Bearings in the tranny go grrr grr grrrrrr

Ever since Don (of south san jose’s Don’s Datsun & Nissan specialists) mentioned to have my transmission checked, it’s been “grr-ing” like a mofo. Well not right away, just gradually getting worse and worse. Yep, clutch in, it’s all quiet on the 4-gear front. Clutch out, I can hear the gears turning ’round.. like rounding themselves out. Consistent grr-ing…. grrrrrrRRRrrrrRRRRrrrrr-type.

Fearing the worse, and checking the cheaper fixes first, I do a transmission oil change on the 280z. There’s a 18mm square screw that’ll allow you to fill the transmission from the side, and a drain plug on the bottom that can be opened with a 1/2″ driver. REMEMBER: make sure you can open the fill plug first. MAKE SURE YOU CAN OPEN THE FILL PLUG FIRST. Why? Because these have a tendency to be very very hard to break free, and once you have all that oil out, how you suppose to get it back in if you can’t get the fill plug off? :]

Well, I couldn’t get the fill plug off. So I drained it anyways. Why? because in a pinch, you can fill via the reverse light switch which is also on the same side as the fill plug. So I did.

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Upon draining the 280’z transmission oil, guess what I found?! bits and pieces of metal! not like small metal shaving that are typical of manual transmissions (from accidental grinding gears), but full on, well designed, shaped pieces of something. I also noticed the transmission drain plug was magnetic (ah! that’s why they’re magnetic), so it must mean that the fluid was changed somewhat recently (clarity of the liquid supports this).

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After browsing ClassicZCar.com for some answers, and studying up on my 5-speed options, I fell upon this picture…hey! those are the pieces!

doh – bearings…

Well, what can we do now. Just fill’er up and figure it out. Pumped in about 1 quart of 75W90 Lucas gear oil into the transmission case, which is just about what the case can hold given that I was filling into the 280z’s reverse light switch instead of the fill plug which is a touch higher.

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Luckily I took my wife out tonight. She instantly made a comment, “what’s that noise? is that good? is it safe to drive in here?” To which i replied, “so i’m thinking of replacing the transmission”…

“how much?”
“about a $1000 with labor..”
“okay […] can you just change the engine?”
“well, there was this one RB swap…i’ve been eyeing…”

hahahahaha she green lit an engine swap.. but I’ll have to sleep on it. sniff, then i’ll have to hang out at HybridZ instead of ClassicZCar :[ hahaha

sigh.. wait, why am I laughing? I have to fix my tranny… grrr 😦

 

 

PS – amazing what you’ll discover hanging out under the Z…

Reverse lights weren’t working, not because bulbs were out, but because the contacts weren’t attached to the reverse switch .

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Also.. why is one of the alternator bolts missing?

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3 Replies to “Bearings in the tranny go grrr grr grrrrrr”

  1. Hey man, what tranni are you running? I’m home getting parts off my fathers car and have 2 – 4 speeds and a 5 speed off a 1980 280ZX that I could sell if you want one. It takes about 30 minutes to drop a tranni but about an hour for me to pull the cars out of my dad’s front yard! I’m in CT to part the rest of the cars out so I was thinking $500 plus shipping as a good estimate. Need any other parts while I’m here? Lol check out my 280ZX Facebook page, it’s got pictures of the cars I got lying around. Love following your blog bro!

    Steve Strong

    1. Thanks for the msg Steven! I was able to find one locally, literally just down the street from me. Wow, sounds like you’ve got a handful of cars out there – what are you running?

      1. Home is Lompoc CA where I own a 1976 280Z 2+2 and a 1981 280ZX. The 280Z as bought to complete the resto on and I will be done with the body work next week on the ZX when they both have to go up for sale sense I’m moving to Texas in October. I also have 3 parts cars, 75, 78, and 80 back in CT where I get all the things I need to keep them alive. Right now my 76 just needs new carpet and a seat and I would call it good, very little rust on her. The ZX was a challenge, I rebuilt the motor and swapped the head from the 80 (N45) giving it the higher compression and will have it in paint in the next 2 weeks. Did I also mention I paint cars? lol

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