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Project THESEUS: A '74 260z


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16 minutes ago, Skib said:

As someone who spent about 10 years in a body shop I approve of this patching, good work

 

Many thanks! It's all far from perfect, but definitely good enough to give the car a second lease on life.

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19 hours ago, Skib said:

You have a solid undertaking in your patch panel repair and they are looking well thought out and solid. Lol filler is for making it perfect.

 

Much appreciated! It's been a fun learning curve over the past couple years. And yep, I've aimed to have as little filler as possible but there will definitely be some, and saves me a ton of effort vs trying to get all the joins to be imperceptible in bare metal alone.

 

 

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Got the rear struts all cleaned up, painted, and assembled with the disk brake parts. All just finger tight for now to make sure I wasn't missing anything; will need a couple washers but that's about it. Also likely going to cut down the bump stops a bit, they're pretty big in relation to the total travel currently.

I also have new 60mm wheel studs in the mail currently that will be going in before it all goes together for good. Might also end up painting the calipers (front and rear) a light shade of gold, dunno yet.

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Not half bad compared to before:

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For filler, I got a tip from some old hot rod guys to use Liquid Nails. I couldn't find that locally but Lepage PL Premium seems to be the same thing. Very similar to the original seam sealant and takes paint, doesn't harden solid, and can be applied nicely.

 

BTW, I got my WEN finger sander last week, haven't had time in my garage lately to put it to use but it seems like a pretty solid tool. Thanks for the tip!

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On 11/26/2020 at 11:17 PM, EDM620 said:

For filler, I got a tip from some old hot rod guys to use Liquid Nails. I couldn't find that locally but Lepage PL Premium seems to be the same thing. Very similar to the original seam sealant and takes paint, doesn't harden solid, and can be applied nicely.

 

BTW, I got my WEN finger sander last week, haven't had time in my garage lately to put it to use but it seems like a pretty solid tool. Thanks for the tip!

 

That is a cool old-school hotrodding tip for sure. I have a lead on some good seam sealer so won't need to use it but I appreciate the knowledge regardless 🙂 . No prob, it's been a great tool for me so far.

 

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Ok, bit of a hiccup with the front brakes. Turns out I am dumb and was mistakenly thought that the early 260z front hubs were the same spec as 240z ones (as the struts are otherwise 240z parts). In reality, they're the same as the 280z front hubs, which means that the 240z-spec spacers that I have to put the vented 300zx rotors in the correct spot for the S12W calipers are too thick, and considerably so (rotor hits the caliper mount ears before the bearings seat on the spindle).

As of right now it seems like my options are the following:
- Buy 240z hubs/trade my hubs for 240z hubs (a bit of an annoyance given I just refinished these hubs and put new lug studs in)
- Get new spacers and trade/sell the 240z-spec ones
- get the current spacers machined down to work (requires me figuring out just how much the difference in offset is between the different hubs).

Thoughts? As of current option #2 is looking the best, hubs aren't cheap and mine are in fine shape so replacing the spacers seems like the best bet. Dunno what a local machine shop would charge to thin down the spacers I already have.

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On 11/28/2020 at 1:17 AM, Noll said:

Thoughts? As of current option #2 is looking the best, hubs aren't cheap and mine are in fine shape so replacing the spacers seems like the best bet. Dunno what a local machine shop would charge to thin down the spacers I already have.

I'd suspect if you can find a guy to machine down what you have, cost might be similar to getting another set of hubs. Waste not want not...Your option #2 at least offers the potential of recouping some of your cost.

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2 hours ago, EDM620 said:

I'd suspect if you can find a guy to machine down what you have, cost might be similar to getting another set of hubs. Waste not want not...Your option #2 at least offers the potential of recouping some of your cost.

 

yeah, it just seems a bit of a waste to modify the really nice Modern motorsports adapters. Probably going to sell/trade them and buy another pair that's specifically for the later hubs.

 

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Did a bunch of garage cleanup today, and threw the rear spoiler back on to test-fit. Pretty sure I'm going to end up running this on the car, it's very much grown on me. It'll definitely stay black though, these ones look weird when colour-matched.

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1 hour ago, EDM620 said:

It looks proper, good choice

 

Thanks! Not bad for something that was under a pile of junk in the back of the car back when I got it lol. It'll probably need a repaint to be perfect, might just rock it as-is for now though, we'll see. It's not like the rear bumper is perfect either haha.

 

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Welded the rear camber plates in today. cut out the tower tops:

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And measured and welded in. Like the fronts, I'll also weld these from underneath once I flip the car to do the underside.

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With that done, I used the die that grannyknot lent me to make new cups for the torsion rod bushings. (don't mind that one off-centered hole, I rectified that later).

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Other than engine bay stuff, I think that all that's left now is to stitch-weld everything I can get at from the top, get supplies for/make a rear strut tower bar and some other bracing throughout the car, and generally give the car a once-over to make sure I haven't missed anything that needs doing.

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Started on the stitch welding today, got the back 1/3 of the car done. (minus the stuff I'll have to do from below):

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Still a bunch of cleanup to do (man, seam sealer really wrecks welds. I scraped out as much as possible but there's always some left), but I'm happy with it all.

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Next up, stitch weld the seat mounts, firewall stuff, and then the front end.

Edited by Noll
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Didn't do a ton on the car this weekend, but still got some important stuff done.

To do most of the remaining stuff I need to pull the hood/fenders/hinges/gas struts off again, so before all that I'm getting the front strut bar done so I know it'll clear the hood.

Cut off the old mounts and made new ones to fit the t3 camber plate pattern while still allowing the full range of adjustment:

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Next up will be to triangulate it to the firewall, not sure where exactly I'll have it bolt up just yet.

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Finished up the strut bar today, namely the triangulation aspect. Started with the mounting plates themselves, made out of some flat bar stock. Nothing fancy, but they'll work fine.

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Not having the motor in the car obviously makes it a little more difficult to see where I can put the bars without them hitting anything important, but this is what I settled on after looking over some pics of other peoples' cars. Still looks pretty clean with the strut bar not on:

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And the completed bar itself. Didn't bother with in-progress pics, it's all simple enough - bolt everything in place, shave down the new bars bit-by-bit till they sit in the right place, then weld it all up and add some gussets for strength.

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Underhood clearance is still good:

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Rather happy with it all things considered. Seems whoever made the original strut tower bar back in the day didn't exactly make it symmetrical, but that doesn't bother me much.

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Edited by Noll
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  • 2 weeks later...

Got the front end all taken apart again to finish stuff up, and whipped up this as a proof of concept. My original plan was going to be to plate this whole part of the frame horns with 14ga sheet, but this seems like it'll do the same job of strengthening things without having a super large double-walled section that would invite rust if I didn't get the seam sealer perfect.


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Would tie in nicely with my other planned tube brace, this is sorta what would be planned:

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Anyone see any issues with this? Seems like it'll do the job nicely and no fitment issues with the fender etc.

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1 hour ago, Bleach said:

Looks like a strong brace to me, but you are the expert. 🙂

 

Lol, I dunno that I'd say I'm  an expert, I just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. This should work well though, hard to go wrong with overkill 🙂 .

 

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Got the braces all welded on:

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Not perfect but should definitely add strength to this area and some peace of mind in terms of chassis rigidity given the amount of repairs I've done in this relatively high-stress area.

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While fitting the fenders to make sure the above bracing didn't hit them, I noticed an inconsistency with the rocker panels and the more I've measured the more confused I've gotten.

The issue is with the 'step' at the front where the fender sits. On the passenger side, all is well, there's a slight gap and  I have bolt adjustment room to move the fender forward if needed:

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On the driver's side, not so much. This it how it sits with the upper bolt holes lining up, the fender is sitting on top of the 'step' (don't mind the bottom of the fender being the wrong curve relative to the rocker, it's bent and I'll be fixing that seperately):

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On the surface, this seems like I welded the d/s rocker on too far forwards - measuring from the front fender bolt hole in the rocker to the front corner of the engine-bay frame rails on each side (only measurement I can at least somewhat trust given that the rockers are off another car, the rear quarters have been replaced, and the doglegs have been repaired, so 3 different things that could be slightly different each side) shows the p/s as ~120cm and the d/s as ~121cm which lends credence to that theory. Except, wait, the driver's side measurement should be SHORTER if it's farther forward. Hmmm.

However, I then measured from the rear (closest to the 'step') bolt hole to the step itself, and on the p/s that measurement is ~65mm and the d/s it's ~50mm. The spacing between the bolt holes is the same on both sides, so it seems like a stamping error from tabco. Great, but the step is still in the wrong place on the driver's side which seems like a unrelated problem.

It's been quite a while, but back when I first fixed the rockers I had to weld these front sections on with bits from other rockers, so I was thinking I could have messed that up too. Old pic shows that's not the case though, I kept the upper half of the step in place to use as a reference when I replaced the captive nut section:

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Additionally, the step seems to be in the same place relative to that half-circle section of the door pillar on both sides, so it's not like the whole rocker was welded on too far forward/back. Possible that I messed up slightly when I welded the new rockers on the car (as I cut/welded the bottom part of the door pillars off the donor car too), but it doesn't visually look to be the case.

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At this point everything LOOKS right (other than the d/s lower bolt holes but that doesn't affect the fender mockup location hitting the step) and seems to measure up as far as I can tell (given I'm measuring off stuff I've replaced that could also be slightly off), but is still somehow wrong.

I think I'm just going to throw all the measurements out the window, spend some time fitting the panels properly (doors first then fenders) so the gaps are all right, then as needed chop up the d/s rocker and move the step and captive nuts around until the d/s fender both sits right and bolts on properly. It is a 46-year-old car after all, and I've changed so much at this point I'm kinda amazed that there aren't more issues.

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All your measurement issues I'm noting are based on the fender lining up on the top attachment holes. What's the potential that those holes are misaligned toward the rear? Was the upper fender mount rail massaged at all?

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1 minute ago, EDM620 said:

All your measurement issues I'm noting are based on the fender lining up on the top attachment holes. What's the potential that those holes are misaligned toward the rear? Was the upper fender mount rail massaged at all?

 

Not as far as I can tell,  would be pretty hard for the holes in the cowl to move without the car being a taco (i'm ignoring the other fender bolt holes for now as they just add more variables and the cowl ones pretty much HAVE to be in the right spot for the aforementioned reason). I measured them off some other known points diagonally and all is well there far as I can tell.

I think it's a combination of the d/s rocker being slightly misaligned + a stamping issue at tabco whenever these rockers were made;  would made sense for both the captive nuts to be slightly off and the 'step' to have been stamped in too far forward if that's the case.

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Sorta good news then! I'd made the grand assumption that you did all your triangulation etc. early on using key reference points, which brings you back to a stamping error possibility. Possible to "re-shape" the leading edge to allow the fender to sit flush?

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1 hour ago, EDM620 said:

Sorta good news then! I'd made the grand assumption that you did all your triangulation etc. early on using key reference points, which brings you back to a stamping error possibility. Possible to "re-shape" the leading edge to allow the fender to sit flush?

 

 

Yup, that's the plan. Going to cut out the step and probably 10mm on either side, weld it back in however far back it needs to go,  and make/weld in a strip to cover the gap that will then be in front of it.

 

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Got the driver's door roughly thrown on:

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If you ignore the fender being crooked (both sides are like this - I'd guess from sitting unsupported forever on the ground - bolting in the bottom then sliding the top forward solves it) things seem alright as a starting point:

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However like this, the top fender bolts are hopelessly misaligned:

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If I move the fender as far back as it can go the cowl bolt holes become mostly visible (complete with snapped off bolts I still need to fix), but all the fender bolts are at the end of their adjustment range, the fender step becomes an issue again, and there is absolutely zero panel gap on either side of the door. Not good.

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The rear door gap is also a bit concerning, and highlights something I thought might be an issue. As you can see, the gap opens out at the bottom there - the corner itself is no biggie (nor is the large gap at the bottom of the door) as that's the result of some shoddy repairs done to this door in the past that I'll fix. The uneven door gap though, not great.

Basically, what happened when I welded on the replacement quarter was the the L flange on the quarter itself and the door jamb went on like this \| instead of like this ||. The dogleg repair I did later has no such issue, hence the uneven gap. Shouldn't be too hard to rectify, I'll slice a line vertically down the length of the quarter, tap the flange over, and repeat until the gap is good the whole length. I'll still need to do some tweaking to the fender/door gap, but I'll just rough everything in for now and get all that nice while I'm doing exterior bodywork after I've painted the underside of the car.

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As so often happens when I get an idea in my head, I went back out to the garage to tweak more stuff.

I started by confirming my hypothesis that the quarter panel was the issue. The inner skin hasn't been touched other than the rocker replacement, and the gaps are decently even all round, so the outside skin must be the part at fault.

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I then broke out the 'ol death wheel and made a big cut in the quarter panel. This was a bit painful to do, but had to happen. Some tapping with a hammer later, the gap is already way better. I'll carry on with getting it all even tomorrow, then weld it up. I'll then get the fender fitment halfway decent, and call it all good until the car is on its own wheels again to eliminate body sag as a possible issue.

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Spent today getting the door gap to where I was happy with it, and then started the long process of carefully welding everything back up while avoiding warpage.

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Also had to make a cut to the flange side of the doorjamb and push the quarter in a little bit at the bottom, as it was sticking out beyond the doorskin on the bottom 1/5 of the panel. Worked perfectly.

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All-in-all I'm really happy with how clean this ended up being.

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In addition to the actual gap, the contours of the quarter and door match now (other than some small bits on the door I need to rectify):

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The fender is still a bit of an issue, but less of one now (not bolted to anything in this pic):

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turns out the 'step' in the panel is indeed in the right place so that's nice at least.

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With the correct door-to-fender gap in place none of the bolts line up still, not going to worry about that until I get all the panels together and see where the other fender, hood, etc, end up. Might need to end up taking a few mm off the back of the fender so it can slide back far enough, going to depend on where the fender ends up relative to the hood.

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Continued on with the panel mockup today. Got the passenger door on -  red sharpie marks where I'll need to cut and push the quarter towards the door to even the gap out. Not a big deal, I still have access behind there so nice and easy to use a copper bar to weld the gap up nicely.

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With the door on and the gaps acceptable for a starting point, I got the fenders slapped on and laid the hood on top (no hinges/etc yet). With everything sitting so that the door gaps are good both sides, the d/s fender is about 13mm farther forward than the passenger side. Oof.

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If I move the d/s fender back to line up with the leading edge of the fender, the door gap is more than nonexistant.

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Weirdly, despite all the p/s fender bolt holes lining up when the panels are placed like this, the inspection panel on that side very much does not; it overlaps considerably with a flange at the top of the firewall:

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If I move the p/s fender and hood to align with where the d/s one sits, the inspection lid fits just fine but that 13mm creates the mother of all panel gaps:

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I'm thinking the solution is going to be a combination of moving the d/s door back and shaving the back flange slightly to keep the panel gap correct, moving the p/s door forward and possibly building up some weld on the back edge if needed to keep the gap nice, and possibly doing the same stuff to the fenders. I'll want to bolt up all latches and panels properly, which means that sooner rather than later I'm going to need to buy a bolt kit for the car.


While I'm at it, the bodylines on the doglegs seem to V out a bit - near as I can tell (hard to find pics from above that showcase this on other cars) it should be parallel or close to the bodyline on the doors. Anyone happen to be able to confirm? Should be an easy fix, just need to cut the flange in the wheel arch and fold the whole panel in a bit.

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