260Z Air Dam and Front Bumper

What did it take to go from this
DSC06151
to this?
Bumper On 3

Click here to find out.

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Intake and Exhaust

I had an exhaust leak in the 260Z. Click on the picture to read the details on what I did to fix it and the other work I did while I was under the hood.
Everything reassembled

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Front Struts

With the new wheels & tires, the 260Z picked up a rub in the driver rear tire. While the root cause is the heft of the driver, contributing factors included old springs & struts. Considering my relative lack of experience with the Z concerning struts, I took a friend up on an offer to help. Little did he understand the curveball I was throwing at him. While I had typical KYB struts, I planned to replace the springs with springs made for a Chevette.

Tim showed me a few tricks and tips along the way. Unfortunately I was too busy helping him to document the tips thoroughly. The first thing he did after removing the tires was to notch the bracket that holds the brake line. After notching the bracket, he folded the ends out of the way a little to allow the steel line to pass through. This allowed us to remove the calipers from the spindles and pull the struts without breaking the lines open.
Front with notched brake line bracket

In short order the struts were removed, and the old springs were off. Then we hit the first snag. The gland nuts folded when we tried to remove them from the struts. They were rusted on tight. Fortunately, Tim’s neighbor happened to have a spare pair of spindles. We were back on path.
Gland Nut folded

In one of those “While we’re at it…” moves, I bought new ball joints to replace the old, dead ones. We also scraped off about 40 years of grease. Soon the new springs and struts were on.
Sitting high
We lowered the car. The nose sat about 4 inches higher than stock, and the front tires were resting on their outside edges. NOW I understood what the online posts meant about cutting the springs. We removed two and a half coils from each spring and remounted the struts. The nose still sat just a little high, but it was drivable. Our work window closed, so I drove home like that.

In preparation for the next round, I already cut 3 coils from the other pair of springs. Those will go on the front, and the springs now on the front will go to the rear. Soon, the car will have a firmer ride, even at a relatively stock height. That should reduce the rub.

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Installing the Front Bumper

Many months ago, I splurged on bumpers from Group Harrington for the 240Z & 260Z. I installed the rear bumper on the 240Z a while back, and I finally finished installing the front bumper on the 240Z.

While the back bumper was an exercise in simplicity, the front bumper was much more involved. The North American 1973 240Z has a front bumper different from the earlier 240Zs. It was the first effort as complying with new crash-resistance requirements in the United States. This included a different (and MUCH heavier) bumper bracket. After I removed the bumper and trim cover pieces, I took off the three bolts holding the left mount in place. That is when I discovered that the valence was in the way. I loosened the right side and middle of the valence and removed the right bumper mount. I re-attached the right side of the valence and loosened the left. I pulled the old bumper mount free. Now I had to figure out how to install the older style mounts.

I looked at the thin pieces of metal and realized they did not attach anything like the heavier bumper mounts. Fortunately, I was able to take pictures of a friend’s 240Z. I then located the proper mounting points for the brackets. I purchased some new M10x1.25 bolts to attach the bumper mounts. Next I did a dry fit. I realized that the sides of the bumpers needed to be pushed away from the fenders. I looked for the stock parts online, but on the the right side is still available. Next, I thought I would try nylon spacers. Those didn’t look right. I searched for spacers on McMaster-Carr’s website. I happened across door bumpers, specifically part number 9540K782. They were black rubber and the right size.

The next challenge was figuring out how close the bumper should come to the car. I tried two nuts on each post, a single, and nothing, before deciding that one washer would work. Next came lining up the sides. I struggled with getting the bolt to line up and thread into the bumper. Fortunately, my neighbor was willing to help. He suggested doing a fitting without the rubber spacer in place. That gave us the angle we needed. We did the right side first. After some pulling on the bumper, we finally got the bolt threaded. Next we did the test fitting on the left. After trying out various strategies unsuccessfully, my neighbor pulled on the bumper while I tried to thread the bolt. Finally it worked. I tightened the front bolts down and admired our work. It is an improvement over the 41 year old bumpers.
DSC06366
I’m thinking that when I go to convert the 260Z to the earlier bumpers, I will pay someone to fabricate front brackets for me, since the 260Z lacks the mounting points for the front bumpers used by the 240Zs.

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Cross-Country Drive

About a year ago, I found this series of articles on Hooniverse about a cross-country drive in a 240Z.
I’ve posted links to the series elsewhere, but I thought I would share this again.

http://hooniverse.com/2012/07/11/time-to-introduce-the-datsun-drive/

http://hooniverse.com/2012/07/17/datsun-drive-meet-the-machine/

http://hooniverse.com/2012/07/25/datsun-drive-the-route/

http://hooniverse.com/2012/07/27/datsun-drive-prepping-for-the-journey/

http://hooniverse.com/2012/07/30/datsun-drive-day-1-enter-the-dragon-furnace/

http://hooniverse.com/2012/07/31/datsun-drive-day-2-the-rain-is-a-welcome/

http://hooniverse.com/2012/08/01/datsun-drive-day-3-random-cadillacs-a-random-car-museum-and-random-technical-issues-wvideo/

http://hooniverse.com/2012/08/02/datsun-drive-day-4-fuel-is-pumping-enginesburning-hard-loose-and-clean/

http://hooniverse.com/2012/08/03/datsun-drive-day-5-the-easy-day/

http://hooniverse.com/2012/08/06/datsun-drive-day-6-this-is-the-end-beautiful-friend-this-is-the-end/

Enjoy the ride.

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Late 280Z Turn Signal Switch

280Z TS Before Clean 8280Z TS Before 1280Z TS Before 2280Z TS Before 3280Z TS Before 4280Z TS Before 5
280Z TS Before Clean 1280Z TS Before Clean 2280Z TS Before Clean 3280Z TS Before Clean 4280Z TS Before Clean 5280Z TS Before Clean 6
280Z TS Before Clean 7280Z TS After Clean 1280Z TS After Clean 2280Z TS After Clean 3

Late 280Z Turn Signal Switch, a set on Flickr.

Here are some pictures from taking apart and cleaning a 77/78 280Z turn signal switch.

Before I worked on it, the switch was covered with lots of dirt trapped in the grease. I took off all of the screws to get to the switch parts. I then degreased the internals of the turn signal switch and the cancellation mechanism. I cleaned the copper parts with metal polish and sanded them lightly with 1000 grit sandpaper. I put dielectric grease on the moving parts of the cancellation mechanism and on the contacts.

When it was all back together, I checked the high/low beam switch and the turn signal switch with an ohmmeter to ensure the switches functioned properly.

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Rear Bumper Install – 73 240Z

New Bumper - leftNew Bumper - rightOld bumper removed - leftOld bumper removed - right

I thought I would do the easiest installation first.

I took off the four bolts holding the bumper mounts to the car. Then I removed the bolt holding the bumper on the driver side quarter panel.

After that I moved to the passenger side and realized that I needed to remove the access panel in the wheel well to get to the bolt. I jacked up the car, removed the tire and took off the access panel. Squeezing my hand between the tank and the sheet metal, I got the wrench on the head of the bolt and finally removed it.

In putting the new bumper on, I tried using some bumper brackets a friend made for me. Unfortunately, I found the dimensions were off a little. I removed the brackets off the old bumper and took tons of pictures so I could try to fabricate a bracket when I am ready to tackle the 74.

With the old brackets on the new bumper, I started to fit it to the car. That’s when I found that the side bolts needed the threads chased. I chased the threads and tried again. Soon the bumper was firmly mounted to the car.

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