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Thread: Comming from a Miata to a Datsun Z, what am I getting myself into?

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    Default Comming from a Miata to a Datsun Z, what am I getting myself into?

    Hi

    I just started looking at Z cars as my wife told me that she always wanted one. I have been working on cars on and off since I first started driving. Until recently it was about survival and not fun.

    A little over a year ago a friend of mine talked me into getting a Miata as a project car. I always wanted to drive a car on the track and I knew it wasn’t going to be my daily driver (too stressful). Well the timing belt snapped less than a month after we got the car and that kicked off my mechanical learning curve. After successfully completing a timing belt change (including all seals, water pump etc.) I started diving into every other aspect of the car. Pretty much everything else has been upgrades over stock (adjustable shocks, intake and exhaust system, break system with stainless lines, multiple chassis braces, motor mounts, etc) so my most of dealing with the car weren’t because it wouldn’t run.

    I don’t have a lot of money to spend on the car purchase so I know I will have to find something in good running order that I can slowly upgrade over time. I have done some body work way in the past on my first car in NJ (Datsun 810) that was a rust bucket. I must have added 20-30Lbs of fiberglass and bondo to that car (it was missing most of the fender swells over the wheels). I’d like to avoid that experience again.

    Since I am in the 2,000 to 3,000 range I’m wondering if it is better to look at the 280z cars instead of a 240z. It seems that the high demand for 240z cars is making them expensive even if they have a lot of problems. The 280z cars seem in better shape and if I get a 1975 car it will be smog exempt.

    I heard that the 280z cars are heavier than the 240z cars but if you replace the front bumper and mess with the engine the can be as fast and fun to drive as a 240z.

    Any advice would be helpful.

    By the way, is there a section that has step by step instructions with pictures to guide people through basic repair and install projects on this Forum? On Miata.net they have a “Garage” section that I use quite a bit. What are the best repair manuals to get for Datsun Z cars?

    Thanks,

    Andy

  2. #2
    Torch Wielding Villager gogriz91's Avatar
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    Default

    Here's a thread that starts to answer some of your questions.

    http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/s...highlight=280z

    As for a forum with step by step instructions that doesn't really exist but you usually will find multiple threads on many types of common repairs by using the search function.

    As for manuals I'm biased towards the Haynes manual but, depending on what year Z you end up with, the factory service manual may be online or could be gotten off of EBay.
    '73 HLS30 129806 ; L-28, street cam, SUs, 5-speed, Koni's, Suspension techniques springs, swaybars, 3.90 R200 LSD

    Heavily medicated for your protection

  3. #3
    beandip beandip's Avatar
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    If you do go with a 240 Z , I recommend the How To Restore Your Z by Wick Humble . Motorsport has them and I think B Dalton does also. As to your question comparing the 280 to the 240. the '70 & '71 240 are the lightest at around 2200 lbs. and after this were built with heaver gauge sheet metal and were required by the emissions standards to add modifications. Plus heavier bumpers and such. I have a '73 that I have installed 240Z bumpers , I prefer the look of the much smaller and trimmer bumper. My Z weighs 2400 lbs. at the curb with no driver. I did change to a 280 ZX engine with a small amount of modifications and I kept the SU carbs. This does not change the weight , but wakes up the performance. Rust is your main enemy weather a 240 or a 280. The later cars became much heavier with power steering and Air COD. and such things. Are more comfortable than the earlier Z, but the sports car feel is compromised. Keep in mind with either of these cars , there age. A word of caution . Being owned by a Z , you become infected with the virus and there is no cure !! Gary
    I'd rather die while I am living than live while I am dieing. CZC 1887 IZCC 12602 Member of NorthWest Z Car Club

  4. #4
    Known Zitus carrier! hls30.com's Avatar
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    Buy Wick Humbles book from Amazon
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1931128022?...78R4ZRE61RJ5V&
    Least expensive place.
    Will
    Last edited by hls30.com; 03-30-2008 at 11:17 AM.
    A Z is beautiful from any angle, I just happen to prefer to view from the drivers' seat!

  5. #5
    '73 Orange 240Z 4spd 1973Z's Avatar
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    I highly recommend Colin Messer's "How to Keep Your Datsun/Nissan Alive". It is not Z-car specific, but a great Do-It-Yourself book for working on Datsuns. Good luck in your Z-car quest, you will become infected with the Z Virus!
    Last edited by 1973Z; 03-30-2008 at 01:39 PM.
    Mostly stock '73 240Z
    Original Retro Orange


    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/838926 240Z

  6. #6
    Bitten by the Z bug hard bigoak's Avatar
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    You can download most of the FSM's here:

    http://carfiche.com/manuals022/cars/

    If you are on a budget, the 280's had thicker sheet metal and withstood the elements slightly better. And they are typically a little cheaper, so a 75 may be a good way to go.

    You are in Cali so you should be able to find a decent starting vehicle in your range. The MOST important thing to avoid is rust. Battery trays, cowls, doglegs, floor pans, rocker panels, spare tire tubs, etc are all prime candidates.

    As the bodies tended to rust and the drivelines are generally bullet proof, driveline parts are readily available (although there is a lot of junk out there).

    Read up on members Ebay experiences (mostly bad) before you go that route as you should learn from our mistakes.

    Good luck and make good use of the search function.

    Welcome aboard.
    Bigoak

    '71 240Z
    '77 280Z
    '87 300ZX

  7. #7
    Registered User 72ZDave's Avatar
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    I bought the factory service manual and Wick Humbles book as well as how to rebuild your Nissan/Datsun OHC engine and between the three of them and this forum, I've been able to get my questions answered. It's funny, I bought a Z to drive to get better mileage and since it's gonna be awhile before it's done and diesel is now around $4.00/gallon, I bought an old Miata to drive until I get the Z done! Good luck hunting and get a solid candidate!
    Dave the Z guy in AR.

    To Z or not to Z, it's a rhetorical question!


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    I've got a used copy of Wick Humble's book that I got as a gift for sale for $10 + ship if anyone is interested. If so, please PM me. Thanks!

    Greg

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