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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Found an 82 280 zxt, very clean with 80,000 miles also an 83 280 zx non turbo with 100,000 miles. What do I expect with turbo vs non turbo, which one is more reliable?

I was told that if the previous owner did not know how to shut-off the engine that may have caused damage to the turbo and the engine, is this true? I drove the car, it feels good with enough power and the turbo gage kicks in as soon as I accelarate. However, at idle the engine doesn't sound like it is rushing and powerful, I was told that it's due for tune up and oil change.

The non-turbo, surprisingly feels very good and it accelerates good, what's really surprising is that the engine at idle sounds better than the turbo you can hear the smoothness and the engine rushing when you crank it, but this one has been tuned and serviced just recently.

Any thoughts on this will be appreciated

Thanks
Mike
 

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FWIW, I have an '82 turbo motor in my Z, 175,000 miles, never had anything go bad on it - all my upgrades have been for performance reasons, haven't had any turbo component break or wear out, or anything else on the motor. The stock turbo motor is dead RELIABLE.
 

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The turbo bearings are oil cooled (and lubricated). If the car is repeatedly run hard and immediately shut off, the oil in the turbo bearings will cook into coke, a thick tar-like substance. I think that's what your advisor was referring to. That's why the turbo timers were invented. To allow the car to idle for a few minutes, thereby cooling the turbo.
Both the na and the turbo cars are very reliable. Both can develop problems that can be bothersome to find but usually very simple to correct. If I had a choice, I'd take the extra features that the turbo car offers (in addition to the extra 60 horses)
I own and '81 ZXT. Its my everyday driver ( I hate garage queens). When I bought it, it had so many problems it would take a page to list them and the repairs but now that I've corrected most of them, I'd rather drive this car than any others I've recently owned.
Dan
 

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Re: 82 280 zxt vs non turbo (long opinion)

I second the vote on the turbo, especially if the prices and overall condition of the two cars is otherwise equal and they're both 5-speeds. If you're not familiar with Z cars, L28 straight sixes or Japanese cars in general, 100K is NOTHING mileage wise for these engines. Several people here have more than 200K and my '76 has 375K with the original engine. They are very reliable, last forever with regular maintenance and are, at least in stock configuration, very hard to kill. All of them, however, are very sensitive to having clean electrical contacts and good grounds in all the various sensors and components.

The engine that is in the '83 non-turbo is essentially the same engine that's in the turbo (there are some internal diffs, but we're generalizing). What I don't feel most people realize is that around town, the turbo is very well behaved. In fact, I think most people would not be able to tell the difference between a turbo and an N/A around town, because the turbo itself never comes into play until the engine hits 3,000RPM. At that point, there is a big difference.

The 'cons' for a turbo are that it uses a completely different fuel management system than the N/A, so not many parts are interchangeable. It also uses different injectors and a different fuel pump, both of which will cost you almost twice as much from aftermarket suppliers (MSA, etc.) than the N/A stuff. And, obviously, there's more stuff to wear out or misbehave on a turbo.

Depending on what you're spending and what you plan to put into the car after purchase, I wouldn't worry too much that the turbo doesn's run as smoothly as the N/A. That could be something as simple as a tune-up. If you have the $$$ and the owner would agree, I would recommend that you take it to a mechanic to get a compression test and general checkup before purchase. If you can, take it to a Z specialty place as a LOT of mechanics know little to nothing about Zs, and even less about turbo Zs.

The thing about 'not shutting it off right' is this — turbos make so much heat that they should be allowed to cool off before you shut the car off. That is no more complicated than just letting it idle for a couple of minutes after flogging the turbo. However, most people when they get to where they're going just shut the car off and never worry about the hot turbo. In time, this does cause the turbo to wear out faster. It also causes 'coking' of the oil line to the turbo, which is sort of like the plaque in veins that blocks them off. One thing you do not want to do with a turbo is deprive it of oil. In my opinion (there are those who will argue this), I believe synthetic oil all but alleviates the coking problem, although the turbo should still be allowed to cool properly.

If the turbo goes bad, figure on about $300-$500 for a rebuilt unit (and replace the oil feed tube while you're at it.) This is a relatively simple than anyone with a few tools and mechanical aptitude can do in an afternoon. Of course, at that point, you can also opt for a larger turbo, and an endless supply of goodies to make the motor even more powerful. The sky — and your wallet — is the limit.

If you ever go to sell the car down the road, the turbo will always be worth more than an identical N/A.

If you're one of those 'drive it and forget it ' types, go with the N/A and take it to Jiffy Lube every 3,000 miles. If you're a car guy who likes to fiddle and (hopefully) make things better, go with the turbo. That's my 2¢.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: 82 280 zxt vs non turbo (long opinion)

Thanks for your great answer.

I am one of those guys who enjoys driving it but changing oil is as far as I can go, that's how I kept my 83 280zx and 300zx in top condition by being an oil change freek. Do you know of any books that helps me in detail how to maintain my future 280zxt which I am about to buy this week. I don't know much about repair and maintenance.

I will take your advise and take it to a Nissan tech to check it out before I buy it. He may not be a "Z" specialist per say but he knows what he's doing and I can trust him.

Thanks again
 

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Re: 82 280 zxt vs non turbo (long opinion)

Well, now I know WHY a Z mechanic told me to let the engine in my 82 turbo ZX idle 30 or so seconds before I start driving and especially after I come to a halt. Mine only has 67,000 on it, and the previous owner was not a racer, so maybe I am not too late in observing this precaution...thanks for the explanation...
 
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