Jump to content

280z Widebody V8 Project

Recommended Posts

Hey Everyone,

After months and months of consideration, my 1976 280z is getting a new life.  I've had this car for 2 or 3 years and have had it mostly running, but keeping finding small anomalies that turn into more and more fixes, and more questions about what the POs were trying to do with it.  Well, my OCD has had enough and it's time for me to know every square inch of this car and have it the way I want it.  I'd like to share this project no matter how it turns out, whether it helps someone else, or any of you all want to throw in your 2 cents - I would appreciate some veteran knowledge.


Wants: 300+bhp, decent handling, decent brakes, keep it classy looking with exception to wide-body mostly for grip, mostly stock looking interior with sound deadening and added comfort, a much cleaner wiring layout that's color-blind friendly.


To achieve all this, I was initially trying to decide between an S54(M3) or LS swap.  After some research I'm definitely leaning towards LS with my skill level and budget.  I know there's nothing original about it, but I have enough battles to fight - I'm going to keep this part easy. 

I'm still debating between the 280yz or Subtlez kit, and may likely do YZ rear and Subtlez front - I'm not sure I really want to be running 10-12" wheels square.


Budget? I don't have a solid number, mainly because I will take my time to do this right.  IF this were to creep over $20k, I'm doing something wrong basically.  I know there will be "while you're in there" costs, like bushing kits etc.


At the moment I'm just tearing it all down and organizing everything in a separate room with bags and labels.  I have some unknowns at this point to digest until I get to them - how I want to remove the paint (grind, sandblast, etc), sound deadening (dry ice chisel, sandblast?), and any remaining adhesives/insulation (sandblast?, chemical?).  I read sandblasting the exterior could cause some warping issues, but I haven't dug that deep on that specific subject yet. 


Anyway, I'll keep this updated, and hope to learn a lot and help anyone else doing this as well.  Thanks



Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the S54 you'll have a problem with the oil pan right away. Then when you get it mounted, you'll need a very custom driveshaft that allows for fore and aft play as the Getreg that connects to it uses a rubber donut (guibo) instead of a slip yoke. You'll also have to run a custom ECU, or look into seeing if the stock unit can be modified to delete EWS, which is some programming that immobilizes the engine unless the VIN matched key is plugged into the BMW tumbler which sends a signal to the VIN matched ECU.


You wouldn't be the first one to do this however, and there's a lot of good info on this guys build thread:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Neverdone!  I did see this build thread when first entertaining the idea.  My biggest worry is getting knee deep in that swap and saying to hell with it due to trying to figure that out on top of the scope of the rest of the project.  Granted, if I could pull it off, I would prefer this swap!  I have a good buddy that says you can take the guibo slip yoke out and run a 1pc shaft.  ECU can be taken care of with an AEM harness.  Being that I don't know what a guibo slip yoke is off the top of my head, I'm a little skeptical that I should be delving into that level of creativity.

If there's anyone in the Denver area that would get their jollies from mentoring me into making the S54 swap happen... neverending beer would be in store, but I'm not gonna count on that :) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got the interior about 95% gutted and have run into the first significant rust.  I could tell by the condition of the paint around the quarter-panel windows that there was some level of rust along the C-pillar (?).  Got the windows out and wow... worse than I thought, especially passenger side (see pic).  Of course I cut my palm open on it while removing some weatherstripping.   

I'll probably have to get someone with a bit more fabrication experience than myself to tackle this rust area.  As much as I'd like to try, I can't afford to screw up this area.  

Besides that, nothing too exciting yet to report.  Pulling engine soon, then hoping to find a rotisserie to start butchering and inspecting the underside before sending off to have the whole car blasted.

I'm 99% on board with the LS1 swap, but am not focusing too strongly on it, as I have a lot of body stuff to do, and figure out the depth of "while you're in there" stuff to splurge on.  

With the amount of threads I'm reading, I keep forgetting what I read from a couple days prior, so it's time to hang a whiteboard in the garage.  Might have to start erasing prices from my planned parts list as well :)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Holy shit! Yeah dude, that's some serious rust. Never would have guessed either. This is one of the reasons I'm going to stick with what I have, which needs a good bit of work, versus getting another car, and risk discovering something like that.


BTW, there's a fairly thick reinforcement piece in that area, that goes from where your rust is along the roof, and wraps down around the window opening. You can see it sandwiched in the seam there - the one the quarter window bolts to - if you look closely. Make sure the shop repairs that correctly, and doesn't just slap some sheet metal over it.


I'm also just now noticing that you have no rain gutters. I'm guessing someone didn't do that correctly, and that's why you have rust there. Might want to strip the paint all along that section and see what the metal work they did looks like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an excel spreadsheet that has a "parts I need" with a "parts I've bought" next to it. It helps plan out all the parts I'm going to need and some basic guesses on how much they might cost. I've also linked websites with locations I can buy those parts so I don't forget where I'm suppose to get things.


As it turns out, just getting the engine and transmission isn't anywhere near, "most of the budget". Oh how dumb I was :)


Good luck on the rust.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

rturbo930 - Yeah that's a good point.  I actually had a 2+2 prior to this that started giving me all kinds of rust surprised I didn't see coming.  I saw this one and DID see the slight rust on the paint around the window frame, but I didn't think it was this bad.  At least I prepared for things to not necessarily go as planned.  Thanks for the tip on the structural elements - I will give it a closer look tonight and reach out to a fabricator that has some interest in this project. 


Neverdone - I like the way you think.  I actually have an almost identical spreadsheet as you describe.  Even started plugging in websites today because I know I'll forget where I found parts.  I'm not ready to plug in the "Total" SUM equation yet with the 1.5x multiplier. haha :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...