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280Z-LS3

280Z build w/ LS3 and 2015 Mustang spindles/8.8

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Posted (edited)

First off would like to say I would never have had the knowledge nor courage to tackle this build without HybridZ and its awesome community so willing to offer advice and share ideas.  Purchased my running 1975 280Z almost rust free San Diego area car about 4 years ago with the intent to start the build sooner.  With getting two girls off to college then moving to a new home, which included renting for a year while finding the "right" property, let's say the car hobby took a back seat.  Sacrilege!  The silver lining is all this time afforded plenty of lurking here, other Z sites and Ls1Tech reading, learning, planning then changing the plan a few times.  Finally settled on a build which I will get into now.

 

Engine

I knew I wanted an LS3 motor because it's powerful, compact, well supported by aftermarket, and affordable.  Grabbed a 2008 Corvette LS3 complete pullout.  With cam and headers upgrade 450+ rwhp is easy, more than enough for a 2600 lb car being built for the canyons, Autocross and track days.

 

Transmission

The F-Body 98-02 T-56 fits the S-30 chassis well, shifter lines up in stock trans tunnel hole almost perfectly.  However, these are hard to find and expensive on used market so choosing a new Magnum-F, touted as "direct" replacement for F-Body, makes sense.  For the added cost of new over used, you get brand new never beaten on trans with better internals capable of handling more torque and improved shifting.  This is a major purchase line item so have been it putting off as long as possible.  Time is growing near to get it into the garage... 

 

Rear Differential

Although my 1995 Z has a stout-as-hell R200, the rest of the stock rear is a mess needing expensive upgrades to handle LS3 torque.  A few Mustang 8.8 swap came and went over the years then Vlad, AKA Invincible Extremes, came out with his 2015 Mustang Super 8.8 swap.  Watched the whole development thread then pulled the trigger, boom!  Insane power handling with easily sourced parts.  Ordered up Vlad's "tack welded" kit with his custom axles, purchased an 8.8 Torsen limited slip 3.73 gear diff and some new hubs.  Done.  Bring on the HP...

 

Suspension

Vlad introduced me to Noah (Instagram: @noahdropkin), a young talented mechanical engineer, when I had in depth technical questions about the 2014 Mustang spindle swap.  Noah had the 2014 spindle swap at the time and also has the Super 8.8 swap.  His main reason for interest in the 2014 swap, as well as mine, was it gave a cheap and strong 5 lug hub to match the rear 5 lug hub of 8.8 swap.  There are a few compromises with the 2014 spindle that we discussed at length.  Over the course of a few weeks of discussions, Noah decided to grab a 2015 spindle to explore its possibility for swap.  Doing some magic with a digital scanner and Solid Works he concluded this could actually work, with some custom parts of course...  Hot Damn!!!   Noah started in on the heaving lifting of computer modeling and fabrication, he truly is the brains and brawn behind all this, while I peppered him with questions during design phase.  When Noah committed to building a swap kit for his car he asked if I would like one also.  Ah, Hell Yeah!  Noah has test fit the kit posting plenty of good pics on his Instagram page.  The end result is the wheel base remains stock, slightly wider tract width, improved scrub radius, good camber and minimal effect on Ackerman.  Steering ratio increases due to the shorter steering arms on the 2015 spindle.  For Noah's 240 steering rack, the resulting steering ratio is a snappy 10:1 while with my 280 steering rack is close to 11.5:1, a bit more tame but still fast.  Off the shelf coil overs are available for Vlad's front and rear swap but Noah and I agreed that good dampeners are in order.  Custom strut tubes were fabricated for the Koni 8611-1259 dampeners, arguably the best off the shelf dual adjustable dampeners for S-30 chassis.

 

More details to follow as I dig into this build now that the major parts are here to play with.  The last pic is 2015 Mustang with swap concept drawn.

 

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Edited by jsulse
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Can anyone offer advice on using an aftermarket body wiring harness?   My 76 280Z EFI has an incredible amount of wiring on the passenger kick panel that is going to make fitting roll cage, engine ecu, etc difficult if not impossible.  

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On 6/26/2020 at 9:14 AM, 280Z-LS3 said:

Can anyone offer advice on using an aftermarket body wiring harness?   My 76 280Z EFI has an incredible amount of wiring on the passenger kick panel that is going to make fitting roll cage, engine ecu, etc difficult if not impossible.  

DB5929A5-2959-4694-9188-8FD622C4E4D5.jpeg

 

https://forums.hybridz.org/topic/131462-78-280z-lt1t56-project/

 

I'm installing painless body and fuel injection harness' in my 280Z. I mounted the body harness fuse block on the driver side near where the stock Datsun computer was. I'm going to mount the LT1 computer and fuse block on the passenger side near where the Datsun fuse block was. I have some pictures of my progress so far in my thread. If you have any questions, feel free to ask

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A small update.  Finished the the boring tear down.  Ziplock bagging all the parts, removing mastic sheet sound deadener and cleaning remaining mastic residue with Mineral spirits.  The windshield seal became brittle over the years and needed to dug out with razor knife, not fun.  The is body free of rust as I hoped except for the known areas, passenger door and passenger fire wall.  Seems the car was exposed to a sprinkler or something in the passenger side for a time.  My last build was a Mustang, see pic, and didn’t want to relive that experience so waited to find a body on good shape.  I have a replacement passenger door which has some repaired collision damage.  Going to strip the door, remove the collision bar so  I can weld up drill holes used to pull the door skin and hammer it out to minimize bondo.  Will remove the drivers door collision bar also. Installing a full cage so they would be redundant anyway.   I toyed with the idea of using the spare door as a donor for the rusted area of the original door but the location And extent of the rust damage would make that job very complex.  I can live with the bondo on the panel.  

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Don't think I am going to blast the body Richard.  Other than the door and firewall there is minimal rust.  That will save me some money I can put to other things.  Next step is the Bad Dog frame connectors.  While I'm prepping for the rails will poke around with the sander and screw driver just to make sure there are no hidden patches of rust. 

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