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Thread: looking to buy into the Z cult- some basic questions about buying/inspection

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    Default looking to buy into the Z cult- some basic questions about buying/inspection

    I've been a huge fan of the classic Z for many years, and Im more or less ready to pull the trigger on one now. Im looking at a '71 advertised good condition, relatively fresh paint, and a 3.2L Rebello engine. I've yet to go see it, but Im trying to do my research now to know what to look out for.

    Im thinking that mechanically I'll have a good feel after driving it.. however, I don't know what kind of power to expect from it (at all) so I may do a compression test to ensure the motor is good (supposedly only a few thousand miles old) and perhaps even asking the owner if he'd be willing to let it go on a dyno before finalizing the sale. Is that reasonable?

    Aside from engine/trans, what do you folks reckon should take most of my attention? The paint is several years old and supposedly starting to show some light rust somewhere so I'll have a good look at those spots. Is there a way to tell whats going on under the paint? Any problem spots to look for around the suspension, wheels, brakes, etc? Electrical and interior?

    Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.

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    Registered User psdenno's Avatar
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    A flexible magnet (the kind with advertising on one side) will give a clue to what's under the paint. If it's fiberglass or Bondo, the magnet will drop to the ground.
    Dennis
    1971 240Z - Original Owner
    2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible

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    Fiberglass or bondo wouldn't bother me... excessive rust under the paint would, though!

    I suppose if Im close and thorough of my inspection I should be able to spot even minor rust through the paint. The finish can't remain smooth on rusty panels...

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    Forget the exterior rust, it's the rust you can't readily see that's critical. Inspect floor boards, under the battery, frame rails and their attachment points. Any and all under-car pieces. Ya gotta get the car on a lift. Mechanicals are important, but body condition is even more so.
    First & Third owner of HLS30-00721
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    Frank in Houston, Texas

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    Thanks thats a good tip. I will definitely inspect under the carpets and at all suspension attachment points very closely. I guess the next question would be "how much rust is too much"? My gut tells me that if theres any serious rust around attachment points or frame rails, just run the other way.

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    Registered User 5150 will's Avatar
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    All good tips here. Rust free cars are out there to be had if you aren't in a hurry and it sounds like you aren't. I'd be more focused on that than a sassy Rebello motor. Where are you located? If you're out west and the car has rust, I'd pass and keep looking.
    '71 240z 907 Green/Butterscotch Interior 81,000+ original miles
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    Www.zhome.com/

    See the writeup on ownership and what to look for.

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    The last I heard - if Rebello builds a 3.2L - it costs about $6500.00 to $8500.00. Properly set up - and tuned etc - 250HP to 275HP on pump gas - and the car should be a rocket!! So I would want to see the Invoice from Rebello for that engine. If there is no documentation with that engine - consider it BS.

    Rebello sells Parts - but "parts" don't make it a Rebello engine.

    If the seller has a pretty decent car with a properly installed Rebello 3.2L - then it will have had a lot of work done to the rear end and half shafts most likely. You would want to look into the closely. If it hasn't been done you can conside the cost of upgrading everything back there as well.

    If the seller has a pretty decent car with a properly installed Rebello 3.2L - I'd expect the asking price to be in the $12K to $14K range. Depending on the market area you are in {North America tells us nothing} - - the actual selling price might be below $10K - - all depends on every aspect of the car.

    Just some thoughts..
    Carl B.
    Last edited by Carl Beck; 09-28-2012 at 06:56 AM.

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    Thanks again, all good advice.

    I saw and drove the car today. It presents itself very well and is mostly clean, but some rust is starting to bubble under the paint on the rear right quarter. Other than that, it looks well sorted. The engine bay is clean, the car pulls good but definitely needs a tune. Its on a 5 speed transmission. It has triple SK carbs installed, but it does smell of raw fuel and I'd say needs a good run on a dyno and a professional tune to run 100%. Not having much experience with these cars, or any other carburated cars really, do you guys have fuel smell inside while driving?

    It pulled quite strong above 3000rpm, but I have no frame of reference to compare against. This was a 'first look' but Im fairly sure I will go for a second and more detailed inspection as well as an offer on the car. I will ask for some more documentation on the build and what-not.. but the owner seems legit. The car is in Canada and he's asking around $13,000 which seems about fair, considering the cost of the engine and some other goodies installed. The front fenders are fiberglass, the rear quarters are flared (not bolt-on) and the car has coil overs installed. I checked it out for rust in the common spots and its clean, but I will definitely want it up on a jack to inspect close-up underneath with a flashlight.

    Thanks again guys
    Last edited by thedarkie; 09-29-2012 at 06:03 PM.

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    At least in my area, any rust-free Z can demand $10-$12K. Add a properly done, (and documented), Rebello engine, and it's probably more like $14 -18K...
    SF Bay area may be more expensive, but for a good example, I don't think it's that much different.
    Just my 2 cents...
    Julio
    1972 240Z (in-progress, 95% complete)
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedarkie View Post
    It has triple SK carbs installed, but it does smell of raw fuel and I'd say needs a good run on a dyno and a professional tune to run 100%. Not having much experience with these cars, or any other carburated cars really, do you guys have fuel smell inside while driving?
    The smell of raw gas and/or exhaust fumes in the cabin of a 240Z are quite common. That is a discussion in and of itself - many different causes. With a car running tripple side drafts however, the first thing you want to check is leaking fuel lines, floats that are overflowing/stuck. All can cause an engine fire... At certain higher RPM ranges you can also experience "stand off" - where fuel vapors "stand off" outside the carb face. Normally an air cleaner confines them and they get sucked back into the carbs - but with no air cleaners, the wrong length of air horns, intake runners and/or balance tubes etc - they can farther vaporize outside the carbs - and create a stong smell of gasoline.

    Quote Originally Posted by thedarkie View Post
    The car is in Canada and he's asking around $13,000 which seems about fair, considering the cost of the engine and some other goodies installed. The front fenders are fiberglass, the rear quarters are flared (not bolt-on) and the car has coil overs installed. I checked it out for rust in the common spots and its clean, but I will definitely want it up on a jack to inspect close-up underneath with a flashlight.
    If these are modifications that you would have done to any 240Z you bought - then they are a plus for you. However, fiberglass fenders and flaired rear quarters will significantly reduce the market value of a 240Z, and they will appeal to a smaller number of people. If you ever want to resell the car - just be aware of that. Good rear quarter panels can easily run $850.00 each in used condition and over $1500.00 each for NOS. Then there is the cost of labor to replace them..

    If you would not have done that to your 240Z, or if you want a 240Z as a Classic/Collectible Sports GT - - then walk away from that one. IMHO it would have to sell for significantly less money in todays market..

    FWIW,
    Carl B.

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    Thank you Carl thats very informative.

    Although I very much appreciate a classic factory Z, I want a modified car myself. I don't have the time and money to start a build, so this particular car is up my alley. I want something fun and fast, not necessarily period-correct or in "perfect" condition. Im also not buying it for future resale.. whatever happens, happens. I just want a strong running car that I can drive and have fun in. On topic of the quarters, they're flared very subtly... enough that I didn't even notice them at first. Its quite tastefully done, but I understand that it wouldn't necessarily be everyone's flavour of choice.

    If I do pull the trigger on this car, I'll have a lot of reading and research ahead of myself so I can get properly up to speed on the platform. I'm sure I'll have lots of questions, and I'll probably want a knowledgable person/shop to look over the car and perhaps tune it to ensure it's running at its maximum potential.

    Thanks again

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