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I'm swapping the whole drive train from a '82 280ZX N/A into a '78 280Z ( the '82 is a 5speed manual and the '78 is a 4 speed manual). I'm starting with the differential swap. Looks to me like a simple bolt in. Do I need to swap the half shafts also? Any wisdom appreciated! Will the '82 driveshaft be the correct length after the tranny and differential are swapped?

I'll look for advise on the engine swap later (I think I have this covered).
 

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Here are 3 previous posts on the subject, the first post is my original question:

Yesterday I took full advantage of the 50% off sale at Pick-n-Pull. My buddy and I grabbed a 5 speed tranny and 3.90 diff with half-shafts from a 1983 280ZX non turbo. I've read Bryan Little's web page on making the swap into my 1977 280 (4 speed) but couldn't find any info on whether or not my drive shaft will work. Do I need anything else to swap the tranny and diff into my car? Has anyone else done this swap before? Is there a noticeable performance increase? Thanks in advance.

The driveshaft is a go, you need a shift lever from a 5spd 280z. The 4spd lever is just different enough to prevent 5th from engaging. I can't remember if the 280ZX lever will work or not, seems like there was an interference problem there to. Might want to consider replacing the rubber front diff mount with a Motorsports solid piece. Have fun go fast be safe.

You should already have an R200 in your car, so the new one will drop right in. In my experience, the 5 speed slips right in as well, but the shifters are different. They are not interchangeable either. My first one I bent the handle to the right shape, but it was too short. The second one I cut the 5 speed shifter right above the pivot and welded a 4 speed handle to it. If you could get a factory 77-78 5 speed shifter, that would be the drop in ticket. As far as performance, especially off the line, it just depends on what first gear you have in the 5 speed how performance will be affected. The best Nissan 5 speed is the 78-79 with the 2.9 first gear (NISMO trannys excluded and the T5). More than likely, the 4 speed and 3.54 will have better off the line performance than the 5 speed 3.90 setup, but overdrive rocks! Once again, depending on the overdrive in your 5 speed, your results may vary as to how much reduction, if any you'll have compared to the 3.54 4 speed setup. IMO, the T5 has the best ratios of the more "common" trannys. I have my eyes open for one for my car...
 

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you can use the 77 halfshafts, and you cant use the shift lever from the ZX, its not curved enough, you would have to use one from a 70's Z, i would try your 4 speed lever, it will probably work and it wont hurt to test it. there is a noticeable difference in acceleration but your top end is dramatically reduced. i have done this swap in my 78. the drive shaft is either too short or too long on the ZX from what I have read, so you would have to use the one from a 70's Z again.
 

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Some of the information you've received is right on, some isn't. Heres the scoop.

Diff

Half shafts from either car will work.
Must use the mustache bar from your 280Z.
Must use the diff rear cover from your 280Z 3.54 diff on your new ZX 3.9 diff. (Check the bolt size and spacing of the 3.9 cover to your mustache bar - it just won't go).
Don't use a solid diff mount. You'll hate it. Entirely too noisy, and harder on your parts.

Tranny

Must use a 78 5 speed shifter. 82 is short, and even bent to keep from hitting your console sits too far down in the well. 4 speed shifter has right bend, but the wrong pivot to ball distance. Will pop out of gear, if you can even get it into all gears.
Clutch slave from either car will work.
Must use clutch fork and throwout bearing collar from ZX tranny.
Must use the speedo cog gear from the ZX tranny.
Should be able to use either driveshaft. ZX is slightly shorter, but does work fine. YMMV. Use the best from what you have.
Use new throwout bearing. Cheap insurance.
Use new pilot bushing. Same.
Use new rear tranny shaft seal. Common sense.
If you had any type of 5th gear switch on your old 4 speed, forget about it. Hole probably not tapped on your 5 speed.

Using extra set of tranny to engine bolts, cut off the heads, screw them in finger tight, and use them to help guide your tranny in.

Mostly a cake job, except for the grunt work.
 

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Re: Thanks Zuber

Yeah man.

Let us know how it goes. Also, the only thing I'm not 100% about is the driveshaft length. Last time I did one, I held them both up, and it seemed they would both work. Both were ok, I went ahead and used the ZX, figuring it was 8 years newer. Let me know if that info is not right.

Having 5th is a blast! Also, your launches should improve.
 

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Re: are they both R200?

>do you have to change the rear cover?

If you want it to mount. Use a steel rule and measure the bolt size of the two studs that go through the mustache bar. Bolts are larger than the holes in your 280Z mustache bar. Now measure the distance between the holes on the ZX cover and the distance between the holes on your mustache bar. Won't go. But don't believe me, and wrestle the thing up there. The ZX mounting scheme was different, which you know if you pulled these parts yourself. One other small difference. The cover on the ZX R200 is thicker than the Z R200. This will push your diff forward by about an 1 1/2". This limits your choice of driveshafts, and puts your halfshaft geometry out of alignment.

>my 280z cluch fork and throw out bearing wont work?

Do a side by side comparison of your throwout bearing carriers. You should be able to see the difference without even measuring. If you did measure, you will find that the 5 speed total length is 35mm, while the 4 spd carrier is 39mm. The distance from rear of bearing to rear of tabs (use your own term) on the 5 spd is 25mm, and the 4spd is 29mm. Clutch fork may be more difficult to determine the differences, but suffice it to say that the one that went with the 5spd was made for the 5 speed. They didn't use the 4 speed fork for all models.

Can you use it? Yes, you can probably use it. Will you have problems? Probably will have some sort of adjustment problem. Pedal height may be affected, or your ability to adjust the clutch for no contact when not engaged, and total contact when fully engaged will be affected. You be the judge and determine how well you want this thing to work. Were I you, I would want to use the right parts the first time.
 
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