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VQ Engine Swap Information
Pharaohabq posted a topic in Nissan V6 ForumSo I've been asked a lot of times about the different VQ engines, and swapping into an S30. While I'm not exactly an expert on them, I am swapping a VQ35HR into my S30. Most of the questions I get are about what is required to make a VQ run. I've read a lot about it, and I've seen what other people have done to make one work. Props always have to go out to 240Hoke (Austin) and EMWHYR0HEN (Myron) for pioneering this swap into an S30. I highly recommend you read their pages and threads. Doing a swap is a big deal; it's not just a single weekend bolt on change. Usually it requires a little welding, or a lot of $ to have someone else do it. You can about guarantee that you'll blow your budget, so when you're planning a swap. Expect to spend at least $3K-$5K more than you're thinking. A VQ35DE (287HP) is very tempting, stock itâ€™s over 100 HP more powerful than the stock L28E (170HP). Before you buy: There are a lot of places to buy an engine. But before you look, thereâ€™s a lot more to a swap than just the engine. Thereâ€™s all the accessories that often donâ€™t come with the engine (people make more $ selling them separately). Then there are the Wiring harnesses, The Computers, the Fuel management, and the Integration to your car. These are things that are costly in addition to the expense of buying the engine. You should have a plan in place before you start. Expect your car to be out of service for quite some time. Try not to get bit by the â€œWhile Iâ€™m at itâ€ bug. Do one project at a time, one phase at a time. Planning is probably the most important part of your swap. Read Read Read; make sure youâ€™re familiar and comfortable with all the systems, and steps for swapping an engine. Which Engine? Most people are going for the older VQ35DE, as itâ€™s the most widely available, thus cheaper, engine. Nissan put them in the Altimas, Pathfinders, Quests, Maximas, Muranos, Xterras, and Infinity G35's / FX35's / M35's among others - depending, of course, on the model. Eg. SE, SL etc. Now keep in mind there are variances between these models. Some have different intakes, some have different heads and different transmissions. Iâ€™m not going to detail that, since weâ€™re only interested in the RWD versions. You can get a VQ35 from a FWD or AWD car and bolt a RWD Tranny to it, but you may need to change some additional parts out which could cost more, but the initial cost may be cheaper. Buying a 350Z VQ35 may be a lot more expensive than buying an old Altima VQ35 (power limited) or G35 VQ engine based solely on the fact that it came from a 350Z, so consider that. The VQ35HR: Nissan only made the VQ35HR for 2 years in the 350Z, 07-08, so it's a lot harder to find parts. But that being said, it's an excellent engine (306HP compared to the 287HP of the DE). The plenum is side ported so it fits better in the car. The block is taller, but the plenum is shorter so height-wise it still fits in a S30. The Tranny is better internally, but it still uses the same concentric clutch which really isn't that big a deal. Replacement clutches are a lot cheaper now than they were 2 years ago. The HR does require additional Trimming on the S30 Cross member, because the Oil Filter is in the front on the right. Aside from that it's all about the same installation wise. If youâ€™re going to go HR, You might as well go VQ37HR, they're more common (made for more years), 40hp more (~330HP), and fit almost exactly the same since they're the same block as the VQ35HR. You can get a VQ37 out of almost any G37 or 370Z. They're still not as widely available as the VQ35DE is, but the VQ37HR is an awesome engine. Really if you had the $$$$ and could find one, the VR38DETT would be the ultimate, but that's a rare animal, (and way too much $$$$$) But I digress, so with the VQ35HR (and the VQ37HR) like the DE, you still need the ECU/ BCU, NATS, IPDM and Key. It's still drive by wire so you need a gas pedal from the same year car either 350z or G35. The HR uses a 3rd plug on the ECU, so there's a 3rd harness you'll need. The Engine harness, the Engine Bay Harness and the Dash harness (body#1) If you can get these all from the same car, you'd be way ahead. The Dash harness usually comes with the fuse box. The engine bay harness includes the IPDM or at least the plugs for it. The IPDM is a computerized "smart" power management box, but really it's just the relays for things like the headlights and such. If you want to use the gauges, you'll also need the AC Amp. It really is better to buy a whole wrecked donor car, so you can just move the whole systems over directly and not worry about getting the wrong harness. Harness Mods: I know there are companies like Zfever, that can do harness mods to eliminate the extra harnesses and the BCU/NATS security. For many these work out fine, but I really have no experience with them. So look at their site and decide for yourself if you want to go that direction. Myself, I am planning on moving multiple 350Z systems into my S30, so Iâ€™m sticking with the stock 350Z harnesses. I would love to get the 350Z Cruise control working. As I understand it, Cruise only requires the ECU/BCU and the speed sensors on the Differential. Going with Stock also means you shouldnâ€™t have to do any tuning / dyno work unless you want to. Gas Pedal: Any VQ gas pedal should work, but one from the same year car G35 or 350z should work best. I only know of one change in the gas pedal, between 04 and 05 they changed the module that senses the pedal, but the plugs are the same so I assume it'll still work. It's best to stick with the same year as the engine - just to be sure itâ€™ll work. Procuring an engine: You might look first at the junkyards, and then if nothing is available there, put an ad up on craigslist or whatever you prefer, and see if someone privately has a car. You may be able to buy a 07 SE or SL Altima or earlier Maxima, pretty cheap with the DE engine. (Though you'd have to find a RWD tranny) Quest minivans are also cheap. (Note that some of these are ECU limited in HP) But look around and see what's available locally. Then if you can't find one, the next is so search JDM engine sources. (Japan has a 35K miles law that basically it's too expensive to drive something with more than 35K miles, tax-wise, so there's tons of good JDM engines being shipped out) Another place to look is into insurance auctions, a lot of times you can buy a wrecked complete car for $2K-$3K though most require that you bring a dealer along. Donors: Itâ€™s best to buy a Whole Donor, so not only do you know that all the parts once worked together, itâ€™ll be a lot easier and cheaper to have all the little modules and parts (engine accessories like Alt, PS Pump, AC pump etc) for your swap there on hand, and much cheaper than tracking them all down separately. Your neighbors may not like it, so plan on at least a car cover. Once your swap is complete, you can part the rest or sell it for scrap. A note on this: If you donâ€™t buy a Donor, you can still get a lot of the same parts cheaper from lesser VQ equipped cars, than the higher dollar 350Z/G35 cars. Eg. The MAFâ€™s are all the same part number across most Nissan models since 2003. Eg. It's $60 for a Quest MAF, and $98 for a 350Z MAF, same part #. That being said, I still bought a lot of my parts cheap on Ebay, and from Turbo-Toys, who dismantles mostly VQ cars. Mounting: Well McKinney Motorsports makes a Mount kit which is pretty good. But itâ€™s very expensive. â€œWhy the expense?â€ is a different conversation. But you can make your own from plans you can find on the internet. Or, you and make your own custom mounts as someone here on Hybridz did. One part that will be common to all VQ swaps in the S30, is the â€œModding the Steering cross member.â€ Youâ€™ll need to cut away half or more of the cross member and bolster the front side to retain the stiffness for your suspension and Steering mounting. For the HR, youâ€™ll also have to make a cut out for the oil filter. Youâ€™ll also need to cut out the S30 Stock Tranny mounts in the tunnel, and make/buy a new Tranny mount. You may also need to mod the shifter hole to fit. You will also need to build/buy a Shift linkage bracket (Ahokeâ€™s is really nice!) to shorten the distance from the shifter to the Tranny. (This is one argument to switch to the Auto Tranny version as the Auto is shorter and Drive by wire â€“ Though the width Iâ€™m uncertain about.) You will also need to route the S30 steering shaft around the exhaust. Usually this is done by adding another U-joint and extension, (Mine came from the donor 350Z steering) and building a bearing mount on the left fender wall. Thereâ€™s a lot more to this, but this is basically whatâ€™s required. AC and Power Steering: Air Conditioning. Well the Stock VQ location for the AC pump wonâ€™t work due to the Steering shaft. So either youâ€™ll have to do without, Build a different bracket, or go with electric AC. The S30 AC system can be made to work, but would require complete disassembly and cleanout, then reassembly and recharge using modern refrigerant from the 350Z. (I was looking at replacing the 350Z PS pump with the 350z AC pump and making different bracket. Again that is a different project). Power steering, yes itâ€™s possible, but itâ€™ requires integrating it with the â€œAdding Power Steeringâ€ topics here on Hybridz. Itâ€™s probably cheaper to go with that electric PS system. Exhaust: Youâ€™ll need to make/buy a custom exhaust as the stock headers point right at the S30 firewall when mounted. Turbo/Twin Turbo: kits are available, but run in the $4K-$6K range. GTM is a good company. Of course there would be further costs and mods required to put them an S30. I recommend that you get it working in stock form first. Transmission: The 350Zâ€™s come with either an Auto or a 6 sp manual. Really either one is great, the Auto has a lot of features like manual shift or automatic. The VQ37 also has synchro rev-match (2010+) available, which is pretty fun, where the ECU detects you're shifting and matches the engine speed to your shift, so technically you can shift without the clutch. Watch out though, if you get the engine from a G37x the x is AWD, and the Tranny won't work in an S30 unless you go AWD with it too, which is really expensive. I think the Auto Tranny may have a control unit, but I haven't looked into that much since Iâ€™m going Manual. I know the engine harness is different for the Auto. You can use an Engine / harness from an Auto with a manual, but not vice versa. The auto tranny reverse lockout switch would need to be bypassed. Youâ€™d have to source a flywheel/clutch, remove the flex plate and buy a new pinion bearing / Flywheel bolts. The early 03 / 04 350z manual trannies had some synchro issues, so look out for those. All VQ35DE Manual RWD trannies are interchangeable from 03 through 06. The 07-08 years used a JK Tranny with a different bolt pattern, I havenâ€™t verified that the 09 + VQ37 Tranny will work with a 07 or 08 HR engine, but it should because they both use the same block. It's best to use the 350Z Clutch master since it's matched to the concentric slave. Differentials: You can use the Stock S30 R200, and should be fine, though the 3.54 gearing may be a little tall for you. 3.7 or 3.9:1 might make you a little happier. The 350z uses a Short nosed R200, with the timing wheels on the stubs. The timing wheels can be used to tell the ECU to display how fast youâ€™re going using the AC amp and the stock 350Z electronics. Youâ€™d have to use a Ron Tyler (RT) type mount to install a short nosed R200. This is the same for installing a short nosed R230 from a Z32. Both have the timing wheels. Your Stock S30 Speedo wonâ€™t work with a Z33/Z34 Tranny. A LSD is available in both the Z33/Z34 and the Z32 Diffâ€™s. The Subi LSD R180 should still work with the VQâ€™s power, but your stub axles are the weak point. Fuel: Most swaps I've seen actually go through the work to upgrade the S30 fuel lines. I'm not certain that's required since the 350Z fuel lines appear to be the same size. The VQ needs to be run either on a "dead head" configuration or on a return configuration. Either way, you'll need a good quality Fuel pressure regulator, and a stronger Fuel pump. I've seen people swap in the Stock 350Z pumps, and I've seen people use walbrough 255 LPH pumps. Both are workable. You'll need to research the different setups and decide what will work for you. My plan is to use a quart sized pressure container in the engine compartment with the input and the output to the engine on the bottom then a FPR and a return to the tank on the top. That way any bubbles float up through the FPR and my engine has constant pressure from before the FPR. Likely I'll use the S30 tank and an external walbrough. The 08+ cars are nice too, in that most use the key fob deal that with Bluetooth, allows for push button operation, so you wouldn't have to even take your keys out of your pocket. But that's another story. Now I realize this is really not much more than a primer, but it answers most of the questions I am regularly asked. I welcome constructive comments. Good luck on your projects. I would highly recommend for you to download the FSM's for the VQ35DE, VQ35HR, and the VQ37HR cars so you can see exactly what these components do, and what each system consists of. Being familiar with that will make sure you pull all the parts you want the FIRST TIME. Here are the FSM links: http://www.xenonz33.com/reference.html http://www.xenonz34.com/reference.html PharaohABQ.