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Hey all! I am new to these forums, also new to Datsuns!!

I am 20 years old, currently going to college and working two jobs, and working on my new baby in the meantime! 

 

About two months ago I bought a 1975 280z. It came from South Carolina, so I had to get it brought all the way up to Connecticut for me. I searched all around for a Z for about two months before that but had no luck finding any car that wasn't overrun by rust. The northeast is terrible! Alas, I found my car in South Carolina and just had to have it.

 

It has some dents and some paint chips, a rusty passenger frame rail, and a damn sexy body! It ran pretty crappy when I first got it back but I was not too worried because I knew one of the first steps would be to engine swap! 

 

The car sat in the shop for the past month, took it out a couple times, replaced the headlights (previous owner gave me lots of spare parts :D ), but mostly did LOTS research on engines to swap into my new baby. 

 

I decided to swap in an rb20det. It seems like it fits my minor power goals, sounds pretty sick, and seems fairly within my mechanical expertise, with lots of help from my family ;) .

 

Yesterday, we started disconnecting and unscrewing, and draining, and more disconnecting, getting ready to pull the engine and doing as much as I could before I had to get to work. Today we are gonna pull the engine and tranny. After it's out, the frame rail is being replaced, just bought a replacement from BAD DOGS this morning, hoping to get it by the weekend! Any undercarriage rust is getting tended to along with that god-awful undercoating that seems to overtake the entirety of the underneath of my car. It is gonna get done up real nice within the next month, while I save a little more to purchase the actual rb20det engine.

 

I already have researched and lined up the rear sump oil pan, walbro fuel pump, throttle cable, intercooler, downpipe that I have planned to purchase. Aftermarket exhaust manifold, and intake manifold will be replaced next summer, along with a turbo upgrade. but not worrying about that yet. I just wanna get this engine in and running!

 

Now, I do have some questions regarding this engine swap maybe some of you all could help me with.

Do you have any radiator suggestions?

Any body have any good recommendations as to where to purchase the RB? Right now I am vigorously searching through eBay.

Car is an automatic right now, swapping it to manual with the new RB, any pedal sets or advice at all that you recommend!

ANY ADVICE OR INFO YOU WOULD JUST LIKE TO SHARE? :D 

 

Next summer, I am planning to do the bodywork, get some wide body fenders on my baby, fender mirrors, thick tires, a rear spoiler, racing seats, full harness, upgraded interior, gauges, dash and get a good paint job! This summer, my goal is to successfully swap the engine, and get my baby running nice and good.

 

It is gonna be a busy summer! Along with my Datsun project, in my family's shop, we are in the finishing stages of a Factory Five 818C kit car, which looks SICK. It's running an ej207 engine, weighs just about 2100 pounds right now and is pulling about 400hp without a tune yet! It is scary fast but a lot of fun! We have a 69' camaro drag car always in and out of the shop, holding the 632 outlaw world speed records right now, and another 2002 camaro drag car getting finished up. My family is very excited to help me through this project and hopefully I can expand my mechanical mind through my Datsun project!

 

I can't wait to keep you guys updated!!

I post all the pictures and updates on an instagram page, specifically for my datsun. You can all checkout the progress and updates through there if you're interested! 

 

https://www.instagram.com/dirty_ddatsun/

 

Thanks for reading!!

-Julia

 

 

 

 

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Hello Julia and welcome to your new HybridZ family. Glad to hear you have joined up and we all love pictures/videos here so I encourage you to start a build thread. Please provide some pics of the other cars mentioned as I love both...

Edited by Nelsonian

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Hey all just giving a little update! Yesterday the engine was pulled from my Datsun! As well, the weekend before I picked up an rb20det and 5 speed manual transmission for a great price! Before that, I stripped out the seats, the carpet, all the brownish liner and even removed all that sound deadening that was cracking and bubbling in certain parts. Ugh that was a hell of a day! But it's done now. Then the dash was removed as well as ALL of my AC components. Call me crazy but I just wasn't too crazy about keeping the AC in my car. I guess if I want AC, I'll have to drive my daily or walk back into my house lol.

 

I look forward to putting the rb in! From what I've read on the forums, it's a pretty straightforward swap! In between, while the engine is out and the bottom of my car is wide open, I will be removing all of the past tar/ rubberized undercoating that is half off, half-really-gross and replacing the frame rails. I ordered two from BAD DOG parts and they look amazing! After the new framerails are welded in and the bottom is nice and clean a fresh coat of undercoating or POR15 is gonna go on.

 

Hopefully by that point all my parts for my rb will be in (engine mounts, intercooler/piping, radiator, new intake manifold, and downpipe). The guys at the shop are gonna fab me up an oil pan real nice and also hook up all my wiring for me, as well as fabbing up a custom exhaust! I'm hoping to sit in and pick up a few lessons on tig welding as well as soldering and wiring up the car.  As well, my buddy passed along a pedal set from one of his Datsuns, so that saves me a couple bucks. We're gonna fancy up that pedal set and make it brand new looking. From what I hear, all I need now is to order a slave cylinder and master cylinder.

 

I'm more than excited to get this car up and running; my hopes is that the engine will be in the car within the next two weeks, or as soon as all the steps I want to take beforehand are done. My finals for school are done tomorrow so after that I can dedicate all my time between work, to working on my car!! I'll post some progress pictures in the morning, I need to get to studying!

Hope you all enjoyed the update, feel free to pass along any tips or advice, more tomorrow!! ;)

Edited by juliarosario

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Wow, It's been a very long, very eventful summer! I don't even know where to start!

First off, hello everybody! Sorry for the long hiatus, this summer I was strictly dedicated to working on my car and working to pay for those car parts!!:D Next, I should probably say I learned a hell of a lot so far. Reading back to to my old posts, wow, how naive I was. I kept thinking, this swap will be done in a month, I'll be driving the car by June, July, by August 1st, and now I am content with knowing just how unrealistic all those goals were! When I first wanted to get a project car I wanted to get it not only for a cool car, obviously, but also for all the knowledge and lessons I knew restoring a car would teach me. Five months into the swap and I cannot stress enough on how many skills I have acquired and how much car and general knowledge I have learned, along with patience and overall respect for this type of thing. I am so happy for all that, and still very excited to keep this project going! With that said, let's delve into the memories from my long summer!!
 

We left off with Dirty D being stripped down. Basically we are at a point where the inside is bare, disgustingly dirty, and in need of some love. The undercarriage was sort of in the same boat, just not as ugly. I started with a torch and a paint scraper one day and just went at it, the past undercoating on the bottom of the car was to be eliminated. It took lots and lots and lots of scraping and even after all of that I had to take a whirlie bird and just get that whole bottom down to bare metal. Yeah. That took a while but alas, a shiny new underneath with tons of potential! That's where the replacement frame rails came in. They were fitted and welded in place. During this whole process, I learned that my frame rails are severely unsymmetrical. I mean, I don't know how it took me that long to notice it but damn, those things were not the same. It posed quite a challenge when fitting the universal, one panel fits either side, frame rails. However, they got done, and damn they looked good!

BRB. 

 

 

Edited by juliarosario

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Okay, back! I figured tonight I would add in some pictures so you nice people could have some visuals.

Okay, so, frame rails are welded in. Everything on the bottom of the car is looking damn good. Now I realize it's time to start dealing with the inside of the tub. Oh god it was a mess in there. Horribly gross. I started with scraping that weird rubber undercoating off the bottom of the tub. I did not touch the trunkspace, just the little front compartment of the car. I scraped and scraped and then came across lots of fiberglass! Turns out the past owner glued lots of fiberglass paneling to the driver's side footwell. I guess he was trying to cover the rust spots! Anyways, I ripped that shhhh right out. Now we have an even uglier tub and at this point I'm thinking hmm, yeah this tub is never gonna look good again. I took a whirlie bird and some used about 47 freaking cookies getting my tub down to bare metal. I'm not gonna lie though, this was definitely a fun time. I did enjoy using that little tool and it was cool to see all that black stuff on my floor vanish beneath swirl of my green cookie.

At this point at least all the rust in the tub was visible. We took a plasma cutter and cut out any sign of rust we saw! That thing is scary but also like a giant lightsaber so after a couple times using it, it was not just scary, but scary and cool! SO, rust is out, ten giant holes in my floor. Next, I went to home depot and purchased a large sheet of, I think it was 16 gauge steel? I remember it being either 16 or 18 gauge but I'm pretty sure it was 16. Anyways! So I made little tracers on thick paper of what the holes in my floor looked like. Hm, maybe if I was little less shaky with that damn plasma cutter my cutouts wouldn't have been so misshaped. 

I took my cutouts and traced them onto the large steel sheet and then had those cut as well! To my surprise those little shits did not fit perfectly A couple mm's off in this corner, two cm's off in this corner, wow a whole inch off in this corner? Who let me use a plasma cutter jesus christ. Anyways, they were close enough but they didn't fit like damn puzzle pieces into my tub and so that was not good enough! Naturally, I spent the next two days of my life grinding, grinding, grinding down those metal pieces till they fit like they were born to be welded into the currently mangled state of my floor. But damn, I had metal flakes in my skin, in my shoes, little cuts on my neck, basically microscopic metal pieces in my soul now from grinding those pieces so much. Alas, I had some good pieces and they got welded into the floor within the next couple days. 

Now I have a goooood ass looking floor. Wow, such bare metal. I seam sealed the welds and took the next couple days and two quarts of SEM Rust Preventative paint and painted both the underneath of the car and the inside of the tub with it. Dirty D was starting to look presentable again. I was surprised, honestly didn't think I could've painted that car so well but damn. Damn is right, my car was looking good. And yes, the smell of that black paint stayed in my nose for about a week. Yup.

 

 

Edited by juliarosario

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Let me get some pictures for you guys. okay.

That first picture is of that messed up frame rail and that gross ass undercoating. 

Next, we have a picture of what my interior looked like. Look at all that brown fuzzy stuff. Reaaaally gross, I don't know. It made me itch.

Look at all that bubbly gunk. I remember scraping that deadening off piece by piece and each chunk that came off felt AMAZING. Ugh, so gratifying when a giant chunk would come off. Getting too excited thinking about it, must move on.

Forth picture, we have no sound deadening, just that black coating. It was so sticky. Why was it so sticky..

Next, we have my beautifully bare undercarriage. LOOOK at it.

Okay okay, next, you're looking at some damn nice, unevenly proportioned holes that were "professionally" cut out of the floor.

And then we have me holding that lightsaber thing with my cute little cutouts. 

NExt, the welded floor with my metal pieces all in. Yes, I know those metal pieces fit like puzzle pieces?? Wow.

 

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Edited by juliarosario

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Next, you're looking at an empty can of paint. How did I get so much paint on the outside of the can?? Also definitely remember getting that paint in my hair. Can confirm, not a fun time.

Okay, after. This is halfway through painting the tub. I think I took a break because I was feeling lightheaded because of all the paint fumes?? Hmm, don't really remember tbh.

The last two pictures are of the underneath of the car. The frame rails look brand new. I wish I had better pictures but the car was up on the lift and my head was tilted in a weird way. But believe me, it looks awesome!! Very clean.

 

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Edited by juliarosario

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Okay Okay. SO now the floor is painted, underneath is done, for now. I'm thinking, it's time for some sound deadening. I went to amazon and purchased 35 feet of NOICO brand sound deadening. I read some great reviews about it and it looks super clean.

I went to a paint store and got myself a little hard roller, and some razor blades, went back to the shop and got to work! I would say it took me about two to three hours to do the passenger side of the car. I measured everything and took my time precisely cutting. Kaitlin, my best friend who is usually around the shop working on her racecar offered to help and did the driver's side while I did my side. Ugh and after we were so damn impressed with ourselves. We had little cuts all over our hands and we did not care one bit because the inside looked so good and we also may have then been on our way to taco bell. 

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Now that the inside and outside tub was finished I knew it was time to drop that RB in! This was what I was waiting for all summer. In my head I thought, once the engine is in, I'll be driving it around, ripping some burnies the next week. LOL. How naive.

I knew I had to order a rear sump pan for the engine so I did that and I waited. In the meantime, I swapped the intake manifold to a different intake manifold. Basically to delete the need to use the crossover pipe and so I didn't have to route the intercooler piping in that freaky way. I do have future plans to replace the intake manifold once again, I know redundant right??, but to a nice expensive one with nice runners and wow, so fancy, much power. But not now. This setup was temporary!

The oil pan finally came, and we swapped it right onto my engine. The fit was beautiful! The only issue we ran into was that we had to relocate the dipstick and run to napa for some longer bolts because man, the new oil pan had a thick ass flange.

And then the greatest thing happened. All the guys in the shop came over and helped me drop my rb20 into the car. I swear, I was so happy I was gonna cry. The whole time I was thinking, this is too good to be true, too good to be true, something has to go wrong this won't fit, this won't drop it!!      It dropped in just fine.

The only issue we had is that the shifter did not perfectly align with the precut hole in my tunnel, the engine was definitely sitting with a tilt (which yes, I know, I read, this is a thing), and that it sat weirdly high. It was that damn oil pan! It was so thick and so big, the slightest edge of it sat on my crossmember, which made the whole engine sit a little high, and not fall just right into place ontop of one of the mounts. We notched the shit out of my crossmember, as gracefully and skillfully as we could do, really like an eighth of an inch, and watched the engine fall into place.

We then trimmed the shifter hole in my tunnel just a little bit so the shifter could clear freely.

 

Look how beautiful she is with her engine inside. Wow.

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Okay, enough for tonight I have an 8am in the morning. Goodnight all!!

Edited by juliarosario
misspelled rb20, no I do not know how

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Nice work, and honestly quite a lot accomplished in just a summer! I too decided to strip down and POR15/rust-proof mine, and can attest to what a giant, giant PITA it is. Even though it took absolutely ages, it's still worth it to 'future proof' the car. As is taking your time with all of the swap work. If it makes you feel any better, I thought I could knock my swap out in just a few months over the winter, ahead of this year's racing season. I finished it all almost a year to the day I pulled the L28, in June! Some of my swap parts I think ran out of their one-year warranty before I ever even had the chance to use/test them! :o

As much as I beat myself up over how slow going everything was, it was all worth it in the end. She ended up cranking on the very first try and has been issue free all the way to the alignment shop, dyno, and now multiple autox events. I'd say take your time (and loads of pictures), so you can eventually just enjoy the ride and very little else! If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when are you going to have time to do it again, right?

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Awesome progress!  Your Z is coming along real well, its good to see more east coast Datsuns!

I'm in a bit of a similar position, 21 years old, slightly rusty 280Z that I'm RB26 swapping while going to college and working!

When you cut out your floor and frame rail, did you put it on any sort of alignment rack?  I've been wanting to get that done on my car but am afraid to do it in the garage in case I end up with a warped chassis.

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@KevvinG Hey there! It's nice to see someone else in the same situation as me, I hope your build is coming along as well!!

And, nooo, no we did not use any sort of alignment rack. We cut the and welded the floors while the car was right on the ground. However, when we did the frame rails, we just played the new ones over the existing ones and welded them right on, while the car was on the lift! 

I hope that helps!! Again, good luck with your build!

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Hey all, I'm back again for another update from where we left off!

Okay, so we left off with the engine dropping in and getting fitted. After that, I surely thought the car would be up and running within a couple days. LOL. Can confirm, was not the case.

The next thing we did was start mocking up an exhaust. I ended up buying a downpipe, a 3" resonator as well as lots of 3" stainless steel exhaust piping. We ended up using some pieces I bought as well as some exhaust pipe laying around the shop. It took a couple days of test fitting and tig welding to finally get the exhaust just how we wanted. We decided it would be best to weld and fit the exhaust into one long piece of pipe and then attach that to hangers instead of welding piece by piece to the car. But I think it came out looking amazing! I absolutely was dying to hear how it sounded. We mocked it up, got it in place, made some custom hangers and got it in for good! 

Those pictures were taken just before we made hangers.

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Edited by juliarosario

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After the exhaust was finished it was a lot of days of NOT touching the car. Ten days of vacation, some beach days, but all days were days I was thinking about what would come next to Dirty D...

By the time I got back, all of my intercooler piping was in.

However, we also just ordered a dyno for our shop and fortunately that came in as well!  So for the next couple days we had the floor cut, dug the hole ourselves and had that little guy put in! Coincidentally it was also the same week we decided to plasti-dip the 818C at the shop so we did the hell out of that as well! And it is surprising how easy that stuff sprays on. The plasti-dip is gonna stay on until next year or so when we send it out to get the body work done perfectly and painted a mclaren orange type color! Until then, that bitch is looking good!

 

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Edited by juliarosario

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After all that fun stuff was done we turned back to my project! It was time to start fitting my intercooler. We had to cut a ton brackets off the inside of my engine bay. We touched up the paint from wherever we cut with a color as close to that blue as we could find but we didn't really fuss about it. When the car gets painted, hopefully next summer, the engine bay will get all refinished anyway so all this paint is just temporary! 

Anyways, yes we cut a lot of brackets off and enlarged one of the holes on the front bracket as well, just so the intercooler piping could clear. We mocked up some set ups and then put the hood back on just to make sure everything would clear.

The first picture is where we were happy mounting the intercooler, give or take some spots. We fit the hood and everything cleared beautifully!

However, the intercooler we ordered did not come with any mounting hardware. Definitely wouldn't have been a problem unless the bolts were some freaky size and length, WHICH THEY WERE. No hardware store around us had them! I ended up ordering them online. I think the size was M12 x 1.25 but like shorter than an inch long. When the bolts came in we finished mocking this up.

We ended up welding three metal plates, about an inch and a half wide, maybe two inches long to the top bracket in the front of my car. We had to take a thin metal rod, heat it up and bend it in place to hold the intercooler up, connecting to the bottom bracket of my car. We welded three plates to that rod as well. We had already drilled holes in those plates for the bolts for the intercooler. We fit the intercooler again one last time to make sure and everything lined up amazing! We painted everything in that front area black again, to hide any grinding or holes we made and it looked very clean! (You can peep where we had to respray in the engine bay from removing those damn brackets).

We bolted everything in and clamped everything down for good. I think all I'm gonna do next is replace those washers on the intercooler to red I think (ricey I know, i love it), but I am in no rush for all that aesthetic stuff yet, I JUST WANT AN  EXCEPTIONAL, OKAY LOOKING, VERY RUNNING CAR).

 

Also, that last picture was taken last week, so don't look at that nice shiny looking wiring harness yet. We are not there yet, you don't know how that went YET! But this was my only good picture of the finished intercooler set up!

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Edited by juliarosario

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Also guys, I did leave out some stuff, like lots of stuff, that we did during the summer that I just forgot to write about. 

  • Wired the fuel pump, had to drop the tank and connect all that stuff.
  • Connected the new radiator, finding hoses that fit perfectly took about three days
  • Took the old pedal set off, because it was automatic, added a clutch pedal on there, repainted the set and bolted it back in
  • Had to trim the transmission tunnel back because the shifter could not clear
  • Added in a master and clutch cylinder
  • Ran hoses for the coolant lines, brake booster
  • Bought a new Miata battery because mine was twice as old as me and not half as damn energetic
  • Probably forgetting things but I will add them in as I remember them!
Edited by juliarosario

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OKAY OKAY. Back to current times, actually about three weeks ago.

So everything in is, we wanna hear this bitch run. After lots of procrastination we are finally gonna wire Dirty D up. lol, thought it was gonna fire right up!!

So here is the wiring harness that came with the car. The seller of the engine included the ecu, engine, and harness but not the fusebox. After lots of texts about the fusebox he never got back to me, so we decided we could temporarily muddle something up to get the car running without it.

Up until this point, I had never heard the engine crank over before. For all I knew this engine was gonna start knocking and then I would've also started knocking (my head into the wall). 

Okay, so we're connecting alligator clamps to this, that, that wire, getting this wire clamped, probably about a thousand clamps in various pieces but this engine WAS GONNA RUN. We were all so determined to get this engine running!

Everything was set up with the wire we had, but the further we got into plugging things in, the more we noticed this harness was beat to hell. I mean, really mangled!!

 Look at it!

After about a half of day of changing wires around, grounding this, googling that, we realized this harness was too far gone to even try to get it to work. I mean half the wires were missing, we were missing a lot of plugs, and me too, losing all hope.

That was a sad day.

 

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Edited by juliarosario

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