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75 280Z RB26 Megaproject


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So I've been a big fan lurking in the shadows and researching for over a year, picked up a 75 280Z last Xmas and after a lot of messing around have finally started to put some work into it. I was initially going to go with an LS1 because it's apparently easier, but it was hard to find a solid used motor and transmission locally in BC. One day an RB26 with an RB25 pops up an hours drive away, so here we are...


Mark Rolston's 240Z really caught my eye, everything about it was awesome. My vision is to build the car to look similar, but to be used primarily as a street car. I'm not going to modify the engine over stock very much since I want it to be a 'reliable' daily driver in the summer... Famous last words. 


So here's what I've planned so far:


McKinney Motorsports: Motor & trans mounts, throttle cable, rad, wiring harness, coilovers w/camber plates, driveshaft

Arizona Z car brake kit - 4 piston all around with e-brake, master cylinder, proportioning valve

300ZXT axles, Modern Motorsports adapters

LSD - I found a random 29 spline LSD at a guys house, not sure exactly what it is but I'll try to use it. If not, I'll go OBX

RB26DETT from a 91 Skyline with 5 spd. RWD transmission - good condition, will do timing belt & water pump prior to install

Oil Pan - Courtesy of Pat

Turbos - Stock

Mishimoto - Intercooler, 14" electric fan, misc couplers & clamps

Fuel - JAZ 12 gal. fuel cell, Bosh 044 pump, aluminum 1/2" tube, tons of AN fittings, 10 Micron in-line filter

EZ Wiring wiring harness

Speedhut gauges

Leather re-upholstery kit, new seat foams, factory seat belts

Small bolt in roll bar - still torn on whether or not to put in a weld in roll bar

New consumables - bearings, seals, bolts, bushings etc. 

240Z tail lights & trim

Clear H4 headlights - PIAA bulbs

240Z bumpers minus the rubber - powder coated 

MHT Torino wheels 18x11 rear, 18x9.5 front. 


I didn't want to spend my life savings on this so I didn't buy the fancy control arms and mustache bar. Instead, I bought a sand blasting cabinet and got a free oven so I can powder coat everything before it goes back on the car. 


Here is what it looked like when I first got it:










Then came the fun of towing it home.. Glad it didn't have an engine it: 






After rolling it in the shop I gutted the car and put it up on dollies since my shop is only 12' wide. The previoius owner said the floors were done... and they were, just poorly. They used this shitty thin tin to cover up the rust holes, did not fix the structure at all. So I tore that out and started the passenger side repairs. I'll take some pictures of the shitty job when I do the drivers side. When I bought the car I couldn't see what was done since it was parked in mud and the carpet covered the rest. What felt solid really wasn't. But no big deal, gives me an opportunity to do sheet metal work... 






So I bought a bead roller, brake and English wheel. It's been a lot of learning, but it's coming together. 








On my next days off (I work in northern Canada in a camp rotation) I'll attack the drivers side. It's not pretty but it's all 18 gauge steel and will be strong. Once the drivers side is done I'll mimic the bad dog frame rails underneath. 


I also got the guys at work to hook me up with the steel to build a rotisserie. Thanks to Air Canada I can bring home 3 bags at 70 lbs each, so I'll hopefully get that built before Xmas and the car in the air. Should look something like this:




That's it for now, I have a pretty thick skin so any feedback is well appreciated. 

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Good luck and enjoy your prjoect.. Take lots of pics so you can save them for later use if needed. Continued Buildthread. Remember this is your project and don't worry about any nay sayers. You don't have to spend 25k on a project, unless you want to.  :)  I am almost finished my low cost 2JZ_NA-T Swap. We would never get our car projects somewhat finished, if we listen to the Nay sayers. I say somewhat because most of us know, they never are finished. Always Evolving.


Great start

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Good luck and enjoy your prjoect.. Take lots of pics so you can save them for later use if needed. Continued Buildthread. Remember this is your project and don't worry about any nay sayers. You don't have to spend 25k on a project, unless you want to.  :)  I am almost finished my low cost 2JZ_NA-T Swap. We would never get our car projects somewhat finished, if we listen to the Nay sayers. I say somewhat because most of us know, they never are finished. Always Evolving.


Great start


Thanks man, I really appreciate it. It's been tons of fun for the few days of stripping it down and fixing the one floor... I already bought most of the parts since I felt this was the best way going forward for two reasons. The Can $ was plummeting and when I built my Defender I put it together and took it apart a million times before it was done since I didn't have all the parts till the very end. This time, once it's in, it's in. 

I'm trying to keep it at the 35K Can$ line... we'll see how that goes. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Had some time last week to get some work done on the drivers side. Glad the rust repair is over. 













Also got my wheels, fitted them and noticed the shops measurement was off so they hit the struts. Wheel spacers to follow, bigger flares needed




Going to work on the rotisserie next days off, will try to get the car in the air for Xmas holidays so I can weld in the frame rails as well as the new fuel cell frame. Will follow that with overhauling the driveline and suspension and finishing it up with some fresh undercoating before putting it back on the ground .


Lastly some pics from the summer when I picked up the engine and trans










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  • 3 months later...

So I finally got some time over the holidays to attack more of the project. Made a rotisserie which is one of the best decisions of my life. Would have been hell without it.


I welded in new rocker panels, corner pieces, bad dog rails and miscellaneous filler pieces. The inner wheel wells didn't matter since I bough fender flares from Al's body shop in Texas and they'll cover up the evidence. Rather than to get fancy with butt joints I decided to lap joint everything and just weld it all to 100%. Given that it's TIG it should do the trick. 


After endless days of rust repair I finally got to do some fun stuff. Made the fuel cell mount and put it in, removed all the suspension pieces, cleaned them up and powder coated them, replaced all the old bushings and my most favorite; removed the spindle pins. That's an exercise I never want to do again.


Now I welded in the camber plates, replaced all the bearings, welded on the Megan Racing suspension bases and bolted up the AZC brake kit. Mounted the rims and it looks good so far, tight fit in the rear where I might need to put in a spacer so they don't rub at max positive camber. Also bolted in a 3.71 CLSD R200 and am about to put in the 300ZXT CVs. 


Next up are the fuel and brake lines and then I can finally drop the car back on the ground.  


So, a couple of questions:


  1. I bought the 300ZXT adapters and correct shafts from Modern Motorsports/Chequered Flag racing. The shafts are thicker and now I can't get the stock clamps on the inside. What have others done? I was thinking of just using hose clamps but if there is a better way I'd love to know. 
  2. If you've installed a fuel cell where did you route your vent line?
  3. Has anyone used the stock e-brake cables for the AZC e-brake setup? Was it painful? 
  4. For you RB26 guys, I have a Bosch 044 fuel pump and will have the engine pretty much stock. Is there a good fuel system schematic that anyone has? The engine is at my buddies place and I'm trying to buy the fittings ahead of time. 

Well, the gf just came home, time to log off. Thanks for any help in advance. 


















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Looking great!


What kind of sheet metal brake and english wheel do you have. I want to buy a brake, but so far havent really had a need for it yet since I can do a lot of bending using my bead roller. Though it cant do anything thicker than 16g and even 16g would be a b**ch to bend.  English wheel is a tool i really want, been kind of shopping around, but just havent pulled the trigger on one yet.

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It's nothing fancy, just a 30" bench top break. That constricted me on the width of the panel but it also made the job a little easier since I was dealing with smaller rather than one huge panel. For the floors anyway. I also have a bead roller and an English wheel, not sure what brand but they're the made in China special. My shop and tool budget is too small for me to anything really good, so I wanted to practice with those and wait till I have a bigger shop to upgrade. If you want an English wheel I hear Eastwood is a good bang for your buck. Just make sure  you have a torch so you can anneal the metal throughout, it becomes a real pain to shape otherwise. 

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