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jacob80

Strip the Car...or Build Upon Existing Chassis?

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Hello!

I am in the process of building an 800hp 2JZ powered 1973 Datsun 240z. This car has zero structural rust issues but does have some dings and a couple minor paint issues that need addressed, but nothing major. Being a 44 year old car, I keep asking myself how far does one go when it comes to refreshing these cars?+

Part of me keeps wanting to strip the entire chassis down to nothing, blast it, repaint it and build it up from there. Another part of me sees the existing chassis and wants to simply re-undercoat the car and buff the paint and modify from there.

My question for you HybridZ is...what is the right way to go about doing this? Are there disadvantages other than time and money to stripping the chassis down and totally overhaul the car? Could I potentially weaken the chassis in some way shape or form?

The bones are good, I know that, but I want to ensure that if I didn't decide to strip the chassis down to nothing that I don't regret it.

I'd love to hear your guys' opinion. Like I said, this will feature an 800+hp 2JZ and I plan to have a 4-point roll bar, subframe connectors, triangulated strut tower bars and perhaps some other structural additions to support the power. This will primarily be a weekend warrior street car with some drag racing and lots of roll racing.

Thanks!

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I too am curious about what experienced people have to say on this.  I'm starting on my chassis and I'm debating on getting a new roller to build and properly cage or sticking with my current chassis.

From my research and experience, if you want to fully rebuild your car (especially with 800+hp in mind), building from a stripped roller is cheaper and easier than using an existing built car.

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9 hours ago, jacob80 said:

Could I potentially weaken the chassis in some way shape or form?

Not really. Maybe if you blast it incorrectly using the wrong material you could do some damage (warp or work harden the metal), otherwise, no not really. Not that I've heard of anyway. Just a matter of time and money... and lots of both.

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9 hours ago, unterbergamotten3 said:

Stripping the chassis down and remove all coatings is the more professional way to start your build, You will not have any bad surprises down the road. Expect the journey to be a few years by yourself

I'd have to disagree there - I've been watching Dominic Le go through an entire teardown and rebuild in one year's time (dnicle on Instagram). The timeline is highly dependent on the kind of time someone plans to commit to the project on a daily basis and experience level.

Another build I admire is John's Raw Brokerage build (here). I believe they have a solid approach by building the car and doing all fabrication, cutting, etc. to the point where the car is "done" and once they have everything wrapped up, they break the entire car down to the bare frame, repaint and put it all back together. I think this may be the best approach, in my opinion.

What are your guys' thoughts?

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I will suggest using a professional sandblasting service and just stripping down your car yourself if you decide to go that route. I had multiple paint jobs on my Z and the clear was extremely thick on the most recent one. Lots of rust that I've already  fixed, but where there was paint left it was really hard and chemical strippers would barely scratch the CLEAR. I spent a few hundred between sand, a compressor rental, diesel fuel, and random odds and ends to cover stuff that I didn't want to spend the time completely removing. It was a huge hassle, and sand gets everywhere, and many many bags of sand later it was still only mostly stripped down and had some spots left. A professional using soda blasting or dustless blasting, or really anything, that can come to your house and do it all is worth the extra money.

If I were to do this again, I would build up all the stuff I wanted, then tear it all apart for sandblasting, body work, and paint all at once at the end. Basically one giant Lego teardown and rebuild so I know I already have everything and paint and body work is the last step. Maybe not the professional way to do it, but often they've purchased all the parts new since they have a bigger budget and put them all together at the end. Currently the body work is holding me back and you get burned out. I wish I'd just built it up and driven it ratty until I was satisfied with everything else. 

Edited by Zetsaz

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2 minutes ago, Zetsaz said:

I will suggest using a professional sandblasting service and just stripping down your car yourself if you decide to go that route. I had multiple paint jobs on my Z and the clear was extremely thick on the most recent one. Lots of rust that I've already  fixed, but where there was paint left it was really hard and chemical strippers would barely go through the paint. I spent a few hundred between sand, a compressor rental, diesel fuel, and random odds and ends to cover stuff that I didn't want to spend the time completely removing. It was a huge hassle, and sand gets everywhere, and many many bags of sand later it was still only mostly stripped down and had some spots left. A professional using soda blasting or dustless blasting, or really anything, that can come to your house and do it all is worth the extra money.

If I were to do this again, I would build up all the stuff I wanted, then tear it all apart for sandblasting, body work, and paint all at once at the end. Basically one giant Lego teardown and rebuild so I know I already have everything and paint and body work is the last step. Maybe not the professional way to do it, but often they've purchased all the parts anyway and put them all together at the end. Currently the body work is holding me back and you get burned out. I wish I'd just built it up and driven it ratty until I was satisfied with everything else. 

I'm on board with this. It seems to make the most sense to iron out all the fine details on a "rough" draft of the car and then tear it down, make it pretty, and put it all back together and have a pretty car when it's all said and done.

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I chose the complete strip down and build up approach for my project and am glad that I did. I discovered how shotty the previous owners repair work was and found unexpected rusty panels in most all the known areas after the old under coating, BONDO etc was removed. I am a bit of an obsessive type and have approached this car with the plan to build it to my liking/standards/approval and never sell it. I wish I could have hauled it up to Los Angeles and had it dipped then epoxy primered, but going the route I went (professional sand blasting) allowed me to meet my current body/paint guy as well as start the body work on the blasters  property. There was some signs of minor panel warpage on a few areas where as the dipping process would not have been an issue. All in all for my first old car as well as doing what I can so far to rebuilding it, I am happy that I went this method and exposed all problem areas and gave me a new canvas to strengthen for my intended 500ish whp goals. 

I will add that I rode in a friends L28et 280Z that at the time was only making mid 200ish hp and ended up cracking the new paint in the C pillars where the lead lines are. I had mine removed and welded solid as a result. I still plan on more stitch welding in the rear area as well as finishing the firewall to complete the front. I think you are forming the right plan to combat that amount of torque and power that you have planned. Just a few pics showing the passenger side requiring a new cut piece to properly line up as well as how thick the bondo was in some places.

The first page of my build shows what I discovered under a pretty, new, blue paint job and the very beginning of the snowball rolling down the hill of no return.

 

post-736-0-86463900-1494799272_A.jpg

post-736-079059300 1289702710_A.jpg

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17 minutes ago, Nelsonian said:

I chose the complete strip down and build up approach for my project and am glad that I did. I discovered how shotty the previous owners repair work was and found unexpected rusty panels in most all the known areas after the old under coating, BONDO etc was removed. I am a bit of an obsessive type and have approached this car with the plan to build it to my liking/standards/approval and never sell it. I wish I could have hauled it up to Los Angeles and had it dipped then epoxy primered, but going the route I went (professional sand blasting) allowed me to meet my current body/paint guy as well as start the body work on the blasters  property. There was some signs of minor panel warpage on a few areas where as the dipping process would not have been an issue. All in all for my first old car as well as doing what I can so far to rebuilding it, I am happy that I went this method and exposed all problem areas and gave me a new canvas to strengthen for my intended 500ish whp goals. 

I will add that I rode in a friends L28et 280Z that at the time was only making mid 200ish hp and ended up cracking the new paint in the C pillars where the lead lines are. I had mine removed and welded solid as a result. I still plan on more stitch welding in the rear area as well as finishing the firewall to complete the front. I think you are forming the right plan to combat that amount of torque and power that you have planned. Just a few pics showing the passenger side requiring a new cut piece to properly line up as well as how thick the bondo was in some places.

The first page of my build shows what I discovered under a pretty, new, blue paint job and the very beginning of the snowball rolling down the hill of no return.

 

post-736-0-86463900-1494799272_A.jpg

post-736-079059300 1289702710_A.jpg

Good information @Nelsonian, I think regardless of what you do with a car this old, at some point it needs to be stripped and refreshed (unless you're into the whole all-original/matching numbers concept). I think the big question in my head is solved...modify the chassis and drivetrain to a point where it is running and driving and all fabrication is done and once you're happy with the results - strip it, dip it and put it back together.

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Build it, strip it, dip it, reassemble.  Exactly what I just did to my Z,  

About a year and a half of actual work, I don't think I would want to put in all of the work that a swap takes without knowing that the car was solid and all of the rust had been addressed. 800hp, holy shite! Really plan out your structural additions, if you hook up good with that kind of power you could put a permanent twist in that old tin can .

Edited by grannyknot

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