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240z Current Status

Having a full-time job gets in the way of my project, but I'm still making progress.


May 23rd, 2020

240z Heater Blower Upgrade I did the Honda Civic heater blower swap. It's seriously the easiest upgrade ever, and you can buy one brand-new for $38.

Clip the wires off the stock motor and remove the three screws that hold it in place. The new motor bolts in without any modifications. Attach the wires (making sure the motor spins the right way) and you're done!

More air, less power and it's quieter. How can you say no?

Click the pic to see a little video.

May 13th, 2020

12v Automotive Power Port I replaced the broken cigarette lighter with a marine-grade 12v port, suitable for a GPS or USB adapter.

Not really exciting, but every little bit helps and it looks better than an empty hole.

May 8th, 2020

covid-19 grim humor Just trying to keep my sense of humor during a horrible time.


May 3rd, 2020

240z Heater Controls It's missing one of the slider tabs, but otherwise the console is ready to go.

Like so many other things on this car, it's a mix-and-match from different years. The frame itself needed some epoxy to put the pieces back together. I think the cover plate for the heater controls is from a later year but with a few dabs of hot glue it fits ok. The stereo is the only digital thing in an analog car, and the face needed some careful triming but it isn't as crooked as it looks. The air vent was painted years ago and has been collecting dust on a shelf since then. The map light actually works, which is a rarity. The controls themselves were cleaned and lubricated and the cables slide pretty easily.

I took a lot of pictures when it came apart so hopefully it'll go back together easily.


I want to take a moment to say THANKS to everyone who've sent advice and suggestions and comments over the years. I truly appreciate it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I'm happy to help.

April 22nd, 2020

240z Choke Adapter The choke lever mechanism for early Z-cars is mounted to the plastic center console. As the car ages, the cables get a little tougher to move, which often leads to the plastic breaking apart. A neat solution is an adapter plate that mounts the lever mechanism on the tunnel. I bought one a few years ago but in my ignorance paid no attention to the fact it only works for a '72 and above.

The mechanism that came with my car is for a '72 but even with the adapter it won't work. Making things even worse, the adapter itself is defective - the holes are slightly off. Damn.

The only solution is to use the stock mechanism and I was luck enough to find one on eBay for a very reasonable price. I'll sell the other mechanism but the $38 adapter plate was tossed in the trash because I'm not going to resell something I know is crap.


April 17th, 2020

240z 350z Nissan is supposedly coming out with a new Z featuring a longer hood to "pay tribute" to the 240z.

Good luck on that.


April 11th, 2020

Cleaning Aluminum The 50-year-old door thresholds are made from aluminum and have suffered over the years. The surfaces were corroded, pitted and scratched. I considered black powder-coating but first I tried a few cleaning methods.

I started with a vigorous scrubbing using steel wool and dishwashing liquid. It got rid of the surface dirt but nothing else. Next I tried a pair of "traditional" methods. One was salt mixed with lime juice and the other was baking soda and white vinegar. I let that soak for about 25 minutes, then attacked it with a green kitchen scrubber. As I'd expected, the results weren't that great.

Fifteen seconds of glass-bead blasting took out everything. Look at the difference. An application of aluminum polish will make it glow. Grandma would be jealous.

Click to see a larger version.

April 9th, 2020

240z Fuse Box Here's the upgraded fuse box. The original had suffered the typical melting damage caused by corroded connections. This one has 8 circuits but I'm only using 6, and with 10A fuses as a starting point. It's about the same size as the stock box but without the fat cable.

With that installed, the car actually has power. If I had headlights connected, I could light 'em up, and I could honk the horn if it was connected, and so on.

The ignition key and the stereo are wired directly to power. When the key is turned, it energizes a 70A relay that provides power to everything else. One of the advantages of doing it that way is the headlights will turn off when the key is removed, something the car originally couldn't do. It also makes the car a little harder to steal.

At the upper-left of the box is a 12ga white wire with a red stripe. It takes power directly from the fuse box and out to the headlights thru a pair of relays. No more dim lights and it makes for an easy upgrade to brighter units in the future.

If you look beyond the box, you can see new rubber pads on the pedals.

April 4th, 2020

240z Brake Booster Hose I neeeded a hose for the brake booster but the cheapest replacement was about $100. It has several bends and a twist for a nice, tight fit. I tried using a piece of ordinary fuel hose but it flopped around and looked awful.

After doing some poking around online, I found a site where a guy used 1/4" copper tubing inside the fuel line to make the bends. Pretty clever. Naturally, I had to try it myself and it worked pretty good. It's not as perfect as the stock one but good enough for my needs. It holds its shape and keeps it away from other parts and doesn't flop around like the hose by itself did.

There are actually two hoses, with a check valve in the middle. Both hoses together (with shipping) are $155 but I made mine for just $20, which is a huge savings.

You can see how I did it here

March 31st, 2020

Ace King's 240z Project I've been working on the power windows using motors from a Honda Civic. There are some aftermarket kits which are relatively easy to install but this is a lot cheaper and I think it'll work better in the long run. The spur gear on the motor is the same size and pitch as the spur gear on the hand crank. Replace one with the other and you'll have power windows.

I temporarily wired the switch to a motor just to see if it worked. Success. Click the pic to watch. The switch itself got mounted on the center console and looks stock.

When the doors are finished I'll make a page to show the details of how it was done.


March 25th, 2020

240z Schematic I made a little mistake the way I'd wired the fuel tank sensor. It took a few minutes to figure out the problem, about five seconds of scribbling on the diagram, and nearly an hour to make the actual change.

Somehow it was connected to power on both sides of the guage. Off came a few pieces of plastic, the offending wire was found and replaced, some heat-shrink tubing got added, everything was reconnected, the plastic popped back into place, and finally it was time for a cold beer.

I sure hope I got it right. It'll be a few months before I know for sure.

March 19th, 2020

240z Fuel Pump Got the fuel system finished.

Yeah, not the most exciting thing but definitely an important one. The hoses have to carry fuel for the engine without leaking and catching fire. I've seen cars on fire. It wasn't pretty.

You have to buy the right size hoses (three different diameters) and ten clamps. The fuel tank needs two different hoses and four more clamps. The pump needed a gasket. The filter is new. The fuel level sender needed new connectors. A bracket had to be painted. It never ends.

Part of the reason I'm showing this pic is because I wasn't sure how the hoses were routed and couldn't find anything that showed it. Hopefully this'll help somebody.

March 17th, 2020

240z Port and Polish Out of morbid curiosity, I poked my endoscope down the intake manifolds and found this.

It seems the inside diameter of the manifold is slightly larger than the inside diameter of the head's ports. The result is a little ledge that blocks a tiny amount of airflow, which leads to turbulence, which in turn reduces power. Multiple that little ledge times six cylinders and the loss is probably 2-3 horsepower. If the exhaust ports are mismatched, subtract another 2-3.

Depending on who you listen to, a stock 240z produces anywhere from 130-160hp. For a car that weighs just 2300 pounds, 130hp isn't bad but having another 10hp wouldn't hurt.

Unfortunately, it's too late. The only way to smooth out that ledge is to take the engine apart and do some grinding and smoothing, which isn't going to happen. When I build the 3.0 replacement engine I can eliminate that sort of irritation but in the meantime I'll be happy with what I have.

March 13th, 2020

240z Carpet Kit I did a test fit of the front carpet and it looks great. I bought it several years ago, so it's about time I checked.

Like in the rear, I replaced the cheap-looking diamond print vinyl with more carpet. On the driver's side is a piece of vinyl beneath the pedals to protect the carpet from your heels. For just $10 the manufacturer added the same piece to the passenger side. Makes sense to me. Total cost for the carpet (with shipping) was just $220, which is a fraction of what an upholsterer would charge. It even came with a can of spray adhesive.

I've done a few kits before and this one shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. Like anything, the key to a good fit is taking your time. The various pieces get trimmed, then glued into place. I've found the sections beneath your feet will hold better with a couple of little screws at the corners.

The carpet went right back in the box. It'll be one of the last things installed.

March 7th, 2020

240z Painted Calipers Few things say "budget build" as clearly as stock calipers painted red.

I thought I could get away with cracking the original calipers open and replacing the o-rings, but it turned out to be easier to buy a pair of remanufactured ones. I give them a quick spray of paint to kinda-sorta make them look professional instead of passive but it was really a waste of time because they'll never be seen behind the hubcaps.

I bought new hardline tubing and fittings because the hexes on the old fittings were so worn I had to use vise-grips. At the rear the stock '71 cylinders were insanely expensive, so I used ones for a '72. They bolt right in but the hardlines had to be bent a little bit. Despite several tries they never sealed completely. They do now.

A popular bolt-on upgrade is dual-piston calipers from a '79-'84 Toyota 4x4 pickup. The only modification needed is trimming the dust plate, and a larger master cylinder is advisable. However, for street use the stock calipers work fine. I was able to lock up the front wheels with my '72 so for me they're plenty strong.

March 5th, 2020

240z Headlight Switch When I bought the car, the wiring was junk so I stripped it out and started from scratch and modernized the design. Part of that involved adding new connectors to the switchgear but at the time I didn't know how long the wires needed to be. Unfortunately, my estimates were wrong - they were way too short.

For the turn signal and ignition switches, I was able to make extension cables. For the headlight switch I had to cut off the connector and solder longer wires which connected to a replacement connector. It took a couple hours but I didn't really have a choice.

You can see the original wiring effort here.

February 23rd, 2020

1971 240z Hatch Aside from the glass, the rear hatch is fully assembled. It doesn't look complicated, but the '70-'71 cars have some ducting inside for ventilation which takes time to figure out. The chrome grilles have plastic pins that go thru the metal and hold the ducting together from behind, but they're prone to breaking. I cut the pins off and used some screws instead. Much better.

The latch mechanism and side guides were sandblasted and painted. The pushbutton assembly needed some fiddly adjustments to work properly. There's also a plastic panel that covers the ducting. If you add up all the time it was probably about 10 hours.

The engine is (mostly) wired, the fuel pump and distributor are in place, starter installed, oil and coolant have been added, battery is bolted in, various bits & pieces have been painted, and so on. Step by step, inch by inch.

February 8th, 2020

240z Door Locks The car came with a key for the ignition but nothing else. I bought new locks for the doors but the pushbutton for the rear hatch was a problem.

I found a locksmith who was willing to make a key for the pushbutton (nobody wants to touch a 50-year-old car), then he re-keyed the door locks to match.

I bought a few blanks for the locks but the Taiwanese seller on eBay sent the wrong type. The cost of returning them was more than the refund itself. Bastard. Thankfully, the locksmith was able to find a pair and "donated" them to the project. Great guy.

February 2nd, 2020

240z Radiator and fan The aluminum radiator, hoses, fan, alternator and belt got installed. Sure, it's not the most exciting part of the restoration but helps move the project along a little further. The fan is slightly larger in diameter than the stock one, plus has an extra blade so it should work better. The radiator was brand-new when I bought the car.


January 29th, 2020

240z Rear Hatch It needs some adjusting (and it's not fully assembled) but the rear hatch is back in place. The spoiler is a perfect fit. I had it painted separately in case I want to take take the spoiler off and not have a bare patch of metal left behind..

The pneumatic strut that holds the hatch up was painted and looks factory fresh. There's no key for the pushbutton, so I'll have to get one made.

January 27th, 2020

240z Carpet Kit The rear half of the car is nearing completion. I replaced the diamond-print vinyl on the strut towers with carpet and I think it looks better. The bottom piece has some creases after sitting folded in a box for 4 years but they'll flatten out. It's not a professional job but the entire kit was only $250 and a couple hours of effort made it fit fairly well.

I got the hatch seal in place without making a big mess. It had to be glued in sections to keep the soft rubber from pulling out of the corners.

January 22nd, 2020

Tomas Rodriguez At this moment, the car is 49 years old and time has taken a toll. All of the fasteners are rusty or corroded and I'm not going to put anything back together looking like that.

Every single bolt, nut, washer and sscrew gets sand blasted, cleaned, primered and painted, or simply replaced. It's a lot of boring, time-consuming stuff but it has to be done because it's too late to cut corners.

My friend Tomas came up from Santa Fe for a couple of weeks and he volunteered to do some sandblasting. It's kind-of fun watching every little bit of rust and paint and filth disappear, and I was happy to let him enjoy it. He also helped with other stuff, like the rubber seal for the rear hatch. Volunteers are encouraged to email me.

Our running joke is that bolts which can't be seen only get three coats of paint and two coats of clear.

January 10th, 2020

240z Speaker Enclosures When it comes to music, most people cut holes in the door panels to mount the speakers. I found a pair of panels that hadn't been cut and I want to keep them that way. It turns out there's a good solution.

These plastic panels take the place of the cardboard ones down by your feet and have a molded bulge that's the perfect size for a 2" deep speaker. When you consider how much foot room the car has, you'll never notice a little bit is missing.

Being ever skeptical, I figured they'd need some trimming and fiddling, but they're a perfect fit and went in without any modifications aside from a couple of holes for a few screws to hold them in place. The speakers were easy to attach. It only took about half an hour from start to finish. Not bad.

I found them at Motorsport Auto and at the time of this writing they were only $95, which I consider a bargain compared to the old-fashioned alternative.

January 4th, 2020

Handful of Money Money makes the world go 'round.

The original budget for this build was a mere $6000, which obviously was over-optimistic. The car itself seemed basically sound, so the plan was to clean it up, do the bodywork and paint myself, install a cheap interior, and so on, but as I'd feared the cost kept going up and up and up.

Here's an example of how such things happen. I pulled the rear suspension apart to replace the bushings but while it was on the floor I decided to add new bearings, which also meant new seals and the axle lock nuts. It needed a new clutch so the flywheel had to come off for resurfacing, and while it was apart I replaced the engine main seal, the transmission front seal and the release bearing because it was "cheaper" to do while everything was apart compared to replacing them later when it was all back together. A piece here and a piece there really starts to add up.

Years ago I built a custom cafe racer motorcycle (see it here) and have no idea how much it cost. This time I made a spreadsheet and I've been fanatical about adding everything, no matter how small. I'm pretty confident it's within $20. If you're curious, you can see a pdf of it here.

As of today, the out-of-control cost has reached a mind-boggling $19,135.49

That number only includes parts and materials that were actually used. For example, I bought a second header and some seat heaters, but they weren't installed. Some parts that came with the car were resold, which reduced my out-of-pocket costs but didn't affect the amount invested. There were tools I bought but they can be used on other projects so they didn't get included. Some odds & ends that I already had in the garage, like grease or cleaners, weren't added because they were leftovers from other projects and thus not an out-of-pocket expense. I had to rent a trailer to haul the car home, and later rent another to take it for a "certified VIN inspection" - I didn't include the cost of the trailers but did for the inspection and registration. The hosting for this website isn't free but it's not on the tally.

I estimate the final "actual cost" will be about $22k but I'll have a beautiful, iconic sports car and it'll literally be brand new.

This beauty's gonna be my daily driver and I'll love every minute of it. How do you put a price on that?


December 28th, 2019

240z Dashboard Installed The dashboard is finally finished and installed.

When I did the new wiring, the dash was in and out of the car at least a dozen times to make sure everything fit. The guages were cleaned and I swapped out the original green bulbs for modern red. The duct hoses were patched and straightened out. The vents were cleaned and painted. I bonded a new cap over the cracked top. Underneath is the heater core and upgraded blower. The pivots for the clutch and brake pedals were greased.

There's still a lot of work remaining but at least the dash is done.


December 24th, 2019

240z Quarter-Window Trim Despite my best efforts with epoxy and fiberglass and a heat gun, I couldn't repair the interior plastic for the quarter windows well enough to fit right. They looked awful. The only solution was a new reproduction set. It was a bite I hadn't expected, but that's the way it goes.

Merry Christmas to me.

December 22nd, 2019

240z New Seat Covers The seats that came with the car were rubbish. Some people replace theirs with racing seats, or from a Miata, but I wanted to keep mine stock.

I bought some good reproduction covers and new foam. The '70 and '71 seats have a limited amount of tilt (about 3") so I bought a pair of recliners from a later year which allows full movement forward and back. Much better.

The frames and recliners were sandblasted and painted. The bottom foam is supported by webbing which came with the covers and needed to be cut and fastened. I bought a seat heater kit but it turns out the way the seats are bolstered doesn't leave enough room.

The covers for the bottoms went on relatively easy, but I couldn't stretch the backs far enough down to pin the material in place so I reluctantly took them to an upholsterer. He said the covers are probably better quality than the originals. He also said they were a bitch to stretch and I did pretty good (for an amateur) getting them as tight as I did.


December 5th, 2019

240z Steering Wheel Restored The steering wheel needed a little refreshing.

I gave the "wood" rim a scrub in the sink, then sandblasted the spokes. A few layers of flat black paint and some spar varnish made it look brand new.

It took about 2 hours of accumulated time and cost less than $20. Not bad.

December 4th, 2019

240z Intake and Exhaust With my previous 240z, I struggled getting the intake and exhaust manifolds together. Each one bolts to the head, and between them are six studs with very fat washers that span both manifolds. It's extremely difficult to get the washers and nuts in there, but on a very old blog I learned the easy way.

Attach the exhaust manifold losely, then put the fat washers and nuts into place, also losely. Now you can slide the intake manifolds down into place and tighten everything without worrying about dropping the washers or nuts.

Of course, a couple of the nuts are tough to get at but at least they're already on the studs.

December 1st, 2019

240z Carbs Sandblasted I took the intake assembly apart and sandblasted everything. What a difference.

I'm always amazed at how much stuff is available for a 48-year-old car. I found a rebuild kit for the carbs and hopefully it'll make the process (relatively) easy. I've done rebuilds before but SU carbs are a little more complicated. Cleaning and assembling them is one thing but getting them matched and synchronized is the tough part. I plan on taking the car to a dyno when it's finished and the guys there should be able to fine-tune the carbs for the best performance, or so I hope.

In between the big stuff are the little things. I sandblasted the thermostat housing, bought a new thermostat, temp sensor and gaskets. The bolts were painted black. Pretty dull stuff but it looks good and every step counts. More of the interior trim was repaired and painted. I tried gluing the rear hatch seal in place but did something wrong because it didn't stick very well. Various other parts have been cleaned and painted. The reverse switch for the transmission was installed. The alternator was bolted into place.

It seems like a never-ending list.

November 24th, 2019

240z Header Heat Tape A friend came over and wrapped the header with heat tape. He's been wanting to do it for a while. It's not difficult - it just requires some time and patience.

If you look online you can find a bit of disagreement on how it should be done. Some say you need to paint the header first, while others say never. Some claim you need to soak the tape in water before wrapping it. A few people contend it's a waste of time and money.

Whether or not it increases performance, or keeps the engine bay cooler isn't really an issue because I like the way it looks. Unfortunately, once the intake manifold and carbs and air filter are installed, you won't see much of it.

November 15th, 2019

240z Rear Bumper Shaved After some fussing and fitting and "adjusting" the brackets with a big hammer, this is how the rear bumper turned out and I'm very pleased.

With the bumper in place I was able to install the fuel tank and vent hoses. I seriously believe it's the most difficult part of the entire car assembly. This is the third time I've installed one and I hope I never have to do it again.

Note the absence of the running lights on the fender. Nice and clean.

November 13th, 2019

240z Rear Bumper The stock 240z rear bumper is made from three pieces bolted together, along with a pair of government-mandated overriders and some rubber trim.

When they're new and the chrome is bright, they look pretty good. Definately a 70s style but I wanted a smoother, custom appearance. Getting that took some time and effort (like everything else) but well worth it.

I removed the overriders and the scraps of rubber trim, then welded the holes closed. I also welded the main pieces together. With a little grinding, some filler and several layers of satin black, they're perfect.

The bumper has to be attached to the car before the fuel tank can go in. There's a bolt holding one side of the bumper that is blocked by the fuel tank. Once the bumper gets mounted, the fuel tank can be lifted into place, which allows me to route all the vent hoses, install the carpet, pop the interior trim into place and that pretty much finishes the back half of the car.

November 10th, 2019

240z Guages The speedometer and tach are in good shape but the small guages needed some fresh paint.

They come apart fairly easily - a couple small drops of glue hold the lens and bezel inside the cover - and now the bezel can be sanded and painted and it'll be good as new.

However... someone in the past poured glue or paint all around the inside of one. I picked at it with dental tools, tried to soften it with hot water, but nothing worked. It's ruined.

The only solution was to buy another guage. Some on eBay were $100 and up but I managed to find one for just $24. As it turned out, the gauge was for a 280z and doesn't match the others. Rat spit.

October 26th, 2019

240z Dash Cover The dashboard looks brand-new. It was worth the time and effort.

The key was having the dash out and completely stripped down. I was able to sand down the high spots and give it a good scrubbing with sandpaper, then clean the whole thing down at the local spray wash. I also scuffed the inside of the plastic cover and gave it a wipe with rubbing alcohol. I wasn't taking any chances.

A friend came over and helped pull it into place, then went nuts with the clamps. The installation only took an hour but the prep was probably twice that, which is always the key to a good bond or good paint. Patience wins out.

Years ago I used a half-cap for my '72 but it wasn't great fit, mainly because I didn't do enough prep and didn't have any way to clamp it tight enough. It looked better than the original cracked dash but wasn't the best work I've done.

At the moment I'm cleaning up the guages. The wiring was done a few years ago, so everything ought to go back together pretty easily. I can't wait to see it back in the car.

I took a peek on eBay and used dashboards in "OK" condition (tiny cracks) were $400 to $500. New ones occasionally appear but they're $1000 and up. The cheapest plastic cover like mine was $122 with shipping. I think the choice is clear.

October 22nd, 2019

240z Dash Cover Like most cars, this dash was eaten away by 48 years of UV and hot sun. It looks horrible. A previous owner used a lot of shower caulking to glue a plastic cover over the nightmare but they did a pretty lousy job. It hung like a bad suit.

The cap I bought might not be any better quality but with two tubes of adhesive, 13 clamps and 12 tight ropes it ought to fit a lot better. I'll let it cure for a few days before pulling the clamps and stuffing it back into the car.

A few people have tried restoring the dash itself using expanding foam and textured paint but it took far more time than I wanted to spend. I think the cap will be fine and most of the people who see it will never know the difference.

October 4th, 2019

Ace's 240z Engine Installed The engine is back in the car after sitting in storage for the last two years and it looks beautiful in the blacked-out bay.

The engine was recently rebuilt to stock specs. When the car is finally finished I'll take it to a local dyno to see what the actual horsepower is. Datsun claimed 160 horsepower but independent testing showed 151, which is still respectable for a 2300 pound car. I suspect here in Denver - a mile above sea level - the horsepower will be even less. Most people claim theoretical numbers but I want paperwork to prove what I have.


October 1st, 2019

240z Quarter Windows I took some time and restored the quarter windows.

The glass was fine, but the chrome was faded and the rubber seals were hard and cracked. I gently pulled the frames apart and sandblasted them, followed by several careful coats of flat black. The glass was scrubbed with window cleaner and some very fine steel wool, then polished. I bought new rubber gaskets and put everything back together. They look fantastic.

It took about 3 hours across several days and worth every minute.

Click on the pic for a larger version.

September 29th, 2019

240z and Transmission The L24 engine, 5-speed transmission, and new clutch are ready to go.

Even though I had all of the hardware bagged, things were still missing. The clutch needs six bolts but I could only find five. Four long bolts hold the engine to the transmission but I only had three. The motor mounts needed everything... and then I discovered the mounts were the wrong ones to begin with. So it goes.

Flywheels for a 240z can vary. A lighter flywheel allows the engine rev more quickly, which is great for racing, but too light can make city driving tricky. The heaviest stock flywheel is 23 lbs. From what I read, 17 or 18 lbs is a good compromise. I took mine to the grocery store and used a produce scale to weigh it: 19.5 lbs, which ought to be fine.

August 24th, 2019

240z New Tail Lights Got the tail lights and valances put together.

I thought I could salvage the original tail light covers but they turned out to be rubbish. The housings were in decent shape, so I give the reflectors a fresh coat of silver paint and found a good set of used lenses online. A few minutes with plastic polish made the lenses look like new.

The valances got a scrub and some wet-sanding and a few layers of satin black. The license plate is just a prop from a long-ago car because I needed something to fill the gap.

I'm happy with the results.

August 18th, 2019

Datsun 240z Engine The engine is just about ready to be installed. Once the clutch is installed and the transmission bolted on, the whole thing gets lowered into place.

The rest of the engine (carbs, exhaust, supercharger, etc.) won't be assembled for a few weeks - I just want to get the heavy part in without anything else in the way.

A couple of friends did the great paint and polish job a couple of years ago. I could have bought the exact engine color for about $25 for a can, or a very similar color for $5. I chose the cheaper version and seriously doubt anyone will know the difference (or care).

August 12th, 2019

Car Hardware in Baggies I learned years ago to keep the nuts and bolts for various things in baggies, with the name of the part (such as hood hinges, window mechanism, dashboard, etc) written on the outside. Considering some of the stuff I took apart was several years ago, I'd never remember which part went where.

Now that I'm putting the car back together, out came the bags and I'm good to go.


August 5th, 2019

FatMat Sound Deadener I stuck FatMat's Extreme sound deadener everywhere, even underneath the roof. It'll cut down on a lot of road noise, plus serve as insulation during winter. 75 square feet took about 14 hours to install (seriously) because of all the odd-shaped pieces you have to make.

Despite the time involved, I'm adding a second layer to the firewall, transmission tunnel and inside the doors. It's one of many "While I'm here, I should ..." decisions.

July 22nd, 2019

Ace's 240z Arrrest Me Red It's finally painted.

The photo doesn't do the color justice. It's the brightest red I could find. For the last few years I scanned other red cars looking for the right shade and surprisingly enough, this is Chevrolet's 2017 "Red Hot," but I call it "Arrest Me".

Chris (the paint guru) did an absolutely incredible job. It's beautiful. No dents or gouges or rust - nothing but smooth gloss. I had originally planned to paint it myself, and it might have looked OK until you got within 10 feet, but finding a professional was the right choice.

Raquel Welch is also incredible.

July 14th, 2019

Ace 240z Plastic Repair This plastic trim goes around one of the rear windows and was missing a big chunk. The plastic is thin and breaks easily. Replacements are $250. I repaired it for about $3 with some fiberglass and body filler, then did a little sanding and gave it a quick spritz of paint. The spot that looks dented is the hole for the mounting clip.

The patch isn't perfect but nobody will ever notice.


July 13th, 2019

240z primer parts Big progress.

The removable parts have been straightened and covered with a thick layer of epoxy primer. The chassis will get the same treatment, followed by a lot of block sanding. It'll need several sand-prime-sand sessions before it's smooth enough for paint.

I got to see the paint and it's the exact shade of "arrest me" red that I wanted.

It's gonna be beautiful. I can't wait.


July 7th, 2019

240z New Paint The car was finally hauled away to get painted. It'll be back in a few weeks and I can start putting it back together.

With any luck I'll be able to drive it by fall.


July 4th, 2019

240z Civic Heater Blower Replacing the stock heater blower/fan with one from an '88-91 Honda Civic is the easiest upgrade ever. It bolts right in without any drilling or cutting. You get more air and less noise. I found mine on eBay for $44 and gave it (and the housing) a little scrub and a couple coats of gloss black and it looks brand-new.

Another item off the checklist.


June 16th, 2019

240z Racing Stripes My friend Eddie came over and proceded to sand half of the car down to bare metal. He'll be back in the next couple days to sand the rest. He's been wanting to do it for quite some time. Every hour that he and I spend on the mundane stuff reduces the cost of the paint job because Chris won't have to deal with it.

My previous 204z had some rattle-can racing stripes. I want the same with my new car, so here's a quickie example.


June 13th, 2019

240z Ready for Paint It's finally, finally, finally ready for paint.

There's nothing left to fix or sandblast - all it needs now is several coats of Chevy's "Red Hot" and a few coats of clear. I originally planned to spray it myself but I was talked into using a professional.


June 11th, 2019

240z Air Dam Modifications The air dam was tough. It didn't fit very well out of the box.

When this dam was created it was probably a perfect fit. They made a mold from it, but fiberglass shrinks a little when curing. They used that mold to made the actual dams, which also shrank a little. After that, someone with few scruples probably bought one and made their own mold and then sold cheap knock-offs that are way too short, which is what I ended up with.

I cut the thing in half, which let me line up the ends perfectly. I clamped the pieces together and filled the gap with fiberglass and some reinforcements. After some (admittedly crude) body filler work and a spritz of primer, it looks pretty good. I'll let the paint guru do the final smoothing.

Another step closer to paint.

June 4th, 2019

240z Doors Sandblasted Like everything else on the car, the doors had several layers of chipped and peeling paint, but no rust.

The driver's side was surprisingly good after sandblasting, but the passenger's side has a layer of filler that defied all efforts to remove it, so I'll let my bodyshop guru decide what to do.


June 3rd, 2019

240z Hood Repairs I used some professional-grade rust remover on the underside of the hood and a lot of time on top with a sander, then gave both sides a quick coat of primer. I'm pretty happy with the results. It took about 4 hours total but it looks nearly new.

There's a filler patch on the top that needs some additional feathering, but otherwise it's ready for paint.

I'm definitely not a bodywork professional. Doing gruntwork like this is boring and dusty, but it's something I can do to make a nice paint job more affordable. Next comes the doors, the rear hatch and the entire body.


May 27th, 2019

240z Hood Sandblasted The underside of the hood was awful thanks to crappy paint that failed to protect it from rust. I spent about 20 sweaty minutes with a sandblaster to remove as much as possible. The multiple layers came off pretty easily but the surface rust is a little tougher. I'm trying a few different methods to remove the rust, such as baking soda, or salt and lemon juice, but I suspect it'll require some old fashioned sanding and elbow grease.

Click on the photo if you'd like a closer look of the before & after.


May 26th, 2019

240z Engine Bay I'm trying to work harder on the car.

I finished painting the engine bay. Not the most exciting thing I've done, but it gets me another step closer to the final bodywork & paint. Most people paint it to match the exterior, but this car had been in a couple of small crashes and the sheet metal has some ripples and dings. Black helps hide the scars.

The stuff I used is called Chassis Saver and chemically it's superglue with a black tint. It bonds with the steel and seems pretty rugged. It also bonds with skin like a tattoo. Once it cures you can't scrub it off but the spots and smudges I collected today will fade away in a week or two. You can spray it, but I used a small brush. Some of the strokes can be seen, but once the shiny engine is in place, nobody's going to notice.


May 24th, 2019

240z Roll Bar Mount Here's how the roll bar support mounts turned out.

The welds are pretty ugly and the plates are a little crooked, but they're strong and will be hidden by carpet. I drilled a few holes in the sides to give some extra welding points with the strut towers and hopefully they'll add some strength.

The roll bar's main hoop attaches to the floor behind the seats. The mounts for those will be a "sandwich," with the bar welded to a plate on the interior, which in turn will be bolted to a large plate underneath the floor. That's how the typical aftermarket bars are attached, but I'll make mine a little more rugged. Since the roll bar itself won't be made until the rest of the car is done, I don't have to worry about the lower mounts until then,

May 19th, 2019

240z Roll Bar Mount OK, I know it doesn't look like much, but making two of those seemingly simple plates took forever. They'll be used to connect the roll bar's supports to the rear strut towers. The roll bar might save my life if a texting soccer mom crashes into me, so it has to be done right.

If the car was going to be used for racing, the roll bar would have to be welded directly to the body, but I'm not racing and might want to remove it in the future, so I'm just bolting it together.

Here's what it took: First, make a template with cardboard. Drag out a plate of 1/8" steel (purchased previously) and a pair sawhorses and some clamps. Trace the outline of the pieces onto the plate. Use a Milwaukee Super-Sawzall™ (one of my favorite tools) to cut them out. Grind and deburr the edges as needed. Drill pilot holes, followed by larger holes and a small countersink. Bend the lip in the vise. Get the sandblaster ready and compressor running, then blast the plate and the weldnuts (purchased previously). Get the welder ready. Bolt the nuts in place. Weld everything. Sandblast again. Primer and paint, then clean up the mess and have a beer (or two).

Years ago I saw a sign years in a fabrication shop that read "custom work, custom prices." No wonder.

May 12th, 2019

Godzilla As if I need more distractions, I added a small TV to the garage.

Godzilla rules. So does Pamela Bryant.


Cinco de Mayo, 2019

240z Rear Spoiler Getting the spoiler mounted was a treat. It looks great.

I finished the undercoating and got the passenger-side fender bolted in place. I also did some deep sanding and unsurprisingly some of the previous bodywork was pretty bad. I had to grind the filler down to bare metal to eliminate the cracks in the "pink lead." 47 years takes a toll.

My goal is to get the beast on the road by August 1st. Three months is a pretty tight schedule but getting it painted is only a couple weeks away so I feel motivated.


April 17th, 2019

240z Parking Brake I lost the brackets that hold the parking brake cable at the hub. I'm not sure how because I found a baggie with the bolts and clips, but nothing else. An upstanding guy named Gary on the Zcar.com website was kind enough to send me a pair. Here's the before & after. The metallic silver won't last long once the car gets running, but it sure looks purty now.

As I've said so many times, it's the little things that'll drive you nuts.


March 31st, 2019

240z Footwell Patch Not all patches are pretty.

This is the passenger-side footwell, viewed from inside the fender. The metal was rusty, thin, and had some pinholes. Cutting out the entire area and welding in new metal would have been ideal, but I'm running out of time (and enthusiasm) so I did this instead. I used 18ga steel, trimmed, bent, and slathered with seam sealer, then used so many screws that it looks riveted. After this pic was taken I added more seam sealer around the edges and gave the entire thing a thick layer of undercoat. Inside the floor I cut off the tips of the screws and gave each a dab of epoxy to keep them tight.

Ugly? Sure, but it's strong and will outlive me.


March 24th, 2019

240z Steering Rack Bellows Installing the sway bar took more time than expected but it's solid. The steering rack received a thick coat of grease before the bellows were squeazed on. They fit pretty well. Aside from a wheel alignment, the front is finished.

The rear drums went back into place, and aside from connecting the parking brake cable, everything is done.

I actually have a rolling chassis again.


March 14th, 2019

240z Air Dam The hood, passenger-side fender, and headlight nacelle are back in place, so I test-fitted the air dam and it lines up better than hoped. I need to drill some holes and make a few brackets but I'll wait until the bumper goes back on.

Once the bumper and air dam are mounted, I can fab the custom grille.

The steering rack and column were attached. I'm waiting for new bellows to arrive before doing the tie rods. The sway bar comes next, and after that I'll be able to set it back down.


February 25th, 2019

Ace King's 240z Project I put the front suspension back together and the car is actually sitting on its wheels for the first time in 18 months. How time flies.

Like with the rear, everything is new (or restored) and freshly painted. I used the stock rubber bushings and fastened everything with grade-8 hardware. I don't think it'll fall apart.

This car fights me every step of the way. Holes won't line up. Threads are corroded. Bolts are mismatched. Tools barely fit. It's almost as if it doesn't want to be restored.


February 19th, 2019

Ace's 240z Rear Suspension The rear suspension was finally installed. The bushings were replaced with the stock rubber ones because I don't need the ultra performance of urethane - this is going to be a daily commuter so I'll opt for a softer ride.

The wheel bearings and seals are new, as are the shoes and slave cylinders. I even remembered to fill the diff with fluid.

I used grade-8 hardware and threadlocker everywhere. I'm not taking any chances.


February 10th, 2019

240z shell sandblasted Sandblasting is a nasty, dirty process but it pretty much erases every spec of surface rust and old paint. I hung painter's plastic around the shell and managed to keep the grit from going everywhere. Hanging the plastic and vacuuming up the mess took longer than the blasting itself, which is usually the way things go.

The replacement floors are finished. I smeared seam sealer all over the welds for more rust prevention, then primered everything. It looks pretty rough but dynamat and carpet will hide the warts.

The rear suspension was cleaned and given a fresh coat of black paint and now it's ready to install. I bought grade-8 hardware to keep it nice and tight, as well as provide some peace of mind because when I originally took it apart I found a broken-off bolt that probably came from a hardware store. The new ones won't break so easily.


January 2nd, 2019

240z Xmas 2019 At the moment, the ugly-duckling shell is being used as a storage bin for my wife's empty Xmas tree ornament boxes. I've been distracted by building a huge storage shed (to eliminate a $164 per month locker), and a few essential other home projects, but all that's done. Once the boxes are gone I can get back to the car.


September 16th, 2018

Chassis Saver Paint I sealed all of the welded reinforcements with automotive caulking, then painted the engine bay with Chassis Sealer. According to my bodywork guru, it works just like POR-15 but at a lower price and no mixing. I'm pleased with the results.

I only needed half a quart. I used a disposable brush and took my time. The strokes barely show. The paint is fairly thin and runs easily but covers everything with a very hard surface. On the back of the can it says "Contains Cyanoacrylates," which is the industrial name for Superglue. The label warns that once cured, the paint is "virtually impossible to remove from skin" and may remain for up to two weeks. I've got a nice smudge of it on my nose that hopefully will disappear sooner.

Wear rubber gloves and a long sleeve shirt and eye protection. Make sure you have good ventilation.

A long-ago accident on the driver's side required a fair amount of pounding to get the inner fender back into place, but the paint makes the rough repair less noticeable. The fuel and hydraulic lines also got painted and are nearly invisible. When the engine is stuffed back inside, nobody will notice the warts and wrinkles lurking around it.

Click on the pic to see a hi-res version.


September 9th, 2018

240z Strut Towers Welded When the car was built, the strut towers were "pinch welded" to the body, which worked fine but after 47 years those little welds can be fatigued. Racers add stitch welds along the seams to add rigidity.

I don't know if it really makes a difference, but when combined with a strut brace the entire assembly should be stiffer than stock. I like the way it looks, so I gave it a try.

I also finished the underbody welding. It's hot and sweaty work, and the results aren't the prettiest I've done, but the reinforcement factor makes it worthwhile and a thick coat of seam sealer will hide the ugliest parts.


August 24, 2018

Ace King's 240z

This is a major milestone - I'm actually putting parts back onto the car, which marks the end of body repairs and reinforcements. I painted the differential gold and the suspension supports red just to have some fun. It'll make me smile every time I crawl underneath.

I was able to roll the shell back down on the floor and start dismantling the amazingling successful rollover jig. Next I can bolt the suspension and wheels into place and I'll be able to roll the car around for the first time in 9 months.

As of today, the amount I've spent is $11,700, plus I budgeted another $2500 for paint, giving me a total of $14,200. I expect to spend at least $2000 more on other little bits & pieces, so by the time it's ready to drive I'll be far, far over the original budget of $7000. I haven't kept track of labor but I'd guess I've invested many hundreds of hours.

When I bought this little beast, there were daily-drivers for sale in the $7-8 thousand range. I could have been enjoying one of those for the last few years but I know there would have been repairs and upgrades along the way and by this point I would have spent about the same amount of money as I've done with this non-runner.


July 29, 2018

240z Sandblasting The rotator cuff surgury was a success and I'm back to work on the Z!

I hung a tent around the shell and went crazy with the sandblaster. It's nasty, filthy and sweaty work, but ultimately satisfying because all of the rust and flaking paint and filth is gone. I never could have done it with just a grinder and rotary brush.

All that's left is smearing more body sealer around the interior. Once that's done, I can tip the shell down onto the wheels and get it ready for paint.


May 16, 2018

I underwent shoulder surgery today for a damaged rotator cuff and torn tendon (huge snowboarding crash a year ago) and it's unlikely any car progress will be made for the next couple of months, which frustrates me beyond description.


Ace King's 240z

May 6, 2018

Most of the underbody welding is done.

I used some Eastwood seam sealer over the welds, inside and out. I bought three tubes but one was more than enough, so I used the others for a heavy-duty undercoat. The stuff is just like bathroom caulking, but automotive grade. It's supposed to stay flexible and can even be painted. The photo was taken about halfway thru the process - I used the sealer inside the trans tunnel and all the way back to the spare tire well. I'm not taking any chances.

Let me pass along a few tips. First, get a pair of heavy-duty vinyl gloves, the kind you'd use for caustic chemicals, because if the stuff gets on your fingers it's a real bitch to clean off. Second, grind all edges and welds to remove any rough edges because they can tear the gloves. Third, don't be shy about using a thick coat because you don't want water getting inside your car. Fourth, buy a cheap caulking gun because the stuff gets on everything and the gun will be totally useless when you're done.

Your garage will smell like gasoline for a few days, but it's just the sealer curing.


240z Seat Mounts

April 1, 2018

I finally got the seat mounts welded back into place.

An experienced bodyworker could have done everything you see in one day and it would have looked beautiful. For me, it took a lot of trimming and cutting and grinding and cussing but everything fits and seems to be solid. Eventually it'll get carpeted and nobody will see the ugliness lurking beneath.


240z Reinforcements

March 11, 2018

I wanted to find a mobile welder to do the floor pan and the Bad Dog reinforcements because my skills are limited and I typically ended up with ragged beads and a lot of splatter. It looked like crap.

However, with some tips and advice I was able to weld the patches, about half of the floor, made a good start on the reinforcements... and then ran out of shielding gas. Nobody sells welding supplies on a Saturday afternoon. Drag.

When I learned to weld (thanks to Dr. Tom Pearson) I used argon mixed with CO2. When the bottle went dry, I switched to pure CO2 to save a few bucks but the quality of my amateur welds decreased. Today I picked up a fresh bottle of the blended gas and I bet things improve.

Ace King's 240z

February 23rd, 2018

Hidden beneath some body filler was evidence of a long-ago crash. I'd already bought Bad Dog reinforcement plates for the sway bar mounts but the new mess called for something stronger. I did some sketching, then made a nice cad drawing and emailed it to five local shops. Three ignored me and one quoted an obscene amount and a two-week wait.

By contrast, The Metal Company in Arvada (very nice people) fabbed a pair of 12 ga. reinforcement brackets for me at a good price and a next-day turnaround. The pieces bolted right up to the crossmember and sway bar holes, and with a little bending and prying I managed to get a nearly perfect fit.

When they get welded into place they'll provide a lot of rigidity, as well as hiding the gruesome damage.

Stress Crack 240z Sandblasting

February 11th, 2018

I patched some holes and did more sandblasting. The cleaner the steel, the better the weld. A sandblaster makes short work of any rust or grime, but the grit sprays everywhere so I surrounded the car with some painters plastic and it worked pretty well.

There's an odd-shaped gap at one corner of the seat pan so I cut a little filler piece and spotwelded it, then blasted all around to get rid of the old undercoating.

I found a stress crack at the base of the driver's side rear wheel well. I gave it a good blast and was able to see just how far it goes. It'll get welded together and I'll add a patch for good measure.

It's the little surprises that will drive you nuts.

Tater and Bogie

February 3rd, 2018

Some good friends came over to help get ready for welding.

It was mainly grinding and sandblasting and some hammering - not the most glamorous work - but really neccessary to ensure good welds. Everybody received safety gear, hot pizza, plenty of cold beer, and the work went fast. It's still not 100% ready, but damn close.

Major thanks to Adolpho Aranda, Phil Tatro, Tomas Rodriquez, and Mac McMurray.

Bad Dog Rails

January 1st, 2018

I started off the New Year by installing the reinforcement frame rails.

The Bad Dog parts were excellent but it took about 6 hours to get the undercoat stripped away, the steel trimmed and bent, and everything attached to the body. I managed some very tight fits, so it should weld together pretty easily. There was a lot of back & forth work between car and workbench, crouching and standing, and all that provides a better workout than any fitness center.

This is a significant step in the project. There's still more work to be done underneath (some patches, new braces, cracks, etc.), but the hardest part is over.

All things considered, this car turned out to have very little rust. There wasn't much in the way of undercoating - you can see the original orange paint - so I suspect it spent most of its life in a warm winter state. However, it now lives in Colorado where body rot is far more likely. It's going to be a daily driver except when there's snow on the ground, so rust shouldn't be a problem. Even so, I'm using a caulk-type seam sealer and fresh undercoating.

Once the underbody work is finished, it goes back on the wheels and towed to the bodyshop for several coats of bright red paint.

Ace King's 240z

December 10, 2017

I bought a set of Bad Dog frame rails. They're made from thicker steel than stock and fit snugly over the existing rails. They start at the front suspension mounts and go all the way back to the rear mounts. Once installed, the unibody will be much stiffer.

A common issue with these cars is damaged frame rails where the car is incorrectly jacked up. The rails are only 16ga and aren't strong enough to hold the weight of the car. Mine were so distorted that the Bad Dog rails wouldn't fit. The proper repair is to cut away the bent-up area and replace it with new steel. I took the easy route and pounded the shit out of them and managed to get them back to the correct width. However... the metal is weaker after being bent back and forth but with the new rails they'll be stronger than from the factory.

With some careful triming and tweaking the reinforcement rails will get tacked into place. My welding skills are limited so I'll call a professional to do the rest.


Redneck Rotisserie

November 28, 2017

The jig worked great. Now I can finish welding the new floor pan, add the Bad Dog reinforcement rails, seal the factory "drain holes," and deal with a variety of little problems.

I took advantage of the new access to remove the differential and brackets. Good thing I did because it seems the previous owner had been working on the diff and never tightened all of the bolts holding it in place. If I hadn't tipped the car over, I never would have noticed the problem until the diff fell apart, probably be at high speed.

240z redneck rotisserie

Ace's 240z

November 23, 2017

The hood, doors, and rear hatch have been removed. The front suspension has been rebuilt. Various underbody repairs are need, so to make that easier I'm building a wooden rollover jig (aka a redneck rotisserie) to tip the car onto its side. Honest. With the underbody exposed, the work should should go quickly.


Ace's 240z Storage

November 7, 2017

I got tired of stumbling over parts and having to move stuff around whenever I wanted to work, so I rented a storage locker. I built some basic shelves and stuffed everything possible into it. You're looking at three engines, two transmissions, 5 seat frames, three front bumpers and two rear, and all kinds of other crap. It adds up fast.

The locker is $88 a month and worth every cent. I should have done it a year ago.


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