What parts to import with a car?

Robotsan

Club Member
Hi all,

I'm considering importing a 280Z from the US. Obviously a lot of parts are cheaper to buy from the US and stick in the car at this point, but my budget is going to be limited so I can't decide which items are best to choose. Obviously the bigger items are probably the most essential in terms of postage costs saved, but is there anything else I should consider?

1. Floor pans (car needs these so they're a definite!)
2. Door cards (car kind of needs these, or I could do a custom job on them later)
3. 240 style bumpers? Can you get the stainless ones cheaper in the US? Or does it work out cheaper getting them from Vietnam now?
4. Front air dams? Are these cheaper from the states?
5. Wheels? Rota RKR or Konig Rewinds would be my preference - any cheaper from the states?
6... What else?
 
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richiep

Club Member
1. Depends on if you can get the KFVINTAGEJDM ones delivered to go with the car. These are a necessity. You can’t get suitable alternatives here.
2. Depends on what can be found. You might be able to find 260Z ones here if someone’s got some stowed away in their parts pile.
3. Just get em straight from Vietnam. Get the bumper mounting adapters from the US though.
4. Not particularly, but avoiding postage is a major plus. All postage from the US is now ridiculously high for everything.
5. Not really. They are imported to US too remember!
6. Will have a think… Maybe a full poly bush set. Bushes will need replacing without a doubt.
 

Robotsan

Club Member
1. Depends on if you can get the KFVINTAGEJDM ones delivered to go with the car. These are a necessity. You can’t get suitable alternatives here.
2. Depends on what can be found. You might be able to find 260Z ones here if someone’s got some stowed away in their parts pile.
3. Just get em straight from Vietnam. Get the bumper mounting adapters from the US though.
4. Not particularly, but avoiding postage is a major plus. All postage from the US is now ridiculously high for everything.
5. Not really. They are imported to US too remember!
6. Will have a think… Maybe a full poly bush set. Bushes will need replacing without a doubt.

Amazing thanks Rich! Did you say yesterday that the floor pans might need the underfloor rails underneath too? Should they be imported from the US too?

Any engine parts that would make financial sense?

What about shocks & springs? I think I would prefer to go down lowering springs & new shocks route rather than welding coilovers in. Most US owners seem to get Tokico but is that just because that's what's available there?

*EDIT* it seems you can't get Tokico in the US anymore. What about KYB shocks? I see they're Japanese too, and there's adjustable ones just like Tokico. This kit on ebay.com seems very good value?!: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/403449386982

Are there any viable shocks and lowering springs alternatives here?

I guess I can always get stuff shipped over in other people's imports too if need be, later :)
 
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richiep

Club Member
Yes, get the under floor rails. You can't save the existing ones in a floor replacement.

Engine parts, etc. I wouldn't worry about that yet. Just focus on getting floors dealt with, interior sorted, and the thing running standard. Basic engine parts can be ordered from Rockauto in the US and generally it isn't that expensive. Shipping is fast. Mostly, it'll be service items like belts, thermostat, etc., but that will need figuring out once you have the car. Being EFI, all that injection stuff will need checking over, injectors cleaning or replacing etc. Or bin it all and put triple carbs or ITBs on. There are better alternatives to 70s EFI that don't need to be eyewatering.

Shocks/springs: you could go the BC Racing or similar route - adjustability and lowering in one package. Yes, the set is 800+ quid (bit less for other brand versions), but its all there, no messing. I can cut and weld the strut tubes for you in that scenario. Easy peasy.
 

Robotsan

Club Member
Yes, get the under floor rails. You can't save the existing ones in a floor replacement.

Engine parts, etc. I wouldn't worry about that yet. Just focus on getting floors dealt with, interior sorted, and the thing running standard. Basic engine parts can be ordered from Rockauto in the US and generally it isn't that expensive. Shipping is fast. Mostly, it'll be service items like belts, thermostat, etc., but that will need figuring out once you have the car. Being EFI, all that injection stuff will need checking over, injectors cleaning or replacing etc. Or bin it all and put triple carbs or ITBs on. There are better alternatives to 70s EFI that don't need to be eyewatering.

Shocks/springs: you could go the BC Racing or similar route - adjustability and lowering in one package. Yes, the set is 800+ quid (bit less for other brand versions), but its all there, no messing. I can cut and weld the strut tubes for you in that scenario. Easy peasy.

Thanks Rich! Would you say the BC weld in option would provide a better ride than KYBs/Konis and lowered springs then? Bearing in mind this will be a road only car, and likely quite a slow car for a long time! :)

Re: rails - is that these parts? Its throwing me off calling them rear. I guess fronts might be the ones that extend under the engine?
 

Robotsan

Club Member
I guess a replacement dash and centre consoles would also be a good one to go with the car, if possible?
 

Mr Tenno

Digital Officer
Staff member
Site Administrator
Most importantly - is the seller on board with receiving / putting all this stuff in the car for you?
 

jonbills

Membership Secretary
Staff member
Site Administrator
Have you got photos of the car? we can help you choose which parts you should buy and import with the car :)
1. Depends on if you can get the KFVINTAGEJDM ones delivered to go with the car. These are a necessity. You can’t get suitable alternatives here.
2. Depends on what can be found. You might be able to find 260Z ones here if someone’s got some stowed away in their parts pile.
3. Just get em straight from Vietnam. Get the bumper mounting adapters from the US though.
4. Not particularly, but avoiding postage is a major plus. All postage from the US is now ridiculously high for everything.
5. Not really. They are imported to US too remember!
6. Will have a think… Maybe a full poly bush set. Bushes will need replacing without a doubt.
Don't APS do floors Richie?
 

Robotsan

Club Member
Have you got photos of the car? we can help you choose which parts you should buy and import with the car :)

Don't APS do floors Richie?

Thanks Jon! I've shared them with Richie & got his advice on it, but not looking to publicly share the car yet as currently I have first option on it. Apologies for being cryptic - just trying to learn my lesson from posting the cars on the forum before I decide whether to buy them or not :)

It's an original Californian '76 280z with 4 speed, federal bumpers, rear louvers etc, and no rust *except*, due to a bit of an anomaly (aftermarket gold shag pile carpets!) it has rusted-through floors. Other than that, the dash is toast, console is cracked - all the usuals. It is running fine and stopping safely though.
 

Geoff-R

Club Member
I have a set of pretty good 280z door cards stashed away that I don't need so more than happy to arrange something with you, they're no good to me as the door lock pins are in the wrong location for my 260.
 

Farmer42

Club Member
If you are planning to keep the drivetrain, I would try to get hold of a decent 5 speed trans and put that in unless you are going the S14 route.

Also, have a look through the RockAuto catalogue and if you can't find it there, put it in with the car if you can get it elsewhere.
 

SacCyclone

Club Member
Looks like Andy at Auto Panel Solutions has 240 floors now.....maybe check to see if 280 floors are coming soon?
 

SacCyclone

Club Member
Thanks Jon! I've shared them with Richie & got his advice on it, but not looking to publicly share the car yet as currently I have first option on it. Apologies for being cryptic - just trying to learn my lesson from posting the cars on the forum before I decide whether to buy them or not :)

It's an original Californian '76 280z with 4 speed, federal bumpers, rear louvers etc, and no rust *except*, due to a bit of an anomaly (aftermarket gold shag pile carpets!) it has rusted-through floors. Other than that, the dash is toast, console is cracked - all the usuals. It is running fine and stopping safely though.
Check out my "Cali Punt" thread that I started, good info on repairing that center console....totally easy and a bit of fun as well.
 

Robotsan

Club Member
I have a set of pretty good 280z door cards stashed away that I don't need so more than happy to arrange something with you, they're no good to me as the door lock pins are in the wrong location for my 260.
Thanks, might be a good option!
 

Robotsan

Club Member
If you are planning to keep the drivetrain, I would try to get hold of a decent 5 speed trans and put that in unless you are going the S14 route.

Also, have a look through the RockAuto catalogue and if you can't find it there, put it in with the car if you can get it elsewhere.

Good point 👍 And thanks I'll have a look at Rockauto.
 

Faster Behr

Club Member
We’ve discussed this at home before. We were seriously contemplating whether it would be cheaper to take a month over in the US and actually find a car and source/fit most of the major parts before export. Could be a fun holiday.

Back to your question; basic engine service items are an easy win. All really cheap from Rock Auto so may as well get a set of leads, cap, rotor arm, air filters, fuel filters, belts. Oil filters are less than a fiver over here so aren’t worth the hassle.

It’s all the small things that add up - gearshift bushing kit, rubber bits and bobs etc. you won’t really and truly know what you need until it lands.

Definitely a seal kit. If not then resell it here in the UK. Bushes…

Heavy stuff - suspension etc.

Of course the best option would be a quick flight over there, have a look at it and get the stuff sorted yourself.
 

Robotsan

Club Member
We’ve discussed this at home before. We were seriously contemplating whether it would be cheaper to take a month over in the US and actually find a car and source/fit most of the major parts before export. Could be a fun holiday.

Back to your question; basic engine service items are an easy win. All really cheap from Rock Auto so may as well get a set of leads, cap, rotor arm, air filters, fuel filters, belts. Oil filters are less than a fiver over here so aren’t worth the hassle.

It’s all the small things that add up - gearshift bushing kit, rubber bits and bobs etc. you won’t really and truly know what you need until it lands.

Definitely a seal kit. If not then resell it here in the UK. Bushes…

Heavy stuff - suspension etc.

Of course the best option would be a quick flight over there, have a look at it and get the stuff sorted yourself.

Thanks, I'll add them to the ever growing list!

Yes, combining with a holiday would be amazing, but not sure my partner would be as up for spending a couple of days of her holiday looking at old car parts 😂

And yeah a quick flight over would be great, but I don't have that sort of budget unfortunately! The seller is extremely well regarded and a very nice guy, so I trust his opinion on the car implicitly anyway :)
 

Faster Behr

Club Member
That’s great that you’ve found someone that you can have faith in. Such a reassurance when dealing with something at such a distance. My comment was aimed more at deciding on the parts and less on critiquing the car however.

Honestly I’d be filling the car with everything I could - pinball machine, Wurlitzer…
 
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