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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been pondering slapping a pony 5.0 or a bowtie 350 into a late 70's/early 80's (whichever is lighter/I can find for cheap). Before I start burning my greenbacks I have a few questions/concerns, I hope can be answered:

What is the average weight of a Z car (all together engine & all)?

Which is best ford5.0/ or a chevy 350?

Who's the best company that can help me with this, (I've seen JTR, & Sacard (sp?)) Who's best/cheapest?

Do I have to run the entire drivetrain? or can I get an adapter to bolt the new V8 to the differential?

IF I do have to run the whole drivetrain, is there a car that I could get the best parts off of that I wouldnt have to get a custom drivetrain cut etc. etc..?

Any other comments/advice & suggestions would be incrediably cool. Thanks.
 

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> I've been pondering slapping a pony 5.0 or a
> bowtie 350 into a late 70's/early 80's
> (whichever is lighter/I can find for cheap).
> Before I start burning my greenbacks I have
> a few questions/concerns, I hope can be
> answered:

> What is the average weight of a Z car (all
> together engine & all)?
A: My 76 280Z 2+2 is approx 3,000 lbs. I
would recommend you go with a 260/280 non
2+2. It would be lighter and structurally
stronger than a 240. And the rear suspension
geometry would already be correct, as well as
the tachometer to calibrate to the V8.

> Which is best ford5.0/ or a chevy 350?
A: I'm a Chevy fan (witness email address),
plus they're less expensive to build, are
more plentiful, and make more ponies easier.

> Who's the best company that can help me with
> this, (I've seen JTR, & Sacard (sp?)[Scarab
is defunct]
A: I used JTR conversion manual as guide ($35).
(See Below)

> Who's best/cheapest?
A: JTR's manual covers fabrication of all mount
parts or will sell you individual pieces (or kits
for approx $300). I have no experience with
John's Cars or other conversion kit
manufacturers.
Yet.

> Do I have to run the entire drivetrain? or
> can I get an adapter to bolt the new V8 to
> the differential?
A: Through JTR you can buy a Stealth Conversions
drive shaft adapter flange permitting use of
completely Chevy/GM drivetrain with shortened
Chevy driveshaft bolted to stock Zcar rearend
input flange. (I used shortened/balanced Vega
driveshaft ($85). The adapter flange is $45.

> IF I do have to run the whole drivetrain, is
> there a car that I could get the best parts
> off of that I wouldnt have to get a custom
> drivetrain cut etc. etc..?
A: If you follow JTR's advice your stock rearend
and suspension will be fine for a start. Like me,
you will eventually go nuts and wish to upgrade
suspension pieces and the like. I recommend you
buy their book and check it out.

> Any other comments/advice & suggestions
> would be incrediably cool. Thanks.

Any questions you may have I will try to
answer. My email address is above. Please be
patient, I only get onto my home machine about
once a week. mikey
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There's a million ways you can attack that project, different kits etc..most of the V8 Z's I've seen use a chevy small block because you can build a much better 350 for the money. Small block chevy rebuilds and mods are usually half the cost of the same on a ford. It's usually easiest to bolt up a TH350 and shorten a driveshaft. The stock rear end and shafts are plenty strong, until you put some serious horsepower to them. I have a friend who actually welded a front and rear end from a 87 Vette under his 78, and dropped a stroker 383 in it. Motorsport has the kits, and I think Victoria Brittish has them. Personally, I think if you want a nice car with a small block chevy, buy a Camaro. Call me crazy, but I think any other make of engine in a Z somehow defiles it's character. But that's just me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
> I have a 1976 280Z with a 350 chevy and a Borg Warner T5 five speed taken out of a Camaro. The Chevy V8 is the best swap because its oil pan fits the Datsun front suspension crossmember. [A Ford V8 will need its oil pan modified to work in the 280Z chassis] Do not waste your time using a 4 speed (Muncie or Saginaw) or a Turbo Hydramatic 350. The Chevy V8 does not like to live at high rpms like the Datsun 6 cyclinder. Use either a Borg Warner 5 speed out of a Camaro, or a late model GM automatic with an overdrive, such as the T700R series. I bought my car already converted and it had a Muncie 4 speed. The transmission was crude, even though it had a Hurst shifter. Plus the engine would overheat at freeway speeds on hot days. Changing it over to the BW 5 speed was the best thing I ever did to it. The overdrive is great and puts the engine back into its torque curve at freeway speeds. You don't need to downshift to dust off corvettes and porsches. On the subject of driveshafts, you don't need to buy a special one. I just had a local drive shaft repair shop cut mine to the proper length for the BW 5 speed and weld on the front yoke assembly from the chevy driveshaft. It has a chevy u joint on front and the stock Datsun u joint on the back. By the way, forget that crap about the datsun u-joints not being replaceable. The drive shaft shop replaced mine when they did the shortening, as well as balancing it. Another item about transmissions, the muncie 4 speed's rear trans mount lined up exactly with the hole in the 280Z's rear crossmember. For the 5 speed, I had to have a metal plate welded to the top of the rear crossmember, since the mounting point on the transmission was about an inch or two further back. While the shifter on the muncie 4 speed will line up exactly with the stock hole in the transmission tunnel, the shifter on the BW 5 spped is farther forward, so you have to cut a new hole and patch over the original hole. It's not as much work as it sounds, and the BW trans is worth it becasue it is modern, with short precise throws and a small gear change, not an antique like the muncie. The Datsun rear end is plenty strong to handle the Chevy V8. Unless you are going drag racing, you won't need anything else. Putting a Chevy in is the way to go to get lots of power at a cheap price. It would cost a small fortune to get the same power from a Datsun 6 cyclinder. The Chevy only weighs about 50 lbs more than the Datsun 6 cyclinder. If you put an aluminum intake on the chevy and aluminum heads and water pump, it will probably end up weighing less than a Datsun 6 cylinder and produce more power and be more reliable. My engine has a Chevy aluminum intake, headers, and a Chevy (factory) high performacne HEI
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
> I have a 1976 280Z with a 350 chevy and a Borg Warner T5 five speed taken out of a Camaro. The Chevy V8 is the best swap because its oil pan fits the Datsun front suspension crossmember. [A Ford V8 will need its oil pan modified to work in the 280Z chassis] Do not waste your time using a 4 speed (Muncie or Saginaw) or a Turbo Hydramatic 350. The Chevy V8 does not like to live at high rpms like the Datsun 6 cyclinder. Use either a Borg Warner 5 speed out of a Camaro, or a late model GM automatic with an overdrive, such as the T700R series. I bought my car already converted and it had a Muncie 4 speed. The transmission was crude, even though it had a Hurst shifter. Plus the engine would overheat at freeway speeds on hot days. Changing it over to the BW 5 speed was the best thing I ever did to it. The overdrive is great and puts the engine back into its torque curve at freeway speeds. You don't need to downshift to dust off corvettes and porsches. On the subject of driveshafts, you don't need to buy a special one. I just had a local drive shaft repair shop cut mine to the proper length for the BW 5 speed and weld on the front yoke assembly from the chevy driveshaft. It has a chevy u joint on front and the stock Datsun u joint on the back. By the way, forget that crap about the datsun u-joints not being replaceable. The drive shaft shop replaced mine when they did the shortening, as well as balancing it. Another item about transmissions, the muncie 4 speed's rear trans mount lined up exactly with the hole in the 280Z's rear crossmember. For the 5 speed, I had to have a metal plate welded to the top of the rear crossmember, since the mounting point on the transmission was about an inch or two further back. While the shifter on the muncie 4 speed will line up exactly with the stock hole in the transmission tunnel, the shifter on the BW 5 spped is farther forward, so you have to cut a new hole and patch over the original hole. It's not as much work as it sounds, and the BW trans is worth it becasue it is modern, with short precise throws and a small gear change, not an antique like the muncie. The Datsun rear end is plenty strong to handle the Chevy V8. Unless you are going drag racing, you won't need anything else. Putting a Chevy in is the way to go to get lots of power at a cheap price. It would cost a small fortune to get the same power from a Datsun 6 cyclinder. The Chevy only weighs about 50 lbs more than the Datsun 6 cyclinder. If you put an aluminum intake on the chevy and aluminum heads and water pump, it will probably end up weighing less than a Datsun 6 cylinder and produce more power and be more reliable. My engine has a Chevy aluminum intake, headers, and a Chevy (factory) high performacne HEI distrubutor on it. It runs all the stock emission controls for a 1976 Chevy, and still has plenty of power. The most cost effective thing I did to the engine was putting a factory high performance HEi distributor in it. The stock HEI has a very poor advance curve. The new distributor made the engine come alive - it really was amazing. I paid around $250 for the distributor from a Chevy dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
5.0 Ford swap

I'm doing my swap the hard way and using a 5.0 Ford and t-5 transmission. Everything the other people have said about cost is more or less true. Fords are more money to rebuild and, more importantly, there are no kits for swapping them into z-cars.

I am fabricating my own mounts and brackets and making my own driveshaft adapter flange.

This is not an easy swap. In fact, it's a ton of work, but it is also a way to guarantee yourself some exclusivity. Not many other people are going to go to this much work to do an engine swap. The JTR kits (and their excellent book) makethe chevy swap a piece of cake.

I'm using a '73 Z and r200 dif. The car will have coil overs (homemade of course!) big brakes, and should be a blast to drive. I have a full factory EFI system for it, but have decided to use an aluminum manifold and Holley for now. It's just easier that way.

I feel that if you have a nice early Z, don't butcher it with this kind of engine swap. Mine came to me in a million pieces (was halfway to becoming an SCCA ITS car when I got it)and so I figured that, since restoration on this car was a rediculous concept, why not just pretend it's a hot rod and build it the way I want it to be.

Good luck!

Larry Cutter
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
>
I have just finished a 350/t-5/3:90 r-200 swap into a 73-240 that I rescued from the junker It was minus the motor and trans as someone had attempted a v-6 swap at some point.
I have to echo some other comments. Do not even attempt this swap without the JTR book I found it well worth the money in the headaches it saved me. This should be your first purchase!
The book has patterns for all the mounts. I work in a machine shop so this saved me the trouble of buying a kit and I found the patterns to work fine if you copy them and use them as a template.
Be sure to have plenty of time and money I've used a lot of new parts Including a fuel cell and the electric fan approach along with new headers, intake and carb. I also installed a new clutch kit and flywheel. The list seems endess but I've got about $4000 in the car right now . At this point Im doing the body and roll cage.
One thing that I'm not sure of Is the bumpsteer modification in the JTR book. Iplan to run this car on the street and I don't know how this will effect the handeling.
Sorry if I got away from your question I like to talk about my Z.

Steve
 
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