Originally Posted by JJs_240z
I have a 240z project I've been working on for ~2 years. I've made most of the cosmetic interior/exterior changes I wanted, keeping everything pretty close to original. I've also made some technology upgrades and rebuilt the brake system and suspension (no coil-overs yet), and so the engine/transmission are the final questions.
My engine (and E88 head) runs strong but has questionable miles- the odometer is stuck on 23k miles and has been for who-knows-how-long. I didn't get enough information from the PO, so I'm not even sure how many owners this car has had. All I know is that the body is straight with minimal rust, it runs amazing, and sounds great. That said, I'm looking to rebuild the engine. I just can't shake the feeling this feeling that I won't be able to rest easy until I get a fresh motor in there. And yanking out the motor will give me a chance to sand down and repaint the (horrible looking) engine bay.
Why not rebuild it myself?
I live in Southern California where we have some great local Z specialists. My dad's '71 240Z had head work done locally (at Slovers I think) and I got to help (or at least be around) while he restored the block. I should mention that I'm just a hobbyist and not a professional mechanic even though this is my second Z. Occasionally when I feel that I can't safely accomplish something on my own, there's a local shop (Z Expert in Venice) that I trust to help me out. I thought about restoring mine myself just for the experience with the help of my dad and local machine shops, but I have the money right now and not nearly enough time.
I've come across a whole butt-load of forum threads while researching Rebello. Even when I was working on my first Z project, I always dreamed of having a Rebello motor. You can say what you want about the price or the HP output, but the Rebello name is sort of iconic in the Z community, and they're also trusted to do great work. I noticed that there are a handful of common arguments that always seem to crop up and I want to address them next.
Common argument #1: The prices are too high for what you get
I mentioned earlier that I have the perfect storm of a situation where I have some money put away and not enough time. The way I see it, when you have a new engine built for you save time (which has value) and you also have the peace of mind that the engine has 0 miles on it (solves my odometer problem lol). Builds from different companies have different aesthetics, timeframes, and build sheets; I just happen to like Rebello's. Also I mentioned earlier that there is value in the name; if I ever would sell this car, the Rebello motor adds value. So when I hear people say that the price is too high for what you're getting- and they're usually referring to horsepower- I say 'you get what you pay for'.
Common argument #2: Rebello motors don't put out enough HP
I understand that people build cars for different purposes, and I understand that some people like high HP numbers. Some people like a car that can drag, and if that's your thing then I can see why you'd want to drop an LS1 motor in there and push out [something like] 500hp. But I want a Z that can still handle like a Z. Some people like a car that can (why do people like the RB20DET? I'm talking out of my butt here), and if that's your thing then drop the RB20DET motor in there and push out 600hp. You can tell all your friends at car shows and compare dyno sheets. It'll also have that sexy turbo whistle. I get it.
I like horsepower too. But it's my personal preference to keep at least a Datsun [2.4/2.8 NA] motor in there, and not deviate too far from "original". I want the car to keep the high-revving top end feeling that seems to come so naturally to Z motors. I want to keep the original rabbit-like maneuverability. And finally, a 3.0L stroker that's putting down (don't quote me on this, I'm talking out of my butt again) ~325 HP is a major improvement from my stock 2.4L and ~150hp- so I won't be complaining.
I mentioned that I'm trying to stay 'original'. I put that in quotes because in a lot of ways I've already deviated from that path. Rebello offers the 2.7L 'Purist' package that gives you some more grunt but keeps your numbers-matching block & head, but if the price isn't that far off from the 3.0L then why not? Whenever I see people ask this question in forum posts, I often see responses to the effect of 'keep your original engine on the side until you sell'... But for me it's not a question of value, it would just be nice to have the original heart of the car in there. I've never had the chance to actually drive a Z with this package, so it's just hard to tell. And then there's the monstrous 3.2L stroker... I guess I'll find out when I call Rebello.
I'm curious to see hear your opinions. Am I being overzealous about being 'original'? Has anybody driven the 2.7 and 3.0 and have an opinion they can share?
Anyways, I'll be using this post (unless I'm told otherwise) to update the status of my build and let the internet know what's going on!
I agree on some of your points here. Unless you're a really good mechanic like some of these guys in this forum , I would suggest you have someone else do your motor. I also agree that your ruin the heritage and spirit of the Datsun Z by sticking in another type of fat motor to crank up the HP. Again, that's just me.
However, I'm not necessarily a fan of Rebello motors. Yes, they have been around and yes they are a know brand. For me I was looking for a step or two above what they offered. I was looking for new technology, attention to the fine detail, options and upgrades in my motor and engine bay, true rear wheel HP (not flywheel), and yes, with all S30 parts.
I lived on Cali for 45 years and had Z's for most of that. I went to all the great shops and had some great people work on my cars/motors. But, if you're looking for a unique high end motor that will perform and last then take a look at Datsun Spirit in Virginia. They offer a range of engines with all kinds of options and upgrades throughout the engine bay to make the S30 perform at it's peak. I think they offer 6 different L-Series Engines from Stock rebuild to a Stage 5 full race motor. I had a Stage 4 engine built. They are a bit more pricy that Rebello but having a integrated engine and engine bay components was worth it for me. The owner is super engaged and knows z-Cars bumper to bumper. High performance engines are not just about the engine, it's all the other component that help it run optimally. That is the other difference Datsun Spirit has over Rebello. They provide recommendations on all the other parts. Plus, I know Datsun Spirit is always doing R&D. They came out with their ITB integrated Fuel Injection system about a few months ago in partnership with Jenevy. They have a video on Youtube showing one of their Stage 4 L-Series engines with the ITB Fuel Injection system getting 301HP at the rear wheel!! It's a monster. I almost went there but I went old school with triple 44 Mikuni's.
Anyway, there are other options out there if you're looking for a higher tier L-series motor for street or race. Just my 2 cents. I'll post some pics later.