280z Body Side Molding – Inserting the rubber molding

Finally found some time to start inserting the 280z body side molding!

Last time I riveted the 280z side molding channels onto the body. Now it’s all about inserting the rubber molding. I ordered the 5/8″ rubber molding from CustomAutoTrim.com, and it came to my door in decent time. The size, perfect. The installation? Prepare to take some time to insert the rubber molding. It took a good 30mins to put on just one rubber molding!

280z rubber molding - Daily Datsun

What you’ll need to install:
1) 5/8″ Vinyl / Rubber molding (see previous post about 280z body side molding for sizes)
2) Razor
3) Something thin / plastic like a spatula or a guitar pick
4) Tape measure

First, making sure it’s sized correctly! Last time, I ordered in the incorrect one… This one from CustomAutoTrim – perfect.

280z rubber molding fit - Daily Datsun

“Measure twice, cut once” – no no, measure three times. Whenever my mom was showing us how to cook, she’d always say, ‘you can always add, but you can’t take away’. The methodology is still true here, but reversed – you can always take away, but you can’t add. So measure w/ a little excess, you can always trim the molding later. And since I ordered 16ft of molding, I should have some excess…but only for trimming, not enough to complete another channel if i completely screw up.

The vinyl / rubber molding is a tight fit, and getting in that channel can take some time. Here i’m using a guitar pick to help feed the vinyl / rubber molding into the 280z body side molding channel.

280z rubber molding install- Daily Datsun


Another technique i found to work really well in getting the molding on was to bend the molding like the picture below. This actually allowed me to use the molding itself to help press fit it into the channel.

Inserting 280z rubber molding - Daily Datsun

At the end, i was only left w/ a 1/4″ excess.  A razor helped create a clean edge to butt up against the molding darts ends. Don’t mind the dirty car… after giving a nice wash and wax last sunday, i parked it in lot that ended up getting “cleaned”… meaning leaf blowers. ugh.

Trimming 280z rubber molding - Daily Datsun


280z side molding completed! It’s a super clean installation that takes some time / effort, but really completes the period look.

Finished 280z rubber molding - Daily Datsun

Body Side Molding – Rubber Molding

My last post was about putting on the aluminum side molding channels with rivets, so now it’s time to pop in the rubber molding. However… it looks like the molding I purchased is NOT the right one.

Unfortunately, I ordered the incorrect rubber molding from BlackDragonAuto.com. I must have missed that the ‘Body Side Molding’ section was for a 280zx (1979-83), and just looked at the description for part# 97-650 “Adhesive Molding-Black, 16ft roll, cut to fit 280”. Oh well, we’ll try to get that returned if possible.

Adhesive molding from BlackDragonAuto catalog

So I did a little research this morning, and found the CORRECT rubber molding is actually hard to find (neither MSA nor BlackDragonAuto sell it). The proper rubber molding for the 280z can be found at CustomAutoTrim.com.

Rubber molding for the 280z from CustomAutoTrim.com

This is the correct version because it locks into the side molding “stick” or channel, rather than be affixed by adhesive. CustomAutoTrim also sells the ends of the side molding channels, however the “bullet” and “chisel” ends used on the 280z seem to be discontinued at the time of this post.

If you’re looking for side molding for your 280z you’ll need the following lengths:

front fender: 23″ per side
door: 32 3/8″ per side
rear fender: 37 1/2″ per side

Total:  185.75″ = 15.48 ft = 16ft (since they sell by the foot) @ $2.25/ft = $36

These boots are made for…wiping

…and that’s just what they’ll do! It’s inherent that a 35 year old car will have some some parts that will need replacing – especially the rubber parts. Rubber after all is a natural material and will break down after a while if not cared for. All of the seals, boots, gaskets and the like should be inspected and replaced as needed. Today’s adventure: wiper boots!

Driver side didn’t even have one and the passenger side was hard, cracked and worn.

Pick them up from BlackDragonAuto (Part 59-170, $0.59)

new 280z wiper boots from MSA

new and old wiper boots – ew!

280z wiper boot - old and new

Very easy install:
1) unscrew the 14mm nut
2) pull off the wiper arm
3) pull off old boot, inspect wiper motor arm, clean
4) fit on new boot – i used a micro dab of lithium grease because it was a tight fit
5) reassemble!

Wiper components and the morning dew…

280z wiper boot components

Rain, rain, don’t go away…

Rain, rain, don’t go away – show me where the leaks are today!
It’s starting to rain here in San Jose and I’m glad it is – I can find the leaks in the 280z. :]

Some would have suggested non-rainy day options like: 1) run a hose over the Datsun, or 2) take the 280z through a car wash. All are great ideas. But 1) I did wash the car a few weeks ago and didn’t see anything, and 2) the car isn’t worth running through the car wash right now because of the condition of the silver paint (and even when it gets it’s new color, i’d still hand wash it!). Strange though that I didn’t see this leak when using the hose…

Drizzling this morning, starting the car… scanning left to right on my dash, and there it is. A puddle.. on the inside. I may have mentioned (or may not have for obvious reasons) about how i made a turn out of the driveway one early morning after it had rained, and water just pee’d out from under the dash on to the carpet… well i just found “the bladder”. haha

Looks like the water is getting in from the windshield as it pools up on the outside between the glass and the rubber. My guess is that the leak is small enough that when a hose runs over it, the water just flows over that area and lets only what remains into the cabin. But with rain, it’s small droplets at a time and over time it just builds up. Well, good thing I’ve got an auto glass repair man that lives right in front of our place. :]

Let it rain.

You can even see where it’s coming in from!

New Digs – Part 2: New Shoes

Well as they say, New Shirt… New Shoes!

You may have seen the “New Shirt” poll for the 280z’s new paint (which will finish at the end of the month), but with a new paint job, how can you not have new rims?! right?… right?

Current situation:
Tires: Front tires are worn, cracking, need to be replaced. Rear tires are new, excellent tread.
Wheels: Original Nissan “Iron Cross” wheels, 14×6, zero offset, 4×114.3 bolt pattern

I could rock those for a bit… or taste these!

Rota RB-R, 16×8, +4mm offset, Matte Black

They’ve got great style like the retro Panasport or Watanabe wheels without the cost. And off an 1″ more width than the Konig Rewinds. Yep you read my mind: Bad Ass.

As for the right rubber, I’ll probably be running 205/55-16 to help keep the overall tire diameter / circumference the same (wouldn’t want my mileage / speed to be off).

It’s been interesting to read all the forums and learn about what wheels sizes to choose and what offset means.
Here’s a few good resources for that: Wheel Calculator, Wheel Offset

Scuff and rubber

Any natural material or substance has a tendency to crack and wear over time – rubber and glue is no exception.

So yesterday’s gorgeous morning resulted in replacing the rubber hood bumpers on both the top and sides of the engine bay…

As well as attacking the scuff plates – all the glue was cracked / too old, and the vinyl covering was just peeling off. And just check out all that rust!

Now don’t get alarmed – the rust is localized to the scuff plate only. There seems to have been a white plastic barrier placed in between the carpet and scuff plate.. though, not really sure of the logic in that.

Kris and i figured out a great method for removing the old vinyl covering from the scuff plates – a heat gun! At 450F, that’s hot enough to soften the glue, but unfortunately also hot enough to melt the vinyl. So the trick is to heat the scuff plate from the BACK side, and slowly peel off the vinyl.

And as a minor addition, got a replacement escutcheon (door handle well) cover for the driver side door handle from Black Dragon Automotive. Quality is adequate – looks the same as original, feels a bit lighter and cheaper plastic-like, but fit is only “okay”. It doesn’t sit square with the metal escutcheon, but though there’s a slight angle to it, it not really noticeable.












About 8:15am, rolled into Smog Tech (Test Only Station No. 1) in downtown SJ, warmfully greeted by technician Zack – very helpful, very knowledgeable – exactly what I wanted from this visit.. and passing would be nice. Wild Bill, who sold me the car, danced around the smog question, said it might need a new catalytic converter as the original is still on there, so don’t get your hopes up when you smog it. And guess what, Zack said no different – “not in your favor”. Fingers crossed, probes everywhere like an alien caught by scientists – Well what do you know, it passed emissions! I was jumpin’ up and down, happy, fist pumpin’, but then he said, ‘But you didn’t pass smog’.  Doh, failed the EGR test. Haha! Already had the phone out, on the web looking for an EGR valve :]

~$25 – $60 part, and it should pass, ready for the street.

Fusible Links – Put the correct fusible links on, w/ their brand new fusible link covers. Looking from the passenger side toward the oil filter, clockwise starting from top right it goes, RED, BLACK, RED, RED. They look funny because the rest of the engine is still in it’s crusty state. I imagine as the car progresses this is just going to be the way of things till things get polished up! Cover, Nissan#B4021-N4200

Air Filter to ACM – Cracked hoses aren’t good; luckily this one is just for air, but still a vital part of engine efficiency. Popped off the old one, brush cleaned the wire clamps, and put the new one on – easy. Mounting Rubber, Nissan#16577-N4201

Blog update – you’ll notice i’ve put part no.’s after the adds. I saw on a forum people asking for such, so hopefully this’ll make it easier for people (and myself) for ordering things.

Smog Tech. Love that logo.