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'77 280z aka Project Tetanus (LS6 383, T56)

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First of all, hello! I'm a newb here but not to modding. I've lived on the norotors forum for the past few years after building a couple of LS swapped RX-7's. I still have my FC (Solid axle, 4-link, LS1, 88mm turbo, TH400) and I'm trying to sell it to fund this project.


Anyway, I came across a '77 280z that had been sitting for 20+ years. From what I can tell it was silver from the factory, then red, then silver again. Lots of piss poor bondo work and rust. Lots of rust. But, for the price I got it for, I can't complain. I've already started cutting the floor pans out.

I have a torn down LS6 that'll be worked into an 11.0:1 382 with a custom BTR cam and a T56 waiting once I get the body sorted. I've had good luck with MS3Pro on my RX-7 so I'll probably go with that on this one as well. 



I'll get some pictures up soon.


***Will be updated as build progresses***

Parts/ build list so far:


New rockers and rear quarters from Z car store 

Silvermine Front and rear brake kits

SS braided lines

CX racing coilovers

New wheel bearings

ARP extended studs

Tubular frame rails (firewall back) and roll bar with additional supports throughout

Boxed in front frame rails

Energy Suspension full bushing kit

**TTT, SM or Futofab TC rods

**Futofab CV axle kit (maybe?)



'01 LS6 *waiting to pull the trigger on a rotating assembly. Will be 11-ish:1, 383

Ported 241 heads

BTR cam - custom grind - Adv. dur: 294/307 @ .050: 239/254 on 112+4. Lift .612/.596

Tri-y 180* headers - 1-5/8" to 1-3/4" to reverse cone collectors: 2" to 4" to 2.5"



Undecided. Looking at 17" SSR SP1R's



Edited by SH4DY

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On to the pictures:

The Z as she arrived in all her glory/ misery. I'm pretty sure the car was used for practice by a highschool body shop class

IMG 20170603 134229349

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Who needs metal for a floor board?

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and the rust... ohhh the rust:

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After some cutting/ sanding and priming:

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I'm also redoing the steering wheel. Took off the old gross rubber, attached some MDF and started shaping. It'll eventually be wrapped in carbon.

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Lots and lots of hours to go with the media blaster and sander. 

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I was able to get a little more done last weekend.

I cut out the horrible patch job on the outside of the drivers side frame rail, blasted, primed/painted and boxed in with 16 ga (I think? may have been thicker) sheet. I still need to do the small portion in front of the cross member mount. 

7 19 17B

7 19 17C

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7 19 17E

After spending a couple of hours fighting with all the spot welds trying to remove the brackets in the engine bay I gave up after seeing how weak/ think the metal was. It also became pretty clear how flimsy the shock tower support must be. So, I cut a healthy chunk of it out (pretty close to the perimeter spot welds) and added new sheet (22 ga) along with some 3/4" tube. Once I get around to the fixing/ replacing sections of the firewall I'll add bracing to the back of the towers to the firewall. 

7 19 17F

7 19 17G

7 19 17H

Also shaved the drip rail. Still very much a work in progress

7 19 17A




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More welding for the drip rail: Trying to make this car as solid as possible with minimal bondo. Huge pain in the ass.

IMG 20170810 202604527


Added some angle iron to help strengthen the front frame rails:

IMG 20170730 150049422


After boxing in the lower portion of the rails I added a tubular piece to replace the factory frame rails. It is attached to the rear subframe.

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Mocking up the motor and the new subframe for the LS swap.

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I had some extra paint in the gun and wanted to see what it would look like on the car:

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Rustoleum Satin black mixed @ 15% with Acetone. Single coat. I like it. I think it'll compliment the carbon fiber well.
Now that I have the motor in I can figure out the transmission mount and then start building the floors and tunnel. 




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Started boxing in the former battery tray area:


Trans is in! Going to have to redo the majority of the trans tunnel.



Next step is to get a bead roller and start on the floors and finish the firewall.

I think I might wind up going SLA ford 8.8": I started pricing out 5 lug conversions, brakes, suspension, LSD, axles, etc and its pretty cost prohibitive to keep the IRS. Pretty sure with a good 4 link and watts setup I can get this thing to handle pretty well... at least for any auto-x or back road driving I may do. 

Edited by SH4DY

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I decided to cut out those two rods. The one was right on the panel and it was was already trapping trash and was going to make smoothing the area a shore. I'll be adding a another down bar but it'll be a single curved 1.5" dia tube.


Made some progress (?) on stripping, blocking, priming the body. Still a long way to go. Hope to have it primed by the end of the weekend. Then on to the floor pans and trans tunnel...



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So, after allll that work I decided it was best to just take it all back to the metal and start from scratch. The car has had at least 3 paint jobs and all those layers added up. It wound up being more trouble than it was worth trying to smooth out that mess or find a  "good" layer. I'm glad I did though - it's going to make life much easier in the long run.


Painted the underside of the hood. There was some trash that got in the gun so the spray pattern wasn't great but I'm hoping I can clear it up with a little wet sanding.



Finally started working on patching the firewall. Still a lot of grinding to go but she's coming along. It's good to not have that gaping hole anymore. 


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Started working on the roll bar. It's a "Jegster" kit that I'm making fit more to my liking.


I tacked it in place to the car and welded in most of the bars then removed so I would weld all the way around the top. The bottom of the "X" will be installed once it goes back in car.


Did a little porting on the 241 heads:


I also found this mess after I decided to take the entire car back down to the metal:


It looks like it had a panel replacement at some point with metal that was run over repeatedly on a gravel road. Solid 1/2" of bondo covering it. The body line break was all bondo. I've ordered new quarters and rockers. I think it'll be much easier to replace the panels than try and fix them at this point. Once the panels are in I need to order seats to figure out brackets and then then the floor pans/ tunnel can get finished. 

I'm planning on starting on the headers soon. It's going to be a tri-y and 180* design combined. Should be interesting. 

Progress is slow but it's progress...

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Passenger side header after coating. I'll be using slip fit connections for the 180* merge under the car into the collectors. Thinking about going with reverse megaphones. I'm making sure all merges are properly fitted - the outer plate is just a cover to help prevent any stress cracks. 

header 2.jpg


Drivers side before coating. It's a tight fit the the brake MC but I'm not using a booster which helps.


header 1.jpg


Passenger side installed:

header 3.jpg

New rocker mocked up:


Rust bullet applied to the replacement quarter and rocker for the drivers side:

rust bullet.jpg


Inner rocker being reworked. Close to being able to get the floor pans in. 

inner rocker 2.jpg


I've got lots of early X-mas presents showing up: Silver Mine front and rear brake kits, bushings, coilovers, and seam sealer, epoxy and high fill polyester primer. 

Edited by SH4DY

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Drivers side header before coating. Still need to add the crossover piece and tabs to lock in the slip fit connectors.



Reverse cone collectors. Pretty pumped about these.



First attempt at making dimple dies. Very DIY setup: a big bolt in a vice, an old bearing and race and a big ass wrench. I'm going to be adding them to the roll bar around the "X". Need to get a smaller bearing/ race for smaller areas.



More rust, rust rust:




I finally moved the car into the garage. It's getting cold here. 



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Got the roll bar in and started stitch welding the existing panels that were in good shape and adding more metal for rigidity. I'll be adding some gussets to the "X" and adding additional bars. Also, starting working on the floor pans with some DIY metal forming. Crazy how much stiffer the sheet is with the formed areas. I also had to make more room on the top of the trans tunnel for the bell housing. 

This weekend I hope to finish up the roll bar and get both rockers finished then I can start on the floor pans and rear quarters. 

On to the pictures:






Edited by SH4DY

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Posted (edited)

It's been a while since I've posted anything but not because of a lack of progress:

Floor and tunnel are done. I took everything back to base metal and epoxy primed:







Some added reinforcement:



TTT Goodies



WHP Chromoly 39 Spline stub axles and Z31T CV conversion. New wheel bearings all around




MFactory LSD is in the mail (Thanks to user exlifesaver)

Block is back from the machine shop and I've started the short block assembly. Still need to finish working the heads before I take them to get valve job done. 

Still have a ton of body work to go before I can prime but she's coming along. 

Little teaser shot of the ITB's


Edited by SH4DY

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