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Well, I've decided to bump this thread back up. It's been slow going, especially now that I'm back in school, but progress has been made. Been fiddling with/labeling the wiring harness tonight.


At this point, the engine is sitting on the stand waiting for a few sensors to be reinstalled, motor mounts, injectors, and the turbo stuff. I'm going with a t3/t4 hybrid I got from a friend in a trade for upgraded Toyota front brakes. Going with an external wastegate. 4 psi spring while the engine is being broken in, just so that if I do hit boost it won't be a lot.


Having a bit of a fiasco with fuel injectors... 4 of them match, and the other 2 are different from not only the other 4 but each other as well. I'll have to do some investigating with that.


I'm going to rebuild the fan clutch from my engine before I throw it on. Probably something I should have done a long time ago but never really thought about it that much I guess.


I've got a rear seal for the transmission on the way. I'll have to get the rear seal seated once the engine is off the stand due to the working space restrictions from the design of the stand itself. Then get the flywheel surfaced and bolted on. Going to pick up a TechnoVersions Ron Tyler style diff mount with the modded GM mount option to bolt the differential from the top to not only improve that whole design but also avoid spending even more money on a new differential mount.


I also need to build a plate for blocking off the EGR. Won't be too difficult. I've got an oil pressure sensor on the way since my car uses the one-wire setup. Using a Nissan oil cooler adapter but I don't have the spare cash for the cooler right now so for the time being i'm just looping it. Seems like blocking it will also block off oil flow so that's a no-go.


Still need to pick up a clutch kit and short shifter for the T5. Those and the diff mount are going to be the last few big dings in my nonexistent budget.


I am missing the coil bracket/ignitor setup, though someone local has that so hopefully I can grab it from him soon. I'm also starting to think I'm missing the ignition harness itself... haven't confirmed that yet as there aren't a lot of pictures as to what it should look like.


Going to use Redline oil in the diff and transmission. 75w90 GL-5 in the diff and D4 ATF in the transmission unless someone suggests otherwise.


This is a lot of writing, but I have been constantly writing out what I need to do in order to get it internalized for when I'm actually working on it. At this point I'll be doing a fair bit of waiting for parts. It also just occurred to me that I've been doing all this worrying about driveshaft length, motor mount modifications, etc. when the guy I bought the driveshaft and diff from said it fit fine with the stock mounts and it was in an S30. I'll have to do some measuring to see what I'm working with, but hopefully it will work.

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Don't worry about the "Ignition Harness".  If the stock coil wiring is still there in your 280Z you have 2/3rd's of the coil/ignitor wiring.  The Black/White that ran to your stock coil will provide power to the ignitor and then to the coil, the Blue will still take signal back to your Tach, the coil/ignitor will be grounded to the frame, and all that's left is the signal wire from the ECU to the ignitor - just one simple wire to add.

Edited by cgsheen

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Well, a couple of issues have reared their heads...


1) I'm pretty sure the driveshaft I've got is not the T5 driveshaft. I couldn't really find anything to tell me for sure, but maybe someone will be able to tell me here.


Spline count is 22 unless I'm counting wrong:



This part is pretty much self explanatory:



Also, the tailshaft yoke (I think that's what this is called) has a collar that goes up and over it. Didn't get a picture but it looks like this:



2) Wiring harness has kind of thrown me for a loop.


I'm pretty sure these weird connectors don't get used, but I'm not 100% on that:



Also this strange one wire, not sure what it is:



Not sure what this connector is for...:





I'm pretty sure this is a coolant temp. sensor but I cannot find where it goes for the life of me:



And I can't remember what the heck this thing is:



On top of that, I have to figure out how the hell to get this external wastegate on. The stupid wastegate flange is in the way of the bolt holes so I can't fit nuts on them.

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Well, I resolved some of my issues.


I found a driveshaft for the T5 that's been shortened a little bit and also had the rear diff flange replaced with one for the non-turbo R200. This means it will bolt into my diff without needing to change out the diff flange.

I've been reading that people think the 3.54 ratio diff is better for turbo applications than something like a 3.9. Anyone have any thoughts on this?


Also, I realized I'm dumb and that single contact connector is for the oxygen sensor. :bonk:


That mystery coolant sensor actually screws into that tee fitting in the picture below it, and after reviewing the pictures I took of the engine before tearing it apart (I highly recommend doing this), I found that it goes in line to the heater core hose. So, this leads me to believe it was for some kind of climate control doohickey in the ZX which I obviously won't have. I looked at my engine and the hoses just go straight from the lower radiator hose neck to the firewall so I don't have to worry about it.


I replaced all of the injector connectors since mine all had chipped plastic and were missing the clips. Also grabbed a couple extra to replace the coolant temp. sensors while I'm at it.


In the meantime, I've finally replaced the fusible links in my car with the maxifuse distribution block, as per the famous AtlanticZ writeup. For the time being it's held in with zip ties but hey it was 12:15am after Thanksgiving when I finished it!


I'm still going over diagrams of both my car and the 83 when I have time. I feel like I'm getting closer to the light at the end of the tunnel but I'm still stumbling in the dark at this point. After going through the EFI Bible for the first time I understand a lot more about the functions of the different sensors and such in the system, and I think I'm closer to figuring out how to wire power to the 83 turbo harness, but ignition is still way over my head at this point.


I've also gotten the external wastegate flange on and got an oil drain line hooked up. I can't get the nylon/steel braided 4AN line to cut without fraying and becoming useless so I'm going to try straight up steel braided line. A bit flashy for my taste but at this point I just need something that works. I'm getting close to the point of being able to bolt the flywheel/clutch and transmission back on. :)

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You have to wrap the end of the hose tightly with electrical tape and cut it off with a Dremel cutoff disk.


It's actually not cutting it that's giving me problems, it's when I try to push the fitting over it. The 8AN hose was fine but for some reason I can't get this stuff to work for me.


Are you still pondering using a stock ems?


I'm going with the stock EMS for now. I might upgrade in the future when I can afford it, but with my limited knowledge and budget I figured I should start off with something that won't get me in way over my head.

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Well I'm up late on a weeknight with nothing better to do so why not an update?


I got a T5 driveshaft that had been modified and shortened a bit. It has replaceable U joints and the rear diff flange is the smaller R200 version so it will bolt onto my stock diff. Unfortunately, the front yoke is not the stock T5 yoke. Working on that with a local driveline company.


At this point I have the wiring harness completely labeled, even the wires I won't use are labeled thus. Since finding a 280zxt coil and ignitor was nearly impossible, I ended up getting a Z31 coil and ignitor. Smaller, more modern, hotter spark, and more available. What's not to like? Luckily some spade connectors I have fit on the coil perfectly.


Thanks to cgsheen, I found out that the 280zx fuel pump relay is a super simple one. I couldn't find a stock one readily available or for a decent price so I just ended up getting a generic relay with a connector that was pre-wired.


Stainless braided line just arrived today so I can get working on that tomorrow and hopefully have an oil feed line by the end of the day.


Probably most interesting of all is I had an aluminum flywheel fall into my lap. Pretty sure it's a Fidanza. It's off being checked for flatness at a local shop. If it's good to use, I'm going to just go ahead and throw it on. If not, I'll probably end up selling it or something. Can't beat free, right?


I had a couple friends stop by to give me some help on Wednesday getting the engine down from the stand. It's now sitting on a metal dolly (and surprisingly sturdy on it as well). It makes a huge difference having a couple helping hands. Now I can get the rear seal installed and then the flywheel and new clutch once I know which flywheel I'm actually using. I put the foxbody Mustang shifter I got for the cheap on my transmission and it's looking good! The rubber boot was intact on my stock shifter and I managed to get it over the Mustang shifter since the one on it was shot. Definitely the way to go and I trust it more than those cheap ebay shifters that still cost at least 2x what I paid for this one.


Intake filter and tube are on their way. Just using a 3" cone filter and flexible tube.


It's getting down to the wire on this build. I'm going in for surgery on the 23rd of this month (yes, the day before Christmas). It will be a short recovery but working on a car with a finger that has been sliced open certainly won't be fun.


Here's what I have left to do:

- Get a few hose clamps on

- Cap off the FICD and a couple other vacuum fittings

- Install rear main seal

- Make and install oil feed line

- Install flywheel and clutch kit

- Figure out the driveshaft situation

- Get transmission fluid

- Have the flange on my downpipe replaced with the v band I have

- Pop the old engine and wiring out

- Get the new wiring in and spliced in as needed

- Drop in the new engine

- Fill fluids, prime, and start (hopefully)

- Get wategate dump tube made

- Break it in

- Drive the crap outta it


Here are some pictures to keep you interested:











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I think the forces of the universe are working against me... Class last quarter was brutal so of course I put the swap to the side. I finally got a time arranged to go into the shop and when I got there, all the bays were in use. I got a time arranged last Saturday. I needed another vehicle since my car was going to be put down until the swap so I waited until I could get a ride. It was a bit after 11 when I got back and ready to work. I waited for the bay I was going to use to get cleared of the car that was in there... for 30 minutes. By that point I had about enough time to get the car into the bay aaaand stop. I had to go pick up relatives at the airport. I waited in the pickup lot for them for not even 15 minutes (in their car) with the radio on, got the text to come pick them up, turned the key and... car was dead. Luckily the first guy I asked had jumper cables. By the time I got back to the shop again it was 3, so I had about 2 hours to do whatever I could.


In that time I got the sway bar and driveshaft unbolted, drained the engine oil, disconnected the EFI harness, disconnected the vacuum lines, removed the exhaust, unbolted the alternator, removed the stock air intake filter housing, and maybe a couple other things I can't think of at the moment. The nuts holding the front exhaust pipe that bolts to the manifold don't want to come free so I sprayed them with PB Blaster before leaving. If they still don't want to budge I'll probably just leave it since it tucks against the engine and transmission pretty well and shouldn't cause much drama. 


To finish removing the engine, I have to:


- Figure out how to disconnect the throttle linkage

- Drain the transmission or bag it to keep it from leaking

- Remove the fan shroud 

- Drain and remove the radiator

- At this point I'll probably just remove the fan and fan clutch since I have to swap them over anyway

- Disconnect and unbolt the starter

- Disconnect the oil pressure sender

- Disconnect the A/C lines

- Unbolt transmission x-member

- Sling up the engine, unbolt the motor mounts, and lift it out!







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To finish removing the engine, I have to:


- Figure out how to disconnect the throttle linkage


- Sling up the engine, unbolt the motor mounts, and lift it out!


The throttle linkage just pops apart.  It's a ball and socket connection.  Get big screwdriver, position it between the pieces, and twist.


You might consider some type of load leveling device, either self-made or bought.  The transmission has a lot of leverage on the back of the package.

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What are you doing with the old engine?  I'd like to have that intake manifold...   B)


Going to try to sell the whole thing if possible. If I end up parting it out I might end up holding onto the intake manifold but if I sell it I'll give you first dibs.


The throttle linkage just pops apart.  It's a ball and socket connection.  Get big screwdriver, position it between the pieces, and twist.


You might consider some type of load leveling device, either self-made or bought.  The transmission has a lot of leverage on the back of the package.


Thanks, I was trying to figure out how to unhook the part with the spring and washer but after posting it in a Facebook group I had it pointed out that there's actually a little cotter pin holding it together. The shop I'm doing it at has a leveler attached to the crane so I think I'll be able to manage it.


If you have help to pull the transmission up after it clears the engine bay it's not too bad on the out. A leveler definitely helps for putting it back in or if you are doing it by yourself.


Don't forget the fuel lines and such.


Good luck sir keep us posted.


Doh! In all my detail I forgot to write that out haha. I won't forget them, I just was going to leave them until last. I'll probably plug them while doing the swap though.

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Got a text saying yesterday and today were good days to work on the swap so I went in today after class.



Started by removing the AC condenser which was surprisingly easy. Looks like a bird got smashed between the radiator and AC condenser though... not sure what's up with that.




Then I removed and plugged the fuel lines and removed the starter, alternator, and fan clutch. Then I bolted them onto the turbo engine. I had already unbolted the alternator and the bottom starter bolt so removing them while they were still on the engine in the car was a breeze. I think it was around this point that I also decided to pull the old ECU out. Messed around with the harness but couldn't really figure out how to pop the rubber grommet out of the firewall easily so I left it until I got the engine out.




Then I drained the radiator through the water petcock on the bottom. It's plastic, so luckily no worries about it being rusted and seized.




Then I finished removing the driveshaft. I already removed 3 of the 4 bolts and had the 4th loose enough to back off the rest of the way by hand. Next is a word of advice, drain the transmission before removal. I couldn't get the drain plug loose so I tried to put a rag in a bag over the tailshaft and put a rubber band over it. It started to leak and later on the bag fell off and made a mess... If you can't get the drain plug loose, unbolt the transmission crossmember and tilt the back down and drain it out the back. You won't get all of it but you'll get enough to save yourself a big mess and a headache. 




One last shot of the engine ready to come out:




After some sketchy maneuvering with a cherry picker, we eventually had to unbolt the ram and add spacers to it in order to get enough height to remove the engine. I had help with this part which was lucky. Once the engine was over the radiator core support, I hopped into the engine bay and lifted the transmission up to get it over the core support.








The car was in the air to clean up the spilled transmission oil underneath, don't worry.


At this point I have about 7 hours into removal of the engine. I've never done this before so it was kind of a learning process, and I wasn't trying to rush through it. I'm happy with how long it took me, considering I did most of it without any help. I'm going in tomorrow to get the other engine in. I'll have to figure out transmission crossmember modification and driveshaft length. I also have to get my downpipe modified and replace the stock nissan turbo exhaust flange with a v band, as well as get my screamer pipe rewelded so it's angled differently. Of course I also have to mount the turbo ECU, put the new wiring harness in, and splice in power connections where needed. I got the new rear transmission seal from Black Dragon today so it arrived just in time. Once all that is in I'll throw the radiator back in. I'm pretty exhausted so if I forgot something, forgive me! I can't even think straight at this point.

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Thanks. I've noticed a lot of threads on HybridZ are outdated and often times there are questions that aren't answered. I spent a lot of time digging through posts as well as making a couple threads myself to get help. My goal in this is to have a newer thread that documents all aspects of the swap to make it easier for others to follow when they attempt the same. Hopefully I've done well so far.

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^^ Awesome! Thanks for thinking about us lol. Yes you've done well documenting your build. :)


I have a L28et sitting on the stand waiting to go in, but somewhat of a daunting task, so Ive been doing as much research as I can...

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Made some more progress today but not as much as I'd hoped. Got the old wiring harness and ecu out and got the new harness in. Had some trouble getting the old harness out, pulling it though the inside of the car seemed to work best. The AFM is the only connector that doesn't fit easily through the firewall but you can make it work. For installing the new harness you just have to push the ecu connectors through and then pull it until the grommet seats. It's easy, at least it was for me. I also switched the crank pulley from my old engine to the new one (the 280zx is 3 row).







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Well I thought I had about all of the wiring done, went to make sure the starter wire from the ignition switch it getting voltage, and nothing as far as I can tell. I think the multimeter I was using may be busted and I have another laying around somewhere so I'll have to find it. Needless to say it's not encouraging...

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Alright, a bit more of a proper update now.


Since I'm a full-time student, progress tends to be slow. The owner of the shop I was working on it in said it was taking too long and I had to move it. Fair enough. Ended up getting a friend's dad to help and he brought his truck and trailer to move it to my house. It's been in my driveway for a while now and I've been chipping away at it as time and weather allows. The starter is getting ignition voltage now and the engine turns over. Unfortunately the battery has been sitting a while so it was clear that it wouldn't last long if I kept cranking the engine so I stopped before I drained it.


At this point my main concern is oil pressure- or rather making sure I have it. 


I also sorted out the intake setup as well as mounted my oil cooler:






At some point soon I'll get around to measuring for the driveshaft and try to figure out the transmission crossmember. I can work outside until 8pm if the weather is decent which is very helpful.

Edited by Pac_Man

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Good news- I've got oil pressure! Bad news- no spark. I've got fuel pressure and compression but I verified no spark with a spark plug test. Tearing up my ignition wiring to inspect and verify it. I'll have to continue that tomorrow.

Don't forget that everything starts at the CAS with the ECCS system.  The computer controls ignition.

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Is there anything in particular I should look at with the CAS system? I'm guessing it receives power through the little tab on the distributor. If I still have issues after rechecking the wiring I'll have to start getting into more methodical diagnosis.

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