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Fat Dahry

Acquiring a 76 280z, now I need to put a V8 in it

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Hi Folks,

15 years ago I restored a 81 280zx and put in the turbo engine. Sold it in university, and said if I ever would get a Z again it would be a 70-78 and id put a V8 in it. Well I pick up the car on Monday and now I need to start researching V8s! 

I only want 350 HP, enough to be fast and fun. I really want to have a carbureted SBC, never had one and really want a classic touch to the car this way. I also want the simplistic approach this affords me from a restoration perspective, and I do not want a donor car on my driveway. 

What is the best direction for this type of build? Crate engine? Or do I find an engine and start the rebuild there, also what year of engine should I be hunting for? 

Also with the carb setup I can still install and MSD ignition for optimum performance that way right? 

All help and opinion is appreciated, thanks for you time folks! 

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You didn't say what year Z you're getting.  That will be a factor.  And things have changed a lot since installing an MSD ignition system was significant.  No offense.  That's small potatoes though compared to the other work you'll need to do.

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It’s a 76 280z.

yeah there is a huge road of work in front of me but I want to have a game plan so I’m not just aimlessly throwing stuff together. 

I know the MSD isn’t exactly a big upgrade but I’m kinda hoping to just abandon the original ECU altogether and just rewire the whole car. That’s a lot of work but I don’t want to have some old ass wiring harness hanging around when it’s used for like 3 things is my initial thought.

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Sorry, I always miss the title information and focus on the post.  Missed the 1976 in the title.

There are a ton of options for you.  Carbs and a distributor and a motor mount kit are pretty simple.  Choice of transmission is a fairly big deal, any manual transmission can add a lot of cost.  Choice of how to build the engine is not really related to the car.  It's just an SBC thing.

There's a book on this web site that most people recommend.  Looks like the web site is pretty messed up though.  Might be better to call.  http://www.brokenkitty.com/zcar.htm

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2 minutes ago, NewZed said:

Sorry, I always miss the title information and focus on the post.  Missed the 1976 in the title.

There are a ton of options for you.  Carbs and a distributor and a motor mount kit are pretty simple.  Choice of transmission is a fairly big deal, any manual transmission can add a lot of cost.  Choice of how to build the engine is not really related to the car.  It's just an SBC thing.

There's a book on this web site that most people recommend.  Looks like the web site is pretty messed up though.  Might be better to call.  http://www.brokenkitty.com/zcar.htm

Thanks! 

The details on getting the engine in the car are straight forward. I’m just wondering if my plan to rewire everything is sane or just stupid. I want to setup a clear game plan so I avoid “while I’m at it syndrome.”

 I recall my 280zx the ecu just controlled the efi, so since I’m not using the efi might as well abandon the wiring harness so there isn’t a bunch of clutter around the car is my thought.

Im illiterate in regards to the engine itself so I’m trying to figure what’s cheaper. Build the engine from the ground up or get a crate engine. I’ll have enough work on my hands so building an engine isn’t something I need to do unless it saves me money. 

Transmission is a bit of a conundrum. Auto is definitely cheaper. But the wifey strongly feels that going auto is a stupid choice, it should be manual since it’s a sports car (we all now she’s right lol) but I can see that the manual path will add a lot of dollars to the plan. 

Differential is also a question but I feel like that one can wait another day. R200 is not an LSD so that’s something I need to research at a later date. 

The car is rust free but it’s dissassembled so it’s going to be a full restoration. So I’m going to do that work first, get a base coat done, install everything onto the car, then do the final paint. 

Im luck the guy who I’m buying the car from has it on a rotisserie already so that’s going to make the body work easier for me.

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Here's the manual that I was thinking of.  I get Jags That Run and John's mixed up.  I think that somehow they are connected but not sure of the details.

http://www.jagsthatrun.com/Pages/Datsun_Z_V-8.html

Here also is another kit from a pretty reliable Z parts supplier.  http://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/CTGY/classic13

They probably jumped in to to fill the void when Broken Kitty dropped out.

Most people are in love with the LSX swaps these days, even though the old small block swap has the bugs worked out and is pretty much a paint-by-numbers swap.  Good luck.

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