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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello guys, I just got my first Z, it's 85 GL . This is my first car as well as my first "project car".

I know a little bit about cars, more of "basics" but this will be the first one "digging deep"

So here we go...

The engine needs a refresh and the trans is blown up, there's VG33 with its auto from Xterra laying around for cheap so I decided to go with that swap to at least make this thing move. ( I have different plans for future but I wanna make THIS work first)

So the question is, what will I need during this swap, is there anything I should know in advance? Or it just goes right in? I know that I'll need to change the intake plenum cause the VG33 wont fit under the hood, or will it if i mess with a hood a little?

And on the other hand, what parts can be considered as an upgrade from the old VG30? I've read online that the Cam's from 30 are better than 33 and I better swap them and smth. about valve springs as well, is there anything else? What's with the injectors? Logically thinking 33's injectors should work better than 30 but I really don't know. And what about the ECU, should I run 30's ECU or the 33's?

Thanks in advance guys, I'm pretty sure that all of this are a piece of cake questions for y'all

here's some pics of where we starting.







 

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VG30E:
  • - Compression ratio: 9.0
  • - Fuel injectors: top feed
  • - Camshafts: intake duration 252 degrees, exhaust duration 252 degrees
  • - HP: 160

VG33E:
  • - Compression ratio: 8.9
  • - Fuel injectors: side feed
  • - Camshafts: intake duration 244 degrees, exhaust duration 240 degrees
  • - HP: 170

As you can see the fuel injectors were different, top feed vs side feed so the fuel tubes were different; also the harness connectors were different. The VG30E cam dura tions were wilder. The motor mount locations should be the same for both engines but just to be sure, measure them.

To start off with after the install, I would run with the VG30E ECU initially to see how well it'll work; it should be OK. The ECU will adjust the fuel mappings as you start using the car. You can start off with the VG30E MAF initially; if it doesn't workout, you can always switch over to the VG33E MAF.
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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Stick with the VG30E's ECM, distributor, intake manifolds and injector rails/injectors. The exhaust studs are bigger on the VG33E, but I believe the VG30E's exhaust manifolds will fit on them. The engine will bolt up to your trans, but if you have a stick shift, make sure you remove the spacer for the torque converter nose out of the end of the crankshaft and make sure there's a pilot bushing installed. Motor mounts will work. You may need to swap the oil pan, but even if you don't, you should still remove it and replace the oil pan lip seals and re-seal it. I'd also replace the rear main oil seal. You may have to use the VG33E drive belt system and accessories, as the later VG cranks had a larger front "nose" where the crank pulley installs than the earlier VG engines. There might be a few more things; you should search for some Nissan Z-car specific forums because they will likely have that info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Stick with the VG30E's ECM, distributor, intake manifolds and injector rails/injectors. The exhaust studs are bigger on the VG33E, but I believe the VG30E's exhaust manifolds will fit on them. The engine will bolt up to your trans, but if you have a stick shift, make sure you remove the spacer for the torque converter nose out of the end of the crankshaft and make sure there's a pilot bushing installed. Motor mounts will work. You may need to swap the oil pan, but even if you don't, you should still remove it and replace the oil pan lip seals and re-seal it. I'd also replace the rear main oil seal. You may have to use the VG33E drive belt system and accessories, as the later VG cranks had a larger front "nose" where the crank pulley installs than the earlier VG engines. There might be a few more things; you should search for some Nissan Z-car specific forums because they will likely have that info.
my car is an auto and trans is cooked, what I want to do is to take the whole engine/trans out and put Xterra's 3.3 with its auto trans in it. the question is if trans will work as it should and will it fit? from the looks it looks almost the same but I really wanna know in advance if it'll work to not pop into some stupid problems. The Z's trans is e4n71b and the new one will be e4r01
 

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2003 Nissan frontier XE D22
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I love that car.
The VG33E and Vg30DE is the same only the cylinder is bigger. The parts are interchangeable.

I want to do a twin turbo VG33E for my frontier use the 92 300Z x turbo, and the vg33er wiring harness with supercharger(boost) ECM. I want the vg33dett to be automatic 4x4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I love that car.
The VG33E and Vg30DE is the same only the cylinder is bigger. The parts are interchangeable.

I want to do a twin turbo VG33E for my frontier use the 92 300Z x turbo, and the vg33er wiring harness with supercharger(boost) ECM. I want the vg33dett to be automatic 4x4.
Those two are different, vg30/33E or ET or ER are different, the 92 300zx is VG30DETT, first one's single overhead and the second is dual overhead
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
VG30E:
  • - Compression ratio: 9.0
  • - Fuel injectors: top feed
  • - Camshafts: intake duration 252 degrees, exhaust duration 252 degrees
  • - HP: 160

VG33E:
  • - Compression ratio: 8.9
  • - Fuel injectors: side feed
  • - Camshafts: intake duration 244 degrees, exhaust duration 240 degrees
  • - HP: 170

As you can see the fuel injectors were different, top feed vs side feed so the fuel tubes were different; also the harness connectors were different. The VG30E cam dura tions were wilder. The motor mount locations should be the same for both engines but just to be sure, measure them.

To start off with after the install, I would run with the VG30E ECU initially to see how well it'll work; it should be OK. The ECU will adjust the fuel mappings as you start using the car. You can start off with the VG30E MAF initially; if it doesn't workout, you can always switch over to the VG33E MAF.
and what about the transmission, I just want to rip off what it has in it right now, both trans and the engine and just put Xterra's VG33 with its own auto in it, Z's is 4n71b and the new one will be the next gen 4r01.. will it fit? or should I look for the older one
 

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2003 Nissan frontier XE D22
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The only thing different is the piston and cylinder size. Same the E and R
 

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2003 Nissan frontier XE D22
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The Z transmission is non electronic while the Xterra is electronic with TCM control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Z transmission is non electronic while the Xterra is electronic with TCM control.
Does that mean that I wont be able to run the newer trans?


The only thing different is the piston and cylinder size. Same the E and R
What I meant was that the VG engine which is in Z31(1983–1989)/xterra/frontier and etc. is SOHC and the VG which is in Z32(1989–2000 ) is DOHC.
 

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2003 Nissan frontier XE D22
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The z31 transmission is control my a TV cable attach to the throttle link. The z32 is electronic. The two transmission are interchangeable.
 

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Does that mean that I wont be able to run the newer trans?



What I meant was that the VG engine which is in Z31(1983–1989)/xterra/frontier and etc. is SOHC and the VG which is in Z32(1989–2000 ) is DOHC.
What steveX is saying is that the Xterra tranny uses a TCM to control it's functions. Without a TCM, the tranny is not going to work correctly. Here's a picture that may help to explain it:

6988


You might consider rebuilding your old tranny or installing a 5 speed manual tranny.
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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The only thing different is the piston and cylinder size. Same the E and R
A lot more than that was different: timing belt and sprockets, front of the crank, oil filter location, exhaust stud size, fuel injectors and rails, probably the water pump and timing belt covers.
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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Timing belt is the same.
Early VG30 engines used a square-toothed, timing belt rated at 60,000 miles; VG30E engines starting around 93 or 94 and all VG33E engines used round-toothed, timing belts rated at 105,000 miles. Timing sprockets matched the type of belt used. Also, the camshafts were different; VG30 cams are better for HP and VG33 cams are better for torque. Oil pumps were different, too.
 

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2003 Nissan frontier XE D22
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Water pump is the same.

The VG30 oil pan will bolt to the VG33 blockThe a VG30 oil pump will bolt on the vg33 block and is needed if running the vg30’s oil pan as the pick up tube is in a different location from the vg33 pump unless you want to fab. the pickup tube.The VG30 crank will work in the VG33The VG30 crank will only work with the VG30 Oil PumpThe VG33 Crank will only work with the VG33 Oil PumpIf you plan on running the VG33 crank in your swap you will have to modify the pickup tube as read above again. The VG30 pick up tube will bolt to the vg33 pump but it will be in the incorrect place. I modified the VG30 tube to work in the vg30 pan with a vg33 pump. I also had to cut some baffling in the pan to make it work.If running a vg33 oil pump the filter is attached to a extension bolted to the pump. This was in the way on my car. I was able to tap the oil pump with ¼ NPT tap and run fittings to a remote filter housing. If you are stuck with the vg33 crank as I am, this must be done if the filter housing is in the way. You can not run the filter on the side of the block if using this oil pump. I suppose you could if you fabed a loop for the two holes in the side of the oil pump, but if you are going to do this, you might as well run a remote oil filter.

Crank pulleys are not interchangeable.Water pump is a bit different. VG30 was shorter than the vg33. I ran the water pump that went with the crank so the belts would line up.The t-stat housing on the VG30 will not bolt to the vg33 block as there is casting material in the way of the housing. You may be able to grind, I did not try.The vg33 t-stat housing outlet puts the lower hose connection at an angle, not straight out as the vg30 housing did. This forced me to fab up some creative lower hose connections.

T belts/cam gears/crank gears must be for the crank you are running. If VG30 crank sprocket you must use vg30 cam gears/ t-beltIf vg33 crank sprocket you must use vg33 cam gears.The cam gears are interchangeable with the camVG33 gears will work on a vg30 cam.The intakes are interchangeable.The flywheel from a vg30 will bolt to a vg33 crank.The cams from a vg30 will work in a vg33 head.The valve springs from a vg30 will work in a vg33 head.The transmission from a vg30 will work on a vg33 block.Mounts are the same also.The vg30 distributor required some time on the grinder. An angle must be made at the base of the distributor as the clamping bolt did not go straight down as on vg30 heads. On Vg33 heads this bolt enters at an angle.
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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You might want to stop testing me on VG engines; I've worked on a lot of them during my 16-years as a Nissan tech... VG33E engines had a much larger water pump, which is why the lower timing belt covers were different, as well, when compared to the VG30E engines used in the Z31's.

6991
6992
 

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NF Mod/Nissan Master Tech
2006 Pathfinder LE, 2003 Frontier SVE
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Also, when the VG33E came out, it had dual valve springs, using an inner and outer valve spring at each valve, as opposed to the single valve springs used on the VG30 engines. I remember because they had an issue with them breaking! If my memory is correct, Nissan had us fix them by replacing the dual valve springs with single springs...but that was a long time ago and my memory gets "fuzzy."
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What I am going to do is to just put "new" VG33 from path/xterra or whatever. I just want to know what might come in handy from the old engine like cams injectors and other stuff. One more question is will my local tuner be able to tune either of those ECUs.?

I wanted to do the mansmission swap after I would make it run and freshen up everything in means of suspension related stuff and looks, these car stood in the garage for 13 years or so, only thing I can buy in my country for my Z is an engine and a trans, because of those "heavy duty" vehicles which we know have that drivetrain in them, I can buy rwd xterra's manual as well but I don't know i'f ill be able to find everything for it to be done in a proper way. I mean I can find original center console and stuff after a while but the part that I care about is for it to work as it should work :D the clutch positioning, the drilling and other stuff, most likely I might have to do it myself because I don't think I'll find somebody who'll do it properly for me so idk.. I need yalls support here.. hahaha I'm a 22 year old guy in a shi**est place ever to have a project car in :D help me and I promise i'll make this whole "transformation" as good/interesting as it might be.. haha :D can't say it'll happen in a blink of an eye but i'll keep this thread running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don't think that i'll be able to find the same trans here so either I should get the rebuild kit or I should go with the manual... I really want to go the manual route but I want it to work as it would've from the factory.. I mean as close as I can make it :D
 
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