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Rolling with the punches a 75 280Z v8 Refresh

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Im Will and this is my 75 280Z the day I recived it as a birthday gift from my dad the the original owner.  



And this is my dad the day he bought the car in 1975.

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In 1990 my dad made the choice to do a sbc swap in to his z and this was the result


A nice but low cost swap that has stood up to the test of time . Over the years the car has had many different carb setups but this was the state of the motor when I got the Z.

And its a bit tired and needs some new life breathed in to it , and thats just what i am going to do . Please feel free to offer helpful tips and tricks and any advice


Will S.

Edited by hwvigo
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Very cool. My first car was a 1956 Ford that my dad picked out for his father when he was home on leave from Germany with the Army. I inherited it in 1982 when my grandfather went in a nursing home. When I got the car, I cleaned out the glovebox and found some very cool sunglasses. I took them in and showed them to Dad. He said he had been looking for those since 1956! I have not had as good of luck mixing cars and women. In high school I took off those old glasses to walk my girlfriend to the door. Before seeing her into the house, I broke up with her. When I got back in the car, I sat on those glasses and crushed them. I got married later and had to sell the Ford because my wife was so jealous of the time I spent working on it. So, now I own a Z and I also own a glasses shop! Still have the wife and shes still jealous. Stay away from heartless women and lay down the law early. And put you glasses in the glovebox.

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So just as most people not having a large amount of money to start on a project i decided to strip the cracking black spray paint off the trim. It came out looking very clean.



Sadly shortly after this I lost my job and the Z in my fathers shop for almost 2 years. In this time i found a very good job and moved from Beaumont Tx   to Broken Arrow Ok. And after 6 months in my new appartment a garage became available and i snached it up quick for this ment my Z could come to its new home . And then 38 years to the DAY my dad bought the car. We meet in Longview Tx for the car to make the trip home with me. Along with a bunch of the original parts off the Z sadly yet not  the l28 had been swaped in to my dads friends 240Z and so I have is a whole bunch of parts to try to sell . 



Got the Z to its new home in Ok and as i was backing it off the hauler the 20 year old mechanical fuel pump went out. Leaving me pushing the car in to the garage and a good place to start.


Edited by hwvigo
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Well after getting the fuel pump changed out and changing the feul filter that was full of rust and what not the Z was alive . And ready for its first drive around town


On this drive around town i noticed two things. One the car was running very hot , and their was one heck of a clunk in the rearend. So I want home jumped on line and did some digging around and found the fix for my cooling  problems.


for the cooling problem  a 3 row aluminium radiator  with twin cooling fans and a new water pump just for good measure along with a new overflow tank.





Engine bay looks much better now and just a side not the fan shroud that was on the car was made by my and out of what migh of well been razor blades OUCH ( see said  fan shroud in first post ) .  Not to mention the vast improvement in cooling motor now runs at nice 185f . a big change from the 240f I was getting.

Edited by hwvigo
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After driving the Z for a few days after the cooling fix the clunk in the rear end became a big annoyance. So it was time to get that sorted out , after digging around the sight I had a good idea were to start at . And on inspection I found the diff mount to be ripped and ever bushing in the irs to be dry and nasty and the whole thing looked not so great. And if im going to change out one bushing might as well change them all, So I set off. 


Rear end looking old and used.



Whole thing pulled out a surprisingly easy job .



the underside looking beautiful



And this is the point were I made the choice  to clean the whole thing up. And had bought a part I though I might use.



And after doing some more poking around the threads I decide not to.  And insted I set off to build my own rt style diff mount. With the result of this. ( test fit only )



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Once I pull the IRS out of the Z I started the dissemble process. Having pulled it all apart I began the cleaning and de rusting process by loading the whole thing up and heading to the car wash for some high pressure love.  After getting all the dirt off I went after the rust with bushes sand paper and rust busting spray. And many hours and days and blisters later it was time to remove the old bushings and paint. I started the whole process buy removing the old busted dry bushings using many different methods finding my favorite to be the torch and a flat blade, (thanks to the help of the search on the forum).  After all the bushing fun I set off cleaning all the parts very well. and then spraying them with 2 coats of rust inhibiting primer waiting a full day in-between coats to make sure it came out looking slick. Then came the time to choose the finishing color after googling for days I pick a classic black for base with gold accent and red bushings for a pop of color. And after weeks of painting it came out looking beautiful. Worth all the time and effort put in to it.



old and rusty



looking nasty



Broke the diff breather off




All nice painted and cleaned up with new seals  





And the almost finished product waiting on the rest of the bushings to come in





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What sort of paint did you use for those Rear end pieces? I've been looking at various coatings from SEM, POR, KBS and just regular spray paint lately but haven't pulled the trigger yet. It looks great! I'm hoping to do the same relatively soon. Keep up the good work!

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Don't forget to grease the u-joints while it's out.


Nice bending work on the RTz-style diff mount.  Do you have a giant metal brake available?  I did something similar with a crack in the patio and saw kerf in a log.

Thanks for the advice in the u-joints and the complement bending on the mount

And yes I do have access to a very large brake along with every other neat thing to make car parts I am very luck to work at a band saw manufacturer with a full machine shop and fab shop. We build some of the largest metal band saws in the world.

And that’s thinking outside the box with home bending love it.


This is a video of one of our bigger saws cutting a truck in half just for fun


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What sort of paint did you use for those Rear end pieces? I've been looking at various coatings from SEM, POR, KBS and just regular spray paint lately but haven't pulled the trigger yet. It looks great! I'm hoping to do the same relatively soon. Keep up the good work!

Thanks so much

The primer is RUST-OLEUM high temp primer, the black is RUST-OLEUM high temp gloss black, the sliver is RUST-OLEUM high temp silver, and the gold is a KRYLON metallic. Spray paint can come out very good if you take the time to do it right light coats with full dry times between coats. And cleaning and priming is a key step.

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While waiting to build up some funds to buy the bushings and odds and ends I needed I decided to tackle some little stuff on the Z. I was very unhappy with the condition of the undercoat of the car so I decided to start there. I pulled the right rear strut and went after the 38 year old under coat in the wheel well with a wire brush on a drill and it cleaned up very nice. After a little more work with a torch and a scraper and afterwards some solvent I had the right side all clean and ready for paint. I sprayed it with two coats of black rust inhibiting prier, then after it way dry I sprayed it with two coats of rubberized undercoat spray, and was very happy with the result. After I had that one side done I had my first new parts arrive. Rear top hats off a 240z they were a little dirty so I gave them the same treatment I gave the rest of the suspension components. Then the next day is where my build gets its title. I woke up the next morning and it was a beautiful September Sunday, so I grabbed my skateboard and headed to the park close to my house to just do a little riding around. But things did not go as planned I went to do a turn at the top of the ramp and my foot slipped off my board and caught on the lip of the ramp and SNAP broke my tibia were it goes in to the knee.  And after all the fuss of along hospital stay and two surgeries my leg is all fixed, with a nice big plate and quite a few pins. But at this point they said I would not be walking for 3 months. So for three long months I was stuck inside with this forum to keep my Z building sprits up. I must say you guys did not fail me at all. So January rolls around and I get the clear to walk and go back to work.  As soon as I get back to my apartment I head straight for my garage and open the door and there she is just like I left her not a thing moved and I was ready to get back to work on my Z. Through all this I learned that life can take an unexpected swing at you at any time and all you can do is roll with the punches and get back up. And try not to let things get you down and stop you from completing something you love.



(At this point I must give some major love for my bride to be. When this happened I thought about selling the Z to cover some of the medical costs. And she got very upset at me for even mentioning it she said that “You have a connection to that car that money is no replacement for and I will not let you sell itâ€. Ya guys she is a keeper)



fender well looking all nasty







Fender well all clenaed and redone



New top hats all painted sitting next to old tall ones




And now the break



and repair




Just how i left her





Edited by hwvigo
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Being able to walk and bend move now I have been working on the Z as much as the freezing winter has let me. With the strut assembly dissembled I am going through the same refinishing steps as I have on all the rear end parts to make sure that she stays looking good. I also had the funds to finial buy my master bushing kit and found a great deal on a set of MSA lowering springs through a member on the forum. While waiting on the parts to come in a set off to finish my R/T z style diff mount. It needed a bit of tweaking o get it just right and I went a little over board with the thickness of the cross brace but it came out very nice, and got finished the same gold as the mustache bar and sway bar. At this same time I came to the realization that my spindle pins were shot they lived a good long life and have been removed many times and still were good but after this last time they were done. I messed up the threads very bad on removal.  After doing much Google fu and measuring I decided to go with a 5/8 bolt swap for ease of removal for future work. (Full write up of 5/8 bolt info can be found here)


I realize I have never posted a interior shot of her I love the way she looks.



Ready for some love


A bit of over kill on the cross brace on the R/T z diff braket.





Post wielding ready for some primer and gold paint.





All painted and installed. (bad pic )






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Look what came in the mail. MSA lowering springs and entegry suspension master bushing kit. Now some of the fun work begins. The back should drop a good bit with the springs and the shorter top hats. And the new poly bushings are much needed change from 38 year old rubber. And if anyone out there has a 280z with the shorter top hats and lowering springs on I would very much would like to see a pic of the hide hight just to know what to look forward to.


Thanks Will S.




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Working on a little something just for fun. Having access to just about any metal and metal working tool has its advantages. So I decided to make my own rear strut brace. And this is we're I am at as of now.



1 inch solid cold roll steel bar for center bar.



Cardboard templet using strut tower cover as guide.


Have the center and holes marked.



Wings for holding hime joint


Center hole cut out.


Traced on to plate ready for plasma tomorrow.

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Just a few things I have used fo far to help with my build. Hope it helps a few others. I found both diff mounts on google so if anyone knows who to give proper credit to please let me know.


Ron_tyler_diff_mount_diag duel hole by: unknown at this time




RT mount (Dimensions bt : White Wolf Wire Works




280z strut brace mount plate  by: hwvigo



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It has been a very busy week here at work, and I did not get as much done is I would of like on the rear strut bar but some progress has been made.


Some plasma cutting action pics.



Rough cut out



De slaged and cleaned up


Big jump in progress I got excited and did not take pics  drilled all holes test fit and bent uprights.




Test fit on car with and without strut cover.




Reviewing the design I decided it needed gussets for support .




Rough up of the gussets that are going to get welded next week.





More to come next week ,and the good news is the the weather this weekend looks perfect for doing some work on the rear end.

Will S.





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The weather man was right, it was a beautiful Sunday and I got a good bit done on the Z.  Got the RT mount in place and the diff put back in. This did not go as smooth as I hoped due to my jack not wanting to work. But I was able to man handle it in place and get it done. Also got the rlca bushings in and wow getting those old inserts out is fun :icon12: . After getting those little bundles of joy out I went to clean up the bore a bit and found some scaring and did my best to get everything all nice before the install. Taking the advice of many threads on here I lubed the hell out of the bushing surface before installed them. I also got the dog legs and bone installed before I ran out of sun light. I am so glad spring is here.


RT and mustache installed


Diff in place


Legs and bone in



Out with the old




All cleaned up



before and after



PS: dose anyone know were I could pick up a new bolt kit for the rear end?




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