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Project THESEUS: A '74 260z


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On 3/29/2020 at 10:58 PM, slowlearner said:

Was in a workshop last week and saw a 240z in a terrible state. The whole rear quarter from the roof down had literally rusted through and fallen off. I thought, "Noll could fix that". 🙂   

 

Give me  a long enough lever and a place to put it a MIG and some sheetmetal, and I'll definitely try 🙂 .

 

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Today's project was to fix the inner/outer wheelarch flange. Started by taking stuff apart:

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Found this wonderful area underneath:

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All cut out and nice:

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And new bits in. Cut out of the replacement quarter and grafted in:

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10 hours ago, BrothersGarage said:

Goddamn dude that is so much work. 

At this point you could practically build one of these from scratch!

 

Thanks! Indeed it is, no way I'm calling it quits now though. Doing all this takes a long time, but at least I know it's all properly fixed.

 

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Welded all the layers back on that I had previously cut off, and mocked up the wheelarch:

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obviously more repairs to do before stuff comes together for good, but I can start doing fitment testing now.

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Not Z-specific, but I found out about a 300-acre junkyard near my house that has a bunch of datsuns (and ladas!). Went for a poke around today, as they also have some volvos and other stuff I am in need of parts for.

they had no s30s, but a whole lot of 510's, 610's, 710s, etc. Only grabbed a few pics, would have done more if I had thought about it:

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There's also this 2dr, which I am half-seriously considering getting as a project. obviously needs rockers, floors, yada yada, but the rest is just patina and the trunk stuff isn't that difficult of a fix:

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Found a rx-4 as well, also a kinda tempting project idea:

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19 hours ago, slowlearner said:

Anything with a rotary engine is now worth STUPID money. As much as I love that 510 2 door, the Mazda would be a better investment. Restore it back to as close to stock as possible and buy 2 nice 510s.

 

True, I think the rx4 is actually in much worse shape than the 510 though, although they may look similar (minus the body damage). Something for me to think about anyway.


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My goal today was to get to a point where I could test-fit the new quarter. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

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Still have a bunch of small patches to do before It can go on for good, but it is super nice to finally have the car looking pretty much whole again. Only thing missing is the taillight panel, which is next up after the quarter.

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That quarter panel looks great. Man I wish I had your skills... but I guess they're hard won. 

 

BTW, RX4 coupes are highly sought after. They easily fit an 20B (or larger). So yeah, think seriously about it. You could even pull it out and sell it as is. Just sure it up and sell it on as a potential drag car. With all the floor gone, people wouldn't think twice about installing a full chassis. The tail lights, badges and trim are worth plenty these days!

 

The 510 coupe looks pretty reasonable, like you say. Especially if you saved it as a rat with patina.

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On 4/9/2020 at 1:24 AM, slowlearner said:

That quarter panel looks great. Man I wish I had your skills... but I guess they're hard won. 

 

BTW, RX4 coupes are highly sought after. They easily fit an 20B (or larger). So yeah, think seriously about it. You could even pull it out and sell it as is. Just sure it up and sell it on as a potential drag car. With all the floor gone, people wouldn't think twice about installing a full chassis. The tail lights, badges and trim are worth plenty these days!

 

The 510 coupe looks pretty reasonable, like you say. Especially if you saved it as a rat with patina.

 

Thanks! Yeah, all trial and error, and a lot of error lol. Just a function of the way too many hours I've put into this thing.

 

Good to know! I'm rather broke at the moment, but it's not going anywhere. The 510 would be cool, but after a closer look the frame horns are totally gone from the firewall forward, as are the rockers, both inner and outer. it would be a sweet donor if I found a 510 that had been rolled etc though.

 

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Fixed the fuel filler area and filled in the passenger rear sidemarker today. The one small bit of my original rear quarters that will live on lol.

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One filler neck holder was rusted, the other had a rusted flange but otherwise good, so I combined 'em:

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Made a filler panel for the sidemarker:

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pretty happy with how it all went. Minimal warping overall, so not much filler will be required. That said, it would be really nice to get a TIG for this sort of stuff on big panels.

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29 minutes ago, Homeboyx said:

How often have you used that one disc for the warping? Can’t remember the name of the disc..

 

Not super often, plan is to deal with all the 'final' warpage issues at once when welding is totally done. I did use it on the quarter though, the heat from the sidemarker delete and new section pulled inwards  a section by about 5mm, it's now back where it should be.

 

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mocked it up:

 

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Took it apart and removed this junk and replaced with good metal:

 

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And cleaned up and welded. Did a whole lot of measuring beforehand to make sure everything sits where it should.

 

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Still more repairs to do in it, but easier now that it's in a static location.

 

 

This is the reason for my current fitment woes; not sure how but the inner flange sits about 7mm too high and therefore pushes the quarter out. Should be simple enough to cut and weld in a strip to extend it down to the correct location, that'll be another day though.

 

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4 hours ago, BrothersGarage said:

At this point you have touched every single part of this car and more - what was the most stupid thing you've had to fix so far?

 

 Pretty much haha. Hmm, just all the previous terrible repairs I suppose, would have been a lot less work if the previous owner didn't  rivet aluminum over all the rust and slather bondo everywhere. I think that one that takes the cake is the silicone-covered-rag that was stuffed where the old "floor" met the firewall - they messed up the curve and there was a gap so that was their solution.

 

That said, there's still some sketchy stuff in the engine bay I haven't gotten to yet, you'll see pics of that in the coming weeks.


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Whole bunch of suspension bits finally came in from a deal I did several months ago.

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I also have the lower spring seats and springs, so in theory all I need is to get the strut inserts, section the struts, and weld everything together.

That brings me to a question - it's looking like my current plan (mr2 rears in the front and 240 fronts in the rear) will, in conjunction with going from stock isolators to camber plates, give me around a 3" drop over stock. I'm thinking this will be enough for the look I'm going for, but taking measurements off my car is pointless as it's sitting really high atm due to being totally stripped and missing body panels.

Anyone happen to have pics of their Z with a similar setup? the mr2 inserts seem to be the go-to for sectioned struts so I figure someone has to have pics.

Edited by Noll
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3 hours ago, Bleach said:

I wonder if those coilover sleeves will even slip over your struts. Try them.

They look like some I got and they were too small of a diameter.

 

Can't really till I disassemble the suspension, but the tubes are a hair over 2" ID, and I measured my strut tubes as basically the same OD (give or take a tiny amount for paint/rust). Should be a-ok in that regard. Is it possible you were trying to put 240/early 260 sleeves on a 280? I know the strut tube diameter is larger on the later cars.

Edited by Noll
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Oh yes, I do have a 280Z. Maybe your 260Z struts are smaller diameter.

The threaded sleeves I have are also 2 inch inside diameter.

 

I'm planning to buy 2.5" inside diameter coilover springs, find the correct ride height, and then just secure a spring perch there with no adjustable height.

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On 4/24/2020 at 12:17 AM, Bleach said:

Oh yes, I do have a 280Z. Maybe your 260Z struts are smaller diameter.

The threaded sleeves I have are also 2 inch inside diameter.

 

I'm planning to buy 2.5" inside diameter coilover springs, find the correct ride height, and then just secure a spring perch there with no adjustable height.

 

Ah yep, that would explain it. 240z/260z is 2.0" and 280 is around 2.17" according to another thread I found. That seems like it'll be a good setup! I was going to do something similar but got such a good deal on the coilover bits I decided to go all the way.

 

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Finally got the inner wheelarch fixed so it fits properly. Had to cut out a pretty considerable chunk and pull the lip to where I needed it to be, but it all worked out in the end.

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More cleanup to do before it's ready for the quarter to go on.

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Not the best pic, but you can see that the flange lines up with the quarter now. I have a lot of cleanup to do in here once the car's on its side.

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Did the final things needed to allow me to stick the new quarter on for good today.

Started with this:

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Made a new bit:

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And cleaned it up:

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Same deal with some other little stuff, although I apparently didn't take pics.


cleaned up the inside of the quarter, then primed and painted the areas I won't be able to get at once it's on:

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And with all that out of the way I finally got the quarter on for the last time. Tacked in for now (will finish welding next time). Window fits as it should!

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And the hatch gap is proper:

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Got the quarter welded on for good today!

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Next up: Making one good taillight panel from 3.

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Mocked up the "best" one. Rear of the car is looking pretty much complete:

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Got some new (to me) doors that, while they need some work, are wayyyyy better than my old ones.

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Bottom edges need the most, but for the most part the rust damage/repairs are below the bodyline, so I'm just going to make my own repair panels instead of spending 60USD per side for tabco panels.

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Front sections need work as always, but nothing I can't manage.

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And if you've forgotten why even these doors are miles better than what I had:

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And threw one roughly on the car:

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Edited by Noll
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 Started on the taillight panel repair today. Got probably 70% of it done, and mocked up on the car:

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As you might have been able to tell from the first pic, the 280 panel doesn't quite mesh with the 240 outer sections:

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Plan is to flatten out the lips of the outer sections, mark from a template, and re-bend to the correct shape/size.

You can see the difference in the hole shape here vs here.

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Sidenote: Wow the car has come a long way since then. it sometimes doesn't feel like that much progress but looking at the old pics really puts it in perspective.

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17 hours ago, Homeboyx said:

I have to ask, what are your plans for the drivetrain?

 

Short term the main plan is to keep the L26 after cleaning it up, assuming it's not junk - I've never checked compression in the 3 years I've owned the car. Emissions stuff has long since been removed, and it has belltop carbs and a header already. Will be mated to a 5spd from a Ka24 - still need to get the bellhousing machined for that to work but have the correct T3 xmember, auto Z driveshaft, etc to make it a bolt-in affair. I'm hoping to find a 3.7 or 3.9 LSD or at least a higher ratio open diff, but no luck yet.

 

I might do a swap eventually, but for now I just want to drive the damn car and the L26 +5spd + 3.7 should still be a blast. May have a lead on a RB25 from someone I know though.

 

Suspension wise is going to be some DIY coilovers using a mix of T3, circle-track bits, and unknown used parts I bought off someone last year. Will have upgraded disks all round courtesy of grannyknot (well, as soon as covid stuff allows me to make the 800km round-trip to pay him and get the parts).

 

 

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Taillight panel repairs complete! Filled in the 280z hole, eliminated the raised circular areas for the park-bench bumper trip, and welded on the (repaired) new upper left section. Next up will be to make the outer surrounds work with the 280 cutouts, and weld it all together.

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it still needs a bit of  hammer and dolly work, and I'm sure some filler will be required where the bent section is because there's no way I'm ever going to get that perfect otherwise.

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Re your motor, you might well get lucky and find out you have a good runner there. I was told my L16 was seized. Turned out to be an L18 with plenty of life and oil pressure after sitting around for 20 years doing nothing. If your compression is bad doing a quick hone with new rings is not super hard.

 

On the subject of bodies, I got my first repair panel yesterday. I couldn't help thinking w.w.n.d., that is, "what would Noll do?" 😆

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