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280zx's with Ls swaps

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the 280zx doesn't seem to get any attention from parts manufactures when it comes to LS swaps. it took a lot of work to get mine done and I know who ever else has it done had to do the same. im just curious to see how many are out there and id love to see the different things people have done to get past certain road blocks such as mounts and headers. I know I had a lot of issues with mounts and oil pans and especially headers. if I can help with any issues I am more than happy to share my build. I modified JTR motor and trans mounts for a SBC to work with my LS. I used a stupid expensive oil pan from canton to get the motor low enuff. it has a very shallow front sump to clear the pwr steering rack. headers I originally used a manifold on driver side and block hugger on pass. side. now I have Billy Boat shorty headers for a c5 that I still had to modify. again, please post yours. how many of us are there?

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It's a canton 13-270a. It's like $500 bucks but it was the best one that allows the motor to sit really low. It works awesome. You can't have a stroker motor cause the front sump is so shallow.anything else I can help with just ask...do you have a 280zx your doing the swap on?

13-270A - GM LS1 5 1/4” DEEP AL F-BODY RACE BAFFLED PAN (13-270A)

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And you if u use a pan with a deeper rear sump it hangs below the bottom of the car so that's not too good either. You can go a little wider with the rear sump but that's it. It really was the perfect fit.nothing for this swap was budget friendly but that's what happens when nothing is made for the s130 chassis

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an iron block might make it a little nose heavy but the power of these swaps are so much fun over the 6cyl. my alum block makes my car 2918lb and almost 50/50 weight, I actually have 20lbs more on the rear of the car. my bell housing for the t56 hangs an inch lower than my pan so you could go a little lower if your modifying a oil pan. so if you are on a budget you could try modifying a pan, the canton one just fit perfectly and has baffles for oil slushing around. the biggest issue will b headers and making the engine sit as low and as close the fire wall as possible. the rear ends are pretty dependable but I have a quaife rear in the r200, I would definatly use cv joint out of a 280zxt or 300zxt is even stronger. and the rear springs are really soft for the power you will have. im up to 420lb springs in the rear and 250lb in the front and it has a real good balance. I was snapping stub axles cause I was having wheel hop issues due to either the toe in when it squats or rebounding from bottoming out the struts. but once I got the car to not squat so bad the wheel hop seemed better. I also got 300m stub axles from modern motorsports. lots of fun it is having it all done though, the car really rips. here are some pics of things like steering shaft mods and stainless 1x3 frame ties

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Edited by G-Tech
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sorry for the extra post here but the pic of my steering shaft shows that I drilled and tapped threw it to put a screw threw it then what the picture doesn't show is that it allowed me to cut that ear off so that I had more clearance. there is pics of 2 different options for headers, both of which still had to be modified before they would fit. I also made a solid aluminum spacer to get rid of the rubber piece on the shaft. I made it smaller diameter than the rubber piece for more spacing.

Edited by G-Tech

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Im sorry,I dont even know what car it was for.i will remember to make a note of that when I have to replace it some day... some of the auto stores are nice enuff to just let you go in the back and look at their selection of hoses.just take measurements of what you need. if you buy one and it doesn't work just return it and try another. that's what I had to do.i know each end was too long and i just shortened it.

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Edited by G-Tech

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Very nice! I'm going to put a iron block Lq4 in my 82, trying to get the L28 pulled this week. I'm leaning towards cutting the pan down and getting a crank scrapper, trying to do this on a budget but it usually gets thrown out the window anyway. you said you were using the Jtr mounts. I found these...

 http://www.randyellisdesign.com/GM-LS-Series-DIY-Caged-Bushing-Tubular-Race-Motor-Mount-Kit_p_85.html

These look beefy for the price. Any pictures of the jtr mount installation process? I figured this is going to be one of the biggest hurdles in the build, I'm really curious how other s130 people handled this. Notching the cross member, pan, motor mounts used and set up, cost?

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Those mounts could work. What I think will be your problem is were the mounts bolt to the motor end up behind the cross member. I had a small block Chevy in the car first so I already had the jtr mounts. Then I got sbc to ls swap plates. Problem then was the motor moved to far foward. My dad said to try reversing the mounts. I put the passenger side on driver side and visversa and it actually put the motor in a good place. I had to weld bushings on the mounts cause now the slots in the mounts went up and down Instead of right and left. Hopefully u can make sense of the pics, I know this may be confussing but I was able to make this work and I'm sure there is other ways to get mounts to work.just be creative. Good luck with yours, keep me posted. the headers i felt were the biggest obstacle.

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Dirty dingo has good parts. I have their alt. Bracket..just make sure to take your time putting the motor in the right place. I know I was getting frustrated and wanted to just make it work but I'm glad I went threw the extra work to make it low and close to the fire wall. It will also be needed to get the tranny to fit right without any mods to the tunnel. I'd like to see what u do with the cage. I did floor and frame rail replacement but I did the MSA roll bar and I'd like to replace it with a real cage

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If I was going to the extent of caging and stitch welding there would be no iron block in the mix, unless you are going over the power limit of the al block. As G-tech said, get that engine and trans as low and far back as possible, then with an al block you will get close to 50/50 weight distribution and a low C of G. Those are two of the basics of a good race car, there is no ignoring them if you are serious.

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I have been searching Hybrid and the web for the last week and have found very little info on anything revolving around strengthening the s130 platform specificly. I'll let you guys know what I'm up too (don't mean to jack your thread G-tech, since I am still building this car) Kicker is I already have the iron block 99 6.0 Lq4, so I'm already stuck with this power plant. I did just pick up some 317 aluminum heads, those will get a match port and polish over the winter. LSX/fast style intake, bigger throttle body, valve springs ARP studs and and eventually turbo it. A T56 behined that Ls2 to run the r200 and chromoloy shafts (already has turbo halfshafts from the L28ET swap years ago). I want to be in the 500hp range on pump gas (I can always detune on the street), mainly a weekend driver, auto X on ocassion and run the 1/4 mile. jebus I sound like a newbie. I do realize I absolutly need to get that motor tucked low and as far back as possible. Now, is the 200 # between the two blocks (I realize she will be a little nose heavy) going to make that much of a difference when I start pushing hp #s like that?
  I have been searching threads for suspension, frame/seam welding, roll cage vs bars all the while trying to figure out A.) How I am going to use this car, and B.) How am I going to stiffen this thing up. I want a street car so I feel a full cage is going to just be dangerous, when we go out for a Friday night cruise. I have the car gutted right now while I deal with the rust and have been making a plan to ditch as much weight as possible. I picked up some manual window regulators and the rear hatch glass got broken, so that will get lexan, stock dash will return. Heater core will stay for cold nights, A/C is gone. I will probably put sound deadner in the front and plan on welding the little body holes closed. From some of the other stuff I have been reading there is a huge problem with the rear trailing arms throwing the tire into the front of the rear wheel well over 400hp, so that will need to be adressed.
 I have seriously been considering buying a rotisserie so I can have much easier access to the belly when I do the pans and rails, then I can strip the undercoating and seam weld it. I have had this car for 16 years and want to do it right, for the last time. That's a lot of ground I just covered, so long story short I have been trying to figure out how to approach this whole project since I have a tendency to be a little sporadic at times. OK, so let me have it, what do y'all think of all that?

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I say have at it!!! For drag racing or racing from a red light, who cares about balance. You just won't get the most out of it when it comes autocross or having fun on off ramps or on ramps. Sounds like u know what your doing. Do something with the stock brakes, your gonna want stiffer springs in the rear and definitely do Stub axles since you have a stick shift. What I did to stiffen it up was strut braces and made my own frame ties. If u go turbo, it will help with header issues. So just build it how ever it makes you fell warm and fuzzy inside. There is no text book way to do an s130, the cage is gonna be a custom built thing so make it up as u go. And yes u hijacked my thread but there doesn't seem to be many already done so let this thread be about help people build a 280zx LS swap. Good luck, keep us posted.

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  260 DET, I figured since I was running the iron block and adding extra weight and pushing 500hp that the car would definetly benifit from stitch welding and a 4 point roll bar (if I can find a good deal on an AL block later on I'll swap them out, the vortec was for another project that got sold). Assuming that CG is as far inboard and as low as possible, in your opinion (anybody feel free to jump in here) is seam welding and a roll bar over kill for a 500hp streetable appilcation that will see some minimal/moderate track time? How much HP will the s130 frame handle before it starts to fatigue?

 

Sorry about the hijack G-Tech, like you said "there doesn't seem to be many already done" either that or people are out driving them and not documenting it. When I came across this thread I got really intrigued since I am working on this very thing. Did any of you do a build thread? Maybe throw a link to it up in here as well and try to consolidate some info for other people looking to do this swap. Anybody that is this far down the rabbit hole is prepared to throw time and money at the car, if your not you might want to reconsider.

 

Personally I'm really interested in how everyone stiffened there car up, battery relocation and weight distribution, brakes and suspension being taken into consideration as well. I feel CG and proper engine/ driveline angles are the secondary aspect of this build, tough part is figuring out how your going to drive it and build it around that. what are you guys/gals using your s130 ls swap cars for, race or street? Did every one else already have a SBC in there s130 before deciding to convert to the LS? Personally I did not so I am kinda working from scratch.

Edited by subhuman

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I think it is important to tie the front and rear to the body in some form but you don't have to get crazy. I have 400whp and ive told you what ive done. i beat the hell out of my car and it takes every bit of it with no issue. I think a 4 point "cage" will take care of the rear (don't get confused as i did, a "roll bar" doesn't do much for strength)and you will want something for the front. maybe tie bars from the fire wall to the strut towers and from there to the frame rails would work. i don't think stitch welding is necessary but like i said, if it makes you feel better then do it.you may wanna try the s130 pages for more specifics on chassis stiffening. the 280zx has kinda been the black sheep of the z's, not many have gone all out on them. i've searched the best I can and have found 4 other s130's with LS's, and one is in Australia or something. none have posted much in specifics as what they've done. that's why I started this thread. i have been working on mine for 10yrs and just recently decided to post about it.for weight, the most popular is take spare tire out and put battery there, aluminum radiators are affordable, brake rotors with aluminum hats, I tried getting Fiberglass panels from company called show cars, horrible experience I had with them.

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Edited by G-Tech

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Point taken on the cage. One of the reasons I want to stitch weld it is it needs quite a bit of rust cut out of the pans and the rails are collapsed and getting rough. I already replaced a 12" chunk of the channel above the exhaust and have the whole rear floor out right now (i'll try and start uploading some pictures this week, just been busy) I figure it would be easier to get a rotisserie spin her around and deal with it properly (Airplane stripper works great on undercoating btw, just need to let it sit for 15-25 minutes). Figured I would stitch it if I'am that far in and have to strip undercoating anyways, I have the whole rear floor pan out right now so the battery relocation is on my list as well. I have a good 3 core Griffen aluminum radiator that has been cooling the L28ET for the last 5 years, great upgrade. What did you do for fuel lines and a pump? I'm going to run the stock tank (just had it vatted) and braze AN fittings on the sender and run 3/8" hard line feed and use the stock 5/16" (feed) for the return. I was browsing the other night and somebody was saying they went with flex line so there were less fittings. I have an Aeromotive 11540 that is in tank and flows 340 lph at 90 psi, I was thinking about modifying the pick up to run that but I need to do some more research on it. Well, I'm going to start going through some pictures this week and show you where I am at with the body.

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I used aeromotive also part#11106 good for 700hp, aeromotive regulater,before and after filters, 8an feed, 6an return, and braided flex hose the whole way.i did the same thing making the feed line my return line.i didn't know much on modifying the sender so I used and external pump but my understanding with fuel pumps is they make better pushers than pullers so I put a fitting on the bottom of the tank for gravity feed. I had to drill holes in the tub inside the tank cause now my feed is outside of that tub, I put fuel cell foam in too. I eventually want to weld a sump in the bottom for better pickup, right now I cant get less than a quarter tank or it will suck air which is obviously bad. there is a thread that says how to use a autometer gas gauge for a ford to work with the Datsun sending unit but It didn't work right, I gotta play with the resistors a lil more to get it accurate.You will want all new gauges to work with the new motor, you could save the gas gauge and maybe volts and oil pressure but new ones fit perfectly in the old pods.

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Edited by G-Tech

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You might be able to use the stock master cyl. for the clutch but I went with a willwood 3/4 bore cause it wasn't too expensive and it works great. I used a cable drive throttle body, seemed easier to set up than drive by wire. My tuner guy said a stock throttle body that is port and polished is just as good as any other aftermarket. Make sure u use a good clutch cause I'm not sure you can pull the tranny by itself. I pull engine and trans as one. And last thing for now, the power steering rack (which is probably the only luxury we have that s30 guys don't)is metric so u need adapter fitting to go from metric to standard.

Edited by G-Tech

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I am on the fence about what to run for a pump but considered welding a sump in the tank, or running duel pumps with the two I already have, kinda redundant I guess if one will do the job. My buddy just got a TIG and I know he's itching to use it. Figured it would need all new gauges, I did a couple of searches for harness delete but didn't turn up much. I was thinking I'm just going to clean up the harness and ditch anything on the body side harness that I don't use since I'm deleting the power windows and the cruise doesn't work any ways. Figured I would keep the clutch master and try to figure out a way to be able to drop the trans with the motor in, might end up beating the tunnel in a little if that's what it takes. Ditched the PS years ago, lol. I just cut the line and looped it, I'm going to clean that up and put new bellows on it while it's out. Throttle is cable driven as well and I might just port that TB then. I finally got he body 99% stripped and the plates for the temporary braces tacked in last night. My buddy is supposed to come help me tomorrow night and get her leveled off so I can brace it up. My father in law bought my old Falcon wagon that I worked on all summer, transport is supposed to pick it up Sunday. Once that thing is gone I'm going to get a rotisserie ordered, and pull the motor on the ZX!

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When I cleaned up the wire harness I just cut the wires that I did't need right at the computer. still running all the Datsun stuff off the old computer and have a PSI harness and Camaro computer for the engine. She even still talks to me. So I would definitely suggest just leaving the Datsun harness for whatever you can and just running the motor off a separate harness.

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I have been slowly working on my 83 for a LS swap. Related to the headers that you used, I have been thinking of just adding a steering shaft joint just to get a few inches. Do you think that would work, if you got an inch or so extra clearance for the headers. Also what headers did you end up using?

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