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VQ35DE 73 240 Build

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For the Nissan people.


I am installing an '05 VQ35DE into my '73 240 for which I have had for 15 years now. This project also includes all restoration work needed as well. This is the second rebuild and 3rd engine, this time being much more in depth.  I have already replaced the floor boards and frame rails with sub connectors, full suspension, steering, and brake replacement among many other things. If it's on the car, it's been touched. I won't go into too much detail as there are others that have done so very nicely, however, I will point out what I have done differently.











So I have researched and researched and reread everything I could find before starting this. Hell it took me 2 years just to decide what engine to swap into it (RB, LS, LQ, L99, etc). I ended up with the '05 engine, 6 speed, engine harness, ECU, accelerator pedal, clutch pedal box, clutch master, brake booster/ master cylinder, and driveshaft. All from the same car with 59k miles on it. And for those interested, this ran me about $2500 from a local salvage yard. I used McKinney Motorsports mounts, Hoke Performance (Austin) shifter relocation and modified stock fuel rails. Which by the way, the fuel rails look great, more info on HokePerformance.com or on FB.











For those familiar with this swap, you probably already know which way I went for engine management according to the parts list, Zfever. Currently I am finishing up all fabrication on the car before taking everything back out to paint. So I will not get to the wiring and firing bit until January or February. As for the Mckinney Motorsports mounts, they work, but I have found that if you are installing this engine and trans into a 73, nothing fits easy. It is different from a 72 in the transmission tunnel and in my 73, the bracing is a U shape. In a 72, it is 2 braces, one on each side for the stock transmission mount to bolt to. I had to cut it out for the trans to go up all the way.  And the K member...jeesh, I cut the hell out of it and boxed it in and used gussets. Also cut for the oil filter and oil pressure sender, both boxed in. You are limited by two things here when installing this into an S30, the firewall and the front crossmember. Then there is the hood, I have never had a stock hood on the car so I picked one up locally for 50 bucks. It too had to be modified to clear the intake manifold because of the mounts. I bought the car with a fiberglass cowl induction hood.











I'll get better pictures later, but ultimately I'm happy with how it sits now. I added some plates to the floor where the transmission cross member bolts up. This reinforces the area and ties this into the frame rails. They are tacked now and will be fully welded when I remove the engine/trans.










I bought Speedhut Revolution gauges and modified the stock housings so they fit like stock. There have been numerous write-ups on this so I won't go into detail but here is the mockup. I am using the GPS speedometer so that I do not have to fool with speed sensors or a turk system. The coolant temp is fitted in an adapter inline on the upper radiator hose while the sensor for the electric fan will be in the upper coolant tube at the block. The oil pressure sensor is in the stock location. I also have the speedhut fuel level sensor in a modified stock tank, more on this later as this is still in the works.








Other Parts


I also have electric power steering. It's the kit from ZPowersteering.com. I bought one of the first NRG hub adapters for the S30 to adapt to their quick disconnect and steering wheel. AutoPower roll bar, 1 3/4" bar welded between the rear strut towers for the harness bar, Corbeau seats, dapper lighting projector headlights, oh and I've had Rota RBR 17x8.5 on the car for a few years as well as TTT camber plates, rear control arms, tension rods, GC coil overs (225/250), Tokico adjustable, ST rear sway, MSA front sway with plates. R200 with OBX helical limited slip carrier 3.9 gears, Blah blah the list goes on...as I said, if it's on the car, it's been touched.


But on que for purchase are the Driveshaft Shop axles and driveshaft, and some goodies from Z1.




Initially, I wanted to swap the pedal assemblies for the 350Z clutch and brake. However, the 350Z brake pedal assembly will not fit without lowering the booster and pedal because the top of the pedal assembly hits the cowl. I did manage to squeeze in the 350Z brake master cylinder and booster. I'm not sure if anyone has done this so here are some more details. This will NOT work with just any motor. For sure will not work with a carb'ed L series with stock linkage because the booster is in the way. I drilled the new bolt pattern for the booster and enlarged the opening a few mm. The 350Z booster is huge, it takes up a lot of space, including the stock clutch cylinder. It will NOT work with a stock clutch cylinder which brings me to the next part. I was able to fit the entire clutch pedal assembly from the 350Z. Since the booster covers the stock location, it is moved outward by a couple of inches. It is a very tight fit but with the way the pedal is bent, it works great. I reinforced the firewall with some plating so it doesn't flex as it is outside the stock reinforcement. 












Fuel Delivery


I have the Aeromotive Phantom System that is all in one, bladder and pump. This is what I am currently working on, I am modifying the stock tank to fit this unit. Basically taking the tallest part of the tank, lowering a corner of it to fit the Aeromotive unit as the AN fittings on the top require this modification. Fuel is delivered through new aluminum 3/8" feed and return. Cool fuel is delivery straight to the rails via Y splitter, then run through the Aeromotive FPR. Soft lines are black nylon -6 an. 



This is enough for now, let me know if you have any questions that I might be able to help with!

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Onyx, when it comes to the vq, there are three options.   1- standalone engine management, not many doing that these days on regular motors because of options 2 and 3. 2- full wiring

I also made a front strap out of some 1/8” cable with some tubing around it. I already have a rt mount so if it translates any noise I’ll take it out.

Zdayz was a lot of fun this year. Looking to do more activities there next year.          

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So worked a little on the gas tank last night. It has a long way to go as far as welding and then restoring, but i believe this will work. I had the welder too hot in a few places and had to chase it, oh well, I won't quit my day job just yet.





Edited by Tank
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Thanks Pharaoh, I've been keeping up with your build as well as all of the info you have shared. I can't wait to see your car finished. I'm about 2 weeks away from blowing the car back apart for paint.


As for the clutch setup, I'm happy with the results. Plus I will be able to find replacement parts for years to come. I fitted the pedal assembly so that it is in the stock location even with the addition of the .125" plating for firewall bracing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Small update, I am finished with the gas tank. Holes drilled for the aeromotive unit and fuel level sending unit. It is ready to be sent off to be restored at this point. 






I also have been working on restoring the dash. It had one large crack in the center and one small on the right side. It really wasn't in that bad of shape, I have seen many that are way worse. I went with the napa bumper repair, texture, then paint method. It turned out pretty good. I hope it stays this way.




I was finally able to get everything mounted and are now ready to tear the car back apart for paint. I really hope to have this thing painted in a month or two, but we know how this sort of thing goes...

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So I was installing the new gauges in the dash and starting to prewire and I flipped the dash over so that I could get easier access and later noticed a new crack in the dash. Not sure how I did it, but that is frustrating, probably going to look at some other solutions such as a full cover or maybe getting it upholstered. I spent a lot of time getting that thing just right...but I'm glad it happened now instead of when it was back in the car.

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Uhg!  that sucks...   I'm going to use a full cap on mine,  it looks pretty good.  another option is to send it out to Redash, where they're smooth and fill it, then use a vaccuum formed new coating on it to fully restore it.  The ones I've seen have looked amazing, but thats a pretty penny to have it done. If you ha time,you guys rubber bumper fix yours again, probably cheaper than even the cap. You have to wait for it to get painted anyway.


Are you keeping the stock Diff in your car?  I've got a shortnosed R200 LSD for mine, I just need to make a RT mount, and figure how to mate the 6 ear Z34 cv cups to the 5 ear 86' cv axles. I'm not sure there's room for an adapter plate.  I'l get there sometime.  My build has been delayed due to having a family.

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I thought about starting all over with the new crack but came to the realization that this is over 40 years old and will keep happening. I actually have a  full dash cap for it but was not happy with the way it fit so I figured I would give the repair a shot. How does your dash cap fit? The center gauge holes seem to be too small and the entire cap seems to be too short as the vent cutouts do not line up. Some manipulating was to be expected, but not as much as what I would have to do to make it fit right. I know I received the correct one because I have a 73 (9/72 production date) and I believe it is unique to that year (maybe a 260 as well).


I already have a long nose R200 3.9 rebuilt and I installed the OBX helical locker in it with the RT mount used as a constant state snubber. As for axles, I have gone round and round on this one and I'm thinking of getting the Driveshaft Shop axle kit or Wolfe Creek. Leaning more towards Driveshaft shop because they are local and I am having them make my driveshaft. Speaking of driveshaft, they do make carbon fiber shafts so I'm thinking of having the stock Z33 driveshaft I have cut down to size and an adapter made to bolt to the pinion flange. Just an idea...but It may be more cost effective to have an entirely new shaft made. I haven't gotten that far yet.


You may have to trim the 86 axles for the Z34 cv's/adapters to fit. But if you have to do that, you may have more money invested than it's worth. And that's exactly the type of scenario I have be going over and over. I hear you on the family, that's why I'd love to have this "finished" in the next few months, not only so I can race it this season, but we are starting a family soon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey, So far as the dash cap, Mine I think will fit a lot better once I sand down and glue all the high spots. I have a couple places at the gauges where the dash has split and cut back almost to the gauge itself. So mines going to have a bit of repair work to do first. Aside from that you can carefully use a heat gun to get it to really mould down to the dash. You're supposed to glue it down too, I am not so sure about that, if I do I'll glue it with something sandable that I can remove later. I dunno, That rubber bumper stuff really looks good in a lot of cases. But yeah I'm concerned about the cracking too. Where your cracks, was it at a repair point or was it at somehere new? I've been real tempted to just send mine out to www.justdashes.com and have them do it the right way. But I don't know how much that'll cost. I figure I can do it later if the cap doesn't work out.


Nice, that Diff sounds sweet. Mines a stock LSD out of a 350Z. The RT mount should be fine, and I'm going to use poly isolators to hold it and drill the existing moustache bar until I can afford either the AZCar or the T3 suspension. My driveshaft: it's only going to be about 28inches or so long, so I am just going to have a standard metal shaft made from the Z34 yoke, I don't have the full carbon fiber shaft to play with, just the yoke. I'll have them make the differential end. the weight will make very little difference. Metal is easier to balance and much cheaper to have made.


I'm still pending paint and all so that's a future project.  I really need to see how other people have mated R200's to S30's. I've read a few and seen a couple weld jobs, but really we need a defined guide.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The dash cracked somewhere new. That's what changed my mind to do something else with it, but I've got some time to think about it. The metal driveshaft is probably what I'll end up with but I will explore how much the carbon fiber version would be. The short nose R200 is definitely a big project to take on, or expensive depending on doing it yourself or paying for the kit. I would like to see more info too.


On another note, I created some brackets and gussets, had them cut out and I welded them on the front camber plates for a strut bar. I plan on cutting the factory engine cover, sort of a slot for the bar to sit in. Have you made or seen how anyone else has done this with a VQ swap? I post some pictures later.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pharaoh, I just spoke with JustDashes....and it's definitely not in the budget. At least not for the immediate future. Maybe after I take the wife on a vacation!


In other news,

  • The gas tank is being sent off for restoration tomorrow or Monday.
  • FINALLY received my replacement body parts after a 3 month wait so body work is in full swing. 
  • Received some Z1 stuff for the engine- lightweight fly, clutch, kenetix v+ upper plenum
  • Finally have the correct tee fitting to run the stock oil pressure sender and the pressure sender for the gauge. This little piece is very specialized and WAY overpriced. FYI- BSPT male for the block, BSPT female for stock sender, NPT female on top for gauge sender

Anyone have a ring gear stopper tool for the VQ motor by chance? This keeps the flywheel from turning when tightening bolts either on the flywheel or on the crank pulley bolt. I can't bring myself to by a $220 tool that I am only going to use once or twice, but hesitant not to use it because I don't want to damage the flywheel teeth when tightening the bolts.

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Hey Tank...   On that Ring gear tool, you don't need it, just take a 2x4 and cut a wedge, about 1 foot long, then put in a couple mounting bolts and wedge the wood between the bolts and the ring gear then tighten the flywheel/clutch according to the manual.  It worked fine for me with very little slippage. I was able to torque everything properly, then knock out the wedge and I was set to mate the tranny.  I replaced my pilot bearing and all my bolts with new from Nissan before mounting my clutch.


Yeah Just dashes is way expensive, but you'll never have to worry about the dash again. They use the 3mm UV resistant vinyl. though I've been thinking I might be able to find another vacuum forming company and have them form over mine and I'd just finish it myself. Sand and all with that Great Stuff then once it's the right shape, have it sprayed with glue, then formed and I can do the rest. How hard could that be? Worst case I get a junkyard dash and use my cap.

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Oooh, Hope you feel better.. Yeah I understand cold. We got another 3" of snow last night, Just when I thoguht it was warming up. we'd down below freezing again. I'm looking for a trailer to haul my car to the shop next. Right now I'm fitting the 350Z seats to the stock sliders. And I'm modding the steering to take the 350Z tilt steering. (shortening the 280z column, and adding the U joint just behind the 350z mid column mount, which almost matches the mount point for the brake/clutch pedals) the downside is I can't use a stock 280Z steering wheel, so I'll have to find a newer wheel, maybe a 90' 300zx wheel, I'll have to check the splines. the 350Z splines are finer than the 280z column splines. So I get the steering back together, then I can put mine on the trailer. I've been kicking the idea around of having the underside Rhino-lined just so I'd probably never have to worry about it. I probably need to sort the RT mount for the Diff and any other changes like the 240Z bumper-swap before doing that. so many projects. I need a list.


Oh I also just found out the stock 350z rear wiper motor would actually fit in a 280z hatch, but I'll have to weld in mounting tabs/nuts. I might have the only 280z with a working rear wiper soon :wink:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Pharaoh, I'm looking forward to seeing your steering set up. That's going to be really convenient. I have been thinking of going with the dupli color truck armor for the underside of the car. Same thing as the rhino essentially. That is a great idea for the rear wiper, very cool!

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Small update:


Got the fuel tank back and prepped for install. Overall very happy with the way it turned out.






Also finished installing the lightweight flywheel and new clutch. Fuel and clutch lines run, just about ready to be reinstalled!








And continuing on the body work, notice the mounts for the strut bar- more on this later.



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