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Discussion Starter #1
Common knowledge says a major cause of gassing yourself while driving are the taillight gaskets. Here's a pic of one of mine, it's even worse in person, cracked and split. Replacements are on the way. I'm also replacing the main hatch gasket, and some plugs etc., and even sealing the inside upholstered panel on the hatch. Two questions: 1) Is it worth replacing the hinge seals for the hatch, that go under the hinges near the roof? Mine are gone, they're expensive, and I just need to know whether that really effects the fumes. 2) Do I use adhesive for the taillight gaskets? Some people say no, but from the look of this pic, someone glued them into place. Do I scrape it all clean and use no sealant, or clean it off and stick them in place with sealer? Anyway, any info is appreciated. I already get high enough just thinking about driving it, I don't need the fumes as well. Thanks!
 

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Try the smoke test. It worked for me. I saw a post over at classiczcars web. I was surprised the smoke was everywhere not just in the tail light section. You will be surprised. I then started sealing all those areas and I am now happy. No more fumes.


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Since the tail light seals are already on the way, why not install and test them before deciding on the hinge seals.

Exhaust fumes created such a noisome environment in the cabin of my `77 that my wife wouldn't even get in the car. A pair of gaskets and about 30-45 minutes of clean and easy work and, whattaya know, no more fumes.

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Try the smoke test. It worked for me. I saw a post over at classiczcars web. I was surprised the smoke was everywhere not just in the tail light section. You will be surprised. I then started sealing all those areas and I am now happy. No more fumes.


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Which smoke test method did you use (there are a bunch of them)?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for those ideas. And I do agree it's better to wait on the hatch seals until I replace the taillight gaskets, which are so decomposed they gotta be responsible for at least part if not all the fumes. Did you use adhesive/sealer or just place them on the lights and bolt in? If that cures it for me, well I'd be saving almost $200 by not getting those hatch seals, which I still think are more for moisture protection than exhaust, but that's for later. Plus that smoke test could reveal if the tailights are still leaking at all and whatever else is too. Yes, I've heard of a few different methods. Since I don't have a machine I could either rent, or there's a liquor store on the corner that sells $8 chunks of dry ice. I could put it in a bowl of water, stand outside around the possible leak areas and have someone inside with a vac trying to suck in "smoke"?? Will report progress when I get the gaskets.
 

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there's a few other little spots that the fumes can enter into as well. if I remember correctly on mine, on the rear hatch floor area (frame) and spare tire well along with the side walls. there are holes that usually are plugged with rubber grommets and if those are missing, exhaust can enter. you should go through and try to seal up any exposed areas or plug holes. I sealed mine with heavy duty plastic wrap and silicon sealant. keep up on what you're doing with tail light gaskets... we've all been there :wink


Bon
 

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Discussion Starter #9
PROGRESS REPORT: Wow the "progress" is slow. No such thing here as just pulling out the light, popping in a new gasket and bolting it back up. The old gaskets were glued on with either epoxy or silicone, and were fused to the body and dried out like petrified charcoal. After lots and lots of scraping there is still lots of residue. So I'm wondering if a sanding wheel or grinder may be needed. Sandpaper alone is just way too slow and tedious. Here are pics of a taillight area after lots of work, and also the hatch seal, showing that it too is glued on. I expected the hatch seal to be applied with adhesive, but not the taillights. Live and learn and enjoy. Work continues, as the new fresh gaskets wait to be put on.
 

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PROGRESS REPORT: Wow the "progress" is slow. No such thing here as just pulling out the light, popping in a new gasket and bolting it back up. The old gaskets were glued on with either epoxy or silicone, and were fused to the body and dried out like petrified charcoal. After lots and lots of scraping there is still lots of residue. So I'm wondering if a sanding wheel or grinder may be needed. Sandpaper alone is just way too slow and tedious. Here are pics of a taillight area after lots of work, and also the hatch seal, showing that it too is glued on. I expected the hatch seal to be applied with adhesive, but not the taillights. Live and learn and enjoy. Work continues, as the new fresh gaskets wait to be put on.
Have you tried heat?

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Discussion Starter #12
Yup I checked all grommets and they're good, but I'm replacing the hatch plugs because they're loose and brittle.. And what do you know, I got out my heat shrink gun and it did soften up the remaining rock hard gasket residue, I guess better late than never. So finally the surface is free of old gaskets, but so scratched up, down to bare metal in some places I think I'm going to spray it with some body color paint just for protection. Funny about thinning out the mixture, the car had been too rich, and with fuel problems that made it stink awful,. But after fixing that, it still has hellacious fumes coming in at highway speed and I'm pretty certain it's the rear rubber/gaskets because they're so worn and cracked. Getting healed little by little. One great thing was using Blue Magic Headlight Lens restore cream on the taillights and silver bezels, while they're off the car. Unbelievable improvement, it all shines like new. Pics soon. Thanks
 

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Yup I checked all grommets and they're good, but I'm replacing the hatch plugs because they're loose and brittle.. And what do you know, I got out my heat shrink gun and it did soften up the remaining rock hard gasket residue, I guess better late than never. So finally the surface is free of old gaskets, but so scratched up, down to bare metal in some places I think I'm going to spray it with some body color paint just for protection. Funny about thinning out the mixture, the car had been too rich, and with fuel problems that made it stink awful,. But after fixing that, it still has hellacious fumes coming in at highway speed and I'm pretty certain it's the rear rubber/gaskets because they're so worn and cracked. Getting healed little by little. One great thing was using Blue Magic Headlight Lens restore cream on the taillights and silver bezels, while they're off the car. Unbelievable improvement, it all shines like new. Pics soon. Thanks
No need to replace the hatch plugs. Get some wide tape (I used black duct tape), pop out the cracked plugs and just tape them shut. Duct tape is indeed wide enough to airtight seal them without having to double up.

Also, your issue may be with the vinyl panel that is on the inside of the car. Fumes sneak in through the hatch lock mechanism and come through the corners of that panel if it isn't sealed 100%. Again, I used duct tape to close that off (but a lot of doubling up to I could cover the whole area, the screwed the vinyl panel in over it which def helped.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Yes, to chaseincats, I was wondering about the tailgate latch and lock, and the opening in there, it looked like fumes could easily come in! Will seal up that back panel. Anyway the taillight gaskets are in, here's how the lights looked looked after polishing the lenses and bezels with Blue Magic Headlight Lens Restorer. I should have taken "before" pics because they were oxidized and clouded. Much better. After I scrape off the old rear hatch seal and install the new one I'll take a drive and a whiff. I think that job will take me a couple days tho.
 

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Yes, to chaseincats, I was wondering about the tailgate latch and lock, and the opening in there, it looked like fumes could easily come in! Will seal up that back panel. Anyway the taillight gaskets are in, here's how the lights looked looked after polishing the lenses and bezels with Blue Magic Headlight Lens Restorer. I should have taken "before" pics because they were oxidized and clouded. Much better. After I scrape off the old rear hatch seal and install the new one I'll take a drive and a whiff. I think that job will take me a couple days tho.
Wow, those lights look great, maybe I should get on that. Regarding the hatch gasket, I followed this guy's tutorial and it made life way easier:

Also be sure to scrape off literally every bit of old glue on there or it won't bond well and you will be back where you started.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wow, those lights look great, maybe I should get on that. Regarding the hatch gasket, I followed this guy's tutorial and it made life way easier: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V-rdchhFj8

Also be sure to scrape off literally every bit of old glue on there or it won't bond well and you will be back where you started.
Absolutely great vid, that will save me from a lot of wasted time doing it the wrong way. Coincidentally I got the Precision seal from MSA. Though the seal looks a little bit different shape than the OEM that's on the car now, with a bit more top edge, it seems like it will actually be more substantial. As long as I position it the way it is in the video, it should work. So then let the scraping begin.......
 

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When I went through this years ago, I remember that even the '280Z' badge on the rear hatch leaked air. I seem to recall that the light assemblies themselves also had small openings.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
When I went through this years ago, I remember that even the '280Z' badge on the rear hatch leaked air. I seem to recall that the light assemblies themselves also had small openings.
I'm sure that's true so I'm hoping that sealing off the rear deck panel will be a big step. As for the lights, it's a shame what age does to everything (cars and humans). I have to hope that tightening up the rear lights in an even way makes the new gasket evenly pressed, and that any stripped bolts aren't playing **** with the whole integrity of the assembly. I'm sure at least a couple of the bolts are stripped. Add to that the hardest one to tighten, at the bottom of both left and right taillight assembly, so difficult to reach except with two awkward fingers. Sorry for the ranting, whew I need to vent a bit. After I do the hatch seal I'll test it. This poor car was just mishandled by PO's through the years, but she's got a caring home now. One late night when this is all over, I'll fire her up, when everyone's asleep, put in a Boston cassette and cruise down Ventura Blvd into the past with the only fumes coming from a char broiled burger.
 

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Ha ha ha. Well put. And I hope with some version of Sister Golden Hair along for the ride (or should I say, who will FINALLY ride in the car again now that she's not gagging on the fumes. LOL)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wow major discovery for me today: the taillight lenses and bulb sockets. After 40 years, the likelihood of fumes getting past the lenses and then through the bulb sockets is huge. And the taillight gasket doesn't cover that area. The lenses normally screw down and seal right up to the housing. The bulb sockets twist into the housing with O rings, but over time both areas warp and develop leaks. I noticed slight warping in the lens mounting, and more importantly, looseness in the bulb sockets, after years of being seated in the same position and possible shrinking of the O rings. So, I have a solution. I can't find the O rings on the normal parts sources, I'll have to bring one around to local auto outlets and try to match. But whether you use new or old ones, try this: when you screw in the bulb socket into the housing clockwise, go all the way to the stop and then back off (go counter-clockwise) 1/8 to 1/4 inch or so, you'll feel it seat in much more snug and no rattling. Hope it's not doing anything bad, it seems so much more tight this way. It's just a suggestion, but now I know this area is a culprit. Pics coming. If/when I find replacement O rings I'll give a link. Sounds nit-picky, but whatever it takes to have Sister Golden Hair come sit herself back on down into that empty passenger seat.
 
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