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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Everyone!

I recently bought a 1976 280z 2+2 and I was wanting some motor help. So I bought this car as a project and mainly I want to turbo it. I have been reading about so many different ways to go about it that I am kind of stuck. I originally thought about doing a 2jzgte swap but I am having trouble finding one as well as the transmission. I looked at Ls motor but those seem to not need a turbo at all or it would be a waste if I did. Finally I thought about turboing the L28E motor it came with but I have read that its not really worth it and instead looking for a L28ET motor and just beefing that up. Goals are to hit around the 350-400ish whp and to be able to that reliably without needing to worry too much about breaking or blowing something up. If I could get some insight/suggestions that would be great because I am very overwhelmed with all the possibilities. As far as budget goes there is not really a hard cap since I want it to be a solid build with some reliability. Any other questions fell free to ask!
 

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Where’d you read it’s not worth it? Finding an L28ET in good condition as a donor is harder than creating one from an L28
 

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Hey Everyone!

I recently bought a 1976 280z 2+2 and I was wanting some motor help. So I bought this car as a project and mainly I want to turbo it. I have been reading about so many different ways to go about it that I am kind of stuck. I originally thought about doing a 2jzgte swap but I am having trouble finding one as well as the transmission. I looked at Ls motor but those seem to not need a turbo at all or it would be a waste if I did. Finally I thought about turboing the L28E motor it came with but I have read that its not really worth it and instead looking for a L28ET motor and just beefing that up. Goals are to hit around the 350-400ish whp and to be able to that reliably without needing to worry too much about breaking or blowing something up. If I could get some insight/suggestions that would be great because I am very overwhelmed with all the possibilities. As far as budget goes there is not really a hard cap since I want it to be a solid build with some reliability. Any other questions fell free to ask!
First, ask yourself. Why are you wanting to do this?

To impress people? To keep up with the hondas? To participate in racing? To slay Mustangs? To be fast and not furious? To give your girl a better ride?

Right now, more power should be the least of your project concerns. focus on replacing the worn out brakes and suspension. make it ride good. Fix the body and rust issues if any. make it drivable first and learn how the L-Jetronic FI system works. Next, start with its stock engine. Learn how to drive the L28. Feel and understand how it operates. Know its limits. The L28 was designed to be a performance engine. Learn how to drive it properly. You're not gonna be blowing anyone away... but, if you learn to drive it correctly, with the correct transmission and rear end, you just might surprise yourself. Don't underestimate the L28... its a solid powerplant. And it is CAPABLE of pushing a lot of power. It really is. Great engine.

If after all of that and you're still not satisfied with it... then by all means go to something else. The best bang for your buck is a complete Turbo Swap hands down.
If you want it to be reliable... fix the things that are wrong and leave it the way it is. The more crazy upgrades you do, chances are the less reliable it will become.
This is kind of harsh, I know. But you need to hear this before you jump down that route.

Bon

p.s. -- check out these links to learn everything you need to know about the S30 zcar and its drive-train and powerplant. I highly recommend.
www.xenonzcar.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well biggest reason I am wanting to do all this is because I love the way the Datsun looks and I have owned single turbo supras, gt500 mustangs, modified audis, and a few more. I love the sound of a turbo spooling and pairing that with the amazing body style of a Datsun it seems like a match made in heaven. I heard that the L28E does not have as ideal compression or heads for a turbo and that the L28ET is a much better platform to start with. Also read that it is more expensive trying to get an L28E to a L28ET but if the stock motor could handle a turbo then I would just upgrade the internals and beef up accompanying parts like I did with my supra. The body has no rust or anything and is in fantastic shape (only 27k on the odometer). This is the Datsun I got Modified 1976 Datsun 280Z 2+2 5-Speed
 

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I know I’ve heard that the turbo head flows better, but I’m not sure how much better or how much could be gained by opening up the one you have. The non turbo intake manifold is more restrictive but there are high flow aftermarket ones available.

I’m not sure which the best route is. You’ll save some cash in some areas but spend more in others and vice versa.

Good that the car came with megasquirt. Nice looking car too.

Also you could probably get some funds from selling the itb setup


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Take an F54 block with the flattops and pair it with the N42 head. You'll have a high compression motor that you can run on pump gas.
 

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Well biggest reason I am wanting to do all this is because I love the way the Datsun looks and I have owned single turbo supras, gt500 mustangs, modified audis, and a few more. I love the sound of a turbo spooling and pairing that with the amazing body style of a Datsun it seems like a match made in heaven. I heard that the L28E does not have as ideal compression or heads for a turbo and that the L28ET is a much better platform to start with. Also read that it is more expensive trying to get an L28E to a L28ET but if the stock motor could handle a turbo then I would just upgrade the internals and beef up accompanying parts like I did with my supra. The body has no rust or anything and is in fantastic shape (only 27k on the odometer). This is the Datsun I got Modified 1976 Datsun 280Z 2+2 5-Speed
All the heads were different, but all can be used with the N42 block and F54 block. Early NA's had dished pistons (280z/280zx). Turbos had dished pistons (lower compression and 3.54 diff) and later NA's had flattops (higher compression and 3.90 diff)
L28E can handle a turbo. my 76 has its original L28E (N42 block and N42 head) but has been turbo charged, but I don't run more than 10 psi boost and I use and after-cooler.
Like I said, the best bang for your buck is a complete turbo swap.
Nice looking 2+2 btw. Well done.

p.s. if you don't want your engine with the ITB's... sell it to me! I'll take it off your hands haha

Bon
 
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Wow, there is a lot of advice on here, but I believe Bonfire 79 said it best, and said the same thing I would say for you to do at this point in time. 400hp is not really an easy thing to do without adding a lot of upgraded parts. Internal bearings etc. need to be able to handle the extra power, and simply slapping on a forced induction system doesn't always fill that void.

Get your sled ready to handle all of that power in the first place. I mean, you can buy a powerful engine and drop it in, but if you start it up and drive down the road, it can be a dangerous situation for you as well as anyone else on the streets. You have a lot of smaller parts and pieces, like the suspension system, the brake system, the body mounts etc., that need to be addressed and replaced/rebuilt just to make it road worthy. The Turbo car I have for sale will run and drive on the first turn of the key, but I wouldn't drive it any farther than around the block and to the gas station, and this is in extremely great shape.

The suspension system in cars is one of, if not the most abused system on the car, and needs to be taken care of. There are a lot of moving parts that need to be adjusted, replaced/rebuilt as I said earlier, just to make the car handle with the stock engine. Imagine if you all of a sudden added 300+ hp/torque to the sled. How would it handle? Like crap, and you wouldn't be able to use half of that new found power.

Same goes for the brake system. It is designed to stop the current set up in a safe manner. More power means you'll be hitting those speeds faster, meaning you need to be able to stop it just as fast.

Just like building a house, you need to Start with a Good Foundation. So please, for your safety and definitely your enjoyment, get the car up and running and go through the entire car first. Repair/upgrade the car first. You can always add more power later, but only if you're still alive and walking.


Hey Everyone!

I recently bought a 1976 280z 2+2 and I was wanting some motor help. So I bought this car as a project and mainly I want to turbo it. I have been reading about so many different ways to go about it that I am kind of stuck. I originally thought about doing a 2jzgte swap but I am having trouble finding one as well as the transmission. I looked at Ls motor but those seem to not need a turbo at all or it would be a waste if I did. Finally I thought about turboing the L28E motor it came with but I have read that its not really worth it and instead looking for a L28ET motor and just beefing that up. Goals are to hit around the 350-400ish whp and to be able to that reliably without needing to worry too much about breaking or blowing something up. If I could get some insight/suggestions that would be great because I am very overwhelmed with all the possibilities. As far as budget goes there is not really a hard cap since I want it to be a solid build with some reliability. Any other questions fell free to ask!
 

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27k on the current ODO, but what are the true miles? That right there makes me reinstate what we said earlier about going through the car from top to bottom, front to rear, and making it right and ready before adding any major power or powerplant. Turbo's sound cool and all, and are definitely great powerplants, but they don't sound as good when you're pulling the fenders off of the front tires...

I'll tell you what I did one time, I put a 350ci engine in a 64 Nova. Oh yeah, I had even replaced the brake shoes and lines. But that was about it. I started it up and put it in gear. The front end was so heavy that the suspension wouldn't hold it upright, and I almost wrapped it around a tree after putting it not in the ditch, but all the way to the other side of the ditch, halfway down the road. On top of that, the U-joint snapped and it had to be towed back to the barn. I learned the hard way, and of course fecal matter in the pants way, that having too much engine in a car that is not properly set up to handle it, is not the way to go.

Well biggest reason I am wanting to do all this is because I love the way the Datsun looks and I have owned single turbo supras, gt500 mustangs, modified audis, and a few more. I love the sound of a turbo spooling and pairing that with the amazing body style of a Datsun it seems like a match made in heaven. I heard that the L28E does not have as ideal compression or heads for a turbo and that the L28ET is a much better platform to start with. Also read that it is more expensive trying to get an L28E to a L28ET but if the stock motor could handle a turbo then I would just upgrade the internals and beef up accompanying parts like I did with my supra. The body has no rust or anything and is in fantastic shape (only 27k on the odometer). This is the Datsun I got Modified 1976 Datsun 280Z 2+2 5-Speed
 

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do a little research on the L series engines. Much better engineering/manufacturing than your typical sbc.
The Z car was one of those rare things that was right on the money from day one, changing it (often called "upgrading") typically creates a cascade of issues, as the prior post mentions. The Z reminds me of the DC-3 aircraft, Day 1 it was near perfect. Most products have to evolve as engineers correct defects. Not the Z.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah the more and more I read about it the more I realize just how much suspension work and stiffening I will have to do as well as brakes. Now I just need to figure out where and what to buy suspension wise because it seems like there a million and one different parts out there lol. I for sure want to do this all right the first time so does any one by chance have a list of suspension upgrades I should do? I have been looking but cant find a clear list of everything I should upgrade. Also have been looking into installing a CD009 transmission and pairing it to a 2jzgte non vvti motor which that combo seems like it will be a ton of fun and should fit relatively well
 

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there's a dude on youtube that put a 2jz in his Z, but it is a lot of work. I mean a lot of work. If you're not track racing, I don't see any reason to do this. its your car, do what you wish. but if you want my advice, stick with the L28. and do some research on it, as has already been mentioned above.

Bon
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
there's a dude on youtube that put a 2jz in his Z, but it is a lot of work. I mean a lot of work. If you're not track racing, I don't see any reason to do this. its your car, do what you wish. but if you want my advice, stick with the L28. and do some research on it, as has already been mentioned above.

Bon
How much will I have to build the transmission and motor in order for them to reliably handle 400ish whp?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
After lots of thought and reading up on everything, think I’m going to build the stock motor to be able to handle 400ish hp very reliably and then do a 350z transmission swap into it. It does not seem too difficult with the adapter plate and will be very reliable no matter what I do with it
 

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OK, ok, ok. Sloooowwww down a bit. I'm not trying to demean you here or anything, but you are like a kid running through Toys R Us for the first time.

I see that you have owned a few hot rods in the past, but have you actually done any wrenching and modifying, I mean serious wrenching on them yourself?

First, you need to determine what sort of end result you want here. Like someone asked before, are you looking for a track monster to do 1/4 mile times, oval track, road courses, etc., and trailer this beast everywhere? Or are you looking for something to take out on a daily and use this as your commuter car and still be able to take on any 6 cyl 'Stang from light to light and along a twisty road?

The reason I ask, and a lot more on here will also, is because the foundation is definitely going to determine how this car handles. I definitely don't want to daily drive a track stiffy with loud assed, grinder binders. High torque laden clutches can get heavy, and rowing your own gets your left leg tired in a hurry. However, you can get a near stock set up and still be able to enjoy your ride and even kick ass on a road course or curvy track.

I will say that when it comes to bushings/body mounts etc., it is best to go with some type of poly compound, as rubber replacements will tend to wear out faster and develop noises. You can also look into upgrading the brake system and replacing the rubber hoses with braded lines and new binder sets all around.

Going from somewhere in the range of 150 hp (stock/new engine) to 400-500 is no small feat. Not saying it can't be done, but it isn't a simple thing to do. There are a lot of things to consider here. I mean, even with an additional 100-120 hp out of that car and current engine, you'll be plenty surprised. Plus, I think it would be more enjoyable, especially as a daily or even a weekend/evening ride, especially when you hit the gas pumps. Adding horses makes the car thursty. Not just for fuel, but also cash for upgrades and upgrades and, did I mention upgrades and broken components?

I mean, unless you have a bottomless bank account, I'd suggest starting small and replacing the soft goods. As far as suspension, I'm sure you can find a nice set of adjustable shocks etc. to stick on there. Same for the brake system upgrades. To me, the brakes is the one place that you can not go overboard on. I mean, unless you go full on race specs and only drive it on the road. But as a rule of thumb, stopping is the first thing you need to make sure this car will do. Handling is the next thing it needs to do, and like I said before, the stock set up is quite pleasant to start with. So go look for something that is maybe a step or two up from stock, again, depending on if your end goal is to dd this.

After the bottom/road side of the car has been established, then start under the hood and massage what you have and squeeze out a lot of that potential. The one main thing you are going to have to consider here is the wiring harness and everything else that goes under the hood that surrounds the engine to make this car work properly. Adding in a newer engine and transmission requires a lot more than simply unbolting the old engine, attaching the new transmission and connecting block and installing and bolting in the new set up. There are all sorts of other modifications that are going to be needed. Maybe even a clutch linkage/Slave cylinder etc., and all of the rear end attachments etc.

I mean, look at the stuff that is under the hood of mine, with a turbo, in my video,...

and the one you have similar to this video...



You'll see there is a lot of additional gear in there. Even if you are going to strip this down to the bare metal and do a full on frame up/dirt up build, these things still have to be taken into consideration. There is a heck of a lot to think about here, I'm just letting you in on a lot of information that I have learned along the way through my working on and modifying, building (and completely F'ing up) cars since the mid 1980's. I'd hate to see you get into this car, tear it down some and then get frustrated or run out of money, or both, and giving it a huge boot, or simply put it in boxes and milk crates and lose interest and even worse, lose parts.

I hope this isn't too long of a rant, and doesn't discourage you from even starting this journey. Wrenching on cars and making them run and having a blast of fun while doing it is never replaceable by any other experience.


Yeah the more and more I read about it the more I realize just how much suspension work and stiffening I will have to do as well as brakes. Now I just need to figure out where and what to buy suspension wise because it seems like there a million and one different parts out there lol. I for sure want to do this all right the first time so does any one by chance have a list of suspension upgrades I should do? I have been looking but cant find a clear list of everything I should upgrade. Also have been looking into installing a CD009 transmission and pairing it to a 2jzgte non vvti motor which that combo seems like it will be a ton of fun and should fit relatively well
 

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Also, "handle 400ish HP reliably" is something you should talk to those out there that have done it. Again, a lot of HP increase in this engine is costly in money and mental anguish. Yes, those parts are typically designed to be more robust, but they can still fail, and can also be more finicky to get to work together properly with everything else you have going on in there.

You can be surprised at what you can do by simply porting/polishing the intake manifold and exhaust manifold/header, getting an upgraded exhaust system (not a race or FART Can set up) along with upgraded wires etc., new stock plugs and a nice intake/air fuel mixer set up. Start small and work your way up so you can see what you like along the way.

After lots of thought and reading up on everything, think I’m going to build the stock motor to be able to handle 400ish hp very reliably and then do a 350z transmission swap into it. It does not seem too difficult with the adapter plate and will be very reliable no matter what I do with it
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
OK, ok, ok. Sloooowwww down a bit. I'm not trying to demean you here or anything, but you are like a kid running through Toys R Us for the first time.

I see that you have owned a few hot rods in the past, but have you actually done any wrenching and modifying, I mean serious wrenching on them yourself?

First, you need to determine what sort of end result you want here. Like someone asked before, are you looking for a track monster to do 1/4 mile times, oval track, road courses, etc., and trailer this beast everywhere? Or are you looking for something to take out on a daily and use this as your commuter car and still be able to take on any 6 cyl 'Stang from light to light and along a twisty road?

The reason I ask, and a lot more on here will also, is because the foundation is definitely going to determine how this car handles. I definitely don't want to daily drive a track stiffy with loud assed, grinder binders. High torque laden clutches can get heavy, and rowing your own gets your left leg tired in a hurry. However, you can get a near stock set up and still be able to enjoy your ride and even kick ass on a road course or curvy track.

I will say that when it comes to bushings/body mounts etc., it is best to go with some type of poly compound, as rubber replacements will tend to wear out faster and develop noises. You can also look into upgrading the brake system and replacing the rubber hoses with braded lines and new binder sets all around.

Going from somewhere in the range of 150 hp (stock/new engine) to 400-500 is no small feat. Not saying it can't be done, but it isn't a simple thing to do. There are a lot of things to consider here. I mean, even with an additional 100-120 hp out of that car and current engine, you'll be plenty surprised. Plus, I think it would be more enjoyable, especially as a daily or even a weekend/evening ride, especially when you hit the gas pumps. Adding horses makes the car thursty. Not just for fuel, but also cash for upgrades and upgrades and, did I mention upgrades and broken components?

I mean, unless you have a bottomless bank account, I'd suggest starting small and replacing the soft goods. As far as suspension, I'm sure you can find a nice set of adjustable shocks etc. to stick on there. Same for the brake system upgrades. To me, the brakes is the one place that you can not go overboard on. I mean, unless you go full on race specs and only drive it on the road. But as a rule of thumb, stopping is the first thing you need to make sure this car will do. Handling is the next thing it needs to do, and like I said before, the stock set up is quite pleasant to start with. So go look for something that is maybe a step or two up from stock, again, depending on if your end goal is to dd this.

After the bottom/road side of the car has been established, then start under the hood and massage what you have and squeeze out a lot of that potential. The one main thing you are going to have to consider here is the wiring harness and everything else that goes under the hood that surrounds the engine to make this car work properly. Adding in a newer engine and transmission requires a lot more than simply unbolting the old engine, attaching the new transmission and connecting block and installing and bolting in the new set up. There are all sorts of other modifications that are going to be needed. Maybe even a clutch linkage/Slave cylinder etc., and all of the rear end attachments etc.

I mean, look at the stuff that is under the hood of mine, with a turbo, in my video,...

and the one you have similar to this video...



You'll see there is a lot of additional gear in there. Even if you are going to strip this down to the bare metal and do a full on frame up/dirt up build, these things still have to be taken into consideration. There is a heck of a lot to think about here, I'm just letting you in on a lot of information that I have learned along the way through my working on and modifying, building (and completely F'ing up) cars since the mid 1980's. I'd hate to see you get into this car, tear it down some and then get frustrated or run out of money, or both, and giving it a huge boot, or simply put it in boxes and milk crates and lose interest and even worse, lose parts.

I hope this isn't too long of a rant, and doesn't discourage you from even starting this journey. Wrenching on cars and making them run and having a blast of fun while doing it is never replaceable by any other experience.
Yes I have rebuilt a few cars from the ground up and am able to do everything myself very confidently. If I wasn’t confident I wouldn’t be opening an auto shop lol. All of this will be done there and I am going to tear down a lot of it after I have some driving it the way it is. I’m going to be driving it as a weekend warrior around town and to car shows so I will stiffen up the chassis to keep from twisting it too much. I will also be upgrading pretty much all the stock components on the car but I’m not worried about losing interest at all. Will be the project car I work on in my downtime just had a hard time figuring out exactly the route I want to go.
 

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Gotcha, just asking to see where you are at, experience wise. Did you watch the videos I sent? The second one has a lot of insight into these cars. Those guys are a wealth of knowledge. Rob Fuller is a great guy. Good luck in both ventures, as I have seen a lot of shops open up. Keep us posted.


Yes I have rebuilt a few cars from the ground up and am able to do everything myself very confidently. If I wasn’t confident I wouldn’t be opening an auto shop lol. All of this will be done there and I am going to tear down a lot of it after I have some driving it the way it is. I’m going to be driving it as a weekend warrior around town and to car shows so I will stiffen up the chassis to keep from twisting it too much. I will also be upgrading pretty much all the stock components on the car but I’m not worried about losing interest at all. Will be the project car I work on in my downtime just had a hard time figuring out exactly the route I want to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Gotcha, just asking to see where you are at, experience wise. Did you watch the videos I sent? The second one has a lot of insight into these cars. Those guys are a wealth of knowledge. Rob Fuller is a great guy. Good luck in both ventures, as I have seen a lot of shops open up. Keep us posted.
Yeah they were super helpful and I’ve been watching a lot of tear down videos and installs. Everything seems pretty solid to do and will just need a bit of work to get the transmission to fit. Will most likely have the engine sent to Robello Racing to have it built and while it’s gone I’m gonna tear down the car and work on getting suspension and other stuff upgrades and ready for when the motor is done. Then I’ve got to find a good place to get a complete wire harness that will work with the motor and transmission.
 
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