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!

Act 2: welcome back!

sigh. life is great, huh? :]

Thanks to a comment from DJBlackrabbit, I found out my domain..THIS domain, DailyDatsun.com fell off the face of the earth. Though not set to auto-renew, it didn’t hit the internet trash bin (that would’ve been too easy) – no, DailyDatsun.com is popular enough that it got picked up by some Chinese / HK domain resale company. yep. I HAD TO BUY BACK MY OWN DOMAIN. wtf. 

Well. We did it. Let’s just say I didn’t lose any arms and legs…but it certainly put a new perspective on what’s going on here. We’ve really started something. Well, enough to get noticed, and put some real value on it. And now that we’re back up and running, it’s time to shift gears. We’ve burned out 1st long enough!

Welcome to a new Daily Datsun.

Summer is coming, and it’s time to take the car cover off.
Let’s see where the road takes us, and continue to enjoy the journey.



Bushing inspection

Yesterday I have the Z a well-deserved, long overdue car wash. Man, I still can’t get over the classic Z, S30 body style.


Early Monday morning I also did a super long overdue oil change! Ugh! I think a quart came out.. At best. Anyways – 5 qts of 10w30 synthetic high-mileage, fuel filter, and a couple of revs later, this cat was purring nicely. Oil pressure looking good.

Just for quick reference, O’Reilly’s Autoparts shopping list:
– Oil Filter: Fram Ph8a, HM8a or Microgard MGL51515
– Oil: 10w30, 5 qrts
– Air filter: Microgard MGA42136

– 19mm socket wrench (for oil drain plug)
– oil pan
– gloves

Lastly, while under car, I inspected the bushing up front for the sway bar, A-arms, etc.. Cracked / crusty:



This will the first time tackling bushings on the 280z and on any car, so I think starting with the sway bar should be an easy one to see what I’m getting into. But that’ll be for next post 🙂

4-speed or 5?

Ah yes! we’re talking transmissions today.

The Datsun 280z came with two manual transmission options in it’s lifetime: the 4-speed and the 5-speed (for which the car is also badged noting the upgrade). And after driving the 4-geared ’77 280z for nearly two years, I’m kinda at that point: I want more gears! :]

But wanting is often different from needing, and we just need to build a case to bridge the two. Call it, justification through research – let’s do it.

Here are the gear ratios for Datsun / Nissan transmissions at the time*:

’74-’78 280z 4-speed:
1st…. 3.321
2nd… 2.077
3rd…. 1.308
4th…. 1.000

’77-’78 280z and first year ’79 280zx 5 speed:
1st…. 3.321
2nd… 2.077
3rd…. 1.308
4th…. 1.000
5th…. 0.864 (13.6%)

’80 280zx 5 speed:
1st…. 3.062
2nd… 1.858
3rd…. 1.308
4th…. 1.000
5th…. 0.773 (22.7%)

’81-’83 280zx non turbo 5 speed:
1st…. 3.062
2nd… 1.858
3rd…. 1.308
4th…. 1.000
5th…. 0.745 (25.5%)

As you can see the ratio drastically changes in the ’80 280zx 5-speed when going from 1st to 2nd. Additionally, the ratio of the 5th gear gradually moves further from 4th’s 1.0 ratio as the years go on (differences noted by percentage changes).

With regards to the first difference mentioned, the change to 2nd gear really depends on driving style and fuel economy needs. A taller ratio in 2nd (closer to 1.000), will require more power, higher RPM, and thus more fuel. Gears 3 and 4 are ok because we’ll be moving quite a bit at those gears, but 2nd is tricky. Spend more time in first, or bang through gears?

For me, I actually spend a lot of time in 2nd. I usually take back roads for my commute, and time out traffic lights so i’m rolling into the green. So it’s natural to use 2nd to get the rolling 280z moving again (deeper than that, I’m terribly used to 2nd because i swear we used to have to start my brother’s 510 in 2nd gear – 1st was kind of wonky…though he says it was never that way hahaha).

So just by looking at the gearing, we can see with the early Datsun 5-speeds we’ll get better proportioned low-end, but not as tall on the top-end. Now that we’ve decided on a 5-speed…what are our 6-speed options? :]

Data specs from Ratsun post, DatzenMike, 09 July 2012.

PART III – WE MADE IT! – DailyDatsun’s Wedding 280z Complete

WE MADE IT – we did it! What started as a daily driver project, transformed into a serious restoration and finished as our wedding chariot. My fiancee and i tied the knot on Sunday, May 27th with a wedding nothing short of amazing. And getting this car completed on time was definitely a part of that weekend. 4 days and 10 people later, the 280z barreled it’s way over to our hotel and drove us to our wedding.

DailyDatsun 280z - Just Married

Truly starting the week before, I had already ordered the parts i had needed for the final assembly – window seals, weatherstripping, carpet, seat covers, and a front windshield (more on that later). I needed to those parts ordered quick to be ready as soon as the car came back. Once the car rolled out of the painters garage it was already Tuesday evening – literally only 4 days and 5 nights remaining. That night i got straight to it, sorting out the pieces getting it ready for a full attack the next day.  We quickly got into full swing with my brother Kris and a groomsman Erik helping hammer it’s way back to road-worthiness.

DailyDatsun 280z - instagram

We were able to complete the rear tail lights, some trim repaint, side marker lights, headlights, hood louvers, hood rubbers, floorboard prepping, and the front feet area of the carpet.

Thursday rolls around for another big day. During the afternoon I had the neighbors install the front and rear windows – truly a blessing to have a family who owns an auto glass repair company live next door to you! Late afternoon, brother brought over another groomsman Jerry and his girl Kennie (who had just both come over from Hong Kong) to lend a hand, helping clean windows and tackle the carpet. Carpet continued to dominate our time because of the measuring / cutting required for all the interior fittings: both sides of the seat belts, shifter, e-brake, and seat rail holes among other things. Carpet needs to go in first because it instantly transforms the visual impact of the car. Additionally, once that’s in, seats, center console, door trim, all that can go back in.

Later that evening, I had three more sets of hands arrive: my future sister-in-law Dana, my sister Kathryn and her boyfriend Jake! It was great, we all had our hands on this thing! Jake and Jerry tackled doors, Kennie and Dana helped clean parts, Kathryn helped me assemble the last seat, while Kris had the dreadful task of installing the rear driver-side interior quarter panel trim. Imagine having so many people who, for the majority, have never worked on cars (let alone re-assemble one) all help out at the same time – yes, it was a circus. Yes, you’ve gotta make sure all the correct bolts were used. But truly it was such a fun experience. I love working on projects with friends, more so with my brother and sister!

DailyDatsun 280z - Seat and sister

To top off the night, even LATER that evening, my parents flew into town, and they too dropped by to check out how things were going. I wish i got it on video / photo, but both my mom and dad would later return the next day to help out to complete the re-assemble.

Friday, My dad and i put in the seats, dash and door trims; while my mom cleaned parts, and even tackled the biggest task: clean / organized the storm of parts and trash that my garage was left in the previous night. Yes, I definitely should have gotten photos of my mom and dad helping out but we were just so focused on getting this done. Wipers went on, the last three pieces of chrome front windshield trim were found and installed. I got to say the whole project has been amazing, but there’s nothing like working on a car with your dad. More over, he’ll be driving it while we’re away on our honeymoon. It’ll be 40 years since he last drove a Z, and I can’t wait to hear what he’s got to say!

I had a two hour window to install the final touches late Saturday afternoon – front grill, front parking lights and their trim, horn, side-view mirrors, and of course, the c-pillar ‘Z’ markers. I took it off the battery tender attached the night before, and started him up. Perfect – solid and strong. Looks – amazing and fast. I’m proud and thankful that my friends and family helped get car back on the road, and ready in time for the wedding.

Sunday night we drove it back from the reception only to be stopped by a police officer 1/4 mile from our hotel. Doh. Were parts falling off? Lack of rear bumper? Nope. No tail lights. Brake lights were working but the car was “invisible out there” with no running tail lights. Luckily the officer was more concerned about our safety, and with the ‘Just Married’ sign and us still being in our wedding get-up we were let go with a congrats rather than a ticket. :] Sigh! now this rebuild story is complete!

Pictures of the re-assemble will come soon – for now here are some pics straight from the painter that Tuesday afternoon.

DailyDatsun 280z - fresh paint

DailyDatsun 280z - fresh paint 2

DailyDatsun 280z - fresh paint hood

DailyDatsun 280z - fresh paint 3






YES! In April of 1977, this 280z rolled off the manufacturing line and on to the docks, headed for the Bay Area. Though his 35th birthday would’ve been more appropriate to celebrate last month, I wanted to post it along with his birthday gift – a new paint job.

Datsun 280z front valance removed - front

We’ve decided to take the 280z over to Rick at Pacific Auto and Paint, located on Santa Clara St in downtown San Jose. In the initial scoping for paint, Rick was very enthusiastic and very friendly about getting the car in and handling the job (more importantly, complete the work before the wedding!).

So a short post before a separate painting post, but here’s a few pics to wet the appetite – bon appetit!

Can you figure out what’s missing from this picture?

Datsun 280z - no side molding

Removed the rivets with a 1/8″ drill bit.. all the rivet heads were piling up!

Datsun 280z - rivet removal

The ‘Z’ side emblem removed.

Datsun 280z - side vent emblem removed

door locks were actually quite easy

Datsun 280z door lock removed

I’ve used quite a few “easy-out” screw removers, but Grabit is awesome. Many of the front valance screws were rusted tight, and the heads got striped while taking them out with a drill / screwdriver. Grabit is a bit with a drill bit on one end and the extractor on the other. A set of 3 sized bits, it was worth every $.

GrabIt - works

And it made quick work on getting the front valance off.

Datsun 280z front valance removed

The ‘Datsun 280z’ comes off, along with the rear hatch lock.

Datsun 280z - rear badge removed

And thus i’m left with a bin of parts. OFF TO THE PAINTER!

280z parts bin



Datsun 280z: Gutted

Yesterday I started to tear down the 280z.
In about 2.5 hrs, I had the car just about 80% done before it can go to the painter.

Carpet: out.
Seats: gone.
Passenger door: stripped.
Center console: removed.
Passenger side door trim / seal: off.

Just need to remove the driver side door / trim, all the lights, and most importantly the windows…
And I need to make more room in the garage to store all this.

We’ll let the pics do the talking.
280z interior - gutted

280z interior - door

with the door paneling off, i was able to grease up the sticky door locks. NO MORE CRAWLING THROUGH THE BACK HATCH TO UNLOCK THE DOORS! :]

280z door lock mechanism

Like a well worn couch, it’s amazing what you’ll find after 35yrs…

280z interior - found pen

… a nasty 400W amp under the driver seat (that’s probably 400W PMP (max rating) haha, so more like 100W).

280z interior - amp

And i’m now $0.39 richer. Oldest coin here though is 1983 (the quarter).

280z interior - coins