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Discussion Starter #1
I've been kind of confused about what exactly my '82 is. Since I've got it, I've had conflicting information about whether the car was originally a turbo or not. The VIN signifies a non-turbo model, and the engine is naturally aspirated, yet the hood has the turbo inlet on the right hand side (if looking from the front), and the hatch also has two small holes on the left side. I'm thinking that's the missing "turbo" emblem. Also, the owners manual that came with the car was a turbo. What do you guys think?
 

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1983 280ZX Turbo
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I think it's NA. The left lower corner panel on the hatch is indeed where the Turbo badge was, but there have been plenty of people who hung turbo badges on NA vehicles.

I thought the 280ZX had the twin hood vents regardless of whether it was NA/Turbo. Am I mistaken?

Seem like the only difference it would make is that the NA engine had a slightly higher compression ratio than the Turbo version to allow for the Turbo boost. That would mean a power reduction (compared to the NA version) without the turbo that I think you would feel.

If you can drive a similar NA car then go back to yours and try driving the same way, you would feel the difference in power if it was originally a turbo. Also, the service manual notes differences in the electrical system between the EFI and ECCS (turbo) systems that would be visible to inspection, and that would be pretty easy to check.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I mean that the entire engine is a stock NA one, but the exterior and manual indicate a turbo model. All models do have the twin vents, but this one also has that large gaping hole on the right side that the turbo models have. (Example: 1982 Datsun 280ZX Turbo). And the aforementioned perfectly aligned holes for where the "turbo" badging should be.
 

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1983 280ZX Turbo
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Could be, in fact sounds likely. It sure wouldn't be the first time someone blew up or smoked a Turbo engine and found an NA replacement. If that's the case, Perhaps you should be running an NA ECU, or they may have swapped the original ECU for an NA one.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's also just interesting that the VIN placard in the engine bay also indicates an NA model. So it's either extensive body panel replacement or an engine swap.
 

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I think the right solution is the easiest one. VIN is NA, so the car is NA. You most likely had someone attach a turbo badge at one point, or maybe that was the dealership who put their mark on the car in that spot.

Here's an 83 NA which has the "turbo inlet" on the hood. 82s also had the same hood. Unless I'm mistaken what you are referring to as a turbo inlet.

106630


 

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1983 280ZX Turbo
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The idea of a dealer mounting their plate where the turbo emblem goes also occurred to me.

I think the point above is definitive: if the VIN indicates an NA engine, that's how the car was built.

I am not aware that the air inlet on the left (driveer) side of the hood indicates a turbo. I think they were all the same. I searched the Internet and found plenty of pictures with the same hood inlets on both NA and turbo cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've seen some hoods where it's just the vent with no inlet. But it looks like I have my answer. Thanks guys!
 

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The hood on your car came stock on ALL 280 zx's for 1982-83. The reason people think that it's a turbo hood is because of the 1981 turbo came out with that hood on it first while the non turbo cars came out with the hood that all zx's had on them in 1979-80. The extra holes in your hatch are probably from a dealer emblem like someone else mentioned. The factory turbo emblem was only held on with double back tape, just like the Datsun 280 zx emblem that also was held on with tape. Datsun quit putting holes in the hatch for emblems after the 1978 280 z's. As far as your owners manual goes someone in the cars history put it in there. It didn't come from the factory that way. More than once through the years I've had people tell me that their zx was a turbo because it had a turbo motor mounted on the passenger side of the block when in fact that is an injector cooling fan. They obviously didn't have a clue, but it just goes to show ya.......... Z man of Washington
 
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In my experience, sometimes people have swapped parts from one year to another, due to lack of the proper part... what's going on here is you have a regular non turbo car...and someone got a turbo manual...probably because they lost the original somehow.... the earlier zx's had a vented hood, with no "scoop", 81 turbos had the "scoop"...later '82 on all have the "turbo" scoop...which isn't actually the turbo intake, its for extra cooling on that side of the engine.... as well, if it were a turbo car, you would have a number of issues trying to run a nonturbo motor with out changing a number of parts like the computer, etc...
 

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Couple of other ways you can tell if your 280zx is/was or is not a turbo....

center console emblem - NA cars had color molded '280XZ' Turbo cars had the silver 280ZX
TURBO

Center gauges - NA cars had oil pressure, volts, and clock
Turbo cars had a dual oil pressure/oil temperature, boost, and clock

Transmission - All the 81T cars came with the automatic

Rims - Iron Cross and Snow Flake rims were on the NA cars
Swatchika rims came on mid to late turbos
I think the black and gold 81T cars had gold mesh rims, if I'm not mistaken

Fender emblems - most NA cars had '280ZX' Most Turbo cars had 280ZX
TURBO
- some turbos had no emblem, but had a big TURBO sticker on the lower part of the fender or below the door


Engine - I'm not 100% on this, but I believe there is a stamp on the engine block that should match whats on the ID plate in the engine bay, this would indicate an original motor

Bon
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok with all this said I'm 100% on mine being NA. Evidence looks to line up perfectly. Thanks all!
 

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No problem, bud. Enjoy your Z

Bon
 
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