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1976 Datson 280z 

pictures of how it sits now are posted below.  


* Install chevy performance shop connect and cruise LS376/480 with 4L70E

*280Z LS3 Swap Kit for engine and transmission. SUGGESTIONS? Can I buy this online, if so where?

*Install suspension that can handle 475 LB-FT... I NEED SUGGESTIONS?? [NOT looking to spend over $1,500] 

*disc brake conversion [rear] Does anyone sell simple bolt on kit for this, if so where?

*cheap paint job [$1k - $2k]

*Dyno mat the car

*Install 225-50-15 tires

*Install aluminum drive shaft. Can I buy this online, if so where?

*cheap cold air intake [$500 - $1k] Suggestions???

*Aluminum radiator with high performance 11” fans [2x] I live in the desert lol

*Add 20 gallon fuel cell without cutting into the trunk where the spear goes [if possible] can I use the OEM??? Also need fuel pump Suggestions?




1976 280Z.JPG

280Z 1976.JPG


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Welcome to the addiction..... I can answer all your questions with one word, RESEARCH.  Everything you asked is readily available without a lot of effort to find.  I'm really not trying to be an ass about this either.  When I did my build I gained a wealth of knowledge scouring every LS Z build log I could find.  There are multiple builds on this site including info on your requested non-swap info.  This in not going to be "cheap" by any stretch even with a total "budget" build, but I will throw you bone or two to get started on your info request...

-Kits: CX racing, Hoke, Dingo, JCI, Custom

-Suspesnion: AZC, T3, Silvermine, or just stock upgrades and add latter

Brakes: Willwoods for me (contact Silvermine or AZC)

Paint at 2k: Forget it

Dynomat: least of your worries right now

225 tires: not enough meat to hold the power

Driveline: Drive shaft shop or custom local shop

CAI: easy peasy at less than $200 with basic fab skills

Radiator: my 3 row champion works great in 110 heat on the track

20 gal cell: way too frickin big and no way that fits without fab. 

Best of luck, Trackzpeed


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  • 2 weeks later...

-Kits: i did thd CX racing headers and engine mounts but I used the 4l60e transmission so the headers had to be modified and every welder that looked at it said it couldn't be done... so I bought my own, figured out how to weld SS and did my own turned out fantastic. I will later add duel cutouts before the Y pipe.

If I had it to do over I would have gone JCI all the way. I would have also turboed but that's me.

-Suspesnion: left mine mostly stock but I'm getting back into that now. I did the poly bushings and am going to do 4 corner coilovers, nothing special. This is my toy that likes to make the mustang and camaro guys wonder why they just spent 40k on a car when they just got beat by a car that cost 10k to build.

Brakes: Silvermine for the 240 caliper and 300zx roter. Remove the stock prop valve (replace with a union) and you will be around 70/30 braking.

Paint at 2k: get it running.

Dynomat: get it running.

225 tires: same I got... can still spin them on a dry road while going 40.

Driveline: jci makes a great steel shaft. No need for aluminum since it is so short the weight savings is going to be minimal. I think mine is only 2.5ish feet, maybe 7lbs.

CAI: focus on getting it running.

Radiator: stock 3 row and then go get a random hose from autozone that fits (go behind the counter and pick).

Fuel cell: I swapped over a camaro tank and wish I had left the stock one with the walbro fuel pump.


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  • 3 months later...

I agree with walkerbk that’s what i did got it running drove it, now tearing it apart for paint. Take there advise search & read every LS build thread and read some more. I Researched almost a year before I swapped my ls6 240 made things a lot easier, of course nothing’s easy when your swapping. By the way I’m in the desert too

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JMHO, but the words "don't get crazy with cost" and brand new engine from GM Plug and Play, don't really go together in a sentence or thought. 

That being said, Research is your best friend.  Get a plan, research the plan, research some more.  Double your time frame.  Get a budget, double it.  And then start.  I have a build thread, so does Trackspeed, His is way more comprehensive than mine.  Read them ALL!  Different approaches to both.  Then read all of the build threads out there.    


Like everyone said, get the rear suspension working and in order after the 280Z engine is gone.  The whole car will be lighter and easier to work on.  Prep and paint the engine bay.  Do hard to do stuff now, for example we put all new fuel and brake lines on the car at this time, and it was no problem.  Then get the motor in and get it running.  Why the Auto?  Stick is a lot of fun in these cars, and a lot easier to do.


Do not take anything personally, but your numbers are way short.  Not saying you can't do this, because it can be done.  For example; to get a 400HP suspension is doable, but not for $1,500.  Paint at $2,000 won't buy the paint probably, let alone the work to do it.  Car looks pretty good why paint it at all?  There are lots of disc conversions, but stock brakes are really pretty darn good if you are not at the track all the time.  Research this a lot.  Silvermine has some great kits.  


A quick overview of what I did, not saying it was right or not, just what I did.  (I did put 1,300 miles on it during the Hot Rod Power Tour)

CX racing install kit. John's cars AC kit. 3 core radiator, vintage air AC, Tanks inc pump, classic tube fuel and brake line, 8.8 rear out of Lincoln, 930 CVs.  

I have yet to put on the Eibach springs and KYB struts.  (good lord that sounds so simple and easy, it was not simple or easy)


Remember all of the above are opinion not fact, just experience.    Richard. 

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Maybe get a 4L80 instead of the 4L70 unless you are very confident the 70 will be adequate. The problem with going below a certain level of capacity with any component is finding it's not good enough later on and having to replace it with what would have been best first up. 

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