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240 vs 260 vs 280

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Hi Guys,


I am new to the site and am interested in buying a Datsun Z car to do the V8 swap in it. I have been reading and reading about it but my question is this,


what is the best model of Z to do the conversion with? is the 280 more durable than the 240? or are they pretty much the same, I have read articles of people stiffening the frame rails or adding roll cages. is this necessary? I plan on building the car to use on the street as a daily driver in the summer but also to drive Targa Newfoundland next year (2015) Thats why I am asking about durability.

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Buy a copy of the JTR manual here:  http://www.jagsthatrun.com/Pages/Datsun_Z_V-8.html


It will answer 90% of your questions on V8 swaps. Read the JTR manual over several times until you have  some clearify questions to ask.


Also buy "How to Restore Your Datsun Z Car by Wick Humble" available at MotorSports Auto (MSA), Amazon etc.  It will answer most (99%) questions concerning dis-assembley, repair and re-assembly of a Z car.


Buy a 240Z Haynes Manual. 


Download a pdf  copy of the Factory  Service Manual (FSM) from HybridZ or other sites for the car you are going to use.


Spend at least a month reading the V8 forums before starting your project.


Also, be sure to read all of the stickies for new members to get the most out of HybridZ and  to avoid the Tool Shed.


After you do the above you will be in the best position to choose which Z to go with and be able to build a car that can be driven anywhere .


These cars are over 40 years old so  expect  that you will have to do considerable restoration to the suspension, electrical and braking systems just to make the car safe to drive on the street.


Note: you do not need a roll bar, frame stiffening or high performance brakes for a streetable V8 Z car.

Edited by Miles

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Your post really added a lot to the discussion.

As did yours...


Why not actually add to the discussion, like this:


It really depends on what you're looking for in the chassis, and what you feel is important.


There has been discussion that the 280Z chassis could potentially be stronger than a 240Z chassis, but I have seen (valid) arguments that say that it may not actually be stronger, or stronger in areas that might not really matter.


I believe the JTR book suggests that a 280Z is better to start with due to the claimed increased strength, but more so because of the increased width of the trans tunnel that makes exhaust routing easier.


All S30 chassis' IMO benefit from some additional strengthening members, when you plan to install more power than stock and/or drive the harder than using it for transportation and the occasional spirited driving.


So find a good S30 chassis, if any of the models appeal to you, or search for the model that appeals to you most. Keep in mind that if you want a 240Z but all you can find is a 280Z, you can install the bumpers and tail lights to "convert" it to look like a 240Z. Some people prefer the 280Z look. To be honest I used to hate the 280Z tail lights, but lately they are really growing on me.


Since you plan to go Targa Newfoundland, I would re-enforce any S30 you get, even if it's just simple "frame rail" extensions, to tie the front to the rear. A properly tied in roll bar can help with chassis stiffening, but has to be planned out to do so.


You will find with increased torque that you will have to address the rear end, most specifically the output shafts, since the universals are not known for their strength. Mostly broken by drag racers, where the shock loads at launch are high, but have been known to break with road racing/autoX use.


I would also be more concerned with overall condition of the car, than what chassis it is. You could find the (supposedly) stronger 280Z chassis, but if it's condition is poor, it will take more work to make strong than a good condition (supposedly) weaker 240Z chassis.

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Yea, it's advised not to use the term "best" on this forum. In the end there are a lot of factors that we won't know, so what is best for someone may not be best for someone else. It's a really broad term so best to stay away from it, hehehe.


Regarding the car, definitely what Six_shooter says. 


Visually you can convert the main giveaways such as the bumpers, tail lights etc. A series 1 240z is pretty distinct with it's different emblems and hatch vents, but probably not something you are interested in with your desire to race. I've honestly never been too fond of the 240z tail lights, I do like the later 280z lights too, always confused me when people want to convert, but I guess the grass is always greener...


A lot of parts are interchangeable, but some parts are more specific, like doors for example. Depending on how rough you plan on running the car, you might want to do a quick search in your area and see what is available for spares.


If you plan on racing it, the chassis would benefit from some reinforcement, and I'm sure Targa Newfoundland has some rules that will need addressing in the chassis, so buying a cheap chassis that needs work may not be as big a problem it you are planning on welding to it anyways. Otherwise the standard advice is to buy the most rust free and complete chassis you can find. 


Most 280z's will have the R200 which is a beefier rear end and a 27 spline axle compared to the 25 spline and R180 found on the earlier models. It still does seem that the half shafts go first though, and you can put an entire rear end from a 280z into a 240z and vice versa. The flip side would be the R200 is quite a bit heavier then the R180. 


Definitely pro's and cons for each chassis. It would be advised to make a list outlining the situation.


Price, availability, condition, location, needed upgrades, etc etc. That should help narrow down your candidates. For example if you are upgrading the rear end, it will not matter what rear end the car came with. If you are upgrading stub axles, once again, not a concern what the car came with. If you don't want to ship a car from somewhere else, you are limited to what you can find locally, so not a concern of what model to choose, just what is available. If you want the car to be from a sunny, location like california or arizona, you might have some more options and at that point you might want to consider pros and cons.

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The 240/260/280 discussion has been had enough times that you should be able to find everything you're looking for after some time searching. 


However if you have Targa Newfoundland questions, let me know! I've volunteered with Targa, and last year built a car and competed, and plan to do so for as long as the event runs (pending fundraising). Here's a shameless plug to our team Facebook page: www.facebook.com/targaevo80

Edited by m1ghtymaxXx

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