Jump to content
HybridZ
Sanchez

73 240Z VQ37VHR Swap Build Log

Recommended Posts

With the free time I've had due to being unemployed from this crisis I have had the time to put in some good hours working on my 240Z.  I'll start this thread for my plans of my build in the long run:

1. Complete chassis restoration, rust removal, minor chassis strengthening

2. Stock VQ37VHR (using ZFever wiring harness and McKinney engine mounts)

3. CD009 6-speed transmission (using McKinney trans mounts)

4. Complete suspension overhaul with coilovers and TTT or Apex Engineered front and rear pieces (either a R200 or Ford 8.8)

5. Complete re-wire of the rest of the car (simplify the wire harness, Honda wiper and blower motor)

 

The past few weeks have been reserved for completely stripping the car, finding damage and rust, and getting it ready to get sandblasted before going to my body work guy. I decided to avoid doing any sort of write-ups or videos on the chassis stripping because for the most part this is a pretty easy to disassemble car, but if you've got a rusty Z I suggest having a good deal of your favorite beer nearby and be ready to snap at least 25% of the bolts on the outside of the body.  Interior removal was pretty smooth and can be done easily with simple tools and buddy to help with the dash and glass. GET A GOOD ORGANIZER BIN AND A TON OF SMALL BAGS TO KEEP TRACK OF BOLTS! One of the Z parts websites sells bolt kits, but having the originals well organized makes it easier if you plan on reusing your bolts and screws.

 

Here is my Z sitting in the garage before starting the work. As you can see I have a pretty basic workstation, but my buddy who owns the garage has the other wall lined with toolboxes and equipment. Got the VQ37VHR sitting on my engine stand there on the left (Only 25k miles, pulled running from a rear end totaled G37, pretty lucky find)

IMG_3755.JPG.a5bec20ae962227b8da5978f8a624175.JPG

 

Old Engine Removed. At this moment I still have the engine for sale and will probably post it here soon. It's a running L28 with ZTherapy SU carbs connected to a 4-speed trans.

IMG_3759.JPG.11d6f67d34811ec262c59f6c18b69656.JPG

RHYV8459.JPG.a6ab5ccf29b10a84f8cd51d29f7bba11.JPG

 

Some bad rust on the front main frame rails, both sides. My floor pans and their respective frame rails are also kinda garbage, so I got a new set of floor pans from Zedd Findings and I am about to order the Baddog Frame Rails and rear subframe connector soon.

IMG_3773.JPG.9dd5651174c728268274a603931fa46b.JPG

IMG_3792.JPG.8e7ae7870d43f30b3bd02d3c53fb18b9.JPG

 

Got the interior pretty much stripped down. Still need to remove glass, headliner, and steering column, then strip and remove the doors

IMG_3787.JPG.3784d7230625497920f725a12c5cb1b0.JPG

 

Fenders off. Need to find a way to modify that cowl drain, who designed it that way????

IMG_3789.JPG.c421e2bb1effed14375fa5e71d04a2ce.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Picture of my dash, original with no cover. Developed it’s first and only crack about 2 years ago. Hopefully I should be able to fill it in with some bumper repair and some texture paint.

21CA79CF-946D-47A3-B100-456590B9AB9A.jpeg.b96fd097e44ea0f99870c0f89acac774.jpeg

 

Interior sound deadening/tar may removed using the dry ice method. I highly recommend doing this with dry ice which I got from my local CeeKay.

7A76AE38-8E78-40C7-AA4A-C41504230402.jpeg.973dcff5f297dfca678a6cd8c14acef9.jpeg7DAFA38D-DCCF-4FEA-B6A9-3E07C13CA396.jpeg.3e180cfa32a3081d543a370e2d476b42.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the past few days I started back at work and can start making money again to fund this project now that I’m done with “zero cost” part of rebuilding (taking it apart). My plans changed a bit as my body shop is backed up with taking a lot of insurance claims jobs because those pay the best right now with the pandemic. I’m going to be fully removing the suspension and use a homemade tip-jig for the sandblasting procedure. I’m currently get ready to pull the trigger on a 370Z 6-speed transmission, man those things are expensive and almost impossible to find in a junkyard so eBay it is.
 

I’ve been doing a ton of research because, for those of you who are not aware, to use a CD009 trans in an early Z you need to shorten the shifter bracket and the previous maker of this part, Hoke Performance, stopped making them it can be hard to source. Even then Hoke’s bracket would still require cutting the trans tunnel about 1-2” to fit. I stumbled upon a piece by Enjuku Racing that completely removes the u-joint and should hopefully fit the CD009 trans in a Z car with almost no cutting of the trans tunnel! I’m going to order this along with my trans so it would be great if somebody with the Hoke relocation bracket could send measurements of where their shifter sits and I can measure the Enjuku and see how they line up.

 

https://www.enjukuracing.com/products/xcessive-manufacturing-nissan-vq-cd009-shifter-bracket-series-2.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3KCzirTh6QIVEL7ACh0RTQTXEAsYASABEgIVsPD_BwE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

https://cbfperformance.ecwid.com/?fbclid=IwAR3coSAvNYyxmT9zswBRPN5cLTERir6rBSnmzrz5xSi-kPHWmUIaOGmyrgc#!/Gen-5-Billet-CD009-Rear-mount-Shifter/p/67395190/category=0

 

This is the shifter that Hoke sold with the L-series to CD009 adapter. He didn't make it, and it's further forward than the one he produced. Without an offset handle it works with the stock shift boot, but might need a bit of trimming at the back. I'd guess that with the offset you might not have to trim. 

 

78569146_IMG_20171128_222243(Large).jpg.bacb473f678ae8841cdf4f3e02216bd0.jpg468783498_IMG_20171128_220155(Large).jpg.296b5f13dd66833caf4762c203e55b2d.jpg

Edited by calZ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting that link, it looks like that shifter relocation you posted sits about 1" further back than the Enjuku Racing one. I think that would sit a CD009 in the chassis with no cutting of the trans tunnel. Plus that CBF Performance has a reverse gear lockout which the Enjuku one does not (not like I've ever accidentally tried to shift into reverse at speed, but having it there gives me peace of mind).  Does the reverse work like most modern transmissions where you have to push it down and over?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep. There's an adjustable screw that sticks out of the right side of the stick, and then you can see the little raised gate on the right side of the shifter. You just push down to get the screw under the gate, then right and back. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Been a while since my last update cause of work and waiting. Anyway a few days ago I picked up a 370Z 6spd transmission from a local yard for $850, not bad for a good trans with 73k miles. For anybody doing a VQ37 swap the 350Z/G35 manual trans will not bolt up or work, you need to find one from a 370Z/G37 with the correct stamps on the side I believe it is CD8 #1 (still a CD009 trans though). Now that I have engine/trans/wiring complete I will post a video going over everything I have for the swap and how I got them.

928D11C7-D6F6-4EEF-A68A-8EEA2E776993.jpeg.790dc55712f6a4c92d147231d2129b78.jpeg
As for body work my local customs shop that I would take it to is stuck doing insurance and collision work to make ends meet in these uncertain times, but I called up another local shop that works out of a garage bay near where I used to rent space to work on my Z. They’ve had a few Z’s come through there shop I’ve seen and they looked great, but this shop—Garcia’s in Sauget, IL—restores cars from all over the US from exotics to Pebble Beach concourse winners (I’ve walked in there and seen Lamborghinis, Talbots, Maserati OSCA, GT40, Jaguars, you name it they can make it show quality). They are gonna come to my garage with their body guy and take a look at it. I know it would be cheaper to learn to do the body work myself, but my work keeps me pretty busy and a lot of the work my Z needs is structural and I wouldn’t trust myself to do structural repair while learning. Plus I told them I wasn’t looking for a show car, just a rust free body that’s smooth on the exterior and visibly painted parts.
So stay tuned as pictures and videos are incoming. I plan on doing a video on how to restore the smaller systems as I do each of those while it’s getting the body straightened out (I.e. heater core rebuild, wiper motor and blower motor restore and swap, etc).


Also I have been seeing quite a few threads popping up on the forums as the VQ37 swap is gaining a bit of traction for our older Z’s, but as it stands there is not a lot of companies making supporting parts for it. I’ve been reaching out to a few of the Z custom fabricating websites and trying to work with them to see if they would be willing to start trying to incorporate VQ swap stuff into their catalogs. I know it would make every VQ swap easier if a front steering crossmember that cleared these engines was readily available similar to the one made at Apex Engineered. Maybe a few of you who are also doing this swap could reach out them too.

Edited by Sanchez
Add Image

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the body shop gave me some less than stellar news, but news I was somewhat expecting to hear. My chassis is saveable but to have somebody else do it will cost me more than I can really afford to spend. It sucks, but I had a feeling deep down that it would possibly be the case.

This means that I will need to start really putting in some work to improve my pretty mediocre welding and metal body working skills (I'm a wizard with body fill and fiberglass though cause of my work with boats in college).  Anyway, I would appreciate any help and tips and pointers you guys could throw my way about replacing the outer rockers and the main engine bay rails where they meet the radiator core support because those are areas I know I'll struggle. I've seen some pretty good guides about the floor pans and frame rails/front gussets that make me believe that it is something I can do as a novice with the help from some of my friends who have done body work before, but still any advice is much appreciated. It sounds like I shouldn't need any thing more than a good quality MIG welder to do all of the body work on this car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

QUICK UPDATE:

 

Got the car sandblasted yesterday!!!!

 

The company I went with is local here in St. Louis and did an excellent job using fine crushed glass. Took about 4 hours and there is no noticeable warping to the panels (I did skip getting the hood sandblasted because it is such a large flat panel I think it would have been impossible to avoid warping it).

 

For those of you thinking of getting the car sandblasted and want to get the rear underside without a rotisserie the frame is so light that myself and 3 friends lifted the shell onto and off the trailer, and tilted the rear of the car up in the air and rested it on a frame made 2x6 wood.

 

I was hoping maybe some of you could suggest a relatively good primer to use to keep the car from rusting while I do the body work. Something that I can body fill over before using a a highbuild primer primer before paint?

 

Here are some quick photos, video update coming soon.

 

297509411_image0(1).jpeg.fa0d95cbdcdb2ad207cb9f0e663df839.jpeg1626035411_image1(2).jpeg.2afef1f21651f285f38bb3eaa5d9ac95.jpeg

Edited by Sanchez
Added question about good primer
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Sandblasting Video Link (Shameless Channel Plug). I’m the one in the shirt that says “Shop Staff” and the horrible farmer’s tan at the end of the video:


240Z Sandblasting (The Cherry Garage)

 

Photo dump as I start body work... I really hate drilling out spot welds...

 

My passenger side rear quarter is dented pretty good and I found where dents were attempted to be pulled out. I’m thinking I may start looking seriously at the Subtle Z fiberglass rear quarters...

 

 

8C22C38D-5689-42E8-A6AC-0C86B2B3037F.jpeg

CA36CF54-1BE9-4F57-A80D-732AD2E9B485.jpeg

92942B20-C3BC-4A51-8586-D0E9C64FE768.jpeg

4E95F586-D105-4A3D-97A8-C270557173EB.jpeg

D0DD1251-1F8A-4F17-90BA-546A495FBB42.jpeg

24702EC7-1C85-4230-B3C9-F999E484CD87.jpeg

Edited by Sanchez
Fixed YouTube Hyperlink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@DuffyMahoney

Thanks for the support!

 

@TUME

Yeah I'm not very happy with the quality of the welds now that I can see them, but I did have the work done in High School when I was very low on funds and mostly just needed the car to not rust out from under me. While the welds are not pretty, the shop did an excellent job hiding them and getting the body right with bondo (I know bondo should only be used for minor stuff, not to the degree it got used on my car). And it pretty much stopped the rust in those areas.  That is what got me looking at the ZTrix Subtle Z rear fenders. I really like the original look of the Z's without flares and it comes with the bonus of slightly larger tires (to handle that sweet VQ torque) and save me from having to recut and reweld the lower portion of that panel and fill it all in to get the shape right (or spend the crazy amounts of money on a whole replacement rear quarter).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/28/2020 at 6:47 PM, Sanchez said:

@DuffyMahoney

Thanks for the support!

 

@TUME

Yeah I'm not very happy with the quality of the welds now that I can see them, but I did have the work done in High School when I was very low on funds and mostly just needed the car to not rust out from under me. While the welds are not pretty, the shop did an excellent job hiding them and getting the body right with bondo (I know bondo should only be used for minor stuff, not to the degree it got used on my car). And it pretty much stopped the rust in those areas.  That is what got me looking at the ZTrix Subtle Z rear fenders. I really like the original look of the Z's without flares and it comes with the bonus of slightly larger tires (to handle that sweet VQ torque) and save me from having to recut and reweld the lower portion of that panel and fill it all in to get the shape right (or spend the crazy amounts of money on a whole replacement rear quarter).

 

If you can do pretty welds on the thin Datsun sheet metal, you are a better welder than me.  The metal is so damn thin that if you try to completely grind the weld smooth, it is very easy to overly thin the surrounding metal.  

 

My approach, at my limited skill level, was to grind the welds down to the point that you can just barely discern a slight raised area, then use perhaps .03" or thereabouts of filler to finish things off.  You will probably need at least that much filler to straighten panels anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Continuing the floor pans, it’s going slow because of my time constraints and trying to go slow and learn. It sucks both my floor pans were beyond just patching up. Also an order from Tabco came in last week with my rockers, fender patches, lower door skins, and rear hatch slam plate. 
 

I don’t think my welds turned out too bad for my first time welding on metal this thin on an actual car.

 

Question time for the experts:

When you are welding over pitted metal like the area under the rear slam plate would you suggest priming it and then seam sealing really well around it, or should I get a tube of chemical weld and use it almost like bonds and skim it so there is less of a chance water can make its way in and sit there?

4297A6CC-43EB-461C-A62B-A471B0978B66.jpeg

97E754A1-C1A2-41FC-9BE6-670ADF056087.jpeg

077E2F38-6EB7-490B-8C5F-C66FD1BE389D.jpeg

20A8B54A-52EF-4A68-A5F5-2EE732CADE16.jpeg

24F20AF2-ACCB-45F1-914E-68FBF5C0630B.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@AydinZ71

The go to people for electronics on the VQ swap is ZFever/Fever Racing in Tampa. They do a whole rewire of the stock harness from a 370Z/G37 making it plug and play into essentially any vehicle, but they specialize in Z’s new and old. The price is around $2200 which is definitely high, but when you consider that it includes a license for the ECU ROM and software (I believe they use ECUtek, $700 by itself) used for tuning that is necessary for the swap it makes a bit more sense as to why the price is what it is. There are a few other companies who offer a similar service at cheaper price but I have never heard of anybody using them in a build for a Z or if they even tune the ECU so those may be a gamble but could save a good chunk of money if somebody makes it work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...