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Hey guys, I'm new to the Z scene and I really like the 280zx. I was wondering how much hp this block can handle without serious modification. While I do plan on using a forced induction system, I don't plan to use a lot of boost. I want to build the car to at least keep up with my buddy's 370z.

Also wanted to add for those of you who own one of these, what are the main issues to look out for? I know rust is a big issue for these cars but I'm more concerned with anything mechanical.

Any help will be appreciated!
 

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The pistons will be your weak point. Use good fuel and a small t4t3 hybrid turbo with intercooling, bigger fuel pump, injectors, programable efi and upgrade your clutch. 15psi should get you roughly 300whp which is more than the 370z will have if it's stock. Getting the handling will be a lot tougher to match. If you need parts let me know, I still have bits of my old setup kicking around.
 

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The pistons will be your weak point. Use good fuel and a small t4t3 hybrid turbo with intercooling, bigger fuel pump, injectors, programable efi and upgrade your clutch. 15psi should get you roughly 300whp which is more than the 370z will have if it's stock. Getting the handling will be a lot tougher to match. If you need parts let me know, I still have bits of my old setup kicking around.
Thanks for the info. What EFI would you recommend and is there a better set of pistons for the engine that aren't super expensive? I also read that the 240sx throttlebodies could be used for more air intake, do you have any experience in that?
 

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Megasquirt would be the route to go if doing forced induction. ProtunerZ is selling really high quality parts for the L series engines. Intakes, turbo manifolds, down pipes, fuel rails, and megasquirt systems.
 

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You can use anything from a z31 swap with nistune to megasquirt to haltech or whatever. Lots of options. You may want to visit a local shop and see what they use in case you need support or want them to install the system. I wouldn't bother replacing the pistons unless you're rebuilding the engine anyway. As long as compression is good you'll easily reach your goal. I really would just run the engine to get everything setup before rebuilding things for longevity. I did install the 240sx throttle body and did other mods but my goal was a good bit higher at the time.
 

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You can use anything from a z31 swap with nistune to megasquirt to haltech or whatever. Lots of options. You may want to visit a local shop and see what they use in case you need support or want them to install the system. I wouldn't bother replacing the pistons unless you're rebuilding the engine anyway. As long as compression is good you'll easily reach your goal. I really would just run the engine to get everything setup before rebuilding things for longevity. I did install the 240sx throttle body and did other mods but my goal was a good bit higher at the time.
could you possibly link me to a megasquirt system?
 

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Sites to spent mad $$$$$








Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Hey guys, I'm new to the Z scene and I really like the 280zx. I was wondering how much hp this block can handle without serious modification. While I do plan on using a forced induction system, I don't plan to use a lot of boost. I want to build the car to at least keep up with my buddy's 370z.

Also wanted to add for those of you who own one of these, what are the main issues to look out for? I know rust is a big issue for these cars but I'm more concerned with anything mechanical.

Any help will be appreciated!
If you look at the inside of these engines, you will find it is built like a tank. I wouldn't give the lower end a second thought. Let us know how much it puts out when finished.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would also like to ask which websites are good to use for parts. A lot of the ones I've found seem old and I haven't got a lot of feedback from them.
 

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Sites to spent mad $$$$$








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The legend!!!! Thanks
 

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What would be a good number for boost? I don't want anything too crazy because I'd like to daily it.
 

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Are you considering modifying a turbo zx you already own?

I run a zx turbo block in my s30. Mine is modified, but is still mostly Datsun. It handles 28psi and dyno’d 451hp at the wheels. So the block itself is pretty sturdy. On the other hand, I don’t know what a stock 40+ year old motor will handle.

If you intend to rebuild anyway, might as well use higher end internals.

Back when I was tinkering, I found that the U joints, differential, and transmission failed (generally in that order) as I started flirting with 250-300 crank hp. It was no big deal back when junkyards still had lots of z cars in them.

Back in the day, guys were getting a nice performance boost running high octane pump gas with just a boost controller, inter cooler, higher duty injectors, and a higher capacity fuel pump. Nothing that would match a modern Z, though.

I don’t know whether the 370z’s have computerized launch control, but they probably have electronic traction control, modern profile tires, and a beefy LSD.

I would imagine that putting real power to the ground in an s130 will require upgrades such as an LSD and modern wheels/tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Are you considering modifying a turbo zx you already own?

I run a zx turbo block in my s30. Mine is modified, but is still mostly Datsun. It handles 28psi and dyno’d 451hp at the wheels. So the block itself is pretty sturdy. On the other hand, I don’t know what a stock 40+ year old motor will handle.

If you intend to rebuild anyway, might as well use higher end internals.

Back when I was tinkering, I found that the U joints, differential, and transmission failed (generally in that order) as I started flirting with 250-300 crank hp. It was no big deal back when junkyards still had lots of z cars in them.

Back in the day, guys were getting a nice performance boost running high octane pump gas with just a boost controller, inter cooler, higher duty injectors, and a higher capacity fuel pump. Nothing that would match a modern Z, though.

I don’t know whether the 370z’s have computerized launch control, but they probably have electronic traction control, modern profile tires, and a beefy LSD.

I would imagine that putting real power to the ground in an s130 will require upgrades such as an LSD and modern wheels/tires.
Lots of good information here thanks. I do plan on using the stock block of a turbo zx, but only after sending it to a machine shop and having it looked at and replacing some internals. While I like the stock rims I 100% agree on the tires. Do you happen to know how decent the godzilla fuel injection kit is?
 

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I’ve never heard of the Godzilla FI kit, but that doesn’t mean much. I have been out of the loop for quite a while. Is that a standalone or a piggyback? I’d budget for a well supported standalone myself.

My ecu is an 8 bit (!) standalone by Electromotive from the 90’s. Still works fine, but it was legacy tech a decade ago. I had to shop eBay for a laptop old enough to program it.

Best I can tell, no one makes my fuel injectors anymore, either.

If I were starting a project today, I’d also budget for one of the modern suspension kits with ventilated discs, hubs that accept modern wheels (and therefore tires), and accepts a cv axle/LSD setup without any fabrication. Not strictly necessary. Just easier.

A couple of buddies of mine went with a mega squirt system on their projects and seemed to be happy with the results. Anecdotal, I know, but it’s what I’ve got.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I’ve never heard of the Godzilla FI kit, but that doesn’t mean much. I have been out of the loop for quite a while. Is that a standalone or a piggyback? I’d budget for a well supported standalone myself.

My ecu is an 8 bit (!) standalone by Electromotive from the 90’s. Still works fine, but it was legacy tech a decade ago. I had to shop eBay for a laptop old enough to program it.

Best I can tell, no one makes my fuel injectors anymore, either.

If I were starting a project today, I’d also budget for one of the modern suspension kits with ventilated discs, hubs that accept modern wheels (and therefore tires), and accepts a cv axle/LSD setup without any fabrication. Not strictly necessary. Just easier.

A couple of buddies of mine went with a mega squirt system on their projects and seemed to be happy with the results. Anecdotal, I know, but it’s what I’ve got.
I believe it's a standalone and thanks for the feedback
 
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