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Six_Shooter's money pit/time vampire

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  • Six_Shooter's money pit/time vampire

    I bought my 1973 240Z from a guy in Richland Washington that had bought it with the intent of installing a SBC, but decided it was too small for him.

    So after a couple months of flying out to see the car, finailing the deal, and getting the car shipped I had my 240Z home, and in need of some TLC to get road worthy.

    It was a less than typical 240Z, brown (eww), Butterscotch interior (double Eww), and Automatic (tripple eww)! But it was solid underneath, and I got a good deal on it.

    The first thing I did was swap out the brakes, since they were in desperate need of repair.

    I decided on going 4 wheel disc, using Toyota 4 piston front calipers, and 280ZX rear disc set-up.

    I also had some electrical repair work to do, to get everything working right.

    The only pictures I seem to have of the exterior are after a couple months of driving it, so there are some changes that I had already made.

    I had already added the Spook by this point.
    front no plate sm.jpg

    left side no plate sm.jpg

    Here is a picture of the rear, that I believe I took on the day I got it on the road, due to the old tires being on it, the mudflaps and a box of spare parts in the back, that came with the car when I purchased it.
    rear_no_plate sm.JPG


    Well after driving the Datsun for a month in auto trans form, I got sick of not using my left foot, and just resting my hand on the shifter, though I had been shifting it manually...

    I had also been able to locate the rest of the parts I needed, to complete the swap.

    I started the swap about 2 PM on a Saturday, and had most of it done by about 8 PM, just a few details I couldn't finish in the dark.

    Sunday came and didn't have much time and spent most of it trying to find a nut to install my solid front diff mount, which I could find and re-surfacing the exhaust flange to eliminate the exhaust leak I had there. Then family obligations meant no more time to work on the Z.

    Monday I re-installed the exhaust, checked everything over, and then took it out for a drive. A manual Z is one billleeeeon times better than an auto Z.

    I'm using a Centerforce Dual Friction, and it grabs HARD!! The tires screaming for traction going into 3rd made that apparent.

    I was actually enjoying the L28 that's in this car, the auto just made that car a real dog, a real slow dog.

    This trans was a 4 speed, since I couldn't locate a 5-speed at that time.

    On to the pics:

    Not enough pedals:
    Not enough pedals.JPG

    Ahhh, that's better:
    Correct pedals.JPG

    This shifter only moves forward and back:
    Auto shifter.JPG

    This one also moves side to side.
    manual shifter.JPG

    CFDF installed.JPG

    This is where/how it was done:
    jack stands no plate small.JPG

    Now I have a manual Z, just like it should have been.

    EFI and Turbocharging

    When I first got my 240, it had Weber down draft carbs that had seen better days.
    Here is the engine pretty much as it was when I received the car:

    Well since I'm a fan of EFI and turbocharging I decided to play with the engine that was already in the car, which turned out to be an L28, F54 block, with a P90 head, N/A version from a 1981 or 1982 280ZX, is as far as I can narrow it down.

    I started with an N47 intake, which I cut off excess parts and smoothed out, it was also modified to accept "O-ring" injectors, which are more common than the stock "barbed" injectors, and many more sizes available.
    Stock intake 01.jpg

    Stock intake 02.jpg

    I also had a throttle body adaptor made to use a GM 3400 throttle body. This is a 56mm TB and would also serve to house a compatible IAC motor and proper range TPS.

    Onto the turbo and exhaust:
    I used a stock L28T exhaust manifold, and mated it to a Borg Warner turbo, pirated from a 6.5L diesel. This required the use of a small spacer between the manifold and turbine inlet. The wastegate actuator started as an actuator from a Pontiac Sunbird turbo, combined with some custom brackets and arms, it now controls the internal wastegate of the BW turbo. I chose that actuator, because I had one and it also opens at about 2 PSIG, giving me a large range of control over the pressures I am able to set. (Though I had to add external springs to get more than about 5 PSIG of intake pressure.)
    BW turbo installed.jpg

    the exhaust is 3" from downpipe to tip. All fitted and TIG welded by yours truely.

    Muffler, a Moroso Spiro-flow and tip:

    Turning attention to the ECM and wiring:
    I first had to chose a place to come through the firewall with the wiring. I used a stock firewall feed through ("grommet" ), from a 1988 Chevy Cavalier, since it was part of the harness I already had, previously installed in my 1985 GMC Jimmy, that had a turbo 3.2L V6.

    Here is the ECM, which is in it's "easy to access" location. You can also see the grey "EMU cable" that attaches to my EPROM emulator to allow real time tuning.(I made brackets to mount it in a better spot later)

    I use a custom code called "Code59", which is a modified version of a stock GM code called "$58", which was originally used in the Syclones, Typhoons and Turbo Sunbirds. This allows for Wide Band O2 fuel control, extended VE and spark tables (up to 30 PSIG!) and many other refinements that the developers have done and they plan even more! ( for more information.)

    Working on the wiring:

    (Mostly) Complete harness:

    Fast forward to a running installation, which didn't have an intercooler, since I ran out of time, seeing as I got running the day before 2008 ZFest, and had a few other details to iron out. I had to turn the TB upside down due to the dizzy cap interfering with the TB linkage. I didn't really mind this since I was already planning on a DIS swap later on. (more on that later.)

    I've skipped over a lot of details, like modifying a 280Z speedo to accept a GM optical Vehicle Speed Sensor, oil supply and return for the turbo, modification of the throttle pedal to use a GM throttle cable from a Buick Century (IIRC), using a GM ignition control module between the 280Z dizzy and the ECM, E-fan install, electric fuel pump and larger fuel pick up from the tank, along with many little brackets and adaptors to make it all work together. I also swapped in a 5-speed from a 1981 280ZX that I bought for parts in this time.

    I was able to get it tuned and work well up to 10 PSIG, but the weather was turning cold and time to park it for the winter.
    Last edited by Six_Shooter; 12-26-2015, 06:03 AM.

  • #2
    I decided to take the 240Z apart to do some up grades and other planned changes, but since my garage wasn't insulated (working on that), I didn't get a whole lot done when it was cold out, and then everyone wanted to me work on their vehicles (along with house hold chores), put the 240 on the back burner.

    I had been able to get the DIS conversion almost done, just some wiring to the ECM and power are all that was left at that point.

    I already had some parts that could be used for this conversion, due to needing to make an external crank position trigger system for my aformentioned GMC Jimmy. I retained the reluctor wheel and part of the CPS bracket, along with the ICM and coils.

    I started by having my grandfather (A retired machinist) redrill the reluctor wheel to fit the Datsun harmonic balancer. I then went ahead and made a new base for the CPS mount, with some adjustablility built into it.



    Some of the parts:

    The only glitch I've had was getting the stock (280Z) tach working with the DIS.

    The tach, which I installed last year, worked with the dizzy set-up connected to the negitive side of the coil.

    It seems that the output of the DIS module is too weak to trigger the 280Z tach (works fine with an Auto Meter tach), so a resistor needed to be bypassed inside the tach, now worked fine, until I hit about 5000 RPM, at which point the tach would either peg, or drop to zero. After doing some reading, I think this was due to the dwell of the tach signal getting too short at upper RPM for the tach to read correctly.

    I got tired of the ECM sitting on the floor, so I found a place to mount the ECM, so that I could take passengers, and not worry about them kicking the ECM or cables.

    The Brackets, which are made from textured ABS sheet:
    ECM brackets.jpg

    Attached to the ECM:
    ECM brackets 02.jpg

    I cut the MEMCAL cover to allow for the EMU cable to come out of the ECM without being pinched:
    EMU cable.jpg

    Details of the ECM mounted:

    ECM mounted.jpg

    ECM mounted03.jpg

    And finally, the view the passenger will have of the ECM:

    foot room again.jpg


    In the time I've had the 240Z, I've had a few gauges set-ups in.

    Obviously I started with the original gauges, then I swapped the Amp gauge to a 280Z Volt meter. Swapped the 240 tach for a 280Z tach.
    stock gauges.JPG

    I then wanted more information on my dash I swapped to this:

    quad installed no LEDs.JPG

    I modified a quad gauge from a Turbo Sunbird GT gauge cluster, to fit into an original tach housing, this gave me, Oil pressure, Volts, Water Temp and Fuel Level. I then installed my boost gauge, a 2" tach and my AFR gauge into the trio location.

    quad ready for install.JPG

    trio installed.JPG

    I found that I really didn't like the small tach, part of that might have been due to the poor illumination of it, good thing it was a cheap tach to test the theory. The LEDs that I installed in the small tach for shift light purposes were too far out of my peripheral vision to be useful, at least during the day.

    I decided to pull the rest of my Auto Meter gauges out of retirement, I Left the boost gauge where it was previously, I then installed the Oil Pressure and Water Temp gauges where the other trio gauges were. I gear clamped the volts and AFR gauges to my steering column and sat my fuel level gauge in the pocket left by leaving the fuse panel cover out of the car. I got sick of this ratty look, and decided to remove the radio, to install the 3 "loose" gauges into that location. I had other audio plans at the time.
    I retained the 280Z tach for a while, then decided that I needed something that will keep reading above 5000 RPM, so I borrowed a Pro-Comp 5" "tattle-tale" tach from my Grandfather, that isn't being used in any other project. I installed this where the original tach would have been, and it fits snug, without any retaining hardware. I also installed an Auto Meter Shift light (which is now triggered by the ECM), on a custom arm above the tach, on top of the dash.


    I am now looking for a new gauge set-up for a few reasons. According to my datalogging program, and my known thermostat temp, the water temp gauge reads about 10 degrees low, this is an annoying quirk to me. The Boost gauge might read about 2 PSIG low, but there is some question to the accuracy of the datalogging definition file in this specific data output, so I will need to do some other testing before I condemn my boost gauge. I also want a gauge set-up that illuminates the font, graduations and needle directly, instead of the "flood lighting" that the early Sport Comp gauges I have now uses. I also want a radio again, the iPod and computer speakers just aren't cutting it, and as a Car Audio/Electronic Accessory Installation Technician, I should have something better for sound in my car.

    I may go back to the Quad gauge where the tach was, and install a digital tach/shift light above the dash or in one of the trio gauge locations. I also have a couple other ideas.


    I have made some suspension changes, which include Tokico strut inserts, a solid front diff mount and aluminium torque arm bushings.

    I have mostly suspension changes planned for this winter, along with getting to finishing off making the FMIC, relocating the air filter outside of the engine compartment and a few other changes.


    Here is a picture from the track, before I turbo charged it.

    This is a picture of my girlfriend, and I at her brother's wedding, with the Datsun. Here you can see the 280ZX wheels I have on it currently.

    Thanks for looking and reading through, let me know what you think.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Six_Shooter; 12-26-2015, 06:28 AM.


    • #3
      Awesome write up and gives one food for thought. Keep us posted as things happen.


      • #4
        Well, just a text update right now.

        I just came in from the garage. I just spent the last couple of hours pulling the engine out. Kinda impressed myself with the time and didn't forget to unhook anything before lifting the engine out this time. I usually miss something when pulling an engine.

        I didn't pull the engine for any sort of swap, just some maintenance and repairs, that are easier done with the engine removed.

        --==Disregard the following pictures, they are just here to add into earlier posts that have a picture amount limit.==--

        muffler.jpg ECM firewall feed through hole passenger side.jpg ECM placement.jpg Wiring01.jpg image_2669.jpg turbo driver day front.jpg image_5677.jpg
        TMP launch 1.JPG us.jpg
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Six_Shooter; 12-26-2015, 06:25 AM.


        • #5
          I have a leaking rear crank seal. Probably best to pull the engine to replace that?
          Eric Zondervan
          72 240Z
          54 Chevy 3100 pickup
          91 Nissan Figaro
          11 Sierra 4X4
          17 Nissan Juke Nismo
          18 Audi SQ5
          18 Polaris Switchback XCR 800
          17 Yamaha FZ-10
          65 Honda Moped


          • #6
            If that is a serious question to me, I would say no, put the car up on a hoist, and remove the transmission to access the rear main.


            • #7
              Hoist is the magic word. I am seriously considering cutting the garage roof at the top plates, raising it 4 feet and adding a knee wall all around so I can fit a hoist in. Probably end up crawling around under the car as I have done for over 30 years.
              Eric Zondervan
              72 240Z
              54 Chevy 3100 pickup
              91 Nissan Figaro
              11 Sierra 4X4
              17 Nissan Juke Nismo
              18 Audi SQ5
              18 Polaris Switchback XCR 800
              17 Yamaha FZ-10
              65 Honda Moped


              • #8
                wow - why haven't I seen this article before? this is awesome.

                my '71 I purchased last weekend looked a lot like yours; filled with junk in the back and different coloured body panels. however I do have one advantage; it's already manual. 4-speed, which will soon be swapped for a 5-speed.

                as a turbo Volvo guy, I give a big thumbs up for boosting the engine. I may consider it; or drop in the RB26.



                • #9
                  eric's oil leak

                  A leaky main seal or crank seal are hard to distiguish apart.
                  Leave the engine in the car!
                  Remove the tranny and fly wheel to access the crank seal.
                  If that fixes the problem - great!
                  If you still have that drip, the rear main bearing seal is suspect & can also be done in the car. More help on how if required


                  • #10
                    Thread jack much? heh...


                    I now have a new timing set in the engine. The old one was VERY sloppy. I didn't measure it, should have, but there was at least 1/2" of slop at the middle of the point between the cam and crank gears.

                    I'll put the timing cover back on, once it's cleaned up. Hopefully tomorrow.
                    Last edited by Six_Shooter; 05-04-2010, 12:46 AM.


                    • #11
                      Well, since I have my engine and tranny out I decided to take the opprtunity to set my planned engine between the 240's frame rails.....

                      Oh man, it fits better than I could have hoped for. I might even be able to use the stock tranny crossmember. What I have in mind for the engine mount looks like it will work out even better than I could have hoped for, using the original Datsun engine mount pedistals.

                      Nope, not going to say what engine just yet, I just know it's never been swapped into a 240 before.

                      I may have my turbo L28 for sale this winter.....


                      • #12
                        Hmmm....I wonder...saw a guy the other day in Brantford who was working on a different kind of swap...oh...wait...
                        1971 240Z
                        1977 280Z
                        1987 300ZX 2+2


                        • #13
                          Good write-up, Chris! Looks like you've been pretty busy the last couple days.
                          Must be nice to get a chance to mock up your swap and see how it's going to actually sit in there!


                          • #14
                            Oh it looks freaking great in there, if you have a chance tomorrow night stop by, I think I'll be sliding the 2.8 back in there either tomorrow night or Thursday night, so if you don't see it in person, I do have pictures.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bigoak View Post
                              Hmmm....I wonder...saw a guy the other day in Brantford who was working on a different kind of swap...oh...wait...