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Project Z31 600zx


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#1 Aaron D

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:35 PM

Well guys, welcome to project 600zx. I've been setting on this car for a while thinking on how to build it.

At first I was planning on doing a mild build up on the stock W-series VG30ET 3.0 sixer adding a stealthy V-mount aftercooler and a Pathfinder upper intake manifold etc.

After careful consideration and much searching, I've decided against the factory power plant for several reasons.

What I finally chose to go with is a 6.0 liter V8 LQ9 engine from GM.
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As far as current progress it's mostly been a story of pulling parts and cleaning, but it's progress none the less.

Here is the story in pictures:

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It was so covered with oil and grease, it nearly slid out on it's own.
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#2 Aaron D

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:35 PM

Note to all Turbo owners: DO NOT DRIVE WITH A LEAKY OIL LINE!!!

This next series of pictures shows how I've had to clean what must have been 10lbs of caked on oil/grease off the engine bay and underside of this car.

Engine bay...

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#3 Aaron D

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:36 PM

Underbody...

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It took me two weekends to get this car cleaned up, this was just from cleaning the underside:
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The end of my driveway looks like an Prince William Sound, Alaska on March 24, 1989...


Worth every dime:
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I've weighed the original engine, transmission, and clutch assembly to keep track of what my exchange will be. They seem to weigh more than the listings I've found posted on the web by quite a bit. Listed as follows:

W-series VG30ET Engine w/starter, no A/C: 473lbs dry (oil and water drained)
FS5R30A Transmission: 139lbs dry (oil drained)
Stock Flywheel (resurfaced) and Clutch assembly (exedy OEM Spec): 41lbs

Total weight: 650-655lbs

The scale was Zeroed out between each weighing and for the chains/cables used.

#4 Aaron D

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:37 PM

I got a present yesterday:

LQ9 from a 2004 Cadillac Escalade with 48k on it.

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#5 Aaron D

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:39 PM

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#6 Aaron D

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:41 PM

Timeline for this build is going to be... quite a while. I had to save for a while just to get the engine/harness.

If anyone knows of a completed Z31 GenIII SBC build please let me know. I've searched everywhere I can think of and haven't turned up much of anything to reference. The only thing I can think of to go off of so far is Z32 GenIII SBC builds and the challenges they've encountered. I don't know how similar the Z31 and Z32 chassis are in regards to the engine bay and firewall are except in pictures. Maybe someone has owned both and can speak to this?

I dunno, I'll find out in process and all. I just know I can't possibly be the first to do this swap, so I'd like to get pointers where I can.

Thanks!

Aaron D.

#7 i r teh noobz

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 08:58 PM

I'm in the process of doing a 5.3/TKO600 swap on my 88' NA Z31. My driveline is hanging in the car and I'm still coming up with ideas for my mounts. I'll try to get you some pictures this weekend. I wanted to wait until the engine was mounted to start a build thread, but I guess this works.

As for information, I have looked everywhere and found absolutely nothing. I pieced together what I could from the Z32 guys and figured the rest out on my own. Here's what I know so far:

The truck intake and oil pan won't fit. The intake will pop up about 5 inches past the hoodline and the oil pan almost hits the ground. The F-body pan and LS1 intake fit, but I had to do some serious hammer work to the firewall to make the engine sit back far enough to clear the steering rack with my bellhousing. The throttle body still won't clear, but I may be able to run the intake backwards to make room (I really want the sleeper look, not a big cowl scoop).

The alternator bracket for the truck holds the alternator up nearly as high as the funky intake, so I'm probably going to have to fab up a custom bracket for the alternator, and I want to run the stock Z power steering pump (if you use the Z alternator's pulley, it has the same ribbing as the LSx A/C belt).

The engine is in the way of my A/C evaporator, so I doubt I'll be using A/C. The heater core lines are a tight fit, but should be workable.

The TKO600 and bellhousing fit well (just got it in late last night, so I'm not 100% on how much clearance I have. A hydraulic throwout bearing setup looks like the only option at this point). The shifter comes up through the stock hole as I have it now, but its a little too far foreward. A little grinding and a custom shifter should do the trick.

There isn't much room for an exhaust. I'll be having a friend of a friend build me a custom exhaust and headers.

That's all I can remember right now. I'll try to keep you updated.

#8 Aaron D

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 10:29 AM

Thank you very much for posting i r teh noobz. I realize it may be a little early to call my project a "build", but i know I'm committed to it and have done several V8 swaps before so I know I'm not in over my head.

Good news to hear about the power steering pump ribbing, that'll be one more thing I won't have to convert or have to really have to figure out since I do know the pressure output on the pumps are different.

I do plan on keeping/making all the creature comforts work including A/C in my car without sacrificing steering geometry by lowering the steering rack to make this engine fit, so using a custom oil pan, aftermarket bell housing, custom headers, etc. are things I accept as part of the price for this swap.

I didn't figure the truck intake or oil pan would work out based on my measurements, but thanks for confirming that. I was planning on running the camaro accessory brackets and pulleys.

As for having to hammer the firewall for clearance, I’m curious to find out what exactly for? Was it for engine clearance or bellhousing clearance? I may be able to borrow a buddy’s T56 for mock up purposes and answer many of these questions for myself, but any pictures or input you can share is welcomed!

As far as exhaust options, this thread Braap had going might be of interest to you:
http://forums.hybrid...t=144469&page=4

#9 Chaparral2f

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 04:23 PM

Looks like you're off to a good start. Even though I don't have any experience with Gen III engines, but any encouragment or faulty advise I can offer just let me know. Until I looked at your pictures, I had forgotten how much crap I have thrown away. Its really great to see someone doing a late model block in a Z31. Here is how I got around the clearance problem on my gen I 350. I'm still having some headaches with clearing the top of the magneto.

1. Front clip removal, or how I cleaned the engine bay.
2. Firewall and floor removal. or getting the crap off the underside of the car.
3. The chassis.
4. Like you said, Worth every penny
5. Home made engine plates solved my motor mount issues.

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If you're gonna be stupid, You gotta be tough!
'84 Z31 350 sbc 4 1/2" setback Full tubular frame Jag front suspension Jag Dana 44 posi rear

#10 Young Z

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 04:48 PM

A bit off topic but what do you plan on doing with the VG and all of the associated electronics? I'd be happy to take the harness, ecu, dizzy, etc for a Z31 ECU upgrade on my L28et :D.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

'75 Datsun 280z---Fairlady Z Turbo (Sold Aug 2009 :()

Build Thread--->http://www.northwest...ead.php?t=75556

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#11 Aaron D

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 09:05 PM

Little update!

Did a little mocking up today:

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My only real rubbing issue topside so far (A/C line):
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The engine is by no means in it the final location, I don't even have a transmission on it. The bell housing for a T56 is 5.5" long:
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And a T56 shifter baseplate starts about 26" from the bellhousing flange (Wife's helping hands :smile:):
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#12 Aaron D

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 09:07 PM

Intake room is going to be tight:
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No way is the truck intake set up is going to clear:
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I originally thought it would be cool to have some other cladding on the engine other than the typical LS valve covers on it...

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Yeah, no chance on the oil pan either:
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#13 Aaron D

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 09:07 PM

I tried to get get measurements of the space between the hood and the engine with the hood on and latched. Not much room in there, so these pics were taken blind:

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#14 Aaron D

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 09:09 PM

Exhaust looks to be the least of my worries, TONS of room!

Looks like I can use LS2 Z06 manifolds if nothing else.

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Passenger:

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That's all for now.

Questions? Comments? I'm all ears.

#15 Aaron D

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 09:36 PM

Wow, Chaparral2f that is a mega-over the top build compared to this. I had considered motor plates though! I don't think I'll need to go that route in the end. Looks like just some home built ones or even some off the shelf universal kits will work fine.

Young Z: I'm pretty sure all the VG stuff I'm pulling out of this car is going to my buddy Greg in NW Arkansas. Thanks for asking though.

#16 Chaparral2f

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 10:10 PM

The truth is, the build is rather accidental. If there is one piece of advise that I can truly offer it's this: Beware of the "While I'm at it..." bug. You're doing a great job of documenting your project, and I'm looking foreward to seeing it come together for you.
If you're gonna be stupid, You gotta be tough!
'84 Z31 350 sbc 4 1/2" setback Full tubular frame Jag front suspension Jag Dana 44 posi rear

#17 i r teh noobz

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 11:04 AM

The hammer work was for the bellhousing. I was able to move the engine/bell combo back about an inch and a half after pounding the tunnel and removing a pivot ball mounting boss from the the bell (I'm planning on running a hydraulic throwout setup). I'm not sure how the T56 bell compares to the old 4 speed bell.

#18 Aaron D

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 08:51 PM

Think I may have the oil pan situation figured out. There are several makers of an oil pan for 1st Gen Camaro/LSx swaps that seems to fit my application perfectly. This pan may prevent any issue with the intake clearing the hood or the bell housing hitting the firewall. Either way, based on my measurements, no factory oil pan will suit me.

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All factory pans listed here:
http://www.gmtruckhq...-them-2720.html

My current truck pan is sticking down about 3" past the cross member. I want the engine to set as low as possible for obvious reasons and I want the ability to scoot the engine forward if I have to to keep from having to modify the firewall or having to buy that expensive bellhousing. This pan may be the ticket to all that. IF it does all that, then one $280-$400 pan would be a steal if that's the only custom part I have to pay for in this swap aside from a driveshaft.

#19 bleakdragonmage

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 09:52 PM

i dont know about your pan, but the pan on my SBC is as low as the engine can possibly sit, and the pan doesnt sit below the crossmember. Granted its a SBC 350 but still.

Its lookin good though. The exhaust has a ton of room...UNTIL...you have to go around the steering column.

#20 Aaron D

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 10:52 PM

If you'll look back through the pictures in post #12 I have a picture of my oil pan. The car is setting on car skates, so you can't really appreciate just how low to the ground the pan would be setting, but it would only be about an inch or two from scrapping.

As far as the exhaust, I plan on using these LS2 C6 manifolds in the short term:

(thanks to Braap's Z32 build page for photos)
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Routing from there *should* be ok. If not, there are several other factory manifold options or even custom headers if all else fails. It's kind of hard to appreciate in my photos, but there really is a ton of room on the driver side for exhaust routing. The passenger side is going to be the tough side, the starter is going the obstacle.




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