I'm a RX7 guy, but just bought my first 300ZX today!
After years of buying and restoring first generation RX7's I have finally got the "Z" bug and purchased a N/A 1988 300ZX (auto) tonight. I'd been looking for a new project and was going to do another "7", but I kept seeing this 300 on Craigslist and curiosity got the best of me.
THE GOOD: The car was owned by a real nice 17 year old. The body is absolutely perfect with zero dents or scratches save a few stone chips on the front valance. The car must have been garaged it's whole life as the original paint looks perfect. The interior is also near perfect except for a very small tear on the upper driver door panel and faded hatch carpet. Even the T-top storage bags are still with the car.
THE BAD: From what I have heard and can see, the rubber gasket from one of the driver side injectors cracked from age. This in turn let a small amount of fuel leak out onto the head. The result as you can guess was a very small flash fire that thankfully was put out very quickly. The only visible damage done was a slight burning of the under hood insulation and the melting of a few wires that run along the side of the engine. Prior to this mishap I was told the car ran great with no issues, however the car will not start now. It will run if starting fluid is manually injected, so obviously it isn't getting any fuel. My thought is that the wires that were fried control either the injectors or the fuel pump.
Yeah, I realize that my purchase was a total gamble since I can't be certain the extent of the problem. However, I got this car for the paltry sum if $650. A gamble worthy of the risk. I figure that at worst, the entire engine is toast and will need to be replaced. I have sourced one from a local recycler for $700. So even if I have to replace the engine I figure a perfect bodied 300Z is worth the total of about $1500 and a few days of my time. So, I am feeling pretty good about the deal.
The questions I have are petty straight forward. I have a pretty goods grasp of the rotary engine and what is worth doing and not worth doing to it, but could use done advice on this one. (btw, the car has about 141,000 on it). So here are the questions:
1: My initial plan is to go ahead and cut out the burnt wires and splice in new, carefully soldering and shrink wrapping the repair. This seems to be the most cost effective way to repair this damage as only about 4"of wiring was damaged. I guess I could try to source a new harness, but something tells me that both cost and actually replacement will be expensive and difficult to do. Any thoughts?
2: There is some repair documentation with the car, but nothing I see leads me to think that the car has had a timing belt replacement in the last few years. I would guess that the engine is of the interference design and I don't want to risk a catastrophic failure if the belt gives up the ghost, so I plan on replacing it right away. Engine bay access looks really tight and I am wondering if I should pull the engine to clean everything up and give it a good look over. How difficult is it to replace the timing belt with the engine in place and would a engine pull be worth it to take care of preventative maintenance issues? I don't have to pull the engine, but can if it would be worth it. Would having the engine out greatly ease a preventative overhaul or should I not bother and live with some scrapped knuckles?
3: I am looking forward to this new challenge, but could use any advice on what to look out for, what to replace because I should, or any other pieces of advice you think might be helpful at this stage.
4: If the car was running fine prior to this small fire and the only damage I can see is to the wiring it should stand to reason that once the wiring is repaired the car should fire up and run like it did pre-BBQ. The kid told me (and I verified this with receipts) that all of the injectors on the driver's side were replaced, along with new gaskets. The injectors on the passenger's side were tested and found to be in good order. Any thoughts on what else might have been damaged or anything I need to pay particular attention to while fixing the problem?
That's about it for now. I am sure over the next few weeks and months I will be a regular here trying to get all kinds of technical advice. I would like to thank everyone in advance for your help!