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Thread: 1977 280Z to 1983ZX turbo swap

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2010
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    1977 280Z to 1983ZX turbo swap

    Hey guys. My name is Seth and I have a 1977 280Z that I bought back in 2006. I kind of inherited someone else's project, so the car definitely needs some work. I daily drove the car for 3 years or so, but now it's time to get some kinks worked out. The car needs heat, rust repair (floor pans and a few other little things), lots of odds and ends, and now a turbo swap.
    I found a complete 280zx turbo donor car on Craigslist for under $600 bucks, and it even started and ran! It has taken me many months to get all of the parts I need off of the car, as I haven't had as many free Saturdays as I would like, but I am getting there. I have the motor and trans out, the main engine harness, the fuel pump, and now I just need to get a few small other harness parts off the car before it is off to the junkyard. I am sure my brother will appreciate having his driveway back. :lol:
    This will probably be a relatively slow build thread, but hopefully you guys enjoy it. I am going for really really budget on this, as I am selling parts and recouping money to put back into the project. At the beginning it will be pretty much a stock 280zx turbo, other than downpipe, intake, and exhaust. The motor has perfect compression across the board, so it will be put in as is for now.
    Pictures to come!

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2010
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    11

    Pictures!

    OK, so I just realized that I am a more of a forum newbie than I thought. I was going to upload pictures, but found in the FAQ's that there is no way to upload pictures directly from your computer, they have to be in a publicly accessible web server. Can anybody tell me the simplest way to do this? Thanks!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2009
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    New South Fails, Australia
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    Photobucket/imageshack is your friend :tu:

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2010
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    11

    Pictures!

    Ok, thanks for the photobucket heads up. Let's see if this works.







    And here is the car it is all going in.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Jun 2010
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    california
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    16
    I like your pic of your z with the snow good for a Christmas card or Christmas back ground . Nice wheels by the way

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
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    1977 280Z to 1983ZX turbo swap

    Well I have gotten a few things done since I last posted, but today I actually remembered to take some pictures. I got the motor out of my '77 about a month ago (let me know if you want to buy an L28), and I am itching to get the L28et in there, but there were a few things I wanted to get done first. I ordered a new clutch (OEM), and I still need to get the flywheel resurfaced, so today I thought I would do some LONG overdue cleanup/paint work in the engine bay. I have had a picture in my mind of what colors I want, and I think it turned out well. A nice red valve cover should look pretty sharp in there I think, plus the gray enamel will be tough and make it easy to spot any leaks. It might look like a rat on the outside but it should look pretty good under the hood! Enjoy!

    BEFORE:




    AFTER:








  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2011
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    Ormond Beach, Fl
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    29

    Re: 1977 280Z to 1983ZX turbo swap

    Nice Z you have there. I see you representing GRM. I'm actually friends the Tim Suddard's (The owner of GRM) son.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2010
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    1977 280Z to 1983ZX turbo swap

    Thanks for the compliments! Yeah, I love reading GRM, the $200X Challenge is on my list of things to do before I die. :-) I met Tim Suddard one time when I lived in Georgia, he was really cool. I even got to help my boss work on the yellow 240Z project car from Classic Motorsports, so that was cool too. Maybe once this beast is somewhat done I can submit a nice picture for reader's rides. :lol:

  9. #9
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2011
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    Ormond Beach, Fl
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    Re: 1977 280Z to 1983ZX turbo swap

    Haha nice, I'm actually doing the $200X Challenge with my Z. You can check out my build thread on here or GRM.com

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2010
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    1977 280Z to 1983ZX turbo swap

    I got some more work done today! It sure feels good to finally be moving forward with this thing-it feels like it has taken forever! (maybe that's because it has) :? So today I picked up my freshly machined flywheel and went to my buddy's place to pick up my engine from his garage. I installed the flywheel and clutch, cleaned out the bellhousing of the transmission (nasty!), installed the new throwout bearing, put some light grease on the important spots, and proceeded to drop in the L28ET. By lunchtime I was in the shower getting ready to go to a graduation party. You've got to love the simplicity of old cars! Now that the heavy lifting is done I can start to piece everything else back together and continue with the list. Here's what I need to do to get it roadworthy (i.e., pass state inspection):
    -remove 2 broken off manifold studs
    -install manifolds
    -install downpipe and connect it to current exhaust and new high flow cat
    -reinstall EGR to make it legit for VA :td:
    -install ECU and necessary 280zx wiring
    -install 280zx turbo fuel pump
    -replace struts and possibly strut mounts
    -figure out if play in steering is from inner or outer tie rods and replace needed parts
    -finish replacing heater core and get new hoses and clamps
    -patch holes in floor
    -replace wiper blades
    -fix headlight switch harness

    I probably forgot a bunch of stuff but that's what I can think of now. Here are some pics of my morning's work!





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