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Ross' Sleeper Z

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5 hours ago, rossman said:

Well, I answered my own question.  I tested the stripper out on the back side of the badge and the metal appears undamaged. 

nice! In my experience, PH is the critical concern when you don’t want to strip metal plating. Not familiar with many over-the-counter chemicals that will strip plating unless it’s an acid/caustic. For example,  Phosphoric acid (rust-most) is most commonly used to strip rust and non ferrous plating (like zinc) from steel. 

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I may just be thinking about aluminum. Seems like I remember that some chemical strippers don't play nice with aluminum.  The emblem appears to be some sort of electroplated metal...maybe nickel plated steel?


Anyway, I'm moving on now.  Currently restoring the original 240z steering wheel in parallel with the hatch panel. Hopefully I can finish up the hatch panel this weekend.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...

Been doing some work on the Z since my last series of posts but have been too lazy to post.  So here is a catch-up post.  I have more that I will post later.


Many years ago I picked up a 77 280z that I stripped for parts due to a bent front end.  It had rust in the usual spots, probably much more than I could actually see too.  I saved the hood and hatch since they seemed in good shape neither one appeared to have any rust or damage. 


To my surprise the front 8 inches or so of the hood had been badly damaged and poorly repaired with lots body filler. I didn't get any pictures of it pre-paint removal but it looked pretty good for it's age.  I assumed it just needed a strip and new coat of paint.  This picture is after going at it with a 7" 3M stip-it disk for almost an hour.  My garage was covered with filler dust.


This was just after stripping most of the paint and filler off.  Note all the dents, ripples, and holes in the hood.



In hind sight, the damage is not surprising since it came off a car that had a bent front end. Duh.  Anyway, I decided to fix it right in order to hone my skills for the body damage that I'm sure is lurking under the paint on my 240z. 


Anyway, so I decided to go deep and remove the hood skin so I could get to the back side of the panel and beat out all the dents. After about 4 or 5 hours of drilling out spot welds, slicing thru hidden panel adhesive, prying, cussing and almost giving up...it finally came off.


Surprise, surprise, surprise!...hidden rust.  Luckily most of this was just surface rust that easily comes off with metal prep (phosphoric acid), Ospho, etc. Makes you wonder what's lurking inside of those frame rails, doesn't it?


Underside of the hood skin at the front where the badge is attached. It's hard to see but it's pretty mangled in this area.



This is the hidden side of the hood frame.  Note that there is very little to no primer that has since rusted over the years.  



Underside of the hood skin. 



I started with the intention to strip all the paint and filler off with a 3M strip-it disk. After getting most of the thick stuff off with the disk, I switched to paint stripper to avoid thinning out the already thin metal.  




I started beating out dents with a hammer and dolly and was getting no where fast. While I was intent on getting the metal straight, I started looking for other options. I finally landed on Wray Schelin's video's on YouTube. The guy is a master body restorer. I ended up buying his shrinking disks and a couple of beating bags. They were fairly expensive but made well. You'll have to watch his videos to understand what I'm doing here.  The black "paint" is actually Sharpie marker that's used to see low spots, sort of like guide coat. The shrinking disks worked like magic. After 3 or 4 iterations of shrinking, cooling, beating, almost all of the dents are gone. It's not perfect but will only need a light skim coat of filler to get it there.






That's how it sits now, still unpainted an gathering surface rust.  I'm thinking of dipping the rusty frame but that is a job and post for another day.


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16 minutes ago, Zetsaz said:

All that work kind of makes a carbon fiber panel seem cheap haha.


I think if i have to replace my hood ever I may not even bother with repair, might just go straight to a Seibon hood and try to paint match

Oh, for sure.  I have way more hours in this hood than it's worth.  You can buy full replacement metal hoods for like $600 last I checked.


I actually enjoyed the work in a weird kind of way, so let's just call it "a labor of love..."

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  • 3 months later...

I've had some time off from work so I decided to make a few upgrades that I've been planning for quite some time. This champion radiator has been sitting on my shelf for years.  The workmanship is pretty poor so I initially lost interest but recently decided to give it a shot after having some temperature creep while sitting in traffic.  I think the main issue with the clutch fan setup was that it wasn't sealed up enough to pull enough air thru the radiator, but honestly the hacked up 280z plastic shroud I had in there was just plain ugly. So here is the shiny Champion radiator and shroud with twin 11" SPAL fans.  I'm fairly confident this will do the trick. Also note that I've upped my wiring game with a JRready Deutsch DTP connector. I purchased a full set of JRready Deutsch DT and DTP connectors for when I eventually install a Haltech 750 (that has been sitting on the my for 1.5 years!) and rewire all the car.  That's all future stuff...


Here is the radiator, fans/shroud, connector, and sub-harness.




Added a simple mount for the fan relay that also accommodates the headlight relays too. 



Here you can see the radiator removed and an upgraded alternator tensioning turnbuckle. It's much nicer than the crappy hardware store version that was previously installed. Unfortunately, the GM alternator bolt is an M10 and the turnbuckle is made for M8 on both ends.  I'm still waiting on an M8 to M10 insert to make the conversion.  It should be here Thursday.  Oh, and some time ago I upgraded all the engine hoses to braided teflon line hoses to reduce fuel vapors. It was a noticeable improvement. Still need to do the tank side hoses.




And while the radiator is out, might as well install the BHJ damper and trigger wheel. After reading some horror stories of ill fitting aftermarket dampers, I was pleased when this on fit it should - a light press fit.



That's it for now.  Next up will be finishing the radiator and fan install then making a trigger sensor mount. 




Edited by rossman
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Thanks, I would appreciate that @rossman. Generally I'm looking at how the compressor is mounted and the lines are ran. I've been templating things up with cardboard on my car and I think I want to run the lines with angled fittings from the compressor through the rad support to the condenser. Then from there run the lines in front of the rad support with the dryer and tuck them in the pass side fresh air duct into the cabin. I like how your setup looks tucked above, it's really clean. Looking at pics from your build and others help me visualize the routing. 

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On 9/18/2022 at 12:25 PM, Dat73z said:

Hey thanks @rossman, really appreciate the pics. I think your setup looks clean. I saw another Z recently that had a vintage air setup installed by a professional shop and their install didn't look as nice as yours fwiw 


Some "professional" shops are professional mostly because they have the tools to do it quickly and functionally, not necessarily pretty. There was a guy close to me in Washington that had a really impressive setup with hardlines on his car, but he doesn't offer that to most people in his shop just because it's much more pricey and time consuming. 


@rossman I have the same AC mount, and I actually recently saw someone who replaced that rear piece with a turnbuckle. Seems like it'd be a good solution for proper tension. I'll probably try to upgrade that bit on mine when I'm home this winter even though my lines aren't done.

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Yah, I'm sure it's impossible to make money doing custom work at what an average guy considers a reasonable price.


@Zetsazare you referring to the slotted part of the bracket? Having a screw type adjustment would be nice instead of the old-school crowbar method that's required with this setup.

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17 minutes ago, rossman said:

Yah, I'm sure it's impossible to make money doing custom work at what an average guy considers a reasonable price.


@Zetsazare you referring to the slotted part of the bracket? Having a screw type adjustment would be nice instead of the old-school crowbar method that's required with this setup.


Yes, I'm referring to the small slotted piece on the top rear that bolts to both the compressor and the main bracket. 

It's hard to tel if the small piece was used strictly for cost or if the curvature on it is strictly necessary to avoid fouling on the compressor, but I did see the turnbuckle on someone's (maybe on. instagram?) 

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