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280zx track car

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Over here in the land of Oz I have myself my little track toy.

Its a 82 model 280zx which due to abuse I guess now has a LS1 motor (with @230000kms) and 6 speed gearbox.

Because I live on the other side of the world I decided to basically do this conversion on my own with no off the shelf parts purchased(ie JTR kit or similar). Instead we would look at the problem, find a part from another vehicle and then adapt to suit our requirements.

Here is a pick of our engine mount while in development


We managed to find a moroso pan that gave us just enough clearance to keep the original rack untouched (bar moving the power steer lines)




One of the major at the time headaches was the master cylinder for the clutch. With our extreme rear fitment we ran out of space, so being the clever buggers we are we used a pedal setup from a hyundai that was designed to transfer pedal effort.






Intially due to time constraints and budget too we made our own little block huggers out of a box of bends (1.5' primary to a 3 inch single exhaust)



We made our own adapters for the tailshaft, and made our own tailshaft, and made the mount and the tailshaft loop that you can see here.




Also added some K Sport coilovers at the same time.

The bad part comes with the cost.

I think from memory it cost me near on $12k for the conversion.

2000 coilovers

2000 motor

2200 brand new gearbox

1000 clutch

1000 for oil pan and pipework

600 wiring

500 for exhaust parts

Doesn't make the 12k I know, but you do it and watch how often 200 - 300 just flies out of your hands every couple of days.

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So after it was built you keep doing little bits and pieces. Here is a quick vid which kind of somes up my driving style.



This was at the end of a hillclimb. Crowd response is always a telling thing.



Was pretty happy with the car but a friend of mine (who is the mechanic that does my motor work) took it for a drive at Wakefield park and came back with the conclusion that I needed more air in and out of the motor and more fuel and lots bigger brakes.


So I sent the car off to Sydney for a month or so and $5500 later I got my car back.




So we fit a fast manifold, new extractors at 1 7/8 four into 1 with race merge cats




Finishing with twin 3'




Also replaced the fuel system to reduce fuel temperature




What a difference the above mods made


My benchmark it seems is Wakefield Park, this car has gone from a turbo L28 doing 1.19 - down to 1.15 on semis with the car stripped out and diff welded and hilux brakes, to 1.10 with the LS1.


Only recently just installed my new front brakes I have a friend who imports VTTR brakes (same as K sport). So I have a King 6 front caliper (6 piston obviously) on a 335mm 32mm ventilated disk. These just fit inside my 17 x 8.5 Rota wheels.

With brakes fitted went out to Wakefield again. WOOOOO HOOOOO 1.06



That time was done with no rear pads left at all in the standard rears. So the car is currently back on the hoist, and a set of Mini 6 VTTR calipers and a 320mm x 28mm ventilated disk will be installed.

This will probably give me another 1-2 secs.

To give you an idea - there is a couple of fellas that have taken their new GTR's to Wakefield on slicks and only done 1.07.

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It's funny, my suspension is very basic in my eyes, I look around here and i am inspired to do much more. Although I own a Tyre shop, The car has only ever be aligned once after the coilovers went in. Currently have about -2.5' of camber on the front with about 2mm+ total toe. Once the rear brakes are done I might start working on the suspension a little more.

Funny how your thinking changes over time. Once it was more power, more power. I could have rebuilt the bottom end of this motor with the money I spent on brakes. But that is what I deem important at the moment.

My lovely wife of 12 yrs is currently 6 months pregnant with our first child - I hope that I can still indulge in my hobbies after the birth..... Or does that make it that I have to have everything finished and done within 3 months.


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Due for another private day at Wakefield in 2 weeks, currently adapting VTTR 6 spot rears on a 320mm x 28mm ventilated disk for rear brakes. Also noticed today that its time to weld up solid the rubber diff mount as this has cried enough.

Also going to order the Techno Lower conrol arms and radius rods so I can screw a bit more camber and caster at the old girl to get a little better turn in.

Umm also have purchased a MSA front spoiler, just have to figure out how to get it to me (800km away from me).

Love my little dato, my friends went to Wakefield yesterday, both of them in cars that are track built (one a 320 BMW with a toyota 2jz motor @28 psi, the other a VK with 400rwkw, AP racing brakes,konis, blah blah blah) both cars owe over $50k, BOTH CARS STILL 2.5 SECS SLOWER........

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Well, it had to happen and it did.

Blew the motor at my last trackday, two rod ends retrieved from the bottom of the block via one smashed up piston. Looks like my valve springs survived and thats about it.

Probably have the motor out tomorrow then we will think about the process as funds are getting tighter.

I have another $1000 LS1 sitting on the shelf and I think I may put a big stick in that one and give it a run. My blown motor had over 220000 kms and survived my abuse for a year. Am considering blowing $3k+ on a dry sump setup to eliminate a potential cause of my blow up.

Otherwise se may just modify the moroso sump with more windage trays.

Don't think I want to blow a heap of cash on building a motor yet - I seem to be able to get 400+hp atw at the moment from my $1000 jobbies.

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This car looks nice.

How is it driving at wakefield?

I live in australia as well, a couple of hours from sydney and will definetly be taking my car there when it is finished.


Do you have rear coil overs on your car?

If so did you do the required welding and make them yourself or buy them and bolt them on?


Looks nice and I like the way you drive :P

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Dry sump is not necessary, there is so much info and aftermarket parts around for LS* engines it's a no brainer. I recall seeing several different sumps as well as the OE variations. Try what I'm doing if you want to try hard, it's all DIY with no reliable advice around anywhere.

Edited by 260DET

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I have Ksport front and rear coilovers. But be warned, do not order 280zx k sports coilovers as they are designed for a 240z-280z. I used the australian supplier located at Brookvale. When my coilovers arrived there was no way they were going to just bolt in. He rectified the problem and welded necessary pieces and so on for about $200 extra.


Problem I seem to having with the sump - I have the moroso rear hump sump. There seems to be no aftermarket drop in windage trays for circuit racing. I happy to modify but as you say there are no definitive answers around. I was thinking to just bust off my hump and put some "an" fittings into it and buy the necessary parts for a dry sump. I know its overkill, but as mentioned previously it will eliminate one potential problem.


The process of getting the car to this stage has been a long one. Certain things have been re-done (ie exhaust, fuel system) when problems have arose. If I were to dry sump now, it would possible pave the way for a bigger dollar motor rebuild if I were to blow again. I couldn't justify say $10k on a motor and not put a decent oil system into it. I just finished putting about $4k worth of brakes on this sucker as I thought the old hilux caliper conversion was know where near up to the task.

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Progress...Kind of.

I hear that today my dry sump setup started its journey from the states to Australia. Ended up with a ARE 4 stage dry sump. Going to eliminate the standard oil pump as this pump of the dry setup will do the job. 2.5 gallon tank with heater and all accessory drive gear. Already shelled out $4500 - will spend probably near on $1000 more on fittings and lines.

Ended up using my othe $1000 motor but did some work. It appears the motor was a "piston slap" motor that holden has re-ringed (there were numbers written on the pistons). I spent a bit of money but nothing silly as funds have gone towards the dry sump. New crank bearings, cam bearings, lifters, cam (a little smaller lift - 232/232 @.600) and a set of heads that have stainless valves and a bit of hand porting to clean things up a little. ARP head bolts and crank bolts. Motor @ $3000.

Motor is currently sitting cling wrapped at the mechanics waiting for sump pan, once we have that we will re-install and fix the tune. Might even dyno it again to get a number. Think we should get about 420hp at the rears. Should be going again in 2-3 weeks.

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Funnily enough they claim there is a 5-7 hp gain by not leaving your bottom end rinsing through oil. Faster........... well its kind of coming down to how big your balls are now, braking is becoming really late and speed excessive. Was almost more fun with less power. But its ok I am taking hormones so I can man up some more.

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Dry sump arrived today. More bloody work. Going to have to reconfigure my engine mount as I was using the front holes of the block where the pump now mounts to. Kit came with good gear but not quite complete and no instructions. Need to make a block of plate for standard oil intake where the standard pump goes into.

Considering the sump and pump are a fixed unit I was surprised not to see hoses pre made for sump to pump (others I can understand).

Hopefully I can remanufacture my engine mount so I clear the pump and can also leave my exhaust intact. I have only just received word today that my expensive extractors/headers have finished being HPC coated. Would be a shame to have to modify a pipe or two (this side is all individual pipes).

Now we start the process of fitting everything off and installing.

Hoping for two weeks - but I don't need the car till mid november.

Looking at all this nice gear I am tempted to clean up my engine bay before reinstalling. Also have to re-route brake lines and install bias valve.

I will take some photos tomorrow.

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