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280zx's with Ls swaps

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Stitch welding is good as is oxy welding right around the door opening flanges, the rest is a bit hit and miss mainly because it all gets complicated and very much an individual's opinion. I had a good look at a MX5 the other day because cars that do well in racing are good chassis examples. One thing I noticed when looking down from the engine bay was the horizontal bracing from the rails to the bottom of the firewall which is going to be incorporated in the Z31 race car project. Then, with the front guards removed, a 45 degree brace from the front of the rockers to the upper front body towards the strut towers is useful, did this with the 280ZX plus a triangular strut firewall brace.

 

The best advice is to look at modern cars like the MX5 and Toyota 86 and consider why they did what they did and use your imagination as to what loadings the 280ZX chassis will have to handle when racing.

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sounds like you have some educated advice subhuman. think i will take it too....as far as what nismoluv asked, ive seen some do the universal joint done, it would help to get the header to exit towards the fire wall. but the passenger side i didn't have room for it to exit towards the fire wall with the starter and brake lines in the way, so you would still have to run 2 different headers. also the steering shaft is so short as it is, i didn't feel safe having a universal joint. right now i have billy boat "stepped" shorties for a c5. the primaries are 1 5/8 which my tuner said it would be better with 1 3/4 but i couldn't fit them. i bought every shorty header out there and just returned them as i determined they wouldn't fit. i still had to mod the ones i have by re making the primary closest to the fire wall (which u can see in the pic)and denting in the back side by the collector a lil bit.. here are a bunch of pics. I drilled and tapped threw the shaft so I could cut that ear of for room and I also got rid of the rubber joint so that I could put a smaller diameter solid mount to get room. the manifold I had originally I cut out a patch and had a plate welded in from the back side to get room for the shaft

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Edited by G-Tech

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it is nice having a s30 chase Ryan Merrill, you have lots of options. that wouldn't work in a s130 chassis.it take some serious notching of the pan for the power steering rack, no way the engine would be low enuff, and it limits what headers you can use and that's already a problem with a s130. I sure didn't want to spend the money that I did on an oil pan but sure glad I did now that its done.

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Edited by G-Tech

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  Been busy the last week but I have been taking pictures...So, as far as the cage goes I have been putting some serious thought into tying the front tubes into the towers through the firewall like you have mentioned. I have several ideas bouncing around my head but that's a ways off yet, I really appreciate everyone's input on this it's invaluable.

  So here I sit, I just ordered a rotisserie earlier this week (sold a old Falcon I worked on all summer and made some $$ so that has helped with this build) it should be in Tuesday or so.I have been slowly cutting rust out of the ass end since March but have been picking up steam since the Falcon is gone. Last week I had cut some 1/8' spreader plates for the temporary cross braces and tacked them in, I also finished getting the doors off in prep for the 'tisserie. Wed night I got the car up on jack stands and leveled off across the front and rear towers. Next I measured across the towers and made sure they were square before I tacked the braces in. Shit gets weird because the front towers sit lower than the rear and the cowl gets in the way. I didn't want to weld a bolt on my struts and F some thing up so I pulled a McGiver...I had some shackle bolts in the bucket from doing a lift on my buddies Jeep laying around (18mm nut, I don't know the thread pitch off the top of my head) and found some 7/16" bolts that matched the thread pitch on the struts. I ran the nut down tight then fed the bolt in and checked the angle between the two struts, they should match (which they did) so I ran with it. Marked center on the bolt (used the same one on both side, less variables) then had the wife help me measure RR to LF, then RF to LR. They came back the same so I was squared up and leveled. I Cut my braces to length and then started tacking (front tower brace was in the front prior to lifting the car), B pillar goes in first, then rear tower, then the front. Then the motor finally came out and boy did it feel good!!
  I got the whole rear floor pan out two weeks ago and cut some more rust out of the panel under the tail lights tonight. I need to make a run and get some more sheet steel next week so I can start getting the floor back together. I'm going to get a battery relocation kit coming from summit tomorrow. What did you guys use for a support to hold the battery box, just square 3/4" stock? I will try to be religious about posting and I'll just update as I go a long, all comments are welcome and advise is much appreciated, I have lurked around on here for years reading on this forum and it was a huge help when I swapped a turbo motor into this NA car 8 years ago. I figured maybe I could give back somehow on this S130 LS swap. 

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Edited by subhuman

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looking good!!! kinda jealous even. I went pretty far when I restored mine but a rotisserie I did not do.

When I got rid of the spare tire the bottom of the tray was rotted so I had to cut some out ,then I just welded in a flat piece of 3/16 or 1/4 to have a flat surface. just secured a plastic batt box in after that.

 Keep plugging away, it seems like it never ends but one day the list will finally get smaller. if you do it right the first time (like your doing) you"ll have a brand new 280zx when your done and wont have much to do but drive the hell out of it and maintain it. awesome to see another s130 getting the full treatment. keep us posted on progress and ask any questions.

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My rear pan above the exhaust was rotted out pretty good and was starting to creep into the inner rear quarter. It wasn't that bad ten years ago, lol. when I got a chunk of the floor out the channel was pretty F'd in the A. The spare tire well was going and the seam under the tail lights as well so it's all out now. I'll bend a couple of 90's and tie the floor pan back into the rear rocker's and hope to have the battery box relocated and the floor back in by Christmas. The toe boards are pretty chewed up as well as the seam behind the seats tie into the K member. The typical area where the channels get crushed needs to be replaced as well. I just hate to weld over my head and figured I would spend the money rather than the time on my back. I have approached this as an investment and I'm a little ocd. When I'm done I just want to thrash it and do maintenance like you said G tech. Here's some pictures of the rot that I cut out.

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Just realized it's been a couple months since I posted. I'm going to throw a couple posts up since I have a lot of pictures. This is some arduous stuff! I just keep finding rust in between the seams when I take sealer out so it has slowed me down quite a bit. I got into the rear passenger side rocker and it was between layers in the quarter and into the rear valance. A lot of little hand hammered pieces and rust-be-gone flushes down seams and I finally got it under control and I'm almost ready to put the rear pan back in. I have a new battery tray I bent up out of 18ga and tracked down the pressed floor pan that I didn't want to try and hammer out (keep that stock look). I still need to bend the recesses that the fuel lines and tank vent run through, should be getting to that sometime this week.

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OK so, this is one thing I have found with relocating a full size battery to the back, putting it in a box and then building a tray for it like an anal retentive a*& hole. I had to loose a section of the gas tank. Now, I cut the old spare tire well out because it was pretty rotted anyway and the corner in that wheel well was toast (picture in the previous post). So I basically remade that inner fender wall and put a lip on it so the battery tray will be supported. Now my battery tray sits on the bottom most lip of the rear rocker, as low as I can get it with out it hanging out of the bottom of the car. Now I had to trim the lip off my frame rail because it's so tight with the tray I made (11" wide and I think 13" long), it was quite a bit bigger than the original spare tire well. So I get all of this done get my tank mocked up into my floor and now I can't get my tray in, wtf!! It turns out the tank overhangs the passenger side frame rail quite a bit, which I never noticed because the spare tire well was off set to accommodate it. I was already committed at this point so I took the tank to my buddy and he trimmed off that inch/inch and a half and welded it back up. pressure tested it too 200 psi and it held so here I am, back on track. I can get my tray in and the top of a full size battery sits about 2" off the floor, nice and tight. I don't know how other people did it, but this is the way I decided to do it. I'll run back out to the garage and get a picture of it all mocked up.

 

*edit, added pictures of the tray, battery relocation kit and trimmed tank from a couple different angles.

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Edited by subhuman

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  Last week I got the bay stitched up and plug welded all the holes, I need to get the tower knobs cut off and grind the welds flush so I can weld plates in for camber adjustments. I tied the channels into the rear sub frame around the gas tank and added 45*s as well. It was 35 today so I pulled it outside, finished stripping the under coat and bead blasted a bunch of rust off it. Just need to finish cleaning the seams out so I can weld them up and get it all the way down to bare metal. Looks promising as some of the rust I thought was really bad is only kinda bad.

  I got some -11cc Wiseco pistons ordered for the Lq4 today and will get my H beam Lunati rods ordered tomorrow. I scored a Monster stage II on Ls tech a couple weeks ago so when my rods and pistons come in I can get the rotating assembly balanced!! Block is at the machine shop as well waiting for a .005" cylinder cut and hone. I scored this Holset Hx55 turbo on ebay for a screaming deal to, so parts are coming in and progress is being made. A side note I am keeping the stock 3.622" crank since it was in such good shape. This motor came out of a 99 pick up so it has the long nose crank. I'm going forged internals and just decided to have the machinist cut down the nose .400" so  the T56 will bolt right up and I don't have to source another crank. McLeod used to have a trans spacer to use with their flywheel but apparently stopped making it, so I figured this is easier. Well there it is for now. I'll post some more pictures when I get the rear pan in and some more work done. I'm going to get a bunch a of body panels formed then my buddy is gonna come help tig em in. i'm hoping to get the body work wrapped up next month and the motor test fitted before I have to pack for the move back to Texas the end of May.

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Definitely the farthest I've seen someone take an s-130...Good job!!!! I don't have much to say. I have the same clutch and I love it, soft pedal but grabs firm. Chatters just a lil crushing slow threw a car show but not too badMaybe we have talked about it but I did get a willwood clutch master cylinder that helped alot. I had to make an adapter plate for the bolt holes to line up but it was pretty straight forward....Keep it up

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i used jtr small block chevy mount kit and Ls to sbc adapter plates. i did some modifications to them that i talked about on the previous page of this thread, pictures too. subhuman had another idea that probably worked that he also talked about. there is nothing that will just straight up bolt in. for the tranny cross member i also used jtr for a 5-speed trans.and had to make an extension plate for the extra length of the t-56. good luck, and dont rush it. there is alot of lil obstacles you will just have to be creative with. let me know when you get stuck on the next thing.  

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Say G-Tech, I have been eye balling the Dirty dingo motor mounts lately for the S30's I don't see why they wouldn't work in our s130's with a little modification as well. not 100% sure how much you can slide them forward though, but it's a thought.  Hooker makes adapter plates as well, I don't know how far they move things forward either though.

 

http://www.dirtydingo.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=1430

 

http://www.jegs.com/i/Hooker-Headers/520/12611/10002/-1

 

Couple different options for modifications.

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They look like they would work. I thought what I did with the SBC mounts and the LS adapter plates made perfect sense in theory but it didnt. It worked but took more work than I thought it would...I said before I like dirty dingo stuff. I bet those would work well

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A little status update on my build. Been hauling ass seeing as we head back to Texas July 5th...

  Before we wrapped the rear floor up I had to address the beat rails and get them situated. Part of the floors got cut out above the rails so I could gain access, I welded a 1/2' bolt to some small pieces of 1/8" flat plate and tacked these to the rail. Then used my slide hammer and 1/2" all thread and a coupler, heated the rail up with the torch and pulled out most of it. What we couldn't get with the slide hammer we used a piece of 3/8 x 3" flat plate and beat them out with the 5lb hammer, it sucked. Next I bent up all the sheaths for the rail, opted to do this instead of cut them out so it preserved the structural integrity of the sub frame. Pictures are self explanatory. I included the measurements so if anybody wants to do this it's there. It took me a dozen tries to get the right measurements, so your welcome. There's some pictures of the rear floor, everything is tied in and back in place, we still have a couple spots to weld it in solid, just waiting on my buddy to get freed up so we can finish buttoning it up. 

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Onto the floors, also a PITA. I made forms out of 3/4" ply, cut them out and routed them. then I screwed them to another piece of ply, clamped them down and using a torch periodically hand pounded them out. If I had a bearing press it would have made the job so much easier, but it was worth the experience I suppose. Regardless The floors are now back in and welded solid, probably way more sturdy than the original OEM stuff. We doubled up over the rear sub frame mounts with 18ga and then I got grade 8 bolts and welded those to some 1/8" flat plate which will get welded to the floor. Onto paint.

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  Interior engine bay and underside have been primed with Upol Acid #8 at this point. I have been bouncing back and forth between fabricating the radiator support and Por 15'n all the suspension components, while lathing Aluminum bushings. The radiator gussets, supports and sheet metal are all welded in at this point. We also welded 1/8" plate over the front strut towers, rear will get it too from the bottom though. I picked up some TTT camber plates and everything has been drilled out now, I still need to notch the towers for adjustment but have enough on my plate for the time being. I'll get back around to it later. The front cross member, sub frame and trailing arms, under dash bar, steering column and various odd n' ends all have two coats of Por 15 on them and are ready for re-assembly. I have all new Poly bushings and wheel bearings ready to go in, but that's just an afternoon of work so right now my focus is body work and getting the car blocked and banging some dents out.

 

  G-Tech or anyone else...How far over the front cross member does the harmonic balancer hang? I'm using the corvette balancer and only running the alternator and water pump. I really want to do a V mount but the mock up in the pictures are quite extreme, the radiator will fit on the back side as well but I really want that extreme kick. One more for you guys..did you cut the OE transmission tabs out of the tunnel to run the GM transmission? I am assuming so. Some pics would be awesome if some body could throw some up.

 

I need to go home and get some sanding done tonight, I have a long ways to go and a short time to get there. If I get done at a reasonable time I'll try and post some more pictures up. The motor should be out of the machine shop in the next couple weeks   :twisted: !!!!

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Posted (edited)

looking good as always. like what you are doing with the radiator. here are couple pics of were my motor sits.i basically put it an inch or 2 from the fire wall.... keep going, mayb by next spring you'll have one badass s130.

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Edited by G-Tech

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  Thanks for the pictures G-Tech! Looking at your set up I should be able to kick that radiator out where I want it, still have to figure out where I'm going to stick that massive Holset though. Dear god I hope I have the motor in it by next spring! I ordered a 6 point roll bar from Chassis Engineering down in Florida, it should be here Friday. They have a pretty sweet template you print off and send them the measurements and they bend it up and ship it to you. I picked it up for $174! + shipping but, hey under 5 bills it's screaming, probably cheaper than you could make it. I'll snap a couple pictures Friday night when it comes in. Best part is, they will keep the measurements on file. So that means...all us S130, 280zx guys n' gals will have a bent to fit source for roll bars!!

  A buddy and I are running down to Idaho Sunday to pillage a parts car for some odd's n' ends so that will be fun, nothing like road trips and part hunting. Gonna order seats before the weekend as well so we can get the roll bar in when I get back from Washington on the 5th. I need to finish up the plinth's and spreader plates Thursday while my buddy wraps up the welding. Gotta get this sucker painted by the 12th of June. I put the wife and boy on the plane for Texas the 23rd of June, so my window is quickly closing to get the Ol' Girl painted and back on the ground.

 

http://chassisengineering.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=39_292

http://chassisengineering.com/documents/CHASSIS_KIT_FORM.pdf

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