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Thread: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

  1. #1
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    1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    Going to be telling my Z's story here. Already have a lot of work done but I've been documenting as I went along.

    Story thus far:
    I had wanted to get back into a sporty car ever since I sold my 240sx to a friend who was in need of a good car. I had acquired a '98 Frontier so I didn't really need to keep the 240sx even though it some hard to find parts I wish I had kept before selling it.

    Drove the Frontier for a few years and it slowly started developing problems and I decided I needed to get rid of it before it got any worse as I didn't really want to end up dumping money into a vehicle I wasn't that happy with. Took the money and started my search for a z31. Found out the hard way that you couldn't even touch a turbo model around here for under $4,000 and they still needed ALOT of work. Finally found a z31 I was happy with, payed the guy $1,700 and drove home in my '84 non-turbo Z.

    Fell in love with it on the drive home and immediately took it to the car wash. It was extremely dirty from where it had been left sitting in his driveway for a year. Found out fast that I was going to learn all the little quirks that plague z31's. Found out the t-tops leaked.

    From then on it was almost like hide and seek and tag combined with all the problems I had. As soon as I would notice a problem it would disappear just to reappear a week later and once I fixed it something else would go wrong. Fixed a few things right off the bat. Gave it a tune-up with oem parts and bought a new MSA exhaust since the original was swiss cheese from the catalytic converter back.

    One of the last big problems I had was having to revamp my clutch system and found out that the previous owner had put in a new clutch to cover up the fact the synchros were worn out. I had been attributing my shifting issues to a messed up clutch. That about covers the main things up until we put her out of commission so we could go through the suspension and body and get everything in as good of shape as we could get it.

    Next post I'll cover a checklist for our plan of attack on everything that needed to be fixed.

  2. #2
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    Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    So here we go folks, time to start the journey that's been two months worth of hard work and setbacks at every turn.

    Work list:
    Fix all dents
    Cut and replace rusted metal
    Rebuild bodylines
    Re-paint factory color
    Replace subframe bushings with polyurethane kit
    Replace diff mount with polyurethane mount
    Modify suspension and install coilovers
    Replace transmission and install new clutch

    Doesn't sound like to much but like I said. We hit roadblocks every step of the way.



    Got the subframe pulled so we could start prepping for the polyurethane kit. Next we started going around and tagging all the rust for removal and identifying dents to be fixed.



    Found this rust behind both rear tires on the quarter panels.





    Under the bubbled paint we found that someone had decided bondo was an appropriate fix...without removing any of the rust.





    Luckily this was all we found in the rocker panels.



    This was the main rust that was causing problems. Had rusted so bad it messed up the urethane and was leaking real bad. My quick fix was to silicone over the rust until we could do what we are doing now.



    Here we got it fixed up real nice. Won't be any more problems with a leaky windshield now.



    Even with the windshield rust this spot was causing me the most grief every time I looked at the car. Looks like someone had smacked it with a shopping cart at some point. completely screwed up the sharp bodyline and it was very noticeable.



    Kept eyeballing the bodyline as we reblocked it. My girlfriends godfather has been teaching alot about bodywork as we went through this rebuild and he kept telling me it would block out perfect and to quit eyeballing it...I've learned to listen to whatever he tells me when it comes to body work. Line came out perfect.





    That sums up where we are at on the bodywork. This weekend we will be getting it painted if all goes according to plan. Just have to get new metal welded into the quarters where we cut out the old rusted out lower sections. Should have been done 2 weekends ago but somehow the gas for the welder got turned on and left on for who knows how long. Neither of us did it so someone had been in the shop and messed with it. Needless to say we weren't happy about that and I just found out that we are all set to get everything welded up this weekend.

    Next update will be what we've got done to the suspension so far. Thanks for reading.

  3. #3
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    Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    Well, we didn't manage to get as much done as we had hoped this weekend. Still having the worst luck. Got about half of the body welding done and none of the suspension welding before our replacement gas tank decides it wants to take a nap on the floor.

    Shop ghosts - 2
    Us - 0

    Didn't let it stop us though, we at least cleaned up what was welded to be ready to block it for paint. Got the coilovers ready to be welded up and basically went over the body again just to be absolutely sure we didn't miss something.

    Now as promised the update to bring everyone up to speed on where we were on the suspension.

    This shows just how bad everything looked when we started pulling everything off.



    After we got the control arms out of the way.



    Sorry the picture is so blurry but here you can see all the cracks in the diff mount.



    at this point it wasn't long before...tadaa. Had already started cleaning up the control arms when I snapped this picture.





    Now remember the cracked and rotting diff mount? I have the perfect solution.



    This should take care of everything else.



    Last but not least, what will have the biggest impact on the handling.



    Sorry, don't know why the pictures are showing up so large as compared to the last one. Photobucket says they are all the same size.

  4. #4
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    Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    Well, it's not much of an update just a few pictures from getting everything welded up. First one didn't turn out to well, think my camera is reaching the end of its life. Picture of the channel welded up is with my phone, I think I'll be using it from here on out so I can get some decent pictures.

    New metal going in.



    ...and the welded up channel. Not quite how I thought we were going to do this but hey, no more rust and it works.



    Also tried out something I've been hearing about for awhile now. Shin-Etsu Grease. I've heard it works wonders for rubber pieces so I wanted to give it a try. I'll post those results up once I get some good "after" pics.

  5. #5
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    Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    I have 300zx rear cross member with custom solid aluminum bushings. Please let me know if you might be interested,






  6. #6
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    Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    Crazy Backyard Builder, Sorry not really interested. I've already got the polyurethane subframe mounts I'm going to use. Coilovers are going to be a harsh enough ride as it is without adding aluminum mounts into the mix. Appreciate the offer though, thanks.

    Well, since I promised results on the Shin-Etsu grease, it's time I delivered. Here's what the stuff looks like.



    It's a Honda product but I've heard of it being used on everything from Honda's to Corvette's. Figure if it's good enough for the NSX drivers it's good enough for me. Started with a good cleaning that left them clean but they still felt like old rubber. I honestly felt that if I tried to flex them much they would rip and tear. Once they were done it was like they were brand new. Now...on with the pictures.

    Started with this...



    ...and ended with this.



    Took these old hard hatch bumpers...



    ...and gave them life again.



    Can't wait to see how well it works on my old weatherstripping. Hopefully it'll eliminate the gaps and stop my leaks and wind noise. Also got some pictures of my new tail lights I bought from a member on another forum. Had to polish them up some but even before a good cleaning the were miles apart from my original cracked and hazed tail lights.

    Went from this...



    ...to this.



    That's it for now. This weekend, if all goes according to plan, we will get the suspension done and ready to be put on as well as lay down the paint. So all that will be in my next update so stay tuned.

  7. #7
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    Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    love these cars!

  8. #8
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    Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    How did you go about polishing the lights? Same sort of process as cleaning up foggy heads, light abrasive and some elbow grease?

  9. #9
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    Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    Well, to be honest all I used was the compound that came with a Mothers brand headlight restore kit. Kit has the sanding pads, buffing ball, compound and a nice microfiber towel. I'll run you through the stages, as I did it a specific way to get that result.

    What I used:
    -Mothers Plastic Polish
    -Fluffy microfiber towel that came with Mothers kit
    -Old microfiber towel I had lying around

    (Regular old microfiber towel was for applying compound, nice and fluffy microfiber towel was used for buffing compound off.)

    1. I cleaned up the lights with just dish soap and water. I used my hands to rub the soap on lightly. No sense in applying to much pressure, just wanted to get any surface dirt and oily residue off. Set aside and let dry.

    2. I applied compound and really buffed it into the lights. I didn't apply a lot of pressure as I didn't want to risk cracking the lenses. I left the compound on the lights only long enough to do the same to the other light and then buffed them both clean.

    3. Went back and liberally applied compound while buffing it in but making sure I had full coverage. Left the compound on both lights until it was completely dry (unlike in stage 2, using more compound took a lot longer to dry) and then buffed it off.

    That was all I had to do, a bit different of a method that cleaning up headlights but same general principle. I just made sure not to use and abrasive pads or sandpaper because it would have taken a high speed buffer to polish them up. Using a buffing wheel would have given slightly better results but on something that has unsupported edges such as these taillights I didn't want to risk catching an edge at high speed.

    Your results may vary, you may end up needing to do another pass or two to get them where you want them. It all depends on how bad your lights are. Hope this helped you.

  10. #10
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    Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z

    Alright, so we got the car sprayed. It was a nightmare getting it to this point because everything went wrong. Paint even got pushed back a week because we just couldn't get some of the bodywork right and decided to re-work some parts.

    The area behind the wheels turned out great with the new metal welded in.





    Got it all done and prepped. Before...



    ...and then we laid down the paint...



    ...finally we laid down the blue pearl over the factory color and finished it off with clear.



    Sorry about the last picture, shop was pretty hazy from the clear. Had to mess with the contrast and sharpness to kill some of the fogginess. That's about it for now. This weekend will see the suspension installed and my new (to me anyway) transmission and clutch.

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