Z32 Purchasing 300ZX - need advice

Discussion in 'Non Technical' started by Ian McParlane, Dec 28, 2021.

  1. Ian McParlane

    Ian McParlane New Member

    I am a new member (as at yesterday), and want to purchase a 300ZX Z32 1990 auto. Need advice:
    1. What faults/issues should I look out for?
    2. Is a Turbo the best option?
    3. Have found a 1990 model with the 1995 Anniversary kit fitted by Nissan - is this a good option.
    MickW likes this.
  2. FITZ

    FITZ Active Member

    I apply this to EVERY car i inspect. Overall straightness and paint condition to start with. I then Start from the bottom up. Check rails as 90s Nissans are very weak, check the pinch welds (emergency jacking joints) these crush easy through incorrect jacking. Can also cause mis alignment between guards / door. Check underneath Rad. support. Check inside guards / strut towers for damage / repair / rust. Check bolt heads on guards (1 inside door), check seam seal on Rad. support. Check inside spare wheel for damage / repair / rust.
    Rear hatch spoiler, if none look hard for poor repair from removal. Itl rust from the inside out.
    Engine, service or receipts? Timing belt last changed? Check how clean all fluids are. Listen for any rattles from vct. Look for any oil leaks etc. Check for any hesistation under load... Shifts smoothly etc.
    Electrical connectors from age and heat go brittle.
    Check carpets, seats for wear (can be a good indication of kms)
    Ive personally viewed gtrs with 70,000kms with worn out seats, carpets, boots etc.
    Dash lift from dimistor vents etc
    If all ticks the boxes depending on when it was imported to Australia you maybe able to get some background infomation from Japan. From Auction to registration. (Every 2years kms are documented).

    These are old cars, they were once VERY cheap with high maintaince costs. Many did not maintain or use quality parts.

    Other things you can check but is not a deal breaker are S2 PTU, weather strips.

    Interesting the owner had Nissan fit the kit, could only imagine the middleman $$$ .
  3. FITZ

    FITZ Active Member

    Yes the turbo is a better option as these are slowly becoming a classic. Worth more long term. Id also confirm this by the build plate. This will tell you engine, trans, options, colour and trim.
  4. Ian McParlane

    Ian McParlane New Member

    Hi, thanks so much for the detailed response. It is much appreciated.

  5. FITZ

    FITZ Active Member

    No worries, Ive only recently got back into a Z after many years myself. Havent regretted it! Goodluck
    ztothebone likes this.
  6. lidz

    lidz Well-Known Member

    Have a good look in the Tech Section, there's a section on purchasing with a bit of info, definitely a good start.


    Turbo / NA depends on what you want I think, an NA is still a very enjoyable cruiser & you'll likely get better condition vs a TT for your money.
    TT will likely be the more valuable option (generally, obviously depends on condition) but will also cost you a bit more to get into now.

    Your third option sounds like its an Australian Delivered if the '95 kit was fitted by Nissan (take it with a grain of salt that claim though unless documented). The '95 25th Anniversary special editions sold by Nissan Australia are pretty collectable now (all the Aus-spec's are going that way too), they featured Stillen body kits which can be purchased still.
    All Aus-specs will be NA, 2+2's with Targa roofs, they came in both manual & auto.

    Good luck finding a great one!
  7. rob260

    rob260 Administrator Staff Member

    There is a checklist available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1K_tyJfytt-3lOUNUyXhtuW5ppy1wbLFv/view?usp=sharing that you can download and use as a guide when inspecting a vehicle. I can't take credit for it and I don't remember where it originally came from but it seems fairly thorough although perhaps missing some pages. But hey it's a starting point.

    If you don't have the necessary tools or know how to carry out checks yourself consider paying somebody to inspect it for you; a couple of hundred $$ up front could potentially save you thousands in the long run.

    It depends on how you define best.

    In my humble opinion they are the most fun to drive. A short wheelbase (2 seats), manual, turbocharged sports car is a real pleasure to put through it's paces.

    However if you are looking for return on investment the cars that seem to to be appreciating most significantly are the Australian Delivered vehicles which will be 2+2 and Normally Aspirated.

    I think Tim's already covered this pretty well. If it can be confirmed as a 25th Anniversary Edition then yes that would certainly be desireable to a collector.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2022
  8. geron

    geron National Petroleum Equipm

    What faults/issues should I look out for?

    If it's a Twin Turbo, ask if any of the water hoses have been changed or not, especially inside the plenum and in hard to reach locations such as behind the motor.
    There are a lot of water hoses around the plenum and around the engine going to the turbos and after nearly 30yrs one or two might let go at the most inconvenient time.

    If anything, this is the one thing that I would be concerned about should everything else check out, OK.
    Next area of concern would be the turbos. Approx. 30yo turbos, keep that in mind. Take it for a drive and let the car sit idle for a bit after that and check for plumes of smoke. If smoke, Turbo(s) are shot.

    Else, perhaps look for a non turbo 300Z not as much fun in a straight line but it's the twisties that are most fun IMO and they have plenty of power for that!
    I suggest to get the cleanest Z you find. New parts are becoming rare and so are good second hand ones.
  9. geron

    geron National Petroleum Equipm

    Also check for vibrations while doing about 80-100k/hr. This will indicate a worn out center bearing in the tail shaft.

    Should you decide to purchase a 'good condition' Z, If not already done, at some stage, I recommend to change the water hoses, change the fan viscous clutch coupling to ensure the cooling system is working as it should and do a plenum water bypass and fit a one piece tailshaft from Shaft Masters USA if you can. This will ensure it will be a trouble free and smooth Z for a very long time.

    The least headache Z, is the non turbo variant.
  10. MickW

    MickW Carntry member...

    Some members have posted very good advice above but I think the advice assumes that you're an amateur mechanic.
    I don't want to be a killjoy but do you have any mechanical skills, have you actually worked on any cars before?
    Buyers checklists and previous service histories / mechanical reports can only go so far on a 30 + year old car.
    Things WILL break, and mechanics who know these cars are a bit of a Holy Grail these days.
    Martin Williams likes this.
  11. Harts

    Harts Active Member

    Be prepared to pay to play, the 300ZX is a unique beast and very rewarding. Many of the things that make it unique, make it complicated and it will require a good maintenance regime to keep running well.

    Most Z32's you find will not have had the maintenance required to keep them going, for an extended period of time. You must be prepared to either spend good money upfront for a rare, well maintenance example or spend big money later to sort a troublesome one out. I have read a few posts stating the Z32 is as expensive to properly maintain as a Porsche, I had to chuckle.

    Heat is the enemy, engine bay heat will have made the harness cables brittle, many may have intermittent faults already, harness boots degrade and fall away and harness pins corrode. The 300ZX is overly complicated and faults can be challenging to chase up. Hoses, water and power steering, will have perished from the same heat if they have not been maintained, just the hose replacements will cost thousands.

    But! The Z32 still features fantastic OEM and aftermarket support, you will find that you can purchase 90% of OEM parts brand new, and just about anything in the aftermarket. This makes ownership far easier to manage if you can carry the cost.

    Properly sorting out these cars is an investment, but once sorted, a very rewarding car to own. I don't know of any japanese car from the era that sounds the same as the exotic purr of the VG30, it burbles and growls like a small block V8 down low and above 2900RPM it absolutely sings. I have owned RBs and SRs, no straight 6 or 4 engine note compares to the V6 of the Z32.

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