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Ichigo280z

1978 Datsun 280Z Lhd

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Hi All,

My name is Lachy and I have been on this forum for a while. I have contemplated getting a Z car for 2 years, even kicked a few tyres and made a few offers (apologies for wasting anyone's time). But ultimately the prices for Z cars recently have been on the up and further out of my price range. So on a trip to North America I purchased a 280Z. The 280Z being automatic and a late model was relatively cheap even with importation fees.

I hope to document the build, the process of importing a car into Australia and any issues encountered.

Current build ideas;
*Replace red indicator lenses with orange (to be road legal in Aus)
*Get engineers approval and register
*Remove massive 280Z bumpers and replace with leaner 240Z ones
*Remove all the unnecessary trim from the side of the car

*Rust repair
*Repaint (red, white, grey or blue; haven't made up my mind yet)

*Bullet fender mirrors 
*432 style rear spoiler
*Watanabes
*Fujitsubo exhaust
*Manual conversion?

*Carburettor conversion?

I also chose to buy a cheap 280Z so I can learn some DYI restoration and other skills. I would hate to screw up something on a 240Z which is worth more as a rusty shell than I paid for this as a complete car.

This 280Z I bought from a man and his wife from a town near Portland, Oregon. They had owned it for 30 years and were so excited to hear it was going to a special place overseas.

 

Attached are pictures from the online advertisement in the USA.

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Wonder if anyone here would be interested in your buying and import procedure? I like the wheels on it, the whole car looks pretty good.

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I used the import company USAtoAUS.com who are based in Vancouver, Washington and Charlotte, North Carolina. I just searched for listings near these two places and this one popped up.

 

I'm picking up the car today, so I will provide a more detailed process when I get back.

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I used the import company USAtoAUS.com who are based in Vancouver, Washington and Charlotte, North Carolina. I just searched for listings near these two places and this one popped up.

 

I'm picking up the car today, so I will provide a more detailed process when I get back.

 

I was going to say their depot is right near where you bought the car! Nothing wrong with a LHD car, especially considering price differences, although that seems to be changing lately.

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Hi All,

 

Picked up the Datsun today and drove home with a VicRoads Unregistered Car Permit.

 

Unfortunately it has a oil leak. A BIG oil leak. I cant figure out where it is coming from at the moment but will need to get underneath to check it out.

 

Also had issues with the transmission. I would apply some throttle and would take a while for power to get to the wheels. Often reving fairly high before I got any movement. Quite jerky movement. Lots of coasting towards red lights hoping they go green.

 

The importation process:

As memtioned before, I used USAtoAUS.com - they are a great company and would recommend. However I did have some issues with communication with them, but was probably my anxiousness about it arriving in Australia.

You really dont need to do much, they take care of it all. They were even nice enough to pick it up as they were in the area at the time.

 

I was disappointed that the rear "Datsun" badge had been ripped off during transport. Which then lead me to think that the oil leak and transmission issues may have also been caused by the shipping process. When I arrived at the docklands, the fumigation and cleaning company had a car up using a forklift and pressure washing it from underneath. Or it could have been an undisclosed issue by the seller. I dont know...

 

Still trying to find some 260Z tail lights. As I need to change the indicators to orange. Dknt know why North America like red indicators; I believe there have been studies that show orange indicators result in less accidents. Anyone looking to sell me a set, please PM me.

 

Also if you have any ideas about the auto transmission not putting instantaneous power to the wheels and the jerking motion; please also post below.

 

Cheers

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Also had issues with the transmission. I would apply some throttle and would take a while for power to get to the wheels. Often reving fairly high before I got any movement. Quite jerky movement. Lots of coasting towards red lights hoping they go green.

 

Still trying to find some 260Z tail lights. As I need to change the indicators to orange. Dknt know why North America like red indicators; I believe there have been studies that show orange indicators result in less accidents. Anyone looking to sell me a set, please PM me.

 

Also if you have any ideas about the auto transmission not putting instantaneous power to the wheels and the jerking motion; please also post below.

 

Sounds like your auto box needs a rebuild, the remedy is to remove it and replace with a manual conversion. :D

 

Could be your transmission has an oil leak too! Probably why it's stuffed and perhaps topped up with oil when sold..

 

All North American S30Z's have red turn signals and in fact even their modern cars like new Mustang's etc.. still have red turn signals. Should be able to find some 260z ones here relatively easily and the amber improves the rear end look too!

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Yeh auto could need some oil in it, better check underneath for damage caused by the forklift too, that could be responsible.

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Id be pissed if I went to collect my car, only to find it being raised and lowered using a forklift. Good grief. Especially with thin, rusty Japanese metal!

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Ok, so topped up the ATF and yes, its the transmission, not the engine oil. Once topped up it ran well but this time I noted the colour, slight red tinge.

 

Looks like Im going to get a manual sooner than planned... ;)

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At least you don't have to go through the MOD plate BS about getting an L28 engine in the car. You will have worked out by now that this is the Australian 260Z sold in the USA as a 280Z. 

Ditto being pissed off about the forklift. This is really poor car handling practice and evidence of amateurism. 
Can you imagine a Ferrari or a Porsche being lifted up by a forklift!!!

Absolutely not, and the likely cause for the oil leak!

I would be pursuing repair costs for damage to the body rails and oil leak for damage from the forklift.
Put it on a host and get photos of the damage!

Enough ranting as it makes me bl***** angry.

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/....

 

Still trying to find some 260Z tail lights. As I need to change the indicators to orange. Dknt know why North America like red indicators; I believe there have been studies that show orange indicators result in less accidents. Anyone looking to sell me a set, please PM me.

 

....

 

This set of 260z tail lights are on Gumtree atm : https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/east-cannington/auto-body-parts/datsun-260z-tail-light-set-complete/1159570481

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Care to elaborate on your process and costs?

I had read that recently there was a massive shit show with cars getting pulled apart to check for Asbestos. Apparently there was a massive incident in the building industry, with imported building panelling getting brought over from China, and used at the children's hospital in Perth? So Customs or the Import body, or someone, put down a blanket ban on ALL asbestos products, where until recently you could allow 3% tolerance. 

 

So cars were getting stripped, brakes for brake shoes, engines were getting stripped to remove head gaskets etc. One bloke who was the guinea pig, was up so far 15k in costs while his car was at the docks.

Did you have to deal with that? Because i hear it was a nightmare.

I had considered going through USA to AU also, for another car (not a datsun). And funny enough, other complaints were the same, they were poor on the communication side of things.

How much was shipping? and also Fumigation.

My mate imported a 32 Ford Tudor, probably 10 years ago now. car cost 32k and he said it was about another 8k in fees, tax, and shipping.

Rudi.

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Hi Rudi,

 

Here are the costs outlined below.

 

Secure handover: $297 USD

Shipment and Handling: $2388 AUD

Australian Clearance and Customs: $1587 AUD

GST: 10% on total cost of car and import which for me was $1110 AUD

 

With the secure handover this is getting the import company to pay the seller in cash and in person. They originally quoted me the cost with their conversion rate from AUD to USD. My bank (Citibank) had a way better conversion rate and so I transferred to their US bank account which saved me quite a bit.

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After being screwed around by another forum member who took my money and never posted the advertised tail lights I finally found a genuine seller.

 

A big thanks to a forum member, Simon W, for supplying me with Australian tail lights. I removed the USDM tail lights and installed the ADM lights this afternoon. Looks so much better.

 

The extra long bolt on the middle bottom of the tail lights are a nightmare to remove. Even my deep 8mm socket couldnt reach the nut. Got there in the end.

 

Also took the car back home to NSW from Vic. Lots of people thought we were off to Winton.

 

If anyone would like the USDM tail lights, just pay postage and you can have them. Please PM me.

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Quick update and advice required:

 

Took off the ugly strips of metal from the side of the car which I presume were there to stop car doors in car parks from hitting yours. To my disgust I found that they were riveted onto the door and fender, not just stuck there with double sided tape.

 

I drilled out the rivets enough to remove the metal strips, but the majority of the rivet is still in the door/fender.

 

If I keep drilling out the rivets, metal shavings and the rivet is going to fall down into the insides of the fender and door frame.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Would it be reasonable to weld the rivets in where they are and then grind back flush? Or should I drill out the rivets and then repair the remaining holes? Or other ideas?

 

Many thanks!

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Once you put heat into fixing the holes you know what's going to happen don't you. If it was me I'd look at countersinking the holes a touch and then use a proper adhesive with something like flat nail heads to fill them. Be interesting to know what a pro would charge to do it properly, The Lurcher would have a fair idea.

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You could use body solder.

 

Although a bit different to this method (I couldn't find 1 on Youtube). You can literally melt solder (onto the body) so it's very low heat.

http://www.viczcar.com/forum/topic/12272-separating-bonnet-skin-and-frame/?p=195771

 

Very very low heat, so literally no distortion in this method and best way to fill tiny holes.

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That body solder looks interesting but, what’s the difference between that and a traditional body filler.

I’m guessing they both plug holes but neither actually mix with the parent material like a weld.

Looks like a proper metal repair though.

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That body solder looks interesting but, what’s the difference between that and a traditional body filler.

I’m guessing they both plug holes but neither actually mix with the parent material like a weld.

Looks like a proper metal repair though.

 

If you plug small holes with filler water will get into it and cause the paint to crack and flake and promote rust. The solder bonds to the metal, you can then file it down and paint it.

 

Personally if I was the OP I'd put those horrid things back on until such a time that I was preparing to repaint the car. There is no easy way to deal with them without filling them and painting the area again. You make get away with tiny spot repairs, but bit of a gamble.

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Yes, don't use body filler, I was thinking of something like a metal two pack which will actually bond with the body, there probably is a special product around to do this though. But what Gav says makes sense as usual, think about what you want the car to look like now and in the future.

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Thanks for all your input and ideas about patching the rivet holes.

 

After some deliberation, I will just get a body shop to do it, something like this:

http://www.superchevy.com/how-to/paint-body/1506-how-to-fill-in-antenna-and-badge-holes-on-a-1969-camaro-without-using-body-filler/

 

Also bought some new door/side mirrors as it only came with a left mirror and I couldnt find the same for the right. Bought a pair of CIPA 19100 mirrors from the US and will install once I can figure out how to remove the door panel.

 

I cannot figure out how to remove the door handle metal cover. Mine has a black plastic cover which hides the screw. Any suggestions how to remove the plactic cover without snapping it?

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Current progress:

 

  • Switched the side marker lights to side indicator lights
  • Installed side mirrors (CIPA 19100 from Amazon US)
  • Installed front air dam (Xenon 3125 from eBay/Jegs)
  • Made brackets for the front bumper to attach to
  • Installed front bumper (from Muscle Car Parts Australia)

When installing the air dam, there didn't seem to be enough support from the headlight cones where the instructions said to install it. I noticed there was a metal piece in front and below the radiator, if you remove the bolt from the middle bracket and loosen the side bolts, you can rotate it towards the air dam. I then put some bolts (don't worry these aren't the final bolts I will be using, got some nice dress-bolts and washers on order) through the air dam and into the metal piece and it is holding nice and tight now.

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