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Everything posted by Michael

  1. The ideal solution would be to find a local mentor... somebody who knows what to see/smell/touch/hear, whose intuition would quickly diagnose things. To be learning on one's own, could be intensely rewarding - but just as intensely frustrating. The learning-curve is easier to ascend, if there's a fellow-traveler. Unfortunately this is all the harder in the present 'rona cataclysm. I'm going to make a potentially specious, but not entirely phone speculation: the engine is just worn. Nothing is seriously damaged, but it is "out of tune". It likely needs some carb and distributor
  2. A “big block” was a mid-1960s development of the Chevy engine family, with larger bore-spacing than the then already-venerable small block. The small blocks are, for those who remember, the stars of the original “Jags that run” Datsun V8 swap manual, that was popular in the 1990s. Big blocks were installed in passenger cars through at least the mid 1970s, but subsequently were limited to trucks. Mine originally came out of a 1978 Suburban. It had the hapless “peanut port” cylinder heads, meant for low-rpm yeoman duty. Big blocks continued to serve in GM trucks through the 199
  3. And here it is! HybridZ is now 21, fully and properly having attained the age of consent! Does this not call for a round of drinks? In all seriousness, folks... thanks to everyone, frequent or irregular, veteran or neophyte, or anything in between. The journey/saga/whatever continues!
  4. We hear incessantly about “the one that got away”. That’s either the crotchety old neighbor’s garage-queen, which we’ve been hankering to buy, but the neighbor would never acquiesce… until one day the old coot dies, and his widow donates the car to some obscure charity, or outright junks it. Or it’s our teenage love, that vehicle in which we blew our first head-gasket, in which we learned the joys of long-distance pushing (uphill, both ways, in the snow,…)… until college, a new job or a new spouse render iron demands: me, or it… and decades later, we regret… As of this writing, i
  5. 5 months later, the latest buzz is "patent filings" (how does one patent a car design???) confirming the images from September 2020; see for example https://www.autoblog.com/2021/01/14/nissan-z-proto-400z-patent-renderings/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAAgQm6F5psC-cVjBNOmi7kDKu_U4c7lx-EWczI4ZidrrHD0CClr7rko-img5XUobX72U_EUpAw-XurkQsSFSNLgSubNYlAp10RBqGFfuhqwV0yRCMDZpn4UwlIH6TkS0cSjdW8Z6ymS-7PObyRS70Ol_Jt8eg1gJAkKwsHU7dxNF . The current situation with the 400Z reminds me of our mutterings from back around 2009, when the 350
  6. 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 so
  7. 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 questio
  8. 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 woul
  9. 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, su
  10. 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
  11. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. 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 d
  14. 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
  15. 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?
  16. 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?
  17. 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 cag
  18. 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.
  19. 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?
  20. That's apt reminder of why I'm glad that I'm not a purist. That price is about 20X too high.
  21. These cars are becoming rare. 20 years ago, when this site first started, a S30 Z wasn't an exotic proposition as a daily driver. I'd see them on the streets of Los Angeles, where I lived at the time. Even a 240 could be found through the Autotrader (or whatever it was) newspaper for around $2000. A 280Z in entirely running condition, passing California smog-check, could be found for under $1000. Times have changed. Never mind V8 conversions, 2JZ conversions or whatever else. Just finding an S30 Z, in any shape, is a rarity. A well-running V8, regularly driven and lovingly o
  22. My particular situation has firewall setback. The engine (a big block) is mounted to fabricated steel boxed protuberances welded to the frame rails, rather than to the K-member. However, the engine mounting scheme is the same. The mounts themselves are rubberized pieces that look like a pack of playing cards. On the inboard side, facing the engine, there are three bolts, going to the block. I believe that these are 3/8"-16. On the outboard side, going to the frame rails, there is a single bolt, 1/2"-13. As the engine torques-over, the two 1/2"-13 bolts - one on each side -
  23. We're really in the wrong sub-forum for this topic... but from memory, the big spectacular halfshaft disasters correlate with a lowered (or very soft) suspension that heavily squats on launch. The remedy, at least anecdotally, is a setup where the halfshafts are approximately horizontal when the rear suspension is loaded. For stub axles, the consensus (to the extent that one exists) is to consult with one of the aftermarket suppliers. There was once - maybe around 2007? - a group-buy on custom machined stub axles. This was led, if memory serves, by one JohnC, who died some years ago in a m
  24. It's quite a dilemma, isn't it! Miatas are more capable and more thrilling to drive in unmodified form, but between a tight engine bay (and really, tight everything), they're not particularly amenable to engine-swaps. S30 Z's are the opposite: readily swallow essentially any engine, and also lend themselves to comparative ease of structural reinforcement. But the baseline Z cedes advantage to the Miata. We see this in the Miata community, where engine swaps - while entertained with good cheer, whenever a tidy and successful swap is presented - remain a niche endeavor. Instead of engine sw
  25. The more that I ponder it, the more it strikes me how an NA Miata (1990-1997) is today, what the 240Z was 20-25 years ago.. light, simple and beautiful... old enough to be "simple", but young enough to run reliably without constant attention or the need for a restoration. The late Wick Humble (sp?) - unless I'm confusing him with another venerable fellow of the same vintage - had a long-running column in Z-car Magazine. He was fond of condescendingly dismissing the V8 Datsun, with the quip, "Hey, if you really want a V8 2-seater coupe, why don't you just buy a Corvette"? The p
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