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Sanchez

Looking into a VQ37 Swap

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Hey guys, it’s been a while since I posted on here because my Z had been a hot streak of not having any critical. Now that I’m out of college, have a good job, and a new daily driver I finally was able to put my Z up to get prepared for restoration. I have been toying with the idea of a VQ swap, and having spoken with Z-Fever/Fever Racing he made some great points to using the VQ37 as a power plant. He sent me a bunch of info PDFs about doing the swap and the stuff involved and what they offer to make the swap easier. They customize the ECU rom to bypass any unnecessary portions of the harness and modify the engine harness to need a 12V source, ground, and start relay so the engine can run pretty much standalone, and it comes with an Uprev license.

 

I was wondering if anybody had done these things themselves and could offer a bit of insight into making the wiring something that can be done DIY style. I am the type of person who likes to do the work and learn as they do it, and I like to know my car front to back which is why I am interested in trying to wire the thing myself before paying to have it done. Not to mention it would be great if I could get this done for just the price of the Uprev/Osiris software as I have access to an endless supply of wire, wiring tools, and wiring hardware.

 

Thanks in advance for the help 

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I like the idea of keeping it all Nissan if the is a great reason to not use and LSx. Did Z-Fever/Fever Racing give you some good reasons to use the VQ37 engine over an LSx?  I don't think its any small or lighter. I think you are hard pressed to get 400 NA rwhp from nissan while that is easy from LSx.

 

 

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I am a fan of the VQ37 for keeping the car Nissan and using an engine still from the Z family. Z-Fever made the point that the VQ37 is in so many Nissan cars that it’s starting to become a throw-away engine, that almost every scrapyard has a wall full of them and are trying to get rid of them. I can get a whole engine assembly with 52K miles on it right now for $750 or a whole salvaged g37 for $1200-1700, so his point makes sense to me. Basically once the engine/wiring/everything is set up and swapped, should I ever blow the engine replacing it would cost just as much as sourcing a new LSx motor.

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The big cost differences are going to be transmissions. Everyone seems to want $1500 for even used T56's with unknown history. It's absurd quite frankly.

 

I'm a huge fan of the throttle response on my G37s. That engine and 6 speed in an S30 would be a fun combo. VQ35 is cheaper, but I like the VVEL and dual intake.

 

You can make about 350whp NA on the VQ37 with an intake/headers/exhaust/tune, but I don't think many people have actually done that. LS will get you more torque in low RPM as well as better cruising MPG. Either will be a riot, but with the prices everyone seems to want for a proper aluminum block LS and the inflated prices for GM 6 speeds the VQs might become more appealing swaps. 

 

All that being said, I still think an aluminum LS with a 6 speed would be better and more easily upgraded, but everyone boasting about cheap LS swaps seems to be running iron block truck engines for boost with an auto and they lean towards drag racing setups for raw speed. 

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9 hours ago, 260DET said:

The later model VQ the better, starting with the HR. As for gearboxes, check out the price of a new one, you may be happily surprised but make sure that it matches your engine.

 

Separate from any sort of brand loyalty and just plain really loving the combination in my G37, this is the biggest reason I would consider the VQ over an LS in terms of costs.  I'm not drag racing and don't want a cheaper auto just to have the LS power.

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The way I see it is that a VQ37VHR will cost roughly the price of a donor vehicle and the wiring/ECU modifications from Z-fever. So $2000 for salvage vehicle + $2250 for Z-fever = $4250 to just have the engine/trans running ready to go into the chassis. Add mounting kit, driveshaft, and gasket based on the mileage for another $1500 = $5750 for the engine in the car making the tires spin. You can recoup some of that parting out the donor car. Giving you 306hp and 270tq from an N/a motor with an 8k redline and room to improve that power.

 

From what I see that is the same price as a good aluminum block LSx swap or an RB25 completed swap, and about the same price as just an RB26 before you even put it in the vehicle. Plus once the VQ is in and wired it’s quickly becoming the cheapest to replace.

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Did a little digging into the 370Z factory service manual and found a pin out of the ECU. Using some other information I came across online I think I’ve narrowed it down to 30 pins (and respective wires) necessary to fire up the engine and keep it running right. With this it could make it much easier to do the VQ37 wiring harness ourselves for the DIYers. I’ll try and post up a picture when I get some free time of which pins I believe to be crucial to operation and maybe some of you more experienced with these engines could chime in.

 

My only road block is learning about the ECU rom editing using Osiris/Uprev because I can’t find any videos going over the software, or how to make changes so the engine won’t look for or require signals from the NATS/BCM/IPDM. Hopefully somebody on this forum who has used it before for any VQ engine could shed some light on the situation.

 

My hope and goal beyond building this car for myself is making this swap more accessible to the DIYers so we can get some more of those older Z’s resto-mods on the road.

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On 10/1/2019 at 7:29 PM, hwyix said:

I like the idea of keeping it all Nissan if the is a great reason to not use and LSx. Did Z-Fever/Fever Racing give you some good reasons to use the VQ37 engine over an LSx?  I don't think its any small or lighter. I think you are hard pressed to get 400 NA rwhp from nissan while that is easy from LSx.

 

 

The ls engine with aluminum block is 370 lbs. The vq is 310. The vq is shorter by a few inches, maybe as much as 5". So moving the vq closer to the firewall along with its lightness will add to the better balance of the car. It will be heavier in the rear but still well balanced. It will have a great turn in and set on a road course. The cd009 is considerably lighter than the t56. I'm not sure what the difference is. That's more weight reduction right in the center of the car. Twin turbo on light boost is going to easily get 450 whp. And with a lighter car it will feel better. The vq37vhr with a good cai and a good exhaust and a tune makes over 400 at the crank.

 

If I'm not mistaken, the LSX is the iron block version of the LS series. I think thats about 40 lbs heavier than the aluminum block version. But its considerably stronger if you wanted to go with high boost setup.

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I am at a crossroads regarding which way to go with engine swap for my 75 280Z.  I picked up a 2007 Yukon XL short block (basically a LS3) to start my build.  But now I am considering just getting a 2010 G37s donor car or compete engine/trans pullout and going twin turbo.  From the little I've read so far on the VQ37VHR is a stout motor capable of handling 800+ in stock form.  Also, the CDOOA 6sp manual tranny again is stout holding up to many high HP turbo builds.  The LS was going to be N/A but the VQ37 will need to be turbo to satisfy HP needs.  I have not played with turbos so they really are a "black box" and seem to require big budgets.

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The more I’ve been trying to figure out building my own harness for a VQ37 swap the more I believe the ZFever harness service is worth the money. At their price point for a plug and play harness it is worth knowing that it was tested on a good running motor in their shop (which I’ve been to a few times with my Z in the Tampa area) and it comes with a UpRev tune and license to fire right up.

In my personal opinion most early Z cars are worth restoring with L-series engines or RB engines to keep that pure Z-car feel. But as L-series engines struggle to make the power we want with out a balls-to-the-wall build, and the RB engines become more expensive and scarce I believe the VQ swap should become more common and excepted as a way of preserving these cars long into the future. All of the number and budget crunching I have done shows the price to have a VQ37VHR mounted in a 240Z with the CD00x transmission and custom driveshaft to cost as much as a LS or RB25det swap, and cheaper than an RB26 by a modest amount (I’ve yet to find a complete long block RB26 stripped of turbos/harness/ECU for less than $3000).

 

Just as an update on my progress:

My friend has recently purchased garage space which will become space for projects and started a YouTube channel to showcase projects/builds and make content for vehicle maintenance and component installation. In the coming months we will start a video build log of my 240Z as we resto-mod it with a VQ37

 

Check it out at the Cherry Garage on YouTube

 

Cherry Garage

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On 1/11/2020 at 5:04 AM, jsulse said:

I am at a crossroads regarding which way to go with engine swap for my 75 280Z.  I picked up a 2007 Yukon XL short block (basically a LS3) to start my build.  But now I am considering just getting a 2010 G37s donor car or compete engine/trans pullout and going twin turbo.  From the little I've read so far on the VQ37VHR is a stout motor capable of handling 800+ in stock form.  Also, the CDOOA 6sp manual tranny again is stout holding up to many high HP turbo builds.  The LS was going to be N/A but the VQ37 will need to be turbo to satisfy HP needs.  I have not played with turbos so they really are a "black box" and seem to require big budgets.

 

A more practical setup is to use a single turbo, something like a properly matched ball bearing Garrett will give you great all round performance with 'no worries' turbo lag. Plus it involves a quicker build which trust me is always a plus.

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A quick google search for single turbo vq37 came up with Doc Race.  Web page states kits are in development and offered in 5 HP levels:

Garrett GTW3476R (aka GTW5857R) Ball Bearing 500hp- $4995

Garrett GTW3684R (aka GTW6262R) Ball Bearing 600hp- $4995

Garrett GTW3884R (aka GTW6265R), 62mm Ball Bearing 625hp- $5095

Garrett GTW3884R (aka GTW6465R), 64mm Ball Bearing 700hp- $5195

Garrett GTW3884R (aka GTW6765R), 67mm Ball Bearing 800hp- $5295

 

These kits are half the cost of twin turbo kits I've seen but still a chunk of money.  Being new to turbos not confident I could build a turbo kit from scratch at an attempt to save money.   I agree with Sanchez in comparing HP to dollars spent.  My plan was to build out my LS3 block with an entry level N/A LS stroker yielding 600HP costing at least $6000, $2000 for Holley HP ECU then add a Tremec Magnum and clutch/flywheel for $5000.  That $13K, which is a conservative estimate, can go a long way to putting a turbo on a low miles junk yard VQ37/trans pullout.  

Curious if the 370Z piping would for the S30 chassis and at what HP level would turbo lag start to become noticeable?

 

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On the 350Z/370Z and G35/G37 forums there are a number of threads going over FI for the VQ motors. I have done a fair bit of research into it even though I will almost certainly be happy with a mild street build NA power (honestly I think for putting a VQ into a 240/260/280Z the single supercharger looks like the cheapest and easiest solution and would be my go to over turbos).

For a S30 chassis non of the premade turbo kits will work, just to put headers on your VQ for the 240Z requires custom manifolds, so any turbo manifolds and piping will be mostly custom pre-fab stuff. As for spool times twin turbos are gonna feel better on the street as they will come on sooner and make a nice curve, but trying to hit 600HP on a VQ with single turbo is going to require a pretty large housing and going to have a steep torque curve later in the RPM range depending on other engine mods.

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Just picked up a running VQ37VHR from a t-boned 2011 G37 with 25k miles on it, with the EFI/Engine harness (unfortunately two of the connectors got smashed up a bit) so I will probably be starting a thread soon on my build progress. Also pulled the VVeL module and cut the subharness from a different G37 a week ago, and I will be posting about how to correctly do that after I get confirmation from ZFever that I did cut every thing out correctly. If you are in the market for a running L28 with Ztherapy SU carbs and a rebuilt 4-speed keep an eye on the for sale section.

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Awesome, that should be a lot of fun. I’m very happy with the Zfever harness service and support from Doug. It makes the swap very easy.
 

One thing worth noting, to power the ecu from switched 12v, plan on running a 40 amp relay on a 20 amp fuse. 

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