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78 280z 350 SBC Restomod

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Hello All, 

So I recently purchased a 1978 280z. This is my first Z and really my first old car in general. It has had a bunch of modifications to it already from a guy in California who is an apparent Z collector \ restorer. With that bein said I have ideas, dreams, etc to do with this car. Im moderately mechicanically savy and pretty decent in the electrical \ retrofitting and engineering fields. With that being said, the car does need some work but has most of the essentials. Im looking for some help, direction, known impediments or problems to let me know what i should expect to be up against with this project. 

It has had the following done so far...

Chevy 350 SBC v8 swap
holly carb
cams, headers, ignition
350 trans with shift kit
Everything has been rewired to switches or button (Ignition, turn signals, headlights, etc)

My plans are the following...

Interior needs a good bit of stuff replaced like the dash, panels, door upholstry etc, shifter boot, etc.
I need to get a new windshield as its cracked.
Body seems good, no rust however one floor rail is bad and probably needs replaced. Ive heard bad dog rails should work?
Speedo i think just needs a cable, most other guages work. 
Im looking to install some sort of gas guage

With all that being said, and i havent had time to browse this site thoroughly yet, im wondering on where to start looking to get these parts, what to expect, etc etc. Will post pics when i get home from work. 













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Getting started:



  •        Download a Factory Service Manual (FSM). 
  •          Buy the Datsun Z V8 Conversion Manual from Jags that Run (JTR). 
  •        Download electrical schematics for your car.  PDFs are easier to read than those found in books. Some are in color
  •        Buy the book How to Restore Your Datsun Z Car by Wick Humble. It will save you hours of searching for "how to" info.
  •        Focus on searching Hybridz as 99% of questions have already been addressed.
  •        Start bookmarking Z car parts suppliers - there are many!
  •         Remember these are 40 year old cars and will need restoration to be safe and drivable.
  •        Join ClassicZCars.com website and search there as well.
  •        Become well informed about modifications before asking questions. People will be more inclined to   answer informed questions.
  •        Read all of the new member guidelines and FAQs









https://www.datsun-240z-upgrades.net/                Recommend the headlight relay harness






















Edited by Miles

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You need the book Miles mentioned!

You did not mention what your goals are with electrical? 

Does the car run well?

If you are just talking about replacing interior parts that is as easy as ebay/forums/junk yards then find an upholsterer or buy new parts for $$$.  


Now new are the suspension and brakes? 40 year old rubber does not work well, neither to shocks that have leaked dry.


Rusty floor pan or frame rail? if you actually have a bad frame rail do not hammer on the car until it is addressed, if it is weak the V8 can deform the body if you are hard on it.


What is wrong with the stock fuel gauge? Fuel floats are very simple devices, is yours hooked up? stock unit?

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Post a photograph of the engine compartment.  From this we can discern whether the original swap was the "JTR method" or the less advantageous non-setback one. 


If there's rust in the floorboards, almost certainly there is rust elsewhere, in nontrivial amounts. This may or may not require immediate attention, but it does merit jacking up the car (suitably supporting it!) and a thorough examination.  Some rust, while annoying, is only cosmetic.


This particular car evidently has a 5-lug rear conversion.  Does it also have a solid rear-axle conversion?  Such a conversion remains controversial even to this day... but properly done, it has its own appeal.  What is the rear-axle ratio?  If the transmission is a TH350, it won't have an overdrive gear, which is annoying on the highway.  Lack of overdrive is, in my opinion, the main reason for why a "race car" is unpalatable on the street.... something to consider.


Otherwise the standard routine is to examine and possibly refresh the engine.  Do you have specs on the cam?  The heads?  The compression ratio?  Have you done a compression-test?  The standard tuning-approach applies, whether it's a Datsun or a Chevelle... lots of literature on that.


BTW congratulations on the purchase!  Aesthetically it looks aggressive, without being outright garish.  Those fender-flairs nicely split the difference between too-much and not-enough.  But I do wonder about the rear axle... the rear wheels aren't particularly wide, yet they protrude considerably outboard.  Perhaps the axle is too wide?  Could it be narrowed?  4-link or ladder-bar or something else?

Edited by Michael
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