Tag Archives: Fairlady Z 2+2

My Fairlady… 300zx progress update.

It has been a little less than a year since I acquired the Z so I wanted to post an update on here to talk about some of the things I’ve done over this last year that I didn’t speak about yet.

I put out this post below after I first got the car home a few things I noticed that needed to be taken care of after the long drive.


To review some of those that I didn’t update.

To fix the dash too dim issue I basically followed this write up:


The only thing I did differently was instead of changing the LEDs over to the OEM holders to make them fit (I broke one of the LED wires trying this, order extra if you do it!) I took note of why they weren’t fitting and used a razor blade to shave off a bit of the plastic on the part that locks it into place so that they would fit in there.

The result is a much brighter instrument cluster (I also added the Z1 motorsports chrome rings while I was in there)

One thing that I didn’t mention in that post but I believe I have mentioned it before is how underpowered the car felt to me.  After my initial research about that I concluded that the best place to start was to replace the fuel injectors.  With a little help from twinturbo.net and ttzd.com I was able to replace the fuel injectors along with the fuel dampner, fuel pressure regulator, fuel filter, spark plugs, fuel line, valve cover gaskets, plenum gasket, pcv valves and the pcv hoses.  I also ended up having to replace all of the plastic connections to the coils since the last person that put them on cracked them all and had them held on with some sort of gasket goo.  After I completed all of that the car still didn’t seem right so I was a bit discouraged and decided to not drive it too much until I saved up enough to tackle the next maintenance project that might help with the issue.

It’s worth noting that I definitely didn’t feel my time or money was wasted in doing all of that above, I am a rookie shade-tree mechanic so this let me get a little knowledge of the VG30DE motor and it definitely needed to be done.

Here are a couple of photos from that adventure, this was Sept 2010…


Since that didn’t work, once Spring 2011 came along I decided that my wallet was ready to move on to the next attempt to make the car run right.  The car had over 111,000 miles on it at this time and since I had no record of when the timing belt was last replaced I decided to tackle that next.  Once again I couldn’t have done this without twinturbo.net, ttzd.com, ttxtz.com and of course Google.

Once I got in there the timing belt did seem to be pretty loose to me which I think was caused by the tensioner.  I was a bit excited to see that because it meant that the timing was likely off at least a bit which could cause some of the hesitation/lack of power issues I was seeing.

I don’t really have any horror stories to tell from this project, while I had it apart I also replaced the standard maintenance items (thermostat, water pump, belts) and the fan.  I upgraded all of the pulleys to AMS lightweight pulleys.

Once I got everything replaced and back together the car did seem to run more smooth and strong to me but it still didn’t seem to be quite right so I was beginning to get discouraged.

Some pictures from the timing belt adventure:


There was a period during the timing belt change that I had to wait on parts so I took that time to get rid of the hideous shift knob that one of the previous owners had installed and replaced it with a an OEM/JDM replica with real leather from this chap:  http://stores.ebay.com/exotikleather.  I also replaced the torn up shift boot, e-brake boot and console cover.


Back when I first started investigating the hesitation problem I checked the ECU for codes and originally got a 34 error about a bad detonation sensor.  I took some advice I read on one of the many helpful sites out there and cleaned the connectors and replugged it in and then I was able to get a code 55 so I assumed all was good with that.  That is until recently when I decided to check the codes again and the dreaded code 34 was back.  I did more reading about this code this time and finally read that this puts to motor in safety mode in order to prevent detonation which as you’d guess causes the motor to seem underpowered and sluggish!  I am in the process or ordering the parts required to relocate the detonation sensor.  I know this isn’t the recommended solution but I hope the next time I spend the type of money it would require to get this fixed properly I am spending it on the twin turbo upgrade.

I have temporarily bypassed the detonation sensor and the car runs like a champ other than an idle issue that I believe to be related to the MAF.  I did notice now that it has more power that the clutch slips horribly when I get on it… just another thing to add to the list required to get this Z where it needs to be… I will assure that it gets there!

My 300ZX – The search is over and now the work begins

Well, I flew out to Kentucky 2 days ago and purchased a 300ZX 2+2 with all the requirements that I’ve been searching for.  It had 109,380 miles on it when I purchased it and I put 850 miles more on it driving it back to Oklahoma yesterday.  The fact that it made the entire trip without incident is a good sign to me that it’s a pretty sound car.  However, being in the car for 11 hours or so gave me a chance to see and hear quite a few small issues that I need to fix.  I haven’t had a chance yet to go over the car entirely but below is a list of things that I’ve noticed so far that I want to take care of.  I will update this post as I check things off the list or add new ones.

The List! (in no particular order)

Temperature Gauge is broken, it’s all over the place
>This was working for a while over the weekend but then flaked out again last night.
10-8-2010:  This has happened for a long time, it may be fixed now, I cleaned the connector on the temperature sensor as referenced here in this guide:  http://www.twinturbo.net/ttnetfaq/FAQpages/hesitate2.html

Left blinker blinks way too fast
>This corrected itself when I was checking the bulbs on the driver’s side.  I did find that the rear marker light was out and replaced it along with the passenger side front marker.

Red light on dash when brakes are applied
>I’m still working on this one.  According to what I have found this indicates a bad brake light bulb but I’ve replaced all of the rear bulbs and the problem still exists.  I can’t seem to find any corrosion either but there may be a wire somewhere that is shorted out.
08-09-2010:  I finally fixed this, it was the bulbs in the third brake light that were burned out.  I forgot all about that one.  New problem is I broke the  black plastic around that brake light and will have to replace it, I was first trying to remove that piece to get to the light.  That’s a $200 stupid mistake but a small piece of what it’s going to take to get this car to where I want it.

Check if alarm light and beep is normal when door is opened
>I think this is normal but haven’t really dug too much into it.

Cigarette lighter doesn’t work
>I fixed this by replacing the blown fuse.

Need OEM key FOBs
>I searched online briefly to see if I could find one of these with no luck yet.
08-09-2010:  I was under the driver side dash the other day and found out this has an aftermarket (Valet) keyless entry installed.  I’m not sure why they aren’t using the OEM one or if it even still works now that the aftermarket one is all wired in there.  I’ll still try to get back to OEM since the current one doesn’t work properly with the alarm or rear hatch.

Dash lights are too dim
>I’ve seen a forum post or the like in the past that talks about upgrading these to brighter lights.  I’ll search for it and post a link here when I find it.

Rear Hatch doesn’t close tight enough and hatch release doesn’t work
>This was a simple fix, the latching mechanism simply wasn’t adjusted properly so I loosened the bolts and dropped it down a little and the hatch closes snug now.

Dashboard is warped around defrost vents and passenger airbag
>I’m not sure what I’ll do about this really, it’s not that bad so I’ll probably just leave it for now.

Hole in leather on driver’s seat
>I temporarily tried to “fix” this with gorilla glue duct tape but it looked pretty bad and started to peel off pretty quick.  I’ve decided for now I’ll be fine with it as is until I redo the interior.  I may also search for some of that stuff like I used to see on infomercials that you repair vinyl holes with.

AC isn’t consistent, only seems to blow cold set at 60, blows warm at 65
>I’m sure I’ll have to take the car in to get this looked at.

Needs OEM shift knob and boot
>I saw these on courtesyparts.com for $125 so I think I’ll shop around for used first.

Emergency brake needs to be adjusted, doesn’t engage early enough or go far enough down

Missing piece of plastic above AC vents on center console
10-08-2010:  I purchased a replacement screw cover from z1motorsports.com

Missing rear roll out trunk cover.
10-08-2010:  I now know this is called the tonneau cover and I’ve seen them listed for $400+ so I think that I can live without that.

Front intake cover where Nissan emblem is needs to be fitted properly
>I had this off this weekend when I was cleaning the K&N filter that is on this car and was able to adjust it to fit properly when I put it back on.

Rear bumper dented and cracked, needs replaced

Front fascia cracked, I plan to put a JDM front on at some point.

Passenger front fender paint not matched after repair, needs to be matched up
>This fender also seems to be adjusted so I may try to do that first.  I play to make note of all paint related things that need to be fixed and have it all done at once.  I’ll need to paint the new front fascia and rear bumper when I get those anyway.

Power antenna needs to be replaced

Door trim screws need to be replaced
>There is a missing screw on the driver’s side plus they seem a little discolored.
10-08-2010:  I replaced these screws with new ones from courtesyparts.com

Rear windshield wiper needs to be replaced
>This was obviously an easy one to knock out.

Jetting off to Kentucky

1996 Nissan 300ZX 2+2Well, as I mentioned in an earlier post I believe the search is over.  I’ve committed to the purchase of my next Z by buying a one-way ticket to Lexington, KY for next Wednesday evening and a $39 hotel room thanks to Travelocity.  The plan is that I will fly out that evening and stay in downtown Lexington getting rested up for the next day when we’ll finalize the purchase and then I’m on a 11+ hour road drip back to Oklahoma.  I think it should be a fun first drive in my new 300ZX and a chance for me to get to know the car really well.  I’m not too nervous whether it will make it or not but the owner did tell me he took it in to have the tires rotated and balanced today and they told him one of the tires needs to be replaced.  I’m hoping that is the typical hard sell that most tire shops put on to get you to replace tires early but I guess I’ll find out when I see it for myself.  He gave me the option to buy one that he’d have them put on but I told him I would just check it out when I get there.  If it is really bad then I’ll find a cheap tire somewhere to throw on there.  I plan on getting the Infiniti G35 17″ 6 spoke wheels at some point so the mismatched tires, which would normally drive me crazy, will hopefully not be around too long.  I also talked to him about the exhaust and he said he has a midas exhaust on there now similar to OEM so that should hold me for a while until I can decide on exactly which exhaust I want to put on it.

I’m sure there will be quite a few things wrong with this car but hopefully nothing major and mostly cosmetic.  The pictures that I have seen make it appear to be in good condition but it’s hard to tell until you actually see it up close and personal.  It had some points deducted from it by Autocheck.com because it had been in a fender bender (before this last one) and has had 6 owners.  Early on in my search I think this deterred me a bit from this car but the longer I searched the more I realized that compared to what was available out there this one is really solid.  When I would find other 5 speed 2+2s if they were well taken care of then people were asking too much for them and on the other end of the spectrum there would be some that were completely ragged out and the seller was still asking quite a bit, relatively speaking.

I consider myself lucky to find this one.  We’ll see if I’m still feeling lucky next week when I am cruising down the open road with this car.  I sure hope so.