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Swedish Datsun 240z Restoration

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Looks like someone has tried to fix the frame rails before, so yes, I think I'd just replace those entirely. Of course, it's easy to say that when I don't have to do the work :). Also, I suspect your car has been hit in the front right corner before. Looks like that area has been massaged a bit back into shape.


Overall, seems like pretty standard stuff.

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Yeah, all the usual places, as mentioned, that pic of the P/S front rail looks like a patch has been welded on and it has rusted through as well. Once you start peeling back that Swiss cheese sheet metal I think you are going to find a lot of rust the sand blaster couldn't get to, prepare yourself :rolleyes:

How are the floor pans?


Yeah, agreed. Looks like the left wheel well together with part of the frame rail has a patch welded in as well. Unfortunately my dad has not had time yet to properly document the car. Hopefully he has some spare time this week to take some more photos of the underside and the rest of the frame rails. Already before blasting I had the feeling the floors were swapped, mainly because there was no under-seal applied on those parts and you could see some welding seams looking suspiciously non-standard. 


Looks like someone has tried to fix the frame rails before, so yes, I think I'd just replace those entirely. Of course, it's easy to say that when I don't have to do the work :). Also, I suspect your car has been hit in the front right corner before. Looks like that area has been massaged a bit back into shape.


Overall, seems like pretty standard stuff.


Thanks for the heads up! I´ll take a closer look when I have access to the car. 


In the meantime I have been looking at some possible sources for frame rails.. Does any of you have experience with the following sources. 

  • Bad Dog Parts? 
  • Zedd Findings? 

My thought is to source new front rails (firewall to radiator mount from Zedd Findings) and new rails from firewall to rear frame (i.e. Bad Dog Parts Front and Rear frame rails).

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The Bad Dog Parts is run by a member here, and their subframe rails are a popular and high quality product.


Zedd Findings is where people typically get their replacement floors. Actually, I think they might be the only ones that make them. They take some fitting, but people seem to like them. I don't know anything about their frame rails. I seem to recall that someone makes a product that is designed to fit over the original frame rails to strengthen them, and not replace them, so make sure the product you're getting is a replacement.


I'd take a closer look at your front frame rails before making the call to replace them entirely. It's just that usually when you can see past repairs, it's a sign of trouble.

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I purchased the Bad Dog front and rear frame rails as well as sway bar plate and also bought the Zedd Findings floors. I did not put all in myself, but rather had the professional fabrication skills of Tho Chung of Time Machine Race Craft install all for me. He did not give any negative at all with the work he had to do. One thing I can comment on is how solid the car felt when this was completed and this was before the weld in roll bar. I was happy with both communication and the whole products from both sources.

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Thanks for all the input guys! I have decided that I will replace the frame rails completely. I also received some more pictures of what the sand blasting revealed. I unfortunately forgot to tape over the inner roof or express the need to protect it. It therefore has blast damage and it is covered in primer. In addition one of the mounting bolts for the mustache bar has been bent. 










It looks like the floors have been replaced once upon a time. Some other interesting spots that need repair have also appeared.

Next step is to arrange for a body shop to initiate the repairs.

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Looks like you've got your work cut out for you. Yeah, I've seen worse, but time spent fixing all those little spots is going to add up.


How in the hell did they manage to bend the mustache bar bolt? I'd be wanting to speak with someone if that happened to me. Not exactly easy to do, nor all that easy to fix.

Edited by rturbo 930
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They didnt spray the metal of any large open surfaces. Because the lining of the roof is glued i opted to leave it installed and i think it got damaged while sanding the a-pillars. It was supposed to be wrapped but either i forgot to tell them or they missed it.


The bolt is being checked more in detail though. Those are sturdy and very difficult to bend. The bolt could be replaced (albeit annoying), but my biggest fear is that they bent/collapsed the mounting point inside the car.

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If you need a good mustache bar bolt I have spares that you can have for the cost of shipping, but your right the frame metal that the nut that the mustache bolt goes through is fairly thin, it probably bent before the bolt would. Might be better to leave the bolt in place and use it as a lever to straighten itself.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello guys,


it is about time I make an update. Now that I'm finally home for the Easter holidays I can document and work a bit on the car. First off - good news! I inspected the mustache bar bolts and it turns out the iphone camera was phony and produced heavily distorted pictures, i.e. they are both straight. After going over the car my conclusion is that the sand blaster did a thorough job. Some major rust areas which were already shown above, but loads of small ones have popped up. To do this properly I will target to have it all fixed.


Warning for heavy post.










































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Part 2


To ease the pain of looking at those Swiss cheese frame rails I finally got to unwrap the following:




Last time I was home I also worked a lot on stripping all of the suspension and drive train pieces. I didn't like the idea of installing worn items and instead did some more shopping for seals, U-joints etc.. The major Components such as struts, driveshafts, axels will go the same sand blaster for cleaning and powder coat.




Question - since I'm having a lot of metal replaced I was thinking that it might be a good idea to seam weld the chassi. Searching around I have seen a lot of mixed opinions on this topics so I'm unsure if it is worth it. Anyone have any good advice?


Edit; Digging around in my files I found a video of the first "first" start after some general maintenance and tinkering. I uploaded it to youtube for those interested. :)



















































Edited by Tebirkesueth
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So... Another session of holiday and car tinkering is almost over.. :(


Oh well, I tried to be productive. :) I've been trying to sort out someone willing to do the body metal repair work, but the availability in South of Sweden seems to be very scarce! Best offer I got so far is to start working on the car earliest this Autumn. Worst case I'll have to extend the search a bit farther, but I'd like to keep it close buy and with people known in the area. Luckily I can spend the time sorting out other stuff not directly related to the body.


To be productive I decided to work a bit on the seating solution. In the end I have chosen to keep the Cobra seats (Paddy Hopkirk) that came with the car rather than buying new seats. Probably I would come off a bit cheaper buying new ones, but I really like the idea of having them specially made buy the local guy in Town. He has pretty free reins but will take inspiration from the original seats. Quite excited to see what he comes up with!




In addition I worked on collecting and prepping all items that I want going to blasting and powder coat. I've broken down all of it to its basic Components and sealed off any sensitive areas like e.g. the bearing housings in the struts. Hopefully it can go out to the shop within a few weeks. This is the latest Picture I have, but since this was taken everything has been further stripped down.




Found the front differential mount is cracked in the one of the plates.. Not sure if it was hit somehow because it looks like it has got a dent close to the source of the crack. Is this weld repair worthy, or a must scrap and replace?




I was pondering whether to send the complete differential for blasting and powder coat as well. In the end I decided against it due to risk of sand entering the seals. I'm also not keen on breaking the diff into pieces and I'd rather have it assembled as I don't think there is any issues with it. Instead I went at it with a wire Wheel and a can of paint. With the car I got two differentials, one R180 installed and a loose R200. I had no idea what the ratios were so Before choosing which diff to use in the car I opened them up.


post-53082-0-18746700-1492548705_thumb.jpg - R180

post-53082-0-98473500-1492548743_thumb.jpg - R200


post-53082-0-78790500-1492548954_thumb.jpg - R180 - 3.9

post-53082-0-74902800-1492548910_thumb.jpg - R200 - 3.54


Plan is to go with the R200 as I like the aspect of reducing crusing rpm slightly. Previous owner stated the RPM at 90 km/h is 3000 which he thought was a bit too high (I have a euro spec 5 speed) and I tend to agree with him.


After a few hours of wire wheel work it went from this




to this




After first coat of paint (hammerite).




Until next time.

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Thanks guys, I think I'll have a go at welding it once it comes back.


In the meantime I have been looking at replacement panels and I found a number of sources.


Question number 1; Quality - I managed to find some threads about TABCO and their pieces and the quality seems to be comme si comme ca requiring a bit of massaging (granted it seems expected). Up to now I didn't find any threads about ZCD's panels, anyone have experience with them? I found some panels there which are reasonably priced. 


Question number 2; As many have seen the blasting revealed quite some rust and bad patches from my Z's previous life. There is some rust in the inner rear wheel wells and I would like to try and source these new. When looking at the car it seems it consists of one inner and one outer part (see picture).




From TABCO I can source the outer wheel well housing (at least named to be); https://tabcoparts.com/cars/datsun/240z-260z-280z-1970-1978/16753.html

From ZCD I can source the inner wheel well housing (at least named to be); https://zcardepot.com/exterior/sheet-metal/rear-wheel-well-inner-fender-sheetmetal-right-240z-280z.html


Anyone got experience if these two are indeed the two separate pieces or just different naming of the same part? 




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As far as I know, Tabco is the company actually making them, and anyone else is simply a distributor. The quality of Tabco panels varies. I have five pieces from them - one rocker, two doglegs, two lower rear quarters. None have been welded on yet, but I've done some fitting of the rocker. It's... okay. Usable, I think, without a significant amount of work. If your original rockers can be saved with patches, I'd try to go that route first versus a complete replacement. One problem with the Tabco rockers, is that there is a flange toward the front to accommodate the bottom of the front fender going over it, and several people, including me, have noted that there is a split in the metal here which will need to be welded up. The top of the rocker surface is a little wavy in places, and will require body filler if you want it to be straight. I think some have reported that the two fender mounting nuts attached to it are not quite in the right place - I haven't checked that yet to confirm. It's usable, but not great.


I haven't done anything with the doglegs yet, but if I recall correctly, there was a big difference in how they came trimmed, ie., more or less material to work with. I'm hoping neither are short on material.


The rear lower quarters I bought are way off. The compound curve at the rear is wrong - period. If they are needed for that part, I would say they are unusable.


As for the wheel wells, yes, the wheel well on the car is made up of two halves, inner and outer. I think the parts you linked to are the same, just named differently. No one I know of makes the inner (strut tower side) wheel well. They do however make the outer piece which frequently rusts out, as well a section of the quarter panel which usually rusts out along with the inner piece. I think that's where the naming confusion comes from - they're probably calling the quarter panel piece the 'outer' wheel well for some reason. Make sense?


Edit: I just went back to look through your pics, I don't think you should replace your rockers. I would patch them as needed, mostly at the front, it looks like. They appear to be in pretty good shape otherwise.

Edited by rturbo 930
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  • 11 months later...

Hey guys, long time since my last activity (about a year in fact). 

The car body is still waiting for the needed weld repairs.. but things are slowly moving so hopefully it will be finished and ready for paint by summer. In the meantime I have worked on the undercarriage. In November 2017 I prepped the parts for sand-blasting and (at that time) powder coating. In the end the paint was changed to another type that was easier to arrange. 






Unfortunately I don't have a consolidated picture of the parts coming back, but you can get the idea from the assembled components. 




For those with eagle eyes the bump stops are indeed missing. Also the upper spring seats are unpainted as I forgot to send them with the rest of the things :( Oh well, guess a second batch was to be expected. 








Hopefully next update won't be in a year... ^^ 


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  • 2 years later...
Posted (edited)

It has been a while... no real excuses more than waiting for the body to be completed. The car was recently taken off the table and put into the lift to fix the remaining structural items. This is mainly the rear of the floor and the floor supports with extensions back to the rear axle. 



Rockers + inner / outer wheel wells replaced + rear beaver panel (think that is what it is called). 



Same exercise on the right hand side. 



Rust had found its way into the quarters at the hatch close area (both sides). This was cut out and replaced. 




Floors have also been replaced extending up a bit on the foot well firewall - there were small rust damages, almost like Morse code, along the transition edge. 



I decided to replace the frame rails (completely shot) and the radiator support. Floor supports remain to be installed together with the frame rail reinforcements. 



The car had a or some front ding(s) at some point in its life - evident by the massaged areas on both right and left side shown earlier in the thread (sand blasting section). The right side was worse though, but decided to get the package to replace it all at once. 


In terms of body repairs and improvements the list is slowly coming to an end and the expectation is that the car is back in my garage early this summer. 


In the meantime I worked a bit on the engine and gearbox situation. I have two five speed gearboxes that came with the car. One has been in storage for a very long time and has damage at the end seal area towards the drive shaft. The one that was installed in the car cannot keep 5th gear and pops out under load (allegedly). Through some research I'm inclined to believe the bolt that holds the 5th gear in place has come loose (if someone has another idea let me know). Anyway, my plan is to install a 240SX gearbox in the car to get a bit more up to date equipment in this respect. I managed to source a used rather low mileage FS5W71C gearbox from a salvage yard - from my car I have 2 old FS5C/W71B gearboxes from which I can use the bell housing. I intend to follow the instruction posted by Steve Heimsoth on zhome.com. 


I also need to source a new early 240z driveshaft - anyone have a spare one laying around or know someone that does? Should be the early FS5C/W71A style driveshaft which is about 5cm shorter than the later FS5C/W71B gearboxes.



FS5W71C as it arrived. 



After a bit of soda blasting. 



The 71B bell housing which will be machined to fit the 71C gearbox. 


That's it for now - it has been a dormant period now for quite some years. I'm hoping that I can pick up the pace as the car returns home. 



Edited by Tebirkesueth
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