I recently purchased a 77 that is something of a mutt. It has a highly modified engine that consists of an 81 block with a 79 head sitting on it and an 83 transmission bolted up to it. I believe the intake manifold and distributor are stock 77 as are the thermostat housing and sensors. I see no welding or home made brackets so I assume it all bolted in using stock Nissan parts. Hope this helps. John
yes the engine will work in your car. you can use your existing wire harness, but some of the sensors might not work since the later ones have more sensors than the earlier 280z. stuff like the head temp sensor on the ZX's is not on the 77 for instance (i think). i have no clue as to the difficulty of switching them though. the clutch should work no problem if both engines were from the same body style (both 2+2 or both 2Seaters)
Yes, The engine will bolt right in go ahead an bolt the 5spd on the engine and torque it down before you install it. Leave the ZX engine alone intake and everything will go right in. Use your existing wiring and hook it all back up just like you unhook it from your 77 engine. You will have the head temp sensor on the passenger side of the head unhooked as the 77 computer doesn't use it. There are some vacumn line differnces, up by the thermostat there is a port on the ZX engine with several spouts use as many as you need and cap the rest off. Use the tranny mount that comes on your 77 on the 5spd as the ZX is a little different ( swept back - the 77 is straight). You might want to swap the 77 distributor onto the ZX engine though or you will have to fiqure out how to wire in the ZX model ( which you can find instructions for on this site ).
I did this exact project 78Z swapped in an 82 ZX engine & 5 spd, before I even knew about this forum in 1993. I had just bought the 78 and spun a bearing, well I was planning a 300 mile drive and needed a car. My friend sold me his wrecked 82 and I set out to do my first engine swap. 12 hours later I was driving my 78 up to see my girlfriend for X-mas runnin like a champ. I really couldn't believe how easy it was.