Hi Fellow Zeders
Here is my Build story.
I have been very slack and not done this sooner now even more under the pump as I moving to QLD in December so I only got a couple of months to get back together - MY GOD I am doing 2-3 hours every night after work and full days on my weekends - yes the body is cracking up and the cash is evaporating quicker than a Snow Man in the Simpson Desert.
Anyway here is the story - I had always wanted a z car since I was about 16years old, now in mid 40s .. didn’t take me to long??…
Had a slogan actually when I was youngster ( god I am sounding old)
Z power - Z domination – Z supremacy – all TRUE of course!
Now I am 45, (still a kid maybe) anyway about a year ago I got the devilish little 260z 2 + 2, as luck would have it after 24years of lusting after those long/low curvaceous lines that make 99.5% of all other sports cars look well what can I say insufficient, my little Blue GEM turned up on the internet with an address no less than 5 km form my house. The unfortunate current owner was having to make a return to life back in NZ. For a new job offer. (very nice guy actually)
So seeing that she was pretty straight and had limited rust that I could see and no-bog that would show up with the basic magnetic test I put in offer that wayward KIWI could not resist, being a short trip home I fired her up drove her home much to the previous owner’s dismay. ( yarrrr really going to drive it???) YEP!
She was a bit thrown together but running and she looked like she had a couple of false starts in the rebuild and renew stakes, BUT she made the short trip home. I gave her a good clean for a couple of days fish oiled the whole car and then started to take rust out from around the battery tray and surrounding areas.
She had just had the following done
· Some re-wiring
· New extractors
· Urethane suspension bumper kit
· New Battery
· New Coil
· New dash cover
· New mechanical fuel pump
Closer inspection when I started the tare down – some of it done a little half assed.
Even know I had in my mind to postpone the rebuild, I still polished and resprayed the kidney bean five slotter classic mags to a mirror shine. On the outward facing surface and painted the inner surface and the inside walls of the kidney bean slots metallic gloss black, the rears are about 1cm wider – tough period style mags that are Aussie made no-less.
The idea was to keep her in a stable condition and limit any further rusting until I was really ready to embark on a full rebuild – part of the schedule was to finish a substantial Man Cave so I would have plenty room for a full resto.
Once the 150 square meter man cave with 4.5 meter ceiling was finished I started to pull her down and remove the god-dam sunroof structure get her ready to put on the rotisserie and get all the parts wet blast/ dustless blasted
Getting the sound deadening out was with a heat gun and hand scrapers was nasty hand blistering experience that took many many many hours. Still got the calluses 6months later. Much later I discovered (via the awesome Vic Z Car Forum) that dry ice to make the sound deadener snap freeze and make it brittle then use a vibrating multi scrapper tool would been so much easier – (valuable lesson No.1)
The sunroof was a slide back job that dropped down in to roof cavity so it looked good actually but it limited the internal head room a bit and I was sure it would just be a home to hold moisture and cause rust moving forward so I cut it out and YES it would have been a massive source of rust in the future no doubt! As I discovered in the removal process. All the seals where toast and the trim on it was also history and rust was in and around most of the structure of it.
I will have to weld some reinforcing bars in and around the hole now as it feels a bit flimsy – dam should of held out for a non- sunroof car, but it will be solid hard top again!
What’s next pull off every panel I can strip out what’s left including all the electrical and the engine, suspension, gearbox, ect – try not lose anything and remember where everything goes – I must be friggen certifiably crazy .!!!!
Need to learn how to panel beat, and weld as well – no small task – over ambitious completely!, but want to do it all myself – my baby, my car no one is going to touch her now but me. To much to learn even with You-Tube assistance and the help of the VIC Z CAR site but we will see how it goes no rush. But its hard to hold back just want to get all finished and start to drive her again.
I have contemplated every engine combo under the sun – keep on going back original L- Series options just like the genuine raw feel and look of the original atmo engine has – seeing some u-tube of stroked versions out on the track demolishing everything in its class gut wrenching spine-tingling stuff – wish it was done now and I was out frying some tyres now threading some turns in a raw tuned 70s motorcar, sure the modern cars can be faster (that’s what the facts say) and more comfortable but character and rawness an the intensity of the driving experience is watered down and unless you are going super sonic speeds there is nowhere near the same level of satisfaction – We all know this!. Classic cars are all appreciating at staggering rate with good reason.
Interior was worse the outer body showing her age massively beyond saving – the spare wheel well she is also a goner! Rear lift back struts still work -what the Hell? The suspension shocks are original on the outside at least (we will see what lurks within) they are still working but would not look out of place as some relic poking out of the sand in the 1st five minutes of a Planet of the Apes Movie
A picture tells a thaousnd dollars
the doors where pretty good
Sun Roof looked good but a massive cultivator of RUST
Wish I had Dome tops
Classic 5 Slot Kidney Beans MADE IN AUST.
I dreaded doing this but it had to be done - Pulling out the heater was one the harder parts there was a lot of rust in the little radiator and pipes but still working, but I had it re-cored anyway, as the idea of complicated fix later on down the track after getting everything back to new would be heart breaking.
I removed the engine gearbox as one unit using a Super Cheap Engine crane , word of advice pay for adjustable angle stabilizer as You would not be able to control how the engine hangs on the crane and I would not have got it out.without it and it and it L-Brackets and the smaller chains to connect the engine to the crane in 4 locations
I attached the hoist to brackets with the head bolts to 4 x head bolts after removing the rocket cover
Next I bought a Rotisserie off EBay for about $1200.00 delivered it does make working on the car so much easier an if you do plan sand/wet blasting and getting access to every surface of the car it’s the only way.
Got her on to the rotisserie this actually did go to plan (for once) the front was pretty straight forward the 2 horizontal struts that go off the main pivoting horizontal bar drilled 2 side holes into these matching the front bumper mounts spacing that threaded into the inside of chassis rails.
For the rear mounts on the rotisserie I got 2 u-style brackets that you would secure pine posts to a cement slab super beefy heavy duty ones . Drilled holes in the base to match the rear bumper mount holes and the uprights that would go either side of the pine post I bolted to the sliding horizontal struts of the rotisserie, I had to do a little spacing with some washers – but overall it went to plan and was pretty straight forward but it did take me 2 evening’s after work to complete it.
Once on the rotisserie I removed the drive line and suspension
The famed rear wishbone set up with removable pivot axel was reliably a nightmare to remove I got one moving by stacking a couple of washers at a time on one side and torqueing up the end nut to slowly pull the axel through, it worked but it was very taxing one end thread and eventually it pretty much stretched the thread into oblivion but was enough to get 80% of it out and gave a lot more opportunity to get a range of penetrating oils into the axel pivot, then I could at least punch out the remainder of it with sock-set extender bar
The second rear swing arm I soaked the lower pivoting ling in a big bucket of apple vinegar for 3 weeks with the central cotter pin removed to allow for more penetration in to the pivot axel, the idea is all the rust and corrosion gets eaten away which should loosen the fit of the axel. Sadly this did not help and I had to cut the axel to get the suspension pivot apart and I will have to press out the remaining axel . NITEMARE!!
The Fuel Tank Resto
The Fuel tank sas in terrible condition 10mm at least of rusty sludge on the bottom and rust everywhere you looked –I thought it was a throw away actually but I researched possible reco methods online and come with the following
With tank fully removed I tried the scoria pebbles and cement mixer combination to internally sand-away the rust and it worked really well.
Next step was to put in the 16 litres of apple cider vinegar which I will leave in for about 2weeks and flip it regularly, this should take out all the rust – concentrating on the seams by letting the tank sit on the seam sides for days.
I almost considered not doing vinegar treatment as the tank looked so good after the pebble process but I am glad I did because a huge amount of rusty crap still came out of it after this process ;lots more rinsing
Note you have to tape up all the holes in the tank I did this by using the good ole duc-tape and some zip ties to ensure the taped caps stayed in place, I used a typical spray can cap to seal the fuel filler neck with some duc-tape and zipties
Pictures of the of blocking the holes in the tank below
With Fuel sender hole I found a big washer and then I made two gaskets out of bicycle tube then screwed the lock ring down – perfect seal
After washing out the tank several times and blowing out the pipes eventually the rusty crap stopped coming out Then I used Por 15 Metal clean to clean out the tank once more and neutralize the effects of the Vinegar Drying out the tank I did straight away by putting a heat gun in the tank filler hole in the lower setting and letting it run – I also put electric strip radiator heater on faced it on the tank – the tank was heated inside and outside it got pretty hot to touch and effectively dried out in about 30 min.
Tank inside after the cement mixer treatment and vinegar and Metal Clean
I put paint striper on the outside of the tank and removed the paint with a hand held wire brush, then used a wire wheel on 240volt drill to clean her up fully and get rid of any of the stubborn rust spots, tank is looking really new
Then then I Used the 1st step of the KBS Gold Standard Fuel Tank Sealer Kit (Got this from Autobarn)
1st Step KBS kit is pour in 50-50 mix of Aquaklean tank cleaner solution this is mixed with 50% hot water Ieft this in 24hours and repeatedly turned the tank in this period and gave it a really good shake. Note you have to tape up all the holes in the tank I did this by using the good ole duc-tape and some zip ties to ensure the taped caps stayed in place, this solution should help get rid of the vinegar and neutralize the effects of the vinegar
The next step is to proceed with step-2 of the KBS kit putting in the rust buster solution which I put in as per the recommendations an I made sure that the centre seam got extra time immersed in solution
The 3rd step of the KBS kit is the silver tank lining solution which I again followed the instructions looks like really good stuff the tank is thickly lined in silver paint now and looks brand new. This stuff is super strong pretty impressive.
Tank Finished and Painted on the Inside
List of steps
1. Remove tank from car
2. Hire Large concrete mixer
3. Fill tank with 10mm scoria pebbles about 15-20% full
4. Strap tank to the front of the mixer ratcheting straps
5. Run for 1.5 hours on one side
6. Run for 1.5 hours on the other side
7. Add water to the tank and run mixer on highest speed until most of the water has come out
8. Get all the stones out and flush tank with water
9. Add the vinegar for 2 weeks and flip regularly
10. Take out vinegar and flush with water and detergent
11. Use POR-15 Metal Clean solution and dry the tank 100%
12. Sand blast or paint stripper on the outside of the tank
13. Add the 1st step of KBS Tank reliner kit witch is a cleaner, Give a good swish around
14. Dry out the tank fully used a Heat gun in the inside through the filler neck and also used a radiator style electric heater to heat up the quiet hot to get all the water evaporated
15. Put in the rust buster solution step 2 of the tank reliner kit
16. Dry out the tank fully used a Heat gun in the inside through the filler neck and also used a radiator electric heater to heat up the quiet hot to get all the water evaporated
17. Pun in the special tank relining solution swish evenly around the tank, tip out excess and let it dry
18. Remember to blow out the pipes before the reliner paint dry’s
19. Paint the outside with POR 15 BLACK GLOSS after making sure the surface is properly prepped
Please note I also removed the fuel sensor system let that soak for 2 weeks in vinegar – cleaned that with POR Aquaklean and then used the rusbutster , then used the tank liner solution on all the outside surfaces except for float and the electronics. It was still some how working even know it was caked with rust
Good lesson for all is to keep fuel stabilizer in your cars if you are only using cars occasionally. The modern fuels goes off quickly - off fuel and half empty tanks accelerate the rusting process – also keeping the fuel tank fully topped up will help slow rusting because nothing is left exposed to rust.
$200-$300 on parts to fix the original tank may also be better than the original - a reco’ed tank from USA was about $600 without shipping so it was cheaper and no doubt done better than most reco’s but it was a lot of work. But thought of sending rusty crappy fuel down to a beautiful straight six engine is not something I wanted.
The Reco Continues
After finishing the petrol tank I then I proceeded to remove every part removed and I mean every part make sure you do this as behind bolts and brackets can be rust especially the door hinges so remove absolutely everything!
I have 2300psi Karchner Jet Washer with a Sand blaster attachment (for wet blasting) I started to use this with the sand blaster attachment and it did work but it used a lot of sand and to do a small area and a lot of water it could be possible to do a whole car but the time and money for all the sand and the mess of wet sand in panels and building up in areas that you don’t want it to would not be worth it especially on the car body, on individual panels but it could be worth the pain and trouble.
So I got a dustless bluster guy to come out and they use a much higher pressure water system the water keeps the dust down also keeps the panel cool and helps prevent panel warpage compare to standard sand blasting. It’s a new method and some people will say this method is not as good because of the use of water, but it is quickly becoming the preferred method of some professional spray painters The water used in the dustless blasting also gets treated with a rust inhibitor (called “stay tight”) to stop or greatly reduce rusting of the naked panels.
I guess many of you are wanting to know how did work – It’s awesome to watch very effective at removing everything in its path except rubber, seam sealer, sound deadner and silicon, so urethane rubbers are not damaged, rubber protective bellows if in good condition also not damaged , the factory metal cable ties that spot welded to the panels to guide the wire harness ect, have the rubber coating also not damaged – pretty cool stuff. There is not a lot of excess water and not a lot of sand used either really.
Its still pretty physical for the guy doing the blasting but you don’t even really need a dust mask – much better than sand blasting.
This is what was blasted
- Suspension components – all parts
- Tail shaft
- Drum covers
- Removed panels
This actually took about 8 hours and the body we left to another day which was another 14 hours.
The body is extra labour intensive as the tar sound deadener and rust proofing on the under body actually needs to physically removed before the blasting as the granules of sand whether standard dry sand blasting or wet blasting will bounce off the tar rather than take if off – so out comes the vibrating scraper tool again – awesome for this hard task but it will still take you 12-15hours to remove the tar from the under body –kill me now. Also note the seam-sealer will also not blast off so if you want new seam sealer remove that also before blasting. Did I remove the seam sealer yes I did 90% of the time there was no rust under the seam sealer so not really worth it in my case but I guess it goes brittle at some point so it might be the best to get out now.
I followed the dustless wet blasting with the POR-15 Marine Clean and then the POR -15 rust converter and which neutralizes rust and seals the panel with galvanized type of finish –both these process (Marine Clean and Metal Ready) use water so the whole process should work well the water based dustless blasting. The POR-15 systems will get very good penetration in to all the surfaces of the panels getting into the overlaps and creases . I also invested in some of the Rust Bullet paint this kills of neutralizes rust as well – comes with a 10year guarantee in fact, and is the industry’s best rust treatment solution by all the supporting evidence I could find. I am going to use this stuff for all the area where you cant see or get into , chassis rails, seams, inside panels , structural pressings around bonnet and inside the frame of the rear lift back frame , rear lift back hinge cavity – basically anywhere rust could or could resurface. This stuff you can see visually removing rust with each application and it also seeps deep into the rust, fully neutralizing - the POR-15 is similar but not a as aggressive what I mean by that great for areas that you get to remove most of the offending loose rust – but for areas where you can’t the Rust Bullet is more effective and is also backed with warranty!! On all the body work inside and out all the suspension parts, driveline I used the KBS rust sealer and the the engine bay rear boot space and the underbody the KBS body seal – I can only go application not on time being the true test - but for the money the KBS is great stuff works well and easy source and half the price .
The sunroof delete has been a considerable source of contemplation I read everything on the forum and studied anything else I could find on the net. At one point I decided I was going heat form some 8mm thick arylic/Perspex to the shape of the roof and make insert to plug the hole. End result would have been moon roof .I was thinking of going this way because I am 6ft 2 and having the feel of more space with a sunroof and a fixed moon roof does not reduce the height of the roof line, this appealed to me, the hole is also larger than normal being a slide back is larger with nice curved corners so it will look good with tinted roof flush fitted acrylic insert. But I did a crazy amount of research on this and I found out that Perspex would expand maybe 5mm to 8mm possibly with the size I had to fill - which means you have to sit shaped pane of Perspex on a reassessed shelf with 5mm bed of silicon with 10mm silicon track around the whole Perspex’s roof to absorb the expansion from the heating on a hot day. So the idea of all this movement on a fragile roof skin made me abandon the idea. Now I am going to weld in the original sunroof blank and put this to rest.
P-A-I-N-T originally I was going to keep the original Light blue its classic yes! but I wanted something a bit more muscle car and vibrant. I started to look at all the wild green options in the end after much contemplation and looking at and imagining the z in this colour for some time – 12months of seeing it that way - I settled on the
MOPAR colour PFB SUBLIME GREEN METALLIC #5163154AA
The sunroof delete
Plan to weld in the original drop down and slide back sunroof blank.
To do this by welding in inner lip around the inside of the sunroof hole, this would make it much easier to get the sunroof blank to fit at the correct level to existing roof line and also put metal around the edge to absorb the heat from welding and this would reinforce the hole in the roof line .
So for these lip parts I was able to use the strengthening bracket which where folded into the edge of the existing sun roof blank this. These brackets are already shaped to the curve of the roof line and are quite strong.
I got these welded in top place no problem front and back was fne and the sides to took a lot more fiddeling around because the side need more spacing to match the roof line
In regards to Tyre/ Wheel Sizes - From what I can ascertain these are probably the biggest tyres that I can fit under standard rolled guards with MCA coil overs installed – I am giving you the tyre/wheel size just in case you think is worth changing the diff ratio?
I plan to run in these in the future:
· 16 x 7 (4mm offset) with 225/50 on the front – with Toyo R1R Tyres – Mags Made by Rota, RB model
· 16 x 8 (4mm offset) with 245/45 on the rear – with Toyo R1R Tyres – Mags Made by Rota, RB model
Will run the stock Alloy Mag Wheels (supplied with the car) five slotter kidney Bean until I have the budget to get the bigger wheels mentioned above. Stock wheel measurement are as follows
· 14 x 6 (10mm offset) with 215/65 on the Front – with Bridgestone RE92 tyre - Mags 5 slot Kidney made in Aust. Samson Brand
· 14 x 6 on the Rear (10mm offset with 225/65 on the Rear – with Bridgestone RE92 tyre - Mags 5 slot Kidney made in Aust. Samson Brand
With the help of wheel calculator it says that there is minimal difference in the diameter is I go with this set up 67mm less circumference with the new wheel set up if the calculator is right.
Reading at 30mph
Reading at 60mph
Ride height gain
Arch gap loss
Compared to your existing wheel, this new wheel will have an inner rim which is 6.7mm closer to the suspension strut. The outer rim will poke out 18.7mm more than before.
Reading at 30mph
Reading at 60mph
Ride height gain
Arch gap loss
Compared to your existing wheel, this new wheel will have an inner rim which is 19.4mm closer to the suspension strut. The outer rim will poke out 31.4mm more than before.