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rome03

Finally Got one!!. 1978 280z

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After months of dreaming about a Z I finally bought one today. 1978 280z. 5 speed. N42 head. Fuel injected. 

 

Problems: Cracked dash. Needs seals around doors and windows. When you shift hard it sounds like the differential bangs. It sways like a boat on the freeway haha. Upholstery needs to be done.

 

Pros: 25mpg! not bad, I was surprised. Starts up quick. 

 

Plans: Sell my G35. Upgrade to P90 head, valve job, any other ideas? Build the block, not sure exactly what but maybe bearings and a light bore. Ideas? Fix suspension. 

 

 

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there are so many combinations that people recommend on the forums but everyone says the f54 block is the best because of the flat top pistons. I currently have the n42 block and n42 head. Ultimately the goal is leaving it running perfect and ready for the turbo, so what is a safe compression to have for the turbo. I want to make 300 wheel horsepower. I read that someone was putting flat top pistons in their n42 block instead of buying another block. I also read that keeping the dished pistons but putting l24 rods gets you up to 10:1 but i don't know if this is true and or safe for a turbo setup.

 

I plan on rebuilding the motor but need to figure out if I'm good with my block and head and should replace the pistons or get an f54. Whatever is cheapest is better. Also i want the engine to be able to rev to 8000. I found this but not sure exactly what is necessary. I don't want an over kill. Just a strong basic setup for turbo. 

 

 

L28 BLOCK BUILD
Degrease block $61.00
Degrease crank $17.50
Regrind mains (if required) $140.00
Regrind rodjournals(ifrequired) $140.00
Regrind both at once $200.00
Resize rods (if required) $120.00
Check line bore (refundable if boring required) $30.00
Line bore (if required) $250.00
Resurface deck $75.00
R&R six pistons on rods $42.00
Bore & hone block w/stress plate $160.00
Balance $150.00
Pistons &rings(choice..$300-800) TBA
Rod bearings (Clevite) $30.00
Main bearings (Clevite) $50.00
Freeze plugs installed $30.00
ARP rod bolts 9mm MSA# 10-1312 $100.00
High capacity oil pump MSA#17-8021 $65.00
Conversion set ZONE Felpro #CS21157 $20.00
Block labor (de-burring, prep, end gap set and $300.00 assembly) 

N42 HEAD BUILD
N42 core $150.00
Degrease $20.00
R&R guides and seats, resurface and grind seats incl. parts $480.00
Cam kit (cam, rockers, springs, retainers, lash pads)MSA#10-2000, Stage III $770.00
Head gasket set ZONE Felpro #HS21157PT-1 $54.00 
Timing set ZONE #76011 $80.00
Labor (porting/port match and assemble head/valves/springs) $300.00
 
 

 

 

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Welcome, and congrats on your purchase!

 

I know that engine building may seem daunting, but I would really recommend sitting down and reading a bit , as your desires and plans are a bit contradicting.

 

If your long term plan is turbo, you actually want a bit of lower compression, at higher compression you are more likely to ping with these motors. Flat top pistons are usually recommended for people chasing the NA dragon. The f54 block will be desirable in that it has the oil drains and oil source to feed the turbo, as well as dished turbo pistons, and the engine comes with a trigger wheel of sorts and of course the turbo manifold. I would highly advise going one over doing both, trying to do a full NA build and turbo it later on will require a compromise of some sorts.

 

Just throwing in L24 rods will push your pistons out of the block, your pistons will actually hit the head, the L24 rods in L28 blocks are used by running a shallower piston, such as the KA24de pistons and a thicker head gasket, I suggest staying away from that pandora's box of upping the bore until you are set on a plan.

 

There is no real merit to be had by revving the engine to 8k, especially with boost on a big displacement motor. You have a transmission, use it :).

 

Here's a link to an online calculator, keep in mind for the cheapest build, it will be best to find a running block, or better yet a rebuilt one and not tear it open for machine work, until you are ready for a proper build. Spending all the money on machine work to realize that you are heading in a different direction really sucks, ask me how I know. You know the cliche, fast, cheap, easy, pick two, don't pick cheap.

 

http://atlanticz.ca/zclub/techtips/calcs/engine%20builder/index.html

Edited by seattlejester

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seattlejester,

 

Thanks for the reply. Ive been reading the forums like crazy and have learned a bit but you cleared up some of what i was confused about especially the compression, i didn't know what kind of compression is normal for a turbo. The goal is to be turbo. 100% positive on that. I have a running engine right now. n42 block and n42 head. Im trying to find the best combination that would save me money. 

 

For example. Many people have the f54 block with flat top pistons and the P90 head. But i would hate to have to buy both things. Others run the f54 block with the n42 head that i have now which is one less thing i have to buy.

 

others run the same set up i have now but u mentioned that the f54 block will be desirable in that it has the oil drains and oil source to feed the turbo. So what happens if i wanted to have a turbo with the n42 block i have now?

 

What kind of compression does my stock 78 l28 have, i read that the block i have now has dished pistons. 

 

Thanks

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As for your Car: First, congrats on finding her. Hope your girlfriend/wife isn't the jealous type. She's going to make you crazy like the rest of us. She'll be tempermental as a tween girl, but once you get settled in she'll treat you nice as long as you take care of her. Now addressing the things you'd noted:

 

Cracked Dash, Interior:  MSA, Black Dragon, DatsunRestore all have these parts available. Also watch Ebay for deals, they come up all the time. The Dash you have options: A NOS dash is almost impossible.  You can have yours refurbished for about ~$800, or you can do is yourself the "Great-Stuff" method. That or cap it, it's all up to you.  The rest you can buy.  The doorseals, Well they're available at the above vendors in reproductions, but some people have used various junkyard seals with great luck.

 

The Clunk...  Well there's a lot of things it could be.  Do you hear it when you're driving and take a foot off the gas?  or is it only when you shift?  It could be the Tranny mounts/Diff mounts or your halfshafts.  The "non-replaceable" halfshaft U joints ARE replaceable, just a pain to do. the rest you'll have to buy new mounts.  Look at the Arizona Z car and G3 stuff, it's pretty darn cool. Especially if you're planning on lowering the car/going coil over.

 

If you're going to want turbo, you might as well start with a Turbo engine.

 

The cost to convert a NA engine to turbo would be WAY more than finding an 82'-83' Turbo L28 (L28ET) and working up from there. The other advantages are that you can get the turbo ECU and harness along with the engine. You can get it installed and running over a weekend THEN once you're used to it and have had time to decide how you want to mod it, THEN you can go from there.  The truth is that in a 280z(S30) the power a stock 83' L28ET can give is pretty damn good.  You'll need wider tires and better brakes before needing more HP out of that engine.  When you do upgrade, You'll already have the stronger rods and block, Exhaust piping and oil feed lines in place so your cost is going to be MUCH LESS than trying to upgrade your NA engine.   Start with the L28ET, you won't be disappointed.  Cost used should be $500-$1000, depending on what you find, In tempe there should be tons.

 

You might want to pull off and check for rust behind that lower trim on the sides. I've seen a lot hide behind there.  An airdam might help your freeway stability, but likely you just need new rubber bushings in your suspension/swaybars.

Edited by Pharaohabq

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Pharaohabq,

Thanks. Im really excited to get started. I just got back from the shop where they inspected the car. The noise only came from shifting hard and it was because the diff. bushings are shot. No rust! and the engine has no leaks.

 

What I was going to do to this engine was take it apart and get it all check, polished, balanced, head work and what not. Since it will be my daily driver i need it to be really reliable. I understand what you're saying about the l28et but i would be spending the same amount of money on that engine to get it balanced, clean, head work, etc. etc. plus the money it cost to buy. I could always sell the engine i have now but thats not guaranteed, so i could loose some of my budget. 

 

You mentioned the stronger block/rods......you mean because it would be the f54 block? And you're right about the benefit of getting the ecu/harness. I guess i have to do some research and see if its a good tradeoff.

 

What is a good compression to run with boost. The guy at the shop said he would do the arp head studs and a 3.55mm metal head gasket. He said it would bring the compression down to 7:1. Isn't this a little low? he said that the turbo would being it back up. I thought it was fine do run about 8:6 even with the turbo.

 

Im going to replace all of the bushing in the car. 250$ for a full pro thane bushing kit. any one have experience with this kit?

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^Agreed, if your plan is 100% a turbo L28, then just buy an L28et, better yet find a donor 280zx and take everything you can, having the stock ecu and harness will ensure the car is running before you decide to upgrade. The swap is pretty well documented, on here and elsewhere do a search and read some of the great builds.

 

I think stock N42 dished blocks have 8.x:1 the online calculator has the exact number. I think the turbo motor runs something ridiculous like 6.x or 7.x:1 by todays standard, but the low compression allows it to handle more boost.

 

The key to doing something cheaply is to not waste the budget. Buy things that will be helpful down the road, if you are once again 100% sure on the turbo route, don't buy a header for example, it won't be very useful when you have to replace it with the turbo manifold. Buying and having your car run on megasquirt can be a great way to get some extra power and make the swap very easy and put you closer to your power goal. Just make sure to think of what you will need down the line and your money will go quite a ways. You can boost your motor you have now, but search for the list, it is pretty extensive and you will need access to a welder to weld in an oil return, find a place to get pressured oil, add an electronically triggered system of some sort to tell the ecu, a rising rate fuel pressure regulator, higher cc fuel injectors, etc etc, the list goes on. Having the boosted motor is really the way to go on this.

 

Edit: Sorry I wrote this before your response, I would really push you away from taking the block apart unless you have reason to do so. Unless the compression is bad, it is a lot of money to spend, and unless you plan on replacing everything you won't get much reliability back (oil pump, water pump, all the gaskets, all bearings, uping the bore, gapping rings, belts, valves, seats, guides, etc), they are built very stoutly and if you start replacing things there really isn't a stopping point. Things that would be better spent on reliability is relay upgrades, battery, alternator upgrade, cleaning out the gas tank, flushing the radiator, checking the bushings, checking gas and brake lines, fuse box etc.

Edited by seattlejester

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Here was my plan.

 

taking the engine apart, making sure everything is good. polishing the head. balancing the block to make sure its running right. Install megasquirt and just buy the turbo ecu/harness/manifold. basically just building what i have now. I mean the car runs now i just want to be safe. Is that not a good idea?

 

Im trying to understand why it would be better to buy a donor car for probably $1000 and still have to invest into that engine doing the balancing, head work etc etc, because who knows if that engine is good, instead of doing the exact same thing to the engine i have now and save myself the $1000 from the donor car. 

 

Im selling my g35 so this will be my daily driver and will need to have almost all of the work done at once asap at the shop since ill be needing the car. I wanted to drop it off, get the engine nice and running right, get megasquirt, turbo manifold, fuel pump, injectors, arp bolts, metal head gasket, turbo, exhaust, upgrade ignition, and make sure cooling is good.

 

after that upgrade breaks and suspension knowing that the car won't leave me stranded.

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If the compression is good that means the motor is pretty healthy, it is your money, if opening it up, balancing it, and inspecting it makes you more comfortable with the car by all means, no harm other than a light pocket.

 

With boost, you don't need too much headwork, the P90 head which comes on the turbo block flows pretty well, better than an N42 which comes on the NA block. If you are cramming air in, smooth runners and such won't be as big a benefit as it would be for NA, once again, the whole NA vs turbo thing. Not saying it won't help, but a bigger turbo or an intercooler would net you more power and put you closer to your goal than spending it on headwork.

 

Here's a neat site, some of the stuff is a bit out dated (I haven't read it in a while), but I think most of it applies.

http://www.xenons130.com/l28et.html

 

Main point I want to make is that the engines usually don't cause failures on these cars unless they don't hold compression, it's usually a rusty gas tank, cracked vacuum hoses, old/worn electrical components, etc. There are plenty of other things you can replace and check before getting to the engine, no point in having a ported, polished, balanced engine, if your fuel lines are clogged, or the distributor doesn't get any spark. If your mechanic says everything checks out, compression is good, there's no material in the motor oil, replace more likely failure points and save the money for a full born swap. Like pharaoh said, if you have the L28et motor you can swap it in a weekend, and you can leisurely build the motor until you are ready for the swap.

Edited by seattlejester

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Main point I want to make is that the engines usually don't cause failures on these cars unless they don't hold compression, it's usually a rusty gas tank, cracked vacuum hoses, old/worn electrical components, etc. There are plenty of other things you can replace and check before getting to the engine, no point in having a ported, polished, balanced engine, if your fuel lines are clogged, or the distributor doesn't get any spark. If your mechanic says everything checks out, compression is good, there's no material in the motor oil, replace more likely failure points and save the money for a full born swap. Like pharaoh said, if you have the L28et motor you can swap it in a weekend, and you can leisurely build the motor until you are ready for the swap.

This 1000x.

 

You can pretty much guarantee that the more you take apart the car to work on it, the more stuff you'll find along the way that will raise the red flags and need to be replaced. Working on the engine will probably result in you doing everything seattlejester suggested along the way but with the added stress (and expense) of not expecting to do it.

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If the compression is good that means the motor is pretty healthy, it is your money, if opening it up, balancing it, and inspecting it makes you more comfortable with the car by all means, no harm other than a light pocket.

 

With boost, you don't need too much headwork, the P90 head flows pretty well, better than an N42. Which comes on the turbo block, and if you are cramming air in, smooth runners and such won't be as big a benefit as it would be for NA, once again, the whole NA vs turbo thing. Not saying it won't help, but a bigger turbo or an intercooler would net you more power and put you closer to your goal than spending it on headwork.

 

Here's a neat site, some of the stuff is a bit out dated (I haven't read it in a while) but I think most of it applies.

http://www.xenons130.com/l28et.html

 

Main point I want to make is that the engines usually don't cause failures on these cars unless they don't hold compression, it's usually a rusty gas tank, cracked vacuum hoses, old/worn electrical components, etc. There are plenty of other things you can replace and check before getting to the engine, no point in having a ported, polished, balanced engine, if your fuel lines are clogged, or the distributor doesn't get any spark. If your mechanic says everything checks out, compression is good, there's no material in the motor oil, replace more likely failure points and save the money for a full born swap. Like pharaoh said, if you have the L28et motor you can swap it in a weekend, and you can leisurely build the motor until you are ready for the swap.

To your first point. Lets just say that the running engine i have now gets its compression tested, and it checks out, then doing all the things i wanted is not really necessary because its probably pretty healthy right? 

 

I get what you're saying about the n/a vs turbo. I guess with all the things i was saying would be better on an n/a motor and not really necessary with a turbo set up to reach the numbers i want. Although i would feel better about doing it, but you're right its expensive. and leaves me with little money for the breaks, interior, and suspension.

 

So swapping a l28et would be better because it would already be running, have the turbo, and i could use my money to fix breaks, suspension, interior since i would save so much money on labor without doing all the balancing and what not. then what ever is left over and whatever i save can then be put back into the engine. knowing that everything is built right instead of a bad ass engine in a crappy car.

 

right now I'm looking at a 5000 budget. is there a place where i can buy a l28et with warranty or low miles. a place to order them where they are guaranteed to run?

 

Thanks a lot guys!

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seattle,

I read the link you posted. I was talking to the shop and they said that If i wanted the turbo to get the ecu/harness/afm from the turbo engine. But if i plan on doing megasquirt does that eliminate needing all those things?

 

Also how much does megasquirt cost? I've heard about 1000. There are many models and I'm wondering if you know which one z's use. 

 

In my previous post i also forgot to mention that if the compression is good on the current engine i have then i could possibly save a lot of money and not do all of the porting, polishing, balancing that i originally thought of doing. So i would just need a turbo kit, megasquirt which was already in my plan, checking my fuel lines and fuel pump, and call it a day? is this possible?

 

took the bumpers off!

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Edited by rome03

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Again, I'm trying to tell you, Don't put money into your NA engine if you're planning on swapping to a Turbo.  THE COST TO TURBO AN N/A MOTOR IS MORE THAN BUYING A TURBO MOTOR.   I don't know how I can make that more clear.  If your NA runs and has good compression, then keep it until you've got your Turbo motor ready to go.  Yes, if you buy an L28ET then get the harness AFM and ECU at the same time.  You can swap to Megasquirt later.  (note on MS, I've seen it done in diy basis for less than 500, but $1000 is a good average including parts)   

 

The 82-83' Turbo engine is already pretty well built. likely any junkyard engine you find will need work, but it you can find one that starts up before you pull it, you'll be better off.  If you want one that's built, running with warranty, you're going to pay a lot for it.  These are 30 year old engines.  The F54+P90/P90a combination is awesome for turbo and is already setup with lower compression and stout rods and pistons.  Just buying the turbo parts separately (manifolds, turbo, oil lines) can easilly cost what you could buy a donor for. Yes I admit that a Donor would likely need to be rebuilt but you're still better off not spending $ on something you'll swap out later. You can spend all sorts of money on Cams and stuff, but you're still going to be best off starting with a Turbo motor unless you REALLY know a lot of what you're doing.  Turbo's on NA engines really need to be carefully tuned, or you'll get detonation due to the higher compression. Tuning is expensive if you can't do it yourself.

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Pharaohabq,

Most of the threads I have found where people had a turbo had the f54 block and p90 head. From what I read, that set-up came in the zx for turbo and non-turbo. Are they exactly the same except for the fact that one had a turbo? 

 

Im asking this because my dad has a zx non turbo with the f54 and p90 sitting at home with a running engine. So would this be the set-up I should be building or does it have to be exactly the turbo block/head? I'm asking this question because from what I read non-turbo/turbo zx's both ran a f54/p90.

 

If this is right, then I could get started right away with that engine. As I'm sure you know the P90 is the turbo head, and the f54 had flat top pistons. Im guessing the f54 turbo had dished? So could i put the turbo dished pistons in the f54 block from the zx and that would be the same as a turbo engine. 

 

Im just trying to figure out if there is a possibility that i can use the one from the zx, this way save money and not have to buy one.

 

Thanks for the help.

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If compression is good, you won't be gaining much with the balancing etc. The engine might rev a little better and spin a little more freely, but once again, unless something was really bad before (blown head gasket, leaking valve, scored bearings), you won't be much closer to your goal. 

 

The main parts for an installed system with megasquirt would be about 1000 depending on the board you run and how disassembled you buy it, the local installer here charges 1000 for the unit, installed, with a custom wiring harness.

 

I am 100% on the same page as pharoah on this, my recommendation for megasquirt was if you can't wait to do the swap and HAVE to spend some money on your current setup, megasquirt would be a mod that would carry over, actually to quite a few engine choices in the future.

 

The NA versions 81-83 of the 280zx I believe came with flat top pistons, so it wouldn't be as desirable for your purposes. I am not sure on if it came with all the holes for the oil lines, but with plugs or if that was drilled afterwards. Once again, it is a budget question, you can turbo anything pretty much, but buying a turbo engine ensures it comes with everything to run, and you can upgrade little tidbits as you go. You would still need a turbo manifold, the turbo oil pan, turbo oil pump, etc, so might be a good idea to look around for a complete setup.

 

From your budget you have enough for one good rebuild, might as well spend it on the turbo block. Keep in mind it is a 30 year old engine, so finding someone to warranty one is difficult, a reputable machine shop should leave no worries and would probably warranty the motor for a couple of months, if you really wanted a warranty I think datsun parts LLC sells engines, but from heresay sometimes it is not up to people's expectation.

 

Read lots, a lot of people had the same questions, as did I, answers are definitely out there, and being able to find them will help immensely in the future. For future reference, brakes, not breaks :D.

 

And a bit of a warning, the forum appreciates proper capitalization and punctuation. Makes everything easier to read, and actually it is a rule, one that I've tripped over a few times, hence my warning :P.

Edited by seattlejester

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Seattle,

Thanks for the tip. I went back and saw that I slipped up 3 times! Brakes! haha.

 

Ok so what I'll do is research the n/a block from the zx to see if it has the holes for the oil, just to keep my options open, but I will be looking for a complete turbo engine as my first choice. Once the turbo engine is purchased what would you recommend I tell the shop to do to make sure the engine is running good without doing everything I had planned? You mentioned checking the compression, but what else would be a good idea for a healthy engine? This way I can feel confident driving it daily.

 

Maybe:

Replacing the seals

New head gasket

Minor head work

Arp head bolts

valves and valve seats

240sx throttle body

Clean injectors

Upgrade my fuel lines 

Fuel Pump

Megasquirt 

Upgrade Ignition like MSD or something

Oil Pump

Water pump

Flush radiator or New one

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6 basic things an engine needs is fuel, air, spark, compression, cooling, and exhaust. Making sure the fuel gets to the engine at the right pressure and returns to the tank, making sure the air filter is clean and you don't have any vacuum leaks or boost leaks for the turbo motor, making sure the engine gets full spark at the right time and all the sensors are displaying monitoring parameters correctly, making sure the engine runs cool (excellent threads on here about some design faults with the cooling systems, and things you should do), compression is there, and the turbo manifold doesn't leak and the turbo has limited shaft play, the engine has everything it needs.

 

And the work depends on how far you want to go. Honestly I would do a compression test and if that checks out, maybe degrease the block, paint, and work on the upgrades/reliability mods. If the compression test is bad I would do a wet one to isolate the head and see if it is the block or the head. If it is the block I would have the head looked at while it's away, if it's just the head, no point in opening up the block.

 

I just don't believe in preempting things, granted I can appreciate precautions, but if you are overtly cautious you tend to waste, and if you are overtly risky, you can get burned. I guess we are opposites on that regard. 

 

For the head:

Have it cleaned.

3 angle valve job (usually comes with machining the seats), or new valves, seats, and guide if you are going all out.

Valve stems (will come in a engine gasket set)

Having them put it back together is nice as they will set the clearances, however that means you have to be careful to transport it as some valves will be sticking below the head. Might even be better to bring the valve cover and bolt it on and transport it upside down.

There's no harm in gasket matching intake and exhaust at this point since the head will be cleaned, but keep in mind if you have a machine shop do it it can end up costing quite a bit more than a few carbide bits and a dremel will cost you, although it will come out much nicer, once again you can hit 300 crank without porting, but since it's off it will be your choice.

Checking for straightness/decking the head.

 

If the block is fine:

Clean up the outside.

Paint it (not black, makes finding leaking fluid much much harder later on, ask me how I know haha)

Replace any rusty fittings and cracked lines.

ARP head studs is not a bad investment.

Headgasket, very cheap insurance while the head is off, no real need for a MLS gasket, but if you are going all out.

Replacing the water pump (the fins tend to get pretty rusty over time, depending on coolant and how long it was sitting etc)

Inspecting oil pump (scoring, clearance etc).

Timing chain kit.

 

If you feel the need to open it up, whether it is for self assurance or because the compression was bad.

Deglazing at the minimum with new rings, or a bore up to the next size.

Deck the block while it is at the machine shop, keep in mind if you deck the block and the head too much you will need a thicker head gasket, or cam tower shims, most machine shops will take off the bare minimum and will tell you if they think they will have to take too much off.

New rings

New bearings

If reliability is your game, you may look at ARP piston studs and nuts.

Inspect pistons, if a chipped or cracked piston is the cause of the low compression, new pistons.

Rods, once again for your power goals, I think stock would be fine, but if you want to upgrade.

For the ultimate assurance you can have your motor blue printed and spec'd, but that feels like so much overkill that my wallet hurts just thinking about it.

 

All said and done, I think I spent 1000 easy doing the a lot of the work myself and taking some shortcuts or the cheaper option here and there. Someone I know spent 3000 dropping it off at a shop and having them do everything, but he removed and installed it himself. Once again back to the main point, I saw his car on craigslist a few months later, car had a brand new rebuilt engine, but rusting fenders, a downgraded 4 speed, he had a 280z, but a gear broke and he couldn't afford a replacement, etc.

 

From your list I would add...

Dropping fuel tank, having it cleaned/inspected, and adding baffles or a sump along with maybe bigger fittings for bigger lines.

Rising rate adjustable fuel pressure regulator

Upgraded injectors, I don't think the stock ones will hit your target (440 supras on the pallnet fuel rail would be excellent) 

The turbo motor will come with an electrically triggered ignition of some sort either a trigger wheel on the crank pulley or in the distributor, so replacing the wheel with one compatable with megasquirt, and maybe coilpacks.

Inspecting brakes, bushings, replacing/upgrading shocks.

Engine and transmission mounts, you will want to use the stock mounts for the motor that came with your car, the 280zx ones are canted a little differently

New clutch kit at the least.

You may need a new drive shaft depending on which transmission you use.

Upgraded diff of some sort, no point in making 300, if it will only go to one wheel or no wheel if it is in the air.

 

Once again, I would do a lot of reading and searching, these are my opinions, and they are far from being the only way about doing things, nor is it the defined right way, but these would be the things I would (and did) look out for if I was going turbo. Definitely find someone who has hit your power goal and see what obstacles they had to overcome and what they needed to do to get there.

 

Good luck, sorry I posted so much on your first page!

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Wow that response was amazing! I really appreciate the help and steps you laid out for the rebuild. I agree with everything that you mentioned. I have found the same answers on other threads but I gotta say Its perfect having them on the same one. Going back and forth and reading different threads and opinions had me a bit confused but this is great.

 

I also had a conversation with my cousin and he brought up the same point you did. I can't/don't want to spend all of my budget on the perfect build with the horrible brakes and suspension I have now.

 

I will buy the turbo engine, do a basic check for reliability, upgrade the other things the car needs in order to handle my power goals and finally return back to upgrading the engine. I'll have the stock turbo engine but it will be ready to go once more money comes in.

 

I guess what I have to do now is find the right kit for the disk conversion and start replacing the suspension and bushings!

 

Thanks

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Thanks Seattle...  I'm glad you've convinced Rome03 to just buy a turbo engine.   I would add to this that if the Turbo engine has good compression and doesn't smoke then there's no need to open it up. As he was saying, you open it up and it's opening that can of worms. When the engine is sealed, then you don't have to worry about replacing parts.  If you're going to take the head off then there's a lot you'll just automatically have to check and replace.  Timing chain being just one.   Also he said if any of the pistons are chipped or cracked, then you should replace ALL 6 Pistons if not also the connecting rods/bearings.  Things can get really expensive really fast. So, if the engine has good compression, then don't open it up. (you can use a borescope to check the insides if you want)

 

Another note on the turbo:  When you get it check for shaft play, likely you'll have some, due to the age of the car. But don't go looking for a new turbo just yet, These are easy to rebuild/upgrade.  You can do it yourself, or any turbo shop can do it for you cheaper than buying new. The shops that rebuild semi-truck turbo's are a lot cheaper than the performance shops to rebuild them. So keep that in mind to save $ on the same work.  If you to it yourself, watch out for sharp edges on the blades, often they're REALLY sharp and can cut the crap out of your fingers.

 

Your plan sounds good now, Get the Turbo engine, Get  it checked out.  Get your car working well, Seals and brakes.  (Silvermine makes a nice kit) Going with the Toyota/84'z31 front brakes and whatever you decide for the rears work well too.  Even sticking with stock on the rear is great, but replace the shoes and wheel cylinders.    The Bushing kits are nice but be sure to grease every bolt you put in with those bushings, or you'll get a little creaking noise. 

 

Megasquirt is awesome. It'll help modernize your EFI system, and will directly swap over to the Turbo engine. (just load a new map) It'll bring up your MPG a little too. I was seriously amazed at how well the MS setup worked on my engine. idle was smooth at ~800 rpm all the way up to 5K+

Edited by Pharaohabq

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Hey guys.

So just thought I would update you guys on my build so far. Thanks to the advice on this thread and others I focused on getting the car in good shape before trying to make a lot power. I replaced all of the bushings with energy suspension polyurethane. Did a tune up on the engine, no need for much work there since it runs good. I got new Stance coilovers from Sakura Garage in Tempe, AZ and got new rims and tires. Can't wait to get the suspension and flares on.

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Now I'm not really knocking your stance, But just keep in mind stretching your tires like that can be dangerous. it puts a lot of strain on parts of the tires that they weren't designed for. You could have much the same look and safer, by going with a wider tire like the 245-50-r16 but you may still get rubbing. I imagine you're going to go with flares?   Just keep safety in mind.

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Suspension and brakes are always a great place to start, granted stretching isn't the best option for performance, but it can look quite good :). I think I have 225's on a 7 inch rim and even that seems like it has some stretch. Do you have some type of camber adjustment to adjust for the resulting negative camber gain in the back? 

 

Did you have to do the spindle pin for the bushings? The rite of passage for all Z-owners haha.

 

Personal question, when reusing stock top hats like that, do you forgo the pillow mount? Or do they drill out the stock top hat and add it somehow? I haven't seen that setup, do you have a link to where it was purchased/how it was done/who did it? I've been contemplating something similar since I spent money on adjustable camber tops. The adjustability height wise seems absolutely silly (in a fun way).

 

I do vote for either painting or removing the corrugated metal on the side skirts. 

 

Looks pretty neat.

Edited by seattlejester

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