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car twisted


brianhen

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Last year I bought a 1976 280z from Arizona, the car has little to no rust all the body panels are solid as well as the trunk floor and engine bay.....even the battery area is solid with no rust......I have stripped the car completely and then began to notice that the floors in the centre of the car had holes around the frame rails under both seats and forward to the firewall, but again no rust. I had a body guy come look at the car to get a quote for painting. This guy started telling me that he felt the car was in a bad accident and that at one point it must have been twisted. He took some measurements such as strut tower to strut tower, front to back and criss cross. He said the car was about 1/2 inch out of square. Again the frame rails in the engine bay are straight as well as the frame rails in the rear of the car. It seems the rails in the centre are somewhat out of wack as well the transmission tunnel has a kink where the shifter hole is......I am not sure what I should do. The car is solid with no rust and my plans were an LS1 conversion but now I am not sure if I should proceed with a car that may be twisted. Is it possible to compensate with adjustable control arms and such so the car still tracks straight and is road worthy????? Any suggestions or input would be awesome.....

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When you posting, there will be a two buttons, Post or Full editor. Click Full editor and if you scroll down after you write you message there will be a blue button that says Click to Attach Files. After you click that button a small screen will pop up select the picture you want and there you go.

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Above are some pictures of the car. I have stripped the car completey and have her up on a rotisserie that I made. And I have to say I am so impressed with the rotisserie so far. I will attach a picture here in a bit. The damage to the car it seems is in the floor area. I have taken some measurements and it seems that from the front frame where the rods tha locate the front wheel to the rear of the car maybe out about 1/2 inch. The measurment is exact front to back but when you measure across thats when it seems to me out.

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The picture of the transmission tunnel from inside shows a crack and bend or kink in the metal, my concern is will I be able to align the wheels after the build to drive the car.........my plan was a complete suspension upgrade from Arizona Z car.......So everything would be adjustable.

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When you posting, there will be a two buttons, Post or Full editor. Click Full editor and if you scroll down after you write you message there will be a blue button that says Click to Attach Files. After you click that button a small screen will pop up select the picture you want and there you go.

 

Thank you for the help.

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I am more familiar with the 240/260 but have doing structural repairs on cars for a very long time. There is definately something amiss with your 280. The pics are a little difficult to closely view as they lose some clarity when they are expanded. I'll try to tell what I can see that is of concern. You will need a very skilled and expierienced frame guy to put this back together. He could be hard to find.

 

My initial thoughts lead me to suspect that the car did a General Lee , Dukes of Hazard type jump across a median or ditch. There should have been significant damage to the front suspension and the cradle and more than likely lower control arms and such may have been replaced . Check these pieces as well as the engine mounts, oil pan and trans to see if anything has been replaced.

 

post-5697-12707533485141.jpg

 

This picture shows the lower side of the passenger front rail and core support. The outer edge of the rail appears to have split several of the factory spot welds and they appear to have been brazed back together.

There is also a small buckle just behind the core support just forward of the stablizer mount bracket holes.

Where drivers rail intersects the firewall, the firewall is wrinkled . I believe this area is damaged as the passenger side is smooth. Can any 280 experts confirm this. You can also see evidence of a section of the drivers floor being welded to the tunnel.

 

post-5697-12707532264423.jpg

 

Looking at the backside of the firewall. The drivers floor just to the left of the accelerator pedal appears to have been torn open for some reason . This isnt from the factory. The firewall on the passenger side looks to be hammered on quite a bit . The vertical bead roll to the right of the tunnel is all distorted. The firewall has been worked from the drivers trans tunnel edge all the way across to within 8 " of the passenger inner hinge pillar. The driver floor has had a piece of sheetmetal welded in . The rubber floor plugs are missing on the drivers side. The passenger side floor pan looks to be pushed up where the rail extension is located. I remember the passenger floor being flat but I'm getting old you know.

 

 

post-5697-1270753497995.jpg

 

 

 

The stress cracks in this pic are evidence of unrepaired damage that occurred a long time ago. Replace this rail . Both floor rail extensions are junk, from being misused as a jacking point and damaged from impacts and what not. These should also be replaced.

 

 

 

You will need a frame diagram for you 280 . I know there are a several posted either here on the Hybrid site as well as the Classiczcar site . Dont do anything until you have these dimensions in your possession and have checked them against the car. Make sure the strut tower dimensions are checked. All structural dimensions should be brought back to within 3mm of the factory measurements.

 

Now comes the tough part deciding whether its cheaper to fix this shell or find another. I would guess to see upwards of $3000.00 to fix this plus parts. This repair cost is close to the price of a good solid shell or another car. If you decide to repair you will need lt and rt floor pans and rails and there may be other parts that are damaged that may found later. Let me know if you need any other info.

Edited by palosfv3
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Larry, thank you so much for your insight and help. I hate to ask any more questions, but I am unable to really read the numbers on the diagram. When I measure my car from corner to corner, using the drain hole just forward of the rear tires to the control arm brackets on the front frame rails, I get the exact same measurement when measuring the distance front to back on same side, for example front to back passenger side and then front ot back drivers side. When I measure criss cross there is a 1/2 inch difference. can you tell me what the values should be for these measurements and or is there somewhere I can find the diagram so I can enlarge it enough so as I can read the numbers? Again thank you so very much.....

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The Datum plane is a horizontal imaginary plane parallel to the horizontal lower edge of the rocker panels where the height measurements are taken from. The datum plane in the drawing is a little tricky to pick up on as it is actually the lowest edge of the rails and not clearly marked. Datum planes are usually shown several inches below the floor so they are easier to read. It is not surprising to hear you state the length measurements are close to each other side to side. You need to remember someone has straightened much of the damage . So it should be reasonably close. I need to check the computer at the office for the web address I pirated the drawing from. If you need to my number is listed in my signature website.

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The Datum plane is a horizontal imaginary plane parallel to the horizontal lower edge of the rocker panels where the height measurements are taken from. The datum plane in the drawing is a little tricky to pick up on as it is actually the lowest edge of the rails and not clearly marked. Datum planes are usually shown several inches below the floor so they are easier to read. It is not surprising to hear you state the length measurements are close to each other side to side. You need to remember someone has straightened much of the damage . So it should be reasonably close. I need to check the computer at the office for the web address I pirated the drawing from. If you need to my number is listed in my signature website.

 

That drawing is from the Factory Service Manual. The one in the downloadable file from xenons30 looks a little bit more legible. Plus the tramming procedure is included. It's in the Body section.

 

You can download it for free. http://www.xenons30.com/reference.html

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Ok here is my next question to anyone and everyone.......I am thinking of trying to build a custom chassis including the floor to the front of the car. something that could be built to align the front with the rear of the car that is perfectly straight and solid with absolutly no rust.....anyone with sugestions or ideas would be great...........thanks

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Well thanks to everyone that sent replies to my tale of woe over the twisted 280z, but I have decided to give up on the idea of fixing the little beast. Instead I went ahead and bought another project car, its a 1978 280z from Alabama. The car was on ebay with a buy it now of $1500.00 it looks to be in pretty good shape the paint is faded and peeling but otherwise it looks solid enough and the interior looks pretty good as well. Lets hope it works out better than the last one as my wife will crap a small European sports car on my head if I waste another $1500 plus shipping onan old car.

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