Upcoming Plans!

Since my parents were out and helped clean up the Z from it’s long slumber, I’ve been roaring around in it and really goes through the paces. But I’m not gunning it like a hooligan – I’m finally wanting the 280z to be…better!

A few things on the short list (in no particular order):
1) Paint chips – Sometimes I wonder if drove into a hail storm of rocks. General cosmetic stuff here
2) Driver side rear panel door bumper – Remember this one? The bumper channel is on, but I need to find that arrow end i ordered…

3) Rear Hatch Guides – what?! I was just going over missing parts, and this one was funny; such a large piece and i never put it back on.

4) Rivet Fastener / Push Clips – Wow – so many holes to plug up. Good thing I picked up a rivet / fastener set at Amazon (for this and all my other cars).

5) Clutch – Yep, we bled the clutch already, but I noticed it getting soft again. I’ve already purchased a new clutch master cylinder, however I may look into rebuilding the old one too.

6) Shocks – I’m tired of this thing riding like the baby of a Caddie and a boat!

7) Rattle – I’ve got rattle in the door, rattle underneath the car. Probably because I need to install…

8) Bushings! – Yep, still have these and yet to be installed. With the rain coming, it’ll be good to get this thing on blocks and start having at it.

Daily Datsun mornings are back!

Chrome Chisel End

The chrome chisel end for the fender bumper guard came in! Huh.. Oh yeah, it’s gonna be shiny and new.. So it’ll stick out like a sore thumb on the side of the 280z – nice.

On a side note, on the site i purchased this from, they used my picture in their installation notes! That nice.. Would also be nice if they comp’d this chisel end too. Who knows how many referrals came from here to CustomAutoTrim.com

Installation goes in first thing tomorrow morning!

Last piece of trim


Since the last post about installing the fender bumper guard trim nearly 3 years ago, the rear driver side quarter panel has been bare. Since then, if you recall, it’s been dinged just after purchasing the aluminum rail…purchased, not installed!

Well, Dad was out for Thanksgiving, so he and I took to it! The piece I picked up last year was a bit long, so we had to cut it to match the passenger side.


A simple hacksaw does the job, and a sanding block cleans off the burrs nicely.


Make sure the dart and chisel trim ends still fit after cutting the aluminum channel.


It may need a little persuasion!

The quarter panel already had some pre-existing holes. So I opted to use those to minimize drilling new ones into the body.


Dad had a smart idea of using the remaining channel with existing holes as a guide to drilling the new ones. With proper clamping, this worked wonders.

By just placing the rivets into their respective holes allows you to set the trim in place, and check for alignment before setting the rivets for real.. Looking good!  

Here, two new holes had to be drilled into the body panel to hold the trim in place. Starting with the dart end allowed us to align the piece before drilling one ~7″ to the left of it.

Viola! Haha keen eyes will note that the chisel end next to the door and the rubber bumper are both missing. Chrome chisel end is on order, and rubber is on deck!


Cusco Strut Tower Bar for the Z

Finally, the bar goes on! Earlier this year, I ordered up a front strut tower bar (also known as a tower bar or strut bar) from Amazon – it was cheaper than the rest. But after nearly 8 months, it finally gets installed! It’s a quick and simple job, so let’s get to it!


Note: the bar isn’t blue…just the protective film on the chrome bar

A quick primer in case your not familiar, a strut bar is used to increase ridgity in the frame. Much like the A, B, and C pillars do for the cabin of the car, it also has the same effect on the body. With increased ridgity comes decrease in flex, and truer suspension dynamics. And with such a beautifully long hood of the 280Z, I figured, ‘why not?’. Here’s what we’ll need:

Cusco 240Z, 260Z, 280z front strut tower bar – Part#cus 246 540A

8mm Allen wrench

14mm socket / wrench (for the strut tower nuts)

17mm socket / wrench (for the tower bar)

Optional: WD-40


The only thing understandable here on this box label is ‘S30’ (which is partially scratched).


Bar came in retail packaging…and apparently instructions in Japanese with one translated line…


Upon inspection the Cusco strut tower bar for the Datsun S30 Z is a very nicely made piece – welds are uniform, polish is good, machined nice. Overall, it’s a well constructed tower bar that feels well constructed.


Let’s get to work! (Jarritos optional :] )


Start by taking off the existing nuts with the 14mm. Mine had been rusted on there so I let them soak in WD-40 while gawking at the tower bar. Then coerced them off with a hammer. Once off, you can put the bar on the towers, then washers and nuts. Prior to putting on the bar, use the Allen and 17mm to loosen the blue plate from the bar. Only loosely hand-tighten the nuts on one side before setting the other side, so it’s easier to adjust / fit before tightening it all down.

Now let’s talk clearance. Wow…


I thought I was screwed. The strut tower bar for the Z was already designed with tight tolerances in mind: it already has a narrow oval / box cross section in the bar itself, and see how it curves just over the engine. Above, I’m slowly closing the hood to see if it’ll close!


This one piece lightly touchs the bar..
   While others have a very close up view of the tower bar. Presto! The bar is installed! Now to take it out for a spin on those twisty roads…


Merry Christmas & Happy New Years!

Merry Christmas and… wait for it… Happy New Years! (Thanks auto-publisher for posting this at the stroke of midnight! haha)

Look what Santa dropped off for the 280z this year:

Energy Suspension’s 7.18102G Master Kit for Datsun!! wwwaahh!

Yes, a full polyurethane bushing set for the Datsun 280z. Complete. Masterful. Sure to add on multiple hours of labor to put them all on…and get all the old crusty rubber ones off.. oy..

If Santa didn’t see your Z in the driveway, you can pick up your own at Amazon for about $160.

What’s the best shade?

Aaahhh I clearly remember this time last year I swore to get that air conditioning fixed…

Anyways, like all non-working AC cars, you gotta find that sweet shade in the summertime. I have to admit, i’m getting pretty good about it. You at least have to crack the windows open a bit, get that sun shade out (maybe even a window shade or two), and if you can, find that ultimate shaded spot.

But not all shades are created equal, I’m afraid! No no no, NEVER park directly under a tree if you can avoid it. Summer is in full swing, berries and fruit is in full bloom, and the birds.. those terribly messy birds… are calling a picnic. Sometimes I even check the trees when parked just to make sure – but somehow they know. They know you’ve just washed your car. They know you’ll be gone long enough for them to call all their bird buddies. Crack open cans of berry juice, and let all bowel hell break loose. And as they’re slumbering away in the cool shady tree, all they can dream in their bitty birdy minds: “oh yeah, we done good. We done real good”.

Baked berry juice: a real b*tch.

No that’s not high-quality paint flecks; that’s berry stains…after a wash and scrub. Image the whole car, littered.



Oh, so the best shade to park your car under is the shade that’s off to the side of the tree! (ding ding ding). Yep, that means avoid parking outside around noon when the sun is high. Or spray a tree with a few rounds of buck shot before hand…

Wear from the car cover

I love my Datsun 280z, so of course, I’m gonna get a car cover for the times i’m out of town for an extended period of time. From rain, sun and the occasional bird mishaps, it should protect it, right?

But goes it protect it from itself?! read on…

So I got a car cover the last time I went out of town, and needed it sooner than I could do mass amounts of research and still have it shipped on time – so off to the auto parts store it went and picked up a Budge “the Shield” car cover.

The Shield seemed like a decent, durable car cover – Tyvek material, elastic edging. It also has a 10 year warranty. For those who are looking to fit a Z, size 4, semi-custom fit worked well.

One thing I didn’t like was that there were no instructions.. haha yes, like most things, “who needs instruction?”. And for a car cover, “who really needs instructions? just put the thing on!”. Well there are two sides to the car cover: the white Tyvek side, and a gray side. There’s a tag that says which part goes in front.. but nothing about which side goes inside or out! Of course, the picture on the box doesn’t help, it looks like grayish-white.

My guess was, white on the outside. The Tyvek on the Shield car cover should be smooth enough to wipe off bird doo-doo, and it’s the best to reflect sun off the car. That protects it from the outside, but what about the inside?

Check out what happened to the rear corners…

IMG_4606 IMG_4604 IMG_4605

Some black wear / residue formed on the car from the car cover… it buffs out, but I reeeaally don’t like that. Seems really counter productive for a car cover. My guess is that it was windy, and the constant shifting of the cover caused the issue.  For a box that says Five Gold Star Protection Rating.. it’d give it 3 – works in a pinch, but maybe not on your pride n joy.