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 Post subject: Project 530Z
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 9:24 am
Posts: 1260
Location: Webster, NY
Hey everyone! It's been a while, I hope all is well with my CTZCC brothers and sisters.

My 240Z and 300ZXT are tucked away for the winter, and I am starting a project that not too long ago I wouldn't have even entered my mind. A V8 swap into a 280Z.

The car is a 1977 280Z, 4 speed, 90k miles. Parked in a garage in 1987, key turned off and not touched since. The original owner is a long time friend of mine who knows of my Z adventures and asked if I would be interested in bringing the car back to life. He had moved on to other cars and literally had not given the Z a second thought in years. Needless to say it ended up in my garage very quickly. I took inventory of the car. Lots of mouse nests under the hood (not inside thank god), all of the rubber bits petrified, moldy interior, 32 years of dirt inside and out, rear wheels frozen, storage scars: dents in the roof, dents in the quarters, dents in the fenders, you can imagine the rest. But.....

NO RUST. NONE. NADA. ZILCH. SOLID AS A ROCK.

I've always been intrigued by an S30 with V8 power, so I decided if I was to do it, this was the car and now was the time. After sitting for all those years not properly prepared for it, I would most likely have to rebuild the L28 anyway. So planning the cost and effort, it became reasonable to do a swap to a LS1 V8. Now, if it was a 240Z, I wouldn't dream of doing a swap, but 280s are a bit more common, so i am going to do it. I'll keep all of the original parts so it can go back to original if the need arises someday.

I have a 90k mile GM 5.3 LS1 (only weighs 40 lbs. more than a L28!), it will be backed by a 1990 Z32 five speed (with a kit from G Force), Arizona Z Car CV axles. I'm thinking of getting a custom plug and play engine wire harness assembly from Speartech rather than try to mate a GM harness to the Datsun. Thanks to the miracle of the internet, there are lots of others who have gone down this road before to share helpful information.

So in the next month or so, the original drivetrain will come out, the suspension dropped and rebuilt, new brakes, tires, wheels, hoses, interior, gas tank, bad dog connectors to stiffen the chassis and anything else it will be needing. Once it's mechanically sorted, I'll move on to cosmetics. The 1970s turd brown HAS to go, as do the park bench crash bumpers. I'm thinking a MSA body kit and a darker color. We will see.

So, here we go! It should be very interesting to go from 170hp to 325hp. With 340 ft lb tq! :shock:

Stay tuned....


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John Taddonio
President, Z Car Club of Rochester NY
zcarnut@hotmail.com
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 Post subject: Re: Project 530Z
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:53 pm
Posts: 13305
Location: CT
Duuuuude! You are gonna have so much fun with that project!

You've already got the Chevy so it's too late to suggest you use a beefed-up 302 Ford with a dry sump. It would weigh almost 200 pounds less and sit nearly 5 inches further back in the chassis, and the distributor would be way up front for you to access easily, just like the Datsun engine. You could easily get 325bhp from a Ford smallblock and they are almost 9" narrower than the SBC, so you could use some really aggressive headers in there.

You didn't mention any plans for the pumpkin. Keep the same Nissan unit or swap to a quick-change Halibrand?

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 Post subject: Re: Project 530Z
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:16 pm
Posts: 496
Location: Ansonia, CT
Glad to see your putting the V8 in a 280Z. If it was a 240Z I might never want to speak with you again. :P

Seriously, this looks like an awesome project. I'm just PO'd that I live so far away, otherwise I'd be skinning knuckles with ya! :mrgreen:

That Chevy block looks a bit rough. Are you rebuilding it also?

Keep us posted on your progress.

It was good seeing you at the Lake George Concourse!

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John Kish
1971 240Z original owner


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 Post subject: Re: Project 530Z
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 9:24 am
Posts: 1260
Location: Webster, NY
To answer a couple of questions....

The 302 Ford was a consideration but there is no kit available to mount it up to the Z chassis. It would have to be fabricated. Plus the 5.0 gives about 225 hp stock while the 5.3 LS is 320 without touching it. Kits for the LS1 are readily available. Also, modern LS engines are computer controlled coil over plug ignition. No distributor to worry about. The kit I have to mount the engine from JTR will mount the engine as far to the rear as possible.

John, you see the LS engine just as it came from the donor. I haven’t touched it. It has good compression across the cylinders. I’ll pretty it up with headers, plugs, wires, new water pump, alternator, powder coat pulleys and peripherals. It’s mechanically sound, will make it look nice as well.

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John Taddonio
President, Z Car Club of Rochester NY
zcarnut@hotmail.com
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 Post subject: Re: Project 530Z
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:16 pm
Posts: 496
Location: Ansonia, CT
John,

HEE HEE!, I was waiting to see your reply on the "distributor locations" that Frank mentioned as both Ford and Chevy no longer uses them. I guess us old school guys still remember setting up those points in both engine types, with the Ford distributors being easier to reach but the Chevy's had those nice adjustable points that you could access though the little sliding metal "door" allowing you to "dial in" the right gap with your Dwell meter while the engine was running. SWEET!

Oh, installing and adjusting points, one of those lost arts I refuse to give up on my 240Z! :wink:

Make sure you send us pictures as your V8 swap goes forward!

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John Kish
1971 240Z original owner


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 Post subject: Re: Project 530Z
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 9:24 am
Posts: 1260
Location: Webster, NY
So the 240Z and 300ZXT are now sleeping for the winter and I have my full attention on my 280Z LS swap project. I'm very much in the "parts gathering" stage but have removed the HUGE 1977 crash bumpers, removed the seats and console from the interior and begun to detach and label all of the wire harness connections in the engine bay. Because the care was well cared for, never driven in winter and stored in a dry garage, every nut and bolt has easily come off, so far! Hope I didn't jinx myself!

Hopefully in the next week the L28/4 speed drivetrain will come out at which time I will pressure wash the engine bay and set about cleaning up all of the bits that will remain to get the bay ready for its new occupant.

The 5.3 LS will get a new intake, oil pan, water pump, wires, plugs and headers. Will regasket it and make it pretty while it's on the stand. The new stainless steel headers will be some nice bling as well.

Stay tuned.....


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John Taddonio
President, Z Car Club of Rochester NY
zcarnut@hotmail.com
FB: Zccr zcarclubofrochester
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 Post subject: Re: Project 530Z
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 9:24 am
Posts: 1260
Location: Webster, NY
Ok, it’s cold, it’s snowing but thanks to a heated garage project 530z continues.

Replacing the bulky truck intake manifold on the LS with one from a Camaro Z28 with billet fuel rails. Much more streamline and better looking, necessary to fit under the Z hood. Swapping the cast iron stock exhaust manifolds with some spiffy stainless steel ones. When the V8 is done, it’ll look hot and right at home.

Next up: the stock Datsun L28 and 4 speed come out this weekend. Stay tuned.


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John Taddonio
President, Z Car Club of Rochester NY
zcarnut@hotmail.com
FB: Zccr zcarclubofrochester
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 Post subject: Re: Project 530Z
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 9:24 am
Posts: 1260
Location: Webster, NY
Project 530Z update:

The boyZ came over to help pull the original drivetrain out of the ‘77 280Z. The car was parked in a dry garage for the past 32 years and as a result every nut and bolt has come off with no issues so far. The original clutch and flywheel were in great shape and still showed the original factory paint markings!

Now on to cleaning up the engine bay, polishing and repainting to get it ready for its new occupant. Over the next month the suspension will be dropped for new components and springs. Upgrading the front brakes with Z31 rotors and Toyota 4 piston calipers. The LS engine will be getting new gaskets, water pump, oil pan, throttle body, headers, intake, plugs and wires. The stock wire harness is being sent out to be modified into a simple version for my application and the ECU will be flashed.

LotZ to do! Stay tuned!


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John Taddonio
President, Z Car Club of Rochester NY
zcarnut@hotmail.com
FB: Zccr zcarclubofrochester
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