questions from a perspective 300zx buyer

01-27-2008, 01:59 AM
Hey guys, I'm shopping for an early 90s 300zx. I know exactly what to look for when it comes to a 3000GT, but i'm pretty ignorant when it comes to Z cars. I tried searching some reviews, but theres not many good ones around apperently.

I'm looking for an auto n/a.

What things should i watch out for while shopping? What is the service interval for the timing belt/chain, water pump, etc.?

what gas milage should i expect? i've seen some pretty crazy numbers while searching the net.

are they expensive to own? reliable?

are bluebook values pretty accurate for what i should expect to pay?

thanks guys, appreciate any help!


01-28-2008, 01:01 AM
The timing belt service that most other maintenance is based around is listed at 100,000 miles for the non-turbos however many bump that up to the Twin Turbo listing at 60,000 due to relative age of the belt. Which is an important consideration as well, even it was done 30,000 miles ago I would probably replace a belt that is 7 years old. A full timing belt kit with timing belt, coolant hoses, water pump, gaskets and etc is around $350. However I would base maintenance expectations on the individual car. They've been out long enough that there is no general mileage or maintenance condition across the 300ZX stock of America so if you can find a particular car with x mileage or y amount of known maintenance we can probably price it out here for you. The biggest concern is whether or not you are going to be doing the work yourself or if you are paying for labor. Most Z maintenance is not difficult as wrenching goes, just time consuming; with the packed engine bay you have to move or remove a variety of things to gain access to other things.

Most NA owners get in the low 20s from what I have read and people I have talked with.

300ZXs are pretty reliable, there isn't any parts they eat regularly or problems that crop up in every Z over time. The early model (90-94) injectors don't like ethanol blended gas that is available some places and have started dying with prolonged exposure. Wiring harness on early years tend to be brittle and sometimes have nasty cases of corrosion in the connectors that has to be cleaned out. They surely aren't a "What is maintenance?" stripper Corolla but if the car was taken care of it shouldn't suffer persistent problems. Parts can expensive as far as imports go but it's not too bad.

I looked up the KBB for a mid-year 300ZX non-turbo in KBB "Good" condition with around 100,000 and they reported around $6000 from a private party, which is fair price if it is in sound mechanical condition and clean overall. I also checked Zs for sale in the 78130 and the pickings are kind of slim (closest one shows as 36 miles away) but most of the ones I saw on autotrader seemed like they should be fairly clean cars. And most of them fell within an acceptable range of the KBB value and my personal evaluation on price.

Here is the search I ran. (

01-28-2008, 07:38 PM
Thanks man, answered alot of my questions.

Yea, we've already looked at / test drove just about every n/a automatic within 100 miles. We're just waiting on that perfect one. The wife still has a month before her lease is up so i'm just finding out what i can about the platform.

I will definitely be doing the maintenence myself lol. Should be easy after working in the engine bay on my VR-4 (even more cramped! :eek:). Even if i had the money to pay for labor, i dont trust many people to work on my vehicles.

So i guess '95 or '96 would be the ideal year, since they dont suffer from the injector problem or harness issue?

Again, thanks. You guys should have a new member in a few weeks :icon16:

01-28-2008, 10:31 PM
I suggest 94-95, avoid 96s. 96s tend to have a hell of a price hike due to the year and limited availablity of them. 94s and 95s have next to no problems from the factory so are pretty reliable.

I own a 95 NA AT and its been great, I would throw out the change the timeing belt at 100K thing, do it at 60, 120, and 180. Its not so much the wair issue its the princable. depending on milage make sure this has been done, if not do it first thing. Other things to look for on the Z32 NA is the fuel damper and the fuel pressure regulators, they tend to start to fail at around 120k miles, mine failed at 145k.... But the car will still run it just will run RICH AS HELL. Brakes, Tires, drive shaft. These are the next things I look at on a Z32, the drive shaft support bushing starts to fail around 100k give or take 20k miles. Its expensive to replace the drive shaft with a factory one, so go for a one peice from Z1. T-Tops... oh are they nice but check for leaks cause they will start to leak over time. Some people will let them this will wreck havoc on the interiour. (I speak from experiance) Also check for regular oil changes, and such, you know you own a 3000GT, its more troublesome than the Z32. But I havent seen many other major or really minor problems with a Z32... OH Bose..... BOSE systems if they havent been replaced already, they WILL fail, replace them as soon as you get a chance. Powersteering leaks will happen, most are because of old hoses starting to fail, most are easy to replace if you have the right tools. Some take some work to get to and are fun, fun, fun.... Used to work on them so I can tell you that high pressure line is a blast to replace. But all in all the Z32 is not as hard as most people make it out to be to work on, pretty easy actually. Just takes a bit of finess and good dextarity.

01-29-2008, 07:09 PM
For the fuel pressure regulator, will it run rough and/or smoke due to running rich?

As far as the power steering lines, is there somewhere i should look/feel for leaked fluid? I know they go over time, but thats not something im gonna want to do right off the bat lol.

And the leaky t-tops, how much does a set of new seals usually go for?

Thanks again!

01-30-2008, 03:17 AM
Ok first question,

Fuel pressure regulator, yes it will run rich, REAL rich on startup, almost like starting a carborated car in the winter. It will billow white smoke for a few minutes till it warms up then it will run fine... Still a bit rich but will drive fine once its at operating temp. Now if both go bad the same time it will run rough, like its missing a sparkplug, it will fart kick, buck and sputter all it can while this failing, it will run smooth at around 1500-2500RPM but will hessitate and backfire at anything higher and lower. And it will SUCK gas.

The Powersteering line,
Well thats easy, look for leaks, spots, or moisture under the car from the powersteering fluid. The Z uses ATF for powersteering fluid so it will look like a automatic transmission leak under the car, a bit of red spotting. Check the low pressure return hose from the bottom of the resivour if its moist, and hard to the touch then its probly on its way out. The highpressure will leak untill it just fails, no easy way to see it with out getting the car off the ground and getting under it with a light. But you can follow parts of it with a light from the top if you can look around the intake tubes, follow the line from the back of the powersteering pump down and along the subframe to the resivour. Also check the powersteering pump, make sure its not making any whining or moaning on turns, and check to see if its leaking cause when it starts to leak it will dump right on the altenator and kill it. Luckly both are easy to get to and replace.

Next T-Top seals....
Well several places carry them, just hunt around in the good sights post. I think AMZ, Z1, and Courtesy Nissan all have them. But I cant remember been a while since I looked.

And lastly, good luck, this is the begining of the fun part.

01-30-2008, 03:19 AM
The early style injectors are really only an issue when fed the ethanol laced gas, so if that applies to your area it might be worth waiting for a 95+. Harness condition is more linked to the general condition of the car however the 95+ harness did have rubber seals inside the connectors so they tend to be less effected by this problem.

The power steering hose that leaks is the rubber section of the high pressure side coming off the pump. Unfortunately that is right above the alternator and can cause damage to that if it leaks enough.

I've not noticed T-Top leaks in just about any of the Z's I've ridden in...except for mine. :( Anyway, you can get a good set of used seals from a parts car for under $150.

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