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Michael

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Michael last won the day on June 15 2019

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About Michael

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  1. Distributor choices are legion. But they're rarely sold "with" the wires. Replacing the distributor should be a last-resort, as there's a trick to getting it properly reinstalled...namely aligning the tang at the bottom of the distributor shaft, with corresponding receptacle on the camshaft. This is simplified if the #1 piston is brought to TDC on the intake stroke, before the distributor is disturbed. In any case, it's not yet clear to me, that it was determined that there is no spark at all. But if it is indeed the case, that there is no spark, then my first hunch would be something with the HEI coil (inside of the HEI distributor cap) or the connectors thereto... or possibly the HEI module. HEI is a bit weird, in that the coil is actually inside of the cap. Contrast that with the conventional setup, where the coil is a cylindrical piece (resembles a 12-oz aluminum can) typically hung from the firewall, with a high-tension wire from its apex, to the distributor. This is the sort of diagnosis that is relatively straightforward for an old-hand (or so it's claimed!), but exasperatingly bewildering to some one who's unacquainted with the parts and lingo. Best would be to find a local mentor, if for no other reason than to offer companionship and an additional pair of eyes.
  2. Jaconense, first, welcome to the Forum. Second, before proceeding to the main response, a word on philosophy. It sounds like you recently acquired a fairly well-built but slightly ailing V8 Z. It also sounds like the previous owner got it to run, sold it to you, and then various travails manifested themselves. Correct? From the various pictures, your purchase looks to be fundamentally sound - assuming that the price was appropriate. So, please pause to congratulate yourself on what at least on first blush appears to be a decent baseline. Now moving on to your specific question. 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2. This is the canonical Chevy firing-order. Check that yours follows that. I've often made the mistake of confusing the wires, and wondering why the engine runs poorly. If enough wires are crossed, it won't fire at all, even with starting fluid. And speaking of starting-fluid, if there isn't even the faintest gasp, despite said fluid, then almost certainly the problem is ignition related. Pull a spark plug, reattach its respective wire, hold the arm of the electrode to ground (like a cylinder head), have a friend crank the engine, and watch for spark. If you have no spark, there's the problem right there. If there is a spark, we move to the next culprit. Try the aforementioned (check firing order, and check for spark from a pulled plug), and report back to us. Good luck!
  3. If it's a "Goodwrench crate engine", then it was originally an "orphan" engine manufactured by GM (so, not aftermarket) but never installed in a factory car. Instead, the engine went straight to replacement (or hot rodding) applications. A crate engine has advantages over something pulled from a factory-car. It likely has less mileage, and may have better parts. But it also has disadvantages...it might have been installed by amateurs, and/or abused. If you need a token vehicle for purposes of saying something at a parts-store, try "1978 Chevy Truck, small block 350". That would get you "close". As for your other thread, for some reason it's not loading correctly. Re-post your question in this thread.
  4. The 240Z was around 2300 pounds, and the 280Z around 2800 pounds. More precise weights are available elsewhere on this site. More weight is removed from the 280 than from the 240, as part of the sort of upgrades that one does, to make the vehicle of a more sporting nature. But quite a bit of weight is gained to strengthen components, both structurally and in the powertrain. On the other hand, the Nova/Camaro cars that are winning the elite "amateur" drag races are... well, you know better than me. Some of them are down to Miata weight. My guess is that an S30 Z, subjected to the same aggressive treatment as a serious Camaro (built LS3 possibly with turbo, T56 or equivalent, 9" rear on a 4-link, fuel cell, partial or full tube chassis, sheet-metal floor, lexan-everything, full roll cage, single aluminum seat bolted to the cage, aluminum "dash", no HVAC,..) would come in at around 300 pounds less than a Camaro. The savings are from shorter wheelbase and shorter car; commensurately less metal to hold it together, thinner/lighter suspension bits, smaller brakes for the same braking-performance and so forth. The difference is more of cost/effort, than weight. The Camaro would not longer have a Chevy steering system; it would be an aftermarket rack. All those suspension control arms and ball joints and bushing? Gone, replaced with tubular/delrin stuff. The Z could keep its stock steering rack and basic design of the stock suspension (probably coilovers and so forth... but same basic topology). The Z can get maybe 70% of the way there, with very minimal changes to the brakes, while the Camaro is looking at getting the Wilwood catalog thrown at it. And so forth.
  5. Indeed. And that's the scope of the problem if we do "only" a standard swap. It assumes a well-running car, and a well-sorted engine. Building a new engine is its own separate task. As is restoration of the car. The JTR swap-manual is just that... a swap manual. It tells, in general terms, how to take a working car and a working engine, and to make them work together, more or less. That already is hard enough! It gets much harder if any major component is at all questionable, unready or deficient. One of the first things that happened to me, after "completing" my swap, was that a cam-change in my engine resulted in wiped lobes. That led to descent into all sorts of travails, lasting several years. And eventually a second engine rebuild... where the cam-sprocket adjustment bolts backed out, and wore against the timing cover. Third rebuild. By then the car had spent a decade in the garage, and needed something approaching a restoration, just to return to the condition that is had, when it was first parked and disassembled. That "restoration" has taken another decade. I doubt that my case is entirely unusual.
  6. Wait, you only have the bare block? As in, no crank, rods, pistons etc.? Or are you contemplating replacing some of these components? If money isn't the most aching concern, you're a good candidate for buying a crate-engine from GM. It will be comprehensive, camshaft etc. already matched, and it will carry a warranty. But as others have noted, please don't let this be your only daily driver!
  7. I would most assiduously recommend building the engine, sourcing a transmission, and mating the two - before proceeding with the swap. Otherwise your car be disabled/dismantled for a long time. Cam selection is its own science/art. It's part of an integrated effort... heads, intake/exhaust, and so forth, and so on. It is a vast subject in its own right. And then there's the question of just getting the engine to run reliably ... never mind the "high performance". Flat-tappet cams in particular are a dicey proposition, owing to the danger of "wiping" them.
  8. And now the "is it dead?" thread is itself knocking on 3-years longevity. Meta-irony? The present viral crisis has convinced me that no form of media, "social" or otherwise, can replace direct personal contact. The way to learn automotive skills isn't through you-tube videos, facebook, or forums... even forums as replete with useful-facts, as this one. Nothing replaces direct mentorship and camaraderie. My best experiences with this site were via meeting other members in person, befriending them and spending years together. Unfortunately most (all?) of those friendships have declined, petering-out in some way. A fellow whom I've met 20+ years ago - even before this site was created, before it moved from an e-mail list to this newfangled format called a "forum" - was a treasured mentor. Then an event happened that obliterated so much of my own life and career... and collateral damage included this friendship. I still regret it. Just today I came across a posting by a local fellow asking for help with a traditional V8 swap. Such posting can easily draw scorn, as being "newbie" or contrary to some rules. I disagree! Online resources are fantastic, for well-versed people who need specific pointers on specific platforms. Doing a suspension modification to race Z's in autocross? Great! There's fantastic data on alignment-settings on this forum. Also wheel/tire choices, discussions on bumpsteer, on one kind of bushing vs. another, and on and on. But what if you just found a ragged Z on Craigslist, and have no experience removing a suspension bushing? What if you don't even know the difference between a bushing and a bearing? Rectifying that, is going to take some actual mentorship. For that purpose, this site is a portal and a conduit, rather than an end in itself. And that is the tragedy with modern social media... it's become a replacement for physical contact, rather than a jumping-off point. Good social media should be like online dating: people scope out the possibilities, agree to meet, and then real-life begins. Instead, and especially now, people are retreating into their digital cocoons. Business-travel and college graduations are being replaced with Zoom meetings. It's a miracle that cars themselves haven't been supplanted with video games. Or have they?
  9. Has your JTR manual arrived? The 280zx (what you have) differs from the 240-260-280Z (what the JTR manual assumes). The swap has been done in the ZX too, but it will be less straightforward to avail yourself of the details. Does your car currently run well? Handling, brakes and so forth? Chassis integrity (no rust)? If these attributes are faulty, the swap will be frustrating, protracted and maybe eventually abandoned. Regardless of the vehicle, it's imperative to figure out the engine and transmission first. Do you already have them? Are they in good working order? A successful swap is quite literally that.. a "swap" of engines, where the new engine is already good, where the recipient chassis is already good, and where "all" that's needed is to properly mate them together. My "home" is Ohio, but presently I'm not far from your locale. Send a PM to discuss.
  10. There are copious and considerable reasons to build a Z - even today, with vastly higher prices and reduced availability. Certainly I don't mean to dissuade you. Rather, the point is that you may find that it's not altogether different from building your Camaro. Costs would be driven by very similar issues. Sourcing/dealing/waiting for parts, would be similar. Rust repair is rust repair. Likewise with body work, electricals, suspension, and so forth. Out of curiosity, what do your Camaro weigh?
  11. The reason of shoving the engine as far back (nearly against the firewall) is to improve fore-aft weight distribution. This mattered more, in the now ancient-days of cast iron V8s. But there is still a certain feeling of achievement and engineering-aesthetics, to get that setback to be as large as possible, even if it isn't strictly necessary. Towards that end, have you considered cutting/notching the firewall, to accommodate the fuel-pump connections?
  12. An aggressive build - including something like a modern V8 and a commensurate development of the suspension and chassis - means that the eventual product will differ little, whether it is a Camaro, an S30 Z, a Henry J, a Fiat Topolino, a Pontiac Tempest, a Toyota Corolla or a Plymouth Roadrunner. Huh? Lighter cars get heavier. Heavier cars get lighter. Big wheels and big brakes make a heavy car stop faster, but add unsprung mass to a lighter car. Designs converge. I've spent 20 years building (using the term sparingly) an S30 Datsun with an aggressive cage, firewall setback and Chevy big block (454) engine. It is basically a... Camaro. The Datsun purists of the 80s and 90s actually had a point. And that point is: finish your Camaro, give it the acceleration and braking and handling that you like, and call it a day. Why? Because if/when you build a Datsun, to the same level of dedication, craftsmanship and hi-po parts, in the end you'll have another Camaro. It will be a little bit lighter and a little bit more nimble, owing to a shorter wheelbase. It might -subjectively - be prettier. But conceptually it will be similar. So, what would I do differently today? Something light, Japanese, simple to work on, with strong performance potential? I'd do an early 1990s Mazda Miata. Maybe a V6 swap or a turbo. And mostly leave the chassis and suspension alone.
  13. And that's precisely the point that I've been lamenting now for several years. 20 years ago, something pithy and valuable would pop up every minute... weight comparison of different engines, a new method of mounting the differential, carburetor selection advice, dynamic compression ratio, JTR vs. Scarab weight distribution. This continued apace for maybe 5 years, before settling into a more steady maturity. Maturity inevitably led to senescence.
  14. Newsworthy or not, here we go: it's been 20 years since this site was founded! 20 years! How far have we gone over those 20 years, and has the direction been predominantly forward?
  15. That's apt reminder of why I'm glad that I'm not a purist. That price is about 20X too high.
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