Double or Nothing - 280z GT cruiser

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DADZSUN
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Re: Double or Nothing - 280z GT cruiser

Postby DADZSUN » 08 Jun 2017 05:13

All comments are appreciated Byron. That's why I'm posting here, so that I can learn - along with potential other inexperienced builders reading this thread. In fact, I typically wait a few days/week after posting my thoughts/plans just to make sure knowledgeable members had a chance to view and correct any oversights before I weld. :wink:

I had the same thought as you Byron and the doors were mounted for welding. I actually just took the passenger door off to work on the front rocker/lower firewall/floor pan, and will remount it once everything is cut & ready to weld. For chassis support I have 6 jack stands under the car, two in the back, one under the passenger rocker, one under the tranny mount, and two under the rad support.

PassengerRailWheelWell.jpg
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I've finished up the metal on the passenger wheel well, removed old rust proof coating, and now just need to clean a bit, seam seal & POR.

NextStep.jpg
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Next up is likely the most difficult task due to the multitude of angles at play. The front of each rocker panels need repair. Specifically, right where they start to taper and fit under the front fender. Once that's done I can complete the lower firewall - floor pan run, then continue building the lower engine rail to floor rail transition.

NextStep_2.jpg
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I haven't had a chance to thoroughly examine the front of the rock panels yet, but one thought is to purchase rectangle steel tubing and then slot & taper one end to mimic the front of the rocker panel. Then maybe slide it in as a sleeve into the remaining good metal? Otherwise I can go the more pricey route and purchase 2 new full rocker panels and run regular 18ga metal on the small part of the inside.

Either way, I'm really pleased with my progress of chipping away a couple of hours each night. I might even have the passenger rail(s) & floor completely done by end of June, and driver's side by end of July. With luck I can address the rear body panels in August/September.
'72 Datsun 510 - KA24E/R1 carbs/EDIS 4 Megajolt
'76 Datsun 280z

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DADZSUN
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June update

Postby DADZSUN » 26 Jun 2017 05:38

Project 280z continues to plug along and I'm having a blast. I'm progressing nicely and becoming more confident that I'll be able to fire up & possibly drive her next spring.

I had to cut away a bit more of the passenger footwell than originally planned.
PassengerFootwell_Rot_1.jpg
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PassengerFootwell_Rot_2.jpg
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No biggie, I chipped away at the task and am nearly to the point of addressing the floor pan. Once that's in place I'll finish the engine -> floor rail run to add more strength to the chassis before I proceed with full rocker panel replacement (already sourced).

PassengerFootwell_Repair_1.jpg
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PassengerFootwell_Repair_2.jpg
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With the recent score of the 71B low-miles 5 speed transmission, and a lot of thought about the project's ultimate goal (investment), I've decided to change direction with powertrain. I believe that a manual transmission will enhance the value and add to the fun & engagement. I'm also going to stick with the original L28e engine for ease of maintaining project goals of a GT cruiser & low-cost, along with the sound (!). It's possible that someday there will be an increased demand for L series power S30s with so many swaps currently replacing them. My new direction in powerplant is certainly not very exciting from a uniqueness perspective, but this project's goal is about value, not originality.

71B_5Speed.jpg
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This past weekend I took the 510 for a fun day trip to a S30 parts collector. It's a pretty cool spot located just west of Montreal that was cleaner than expected. Apparently there's a lot of demand for S30 parts in Kuwait/middle East, he just filled a second sea can and shipped it to them overseas.

S30_Parts.jpg
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S30_Parts_2.jpg
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The purpose of my trip was to pickup a manual pedal assembly for the auto->manual swap. These parts are getting seemingly rare, thankfully it only cost me a couple of cracked N42 heads which were included in my original 280z purchase. An L-series 5 speed bell housing has been sourced in the States and is being shipped to me. This will replace the current Z series housing and allow the transmission to be mounted to the L28 at the correct angle.

Manual_Pedal_Assembly.jpg
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Speaking of cost, I'm still under $3000 to date, I'll do the exact tally in a later posting.
'72 Datsun 510 - KA24E/R1 carbs/EDIS 4 Megajolt
'76 Datsun 280z

Balatch
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Re: Double or Nothing - 280z GT cruiser

Postby Balatch » 01 Jul 2017 22:41

You're braver than I! Glad that cars went to a good home. I have a 240z front bumper that's a good candidate for painting. Maybe a couple other odds and ends still.

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Byron510
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Re: Double or Nothing - 280z GT cruiser

Postby Byron510 » 04 Jul 2017 08:07

Looks like your having fun! This type of repair is always rewarding, I love looking at the way the cars were originally built and then of course figuring out a way to duplicate this at home - which can't obviously be done exactly but where good ole back yard ingenuity kicks in.

I like the idea of keeping the Datsun 6 in the car, it keeps the overall goal more attainable. You can always to a power plant swap in the future. However if a cruiser is all that's in the goal, you'll likely find the L28 a pretty capable power plant. Sure 170HP doesn't sound like a lot today (trust me I want to smoke the rear tires off as well!), but I'll bet you'll be happy with it. A side note is that a Datsun I-6 with a pair of triple carbs has got to be one of the best sounding set ups going- just from an audible point of view - again it probable isn't much quicker, but just sounds awesome! :-)

Keep the progress shots coming, love the updates.

Byron
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DADZSUN
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July update

Postby DADZSUN » 07 Aug 2017 15:09

Looking at my last post, I'm a little surprised how far I've gone since the last update. Early July I installed the passenger floor pan. I was able to get it done with a single piece which was nice.

Next, the plan was to complete the TC bracket to firewall (lower engine rail), then run a chassis rail down the newly installed floor pan.

The_Plan.jpg
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First I welded the TC bracket to the main engine rail. Then I ran a smaller section of the engine rail tubing from the bottom of the TC bracket to the firewall.

LowerPassengerEngineRail.jpg
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Next I cut the sides out of some of remaining tubing to fill in the middle section.

MidPassengerEngineRail.jpg
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This went went quite well. She's good and beefy now!

PassengerEngineRailDone.jpg
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Next I decided to cut the chassis rail depth down from the original 1.5" deep (1/2 of a 3"x3" square tubing) to 3/4" deep.

CuttingDownChassisRail.jpg
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This would save ~3lbs (net weight of the rail was 6lbs) and add 3/4" of ground clearance - I do plan to section the struts and drop her ~2.5".

PassengerChassisRailUnderside.jpg
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From the passenger floor you can see the 1-piece chassis rail straddled the engine frame rail and ran the entire length of the floor pan then up the rear bulkhead.
PassengerChassisRailWeldedUp.jpg
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With a bit of paint she's lookin' good!

PassengerFloorPanPainted.jpg
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Replacing the passenger rocker panel is up next. :shock: :? I have lots of travel in August so I don't expect this to be complete until September sometime.
Last edited by DADZSUN on 07 Aug 2017 16:01, edited 8 times in total.
'72 Datsun 510 - KA24E/R1 carbs/EDIS 4 Megajolt
'76 Datsun 280z

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DADZSUN
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Re: Double or Nothing - 280z GT cruiser

Postby DADZSUN » 07 Aug 2017 15:41

Byron510 wrote:Looks like your having fun! This type of repair is always rewarding...


So true Byron! I'm stepping out into my own personal the deep end on many of these ideas & undertakings, so completing each of these mini-challenges add a lot to my overall project experience.
Last edited by DADZSUN on 07 Aug 2017 15:52, edited 1 time in total.
'72 Datsun 510 - KA24E/R1 carbs/EDIS 4 Megajolt
'76 Datsun 280z

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Re: Double or Nothing - 280z GT cruiser

Postby DADZSUN » 07 Aug 2017 15:45

Balatch wrote:You're braver than I! Glad that cars went to a good home. I have a 240z front bumper that's a good candidate for painting. Maybe a couple other odds and ends still.


I would be interested in that bumper. A bit of welding (bumperette holes and make it 1-piece) and titanium-colored powder coating would fit my plans perfectly.

PM me on the details plz.
'72 Datsun 510 - KA24E/R1 carbs/EDIS 4 Megajolt
'76 Datsun 280z

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September update - progressing nicely

Postby DADZSUN » 07 Sep 2017 07:06

Quick update on my progress. I continue to work my way to the rear of the car along the passenger side.

RockPanel_Preinstallation.jpg
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The last couple of weeks I addressed the rocker panel. The replacement part was actually pretty damn close, I only had to hammer down the pivot point a bit to clear the passenger door as it opens.

RockPanel_1.jpg
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A little bit of paint really cleans things up, not that my morale was ever low but a cleaner-looking car is certainly a nice motivation!

RockPanel_2.jpg
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I also took the time to finish the cross-member frame rail mount. I decided not to duplicate the OEM recess within the frame rail and instead add a plate to the end of the cross member that will take 3 bolts along 2 planes.

CrossMemberMount_1.jpg
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Not sure if it's stronger than OEM or not but it certainly was easier than hacking into the new frame rail. I will weld a smaller plate along the red outline to further strengthen the mount.

CrossMemberMount_2.jpg
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Next up is some additional minor bracing the underside of the floor pan (already have a beefy rail running the full length), then some paint in the front fender well and floor pan, and finally onto the rear arch.
'72 Datsun 510 - KA24E/R1 carbs/EDIS 4 Megajolt
'76 Datsun 280z

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Fall Update

Postby DADZSUN » 30 Sep 2017 07:25

I continue to make steady progress on project 280z.
FrontPassengerPainted.jpg
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The plan was to work the entire passenger side of the car before starting with the driver's side. However, the outer portion of the rear wheel well was more rotted than hoped and since I don't yet have the replacement panel I decided to start on the driver's side.
RearArchWellRust.jpg
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No surprise the driver's engine rail had rust issues that were similar, but not quite as extensive, as the passenger engine rail.
DriverEngineRailBefore1.jpg
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It was quickly removed, I'm much more efficient on my second go-around.
DriveEngineRailCutout.jpg
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A new rail was quickly installed and some arch metal was also replaced.
DriverEngineRailDone.jpg
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I also finished the driver's side engine cross member bracket.
DriverEngineCrossmemberMountDone.jpg
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TC Bushings, as expected were shot, but the metal washers/piping was also compromised. The plan is to purchase & install Futfab's Ball & Socket adjustable TC rods (http://www.futofab.com/images/stories/T ... s_800W.jpg). They should help with suspension suppleness while hopefully adding minimal harshness/vibration due to the lack of a rubber/urethane medium.
TCBushings.jpg
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In a seemingly rite of passage for S30 restoration, I had the 'pleasure' of removing the rear spindles that connect the upright to the lower control arm.
PITASpindle.jpg
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I eventually succeeded but the spindles didn't survive so I'll have to source replacements.
RearUprightsFreed.jpg
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Going forward I'm prepping/investing the garage for more comfortable winter work. New LED light fixtures have been purchased and installed this weekend. I'm getting a quote for a LP radiant heater that can keep my insulated garage a steady +10C or so throughout the winter, rather than fire up my non-vented radiant heater a good 20-30min before wanting to work...

As for the car, I'm now at the point of cleaning the driver's inner rock panel near the firewall so that I can install the floor pan. Once that's complete I can resume the engine rail & TC bracket reinforcement to the firewall as well as a full-length frame rail. Once complete, I'll make another large purchase of parts, rear wheel arches, urethane suspension bushings, spindle kits, seat & door card recovers, full rubber kit, stuff to complete the brakes, ball joints & inner tie rods, lightened flywheel/clutch/bearings etc... It will be a good $1500-2000 worth of stuff but should be damn close to being done and at about $5K total invested. At that point I can throw it on the road as a useable/safe car, or put another $2K in appearance stuff to make it pop and tempt me to hang onto it for a bit. :wink:
'72 Datsun 510 - KA24E/R1 carbs/EDIS 4 Megajolt
'76 Datsun 280z

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Rush to get done before winter 'season' starts

Postby DADZSUN » 29 Oct 2017 06:46

Our beloved Canadian Datsun 'driving season' is close to wrapping up which means the 510 will receive the focus throughout the winter (R&P conversion, boosted brakes, EFI conversion and possibly low pressure turbo). The next few weeks I'll be working hard on the 280z driver's side so that it matches the work completed to passenger side before I throw a tarp over it for the next few months.

DriverFloorPanWelded.jpg
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As of now the driver's floor pan is welded it, just some cleaning/grinding left to do. This pan was more of PITA than the passenger because the rot required cutting up the tranny tunnel a couple of inches. This meant establishing the proper floor pan depth and folding the metal sheet lengthwise. Also, I decided to reshape the catalytic converter 'bulge' on the transmission tunnel rather than cut it out. 40 years of metal shaped in a specific orientation is not always keen to flatten out lol.

Regardless I got done and once again a single sheet of metal was successfully installed as a floor pan. Similar to the passenger side I'll 'rib' off the full length frame rail to reinforce the floor pan rather than bead roll.

DriverTCWelded.jpg
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TC bracket is welded in and now I can proceed with building the engine rail down to the TC bracket and to the floor pan (similar to my Aug 7th posting). The plan was to complete that this weekend along with preparing the full-length frame rail but I had my first tattoo done this Friday and somewhat stupidly didn't realise it would incapacitate me until healing is complete... :?

Left to do before winter shut-down is 1) weld engine rail drop between TC bracket and floor board 2) Weld full length frame rail under floor pan and rib-off to rocker panel, 3) Remove old rocker panel and reinstall new stamped unit 4) paint.
'72 Datsun 510 - KA24E/R1 carbs/EDIS 4 Megajolt
'76 Datsun 280z

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Byron510
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Re: Double or Nothing - 280z GT cruiser

Postby Byron510 » 01 Nov 2017 05:58

This has turned into quite the sheet metal fab project, but progress looks great!

Look forward to your updates when the time permits.

Byron
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because the opposite never works.

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Heinrich
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Re: Double or Nothing - 280z GT cruiser

Postby Heinrich » 01 Nov 2017 06:32

Good Going.
Progress is slow, but it is progress non the less.


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