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Z-32, likes, dislikes, opinions, and pics. (not dial up friendly)


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First post in the Z-32 section… Hmmm...


Lets kick this pig..



Preface and disclaimer;sbadigl.gif

I guess I’ll start this forum with my own personal editorial like points/opinions on the Z-32, so please don’t take all this as bashing as there is some definite whining within, (more incentive to Hybrid the beast!). Not all Z-32 experiences are representative of mine, but more often than not, others are sharing similar sentiment. The Z-32 is not a budget car by any means, and will leave you driving plan “Bon occasion. Just keep that in mind and you’ll have a great relationship with the Z-32. hug.gif


My current Z-32…











The NISSAN Z-32 300-ZX! Sold here in the US of A from 1990 through 1996. Sold in Japan through 2000 or there a bouts. The Z-32 is a drop dead sexy, fun to drive, spirited chassis, very photogenic, and even in 2007, its lines and styling are timeless and exotic. cool.gif

Some note worthy down sides to these cars. (let the whining begin...) cry.gif They are relatively heavy, oink.gif(compared to the S-30 chassis), the engine is quite difficult to work on due the expansive intake plenum that covers most of the engine bay hiding everything underneath. These cars eat their own fuel injectors for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most Z-32’s on the road today have had all 6 of their injectors replaced at least once if not twice by 100,000 miles on the clock.

The entire car is a ridiculously complex electronic network with an array of sensors, wiring, and computers in every nook and cranny of every corner in the car monitoring wheel speeds, temperatures in every climate controlled vent outlet, fuel temps, EGR temps, Climate control door angles, etc. hypno.gifThere are enough electronics monitoring sensors and controls in these cars to send man to the moon. Just take a gander in the factory service manual linked here to see what I mean. http://www.300zx-twinturbo.com/cgi-bin/manual.cgi



Misc pics from the brochure..













I’ll try and keep the rant list short as I could easily write a full length novel wc.gif with in-depth testing on the many facets of the car including extensive data logging sessions… The Nissan ECU windows.gif leaves a lot to be desired for the discerning sports car driver, it and that 3 square acres of upper intake plenum are the first items to get jettisoned during the Hybrid conversion.





The rear multi-link suspension when driven at 9-10 tenths wiggles and squirms as the rear wheels are constantly slightly steering in and out based on cornering, braking, and power loads as Nissan intended, (see pic below). shock.gif And that is the N/A cars. The HICAS on the Turbo cars adds even more uncertainty to the full tilt cornering experience. When driven at 5-6 tenths, i.e. typical of John Q-publics idea of spirited driving on the back roads, the car feels very taught and stable, just as the Nissan engineers intended for their target audience. It is when driven to the hard core 9 and 10 tenths that us Hybrid Z owners/builders find where the multi link shows its true inadequacies. For the non believers that feel the Nissan rear multi-link is a great sports car suspension, when is the last or only time, anyone has ever seen a Z-32 in the top rankings at national level autocross competition? Having driven national caliber autocross cars, owning 2 Z-32’s and a Q-45, (same front and rear suspension as the Z-32) the rear multi link suspension is definitely not a true performance handling system. The rear suspension might not be the only thing holding it back from true race winning performance, but it definitely is a part of that equation. With the ’90 parts car here at the shop, (our mock up mule for the V-8 conversion), I am intensely working on a way to utilize the OE rear hub to retain those great Z-32 brakes, and eliminate the garbage multi-link and make it a double A-arm arrangement geared more towards high performance handling with a bias towards transitional handling characteristics for Autocross and tight windy back road duty.





I have been infected with Z-32 lust since the car was first introduced in 1990. I still have an original 1990 Nissan Z-32 brochure in the jacket. Earlier this year, the opportunity presented itself for me to acquire my first Z-32. First one was, shall we say ok to look at, overall it was a bit rough and in need of lots of expensive TLC, but a good project car for someone wanting a project car. I was looking for a reliable daily driver to replace the totaled Q-45. The second Z-32 cost over twice as much as the first one, hoping that spending more would mean less of a project car. Well, that theory sort of worked. It still was plagued with typical common issues for a Z-32 with just over 100,000 miles on the clock. A good close long time family friend that owns a specialty shop that maintains and modifies Z-32’s, (even the local dealership sends all their Z-32’s to his shop instead of working on them themselves), warned me of the typical issues these cars are plagued with. With my Z lust goggles on, I proceeded on and just as he warned me from the get go, bash.gif EVERYTHING that he said was typical, happened! I was able to take care of the most pressing issues on my own, the minor ones that I let go aren’t worth the time and hassle as the car is getting a new heartbeat in due time. A V-8 of sorts, just not sure if that V-8 will have 16 valves or 32 valves.. The 32 valve Q-45 engine still runs very hard and is available, and the supercharged SBC 350 and T-56 for Project Fuzzy is the other option.. (Coin flip). stay tuned…


One of the pluses of these cars are the brakes. They work, and they work great. Suck your eyeballs out of your sockets good. congiuntivite.gif Stock brakes are ok for mild playing. The Brembo slotted/drilled rotors with metal master pads allow for marginally more braking before fade and pedal pulsations set in, and they looked great, (first Z-32 had the Brembo metal master brakes). The Specialty Z brake kit with front and rear Baer rotors and Brake man pads are a true high performance brake kit AND the front rotors are, get this, exactly 5 lbs lighter per rotor than the stock and Brembo rotors! I have abused these brakes on more than a few occasions to the point that the Brembo combo would have been totally gone, and the Specialty Z brakes kept slowing the car, corner after brutal corner, never pulsating, never fading, rotors glowing, (purple and blue tinted from the extreme heat once cooled). The only complaint from the brakes was increased pedal effort, till they cooled off and all was back to normal.


The Specialty Z brake kit…






This is the reality of Z-32 lust… Top car is what you thought you purchased,love.gif and what you woke up to the morning after faint.gifwith the Z-lust goggles off





The Z-32 sex appeal…hot.gif















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Finally something I have access to that BRAAP doesn't... Road Atlanta, 35 minutes away. (the red dirt gives it away even if you haven't seen the pic before)


I was SOO close to buying a Z32 Twin Turbo for my daily as my 260z gets all fast and junk. Instead I got a Frontier to haul Z car engines around.


The Z32 gets::2thumbs: as a daily driver!

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Thanks for that Paul, great contribution.


On the rear multi link suspension of the Z32, which is similar to that of the S13, there does seem to be an inherant traction problem. The S14 is different and is regarded as a better setup. However both the S13 and S14 make highly competitive circuit cars, as do the similarly suspended Skylines. All with the soft factory bushes replaced of course.

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Nice thread BRAAP!

Let me start off by saying my Z32 is the best overall car that I have ever owned. I get looks everywhere I go, it's still fast enough to keep up with more modern sports cars (and even beat them in the corners), comfortable on the inside, and most importantly it carries the badge of NISSAN! But like BRAAP said they are a total pain in the rear to work on and it always seems like they are not running to full potental. Do not own this car as a primary source of transpotation! Keep it in the garage as a nice cruiser. All in All I think this quote by "Sport Compact Car" April 2006, volume 18, NO. 4 page 68 sums up the Z32 to me....

"In 1989 there was no Nsx, the new Ferraris all pretty much sucked, the Camaro was a jersey-trolling IROC bucket, 5.0 liter Mustangs were sorta-quick but primordial, the Supra was more crushed velour than the quarter-mile crusher, and the Corvette was clearly aimed at 50-year-old waterbed salesmen wearing sansabelt slacks and bad comb-overs. It was into this shallow pond of mediocrity that Nissan lobbed in its fourth-generation Z-car- the gorgeous and brilliant performing Z32. The new 300zx's splash was big. The new 300-horsepower 300zx twin turbo's splash was dang near a tsunami."


here are some pictures of mine!






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I have owned all the z cars except a 350 and I suspect one will appear in my shop some day. My z32 is a tt and has been with me since 1990. It's 30k plus miles have seen may road courses and much abuse. But my baby has now been retired to a life on the street. It puts more than 400 hp to the ground and is a super fun ride. In a straight line and from sixty mph on up, it can hang with most. I will admit that having gone through engines and many other knuckle busting exercises has not all be fun, but all in all, it's a great car that I plan to have around until I'm too stupid to appreciate it. Nissan has yet to make a bad z car. I'm still in love with them all.

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I just finished a 2+2 TT, RPS cluth + flywheel, fujitsubu catback, specialty z downpipes, z1 testpipes, jim wolf air filter, new belts, new pumps, nismo radiator, full tune up, and simple work...:mrgreen:... it's my a friend's/customer, which disspeared on me when a left to iraq, now I'm back and I'm working on the bugs of the beast. from my first experience; the car is awesome and definetly one needs to be familiar with the vehicle in order to do things right, very interesting to work on, but not the people's choice kind of car. I love the car, but at times, while working on it, I hated it...


two weeks ago I got in contact with the guy and turns out that he not longer wants the car, so I going to sale it for $5,500.00 or name your price, he owes me so much money for labor and parts, that we will call it even.:fmad:


If guys know anyone please P.M. you'll be helping me out a lot, because I have my own toy project under contruction. please check out my gallery...


thanks a lot.

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Guest Phil61484

Amazing car!!! I have upgraded turbos, computer, custom 2.5" exhaust, intake and a boost controller. It can stomp most everything that pulls up next to it. The car is beautifully designed and doesnt need any exterior mods to turn heads (except maybe wheels, BBS here)


The only things i dont like are: 1)Weight- the car is a pig 2) Parts are too expensive, for me to jump to 500 hp i need injectors and intercoolers, thats a quick $1500 or so then id need a new clutch and flywheel. 3) Its too complicated for me to work on


I agree with the fact that this is a great daily driver!! I cant wait to start a 240z RB project to be my street and track terror.


(will get pics up when i figure out how to)

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Eddiezed

Great initial post, as a Z32 owner since 1993 (145k miles to date) I can say that I agree with just about everything said except the injector part. Have had not one issue with them; had the engine restored since noticing oil on the driveway and at that time had the injector connectors refreshened . Currently doing the restoration of the body. Caveats to owning this car you must have a good nissan trained or friendly mechanic if you are not so inclined and the money to upgrade as parts become worn or obselete. These cars are like thorobred horses if you own one you must treat them right in order to get them to perform appropriately. Without a doubt the best car I have owned , however my G 35 is growing on me after 24k miles and a bunch of modifications ( about 10K so far) . 77 280z (given away), 93 300zxtt, 04 infiniti G 35

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  • 1 month later...

Wow! There was even some stuff in there i didnt know. Paul you sure know your stuff. Its nice to have an administrator of a site that knows whats going on and wasn't just hired on to make sure ppl follow the rules, it nice to have someone that also shares the interest of the site. thanks again for all the info!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have to disagree with some of the points the original poster made about he Z32.


The intake is the biggest thing I have to disagree with. The plenum has a purpose other than just being BIG. Its the only intake plenum design that would fit underneith that low slung hood. As a matter of fact I am forced to remake the design for my VH45DE swap to fit it under the hood without cutting or puting a fuggly cowl on the Z32.


I agree whole heartedly about the brakes... they are horrible for a vehicle for that size.


As for the suspension. Hmm thats one I could say yes and no to. Part of it is very right about the stock suspension. It is very flexible. But when you change over to aftermarket SPL suspension components it fixes alot of the comfirt/performance compermise that Nissan had to come to for that car. With most of those components the Z is VERY predictable to me at the edge. It is all about small movements in it much like fling a fighter jet at the edge of the control. The suspension does a beutiful job of giving me just enough feel/feedback that I know exactly what the road is doing and I am doing on it.


And as far as a Z32 for autocrossing.... LOL not built for it. It was built to gun down Corvettes. And that the Twin Turbo did very well in the early 90s. The 'vette was not a autocross car either. It was a sports car. a Highway runner. The Z32 was elevated back to its original target with running down Porche and Jaguars on the Autobahn. The Z32 does extremely well at the Neurburg Ring. Much like the R32-R34 Skyline GTR. Even the godzilla of import cars would suck at a autocross event. Hell even a 250K dollar F50 Ferrari would suck at a Autocross event. And thats with Michael Schumacher driving.


The Z32 non-turbo has and leaves MUCH to be desired. But its nothing that 5Gs cant fix. And the ECU well thats a product of the late 80s... you remember the years that brought you Max Headroom and Back to the Future. Duran Duran, Petshop Boys, and Culture Club. Yea the 80s..... Not a good time for electronics. I think when the Z32 was unvieled in 1989 the Commador 128 was still a good computer. 14.4kb modems were NEW and FAST. Cell phones were about the size of a Medium cup from Mcdonalds. And Bush (the first one) was saying "read my lips no new taxes" Ahh..... good times. The same year that the Z32 came out Communism crumbled in Russia and the Iron Curtain came down. The Berlin wall was being torn down after 40+ years of dividing a contry. And the US would have never thought we would be in Iraq, twice.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have had a 240z, 260z, 280z, and a Z32 300zx. I bought the 300 from an old man that bought it new, it had 100k miles. I loved the looks of the car, ergonomics were perfect, fun to drive, but......... the timing belt broke shortly after I bought it, wrecked the valves, and I found out what a nightmare this car is to work on, the worst of any car I've ever had. If you are thinking about buying one, make sure you take a close look at the underhood wiring, as it is probably cooked from the heat and a new harness for the NA is no longer available. I sold the car at a big loss, and am restoring my 260z with an l28 engine, 5 speed, headers, holley carb. I think its much more of what a sports car should be. In summary, if you want a Z32, you better plan on spending a lot of money on repairs.

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