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1978 Datsun 280Z Coupe

 

Some said leave it in the field, that it's not a 240Z and it's not worth it. Some said part it out. It's not even an early numbers, has no drivetrain, and is almost entirely rotten.

 

I'll tell you what it is though. It's the only affordable 70's Datsun thats been for sale in my area in a long long time. There are a finite amount of Z's and every single one should be saved.

 

There is a long way to go yet but here she is as I found her...

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Edited by MetalMagoo
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Good luck to you! Not saying that sarcastically, genuinely good luck. I agree we need to try and save as many Z’s as possible, and while that one is a big old mess those pictures make it look like somebody started to work on it a decade ago and gave up. Most of the rust looks surface too so it may not be too far gone, but I can tell you that you should definitely keep an open mind about looking around for a parts car otherwise you’ll be buying a lot of the missing pieces one by one and that will add up fast.

You didn’t mention your auto mechanic skill level, but if you’re a quick-learning amateur like myself then plan on this being a lengthy project to get it the way you want. If you’re a pro building a race car then feel free to disregard everything I’m saying. Since it’s been in a field and looks like it’s been sinking into the ground get it down to just the chassis ASAP and start by taking it to a good shop that can check the straightness of the body, if it’s tweaked from sitting at weird angles they can get it straightened up and if you start welding with a tweaked body nothing is gonna line up right at the end.

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49 minutes ago, Sanchez said:

Good luck to you! Not saying that sarcastically, genuinely good luck. I agree we need to try and save as many Z’s as possible, and while that one is a big old mess those pictures make it look like somebody started to work on it a decade ago and gave up. Most of the rust looks surface too so it may not be too far gone, but I can tell you that you should definitely keep an open mind about looking around for a parts car otherwise you’ll be buying a lot of the missing pieces one by one and that will add up fast.

You didn’t mention your auto mechanic skill level, but if you’re a quick-learning amateur like myself then plan on this being a lengthy project to get it the way you want. If you’re a pro building a race car then feel free to disregard everything I’m saying. Since it’s been in a field and looks like it’s been sinking into the ground get it down to just the chassis ASAP and start by taking it to a good shop that can check the straightness of the body, if it’s tweaked from sitting at weird angles they can get it straightened up and if you start welding with a tweaked body nothing is gonna line up right at the end.

 

Some of it has been reclaimed by the Earth and I most certainly should have it checked for any tweek. 

 

Hopefully it's not as bad as it seems.

 

15 years it sat there. Some time ago someone started to do repairs. I don't want to bash their work but undoing their mess has been a lot of work so far. That's ok though. I get to see exactly what this car needs.

Edited by MetalMagoo
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The closer I looked, the more rust and rot I found. How can I attach a new pan to metal that doesn't exist, or that has disappeared. A mixture of expanding foam and fiberglass were used by the PO to attempt a repair on the rockers...So.... New rockers had to be made. Inner and outer. Waiting on slip overs for 2 months now. 

 

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Edited by MetalMagoo
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Finally I had some time to get it all put in, reinstall the door to check gaps and make sure the door opening did not get skewed from cutting all that metal out. A brace would have been smart but there's still a trans tunnel, a pillar, b pillar, roof, firewall, and passenger side keeping the integrity.

 

I hit all the hidden surfaces with epoxy primer and welded the rockers together and finally the floor.

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1 hour ago, AydinZ71 said:

Looks great! I am envious of your space! Question: if you epoxy coated the hidden areas, wouldn't they burn when you weld it up? You must just be very careful. I just used weld-through primer on the hidden parts I knew I would be welding to. 

You're right. Zinc coated weld-through primer is the way to go. As careful as I am, with my etch prime, I am hoping for another 20 years without issue. This car won't be in another field I pray and hopefully holds up. Seam sealer should do it's job. Maybe. Hopefully haha. 

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Welcome to the forum, you have your work cut out for you:rolleyes: Sorry, couldn't resist.  This is a fellow Albertan you should get to know, zKars on the ClassicZcar forum, he has many many parts for our cars and has very reasonable prices, he's also a wealth of knowledge for everything Z.

With so much of the car rusted away I would just caution you repair one section at a time so the body doesn't distort and get welded back in the wrong position. It might be a good idea to mount a door when working on the rockers so you can be sure to get fit right.

Also, mount the front cross member and the transmission mount just to give the car some added stiffness.

 

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3 minutes ago, grannyknot said:

Welcome to the forum, you have your work cut out for you:rolleyes: Sorry, couldn't resist.  This is a fellow Albertan you should get to know, zKars on the ClassicZcar forum, he has many many parts for our cars and has very reasonable prices, he's also a wealth of knowledge for everything Z.

With so much of the car rusted away I would just caution you repair one section at a time so the body doesn't distort and get welded back in the wrong position. It might be a good idea to mount a door when working on the rockers so you can be sure to get fit right.

Also, mount the front cross member and the transmission mount just to give the car some added stiffness.

 

Thanks for the welcome!

 

I bought my 3 piece valence off of Jim actually. He's a really nice guy and you're right, he knows just about everything there is about these cars. 

 

The cross member and rear subframe have been bolted in since day 1 and I threw the door back on to get the rocker lined up right. Caution is certainly being taken.

 

Still waiting on my slip over outter rockers off the eBay....ordered back at the beginning of January and they sent me later 60's dodge d series rockers haha. 

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On 2/14/2021 at 9:27 PM, MetalMagoo said:

You're right. Zinc coated weld-through primer is the way to go. As careful as I am, with my etch prime, I am hoping for another 20 years without issue. This car won't be in another field I pray and hopefully holds up. Seam sealer should do it's job. Maybe. Hopefully haha. 

True enough. If you seal her up tight, there really won’t be a way for moisture to get in. You could also use one of the dimples on the cabin side to spray epoxy frame rail coating. Eastwood sells one for about 25 bucks. Comes with a wand. Good luck! 

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6 hours ago, rossman said:

I thought the exact same thing but it's clear that he doesn't call himself @MetalMagoo for nothing. 

Haha I hope it isn't pretentious. This is my first real go at replicating panels to this degree. I am very fortunate to rent a spot with all the tools, and I pay for the consumables.

 

So far however I am unable to find another Z project this rotten. Lots of info on here of people replacing just about every bit on these cars.

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12 hours ago, AydinZ71 said:

True enough. If you seal her up tight, there really won’t be a way for moisture to get in. You could also use one of the dimples on the cabin side to spray epoxy frame rail coating. Eastwood sells one for about 25 bucks. Comes with a wand. Good luck! 

I'll have to look into that. Is it similar to that por stuff?

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I think this might be what @AydinZ71 is referring to, https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-internal-frame-coating-14oz-aerosol.html

It does the job well but is very thin stuff so runs everywhere, it also comes out of the can VERY quickly so you will run through the can before you know it. I used 4 cans and I just barely got my Z done with it, I wish I had ordered 6-7 cans.

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On 2/16/2021 at 2:29 PM, grannyknot said:

I think this might be what @AydinZ71 is referring to, https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-internal-frame-coating-14oz-aerosol.html

It does the job well but is very thin stuff so runs everywhere, it also comes out of the can VERY quickly so you will run through the can before you know it. I used 4 cans and I just barely got my Z done with it, I wish I had ordered 6-7 cans.


yep! That’s the one! It is a bit of a stop/gap since applying epoxy by hand or spray directly is the best, but what it does is seep into the nooks and crannies (gravity). Since most moisture is going to splash-up from underneath the car, this will prevent water from seeping into your empty rocker cavity. That’s the worst-case issue with rockers rusting, is when they rust from the inside-out. 
 

It’s expensive, but just imagine how much more it would cost if you paid someone. 

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