Jump to content

Recommended Posts

@cros13  I checked out your build...really neat!


A lot of things have been going on with the car. First, we got it on the ground!

These are just temporary wheels / tires, I think they are stock but I'm not sure. It looks like it is sitting at the original height (before lowering springs) but it should drop when we add an engine and other parts.  










We made sure to torque all bolts that compress bushings after the car was sitting on its own weight. 


We also started working on the fenders... they had some pretty bad rust spots on the bottom.

One of them just required a single patch panel:







And primer:




The other side was a lot worse:










There is also a tiny spot on the rear hatch I will have to fix:




Headlight buckets are also being cleaned up:




We also removed / broke the windshield :(




Now, onto brakes and the differential:


We went with 84' Toyota truck calipers in the front:



87' Maxima calipers (from R1 concepts), ZCardepot bracket, and 84" 300zx na rear rotors in the back instead of the drums:



We are going to swap in a 1' master cylinder and all new ss brake lines.


I can't decide if we should use soft lines from calipers to the body hard lines


or hard line from caliper to strut, and then soft line from strut to the body. 



I took most of the differential apart. I think we are going to swap in the OBX LSD with ring gear shims and new internal washers as others have done. 

It looks like it is in great shape:








I think we will stick with the same ring gear and hopefully the same shims will work. I think we will probably replace the bearings / races even though they seem fine.

I cleaned up the housing for now:




That brings the build up to date, Thanks!





Edited by Whitley_280z_2+2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



I got the rear hatch patched up:








I also finished the other fender:

IMG_0062.thumb.JPG.19f65116738ca4976de0c39ab6456445.JPG    IMG_0058.thumb.JPG.d1360ed0b6267a8a4baf9e44d1a7a2d8.JPG







I Mocked up the E-brake cable. I still need to drill out the brackets so the ends of the cable fits but everything was roughly the correct length. 







Edited by Whitley_280z_2+2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It has been a while since I updated this thread. I have been busy with school and life but haven't given up on the build. So, here's a progress update on what has been done since the last post.


First, I rebuilt the differential. I originally planned on installing a limited slip carrier such as the OBX unit but I decided to stick with the stock R200 until it breaks for a couple of reasons. 

>> I've read many builds that say the R200 holds up to the power of an LS1 

>> The stock diff is still in great shape

>> OBX units are not easily available currently and the other options are more expensive ( but also better quality . . .)

>> I want to get this thing on the road and it was faster to just keep the open diff


I hope to switch to maybe an Mfactory differential with Z31 CV's in the future or go with the Z32 complete setup from TTT but that will be after the car is running and driving.







Next, I rebuilt the pedal box. This was just a fun, simple restoration project. I'm not sure if the clutch pedal will stay, but more on that later.IMG_0096.thumb.JPG.64e17fae14dd0593521805f26117a0f4.JPG





I also started researching fuel options that would be compatible with an LS engine. I would like to keep the spare tire well and go with the stock tank and a sump or surge tank. However, the tank that came with the car is full of rust and holes and I think it is beyond reparable. 



To avoid cutting out the spare tire well, I would need to source a stock tank in decent condition and then add a sump or other modifications. So, I have not ruled out the common chevy fuel tank swap but I would love to know if anyone had other cost effective options that fit in place of the stock tank (keeping the tire well).





We painted the interior and engine bay of the car in flat black. We planned to paint the engine bay body color but decided to go ahead and spray black so we could be closer to an engine install.





Next, I started working on little things to pass the time until we buy an engine + trans.

You can see the horns and brake booster in the pictures above.

I welded up the trim holes in the fenders and doors (sprayed some cheap primer so it wouldn't rust).



I polished up the hood prop and inspection light for fun



Cleaned up the hood hinges . . . I need to paint them black



I put the old master cylinder on to measure for new brake lines. The plan is to use the Wilwood 1 in master and all new custom SS hard and soft lines. Based on my research it will be best to not run a proportioning valve with our caliper setup (toyota fronts and maxima rears). 

I just used a piece of rope and tape to create these measurements as a guide:





Now about engines. Ideally, we will use an LS1/T56 setup from a camaro or GTO. I think this would be the cheapest route as we would avoid swapping the intake, accessories, oil pan, throttle body, computer, etc if we used a 5.3L. We have also thought about using a 4L60 auto trans and paddle shifters with a LS1 due to limited availability of low mileage LS1/T56 combos. Hopefully, we will find a decent setup soon and start on the engine side of the build. 




I started on the engine bay wiring by stripping out the old fuel injection from the factory harness. The goal is to use the factory wiring to control lights, horns, turn signals, etc and then create a stand alone engine wire harness from the LS. I found a wiring diagram with original wire colors which was extremely helpful in during the process.


First, I stripped all the old electrical tape stuff from the harness



I removed everything that comes out of the driver side firewall as it is all old FI stuff.


Then, I stripped out the outdated components (voltage regulator, capacitors, AC, etc) and degreased what was left (lights, power to the fuse block, starter, wipers, etc). I kept everything zip-tied together as I went so it would retain the correct layout.


I left the harness partially wrapped so I can integrate any new wiring and resolder the old factory splices. This is the final product:





Edited by Whitley_280z_2+2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Ryanotown22 said:

Do you mind taking a picture of your emergency cable routing I have the same brake setup but I am stuck on marking that part work well


Sure! I'm not sure I did it the right / best way. I did test it out and it works fine except I still need to drill out the bracket on the actual caliper. I just tried to run it a smoothly as possible while keeping it at the right length. 


I'll run it through the loop it's zip tied to eventually.



sorry its blurry


Hope that helps! let me know if you come up with a better idea.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

After welding up the trim holes I started thinking about the big dent in the rear fender area. The previous owner said it was caused by a tree falling on the car.


This is what it originally looked like:



The plan was to have profesionales fix this spot but I decided to give it a try.


First, I hammered down high spots and then pulled out the creases / craters with a slide hammer.



Next, I welded up the holes left by the self tapping screws where the slide hammer attaches.



Finally, a quick coat of temporary primer. The finished result is far from perfect, but now we can just use body filler to fill in the remaining imperfections.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Big build updates to come soon! We found an LS1/T56 from an 04' GTO with lower mileage that is going in the car. With this engine, we found a unique tanksinc fuel system that I will be posting pictures of which will work nicely. 


I have two quick questions about the GTO engine for anyone that has done this swap ( I should probably post this in the chevy section).


1) Has anyone used stock 04 GTO exhaust manifolds successfully in an S30?

2) Am I correct in thinking that the GTO oil pan will not work because of the front sump and I need to switch to the F-Body style?


Thanks in advance!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

1) not sure.


2) yes. The best pan to swap to is now the ls3 Corvette pan as it is only 5in in depth vs the 5.5in for the standard f body pan. It does cost more however. When I used the f body pan, I just bought it from jegs at the link below.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2019 at 10:24 AM, walkerbk said:

1) not sure.


2) yes. The best pan to swap to is now the ls3 Corvette pan as it is only 5in in depth vs the 5.5in for the standard f body pan. It does cost more however. When I used the f body pan, I just bought it from jegs at the link below.




Thank you for the help! I think I found a complete LS3 oil pan kit (pan, pickup, and windage tray) on craigslist for $100 so that's probably the way to go.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the past few months, we have made significant progress on the 280z.  


First, most of the bodywork has been completed. 

The old rust spots with new patch panels were given a coat of Bondo to smooth them out.








Rear Quarter Panels:



Roof Pillar:





The Bumper area was also completely smoothed to get the classic 240z look:









We also started installing all the things that make the car stop.


We had to paint the calipers red:





Created Firewall insulation before installing the pedal box. We just cut up some generic insulation from Amazon to make this work.



Pedal Box and steering column:



Booster and Master Cylinder:




Hard Lines for the brakes:





We also picked up an aluminum 5.7L LS1 from a 2004 Pontiac GTO!

We found the engine in a junkyard from a side impact GTO and it has about 1K miles but seems to be in decent condition.

The engine will be installed using the JCI kit including the transmission cross member.





First up, all the wiring connectors were labeled and we had the computer reprogrammed to remove VATS and other unnecessary parameters.




This white body connector plug for the GTO LS1's has most of the wires that will run to the fuse block and relays. 



Two of the exhaust bolt were snapped off flush with the block. We were told this might be a result of the exhaust manifolds warping from the heat. 

I tried to weld a nut onto the bolt to get them out. I couldn't get enough penetration to make this work so we ended up using an extractor. Unfortunately, this didn't work either and we ended up having to drill out the bolts and re-tap the threads. 




The engine was cleaned with the famous Chrisfix degreaser (soapy water :) ), wire brushes, and Scotch-Brite pads. The biggest concern here was making sure all bolt holes were thoroughly clean so the aluminum won't crack.











This basically just took a lot of time and scrubbing. 




Now, we need to order/install a fuse block and relays, mount the engine in the car, and see if it will run. It's that easy right!






To feed this engine we need a dialed fuel system. Although the stock tank can be used with an external pump, we decided to go a different route because our tank was way too rusty and replacements are hard to find at a decent price. Also, an in-tank pump is better for noise levels and consistency. This meant the spare tire well had to go. 














So much room for activities now!


We went with an 18-gallon universal tank from Tanksinc that is internally baffled for an in-tank Walbro pump. 





The filler neck lines up pretty good and will just need some custom rubber hose that we can probably find at AutoZone. The only real fabrication necessary is the create some solid straps to hold the tank in place. This is being mocked up in Solidworks right now and the tank will hopefully be installed soon. More on this to come.


Sorry for the long post but that brings the build up to date. It still has a ways to go but things are coming together. 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are the details of the fuel system.


It started with a SolidWorks design. The late model 280z's are different in that they have braces going to the spare tire well so we had to work around that. 




We made the mounts out of aluminum angle pieces (including the brackets). These were installed with self-tapping screws into the frame rail. I know it is better to have the rails running from side to side instead of front to back but hopefully the screws will be the weak point in an accident. 




Passenger side:





Driver side:





Next, we installed the pump and sending unit into the tank.



We then glued rubber pieces (from the stock 280z tank) onto the top surface.



Now, we used a jack to hold the tank in the correct position to fabricate straps. (look at how good the filler neck lines up)




Strap material is included with this tank from Tanksinc. We first stacked some washers on one end of the strap so it would tighten up nicely after being cut and measured.




Then, we just had to bend up the strap to fit the tank and drill holes in the aluminum frame.






Then, we added rubber to the straps at all the contact points.




Now for fuel lines. We used steel braided lines to run from the tank to the filter/regulator and an aluminum hard line to run up to the firewall/engine bay. A steel braided line will then connect the hard line to the engine.


I found the best way to cut these braided lines without fraying was using a hose clamp. 






We used a tube bending spring kit to avoid kinking the aluminum tubing. I highly recommend something like this!










Edited by Whitley_280z_2+2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Update time!


The build has come a long way in the last few weeks. The engine is in, wired up, and almost ready to start.


First, we had to separate the transmission from the engine to install a clutch line and remote bleeder. We also installed a new throwout bearing and made sure to check for the correct dimensions. 




When things were separate I took the opportunity to clean the different parts. 





Used a nail with the end cut off to punch out the roll pin on the new throwout bearing.








Next, we had to swap to an F-Body oil pan because the GTO oil pan has a front sump and hits the Datsun crossmember. With the oil pan off we got to inspect the engine internals and it looks clean!








Installed (new oil pan and F-body drivers side motor mount):



Now I have an 04 GTO oil pan to sell is anybody wants it :)



Prior to permanently installing the engine and trans we had to do a few more necessary mods. 

We cut off the original transmission mount ears and made the necessary dents in the transmission tunnel:



Also made a plug out of the old skip shift solenoid (cut it flush, take out the coil, and fill with RTV):



Now engine mounting time:








The engine wouldn't slide into the mounts at first and we determined it was hitting the positive post on the alternator. We trimmed this bolt and took off some of the extra washers and it seemed to fit... NOT




After this modification, the engine bolted in and we moved onto the transmission mount. The trans mount was pretty difficult because of the nutserts but it's in. 




Looks pretty in there!









Now on to wiring and exhaust.




I bought a DIY fuse/relay block kit for LS engine for $75. This made it super easy to connect the right wires and make the standalone engine harness. It even came with OBD2.

I understand the basics of wiring and I enjoyed learning everything about engine harnesses and even the original Datsun wiring, I downloaded a color coded Datsun wiring diagram and that has been a life saver.



With the GTO wiring layout, it made sense to mount the ECU near the factory Datsun ECU mounting location. I originally just created an aluminum mount but then revisited this part of the design to ensure the computer wouldn't ground itself on anything.


first mock up



Plastic isolator made out of a front mount license plate holder (it's ugly but it works).





I drilled a hole in the firewall:





I should have just gotten a hole saw



Next I used a stinger fuse block for power distribution through Maxi fuses.


Cutout the old alternator wiring and fix the factory splices:






Mocked up in the car:




At this point I was ready to start creating the engine fuse block. I decided I would work on the starter first. I did a continuity test on the positive post of the starter and signal wire and found they were connected. At first I thought the starter solenoid was somehow fried but I took the starter out of the car, hooked it up to power, and it ran fine. Then, I did a continuity check on the + and - battery cables and found they were connected. Long story short the alternator was hitting on the Datsun crossmember and shorting out the GTO electrical system. I'm glad I found this issue before connecting power. With some more modifications to the alternator positive post it fits fine now.





All of the GTO electrical connections are on body connecters C206 and C101







Mounted the fuse block near the brake Master cylinder.




Connect everything up:










Connected the backup lights to the Datsun wires:




Fuel tank wiring:




Everything tucks up nicely on the drivers side wall:








We also finished the brake system. It was pretty easy to bleed the calipers and masters once we tightened up a ton of loose connections in the lines...




That moment when your master cylinder won't bleed and then you look down and see this:






Now the pedal feels nice and strong!


E-Brake with the connections drilled out so the maxima bracket fits the Datsun cable:






I also fabricated a Ron tyler mount:










We also sent measurements to JCI for a 2+2 sized driveshaft. The Junkyard that sold us the engine had just cut the driveshaft off near the base making it hard to remove. We just attached a slide hammer and it came out after about 20 hits.




Splines look great



New Champion radiator:



For cooling fans we are going to use a single 16" 3000 CFM thermometer controlled fan in the factory shroud. 






Pulled the dash out and prepared it for a Dash Cap. It looks so nasty I don't think its worth trying the restore the factory finish with filler and everything.



For gauges we will be using the stock tachometer and volt/fuel, a speedhut programmable speedometer, and autometer oil pressure and coolant temperature. 


Testing the volt gauge with a 9V battery:






The autometer gauges actually fit in the stock housings if you get creative:










Added a pullup resistor to the Tach to ensure the pulses are above the threshold for the factory unit. We will also have the computer retuned to output for a 6 cyl tach.






Temperature sender:






I redesigned the hood release because of the ECU placement and also wired up OBD2.




Not the actual location for the OBD2 port... it will get mounted to the underside of the dash.



OBD2 ground:




All the wiring looks really messy right now but I have everything documented and it should clean up nicely.




I also made a new, modern "ignition relay" which gives power to the Datsun fuse block.




2 SPDT 40 Amp Relays connected to a common ground:




Designed a spot for the check engine light. I cut off the end of the original trip reset knob and drilled it out to fit and LED:




Heated it up to narrow the end for a tight fit.



Soldered on a resistor




fitted in the dash




wired up




Since the GTO ECU sends a ground signal to the check engine light, I connected the LED positive to a common power source and gave the ground a separate spade connecter so it can be easily disconnected.




Hopefully we don't see this that often. I think it looks good next to the rheostat control (which is still integrated into the new gauges). 





I know this was a really long post with not a lot of details. I am just trying to keep all the pictures here so I can look back over the build. If anyone has any questions I'll try to help... I don't really know what I'm doing but I compensate that with a huge amount of research.






Edited by Whitley_280z_2+2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

We are currently waiting on headers from JCI before firing this thing up. They are redesigning the headers so it may be another week or so. 

I've started putting a list together in my head of what is left before the first start / test drive:


+ Install Battery

+ Connect Radiator hoses

+ install clutch master

+ Connecte gas tank filler hose

+ Connect all the chassis electrical grounds

+ Connect engine ground to chassis ground

+ Test all the wiring and then connect everything

+ Mount the Radiator using rubber washers

+ Ground fuel tank

+ Wire exterior lights

+ Install speedometer

+ Fill fluids (differential, transmission, engine)

+ Install headers

+ Install dash 

+ Install driveshaft

+ Bolt check

+ Wrap / loom wiring 


I think that is everything needed for at least a test drive. I think the plan is to make sure the car functions at the base level then install A/C (vintage air / JCI), work on the interior, and finish body work / paint. It will be a great milestone once we hear this engine!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dude! Love it! Im doing something similar to my 260Z 2+2 (US model early #) 


I just finished stitch welding the entire frame... have to weld in the bad dog rails as well. Are you not concerned with the frames ability to withstand the new power plant / suspension upgrades? 


Also, I saw you went with the $75 LS swap kit - why did you opt out of the $115 one? Did not need all the accessories? 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DonH said:

Dude! Love it! Im doing something similar to my 260Z 2+2 (US model early #) 


I just finished stitch welding the entire frame... have to weld in the bad dog rails as well. Are you not concerned with the frames ability to withstand the new power plant / suspension upgrades? 


Also, I saw you went with the $75 LS swap kit - why did you opt out of the $115 one? Did not need all the accessories? 


Nice! Yeah the 2+2 models don't get a lot of attention but I think they look almost as cool as the coupe. Gas Monkey Garage built a nice 2+2 but it burned to the ground. 


This is our first major car project so we didn't want to get stuck doing major frame reinforcements. I also still weld terribly but that's partly due to a harbor freight flux core machine. So I think it will be great to do those reinforcements if you can, but I've also seen a lot of people run similar setups on a stock frame. Our frame rails were in great shape but I can see upgrading rails and adding more bracing down the road. So, all that to say I'm a little concerned about what the added power will do to the unibody but I want to get the car running and driving before putting more money into it. 


I could be wrong but I think the $115 kit also includes the relays and fuses for fans and A/C. Because the GTO engine is a little weird in that the ECU does not originally control both Fans or the A/C request I thought it would be easier to separate these two systems. The $75 kit made more sense for the GTO computer and engine wiring. I will just have a separate relay location for an adjustable thermometer controlled fan and the A/C compressor power. The plan is to run A/C independent of the engine with a Binary pressure switch from Vintage Air to protect the compressor. 



I measured 36 and 11/16 inches for the drive shaft length from the seal on the T56's output shaft to the face of the input shaft flange on the Datsun differential. I just received the part from JCI and it fits great! I also measured 35.5" from the face that attaches to the datsun diff to the beginning of the slip yoke. 


Good luck!






Share this post

Link to post
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...