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Project THESEUS: A '74 260z


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Got the hatch painted today. All masked off, primer, and paint.

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The camera doesn't really do a good job of showing the exact tint of the color.

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Got the fuel filler area all masked off in prep for paint too, it'll get done at the same time as the engine bay. Don't mind the ugly seam sealer spread, wanted to make 100% sure it got everywhere it needed to over all else as it's not a visible area.

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From there, moved onto getting the front end panels actually fitting properly - previously stuff has just been thrown on/ziptied for pics and gaps/fitment has left a lot to be desired.
Went pretty darn well overall, still need to do a little work to the door gaps (and finish the hood modifications so it sits right).

Got the front spook all mounted up too, will make some reinforcing brackets that tie in to the bolt holes in the bottom of the lower crossmember for a bit of extra resistance to bending.

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Front bumper mocked up at the same time, will make mounts for it tomorrow.

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Super hot and humid today, but still got some stuff done. Masking (most of it anyway) removed from the hatch area, and got the rear bumper mounted up. This was a bit of a pain as it's bent 6 ways to sunday, but I got it fitting decent in the end. P/s side bolt was a pain too, had to jack the car up, pull the wheel off, and remove the cover in front of the fuel filler to be able to get it in.

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A friend stopped by and bought my 280zx transmission - 250$ and some parts I needed (wiper linkage and an ignition switch with key) was a good deal on both sides IMO.

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Got the front bumper mounts mostly made too before I ran out of time - just need to tack weld the stuff that's currently vice-gripped together then pull it all off and finish weld/paint.

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Bumper mounts complete (and painted after this pic):

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Wiper linkage and motor all in too. Made sure to oil the various pivots before it went in, everything is smooth as can be so I imagine the wipers should work decently even without the motor replacement mod that's common.

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Got the taillights and license plate on too, as well as the hatch latch and the two side buffers (missing springs but I have some in the mail that should work):

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The rear of the car is definitely coming together now, need to let the paint cure a bit more before I put in the hatch seals (which I still need to buy), and then the hatch and spoiler can go on too.
 

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Got the underside of the hood painted today. Nothing fancy, just wanted to make it a bit more presentable. Also made some cutouts for the strut top nuts - longer term I dunno if I'll be using this hood so didn't bother making them super pretty.

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Got the 5spd bellhousing all ready to go too.

Drilled out the top shift rod hole to 16mm:

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From there, marked off the area from which to remove material for clearance for the thicker gear the 240sx trans has behind the countershaft bearing. This was just making space so opted to break out the angle grinder instead of paying a machine shop.

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And done. Decent enough considering the tools I had, the nicks in the side of the case are just that, no depth to them.

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swapped in the 56mm Z countershaft bearing:

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And with the case parts all tapped together, perfect fit and everything spins freely with no binding.

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All (temporarily) bolted together. Need to pull everything apart slightly to seal the case joins, then get the front bearing cover and circlips etc on. It also needs a good clean, someone painted over grease and oil for some reason and it's all flaking off. The short shifter feels super nice, close to on-par with the STI 6spd in my old wrx.

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12 minutes ago, Bleach said:

oh wow! I have that transmission too and an L-series bellhousing. I'll save these pics for when I go to modify the bell.

 

nice! Yeah, it's not hard to DIY at home as long as you're OK with going with the smaller bearing (apparently only good for a bit over 300hp, but way more than enough for my engine and if that changes down the road I'll get the hole machined for the 62mm bearing which is apparently good for 400, not a huge deal). New bearing, 16mm drill bit for the one larger shifter rod, and the grinding, and that's it. parts cost was about 50USD including buying a drill bit and shipping.

someone on FB said that they don't know why I did the grinding work but it's mentioned here as being required to stop the case clamping onto the gear and binding anything up, so idk. http://zhome.com/ZCMnL/tech/240SX5spd/Transmission2.htm

 

it's mentioned here too:

 

https://www.zcar.com/threads/240sx-transmission-swap-info.106515/

http://www.atlanticz.ca/zclub/techtips/240sxtransmissioninstall/index.html

 

 

Edited by Noll
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Just now, Bleach said:

I've also heard the grinding for clearance is required.

 

Yeah, I wish now that I had test fit without it just for the sake of science lol, but oh well. The guy on FB mentioned that it's possible 71C transmissions from different cars (240sx, 300zx, s14) have different 1st gear thicknesses too which would make sense why it's commonly done but some say not needed. He's going to message his machinist and confirm if they clearance it or not.

Either way, it's taking a little off from an area with a lot of meat, not going to hurt anything.

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To make gears stronger you can increase the diameter but in this 'case' you are limited by case design with the main shaft and the countershaft being 71mm apart. The other option is to make the gears wider for added strength and this is what they did with the 71C. The synchro hubs were narrowed but ultimately the front case was modified also.

 

71C front case

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What needs to change on a 71B case

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Modified 71B case with clearance for the countershaft, first/second shift rod hole and the 62mm counter bearing hole.

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On the front of the counter shaft on the 71C is a very thin, perhaps a couple of mm?, toothed 'gear' just behind the counter bearing. This would ride in that clearanced area. I don't know for sure but I do suspect this is an oil slinger, or has some function for aiding the oiling of the front mainshaft bearing.

 

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The top right of the 71C front case has an additional hole with a J shaped oil scoop to catch oil splash and feed into the front main bearing. The front of the main bearing is sealed but this oil can reach the counter bearing via the front cover plate.

 

71C and 71B on the right. On the 71C you can see the additional oil channels (at about 1 o'clock) to flush oil through the counter bearing. Probably would be a good idea to drill this out also.

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Continued on with transmission stuff today, despite the brutal heat/humidity. Tore it apart again, put sealant on everything, and bolted it up properly. circlips, spacers, and front cover on too:

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Got the 4spd removed from the L26, clutch looks fine so going to run it. Worst case I'll have to pull it apart again and replace the clutch, hopefully not.

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Swapped the TOB, fork, and reverse/neutral sensors over, and installed the new clutch slave cylinder.

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And all together. All ready to go in the car once the engine bay is ready for it.

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Still waffling about painting the engine bay the yellow/green or black - (eventual) body colour would be nice but black is pretty universal and would help highlight the header and engine paint etc. Thoughts?

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1 hour ago, datzenmike said:

TOB? Throw out bearing? Always replace never swap them or put them back in. High wear item that is very difficult to get at. If this was a wiper blade it would not matter.

 

Totally agreed in general, but I plan to put in a new clutch and possibly some other goodies after this driving season finishes (grr winter). the throw out bearing felt perfectly smooth and the clutch looked fine, so will rock them for a short while before the aforementioned stuff.

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10 hours ago, docbainey said:

Great work Noel!!!!

 

You need to put a heat shield between the SUs and the header.

 

Thanks, and good suggestion! I'll whip something up before the engine goes in, should be pretty trivial to do something now while I can get at it from the side easily.

 

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Ton more done today. I mentioned that I want to drive this thing soon, and I meant it. It's not going to build itself, so out to the garage once again. I probably lost about 10lbs in sweat today lol, will be glad when this heat is gone a bit.

Hatch seal, hatch, spoiler, struts, etc all on.

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Quite the change from a few years ago:

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On to the interior. Wiring harness ziptied to the holders I welded on for it when I did the floor. Don't mind the mess to the right, that's the seatbelt interlock stuff that I'll just be hiding under the seats unused.

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Heater matrix, blower motor, and steering/brake booster brace all in. Or rather, I put stuff in, realized half the heater motor controls were siezed, removed it, fixed it, added closed cell foam to the mating surfaces, and put it back in. Only thing that doesn't work is the fresh air door (broken pivot tab), but I'll have it open 99% of the time (other then cold mornings early spring/late fall) and I can actuate it manually under the dash so no big deal.

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And dash, steering wheel, and seats in. The dash was a pain to do solo, let me tell you. Got it in the end though. Other than the obvious cracks, the dash is pretty faded, will want to do something about that.

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Another before/after just before I put the seats in. first pic is 2017 sometime I believe, before any rust repair.

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And a bunch more interior pics. I'm super happy to get to this stage, feels like it's all coming together. Hadn't sat in this thing properly with everything there in over 4 years.

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Funnily enough the pic above was basically the same as (I think) the first pic I took after getting the car home. A lot has changed since then!

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Bodywork time today. Got the rear quarter seam filler all sanded down and sealed, turned out decent. The 'pitting' visible is the leaded joint.

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Quarter windows in, as well as the door catches and vin plate. Used screws instead of rivets as it makes it easier to remove it later when actual paint happens. It's kinda lipstick on a pig currently, but oh well lol.

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From there, on to engine bay stuff. Dropped the front struts, tension rod bushings, etc, and masked everything off:

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And in primer (multiple coats). There's a couple runs I need to sand but nothing major.

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paint and clear soon, possibly tomorrow if time allows. It's not going to be a perfect finish, but should be decent for a driver, which is what this is after all.

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Shorter day today, but still lots of progress.

order of DIY exhaust tubing showed up (1 day shipping!). plan is V-band from the header, then a flex pipe,2.5" to the resonator I have, 2.5" from there back under the rear diff, then step it up to 3" for the two bends and the connection to the muffler. Should help keep ground clearance good but mean I can reuse the muffler + rear bends if I eventually need a bigger exhaust, as I'd be replacing the resonator anyway.

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Back to paint stuff. Base coat on:

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And clear. There are imperfections (mostly a few spots where I didn't feather the edges of paint enough and the high-build didn't do enough work to smooth things out), but for my first-ever attempt at painting something nicely (suspension parts etc don't count), I'm happy. Should be decent for the car it's for after all.

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And another obligatory 'before' pic:

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Also remember that these are the conditions I'm painting in lol:

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Got the gas door area painted/cleared too, it's obviously a bit ugly due to the seam sealer, but that was already known and it's hidden anyway.

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Probably no work on the Z tomorrow as I let things cure, then on to fuel/brake hardlines (and putting in the booster/mc/clutch cyl).

Edited by Noll
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Got all the masking stripped off:

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And designed some 3d-printed bits to replace some of the brake/fuel line isolators that were missing and/or in poor shape.

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Will 3d-print them tomorrow then try to get going on the hardlines on monday.

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Was going to take a day off, but ended up doing stuff on the Z anyway. What can I say, I want to drive it 🙂 .

Suspension all back together, as well as swaybar on and calipers too.

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Noticed that the wheel was actually rubbing on the powdercoat(?) so I shaved those nubs a tad. Painted after the 2nd pic.

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Pedals and steering column in properly. In hindsight I should have put the pedals in before the dash, but oh well. Got the bolts in eventually

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master cyl, booster, and clutch cyl all in too.

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With that all done I should be able to just start on the brake/fuel lines next time.

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Got the car turned around today in preparation for the engine going in:

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Even in it's current mismatched state it's not a bad looking car 🙂

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Engine bay hardlines all ran. My back is a bit sore now to say the least, but hey, it's done!

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Next step will be to get it all lifted up on blocks, then engine in! The upper rad support mod means that lifting it up prior to engine/trans insertion isn't an issue as far as angles go, and means that I can get at the transmission crossmember bolts much easier. Would need to lift it up to make the exhaust anyway, so may as well kill 2 birds with one stone.

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I definitely have to agree with Drakers comment....

 

I'm sure it may have been mentioned somewhere but I'm curious, why go through this much effort?

 

Did this car have a significant meaning to you or was it one of those rabbit hole projects you just weren't willing to give up on?

 

Either way awesome job saving a datsun. you'll be driving it sooner than you know...

Edited by Crashtd420
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12 hours ago, Draker said:

I am constantly blown away by this thread. Good work as always!

 

12 hours ago, Crashtd420 said:

I definitely have to agree with Drakers comment....

 

I'm sure it may have been mentioned somewhere but I'm curious, why go through this much effort?

 

Did this car have a significant meaning to you or was it one of those rabbit hole projects you just weren't willing to give up on?

 

Either way awesome job saving a datsun. you'll be driving it sooner than you know...

 

Thanks peeps! No sentimental value or anything, just took it on as a personal challenge and to grow my skills - I couldn't even weld when I started. Plus, there were a few well-intentioned people who said it would never see the road again and I should find a better shell; I'm overly stubborn and took that as a challenge.

It would have ended up getting turned into razor blades or microwave doors if I hadn't gotten it; can't save them all but I at least saved this one 🙂 .

 

 

 

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Engine and transmission are in! Removable rad support was a lifesaver, made it so much easier.

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Bottom flange took a little damage when I had to let go of the transmission to re-position (even though it was protected decently wall and it wasn't a drop, just the weight of it), but nothing really in the grand scheme of things.

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The transmission mount was a bit of a bear, but got it in the end.

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And in! Looking pretty snazzy if I say so myself. I think the black works well, the engine almost looks like it's floating.

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Sitting decently without any coilover adjustments too, will let it settle for a while then decide where I want it. Next up is all the stuff required to get the engine running - driveshaft, engine/trans fluids, wiring harness in, make the exhaust, etc.

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22 hours ago, Crashtd420 said:

Glad you took the challenge and proved them wrong.... 

 

 

me too! It has sucked a lot at points (endless welding, not knowing if I was skilled enough to do some complicated repairs, etc etc), but very worthwhile in the end.

 

 

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Driveline-related stuff today. Got engine oil, trans fluid, and a couple fuel filters.

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needed to get the driveshaft in before putting transmission fluid in, but the shorter driveshaft I had was apparently not short enough by about 5mm. Yay.

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Got a quote of nearly 200$ for shortening/balancing it, so I decided to take a change and DIY it. I'm sure peeps will have varying opinions on this, but I did a bunch of research first, and it seems relatively common in the american hotrod world. Did a ton of measuring to get it as aligned/phased/square as possible, and I think it turned out well. Only time well tell if there are vibrations, but worst-case I'll pay to have my other driveshaft done and swap it in. Took about 2cm out overall.

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With that done, filled the trans through the shifter hole, and put the shifter back in. filled the engine up with oil too, so other than coolant (the rad isn't in yet) all fluids should be good to go.

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Got the wiring harness roughly in too, not going to strap it down tightly until I hook everything up so I know all the wires reach.

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Fuel filler neck, cap, and door on too, as well as the quarter badges. put some sealant on the clips for those for good measure to prevent them going AWOL.

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Next up is exhaust fabrication and wiring stuff, then I can crank it to check for good oil pressure and try to get it running.

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