Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Zup date

Its been a few weeks of sporadic work on the 280ZX we picked up in October. Today's post covers some of the work that's been done thus far.

When we bought the car, the owner was pretty up-front about the condition of the car. He had the transmission gone through, put in a new clutch and rebuilt the engine. My first thought when I heard that statement was "yeah, right". When we looked the engine bay over, though, the paint tells the story: the engine block has been recently painted purple. The exhaust, intake and all other components haven't any purple on them. So, either he went through considerable trouble to make it look like he rebuilt the engine or he actually did. He did share that the valves will need their post-rebuild adjusting, so we'll have to remember that.

Still, any used car probably has old fluids in it. With a recent rebuild, engines need oil changes more often, so one of the first things C did was an oil and oil filter change. Good man. The oil was not terribly black and we did not find any little metal bits in it. Even the magnetic drain plug was clean. All good signs.

Once the oil was done, C wanted to get after the bodywork. The front driver fender had a pretty good dent in it and the driver door was bad dented badly enough that it wouldn't close properly. The fender was extremely easy to remove. There is a series of bolts along the top, like any other car fender, but only a few on the bottom and none along the door frame. Stunned, we had the fender off in a matter of minutes. C thought about the cost of a replacement fender and decided that trying to get the dents out was a worthwhile learning experience. So, he grabbed a framing hammer, set the fender on an old tire and started wailing on the dents from the inside of the fender. Now, that sounds pretty horrible, but the execution was actually pretty damn good. He spent about an hour working the dents down smaller and smaller until all that's really left are framing hammer markings. We will need to finish the fender out with some real body tools, but I think for his purpose (daily driver) he will be able to get it looking decent.

The driver door was a bear to get off because of the dent. We needed to hammer and pry-bar the lip just so we could get a wrench onto the hinge bolts. Still, with a 12mm crescent, the 6 bolts came off with relative ease and the door was soon on the ground. We sourced a replacement outside Sacramento, but for now the driver door opening is protected with a tarp while the new door is stripped. As you can imagine, our front yard looks stunning.

As you could see in some of the pictures, the prior owner wanted the accent color to be purple rather than the stock blue. So, he painted all of the blue areas a plum color. It may have been great for him. C hated it. So, he went at it first with my angle grinder. It created lots of dust, but didn't really take out much of the purple. So, he bought some aircraft paint stripper. Now, this is some nasty stuff, but it totally worked. The key was letting a first coat of stripper set up and then put a second coat on. Once that's set up, we could strip it off. Some areas we did one coat to get the clear coat and a second pass to get all of the paint. Either way, C stripped all of the purple paint off: passenger fender, driver fender, passenger door, hood and even the little bits on the rear quarters.

That's as far as C (with a little help and guidance) has gotten. His progress has slowed as he has decided to get a job to help pay for things. Since school is his first job, and hourly wages for new-to-the-workforce jobs are rather low, the inflow of capital will be slow, so the rate of improvement to the 280ZX will reflect that.

Thanks, as always, for following along. If you happen to have a cache of 280ZX interior bits, we're looking for those too-

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