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Discussion Starter #1
An 83 280zx, everything is peachy but cylinder #1 (or one cylinder, I wasn't clear on this) has low compression (I still have to find out how low), but still runs. Car has plenty of modifications. My question lies in this: I know that I can buy another engine for 'relatively' cheap, but wouldn't it be a better option to just replace the ring or whatever it is the problem with the cylinder (the guy thinks the ring is getting old...with 155K miles it is :p).

I'm new to the Z scene and have wanted one for awhile, and only recently got the opportunity to buy one, so please forgive these questions :)
 

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Tough to come up with a recommendation with just the info you have given us.

The engine probably needs some more detailed diagnostics to determine the extent of the problem. Can you fix it yourself or will you be paying retail prices to fix? Is this going to be your daily driver or a toy for weekends and such? How's the condition of the car (rust?) What's the condition of the interior and paint? Is the price good? 155k isn't unreasonable.
 

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I have read this somewhere. If you can get to the car to do a compression check on the cylinder that is producing low numbers. Warm the car up and do the compression check. then squirt a little motor oil in the spark plug hole and re-test the compression. If it comes up to the numbers of the rest of the cylinders then it is more than likely the ring. If not it is probably something else like the valves.

When looking at a Z (especially a first gen) you can't look at it as you would a new car. You have to expect that some things will need fixing. Honestly when I bought my 72 the lack of rust was more important to me than the compression of the engine. But like Willie said you have to weigh the problems against your ability to fix them yourself.
 

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Curious-Of all the things that could cause low compression on one cylinder, the rings are among the least likely. It's more likely a head gasket, broken valve or holed piston. You're gonna have to give us "more input" before anyone can make a good guess.
Things to look for: water in oil (hard to see water in oil but you can see the sludge that forms. Oil in water, look for greasey stuff in overflow bottle. If the engine doesn't idle smoothly and accellerate smoothly. Cold starting. Any sign of leaks on or around the engine. Oil or greasy coating in the exhaust pipe.
Drive the car, any hesitation or stumble? Does it start well when cold?
Let us know what you find out.
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys! I'll find out all this information in a week or two when I go to look at the car. This car will probably be mostly a toy, but see driving several times a week. I don't know if I can do the work on the engine myself, although the guy who is selling the car is giving me not only a shop manual for it, but one of those books that details how to rebuild the engine. The car itself is in good condition with no rust (although I still want to see for my own eyes), but the front airdam has a crack in it. The interior is currently out of the car since the guy was going to dynomat (sound deading) the interior of the car, but is in good condition and complete (plus extra parts from another car with a different color interior..he wanted to mix and match). The seats are racing seats, though. The paint is in passable condition but would probably look better with a repaint. The asking price is $3500, which when I consider all the mods he's added to the car and all the extra pieces he's giving in (mostly performance modifications) makes good sense to me except for the fact I don't know how bad the engine is off. Maybe it's a bit high with the engine needing work?
 
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