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Datsun 240Z Restoration:
Getting It Back On The Road

June 5, 2012 by Matt

Datsun 240Z Restoration Driveshaft Axle Shafts Halfshafts Diff Differential Subframe Rear Suspension Mustache Bar

Very sore today. I’ve been going full steam trying to get the Z back on the road before this Thursday, since it’s my son’s last day of 1st grade and I promised him I’d drive him to school in it.

The upshot is that after spending most of the last month “topside,” getting the engine running, these past few weeks have seen me mostly under the car, up to my elbows in dirty, cramped brake, clutch and driveline work.

In a nutshell, I’ve:

  • Replaced the clutch master cylinder, slave cylinder and rubber line
  • Replaced the brake master cylinder and rubber lines and rebuilt all four brakes
  • Replaced the transmission’s rear oil seal
  • Added new trans fluid (Red Line MT-90)
  • Replaced the differential cover gasket
  • Added new gear oil to the diff (Red Line 75W-90)

And now for some pictures:

Datsun 240Z Restoration Driveshaft Axle Shafts Halfshafts Diff Differential Subframe

These are all the parts that had to come off for me to be able replace the cover gasket on the diff. The axle shafts in particular were a bear to remove. More modern CV joints and circlips make life much easier.

Datsun 240Z Restoration Diff Differential R180 Crown Gear Carrier

The internals of the diff looked relatively unscathed after 40 years. However, to my recollection, there is a pronounced whine from the diff whilst driving, something that will be looked into further during the full restoration phase.

Datsun 240Z Restoration Diff Differential Gasket Breather Baffle Plate

Interesting find: There is a (apparently non-OEM) baffle for the diff breather sandwiched in between two cover gaskets. It was a bit annoying to have to order another gasket, but I’m glad it’s there.

Datsun 240Z Restoration Drum Brakes Rear Wheel Cylinder Piston Backing Plate

I despise drum brakes. Yes, I’ve heard all the arguments for how a disc conversion is expensive, and that my braking performance will likely actually decrease slightly, but to not have to deal with pulling off drums that are fused to the hub, or rebuild ornery wheel cylinders… I would pay quite a bit. And of course, there’s also the fact that discs just look better.

With any luck, I’ll have it on the road for a test drive tonight. Just need to bleed the clutch and brake systems and we’ll be good to go. Video (hopefully) forthcoming.

Update: (9:05 PM) The required brake bridge didn’t come in tonight, as promised. Frustrating. Won’t have a whole evening to tune it before Thursday, but…I’ll make the best of it. Disappointing.

Editor’s note: This post is Part 15 of an ongoing series chronicling my efforts toward the restoration of my 1972 Datsun 240Z, originally my father’s. Read the other installments here:

Filed under: 240Z Restoration, Datsun, Project Cars, Technical, Tinkering

1 Comment

  1. David says:


    Thank you for sharing these great articles. I’m looking for some help in finding spare parts for my father’s 240Z. Could you please get in touch with me via email for sharing some tips?

    Thank you in advance


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