How to get one in your garage:
An expert’s view - JAMES THOMAS, POWERZED
“I bought my ZX, an import, in 2005. It has now done about 80,000 miles and, because I look after it properly, never put a foot wrong. It does around 22mpg but can do 30mpg on a motorway run. It has no bodykit or add-ons. I hate those things. The car looks good enough in standard trim. Saying that, a good supplier of top-quality aftermarket bits is Stillen [stillen.com], founded by US racer Steve Millen, who raced the 300ZX in the 1990s. The attraction of the 300ZX for me is the performance, the roadholding and the styling. Also, the fact that, at the end of a long drive, I get out still feeling fresh. I have an elderly customer who regularly drives his from Bristol to London on business, and he agrees!”
ENGINE - Ensure the timing belt, tensioner and water pump were changed at 60,000 miles. Look for oil leaks from the cam end seals and the crank rear main end seals. On automatic versions, they suffer heat transfer from the torque converter. Injectors can stick, causing misfires, but coil packs are reliable. Check if the seller allows the engine to idle at the end of the drive to lubricate the turbochargers.
ELECTRICS - Contrary to rumours, the alternator is reliable but can suffer fluid contamination from leaky power steering pump seals above it. The wiring loom in the engine bay often suffers heat damage. Check for damp front footwells where the drain channels from the roof, which run inside the A-post, leak onto the automatic gearbox ECU and fuse box.
COOLING SYSTEM - The engine runs very hot but has a small radiator so regular flushing and fluid changes are important. Check the condition of the cooling hoses to the throttle bodies under the inlet plenum.
SUSPENSION AND BRAKES - The standard brakes are strong but neglect causes the calipers to seize, especially at the front. Suspension bushes wear. Replace them with Nismo rubber bushes. Front springs sag, causing accelerated tyre wear, and rear shocks leak gas.
BODY - Rust is a serious issue on the sills ahead of the rear arches. It’s caused by the Targa-style roof drain channels becoming blocked. The three-layer sills (for strength) rust from within but bodgers just replace the outer sill.
Also worth knowing:
Test a 300ZX from cold. When the engine’s idling, the boost gauge needle should be on the far left. In the middle could mean compression problems. Once the engine is warmed, the needle should indicate maximum boost of 9psi. After driving, idle the engine and check for blue oil smoke.