The Sports Car of Sports Cars
Click on Thumbnails (at top and bottom) for Larger Versions
The Twin Turbo Z32 is whole different car from any other Z, but carries with it the Z Legacy of incredible ingenuity and adaptability. It is the all-around sports car -- great power, great handling, great looks. When it was delivered to the world, and when other's tried to copy, it remained the car reviewers said would stand the test of time. It would continue to turn heads forever.
On Memorial Day, 2005, I was driving with the family in Heber to the Midway Railway (a kids train ride a local resident has been running for year, free of charge). We were going down a big dip in the road. About 1/4 mile ahead, I saw something red sticking it's nose out. I said to Becky, "Hey, that looks like a Z." As we got closer I was getting excited. "If it's for sale, I'm going to look at it." It so happens that at this time we had a little extra around in the piggy bank. I was slowing down a bit and as the view of the car became more clear, sure enough, it was a Z. And sure enough, it was for sale.
I stopped the car and looked. First things first - gotta check to make sure it's manual and a Twin Turbo. Manual? Check. TT? Check! "Ah, we're INTERESTED!" In the window was a printout of an EDMUNDS.com price guide. The car was listed as a '91 TT for $10,500 and the guy was selling it for $8900. So, I check the miles. "ARE YOU KIDDING!", I thought, as I saw 67K miles on it! "WE'RE IN BUSINESS!" I checked around - paint is really good. Nothing wrong with the body (except for a bunch of DUMMY DENTS, and I mean a bunch).
I called the number listed for the car because I'm ready to test drive it. The dude was really nice, but not at home. He said he could be home in about an hour. So, we took the kids to the train and thereafter go to check out the Z. Turn out my wife knows the family (Heber/Midway being her hometown). So, the relationship starts out nicely. The guy is obviously honest - dentist, family man, respected, super-nice. So, we take it out for a spin...I asked him questions about the history. He tells me it had 30,000 miles when he bought it in 1994. He put just over 3K per year on it for 10 years - and the last two years were about 500 miles. He just doesn't drive it. He lives in a wintery area and would not drive it to his office (only a few miles away) because they don't have garaged parking! It's just getting better and better. I asked him about maintanence. He tells me the only thing he has done to the car is oil changes...never once has he had it services. Normally this wouldn't be good to hear, but when you hear what's next, oil changes is ALL I WANT to have had done on the car. He tells me he has driven the car 100 MPH only once! It was on a country road while driving it to his winter storage in Wyoming...he drove up a mile stretch checking for cops, then back, then back again...he hit 100, then slowed down. He said it was exciting! Wow, babied - just oil. No brake pads (still in excellent shape), no fluid changes, no tires - NOTHING! That's all good news. Most people who own a TT thrash them by driving like idiots. I'm more of the type who drives lightly MOST OF THE TIME and uses the power only "when needed" : ) NO MODS ON THE CAR - it was 100% stock all the way down to the stereo and small rip in the driver's left-side leather (very common).
So, it's a done deal pretty much. I talk him down to $8,500 so I came out around $8,900 after sales tax. So yes, the deal got even better. I had to do only a few things when I got it. There was a broken driver's side rear-marker, AIV's were making noise, and of course a 60K maintenance. The previously installed tint had gone purple and was bubbling, so I had that replaced with some modern stuff (which of course "disabled" the rear defrost lines). Since then I have done quite a few unnecessary things and a few necessary things. It needed rear tires - did that. Here are pictures of the car when I first brought it home.
I threw on an upgraded exhaust (original was a bit worn and had some holes), intake, JWT ECU, and a boost and fuel pressure gauge. I replaced the #1 injector while troubleshooting detonation - that injector was the only one out of spec. The detonation turned out to be the gas stations I was using - EXXON fixed the problem. I put in a nice ALPINE MP3 unit, replaced the stock (flush mount) spoiler with a JSPEC replica (the stock spoiler was rotting out within a year just from being outside instead of garaged), and replaced the shift boot/eBrake cover with leather. The center console/arm rest was recovered with leather and the small tear in the driver's side seat was fixed.
The stock clutch started to go out after 15K miles on in Stage III power - this is pretty good considering the stock Twin Turbo clutch is weak, hardly good enough for the stock 300 HP. I had SpecialtyZ in So. Cal do the work - replaced the clutch with an RPS Street Clutch, lightened RPS segmented flywheel, replaced 02 sensors, turbo downpipes, and adjustable front arms. Ended up having to get new front tires on this trip. I more recently replaced the UPPER CONTROL ARMS, steering rack bushings (went to urethane) and then reworked the braking system (all fluid, rotors, pads, and went to stainless steel braided lines). The lower radiator hose was replaced with a solid replacement (stock tend to collaspse). Last, I replaced the shifter with a short-shifter - A HUGE IMPROVEMENT for looks and shifting. That's it - car is now at 81,000 (4/1/05) (85,000 in 2/06 -- been having too much fun cleaning and modding this sucker).
I am the third owner of this Z. Engine compression is 135-140 per cyliner (which equates to 155 since I'm at 4500 ft. altitude). Everything feels tight -- have a bit of an issue with high end power that I'm trying to solve. It may just be time to replace the remaining 4 injectors that are original.
There have been a few necessary things to fix since I've owned the Z (2 injectors) -- and of course, maintenence and other items I replaced since the original was bugging me (timing belt, tune-up, exhaust, and a crap load of little stuff).
I've only run on a track once. Don't make fun of my 14.1 @ 4400 ft. elevation - aside from knowing I suck, the NHRA Elevation Equivalent puts that around 13.6. I'm hoping to POST below 13.5 on my next try which would be around 13 flat with NHRA elevation factor.
Immaculate, Handles/Runs Like New, Loads of Fun! The Nissan Z is the loved and honored Japanese sports car, pioneering the way for other import sports cars, and was made better than ever with the release of the Z32 Twin Turbo. 300 hp, 2960cc (3 liter) Twin-Turbocharged V6, 4-Wheel Steering (HICAS), electronically adjusted suspension, and so much more. Read on for more on this Z...
Recently (67K) had 60K maintenance (timing belt, water pump, all accessory belts, tune-up, etc). All other normal maintanence has been kept up with, too. Every works as it should. Stainless, 4" tips, Courtesy Nissan exhaust system was recently installed ($800). Car now has 85K on it (I've put on about 6K per year - lots of "down-time" doing mods, cleaning, and for winter).
Spoiler replaced with a JSpec (Japanese) '99 verison. Rear windows, hatch glass, and door windows tinted with lifetime, modern tint ($200). Leather shift knob was a bit worn out, so I replaced it. I will incude with the sale a very nice, new set of leather shift and brake boots purchased from Courtesy Nissan (about $just never installed them). The stock boots are in pretty good shape, but the shift boot has some wear.
An autometer boost gauge ($65), electronic fuel pressure gauge ($200), and JWT Pop Charger ($100) were installed for performance upgrades. I have a JWT ECU (computer) in the car and am running running a solid 15 lbs of boost (which makes the car about 380 hp). Stock setup has solid boost right at 11 lbs (according to boost gauge). Rear tires replaced recently. All tires have plenty of tread left. Paint is original Aztec Red in great condition.
Currently has an expensive Alpine MP3 stereo installed - has two 8" Kicker subs in custom 300zx boxes. The installed stereo and the stock stereo both sound great (BOSE). Suspsenion is great - adjustable (sport/touring) switch works and you can feel the difference. 4 wheel steering (HICAS) is good. Lots of pictures...check 'em out.
Upgraded both pads and rotors. I have an entire page dedicated to the work I did --- see links above.
Cosmetic: Leather interior is near perfect (just a little dry). No splits! The center console lid (originally cloth) was recovered with matching leather.
Removal of spoiler left some marks in the paint and some holes from the spoiler clips - was quoted $280 to repaint and fill holes. Removal of the spoiler required a new center tail light assembly (~$120) to be installed (the part that has the "Nissan" and "Twin Turbo" stickers on it and runs the length of the back end).
You should see in pictures above the "scars" left from removing the factory spoiler (stupid double-sided sticky foam!) The little circle caps are there to seal the holes until officially sealed and painted. Under the spoiler there are four more holes (less visible) and a white line (paint imperfection) where the front of the spoiler was attached.
The front fascia (bumper cover) has some scuffing on the very bottom and a 2", repairable crack on the passenger side (see picture for indication). Engine bay is not perfect, but is very clean for 75K. There was no intention of making it a showroom car, but the car is very clean all the way around. Other interior (door, carpets, mats, etc) are all great. There is a 4-5" split in the cargo cover that needs to be repaired.
There are several small "dummy dents" around the sides of the car (could not get a detailed shot of those, minor problem). This is a UTAH car, but be assured that it was ALWAYS garaged, washed, and that the body is in near perfect shape. I am unaware of any rust problems. Previous owner (Dentist) drove to and from work (1 mile) and garaged the car when snow was present and told me he only took it to 100 once on a deserted back road. New owner, me, is self-employed, has put 20K miles on the car. It takes 7 minutes for me to get to a freeway and the road is cop infested and 25 mph most the way there...read: "Babied miles"
Mechanical: To my knowledge, there is nothing mechanically wrong with this car. It runs perfectly. Starts right up in cold or warm weather. No misfire. Smooth idle. Engine runs strong, transmission shifts effortlessly, clutch feels strong, and everything is tight. No known oil leaks/nothing coming from the bottom (engine, transmission, or differential). Transmission fluid was recently drained and refilled. This car is loved, not abused and driven softly, not hard. Anything I recognize to be out of the norm was attended to (a rear side marker, radiator cap, and other little things were replaced). Passes emissions and safety without a hitch. The power steering pump and rack may be on the way out -- not sure.
Engine Bay: The engine bay was pretty clean when I purchased the car. However, it certainly was not perfect. Until I have reason to do a plenum pull, many parts of the engine itself will remain with oil, dirt, and grime. It is common advice to avoid pressure washing the Z because of all the spots that engine collecting water and for the fact that many harnesses can be ruined by water corrosion. I did quite a bit of work to clean what I have. I used a weed killer pressure bottle (cheap, $8 manaul type) that you can get at HOME DEPOT with HOT tap water and Simple Green to attack first. Then toothbrushes and lots of water to clean and wash away as I went. Several applications of the Simple Green and some time to work and the bay got pretty clean. For bare metal parts, you can use a worn down scotch pad and mild Simple Green solution --- works wonders (though the pits in the plenum finish can stay dirty). Then, I dried what I could with paper towels and then used compressed air (compressor and blow-gun) to get water out of tough spots.
I know that my engine bay is not the cleanest out there by any means. But, for basically very little money and time, you can go from dirty to presentable. It's well worth your time and effort. I did a lot of extra cleaning around the sides of the plenum when I had my IC hoses removed for installation of my boost controller.
A few simple accessories and processes clean the engine bay up quickly. Here's what I've done:
SAMCO INTERCOOLER HOSES plus new clamps (I had to use some worm because of SAMCO's being short, but used T-Bolt otherwise)
NEW "OIL CHANGE" INTERVAL STICKER (Nissan, about $1.50)
STAINLESS STEEL BOLT KIT (ask me if you are interested in purchase -- I'll get you contact info)
SILICONE HOSES (I used Red, Blue, and Black -- this was to denote different sizes in a writeup I did, and for a unique look)
NEW RADIATOR CAP
REMOVE AIV and PRVR SYSTEM (would not have done, personally, if I didn't have an ECU Upgrade with AIV DELETE)
I also installed the all ALUMINUM KOYO radiator with fancy polished CZP hold down bracket, but that's certainly more than a "dress up" kind of thing. I installed a grounding kit (made with instructions from twinturbo.info). I opted to connect using the GM side post on the battery. Only bad thing about this is that it requires me to remove TWO connections when disconneting ground for other reasons. Oh well.
Another nice, easy dress-up option is to paint a few things. I pulled the balance tube and IACV feed tube, prepped and painted them. While removed, you also have good access to some other parts on the plenum that you can clean up.
There were many areas in the bay that also had 15 year old COSMOLINE, a waxy substance that is sprayed onto the exterior of the car for protection during shipment (now replaced by the thin white film/plastic that you see on cars as they go down the road). The COSMOLINE was supposed to be cleaned off entirely from the car before selling. However, many nooks hold the cosmoline (ie, bolts, rails, other textured areas). Since the wax is pretty clear when new, it would be hard to notice when the car is new. But, after time, dirt, dust, sand, and oil start to collect to the cosmoline and create an awful, gummy mess. When I asked how to remove it, I was suggested many things. I first tried SIMPLE GREEN. Didn't get anywhere. Then I tried ORANGE CLEANER -- although it does clean, I would NOT RECOMMEND it or any other product that says it could remove paint. I have some "bare" spots now, where the red was removed and the white, primer shines through. My recommendation is to first thoroughly wash the car and wax it. This way, anything you do that spills on the exterior paint will be protected. Then I would first try some WD-40 applied to a soft toothbrush, washing away as you go. You don't want to continually brush this stuff because the trapped sand will quickly wear away surrounding paint. If this does not work, try a small spot steam cleaner. It's likely that you can heat the COSMOLINE as originally intended and just wipe it away.
Click on Thumbnails (at top and bottom) for Larger Versions