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Project THESEUS: A '74 260z


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Using the tank drain isn't a good idea just because it has never been a problem for anyone else before. Murphy's aw... anything that can happen, eventually will happen. A driveway is most obviously the least of your worries. Road debris you have no control of. Who hasn't seen bricks, chunks of wood, metal, car parts, rocks, you name it on the road? Who has never seen a car with a dent in their gas tank??? You won't see it at night and you may not be able to steer around it if you do because of other traffic around you. The last time I hit something I was going east into the sunrise but managed to move over to miss the oil pan and tires but the muffler rolled over it tearing a small hole in it.

 

Definitely make a small aluminum skid plate to protect it or better yet use the original pickup. That's why the factory doesn't do this.      

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On 5/27/2021 at 3:47 AM, slowlearner said:

Buy a cheap engine stand second hand off Craigslist and do yourself a favor. In fact, you probably know someone who has one lying around. I was given mine and offered two others in a one year period. They make life so much easier.

 

That L28 looks a bit crusty. Does it turn over by hand?

 

Not a bad idea, will look at picking one up at some point. If nothing else, would make storage easier for the spare engine.

 

Crusty it is, and nope, it very much does not, even with an impact gun. I drained a couple liters of water out of the oil pan when I got it (I think there's a pic in the thread around the time I was replacing the engine bay frame rails) - it sat under a carport for a decade but I'm pretty sure it was face-down in a wet spot as all the front end accessories were trash too, water must have got into the bottom end somewhere. Not a big deal if I plan to rebuild it though, bearings and a crank polish (hopefully).

 

On 5/27/2021 at 10:32 AM, Racer X 69 said:

You don’t want to put aluminum in a hot tank. It will dissolve it.

 

Fair, my knowledge of how shops typically deep-clean engines is lacking, so just meant whatever process they'd do to get rid of the calcification.

 

On 5/27/2021 at 12:03 PM, datzenmike said:

 

 

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Using the tank drain isn't a good idea just because it has never been a problem for anyone else before. Murphy's law... anything that can happen, eventually will happen. A driveway is most obviously the least of your worries. Road debris you have no control of. Who hasn't seen bricks, chunks of wood, metal, car parts, rocks, you name it on the road? Who has never seen a car with a dent in their gas tank??? You won't see it at night and you may not be able to steer around it if you do because of other traffic around you. The last time I hit something I was going east into the sunrise but managed to move over to miss the oil pan and tires but the muffler rolled over it tearing a small hole in it.

 

Definitely make a small aluminum skid plate to protect it or better yet use the original pickup. That's why the factory doesn't do this.      

 

Fair, I'm not saying that it's totally without risk. I do think that it would be to be a very specific and unfortunate situation to cause a worse issue than debris hitting a un-modified tank would cause (as evidenced by the person I know with this setup having ran it for 8 years with no concerns). A shield of some sort is definitely the plan regardless, and given how tight it'll be hugging the bottom of the tank I don't think there's much of a chance for anything to get leverage on it even without one. The stock pickup is not an option regardless unfortunately, was removed from my tank due to being absurdly clogged.

 

 

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More misc. stuff today. Due to the mishmash of 280z rockers, 240z seatbelt pockets, etc that my car is, the seatbelts didn't quite bolt up at the bottom. Die grinder to enlarge the holes (on the seatbelt bucket side)  worked a treat:

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The plumbing plugs I ordered last week came in, so I epoxied them into the now-unused vent holes in the tank.

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Still waiting on the fuel-sender o-ring, so on to more misc. interior stuff and also removing the head from the engine next I suppose.
 

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Started today planning to just get a few little things done but ended up progressing quite a lot.

Got out the Rust Bullet paint to do the seams inside the cowl where I'd burned the paint off when welding it back on, and came to the conclusion that there really wasn't any reason not to also paint the exterior cowl surface and the rest of the bits hidden under the fenders while I was at it.


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Also made some cover panels for the rear strut tower pans so the vinyl doesn't have to go across any big voids.

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Cleaned and painted the seatbelt assemblies, and some other misc stuff:

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One of the things painted was the metal 'gasket clamp' pieces on the filler neck. The filler neck itself is in good shape (replaced whenever the car was rear-ended if I had to guess), but the gasket has seen better days. Anyone know if if's possible for me to buy just the gasket somewhere? If not I'll get some rubber sheet and have a go making my own, no sense spending ~200$ on a complete filler neck assembly in this case.

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From there, put a first coat of paint on the tank as I'm impatient. If there ends up being some leaks when the o-ring finally arrives for me to pressure test it, I'll just clean up that area and repaint after. Not like it's a perfectly smooth finish anyway (although I'll be using some bedliner to smooth things out a bit as the final coat(s)).

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Edited by Noll
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Finally got around to finishing up the interior vinyl today. I'm got going to claim to be a master installer by any means, but it will do the job nicely and looks a hell of a lot better than the house carpet that was in there when I got the car. Hard to believe the 2nd pic was 4 years ago now.

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Once I'm sure it's all cured the tape will come off and I'll go over everything with some mineral spirits to clean up splatter/residue. I'm also going to 3d-print some strut tower covers that work with the camber plates.

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On 6/6/2021 at 4:27 PM, Skib said:

Hell yeah. Looking great!

 

Thanks! It's slowly all coming together, that's for sure.

 

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No major progress since last post, I did get the header back from coating though, looking pretty snazzy now. There are still some visual imperfections as it's an old header, but fine by me.

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Also got a 2nd coat of bedliner on the tank so it's 100% ready to go in when the o-ring finally gets here (long story, apparently there was a computer error and it was returned-to-sender, so it's been sent to me again, hopefully successfully this time).

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Back to welding today, got the rest of the metalwork done on the hood.

Underside needed cleaning up to start:

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Much better.

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front P/S corner needed a little work, so got that patched up:

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Deleted the emblem holes too; not sure if I want to run one and if I do I can just use some 3M double-sided tape to mount.

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On to the final repair from last time. Tacked in:

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And welded up/cleaned up:

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Next up will be the fenders (which don't need too much work), and then the doors, although someone I know locally might have a lead on a non-rusty set for me - just need to scrounge up the funds if so, that would save me a lot of work.

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More fuel tank stuff today. Drilled and tapped the drain plug for the 3/8 fitting (super high-tech tap handle lol, but it worked):

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And fitting in place. Stuffed some 5/16 hose slightly on to roughly show how closely it will hug the bottom of the tank:

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Closed-cell foam attached in the dampening pad locations. Not the prettiest, but will work.

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The o-ring also finally showed up (thanks Canada Post) so I got the sender installed, and bought all the remaining hoses/clamps I should need to put the tank in the car this weekend.

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Only thing I don't have is rubber gaskets for the filler neck (body connection and where it passes through the floor), but I'll get some rubber sheet and can install that part of things later (area behind the fuel door needs to be painted anyway before the filler neck can go in).

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Tank is in and plumbed!

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Vent hose is obnoxiously red (only fuel-safe 5/8 hose they had at my local Napa), but it'll all be hidden behind trim panels. The filler neck isn't fully in place - need to paint the fuel  filler pocket on the outside before I squeeze the neck of the tube through and bolt it up for good. Also need to make a rubber gasket for where the metal ring on the filler neck bolts to the body halfway up, seal the vent lines where they go in/out of the car, and 3d-print a plug for the hole on the other side of the trunk floor that would have been for the now-unused other vent line.

Have some rubber sheet on the way to use to make all that.

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Also cleaned up around the car in preparation for getting it off the jackstands. I have an appointment to get my other 2 tires/wheels mounted and balanced on tuesday, so if nothing else come up after that I should have the car on the ground the same day.

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Big milestone today, the Z is now bearing its own weight at long last! Rolled it out into the sun for the first time in a very very long time:

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And threw some panels on to get a better idea of looks:

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And a before/after. Panels are just thrown on here obviously, I do need to modify the hood slightly though as the strut bolts are fouling on the hood's reinforcement rib thingy. Won't be too much work to modify a little bit of the hood to clear.

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Next up is engine work I suppose, then front end panel fitting and engine bay paint so the driveline can go in the car.

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7 hours ago, Noll said:

Big milestone today, the Z is now bearing its own weight at long last! Rolled it out into the sun for the first time in a very very long time:

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And threw some panels on to get a better idea of looks:

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And a before/after. Panels are just thrown on here obviously, I do need to modify the hood slightly though as the strut bolts are fouling on the hood's reinforcement rib thingy. Won't be too much work to modify a little bit of the hood to clear.

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Next up is engine work I suppose, then front end panel fitting and engine bay paint so the driveline can go in the car.

 

Man, I'm so impressed. Most of us would have given up and parted it out. Good on you! 

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16 hours ago, Draker said:

Quite the achievement! Good job!

 

9 hours ago, slowlearner said:

 

Man, I'm so impressed. Most of us would have given up and parted it out. Good on you! 

 

6 hours ago, Racer X 69 said:

Looking good.


What did you do with the Libre wheels?

 

 

Thanks all! Not been an easy road to get to this point but very much worth it 🙂 . Would have been far simpler to start with a better shell, but it's been a fun ride and a good learning experience doing it this way. This Z will ride again (and soon, I hope).

 

The Libre wheels I ended up selling to someone local who was restoring a 510 and wanted them for that, the same guy who bought my grey 240z basketcase shell to make into a rally car as it happens.

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5 hours ago, grannyknot said:

Great work, congrats,  I wish I had known about those Libre's, I would have traded you the brakes straight across, they would have looked good on my 510.

 

Thanks! Yeah, if I'd known I would definitely have made sure you ended up with them, this was really early on in the build and I don't think I'd met you yet at the time.

 

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Got the block de-greased and painted today. Don't mind the obvious overspray, didn't bother being very careful with masking as most stuff has to come off and get cleaned anyway (and in the case of the oil pan, stripped and painted black). The blue isn't as neon as it may seem here, it's a GM engine block colour.

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Got around to painting the front strut bar too:

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And took another pic of the car, because, well, look at it 🙂 .

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Next up will be painting the oil pan and transmission mount, then the head comes off.

Edited by Noll
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18 hours ago, Noll said:

Thanks! Yeah, if I'd known I would definitely have made sure you ended up with them, this was really early on in the build and I don't think I'd met you yet at the time.

Ha! That's back when we on the OntZforum were all trying to talk you out of wasting your time on that old rust bucket, I'm very glad to have be proven wrong.

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21 hours ago, EDM620 said:

The car is looking great Noll, the comparison pics certainly tell part of the story. Getting it out into the sunshine no doubt felt great, did you make Vroom Vroom noises?

Thanks! Yeah, It's hard to show the full extend of what had to be done without seeing all the gradual pics as I fixed stuff bit-by-bit. Not quite lol, did sit in it (minus a seat) though.

 

3 hours ago, grannyknot said:

Ha! That's back when we on the OntZforum were all trying to talk you out of wasting your time on that old rust bucket, I'm very glad to have be proven wrong.

 

Me too, although the worries were reasonably justified. The likelihood of it being anything other than a failed money-sink when I began was pretty low. Would still have been smarter money/time wise to get a different shell, but I've enjoyed the challenge and learning experiences I've been able to have this way.

 

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Didn't get much done today, but here's a pic that better showcases the actual colour of the engine block:

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No major updates, but I did get the oil pan removed, cleaned, painted, and reinstalled. One more thing off the list.

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An engine stand would be nice to have eventually lol, this was fine though.

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And a crappy pic of the finished product as I was losing daylight by the time I got it all back together. Storing it on a spare crossmember for now for stability, pan is about 1cm off the ground although it doesn't look it from this angle.

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Edited by Noll
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  • 2 weeks later...

Spent some time today tearing apart and rebuilding/cleaning the Z's carbs.

As you can see they were definitely in need of it. The seat/choke assembly was totally seized on both (one required the back end of a drill bit and hammer to tap out), the float valves were clogged, etc etc.

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They cleaned up decent though, and are in perfect working order now. Maybe I'll tear them apart again and polish them at some point, but for now function is more important than form. I had a rebuild kit with new float valves, but opted to clean out the original ones instead so I didn't have to mess with the float height. I'm assuming the car ran alright when parked, so the carb settings should be a point I can start with and adjust from as needed (I did of course re-set the seat depth though as I took all that apart).

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Progress might be slow for a little bit now as there's a fair bit of stuff that needs to happen that I need money for (transmission mounting ear TIG welding, buying new doors that don't need extensive rust repair so I can fit all the panels properly, primer/filler/paint purchasing for the engine bay, etc etc) and I'm a bit short on money at the moment lol.
I also don't want to do too much welding/grinding at the moment as my motorcycle's top end is all apart, the head needs to come off the L26, and getting metal dust everywhere with all that exposed to the elements (even covered up) seems less than optimal.

Next up will be to make a timing chain wedge then get the head pulled off the engine, valves fixed, and throw it back together.

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Found a rough template for the timing chain wedge, and decided to cad design/3d-print one from that. Had to make it in 2 interlocking parts due to size, glued together with MEK (which melts the ABS together, very strong bond), as well as a bolt through the join just for good measure.

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Once I make sure it works, if anyone wants the STL file for themselves just give me a shout. I improved (I hope) the design a bit by adding a bulge at the bottom so it's harder to accidentally pull it out unintentionally once it's past the tensioner.

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Got the head off today. Found more damage than I'd have liked to see, but not the end of the world.

 

Seems like intake valves and pistons made contact. 2 valves are definitely bent, the other 4  visually look fine but I'll do a leakdown test with isopropol alcohol or something once I pull the cam out to make sure. I'm hopefully that I can steal valves from the needs-work P79 head I have, but some people have said that they're a different length. Not a big deal if so, new ones are like 7 dollars on rockauto each.

 

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X's mark the definitely-bent ones , dots mark the ones where the pistons had marks but look ok visually.

 

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So, cam out next, then leakdown test the visually-ok valves, pull the bent ones, clean up the head, and see how the valve guides look etc. I suppose the other question is the cause of the bent valves - I suppose an overrev could do it, but someone elsewhere said that it's most likely the cam gear being a tooth off or similar, which I suppose makes sense.

 

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Got the head torn mostly down today, cam out and rocker arms too.

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5/6 of the intake valves failed a leak test, as I'd pretty much expected. Some exhaust valves were leaky too, but there's no sign they impacted anything so probably just age/carbon buildup etc. Will clean and lap them then reinstall.

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Got the worst two valves out (comparison against the ZX's head valves).

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The zx valves slide smoothly in the guides and don't have side-to-side play so all seems good there. There is a little bit of rust buildup in one of the guides but I'm pretty sure I can clean that up.

Will tear everything else down next I guess, then figure out what course of action I want to take.

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Initial cleaning done on the head (removing the headgasket leftovers was a pain), and have ordered new intake valves/seals. I'll finish cleaning out the combustion chambers carefully once I get all the valves out.

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