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seattlejester's 1971 240Z

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Perhaps it's gotten thinner with age, I'll try practicing on some 22 before I try fender work.


I keep telling myself the same thing to ditch the car and look for another one, but I'm in a unique situation where I have another 3-6 months before I lose project car space, and it will probably be a year or so before I can negotiate another one. Plus I can't bring myself to kill a Z, not yet at least.

Edited by seattlejester

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Looks pretty good there on the Rails. Are the floors going to be flat again? It's kinda hard to tell in the pict.


As for that Dent by the door. It does look like a pretty good hit, but You should measure the distance from the center of the car to where the Door hinge is and see if it's still pushed in there as compared to the other side. The car may not be square. and if that's the case then the door won't sit flush w/o shims or using a jack and some boards to push it out to the correct distance.


As for the looks of that area, you could cut out the section from a domor and weld that in, but that's a lot of work, or just hammer in in so it looks pretty much flat under the carpet. If nobody's going to see it, then it's only you that would worry about it. The crack you can weld just like you do the panels. Don't forget to seal your repairs since you don't want any rust to start.


Wow your sis lost part of a lung, that sucks, hope it wasn't cancerous.



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Blebs is what the doctor called it, can't believe something that sounds so silly can cause such serious problems.


The inside was hammered flat, and the floor pan is going to be replaced on the right side (just the upper portion), as hammering in the door sill revealed a bent floor (gaps visible between spot welds along door sill from front to seat mount). I think I'll have the frame rail sticking up into the cabin, and just level it with the stuff that comes in afterwards like sound proofing, carpet, etc etc. Since I won't be sitting in the passenger seat, and in the driver seat my feet will be forward of the beam. But only time will tell how big of a problem that may be.


Still trying to figure out the outside. I'd like to do a more permanent fix than shims, but that is always my backup plan. I suppose if I can't reshape it correctly I can always weld up a little bracket to push the bolt holes out or weld in a shim plate.


It really is surprising the naivety the engineers had in making "drainage holes" in random places. Proving to be a real exercise in controlling myself from pulling every potential spot for rust.


Hopefully I'll be finishing up the passenger frame rail and start with the floor/firewall/battery tray area. Then I get to repeat on the other side!

Edited by seattlejester

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Progress report:


A friend came over last weekend and decided he really wanted to do some welding, so he and I fabricated a insert for the frame rail. The rear portion is slid in to sit on the square tube that runs in front of the rear wheels, and the front piece is hammered onto the insert in the front then slid back to make a perfect match. The driver side is in very good condition so it will only be getting the rear treatment with a cap on the front.


Spent the whole workday today making caps for the frame rail so no water or debris find their way inside.


Picked up a 4.11 R200 :D just need to find the cog and sleeve so I can tell how fast I'm going lol.


Really hoping to start the roll cage this week or weekend, then I have to go searching for seats and harnesses. Then fix the floors.


Then start sealing the car up :D

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I hear ya, and I enjoyed reading your build! Seems like I may have to shoot a few questions your way once mine starts wrapping up. I'd love to take a look sometime, I've been curious as to the eibach spring height and clearance with the 16x8's (I have xxr 522, still contemplating the 513's or just drop the money for rota's)

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Got my new charger in and found my camera so picture time!


Why you should wear sleeves when you weld


One part that's ready for paint


Didn't get to take the gratuitous flinstone shot but


Driver side frame rail, still not sure if I want to put it in, we'll decide after the passenger side is done


For those curious where it mounts in the back


How much it sticks out below the floor


Sometimes it's just a good day



I'll have to go back and cap the rear and weld the underside, but so far everything is looking good. The floor pan and a portion of the firewall are next, along with the rail in the engine bay, followed by some patching in the rear then the decision to do the driver side or not. And last but not least will be making brackets for the roll cage, and making some home made strut braces/harness bar.


I decided that I will be rebuilding the short block myself and will probably send the head to be done by z-specialties as I have yet to find a shop that does rebuilds. The front brakes will be kept stock as well as the rear drums, as I don't think I'll be needing a big brake upgrade at the moment, instead the money will be spent on new shocks, springs, brake lines, and fuel lines. Just another week or so and the reassembly begins!

Edited by seattlejester

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Fire wall is pretty much in. The bottom needs to be trimmed to meet with the new floor section


Compare picture to one on first page to see how much better the damaged portion looks!




Really crude mockup of the new metal, the engine bay rail will be cut out and replaced with the 2.5 square tube, only keeping the bottom portion with the control arm mount.

Fender will be a shelf like design, as seen in the Project Hugo vids, and will be composed of 2 pieces with possible support pieces underneath.


After this will be welding the floor to the frame rail. Grinding down all the welds, jacking the car up. Finishing up the frame rail mount. Finishing up the rear with the needed patch and lead soldering all the welds.


Driver side will go in soon after. Followed shortly by the roll cage and braces.



After this the surface rust spots will be attacked with a wire brush. All seams will be welded/soldered/or sealed. Then the reassembly begins :)

Edited by seattlejester

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Feels like I was a bear in a past life, as the cold weather has it's final hurrah, I find myself sleeping when I really should be welding. Bought myself a sheet metal bender and some clamps so I can make the general shape of the floor. Hopefully I get a chance to play with that tomorrow, as the weather people have predicted snow for the 5th day in a row. Is there any other job where you can be right 1/5th of the time and not get fired? I see the cities sending out trucks and spraying the roads and dispensing salt, every day, but no snow...feels like they're pissing away money...

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Decided I would do one cosmetic thing along with 1 welding thing minimum a day.


I was a little overzealous in my spraying so it will have to be wet sanded, but boy does it look pretty



Today I made the complicated bends for the floor, just one edge left to do. Hopefully will be welding that in on thursday :)

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Pretty cool, you've done quite a lot of work. Did you have much trouble welding next to the rusty painted areas? Usually I clean stuff up before trying to weld next to stuff like, that since you get less spatter, and a cleaner weld. Shielding gas helps quite a lot too. Yours doesn't look too bad at all though. You might want to wipe it down with some surface prep and hit it with seam sealer and a light coat of primer just to keep any rust from reforming. It's a lot of work replacing that much metal, but good job!

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Thank ye sir,


I usually wire bowl the area I am going to weld, the car just started getting spot rust from rain drops falling off the garage door, so it gets sprayed with rust killer periodically. Before the panels went in most everything was shiny, and a lot of the brown stuff is grinding dust.


Is there a difference between sealer and primer? I hear them used interchangeably sometimes and it confuses me.


I'm using a hobart handler 135 setup for mig, The ugly welds are in part due to some blow thru on my part and in part from me letting my friend weld. He's been learning how to do more structural welding so I've had to kind of give him instruction and let him try out cosmetic filling on the sheet metal. I think I'll try and finish the rest of the car, he goes faster than me, but his welds tend to need some finishing afterwords.

Edited by seattlejester

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Yeah, I'm not real sure about Sealer and primer myself. Though the Seam sealer I was talking about is a caulk like stuff you can put over your seams just to ensure they're water tight. Particularly under the chassis. You do that, then prime paint and undercoat. Though depending on the undercoat you may not have to paint. I'm not a body guy so I don't know for sure. I only know what I've seen guys do and what came out looking really nice. Perhaps someone can chime in here with the proper methods and answers.



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Finally fired up my PC so I have pics to share with ya'll



Just a generic ebay seat, they're replacing the quite horrid camaro seats I had before. Based on measurements, the factory mounts can be used. You need one hole inbetween the rear mounts, and you need to widen the holes a little bit.


My 6'2 friend trying out the seats, plenty of room for my 5'9 head with a helmet.


Just a shot to show fitment



The trial wheels I picket up (2 wheels 4 tires for 200!), xxr 522 16x8 0 offset. The tire is quite small, but it gives a bit of an idea, the final set will be gold.



Roll bar mount mock up


Possible rear setup?



Engine pay almost ready for paint, just need to decide if I will sand blast, or just apply paint stripper.



Repair to the dog legs, contemplated buying the replacement pieces, but decided I'd give it a try first.



Matte white is just beautiful!

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So...probably time for a bit of an update I s'pose :P



Spent quite a bit of time trying to patch up the floor ~1 month or so just on the driver side.


Everytime I thought I was done, I'd find a little pin hole that would turn into ^


Eventually got sick of patching and decided I would play with the engine bay for a while


Tried Tal-Strip II on the engine bay, that stuff does wonders, but the warning label and ingredients mandate respirators and high ventilation.


Turned out that the roll bar interfered with the sliding action of the seat, and the steering wheel was about an 1-2 inches closer than ideal (past the wrist when seated fully back), and the head space was surprisingly bad, only to be worse if I used the sliders or wore a helmet. So...I drew up some specs for my own seat mounts.



While I was grinding out the stock seat mounts, the accidental bumps with the sawzall would tear holes where the seat mounts were mounted. So using the trusty "integrity testing hammer" we found the weak spots...bloody everywhere.



So after 8 months of trying to save the seat mounts and the floors, I decided to start over and do it right.



Managed to accomplish all this in a grand total of....1 day. Being stubborn sucks...



I decided that safety is a bloody large concern, and with the brake lines that crumbled, I really did not trust the rest of the system.

So full over haul starting with fresh calipers all around



And since MSA was having a sale, and the stock suspension wasn't going to do...


And this is how much it grew in one day, no joke


There is an equally large pile of tools at the garage waiting to be unpacked.


After finally fitting the last portion of the floor


I decided to celebrate by trying out some stitch welding


Close up


Definitely need to work on my spacing, but I was running near the end of the gas and the ground was apparently inadequate as it turned out much better when I moved the ground.


Not sure what to call him, I guess an alumni (although I still have a year to go)? Anyways he wanted to try blasting his wheels, and I said that I would be happy to supply the apparatus if he could manage to get it running reliably. After about an hour he had all the little tricks figured out. So before he came back for his next visit, my friend and I pulled the rear suspension.


The driver side brake fluid line crumbled, and the passenger side didn't even have a parking brake cable. I continually count my blessings for not having just painted the car and driving around as the PO suggested. Not sure how or if I'll be tackling the spindle pin and stub axle. The parts alone look to cost 300 (new spindles, lock pins, nuts, inner and outer bearings, seals, etc) and it's been a point of great distress in some builds I've read, so for now I'll be blasting it in one piece and use the stock bearings.


Also finally fully stripped the engine bay


My warnings and tips for front suspension removal:

*Remove the brake line before strut removal, if using new lines just cut the flexible portion.

To remove the steering tie rod, undo the castle nut and gingerly pull the pin, if the pin does not want to budge, persuade it with a small blunt nail. After the pin is removed and nut is off, use a pickle fork (tie rod separator if you want to be technical), wedge it in as far as it can go, hammer it in, and put your weight on it (do this only after making 100% sure the car is stable). If this does not help, use a block of wood or a brass bar and tap the threaded top and sides to break the grime and try again.

*When removing the tension rod, be very aware that it has...tension (surprise!) so tie something very heavy to the rod or have a friend put weight on it. Even with crumbling bushings the rod still managed to pop up right as the bolt was released.

*The stock end link has 3 nuts, 1 on top and 2 on bottom, you can remove all of them by cleverly employing a vice grip.

*The steering knuckle can be removed fairly easily. A few light taps will separate it from the strut.

*To remove the ball joint from the steering knuckle, remove the castle nut and pin, then brace the knuckle and give the joint a good whack with a 2lb sledge hammer. If it starts mushrooming use brass or wood in between, I held it in my hands and tapped it with the sledge and the ball joint plopped right out.

*The strut is surprisingly weighty, be prepared when your friend takes out the last nut.



The following week my alumni friend stopped by and I got around to trying out the sand blaster.


Started with the cross member, but started running a little low on sand, so I switched to some smaller pieces


The blasted knuckle was actually the one that was worse off and look at how great that turned out!


Then a slightly more complex LCA, missed a few spots but turned out amazing.


So tomorrow I will be returning to blast the rest of the suspension and differential components as well as maybe apply some paint stripping to the larger body panels (suppose to be hot tomorrow and we found that the heat and sun make the reaction occur faster and strip more vigorously).

I thought about making a collector for the sand, but at 4$/50# it really didn't seem like it would be worth it.


The caulking gun has something called fire sealant, it's supposedly used to seal areas around pipes and can be painted over, so after the engine bay is finished welding I'll be applying this in the seams and seal everything up prior to paint.


Now for some contemplation...the driveline. I have a smoking L28 and a blown L24 (piston came up all the way, enough to mash the spark plug). So since either block will need to be taken apart, I figured I'll start with the L24 to learn a little more about what to do and not to do using the how to rebuild your nissan ohc book as a guide. After that I'll take stock of the condition of the head and the rods...then...


My potential build.

N42 L28 Block bored out to 89mm

E31 L24 Head with L28 valves

L28 Crank

L24 Rods <- assuming they are in decent condition

KA24DE dished pistons

Fed by an SU carb using SM needles <-I'm not really sure where to get just the needles.


Should net me a solid 9:1 compression, plenty for the possible boost it will see and low enough not to worry about emissions


My friend works at an engine shop, so I'll hopefully be putting the motor together there. But they don't do machine work, so if anyone has recommendations in greater seattle I'd be more than happy to take a look.

Edited by seattlejester

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Great work!


One tip: I would do the spindle pins while you're there already. Even though it can be a significant undertaking, I've found that a solid day (5-7 hours) is usually enough to get both out, less if you're lucky, maybe more if unlucky. Time flies when you're having fun...


I would recommend getting a spindle pin puller from jtburf on this site. Make sure to heat the living hell out of the strut casting and then turn the nut slowly. Make sure that the pin is actually budging by looking at the hole for the lock pin and seeing if the flat on the pin is moving. I cleaned up and reused my lock pin, and there is no need to do wheel bearings unless there's a problem, maybe just repack then. I did not mess with bearings, but new spindle pins (with anti-seize all over them) and poly bushings are well worth it!

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^The question I have is was it really worth it? Did the spindle pin need to be serviced?


I mean I have the kit, and I'm game for some work, but is it necessary?


The strut and control arm pieces seem to move freely and the bushings for the control arm all look quite fresh. The spindle pins look more than beefy enough and I haven't seen any of them crack. So anyone know if there is an actual need?

Edited by seattlejester

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