Bad Vibrations – 300ZX 2+2 Problem Solved

I’m finally starting to take time to document some of the things I’ve been through with the car over the last couple of years so I figured I’d do a quick post about how I solved an annoying vibration problem I was having.

I mentioned in an earlier post that after I took the car to a shop to have them replace the clutch that the car was vibrating at all speeds but it was really bad between 35 and 50 MPH.  I contacted the repair shop and took the car back to them to have them investigate even though they said it couldn’t be anything they did.  That makes sense, the car didn’t vibrate when I dropped it off for the clutch replacement but did horribly when I picked it up… yeah, there is no way it was anything they did.  At any rate,  I left the car there for a month and they couldn’t find for sure what the problem was  I don’t really think they looked too hard and it was like pulling teeth to get updates from them about it.  Finally they called and told me that they think it is the right rear tire with a flat spot.  Once I got the car home again I switched it back to the OEM wheels and tires but low and behold the vibration was still there.  I wasn’t about to take it back to this shop again so the next place I went was a local “fix all” mechanic/tire shop to have them put it on a lift and check it out and they said it was probably a warped wheel so I ordered a replacement wheel on eBay which was another waste of money because it didn’t solve the problem.

I ended up just giving up on it for a while and drove the car around with the vibration and mostly got used to it until a few months ago when I’d had enough so I decided to crawl underneath and take another look.  I had read many forum posts about the symptoms I had and a lot of them mentioned the drive-shaft being out of balance.  This could be something as simple as a missing washer on one of the 4 bolts that connects the 2 pieces of the drive-shaft.  When I was under the car I noticed a yellow mark on the front piece of the drive-shaft (seen in the photo below) that looked like it needed to be lined up with another yellow mark on the rear part of the shaft.

Z32 300ZX 2+2 drive-shaft improperly installed

After some fancy maneuvering I was able to get the 4 bolts removed and turn the shaft so that it lined up properly.

Proper Z32 2+2 drive-shaft alignment
Proper 300ZX drive-shaft alignment

Once I got everything buckled back up I was eager to get the car out on the road to see if this solved that nagging vibration problem and sure enough it did!  I was very pleased with finally resolving this because it had almost made me want to give up on the car a few times.  It did make me give up on ever using that shop again.  I still cannot figure out how they screwed this up in the first place and then couldn’t find the problem after a month of “investigating” it but I’ll just mark it down as a lesson learned and pass on my opinion of this place to anyone who asks.

My car still has it’s issues but I am now one step closer to getting the car where I want it to be thanks to Google and a little elbow grease.

Z32 in Need of Rescue – 1994 300ZX Convertible

My current Z was my daily driver until I messed it up trying to figure out why it was running so rough…  I promise I’ll go into that more in a later post.

At any rate, we are now left with just one vehicle and we are trying to pay down some debt so I have no desire to go and spend a lot of money on another car.  My wife and I were driving around looking for something cheap to just get us by, maybe something that just needed a little TLC that we could sell for more than we paid for it once we are done with it.   We drove past a used car lot that had a lot of mid to early 2000s BMW 3, 5 and 7 series so I wanted to stop by and take a look.  There was a section of the lot next to a garage with what I guess are cars that need to be fixed up just barely enough so they can be sold and I caught a glimpse of the unmistakable posterior of a Z32 300ZX.

1994 Z32 300ZX convertible that needs quite a bit of TLC
1994 Z32 300ZX convertible that needs quite a bit of TLC

You can probably tell from the photo that this car is in need of some attention.  I remember seeing this car on the lot when I was searching for my Z in 2010 and it was in much better condition then.  It has been sitting here for at least 4 years and has been through many Oklahoma hail storms.  It’s been repainted pretty badly and doesn’t have the original front windshield but I’m still interested in saving the car.

Hail damage is almost guaranteed for a car sitting outdoors in Oklahoma for 4 years.
Hail damage is almost guaranteed for a car sitting outdoors in Oklahoma for 4 years.

You would think it should be easy enough to work out a deal with this guy to take this car off his hands but since that day 2 weeks ago I have been trying to contact the owner of this car lot by phone and I’ve been by there at least 4 times and no one is there.  I’m not really sure what is going on but several of the cars in the lot have the windows down and are just sitting through rain slowly decaying.  It’s safe to say that this is not a top flight used car dealership.  I did see someone in one of the cars during one of my visits and when I went over to talk to him I realized it was a homeless man living in a Honda Accord!  He told me that he hasn’t seen the owner for a couple of weeks so who knows if I’ll ever track him down.  I will keep trying to save this car or at least find out the car’s story to see if it’s worth saving, I suspect that it is.

I’ll update this post if I make any progress on this car salvation!

Motor on!

The motor looks to be in better shape than mine.
The motor looks to be in better shape than mine.
The interior is in need of some reconditioning
The interior is in need of some reconditioning
A couple of hoses hanging down here that my car doesn't have, or at least they aren't hanging.
A couple of hoses hanging down here that my car doesn’t have, or at least they aren’t hanging.
This poor car has been rained in many times through these holes in the convertible top.
This poor car has been rained in many times through these holes in the convertible top.

 

 

300ZX Steering Wheel Cleaning

Well, since I’ve broken my Z (more about that fun to come later) it is just sitting in the garage in need of some love.  Recently I came across the following helpful write-up online and wanted to give it a try to help get rid of an issue I have my steering wheel:

 http://apidaonline.com/index.php/guides/item/how-to-clean-leather-steering-wheel

I’ve always had a problem with the steering wheel making my hands smell and feel oily after driving the car, especially when the weather is warmer.  I am pretty sure this comes from one of the previous owners having used a cheap steering wheel cover and the rubber had a strong gasoline-like smell to it that soaked into the leather.  I’ve tried to clean it with numerous cleaners but haven’t had any luck.

I followed the simple cleaning method listed in the article above and used a Magic Eraser with water to clean the leather steering wheel.  I’m not sure if it will ultimately get rid of the smell but it certainly worked great to clean up the wheel and get a lot of funk off of it.

Here are some pictures of the before/after and how dirty the water was.  I’m not sure if any of that is leather dye that comes off but I plan to have the steering wheel re-done at some point so I’m not too concerned about that.  If you are going to try this and you are worried about the dye coming off I wouldn’t scrub too hard.

Happy defunking!

300ZX Z32 before-after Magic Eraser cleaning Magic Eraser steering wheel cleaning Dirty water from Magic Eraser steering wheel cleaning.