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 Post subject: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
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.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
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.

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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.

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

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

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Luckily this was all we found in the rocker panels.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
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.

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After we got the control arms out of the way.

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

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

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

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This should take care of everything else.

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

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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.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:13 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
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.

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

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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.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:47 pm 

Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:47 pm
Posts: 60
Location: SoCal.
I have 300zx rear cross member with custom solid aluminum bushings. Please let me know if you might be interested,

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
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.

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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...

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...and ended with this.

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Took these old hard hatch bumpers...

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...and gave them life again.

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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...

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...to this.

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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.

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私♥フェアレディ・ゼット - 1984 Z31 300zx


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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:27 am
Posts: 446
Location: Atl GA
love these cars!


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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:50 am
Posts: 43
Location: Ohio, USA
How did you go about polishing the lights? Same sort of process as cleaning up foggy heads, light abrasive and some elbow grease?

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
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.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:01 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
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.

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Got it all done and prepped. Before...

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

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

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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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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 462
Location: Nagoya, Japan
As an owner of an 88 SS, I absolutely love to see Z31s being brought back form the brink like this! You're doing an excellent job man!

It looks fantastic with paint, I can't wait to see pictures of it out in the light!

Cheers,
David

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1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1973 Honda Life // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS // 1990 BNR32 Skyline GTR // 1996 EK11 March 1.3
My Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/nakazoto/home


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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
Thanks alot! Still has some work to do to the body but the major bit is behind us. Front bumper still needs paint because I'm going back and forth on whether to shave the front plate mount. and then what sort of aero I want.

Really wanting to keep the aero simple with a zenki turbo front lip and I'm thinking I'm going to build a replica of the 3 piece TBO spoiler since it might as well be impossible to find a real one.

We will have to move her to another shop to do the transmission job so some outdoor pictures are definitely in order. :wink:

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私♥フェアレディ・ゼット - 1984 Z31 300zx


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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:50 am
Posts: 43
Location: Ohio, USA
Raven wrote:
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.


Thanks!! I'm going to have to try this on my S30. I think nice shiny tails would really brighten up the look of it.

I love what all you're doing with the Z31. Its one of the cars I want to build someday, and I love seeing one done up nicely.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
No problem at all Italian. Polished tails would just finish off the look of your S30, in my opinion. I think cleaning all the lenses up just helps give a car a more finished look. That's why I've gone around and polished all the lenses on my Z (blinkers, turn signals and tails). Kinda didn't have a choice though since a previous owner decided it was a good idea when they repainted and cleared the car to just clear over everything, lenses and all.

Thanks for the compliments guys. It's really been helping the motivation of this build.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
Well, this weekend was a bust. Found out that the rear control arm bushing kit from Prothane didn't have the bolt sleeves and was also designed to use the factory outer sleeve. Every other part of the kit had new bolt sleeves and said to cut out the outer sleeve. So that's what we did...on the rear control arm...where I needed to re-use the factory outer sleeve.

Now I'm up a creek trying to figure out what to do about the sleeves. We have 3 out of 4 bolt sleeves, the other one is MIA, and no outer sleeves pressed in to the control arms. So needless to say it didn't make it to get the transmission done. Did manage to get some work done on my girlfriends car as well as snap some daylight pictures of the paint (Sadly no direct sunlight but natural light none the less).

Got the bumper and tail light panel painted black.

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Here's a daylight shot. Gives a better idea of how the paint will look than the other shots that are under fluorescent lights.

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Coilovers are installed on the front just waiting on bushing installation and it's all finished up.

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Also grabbed this shot as I thought it looked pretty cool. My girlfriends S130 with my Z31 in the far bay. Had her car pulled in to replace the modulator valve on the transmission.

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That's it for now, time to collect parts I need and hope for the best I don't have to hunt down new control arms because of the outer sleeves. Been trying to decide on wheels...been going back and forth between between a set of Enkei Compe, Panasport G7 or just saving some money and putting on a set of Rota's. Think I'm going to go with the Rota's.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
Been a week, so for those interested, still haven't been able to get any more done. Still waiting on parts from Nissan. Found that I could order new control arm bushings, both the inner bolt sleeve and the outer sleeve included, from Nissan so I ordered those. Also sourced a turbo front lip that I have waiting to get cleaned up and installed.

So, I'm hoping I get my parts from Nissan this week because we will be going down to get some work done on the car. Going to delete the front plate mount from the bumper and possibly start work on the rear spoiler as well as getting everything we can finished on the suspension. If the parts don't come in at least everything else will be one...trying to stay positive since everything else is still going wrong. Found a tail light center bar in great shape, just needed some polishing. Took it a week to get here just to find it got broke in shipping, now I'm stuck trying to file a claim on ebay with the seller.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:38 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:54 am
Posts: 314
Location: Yokosuka, Japan
nice build!


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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
Thanks familycar!

Just got updates today that I'll be getting refunded for the broken tail light bar because the seller had insurance on it and my Nissan order will be here tomorrow. Things might finally be looking up.

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 37
Location: Nashville, TN, USA
Gotta love it when parts start getting collected. Left box is mine, right box is for girlfriends S130.

Image

These finally came in for the control arms...

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They measured in at 1.45". Quick call verified the inner diameter of my control arms at "a hair under" 1.5". Looks like we're back in business.

Now all that said. I'm getting to the point where I'm looking at my choices when it comes to wheels. Tires have about had it and I'm not going to replace tires on wheels I want to change anyway so it's time to make a decision.

I would love to get my hands on a set of 16x8 Super Advan SA3 in low offsets. Had my eyes on a set of 16x8 Panasport G7 but the offset was way to weak and I can't justify the money to re-barrel them on top of the initial cost. Sadly my hunt for "legit" wheels is turning up nothing. Can't find anything I like in 16" 4x114.3. So it's looking like it'll be a set of Rota Grid V. 16x8 +0 in 4x114.3. For those that haven't seen them...

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Pretty sure that will be the final choice unless someone wants to talk me into getting a set of Enkei Compe in 16x8 +0...

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They are essentially the same price and while I would like to have a set of Enkei's I would hate cleaning them due to the fins. Thoughts anybody?

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 Post subject: Re: 1984 300zx - Rebirth of a Z
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:22 am
Posts: 644
Location: Netherlands
Rota's please!

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