May 23, 2013 update to the Nissan 350Z project car

First Fixes for our Fairlady Z

Our Z came with Volk wheels and Tein coil overs–not a bad start!
A small piece of duct tape is a perfect temporary fix for our bad window motor.
New gas lift struts should have our hatch staying up all by itself.
The passenger-side window moulding had seen better days–luckily the car came with a replacement.
Nissan made radio theft easy, as the entire assembly is held in with only two screws.
Normally we don't like air-fresheners, but our Z's interior needed a bit of an attitude adjustment.

We’d much rather replace trim pieces than do major mechanical work!

Our 350Z was bought cheap and over the internet, so naturally we discovered a few things wrong with it once we hopped in and started driving. Nothing major is broken (we were pleasantly surprised with the car’s overall condition), but like with any 10-year-old car, a few things need to be fixed.

First and foremost is the passenger window, which lowered half an inch every time we went over a bump. Our temporary fix was to tape the window switch in the up position, which made the window raise half an inch with every new bump. After a quick internet search, we decided the window motor was the culprit, and ordered a new one at Autozone for $135. The driver’s window works fine, but we’re still going to remove the door panel and try to fix a niggling rattle in he door. The car came with a new passenger-side window moulding, which we installed in place of the original (broken) moulding in about 5 minutes.

The second major issue is the rear hatch, which has an annoying habit of not popping open when the button is pressed, and not staying open the few times it does lift up. We diagnosed the problem as worn-out gas lift struts, and ordered a new set on Amazon for $60.

Third, the radio doesn’t receive any stations. We pulled the dash apart (a 5-minute job in a Z-car) and found everything to be wired correctly. Dumbfounded, we then realized that the car’s antenna was missing. Amazon once again came to the rescue, and had a new antenna for $16 with free shipping.

Fourth, the factory viscous limited-slip differential doesn’t seem to be working, and the transmission occasionally grinds going into 5th gear. We ordered some Redline oil in hopes that changing the fluids will help with these issues.

Fifth, the car needs to be thoroughly cleaned inside and out. We’ll need to detail the Z when we’re fixing all its other issues.

Overall, though, we’re amazed at how much comfort and performance we scored for the low, low price of $8,000. We’d much rather replace trim pieces than do major mechanical work, so in our opinion we got off easy. Once all the parts arrive, we’ll dig further into the car as we install them.

Stay tuned as we transition from repairing common problems in a used car to modifying the Z for track use.

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