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Thread: Has your Z/Zed ever left you stranded?

  1. #1
    Supporting Member EScanlon's Avatar
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    Default Has your Z/Zed ever left you stranded?

    Following up on a cross-thread in FrankensteinZ's travel-ogue, I propose this thread.

    Post your stories of what and how your Zed has left you stranded.

    Humorous stories are fine, as well as gut wrenching ones. The ideal story should, hopefully, have a "I drove it home" finale, but I think you get the drift.

    Dinner just got here, so I'll post mine later. There were a couple of previous posts in the originating thread, and I'll let them have first post honors.

    I will say however, that I'm probably the ONLY person to have had wheels come off two different cars, with minor to no damage. One I was towed home, and the other I drove it home.

    In the second instance, I drove it to a car show only 45 minutes later and took Best in my class!

    E

  2. #2
    Semi-retired admin Arne's Avatar
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    Has your Z/Zed ever left you stranded?
    Actually, no, it hasn't. Pretty boring, what?
    Arne - Former owner, HLS30-37705, 7/71, 905 Red
    Car blogs - 240Z - Porsche 911

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    Thanks for the lead off honors E but in the other thread I was mearly relating to being brokedown in Minnesota. I wasn't driving a Z. Now that's even more boring... Next!

  4. #4
    Registered User dimitri_zee's Avatar
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    Mines not very dramatic, but could've killed most of the electrics... Drove the zed to fill up with fuel while it was cheap before the weekly-just-before-payday fuel price rise, pulled into the servo station, filled up then started the engine. Hmm..alternator light on... volts going from 11 at idle to 16 volts while at 2000rpm! Only thing to do, turn on everything to help absorb all the excess power and take it real easy getting home...and it did without any casulties..
    HS30-00121

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    Her Majesty the 26th 26th-Z's Avatar
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    A water pump left me walk'n once. Her Majesty was NOT in my good graces at the time. She ran a Mallory dual-point distributer and one of the point sets broke on my way to Daytona one year. I decided to limp home and missed the 24-hour race.
    Enjoy the Ride
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    Torch Wielding Villager gogriz91's Avatar
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    Fusible links gave out in Jacksnville FL, had to be towed. After a hard rain I went out to continue a road trip in Des Moines IA and cracked the distributor cap, took about 4 hours to troubleshoot/fix.
    '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

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    Registered User doradox's Avatar
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    Fusible link burned on the way home from work one day. Scavenged a little speaker wire, hot wired the coil, jumped the starter solenoid and drove the rest of the way home. Fortunately it was still light out.

    Steve
    I slipped into my jeans
    Lookin' hard and feelin' mean
    I took a spit at the moon

  8. #8
    Z geek at large FastWoman's Avatar
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    Good call, Enrique. That's a thread that shouldn't be allowed to drift. It's such a great story.

    OK, I've moved this from the other thread, not that it's THAT interesting (Just commiserating with Frankie):

    I guess I got off light. For me, it was a busted fan belt outside of Dallas/Ft. Worth on I-35. I had to park my car off of an exit ramp and walk a few miles into town to buy a fan belt and a wrench. I was back on the road a few hour later. Ever since that time, I've always carried spare belts and basic tools.
    My only semi-dramatic story was with regard to my '66 Mustang (sorry for the drift). I had just upgraded from a 2 row to 3 row radiator and was taking three friends out for a drive in the country. About an hour down the road, I heard a soft "ting" from under the hood. I said, "What's that?" My friends, who were enjoying the ride said, "Ah, it's nothing. Keep driving." Then I heard another "ting" and said, "No, there's something wrong." They insisted more loudly, "It's NOTHING. Keep driving." No sooner than I had opened my mouth to say, "I think I'd better pull over," all hell broke out under the hood, and there was steam everywhere. My flex fan had ground its way into the new radiator. Grrrrrr... A cell phone would have been a great thing to have on that outing.
    Last edited by FastWoman; 10-08-2009 at 06:52 AM.
    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 )

  9. #9
    Registered User Oiluj's Avatar
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    Back in the early 80's, my first Z, (73'), had the points come apart once 20 miles from anywhere. I always kept an old, spare set in the car. In 15 minutes I was driving again. Same car had an alternator failure that led to low voltage and loss of power, but it got me home.

    My 2nd Z, a late 71' never let me dow in 8 years. Expect the same from my current 72'. They are actually very reliable cars.
    Julio
    1972 240Z (in-progress, 95% complete)
    CZC# 15388

  10. #10
    Former frequent poster sblake01's Avatar
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    None of the three Z's that I've owned ever stranded me, believe it or not. Other than having to change a flat tire on the 78. Oh, I do have a few 'stranded' stories, a couple that even involve Datsuns, but nothing about the Z.
    Last edited by sblake01; 10-08-2009 at 07:43 AM.
    2004 Ford Ranger EDGE Supercab
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    Certified HVAC/MVAC Technician

  11. #11
    Registered User rdefabri's Avatar
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    I remember a special day - my daughter was taking a karate belt test - we were all excited to go. I took my Z to pick something up from the store...it was a beautiful day...sun shining...birds...you get the picture.

    There were even comments made about the car - I parked right in front of the store I was going into. "Nice car" and "You don't see those anymore", or "that's a classic". Yup, I was real proud of her, and even more proud that my daughter was going for a new belt! I couldn't wait!

    As I came out of the store, I went to start up my Z. Cranked it once...cranked it twice. That's odd - it won't start. Hmmm, I am sure it's nothing - let me open the hood and look underneath. Nothing out of the ordinary, so let me try again. NOTHING.

    So I call my wife. "Honey, I am stuck". You can imagine what I got as a response. Now I am in jeopardy of missing my kids test - what a bummer. Not to mention the embarrassment of being stuck in front of a store where the workers are asking me if everything is ok, blah blah.

    Lucky for me, I have AAA...and although it took awhile for them to get there, I was able to get her home, get to the karate test (yep, she passed!), and diagnose the problem (fuel pump). I replaced it, and all was well with the world!

    I love it when a plan comes together...
    '72 240Z HLS30-73667 (sold)
    '66 Jaguar XKE FHC, numbers matching
    '67 Honda CL77 305 Scrambler, 8,000 original miles

  12. #12
    Registered User conedodger's Avatar
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    I guess I could check the date by figuring out when the last game at Metropolitan Stadium was played. It was a game between the Vikings and the Cowboys and the Metrodome was going to be their new stadium the next year. The Cowboys won and the fans had begun dismantling the stadium for souveniers. Seats were being cut out from under people!
    I had a first date with a gal and wanted to impress her. I didn't normally drive my Z in the winter at all but I had polished it all up and since the roads were clear, I thought I would drive her. It was cold that day. You Minnesota guys know what I mean but most of the rest of you cannot even imagine what -35 F is like. Especially if you are sitting still. Believe me, with the performance that Tammy Kramer was putting on that day, no one had any reason to stand up and cheer. Oh, did I say Tammy? I guess I meant Tommy. After the game, we went out to the parking lot and she started right up. But then the unexpected happened. Well, unexpected for me anyway... The defroster didn't defrost and the heater didn't heat. I was stuck in the traffic leaving the stadium trying to get on to the Crosstown and she started to overheat. The thermostat had frozen and the head warped from the heat. We managed to get to a restaurant on Lyndale just across the Freeway and we ordered food while waiting for the tow truck and my friend to come get us.
    Somehow, she went out with me again. In fact we went out for more than a year... I threw the gal back but I still have the car!
    Rob
    2000 BMW R1100 RT-SE (for sale)
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    1975 Porsche 914 stroker motor autoX car
    1973 Datsun 240Z Restoration project. New paint in original white. E31 head on 2.4 block. Nissan Motorsports header. R200 with Nissan motorsports LSD.

  13. #13
    Registered User texasz's Avatar
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    Kinda, my car has terrible blow by on one cyl. (the compression in this one is 40) and the carbs are in desperate need of rebuilding so it does not run very well. I discovered just how bad one day a few years ago when I was kickin' around town and it started sputtering and loosing power. I managed to get her in to a parking lot on the side of the road and began tinkering to see what was up. After pulling a plug or two I found that they were VERY fouled. As luck would have it there was an O'Rileys walking distance, maybe 1/2 mile down the road, so I went and bought new plugs.

    I replaced them and headed straight home...well wouldn't you know it, before getting home it started doing the same thing again about 20 minutes in to my trip, fortunately at that point I was only about 5-10 minutes from home and managed to make it by playing with the choke and gas pedal a bit.

    Now at home I pulled the plugs and found them to be in the same fouled condition as the ones I had just replaced. It was at this point that I discovered the benefit of having a blast cabinet with glass beads, cleaned up one of the sets and put them back in the car and it ran fine. I then cleaned up the other set and put them back in the boxes and kept them as spares.

    This little experience showed me that my car will not run for more than about 20 minutes before needing the plugs changed. So I quite driving her at all and allowed all the registrations to expire and removed the insurance. Since then life has been in the way until late this year when I have become serious about getting her back on the road with a rebuilt engine and carbs (not started yet, saving the money for it though and will be starting soon).

    I have started her from time to time to keep things moving though and have gone through the remove, replace, clean the plugs routine a few times.
    '70 240Z - HLS30-08215 - Production Date 8/70
    '70 240Z - HLS30-06293 - Rusty and has Identity Crisis (must have been wrecked and the back 1/2 sectioned in from a later car maybe even a 280Z)...PARTS CAR!
    '71 240Z - HLS30-018482 - Production Date 1/71,Corvette Yellow, driven under a 4Runner, bought for parts, hit lotto with parts on car, may fix and put back on road

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  14. #14
    Supporting Member EScanlon's Avatar
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    First instance with a tire:

    A few years ago, on the way to a Dentist appointment, my car had a little of what seemed to be a slight wheel inbalance. Just a bit of vibration at slower speeds that seemed to go away at higher speeds.

    Driving along on I-205 at about 60mph or so, I heard a loud BANG... followed by my left rear tire passing me and proceeding down the road. I quickly slammed on my brakes and was able to keep the back end up enough that only in the last 30 feet or so did the brake drum hit the ground. No body damage thankfully, but I did have to be towed home as I had lost ALL the lug nuts and wasn't sure that I hadn't damaged the axle, brake etc. Figured it was safer to be towed home and fix there than swiping one each from the remaining wheels.

    Problem turned out to be a bad u-joint on the half shaft that finally vibrated the heck out of the wheel and caused the lug nuts to fly off.

    Second instance with a tire:

    On my way to the Blue Lake 2009 car show in my 67 Roadster with my wife, as I approached the Stop sign just down the road from me (bottom of my street hill has a Yield), I pressed the brake and it gave off a loud BANG! Pressed on the brake again, steering wheel lurches viciously to the right and the left front tire continues on down the street plowing through a neighbor's flower garden. (It missed the flowers but left a single tire track, which I'm sure caused that neighbor to think... WTF?) Good thing I don't normally drive with my fingers inserted into the holes on the spokes of the steering wheel, or I might have broken a finger.

    Car was only going 5-10mph at the time, and I was talking to another Roadster owner I was due to meet with on the cell phone. When I commented that I had just lost a wheel and was grinding to a stop, he calmly asked if we were ok. We were, and I mentioned that I probably wasn't going to make it on time and gave him directions on how to get to the show.

    Retrieved the wheel, checked the knock-off spline, saw that the threads had been bunged up a bit, but was able to mount the wheel and limp home at a slow speed. Removed the wheel, dressed the threads, straightened the brake shield while my wife cleaned the tire and removed the dirt scuff marks and then replaced everything. Left for the show about 40 minutes after it happened (changed clothes) and took Best Roadster at the show.

    Best guess as to what went wrong, is that the knock off wheel had gotten aligned tooth on tooth when I had remounted them the day before and tightened them down. Then when I slowed for the yield, and followed it up with the stop, the wheel then lined up properly and slammed into it's groove which allowed the knock-off to have about 1/4" of play... when I braked.... ZING...off it came.

    So I can honestly say that I've lost tires in both the Z and the Roadster.

    A second incident with the Z was at the 2008 Canby show.

    Just as I arrived at the entrance to the show, and was in the process of paying the entry fee, the car died. Asked my wife if she had shut it off (sometimes the echo of the exhaust can make it hard to hear at drive-up windows), she had not. Tried to start the car.... and nothing.

    Luckily Arne had a spare E12-80 module and after replacing it, everything was up and running. Thanks again Arne. Interestingly, nobody had a screwdriver and we had to make do with the spade connector from some left over wiring that Beandip had.

    Those are mine.

    E
    Last edited by EScanlon; 10-08-2009 at 12:34 PM.

  15. #15
    Registered User psdenno's Avatar
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    Three times in 38 years.
    The First (1977): Fan belt broke about 10 miles from home. I limped home by driving until the temp needle climbed to the danger zone, turned off Z, waited for it to cool, repeat.
    The Second (1978): Fan through the radiator a couple miles from home. Towed home by a friend.
    The Third (1983): Main pulley detached from engine and rolled into an empty field on the way to work. Fifty miles from home, recovered pulley, walked to nearest house to call AAA, towed to a shop that made it all better, tow truck driver took me to work, picked up Z at the end of the day.
    Dennis
    1971 240Z - Original Owner
    2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible

  16. #16
    Registered User 240ZX's Avatar
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    Only been stranded two times and for the same reason! Just so you'll understand the situation, I only run an electric fuel pump located near the fuel tank. And by the way, the fuel pump is manufactured by Mallory and is of the gyroller type. Anyway, while out having the usual fun, working the tires and suspension on SoCal canyon roads, the 240 just starts petering out like it was running out of fuel!? Interesting because I can still hear that the pump is working.....so I thought. To make a long and boring story shorter and after wait for a tilt bed tow truck to show up (it's now dark, cold, and getting late), the guy shows up and we get my baby loaded without any issues. Mind you, my 240 only has about 4" ground clearance. The tow truck guy did such a nice job and took great care not to dork up my Z that I gave him a really nice tip ($). So, what was the real problem....obviously, it was a fuel delivery issue! After removing the pump, test it for pressure (which was almost zero even though it sounded just fine), what I discovered was that the carbon that comes off the brushes had built up enough, within the pump, that it slowly created a bigger and bigger resistance and consequently reduced the pump output. After cleaning out the carbon, turning the armature, and installing new brushes, I was good to go again. Moral of the story......if you run a Mallory gyroller type pump, one needs to inspect and service the brushes after about 500 hours of operation. Fortunitly, actually removing and repairing the pump is quite simple. As they say (who ever THEY are), hind sight is always 20-20!!!

    Tom
    Last edited by 240ZX; 10-08-2009 at 02:05 PM.

  17. #17
    Walmart greeter Mikes Z car's Avatar
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    Back around 1980 with the 71 240 I had then I was driving through Phoenix and the points quit. I was towed a short distance to a shop where they put new ones in. Another time in Texas I ran out of water and parked on the side of the freeway and hiked a half mile to a farm house and got some more water in a container I carried due to leak worries.
    Mike

  18. #18
    Registered User d240zx2's Avatar
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    1970, back when I had no knowledge of the dangers of over-revving a 5 CW crank, and little sense, I doubled up on the points spring to "keep it against the cam" on the distributor shaft for those rare forays into 7500 rpm land. On a trip from Lubbock to Midland, Texas (about 120 miles) on a Saturday, the springs sproinged. Broke completely. Isolated 20 miles from our destination, we flagged down a motorist and asked him to contact a friend in Midland and have him go to Dotson Datsun (yes, that was the name of the Datsun dealer in Midland, Texas back then) and get a set of points and bring 'em out to us. A couple of hours in the HOT West Texas sun later, here comes Oren in his 'Cuda with the points.

    Other than that, the Z has ALWAYS gotten me to and fro.

    Ignorance is curable, Stupid is forever.
    First & Third owner of HLS30-00721
    B. 01/70 D. 03/12

    New owner of HLS30-15653
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    Frank in Houston, Texas

  19. #19
    Registered User Pat Carr's Avatar
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    One January day in the early 80's I was in a meeting at work when a fellow worker knocks on the conference room door. "I didn't want to bother you, but I thought you should know your car is smoking." I ran to the car and popped the hood to find the wiring harness smoldering. I disconnected the battery and arranged for a tow truck to meet me after work.

    This was before Al Gore invented the internet and sites like this one existed, so I didn't know this was probably caused by the fuse box. Took me 6 months to finally reconnect everything one wire at a time. In 31 years of ownership, that was the only time I needed a tow.

    Pat

  20. #20
    Registered User zcar70's Avatar
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    Just once did my 240 fail me. Back in the late 1970s the small, curved manifold coolant hose split and sprayed coolant directly onto the distributor, got under the cap and that was that.

    Lots of you have mentioned points problems. I was NEVER a big fan of points on my 240Z and switched to a Petronix setup a few years ago. What a difference! Smoother idle, smoother rpms, no maintenance.

  21. #21
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    Back in the 70's my 260z stranded me three times. Twice, I had the spring in the button on the inside of the distributor cap fail, and lost ignition. The first time I had to walk (it was before cell phones). The second time I had a spare in the car just in case.

    The other was when a resistor inside of the "interlock" module (which had to do with the seatbelt or something being tied in with the electronics) blew. Killed the ignition. I had to have it towed and found a replacement part in a junk yard.

    Those were the good old days!

    Pat

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    In the 23 years I've owned my 280z, it's never left me stranded. I did however back into a flower bed in a parking lot and get stuck once. I put in a call to AAA and while I was waiting with my son, who was about 9, a girl came up and started yelling to all the guys in the parking lot and they all came over and lifted my car enough so I could pull out. We were all so pleased and excited, then the tow truck showed up.

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