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Everything posted by Michael

  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.
  16. 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 owned, is a special treat... even if (or especially if?) it's not a "show car".
  17. 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 - are going to be loaded in tension or compression. They're not going to be sheared or twisted. I can't imagine how these bolts could possibly fail. If anything fails, it will either the the rubberized motor-mounts, or perhaps the cast-iron block itself.
  18. 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 motorcycle accident. Failure of the R200 itself, is reputed to be rare. Mrod's example is the only documented case that comes to mind. There is - again, in the Drivetrain forum - a spate of testaments of people running 9's in the quarter mile, with a welded R200... breaking half-shafts and stub axles, but not the differential (er, no longer differential) itself. Regardless, it's a good problem to have! An engine making enough power, together we enough traction, to break an R200... is an enviable achievement!
  19. 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 swaps, the usual route to Miata power-increase is a turbo. You're right about the price situation. Prices bottomed maybe 5 years ago. Low-mileage cream-puff NA-series Miatas now regularly exceed $10K on Craigslist - while, of course, good examples of 240Z's have exceeded that threshold now for a long time.
  20. 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 point that he missed, is that even the lightest Corvette is >3100 pounds. It has, at least in the modern generations, something like a 106" wheelbase. Sure, it's fantastic at 100 mph, and no doubt could go around the Nuerburgring faster than all but the most aggressively modified Datsuns. But how does it do at 30 mph? How well does it negotiate cones in a parking lot? The whole point of a V8 Datsun, or a V8 Miata, or a V8 AC-Ace, or a V8 MG, or a V8 VW Bug, etc., is to introduce insane amounts of power into a light, short-wheelbase car. Its ultimate racing-prowess is beside the point. Its main aim is to produce ear-to-ear grins in an entirely legal street-driving situation. To get such a grin out of a 911, a Corvette, or even an M3, requires a specialized setting.
  21. Some of us abhor fuel-injection, computers or closed-loop feedback. Lower weight and better power-density are fantastic, but not all of the associated trade-offs are worthwhile. The main disadvantage of the "old school" engines is that, unlike in the 1990s, they're no longer readily available in junkyards. They've become the stuff of specialized machine shops, or at least mail-order houses. Costs have risen. Performance has risen too, but the cheapness-factor is largely obsolete. The above notwithstanding, I'd prefer the largest displacement engine, making the most torque. If that is via an LS, fine. If traditional small-block or big-block V8, that's fine too. And there have been successful instances of LS engines reverse-upgraded to work with a carburetor. Some have been very nicely done. But at the very least, we're debating "old school" vs "modern" V8s. At least we've not begun by insulting a hapless new-member with some condescending "Search, newb!" That alone is progress, and I'm grateful for it.
  22. It's been a little over 3 years. Has anything happened to this car? Has the goal of 800 hp been achieved, and if so, what has been the owner's experience with driveability?
  23. That's why the bigger issue is correctly tuning the carb that one already has (or one that's approximately correct), rather than optimally sizing one, based on volumetric flow-rate formulas. Indeed, the trouble is how to learn how to disassemble the thing, what the various parts do, how to swap them out (or whether even to bother), and how the whole collection works together. That's hard to get from a book, even one that's a thorough as Vizard's books. This is where we need testaments of first-hand knowledge. Let me offer a practical example. For reasons beyond the scope of this thread, my own car has been sitting for about 3 years. Every few weeks I hit the starter, to turn over the engine to (perhaps) circulate some lubrication, or at least to preclude the rings from seizing. But I've not started it. Yes, there are ample checklists for how to resuscitate a long-dormant car. Drain this, add fresh that. But... what about the carb? Should the bowls be disassembled and the gaskets renewed? No? Any other gaskets? Rubber O-rings at the float adjustment bolts? And so forth. This is practical carburetor knowledge, that's hard to find in a book, or you-tube, or even a "normal" car forum.
  24. Indeed. I was fondly hoping for a discussion on carburetor flow-rating vs. mixture-velocity, and how to size carburetors for various engine operating conditions, displacement, volumetric efficiency,.... So, feeling jilted, I did a site-wide search on "Holley". Most hits were in the for-sale sections. The first serious link was this one: <https://forums.hybridz.org/topic/417-is-a-750-edelbrock-too-much-for-my-setup/?tab=comments#comment-2819> ... where the original question was asked in 2001, then renewed earlier this summer by the same fellow who started this thread, then answered by you, and then... crickets. But what really broke my heart was a quip in the aforementioned thread, where somebody said, "Hey, this is a Datsun forum, so if you have a Chevy question, why don't you go to a Chevy forum"? Well, as the kids say these days, WTF? This forum began with the specific purpose of tech-support/discussion on swapping Chevy engines into Datsun bodies, as a rebellion against Datsun purism. And now it seems that we've gone full-circle. Then I checked the FAQs. Lots of topics on fuel-injection, and some on Mikuni or Weber carbs. But nothing on Holley, Carter, Edelbrock, or any of their knock-offs or cousins. Does anybody know how to change jets anymore? Or to set the float-level? Or even care?
  25. While helpful, that site results in a carb selection that's very conservative, especially for a light car with a manual transmission. More specific to Mad Hatter's question... how does one arrive at a 350 engine with heads from a 400? That seems like a mismatch, to say the least. Also, it's odd that somebody would remove an engine from a 1969 Camaro and sell it separately, given how these vehicles have become so valuable in "numbers matching" guise. Something here is incongruous, or at least, merits further research... before worrying about optimal carb selection.
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