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Engine Swap ??????

5964 Views 22 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  whitezed
Hi All,

This is my first post on this forum, I currently own an MY00 WRX and am looking to purchase a 350Z, my WRX is highly modified and I wish to get similar performance from the 350.

In terms of mods it would seem the common operation is to fit the APS TT system which has obviously proven great results mind you at 15k it would want to !

Has anyone considered an engine swap ? if so does anyone know which motors are compatible ?
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I've seen a few drift cars with SR20s, there was a good article about one in superstreet a few months ago. They seem to work pretty well, especially because you can mount them further back and lower down to move the center of gravity and improve the balance of the car. A few other people and companies, I think Esprit was one, have managed to fit RB26s in their Zs, although I imagine that it would be quite difficult and take a lot of fabrication to squeeze one of those in the Zs engine bay.

Thanks for the reply, I was hoping to be able to fit an RB26TT as fitted to the GTR, however your right it would be tight fit given the length of the motor when compared to the V6.

If I don't get too much info here I will call a few shops tomorrow.

It is proven that the RB26DETT can be fitted to the zed already in Japan! It has no problem at all... as long as you have all the necessary parts to the engine, it will not be the problem I would say! If you want to do this project, I would recommand you to go to HyperTech in Melbourne (if you are in australia) as Eric is one of the BEST with the GTR tuning in Australia and also they have done my 350Z tuning already with motec computer, so they know it quite well...

You don't get to see this often... but gotta show you this pic from their website...

You can go take a read on Eric's profile... quite amazing!


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That pic.. :drool: :drool: :drool:

One day thats what I'm doing with my Z.. turbo kit is just as involved and difficult as doin an RB swap.
This car has a Nissan QX45 V8 motor with twin turbos:

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i dont think you will beat it.. Top Secret is expecting to beat their current Supra top speed record with this beast.. I will post the article later after i scan it..
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You can get quite a few engines in there. It is a relatively big engine bay.

The other engine is the VH45DE out of an Infiniti Q45 (not sure what the difference is with the QX45).

The VH45 is relatively inexpensive, and there are people who've bored them out to 6.0L.

If you want to go turbos and capacity (relative to a RB26), drop a VG30DETT out of a Z32 into it. There are some monster 300ZXs out there, and the guys at Unique Autosports will probably love you to bits for the chance to do it. Being a shorter engine will hopefully mean slightly better weight distribution as well.
But still, at the cost of all this, you may as well twin turbo the VQ35DE in the car. I'll stick to an RB26DETT for my example since an SR20DET doesn't have the torque off-boost to move a 1.5 ton car the way a sports coupe is meant to, and the Nissan V8s aren't as common in Australia.

Buying an R32 GT-R front cut will cost you around $6K, and you don't want a 15 year old engine so you're probably looking at a fair amount more. Lets say $8K for an R34 front cut. Otherwise you're comparing a brand new motor with a pretty tired one, and that's not particularly fair.

Just installing the block into the engine bay won't be cheap either since so much needs to be custom made (engine mounts, etc) that its going to take longer, and then you need to hope the gearbox can be mated or otherwise a fair amount of your driveline might need to be replaced too.

Lets be generous and say it'd cost $3K for a fully engineered install (considering the estimates for a VQ35DE -> DETT conversion by APS or an approved dealer is estimated at $3K to lift the engine, fit the parts, and then bolt it pretty much back into the factory spots) and you're looking at $12K for the motor without all the custom engine bay ancillaries your new motor will require. Since both need to fit intercoolers in places that didn't originally have them, we'll assume for this exercise that the cost of that cancels each other out (although, in reality, since APS has designed the thing to fit but the R32 intercooler parts you bought weren't, it will take more effort).

If your gearbox and driveline has to be replaced (which the American D1 drifter who did the SR20 conversion had to do), you're $15K will cover the parts but you've got nothing left for install and engineering.

Assuming the standard 'box works, at $12K you're now making approx 10% more power than if you'd just left the car alone. I've chosen this figure as its quite known that the GT-R's power output is underrated, and the estimates are that it puts out 310hp rather than 280, or 10% more).

Can you throw $3K into an RB26DETT and have it make more than 80% of its stock power while still having it engineered? Because that's pretty much what the APS TT kit is delivering over a stock 350Z (320rwkW over the 160rwkW stock power) for the cost of an RB26DETT conversion with light, bolt-on mods. And even then you're only just breaking even.

Bear in mind that at this cost you may not have a radiator since the GT-R nose is longer and the stock 350Z and GT-R items may not fit, there's no guarantee your Z33 air con will connect to the appropriate place on the RB26, and there's a whole host of other engine ancillaries I haven't included that need replacing or relocating for your differently-shaped motor. Paying for which will cut in to your $3K modification to up the motor from its standard 230kW to the 400kW the twin turbo kit delivers while still offering all these conveniences.

Its not really value for money, is it?

As unlikely as it looks from above, even if the RB26 can equal the VQ35DE+TT's power output for the same install cost, its not worth it since you've gone to all this effort, and replaced so much with items that don't have OEM build quality and tolerances, to get to the same place.

And since you're missing almost a litre of capacity with a far lower compression ratio, the APS VQ35DE+TT will deliver you much better response and midrange. In commuting, they'll probably have equal fuel economy due to the fact that you can drive it off boost pretty much all the time and the engine is more efficient with the higher compression.

Being cast iron, the RB26DETT won't be that much lighter (if at all) than the all-alloy VQ35DE. While this means it might handle more power than the VQ if you go for big numbers, for light tune applications there's no weight benefit but there is a weight distribution penalty. Also, the RB26 is still no 2JZ when it comes to block / bottom end strength.

If your budget extends past the $15K to further to truly exploit the power of the RB26 after install, you could rebuild the weak bottom end of the VQ35 and the APS boys will sort you right out :)

Of course, the RB is more of a known quantity than the VQ for making monster power out of. If you have the resources to chase 1000hp then go the RB26 since there's a wealth of kits and knowledge out there, whereas the guys who build your monster VQ will be trailblazing and your car is the testbed. Actually, in that case you should go an RB30 bottom end with an RB25DET head since killer RB's tend to run single turbo anyway.

But if you're after a value for money, tractable motor that that gives you more than what Nissan offers while being street legal, stick to the VQ35. Unlike buying a CA18DET Silvia (which is a modification dead end POS), where doing an engine swap to an RB25DET / SR20DET is the best course of action, swapping out the VQ35 is not as cut and dried.
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Originally posted by DAK@Apr 18 2005, 01:11 AM
I currently own an MY00 WRX and am looking to purchase a 350Z, my WRX is highly modified and I wish to get similar performance from the 350.

If you don't mind me asking, what does your WRX run at the moment?

Are you after a drag car or a circuit car? Quote me times your WRX is running in either case, to give us a baseline.

The APS TT car is good for 11's if memory serves. Or was it low 12's?
VERY GOOD IN SIGHT Alan!!! It will definitely be worth more by going for the TT conversion as APS TT kit has been proven without any problem for so long already!

Or even the HKS supercharged kit is not too bad either I would say, although it does not make such crazy power as the APS TT...

ALso the Tomei 4.4L stroker kit is coming out with the compression ratio of 11.5:1... and I think it will surely make a lot of power N/A, looking at WAY OVER M3 power or even closer to Ferrari power!!!



if you go the 350 my opinion is to go NA
it what i will be doing later in the year...

if you do some research the NA zeds go faster than the FI zeds, its mainly a traction thing, you have easliy have an NA zed in the low 12s

all the TT zeds i have seen are low 12s too, HP is heaps higher, but what good is HP when your running same times as a NA ??


It is just the value that people think it is not worth while going for N/A... just like my N/A tuning, it costed over what APS TT would be already (don't even need to mention that the APS TT kit comes with a full exhaust system)... comparing the out put of 197rwKW to 280rwKW + APS TT's slightly cheaper price, I think many people will go for the TT kit...

And also if you are going for the N/A, I would say.... Tomei kit is the way to go... from my memory, it will be somewhere around 15K as well, a lot cheaper than what nismo offers... and who should you talk to? HyperTech/Access Auto... they are the Tomei dealer in Australia too...


all the TT zeds i have seen are low 12s too, HP is heaps higher, but what good is HP when your running same times as a NA ??

There is a lot more to acceleration that running a 400m pass. Actually 400m pass is just about the least improtant aspect of acceleration ... something like 40 - 160kph rolling increment is a lot more indicative figure in terms or real-life as well as on-track acceleration.

Not disputing the benefits of N/A, but just because 2 cars pust similar 400m times does not mean that they have similar acceleration in terms of real-world or circuit-racing applicatrions.
The other thing is that 350Z's don't make good drag cars, if that's your goal in life.

The car weighs a lot (which blunts your acceleration), but at the same time the weight distribution is slightly forward so you don't get the weight shift squat onto the rears that you'd expect from a 1.5 ton car.

Since the suspension is set up for cornering, when you do compress the rears under hard acceleration. the suspension starts increasing the camber of the tyres, reducing your tyres' contact patch with the ground and killing your 60' times.

While there's no doubt the car can be quick in a straight line, it won't be as quick as a car of its power / weight / gearing should be unless you throw a lot of money into redoing the suspension geometry and moving components around. At which point it stops being what the 350Z was designed for, and it would have been cheaper to buy a more suited car for the purpose.

On the track, however, a 350Z will give any WRX with equal driver skill and whose car is not extensively modified a good run for their money. There the WRX has grip, the 350Z has balance, stability, and immediate throttle response linking the driver to a torque curve a WRX driver can't even imagine.

The only WRX that has ever gotten around me at Wakefield Park had an exhaust, FMIC and full slicks (that I could see, I don't know what braking or suspension they were running) when my car was completely stock, and the only WRX that's ever gotten around me at Eastern Creek Raceway had $10K sunk into the powertrain, plus suspension, brake and tyre mods, with a driver that competes in the WRX Club supersprints.

Aside from that, at best we never catch each other if we enter the track at different times.
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Does anyone have a link to the stats on the Tomei VQ35 crate motor? Just curious as to what it puts out.

BMI did a review a while ago on tuned Z's (as most of us have downloaded), and the Esprit Z33 had a full bottom end rebuild with around 350hp. The cost in Japan was almost the cost of the vehicle, so even if that's a chassis dyno figure (unlikely since the Japanese tend to guesstimate flywheel figures when quoting) its still way more expensive for less power than the APS TT kit.
Originally posted by DavidM@Apr 18 2005, 08:01 PM
There is a lot more to acceleration that running a 400m pass. Actually 400m pass is just about the least improtant aspect of acceleration ... something like 40 - 160kph rolling increment is a lot more indicative figure in terms or real-life as well as on-track acceleration.

The Europeans, being the supercar nuts that they are, use the measure I'd want to review my modified Z in (should it ever be done).

They feel the 0-100km/hr and 0-400m runs are for econoboxes. For their quick cars, they're only interested in the 0-160km/hr and 0-1000m times.

You look at the McLaren F1. Its not the fact that it does 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds that makes it so impressive. Its the fact that it'll do 0-100mph in around 6 seconds, and run the standing kilometre in under 25 seconds. It also has a 100km/hr-200km/hr time that equals a Ford Taurus' 0-100km/hr time.
i prefer the power delivery from NA in general,
and just the feel of an NA vs turbo

i cannot compair any zed , TT vs NA, as i havent been in either, other than mine.

depends what you are using the car for.. i would have thought for racing NA would be nicer, jsut my thoughts..

price for 15k the APS TT kit is a bargain i think, i guess i would need to drive one for it to convince me.. i have nothing agains turbos either, im just a big NA fan

also saying 0-400m is nothing, well that isnt true, i mean no one really races on the street... corners and stuff, if anything people will have a bit of a drag every now and then,
so the average person who drives there zed to and from work, i think the straight line performance would be a little more important than how fast they can take a corner,
how fast they can overtake a truck without losing traction between shifts and ending up under the truck ..
i dunno i just think that stuff is importnat too

if there zed is a race car, well its a dirrerant story..
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McLaren F1 ... run the standing kilometre in under 25 seconds.

That's under 20sec, not 20sec ;-) A stock 350Z might be able to get under 25sec when the conditions are right.

also saying 0-400m is nothing, well that isnt true ... if anything people will have a bit of a drag every now and then ... so i think the straight line performance would be a little more important

400m runs/times have practicaly nothing to do with what happen on the street when you meet other cars. Reason being that 400m runs involve an agressive launch (ie. clutch drop and a flurry of wheel-spin for the first 20m). I have never met anyone (that I don't know) on the street who would drag me like that ... and that is ever. Though, what people do is get of the line nicely (ie. with low revs) and then punch it (ie. no wheel-spin at all). That's why I said before that 40 - 160kph rolling-increment time is a lot more significant to what happens on the street. Even though there might be an N/A 350Z that will stay with the TT over 400m, this same N/A 350Z will bet annihilated in the 'street drag' (ie. rolling start).

how fast they can overtake a truck without losing traction between shifts and ending up under the truck .. i dunno i just think that stuff is importnat too

Sure is important, but here again the 400m time is totaly irrelevant. Again what you're after is rolling-start increment time and here the TT will leave the N/A like its standing still.

Again, don't get me wrong as I fully understand the benefits of N/A, but if acceleration is what you want then N/A will not get anywhere close to the TT no matter how close the 400m times may be.
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my bad, yeah deffinatly rolling acceleration is more important than off the line.. your 100% ,
my only beef is traction... i mean im sure the TT would spin like biatch from 2nd - 3rd and 3rd - 4th ...correct??
F/I in most forms will beat a N/A.

But, and here is the but, the cost of the TT is not just the $18K or so, but as stated before traction becomes an issue and a heap more dollars needs to be invested into suspension upgrades, wider wheels and grippier (read expensive) tyres. Don't forget also, clutch upgrades, engine internals etc etc etc.....the list could go on.

Extra horsepower in any sense inevitably leads to further 'unforseen' expenditure!

$ for $ F/I gives biggest BFYB and is easier than engine swapping which also needs to be certified by the regulatory authorities.

0-400m times (& even 0-100km/hr times) are a way of comparing cars but the best way is using G-tech over longer distances or controlled lap times on a purpose built course where nearly all variables are controlled to stay constant, hopefully driver included!
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