280zx 2+2 RB conversion | Page 2 | The Z Club of Great Britain
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280zx 2+2 RB conversion

Discussion in 'Rebuilds and restorations' started by niroshann, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. niroshann

    Z Club Member

    Made some modifications to the gauge cluster. It’s the messiest part of this whole conversion I feel. Lot of modifications to make the skyline gauges fit into the ZX cluster.

    Looking back, I would have tried to avoid all this work but there are many benefits to keeping and piggybacking the skyline cluster circuit board. Also there is enough space in the ZX dash to house it so I am happy with this approach. I want to tidy up the wiring and there is a lot more about this setup that can be done better, but will do that after I get the car on the road.

    also need to get some bezels made to fit the gap between the smaller skyline gauges and the larger ZX gauge holes.

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  2. Wheelz-In-Motion

    Wheelz-In-Motion New Forum User

    Niro, thank you very much for sharing this project and for also pointing out key elements of the process, as it's greatly valued and appreciated!!! Right now I'm also in the early planning stages of doing a NEO swap on my 83 Turbo coupe, and so far I've gathered some parts for the puzzle, besides the NEO engine, manual transmission, Greddy intake manifold, fuel rail, injectors and some R33 miscellaneous parts needed to fit the intake manifold to the NEO engine. Little by little, and at a steady pace hope to begin the actual swap by 2022, hoping this pandemic is done and gone by then...

    Going back to your R34 5 speed manual transmission (I guess being from an R34 it's the later "pull" pressure plate type), I would like to know how it actually sits in the tunnel hole, as in the pics the shifter looks to be placed dead center, even though the engine looks to be sitting about 35cm - 40cm forward compared to the stock L28. By any chance do you have pics/details on how you dealt with the transmission bracket and tunnel clearance, the transmission being beefier than stock?

    Also, have you faced any situations/drawbacks for having the engine sitting a bit forward, perhaps with the fan and radiator proximity?

    Excellent and monumental work ! ! !
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
    niroshann likes this.
  3. niroshann

    Z Club Member

    Thanks Wheelz.. your project sounds interesting and it would be awesome to see your progress as you get into it. I took quite a pragmatic approach and so a lot of bits in my conversion are not things I am proud to show but the job got done and it has held up well during the time I had the NEO in my other car.

    Being a turbo 280zx I assume your car is a LHD? The NEO is a lot wider than the L28 especially on the exhaust and turbo side so You might want to look into how the steering will coexist in that space.

    I’ll post some photos of my transmission brackets. I mocked up brackets and never ended up getting proper ones welded up as these have held up well. It is another one of my things to do at some stage. I had to take out the original trans mounting ear on the passenger’s side of my car. The one on the other side is still there and not at all interfering. The brackets I made interface up to the original skyline gearbox crossmember. The brackets are braced onto the trans tunnel itself. I’ll try post pics. There are better ways to do this but given my approach this did the job.

    As for engine placement I worked from the engine mounts backwards. I wanted the least amount of work and wanted to use parts from other cars with minimal custom work. The photo below is a screenshot of an earlier post showing the NEO in the blue car with the L28 in the black/Gold car.


    It’s not very scientific but if you look closely you will see a thin red line drawn at a reference point on the bodies of the car (triangle brace bit between front and wing area of cars). You need to imagine the radiator taken out from the black/gold car. I am gauging by the radiator fans and to me the placements of both the L28 and the NEO were nearly identical. Asolutely no issue with radiator and fan clearance. Only disclaimer is that the radiator I used In the new setup was the factory NEO one. It is thinner and can handle more heat than the stock ZX one which is thicker (at least that is what I recall). You may be thinking of using a custom aluminum radiator so it might be quite close as they are thicker than the factory one. I am keeping a stock setup as far as possible with plans of maybe a stage 1 tune up on the NEO - bigger intercooler and 3inch exhaust. The stock rad should still be sufficient even at that level of modifications.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
    Huw likes this.
  4. niroshann

    Z Club Member

    The wiring nightmare continued but I made steady progress each evening to get it all done. I made sure I started the car where I could to make sure that each stage of work was building on a working setup. Last thing I wanted was to somehow render the engine a non runner through a wiring mishap and not know where or when it stopped working and have to trace back all my work to figure out where I might have introduced a fault.

    Along the way I had to also fix a broken ignition barrel due to some idiot trying to break into and steal the car when it was in storage back in New Zealand. Also as I was installing central locking into the car, I needed a key sensor in the ignition barrel. I modified mine using parts from another barrel to get it working and also have the key sensing feature.

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    For future reference I also modified the skyline engine wiring page to exclude what I didn’t use and include what I have changed or adapted in from the ZX wiring loom. This will be part of my car manual now!


    I’ve kept the ZX fuse box and fusible links untouched. The skyline wiring runs off a separate feed from the battery and has its own fuse boxes. I didn’t want to overload the ZX loom and give electrical gremlins a playground!

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  5. niroshann

    Z Club Member

    When I did the wiring this time, I even went to the trouble of tracking down a Nissan Consult data connector for the loom and wiring that in. This was pre OBD diagnostics and the plug is a very specific type. Fortunately it is common across Nissans of that era and I got mine off a late 90’s Nissan Primera (although I had to buy a fuse box to just have this plug). Pic is off a helpful site giving pin outs.


    I needed to get one of these adapters that allowed me to interface to my computer and also purchased a copy of the Nissan Datascan software. Got the lot for under £100.


    Seeing the readings on my laptop was really satisfying as I could use this to diagnose issues with sensors or wiring.

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
    Ped, Bazzateer and Huw like this.
  6. niroshann

    Z Club Member

    63CD6660-E029-460A-B490-24D4FBE419AC.jpeg 75E630FB-251B-4F5B-B99C-2B9DB7DA6641.jpeg

    Got the radiator installed and heater matrix plumbed up. Ran the car up to temperature and it all held up. I was reluctant to finalise wiring until this milestone was passed. Sealed up the engine wiring loom. Next is exhaust as there is nothing on the car after the turbo! Was nice listening to it idle once warmed up! vid below:

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
    Ped, Bazzateer, tyroguru and 2 others like this.

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