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Apple Slicer's 1972 240z Build

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About me


I don't want to go too in depth and bore anyone, so feel free to skip. lol


My name is Kyle. I'm from Oregon City, Oregon. I'm in the USAF so that's why I am in CA. My current car is a 2008 Honda Accord V6 Manual 6 speed. It's a fantastic and very reliable car. Nice interior and sleek looking exterior. Just a good all around daily. And its the first car I have driven with a stick, and boy did I love it!


I have spent a couple years with it, but after increasing its power steadily, I realized the limits and problems with a forward driven car. Not to mention the absolute BS that is California smog. I was at the point of either spend the money on a power adder, or a new car.


I decided it wasn't worth pouring more money into a car that had such limitations. Especially in size and weight, she just wasn't very good in the twisties and back roads, so I decided I wanted a Rear driven pre- 1975 car. After a length of time searching, I couldn't believe what an awesome find a 240z was! A small, lightweight, Japanese car, pre- 75, endless parts, huge forum support, the list goes on! I was sold!



The Car


While on leave back in Oregon for a week, after 3 months of searching for a good deal on a 240z, one popped up for sale for $3,500. Super cheap! It was a 1972 240z with a Chevy small block V8, with a 3 speed automatic. A lot of people had interest, so decided I was done searching, and ready to start building; I bought her outright. Here is the AD:




The Good

-V8 Swap

-The Trunk area, engine bay, and I (hope) under fenders were sprayed with bedliner

-Body panels are straight

-Badge and side marker light delete

-Its a 240z


The Bad (As I have quickly, or slowly discovered)

-The paint is awful, and needs to be redone (Huge amount peeling)

-The windshield wiper doesn't work

-The heater doesn't work

-The Air Blower doesn't work

-The dash was cracked in multiple places

-The passenger door was missing the interior panel

-The engine, differential, and transmission were pissing oil

-The hatch strut was blown

-The lights were all extremely dim

-The car got less than 8 MPG

-Seats are cheap aftermarket ones. Fit nice though actually

-You have to SLAM. And I mean SLAM the doors to get them to shut. I'm scared I'll shatter the glass!

-The passenger window won't roll down

-Probably a lot more I'm forgetting


So yes, the car needed work. A lot of it. Was it awesome to drive and own a V8 car? Yes. Yes it was.


I only had a few days of leave left, and I sadly realized I couldn't take her with me. Especially with the gas mileage at aircraft carrier fuel consumption rates. On the last night, I took my friend out for a spin, and very soon after leaving the driveway we could smell something burning. It was too foggy to drive fast, so we turned around and went home. I ended up leaving the car at my friends garage, which happens to live only a couple houses down from my dads. Here is the car next to his yellow V6 Mustang:




We pulled the windshield wiper motor, the dashboard, the heater blower assembly, cut out random disconnected (and unsafe) wires and taped them up, and cleaned and vacuumed any debris.


I loaded the dashboard and wire harness into my car to take back to Cali so I could be somewhat productive for the next 6+ months.


Later my friend discovered that the wire harness caught fire in the engine bay! And the harness I had, was melted in multiple places. I decided to scrap it. I will need an entirely new wire harness.


What I have been doing


Research. Researching like a crazy person. I have also been buying parts like crazy and shipping them to Oregon.


Since I'm stuck here, I:

-Fixed the Dash Cracks / Sanded / Painted

-New Vents

-New glove box setup and badge

-Autometer gauges

-Realized the wire harness I had was hopeless after attempting repair


My Friend has been inspecting parts that I send him, and tinkering on the car.


-Sold Engine / Tranny / Radiator / exhaust for 750.00

-Sold Bumper

-Sold Fuel tank


Has a total of 1k. So the car as a roller was 2,500. Even cheaper!


What Happens Now


I am taking 30 days of leave starting on 20July2016. I plan to:


-Sell the Honda

-Engine Swap the Z to an LS motor.

-Make the 240z my new DD.


Here is the car as it is today. My friend installed the $420.00 Fender Mirrors, and there is the photo of the horrible quality Retro-Spec spoiler sitting on the hatch just to see what it looks like:






That's it for now. Later I will post shots of my excel sheet of costs, future plans, ect.





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Really enjoyed reading this, I was originally from Oregon as well and have a similar story.


My suggestion to you, keep your Honda. Or, like myself, buy a very cheap yet reliable daily driver. That way, you can take your time with your 240z, as you'll want to...and at times, you'll have to. 


Like you I bought my first 240z wanting it to be my daily driver. Very quickly did I realize I needed something a little more comfortable to drive around traffic, so I picked up a zx3 focus hatchback for $2500. That allows me to build up my 240z as powerful as I want (and can afford $$$). My 240z is not fun to drive in stop and go traffic, at the moment she's not near finished, and it can be scary as hell in the middle of the freeway on I-5 after work. I don't know how long you've been in CA, but the drivers are crazy. It's only a matter of time till your car gets scratched, and by the time you pour $10k+ into it, you'll really not want to risk mangling up the body as a daily driver. 


Sell your Honda, take $3000, go buy the best car you can find, and save a little $$$ for tune ups and pour the rest into making your 240z safe. Drive your other car as a daily, have a little more piece of mind when driving, enjoy the luxury and pay practically nothing for insurance through USAA. Then build your 240z up to be a street/track car....which is different than a daily driver....and REALLY enjoy her. (Or keep your Honda, as it'll be more reliable than a 140K mi $3000 car.)


Best of luck. If you're in SoCal send me a PM. 




1. Go take pictures of your car in a garage, call USAA and get collectors car insurance. 

2. Drop USAA roadside assistance and get ALLSTATE's Premium package. Unlimited tows covering $250 a piece

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Thanks for the advice/tips!


I doubt more and more I'll be able to finish my z this year. A measly 12 grand doesn't look like it can cover the cost of the engine swap, so its more likely I'll have to wait until next summer...which is depressing, but unfortunately seems to be the only responsible way.


I guess we'll see. Regardless I'll make some kind of progress soon enough.


I've been in California for over 4 years. The drivers are the worst. A lot of them shouldn't have a license. Ever.


Paint wouldn't be done until after I get out next year, and go back north.

Edited by appleslicer

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Wow, yet another swap that seems to be promising!  I do have to say you got a FANTASTIC deal on the car.  That is really hard to come by.  And yes you always take a chance with someone else's wiring job...


On the car for a daily driver.  I will say this should be no problem with an LS motor!  I second the vote up top for keeping a DD until you complete your build.  It will take a some time and I advise not to rush it!  In all reality, it is a lot of fun and very relaxing to work on the car.  You get to see the progress and have blood, sweat, and tears invested in it.  Enjoy it while you're in there as (hopefully) you're only doing the swap once.  


I say leave the paint and that work til absolutely last!  You never know what you might want to cut, grind, or weld on as you transform the car.  You might get some crazy idea other than driving it on the daily!

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Reliability, fuel mileage, better throttle response; all reasons I decided to go with the LS. It's a lot more of a pain to do, as now I'm 100% starting from scratch, but it will make a much better DD.


Wiring: I looked into painless wiring for a bit, but the reviews aren't too promising. No matter who's kit I go for, it will be hard since there is no plug and play or any kits made specifically for S30's (kind of surprising). My plan so far is to get ahold of a Ron Francis kit. The wires are all separately bagged and instructed and you run them TO the fuse box FROM the component, which to me sounds much easier to prevent spaghetti.


I don't want to rush on the car, but if I don't get the car driving and take it with me, it will have to sit for another whole year until I return. It wouldn't be painted, or have much for an interior (at all), but that could be done anytime. My work is only 5 miles down the road from my apartment, so its not a big deal if my car is a real rat rod for a bit. If I wanted to take a trip anywhere soon after, we would just take the girlfriends 350z. I also don't want it sitting there taking up a bunch of room in my friends garage for such a huge length of time...


Anyways, its still hard to tell what will happen. Worst case, I will sell my Accord and by an old civic for a DD, and invest the funds into the Z while I'm there, and make good progress. Considering I have never done any project this extensive, we will have to see what happens. I know I could do the engine swap a lot cheaper if I cut some corners, in both the fuel and exhaust side particularity, but it just makes a bigger mess and waste of money in the long run.


Already I'm considering buying a 5.3 from a guy at work for 2,000-ish (would include three wire hookup, ls1 intake and throttlebody), even though I would rather have the LQ4/LQ9 platform. However, I would save at least a grand or more, which is substantial at this point. If I don't use the sweet headers from Hawks third gen, it also saves a lot of cash, but I'll have to rework exhaust a bit later to refit them. I can save even more pennies by going with an external fuel pump, instead of installing a nice in tank type. The list goes on.  :?

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So this project officially began 10 days ago. I sold my accord in only 2 days after arriving for 8,500 and immediately began ordering loads of parts. Not a single person thinks my friend and I can achieve a full overhaul of the project. Especially because we ended up buying a fully disassembled LQ9 motor off Craigslist. The engine came with no accessorys, no intake, and missing a lot of bits and pieces. Including a camshaft, which I had to source before arriving. It had only 15k miles on it. The vehicle it was in badly overheated. And then wrecked. The good is that everything is in decent shape. That's it...


We took the block to Portland Engine Rebuilders for a block hone, cam bearings, cam polishing, crank bearings, and crank polishing. The owner is too busy to build the engine for us, but has answered any question we could ask and has given us tons of advice.


We took scotch Brite to the worn piston skirts and he gave us new rings and instructions on how to install.


The Car


-Stripped entirely

-Used rustoleum Rust Restoration spray paint on any hard to see spots

-Cut out the trunk for fuel cell

-Cut out all misc brackets that were unnecessary


Most work has been going around gathering parts and talking to shops. Ordering and waiting. Almost everything comes in this next Wednesday. Well have to pull a couple all nighters but the car should be running by the weeks end.


Couple "Old Pics". I have a busy day so will post more later.




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It's funny, but I originally thought I'd run out of cash pretty quickly for the project. Instead, it's time, so things like coilovers would take too long to ship and then we'd have to install so the option is unfortunately off the table.


Only suspension upgrades are TTT Tie Rod Ends, Poly Rack Bushings, and ST suspension sway bars.

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The entire project has been nothing short of insanity. Everyday I wake up and go to work on the car, sleep and repeat.


Yesterday, today and Friday are the three massive checkpoints in our project. The plan is simple. Get the car to run Saturday. If not, I have no choice but to get a car loan and a new car and return to California because my leave ends....


Wednesday (3 AUG 16)

-Recieve new pistons and replace damaged old ones

-Recieve intake system and filter, Ect

-Get complete LS swap kit from Hawks including the headers

-Get the EZ wiring sorted out, and a couple knickknacks from Fry's electronics and the home depot to get it working

-Get new battery

-Drop diff and clean and service with new fully synthetic oil

-Paint engine parts

-So much more


Thursday (4 AUG 16):


-Get heater core back from radiator shop with a new core.

-Get completed engine from shop

-Get Ecu in the mail



Well unfortunately, the day started rough and ended rougher. We were ready to start assembling the engine tonight after getting the engine EIGHT DAYS LATE and also charging 75 dollars over the agreed price. Turns out the shop not only forgot to clean the block after we got it home and unwrapped it, but lost/forgot to install crankshaft bearings!


A setback this late is extremely discouraging. It's highly unlikely that it can be addressed in time. I will be calling the shop tomorrow immediately in the morning to get the situation resolved, but I have little hope.


Also received the ECU today in the mail from psi conversions. Guess they forgot to pack foam in the box because the mounting bracket I bought with it was shattered and the ecu and box pretty beat up.


I also ordered headstuds from jegs and they sent the wrong ones.


Also got a gasket kit and it was opened and missing some gaskets from summit racing


Also couple parts from eBay were pulled for some reason and the user deleted by eBay.


Mildly frustrated.


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That is quite frustrating to hear.  I know some of this stuff does happen but it really has compounded for you.  


I would could your progress as a win though.  Good lord you guys did a lot in a short span and none of those issues were caused by you.  Keep your head up dude!  It is a tall order to swap a car in a pinch.  

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Thanks Stock Car. We're doing everything we can. We plan to start the engine for the first time in a few hours. With our atrocious luck I don't want to have hope will run smoothly, but well see.


I'm currently waiting another hour for the driveshaft shop to finish up with shortening the driveshaft to 25.25 inches for the Hawks motor mount, while my friend is welding in the floor pans and transmission mount.


We realized we may have the wrong head gaskets too, so may swing by the dealer on the way to pick up the right ones.


Btw, we've never built an engine before so it was an interesting experience...scary really but no one in the area wanted to build it at the time, so we did it after a last minute run to home depot for a couple torque wrenches. Doubt they're calibrated...but what can ya do. lol

Edited by appleslicer

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