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510 suspension questions!


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Ok so I have sone ground control coilovers I want to put on my car the rear has 280z suspension already and the front is stock.


When I looked at it yesterday it seems like I have to completely remove everything including my brakes and all that to drop it down so I can change the springs. Also according to the write up I found on here.


My two questions are.....


1. If I get the 280 front suspension. What exact year and what are all of the parts I need to do the conversion?


2. Is there an easier way to drop the suspension without having to remove everything? Because if there is I'd rather do that for now until I have time to source the 280z parts.



Thanks in advance! And if you have the parts needed for what I'm looking to do PM me please! !

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What you're likely going to want to do, is run 280ZX front struts & brakes, etc.


You use the stock 510 steering knuckles & ball joints.


The 280zx strut assembles bolt in perfectly but the bottom cup is slightly larger in diameter than the steer knuckle, if I remember correctly. Never heard of anybody having any sort of problem with that, even on the track. If you lower it, you're going to want to run bumpsteer spacers (Roll Center Adjusters). They can be purchased from Techno Toy Tuning in a nice pretty anodized red, but they are available from multiple sources.


You will have to modify the spring perch to use factory 510 sized springs, but if you're running coilovers then it'll be the same as any 510/Z strut in terms of how you install them.


The brakes are larger than 510. If you're running drums in the back, a 7/8" master cylinder is more than fine. That's what I run personally, semi firm pedal with great modulation, but won't feel like a 2x4 on a slab of concrete. If you're running rear discs with your conversion, a LOT of people run a 15/16" master cylinder. This depends on what brake set up you have.


To install, is really simple. Unbolt factory 510 struts. Install your ZX struts, hook up brake lines (get new ones....). Enjoy your new front struts.


Now as far as brake upgrades, you'd now be running 280zx brakes up front so there are a host of different upgrades out there... do some research.


I believe all 280zx (including 280zx turbo) are all the same strut assembles. 280Z (not ZX) runs unvented (solid) rotors. They aren't preferable. 280zx runs vented rotors. These are what you want. Couple some new rotors, with new bearings & races, and some porterfield R4-S pads, and you'll be golden. It's a big improvement over stock. Personally I run Metal Masters pads, and they are more than enough brake pad. I managed 4 years with heavy driving before my rotors took a crap and had to replace them (dirt cheap, barely more expensive than having them turned. Just get new ones.)


As far as dropping hte suspension to remove everything, you're going to have to do it anyways. Just jack the car up, unbolt the struts from the strut towers, unbolt them from the steering knuckles, remove the brake line, and put the new struts in it's place in reverse order. Probably the most simple suspension routine on a 510. The coilover part, well that's self explanatory. LOTS of info on that if you use the search feature. Alternatively, you can have Techno Toy Tuning do the modification for you for a fee (Think it's $725, comes with whatever spring rate you want, using Ground Control coilover kit, and it is all nice and powdercoated for you. Bling bling, with a bling bling price. Send yours in, they send them back all purdy!)


I am pretty confident that the stock 510 brake hoses will work, but you may end up having to use 280zx hoses instead. Somebody else will be able to clarify that for you. Don't re-use your old hoses unless they are new-ish. They're cheap to replace, and you'd rather NOT have your brakes fail you.


There are lots of benefits of running the ZX struts. Even S12 200sx struts (which is what I am currently running) will work. ZX are preferable though. The S12 struts add a lot of scrub (it increases track width by 1.5" total, or 3/4" each side over stock 510 struts. This puts stock offset wheels from a Z-car right into the fender lip, preventing you from lowering it without flares, etc.


With the ZX brakes, you gain larger, vented brake rotors. Pad availability both stock/OEM replacement and performance options are huge. You can be cool with the Z-car owners. You also get to use larger wheel bearings, which don't wear out as fast as the little feller's that the 510 struts use. You can also get any 15" strut insert (at stock length), and there a dozen and a half different inserts you can use with them. Brakes are harder to fade, you get a lot more stopping power, they don't heat up as much (and they cool of quicker because they are vented).


Arizona Z-car sells some performance brake packages, feel free to check them out.

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Whoops, forgot the links!


Arizona Z-car brake upgrades



Techno Toy Tuning front strut coilover conversion:

http://technotoytuning.com/productdetail.php?p=660 ($775, my price is incorrect in my above post).


Techno Toy Tuning camber plates to go with their coilover setup:



Techno Toy Tuning Roll Center Adjusters:




Hope that helps you out :)

Happy New Year.

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even if not lowered you should use the bump steer spacers. The reason for this is when the brakes are half worn the caliper hits the steering arm this is only a problem on the drivers side from what I remember

an alternative to bump steer spacers is to put the passenger strut on the drivers side and visa versa Although I havent done this myself or know of any complications doing the reverse strut option



Nice thorough post Steve

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I've never heard of anything hitting the steering arm. Must be a ZX related issue, I have no issues with that using the S12 struts, but since I have some ZX struts waiting for my tender loving hands to turn them into my next suspension work of art (by that I mean Wal Mart and spray paint, and Hello Kitty stickers... lulz) I'll make sure to look into it.


If somebody has some pictures of the steering arm interference, I'd appreciate it. This is the first I've heard of it.


I also agree with using the spacers.


For those that don't know, when you lower a 510, it generally places the control arms straight out. When the LCA is parallel with the ground, it's at it's longest point in the arc. Which means it has the longest distance from strut center to mounting pivot center, which is why you get bump steer. Happens from the sudden change in distance from strut to center. When you hit a bump, it'll jerk the wheel out of your hands and if it's a hard enough bump, it can literally cause you to wreck. You will always have a change of distance if the control arm moves, but lowering without the use of spacers puts the control at the worst angle. The spacers simply return the control arm back to (or closer to) it's proper angle.


This is why I try and deter people from thinking that running 280zx steering knuckles, while they do work, as being an upgrade. It's not, it's just a safety hazard. Since they are shorter than 510 units, the steering ratio is faster. You also get a lot harder steering input. Being able to change lanes like in 2 Fast 2 Furious isn't exactly an upgrade by any means, and all it does it make your 510 prone to wander more, easier to lose control of, etc. Hit a bump or rut the wrong angle at the right speed, stock is more than efficient in murdering that thumb of yours that's stuck in the steering wheel - where it shouldn't be. Ever.


I have driven my dime easily half of it's life off-pavement, and while it's fun and all, I learned the hard way the first time - stay the hell away from ruts, because if it grabs a wheel, you are NOT going to hold that steering wheel, and it WILL rip out of your hands. And with shorter steering arms, it would only happen that much faster, that much harder, and be that much more difficult to regain control with. That was at 10mph, turning around. I don't want to be the fella' with his hand/thumb inside the steering wheel at 65mph on the freeway when something like that happens. I've heard stories of broken wrists/thumbs/arms.


I'm smart enough not to take that risk.

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the zx struts also have a larger spindle diameter if i remember correctly, i run 280zx struts w/coilovers and the zx knuckles (my old 510 ones were not usable) and it does tend to wander a bit more than before but still drivable. always remember drive with your thumbs out :thumbup:

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Zx struts are also 2 inches shorter than 510 struts. I'm running stock 510 springs and with the stock zx shock it makes for a nice ride. There is a bit of a problem with bolt clearance that rca's will clear up. Some run the zx struts backwards to avoid this clearance issue. Stock 510 brake lines work.


After my swap my car stopped way nicer, less nose dive under hard braking. I even locked up the brakes on drive pavement at 10mph.


I also find that with this you can run the same offset wheels front and back with more even wheel poke.

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I am having a issue with the LCA rubbing on my disc. If I am understanding this all I need to do is switch the pass to the drivers side and vise versa and I will not need to run bump steer spacers? Would someone please explain this better, I was going to take the spacers off my car and run it for a while until I figured something else out.

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So i found this gem untouched, a few days ago...





After reading up... and kinda still scratching my head. I should snag the whole front suspension (which includes calipers, rotors, springs, strut towers, and possibly brake line) off this car, right? then also snag the rear discs too?


just want to be sure before i drop $ and time at the 'parts garden'

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So i found this gem untouched, a few days ago...





After reading up... and kinda still scratching my head. I should snag the whole front suspension (which includes calipers, rotors, springs, strut towers, and possibly brake line) off this car, right? then also snag the rear discs too?


just want to be sure before i drop $ and time at the 'parts garden'




I'm pretty sure those are one option for rear discs on a 510, not 100% positive though.

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It's just as easy to use stock 510 struts.


As far as I know, the only reason to use 280ZX struts is to get the 280ZX vented brakes. The 280ZX brakes are not very large diameter, but are vented which is useful for racing. They are larger than 510 brakes.


I hear that going zx struts will also help tuck the from wheels if your running 15-7 or 15-8 so the tires don't poke out o the fender

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I hear that going zx struts will also help tuck the from wheels if your running 15-7 or 15-8 so the tires don't poke out o the fender


That is correct.

It reduces front track width 1" if I remember correctly, which would be 1/2" each side. Don't quote me on that, though.

It's not a huge, major difference - but for some it makes or breaks the deal on a new set of wheels.


I would have to go dig up some technical details to figure out of I'm right about the width differences. I know for a fact that S12 struts increase track with by 1.5" (3/4" each side) from stock, though.


The info is out there if you search hard enough. Searching the Bluebirds List archive would probably turn up the most accurate results.


EDIT: FWIW, 15x7 and 15x8 would be a hard fit without flares either way, depending on your offset. I don't believe you're going to fit a zero offset wheel under stock flares either way, at least that's what I'm told. It also depends on what tire size you want to run. And if it comes down to super-stretching a tire, I'd skip that option altogether and get a wheel that fits correctly or run flares. As I'm sure you can tell, I am not exactly a fan of this Hellaflush crap.

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I'm running 280ZX struts with 15x7 0 offset Panasports. stock fenders, no rolling no pulling. 195-50-15s clear just fine. I recently picked up a set of 205-50-15s and they rub the spring perch slightly. Tire to fender clearance is plenty.. it's just rubbing the struts/spring perch.


The struts that are installed right now have been cut and welded a couple times... I can only get -1.9 degrees of camber out of one side, but -3.0 on the other.. I'm certain they aren't perfectly straight. We're currently in the middle of preparing another set of 280ZX struts for installation. Split collars will be used for the spring perch, and we're going to try to get those just above the tires. If we can manage that, the 205s will fit just fine. Trying to not use spacers as the studs are pretty short as it is.


The 205s fit just fine in the rear with rolled fenders, it looks like I can even go up to 215s or 225s back there.


Boaty, I like you laugh.gif I can't stand stretched tires and the whole "Hellaflush" scene. My new 205s look fucking BADASS on these 7" wheels... the 195s had too much of a stretched look even though they weren't really stretched. HATED em.

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