More Datsun 280z Heritage Restomod Episodes

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Parts Used In This Episode

Jim Wolf Technology
Bell Housing Plate
The Industrial Depot
Tools, Hardware, Shop Supplies

Episode Transcript

(Jeremy)>> You're watching Powernation!

(Jeremy)>> Today on Carcass we pull off the drivetrain of our '78 Datsun 280-Z. We'll freshen up some old gaskets and hit it with a fresh coat of paint.

(Jimmy)>> Then we adapt our six-speed transmission to bolt up to our inline six. Plus, we take a ride in the new Nissan-Z to get some inspiration for our Datsun. [ Music ] [ engine revving ] [ Music ]

(Jimmy)>> What's up everybody! Welcome to Carcass! Last episode we got a little bit of inspiration from our guys at Nissan. They brought in a cherry 240-Z for us to look at, and so now it's finally time for us to start on our car.

(Jeremy)>> So underneath the hood is exactly where we're gonna start, and the idea here is to pull everything out. This is gonna be a heritage build, and we are gonna be doing a color change. So, we are literally gonna pull every piece out from underneath the hood. So, when it comes time to doing some body work we can get to that step and lay down some good color. Now Jimmy and I aren't very familiar with this car. So, one of the things we did before we took the hood off is we actually took a bunch of pictures using our cell phone. That way we know kinda where everything goes when we get back to putting this car back together. But for now, I think all we've got to do is grab a whole bunch of tools, just start ripping some stuff out from underneath here, and get the engine out of the way.

(Jimmy)>> Sounds good to me! [ Music ] [ drill humming ] [ Music ] [ drill humming ] [ Music ] [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

(Jeremy)>> For disassembly we'll mark some wires and brackets with some masking tape to help us when it comes time to reassemble. [ Music ] Try to get this radiator out of here and get the front stuff out of the way. [ Music ] [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

(Jimmy)>> There we go!

(Jeremy)>> Some of these parts are heading to the scrap bin while other parts will be retained for final assembly. [ mechanical humming ]

(Jeremy)>> Alrighty, with most of the stuff off of the engine we're gonna go ahead and get the transmission out of here and the exhaust too. [ drill humming ] [ Music ] [ drill humming ]

(Jimmy)>> This should be a pretty easy one.

(Jeremy)>> I'll get this other one out. [ Music ] [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

(Jeremy)>> There it goes! It's stuck on dowel pins or something.

(Jimmy)>> Got a little block of wood behind the engine to make sure it doesn't tip back.

(Jeremy)>> Now we've just got to weasel it out of there. The dip stick tube ain't gonna be very much help. I don't know if we disengaged from the transmission. You keep going and I'll tell you when to stop if we need to. Now we'll go right around that, right around that.

(Jimmy)>> Hang on! What's that?

(Jeremy)>> That shift linkage got stuck back in the hole. I don't know how that happened. Okay, nice! [ Music ] [ engine hoist clicking ] [ Music ]

(Jeremy)>> We start tearing into our 2.8-liter giving it some new components and a killer paint job.

(Jimmy)>> The engine in our 280-Z is the L-28 engine, which is the biggest in the L-series offered from Nissan. It's a little bit different than the predecessors, the 240 and the 260. It's really just the displacement, which is 2.4 and 2.6-liters respectively in those cars. And also, some more differences just getting into the emissions era is the 280-Z was the first car in the Z-series that had fuel injection. It was a Bosch style multi-port injection and it also had the full setup with e-g-r, catalytic converter, and even though the 260 was carburetor it had the provisions for e-g-r but it didn't have a cat on it. So, the 280-Z was really the first full emissions setup car offered in the US market for the Z-series. The basic plan for our engine is just to take everything off the outside, get a good look at what the long block looks like, take off the intake, exhaust, a/c compressor, alternator, everything like that, kinda analyze what condition those parts are in, and just take it from there. We do want to paint the engine to match the quality level of the outside, although it will be a different color. More of like what would come stock in a 280-Z from 1978, but we don't want to get too far on the internals of the engine just because this engine is a good running engine. So, there's really no point in taking it that far. As far as upgrades go, for our engine we're gonna keep it very simple. On the maintenance side we're gonna throw in some gaskets just to make sure this engine doesn't leak, and on the intake side we're gonna be going with the N-42 intake over the stock N-47. The differences between those two is that the N-42, it doesn't have the provisions for the e-g-r system although some did, but the biggest thing for us is that it doesn't have the webbing between the intake runners. So, it just goes into that really clean look. Something that's gonna look nice sitting in the car. And without the emissions equipment on it, although we will have a catalytic converter, this car will probably drive a little bit better. Maybe have a little bit more power, and this being a heritage build we just want something very simple and really fun to drive.

(Jeremy)>> Now with all of that being said, we did take this thing outside, gave it a good wash after we pulled all the hard parts off of it. Since it was cleaned up now we notice there are a couple of things that have been touched or replaced. The engine oil pan has been off of this thing cause there's a little bit of silicone on the gasket surface here. Plus, the timing cover's been off of it. That's actually a really important thing to notice solely for the fact is in order to get the timing cover off of it you have to pull the cylinder head. If you add those thing things up, they've been off the engine, leads us to believe somebody's been down inside of here. So, there's really no point in going too far with this. Plus, it made some pretty good numbers for an L-28 sitting on the dyno. So, we'll just go ahead and replace some of the gaskets we need too, put on some of the parts that are gonna be easier since this thing is out of the engine bay, and then we're gonna give this thing a killer paint job so it looks just like it did when it came from Datsun. We'll go ahead and start up here on the valve cover. We'll get that off, run that down to the blast cabinet, get it all cleaned up, and then we'll start with some gaskets and get this thing painted. [ Music ] [ drill humming ] [ Music ] [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

(Jeremy)>> So one big thing to note here. The reason why I took the pan off with the engine sitting vertically like this is just in case there's anything in the bottom of the pan, or any sludge. I didn't want to flip the engine over too early and have all of that fall back into the engine itself. So now that we got it off and everything's clean, we can flip this thing over and start cleaning all the gasket surfaces. Get this thing back sealed up and then we'll move on to paint. Scrape like this a big thing to do is try to scrape out that way this gasket, or in this case silicone or r-t-v. We're gonna push this outside the engine so we don't drop anything down here. [ Music ] What I'm gonna do is put a couple of dabs or a light coat of silicone right here where the timing cover meets the block itself. The back's the same thing where the rear main cap meets the block here. [ Music ]

[ hammer tapping ] [ Music ]

(Jimmy)>> While Jeremy is putting the engine back together, I was prepping the valve cover for paint. [ sand blaster hissing ]

(Jeremy)>> So with Jimmy taking care of the valve cover I went ahead and masked the engine off so we can start putting some paint on this thing. A little trick here. You can use some aluminum foil or tin foil, and you can mold that around all the pieces where you don't want paint to land so you don't have to clean it up later. This is a whole lot cheaper than tape and paper, and it's a lot quicker. We're gonna spray the cylinder head and the timing cover with cast aluminum, and then we're gonna re-mask off and we'll spray the engine block with the blue that we choose. So, mask on, we'll get started. [ aerosol can hissing ] [ Music ]

(Jeremy)>> Yeah, that's a nice blue right there. [ aerosol can hissing ] [ Music ]

(Jeremy)>> Alright guys, well that paint has had plenty of time to dry here. Now it's the best part, unmask and just kinda see what everything looks like all together.

(Jimmy)>> I've got the last piece. We did the valve cover in a wrinkle black just to give it a little bit of texture. We even sanded the top. So, you can kinda see the Nissan. Just get a good look at this thing. What it's gonna look like when it's in the engine bay.

(Jeremy)>> It's gonna look great in the car.

(Jimmy)>> We do a little fabricating to make our six speed manual transmission bolt up to the L-28 engine.

(Jimmy)>> We're almost ready to drop our L-28 back in the car to test fit some more parts, and the next thing on the list is this transmission. We've got this CD-009 from our friends at Nissan. So, a huge thanks to them, and these transmissions are really neat because they are universal in the swap world. I've seen them used behind LS', 2-JZ's, L-28's, RB's, tons of stuff, and they're very strong for what they cost. They're relatively inexpensive compared to a T-56 or something out of a Corvette. So really stout and relatively cheap. Now to get ours behind our L-28 we have to do a couple things. We actually have to cut the bell housing off, which sounds pretty extreme but very common practice for the swap world. So, we're gonna come in here and cut behind this casting rib right here, remove the bell housing, and then we have an adapter plate to go onto a different bell housing and then behind the engine. The other thing here I just capped off this vent to make sure we don't get aluminum dust inside the case. [ saw buzzing ]

(Jimmy)>> There are some components inside the bell housing that I want to make sure to avoid when I'm getting the bell housing off. So, I'm just gonna make sure not to plunge too deep with the cutoff wheel. [ saw buzzing ] [ Music ]

(Jimmy)>> There you go! I've got the stock bell housing cut off our CD-009 transmission, and now how do we actually adapt it to the L-28? I did some searching on the internet and found quite a few different kits, and we found what we liked from Jim Wolff Technologies. This is only part of it right here, but this plate basically this face will go up against the transmission and replaces the front plate that's on it right now. Then this side will bolt to our bell housing. This bell housing, we actually purchased an entire transmission from a junkyard. It's an automatic transmission from an early '90's 240-SX, and obviously this bell housing unbolts from the transmission itself. This shares the same pattern with the L-28. So, we've got all of our hardware, got a gasket. We'll just take the front cover off, get everything on, and then we'll be able to get the engine in the car. [ drill humming ] [ Music ]

[ drill humming ] [ torque wrench clicking ] [ Music ]

[ drill humming ]

(Jimmy)>> Alright, you may notice here that there is a gap between this adapter plate and the transmission, and it should be like that because if you don't grind down enough material then this plate won't seal against the transmission, and also your bell housing might sit a little bit cockeyed. That wraps it up for our CD-009 and it's gonna work great behind our L-28, but let's say you go a different route with your Z-car and do the popular LS swap. There is another option for you.

(Jeremy)>> And a couple of those options could be a Tremec TKO five speed or their T-56 six-speed, and the guys over at American Powertrain can help you out in either one of those cases. They also offer more than just transmissions. They've got their Hydromax hydraulic clutch kits, which include their hydraulic throw out bearings and their master cylinders. They also have shifters to help you guys relocate the shifters to match your project. Plus, you can pick up some bell housings, and in some of the kits you can even get some driveshafts. So, if you're looking to transfer an LS into your Datsun project or in any one of your projects why don't you check out American Powertrain. Coming up, we take a ride in the new "Z" to get some ideas to bring our 280 up to the next level.

[ electronic music ]

(Sam)>> Alright Jeremy, we're in the new 2023 Nissan-Z.

(Jeremy)>> I think this is a heck of a car to start with. Alright everybody, we have a special guest in car today cause we're both riding in the car. This is Sam Cates with Nissan, and we are driving, or I'm riding, in a brand new Nissan-Z. So, what exactly are we sitting in?

(Sam)>> It's great to be here. We're in the new 2023 Nissan-Z Performance.

(Jeremy)>> Tell me a little bit about the car. We've gotten to see it only two or three times, and the car's completely different when you see it in person, but the car's completely different as you're driving it too. This is truly a sports car.

(Sam)>> Absolutely! So, Nissan and "Z" have always been intertwined. The "Z" is like the purist form of Nissan's d-n-a that we hope people find in all of our models, but this is the halo. This car builds on a lot of heritage and traditions. Over 50 years in fact, and this now the seventh generation of Z-car.

(Jeremy)>> This one, V-6, 400 horsepower?

(Sam)>> 400 horsepower standard.

(Jeremy)>> We are driving one that is a six-speed manual.

(Sam)>> Six speed manual, standard.

(Jeremy)>> Boulder Gray, which I think is the best color ever.

(Sam)>> It's awesome!

(Jeremy)>> It's so different it's unique, and ironically this is the exact color that we're gonna paint ours. So, we're paying homage. We're going both ways with this. We're taking a brand new color. We're putting it on an old "Z", trying to mesh the new with the old.

(Sam)>> That is what "Z" is. It's taking what hasn't worked in the past and trying to update it for the modern world.

(Jeremy)>> That '70's muscle car sports car era stuff, to me that's where it all started cause that's where my passion comes from is that old stuff.

(Sam)>> That's what's so cool about the car hobby. It's the feeling that a car gives you. There's many different flavors, right? Muscle car, sports car, even sports sedan, etc. They all deliver that same feeling of speed, and adrenaline, and driver connection. There was a lot of emphasis on the driver and machine connection. So how the driver feels behind the wheel and the relationship the driver makes with the car. What does the car tell you. How do your inputs affect the quality of the drive. These are all extremely important when designing a new Z-car.

(Jeremy)>> You've got the heritage of Nissan, the Z-platform. It's a long heritage. The cars have been around for 50-ish years, right?

(Sam)>> Yeah, 53 years. Starting in 1969 with the 240-Z, which you pointed out is what the front of the car pays homage to. Very similar grille and headlight design, as well as the hood bulge and Y-shape, which I think the 280 has as well. Then the rear of the car really makes homage to the fourth generation Z-32 from the '90's. But yeah, that driver/machine connection was what Z-car is all about. We know that a lot of customers will use these as daily drivers as well as many customers that will use it for a weekend escape. So, the car has to be accommodating to all sorts of driving scenarios.

(Jeremy)>> That V-6 that's in here, it's a 3-liter?

(Sam)>> 3-liter V-6 twin turbo.

(Jeremy)>> But it's not new right?

(Sam)>> It's new for Z-car but customers will recognize it from the Infiniti Q-50 and Q-60 Red Sport 400 models, which have been around for a few years now. There's a lot of reliability built up and a lot of support already existing for the motor. We know that a lot of customers will buy performance parts for the car. There's a large portfolio of parts already available to support this car as soon as it launches.

(Jeremy)>> Our "Z", we are gonna paint our "Z" this boulder gray. So, when we're done we're gonna have to get these two cars back together and just do a really good comparison to it. We're super excited to be able to put our "Z" together, stay on the heritage side of things, but also move with some newer parts on ours.

(Sam)>> Can't wait to see the final result.

(Jeremy)>> It should be fun!
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