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'78 280Z -- My first Z.


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Just wanted to introduce myself to the Ratsun family, my name is Dee. I've owned many different types of cars over the 15 or so years I've been driving, ranging from Turbo & Nitrous 5.0 Mustangs to Cadillac Eldorados but my heart has always been set on getting a Z. So here I am I just picked up my first Z last night -- It's a 1978 280Z; got for 2k probably not the best deal but anyway besides the horrible orange peel paintjob it in decent shape for the most part just has a few small rust spots the biggest being on the driver side framerail near the back of the car it's about a 4 1/2 inch spread of corrosion but the hatch area, rocker area & roof top are pretty much rust free. I don't have any pictures at the moment but I do have a poor quality video until I get my camera back from Canon.






My mod process for this car is in this order:



1. Fix the little odd and end stuff like RPM gauge not working, dash lights burnt out, etc.

2. Cure the 4 1/2 inch of frame rail rust and anywhere else I may have missed.

3. Bushings, Suspension, Rim/tire package(looking at konig rewinds or an authentic set of watanabes rs8's)

4. Read, Read and more Reading.

5. Get started on building up a spare L28ET.





Oh and before I forget my last car was a 1990 Nissan 240sx with a blacktop SR20det swap, here are some pictures of that:


















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Thanks for the welcome guys.


Welcome to Ratsun :cool:



nice SX.



you can get replacement frame rails and floor pans from BadDog



NICE!!! Thanks for the heads up



Heya Hugh! The CA plate tells me that it is Ontario, California (5 miles from me). ;)


And you sir are correct, I'm in Ontario, California guess I should put "Cali" instead of "CA". but yea I plan on waiting a few years until the car is exempt from california's harsh smog laws before I tinker with anything motor related. I just need it to get me where ever I want to go without leaving me stranded for now. So far I've run into a bug where a sensor near the thermostat is shorting out and I have to fiddle with it before the car will idle correctly else it just idles like it has a big cam and complete dies out if I give it any throttle.


Are there any places that sell replacement wire harnesses? else I'm thinking about hitting up a pick a part tomorrow and see if I can find one

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Got some better pictures, since I made thread I have replaced my temp sensors & replaced all of the worn and brittle connectors in the engine bay with Bosch locking connectors out of a 1997 Audi A6. I have also replaced my rusty exhaust with 2.25" piping, hi-flow cat. & a magnaflow muffler.


Next are a set of 16x8 rims, leaning toward black/chrome XXR 513's, MSA bre-style wing and front air dam. then I'll be working on getting everything sanded down and repainted professionally.



Here are some pictures:












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  • 2 weeks later...

the cut off date for no smog is 1975 and older, even as time goes by, any car newer than 75 will still have to get smog tests>unless the cut off date changes or a new law is passed. The good thing about the L28det, is that you can get a Bar certificate for the swap, you must have a matching year,motor and ecu set, or newer, and the motor must retain all the original emissions equipment when inspected and be able to pass the visual/load test, after that your car will be be smog tested as the year motor came came out.

http://www.autorepair.ca.gov/70_SiteWideInfo/indexContactUs.html check out the Bar website for more info, you can also go to any state referee and ask as many questions as you can, they are cool people and will tell you what you can and can't do to your car.

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Good info on the motor swaps, Thanks -- I'm going to look into that once I finish freshening up the suspension.



Today I order a Master bushing set for my Z and installed my new rims and tires. I was undecided on 17x8.5 RB-R's or these 16x8 0et xxr513's but I'm certain I made the right decision now :)




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needs some 1in drop springs from MSA or some coil overs.



lose that wheel gap :lol:


haha I couldn't agree more -- I got some other things that have priority over the springs for now, but It'll happen soon enough though. :)


By the way which springs give the nicest stance on the 280z's? Not planning on going coilover/sleeve-over, just a nice strut/spring combo is plenty of good for me thinking of going Tokico blues/hp but that may likely change to illuminas.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Got a BRE Style lip from MSA today. :hyper:


Going to the junkyard tomorrow after work to see if I can luck up on some 240z bumpers. then next week or so springs are coming. :)


Also can the front bumper shock absorbers be unbolted off the chassis or do I have to drain the fluid and retract them to fit a 240z bumper because when I was looking at them it seems like they're welded in place and didn't appear to be an easy way to remove them.



EDIT: Seems like someone along the life of this vehicle welded in the driverside shock absorber, might have been in a small collision guess im gonna have to break out the cutter. :mellow:






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  • 4 weeks later...

Yea because I really want to build a L30 stroker on mukini 45mm carbs, guess I'll have to keep dreaming though unless I move to Texas like I have been thinking about for the past year. Their smog laws a bit more forgiving.....


Anyway today I went and picked up a set of Tokico springs from MSA, gonna tackle installing them tomorrow morning sometime.....I've done springs/struts on a 240sx, 2003 Ford Focus, 1991 Mustang GT and 1995 Mustang GT but this is the first time I've ever touched suspension on a Z so just wanted to get some tips on the easiest way do it.



Updated pics too :P


This is how she sits now, I'll have a pictures after the spring installation.







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got the springs installed today, f**k i don't ever want to do that again but my tokico HP struts are gonna have to come sooner than later since my stocks are on their way out. :(




Here's the after pictures, not the best quality but good enough






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  • 2 weeks later...

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