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Body Restore

Here is a picture of my car in the tear down phase of the restore. I had the engine in the car still, and believe it or not I could still drive it, but the stereo wasn't working so I didn't drive to much LLLL. I took a picture of this angle to give me some guide lines of how the under the dash stuff was to go back together. I did find after a time I did not need anything like that I was so familiar with the inner workings of the car. The second picture says it all. Most of the car is disassembled but the windshield is hanging on, not for long tho.

Above is a picture of the continueing tear down of the car, the engine compartment. Looks pretty beat, but how well would you be doing after 200K of driving. The engine would have looked much better if I was the only owner of the car, but I got the car at 91K on it and it was really starting to get beat up. Note the hacked out right side front part of the inner fender. This was one of my strong desires to repair on the car. I got into a 15 mile an hour crash about 5 years before and messed up the frame rail in the bumper schock area and a little what looked like the front part of the inner fender. I straitened it with a torch at the time of the carsh because it was my only car to drive, but it always stuck in my gizzert and I wanted to repair it right. I went to the junk yard All Zcar in Sandiego and hacked off the right car front and began cutting my car to fit the new piece on. I wanted to make it as strong as the origional(not that that was to strong in the first place) so I decided to cut near the strut tower. I also wanted to make darn sure the frame rail was going to be strong, so I cut the inner fender and then cut the frame rail about a 3" behind that to ensure it would be very strong.

Here is the finished product of all my back breaking work. The new piece is fit in the fender excellent. Talk about a job that was. I can remember a number of people telling me how crazy I was and that it would not turn out right. I guess I am just hard headed, because it turned out excellent. I am inspecting my work in the second picure. I think I could have done a better job, but I was working with limited resources, and I had an appartment manager that was breathing down my neck about the noise and the smells. I can say the one thing you dont want to do is get rushed on any job if you want quailty work and reliable work. Just 1/8" off will screw up the whole thing and you may not be able to repair it. When I was finished I decided to leave some of the welds showing, just for me as a reminder of what kinda crazy lengths I went to with this car.

The next thing was the front radiator support and hood brackets. When I crashed the car I was unable to get the turbo radiator support. Nissan said it was the correct support, but if you notice on the right side air cleaner plastic extension hole it is oval, NOT ROUND, so while I was at it I wanted to fix that also, so I hacked off the correct parts from that poor black z car again and I had the stock hood brackets for the turbo car. The left side air cleaner extension is round by the way. I can not stress to strongly that when you under take this kind of repair to be very sure of what and where you install the parts you replace. The best way to do the replacement is with all of the other stuff connected to that part on the car to ensure a proper fit. Screwing up this far into the game costs time and more money, and we all need that the most when working on these cars.

Who is that mad man? I took this picture to show how light the car is when all of the stuff is off the body, I could lift it up and hold it long enough to take this picture.

Here is a picture of the engine compartment with as they say in the business, just a piss coat of primer on it, aint it purdy. This was the second time the car was primered. I utilized PPG water based paint a three stage system. I paid out the nose for that stuff and I dont think it is the best paint you can get. A gallon of primer cost 160.00 and man you dont want to waste that stuff. I had extreme problems with their primer and that cost me allot of rework and allot of money to get straitened out. I would highly suggest talking to a good paint guy before you start in on the primer and paint. I would not suggest getting the paint store information from the guy behind the counter selling paint. I made that mistake and it cost me allot of money. I started with cheap primer to get the car into shape for the good stuff. I put 26 cans of spray paint on the car and had all of thebody work completed when I got my education about the incompatibility of oil based paint and water based paint. I had to take every spec of the oil based primer off the car and start again. That ended up costing me about 500.00 to get all that crap removed. I was able to contact the first paint company and get a refund on the spray paint I used and that was a feat of magic getting my money back on their product, but as I told their rep, you did not list anyhere on the can cautioning paint compatibilities with other paints and especially water based paint. The guy at the paint shop was a total jerk because I asked him a number of times about it before I started work on the car. Save yourself allot of time and money and talk to the paint shop that is going to do the work on your car, and if you are going to do the paint yourself, and I really wish I could have I would still suggest talking to a good paint shop in the area. Find out what the requirements regarding paint and the EPA because it will change from county to county. In Long Beach for example lacquor and enamel based paints are outlawed, but in Carson City NV you can use what ever you want. That is a major consideration in the cost of paint. The three stage is way more expensive then the single stage paints. All I have to say is open your wallet wide if you want a really killer paint job with the engine compartment completed also.

Here is a picture of the rear of the car, note the pain around the window areas. This is what the car looked like just after it was Jammed, meaning the window and door areas of the car were painted and ready for the outer shell painting. There are a number of different ways cars can be painted. I had my car done in two stages, the door jams, window area, and the engine compartment.I would have liked getting the whole shell and jams painted at one time, but that was not a possibility because of the state of disassembly of the car. I had all of the front end taken apart and there was really no way of moving the shell around unless I built a roller type assembly and for me that was not an option atthat time. If I were to do another car I would build a stand that connects to the schock towers and the strut bar mounts and have the complete shell, engine compartment, door jams and deck opening along with the basic shell painted at one time. What that would have avoided is the tape lines that if you take time to look at on a number of cars are present in the jams and firewall of allot of cars.I must say it is very hard to get that exact factory paint job done to a car.

Here are a couple of pictures of the engine compartment just after it was painted and I started reassembling the parts back. Sure looks shinny and new. I have to say the first time I got a look at all that new paint my little heart went pitter patter.

After I got all of the parts put back on the car I could at that time, it was time to reinstall the engine and tranny. I thought about that one for awhile and came up the idea, Just put the thing together just like the factory did. I assembled the engine on the cross member, along with the power steering and lower control arms and motor mounts to the engine. I also installed the tranny on the engine. I had some good blocks I set the cross member on, that made it high enough I could get my floor jack under the center of the cross member. I put the tranny mount on another floor jack and lifted the car with a come along. I rolled the tranny and engine under the car and lowered it on the engine and cross member. I got the four bolts started that bolted the frame to the cross member, then jacked the engine up along with the car and tightened it all up. I then jacked the tranny mount into place and bolted that up. The last thing was the struts and steering and tires and brake lines. I lowered the car back down on the tires and it was done. I did not get one scratch on the car in the entire process, it was perfect. I still think I am slick because of that one. I just could not imagine getting all that stuff back in the car without scratching something doing it any other way, and it was so easy that way.

I sent the car back to Jon for final painting.Here are a couple of pictures of my car just after it was finally painted completly. What a job that was. Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures of the car, they were taken by my painter for his picture board on a poloroid camera, what can I say, Jon is a painter not a photographer, but he never thought these pictures would ever be of any use to me. I think the car looks killer in these photos. I think the car looks so beefy here. After the paint was completed the real work started, getting the inside completed and all the other outside parts put back on the car, but I got it and the first picture on the home page is what it turned out like. That is about it for the paint. You may have noticed I did allot of powder coat work on the car also. I think that stuff is great, but I did not like the cost of it all. I would highly recommend having your parts powder coated, that stuff is tough and lasts a good long time. I also did some significant chrome work on all the bolts and stuff in the engine compartment, along with getting the new hardware from Nissan. Those guys thought I was crazy ordering bolts and screws new for my car, but hey, they will last a good long time also.

Here is a picture of my new seats I got for my car. I removed the arm rest and it looks very nice in the car.