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northwoodz

480Z - cheap 2+2 build

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Hi all I decided to post up another build thread. Facebook and youtube is blocked at work now so I think this is a good chance to interact with people with similar interests and keep this site going. 

 

This is actually my 2nd attempt at a LS Z car. My first one didn't get very far.

 

1978 280z 2+2 

 

-04 4.8' vortec from manual trans truck - all stock

-4 speed saginaw rebuilt myself

-aluminum hydraulic clutch bell housing with advanced adapter spacer on bearing retainer

-home made motor and trans mounts

-shaved truck intake that clears the hood (kind-of)

-modified truck oil pan & modified pickup tube 

-3-row ebay champion copy

-stock pcm and modified stock harness

-pcm edited to send 6cyl signal to tach 

-EBay stainless block hugger headers 

-2.5" to single 3" home fab'd exhaust

-255lph inline fuel pump

-stock gauges all working

-shortened 77 nova driveshaft at home (say a prayer) to 36"

-adapter flange from zcardepot 

 

 

non-engine swap stuff I've done to the car:

-replaced windshield & seal

-replaced brake master cyl. & wheel cyls

-repaired huge leak in the gas tank 

-repaired fuel guage

-repaired broken connection in ignition relay 

-removed goofy bumpers

 

 

Still need to:

plumb intake tubing

install electric fan (pcm was edited to control this, relay and fuse already wired)

finish installing driveshaft 

build 2nd half of exhaust 

replace brake booster

rust repair in drivers floor, floor support, everywhere really. 

paint & body

tires & wheels 

~~~this list never ends!~~~

 

 

 

Thanks for viewing! 

 

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Edited by northwoodz

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Good luck. If I ever do another swap on anything, its going to be the cheap and easy route. You get to start enjoying it so much sooner.

Thanks.

 

I started on June 17th with the swap and have about $1500 invested so far. The car really isn't worth sinking a whole heck of a lot into with the rust issues and our limited nice weather driving season up here. But I will keep plugging away at it I just didn't have the motivation to work on restoring it with the stock l28 in it. Hopefully after the conversion I will keep going with it until its something worthwhile. 

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Got the exhaust hung on the car. It sounds great but is too loud. I ordered a 3" resonator to go in the straight section hoping that will make it just right 

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Then I went for a test drive! :D  :D  :D

 

I made my usual test run loop to the water store and back. I had two major issues: I need to bleed the clutch more. I also was having a noise in reverse/decel/downshifts. I'm pretty sure its the bolts I used in the driveshaft flange hitting the sway bar when the diff torques down. I will try moving the lock washers to the front of the flange and shaving some off the bolts. 

 

No pictures of it on first drive, sorry, it was dark.

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I realize there isn't much in my thread so far that hasn't been done or is of any use. So I wanted to post how I got the factory tach to work for free since I wasn't able to find this on hybrids. Most just send it out to JCI I guess. See below.

 

My first step was sending my PCM out to ls*thunder on ebay. His name is Leonard and he is a little dry to talk to but did a great job. He was able to edit the tach signal the computer generates for a 6cyl tach.

 

I guess in stock form the pcm generates a 4cyl signal. My understanding is that anyone with hptuners can change this easy and he didn't charge me extra. He also removed vats and the usual stuff for just $45.

 

Then, after hours or searching around I found this over at lt1swap.com  and it worked 

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For this, you can use the stock resistor for the tach behind the glovebox (its a little black plug on the main harness going out to the front with two blue wires)

 

Just connect the white wire from the pcm to the tach side (blue&white) and switched power to the other (solid blue) side. I'm not sure what the value of that resistor is but I think its quite large. For switched power you can use the switched + going to the old ignition module which is right handy. Not sure the color of the wire I just used a test light to find it. 

 

I have some run time on it now and the tach works like a charm and seems accurate! Not a penny involved! 

 

Note: I also tried this modification before I found the trick above but I don't think it has much to do with my results http://forums.hybridz.org/topic/66137-how-to-modify-a-280z-tach-to-work-with-msd-for-free/

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I like the quick progress! I have a 280Z that is waiting to have a 4.8 slapped in it on a budget. Did the truck manifold have any major issues fitting? I know most ditch it for the lower profile car manifold for hood clearance.

 

Cool! don't see many going with the little unloved 4.8. I like em they like come set up for a manual, are cheap, like to rev and don't make trans exploding torque  B)

 

I can tell you the only thing that doesn't perfectly clear on the truck manifold is the fly by wire throttle body. I realized this too late to make a change so I'm stuck with DBW. If you go with a cable I bet it will clear.

You do have to shave all the little do-dads off the top, which is easy.

 

My hood is on the car and it closes within 1/2" of latching. I just bungeed the hood down for now (looks kind of cool popped up a little). But in the future I'll make a speed bump in the hood for the throttle body or try to shave it some. I was also considering the oe competition hood scoop. 

 

Keep in mind that when you go to a fbody intake, now you need fbody fuel rails, you don't have a fuel press regulator anymore, you'll need a car water pump, which means you'll need all new pulleys and accessories. I would of rather gone with a carb setup at that point. 

 

OH and, just for reference, my oil pan is about 1/4" above the cross member and about that far from the steering rack. The crank pulley cradles the steering and the whole setup is pretty low in the car. So low that the driveshaft has to travel UP to the diff from the back of the trans. If you buy mounts I doubt it will be low enough to get away with the truck intake but I don't know for sure.

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Cool! don't see many going with the little unloved 4.8. I like em they like come set up for a manual, are cheap, like to rev and don't make trans exploding torque  B)

 

I can tell you the only thing that doesn't perfectly clear on the truck manifold is the fly by wire throttle body. I realized this too late to make a change so I'm stuck with DBW. If you go with a cable I bet it will clear.

You do have to shave all the little do-dads off the top, which is easy.

 

My hood is on the car and it closes within 1/2" of latching. I just bungeed the hood down for now (looks kind of cool popped up a little). But in the future I'll make a speed bump in the hood for the throttle body or try to shave it some. I was also considering the oe competition hood scoop. 

 

Keep in mind that when you go to a fbody intake, now you need fbody fuel rails, you don't have a fuel press regulator anymore, you'll need a car water pump, which means you'll need all new pulleys and accessories. I would of rather gone with a carb setup at that point. 

 

OH and, just for reference, my oil pan is about 1/4" above the cross member and about that far from the steering rack. The crank pulley cradles the steering and the whole setup is pretty low in the car. So low that the driveshaft has to travel UP to the diff from the back of the trans. If you buy mounts I doubt it will be low enough to get away with the truck intake but I don't know for sure.

 

The motor is the leftovers of a warranty replacement in my dads old Silverado. From what I gather it had some issues with the crank angle sensor not picking up properly because the crank thrust was out of spec. I know that when I get to it, I will probably need main bearings. Currently the motor doesn't have an intake manifold or front accessories which really opens up possibilities as far as purchasing replacements that would work better with the chassis. I was curious about the truck intake because they are plentiful and can be had for cheaper than the ls1 or ls6 variants.That and it is rumored that they flow almost as well as the ls6 manifold.

 

So, are you saying that the truck fuel rails have a fuel regulator at the rail versus integrated into the fuel pump? I will have to keep that in mind when I go parts shopping.

 

I plan on fabricating my own mounts similar to yours, I can't stand paying money for something I am capable of doing with a little bit of time.

 

Ultimately the plans for the car is to force feed the 4.8 with a T76 with Megasquirt orchestrating the whole show. If it makes 400-500 horses I will be tickled pink; I feel like that is a pretty attainable goal. There is no telling when I will have the chance to get to it though, between the house projects and keeping up my fleet of family cars I seldom have time to tinker. lol

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The truck fuel rail has an integrated regulator yea. Makes the fuel system stupid easy. A good inline pump with stock lines and you're done. Not sure how much hp that setup will support with boost though. 

 

And if you can find room for turbo(s) than I'm sure you can get the truck intake to clear, and with MS a manual throttle body would be no problem!

 

I'll have to check out and follow your build thread. 

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Made small progress tonight. First I investigated the noise I was hearing. I found it wasnt the bolts but the bigger ears of the driveshaft flange hitting the sway bar. So obviously my diff mount is toast.

 

As a temporary quick fix I heated the sway bar and bent it out of the way a little. The noise is gone.

 

Then I ran a 12mmx1.5 die over the end of the z temp sender, and screwed it right into the head. This I had seen in another thread (get it?) and worked out great with some thread sealant.

 

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I got a new phone!!! No more hazy pictures with black dots everywhere after this post.

 

So Saturday the girlfriend and I took a 400-mile road trip in the jeep to go 4-wheelin at the terrain park and then further north to a concert in beautiful Rangeley ME. 

 

Sunday I fooled around with fitting a makeshift air filter and getting the factory hood latch to fit in it's home again. I adjusted the hood to stay open just a little to give clearance to the truck intake and I hope will allow a little more flow through the engine bay. I don't mind the look of it too much. The z is a 78 but has a 77 hood with no louvers. I hope to add them someday but man! $$$

 

Also replaced the fusible links with some new ones from zcardepot. The old links had pulled their tricks on me too many times. 

 

Last I took her outside and washed the greasy fingerprints and dust off. Oh, and I had to celebrate the success of the swap a little B)

 

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Another small update

 

The clutch action was never right with the stock clutch M/C so I swapped in a wilwood 7/8 MC which was practically bolt in. I also replaced the factory 3/16" clutch line with 1/4" for a quicker action. 

 

Added my little resonator which did quiet it down some but is still rather loud. I think the next step addressing that will be some interior sound deadening and carpet. 

 

 

I updated the tags and insurance on the z so we took it for the first real drive and put it through the paces. I was having too much fun but I did come to the sad realization that the car still requires a lot of time and money to be a daily driver again.

-I can't get by without a VSS sensor. The car has the typical chugging idle and stalling condition that everybody has without the speed sensor. 

-the diff mount bushings are bad. This I already knew. Under heavy acceleration there is a harsh vibration/pounding that I can't deal with. It gets worse the longer I drive the car. I will start out by replacing the mustache bushings and if that doesn't work I will get the RT mount. 

-I still need to install a fan setup. I might trim the fan blades on the mechanical fan until I find an electric fan setup at the u-pull. 

 

 

 

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Alright this post is pretty good.

 

I got my parts from summit tonight. Installed a 16" 2100cfm spal fan. They are on sale this week, btw, 10%....This one barely fits on the radiator core and moves some air. Pretty quiet too. Wired through a fused relay triggered by pcm pin #42.

 

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Then I installed a vss (speed sensor) finally. The car runs WAY better with it. Dont think you can go without it like I did.

 

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I got under the car and found the source of the vibe I was having - a pooched ujoint at the outer right half shaft. I notice the left side had been replaced. Makes sense, and not life threatening.

 

The prothane mustashe bushings will stay in the box for now.

 

 

Then - then i went and fell in love with my z again. I went on a 30 mile cruise on back twisty roads taking it sort of easy. What a car!

 

It is worth ALL the work.

 

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EDIT: fixed images

Edited by northwoodz

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Update. I've put over 400 miles on the Z this summer since the 4.8 swap. Which is a lot for me. No major issues to speak of! lots of fun memories already. 

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You can see in the pic I went to the local pick n' pull and found the tallest 14" tire I could find for the back. They ended up being $5ea snow tires lol. Something like 235/75x14.  Just to help out with high cruising rpms. it did help a bit they are about 26" tall. 

 

Last weekend I bought a trans for it. Its the oh so rare NP440 aka MY6 aka A833 overdrive 4 speed used in 81-84 gm c10 pickups. I picked this one up locally with a nice clutch, sbc flywheel, the weird belhousing, and the factory hurst for $300.

 

With a .73 4th and the very same ratios as a 700R4 coupled with a nice shifting factory hurst unit I think it is going to be a HUGE upgrade. Plus the aluminum case makes it a lot lighter than the saggy-4. Maybe too good for the ol' rusty Z :)

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Edited by northwoodz

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I've spent some time lately organizing the garage in preparation for the 2 post lift I bought for the center bay. I'm excited to not lay on a creeper under the Z anymore. I have delayed any serious progress like the transmission swap or rust repair until the lift arrives and is set up. The company gave me an expected ship date of dec.20th

59489807ab6cd97cb7aab502e59cfb20?AccessK

 

I did remove the repulsive purple tint from the rear quarter windows. Took a couple hours with a hairdryer and a welding glove.

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I also removed and cleaned up the coil packs and valve covers. Failed to take a picture. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I have started work again on my rust belt Z. I started by removing the seats, carpet, exhaust, driveshaft, shifter, and trans. Also the rear sway bar and ecu in order to gain access to the floors. Once the rust work is done I will be swapping the trans, replacing the driveshaft with a balanced one, and integrating a new trans mount as well. 

 

I am rebuilding the bottom of the car with 18 gauge sheet and 1x3" rectangle tube. I worked around the seat brackets and cut everything else away. The car's inner rocker panels also needed extensive repair. I coated the back side of all the panels in any cavity I could reach as I went along with generous amounts of equipment paint which seems to hold up well over time on my other projects. 

 

Overall I am happy with how it is turning out. I just need to do the other side now :blink:

 

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Edited by northwoodz
Fixed Images

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More progress on the underneath of the car. I was in Mass for the weekend so didn't get much done but had a couple hours to work on it again last night. The passenger side of the car went much quicker and with a better result because I decided to install the new metal from the bottom side and I was practiced up from doing the drivers side.

 

On the 2+2 model the passenger floor support is twice as tall as the drivers and extends the full length of the car. I found I had to put an offset in the support in order to get it run level in the car and be able to tie it in to the front structure without running into the pinch weld section.

 

Section under tow hook on front drivers side

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1/8" support above front cross member 
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Another view of completed drivers floor and inner rocker
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Pass side cut out
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A little heat helped form the heavy 18ga to trans tunnel
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Partially installed pass floor section and toe board
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I struggled to work around the bump where the old trans mount is. Ended up using a filler piece. 
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This side ended up much flatter with less hammer dents
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Offset support piece set into the notch and held up with a self tapper in rear for welding
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View of the bottom of the car where I finished off last night
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Welded in
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Ordered wheels today!


Japan Racing wheels shipping from Ireland. 15x10.5 -32 rear and 15x9 -13 fronts. For tires I went with vitour 265/50 rears and 215/60 fronts. More staggered than I wanted for tire sizes but there wasn't anything in between with the correct 25" diameter. Got good deals on all of it really excited to see it come in. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I was notified today that the wheels I ordered for the front are on factory backorder :( I have a long ways to go before that regardless but hopefully they'll be in soon.

 

New sway bar links and strut rod bushings from rock auto showed up. Still need to install mustache bushings too

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Balanced driveshaft from fastshafts. No more shaking like a mexican spaceship

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Got the passenger sub-frame connection done last night

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Passenger support done

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Inside filler / fish plate 

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List of things left to do:

-outside fish plate & wheel well patch

-design & fab new  trans brace w/ clearence for exhaust & hard lines

-sand, wash, self-etch, seam seal, paint new metal work

-run fuel, brake lines, fuel pump wires

-replace bushings

-install np440 trans

-install and modify shifter

-install driveshaft

-reinstall exhaust 

-drop springs & struts

-fix rear quarters

-cut fenders, mock up zg flares.

-body work, paint

-lsd

-interior revamp. Seats, carpet, gauges, sound, dash repair. recolor?  

-roll bar

-5.3 or 6.0L NA buildup & swap

 

 

 

Edited by northwoodz

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I've been looking into the Japan racing wheels as well, are you going with the 8 spoke style? When they come in I'd appreciate it if you commented on the quality of the finish and your initial impressions. 

They have two bolt patterns cut into them, I don't want to derail your thread, but have you or anybody in the community heard of that making the wheels less durable?

Thanks, Nick

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11 hours ago, nicksoccer22 said:

I've been looking into the Japan racing wheels as well, are you going with the 8 spoke style? When they come in I'd appreciate it if you commented on the quality of the finish and your initial impressions. 

They have two bolt patterns cut into them, I don't want to derail your thread, but have you or anybody in the community heard of that making the wheels less durable?

Thanks, Nick

 

Hey Nick,

 

Feel free to post all you want in this thread. Otherwise I feel like i'm talking to an empty room.

 

The Japan Racing wheels appear very high quality in the pictures, are moderately priced and carried by some high end dealers so I expect the quality to be pretty good. So far performancealloys.com has been great to deal with. Real car people. They carry all the top brands as well and seem to like the JR line. 

 

The JR19 are the 8 spoke ones like a traditional wantanabe, yes. 

 

It is pretty common for a lot of aftermarket wheels and even aftermarket brake rotors to have dual bolt patterns. Even high end brands like ssr, bbs and wilwood. So I wouldnt worry about that at all.

 

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Well,

 

Sorry to disappoint Nick and any others, the ETA on the Japan Racing wheels were 6-9 months so I scrapped the order and went with similar wheels off Evil Bay from that seller in Malaysia.  These are very similar in price and fitment with a nice gloss gun metal color that should be unique. Hopefully they are OK, they don't seem as nice as the JR wheels but I bought what was available.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/JDM-15-GunMetal-Staggered-wheels-240z-watanabe-RS-banana-Z31-s30-ae86-s31-rkr/162985674604?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

More metal work,

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Outside fish plate/wheel well patch with plug weld holes. I was impressed with myself on how this picasso came out. Getting the groove right for the existing pinch weld up the middle is a challenge.

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lower fish plate

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Transmission mount version 2. Much beefier. Used part of  original Z mount. 
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Sanded all the metal work with 80 grit d-a before primer

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Zinc self-etching primer and then SEM seam sealer

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Satin black chassis & equipment enamel

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Made a pass at the trans with the wire wheel. Working on relocating shifter rearward and extending linkages before installing this unit. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Another update. Tax return parts are rolling  in! 

 

Shifter relocated back and down and linkages modified. 

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New moog radius rod bushings vs. old ones

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New sway bar links vs. old ones

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Tires came in

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Picked up a R200 from a buddy. Was supposed to be a LSD from a 300zxt but I immediately could tell it was from a 280zxt instead by the mount. Turned out to be a welded up open diff 3.54. Bummer but price was right and I guess the 280zxt cv's are a good future upgrade. 

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Driveshaft fit like a glove
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Urethane mustache bushings in
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Copper-nickel fuel lines run
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Wheels! 
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:biggrin:

 

Carpet kit also came in so will be installing that in the next few days and getting interior back together. Waiting on Vogtland springs and flares to arrive and will start repairs on rear quarters and body work  

 

 

Edited by northwoodz
double posted an image

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