This is Nathan's (AKA Gollum) old 280ZX.
I purchased the car from him back around Nov of 2014 and have been caring for it since. The timeline here will be a bit fractured but hopefully not disorientating.
I came with a few buddies, and we shoved an L28e in it, and drove it back the same day!
Ive made progress, and stepped backwards more than a few times, and I dont expect that, I will find myself on the same path I am on now in the future with this car. Though the point of this car is that I have a backup car of sorts. But being one of my cars, I tend to go overboard. The car is still in the smog system here in Ca so I am also limited by that factor.
I got as far as to get the L28e in and the car smogged, and then the head gasket on the L28e blew out. The engine had been sitting for many years prior to me using it so it was not unexpected.
So I installed an L28et.
Smog Regulations allow me to install an 81 turbo as a replacement in an 81 car that had that option!
I also installed a Chinese Aluminum radiator and dented my hood!
I converted the car to a Z31 ECU at some point in time, I dont recall exactly when, but it was maybe 6 months after the L28et went in. I was having nothing but issues with the first turbo engine, and I was beginning to suspect a bad hole. I lost power and #5 went dead prior to the big turbo swap. After moving to Sacramento I just assumed the engine had had enough abuse so I installed a second engine I had around and it ended up being a mistake! I had installed a set of Doctor Injector Flow tested and cleaned injectors
Thanks to Marc Pickering for this Wonderful Writeup for the Z31 to a L28et
280ZXT TO Z31T ECU SWAP GUIDE.pdf 1.73MB 11 downloads
Turns out #5 injector took a dump, so it was off to Doctor Injector under warranty.
But it was time to escalate again!
I opted for a Nistune with an 89 Z31 ECCS ECU and the Feature Pack to include E85 Flex fuel as here in Sacramento Ethanol stations are everywhere!
Yes, I installed a front mount intercooler! Many other small changes have been made. You will note the TechnoToyTuning camber plates, you will find T3 coil overs and adjustable tension rods under there as well. The lack of a power steering pump should also be apparent. A 78/79 S130 Manual Rack has been installed. It was interesting to note that a S30 RHD rack is the same part number! However S130 rack bushings are extremely difficult to find! A 1" Nissan BM50 MC has been installed to replace the stock 15/16" MC unit. The Ignition Coil and Ignitor will also stick out, but this last picture still shows the NGK plug wires which ended up being a huge source of ignition headaches! The coil is a GM HEI from a 96-99 Chevy Votech Truck engine, and the ignitor is a Nissan PRW-2 ignitor.
"For the 280ZX Turbo dead ignitor:
Here's a better ignitor upgrade than the now common Chevy HEI swap. The non-Z31 VG30 and VG33 (Maxima / Pathfinder / Quest / QX4) engines use a PRW-2 ignitor that wires up almost the exact same way as the 280ZX Turbo and Z31. These can be easily found in the junk yard (in front of the distributor base) or parts store.
Step 1: Run the 280ZXT BLACK WHITE STRIPE wire direct to the coil positive.
Step 2: Run the 280ZXT YELLOW wire (ECU signal PIN5) to the right wire on the PRW-2 (GREEN RED STRIPE).
Step 3: Run the PRW-2 GREEN left wire to coil negative.
Step 4: Run the PRW-2 BLACK center wire to body ground.
Alternatively you can use the Z31 ignitor, the only wiring difference is the ground and ecu input signal wires are swapped. So on the Z31 ignitor the BLACK ground wire is on the left and the GREEN BLACK STRIPE input signal ECU PIN5 is in the center.
Credit to Marc Pickering
I Had Troy Ermish machine the stock 5spd Bell Housing for a KA transmission, modified the stock mounting member, and shortened the driveshaft.
I installed the tripod axles, and eventually pulled the whole sub frame out for a later 83 turbo with the late model brakes and control arm geometry prior to Z31 initial EFI swap.
Upper is 82-83
Lower is 6/78-81
And Eventually Z31 CLSD went in just after NISTUNE was installed.
Keeping an old L28et working well on a stock stuff system was becoming a royal pain the butt. With the Z31 ECU swap in place and NISTUNE on the way it was time to address the TURBO!
And honestly the Garret T3 I was using was from a 85 Z31 with water cooling and it was starting to show its age. But when you have a HKS GT3037 (a big compressor version of the Garrett GT3076R) just laying around because it was too small for another project, why not use it?
I got online and went to ATP and ordered up a .48 Turbine housing with a swing gate housing and a few other mockup parts. I plan on Changing the Turbine housing out once more to a .83 as of current.
A stock T4 housing next to the big one.
Mocking up the turbine housing, I was forced to use a 1" SS spacer. The manifold was ported, and the studs removed.
Notice the stock down pipe is still on there.
Next was the Fuel System
Palnet was kind enough to put a rail together to my specifications.
Dual Feed in and center out on Denso 440cc Injector 11mm O-ring.
This was mocked up on a spare L28et. I have 5 of those for this one car.
Accell 9.5mm custom wires with MSD ends.
The stock FPR wasnt doing it.
It was here that I finally realized that the stock fuel pump was hitting a wall at 4500rpms at 10psi of boost.
So while in Perris Ca while down for the 2016 MSA Show I located a Bosch 300LPH@5Bar fuel pump and hunted down all the needed hardware with some help from TonyD, JeffP, Frank280zx, and Silvano!
A couple pictures at Tony D's Driveway
On the way home from Tony's place though trouble struck. The car was having heat issues on and off even on the E85 the whole time I was down in socal. It pegged out on the grapevine. 230F. I was able to slow down and coast it cool, but by the time I hit the bottom of the grape vine it was 110F outside and the car was refusing to cool below 210F. I cruised the whole way home(hours more), making only one stop in Kettleman city for food and to attempt to cool down again. It did cool down, but it was for a but a few miles and the car was back at 210F. The plan was to use this engine as a mule anyway so I was not concerned to much. It would be a few more weeks before I was able to figure out that the radiator had plugged up with rust from the block! I ended up flushing everything and installing a new radiator. The cars normal temp with 100%Dexcool is about 165F under load and it was finally back there. Sadly the engine survived but 1 more week and one trip to work 2 miles out and the head gasket blew and shoved all 2.5gal of coolant through 3 and 4... that was a smelly cloud! The coolant system was under 25psi of pressure!
I cleared the cylinders out on the side of the road, and limped the car back to the shop!
Turns out all that extra heat and a sub par block decking took its toll. The bearings, pistons, and head all checked out fine amazingly.
Well except this quench pad
That damn coolant port in the center got me good.
So Im prepping the next engine
It was time to modify the coolant passages in the head though.
Yep drilled down through the flash casting!
I warped the old exhaust manifold so I started working a new one.
The car as it sits for now.
The Engine components are all at my machine shop currently for a fresh build.
I have many more plans, I just bought a S13 rear sub frame, S15 front spindles and a some cheap mockup coil overs.
Stay Tuned for some epic disaster or lots of fun!
Edited by rayaapp2, 14 January 2017 - 07:07 PM.