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Project THESEUS: A '74 260z


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Headed out to the garage again at 3am last night and spent a while measuring everything 6 ways to sunday. Near as I can tell, the doors, fenders, and rear quarters are the same length side-to-side, and every measurement I made came up the same on both sides. A bit stumped as to where the difference is coming from, but I've been able to mostly dial it out.

Threw absolutely every panel on and used the back curve of the cowl as the reference point for where the fenders should go. Everything lines up nicely up here like this:

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Measured from the rear strut towers to the front corner of the inspection panel lids to make sure that the fenders were sitting the same distance forward relative to each other (they were):

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The d/s fender gap still leaves something to be desired, but this is in the realm of being able to move the door back a tad and then shave a mm or 2 off each side of the gap now IMO. The gap near the top of the the vertical section is what is key, once I get some m8 bolts for the bottom that'll pull it forward and parallel with the door.

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The doors are also the same distance forwards, as shown by where the front edge is relative to the end of the drip rail. The issue must be either the door or fender but I'll be damned if I can figure out the precise cause.

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Did a bunch of small bodywork jobs earlier. Most aren't worthy of pics (carefully tapping some ridges out of the roofskin etc), but this was a decent visual before/after.

After sectioning the rear quarter it bulged out a bit in spots.

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A bunch of metal shrinking done:

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Much better.

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Also started documenting some other problem areas I'll need to deal with. For some reason the curve of the bodyline isn't matched by that of the hatch on this side, no such issue on the passenger side. Going to throw on the other hatch I have to see if it's a body issue or hatch issue.

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Bodyline dips out here where I welded a patch in, will need to rectify that and do some general cleanup to where the weld cracked while I was tapping it into the correct shape.

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Plus a bunch of other misc stuff that will need doing. Guess I'll start at the back of the car and work my way forward.

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Started on the rear repairs today. built up a bunch of weld in the gap here:

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And all cleaned up. Might re-do the rear patch at some point, borderline on whether or not I can live with that kinda ugly seam being there (even though it'll be under filler).

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Moving on to the other side, sliced and bent stuff until the gap was decent:

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I then did a bit of slicing and hammering to get the lower body-line behind the doors to be parallel with the doors instead of V'ing out a bit. A marked improvement, but still more do do for it to be perfect.

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While doing this I noticed that the bottom of the doglegs twist out a bit - you can see that it doesn't quite follow the profile of the rockers.

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This will bug me if I don't fix it, but probably best to wait till the car's on the rotisserie to deal with it properly - the less welding upside-down the better.

Next up, probably tweaking the rear wheel arches and then on to the rear valence and p/s door gap.

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The amount of work going into the body is amazing, and I commend you for your efforts. Noting the rainbow of different body panels, I wouldn't have thought there would be so much difference in stampings beyond any 240/260 variances.

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Some of that is just manufacturing as well, your making it fit better than factory lol. Being in the body shop Iv seen rocker joints welded together where the piece was welded on a whole 1/4 in higher than everything else.

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Posted (edited)
On 1/4/2021 at 12:19 PM, EDM620 said:

The amount of work going into the body is amazing, and I commend you for your efforts. Noting the rainbow of different body panels, I wouldn't have thought there would be so much difference in stampings beyond any 240/260 variances.

 

Thanks! There are some differences, but keep in mind I've also replaced every exterior panel except the roof, and some of it imperfectly, so there were bound to be some small issues. Nothing terrible though, all has been solved so far.

 

 

1 hour ago, Skib said:

Some of that is just manufacturing as well, your making it fit better than factory lol. Being in the body shop Iv seen rocker joints welded together where the piece was welded on a whole 1/4 in higher than everything else.

 

Yeah, I have to keep reminding myself that it's a nearly 50-year-old car that wasn't perfect even when it was brand new. There will definitely still be imperfections when I'm done as I'm still learning but I have the chance to rectify as much stuff as I can now before it's all under paint (and without resorting to 300lb of filler) , and if I leave stuff not quite right I'll always notice it even if nobody else does.

 

That said, it does sometimes feel like 2 steps forward, one step back haha. Case in point:

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I started today planning just to tap the rear wheelarches into shape, but the plan quickly snowballed after I mocked up a wheel/tire at full bump and found I still didn't have all the space I wanted to.

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I was never quite happy with the patchwork repair to the p/s inner arch, and it reduced the amount of inner arch space more than I'd have liked so I decided to hack some chunks out of it to see if I couldn't gain a bit of tire clearance.

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This is all ugly as hell, but not going to do any cleanup/finish welding till the car's on the rotisserie. Hell of a lot more clearance now, and the single-wall section isn't noticeably weakened. The inner/outer seam will get stitch welded together, definitely will be stronger than factory.

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I also spent a bunch of time tapping the outer wheelarch body line back into shape, the pics didn't really show it but rolling the arches left them pretty wavy. There's a couple spots I'll need to fix where the welds split from being bent so much, as well as one section I decided to just cut out and redo entirely.

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Much better. I don't plan to run the car quite as low as in these pics,  but I'm going to drive it hard and I don't want to have the tires rub on hard cornering and possibly cause the paint to burn off the arch like I've seen on lots of lowered cars. I have room to spare now and can set up the bumpstops so the tires never contact. If I move the tire inwards a tiny bit I gain an extra cm of room, so plenty to play with depending on where things end up once the suspension is back on.

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Next up, do it all over again on the other side

Edited by Noll
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Did I read that correctly? Rotisserie? 

Damn dude, this car is lucky to have someone willing to invest this much work and not just go back twice, but how ever many times it takes to be done 'well.

Super cool watchin. 

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15 minutes ago, BrothersGarage said:

Did I read that correctly? Rotisserie? 

Damn dude, this car is lucky to have someone willing to invest this much work and not just go back twice, but how ever many times it takes to be done 'well.

Super cool watchin. 

 

Yup! Grannyknot offered me the one he used on his Z build which was super awesome and extremely appreciated. It's a 9.5h drive round-trip to his place to go get it, so I'll need to figure out a good time to do that, but very much worth it I'd say.

 

Thanks! I wish I didn't have to go back over and re-do stuff sometimes multiple times, but that was inevitable given that all of my welding/bodywork knowledge has been gained by working on this car lol. I want to just drive the damn thing already, but doing everything properly is priority #1.

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7 minutes ago, Noll said:

I want to just drive the damn thing already, but doing everything properly is priority #1.


Totally understandable, but awesome to hear. That's the right way to do it. Props to you sir. 

The 10 hour drive sounds like a pain in the ass, BUT the ammount of work it will save will be indescribable. Super nice of Grannyknot to offer. 

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Here's hoping! It's sure not going to be a show car, but should look half decent without being stuffed full of filler and all the bracing I have been doing and will continue to do should stiffen things up nicely.

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More misc. repairs today. P/S rear taillight surround (or whatever you'd call this area) wasn't the right shape, so marked where to cut/weld:

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And all done, much better.

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On to the door gap. Not sure how well the photo shows it, but the gap got a lot bigger at the bottom. Much better now, the door still needs to be aligned/repaired but the quarter side of things is solid now.

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Also welded up all the rest of the arch stuff that needed doing. It's not all perfect, but good enough for me - the few spots where the arch bodylines lost their crispness during repairs I'll make nice with a little filler when the time comes to do that.

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That's this corner of the car pretty much done with, other than a couple things I can't easily do till the car is on the rotisserie - namely redoing the dogleg and a small section of roof structure above the rear quarter window (the underhang bit).

Now on to the other side, which should be a lot less work (knock on wood).

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Decided to take a break from the fiddly stuff and do something more immediately gratifying. Spoiler mounting time! Decided to go for a bolted-on look, might not be to everyone's taste but I like it and it has the bonus of making mounting way easier than glue + 3 million clamps.

Sheetmetal screws initially to get it in the right spot, then used nice stainless hex hardware. Will need to weld in captive nuts behind, but that's a future problem.

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Threw on the taillights too for good measure:

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profile looks pretty nice on the car IMO

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All nice and flush except that one area that I mentioned I'd likely re-do. This would be a lot of filler, so better to make it from metal.

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Threw on a wheel too.

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Man, I cannot wait to get this thing on the road. It's going to look gooooooooood.

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6 hours ago, Noll said:

Man, I cannot wait to get this thing on the road. It's going to look gooooooooood.

It is, starting to look like a car again.  That style of rear spoiler comes down and touches the paint every time you close the hatch and will eventually scuff the paint right off.  3M makes a good protective clear film that is hardly noticeable, https://www.amazon.ca/Clear-Paint-Protection-Vinyl-Film/dp/B073X7WF5J/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=31R0IRCEN6OZV&dchild=1&keywords=3m+clear+protective+film&qid=1610540606&sprefix=3M+clear%2Caps%2C214&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzNEcwTks3UEVQTlNaJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMTM4MTc4M0tUQjFTNDY1WjE3USZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNzY2NjA4NkhNMkg2RlVZQ0xNJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

It's all really coming together!

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5 hours ago, grannyknot said:

 

Thanks, that's a very good suggestion! Will definitely pick some of that stuff up once it comes time for final assembly.

 

And yeah, getting closer and closer! Sucks I'll have to take it all apart again to do more, but ah well.

 

Regarding rotisserie stuff, obvs the current new lockdown makes driving down a bit of an issue, but I have a friend who might be heading your way soon for work stuff - if that ends up happening I'll shoot you a message as to when (if you don't mind him swinging by to get the rotisserie for me).

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4 hours ago, Noll said:

Regarding rotisserie stuff, obvs the current new lockdown makes driving down a bit of an issue, but I have a friend who might be heading your way soon for work stuff - if that ends up happening I'll shoot you a message as to when (if you don't mind him swinging by to get the rotisserie for me).

No I don't mind at all.

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6 hours ago, grannyknot said:

No I don't mind at all.

 

Sweet! I'll let you know if/when it happens.

 

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More work on the hatch/spoiler today. Welded in a bunch of captive nuts on the lower section:

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And then drilled out the upper holes larger and welded the captive nuts in flush. I'm aware this heat will have warped the panel a bit, but it already needs hammer/dolly work so not a big deal.

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Looks exactly the same as before externally, but hey, captive nuts are done.

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Aforementioned hammer/dolly work and reworking one small area and the hatch should be 100% done.

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On to the driver's rear arch today. had previously ground this too thin and kept blowing pinholes while trying to fix some cracks, so decided to do it right and replace the section entirely.

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Not quite perfect, but good enough fir a little filler and better than thinning the panel out again. Will be improving the panel gap at the bottom soon, same as the other side.

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Cut/tacked this inner arch to match the other. As said before, i'll be welding/cleaning all this up properly later.

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Can't really see in the pic, but tapped the outer arch flange back into shape after bending the lip over inside. Some spots that will need a little filler, as with on the other side, but nothing major.

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Next up, redoing the roof join.

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Despite my best efforts there was still a little warping, but the warpage is now on the larger section of the panel instead of the roof join, so should be no issue with any filler/lead cracking.

Edited by Noll
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Worked on the taillight panel today. Lot of little stuff needed doing, not sure how well it shows up on camera. Did a bunch of plug-weld final cleanup as well as hammer-and-dolly work to straighten the lower valence out properly.

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With that done, I re-did part of the rear quarter repair I did way back when I put this quarter on.

Remember this gap? I could have fixed this with some filler and 5 minutes, but that would always bug me, so time to spend a couple hours welding it up properly.

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This thing is looking better and better 🙂 . I'm still pretty much decided on the lime green/yellow, but it definitely would look good in metallic grey/silver.

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First thing to do today, improve this gap. It's still a bit larger at the bottom, but that's mostly because the door needs adjustment still.

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Then moved on to the d/s rear quarter - as mentioned previously it wasn't following the contour of the hatch, sitting up too high in spots. Cut/tapped into place/welded back up.

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Dips down slightly at one point where the rear quarter patch is, but otherwise perfect now.

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remaining to-do before rotisserie/rollover jig:

rear strut tower bar
cut out/clean/weld back up cowl
finish lower rad support

finish stitch-welding stuff

Edited by Noll
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Got the cowl removed today:

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Removed section is in good shape other than this one bit that will need a simple patch:

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Now I had access, I removed the wiper motor bracket and ground off/replaced a captive nut that had a bolt snapped off in it:

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Also did a bunch of other little misc stuff; welding back up some holes from the spot weld removal as well as fixing the only hole in the whole under-cowl area, in the air intake:

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The base of it is in surprisingly nice shape considering some of the pics I've seen of this area on northern cars. There's one or two thin spots on the vertical intake tube, but rather than trying to weld them up and blow holes/cause more annoyance, I'm just going to leave well enough alone and let the rust paint that I'll be using on the cowl fill them.

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Next up will be to clean everything up, degrease, paint, and weld back together (then paint the undersides of the welds).

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Edited by Noll
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Continued on with the cowl stuff today.

Fixed up the rusty spots and welded in new captive nuts:

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And painted it all with the KBS Rust Seal after cleaning/sanding/degreasing. Only time will tell as to how durable it is compared to stuff like POR-15, but initial impressions are very good - sticks to everything like glue and the list of ways breathing in the fumes can give you cancer takes up a large majority of the space on the can, so it must work well lol. Needless to say I wore my respirator and made sure the garage had airflow moving through.

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Once that all dries/cures I'll grind the extra off the mating surfaces, zinc prime them, and weld it all back up. At some point I'll paint the underside of the weld join too, may need to use some aerosol rust-encapsulator style stuff with a spray tube extension to get at some of the more difficult spots.

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Got the cowl welded on today, was a bit annoying but got it sitting correctly in the end. Proper weld cleanup will be next up, then back to the lower rad support.

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Was just browsing a local classifieds looking at datsun stuff when I came across this. Pretty similar shade of green to what I have planned, and same wheels! Rather cool to be able to see a pretty good approximation of how my car will look when done (minus the flares); not a common colour or common wheels so to see them  both on the same car is pretty neat.

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-classic-cars/ottawa/datsun-240z-1972/1549119975

pics for posterity if/when the ad goes down:

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34 minutes ago, grannyknot said:

Yeah, I saw that, BaT is the place he should be selling it, kijiji is populated with the cheapest low ballers there are.

 

Aint' that the truth haha. Seems like a nice car, and as you say he'll probably have better luck on BaT.  Kijiji is decent for projects, but anything nice seems to be either way overpriced or people try to lowball to an absurd degree. Always nice to be trying to sell a car and someone offers to trade a rusted 1990's minivan or a snowmobile or something lol.

 

Regardless, cool to see that wheel/colour combo on a car, makes it more 'real' in a way. Hopefully mine will be looking that good before too long.

 

 

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