1973 Fairlady Z - refurb and fix

Faster Behr

Club Member
I’ve done a little bit of light fabrication this afternoon. I had the chance to get the MIG out and dial it up to 11.

Fairlineguy gave me the heads up on an AC compressor that would work well with the existing compressor position. The issue being that the bottom fixing points don’t work like they do with the original R12 factory compressor. So I made new bottom bracket.

Another job off the list..

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Once the car is back I can mount this up and set about brazing in some new pipework and R134a adapters. I still need to grab a new dryer and pressure switch. Once that’s all done I’ll nitrogen purge, pressure test, vacuum dehydrate and finally gas with R134a. I shall be reusing the original evap and condenser providing they test sound.

Now I need to tidy up 🤦🏻‍♂️
 

Faster Behr

Club Member
Another little update.

I spent most of the day fabricating a heat shield for the 280Z manifold and reassembling the throttle body and fitting the TPS conversion.


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The GM 0-5V TPS that comes in the EFi kit has a 9.7mm keyway. This isn’t compatible with the smaller Nissan shaft which is 8mm and 6mm across the flat. The supplier says this is normal and it allows the TPS to be preloaded against the shaft. I agree with the preload, but the fit is so poor that it would wear through the TPS keyway in short order. Not to mention the fact that there would be a dead spot in the TPS reading on a closing throttle.

The difference is too small to make up a bush or 3D printed adaptor so I drilled the end of the throttle shaft and wrapped some tinned copper wire round then soldered it. This was then brought to shape with wet & dry to a nice fit. The plastic keyway will wear out in the TPS before this does.

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Huw

Club Member
Just have to ask, what’s the point of the heat shield wrapping around the inlet manifold? A stand off heat shield on the underside is plenty for heat transfer from the exhaust manifold. Not sure what benefit your going to achieve :conf2:
 

Faster Behr

Club Member
Just have to ask, what’s the point of the heat shield wrapping around the inlet manifold? A stand off heat shield on the underside is plenty for heat transfer from the exhaust manifold. Not sure what benefit your going to achieve :conf2:

Primarily for aesthetics to be honest.

I really couldn’t get the manifold to look as clean as I wanted it. Despite cleaning up the original casting I still didn’t like the look of it. The wrap around design leaves enough room for cross ventilation and will also allow me to conceal the wiring for the sensors and injectors.
 

Faster Behr

Club Member
More to update on. I really should get a full time job. I would save a fortune..

This week I got the car back from its partial paint job. The trampoline has been removed from the roof panel and it has had new paint. Graham has done a great job and didn't charge the earth for it. I'm very happy. He put 32 hours in to it all told. The windscreen guy was happy to reuse the existing screen rubber as it was still in good shape. I showed him the Zcardepot replacement that I'd procured and he liked the look and quality of it considering it's a pattern part. We're going to save that for when it goes in for full paint in the future.

I've got my little injection project under way. The original carb and intake is off and I have started test fitting the 280Z stuff. As I have said before, this is just a temporary thing. I do eventually intend turning this car back to its original color and have every intention of going back to an L20 or at the least doing a nice new L28 build with some worthy upgrades. TBA. No rush.

The head on my L28 block is an E88 variant from a 260Z. I won't go into the pitfalls of that. It's what I've got to work with. The fundamental issue I have is that, unlike the later heads, the E88 wasn't destined to be used with EFi so doesn't have the top intake manifold bolt holes or crucially, the reliefs cut in for the fuel injectors. I decided the only way forward was to modify the head myself.

Here’s the side of the E88 with the intake and exhaust manifold removed.

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These are the first two reliefs which I cut. The blue dot is where one of the manifold bolts needed to be drilled

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I cut these freehand with a die grinder and TCT cutter and then brought them ‘up’ with 400 grit paper. The manifold was test fitted multiple times and I clearanced through the injector mount with a 9mm rod to ensure the angle was correct and that fuel atomisation wouldn’t be impaired into the head.

The four holes were then drilled and tapped with a primary and secondary blind tap. I used spare studs to eye the drilling to the correct angle. There was lots of measuring and careful attention being paid to drilling depth.

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After a final test fit I cleaned and painted the block and fitted the new AC compressor

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One nice find was that the cam towers still had residues of cam lube and the cam lobes have barely got any polish on them so clearly a rebuild was done quite recently.

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The exhaust system consists of a steel tubular manifold with a two pipe system front to back. The manifold flanges are slightly thinner than the old carb manifold so it had been blowing slightly across all six cylinders as they share the common mounting points. I’ve never had I properly up to temperature so hadn’t noticed it blowing. The 280Z manifold will cause the same issue so I’ll shim each flange washer individually. It’s not really possible to skim the 280Z manifold flanges to reduce them as this will cause clearance and alignment issues with the injectors.

The twin exhaust system also poses problems with mounting my O2 sensor. Ideally this should be fitted at the earliest point where all six pipes converge. Without some re-jigging this isn’t going to happen. Instead I will fit to a bank of three temporarily until the new exhaust is done at the end of May.
 
Last edited:

Rob Gaskin

Treasurer
Staff member
Site Administrator
More to update on. I really should get a full time job. I would save a fortune..

This week I got the car back from its partial paint job. The trampoline has been removed from the roof panel and it has had new paint. Graham has done a great job and didn't charge the earth for it. I'm very happy. He put 32 hours in to it all told. The windscreen guy was happy to reuse the existing screen rubber as it was still in good shape. I showed him the Zcardepot replacement that I'd procured and he liked the look and quality of it considering it's a pattern part. We're going to save that for when it goes in for full paint in the future.

I've got my little injection project under way. The original carb and intake is off and I have started test fitting the 280Z stuff. As I have said before, this is just a temporary thing. I do eventually intend turning this car back to its original color and have every intention of going back to an L20 or at the least doing a nice new L28 build with some worthy upgrades. TBA. No rush.

The head on my L28 block is an E88 variant from a 260Z. I won't go into the pitfalls of that. It's what I've got to work with. The fundamental issue I have is that, unlike the later heads, the E88 wasn't destined to be used with EFi so doesn't have the top intake manifold bolt holes or crucially, the reliefs cut in for the fuel injectors. I decided the only way forward was to modify the head myself.

Here’s the side of the E88 with the intake and exhaust manifold removed.

View attachment 50179

These are the first two reliefs which I cut. The blue dot is where one of the manifold bolts needed to be drilled

View attachment 50180

I cut these freehand with a die grinder and TCT cutter and then brought them ‘up’ with 400 grit paper. The manifold was test fitted multiple times and I clearanced through the injector mount with a 9mm rod to ensure the angle was correct and that fuel atomisation wouldn’t be impaired into the head.

The four holes were then drilled and tapped with a primary and secondary blind tap. I used spare studs to eye the drilling to the correct angle. There was lots of measuring and careful attention being paid to drilling depth.

View attachment 50183

After a final test fit I cleaned and painted the block and fitted the new AC compressor

View attachment 50184

One nice find was that the cam towers still had residues of cam lube and the cam lobes have barely got any polish on them so clearly a rebuild was done quite recently.

View attachment 50185

The exhaust system consists of a steel tubular manifold with a two pipe system front to back. The manifold flanges are slightly thinner than the old carb manifold so it had been blowing slightly across all six cylinders as they share the common mounting points. I’ve never had I properly up to temperature so hadn’t noticed it blowing. The 280Z manifold will cause the same issue so I’ll shim each flange washer individually. It’s not really possible to skim the 280Z manifold flanges to reduce them as this will cause clearance and alignment issues with the injectors.

The twin exhaust system also poses problems with mounting my O2 sensor. Ideally this should be fitted at the earliest point where all six pipes converge. Without some re-jigging this isn’t going to happen. Instead I will fit to a bank of three temporarily until the new exhaust is done at the end of May.
You have been busy!
 

status

Well-Known Forum User
I’m running Throttle bodies with no heat shield,I had my manifold ceramic coated inside and out which has always worked in regards to vapour lock etc,and yes your bits will come up nice in a dishwasher but I always do it when nobody is in
 

Faster Behr

Club Member
A few little jobs today inbetween gardening duties and the usual weekend stuff.

Manifold assembled with injectors - new seals etc.

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I heated the exhaust manifold up and removed some of the old dents around the underside of the collector area. I also welded in a new temporary 02 sensor bush and gave them a clean and some coats of paint

Before:

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After:

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After some cleaning, acid and paint:

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And a nice little improvement for the stock plastic 280Z throttle linkage joints which are all crazed and brittle. These fit really well:

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Faster Behr

Club Member
It's been a while since I've updated this but that doesn't mean there's been no progress. I have pretty much been on this full time over the last three weeks with the aim of getting it on the road to enjoy the summer with.

Despite some setbacks with the EFi and with ignition timing woes (I'm choosing to blank them out like a bad childhood memory), it has been relatively smooth sailing. Electrically this car has done everything possible it could do to fight me. Seriously, I had some experience of French and Italian cars over the years and this makes them look good. I can't complain too much. Rust wise and mechanically it's a gem.

So the car is now running. I have the FAST EFi setup which is part-way configured and will hopefully benefit from a good first drive out and a - ahem - learning mode, which is apparently a thing. The ignition timing was an issue (see above) but that has been resolved with a 123+ Tune distributor. The factory 'helper' fuel pump has been replaced with a new Walbro with dual in/out filters. The original mechanical fuel pump is removed and blanked. We've got a new repro radiator, new hoses, the whole nine yeards.

Some photos and I'll quit my yammering..

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I am in the process of fitting my new seats today so will post some photos of those up later. Then it's time for its first trip out onto UK roads. AA card ahoy!
 

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Faster Behr

Club Member
I’m just back from my first drive out. Full report later 🙈

Here’s a picture of the new seats. They are really comfortable and I’m super chuffed with the quality of them. They are Cobra GT3 historic bucket seats.

Here they are fitted:

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Here are the adaptors I had to make to fit to the existing seat rails. I welded studs to the underside of the new brackets to give the right clearance

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And with the factory sliders fitted.

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This car will be at JDM day at Coombe so if anyone wants to try them out they’re more than welcome.
 
I’m just back from my first drive out. Full report later 🙈

Here’s a picture of the new seats. They are really comfortable and I’m super chuffed with the quality of them. They are Cobra GT3 historic bucket seats.

Here they are fitted:

View attachment 50781

Here are the adaptors I had to make to fit to the existing seat rails. I welded studs to the underside of the new brackets to give the right clearance

View attachment 50782

And with the factory sliders fitted.

View attachment 50783

This car will be at JDM day at Coombe so if anyone wants to try them out they’re more than welcome.

did you measure to see if the seats higher now?
 

Faster Behr

Club Member
So a positive first drive today after quite a considerable amount of work and an indeterminate time off the road prior to coming over to the UK. It was pretty warm and lots of people were out and about so it was all a little stop start but I managed to get a broad mix of driving in.

Pros:

I didn’t need to use my AA card or fire extinguisher. Win.
It rips! I’m impressed with how strong this engine is and how much low end torque it has
It drives nice and straight. The brakes soon bedded back in. Initially the OSF caliper was being a little lazy but after 45 miles it stops well. The pedal feel is good and it pulls up straight. Generally it drives and handles good.
The new seats and seat belt setup works great. No downward pressure on the shoulders from the belts. The seats are nicely pitched and roomy. They are also really lightweight FYI.
The gearbox is excellent. With the 3:91 she is doing 3000rpm/70mph. The shift bushes have been redone recently and the shift action is perfect
The temperature sat between 88-90c even in 20 minutes of queueing traffic
I still don’t like these stock steering wheels. It’s like trying to open a tin with a pair of Honda toolkit pliers. It just doesn’t feel right. Hate me or not.

Cons:

There is an off idle/low rpm/part throttle hesitation. I think I need to play around with the timing some more.
The battery is getting dragged down to 11V in traffic. The alternator only peps up to provide 12V at cruising speed. Alternator mod required. Thankfully it kept on going.
There’s a little diff whine but being picky
There are rattles. Lots of rattles.
The exhaust is crazy loud for my taste. Ugh it really does drone. Thankfully it’s going in for a new one next Friday.
It needs the AC to be reinstated as soon as possible. This stinks inside with the windows rolled down.
Oil pressure sender is faulty. Coolant temperature sensor is faulty. The fuel gauge only reads 2/3rd full when brimmed.

All in all I am really happy. There’s a lot to do still but the major issues have been taken care of. Bodywork wise it really does need a full paint job but I’m still super proud with the way it looks. Warts and all.

Fun fact: an improperly closed non-spoiler rear hatch will open 4 inches at 85mph with the windows rolled up.
 

richiep

Club Member
The bit about stinking inside with the window down - that is a common issue. If the rear hatch is not sealing 100% right (or the rubber bungs in the hatch underside are missing), opening the window creates an air pressure differential that pulls exhaust and petrol fumes in from the back.
 

Faster Behr

Club Member
I was supposed to be grass cutting this afternoon but rain stopped play. What could I find to do…hmm

Well, the reproduction fender mirrors have been sitting here waiting to go on for ages so I though I’d get those done. This worked in quite well as I needed to jack the front up to replace the TC bushes - mercifully the only bushes the car really needs.

I found the holes in the wings where the mirrors used to be in its former life in Japan. I’m assuming these were deleted in the US. You can just make out the large hole for the mirror mount and the smaller hole for the locating peg. For reference these are 19mm and 5mm holes respectively.

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I drilled both of these out, cleaned up the old welds and then finished with Bilt Hamber Electrox primer and a coat of Dynax UB. Once I fitted the mirror mechanisms I went over them with the UB also.

BTW - I’ve read that there’s disagreement on whether these mirrors were staggered N/S-O/S originally. All I can say is mine were symmetrical. The main 19mm holes were 275mm back from the headlamp bucket seam and 190mm in from the inside edge of the wing. They look great.

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I’m really happy with these Raybrig lamps. Especially now I’ve fitted relays to dip and main beams. The beam pattern is well defined and they are nice and bright. All I need now is an alternator that works.

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The spare relay holder to the left is for the AC relay when I get around to this.

I fitted a battery distribution box. Nowhere near OEM but super convenient. There’s plenty of room for a few more goodies.

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Talking of alternators; I ordered a 60A 280ZX alternator today and a diode to make up my own conversion so I can retire the external voltage regulator. I sent a gazillion pounds to Rock Auto to get the alternator here for Thursday. Otherwise we’ll be packing jump leads and a spare battery for the trip to the exhaust place in Bristol on Friday.
 
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