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So i finally blew up my 2nd T5 transmission. This time locking it up solid while doing a 5th gear pull on the highway.

 

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So i figured now would be a great time to do the 240sx transmission swap I've seen from different articles.

 

I referred alot to the following


 

Unfortunately this write up is for the S30 chassis, and not the S130 chassis like I have.

 

DISCLAIMER, This swap was done on a 83' 280zx Turbo Couple. It will be slightly different on the Non-turbo, and will definitely be different on the 2+2, but only in the aspect of different driveshaft flanges and lengths.

 

As far as the machining and transmission build aspects of this, it is exactly the same. Where it starts to differ however is once you get the transmission bolted to the engine block. I will explain all of that here.

 

So once you've got all of your machining work done, which I chose to machine my non-turbo Z bell housing to fit the 240sx countershaft bearing size, since a bigger bearing, better load distribution, etc. etc. etc.

 

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Of course while I had it all apart, I found the center plate bearing for the countershaft was shot, so I went ahead and replaced both the main shaft and countershaft bearings in the center plate. I got lucky for $75, it only needed 1 bearing in reality, and all of the synchros were in great shape along with all of the gears as well.

 

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Once you get it all bolted back up to the motor, here is where there are some slight differences in relation to the S30

 

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The S30 requires some cross member modification to allow the transmission to mount to it, as it is 2" longer. However on the S130, you do not need to drill any holes anywhere. Remove the 240sx transmission mount, and bolt the 280zx transmission mount to the tailshaft housing. Now bolt the rear cross member up and let the transmission down. It lines up perfectly.

 

Next is going to be the driveshaft

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With this being a turbo car, the T5 output shaft spline is bigger and completely different than the 240sx and non turbo Z output shaft spline.

 

The other thing is the turbo R200 differential flange is different from a non-turbo R200. Now you could just swap the non-turbo R200 flange and have the non-turbo drive shaft shortened, but you still run into the issue of non-replaceable U-joints, and the diameter of the non-turbo drive shaft is smaller than the turbo drive shaft. I was in a pinch at the moment, and did not have a line on a non-turbo differential flange, nor did I want to wait to get one in.

 

So what I ended up doing was having a completely new driveshaft built. It has HD replaceable and greaseable U-joints, and is the same diameter of the turbo driveshaft, and can be lengthened or shortened with ease at any time should I ever need it.

 

My driveshaft guy can get brand new yokes with the proper output shaft splines, and can get the proper matching differential flange as well. So now I have a completely serviceable driveshaft. If anyone else here is interested in them, I will be marketing them for direct bolt in applications with no fabrication needed, especially if you are considering this swap, this will provide the least amount of headaches.

 

Also with my calculations, we got the driveshaft length just right

 

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So once you have the driveshaft issue solved, you can move onto shifter clearance.

 

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As you can see, since the transmission is 2" longer, it moves the shifter back quite further. It was actually hitting the top of the transmission tunnel.

 

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It also now makes the stock shift boot insulator no longer line up, as well as the shift boot trim ring. If you put the shift boot trim ring in its proper orientation, the shifter will hit it when going into 2nd, 4th, and reverse and not allow proper gear engagement. So this has to be rotated 180 degrees. For now I was able to make it fit. It is a very tight fit, but with a little bit of ingenuity, you can get it in there without having to cut or sand down anything.

 

So to make room for the new shifter clearance, you need to remove a 1" by 4" piece of metal from the top of the shifter hole in the transmission tunnel.

 

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I also took this time to install a short throw shifter. I just bought some off-brand from ebay, and so far with about 100 miles it has taken my abuse and not given up at all. Feels great as well! The stock shifter is VERY sloppy, and has ALOT more throw than the stock Z transmission shifters. The shifter also sits a few inches higher than the stock Z shifters do, but to me, it is not enough to be bothersome, I actually thing it's a little better being higher up.

 

So back to the shift boot insulator issue. I cut a secondary hole in the stock shift boot insulator to compensate for the offset of the new shifter.

 

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I then sourced a shift boot insulator from a 92-02 Chevy Camaro, which seemed like it would get me close enough to what I was trying to achieve. I'm sure there are better options out there, but for my time constraints, I was able to make this work quite well.

 

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For proper fitment, this shift boot insulator will require some minor modification. First off, the shifter hole needs to be expanded just slightly. The shifter hole needs to be elongated slightly, enough so that it fits seamlessly over the expanding part of the shifter. All I had to do was remove the very top ring of rubber around the hole, and it fit perfectly. This can be done with a pair of very sharp scissors, or tin snips.

 

 

The other issue you will run into is the Camaro insulator is a little wider than the Z transmission tunnel

 

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This causes the carpet to bow out on the sides, and also doesn't allow the center console to seat properly over the entire thing, it will sit about an inch above the mount holes.

 

Not pictured, but if you flip the Camaro shift boot insulator over, you will see a ridge which is what would ride in the shifter hole on the Camaro and seal against the body. This ridge is what seals against the Z trans tunnel as well, so anything protruding past that on the left and right sides, can be trimmed down.

 

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A little bit of trimming with a saw-zall or a cutting wheel will do the trick. Just trim along the sides and the carpet will now sit in a better position, and also allow the center console to sit lower and be able to bolt it down as well.

 

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Because of the new offset, and the different size shifter, you will not be able to retain the Stock Z shift knob or shift boot. They were long overdue for replacement, so I got a leather shift boot on ebay, and got a weighted shift knob with the proper thread for the 240sx shifter.

 

Bolt it all down and go for a test drive. It doesn't sit 100% flush like factory, but it will sit flush enough to not move, creak, or look like crap. Overall I'm pretty satisfied with the results.

 

The 240sx transmission definitely feels ALOT better than the crap T5 that I had. It is built ALOT better than what they had in the 70's and early 80's.

 

As I said earlier in this write-up, I will be offering completely serviceable bolt in drive shafts for all swaps. Whether you are doing a turbo, non turbo, 2+2, whatever it is, I can get it made and shipped to you for $500 anywhere in the Continental US. International orders will be a case by case basis.

 

I also will offer to build your transmission so its ready to bolt in as soon as you get it back from me. If you source me a Z bell housing, and 240sx transmission, I will get all of the machine work done, and bolt it all together if it doesn't need any hard parts starting at $600 plus shipping costs back and forth. If you need me to source the transmission and bell housing for you, and other parts, it will be $1200. I am located in Texas should anyone be interested. I'd like to make this swap as easy and bolt in as possible, given the T5's are getting very hard to find, and the non turbo 5 speeds are laughable at best when you're putting down a decent amount of power.

 

Hope this encourages more of you all to consider and possibly go through with this swap. I wish I'd have done this years ago.

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