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.
[shit – found this old post from 9/20/15 in Drafts (yes, two years ago!) with a bunch of pics but no write up. Well, let’s do it then! You’ve got time for Daily Datsun, right? Thank you! Let’s read on!]
As you’ve guessed from the title, we’re replacing fuel injectors!
After purchasing a classic Z, or any old car for that matter, there’s always a list of things to inspect, test, and replace. After what’s now coming up on…3 years (oh my!), I’m finally diving into the engine – specifically, its ignition and fuel injection.
The injectors in this Z have always been unknown to me..well frankly because I didn’t take the time to inspect or get to understand them. They clearly look like they were replaced by the previous owner (Wild Bill’s brother), they worked, it ran, and that’s all I needed to know.
But whenever I looked at those electric signal connectors fastened by a wad of silicon glue, it always made me wonder what the heck was going on. Until now I’ve been in the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ camp, but one day, I had the gumption to poke at it while the engine was running… Immediatly, the engine started choking, gasping for fuel. You know, it’s about time we give it love and clean these up!
Here’s what comes with the FJ707 fuel injector for the 280z:
Tip: Before diving into any project, it’s good to understand what’s the current state, or steady state – basically, what the heck is going on. I listened to how things ran, did a quick inspection of bolts, and made a mental note of where everything was (of course I made a digital “note” with camera too!). Are bolts rusted? What other parts are in and around the area that may need replacing? It really helps to visualize what you’ll be doing BEFORE you go and do it.
On with it!
Prepare to use a long Philips screwdriver to take out the screws holding in the fuel injectors. Or I suppose a right angled driver could work too. A long Philips will help get passed all the fuel rail business.
I didn’t have the right angled Philips but this extension I had lying around did just the trick.
Start by removing the screws that hold down the portion of the fuel rail above the injectors you’d like to replace.
Loosen up the hose clamps that connects the injector hose to the fuel rail. Getting the old injector hose off can be tricky. Just use a razor to cut a slit length wise where the hose meets the fuel rail. CAREFUL! Gas is going to leak out, so get that rag ready and handle it properly. You’ll notice that the fuel rail is separated into several sections. This is perfect because you won’t have to remove the whole thing to change the injectors out. I loosened one end of that sectional hose in the rail just to relieve stress and give the rail some flexibility. Now you can change 3 injectors at a time.
Note the silicon glue / electrical tape holding the injector’s signal trigger…
I started with the set of three closest to the cabin. Of those three, it’s easiest to start disassembling from the cabin forward, and then when re-assembling, start with the one farthest from the cabin. It easier this way because the motion of the fuel rail as you’re working on each injector can pop off the assembly of the previous one…you’ll see.
Here you’ll see the old injector on the left and new one installed on the right. When disassembling be sure to remember the sequence of parts and process.
Here’s the old injector with flange, gasket, and seal (cut). The rubber seal maybe all worn out and stuck to the flange or injector. Just cut that sucker off. I also used a hammer to get the flange off of one of them. Light taps!
Use the wirebrush to cleanup the parts.
The gasket was a bit out of shape when we pulled the assembly apart…
Our buddy Christian working the metal gasket straight.
Ugh stripped head. That’s what you get with a 38 year old bolt – rust and dust! I use the Speed Out easy out (Amazon) for all stripped heads – they’re amazing.
Replaced it with a stainless M5-.8 bolt, 30mm long from Home Depot or Amazon. You’ll notice the head a touch larger, bolt a bit longer, but it works just fine. Make sure to pick up new lock washers while yer at it.
Reassemble everything and that’s it! I think you’ll know if the injector isn’t working properly – the Datsun’s engine is pretty transparent, you’ll notice the misfire.
Next up: Shocks? Bushings? Hey, how come in one picture I see some blue wire in the background?!
Holy finds! Who doesn’t like scavenging around Craigslist?! What’s that saying: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”?! Oh the treasures!
Ready for this?! There’s a free Z on Craigslist! Whoa! A 1977 Datsun 280z was listed on CL in the free section (one of my favorite sections), without engine and transmission, mismatched wheels, multi-colored and a few dents, to say the least.
Took the Z out after a good while, and after parking I noticed the tail lights still on! Huh, it’s daytime and I don’t think I turned on the lights…
Maybe a fuse? A switch? Maybe the emergency brake switch… Oh, maybe the brake light switch on the brake pedal!
Then I found the breadcrumbs…
Ah little broken pieces, where do you come from…from what depths of Datsun dash do you petrified pieces of plastic purvey?
This part looks about right judging from the clean ring of exposed metal…
So yesterday afternoon I’ve been parking it with a mail flyer wedged in there. But a quick trip to Home Depot did the job (I haven’t looked at the Datsun catalogs yet to reveal the REAL part).
Picked up a simple metal hole plug, zinc plated, 3/8th inch – fits perfectly!
Make you think though – why even have a hole there? Why not just have the metal butt up against the switch? The switch itself is already on an adjustable screw, so it can’t be for micro adjustment reasons. But maybe it’s so that a cheaper part can be replaced instead of wearing out the switch with a hard piece of metal? I guess if the metal were wearing on the plastic trigger, eventually the trigger will break and the switch will need to be replaced. So instead, use an even cheaper replaceable part to wear out instead…
It’s said that wheels are usually the first things to be customized on a car. These days, there’s no argument to whether that’s true – wheels are just something people seem to find identity with, and make the car their own.
Unfortunately, I’ve yet to claim that “identity” with a set of my own. I’m still rocking the 280ZX “Iron Cross” painted in black with polished lip. However, should I change (and I hope to relatively soon…-ish), I’ve grown very fond of a particular style of rim.
They go by many names: Wats, Panas… But there’s no confusion in my mind that the 8-spoke rim is one of the best looking wheel rim the Datsun Z could wear.
Of course, you always get what you pay for; and range of 8-spokes vary quite a bit, however, as we’ll see, more than just price: there’s street cred.
Watanabe RS F8 – There’s something about a Samuri holding a gun that isn’t right. Much like a Samuri should be holding a sword, Datsun Z’s should be sporting the right wheels. These are them.
The Watanabe RS F8 wheels are the definitive 8-spoke wheel to which all others are measured. Beware: there are a LOT of fakes / imitations out there (check it out on eBay). If you’re not paying at least $600 / rim, they’re not real no matter how sweet that three circle crest looks with the red center cap. Yes, the cost won’t just burn a hole in your pocket, these will ignite a bonfire. But people will come running to check’m out. Pros: thoroughbred Japanese racing heritage and street cred. Cons: mad expensive, hard to get. Price: $2100+/set
Panasport – With enough racing heritage to fill all the Datsun pickups with, Panasport still really only make ONE type of wheel.
While a few may exclaim otherwise (yes, you’re right), however, for street wheels, it’s the 8-spoke and variations of, including the Minilite. Because of name and quality, Panasports command a solid price even if scuffed up (and you’ll a lot of these marred up). These are durable wheels that hold their value very well. Cons: usually found in smaller sizes ranging from 12″-15″. Good luck finding bigger. Remember Wild Bill who sold me the 280Z also had Panasports to sell too for $500 (good price!)..huh, wonder if they’re still for sale. Price: $1200/set
Rota RK-R – You’ve heard the saying, “imitation is the best form of flattery”. Well, the RK-R (or RKR) is pouring on compliments because these get lots of chatter for being so close to the Watanabes but cheaper.
Though they may be more affordable, they’re also known to be weaker under abuse. I’ve read several forums say their Rotas (NOT the RK-R model) cracked on them. Granted, they were on the track but again, you get what you pay for. I’ve been tracking these for a few years now and prices are stable, come in many sizes and widths, and available on eBay and Amazon. For those local to the Bay Area, the Rota distributor is in Fremont (psst – and they do cash / carry). Pros: inexpensive Watanabe copies readily available. RK-Rs are only a few years old, proceeding the more common RB model. Price: $650/set
Konig Rewind – Before Rota RK-R / RB were Rewinds. As it sounds, I’m sure they picked that name because “throw back” or “retro” just doesn’t sound right.
Kong Rewinds more closely resemble Panasport wheels as the spokes are less uniform and curve a bit more…banana-like. Because Konig is such a big name in wheels, these are definitely available everywhere – even Motorsport Auto sells them. Check carefully though as you’ll notice the spokes vary in shape from more curved on the 14″, more angular on the 15″, and just straight on the 16″ versions (yes! they offer a 16″ rim!). Pros: cheaper alternative. Price: $480/set, $130/rim
Atara Racing Pisang – huh! Where did these guys come from? (Edit 4/4/16: rather where did these guys go?…) Ok. So actually it was finding these Pisang wheels that prompted me to do a write up. Just check out these rims:
Dang! I really like what’s going on here. They’re super clean, and a wonderful alternative replica to the Watanabe RS F8s. Not to mention the rest of their line isn’t just copies (like Rota) – they take a nice perspective on classic designs. I’m definitely interested in knowing more about them but let’s get back to the wheel. I feel they’re fairly new to the US market, so that’s nice for exclusivity. Red center cap emulates Wantanabe. Price? $1100 and up / set. [edit 4/5/16] Since initially writing this portion, I’ve deduced that Atara is more and more like Rota, also from Southeast Asia, and making replica wheels. Instead of writing more edits, I’ll go ahead and spare my opinions for a separate article.
Other mentions – there are a few others you might want to consider if you’d like that 8-spoke style make its way onto your Z…
SPDLine Zuka – [edit 4/2/16] Found another variation from the folks at JPNGarage.com. Right inline with Watanabe / Rota styling, only offered in matte Gunmetal and Bronze at 15″, but the cheapest I’ve seen for the style at $160 per wheel. [edit 4/4/16] A short correspondence with JPNGarage.com (who used to distribute Atara Racing) reveals that SPDLine are from the same manufacturer as Atara.
Rota RB – similar to the RK-R but more tapered. If RK-Rs are like Watanabes, the RBs are like Panas.
XXR 537 – a new school look; pinch at the apex of the spoke gives it a slightly more agressive look. Hope you enjoyed a run down of the 8-spoke rims that look good on a Z. At the end of the day, it’s about personal style and functionality. Regardless of brand, a certain look is a certain look. So what’s your Z sporting? Which ones do you like? Hit us up in the comments if there was any other similar 8-spoke we missed!
Note: All brands have varying sizes and colors and / or lip options available.
** Prices always change. Prices noted are as of when the post was written.**