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Ben's Z

My Engine Build

79 posts in this topic

I am going to chronicle my start to finish engine rebuild, engine bay refresh, engine swap and finally performance in this thread.

I am pulling out my NA 280Z motor for a 280ZXT motor swap.

Bought a 1983 280zx Turbo parts car with hydraulic cam.

Goal: 250-270 rwhp on OE ECU with mechanical fuel and boost enhancements.

Walbro 255 Fuel Pump

Manual Boost Adjuster

FMIC

Bell Engineering Rising Rate Fuel Pressure Regulator

3" Exhaust

I was having a friend of mine rebuild the 165k 280zx engine in Austin, but the engine just sat there since March. He had some family issues come up so I hauled it back to Houston Wednesday. I put it on the stand last night and took a few hours creating a mess of my garage. I removed the head. I spun the block around took off the oil pan and removed all the rods caps and pushed out the pistons and rods.

I am going to try to rebuild this engine myself. I feel this puts me in the upper echelon of "shade tree" mechanic, all while working in the confines of my not so shade tree air conditioned garage here in southeast Texas.

Here is what I found after getting oily last night.

Rod journals look flawless.post-21670-14150819873246_thumb.jpg

Still have some cross hatching in the cylinder bores,post-21670-141508198746_thumb.jpg Not sure I will get away with just a hone.

I am doing a swap from the hard to find hydraulic lifter set up to the traditional lash adjuster style. I am going to have the machine shop handle the head work. I hope to minimize milling on the head as not to distort tolerances between the good used stock cam I am using and the lash pads etc. Here are some random pictures. post-21670-14150819876969_thumb.jpg

Rented a balancer puller and plan on taking the timing cover, chain and crank out tonight.

Will be working with Andrew "ZCurves" shortly to put all new EFI and engine harness connectors on the turbo harness.

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Good luck with the manual boost controller and the RRFPR. I've still not seen anyone report that this method gave a civilized upgrade. Boost can be increased without blowing up the engine, but there always seems to be other problems that crop up. Interested in how it turns out.

When you say "OE ECU", do you mean OE NA 1977, or OE turbo 83?

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Should have stated OE Turbo ECU. Looking to run about 11 PSI of boost. Factory was 7.

Good luck with the manual boost controller and the RRFPR. I've still not seen anyone report that this method gave a civilized upgrade. Boost can be increased without blowing up the engine, but there always seems to be other problems that crop up. Interested in how it turns out.

When you say "OE ECU", do you mean OE NA 1977, or OE turbo 83?

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How does one remove the rear main seal main bearing cap! Beating on it with a rubber shot hammer will only wiggle it back and forth. Main cap between 3 and 4 holes was a PITA too but got it off. Please help with rear!

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Monroe's "How To Rebuild..." book says to put a bolt in the threaded hole in the cap, lay a 2x4 on the block, then put a pry bar under the bolt head and pry it up and out.

It's a good book to get, if you don't already have it.

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I second that book and the nice folks on this forum. I rebuilt a whole motor reading that book and asking opinions on here. I sat that book on the towel rack in front of the toilet so it was always fresh, it's step by step and unlike most books he doesn't ever say "Do the reverse of step # so and so". It's $20 at amazon.com.

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Got it! Just so happened to have a big machine screw that fit in the main cap. Drilled a hole in some 3/4x3/4 square tubing that was 3 feet long, one foot on the engine stand and out she came.

Monroe's "How To Rebuild..." book says to put a bolt in the threaded hole in the cap, lay a 2x4 on the block, then put a pry bar under the bolt head and pry it up and out.

It's a good book to get, if you don't already have it.

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Was on vacation back up in the Midwest and not much to report on. I did drop off my block, head, crank, rods, piston, intake, and exhaust manifolds to "Ted's Machine Shop" in Conroe, TX. Personally I am always a little leery of shops who do not see these motors too often as I suspect most don't. I did feel better when talking to them about putting in my good used cam and changing over from a hydraulic adjustment to a lash adjusted cam on the P90A head. I said I had an extra set of cam towers and the manager said this. "When they align bored those cam towes for the cam at the factory they were torqued to spec on the head at that point, it can some times be tough to get mismatched or cam towers from another head to work as well." All of what he said I know to be true and made me feel a hell of a lot better. Should hear back from the shop some time this week. I think they are only going to charge around $200 for a complete head job. I feel this is very fair. Stay tuned.

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Update: Head is toast. They tried to tig weld some corrosion from electrolysis but it was thin enough they poked a hole into a water jacket underneath a valve spring! Trying to source a bare P90 or P79 from some guys over on hybrid z. Meanwhile the block is good and only need a hone. Rods were good. Crank has been polished. They won't rebuild my shortblock because 1) they don't use customer supplied parts (understandable: however I am getting most all of my parts for free) 2) to warranty motors they insist on boring them, yet they say mine doesn't need to be bored, I found this odd.

Regardless I will probably be taking to the short block myself. Big step in the automotive Jedi master world. Never have put an engine together.

Zcurves has my Turbo harness and is installing new connectors for me. That is all for now!

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Ben, are you part of the Houston Z club? I work in Spring and live in Conroe if you need an extra hand with your rebuild.

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Does anyone have any past experience painting a block? The block is degreased and all but there is some surface rust and of course the OE paint. I took a wire wheel on a drill and removed what flaking paint there was. I also got a lot of rust off the block, but naturally there is some left. The machine shop put in steel freeze plugs not brass so I am forced to paint them unfortunately. How crazy do I have to get on getting the block clean? Seems to me any OE paint that is in good shape should be left well enough alone and can be painted over? How about rust in the nooks and crannies? Should I POR 15 the block first maybe then paint it? Is POR 15 good with heat? Is this overkill? I bought VHT engine block paint.

I THINK I might be able to get the block in my www.barrelblaster.com barrel blaster, but I am worried even using glass bead and even not directly hitting the cylinder walls or block deck I may affect sealing with the rings and head gasket. Thoughts?

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More bad news: Got my empty head from some guy in San Antonio. Called the machine shop, it was warped something fierce. They shaved it some but said it needs as much as .040 taken off. They were going to heat it up and bolt it down over the weekend to try to straighten it. Not sure what this would do to my C.R. trying to add boost with the stock Tandy 1000 ECU? Going to paint my block this week.

Got rings, bearings, gaskets and seals and some other ancillaries on the way for the short block.

The set backs are wearing me down financially but more so mentally.

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Ben, hope you didn't pay too much for it. I know you're down now but it will get better. I have never re-built a Z engine yet but have done lots of other sixes and v8's. When you build your own you take on all the jobs, stress and ripoffs that the engine builder normally takes on. You are still saving lots of money as long as you truly know what you are getting into !

Think of yourself as a private contractor, you are jobbing out the stuff that you can't do, valve guides, honing, boring,

shaving. BUT you must know what needs to be done, no one else is seeing the engine through to the end product but you.

Starting the engine up for the first time is an exciting experience but you have to have done your homework.

Good luck, I'm looking forward to this build!

Chris

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Use ospho or any other phosphoric acid on the external block rust, wash off after 24hrs with a mild solvent then paint with engine block paint.

it is good to get an off-the shelf paint so that you can tough-up years down the road. Do not por the block

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Called the machine shop, head has been true'd. Looking for 1 intake valve that was bad (interesting). Picking up my rings, bearings, and gasket kit on Thursday hopefully. ZCurves loaned me his "How to Rebuild your Nissan & Datsun OHC Engine" book, have been skimming through that. I am sure it is in there but can anyone tell me of the little notches on the tops of the piston go towards the front or the rear of the engine?

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Use ospho or any other phosphoric acid on the external block rust, wash off after 24hrs with a mild solvent then paint with engine block paint.

it is good to get an off-the shelf paint so that you can tough-up years down the road. Do not por the block

I have a little flash rust on the casting. A friend gave me some two part epoxy primer that I am going to lay down with the gun first and then paint with VHT satin black engine paint. I will post some before and after shots.

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If you are thinking of going original colour, you might want to investigate http://www.datsunparts.com/1255

Good luck with the rebuild. We all go through hard patches when restoring:cry:

I bought a maxima tranny and it was worse then what i already had. 5th gear was stuffed. Im afraid thats the risks you take.

Looking forward to seeing the finished result.

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Did one final degrease wipe down, epoxy primed and painted the block tonight. I did tear off my tape after I took these pictures, and did miss one little spot on the casting because of tape application error. (DAMN!) I used a PPG epoxy primer, hopefully this will bond well with the multi substrate, i.e. old paint and bare metal. I used VHT engine paint in GM satin black. I think this will look very subtle with the cast aluminum head and when I refinish the turbo valve cover with the wrinkle paint. Sort of wish the engine shop would have put in brass freeze plugs, but such is life. I have not made up my mind up yet on whether to paint the intake or media blast it clean and maybe just clear coat the bare aluminum. The VHT can said to paint below 60% humidity (LOL!) Good luck with that Mr. Paint Manufacturer in Houston between April and ? Well enough with the BS, here is the Intro of a 25 chapter book. post-21670-14150820395585_thumb.jpg

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No turning back now.:stupid: If I can get done doing crap around the house I am going to start scuffing the engine bay, removing rust where I can, and POR 15'ing where I can't.post-21670-14150820571984_thumb.jpg

I want to have the car running again by Thanksgiving, one can only hope.

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You missed a spot...right ...there..;)

Looks like licorice. It will look great inside the clean, repainted engine compartment.

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Ben, get out of the habit of laying parts/tools on the fender! You're making dings, dents and waves that will have to be dealt with as part of your paint project!!

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Man, you read my mind! I was just looking in horror at those sockets on the fender.

If a hummingbird feather lands on fender it can dent.

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Black looks good on an engine and I did the por-15 paint-no regrets-EXCEPT, when you have any oil leaks, it's much harder to see them or where they originate with a black engine. But you won't have any leaks;)

Looking good!

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Those fenders have more dimples than a post menapausel 65 year old mother of 4 in a two piece. A few more at this point won't matter until she goes in for plastic surgery aka the repaint.

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