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Old 05-12-2008, 06:06 AM   #1
Z-neophyte
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Tips for buying a JDM Z32?

Hey y'all. First off, I think this is a great forum. With posts going as far back as six years, there is a wealth of information here which I'm sure will come in handy if I ever pull the trigger and get that Z. Which brings me to my dilemma:

I just took a look at a JDM Z32 NA, '90. The current owner is a college type who sounded like a tuner, and I think he drove it hard. It's got 70k km (roughly 40k miles I think?), with lots of cosmetic damage. He's asking for $4,000 (cdn) at the moment. (on the upside, it's got kakimoto exhausts, which according to my friend, are the best you can buy).
With the car being from Japan, is that even possible to know its history before it came to North America? I wonder if this deal is too good to be true. I heard from a someone who works at a dealership that JDM imports can sometimes have their odo's rolled back before they ship them here. Anyone ever heard of that?
As for the cosmetic damage, here's a list of parts I will need to restore the Z. Can someone give me an estimate on how much they will cost and the best places to find them?
- one door mirror
- cover for tailights
- fixing a seatbelt so that it would wind up again
The paint on the spoiler is also peeling badly, and I was thinking that, in order to save money, I'm just going to take it off. What's underneath? Will there be marks/holes/other undesirable blemishes?
Also, the owner said that some JDM Z32s have engines built left-right opposed compared to the US-built versions. He said that luckily, his Z's engine is of the US spec. Do I have to get that checked out? I don't feel like taking his word for it.
Lastly, anyone have trouble getting used to driving a right-hand-drive car?
Any advice would be much appreciated. Reading how you guys rave about the Z, I'm really excited to find out if owning one would make me do the same.

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Old 05-12-2008, 10:39 PM   #2
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Re: Tips for buying a JDM Z32?

Not to burst your bubble but this place is average at best. Fortunately twinturbo.net is probably one of the best forums for anything on the entire internet and is devoted to the Z32. Also try 604z.com to hook up with some local Z owners in your area.

Quote:
I just took a look at a JDM Z32 NA, '90. The current owner is a college type who sounded like a tuner, and I think he drove it hard. It's got 70k km (roughly 40k miles I think?), with lots of cosmetic damage. He's asking for $4,000 (cdn) at the moment. (on the upside, it's got kakimoto exhausts, which according to my friend, are the best you can buy).
The price seems high for a non-turbo with damage. Perhaps Zs are a bit rarer up north (I'm just south of Seattle) but I certainly wouldn't pay that much for a NA that I'd have to fix, especially cosmetic damage which is always expensive. I don't know how much of a premium RHD cars normally get but I wouldn't pay extra for it myself.

Quote:
With the car being from Japan, is that even possible to know its history before it came to North America? I wonder if this deal is too good to be true. I heard from a someone who works at a dealership that JDM imports can sometimes have their odo's rolled back before they ship them here. Anyone ever heard of that?
Unless you can somehow get in contact with the company that imported it and just hope they have some kind of record for it I really don't think you're ever going to know.

Quote:
As for the cosmetic damage, here's a list of parts I will need to restore the Z. Can someone give me an estimate on how much they will cost and the best places to find them?
- one door mirror
- cover for tailights
- fixing a seatbelt so that it would wind up again
Parts are plentiful on the twinturbo.net Classifieds, you can usually find just about anything you need. If search doesn't bring it up, just post a wanted ad and you'll probably have multiple responses in a day or two. Those parts that you've listed would probably end up being $300-$400 if memory serves.

Quote:
The paint on the spoiler is also peeling badly, and I was thinking that, in order to save money, I'm just going to take it off. What's underneath? Will there be marks/holes/other undesirable blemishes?
There will be mounting holes and of course the paint underneath will at the least be a different shade due to lack of UV exposure. It's really not something that you can pull off unless you're getting that section or the whole car painted. Unless of course you could find a wing in good shape that matches your car and replace it with that, however that's unlikely.

Quote:
Also, the owner said that some JDM Z32s have engines built left-right opposed compared to the US-built versions. He said that luckily, his Z's engine is of the US spec. Do I have to get that checked out? I don't feel like taking his word for it.
I'm not sure what he's referring to with the "left-right" bit but I know that the US and JDM motors are for the most part the same. The only differences are some mounting and hose routing related stuff to work with the RHD/LHD layouts. I myself have a JDM motor in my car and there wasn't really anything different between the two other than the aforementioned and some model year differences that applied across the board.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:07 AM   #3
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Re: Tips for buying a JDM Z32?

Thanks alot broke ***. I'll be going back to take another look at it this week. Honestly, I'm very concerned about the unforseen costs like maintenance and breadowns. Do I really need to worry about N/A's? What sort of maintenance the owner should have done after it landed in Canada? When I'm inspecting the engine and taking it out for a test drive, what should I look for?

Your help is much appreciated.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:08 AM   #4
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Re: Tips for buying a JDM Z32?

The likelyhood of future problems depends mostly on what kind of maintenance the car has received up to this point. If they've been regular with oil changes and haven't beat the car up (like running it hard while cold and such) then the possibility of major mechanical failure is fairly low. Problems will probably the minor kind like a window motor dies or temp sensor gets corroded. Ask about any repairs and maintenance that has been done (timing belt, filters, trans/rear diff oil etc).

Some things to look for:

Earlier models had non-sealed connectors under the hood and were prone to bad connections due to corrosion. Pull a few of the easy to get to connectors (like the coolant temp) and look for green corrosion. It's not a huge problem, usually just a pain in the ass.

The high pressure power steering hose sometime leaks, which then drips right onto the alternator below it. Check for leaks.

Other than that it's mostly just the routine used car stuff like checking all of the electrical bits (windows, interior light, rear wiper etc), checking for previous accidents (check for resprays, even panel gaps, overspray etc) and any running deficiencies (pulls one or the other, poor idle, rattling etc).
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:04 AM   #5
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Re: Tips for buying a JDM Z32?

$4k for a busted up 1990 N/A Z32???

No. Do not buy this car.

Given you live in Canada, you still have the 15 yr rule when importing cars which makes importing a car that is more than 15 years old VEY cheap. It is the same rule that we used to have in Australia and its how I imported my TT 300zx.

IMO ignore the fact that it has an exhaust. Its N/A. Its still going to be slow. Don't kid yourself here. So what you are looking at is a bunky N/A 300zx that you think might have been thrashed.... And you are still considering getting this why?

Just import your own. Its not hard, its generally quite safe and you will normally save a bunch of money. Just make sure you dont get anything that is below a grade 4. You might get away with a 3.5 and have not too much wrong with it. There are lots of companies that can do it all for you. My mates and I have brought in 6 cars between us and only one was in a shittier condition than expected and even then i didnt mind cuz it was so cheap. If the import company is decent they will even guarentee the condition of the car when it comes in. There are a few places in Oz that will do that so I imagine you could probably find someone in Canada that would too.

Oh and dont be surprised if the cars have low kms. Japan isnt a big country.. there arent that many places with big long roads to go.
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Old 05-23-2008, 01:41 PM   #6
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Re: Tips for buying a JDM Z32?

I have to agree with Yaggus... that Z32 is not worth 4Gs... And if it was owned by a ricer... I mean tuner then odds are it has been beat hard. Judging by the body damage it has been beat REAL hard. Wannabe DRIFTKING anyone?
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