both Billy and I are anxious to see your sweetheart with the bumpers you got from us. Will be a mucho-fun car, fer sure! A big Texas congrats to ya, Eric.
    Herb
    Has Billy signed up for the forum? I'll be sure to send you guys some pics. I found a chrome shop and I'll be sending both bumpers off in a couple of weeks for restoration. Getting much closer to paint job time
    1978 280z 4sp

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    It doesn't have to be "pretty" to post pics Cozeye.

    Most of us with "pretty" cars started where you did! Even a dented, primered Z is pretty to my eye, so don't be embarrased to post pics.

    Mine wasn't a bad 50 footer when I bought it, but it had lots of "huge" warts when you got within 10 feet. And mine was pretty darn nice compared to most un-restored cars..

    So please share a few progress pics. You will find lots of support here.
    Julio
    1972 240Z (in-progress, 95% complete)
    CZC# 15388

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    Eric
    Actually, Billy's trying to sell his white '72 on Craigslist. He wants 6500 for it. It's got a real nice paint job, and the interior needs some work.

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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbsteiner View Post
    Eric
    Actually, Billy's trying to sell his white '72 on Craigslist. He wants 6500 for it. It's got a real nice paint job, and the interior needs some work.
    That's too bad. I'd like to have seen it. He's a real nice guy.
    1978 280z 4sp

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    Registered User Bonzi Lon's Avatar
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    Can't be any worse than this.

    Bonzi Lon
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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonzi Lon View Post
    Can't be any worse than this.

    Bonzi Lon

    No, not nearly that bad. It looks good from 50ft. The car is in good shape really, just needs some paint and 3 small rust spots taken care of.
    1978 280z 4sp

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    Congratulations! I second all the requests for pics
    '72 Fairlady 240Z-L - HS30-10052, Imported in 1973 from Yokota Airbase
    '70 240Z - HLS30-19927, History in SCCA CP & Trans-Am, ICSCC CIP, IMSA GTU
    '77 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera - Black on black
    '13 Subaru BRZ Limited - Daily Driver

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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Ok, I snapped a couple of pics. Was out the in the garage and finished making some bumper brackets to mount my 240 front bumper. I tried bending the 240 brackets to get what I wanted, got close but decided I'd be better off to make my own. I've still got the rear to do and will get to it soon. Trying to finish up the bumpers so I can send them off to chrome and get the paint done. It's got a bit of rust in the usual places that I'll have to cut out and weld patches in.







    1978 280z 4sp

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    Marooned Fish cygnusx1's Avatar
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    So much nicer with that bumper. Good work.
    Dave C, Putnam, NY
    NYZCC - Membership Director

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    Registered User olzed's Avatar
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    They do look cool with 240 bumpers.
    Thats a sweet looking car. I love the interior colours.

    Brian

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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. That's the factor color interior. I'll be recovering the seats and dying the interior panels once paint is done. You can't see in the pic, but those "off white" interior plastic panels have yellow'd with age.

    I'm also planning on some Konig rewind wheels with graphite center.

    That pretty much sums up the plans.

    I may head out there in a few and start on the rear bumper. I know it's going to be a pain
    1978 280z 4sp

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    Very nice looking car. The bumpers look great. It's better looking than mine when I bought her!
    Julio
    1972 240Z (in-progress, 95% complete)
    CZC# 15388

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    Registered User ZCurves's Avatar
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    VERY nice welds! I am truly impressed!!
    Andrew (ZCurves)
    1978 Coupe - HLS30-440105
    Spring, Texas USA

    pro deo et patria
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    Registered User ajmcforester's Avatar
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    If you use some plastic polish and a little bit of heat after the plastic panels are very clean you can get a lot of the old color out look at my first 240Z the blue one the color so bad I thought I had darkend butterscotch not off white with white seats when I got the car.

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    Z geek at large FastWoman's Avatar
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    Eric, there's such a thing as vinyl spray paint used for shoe repair that you might be able to use to freshen the color of the door panels. I don't know if it's wear-proof enough for the seats, though. (Maybe worth a try?) I've used the stuff before, with some success.
    My last three sports cars while I still owned all three:

    2001 BMW Z3 Roadster 3.0i soft/hard top (sold)
    1966 Ford Mustang Coupe (sold)
    1978 Datsun 280Z (enjoying very much )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oiluj View Post
    Very nice looking car. The bumpers look great. It's better looking than mine when I bought her!
    Thanks. It looks good from 50 ft.. but trust me, I've got at least 3 sections to cut out and weld patches in

    Quote Originally Posted by ZCurves View Post
    VERY nice welds! I am truly impressed!!
    Thanks! I've got a new mig welder and have been playing with it, getting pretty good results now. I've been practicing on sheet metal and I've got that close to dialed in as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajmcforester View Post
    If you use some plastic polish and a little bit of heat after the plastic panels are very clean you can get a lot of the old color out look at my first 240Z the blue one the color so bad I thought I had darkend butterscotch not off white with white seats when I got the car.
    What kind of plastic polish ? I may try this.

    Quote Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
    Eric, there's such a thing as vinyl spray paint used for shoe repair that you might be able to use to freshen the color of the door panels. I don't know if it's wear-proof enough for the seats, though. (Maybe worth a try?) I've used the stuff before, with some success.
    SEM and Duplicolor both make the vinyl dye. That's what my plan was for the interior panels. The seats I'm going to have recovered. They are still white but there is a couple of small tears starting and the padding in them is worn.
    1978 280z 4sp

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    I used mother but if you need a little rougher in spots that headlight polish system would work (the headlight stuff might take the detail out so try others first). I'd recommend a buff-ball they weren't out when I did mine. I was lucky enough to trick about 5 neighborhood kids to help out with this so I might have been better than one buff-ball. I'd do as much as you can on the car with these panels before you take them down. They are thin and easy to brake and almost 40 years ya they want to brake. They are ABS so you can get white ABS glue for cracks I just apply it to the back with some fiberglass mesh tape (find the glue in plumbing and the fiberglass tape next to the plaster).

    Heat gun trick actually works areas that just won't buff out gently heat the area with a fanning pattern. You just want to bring it to the point just before it starts to become playable. Keep the heat gun moving the whole time or it won't work. You will see the color revive right in front of your eyes.

    On the vinyl I use 5% white vinegar (what you get in the store) mixed down with a 10:1 hot water, and a whole bunch of elbow grease (hot water will save a lot of time). Be careful with what ever you use on old vinyl I'd keep it mild and more elbow grease. In some spots also try baking soda with a little water and a stiff brush. Remember the white is actually an off white don't mix the vinegar water and the backing soda unless it is a nasty area, and only to get the crud down then finish with one or the other on that spot. Otherwise you will have white stains that will be inconsistent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajmcforester View Post
    I used mother but if you need a little rougher in spots that headlight polish system would work (the headlight stuff might take the detail out so try others first). I'd recommend a buff-ball they weren't out when I did mine. I was lucky enough to trick about 5 neighborhood kids to help out with this so I might have been better than one buff-ball. I'd do as much as you can on the car with these panels before you take them down. They are thin and easy to brake and almost 40 years ya they want to brake. They are ABS so you can get white ABS glue for cracks I just apply it to the back with some fiberglass mesh tape (find the glue in plumbing and the fiberglass tape next to the plaster).

    Heat gun trick actually works areas that just won't buff out gently heat the area with a fanning pattern. You just want to bring it to the point just before it starts to become playable. Keep the heat gun moving the whole time or it won't work. You will see the color revive right in front of your eyes.

    On the vinyl I use 5% white vinegar (what you get in the store) mixed down with a 10:1 hot water, and a whole bunch of elbow grease (hot water will save a lot of time). Be careful with what ever you use on old vinyl I'd keep it mild and more elbow grease. In some spots also try baking soda with a little water and a stiff brush. Remember the white is actually an off white don't mix the vinegar water and the backing soda unless it is a nasty area, and only to get the crud down then finish with one or the other on that spot. Otherwise you will have white stains that will be inconsistent.
    Cool. thanks for the ideas. My seat belt covers are off due to recent strut installation, so I may test on these and see if I can make a difference without using the dye.
    1978 280z 4sp

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    Registered User Bonzi Lon's Avatar
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    I used the SEM Vinyl Dye for the plastic panels in my off white 73 and am pleased with the results. Super White 15103. IIRC, ordered 2 cans, $29 shipped, used 1 1/4 cans. Note: The original rear panel was fubar, so ordered one in off white from MSA. It arrived with SEM 15103 over black plastic. Ordered the off white rivits and they were more tan in color so had to spray them also. It takes alot to scratch it off, and easily touched up. All plastic matches now.

    Bonzi Lon
    1973 HLS30-168500
    1968 SPL311-18100
    1969 HLS30-000110 SOLD Shipped to Dubai UAE
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    Default Thanks, I needed that!

    Bonzi
    Thanks for the info on the SEM leather dye. I too have a '73 with off-white interior, and I know what you mean about the MSA rivets being a tad too dark. I also have some discoloration on my tranny tunnel vinyl that needs addressing as well.

    Eric, hope you and the family are having a great Christmas up there in KY!


    1973 240Z HLS30-144433 1/73 115 Metallic Blue

    "Whoever said 'the pen is mightier than the sword' has obviously never been stabbed."

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozye View Post
    Cool. thanks for the ideas. My seat belt covers are off due to recent strut installation, so I may test on these and see if I can make a difference without using the dye.
    If you dye the stuff the closer and cleaner it is the better. I've dyed a dash in a 66 corvette once he didn't clean his as well as my spots and he had me do the whole thing for him. In return he bought the Holly four barrel for my 80 Datsun 210, one of the best upgrades I've done to a car

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    congrats, I read your original post with great envy. I too did the suspension last year, poly kit, r/t diff mount, toyota brake upgrade, rebuilt rear brakes, eibachs, tokico illuminas, 15 inch rewinds with toyo tires. New ball joints, outer tie rods, pacesetter monza exhuast, etc. Unlike you taking a couple weekends, mine took me a couple months . After doing the front, it felt better, not great. I was told to do the rear, its old and the front is new. After doing the entire rear (dropping it all out, painting everything, etc including the tank), I anxiuosly got in and took it for a spin. I was figuring the car would feel like yours, tight, new, exciting.
    It still doesnt feel quite right to me. I havent had the front end aligned yet. I did pay close attention to all torque specs, etc. The Illuminas are all set at the 2 setting. I was hoping for the wow feeling you got but it just wasnt there. It does feel MUCH better than it did, it was creaky, groaning, shaking, etc.

    Soon after I did it, I had to put the car on the back burner as my wife planned a total (read: expensive) kitchen renovation...damn DYI Network
    2 months later and its finished and I am about to embark on the Z again.

    Only thing I did not replace was the rack itself...it just still feels a little loose to me. Your story has inspired me though, congrats
    Last edited by MEZZZ; 12-25-2010 at 06:25 PM.
    1977 280Z
    I'm great at taking my Z apart, putting it back together has been a whole different story.

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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    bonzi, thanks for the SEM color number. I figured I'd have to look that up at some point and figure it out. Now you saved me the trouble.

    Herb, xmas with the family has been nice! My parents drove up from San Antonio, so we have a little Texas with us. Hope yours has gone well.

    Mezz, sounds like you did everything right? Did you do the rack bushings ? I'm not sure what yours feels like, only difference is that I used the Tokico HP's. Did you do the steering coupler bushing too? Mine was way loose and suspension was toast before I started, so it was night and day. Maybe yours was better to start ? You did put the longer springs in the back, right ? I seemed to notice that some people have confused which springs go where and it's not easy to tell.
    1978 280z 4sp

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    Cozye,
    thanks for the reply. Yes, I did all the bushings including the rack. I did the ball and socket bushing on the arms and also replaced the coupling (what a pain that was).
    I cannot remember if I put the long in front or back, I remember reading the ones ending in 1 went up front. I cannot remember if they were the shorter but I do remember not having to use the spring compressor on the front but I did on the back. My rear does sit up higher in the back also.

    Anyway, I didnt mean to jack your thread, only wanted to congratulate you. The suspension is a big job to do! I took everything out and cleaned off 32 years of grime, painted and reinstalled the entire suspension/brake system using new parts. It might be that the front end is a bit out of line or maybe I need to dial the shocks to a higher number to get the feel I was hoping for. Now that the kitchen is complete (18K later, the things I could have done to my Z with that ), its too damn cold to work much on it.

    I will figure it out, your car looks nice from the photo, I like the bumper. I went with the fiberglass front bumper from MSA and found a steel one off of a 73 for the rear. I bought mounting brackets for the conversion and they worked well. I love the look of the smaller ones as well. If you havent done the rear, you have to drop the tank to get the strut off the right side, while it was out I closed up the strut holes in the rear valance...good luck
    1977 280Z
    I'm great at taking my Z apart, putting it back together has been a whole different story.

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    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Yeah, the 001 went in front. I reckon one of the reasons mine went faster is that I didn't repaint everything under the car. I thought about it, but decided I didn't want to redo the whole bottom of the car due to time and the fact that this car is a driver. Additionally the original owner had this car aftermarket undercoated, so most of that undercoating is still in tact. When I paint it, I'll re black the wheel wells and call it good. Also, I had already gone through the brake system thoroughly so I didn't have to go through those parts.

    I know the rear bumper will be a bit more of a job and I'll need to drop the tank. Thats one of the reasons I did the front first to get it out of the way and get on a roll with it.
    1978 280z 4sp

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    You and I are on the same page there. I did the front first, knowing I had to drop the tank for the rear bumper. I had taken a sawzall to the strut so I could mount it in advance. When it came time to do the rear, I pulled out EVERYTHING. Got under it with a wire wheel and cleaned it up. It too had undercoating on it and it was in very good shape but filthy. I thought, "while I am at it" and I am glad I did it. Messy job to be sure and no one will ever see it unless I put it up on a lift but I know its under there : )

    For the wheel wells, I used the same spray on undercoating and they look great. I used these brackets for the conversion, front and rear.

    http://www.zccjdm.com/catalog.php/az...SION_BRACKETS_
    Last edited by MEZZZ; 12-26-2010 at 03:47 PM.
    1977 280Z
    I'm great at taking my Z apart, putting it back together has been a whole different story.

  35. #35
    Registered User cozye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MEZZZ View Post
    You and I are on the same page there. I did the front first, knowing I had to drop the tank for the rear bumper. I had taken a sawzall to the strut so I could mount it in advance. When it came time to do the rear, I pulled out EVERYTHING. Got under it with a wire wheel and cleaned it up. It too had undercoating on it and it was in very good shape but filthy. I thought, "while I am at it" and I am glad I did it. Messy job to be sure and no one will ever see it unless I put it up on a lift but I know its under there : )

    For the wheel wells, I used the same spray on undercoating and they look great. I used these brackets for the conversion, front and rear.

    http://www.zccjdm.com/catalog.php/az...SION_BRACKETS_
    Thanks for the input. I actually made my own front brackets, but they are very similar to these. I thought about buying these but it wasn't hard to make mine and I did use the same bolt holes as the factory struts so I didn't have to drill anything on the front. The rear I will likely do something very similar to the ones you have posted, but will probably just cut and weld some 1.5" steel instead of bending. That way I can mock it up and trim the joints a bit easier for a good fit. Bending and fitting is a bit harder for me since it takes a lot more effort to bend and it's not as precise as cutting and welding.

    I did get the rear bumper off last night. I still have to get the struts out and will work on that this week. While I've got the trim panels off and while I'm patching holes on the rear apron, I'm going to go ahead and weld in a patch on my rear hatch sill and fix that too. So I'll likely be working on it all week/weekend.

    I haven't researched yet, but whats involved in getting that rear sheet metal filler off the apron? Looks like its just tack welded on, so I figured I'd have to cut and grind it off.
    1978 280z 4sp

  36. #36
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    Are you talking about that little piece about (doing it from memory) less than an inch tall and maybe 2 inches wide that is tacked on behind where the bumper is? It is slightly off center below the license plate area. The worst part of the rear was the interior panels so you could get to the nuts from the inside. On my car, I drilled a hole to catch the stock 240 numper in the drivers side and easily reached in where the antenna is located to secure the nut. The passenger side however, was a PITA because the filler neck for the gas tank is in the way. I ended up drilling a small hole from under the car to accept a socket to tighten it up.
    1977 280Z
    I'm great at taking my Z apart, putting it back together has been a whole different story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MEZZZ View Post
    Are you talking about that little piece about (doing it from memory) less than an inch tall and maybe 2 inches wide that is tacked on behind where the bumper is? It is slightly off center below the license plate area. The worst part of the rear was the interior panels so you could get to the nuts from the inside. On my car, I drilled a hole to catch the stock 240 numper in the drivers side and easily reached in where the antenna is located to secure the nut. The passenger side however, was a PITA because the filler neck for the gas tank is in the way. I ended up drilling a small hole from under the car to accept a socket to tighten it up.
    Yeah, I'm talking about that piece that is tacked on, that goes all the way across to cover the gap from the bumper sticking out. It's tacked on I believe and will have to be drilled/ground/cut off. Is that what you did ?

    I've got the trim panels off already. Probably start back on it Wednesday night, and work through the long weekend on it. I need to finish fitting these bumpers so I can send them off to get chromed.
    1978 280z 4sp

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by cozye View Post
    Yeah, I'm talking about that piece that is tacked on, that goes all the way across to cover the gap from the bumper sticking out. It's tacked on I believe and will have to be drilled/ground/cut off. Is that what you did ?

    I've got the trim panels off already. Probably start back on it Wednesday night, and work through the long weekend on it. I need to finish fitting these bumpers so I can send them off to get chromed.
    Oh that piece. Mine was actually held on by tiny sheet metal screws, I simply removed it. I never like the look of that piece, it seems most over the years bowed at the ends slightly, like a smile. Of course, now I have about 8-10 little holes to close up. It looks bad now as it sits. I finished up painting out the bezels and adding the European amber turn signal lenses in the fall.
    I actually drove it about 5 miles yesterday, Im up to 20 miles in the past year : )
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    Last edited by MEZZZ; 01-01-2011 at 07:44 AM.
    1977 280Z
    I'm great at taking my Z apart, putting it back together has been a whole different story.

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    Sheet metal screws huh ? Odd. Maybe they changed it in 78. Mine was tack welded on all the way across. I cut it off a couple days ago.
    1978 280z 4sp

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    Thanks again for the feedback...so I have decided to continue my search for a Z...I have a follow up question...I have been interested in all the Z models (not ZX), I have been increasing interested in the 240's but I am open to thoughts...Thanks again.

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