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Hey guys. ZX is in the shop for a few major things. First, I drive a 81 280zx NA, completely stock. Transmission needs replacing, and apparently the differentials just broke too yesterday. As down and out I am about this, I figure this is a good time to upgrade those two parts to something a bit better. By upgrading, I do mean something better than stock or that will enhance the performance. So, what should I look for as far as replacement parts that are upgrades compared to the stock 81 stuff? Any suggestions will help guys thank you!!
 

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my god how many miles do you have on that? I have had a few and known others that go 350K or better and don't blow the tranny or the diffy. maybe you are calling the half shaft universals a differential ???
anyway someone really drove that S130 and put it up wet. If you leave every stop light like the lights at a dragstrip maybe you would wear things out but not if you drive like a normal person. an S130 is fairly bulletproof. you don't bother to mention if it is a stick or a slushbox. the auto trannies aren't the worlds best.
 

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It's not hard to take apart the 5-speed and replace all the bearings, if that's your problem.

More detail and specifics would be helpful.
 

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as has already been said, the 280zx will last forever. if you got things going majorly wrong, then the car was probably abused or just neglected by the PO. anyways, what makes you think you need to replace the transmission? of course the Mech is going to tell you that it needs to be entirely replaced. of course they are going to tell you that your entire differential needs to be replaced. what made you take the car to the shop anyways? I mean what is wrong with it? (symptoms, problems, etc..)


if you got a manual and it doesn't grind and you can shift through all your gears and your car can go from A to B, leave it be.


since you are driving N/A, no need to get "performance" stuff because it will do you no good really if you are just driving N/A and you will be wasting your money on things because they say "performance" ..... driving a turbo is another story.
I think the best thing you can do to make it drive better and handle better is to replace your old worn suspension.... poly-urethane or new rubber bushings, new struts, ball joints, etc. do that and replace your old holed up exhaust with a good quality cat-back system and your Z will feel much better on the road.


Bon
 

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Discussion Starter #5
as has already been said, the 280zx will last forever. if you got things going majorly wrong, then the car was probably abused or just neglected by the PO. anyways, what makes you think you need to replace the transmission? of course the Mech is going to tell you that it needs to be entirely replaced. of course they are going to tell you that your entire differential needs to be replaced. what made you take the car to the shop anyways? I mean what is wrong with it? (symptoms, problems, etc..)


if you got a manual and it doesn't grind and you can shift through all your gears and your car can go from A to B, leave it be.


since you are driving N/A, no need to get "performance" stuff because it will do you no good really if you are just driving N/A and you will be wasting your money on things because they say "performance" ..... driving a turbo is another story.
I think the best thing you can do to make it drive better and handle better is to replace your old worn suspension.... poly-urethane or new rubber bushings, new struts, ball joints, etc. do that and replace your old holed up exhaust with a good quality cat-back system and your Z will feel much better on the road.


Bon
Always can count on you Bon to take each issue with care and consideration! Thank you for the insight about the the transmission and differentials, as well as the advice of the handling and suspension!
 

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Yup, hard to tell anything without specifics.

The tranny in my '76 280 signaled trouble by popping out of low gear - it was bearing problems. But there's nothing in that manual transmission that can't be repaired/replaced with some time, a bench vise and a shop manual.
 

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you never did say what the problem was... I mean, what is the transmission doing/not doing?


here's a case in point from my own experience on personal ignorance:


when I first bought my 280z, its freshly installed 5-spd transmission started having some shifting problems (would not shift into any gear) and I was panicking, thinking the transmission was bad and it would be a major expensive PITA fix. I called the PO and dramatically explained everything and he simply told me to get down and check the slave cylinder... I was still insistent that the tranny was broken. again he said, "trust me, its nothing major like you think it is, check the slave cylinder."


so a friend of mind helped me and we removed the cylinder and found it was shot. went down to the parts store and got another one and put it back on.... transmission was shifting again like normal. lesson learned. end of story.


the whole point is find out what is really wrong with it. the basics first.


so, tell us what is the transmission doing or not doing?


Bon
 

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Discussion Starter #9
you never did say what the problem was... I mean, what is the transmission doing/not doing?


here's a case in point from my own experience on personal ignorance:


when I first bought my 280z, its freshly installed 5-spd transmission started having some shifting problems (would not shift into any gear) and I was panicking, thinking the transmission was bad and it would be a major expensive PITA fix. I called the PO and dramatically explained everything and he simply told me to get down and check the slave cylinder... I was still insistent that the tranny was broken. again he said, "trust me, its nothing major like you think it is, check the slave cylinder."


so a friend of mind helped me and we removed the cylinder and found it was shot. went down to the parts store and got another one and put it back on.... transmission was shifting again like normal. lesson learned. end of story.


the whole point is find out what is really wrong with it. the basics first.


so, tell us what is the transmission doing or not doing?


Bon



Apparently there was a piece or something in the transmission that wasn't supposed to be in there. Like a lose piece. The company that rebuilt it found it when the trans got sent in and said that even though the warranty expired, they'd cover cost. Warranty was voided in 2013, here in 2017 they still covered it because of a mistake they made. Since I turned the car into the mechanic, the message was relayed that something with the differentials happened, and that someone, most likely their shop, put a wrong type of oil in there so it screwed it up. Ugh. 2 weeks without my Z already. I knew something was wrong with the trans however, because always around 3k rpms there would be a weird rubbing noise that was very loud even inside the car. Only in gear it would be noticeable, and again, only at around 3k rpms. Also, for the diff whenever I'd go over a bump or something of the sort, it sounded broken. Imagine the sound of a chain just jangling around. That's a quick write up. Sorry guys for taking so long to get back. Stupid me with my lack of car knowledge. I must learn more and I must learn fast!!
 

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Apparently there was a piece or something in the transmission that wasn't supposed to be in there. Like a lose piece. The company that rebuilt it found it when the trans got sent in and said that even though the warranty expired, they'd cover cost. Warranty was voided in 2013, here in 2017 they still covered it because of a mistake they made. Since I turned the car into the mechanic, the message was relayed that something with the differentials happened, and that someone, most likely their shop, put a wrong type of oil in there so it screwed it up. Ugh. 2 weeks without my Z already. I knew something was wrong with the trans however, because always around 3k rpms there would be a weird rubbing noise that was very loud even inside the car. Only in gear it would be noticeable, and again, only at around 3k rpms. Also, for the diff whenever I'd go over a bump or something of the sort, it sounded broken. Imagine the sound of a chain just jangling around. That's a quick write up. Sorry guys for taking so long to get back. Stupid me with my lack of car knowledge. I must learn more and I must learn fast!!
 

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Hey Gang,

I'm looking at picking up a 83 280ZX that has 130K miles on it. I drive it and I hear a whirring sound when feathering the throttle from acceleration to coast and deceleration. Appears to sound like a differential that is on the load and coast side of the ring and pinion gear set in the differential. But when I'm driving and I put in the clutch the whirring totally goes away. The differential would be on the coast side of the gear set and still should make noise I'm guessing. This leads me to think the problem is on the input shaft of the trans, like the input shaft bearing or something inside the trans. Anyone have this issue before or suggestions? I'm not looking for another project car. How available are parts for the transmission internals? Any suggestions of a store that sells Z parts?
I also have a hard time shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. The clutch pedal feels soft, so might be master cylinder or slave cylinder. Easy enough to fix and I can accept that for normal wear and tear. I really want to get the car up on stands and check fluid levels in the trans and diff. Thanks, Dave
 
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