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Thread: While I'm Here, What Should I Do?

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    Registered User Threehz's Avatar
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    Default While I'm Here, What Should I Do?

    So I've pulled my engine and today I plan on giving it a deep cleaning, the car sat for around 8 years until I purchased it in May. I haven't started it yet I've simply gone straight in to remove the engine and clean everything up thoroughly and replace everything that needs it.

    Now since the engine is out is there anything that I should do to, maintenance/refreshment wise?
    Different Strokes for Different Folks
    1991 BMW 318is - DD
    1977 Datsun 280Z - Resto

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    Registered User Randalla's Avatar
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    Since making it look pretty is a high priority, why not install new fire wall grommets for plumbing, electrical, throttle, choke cables etc. All of these are much easier to install with the engine out and the little touches will make a big difference when everything is back together. I'm assuming you are also degreasing the engine and accessories while it is out as well. Also sooo much easier with the engine out. Obviously check and replace the engine mounts if needed. Access to front end suspension and steering components is also much easier with the engine out if they need to be refreshed. I'm sure I am missing some other obviously things but these were top of mind, as I just did mine.

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    Z geek at large FastWoman's Avatar
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    I'd consider repainting the engine bay. There's no better time. Prep it, and drag it into your local el-cheapo auto paint place (Maaco?) to have it shot for a couple hundred bucks. Or spray it in semigloss black.
    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 Threehz's Avatar
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    Yes yes indeed, those are pretty much the two main reasons for me removing the engine. I want to clean and refresh all components and root out all the obviously kaputt parts and replace them, and then of course I want to completely clean and repaint the engine bay.

    With the engine out I have seen many things that I wouldn't have even thought to check and now I see need replacing or at the very least an extreme refreshing! Not to mention all the things I found during the removal process heh.

    My main question is there anything actual engine-wise to be done? Like any work that can be done to the actual engine while it out that is easier and would make a real difference?
    Different Strokes for Different Folks
    1991 BMW 318is - DD
    1977 Datsun 280Z - Resto

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    In that case...

    Well, if there's any chance you're going to R&R either the intake manifold or the exhaust manifold/header, then this is the best time to give it a go. Those studs can be cemented with corrosion into the head. Depending on how long you intend to own the car, you could save yourself a LOT of frustration, pain, anger, blood, and heartache down the road by breaking these things loose while you still can. MSA sells replacement studs, BTW.

    I'd pull the thermo housing off the head, clean up the threads, and replace. When you chase out the threads, pay special attention to the forward most threaded hole. There's a chain guide just beneath it. You can pull off the valve cover and watch the backside of that guide as you screw the tap in. You don't want to bend it!

    Perhaps the water pump? It's no fun replacing that with the engine under the hood.

    How clean is your engine? This would be a great time to pull the oil pan and clean out your engine from top to bottom (sans the cylinders).

    I assume you're also repainting the engine?

    Other than that, everything is very easy to reach/service on a Z. I'd just fixate on breaking loose any corroded nuts/bolts/studs/screws, cleaning, and painting.
    Last edited by FastWoman; 07-02-2011 at 12:04 PM.
    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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    Right now I don't see a reason why I would ever want to get rid of this car, ever. So I'm trying as much as I can to do things the right way. If I wasn't a poor college student then this would be much easier but someday I plan on giving this baby a complete refreshment.

    Eventually I want to replace my header and exhaust system with the MSA performance system but getting things cleaned up and the car running has to come before any upgrading.

    About the header and intake manifold, I've been looking at the engine and wondering what all I can remove relatively easily. I'd like to take as many parts off the engine for dedicated cleaning as I can, which will also make getting in all the engine's nooks and crannies much easier.

    Check! on the water pump!

    Engine is very dirty on the outside, inside wise, oil that has been sitting inside for 8 years looks surprisingly fine however I'd like to clean out the whole engine. I'm definitely going to clean out the pan. How does one go about cleaning the engine top to bottom? I was just thinking of dropping the pan and pouring in some clean oil from every plausible hole?

    As for painting the engine I saw some threads about this and matching the original Datsun color, it's tempting but I'm a little reluctant because it seems a little frivolous (paying for college comes before painting the bottom of an engine). If it turns out that painting it is incredibly cheap then why not, does anyone have any estimates or how much did painting their engine cost?

    Thanks for all the good tips and advice!
    Different Strokes for Different Folks
    1991 BMW 318is - DD
    1977 Datsun 280Z - Resto

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    Registered User 5thhorsemann's Avatar
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    New stainless steel hard lines to everything. Brakes & fuel, I assume you pulled the tranney as well, great time to get after them.

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    Registered User Threehz's Avatar
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    I have not pulled the transmission aswell, but to do everything I want to do I think I'll have to. All I really have to do to remove the tranny now is disconnect it from the rear diff and I can just drop it down?
    Different Strokes for Different Folks
    1991 BMW 318is - DD
    1977 Datsun 280Z - Resto

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    Registered User Rainman's Avatar
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    Considering you are in college.. I suggest cleaning the engine and engine bay as best you can without spending too much cash.

    My main focus would be fixing any/all oil leaks and making it mechanically reliable. Replace the rear main seal, remove and clean out any residue in the bottom of the oil pan and reseal it. Don't worry about pouring oil through the engine while it's out. I've found the best way to clean the internals of an engine is replacing one quart of oil with a quart of ATF (automatic transmission fluid), drive it a day or two then change the oil and filter again and you will find the engine will be nice and clean after that. Have the radiator boiled out, replace all the hoses in addition to the previous comments about the thermostat housing (replace the thermostat as well) and replacing the water pump.

    Definitely replace the engine mounts now as well. I had an issue with this when I woke up my 260Z after it sat for 11 years.. I missed a shift at high RPM and the engine moved (or in combination with the fan flexing and the sloppy transmission mounts) enough to take a chunk out of the radiator creating a decent leak. So after the money spent in boiling out the radiator, I still had to have it recored after the missed shift incident.

    Have fun and enjoy getting to know your Z!


    Nissan Monterey Blue Early '74 260Z
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    Complete rotisserie refreshtoration in process

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    Registered User Healey Z's Avatar
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    strip the engine down, wire wheel, prep, paint everything to taste. Have your exhaust manifold sandblasted, use POR manifold paint.

    alternator after being cleaned up...vs. area it came off of.





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    Z geek at large FastWoman's Avatar
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    Paint is cheap, if you want to throw some paint on your engine. It's mostly elbow grease. You can de-rust with a medium strength solution of muriatic (hydrochloric) acid. Wear gloves, apply repeatedly with a paint brush, and let the acid slowly do the work. Rinse well, and then apply Ospho (phosphoric acid), which will convert any flash rush and render the surface paintable. Both of these products can be found at the hardware store. Then use your choice of engine paint, available in a spray can at your local auto parts store.

    FAIW, leaks are fairly common in these older Z's between the manifolds and the head, particularly around the #6. They often slip by inspection. An intake leak will cause poor running, and an exhaust leak is both noisy and potentially dangerous (CO entry into the cabin). Anyway, if you DO have an intake/exhaust manifold R&R in your future, it's a lot easier to do it when the engine is removed. You'll have better access for drilling out studs, turning studs with vice grips, etc. It CAN be a miserable process having to do all this with the engine in the engine bay. (Your back will get quite a workout.)

    If it helps you to size up the job, a local Z specialist quoted me $800 to R&R the manifolds. This price would have included re-using whatever studs didn't break. His expectation was that he'd have about 3 that would break and require removal/replacement. The problem with this approach is that it leaves mostly weak studs cemented in place with corrosion, particularly if there were any oozing coolant connections nearby (e.g. around the #1). It's best to extract all the studs and start fresh. I'd say that approximately doubles the work.

    So if you choose to take this on, I'm guessing it would probably be about a 2-3 day job for you. Tools would include an ordinary hand tool collection with a couple of long 3/8 extensions, a propane torch, and a good/new pair of vice grips. Supplies would include PB Blaster or Kroil and some nickel antisieze (available from a nut/bolt supplier, approx $20). Parts would include the gasket and a new stud/nut/bolt set (from MSA), which I think would run you under $100.

    You'll also have to learn some Japanese metric curse words, BTW. The American SAE curse words sometimes don't work.
    Last edited by FastWoman; 07-03-2011 at 09:24 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 )

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    Luckily I'm taking Japanese next semester so if I learn those curse words now I'll have a head start

    Thanks for all the good advice guys and Healey those pics are a definite inspiration!

    As for the manifolds it definitely sounds like a worthwhile job, however when you added that I'd need a propane torch some strange ideas popped into my head. What exactly is the torch for? Also does the FSM give a solid outline for removing the manifolds? (I also have the book, "How to rebuild your nissan/datsun ohc engine" which I'm guessing has some info on that.)
    Different Strokes for Different Folks
    1991 BMW 318is - DD
    1977 Datsun 280Z - Resto

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    For degreasing, I can't recommend Oven Cleaner strongly enough. This product does a great job cutting grease, scrubs off with water, and has a unique property of dissolving rotted rubber down to sound rubber.

    While the motor is out, you may as well pull the front cross member to R&R it, clean and lube the steering rack, and change out the lower control arm bushings to urethane.

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    Z geek at large FastWoman's Avatar
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    ^^^ Good idea about the steering rack and bushings!

    I'll have to remember oven cleaner. Sounds like a great idea!

    Threehz, the propane torch is for breaking loose frozen bolts/studs/nuts. When you heat the things up, they expand and squirm slightly in their threaded holes. That fractures the rust/corrosion. As the hardware cools, you spray it with PB Blaster, which then flows into the fractures. Once the hard corrosion has turned to an oily, crusty powder, you have a chance of backing the stud/bolt out. This technique is particularly useful for steel studs/bolts threaded into aluminum, as the aluminum expands faster than the steel. I simply couldn't have removed at least 5 or 6 of the studs in my cylinder head without the torch!

    I don't think there is much you need to know about removing the manifolds. You'll probably get better advice here than you will get in the FSM, as the FSM isnt' really meant to tell you how to service an antique car with loads of corrosion. Here's what you do: First hose down all the bolts/studs/nuts with PB Blaster NOW. Do it again tomorrow. Do it again the next day. Keep those things soaked for as long as possible before you start work. Since you have the luxury of tilting the engine, position it with spark plugs down and manifolds up, so that gravity can be your friend.

    Then start unbolting the manifolds. I'd say use the blow torch method if you encounter resistance, except that you don't want to risk warpage of the manifolds. Turn the nuts/bolts/studs firmly and steadily, and give them time to move. If one rings off... well... it happens. After you've removed the manifolds, then you have to remove the studs. To remove an intact stud, jam a couple of nuts on it, and back it out by turning the lower nut with a wrench. If it offers resistance, torch it. If you're removing a broken stud with no thread left, turn the stud with a SHARP/NEW pair of vice grips. Be VERY careful not to break the stud, because your last option is then to drill it out. You don't want to get to that point! Go slowly and methodically, and ask for advice here on the list before doing something you think might be a bad idea. If you get tired, get some rest and come back with a clear head.

    After you've gotten all the studs out, clean out all the threaded holes with a tap. (Pay attention to my warning about the thermo housing!) To clean out a hole, squirt it full of PB Blaster. Screw in the tap a few turns, back it out, and clean it off. Then go a few more turns, back it out, and clean it off. You don't want to load up the flutes on the sides of the tap with corrosion, because it can jam in the hole and even break. It's an easy task if you take your time. It could become a miserable task if you were to get careless and take too many turns with your tap.

    Next, clean up all of your mating surfaces. I like using this sort of rasp for the job:



    You can lay it flat on the surface and slide it, and it cuts away any debris quite well -- in a perfectly flat plane, no less.

    After you've cleaned all your mating surfaces, blast out all your threaded holes with compressed air -- or chase out any debris again with a tap. Now reassemble per the FSM instructions. I followed ZTrain's suggestion of using a touch of Permatex cement around the exhaust ports. So far that's worked fine.

    Last step: Clean off as much oil as possible from your exhaust manifold. You'll have an impressive plume of smoke when you first fire up your engine -- normal.

    Oh yes, add to your tool list a torque wrench. You'll need that for torquing down the manifolds to spec. All of these tools are very cheap at Harbor Freight or Northern Tool.
    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 mjr45's Avatar
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    A quick tip I got from an old mechanic, after soaking a bolt with penetrating oil (your choice) try tightening the bolt until you hear a crack then back it out. Has worked everytime on my 75.

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    mjr, I have used that technique quite a few times and it does seem to work on some tough nuts/bolts/etc, good tip!

    So I just spend the past three hours removing the intake/exhaust manifold from the engine and they both came off a lot easier then I expected! (by no means was it easy though)

    This week the girlfriend and I spent a couple days scraping, scrubbing and washing every nook and cranny of the engine that we could clean and got a big majority of the grime off! I would say that 90% of the engine and it's attached parts changed colors (in other words we discovered what they actually looked like under all the grime)

    I ordered a new water pump, thermostat, distributor cap, distributor rotor, ngk spark plugs, ngk spark plug wire set, and an intake/exhaust manifold gasket set. First new parts I've ordered for my Z, feels good to really start getting into it!

    Anyhow everyone's advice has been a great help and has really helped guide me in the right direction, I think pretty much everything mentioned in this thread is going to be put into action. The only thing different is instead of R&Ring the exhaust manifold I'm replacing it with MSA headers, and on that note...

    If I replace my exhaust manifold with the MSA 3-2 headers, it will fit right on with a L28 intake/exhaust manifold gasket set like the one I ordered (which looks to be an exact replacement of the original)?
    Different Strokes for Different Folks
    1991 BMW 318is - DD
    1977 Datsun 280Z - Resto

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    Registered User Threehz's Avatar
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    Also the intake manifold is really grimy inside, is there any special way that I should go about cleaning it?
    Different Strokes for Different Folks
    1991 BMW 318is - DD
    1977 Datsun 280Z - Resto

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    Registered User Healey Z's Avatar
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    On the intake....degrease, then take a wire brush to it. Followed by a high temp aluminum color paint. I can go get the actual one I used if you want it. Note that when I took these pics, things weren't tightened up yet, rather still getting the SU's to fit in the engine bay.


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    Registered User Healey Z's Avatar
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    To clean the inside you could always bring it to a machine shop and have it hot tanked. They may charge you $20 or so. If not, get some bottle brushes and your solvent of choice and go to town.

    The cast aluminum color paint, that I am very happy with for the outside:

    Dupli-color engine enamel, DE1650 Cast Coat Aluminum.

    What I like about it is that it does NOT have that fake, shiny silver, rattle canned, amateurishly look that is often achieved when rattle canning an engine.
    Last edited by Healey Z; 08-02-2011 at 09:23 AM. Reason: added cleaning the inside of the intake

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    Thanks Healey I do like the look of that paint, even though the header is already pretty nice looking on the outside (after lots of cleaning of course!) The hot tank idea would be nice just to know it's really fresh.

    I think I'll go at it with a wire brush and degreaser and see how that works out!
    Different Strokes for Different Folks
    1991 BMW 318is - DD
    1977 Datsun 280Z - Resto

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    One more piece of advise I have after reading some of your post...

    "This week the girlfriend and I spent a couple days scraping, scrubbing and washing every nook and cranny of the engine that we could clean .."

    Propose before she gets away.

    Len

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    Registered User ZCurves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superlen View Post
    One more piece of advise I have after reading some of your post...

    "This week the girlfriend and I spent a couple days scraping, scrubbing and washing every nook and cranny of the engine that we could clean .."

    Propose before she gets away.

    Len
    I second that!! Twenty + years ago I had a girlfriend with her own Z! She's turned into my wife, and she still loves Z's. It was destiny! It is very nice to have a spouse who "understands" what having a Z means!
    Andrew (ZCurves)
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    Registered User ZCurves's Avatar
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    I noticed the post about Oven Cleaner. I used this stuff too - works like a champ, but watch out for the overspray and avoid getting it on Aluminum. It will mess up the finish - which is okay if you are going to polish it anyway.
    Andrew (ZCurves)
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    pro deo et patria
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    Registered User Threehz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice guys! I showed her this and she loved those comments. She does love the Z, however sometimes she gets tired of all my "car talk"
    Different Strokes for Different Folks
    1991 BMW 318is - DD
    1977 Datsun 280Z - Resto

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    beandip beandip's Avatar
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    A couple of things. I STRONGLY advise NOT pulling the oil pan , unless it is leaking. If the engine has been cared for properly,
    routine oil changes ect. There is no need to pull the pan. You can dislodge some things that have settled down to the pan and will just stay there and not cause any problem . But if you open the engine there is a good chance that you will have problems with
    clogged oil passages. Why didn't you start the engine prior to this removal? This would have been the first thing you should have
    done. Do clean everything on the outside of the engine and paint, the same with the engine bay. Paint the engine bay the same color as the body of the car. If you intend to make a color change in the future , do it now in the engine bay then you will save a ton of time and work later. If you want to add headers , this would be a great time to do so . I would replace the clutch and throw out bearing also and have the flywheel resurfaced. I didn't read all the posts to this thread so some of what I just said may have been said before. If the engine hasn't been run for years, pull the spark plugs and put some ATF in the cylinders. Just a
    teaspoon full then turn the engine over using the crank nut on the front of the engine. Before you do start the engine pull the valve cover and pour oil over the cam and rockers. Before actually starting it with the plugs OUT , spin the engine on the starter and watch for any valves that may stick . Either open or closed. If all is good they fire it up. I have started engines that have been setting up to 15years with out a problem using this method.
    Gary
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