Jump to content


- - - - -

Newb Project FAQ / What engine swap? / How much will it cost?


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_mrnorm_hemi_*

Guest_mrnorm_hemi_*
  • Guests

Posted 07 January 2007 - 11:14 PM

Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum, but have been skimming for info on various engine swaps into 240 and 260z's. My first and biggest question is this: I have roughly 5k to do a swap. I'm not looking for a show car or a 11 sec car right off the bat, just something that runs and is reliable. I would be doing all the work myself, so basically parts only. My question is is it even possible on such a tight budget? Which swap would be easiest and cheapest, v8, rb25 or sr20? I have done much research on this but no one seems to ever ask this question. Also, is a 240 or 260z shell just too risky what with the rust and all? Any help or advice that anyone could impart to me woud be extremely appreciated because I really love the look of these cars and would love to do the swap. Thanks to everyone.

#2 JMortensen

JMortensen

    Retired Admin.

  • Donating Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12439 posts
  • LocationSeattle area, WA

Posted 08 January 2007 - 11:47 AM

This is the perennial first post, these types of questions get asked a lot. I thought it might be time to try and show why we can't really answer these questions definitively.

Hybrid Z cannot tell you what engine you want. A V8 Z with 300 ft/lbs of torque at 2000 rpm is going to be a lot different to drive than an SR20DET Z which has 100 at the same engine speed. When you come here you need to search and read and figure out what kind of engine is going to be the best for you and your driving style, and for the type of driving you plan on doing. If you are going to race, this will SEVERELY limit your engine options, and any swap should be done AFTER figuring out what class you plan on running in. Most road racing or autocross classes don't allow any engine swaps at all. Let's assume that you aren't racing and just want a fun car to drive on the street, and continue on with the discussion.

Everyone wants to go fast on a budget. Nobody is more guilty of this than myself. The thing about engine swaps is you see an engine and trans combo for $2K and think, "I can afford that!" but you really probably can't. It's all the little nickel and dime details that will get you in the end. Most people say to figure out how much you think you need to complete the swap, then double it or even triple it. There are many threads on the subject, but this one is probably my favorite: http://forums.hybrid...ead.php?t=67657. You will see in there that some people who can do EVERYTHING themselves can get away cheaply, but most of us mere mortals have to farm out some of the work, and that's when things get expensive. Is it possible to do a swap for $5K? Yes. Is it likely? No.

Easiest/cheapest swap is probably a 1st gen SBC. It's been done so many times that every stumbling block has been run into and every potential problem surmounted and those efforts have probably already been documented here. SR seems to be getting more and more popular and has increased support, from what I've seen the RB swap is still the most pricey and the hardest to get done.

As far as rust goes, unfortunately most people ignore it or don't have the time or skills to do anything about it so just about any Z you buy will likely have some rust. There are some good tips on rust and Z's on www.zhome.com. Down the menu on the left side of the screen is a section called "Buying a Z car tips". Read through that section and this should get you relatively well versed on what to look out for.

With regards to 240 vs 280, the two basic theories are:
1. A better power to weight ratio = faster car (buy a 240 or early 260)
2. The late 260/280 has a better stronger unibody and will take the increased power levels better (buy a late 260/280)

Again, you need to decide for yourself where your priorities are on this issue and whether or not you have the skills and tools and $$$ necessary to take on a task like increasing chassis rigidity, and how much chassis rigidity you "need".

Jon Mortensen, owner/operator www.petdoorstore.com


#3 bjhines

bjhines

    HybridZ Supporter

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1905 posts
  • LocationCary, NC

Posted 08 January 2007 - 02:56 PM

Hey ... Don't forget that most of the folks with really functional but inexpensive cars... have been reworking the old Datsun parts one thing at a time for years...

You might wan't to get a feel for the stock 240Z and some basic suspension mods... you can run surprisingly fast with a slightly modified 240Z...

Here is a 1972 240Z with the stock drivetrain.. 2.4L engine and 4 speed with open diff... I can hang around with some pretty fast cars... Street prepared modifications...
Posted Image

Once you get the idea of how the stock car performs.. you may have some very good ideas of how to make the most fun for your $$$...

Then you can get into the serious modifications of the car... The problem is... If you intend to drive it on the street then you will have a completely different set of circumstances than that of a trailer queen track car...
Definitely on the Dark Side

#4 Guest_Crispy Chicken_*

Guest_Crispy Chicken_*
  • Guests

Posted 08 January 2007 - 03:37 PM

This is the perennial first post, these types of questions get asked a lot. I thought it might be time to try and show why we can't really answer these questions definitively.

Hybrid Z cannot tell you what engine you want. A V8 Z with 300 ft/lbs of torque at 2000 rpm is going to be a lot different to drive than an SR20DET Z which has 100 at the same engine speed. When you come here you need to search and read and figure out what kind of engine is going to be the best for you and your driving style, and for the type of driving you plan on doing. If you are going to race, this will SEVERELY limit your engine options, and any swap should be done AFTER figuring out what class you plan on running in. Most road racing or autocross classes don't allow any engine swaps at all. Let's assume that you aren't racing and just want a fun car to drive on the street, and continue on with the discussion.

Everyone wants to go fast on a budget. Nobody is more guilty of this than myself. The thing about engine swaps is you see an engine and trans combo for $2K and think, "I can afford that!" but you really probably can't. It's all the little nickel and dime details that will get you in the end. Most people say to figure out how much you think you need to complete the swap, then double it or even triple it. There are many threads on the subject, but this one is probably my favorite: http://forums.hybrid...ead.php?t=67657. You will see in there that some people who can do EVERYTHING themselves can get away cheaply, but most of us mere mortals have to farm out some of the work, and that's when things get expensive. Is it possible to do a swap for $5K? Yes. Is it likely? No.

Easiest/cheapest swap is probably a 1st gen SBC. It's been done so many times that every stumbling block has been run into and every potential problem surmounted and those efforts have probably already been documented here. SR seems to be getting more and more popular and has increased support, from what I've seen the RB swap is still the most pricey and the hardest to get done.

As far as rust goes, unfortunately most people ignore it or don't have the time or skills to do anything about it so just about any Z you buy will likely have some rust. There are some good tips on rust and Z's on www.zhome.com. Down the menu on the left side of the screen is a section called "Buying a Z car tips". Read through that section and this should get you relatively well versed on what to look out for.

With regards to 240 vs 280, the two basic theories are:
1. A better power to weight ratio = faster car (buy a 240 or early 260)
2. The late 260/280 has a better stronger unibody and will take the increased power levels better (buy a late 260/280)

Again, you need to decide for yourself where your priorities are on this issue and whether or not you have the skills and tools and $$$ necessary to take on a task like increasing chassis rigidity, and how much chassis rigidity you "need".



Jon, that is by far the best post. I have ever seen in the history of me being on this site.. Pertaining to this particular type of question. I'm glad to see the "Search" and "your going to make people made," responses didn't get to it first.... :biggrin:

#5 motomanmike

motomanmike

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 381 posts
  • LocationEastern Shore MD

Posted 29 June 2012 - 06:44 AM

I'd worry more about finding a good chassis, then finding the engine set you want. Be patient. A good base to swap into is far more important than whats powering it. These cars did rust, some rusted on the way over here so finding a good chassis is the biggest part of the battle in my opinion. 280z not so much but 260z and 240z not rusty is hard to find at a reasonable price. Are you sure you want a Z? Why do you want a Z ( I don't know who wouldn't) but ask yourself all of these questions before hand. They are what I like to refer to as a "RAW CAR". No power steering, very few creature comforts just raw mechanical greatness. I had S13's built up years ago, way before the drift scene blew up in the US, they both had RB20's in them, Again I can't stress this was AWHILE ago, say 1996-97. I loved the cars, however as soon as Fast and the Furious came out the uniqueness of them went away and everyone wanted drift cars. I didn't like it so I sold them all. Now I see S13's every day with turbo motors but I don't see any Z cars on the road on my daily grind and I like that uniqueness. I bought my first Z knowing nothing about them, who Datsun was made by or anything. Its rusty, i've got it patched together almost looks rat roddish. Knowing now what I know I never would have bought that car. I'm glad I did though I was much more choosy on the second one I bought. I bought a second one cheaper than I could have done the body on the first one. Just some food for thought.

Regards,
Mike

Edited by motomanmike, 29 June 2012 - 06:46 AM.

73 240Z L28ET MSII 3.57
73 240Z L28ET MSII 3.0


#6 bobafeets

bobafeets

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • LocationTucson, Ariona

Posted 28 May 2013 - 09:35 PM

I just bought my 78 280z two months ago....I love it. EVERY bit of it. Its in good condition but I need floor pans, frame rails(maybe), rust cleaned up on body and engine bay. When I drive the car the first 10 miles to work it makes slight creaking sounds on above average driving. I have a special edition black pearl. It turns heads, everyone has a Z story, and the jealousy is amazing. I have two guys right now willing to do an RB20det swap from drop off to turn key...under $2000. Why? Well its a small performance shop that wants to get their name out there. I am going to decide against it. Despite the awesome deal. I need to get the car in a solid shape and driving smooth. Then I can always get a swap later. Like the guys above said. Think of this on a long term project. Build yourself a solid chasis and worry later about power. I could drive my stock 98 civic dx 5 spd with a pretty cheap aftermarket suspension and $100 each tires around our local curvy roads faster than several motored out mustangs, a pontiac G8, 2 new chevy camaros.....Lightweight and good traction(plus a bit of driving skill) easily outweights motor. Make sure your car is solid. Learn about the motors you are interested in and what their applications are in other vehicles. Find what you want to do. Save pennies and DO IT!



#7 new2Zs

new2Zs

    Moving Up

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 38 posts
  • Locationbay area

Posted 24 December 2013 - 01:36 PM

I think that its all biased on your skill level.  Can you weld? can you troubleshoot electrical? what about tune? If not its going to limit your choices.  

 

Also I would think of what you would use the car for, Is it gonna be a tracker, or street, or show?  Are you going to have a roll cage? or full interior? Do you want the shifter to come in the stock location? Do you need to follow any racing rules, as stated above?

 

I think the easiest swap would be a 280 motor in a 240.  Or do no swap and stroke your 240 motor.  More power easiest fitment, probably the cheapest or close to the cheapest option.

 

After that i think an old v8 would be easy because its mostly self contained, with a carb and hei distributor there is not much tuning involved to get the car running.  Not to mention you could pick up a chevy 350 and transmission for a couple hundred bucks.  the down sides would be making motor mounts and fitting everything.  You might be able to use the ls1 brackets, i haven't researched it so I'm not up on the options.  

 

After those i think pretty much the other swaps are all the same work, but vary in difficulty with popularity.  A 1jz or 2jz swap has been done a bunch of times and have great aftermarket support making this easier than say a ford v10. 

 

 

My goal when working on vehicles is to keep the down time as low as possible.  For some reason it seems to keep me motivated if the car can at least go around the block. Or fire it up.  

 

Whatever your decide, lets see pictures!!!!



#8 Phantom

Phantom

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2672 posts
  • LocationYakima, Washington

Posted 31 December 2013 - 04:04 PM

I'm going to reiterate some of what has already been said.  It appears you don't have a car yet.  If not, spend your money on a good one, no matter whether its.240, 260 or 280.  If you can start with a solid driver that has little to no rust you'll bee off to a great start. 

From that point spend time driving and learning the true characteristics of the stock automobile and thoroughly going through it and fixing any issues that would affect the future integrity of the vehicle.

I drove my car completely stock for 5 years before I started modifying it. I spent $3,200 for it in 1992 because it was solid. No rust, everything worked and the body and interior were solid.  Since then I've pretty much modified everything to some degree.  The thing is to start with a solid car and a plan.  If you don't have both you'll never get there.


'77 280Z with LS1/T56, '93 Z32 convertible, '05 Audi A8L, '02 Suburban LT


#9 Jimmy Reese

Jimmy Reese

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • LocationClemson, SC

Posted 16 March 2014 - 07:01 PM

New user here, i wanted to pose a question to the more seasoned users, So im still in the planning stages of a build.  i love the soound of a straight six, and i like the L series engines alot, but they are older than i am, and no matter how well they have been taken care of, i would believe that they are going to be needing some TLC, i was thinking i want something with a little more oomph, one of my friends has a R32 rb26dett in his 240sx, and i love the way it sounds andwould really like to have one in my Z... i know it is alot of work and unnecessary, however i saw the build Martin MCSwain did (competed in the nissan challenge against a modded 370z, and it was love at first sight, i have to have it... but i was wondering are the RB series getting TOO dated for practical use in a build? is there any more modern straight six designs that would produce similar power and be swappable? any opinions appreciated!!

 



#10 Perandor

Perandor

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 9 posts
  • LocationCalifornia

Posted 16 March 2014 - 11:43 PM

Jimmy, I've considered swapping in a BMW straight six, like the N54 (N52 too) if you want a more modern straight six.  I was checking out the Ford Falcon in Australia, which would be pretty cool too.  However, the most serious drawback is the cost, of a motor made in the 21st century, I'd say. 






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users