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1982 280ZX
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone out there know if any of the bell housing bolts are especially hard to reach? I'm collecting tools to drop my transmission and I'm wondering if there are any special tools needed, extensions, universals, etc. Thanks!
 

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The top two are the only ones that you may need to get slightly creative with. So much more room than modern cars.

A long extension and a swivel or a wobble extension may make it a little easier if you’re underneath but it looks like there’s enough room to get your hand and ratchet or wrench up in there. You could probably even get at them from the top if you had to.


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1982 280ZX
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Excellent, that's encouraging. I'll get it up in the air today and see what I can see. This puts my mind at ease a bit ;)
 

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1983 280ZX Turbo
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Agreed. Lots of extensions and a universal joint are needed for many jobs. An extension with a wobble end helps.
 

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1982 280ZX
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was hoping it would be straightforward and I wouldn't need any exotic tools. Just bought a set of extra long extensions so along with my wobble extensions and a couple u joints I hope I won't have to hand out ear protection to the neighbours :D

thanks guys!
 

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I don't know if the same on a ZX but you also don't have to remove the shift console from the top. On a 280z you just drop the trans with the shifter still on an inch or so, and then you can reach up and remove the jesus clip and the pin, leave the shifter hanging.
 

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1982 280ZX
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's good info, thanks, I'm going to take a look at the procedure and a good look at the shift mechanism but given that they should basically be the same transmission, I'm guessing it's a very similar shifter setup. I better get started on this in the next day or 2 before I start overthinking it! 😆
 

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That's good info, thanks, I'm going to take a look at the procedure and a good look at the shift mechanism but given that they should basically be the same transmission, I'm guessing it's a very similar shifter setup. I better get started on this in the next day or 2 before I start overthinking it! 😆
Just make sure you get it up there good and high, I would shoot for 30" clear space under the car, you don't want to find out the bell housing cant clear the body once you have it out.

Its really not that hard, I think the 1st time I did it, it took a sat and sunday, the second time it was about 6hrs from start to finish, that was for a clutch/rear main seal change. I prob sent 30 min just getting the car up good and high with some serious HD jack stands. If you don't have one, get a trans jack, the HF 99$ scissor jack worked fine. Trying to muscle the trans in and out can be taxing. Oh one more tip, get some long bolts same as the ones that bolt on the trans, cut the head off, slot them, and use them to reinstall. just 2 setup diag from each other. you can use them to help position the trans, and once you are in, the slots can be used to remove them with a reg screwdriver. I idea is to let the trans hang on them while you get in position to wiggle the trans input shaft into the pilot bushing.

I am sure you know not to try and use the bolts to pull the trans into the engine, it may fight but it will eventually just pop in as soon as the input fits into the pilot bush. Also make sure your alignment dowels are in place, it possible they could be missing, but you need them to align the trans.
 

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1982 280ZX
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Dave, all good advice. I was going to put the car up on ramps, take some measurements, then go higher if necessary, but knowing that I should aim for 30" is really helpful. I've got some fairly big 3-ton jackstands so hopefully one way or the other I can get enough height safely. I've also been debating buying a $99 Princess Auto (Canuck HF) "low-lift" trans jack. My only hesitation is that I figure that's going to add at least 4-5 inches to the height I need to pull it out- or I'll have to actually take it off the jack before I slide it out the side. Maybe it's worth the $99 anyway. My alternative was to use a 6x6 rubberized jack pad on a floor jack, thinking I'd have to get it off the jack as well anyway.

Things like these are why I usually drag my feet starting projects. Think twice, do once, if you know what I mean. Except I usually think for a week or 2.

Good tip on the bolts-as-dowel-pins idea, I'm going to keep that in mind. My goal was to spend enough time getting the right setup and tools to get it to where the alignment is easier. I definitely don't want to stress anything. I'm patient.

Since a couple of you guys have done this before, here's a question for you: in order of preference, what are the best jacking points to use to get the car high enough? I'll confess that I haven't spend much time looking under the car as the first thing I saw when I got under it was that some previous owner/mechanic used, apparently more than once, the floor supports to jack the car up, and they're totally caved in, ruined, and starting to rust. Also, there are pop rivets in the rockers around the jack points, so I have no idea what that means at this point. Had to take a bit of an anxiety break there and I've spent a couple days out of the garage after that. :LOL:

I'm guessing either the factory jack points/pinch welds are good for jackstands and maybe there's a crossmember between the front frame sections with some stout mounting points. Until I get a feel for just how much rust has been hidden on this car, I want to avoid having it snap in half with me under it.
 

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8 / 71 240Z, HLS30-40031, L24-052899, Sunshine Yellow
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The only places I would Jack from are the cross member under the engine and the differential.
Except if you are just jacking one wheel, then on the suspension near that wheel.
 

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1982 280ZX
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Dave, how about for jack stand placement? Jack from factory jack points and place stands at ends of crossmember? Or is that crossmember strong enough to jack from the center of that and jackstands on the ends?
 

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On the back, I put the jack stands on the rear suspension. The prongs on the jack stands will go into slots or contours in the “A” frame member to be secure.
On the front, I put jack stands at the front of the frame on the radiator core support.
I usually jack up the front first. Then because the gas tank will be too low to get the jack in, I roll the jack in to the differential from the side under either door.
 

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the 30" clearance IIRC should get you the needed clearance for the bell housing and the trans jack. Mainly I just don't like to be too cramped trying to fish long extensions etc.. to get to the bolts. Main thing is safety, seems like 3t jack maybe fully extended to get it up that high, proceed with caution. I used 12t which got it up there pretty much on the lowest settings. I also throw in a couple extra fully inflated tires around the corners as an extra margin, you cant be to safe..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
On the back, I put the jack stands on the rear suspension. The prongs on the jack stands will go into slots or contours in the “A” frame member to be secure.
On the front, I put jack stands at the front of the frame on the radiator core support.
I usually jack up the front first. Then because the gas tank will be too low to get the jack in, I roll the jack in to the differential from the side under either door.
the 30" clearance IIRC should get you the needed clearance for the bell housing and the trans jack. Mainly I just don't like to be too cramped trying to fish long extensions etc.. to get to the bolts. Main thing is safety, seems like 3t jack maybe fully extended to get it up that high, proceed with caution. I used 12t which got it up there pretty much on the lowest settings. I also throw in a couple extra fully inflated tires around the corners as an extra margin, you cant be to safe..
Both fantastic info and advice, guys, thanks very much. This is very useful.

I'm a pretty decent mechanic but I have very little (read: zero) experience working underneath these cars. I've owned a couple 30+ years ago; I had a 260Z which basically never ran and an '82 280ZX that I maxed out my credit cards to buy, and which was great other than the yearly nightmare of getting it inspected with constant creeping rust holes (on a 9-year old car!). It occurs to me that back then I was intimidated by cars and had no financial sense... now I have no particular fear of any car projects other than the financials. Funny how life - and getting old - is. ;)
 

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8 / 71 240Z, HLS30-40031, L24-052899, Sunshine Yellow
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I know what you mean.
Buying 50 year old car, just because I want it and all the parts is totally out of character for me.
 

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1983 280ZX Turbo
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The straight six Z-cars are easy to work on. The process of dropping the tranny is nothing special if you've ever worked on a manual US-made car from the 50's through 80's.
 

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1982 280ZX
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Excellent news! I've pulled RWD transmissions from American cars and trucks- my main concern was how much clearance there was for the top bolts, either on top or from below. I didn't recall there being a ton of space at the firewall, nor did I see much in the short look I took when I picked up the car. I just haven't had time to really look at it but this all puts my mind at ease. I just need to find a trans jack somewhere! Or maybe I'll improvise, assuming I can get a good amount of clearance with what I have in the garage here. I have floor jacks and smallish jackstands, I guess this is a case of no point in diving in only to find out I need bigger everything ;)... hence the thinking/planning.
 

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Don’t forget the clutch disc aligning tool.
You may be able to rent a trans jack.
I changed the trans in a ‘65 Pontiac Bonneville in a motel parking lot.
Junk yard delivered the trans.
Took a taxi to the rental store for everything but hand tools.
 

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If you have a disc aligning tool, good idea to use it.

If you don't, and I've never bothered to use one, here's what I did - install the clutch disc, put the pressure plate on it and snug the pressure plate bolts just enough to hold the clutch disc in place.

Then I felt all the way around the edge of the pressure plate, where you can feel the clutch disc under the plate. I centered the clutch disc by touch, pushing on the edges as needed to center it. My finger tips did a very nice job of centering the disc on the pressure plate. When it's all centered, tighten and torque the pressure plate bolts.

Never had any trouble getting a tranny to mount with this technique.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Don’t forget the clutch disc aligning tool.
You may be able to rent a trans jack.
I changed the trans in a ‘65 Pontiac Bonneville in a motel parking lot.
Junk yard delivered the trans.
Took a taxi to the rental store for everything but hand tools.
Hahaha, I've done my fair share of oil changes in parking lots over the years but never a trans 😆 I did the head gasket on my Renault on the sidewalk in France though.

If you have a disc aligning tool, good idea to use it.

If you don't, and I've never bothered to use one, here's what I did - install the clutch disc, put the pressure plate on it and snug the pressure plate bolts just enough to hold the clutch disc in place.

Then I felt all the way around the edge of the pressure plate, where you can feel the clutch disc under the plate. I centered the clutch disc by touch, pushing on the edges as needed to center it. My finger tips did a very nice job of centering the disc on the pressure plate. When it's all centered, tighten and torque the pressure plate bolts.

Never had any trouble getting a tranny to mount with this technique.
Good tip, I'll keep that in mind as while I do have a clutch alignment tool, it's in the trunk of the aforementioned Renault. In France. :oops:
 
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