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1978 280Z (project name: Mothra)

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I managed to get a few minutes in the garage last week to test fit my tail lights before I started to freeze, and I'm very happy with how it's going to look. 




You may have also noticed a different set of wheels in earlier pictures, with one of them showing up in this update. These are STR 523 six spokes (15x8", 0 offset). These were the closest thing I could get to a 280zx wheel that was bigger than 14", but I like them. Anyway, I had a crazy idea, and called up my friend with his vinyl cutter... 




This is supposed to be a cross between Datsun's "Shift into awesome" ads for the 280zx turbo with the manual gearbox, and Nissan's "Shift_" ad campaign. Figured I'd bring two different eras together for this little thing, much like what I'm trying to do with the rest of the car. 


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This past week, I got ahead with climate control. 


The HVAC unit is a vintage air gen 2 mini with defrost. Not content with using the available slide controls, I decided to make my own. 


Blower speed is now controlled by a variable PWM motor controller. It has a knob (100k ohm potentiometer) with a built-in on/off switch. Very slick. 



Mode switch is a fan switch from a late fox body mustang, 4 pin, 4 position (originally 0,1,2,3). The heater control valve is a 10k ohm potentiometer - 5k works, too. 



The panel is just the OEM panel with the center cut out, and a piece of tinted acrylic bonded in. The two buttons are for a/c, and recirc/fresh air door. They even have blue and green LED's to differentiate between them. 



The controls themselves are attached to a strip of aluminum, screwed to the back of the panel. I decided to cover it with the holo-foil vinyl from earlier. The end result is quite stunning. 





Might do more to this later, but for now, it's a good time to figure out mounting the whole thing to the car. 


Edited by Barrel_Ball

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It's one of these controllers. 10-55v DC motor controller. You can get them on bangood for next to nothing, or your local electronics parts store might carry them. Comes with a 100k ohm switching pot, and a directional switch (which I eliminated). It's quite a nice piece, and fits inside the modified stock slide bracket like a glove. -font-b-DC-b-font-font-b-Motor-b-font-font-b-Speed-b-font.jpg_300x300q75.jpg.e50bb570507cd2d159818f5af9fdf978.jpg

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Hey, folks! Been a busy, long few months or so, but much has happened in life, and with the project, so here we go!


That climate panel I was developing last time? It's pretty much finished, except I kinda got carried away with an arduino board and some neopixel rings for visual appeal and ergonomics: The heater control knob has a blue LED ring that sweeps red as you turn up the heat, while the Fan control knob has a purple ring that sweeps turquoise. Figured I'd use those colors for contrast.



Also finished, is the tail light installation! Did you know that a well-known baking company not only makes decent bakeware, but also body panels? Neither did I until I chopped up a couple cookie sheets, and shortened them up a bunch to make some tail light mounting buckets that will not only give the light assemblies something to bolt to, but also seal the cabin a bit better, keeping fumes and weather out of the cabin.



Overall, I'd say I did a fine job of the tail light installation...



Moving to the interior for some creature comforts (does that kinda make this a ZX now?) I ordered up a bunch of goodies that caught my attention:

- Remote central locking system (because why not?)

-RFID push button start system (because MSA discontinued their kit some time ago...)

-Auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera (stupid me destroyed two spoilers and a hatch on the old car, and I don't wanna take any chances).

Also, dash mounted with gauges fully operational (albeit the centers not lit in the picture as I was still figuring out the rest of the lighting circuit), with the oil pressure warning "ring-O-death) surrounding its companion gauge...



Next up, is the rear hatch: An exciting feature of the remote central locking system is an electric trunk/hatch popper function, so my friend and I rationalized that using this feature was a no-brainer, as it not only allows me to pop the hatch without the use of the old, sticking mechanical button, but it lets me get rid of that thing altogether and seal up the hatch, preventing water and such from getting in and literally raining on my parade. Worry not, though, as there will not only be a button inside the car to open the hatch without the remote, but also a mechanical pull-handle, and in the worst-case scenario, just pull the panel and work the mechanism by hand. Never hurts to have fail-safes... Also Celica cargo light... Also final bodywork, prime and paint on the hatch. Still waiting for clearcoat...



One last thing for the time being is a preview of an exhaust tip I found that will compliment the carbon fiber accents. Still needs a de-label and pearled clearcoat to match the rest of what's going on, and finally, some shots of how she sits currently. More to come...




Edited by Barrel_Ball

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Posted (edited)

Progress time! I looked around for options on dash restoration/replacement, but the one option I was going for turned out to have shut down due to a fire that took out all their stuff. One source of new/refurbished dashes was way too rich for my blood, and while I did find a far less expensive source for reproductions, I figured "what's the point if I'm modifying it anyway?" 



I decided to rebuild it myself.



Polyvance makes something called 'Fiberflex' which is a polymer brazing rod that's reinforced with glass and carbon. It cools hard, but somewhat pliable, and gave structure back to the areas I had to fill. The big crack here was also further reinforced with some steel mesh from behind. 



The stuff was tuff, but sandable. The heavier the grit, the better, but I had to be careful not to rip up too much vinyl and foam in the process. 



The next stage is this padded dash filler. The kit I bought came with one of these cans. You will need one or two more. 



Stuff mixes and goes down exactly like body filler. Sands very easily, too. There's an adhesion promoter that I also bought. It helps heaps.



I had to build it up a bit to get the contours half-decent, but I'm happy with it, so far. 



More as progress unfolds... 

Edited by Barrel_Ball

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