TehAgents FCF 300zx restoration journal

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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TehAgent
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TehAgents FCF 300zx restoration journal

Post by TehAgent »

Hi ya matey, well i would of posted this in the off topic area, but i couldn't find one lol

Right for the benefit of everyone else who will possibly read this thread here is the story. (but mainly for the benefit of Jim)

On the 17th of September me and my partner decided to get a new motor, and having a run with french cars, we opted to try for a Japanese one, but we went a bit further than a UK spec jap car, and went and got a Japanese import Nissan 300 fairlady Z, it had done just over 60,000 KM's been lowered, with a through stainless steel exhaust system on it.

Car specs
Modal: Nissan 300zx (fairlady) 2+2
Engine: 3 ltr Naturally aspirated V6, 5 speed manual
BHP: 230BHP as standard
Fuel type: petrol 98 octane
Body type: coupe 3 door
Seat number: 4 seats

The outside looked good part from a few bits here and there that needed tidying up, but the interior was a different story, one of the last owners had cut a hole in the dash for a 8" speaker, a rear side panel also had the same problem, but they stopped at just the one after realising that a wheel arch stopped them fitting it. and it had a ticking noise coming from the engine.

Ooh, the other problem? it was on the isle of Uist in the outer Hebrides some 577miles away from me.

17th of October rolled around and we went to pick up the new car. 13 hours of driving up to the isle of Skye and a short ferry journey across to Uist to collect it. the person we purchased it from met us the other side and we went to view the car.

We got to the car and he handed me the keys, i jumped in and started the 3lt V6 up, the engine note was fantastic, and you couldn't even hear this ticking noise he told us about. well after a good check over the car, and finding a few other niggle things, we settled the deal and got on our way.

We had to wait till the next day to get the ferry ride back, landing on the isle of Skye at around 1:45pm, we fueled her up and set off for the journey home.

After about 50miles, we pulled into a petrol station for some supplies, and while it was sitting there on tick over, i heard this ticking noise. so i popped the bonnet and sure enough, there it was, it sounded just like noisy tappets, very faint but definitely there.

We set off again, and didn't really pay much attention to the ticking, it was too quite to hear in the car anyway and it didn't seem to effect anything.

But alas, 83 miles down the road, we heard a crunch noise? we looked at each other and the misses said "that didn't sound too good, might want to pull over", i agreed and lifted my foot off the pedal, i had only been doing 60mph, as i didn't want to "see what she could do" as i had a pregnant misses in the car, and i wasnt used to driving a rear wheel drive either.

The engine rev's dropped to 1500, and all of a sudden, there was an even bigger crunching noise, the engine locked sold and died, and we coasted to a stop on the A87 between a loch cluanie and two mountain ranges in the Scottish highlands, with what can only be described as a nuclear cloud behind us and a trail of oil leading up the rear of the car.

After a phone call to my breakdown people, we had a courtesy car dropped off, and my car on the back of a flatbed.

After i got it home i jacked it up to inspect the damage. sure enough, my assumption had been verified, didn't take long to notice the damage to the oil sump. i had thrown a connecting rod and it had punctured the oil sump, so new engine time.

Well, i hunted around the web for a replacement engine, and found one on the 300zx.co.uk website being offered by a member, the engine had come from a jap import as well, it had covered just 50,000 KM's, it had come from a 300zx that was imported along with another one, both automatics, he was planning on selling both in the UK as both were working and in good order. the first one he sold, the gear box went on it, so as he sold it with warranty, he then had to use the gear box from the second one, thus he had a car sitting there, so he stripped it down instead of replacing the gear box. the engine had only done 20miles in the UK prior to him taking it out of the car. putting it on eBay where i purchased it.

Well, other day i got my car ready for an engine swap, id never done this sort of work on a car before. id done head gaskets / tires / exhausts / break disks and pads change. but not a engine swap.

So i went off and bought some tools and got to work, it took me a few hours to get every connector off the engine that was going to stop me lifting it. removed all the pipe work, emptied all the fluids that needed removing for a swap, undid the drive shaft, removed the exhausts undid the gear box, lowered it and removed it. undid the engine mounts, hooked up a hired engine crane and lifted it out of the car.

Half way through, my inspection light failed, so had to do a complete engine change in the dark with just a little 2 AA battery torch that i had brought from the pound shop (best quid i ever spent lol)

Anyway, dropped the new engine in, now all i have to do is put the gear box back on, do everything up, replace all the fluids along with a oil filter, and new cam belt (may as well as i have access)

Anyway, will up date this thread for you Jim, once i get a bit further, as I've only just got my pilot bushing for the new engine so i can at least attempt to put the gear box back on tomorrow.

anyway for your viewing pleasure.

First meet the Lady in question.

Image

Image

This is the engine that blew up....

Image

Doesn't look like a lot of room to work, but its got to be one of the easiest engine bays ever, everything apart from the EGR system is on top of the engine and easy to get to.

Radiator and fan cowling removed

Image

Air intake pipes removed, throttle cable and cruise control cable removed, and a few bits unplugged

Image

One very mucky radiator. yet still once of the easiest jobs to undertake, 2 bolts and a few pipes and it just slides out

Image

Image

Balance bar removed, fuel lines removed (that was fun due to the fuel line being pressurised at 40psi, and the only way to depressurise it according to the service manual, is to have the engine running with the relay removed? bit hard when the car doesnt start lol)

And the final picture. once the engine was removed, and the lower gear box mounts removed, the full extent of the damage was reveled

Image

Well, this is now a running project car for me, once the engine is back up and running, all the little things are going to get sorted out. stupid thing is, this car was on the isle of Uist, sat between loads of salt water with not one ounce of under seal on it, so there is a still a long way to go to getting this back to its former glory, but its not done to bad considering its a 18 year old car.

Well, that's pretty much it for now, hope you enjoyed a look at my new motor.

P.S Jim, ill pop it around once its mobile again matey.
(and no, i still love it even if it has given me a few hiccups to start with)
Last edited by TehAgent on 05 Nov 2009, 01:34, edited 2 times in total.

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xantia_v6
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Post by xantia_v6 »

A lot of cars in Japan get no maintenance (not even oil changes) except in preparation for their shakken every 4 years. Of course they get exported just before the next shakken is due... That and then sitting around for a few months when they are exported can cause all sorts of problems... well I guess you know that now.

I dismantled a Jaguar V12 engine that came out of a Japanese import, and it was chronically corroded inside, probably never seen a drop of antifreeze. It was probably low mileage but the crank journals were badly worn through running with dirty oil. It had had a new water pump, new ignition system and other expensive replacement parts fitted.

Good luck with your new engine.

TehAgent
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Post by TehAgent »

xantia_v6 wrote:A lot of cars in Japan get no maintenance (not even oil changes) except in preparation for their shakken every 4 years. Of course they get exported just before the next shakken is due... That and then sitting around for a few months when they are exported can cause all sorts of problems... well I guess you know that now.

I dismantled a Jaguar V12 engine that came out of a Japanese import, and it was chronically corroded inside, probably never seen a drop of antifreeze. It was probably low mileage but the crank journals were badly worn through running with dirty oil. It had had a new water pump, new ignition system and other expensive replacement parts fitted.

Good luck with your new engine.
Well its been a learning journey for sure, and yes your right, i dont think the last engine had antifreeze in it while it was in japan, due to the water intakes into the engine being rusty as hell on the inside.

Its a lovely car and im going to be doing a lot of work on it, but what im ultimately going to do is get the body work and interior back to standard.

The new engine is a lot cleaner and I've had a really good look over it, once its in and ready to be fired up, ill compression test it to make sure its holding good compression on all 6 cylinders. then do further tests to make sure everything is running smoothly, then its a trip up to Zed world and get Jeff the expert to go over it and make sure i did a good job.

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

Gosh, that engine really did throw it's toys Ian :lol: Thanks for posting al this. Pleased you found where I'd moved it :wink:

She really does look a beautiful car :D I do have a soft spot for Nissans as you know but they'll never replace a Citroen for me.

I'm staggered at how much bigger the Nissan 3.0 V6 looks compared to the PRV V6 in my Xantia!

TehAgent
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Post by TehAgent »

Im stagger too jim, its one hell of a engine, and now i have a spare to tinker with and get to know better. also the electronics on this engine is just amazing for a car of its age.

Not one distributor cap in sight, as its all electronic coil packs, crank angle sensors, throttle position sensors and all manner of assorted goodies strapped to it.

But i was even more surprised at how few bolts go into holding all this to the actual car, its just 8 gear box bolts and 2 engine mounts. once the wiring harness is cleared / water cooling pipes and ground points are out of the way and the gear box is free, you can just lift it clear of the car with minimal fuss.

The only reason it took so long to do (around 15 hours in total) was due mainly to my inexperience of doing it and the fact i had to do it with no help (well apart from SWMBO bring me coffee every now and then). it was also a lot of fun figuring out the best way to undo the gear box bolts. rather than the number of bolts involved. i was well pleased with my self once the new engine slotted right home.

Im going to be even more pleased once it fires up for the first time as well.

Thank you for moving it, i really didn't know where to put it as its not even french car related. and you know me, ill track my post down lol

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Post by DickieG »

TehAgent wrote:But i was even more surprised at how few bolts go into holding all this to the actual car, its just 8 gear box bolts and 2 engine mounts.
On a Jag 5.3 litre V12 there are just two nuts, one for the mounts each side of the engine and one more for the gearbox which may go some way to explain why in the past I attended several collisions involving Jags where the engine has literally fallen out of the car and continued along the road on a different path to the body :shock: :roll:

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Post by Sid_the_Squid »

She is a beauty TehAgent, shame about the bad start, I also have a soft spot for Jap sports cars, especially the 300zx, good luck with your rebuild :)

TehAgent
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Post by TehAgent »

Sid_the_Squid wrote:She is a beauty TehAgent, shame about the bad start, I also have a soft spot for Jap sports cars, especially the 300zx, good luck with your rebuild :)
yeah kinda the worst start you can possible have when getting a new car, but i like the learning of doing it myself. though im struggling at the moment to get a pilot bushing out of the crankshaft so i can fit my gear box back on.

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Post by RichardW »

I've heard it said you can get the pilot bush out with a close fitting dowel, grease and a hammer - never had to try it though! Fill the bush with grease, put the dowel in, then give it a solid whack with the hammer - the hydraulic force generated by the grease pops the bush out.

PS jealous of you guys all pulling big V6s out... no time for that here with all the DIY going on (oh yeah, and an excess of paid work...). biggest engine I've taken out was a 652cc Visa engine - that was easy - unbolt the front of the car, then my mate and I just lifted it out onto a couple of planks :lol:

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

RichardW wrote:I've heard it said you can get the pilot bush out with a close fitting dowel, grease and a hammer - never had to try it though! Fill the bush with grease, put the dowel in, then give it a solid whack with the hammer - the hydraulic force generated by the grease pops the bush out.
Well that was always the accepted method of extracting a pilot bush back in the old days Richard. The dowel needs to be a very close fit though.

TehAgent
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Post by TehAgent »

Well methods I've tried so far

- Whacking it with a hammer and chisel
- Slide hammer
- Grease and really tight fitting bolt + washer
- Gearbox oil soaked ripped up paper towel and said bolt and washer + very large heavy hammer
- Hacksaw blade

I now have a very nice chappy coming down from Zed world in tamsworth (although the person actually lives near Newport pagnell) with a works chisel and hammer to help me do it.

First bit of help I've had :D

TehAgent
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Post by TehAgent »

Well today had a nice visit from the son of the owner of Zed world up in tamsworth, who popped around on the way to work this morning at 7:30am, taking steady aim with his chisel and mallet, he took one swing and out popped my pilot bushing.

So now the fun starts, first up getting the fly wheel / clutch plate / clutch cover all fitted and aligned.

Then onto the finer detail of getting the gear box mounted and bolted up correctly, the gear stick reconnected, then its on with the drive shaft, drive shaft heat shield, then the exhaust.

after all that, its the painstaking task of getting all the electrical connectors cleaned up and like new, so the contact is good, connecting them, then radiator back on, coolant in, new oil filter and topping up with Mobile 1 S semi synthetic 10/40 oil, 3 litres of gear box oil, and should be ready for the first start after the engine change.

Few things to make sure of before the start though, 1 the injector connectors are connected in the correct order to prevent the engine stuttering and running too rich,

Also checking the coil pack connections to prevent misfires and or the engine just not starting, checking all earthing points on engine / gear box.

Double check to make sure all fuel lines are correctly positioned, and tightened accordingly, all vacuum lines are connected correctly and tightened. all air intake pipes are connected correctly and tightened.

Then starting the engine. making sure the radiator is bleed and topped up accordingly and that there are no leaks.

Good thing about the 300zx is it has its own self diagnostics on the ECU its self, so once the initial run has been preformed, is to check the diagnostics, reset the ECU, run it again, and then recheck to see if any error codes are thrown up. another thing im going to be doing is compression tests on all 6 cylinders. checking to see if the pistons have a good seal.

Once im happy that the new engine is running correctly, its new disks and pads on the fronts. two new tires on the rears. and off for its first MOT

Once the MOT is done, it will be time to take it to my friends where i have the use of a 4 poster, getting the car in the air and the use of good old elbow grease to get the rust from off the underside, dry it out fully, give it a lick of primer, some paint and then under seal it up ready for the UK weather.

Thats the plan, now for the action :D

TehAgent
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Post by TehAgent »

Today was the day the engine and gear box had their first date. took a while to get them to cooperate and had to make my own clutch alignment tool, once done, it slotted right in. :D

Also got the prop shaft back on and connected up, now all that's missing is the heat-shield and exhaust. and all whats left of the cabling, ooh still need to remount the power steering pump.

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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

Excellent Ian :D So how far away is the first start?

TehAgent
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Post by TehAgent »

About a week, dont get paid till next week, so cant get all the fluids i need that i have to replace :D