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Discussion Starter #1
First, is there a market for this Limited Edition car?

In my restoration efforts, should I endeavor to keep it bone stock, or make improvements to the engine and drivetrain, interior etc., have fun with it?

Or, should I try to restore it, keeping all the 1980 emissions intact, free of headers, etc?

3 groups/philosophies:

1) Of course there are the “purists”, that would pay top dollar for a perfect car. At the moment, I’m a long way off from satisfying those guys; due to paint and body, and undercarriage, floor pan.

2) The next level down may be interested, because the car is “complete”, and in pretty decent shape, runs great.

3) And  finally the next level, would be shooting for the group that only cares about the “ZX”, and NOT the limited edition 10th anniversary model. I could make sensible mods and upgrades: make it a fast, reliable, good handling, daily driver, and even quite a bit of fun at the track.

I don’t necessarily need to sell it, unless it just makes sense to do so.

If I keep it, I will probably want to make it a fun, daily driver.

I’m trying to decide between these three groups, because the car could fit into any of these three groups.

This initial decision (“premium stock”, “as- is stock”, or “resto-mod”), will THEN determine where the time, and energy, and effort, and money go. For example, at the moment, I have removed the old rusty exhaust system from the catalytic converter rearward, and I need a new exhaust system; and so if I’m going to go with the headers and some engine upgrades, that will determine whether or not to abandon the “bone stock” idea.

So you see where I’m going with this post.

I have enjoyed restoring it up to this point, but I’m to the point now, where it’s running quite well, and I need to make these other, more comprehensive decisions.

Your thoughts?
 

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A ZX isn't a mega-$ restoration car unless it's done so well that you'll spend a lot of money doing professional glass-out and strip-to-metal body restoration. Unless you have a couple of years and $20 - $30,000 or so to spend, I'd suggest a nice clean ZX as the target.

I think #2 is a reasonable goal.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for responding. Yes, I think you're right. I'm leaning toward a fun daily driver, with some upgrades. Peppier engine and better suspension.

So, most of my emissions stuff is intact and operational. If I upgrade the engine, living in Texas a non-emissions state, I was thinking headers, intake, headwork and possibly more... the emissions stuff would probably come off the car... but then there might be that collector somewhere out in the future that would want all that stuff....?:unsure:
 

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Think about this twice before you spend a lot of money. There is only so much performance to be gained by minor mods on that 280ZX, and the cost and work involved may outstrip the benefit. I used to live in Texas but didn't see a reason to pollute the air regardless of what I could get away with under state law. It's also possible to remove emissions stuff and cause problems with the system. I suggest you do your homework on any mods, and spend your time driving and enjoying it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Definitely trying to do my homework.

For this very reason I have joined a number of forms, and I would like to get the advice of people with experience.

I’ve noticed that there are headers that will work with the typical emissions system. Also a larger, high flow catalytic converter. I’m not opposed to utilizing these things.

And of course the reason for eliminating the various emissions components, is not to pollute the atmosphere; but it’s to simplify the car, and eliminate future complications. I happen to have a 1980; which is the only year that incorporates a “third” (AIS) input into the exhaust system (Not just the EGR down-pipe and 02); and that complicates things a bit.

I’m just getting started on doing the research, and gathering input from those with more experience on the subject.
 

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The 1980s only had an EGR hook up on the exhaust manifold. No O2 sensor (except California cars). So if you get a header with emissions provisions, you would want to use an O2 bung plug. Of course the thing that gets me with the O2 bung on the headers I see is it's only on the #4 primary tube. So all ECM air/fuel ratio parameters will be solely based off of one cylinder. In a ZX with an O2 sensor, it would need to be relocated towards the end of the header.

I'm also going down a similar path. I have a 1980 in fantastic shape. Garaged its entire life, with low miles (81k). I'm going to do a megasquirt kit, and upgrade the fuel rail to an inline rail with the EV1 O-ring injectors. Most of my components are original 40 year old pieces, so it should mean less time wrenching, and more time driving (car currently runs really well, but simpler is better). I'll keep all the original parts for the purists if I sell this car later.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the good information! So I’m just getting started, and if I understand you correctly... there is no O2 sensor? Or are you saying there’s no O2 sensor in the exhaust manifold? I was thinking there was an O2 sensor on the 1980 model.

But I am thinking about the same path as you, and that would be to simplify the car, by stripping every last unnecessary (potentially) complicating factor (and keep all of the old parts in a box)
or the other option would be to keep the currently functioning emissions junk, get headers with the EGR input, employ a “high flow” catalytic converter, and run it that way. What are your thoughts on this? (all of this “exhaust talk”, is in preparation for future engine upgrades)

also, am I going to confuse the ECU by eliminating some of these things; specifically the O2 sensor?
 

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I have a restored 10th anniversary edition. It's close to factory as there are a few details that may or may not have been dealer options. Also, I did full leather seats and leather door panels. I've had the car since 1992 and I have periodically checked the market over the years for value. It's value has never been amazing. In the early 2000s car #0001 with ultra low miles sold to a Middle East buyer for around 30K and after a year or so it sold again for less I think. I've seen several at car consignment places that have stripped emmisions and other hacks at improving acceleration and the asking prices have been around 12k. The biggest detractor from this car becoming valuable is that it is slow. Most of this car's value is in the paint. People ask me what the car is worth and it was worth the cost of the paint job the last time I had it painted. It's been 5 years so the value is now much less. I say if you want a beautiful car and you enjoy attention then restore the car to factory. If you want more that that then choose a different project car. This car is fun to drive, it can be a daily driver and it is probably one of the easiest to maintain cars from this era. If you want speed, which most people do thus the low value, then pick a different car. If you have never seen this car with new paint then you are in for a surprise. I did see a local zshop overhaul an 83 and do everything possible to improve the performance of the car including fabricating parts. The results were mediocre. This opinion comes from a longtime owner, early 40s, that plans to drive the car weekly and keep the car as long as possible. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you very much! Your car sounds amazing. I agree with everything that you’ve said. I kind of have the value pegged at somewhere between $7500 and $18,000. I think that your car is definitely worth more than that. Thanks for the great information.
 

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Thanks for the good information! So I’m just getting started, and if I understand you correctly... there is no O2 sensor? Or are you saying there’s no O2 sensor in the exhaust manifold? I was thinking there was an O2 sensor on the 1980 model.

But I am thinking about the same path as you, and that would be to simplify the car, by stripping every last unnecessary (potentially) complicating factor (and keep all of the old parts in a box)
or the other option would be to keep the currently functioning emissions junk, get headers with the EGR input, employ a “high flow” catalytic converter, and run it that way. What are your thoughts on this? (all of this “exhaust talk”, is in preparation for future engine upgrades)

also, am I going to confuse the ECU by eliminating some of these things; specifically the O2 sensor?
Based on research I've done, and confirmed by someone more knowledgeable than me, no 79s had O2 sensors. Only cars for the California market in 1980 had O2 sensors. All 81-83s had O2 sensors. So there would be nothing to worry about ECU wise, regarding O2 sensors, assuming your 80 was not a Cali car.

But if your 1980 was a Cali car, and has the O2, I'd just lengthen the wire, and either have an O2 bung welded on near the collector at the end of the header, or drill a hole, and put one of those clamp style O2 bungs that Summit sells. Look at your existing exhaust manifold. The factory O2 is just above where the down pipe mounts to the exhaust manifold.

Long term plans for me are to do a full exhaust. I want to order something from either The Z Store, or Z Car Depot, in the 2.5" variety. I'd probably end up doing a cat delete, but I can see the benefit of a high flow cat to have cleaner air out of the exhaust. Only thing i'm worried about is removing the exhaust manifold. I think one of the end bolts is broken (typical), and I'm worried about breaking studs and bolts that haven't been touched in 40 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have the same worries about broken nuts and bolts/studs, but a weeks worth of daily PB blaster, penetrating those nuts and bolts, along with a stud extractor on hand and available, should take the worry out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
A quick look at the FSM for the 1980 model should solve the mystery for me, and I should also slide under the car and take a look as well.

It’s funny I get tunnel vision when I work on all of the other things (clutch, brakes, AFM, fuel sender, etc.), and I don’t think to look at the “other things” that are knocking around in my head for the future.

I do recall seeing a diagram, it did show an O2 sensor as one of the inputs for the ECU. But that could’ve been a diagram serving some of the other year cars. I just need to go look
 

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you don't even need to go under the car to see the O2 sensor (or lack thereof). You can see the exhaust manifold under the intake manifold, and the thin diameter kinked tubing for the downpipe. Look just above where the downpipe and the exhaust manifold meet. You shouldn't see anything just above the base of the exhaust manifold. You should not see this;



It will most likely be like mine;

107097


That's a shot of my manifold....now I wonder if I have a bolt broken from the manifold to the downpipe....
 

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Only thing i'm worried about is removing the exhaust manifold. I think one of the end bolts is broken (typical), and I'm worried about breaking studs and bolts that haven't been touched in 40 years.
I hope you have good luck on that. The ZX series often has broken bolts on the ends of the manifold due to thermal expansion and contraction. Many of them can be backed out with penetrating oil and perhaps drilling and EZ-Outs.

I had some bad luck and one on my 83 turbo was so frozen in place that the head had to come off, was put in a bath and the bolt cut out with a laser. The hole then got a Heli-Coil and then the manifold could be mounted properly.

Just keep in mind to be patient and if one of those bolts is stuck, be methodical and careful.
 

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I'm in no hurry to do the header. That might be 3 years down the road. I'll probably just do a full exhaust from the manifold back (downpipe, cat delete, and 2.5" exhaust). I'm sure I'd get some decent gains from a long tube header, not to mention weight reduction off the front. But I can be patient.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey, thanks for the great pics! We appear to be on exactly the same project.

Sorry for the late response, I happened to be driving up in Oklahoma, away from my forum discussion, buying landscaping rocks for the garden. And low and behold, I passed through Madill Oklahoma, and saw a perfect 1970 240 Z sitting there. My son and I jumped out to see the car, and noticed that there were 10 more inside the building where it was parked. This turns out to be the headquarters for the 240 Z guild. It was an amazing coincidence. we got to speak with a real guru on Zcars (... Not that you guys aren’t). And even more amazing, is that they had my exact 1980, 280 ZX, 10th anniversary edition, black gold, with only 26 original miles, in perfect condition, sitting inside the show room. Even have the original tires.
Did not expect to see any of that today.
 

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First, is there a market for this Limited Edition car?

In my restoration efforts, should I endeavor to keep it bone stock, or make improvements to the engine and drivetrain, interior etc., have fun with it?

Or, should I try to restore it, keeping all the 1980 emissions intact, free of headers, etc?

3 groups/philosophies:

1) Of course there are the “purists”, that would pay top dollar for a perfect car. At the moment, I’m a long way off from satisfying those guys; due to paint and body, and undercarriage, floor pan.

2) The next level down may be interested, because the car is “complete”, and in pretty decent shape, runs great.

3) And  finally the next level, would be shooting for the group that only cares about the “ZX”, and NOT the limited edition 10th anniversary model. I could make sensible mods and upgrades: make it a fast, reliable, good handling, daily driver, and even quite a bit of fun at the track.

I don’t necessarily need to sell it, unless it just makes sense to do so.

If I keep it, I will probably want to make it a fun, daily driver.

I’m trying to decide between these three groups, because the car could fit into any of these three groups.

This initial decision (“premium stock”, “as- is stock”, or “resto-mod”), will THEN determine where the time, and energy, and effort, and money go. For example, at the moment, I have removed the old rusty exhaust system from the catalytic converter rearward, and I need a new exhaust system; and so if I’m going to go with the headers and some engine upgrades, that will determine whether or not to abandon the “bone stock” idea.

So you see where I’m going with this post.

I have enjoyed restoring it up to this point, but I’m to the point now, where it’s running quite well, and I need to make these other, more comprehensive decisions.

Your thoughts?
I'd vote for fixing the car where you enjoy it, while hanging on the parts that would restore it to factory setup. if the value goes up in the future, and you wish to sell, a prospective buyer could go back on any mods you make.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I’m usually a pretty decisive person; but this is been a tough decision.

I’m kind of leaning towards fixing it up the way I like it; but not doing anything, so radical or bizarre, that can’t be undone.

An improved car, with more horsepower, and better handling, and a box of stock parts in the corner of the garage (just in case). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that?

i’ve gotten all kinds of advice, across the entire spectrum, on this and other sites. I understand the cheesy “Star Wars” nature of the ZX, but at the same time it also has some pretty cool appeal. I get advice from 240 enthusiasts, as well as ZX enthusiasts. All true.

The rub is that a man only has so much time, to be doing these kinds of projects solo. Yes, money is a factor, space is a little bit of a factor,( in case there were other projects on 240s or 280s or other types of cars). But there is no rush (or need) to sell it, and I am enjoying the project so far, and I have sufficient space to hang onto it... at least for a little while and enjoy it. Once you get them going, they’re pretty easy to maintain.

anyway, don’t mean to ramble. I certainly enjoy the input, and the advice, and the opinions. Thanks for participating!
 

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First, is there a market for this Limited Edition car?

In my restoration efforts, should I endeavor to keep it bone stock, or make improvements to the engine and drivetrain, interior etc., have fun with it?

Or, should I try to restore it, keeping all the 1980 emissions intact, free of headers, etc?

3 groups/philosophies:

1) Of course there are the “purists”, that would pay top dollar for a perfect car. At the moment, I’m a long way off from satisfying those guys; due to paint and body, and undercarriage, floor pan.

2) The next level down may be interested, because the car is “complete”, and in pretty decent shape, runs great.

3) And  finally the next level, would be shooting for the group that only cares about the “ZX”, and NOT the limited edition 10th anniversary model. I could make sensible mods and upgrades: make it a fast, reliable, good handling, daily driver, and even quite a bit of fun at the track.

I don’t necessarily need to sell it, unless it just makes sense to do so.

If I keep it, I will probably want to make it a fun, daily driver.

I’m trying to decide between these three groups, because the car could fit into any of these three groups.

This initial decision (“premium stock”, “as- is stock”, or “resto-mod”), will THEN determine where the time, and energy, and effort, and money go. For example, at the moment, I have removed the old rusty exhaust system from the catalytic converter rearward, and I need a new exhaust system; and so if I’m going to go with the headers and some engine upgrades, that will determine whether or not to abandon the “bone stock” idea.

So you see where I’m going with this post.

I have enjoyed restoring it up to this point, but I’m to the point now, where it’s running quite well, and I need to make these other, more comprehensive decisions.

Your thoughts?
I have owned a 260Z and now have a 10th anniversary #33. On any other Z I would say that mods are great, but these are getting harder and harder to find in good condition. The are beautiful cars as is. I am going through mine as I have time and leaving it as close to stock as possible. Everywhere I go with mine people come up to tell me their story of a Z in their life. I stop to get gas and people ask if they can take a picture. It is part of history. Enjoy it as is!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I agree with you Mike. I have the same experiences everywhere I go. People are interested!

Here’s a question for you: if you could make suspension improvements, and engine improvements, that are basically invisible (to the average observer), maintaining a bone stock appearance, with the exterior and the interior, and even under the hood, maintaining the stock fuel injection and other components, would you do it?

I guess where I’m going with this is: I don’t want my beautiful, cool, sporty Z, to handle worse than my 1998 Honda Civic, and have less pep than my 1998 Honda Civic. The Z deserves better!

It’s true, These cars have appreciated in value over time; but not like the 240 or even the 260, or various 280s. The (10th Anniv) ZX is sort of an unappreciated stepchild. I know there are a number of horrible mods that can be done to any car that will destroy all classic value. I don’t really want to go there.

These discussions are good, before the money and time start flowing. Also, there are some issues (floor pan ) with my car, that will probably prevent it from ever being worth top “10th anniversary“ value (again, which isn’t that much). And knowing this, causes me to lean more towards improving upon the original design, at least in ways that are basically invisible, that only enhance the pleasure of driving it.
 
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