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Zetsaz

A musician's therapist (The $300 Z)

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Frankenstein lives:

 

 

Obviously I haven't put everything back on yet. Threw the taillights back on super fast just so i didn't feel too ratty, but she moves! Still finishing the back piece for carpet. Not sure if I'll have that totally done tonight, but pics will come as soon as it's done and I've thrown them on for a test fit.

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Been raining a lot here the last few days. Haven't done too much last weekend, but earlier I got the chance to clean up the glass, particularly the nasty tint that was left on the driver side window. Took a couple hours of scraping even after using a window film adhesive remover. 

 

Before (note that this is just a couple minutes after I had started. don't have a true "before" pic):

post-26977-0-84142900-1431798545_thumb.jpg

 

After:

post-26977-0-92953800-1431798607_thumb.jpg

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Haven't been posting much lately. Been trying to apply for full time jobs and I was in Oregon for a few days just recently checking out a job offer. Finally made a cover for the tank. Made from aluminum my dad got at the scrapyard. It's bolted around the sides so I can access anything I want on the tank or the rear end down the road. Welded the fancy little things you see around the circle so I could bolt the plate down. It works well enough for now 

 

Dad cutting the cover and a mockup

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Fancy schtuff

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Gives you an idea of placement pre-welded

post-26977-0-05933000-1433396162_thumb.jpg

 

Aaaand, painted and bolted on (mostly, you get the idea)

post-26977-0-72860200-1433396202_thumb.jpg

 

It's not perfect but it'll do for now.

Edited by Zetsaz

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No pictures right now, but I've taken everything apart to prepare for metal work and hopefully sandblast this thing. There was way more bondo in some areas than I thought and it turned out to be more rust than I was hoping for, but the worst is in areas I already bought replacement panels for so I'm not too bummed.

 

I'm gonna have to buy the lower panel for the passenger fender though because I had no idea it was pretty much just rust and bondo. Live and learn I guess. The project keeps getting to be more and more work than I expected just go the the shell in decent condition, but my fuel setup will be solid for pretty much any engine I choose to swap down the road (especially an LS engine), and the interior with few exceptions is pretty much done. Just gotta patch up this metal which is gonna be a pita. 

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SUPER IMPORTANT QUESTION: 

 

When putting on new rocker panels, do people generally just spot weld them on like the originals, or do they make a seam like on butt joints? I've been searching for hours and most of the pictures I've found are sparse to say the least and there's not much detail in the descriptions on how to get the whole job done. I'm almost done completely removing the driver side, but I'm still slightly confused by a couple things.

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Put it on the same way the factory did - with spot welds. The rockers are a major structural point of the chassis too, so make sure you put some bracing in to keep everything square. And make sure to mock everything up with the fender on to be sure the mounting points are in the right place.

Edited by rturbo 930

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Put it on the same way the factory did - with spot welds. The rockers are a major structural point of the chassis too, so make sure you put some bracing in to keep everything square. And make sure to mock everything up with the fender on to be sure the mounting points are in the right place.

 

Awesome, thanks for the response!

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Second question: Is there a legitimate reason NOT to just weld a long seam along the edges where the new rocker meets the old metal?

 

The reason I ask if my father is the most infuriatingly stubborn man and he seems to think that would be better than spot welding it.

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Your dad too? lol. I know the feeling. I can't really say for sure, but if you think about it, I think it's obvious which weld is stronger. A spot weld is in the middle of the flange (meaning load is spread more evenly), and there's also 360 degrees of metal surrounding it, whereas a butt weld like that is only on the very edge of the flange, and, at most, 180 degrees of  metal around it. My gut feeling is that the spot weld is stronger. The factory used spot welds, and I imagine there's a good reason for it. And if that doesn't work, tell your dad you're doing it this way, and that's that... which is what I do haha.

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Your dad too? lol. I know the feeling. I can't really say for sure, but if you think about it, I think it's obvious which weld is stronger. A spot weld is in the middle of the flange (meaning load is spread more evenly), and there's also 360 degrees of metal surrounding it, whereas a butt weld like that is only on the very edge of the flange, and, at most, 180 degrees of  metal around it. My gut feeling is that the spot weld is stronger. The factory used spot welds, and I imagine there's a good reason for it. And if that doesn't work, tell your dad you're doing it this way, and that's that... which is what I do haha.

 

Latin American dad. Working on his own to support family from the time he was a teenager when his dad passed away. It's not like it's a surprise, but it's definitely frustrating a lot of the time haha. 

 

I need to look into getting a spot welder or borrowing one then. If not, I may weld it up whichever way we do it for now and spot weld it a bit down the road before painting. It's not like I'm driving it much and it definitely doesn't have enough power to start affecting the frame. I could be totally wrong of course. I know the rockers are structural, but I assume anything that has them welded pretty firmly to the rest of the car will work well enough for now on a car that makes maybe 120hp as is, and is barely going to be driven until another several months or even a year down the road.

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Well, what you can do is just punch out the holes and weld them with a MIG welder. You don't necessarily need a spot welder.

 

What does your rocker look like right now? If it's completely removed, you probably shouldn't be driving it. Like I said, you should add some bracing in - probably just an 'x' in the door frame out of some small tubing - to keep the chassis square. As I recall, the rockers are the strongest/stiffest part of the car.

Edited by rturbo 930

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Looks like plug welds are gonna be the way to go. Haven't been able to find anyone with a spot welder, and even the cheapest Harbor Freight ones are like $170. 

 

And I was really hoping not to have to drill or cut any of my shiny new panels :/

 

Updates to come with pics: Both rocker panels are fitted and ready for welding right now. Just need to fit the passenger dogleg. Once that's done I'll be working on the rear lower quarters.

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Rocker panels and other bits have been done for almost two weeks now, just haven't had a chance to upload pictures. I'll have them uploaded sometime tonight once I've sorted through them for before/after deals. 

 

Still have some more bits to weld including some floor patching and the frame rails, plus the holes from the old bumpers in the back but for now it's really coming along and starting to take shape. It's far from any sort of ground up restoration but a lot of major issues will be taken care of.

 

The passenger door aligns quite well and closes, but the driver side door (unfortunately) closes just as poorly as before and I haven't quite figured out why. It's no different from before swapping the rockers, so I know it's not that, but it's still bugging me that it's harder to close and almost needs to be slammed to shut completely.  

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Pictures as promised. Wasn't done with a regular mig, no gas, so the welds still need some more grinding down and cleaning up, but I sprayed it with a thin coat of black primer for now while I get a chance to clean them up more down the road when I'm actually prepping for paint. Note I have way more pictures of rust but for the sake of comparisons and seeing a few in between shots this is all I'll upload. :)

 

Cut up

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Passenger side

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Driver side

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post-26977-0-23797000-1437720562_thumb.jpgpost-26977-0-43708300-1437720740_thumb.jpg

Edited by Zetsaz

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Sad/happy news: I've accepted a job in Mount Vernon, Washington and won't be able to work on the car for a while as it's back in Utah. The good news is I'll finally be making money and sending parts back home for when I get back. I'm hoping to do floors and rails then sandblast or at least rattle can the car all black when I get back. 

 

If there's anyone in the Skagit/Seattle area that knows of any meets going on I'd be happy to go check stuff out and learn from people with more experience! Already found a lot full of old Datsun 620s here in MV. 

 

There won't be many build updates for a while, but when I get back and really work in the summer I'll have boxes of parts waiting for me. It'll feel like Christmas! :D

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Here's the last picture I took before putting it back in my garage. Not really put back together but tons of progress was made in the last year. The engine feels pretty good, huge portions of the metal have been fixed, seats reupholstered, nice fbody fuel tank properly installed, internal racetronix fuel pump running beautifully, carpet kit cut, door interior all there except the driver door panel not being installed. Excited to get back at the end of the school year (I'm teaching Music at a high school here in Washington) 

 

post-26977-0-22185900-1440270760_thumb.jpg

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Bummer to be away from your car, but gives you more time to plan :).

 

Absolutely! I'm excited to (hopefully) be able to ship parts back home and feel like christmas when I get back. 

 

Which reminds me, if anyone has tips on components to upgrade that would be helpful down the road regardless of engine swap I'd be happy to have some input. I've been reading through the forums and so far the big things I want to focus on once the car is moving semi-reliably are the suspension and brakes. 

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Mount Vernon is a pretty quiet place too so lots of time to think and assemble little projects.

 

Generally for suspension and brakes as long as the basics are done they are fairly easy to upgrade since the access is relatively easy. 

 

New brake lines would be my recommendations, a new kit costs 50-70$ and is pretty easy to plumb, and it would be a breeze to plumb while you do your fuel lines. 

 

New bushings and springs and struts will really make the car feel much tighter. The Tokico springs and KYB blue struts are a popular stage 1 combo and feel pretty good.

 

I would say the really time saving important things will be things you can address while the car is apart that will be hard to get to once it's put together. 

 

Build your fuel line for high pressure and volume within reason and you will thank yourself later. That doesn't mean you need expensive braided line and stuff, but good clean stainless or aluminum fuel line in 3/8 or 1/2 inch and even if you decide to throw a V8 or a turbo 4 or 6 you are going to have good fuel. 

 

Generally for suspension and brakes as long as the basics are done they are fairly easy to upgrade since the access is relatively easy. Depends on what engine you get that will kind of determine what  kind of activities you will be doing which will kind of point you towards your intended suspension setup. No point in having the best built track setup if you put a lawn mower engine in you know? On the flips side having a monster engine and not enough suspension is going to make it a real handful. I would say a nice stage 1 to start and then kind of go from there to determine what feels good or what someone who is running your activity recommends.

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Mount Vernon is a pretty quiet place too so lots of time to think and assemble little projects.

 

Generally for suspension and brakes as long as the basics are done they are fairly easy to upgrade since the access is relatively easy. 

 

New brake lines would be my recommendations, a new kit costs 50-70$ and is pretty easy to plumb, and it would be a breeze to plumb while you do your fuel lines. 

 

New bushings and springs and struts will really make the car feel much tighter. The Tokico springs and KYB blue struts are a popular stage 1 combo and feel pretty good.

 

I would say the really time saving important things will be things you can address while the car is apart that will be hard to get to once it's put together. 

 

Build your fuel line for high pressure and volume within reason and you will thank yourself later. That doesn't mean you need expensive braided line and stuff, but good clean stainless or aluminum fuel line in 3/8 or 1/2 inch and even if you decide to throw a V8 or a turbo 4 or 6 you are going to have good fuel. 

 

Generally for suspension and brakes as long as the basics are done they are fairly easy to upgrade since the access is relatively easy. Depends on what engine you get that will kind of determine what  kind of activities you will be doing which will kind of point you towards your intended suspension setup. No point in having the best built track setup if you put a lawn mower engine in you know? On the flips side having a monster engine and not enough suspension is going to make it a real handful. I would say a nice stage 1 to start and then kind of go from there to determine what feels good or what someone who is running your activity recommends.

 

Thanks for the tips! Down the road I'm thinking L28ET (because I love the L6 engines) or just a pretty stock/rebuilt LS1. The car will probably never see more than 300-350whp. and that's only if I decide to go LS1. I'm glad you pointed me to the brake/fuel lines... I'll have to remove those anyway when I install the bad-dog frame rails. 

 

 

I can't wait to see this continue! 300 dollars is dirt cheap for what you got, sure it needed work but every z needs work. stoked to see another utah z!

 

I appreciate it! Yeah, it needs a fair bit of work, but now that I've been browsing around for parts I keep seeing cars that are only barely useful as parts cars go for $500-800! Plus, I think a lot of the work I've done has been useful. Some of it is needed even on Zs in the $1500-$3000 range from what I've seen, so I'm fairly satisfied. 

 

At the very worst I've learned A TON about how things really work and I've saved another from the scrapyard. Which is where this one was going when I decided to buy it off the guy. 

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