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Nissan 300zx VH45DE V8 Conversion Process

Written by: Steven Lipke Implemented by: Mark Chapman (MRC Dyno Services & Performance, Castle Hill) Document Input from: Chris Paterson (Chrispy)

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Contents
Table of Figures ............................................................................................................................................. 3 Decisions to be made before you start ......................................................................................................... 5 Purchase the Major Components based on the Decision Points.................................................................. 7 Out with the old V6 Engine ................................................................................................................... 11 In with the temporary V8 Engine .......................................................................................................... 12 Purchase the Major Service Parts and the associated Auxiliary Parts ........................................................ 24 V8 Engine spruce-up & major service...................................................................................................... 25 Installation of the final V8 Engine, Gearbox, and Cooling .......................................................................... 27 Exhaust System ........................................................................................................................................... 29 Intake System .............................................................................................................................................. 35 Ecu Wiring & Instrument Cluster ................................................................................................................ 39 Automatic Gearbox Wiring (and the Shift-At-Will Kit) ............................................................................ 40 ECU Tuning & Dyno Testing ........................................................................................................................ 44 Suspension & Steering ................................................................................................................................ 48 Bracing ........................................................................................................................................................ 56 Brakes.......................................................................................................................................................... 59 Body Work................................................................................................................................................... 60 Engineering & Registration ......................................................................................................................... 62 Chrispy Provided Pictures ......................................................................................................................... 63 Automatic Gearbox: difference between Factory & Shift-At-Will Maps ................................................. 65 Companies I used for My Implementation .............................................................................................. 67 Picture Notes ........................................................................................................................................... 68 Your scribble notes .................................................................................................................................. 74

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Table of Figures
Figure 1: Front view of clean VH45 prior to installation. .............................................................................. 8 Figure 2: Side view of clean VH45 prior to installation. ................................................................................ 9 Figure 3: Back view of clean VH45 prior to installation. ............................................................................. 10 Figure 4: Front view of Test fitting of the "crappy" engine. ....................................................................... 14 Figure 5: Side view of Test fitting of the "crappy" engine. ......................................................................... 15 Figure 6: V8 engine mounted as low and as far back in the chassis as possible. ....................................... 16 Figure 7: Using OEM engine mounts. ......................................................................................................... 17 Figure 8: Driver's side view of cross-member lowered using spacers ........................................................ 18 Figure 9: Passenger side view of cross-member lowered using spacers. ................................................... 19 Figure 10: Custom V8 sump prior to installation. ....................................................................................... 20 Figure 11: Custom V8 sump installed on the engine and mounted in the car. .......................................... 21 Figure 12: Modified and reposition gearbox mount................................................................................... 22 Figure 13: Custom one-piece drive-shaft.................................................................................................... 23 Figure 14: Mechanical thermo fan sits too high for the radiators OEM fan shroud. ................................ 28 Figure 15: Modified exhaust header to give more clearance to the steering-shaft. .................................. 30 Figure 16: OEM headers do just fit between the chassis rails - driver's side. ............................................ 31 Figure 17: OEM headers do just fit between the chassis rails - passenger side. ........................................ 32 Figure 18: Custom 2.5 inch exhausts system piping. .................................................................................. 33 Figure 19: Custom 2.5 inch exhaust system cats and middle bracing ........................................................ 34 Figure 20: Front mounted air intake. .......................................................................................................... 36 Figure 21: Side mounted air intake. ............................................................................................................ 37 Figure 22: Repositioning the carbon canister. ............................................................................................ 38 Figure 23: The SAW Shift Chart for a Q45 gearbox with consideration for a Z32 NA differential. ............. 42 Figure 24: The SAW Up Shift chart. ........................................................................................................... 43 Figure 25: The SAW Down Shift chart. ...................................................................................................... 43 Figure 26: Dyno graph for an automatic VH45DE-NA V8 using a NISTUNE ECU versus an OEM ECU. ....... 45 Figure 27: Dyno graph for an automatic VH45DE-NA V8 compared to a manual VG30DE-TT V6.............. 46 Figure 28: Dyno graph for an automatic VH45DE-NA V8 compared to a manual VG30DE-TT V6.............. 47 Figure 29: Steering-shaft extension and OEM exhaust header modification to clear the steering-shaft. . 50 Figure 30: Prototype front swaybar and mounting arms. .......................................................................... 51 Figure 31: Swaybar linkage kit .................................................................................................................... 52 Figure 32: Professionally made front sway-bar. ......................................................................................... 53 Figure 33: Professionally made front swaybar and mounting arms. .......................................................... 54 Figure 34: SW20 electric power steering pump mounted in the nose on the driver's side. ...................... 55 Figure 35: Front view of the V-Shaped strut bracing. ................................................................................. 56 Figure 36: Side view of V-Shaped strut-bracing. ......................................................................................... 57 Figure 37: View of the underside middle bracing. ...................................................................................... 58 Figure 38: Upgrade the front brakes to Z32-TT caliper and 325mm vented slotted disc rotors ................ 59 Figure 39: Surface mounted bonnet pins. .................................................................................................. 60

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Figure 40: With a lowered cross-member the plenum should fit below the OEM bonnet line. ................ 61 Figure 41: OEM cross-member results in the engine pocking through the bonnet. .................................. 63 Figure 42: OEM cross-member; the .clutch master preventing the engine going back further. ................ 64 Figure 43: Factory shift maps ...................................................................................................................... 65 Figure 44: Shift-At-Will shift maps........................................................................................................... 65 Figure 45: Comparison of Q45 factory map with resultant "Shift-At-Will" map. ....................................... 66 Figure 46: VH45 in Z32 chassis concept diagram. ....................................................................................... 68 Figure 47: VH45 drive-train concept diagram............................................................................................. 69 Figure 48: VH45 engine outer component parts. ....................................................................................... 70 Figure 49: VH45 engine timing chain. ......................................................................................................... 71 Figure 50: VH45 engine cylinder head. ....................................................................................................... 72 Figure 51: VH45 engine cylinder block. ...................................................................................................... 73

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Decisions to be made before you start

The type of cross-member used is the major decision-point for this V8 conversion as the engine, gearbox, drive shaft, and differential all need to be lined-up for the best balance and to eliminate vibrations. Hence the decision on what type of cross-member you are going to use needs to be made very early. Your choices are to use a modified and lowered Custom cross-member (with OEM engine mounts) or to use the OEM cross-member (with custom engine mounts).

1. DECISION POINT: the type of cross-member to be used is based on your preferences for the following:

OEM cross-member is a lot simpler solution to implement. OEM cross-member will enable the suspension geometry and the steering to remain

standard. OEM cross-member with a manual gearbox will potentially enable the OEM driveshaft

and OEM gearbox mounts to remain standard without needing to modify the shifter linkage.

OEM cross-member will mean that custom engine mounts need to be fabricated.
NOTE: Engine mounts are more likely to need replacing during the cars life than the cross-member.

OEM cross-member will mean that the plenum sticks through the bonnet by an inch or
two, and hence the bonnet will need to be modified accordingly which in itself could potentially cause some engineering certification issues if not executed correctly. See [Figure 41] at the end of the document.

OEM cross-member will mean that the engine sits further forward in the car than is
possible with the Custom cross-member solution. This is due to clearance for the brake master cylinder and clutch master. See [Figure 42] at the end of the document.

OEM cross-member will mean that the resultant sumps capacity cannot equal that of
the original sump fitted to the engine.

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Custom cross-member will enable off-the-shelf OEM engine mounts to be used; e.g. R31 Skyline / VL Commodore. Custom cross-member will enable the OEM bonnet to be used with no modifications. Custom cross-member will enable the engine and gearbox to be pushed as low and as

far back into the chassis as possible to give better weight distribution and balance.

Custom cross-member will require modifications or adjustments to the suspension


geometry and extensions to the steering shaft. NOTE: It is possible that you will be able to use the OEM front suspension arms and steering components without modifications other than extending the steering shaft.

2. DECISION POINT: choice the type of Nissan / Infiniti V8 engine, i.e. VH45DE (4.5 litre) or VH41DE (4.1 litre). The VH41 engine could potentially have problems in your state with obtaining engineering (or modification plates) because the VH41 engine was never emission complied for use in Australia. The VH45 engine on the other hand was used locally in the Q45 model car. The VH41 engine is potentially a better option for the 300zx conversion because of where the auxiliaries are located. With the VH45 engine there is a fair amount of rerouting of lines for the power-steering and air-conditioning. NOTE: The VH45 engine internals can be fitted into the VH41 engine, so that you can have the benefits of the larger capacity along with the VH41s duplex timing chains, and better accessory placements. In Australia depending on which state you are in and which engine importer you use, the VH45 engine maybe easier to source.

3. DECISION POINT: choice the type of gearbox to be used, i.e. manual or automatic.

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Purchase the Major Components based on the Decision Points
4. Source the V8 engine, ecu, and engine harness. See [Figure 1], [Figure 2], & [Figure 3]. NOTE: If the price-is-right it may be good bang-for-buck value to purchase a second crappy engine and gearbox to use for test fitting and fabrications while the good engine is spruced-up. This crappy engine can also be used as an instant source of spare parts (while waiting on new parts to arrive from Japan), and it can be autopsied to determine what wears in these engines. Having chosen your gearbox type: EITHER 5. (Manual Gearbox) source a Z32-TT gearbox because a Z32-NA gearbox may not be strong enough overtime to survive the V8s torque. NOTE: The NA and TT gearboxes are practically identical internally, the only external difference being the Speedo sender and the starter motor flange is offset. But for engineering certification reasons you may find it easier to get compliance with the TT gearbox due to power and torque concerns. 6. (Manual Gearbox) source or fabricate a VH45-Z32 gearbox adaptor plate. NOTE: Mazworx in Florida USA currently make the most popular gearbox adaptor plate for this type of V8 conversion. This adaptor does require the bell-housing to be machined to suit, but it does not require any flywheel spacer. NOTE: If you choose to make a custom adaptor then the bolts for the gearbox to the engine are M14 which maybe potentially difficult to find. Some people have installed M12 heli-coils to get around this availability problem, given that the standard VG30 V6 bolts are M12. 7. (Manual Gearbox) source or fabricate a flywheel spacer. NOTE: Two standard VH flywheel spacers are sufficient to place the VG flywheel in the correct spot. Though longer flywheel bolts are required which are difficult to source as they are M10x1.0. OR

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8. (Automatic Gearbox) source either a Q45 gearbox (which is probably attached to the purchased V8 engine) or a VG30-TT gearbox (which supposedly bolts straight up to the VH45 bell housing). NOTE: While the Z32 (VG30-NA) and Q45 (VH45) gearboxes come from the same RE4R03A model line for engineering certification reasons you may find it easier to get compliance with the Q45 gearbox due to power and torque concerns. 9. (Automatic Gearbox) if no OEM gearbox controller is provided then source and OEM controller or purchase the Shift-At-Will F1-style floppy-paddle kit from ESS Racing ( www.ess-racing.com ).

Figure 1: Front view of clean VH45 prior to installation.

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Figure 2: Side view of clean VH45 prior to installation.

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Figure 3: Back view of clean VH45 prior to installation.

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Out with the old V6 Engine
10. Remove the recipient cars bonnet and nose-centre-panel and store them in a safe out-of-theway place. 11. Remove the recipient cars front bar and store it in a safe out-of-the-way place. 12. Remove the front headlights and store them in a safe out-of-the-way place. 13. Remove the radiator and V6 engine accessories. 14. Disconnect the existing drive-shaft from the gearbox. NOTE: A new one-piece drive shaft maybe required as a result of the potential repositioning of the gearbox. 15. (OPTIONAL) Disconnect the V6 engine from its V6 gearbox. NOTE: The engine and gearbox can be removed as one piece (for both auto & manual, as well as for TT & NA). Some people separate then, but others find it a lot easier to remove as one. 16. Extract the existing V6 engine and gearbox from the car. NOTE: This is a good time to sell the original V6 engine, gearbox, and its associated accessories to recover some of the projects costs.

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In with the temporary V8 Engine
17. Remove the sump from the V8 engine that is to be trial fitted to the car. NOTE: Preferably using the crappy engine if you choose to purchase one. 18. Attached the V8 engines accessories i.e. alternator, air-conditioning, and mechanical powersteering). 19. Depending on the cross-member type chosen position the V8 engine (without the sump but with the accessories attached) into the engine bay. (Custom Cross-Member) remove the cross-member and using an engine holder position the engine in the desired location in the engine bay. See [Figure 4], & [Figure 5]. (Custom Cross-Member) attach the desired gearbox to the engine and reposition the engine and gearbox as far back and as low in the chassis as possible. See [Figure 6]. (Custom Cross-Member) attach the OEM engine mounts (e.g. R31 Skyline / VL Commodore) to the engine and re-position the cross-member so that these engine mounts would function correctly without any modifications being required to them. See [Figure 7]. (For both types of Cross-Members) determine where the cross-member needs to be modified or engine accessories need to be position-adjusted to work around any conflicts. That is considering the alternator, air-conditioning, mechanical powersteering pump, and the front sway-bar. (For both types of Cross-Members) may require a custom front swaybar especially if the air-conditioning compressor is present. NOTE: (OEM Cross-Member) the front swaybar will not clear the air-conditioning compressor and power-steering pump, hence will need to determine how to space the swaybar to clear these. (Custom Cross-Member) will require a custom front sway-bar. (Custom Cross-Member) determine how large the cross-member spacers need to be so that the OEM engine mounts are positioned correctly. See [Figure 8], & [Figure 9]. (Custom Cross-Member) determine the appropriate length of the new bolts to secure the modified cross-member.

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(Custom Cross-Member) determine the appropriate length of the steering-shaft spacer. 20. (Custom Cross-Member) Modify and reinforce the cross-member to work around the accessories attached to the engine (i.e. air conditioning). Fabricate the cross-member spacers and weld them to the modified cross-member. See [Figure 9]. Attach the OEM engine mounts to the cross-member. See [Figure 7].

21. (OEM Cross-Member) fabricate the custom engine mounts and attach to the cross-member. 22. Determine the dimensions of the engine sump to work around the final positions of the engine and the cross-member. 23. Get the custom sump professionally fabricated. See [Figure 10]. NOTE: I would advise against doing a Frankenstein cut-n-shunt of the top (i.e. engine side) of the VH45 sump with the bottom (i.e. cross-member side) of the VG30 sump. Remembering that; the volumetric capacity of the resultant sump should equal or exceed that of the OEM VH45 sump. NOTE: with the (OEM Cross-Member) the finished sumps capacity will probably not equal that of the OEM sump. The capacity of the resultant sump maybe only around 3.5 litres. 24. Modify the standard oil pickup to suit the rear sump. 25. Install the custom sump to the engine. See [Figure 11]. 26. Attach the cross-member to the car and attach the engine to the cross-member via the engine mounts. 27. Attach the gearbox to the engine. 28. (Custom Cross-Member) Determine where the gearbox-mount needs to be positioned and fabricate the corresponding gearbox mount. See [Figure 12]. NOTE: for an (OEM Cross-Member) with a manual gearbox you probably dont need to modify the gearbox mount, or fabricate another driveshaft, or modify the shifter linkage. 29. (Custom Cross-Member) Determine the length of the drive-shaft to be used. 30. (Custom Cross-Member) Get the custom one-piece drive-shaft professionally fabricated and then install it. See [Figure 13].

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Figure 4: Front view of Test fitting of the "crappy" engine.

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Figure 5: Side view of Test fitting of the "crappy" engine.

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Figure 6: V8 engine mounted as low and as far back in the chassis as possible.

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Figure 7: Using OEM engine mounts.

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Figure 8: Driver's side view of cross-member lowered using spacers

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Figure 9: Passenger side view of cross-member lowered using spacers.

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Figure 10: Custom V8 sump prior to installation.

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Figure 11: Custom V8 sump installed on the engine and mounted in the car.

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Figure 12: Modified and reposition gearbox mount.

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Figure 13: Custom one-piece drive-shaft.

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Purchase the Major Service Parts and the associated Auxiliary Parts
31. Either purchase a VH45 workshop manual (which is available online as a PDF manual costing approximately $30) OR find it free online as a resource off the NICO (Nissan Infiniti Owners Club) website. 32. Order all of the parts to do a complete 100kkm service of the VH45 engine that is to be finally used in the car See the section that follows for more details. 33. While you are ordering things also add the following to the list of purchases: Twin-pass radiator with fabricated mounting points for thermo fans. Thermo fans (one small and one big). Fan controller unit (e.g. Spal PWM) to turn the fans on sequentially as the temperature rises.

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V8 Engine spruce-up & major service
34. Having purchased the following items they now need to be installed: Replace the timing chain and metal-back guides. NOTE: The early versions of the VH45 engine used plastic timing chain guides which could potentially disintegrate and either; (a) result in a tooth jumping with the timing chain and thereby damaging the valve-train, or (b) clogging up the oil pickup. Hence given the age of these engines it is mandatory to replace the chain guides with metal-backed ones. Replace the thermostat. Replace the temperature sensor and associated brass fittings. Replace the water pump. NOTE: Try to get the correct version of the water pump, as there are slight differences based on the model and year of the car that the engine came from (e.g. from a Q45 or President). The incorrect version could result in a misalignment between the water pump pulley and the other auxiliary pulleys. This type of misalignment will cause the belt to fray and potentially break. Replace the accessory belts. NOTE: these accessory belts differ depending on what options were originally fitted to the donor car. Below are some of the part numbers. Replace the water pump / alternator belt 5PK0885-348K5 Replace the air conditioning belt 4PK0950-374K4 Replace the drive belt 6PK0955-375K6 Replace the idler pulley bearings 6301

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Replace the engine seals and gaskets. Replace the rocker cover gaskets. Replace the half-moon seals which are at the back of the engine under the rocker covers. NOTE: By now these will have shrunk due to heat / aging and will have started leaking. Nissan do not have the part numbers for these even though these do appear on their diagrams (see page 74 of EM 20 of the engine mechanical manual). These seals may (or may not be) the same as those on the VG30 engine. Hence some would suggest using liquid gasket (sealant) to support these original seals as they are not going to shrink any further. The rear main engine seal is the same as the VG30 engine. The front main seal maybe a bit more difficult to source.

Replace the O2 sensors. NOTE: If you can do the O2 sensors when the engine is out of the car the better, as this is a pain once in the car.

Replace the spark plugs. NOTE: It is your personal preference as to whether to use Platinum or Iridium ones (my car uses platinum).

Replace the 1/2 & 5/8 inch breather hoses & hose clamps. NOTE: Replace all of the under plenum breather hoses because by now they will have all been transformed into "Bakelite" and can crack and brake easily.

Replace the oil filter 15208-53J0A NOTE: this is the same as used for the S13 Silva with the SR20 engine.

35. Undertake a complete service, degrease / clean-up, spruce-up / bling the engine that will finally reside in the car. NOTE: It is easier to disassemble, fix, and re-assemble the engine outside of the car.

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Installation of the final V8 Engine, Gearbox, and Cooling
36. Install and mount the final engine into the car. 37. Replace the engine oil with 10W/40 grade. 38. Install and mount either the Q45 automatic gearbox or the Z32 manual gearbox. 39. Replace the hoses and hose clamps. 40. Install a gearbox oil cooler. NOTE: You will require an additional or better oil cooler than that used for the V6-NA because the Q45 gearbox does run hotter. NOTE: If a Shift-At-Will kit is being used as the gearbox controller then it also works the box harder than the OEM controller. 41. Replace the transmission fluid. 42. (Custom Cross-Member) Install the custom one-piece drive shaft. 43. Install the dual-pass radiator. NOTE: The standard Q45 radiator is a very similar specification to the standard Z32 NA radiator. Hence the Z32 NA radiator maybe capable of keeping the engine temperatures under control, but it would be a better idea to upgrade to a larger twin pass radiator. 44. Replace the radiator coolant. 45. Install the twin thermo fans. NOTE: The VH45 engines mechanical fan will sit too high for the Z32 radiators shroud. See [Figure 14]. 46. Install the fan controller unit (e.g. Spal PWM). NOTE: The fan controller may need to be positioned in the nose close to where the traditional Z32 air intake filters were located. This is because there may be too much under bonnet temperature which could affect the successful operation of the fan controller unit. NOTE: If both of the radiator fans come on at exactly the same time then they could draw too much current and trip the relay.

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47. The air conditioning fan could also be added to the sequence of cooling fans to push air through the radiator.

Figure 14: Mechanical thermo fan sits too high for the radiators OEM fan shroud.

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Exhaust System
48. DECISION POINT: OEM or custom exhaust headers. NOTE: (OEM headers) with minor modifications can be used for a normally aspirated V8 as this is a lot easier and cheaper than getting custom extractors made. NOTE: (Custom headers) are required for a turbo charged V8, though there is not much room to have the turbos swung below the engine in a similar fashion to the V6-TT. Hence a lot of custom plumbing will be required for a turbo installation. 49. (OEM headers) some of the factory headers (potentially those from an engine in a Nissan President) may have a restrictor plate installed in the exhaust system, and hence this restriction needs to be removed. NOTE: The OEM factory headers maybe of poor construction with very large overlaps between the runners and the main section. 50. (OEM headers) determine whether the OEM header on the drivers side needs to be modified to give clearance to the drive-shaft. See [Figure 15]. That is the last cylinder's extractor pipe will have to be heated and pushed in a couple of millimeters. Other than this modification the OEM headers fit nicely between the chassis rails. See [Figure 16], and [Figure 17]. 51. Install custom twin 2.5 inch exhaust system with twin entry & exit, metallic cats, into two separate 2.5 inch rear mufflers. See [Figure 18], and [Figure 19]. NOTE: The type of mufflers chosen will be an important decision, because the wrong choice could result in a cruising speed harmonic drone. This may initially sound great but it will quickly do your head in as it vibrates in your ear drums and you can thus forget about hearing youre stereo.

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Figure 15: Modified exhaust header to give more clearance to the steering-shaft.

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Figure 16: OEM headers do just fit between the chassis rails - driver's side.

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Figure 17: OEM headers do just fit between the chassis rails - passenger side.

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Figure 18: Custom 2.5 inch exhausts system piping.

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Figure 19: Custom 2.5 inch exhaust system cats and middle bracing

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Intake System
52. Fabricate the air intake piping. (OPTION 1) The air-intake can be positioned in the nose area where the traditional airintake filter resides. See [Figure 20]. But this will compress the intake tubing when routing under the passenger side head light. (OPTION 2) The air-intake can be positioned in the passenger side below the headlight. See [Figure 21]. This will require that the carbon canister be repositioned into the central nose area. See [Figure 22]. NOTE: the carbon canister could be replaced with one from a S13 Silvia or R33 GTS-T Skyline which are approximately 1/3 the size and hence will not require relocating. 53. Purchase and install good quality intake filters. NOTE: In NSW (at the time when the documented car was engineered) for this configuration the pod-filter is LEGAL because the entire exhaust system from intake to exhaust tip needs to be noise and pollution tested for engineering certification, and secondly the filter resides outside the engine bay.

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Figure 20: Front mounted air intake.

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Figure 21: Side mounted air intake.

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Figure 22: Repositioning the carbon canister.

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Ecu Wiring & Instrument Cluster
54. Splice part of the Z32 harness to the VH45 harness so that it can directly plug in. NOTE: The VH45 Japanese wiring uses some different colours to those for America (though the ECU pin-outs are the same), and similarly the left-hand-drive and the right-hand-drive Z32 harnesses have some differences. These colour wiring differences are between LHD and RHD are clearly noted in the Z32 factory service manual. Thus some of the wiring information that you will find on the internet may not exactly meet your needs, and may even confuse the matter. 55. The tachometer will need to be modified to work with the V8 rpm signals and not the V6 signals; i.e. the more cylinder pulses per engine cycle. NOTE: You could try using a Jaycar kit instead of getting the RPM gauge re-calibrated, but we did not have much success with this. NOTE: there is a do-it-yourself for recalibrating the tachometer at: http://forums.nicoclub.com/zerothread/427279-how-to-z32-tachometer-recalibrationfor-vh45de NOTE: If the tachometer is not stable then it is potentially a busted rpm signal line or pin on the ECU. 56. (Automatic Gearbox) Purchase a Speedo adjustment kit such as that from VDO (because the Jaycar kits may not be suitable due to the shape of the input signal). NOTE: If the Speedo is not stable then it is potentially caused by a failure of the gearbox speed sensor or the speed signal line or pin on the ECU. 57. Consult, ecuTalk, and other consult port diagnostic tool will work with the OEM ECU (and Nistune ECU) so that you are able to read the sensors from the engine ECU.

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Automatic Gearbox Wiring (and the Shift-At-Will Kit)
58. Wire up the transmission. OPTIONAL using the Shift-At-Will controller with the Q45 automatic gearbox 59. Wire the Shift-At-Will (SAW) kit as illustrated in the installation manual for the SAW kit; i.e. the cruise-control lines. This is a relatively easy job because of Nissans standardize wiring colours. 60. Mount the SAW kit gear indicator display on the A-Pillar. NOTE: A-pillar gauges are LEGAL provided that they are completely visually behind the lines of the A-pillar and the total number of A-pillar gauges does not come back past the line of the top of the steering wheel (or to be safe the end of the dash hood). 61. The Q45 gearbox will require the SAW kit to have a Q45 specific shift map (Maciej at Ess-Racing has been provided with the maps for the VH45 with a Z32-NA differential). See [Figure 23], [Figure 24], and [Figure 25].
NA Diff Throttle level (%) 0 6 12 19 25 31 37 44 50 56 62 69 75 81 87 100 shift gear speed (km/h)

[1->2] 15 15 15 24 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 51 51

[2->1] 9 9 9 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 30 47

[2->3] 32 32 34 48 61 73 79 83 87 91 96 100 104 109 113 113

[3->2]

[3->4] 50 50 53 68 85 105 112 120 126 135 142 150 157 165

[4->3] 35 35 35 35 35 37 47 63 80 95 112 121 128 138 148 171

[4->5] 140 70

[5->4] 120 60 60 60 69 83 91 96 99 104 112 121 128 138 148 171

22 22 22 22 22 24 27 33
37 42 51 61 70 83 95 109

175
175

70 73 91 110 117 124 131 140 147 155 162 171 180 180

NOTE: Be sure that the table of gears do no overlap, that is the shift lines should not cross.

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NOTE: You will need a shift-map that corresponds to your recipient cars NA or TT differential or else you may find that the 1st to 2nd gear change bounces against the rev-limiter. NOTE: The SAW gearbox controller can be configured to use lock-up of the torque converter in 4th gear as a pseudo 5th gear. The provided Q45 shift maps have been design with this in mind. Make sure that the pseudo 5th gear operations feature is enabled. NOTE: The SAW controller does incorporate a lock-up protection function that will not allow lock-up to be engaged until such time as the load decreases to an appropriate level. Make sure this feature is enabled. NOTE: The automatic Q45 gearbox has two first gears. The true 1st gear is your launch gear and it feels like the rear takes a bite of the ground then hooks-up. Whereas 2nd gear is your everyday gentle start gear and it feels like the car performs a rolling start. The OEM Q45 gearbox controller does use this characteristic, where as the SAW gearbox controller uses 1st gear as its start off gear. NOTE: The SAW controller does incorporate down shift protection (especially for 1st gear) which will block a down-shift if the speed is too high. Make sure this feature is enabled and that the down shift speed thresholds are set, e.g. 50 km/h for changing back to 1st gear. 62. While the Q45 gearbox is from the same RE4R03A model line as that used by the Z32, it does have different gear ratios and characteristics. Hence for the SAW kit the following changes are required: The "RPM at 1Hz" set from the default of 20 rpm to 15 rpm to correspond to the V8. The maximum line pressure throttle threshold set to 35% to prevent shudder on gear changes. The gearbox temperature warning level set to 110C as the Q45 gearbox runs slightly hotter than the Z32 gearbox. NOTE: You are going to need a decent quality gearbox cooler.

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Auto shift chart
100 90 80 70 60 Throttle % 50 40 30 20 10
[S 1->2] [S 2->1] [S 2->3] [S 3->2] [S 3->4] [S 4->3] [S 4->L] [S L->4]

0
0 50 100 Speed km/h 150 200

Figure 23: The SAW Shift Chart for a Q45 gearbox with consideration for a Z32 NA differential.

"[S 1->2] 15 15 15 24 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 51 51" "[S 2->1] 9 9 9 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 30 47" "[S 2->3] 32 32 34 48 61 73 79 83 87 91 96 100 104 109 113 113" "[S 3->2] 22 22 22 22 22 24 27 33 37 42 51 61 70 83 95 109" "[S 3->4] 50 50 53 68 85 105 112 120 126 135 142 150 157 165 175 175" "[S 4->3] 35 35 35 35 35 37 47 63 80 95 112 121 128 138 148 171" "[S 4->L] 140 70 70 73 91 110 117 124 131 140 147 155 162 171 180 180" "[S L->4] 120 60 60 60 69 83 91 96 99 104 112 121 128 138 148 171" "[C 1->2] 15 15 15 24 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 51 51" "[C 2->1] 9 9 9 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 30 47" "[C 2->3] 32 32 34 48 61 73 79 83 87 91 96 100 104 109 113 113" "[C 3->2] 22 22 22 22 22 24 27 33 37 42 51 61 70 83 95 109" "[C 3->4] 50 50 53 68 85 105 112 120 126 135 142 150 157 165 175 175" "[C 4->3] 35 35 35 35 35 37 47 63 80 95 112 121 128 138 148 171" "[C 4->L] 140 70 70 73 91 110 117 124 131 140 147 155 162 171 180 180" "[C L->4] 120 60 60 60 69 83 91 96 99 104 112 121 128 138 148 171" "[END VH45_Z32NA]"

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Nissan 300zx VH45DE V8 Conversion Process Up Shifts


200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 6 12 19 25 31 37 44 50 56 62 69 75 81 87 100
Figure 24: The SAW Up Shift chart.

Speed km/h

1>2 2>3 3>4 4>5

Down Shifts
180 160 140 Speed km/h 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 6 12 19 25 31 37 44 50 56 62 69 75 81 87 100
Figure 25: The SAW Down Shift chart.

2>1 3>2 4>3 5>4

NOTE: For more information about the SAW shift maps compared to the Nissan factory shift maps please go to the end of this document.

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ECU Tuning & Dyno Testing
63. With the drive line now completely installed you should be able to conduct some dyno testing of the engine. NOTE: for the OEM ECU the VH45DE with an automatic transmission should make about a maximum of 180 rwkW. See [Figure 26]. For a manual transmission a maximum of 200 rwkW should be possible. NOTE: maximum torque should be produced between 5500 rpm and 6000 rpm. 64. The OEM ECU can be modified to work with a NISTUNE daughter board to advance the timing by a few degrees to take advantage of todays 98 octane fuels, and to lean off the fuel mixture because the Nissan OEM ECU uses very rich fuel mixtures when the engine is under-load. NOTE: for the NISTUNE ECU the VH45DE with an automatic transmission should make about a maximum of 200 rwkW. See [Figure 26]. For a manual transmission a maximum of 220 rwkW should be possible. A common point raised on zed forums is that a stock VG30DE V6 twin turbo can get the same power as the V8, and more by only upping the boost and advancing the timing. To which my response is there is more important things than total KW figures but rather how the power is delivered (i.e. the shape of the power curve). As depicted in [Figure 27] and [Figure 28] the V8 has better low down power and torque, and then there is the beautiful throttle response plus there is that "oh so sweet heart-pounding sound" which the V6-TT just can't reproduce.

So much for the Nissan quoted 206 kw (at the flywheel) for the VH45DE, with a manual gearbox you should be capable of making this at the rear wheels.

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Figure 26: Dyno graph for an automatic VH45DE-NA V8 using a NISTUNE ECU versus an OEM ECU.

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Figure 27: Dyno graph for an automatic VH45DE-NA V8 compared to a manual VG30DE-TT V6.

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Figure 28: Dyno graph for an automatic VH45DE-NA V8 compared to a manual VG30DE-TT V6.

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Suspension & Steering
65. (Custom Cross-Member) fabricate the steering-shaft spacer and attach it to the top of the steering shaft. See [Figure 29]. 66. Fabricate prototype front sway-bar from either sections of another sway-bar or from plastic tubing. NOTE: Supposedly it is possible to use the Q45 rear mount swaybar on the Z32 with some fabricated brackets. This may provide a cheaper alternative if a Q45 half-cut was purchased to obtain the engine. 67. Fabricate front sway-bar mounting arms and brackets. See [Figure 30]. 68. Purchase a front sway-bar linkage kit. See [Figure 31]. 69. Get the custom front sway-bar professionally fabricated. See [Figure 32]. 70. Install the custom front sway-bar, mounting arms, and linkage kit. See [Figure 33]. 71. Service the VH45 mechanical power steering pump. NOTE: Most probably the VH45 mechanical power steering pump is leaking and parts cannot be easily sourced to fix it. NOTE: Some VH45 mechanical power steering pumps actually consist of two pumps in one; with one half for the front steering and the other half for the HICAS rear wheel steering. For an NA differential or for a TT with HICAS eliminated the back half of the VH45 pump will need to be disabled. 72. (OPTIONAL) Source a SW20 (Toyota MR2) electric power steering pump. 73. (OPTIONAL) Mount the electric pump in the nose on the drivers side under the head light (as the passenger side will be used for the air intake). See [Figure 34]. NOTE: Could power this electric pump off the alternator so that the pump is only on when the engine is on.

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74. Reroute the power steering to which ever power-steering pump is installed i.e. mechanical or electric. NOTE: These lines will need to be professionally made and of appropriate length (i.e. not too short) so as to eliminate any pulsing vibrations through the steering wheel resulting from the pumps operation. NOTE: Suggest that the end connectors for these lines be generic industrial standard so that replacement lines can be easily fabricated in an emergency. 75. Overhaul the front steering rack. NOTE: Due to the cars age these are probably worn out by now. 76. Replace the front-end bushes and rack bushes. NOTE: Due to the cars age these are probably worn out by now. 77. Replace the rear-end bushes and diff bushes. NOTE: Due to the cars age these are probably worn out by now. 78. Replace the front-end shocks and springs with coilovers. NOTE: The V8 engine must be lighter than the previous NA-V6 because with the cars original springs the nose was lifted up into the air. 79. Reminder a steering alignment will be required at the end of the conversion process.

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Figure 29: Steering-shaft extension and OEM exhaust header modification to clear the steering-shaft.

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Figure 30: Prototype front swaybar and mounting arms.

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Figure 31: Swaybar linkage kit

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Figure 32: Professionally made front sway-bar.

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Figure 33: Professionally made front swaybar and mounting arms.

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Nissan 300zx VH45DE V8 Conversion Process

Figure 34: SW20 electric power steering pump mounted in the nose on the driver's side.

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Bracing
80. Measure up and fabricate a V-Shaped front strut-brace. See [Figure 35], and [Figure 36]. 81. Measure up and fabricate an underside middle brace. See [Figure 37].

Figure 35: Front view of the V-Shaped strut bracing.

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Figure 36: Side view of V-Shaped strut-bracing.

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Figure 37: View of the underside middle bracing.

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Brakes
82. If the car was originally a V6-NA then it is advisable to upgrade the front brakes to use at least the Z32-TT brake calipers. NOTE: The difference between NA and TT rotor thickness is only a few millimeters, and the TT calipers are slightly bigger but for engineering certification reasons you may find it easier to get compliance with the TT calipers due to the similarity between the V8 and V6-TT power figures. 83. (OPTIONAL) Upgrade to 325mm vented slotted disc rotors. See [Figure 38]. NOTE: For similar engineering certification reasons. 84. Fabricate and install a brake-master-cylinder stopper brace. 85. Replace the brake fluid.

Figure 38: Upgrade the front brakes to Z32-TT caliper and 325mm vented slotted disc rotors

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Body Work
86. If using an aftermarket bonnet then it is a legal requirement to use flat-surface bonnet pins. See [Figure 39] NOTE: In NSW fiber-glass bonnets are legal provided that they are solid enough that a pedestrian could not fall through into the engine bay, and that they are fixed at four corners. 87. If you have gone for the OEM cross-member then the engines plenum will stick an inch or two too high and the bonnet will need to be modified; see [Figure 41] at the end of this document. But if you have gone the Custom cross-member route (i.e. lowered) then the plenum should fit under the bonnet; see [Figure 40].

Figure 39: Surface mounted bonnet pins.

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Figure 40: With a lowered cross-member the plenum should fit below the OEM bonnet line.

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Engineering & Registration
NOTE: If the car is going to be road registered then the conversion will need to be engineering certified and also undergo a road worthy inspection. 88. Weigh bridge certificate NOTE: Before the vehicle is weighed as part of the engineering certification reduce the weight of the car by emptying the fuel tank and removing that sub-woofer box. In NSW there is a different registration cost bracket at 1500 kg. The V8 weighs about the same as the V6NA so you potentially could make it under this line. 89. Obtain the engineering certification. 90. Obtain the road worthy certification.

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Chrispy Provided Pictures

Figure 41: OEM cross-member results in the engine pocking through the bonnet.

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Figure 42: OEM cross-member; the .clutch master preventing the engine going back further.

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Automatic Gearbox: difference between Factory & Shift-At-Will Maps
If you happened to work your way through the Nissan / Infiniti Q45 Service Manual (e.g. 1994) especially Section AT Automatic Transmission you will find that the Shift Map (Shift Schedule) on page AT-32 [Figure 43] is significantly different from the one I have provided for the Shift-At-Will kit [Figure 44].

Figure 43: Factory shift maps

Figure 44: Shift-At-Will shift maps

NOTE: With the Shift-At-Will controller be sure that there is no crossover of shift lines (e.g. 4>5 with 3>4) as this is BAD for the SAW controller and especially for the gearbox it is controlling!!! Hence via trial-n-error I found that for a VH45 engine with a Q45 gearbox and a Z32 NA differential the best shift map to use was a merging of the shift maps for the Z32 TT and NA. This resulted in

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significantly smoother and sportier gear change feel then those created by adjusting the Q45 factory maps to take into consideration the removal of the gear change crossovers. See [Figure 45].

Figure 45: Comparison of Q45 factory map with resultant "Shift-At-Will" map.

NOTE: There is a significant speed (km/h) difference between the two sets of maps. This is due to the different diff-ratios and the factory map resulting in full throttle 1st to 2nd gear changes bouncing against the engines 7000 rpm rev-limiter.

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Companies I used for My Implementation

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Picture Notes

Figure 46: VH45 in Z32 chassis concept diagram.

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Figure 47: VH45 drive-train concept diagram.

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Figure 48: VH45 engine outer component parts.

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Figure 49: VH45 engine timing chain.

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Nissan 300zx VH45DE V8 Conversion Process

Figure 50: VH45 engine cylinder head.

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Nissan 300zx VH45DE V8 Conversion Process

Figure 51: VH45 engine cylinder block.

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Your scribble notes

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