Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Z Progress

It's been quite some time since I posted an update on the 280ZX project. Today, I'll catch everyone up. For my US former military readers, Happy belated Veteran's Day and thank you for your service.

Tear Down Blocks
In my last post about the Zed in March (See Strip Tea Z), I described the tear down of the donorZ, and even posted the link to the craigslist sale of the picked-over shell. We found a buyer, a guy who rebuilds old 240's, 260's and 280's, and he knew there was some remaining value in what we sold him. To make the sale work, I had stripped lots of good stuff, and stashed them wherever I could find a place in the small garage. Mostly, these parts were set inside the keeperZ (Zed). This had the unfortunate side-effect of reducing the interest in working on the Zed. So, this past weekend, K2 and I emptied the Zed of all of the parts we were storing in there. This created a need to deal with the shedroom.

When it was conceived, the shedroom was a "couple months" solution (See 280ZX * 2 = Y). Now, over 9 months later, it has persisted. Boo and I decided that we needed to embrace the shedroom, and set it up better than the basic pile of parts on the floor that it had become. Otherwise, the work which has stagnated will never restart. So, similar to the interior of the Zed, we moved all of the parts out... into the hallway. Then, we installed a set of monster shelving and organized the parts onto it. This made the space much larger, and more useful... and allowed for all the other parts from the inside of Zed to fit. So, now we have the Zed empty of spares, and parked in the driveway (under a 10x10 canopy), ready to be worked on.

Auto Shop Class
K2 has started an auto-shop course in high school. This is the only such course available in the state of Oregon, and has a class size of less than 20, so it's kind of a big deal. Gone are the days of every high school having a shop like this. As I said, Oregon only has one. From this class, K2 is learning things that he is now teaching us. Included in this growing list of teachings is the multi-point inspection.

K2 wanted to do some work on the Zed after we emptied it of spares. The auto-shop class is much more focused on mechanical than body or interior stuff, and he felt that doing classwork stuff would help him retain the teachings. So, he set to doing a full inspection of the Zed, recording his findings for us to evaluate. My sole influence was for him to write everything down, and not to filter anything out due to concern that we wouldn't want to do the fix. Similar to having the boys decide if a car was purchase-worthy, I want the boys to drive what is or is not in need of repair, based on diagnostics not cost or convenience. The list was pretty long, including the brake booster and radiator replacements, and a full tune up. That's totally fine. I tell them that money should only guide "when" not "if" something should be done. If it is a safety item and you can't afford to fix it, get a bus pass until you can.

Sunroof Returns
With weather changing, our window for getting the grinding done before winter arrives is closing. I don't think we're going to get the exterior paint-ready before then, but I think we can get the old paint off before pushing Zed back into the garage for body-fill. How we manage the sanding of that body-fill will be the adventure that follows. With K2's preference for mechanical, I expect he'll get after the tune-up and radiator replacement completely independent of the exterior work. After another weekend day dedicated to the paint, we have stripped the fenders, hood, driver door, rear quarter panels, and roof. All that's left is the rear hatch and the passenger door: both of which can be done on the front porch. So, we are ready for the seasonal rains and the winter that follows. We can figure out body filler along the way.

the grind
The early 280ZX delivered with a sunroof. The donorZ was a late 280ZX, and it shipped with T-tops. Our early model, however, arrived without the sunroof. The prior owner who made such memorable decisions as removing the less-than-one-pound rear speaker panel, gutting the interior for weight and hacking the wiring so the fuel pump and ignition were triggered by switches also decided to remove the glass sunroof and weld on a patch panel. And weld it poorly with gaps and burn-thru. To resolve the leaks, the seam was "sealed" with duct tape. Neat. I had a couple of hours on a Saturday, and the sky, while threatening, wasn't supposed to open up with rain for a couple of hours. So, I backed the Zed into the driveway. The duct tape removed with a razor blade, and within about 15 minutes I was able to knock the patch panel free simply by hammer a wedge into the spotty gap, focusing on the welds. I cleaned up the edge with my angle grinder and then switched over to my wire-brush. I cleaned up all the spots where I'd used the chemical stripper, removing the flash-rust that appeared in the time since. It is interesting how the steel wire brush stripping doesn't leave the surface susceptible to flash rust, but the chemical does. One more factor to include in the mental-math when I look at paint removal in the future.

That's it for today. Thanks, as always, for following along-

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