A few months ago, another 1983 280ZX came our way that looked very similar to the one we recently completed.  What we had was an original owner, 1983 280ZX Turbo coupe, automatic with 55,000 original miles. It was all complete and had not been on the road for 10+ years. Luckily, the car was stored in an enclosed garage, away from the elements. 

1983 280ZXT Restoration before

The brake calipers were frozen and the suspension bushings were tired. The interior was silver leather/black vinyl, low back seats with black dash and trim. Body was in very good condition with minimal rust and the typical door dents from the years in a garage. The muffler was rusted out and there were turbo ignition issues.

We were commissioned with a full restoration including re-plating and detailing the engine and fuel components - basically bringing the car back to where it was in 1983.

We started with the engine leak down test to get an idea of what the engine looked like. Amazingly, all cylinders had better compression than most non-turbo engines we see, but we found a need to replace rod and main bearings (preventative mostly). More on this later.

1983 280ZXT Rear Brakes

The engine, exhaust, brakes and suspension were removed for rebuild. We stripped the suspension components pressed in new rubber bushings and repainted the parts. New calipers, rotors, pads, bearings and hardware were installed. The exhaust was removed, separated and the catalytic converter and rear muffler section were replaced with factory replacements. Then stripped, sanded and painted with high temp silver paint.

1983 280ZXT Exhaust

While we were working on the underside, we were also working on the engine and engine related components. We decided to replace all the engine gaskets and while we were repainting the block and oil pan. While we had the oil pan off we checked on the rods and mains and found some wear. So, we removed the crank had it polished, and replaced the bearings. The timing chain and seals were also replaced  while we were in there and the cylinder head was checked for warpage.

280ZXT Engine Pulled

280ZXT Engine Rebuilt

All fuel, cooling, emissions and engine compartment parts were bagged and tagged to be stripped and re-plated with a yellow or silver chromate.  Many of these parts were in very good condition due to the generous undercoating applied to the engine compartment and body. It takes a lot more work to remove the old undercoating but it's easier than replacing rusted clamps and brackets.

So we had made some good headway on this old 280ZX, but had a lot of work left to do.  Stay tuned for more to come!