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Tips for modifying,upgrading,or restoring a Z on a budget.

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I cant believe nobody has stated this or at least I havent read it. Its a huge money saver!!!! its called.....
























I dunno, you can spend a LOT of money leaving it stock. NOS dash? Rare stock parts that no one has anymore? lol you get the idea.


best thing you can do. Find the most rust free car you can, WITHOUT any electrical problems. Even if the engine is shot, it saves you a TON of money and headaches. I know this personally haha. My 78 has a perfect body, 90-99% of the wiring harness has never been messed with (pulled up the carpet and gutted the interior, and ALL of the body's harness was still taped to the floor, with 30 year old duct tape) The engine has some issues to work out, but you know what? At least I don't have to hunt down a Phantom Short!

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Leave everything in the packaging UNTILL you are ready to install. I've always had the "ooo new shiny thing, lets open it" mentality. Also lost a lot of part/tools that way. Or you can be organised :P


I actually opposite, and find it to be a time saver.


I open and inspect parts when I receive them to make sure everything is there, and in good shape, so that when it comes time to install it I know everything will be good to go.

I put everything back in the packages once the inspection passes. ;)

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Hunting down rust and killing it should be a priority.


It's not pretty or glamorous but it will save your car.


But you already knew that...


Truer words have never been said... I'm killing everything before it has a chance to get worse.If you get distracted by all the cool stuff you can put on your car you forget about the cancer that will destroy everything you created.

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Urethane endlink bushings are a great upgrade.


Urethane frays less than rubber and is more durable.


Over time and under pressure, urethane shrinks and loses its' spring.


Instead of purchasing a new set which can run up to $25.00 for each sway bar, I just put a metal spacer between the nut and the top washer so I can get more torque out of the assembly.


There is no danger of overtorquing because of the bolts threads stopping where they stop and the metal tube which acts as a spacer.


I am applying extra pressure to the urethane and that is what it was made for.


The hardware is grade 8 so it can take the abuse as well...


Next; My homemade locking gas cap...

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So I have a '76 280 with the large mouth gas tank filler...


The locking gas cap for these was discontinued sometime in the 90's.


Maybe they make them now but I have no idea.


I chanced upon one from Motorsport but it broke a few years back.


So this is what I came up with;


A swiveling lock hasp (3.99 or so).


A cylinder lock with changeable combo ( 4.99 or so).


Some metal work to the OEM gas cap (time and drillbit).


It works fine and as an extra added bonus on the inside of the OEM gas cap there is a little hole where the stock hanging chain used to reside.


I removed the chain and it is a perfect place for a hide-a-key (.59 keyring).


This whole set up works great and it is hidden by the filler cover but for some people that is still not good enough but then they are probably not looking at this thread anyway.


Has nothing to do with me...

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Speaking of rust! I found this vid while I was searching for a solution to my bushing removal. This definately qualifies for the budget resto:






That ROCKS!!!! THANK YOU!!! Rusted suspension pieces, your time has come :twisted:



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I agree with what everyone has said about finding a Z with as little rust as possible. Here are a few more ideas:


1. Join a local car/hot rod club. Most of these guys have been doing this for years and already have solution to problems you might be looking at. Just like being here, there is no replacement for a network of friends with knowledge.


2. Sometimes it is cheaper (and easier) to wait another month to buy a known good part than it is to buy one you found a good deal on but needs some work to make it right. If you are a master fabricator (and we do seem to have some of those around here) you will be ok, but if you are like a lot of us in the end you will spend more than if you had just bought a new part to start with. If you have to buy a part twice it really wasnt a deal.


3. Buy the book "How to restore your Datsun Z-car". I did before I ever turned the first screw on my car. It has pretty good writing and pictures for you to follow along with. If you arent sure how to take something apart and tear up something in the process it will only cost you more.


4. I just ordered the "Jaguars that Run" V8 conversion book. A lot of people say there is a ton of good info in it even if you arent going to do the V8 swap. I can neither confirm or deny this, but I am giving it a shot.


5. Do as much of the work as you can yourself. Several of my friends have taken body classes at a local community college. Even if you just do the prep work before taking the car to get it painted you can save yourself a ton of money.


6. HybridZ search function. I know it gets preached a lot here, but this place has such a huge storage of knowledge it is unreal. Of 3 Z websites I frequent this one is the top notch when it comes to knowledge.


This is just my .02 cents, your mileage may vary.

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