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1980 280zx


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Ok, I have had this car and have been fooling around with it for over a year now. So, I figured it would be fun to post my progress up on here with the pictures I have to go with it.


Day 1:Picked it up in Virginia and brought it home. First day of driving and busted a heater hose... Not the best start. Then when I washed it for the first time the passenger fender became dull and grey, the guy had obviously buffed it like crazy to make it shine and blend with the rest of it.

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Ended up having a leak in the radiator too, so I replaced it with an aluminum radiator and found out I didn't have a thermostat in the car so I picked one of those up while I was at it. Also, I got rid of the stock air box and added a cone air filter on.



The first mod I did on it was add a new front lip. Got this lip from a member on here for a good deal used. Cleaned it up, painted it, and put it on.


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After taking the car around to a few different auto body shops for estimates, I decided to do the work myself with the help of my room mate. A lot of sanding, a little bit of bondo, and a few news papers and some spray paint later and this is how it turned out.


So shiny when it was all wet after sanding.

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Just finished spraying

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Then it was brakes and suspension. I got all the pads and rotors for under $200, not sure what you guys pay for stock replacement but I thought that was a pretty good deal. Here is a before and after of the suspension, Tokiko Blues and 1" lowering springs.



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The car still had a bit of a floating feeling at high speeds and I wanted another big change for the look. So wheels and tires were next. Found some wheels in my price range so I went for it. XXR 527 16X8.25 with Falken ZE92 tires 225/50/16.


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About a week ago I had a headlight go out, so I went ahead and got a sealed beam conversion kit that had halo headlights and installed it just yesterday. Now it will be way easier the next time I need headlights. I still haven't aligned the headlight pattern correctly but plan on doing that tonight. They are way brighter than the old ones. My only quarel with the kit was that the light housings were not the best quality and the chrome rings that hold them into the housings didn't fit perfectly around the lights. All in all for $80 they aren't too bad. Defiantly an improvement over the old sealed beam headlights.


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Some time in there I cut the muffler off because it was old and you could hear junk rattling around in it. The car sounds so much nicer without it on there in my opinion. I have a set of headers that I plan on putting on when I get the time as well as a N42 head and intake manifold. I still haven't decided if I'm going to put the N42 head and intake on. My big goal is to eventually put an LS1 in there and being set. The next time I do anything I'll make sure to update it on here.

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If I remember right, the bushings were decent when I had it on a lift about a half year ago. When I lowered it I also got an alignment done, did the sway bars, endlinks and bushings on that, and put on new tie rod ends. Bushings are defiantly something on my to do list though. What are some things I would notice while driving if the caster is off?

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Not much if its off the same on both sides. If its off on one side more then you may get some pull when you brake hard.


You did a pretty good job on the paint, but why did you leave the side rubber bumper things in? That's like the first thing I get rid of. Drill out the molding, weld up the holes, use filler to smooth it, and bam clean side profile.


Edit: also is your front lip fiberglass or Urethane? and how do you like the new rim/wheel combo? do they sit flush and stuff?

Edited by BluDestiny
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The front air dam is urethane. As for the paint, thanks. I didn't do the side molding pieces because I wasn't sure how I was going to fill the holes when I was done. I have zero welding experience, my room mate on the other hand has some, but we don't a welder... I am going to have to re-paint at some point, some small places have flaked off for some reason. All in all for a rattle can paint job I think it came out nicely. The new wheels are good, could be a little wider in the back but combined with the suspension mods, they improve the handling of the car 10 fold. The front sits pretty flush and look nice, I have strongly considered putting some small spacers on the back to bump them out a bit.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Any chance we could see a picture from the back of the car? I'm wondering how wide the wheels look on the car. You gonna go any lower haha? Car looks rad though! I like that front airdam, I need to get one soon but I can't find anyone selling one used. I agree with getting some spacers to push the wheel out, that'd make it look nice.

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Thanks Jenova, they don't look very wide in my opinion but I will be sure to grab a picture for you tomorrow when its light out. Lower would be cool, but not any time soon. I dont have the tools or experience for welding and making my own coilovers, and the Tokiko kit didn't break the bank. The improvement over stock was night and day, but then again my front shocks were shot. I'm happy with how its turning out so far, other than the speed at which I can afford to get things done.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I'd just get the MSA pipes (assuming it's an NA since you're putting on a header :)  ).  For a turbo though I would take it to a shop and get a 3" exhaust.  The bends to get the exhaust over the cross member are quite complicated - not sure how much a shop would charge to do that so the MSA might be a cheaper way to go.  It's worth asking the shop - you already know how much the MSA is.

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