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510 guy just got a 240z....now what?

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I got my first 510 back in 1996.  Over the years I have had many project cars (a few 510s, 240sx, B13 SE-R, Subarus, 610, etc) but never a Z car. 

 

Recently I happened upon a '73 240Z here in the Portland area and got it for a good price.

The car is 99.3% rust free and 100% stock in every way. Runs/drives. Someone used it as a daily for quite a long time, then stored it for several years.

 

Anyway, I have a few questions about getting this thing road worthy that focus on safety and reliability. I don't want to go all-out on anything because I don't know what my long term plan for the car is yet, besides get it reliably running and safe to drive. 

 

1. Seems to be a charging issue. I want to get rid of the points-style mechanical voltage regulator and go with a more modern internally regulated alternator.

What is the most efficient way to do this? ZX alternator?

Before you say "search dumbass!", I want to let you know that I did, and I spent almost an hour scouring through all sorts of crap without a direct coherent answer.

I am just looking for a straight forward "buy this alternator, do these mods, done".

 

2. I hate drum brakes. No, really, I do. I can convert a 510 to rear disc in about 2 hours using parts I have memorized the part numbers for. But for the Z, it is different and foreign to me. I see MSA has a rear disc kit, but it is priced high for what it is. Any other alternatives? I have 86 Maxima rear calipers sitting in my garage..... I already make affordable rear disc brake conversion brackets for the 510, maybe I need to expand my offering for the Z cars...we will see.

 

3. Front brakes. Details on a front mild disc brake upgrade (vented rotors for sure). Don't want to go full on TTT or Arizona Z car  and drop multiple thousands. Just something that is good for street driving and improves over the stock setup.

 

Anyway, those are the things I had immediate questions about.  I will post a picture or two when I get it back on the ground and out in the sunshine.

 

Thanks in advance. It is good to be back in the Datsun family.

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 I don't want to go all-out on anything because I don't know what my long term plan for the car is yet,

 

 

This

 

tumblr_m2qqeiB83l1qlsrxvo1_500_zps3adec8

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Pics

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There are two primary rear disc conversion options out there.

 

1) small 280ZX rear rotors using 280ZX or 2nd gen Maxima calipers. These also use the hard to find "bolt-on" type rear caliper brackets found on some (but not all) 1982-84 Maxima sedans. (not wagons)

 

https://zcardepot.com/brakes/rear-brakes/rear-disc-brake-conversion-caliper-brackets-240z-260z-280z.html $69 braket if you can't find the Maxima bracket in a wrecking yard

 

 

 

2) slightly larger diameter Z31 rear rotors using much newer 240SX rear calipers. (easier to find calipers and pads for years to come) These use manufactured rear brackets. I think those brackets cost around $160 a pair.

 

http://www.modern-motorsports.com/z-rear-disc-cnc-brake-brackets.html  $165 for the rear brackets

 

I'm going with option 2 but have not yet made any purchases.

 

IMG_5003copy_zpsae454eb1.jpg

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I got my first 510 back in 1996.  Over the years I have had many project cars (a few 510s, 240sx, B13 SE-R, Subarus, 610, etc) but never a Z car. 

 

Recently I happened upon a '73 240Z here in the Portland area and got it for a good price.

The car is 99.3% rust free and 100% stock in every way. Runs/drives. Someone used it as a daily for quite a long time, then stored it for several years.

 

Anyway, I have a few questions about getting this thing road worthy that focus on safety and reliability. I don't want to go all-out on anything because I don't know what my long term plan for the car is yet, besides get it reliably running and safe to drive. 

 

1. Seems to be a charging issue. I want to get rid of the points-style mechanical voltage regulator and go with a more modern internally regulated alternator.

What is the most efficient way to do this? ZX alternator?

Before you say "search dumbass!", I want to let you know that I did, and I spent almost an hour scouring through all sorts of crap without a direct coherent answer.

I am just looking for a straight forward "buy this alternator, do these mods, done".

 

2. I hate drum brakes. No, really, I do. I can convert a 510 to rear disc in about 2 hours using parts I have memorized the part numbers for. But for the Z, it is different and foreign to me. I see MSA has a rear disc kit, but it is priced high for what it is. Any other alternatives? I have 86 Maxima rear calipers sitting in my garage..... I already make affordable rear disc brake conversion brackets for the 510, maybe I need to expand my offering for the Z cars...we will see.

 

3. Front brakes. Details on a front mild disc brake upgrade (vented rotors for sure). Don't want to go full on TTT or Arizona Z car  and drop multiple thousands. Just something that is good for street driving and improves over the stock setup.

 

Anyway, those are the things I had immediate questions about.  I will post a picture or two when I get it back on the ground and out in the sunshine.

 

Thanks in advance. It is good to be back in the Datsun family.

 

1/ any car alternator after '77 is internally regulated. You have to remove the external regulator, trim the wires off it, leave them long. Join the White and Yellow wires and the White/Black and the White/Red wires together. Remove any left over wires. Solder and tape up the new connections. Plug this back onto the wire harness.

 

2/ the 280zx had rear disc. The Sept '81 and on were the nicest looking.

 

3/ Fronts you can upgrade to early '80s Toyota 4x4 4 piston calipers. They bolt right on and use the stock rotor. I had these on my 3,400 pound 620 and they were marvelous.

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I know, I know....Coming soon....

 

 

:no:

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1/ any car alternator after '77 is internally regulated. You have to remove the external regulator, trim the wires off it, leave them long. Join the White and Yellow wires and the White/Black and the White/Red wires together. Remove any left over wires. Solder and tape up the new connections. Plug this back onto the wire harness.

 

2/ the 280zx had rear disc. The Sept '81 and on were the nicest looking.

 

3/ Fronts you can upgrade to early '80s Toyota 4x4 4 piston calipers. They bolt right on and use the stock rotor. I had these on my 3,400 pound 620 and they were marvelous.

Great info! Thank you much everyone.  I have also been reading that a diode is needed in the VR harness. So I got some diodes coming and 280zx alternator.

I PROMISE to have pics soon!!! But just imagine a bone stock 240z (with stock 14" hub caps) in maroon color and you get the idea.

 

Is the ZX rear disc conversion a simple swap-over? what about parking brake? I guess I would have to find a donor at a U-pull-it wrecking yard.

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You may need a diode to prevent the charge light from glowing dimly. None of my alternator swaps have needed this. You won't need specifically a  'zx' diode, but I guess that will work also.

 

http://woodworkerb.com/home/datsun-240z-rebuild/datsun-240z-alternator-upgrade/

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On the topic of front brakes.... Is it common or advised to consider a 280zx front strut/brake swap? Obviously the spring perches are different, but those can be cut off and modified. Did this all the time on 510s and just wondering if it would apply to the S30 as well.

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280ZX brake swap does not apply to the S30. It only applies to other Datsuns like the 510 or 610.

 

That is why the Toyota calipers are mentioned for a front brake upgrade. That is the common swap. Keep your 240Z struts and bolt on calipers.

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2916057_0c3bf35510_o_zpsbuyhcmsy.jpg

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Wow.. nice find!

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Wow! She's a beauty. 

 

3a8bb642105c3186d514f386e9e366e8--magic-

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Put about 20 miles on it yesterday. So far so good. I did lose a hubcap into oncoming traffic, which then got run over by a commercial truck...booo!

 

The thing runs and drives quite well! I am very surprised! 

I am guess that the previous owner (a doctor) drove it as a daily for many years. Then something happened (bad battery?, got a new car?) and he decided to park it. He was not cleanest guy, so the interior needed a good vacuum and clean, but everything worked.  I am guess it has been sitting for a several years in a very dirty garage or some sort of carport. There was no moisture or mold inside of it, but lots of dust on the outside.

 

The car was painted at some point it in it's life. It was originally a copper color, now it is a maroon-brown color. I buffed the paint, which looked good for about a week. And now it is looking oxidized again....?? I am not a paint guy so I dont know why. I put carnauba wax on it after the buff.

 

I am in the process of fixing some minor annoyances:

-shifter handle bushings were completely gone resulting in a shifter that had about 8" of lateral play.

-Install electronic signal flasher (old one was very slow)

-Install 280zx I/R alternator

-deleting the EGR system

-deleting the PCV valve and venting crankcase to a catch can

-Figure out what the clunking sound in the rear suspension is.

-Going to swap the muffler to something a bit more "sporty" since the car is deathly quiet now. I cant stand it! I cant even hear it idling when I am in the car. I have to check the tach to make sure it is still running!

 

I am surprised at how many things still work

-Power antenna - WORKS!

-Original AM/FM radio - WORKS!

-Seat belt buzzer - WORKS! (until I unplugged the damn thing)

-CHOKE indicator light -WORKS!

-HVAC fan - WORKS!

-Horns - WORK!

-Dash lights - ALL WORK!

-Parking brake -WORKS!

The previous owner obviously had some work done on the car on a regular basis. There was a sticker from Reborn Automotive in NE portland. 

 

Just going to clean it up, get the annoying stuff fixed and see what I want to do with it from there.

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That's too bad about the hubcap, I might be inclined to pull the others off for safe keeping. 

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The clunking in the rear end is either slop on the spider gears or the front mount has gone bad and the diff is hitting the top of the tunnel.

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Very nice car! It's such good shape. Getting a score like that is always nice! I have a '73 and I'm hoping to acquire another '73 possibly soon so I'll have another large hole to throw money into all the time  :thumbup:

Great car! I hope to see more about it!

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-deleting the PCV valve and venting crankcase to a catch can

 

Wrong! PCV is totally benign in operation. It removes harmful water, gas and combustion vapors from the crankcase and prevents them diluting the oil. Actually extends the oil change interval as compared to no PCV. Catch cans are totally useless on the street and are only required on many race tracks to collect oil from an exploded engine and keep it off the track. Keep the PCV it's your engine's best friend.

 

 

 

 

280ZX brake swap does not apply to the S30. It only applies to other Datsuns like the 510 or 610.

 

That is why the Toyota calipers are mentioned for a front brake upgrade. That is the common swap. Keep your 240Z struts and bolt on calipers.

 

The S30 strut is much different from other Datsuns and why a zx will not work on it, but will on the 510, 610, 710, A10, S10, S110, B210. (probably more...)

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Guys, 

I am troubleshooting a power draw.

When I connect the battery (ign off), I get a click form this relay:

 

IMG_4928.jpg

Can anyone tell me what this relay does?  Or maybe tell me where I can find a nice full-size color wiring diagram for the car?

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XenonS30 has wiring diagrams in the FSMs for our cars, full color ones are hard to find in good quality, but here's a link to one.

 

http://imgur.com/yoSWe

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I  strongly suggest you do no mods that cannot be easily replaced with stock parts. That car looks too nice to hack up.

 

Also, I would gain access to the rockers and inside the doors to treat them with an oily rust preventative. Get it all over the surfaces near the bottom where moisture will collect, and make sure the drains are clear. I'd ADD drains underneath for the doglegs. They collect moisture and have no exit points; that's why they rust. Give the water a place to exit, and treat inside them, too. There are numerous spots where Zs rust, and if you treat them now, and occasionally, the thing will stand a great chance of lasting a long time.

 

Congrats.

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