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My 1UZ 280zx swap


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Hey everyone, thought it was about time I shared a little of what I'm doing (and plan to do). I've got an '81 280zx and am in the process of beginning a swap using Toyota's 1UZ engine. For anyone that doesn't know these are a 4.0L V8 that came in the Toyota Soarer (Lexus SC400 in the states) and a few other cars.


I've included a couple of pics starting with the engine fresh from coming out of the half cut and a couple of it sitting almost in place. And this is where I'm starting to have problems...


If you see the attached pictures the drivers side (here in Australia) head is hitting the clutch master cylinder and the engine cant really go low enough to fit under the master cyliner. I'm already planning to modify the sump although even with the sump pan off and only room for the pickup I still cant get the engine back enough.


Obviously the further back and lower the engine the better although the only way I can see this happening with the clutch master cylinder in place at the moment is to dry sump the engine or work out some other way of doing the clutch.... that is unless any of you have some suggestions that I might have over looked.


Anyway would love to hear your thoughts.

Engine Removal_thumb.jpg

Prelim Sump Markup_thumb.jpg

Master Cylinder Clearance_thumb.jpg

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For now I plan on keeping the engine stock, so I can get it past all the registration hassles and keep it legal. But once that is done I'm going to go with a supercharger or twin turbos.


As for the transmission I'm going with a supra gearbox mainly becuase they are cheap, strong and there is also a company in Australia that makes bellhousings so you can bolt the two together.

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I will be using a w58 for now. I'd love to go for the R154 or V160 but these are just too expensive. Although when I eventually get around to going turbo or supercharged I might have to upgrade.


So does anyone know of any shorter clutch masters cylinders that will work on the 280zx. I'm trying to work out some way of getting it out of the way to avoid fabricating a new sump and pickup....


The other thought was to go for a racing style clutch master cylinder that could mount under the dash although I'm not sure that they are road legal and everything will need to be legal for rego.

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I swaped a 1u in my 95 toyota 4runner last year. It is a TIGHT fit. They are much bigger than a SBC, for comparison. Are you using the stock electronics, or standalone? I went with standalone, as the toyota harness is pretty complicated, especially, since you have to bypass a bunch of sensors when you use a standard trans. I use a W56 behind mine. Lots of smooth power though. I bought mine for 150.00 at a local pick a part, with everything atached. I then bought another one for 175.00. They seem to be bullet proof.

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Awesome project!!! I'm still wanting these motors to really catch on more in here the USA. They're great engines and if more people were using them and we had a few more aftermarket parts they'd be a go to motor for mant enthusiasts. Hopefully you're pioneering might inspire some others.


Unfortunately though it looks like you might need to go with a remote clutch cylinder for this to work. On the upside, once it's removed and the throttle linkage gets redone and out of the way it looks like you should be able to move the motor pretty close to the firewall.


When I was measuring the 2UZFE compared to the 280ZX engine bay it seemed like even the clearence between the valve cover and the brake booster would be close unless you got the motor pretty darn low.


Also, one thing that would worry me about going dry sump, if you did go that route would you keep the upper pan? It seems that many (cough: Lextreme cough:) seem to think that it's a contributor to keeping the bottom end together and acts like a semi-girdle. Looking in depth into the pan design it seems like they're probably right and I wouldn't personally remove it in favor of a weaker, shorter pan design.

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At the moment the steering rack is a problem but if I can get the engine back (by removing the clutch master cylinder) it should clear easily. Besides the master cylinder it fits pretty well, if I just get that out of the way all I'll need to do to get it in there is take off the corners of the bottom steel pan to clear the mounts for the steering rack(the sump is a two piece design).


I've had to move the fuel filter off the standard spot on the strut tower but that is no major drama. The only other bit of cutting is the battery tray which was in the way.


I plan to use the stock computer and electronics to start with as the registration rules are pretty tight. To get it to pass without a whole bunch of emissions testing you need to use stock computer, cats etc.


Gollum I have been lurking over at lextreme for a while as well and I'd tend to agree with not wanting to replace the aluminium part of the sump. It has extensive bracing and also has mounts for the transmission. I think removing this would significantly weaken the bottom end. With proper tuning these motors are very tough, there is a guy in a local celica club here that has a twin charged (twin turbo and supercharged) stock motor that is putting out about 350-400rwkw and has been doing so for some time....


I'm thinking the plan of attack for now will be to get the master cylinder out of the engine bay and go for a floor mount willwood or tilton stlye pedal and master cylinder. Hopefully this weekend I'll get some more done and post up some pics of my progress.

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Yeah the motor I've got is from an SC400 and even its oil pan isn't completely 'rear sump' it is more like mid rear. I will still need to cut the corners off the bottom steel part to clear the steering rack mounts even if I remove the clutch master cylinder and get the engine right back. I'll post up some pics soon of what I mean.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So after removing the clutch master cylinder, the sump had still needed a bit of chopping and welding to get it to sit where I want it. An entire S14 front end does sound nice... and would probably solve some of the fitment issues, although for the moment I'm trying to keep it fairly simple.


The changes to the sump have taken a while as there was a lot of cutting/grinding/welding although it is almost there now. Only one more piece to weld on... I've attached a few pics to show where I'm at.


Then it will be time to play with the mounts.



Sump Weld1_thumb.jpg


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  • 4 months later...

I thought it was about time to give an update on the progress so here goes.


I've now got the sump finished off, the engine mounted and most of the gearbox mounts complete. The belhousing is from a company here in Australia called Dellow Automotive, so the W58 box bolts straight up.


As you may be able to see from the pics the engine is mounted slightly to the passgenger side (by about 50mm at the front of the engine). This was done to clear the steering box and brake booster although this works out ok as it points the driveline directly at the diff which is mounted slightly off centre too. The main problem I have now is there is not enough room for a clutch master cylinder as it hits on the head/rocker cover...


Moving the engine foward anymore will mean I'd have to build a completely new sump and also this gives some drama with the gearbox shifter lining up with the hole. I've already had to cut a little from the front to get it to fit. Although after speaking to another member on here (Tonycharger72) it appears if I get a shifter assembly from an N/A 2jz it extends back much further, so this might solve some of the problems.


Unfortunately I won't be able to do any more work on it for a while as I've had to move from Sydney to Perth for a while due to work...

Clearance to steering box_thumb.jpg

Engine gearbox together_thumb.jpg

Gearbox mount in the making_thumb.jpg

Mocking up the mounts_thumb.jpg

Mount tacked up_thumb.jpg

Completed Sump_thumb.jpg

Completed Sump 2_thumb.jpg

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Nice mate! Gearbox crossmember looks really good!!!


It's weird - I was able to put the engine and gearbox back a touch further, I had to make new gearbox mounting "ears" behind the stock gearbox mount bracing in the transmission tunnel - by about 3" - however I havent installed my clutch MS - now I am worried!!!


Love to see more pics of the engine in the engine bay mate!!!

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Hey mate,


Mate has his 280zx on jack-stands right next to my 260z - I took some measurements yesterday,


Both engine bays are approximately 1030mm,

From the the centre of the strut tower to the firewall on a 260z is approximately 530mm, on a 280zx its 450mm,


Based on where you have mounted your gearbox and where I mounted mine I think my gearbox is actually further back in the tunnel - but I still have reasonably large amount of clearance for the clutch MS, just because of where the crossmember sits in the 280zx in comparision to the 260z - I would be moving your engine forward until you get clearance mate!!!


I will post a pic to show the clearance I have at the back of the engine and around the clutch MS!

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Hey thanks for the info. I'm trying to work out which would be the easiest thing to change at the moment.... before you let me know about the 2jz extension for the w58 I just assumed I would have to go with under dash pedal or pedals as the easiest option....


The only thing is if I move the engine forward I will need to make a new sump from scratch and modify the pickup, then get the extension for the gearbox shifter, and redo the engine and trans mounts....


The way things are at the moment if I got an under dash master cylinder setup working I'd only need to get that sorted to have things working. But then I don't know exactly how much stuffing around this will be yet. I should have taken some measurements around the pedal box area before I moved over to perth so I could model it up in CAD..... The other advantage is it would keep the engine back as far as possible.


How is your car for clearance for the oil filter? I'll need to either do a remote mount setup or use a shorter filter as at the moment it the filter can't be changed with moving the engine.


The most annoying thing is I won't be able to work on the car for the next three and a bit months! I've realised I've also left all the latest pics on my computer that is back in sydney in storage... grrr

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