Jump to content

280z barn find build


Recommended Posts

Well here they are my first, and my second Datsun. I wasn't looking for another project car, nor did I really want one. I already had/have plenty going on between my aircooled VW's, and my old Subaru projects, but I have always wanted a Datsun. I was offered two 280z's that had been sitting in a bar since before I was born from a friend of a friend, and for the price I couldn't really pass it up. I looked both cars over one was from Maryland a 1977 (the blue one) and was rusty beyond what I wanted to fix, but had a header, and a five speed, and plenty of good parts. The gold one 1975 was sold here in Vermont, and was driven as a summer car, and is in ok shape. The floors are super solid, along with the rockers. Most of the rust is focused on the quarters and behind the front tires on one of the seams. So far the plan has been fix up the gold one and enjoy it spending as little as possible, but not skimping so I have (another) reliable summer driver. I want to lower it some, put the rusty hood that came with both of them on it, and flare it. Wheels someday maybe.... 

Some pics out in the sun for the first time in 25 years 





After trailering the blue one home I brought the gold one to work and started trying to get it up and going. 
Started by pulling the plugs and sea foaming each of the cylinders and letting them soak for a while. Washed it, and replaced all the fuel lines, and drained the tank. 

While it was at the shop I built an exhust for it as well. I'm very happy with they way it came out

After cleaning up the ground changing fluids, and giving everything a once over I decided to start it. Turns out the fuel pump was junk, so my friend gave me one off a saab 99 that I adapted to fit. After a very very long time of fooling around, and firing the injectors manually and such I got it to fire. It would start up and move around, but not that great as the clutch salve was frozen and it was only running on 4. I did a compression test, none on 1 and 3. Turns out the vlaves were sticking. During this time I replaced all the brake lines, front rotors, calipers pads, repacked the front wheel bearings, replaced the clutch salve, brake master cylinder, all the rear brake parts so eventually when I have it running it will pass inspection. This brings us up to date
After doing everything I could to get the vavles to come into it they were still sticking. I pulled the head off last week. I was cracked between 4 of the valves, so I pulled the head off the other car it has the emissions liners in it, but I'm going to rock it because I have it. I ordered new valves, timing chain, and gasket set so now after I send the head out I will be ready to put it back together. I also pulled the good fender off the other car, and all the five speed stuff so I can swap it all over. There should be more to come soon! 
Here it is currently with the head off. 

Header, Head, fender, and five speed stuff. 
  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • Replies 13
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

I want your garage...


Very nice project you have there. You may be able to sell some unused part off of the blue one, or even trade them, and get a better head. I'm not sure about the Z cars, but most of the datsun heads I've bought have ran around $100-$150 shipped.


Good luck with the build :thumbup:

Link to comment

I want your garage...


Very nice project you have there. You may be able to sell some unused part off of the blue one, or even trade them, and get a better head. I'm not sure about the Z cars, but most of the datsun heads I've bought have ran around $100-$150 shipped.


Good luck with the build :thumbup:


Thanks man, the garage is awesome, I'm there all the time, and the pic only shows half of it B) I really like this car, my plan is to keep the blue one around for a while, you never know what you may need while putting something together. I'm not too worried about the head, it will work, I'm not worried about power on this build, I have my legacy turbo for that, just something fun to drive around that is rwd! 


Lack of antifreeze the head froze and cracked.


Both cars were full of coolant, not saying it was good, but it was in there. It was cracked between the intake and exhaust valves, most likely due to being overheated at some point in its life. 


Tonight I'm ordering some more parts. I need to get a clutch kit, and some new freeze plugs while I have it all apart. There were a few other things on my list, but we will get to that later. 

Link to comment

Went to NH yesterday to pick up some parts. Got to meet a pretty cool dude, with some very cool cars. We got to talking for a long time, and I bought some pretty sweet parts for this old girl. I have a set of factory 72 carbs now, a new center console, and I picked up a pair of rust fee perfect fenders, which I do not have the heart to cut up. So I guess my plans for flaring it are over, or at least for the front... No pics of the fenders yet. I spent most of the day cleaning up the head. It will breath a bit better now. I'm now looking for a cam to run with this, anyone have a recommendation for a mild cam? Up next it is time to start putting the engine all back together, after a bit of paint work. 



Looks much better in person than it does in the photo. I gasket matched it, and used several bits to get it all pretty smooth. I need to do the intake now as well. 
Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

I got the head back. I'm looking into a camshaft now. I have a couple places I'm going to look into. I also need to send out my rockers, and have those refinished. Orderd a clutch, new coolant hoses, freeze plugs, new rear main seal, and shift bushings, so after that stuff comes in I should be able to start in on the five speed swap. 

Link to comment

I pulled the timing cover off this afternoon removed all the parts in there so I can install my new chain and guides, and started cleaning up the engine bay. I started removing things I will not need from the fuel injection. I pulled the mass air, and the charcoal canister out. Now I play the waiting for parts game. I should have a pretty steady flow of them coming in this week! 

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...
I got to work on the datsun some over the weekend. I started out with intentions of swapping in the five speed, and ended up pulling the engine, and removing the front clip.... I pulled the old four speed out and was getting ready to install the clutch, turns out the rear main was leaking due to a botched replacement some time ago. I decided at that point just to pull the engine, and reseal everything and give it a check over. The bearings look pretty good in the old girl. I also wrapped my header, it took a while, but it came out pretty good. I have to replace the y-pipe section at the bottom of it, but not a big deal as I work at an exhaust shop. I also started accessing the rust situation. It is about what I expected I have some welding to do in my future, I also removed some of the brackets in the engine bay that will no longer be used. Just trying to make things look nice and clean. 






Passenger's side foot well has some rust for sure.



Hard to tell in the photo, but this is a pretty big hole on the driver's side 



Engine removed, ready for a reseal, and a clean up. 

Link to comment

I brought the air cleaner back to the original finish over the last couple of days. It took a bit, but it was totally worth it. I was able to save the factory stickers as well. I also picked up a 240 front valence, just waiting on it to show up! Now I need to start in some rust work! And then decide on a paint color. I'm having a hard time deciding on the factory lime green of the 240s or the factory color of this car. 



Before in nasty looking red (it was painted to match the car it was taken off from) 
Half way there
Back section done 
Finished. I will probably clear it to keep the spots that are bare metal from rusting. 
  • Like 1
Link to comment
  • 1 month later...


Work was slow today, so I decided to take half the day off, and come home and work on the Z. I got a decent amount of the rust repair done. I cut all the rust out on the front inner fenders, and I started welding up the drivers side. Still have a ton more cutting and welding to do, but it is getting there. 


Everything cut out



Welded, I still have to box in the front of the rockers, but I was getting tired and hungry, I'll do that another day. Obviously I need to grind it down as well, I primed it to keep it from rusting over the next however long until I get back to it. 





A project for another day... After this is done, I get to move on to the small sections in the front of the floors, and then rear quarters and the rear hatch. 

Link to comment

The welding continues, no pics tonight I forgot my phone at the house while I was working on it. I cut out the front section of the rocker I already made because it wasn't looking right. I rebuilt everything, and it looks much better, and the fender fits over it! Pretty pleased with how the metal work is looking so far. Now I get to move on to the passenger side, and the floors. After that I'll work toward the quarters. 

Link to comment

Thanks man! Your build is coming along nicely as well! I used a little over half of my 100ft role on the header, but I'm not finished, i have to do the y at the end after I cut it out and replace it. 


Time is limited right now, as I just purchased a house, and weekend are being taken up by that project until I get it livable. So basically I'm doing a little on this each night after work trying to get the metal work done! This is from a few days ago, I got the drivers side welded up, just have to grind it all down. 


And today:
One of the new fenders in place for test fitting the metal i'm adding 
Passenger side started 
Still a lot to be fixed... 
  • Like 1
Link to comment
  • 2 months later...
Well this projected died for a bit, something about buying a house, and moving really cuts into the time for your project car(s). Did a bunch of cutting and welding this weekend. Decided I do not want flairs, this car is going to be fixed and painted, I had the rear quarters already they came with the car. This is more work, but i think I will like the outcome better than hacking the rear quarters up, and slapping some flares on. 



Fixing several layers of steel on the passengers side



rebuilt the inner arch 



Test fit, I have to fix the harness I hacked up, and then I can weld this on, hopefully this week!



And then I get to do this.... 




Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.