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Just got a 280Z! New to cars.


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Hey all, first post.

I'm a new driver and I just recently acquired a 280Z. My Dad got it for me as my first car, and Im going to restore it and use it as my car (of course) and as my gateway into the awesome world of mechanics, something I've always been interested in. Always liked the Fairlady Z series, it looks like it'll be a nice ride.

I don't have the car yet, as my Dad is having it repainted for me and apparently new quarter panels are being put on as well. I have some questions that hopefully you guys can help me with.

As far as info goes, it's a JDM model with 60,000km on it, think it's a 78', two seater with manual transmission and a modified engine (I think it's called LT something, either that or whatever is stock). There's no rust apparently.

I want to know: How much fuel it consumes and what the emissions are like, how easy/hard it is to work on, how can I put a CD player in (it's older so i'm curious as to how it'd be done), is it expensive to insure, where can I get parts and are they expensive, etc. All in all, would it be a good car to have? Because if not I have the option of selling it.

I'm also desiring places for information on cars. I want to learn everything I can, from how one can tune an engine to how to properly restore cars to implementing nice stereo systems. I'm interested in becoming a mechanic. A person told me I should get a Chilton manual for my car and any others I like and just start reading them.

Also, very curious as to your opinions about this as my first car.


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First of all, welcome to the forum. This is a great place for info on the 240-280Z cars, as well as some of the later models like the 280ZX.

From the description of your engine, assuming it's accurate, it sounds like someone may have swapped the original L28 2.8L straight 6 engine out in favor of a Chevy 350cid "LT1" V8. That makes your car what we call a hybrid Z. This is basically a Z car with something other than the stock motor. Depending on your goals, this may be good or bad.

As for being a JDM model, I was not aware that Japan got a 280Z but I could be way wrong on that. Someone please chime in on this topic.

About learning to work on cars, I did that a long time ago in high school auto shop when they still had that sort of thing, and have been doing it ever since and enjoy it very much. I'm sure you will too. Here's a reference on the web I have used from time to time for knowledge or background on a particular procedure or subsystem. There's some general theory stuff and more courtesy of Toyota.


If you are more interested in hybrids, possibly like yours, check out www.hybridz.org

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It might not be a hybrid. By saying LT they could have meant L which would be the basic 6 that they were all produced with. There were RHD 78 Zs though they weren't called 280. That would be a Fairlady. Give us more info on the car and year and whether it LHD or RHD and S30 or a S130. In any case I have never been impressed with Chilton manuals for these cars. Factory manuals are the best way to go.

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Welcome to tha club ^_^

Which one of these does the front of your Z look like?


I think your Z might be a Version of the American 1979 280zx.

In Gran Turismo 4 a 1978 JDM FAIRLADY Z looks like a 1979 280ZX in the U.S.A. instead of a 1978 280Z.

I noticed the same thing when I tried to sup up a 1981 Prelude in the game to be like my buddies real life '81 Prelude and found that a 1981 in the game is a 1982 in the U.S.

So with that being said I believe that some JDM Cars are a year ahead of us and this might be helpful in determening for sure what Z your have .





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I want to know: How much fuel it consumes and what the emissions are like, how easy/hard it is to work on, how can I put a CD player in (it's older so i'm curious as to how it'd be done), is it expensive to insure, where can I get parts and are they expensive, etc. All in all, would it be a good car to have? Because if not I have the option of selling it.

Hey, welcome to the site!

First off on the fuel consumption, assuming that it's the stock l28, I get around 15-18mpg on my driving and can always go a full week on one tank of fuel no problem. We had a Pioneer stereo installed by Car Toys and it seems to fit great. On the insurance, it was very very expensive to insure for me (I'm 17). I have to maintain a 3.0 to get a discount, other wise we'd have to pay hundereds of more dollars. My parents warned me if I got one speeding ticket in it, that would be it because the insurance would sky rocket after that. So I guess just watch your speed and keep your grades up to get a discount on insurance. And your question if these are good cars,YES!! They are very very fun cars to drive own and take care of. I've found that they're fun and pretty easy to work on when you know what you're doing. Just keep it in good tune and take care of it and that shouldn't be a problem. There's a lot of new and used Z car part stores out there, but here's a link to one of the big main ones that you may want to check out. And we'd like some pictures too! Hope this helps, Austen.


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welcome Vexxation! It look like you have a lot to learn but don't be dicouraged, When I started working on my Z 4 years ago I didn't know anything about Z's or car engines for that matter. Here is a linke that will open your eyes to your Z and what kind of engine and the potential it has.


The z engine can make anywhere from 140 Rear Wheel Horse Power to almost 500 RWHP. The differance in the HP is how much money you want to spend and how good of a mechanic you are.

Parts are easy to find The Z engine was made for 13 years in all kinds of different variations so there are plenty of parts available. The sky is the limmit with your Z its up to your imagination and your wallet.

this is what I did with my Z!

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions.overlay-round.gif

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Welcome, ay?

I would have left the paint job for last, after you take a good look through the car and maybe go through the body panels and the mechanicals a little. Things like the bolts for the front fenders will corrode till they're stuck, so they could be run out, a little antiseize, and run them back in. You can clear out any dirt, and install Enrique's drain hoses for the cowl drains.

And at the same time, take a good look at the springs, shocks, bushing, etc., so you can make a plan to replace those.

Then you'll be able to make up a plan for future stuff. But it's your car, and you gotta do it the best way for you.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Ihave several cars. I have a 83 toyota supra,84 supra,a bad a-s silvarado,and last a 80 280zx. the 83 i am doin a full resto with.Ilove to drive my 84 its a lot of fun. I have put my soul in this car. Ihave allways wanted a supra. this is a nice car. BUT, I got the 280 first,when i bought my house the z was on the property, it was a wore out piece of junk. pieces of it every where. it was wrecked on the driver side from bumper to bumper. It had not run in 2 years. I put a battery in it , hot wired it, gas it up. an had the most fantastic car i have ever had. it ran like a new one, i did not even change the plugs. Ilove the z more than any thing in my yard. and its the quickest car i own. it ran 10.44,s right out of the weeds.with a few bolt ons it runs 9,58,s its my fav. ride by far and it still is trashed out ride,but its fast and where i am from that is all that counts When i go racing no one will line up with me, except the v8,s.but even thier efforts are useless. Even though the v8,s have more power they dont have the torque. In short the 280 will GITT-R-DONE!!!!!

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hmm well not a lot of info to go by about your Z but there is plenty of info out there to educate yourself on both mechanics and about Z's. This site for starters and plenty of books out there as well. MSA sells lots of good books that will educate you about the Z Cars www.zcarparts.com

Like =Enigma= said, I too learned my auto mechanic skills from school yrs. ago. learned a lot too as I went along doing hands on and educating myself. I remember before I got my Z that I have now, I actually read a 1976 280Z FSM that I had cover to cover just because I wanted to keep my Z knowledge sharp :D

I always recommend to yunger people that are learning to FIRST learn basic Auto mechanics, then think long and hard about which generation Z car best fits your needs skill wise and budget wise since each generation Z car is different in these categories. Keep in mind the classic first generation Z's really do rely on enthusiasts with the funds and "know how" to keep them in tip top shape. Thats true with any classic car. They usually require a little more attention. Then after you've decided on which generation Z best suits you, then buy a FSM for whatever Z your looking into and learn about it. Then you can finally start shopping for that perfect Z that fits you and you will have some knowledge on what to look out for when shopping around because you've done the stuff above first and now have some basic mechanic skills and some Z knowledge too.

Anyway this is MY suggestion to newb's. I realize it may not apply to you being that you already have your Z first.

Best of luck and welcome to the site.

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