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simple 280zx/510 strut questions


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#1 hobbes_the_cat

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 02:13 PM

Hey guys, i know this topic gets talked about all the time, but i still can't find any clear answers... maybe i'm just too thick headed. any way, my 510 has a stock front end, i want to upgrade to 280zx struts and brakes. there are 2 280's at a nearby junk yard. i think they are zx but all emblems are removed from the cars, one is a 1981 factory turbo and the other is 1982. any other way to tell if they are z's or zx's? also is this a direct swap? springs, brakes and all? or do i need to mix and match parts from something else? and one last question, will this mod move my wheels inboard or not at all. Thanks for your help, i'm sure a lot of you have done this swap before. here's a pic of my ride: Posted Image

#2 MicroMachinery

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 09:50 PM

81 and 82 are ZXs. There should also be trim inside indicating that they're ZX's, in the event that you can't ever figure out what the year is.

#3 Pacific coast Datsun

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 11:20 PM

I just did this swap on my 510 wagon.
Yes the entire strut [brakes & all] bolts on but...to run the 510 spring youll need to remove the 510 spring perch & weld that to the ZX struts.
Or...run coilovers.
It's reccomended that you run bump steer spacers w/ the ZX struts to keep the suspension geometry close to factory.BTW the spacers should come with longer bolts, if not youll need them.
AS far as moving the wheelbase inwards im not sure.
The stock 510 brake line DOES thread into the ZX caliper.
Also youll need to run at least a 14 inch rim to clear the ZX calipers.

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#4 hobbes_the_cat

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 08:16 AM

Thanks for the quick response! this help alot, i'm going to try to go get em today.

#5 DRIVEN

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 06:07 PM

There is a difference in the angle of the strut tube versus the wheel mounting surface. The 510 is 7 degrees and the ZX struts I have were 10 degrees. I'm not sure if there was a manufacturing change during the ZX's production run. Maybe there is a 7* version but if not, you'll need camber plates to make up the 3* difference.

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#6 jonesy510

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:12 AM

i also have a quick question to ask about this. most people go with the mr2 inserts and the zx brakes and coil overs i was wondering would i b able to run the mr2 inserts with the stock 510 struts or not?
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#7 banzai510(hainz)

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:28 AM

mr2 inserts with the stock 510 struts or not?

I assume the MR2 cartridges are shorter. To put in a 510 strut you might have to put spacers at the bottom to fill up the size difference otherwise when you tighten the CAP down the cartridge will just bounce around.
Most people cut there struts to the MR2 length.

When people get MR2 shocks its not the shock persay(KYB GR2 is a bottom of the line shock) its the length they go for. I asusme the MR2 CAP also fit the datsun inner threads on the strut tube.

for 510 struts alot of people get the 280zx cartridges(since 510 ones are out of stock esp for the long 11.5in tubes) and put steel washers on the bottom of the strut tube or machine a spacer so the cartrideg comes up high enough in the stut tube for the CAP to lock/hold it down tight so it dont bounce around.
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#8 DRIVEN

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 07:03 PM

MR2's are 2" shorter than stock 510. I just cut mine down last week.

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#9 jonesy510

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 03:52 PM

hmm well im planning on going to some junkyards tomorrow and hope to find struts. im not interested in the bigger brakes im more into the stance.. so i guess if i cant find any zx struts ill start looking into just shortening my 510 struts.
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#10 mklotz70

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 05:20 PM

If you're not looking to upgrade your brakes...just shorten them and save yourself the time of going to the yard :)

I'm pretty sure most of the questions are answered here:
http://community.rat...-modspic-heavy/
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#11 chebetio510

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 05:09 AM

If you're not looking to upgrade your brakes...just shorten them and save yourself the time of going to the yard :)

I'm pretty sure most of the questions are answered here:
http://community.rat...-modspic-heavy/




So USe the Mr2 front shocks correct? and whats the correct to weld them so shock has full stroke.. and not riding on just the coilover spring

#12 mklotz70

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 06:41 AM

unless you're looking to go extremely low, the 280zx inserts will be short enough...I'm guessing they will be a bit stiffer than the MR2 also, since the front end of the 280zx was heavier than the back end of the MR2. There's only about a 1/2" difference between the 280 and MR2, if I remember right. I don't know the measurements. You can measure how much needs to get cut out when you get the inserts you're going to use.
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#13 DRIVEN

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 08:05 AM

I know Mike posted this over in his strut thread -- check napaonline. They list dimensional specs that help quite a bit for custom applications such as this. I chose the MR2s because they were the appropriate length for the amount of drop in my springs and slightly cheaper than the 280ZX inserts.

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#14 Bears510

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 11:40 AM

to answer your question, yes. the 280zx spindles do pull in your wheels about .75 or 3/4 inch per side. really only an issue if you are using 510 offset wheels. But you can always swap 300z 4 lug hubs onto the 280zx struts and still be able to use the 510 offset wheels if needed.
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#15 mklotz70

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 12:05 PM

to answer your question, yes. the 280zx spindles do pull in your wheels about .75 or 3/4 inch per side. really only an issue if you are using 510 offset wheels. But you can always swap 300z 4 lug hubs onto the 280zx struts and still be able to use the 510 offset wheels if needed.


What's the rest of that equation? I know the hubs fit just fine, but it also changes the rotor position, so IIRC, you can't use the 280 calipers when you do that. Can you just put the 300zx calipers on the 280zx struts? I know I've checked this personally, but off hand, I don't remember what the answer was.....and I don't have time to go dig through my own thread :)
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#16 Bears510

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:02 PM

unless you're looking to go extremely low, the 280zx inserts will be short enough...I'm guessing they will be a bit stiffer than the MR2 also, since the front end of the 280zx was heavier than the back end of the MR2. There's only about a 1/2" difference between the 280 and MR2, if I remember right. I don't know the measurements. You can measure how much needs to get cut out when you get the inserts you're going to use.

Good call Mike! I think you are the first person I have seen anywhere that mentioned the valving of the shocks in question. Taking into account the vehicles they were designed for, the valving is going to vary quite a bit. Replacement KYB GR2's, tho thought of as a basic shock, are valved for bound and rebound differently than a stock 510 insert would be. so depending on what your going for, could be a good, or bad thing.
Anybody ever use the 280z inserts then change up to mr2 or rabbit inserts??? How is the handling now? better? worse? just curious myself as I just picked up some 280zx struts and will be doing coilovers.... :P
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#17 Bears510

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:09 PM

What's the rest of that equation? I know the hubs fit just fine, but it also changes the rotor position, so IIRC, you can't use the 280 calipers when you do that. Can you just put the 300zx calipers on the 280zx struts? I know I've checked this personally, but off hand, I don't remember what the answer was.....and I don't have time to go dig through my own thread :)

what mike..no digging through, what is it now...something like 17 pages?? lol! j/k
sorry for the delay tho, was at work and have to check the forum between calls..ACK!
the hubs do move them back out but no, you can't use the 300z calipers due to the mounting points without a nightmare bracket fabrication and you can't use the 280 calipers due to the rotor offset from the 300z hubs. it's not a direct fit in regards to the calipers. the 300z ups the rotor size to a larger 11" rotor from the 280z's tho and most people just make a very simple bracket and mount the wilwood dynalites to the bracket. pretty cheap for damn good brakes, and 4 pot calipers to boot!
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#18 mklotz70

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 01:48 PM

17 pages? Wow! I hadn't noticed it was that long! I do know that I really liked the ride my wgn had with the 300zx inserts.

I kinda remembered the wilwoods being the ticket with that swap. I just wanted to make sure it got clarified for others reading this thread. :)
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#19 hobbes_the_cat

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:47 PM

cool. thanks for all the input, i'm glad that the zx struts bring the wheels in because my current wheels stick out about 3/4 of an inch and i want them to tuck. now i just have to decide if i'm getting coilovers or just lowering my spring pearch... leaning towards the latter to save money since this will be mostly a cruiser.

#20 Bears510

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 05:15 PM

17 pages? Wow! I hadn't noticed it was that long! I do know that I really liked the ride my wgn had with the 300zx inserts.

I kinda remembered the wilwoods being the ticket with that swap. I just wanted to make sure it got clarified for others reading this thread. :)

sorry I didn't clarify that better...should know better as I am an info junkie myself!
not sure if it is really 17 pages, but I do know it's lengthy. lol!
I was gonna ask you about the 300z inserts as I know you mentioned that you have to mod the top hat, IIRC. I am assuming the strut shaft is larger or something. Reason I am interested is the valving itself as I am doing the vg30 swap, so figured it would be better valved for a slightly heavier engine...sounds like I am going to go that way...
I think you said they 300z inserts are even shorter than the mr2 struts as well? just curious...*evil grin*


cool. thanks for all the input, i'm glad that the zx struts bring the wheels in because my current wheels stick out about 3/4 of an inch and i want them to tuck. now i just have to decide if i'm getting coilovers or just lowering my spring pearch... leaning towards the latter to save money since this will be mostly a cruiser.

yeah, I wanted to go with the 300z hubs and bigger rotors and wilwoods myself, but since I just picked up some 6 spoke 280zx wheels, I need them to tuck as well...so 280z brakes for me for now!!! lol! still a major upgrade in brakes anyways, but they will actually tuck under the stock fenders instead of sticking out.
Glad I could help (or at least try! haha)
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