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picking up a 280Z

Discussion in 'Other Rides' started by MEPR, Apr 19, 2003.

  1. MEPR

    MEPR 1/2 ton status

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    This is exciting, im helping a good friend of mine pick up his dream car. 1978 Datsun 280Z. We looked at it earlier today and man is it a nice car! Im excited and im not even getting it. Well annyway, does anybody know of anny trouble spots to look for on these little beasties.
     
  2. dysphemism

    dysphemism 1/2 ton status

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    thats slick man! my friend had one, i know they like to backfire a lot and dont honk the horn too much of it might get stuck! hehe. my friend owns a shop that converts those to 350 v8s, they haul!
     
  3. awagliar

    awagliar Registered Member

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    They are great fun cars, I highly recommend them. The three biggest problems with the first-generation Z-cars are, in order of severity, 1) rust; 2) rust; and 3) rust. (This from an east-coaster who's made more than one trip to your side of the country for an early Z.) Long ago, there was a joke about early Japanese cars .. if you scratch the paint, you can just about make out the Budweiser label.

    Check out the frame rails (C-channel steel from the radiator support back), the floor pans (specifically the area behind the front seats -- rip up the carpeting!), the rocker panels (I had a '75 Z and a '70 K5 with matching cancerous rockers!), the rear wheel arches, beneath the battery tray, and the finishing panel around the hatchback latch. If it's structurally sound, just about anything else is a fairly easy fix.

    The L28 engine is just about bulletproof, but make sure the engine accelerates, decelerates, and idles smoothly .. otherwise, you may end up learning more than you'd ever cared to about the early Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system and how it interfaces with Datsun's air-flow meter, cylinder head temperature sensor, and cold start injector.

    Listen for the trademark "clunk" from the differential on brief on-throttle/off-throttle maneuvers (indicative of a worn mount and/or missing relief strap) and for a noisy throwout bearing.

    The gauges are usually reliable though not necessarily accurate, and the clock won't work. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif HVAC is decent. Weatherstripping is usually sub-par after 25 years. There's a plethora of hi-po upgrades available.

    Feel free to contact me via PM or email with any questions. Good luck to you and your friend.
     
  4. ramjet gmc

    ramjet gmc CK5 Staff Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    Look closely at the frame behind the front wheels where the frame goes flat my 280z 79 rotted out and cracked at that spot
     
  5. SkulzNBonz

    SkulzNBonz 1/2 ton status

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    I had a 260z w/ a 4 speed, and I ate up four of them. The trannie's all came out of 280z's, w/ the exception of the original. Then again, I was real rough on 'em, which could have been part of the reason for their short life spans. Pull the drain plug (if it's a manual) and look for metal shavings. Shavings say that the tranny isn't long for this world. No shavings, fill it up w/ 90 weight gear oil and go. Funnest car I ever owned.

    John
     

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