1984 Nissan 300 ZX

Gordon Keen

My name is Gordon Keen, I live in Wallsend, and have been a member of the MCMA for about 5 years now. The only Historic vehicle that I have in the shed now is a 1984 Nissan 300zx, z31 series 2 door coupe with a T-Bar roof.

These cars were made after the 280zx series with a very similar (if not identical) body, but now fitted with a new V6 3.0 litre engine, instead of the L28 inline 6 cylinder engine.

The new 300zx now has a 4 speed overdrive auto with lockup torque converter, instead of the 3 speed auto as was in the 280zx.

The z31 series was made only between 1984 and 1986, when the car was completely redesigned and sold as a 300zx Z32 series, which has the very rounded shape and usually fitted with a twin turbo V6 engine.

The z31 and z32 series have no common parts at all, apart from the V6 engine block!

This latest project is the next in the series of cars and motorbikes that have gone through my garage over the years. I have always had Nissan cars as daily drivers (apart from a HG Holden) since day 1.

·         Starting with a 2 door Datsun 240k,

·         Datsun Skyline 4 Door C210 series

·         Nissan Skyline Turbo R31  Grey import

·         Nissan Skyline R32  Australian model

·         Nissan Skyline 2 door Turbo R33  Grey import

·         Nissan Skyline 4 door Turbo R34  Grey import

None of these cars were ever modified, and all were very reliable cars with some very adequate performance.

So now to the list of restored vehicles:

·         1980 Datsun 280zx hardtop. Restored and then sold.

·         1981 Datsun 280zx T-Bar roof. Restored and then sold.

·         Then a 1984 Nissan 300c, which was Nissan’s answer to the Toyota Crown. Restored to absolute showroom condition only to be involved in a rear end crash after the 3rd outing.

1984 Nissan 300c

These cars were not very popular, probably because they were soooo expensive, but the build quality and attention to detail was exceptional.

This thing was truly a lounge-room on wheels.

A bloke can’t have an empty shed,…….

So then this Nissan 300zx was advertised for sale in Sydney for $4,000.00 in August 2019.

It was the sportscar version of the 300c, with identical mechanical components.!!

Nissan 300zx

With ALL Nissan cars in this era, rust is a major problem. If you can see it from the outside, there is 10 times more underneath!!!!   Beware!!!!

Luckily for me, both the 300c and the 300ZX were country cars and had minimal rust.

So in this process, I have applied liberal amounts of fish oil, in all the hard-to-get-to places, so it will definitely be OK for the next 36 years too.

But with 36 year old cars, all the mechanicals needed to be rebuilt, regardless of mileage.

Unlike the L28 straight 6 engines in the 280ZX’s that had timing chains, these new V6 engines were interference engines with rubber timing belts. Probably a good idea in the designer’s office, but a broken timing belt spells the end for these cars/engines. When the belt breaks at 80,000ks or 10 years, the pistons bend the valves and it’s off to the scrap heap.

Parts support for these cars is a problem here in Australia, so I always buy 2 cars and make 1 good one, strip all the parts of the donor car, and dispose of the shell (which is usually too rusty anyway).

Lucky for me, Nissan sold heaps of these cars in Left Hand Drive, to the United states.

For new mechanical spare parts, https://www.rockauto.com/ has all I ever needed, and at really great prices even with a poor exchange rate and $150.00 for shipping.

Mainly for US cars, but check them outJ. (Fan belts= $1.25 each!)

There is nothing worse that leaving home for a drive in your classic car, with the thought of a failure or breakdown, so reliability for me is essential, as well as no oil leaks!.

So with the 300zx, I replaced the following:

·         Brake Hoses, fluid, master cylinder kit and brake pads all round.

·         Shock absorbers on rear, Macpherson struts on front,

·         Wheel bearings front and rear,

·         All polyurethane suspension rubbers

·         Replaced all ball-joints and tie-rod ends and associated rubber boots.

·         Overhauled the starter motor and alternator with new bearings and brushes.

·         All rubber fuel lines, removed and cleaned and tested injectors and fuel pump.

·         Removed and cleaned out fuel tank (which had 35 years of accumulated crap in it)

·         All rubber vacuum lines for the engine and cabin air handling.

·         All rubber water hoses, cleaned and descaled radiator.

·         New timing belt, water pump, thermostat and Vee belts.

·         Replaced air fuel and oil filters, Replaced every fluid.

·         Replaced valve guide seals and tappet cover gaskets.

·         Replaced the interior carpet.

·         Repaired electric windows.

·         Repacked both front the seats with new foam (instead of the old horse hair).

·         Converted the R12 air conditioning to R134a by replacing the Condenser, compressor, filter/drier and all flexible air con hoses.

·         Getting the radio antenna to work properly (a lot of work for little result)

·         I got new keys from Frost locks in Newcastle. They made a new key from the factory code       number and not just recut an old worn key. https://www.frostsecurity.com.au/

·         Repairing the windscreen washer systems.

·         New spark plugs, leads, and rotor button.

·         Repairing the cruise control module (discrete electronic components…Yes!)

·         Testing and checking every anti-pollution gadget that was attached to this poor old motor.

·         New exhaust system front to rear.

And generally cleaning and polishing everything that didn’t move. So now, after 6 months of intensive care, it is complete, and everything works (except the driver). It is not anywhere near a concourse quality car, but it is super reliable and has no oil leaks. It cost $4000.00 to buy and around $3,000.00 worth of parts, so for $7000, I have a good, fun, collectable, classic car. Oh, plus hundreds of hours work at $120.00 per hour, but whoever counts that?!

Hope you find this interesting,

Gordon Keen.

April 2020