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Old 10-06-2018, 10:01 AM   #1  
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Thumbs up Hello, Im new and would like some opinions

I recenty bought a rough 1982 280zx.
The engine and trans are close to new though, but it has a ton of rust and dents and dings.
It also needs new brakes, calipers, struts and wheels
But the main problems is rust.
I would like some opinions on what to do first to make it a safe daily driver.
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:16 PM   #2  
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Welcome to ZDriver! Great Z!

All older Zs came from the factory with zero rust protection. The worst rust I have seen happened in the US northeast where they still salt icy roads in the winter to melt the ice. (Maybe Japan never salts a road!) At even slower speeds, the salt/water spray from the tires coats the wheel wells, underside and everything else it can reach. Problem is the fine salt spray may dry everywhere but the salt is still actively rusting the steel even on dry but humid days. I remember leaving my Z home on very 'salty' winter days just to avoid the spray everywhere. Hours at the car wa$h trying to power wash it off. You can never get it all.

So I agree that rust is the right place to start your work on this older Z. You need to get it on a lift and do a detailed inspection, first of the structural steel frame. Hammer/chisel/screw driver, whatever. Excavate the rust to find the steel under. Locate serious rust corrosion of the frame (original steel thickness has been reduced) and weld-reinforce it or replace it where needed. It can be done.

Get a pro-welder for both the inspection and the repair work. No well-meaning amateurs for this. Examine the floor pans and reinforce/patch/replace where needed. (Floor pan rust can be seen easily from inside your Z if you pull the carpet.) Guys have done this before and shared their steel sheet/plate patching work on this site. Great posts available here so look for them.

Find those weak/missing areas in the Z's floor pans and check out the previous posts here. Your floor steel is thin but can be patched.

After frame and floors, you can get into the body cosmetic stuff (non-structural) when the car is 'certified' road-worthy by you and your welder. See if your service manual has useful schematics of the structural frame & body at XenonZcar.com S130 Factory Service manuals

Be very careful making metal repairs anywhere near that filler cap and the gas tank. Easy KaBoom! in that region. That's why you want a pro for the work. Good idea to document and post your work here for others in the future. (some of your fotos above are hard to orient and locate on the car, if you know what I mean.)

Thanks for sharing and good luck! You got a great Z to work on and restore. Lotta work, worth every bit. She will love you and pay you back for years!

Last edited by zxguy1986; 10-07-2018 at 03:43 PM.
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