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I just purchased a 1981 280ZX Turbo. I've wanted one of these Z-Cars for 20 yrs. Now I got one, but I'm at the bottom of Africa! Not the place to be if I want to get parts. Shipping from the US is very expensive. Luckily, I don't anticipate having to replace much. I've had many cars in the last 24 yrs, so know a little...but not really a motorhead. Living in Africa, you often have to be creative when making repairs or restoring something like this.

I have 2 main concerns. Biggest is the rear suspension. It seems as if the rear springs or shocks or both (are they struts?) are shot. The car dips way back with the slightest push on the gas. I will not find a mechanic in this neck of the woods who has ever seen one of these cars. I stopped at a suspension shop today, and the guy said I would have to order the manual for the car from Nissan, then he would look at working on the suspension. If it is, in fact, the rear shocks, I heard you can take them apart & replace the oil with 40w cycle shock oil. Am wondering how this is done. Can I do this myself? Do I need a welder for this job. How do ya know how much oil to put in?

Is my problem the springs? The struts? I found 2 rear shocks for it on the web going for $400. Does this sound right? I have to be able to tell these mechanics here what to do, and how to do it. They are willing to try, but I have to have specific instructions how to go about making this car not dip back liek it does.

The other thing is the exhaust. I was told by 2 different garage guys today that the exhaust must be replaced with 2 1/2" and a flo-through type muffler installed. Both guys said the turbo is being restricted by having the 1 /34" pipes & normal muffler on. The car doesn't seem to go as fast as I thought it would. Motor & everything looks about perfect. Always serviced by a big Nissan dealer up in Johannesburg, but I am 18 hrs away from Joburg. Has 100k on the clock. Bright red....looks original. Probably a $5,000 car in the States. I'm from Arizona, and have looked at them in the Auto Trader many times over the years before getting stuck way over here.

I also need that little plastic dish that inserts just behind the automatic shifter...and the thin metal plate-thing that goes around the shifter area. Need another door that goes under the glovebox. This is the right hand-drive model.

I'd appreciate any help someone can give me. I'd like to make this thing go as fast as it should, without spending too much money, and get it to perfect original condition.

My biggest concern is the rear suspension. How can I make it stiff when I take off (or back to close to original) as cheaply as possible. Spending $500 on the rear suspension is not an option. Must cost much less, I would think, to get it to ride normally.

Thanks,

Mike
 
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Mike,

I own an 83ZXT. Had the same dipping problem. A good set of shocks stopped it. I went with KYB on the 83. You should not pay more then $100-150 for a set of rear shocks. Any more than that and you're making someone rich. Hold off on the springs until you see what the shocks do. You probably don't need springs. With regard to performance, a 2.5 exhaust will help but very little unless you improve the intake system. A 6, 9 or 12 inch K&N filtercone wil dramatically improve response and performance. At least it did on mine. Can't help you with the other stuff. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any other questions. Good luck. John
 

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What part of Africa are you in and how did you get "stuck" there? As far as your suspension problems, I think your best bet would be to get a Motorsport Auto (MSA) catalog at #1-800-633-6331 or a Victotia British catalog at #1-800-255-0088. You can get an idea of prices before you get ripped off by unscrupulous characters on the "web".
 
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