Vq35 Swap -- v. Weimar Ben
4G- 1995-99 Maxima
IACV - Idle Air Control Valve
ECU- Engine Control Unit
FSM - Factory Service Manual
TB - Throttle Body
TPS - Throttle Position Sensor
FPR - Fuel Pressure Regulator
UDP - Underdrive Pulley
Cherry picker (engine hoist)
Metric socket set
Breaker bar (for the crank pulley only)
Air tools are a great time saver
A buddy to help you mount the engine and lock the flywheel in place when taking off the crank pulley.
When you receive the engine, do a leak down test to verify the health of the engine. You do not want to go through the work of putting in the engine only to find out that there is a problem with it.
To use the 3.0 ECU, you must use the 3.0 inner and outer timing cases, chain, and sprockets. You can use the 3.5 cams you will need to enlarge this hole in order to use the VQ30 timing cases. You need to enlarge the corresponding hole on the left side of the timing chain case as well.
Drill the intake cams in order to reposition the dowel hole or you may purchase an spacer piece by StephenMax for $75.
To use the 3.5 cams, you must use cam spacers.
Things to make it work:
1. The TB is flipped upside-down
2. You need to dremel a little off of that gold piece that goes with the TPS, and make a bracket for it to work. The gold piece to the left of the TPS you see in the pic, will go on the rod before the nut.
3. A stopping nub is shaved off, the other stopping nub was shaved some.
All you would need to do is put a tee in the fuel line between the fuel filter and the fuel rail. One leg of the tee goes to the (unmodified) fuel rail, the other leg goes to the FPR and from there to the return line to the tank. Voila, a returnless system, as far as the fuel rail is concerned.
(Credit: Stephen Max)
The FPR needs to be around 51PSI or be adjustable for this to work properly. There is a NISMO adjustable one at CourtesyParts for $127. A generic one with a dial on it from of Ebay for $45 will work just fine.
"You can keep the VQ35 oil pan and all the accessories will still bolt on. You can use the 3.0 oil pans and still retain the 3.5 oil cooler. The oil cooler bolts right on to the 3.0 oil pan. This way, you don't have to remove any material to have the 3.0 CPS sit at the right distance from the signal plate and you don't have to plug the coolant hole. If you use the 3.5 oil pans, you have to shave about 1/4 inch off where the CPS at trans goes, If not the sensor is too far away to read the flywheel. I would rather not remove the lower and upper 3.5 oil pans. That's more work than just shaving 1/4 of an inch off."
Replace all injector harness connectors with VQ30DE-K(2000-01) or VQ35 connectors.
Make a mounting plate for the 4G IACV and route the idle air hose to somewhere into the intake manifold.
Remove all of the ignition coil harness over wrap in order to be able to connect the ignition coil harness connectors to the coils. Rewrap with electrical tape once you have them rerouted. While in the motions you should replace the hoses, belts, and fuel filter just to be safe.
What does it cost?
$700-$1200 for a used, low mileage engine. Check Car-part.com
$250-$400 for an upgraded clutch
$80 - RPM switch
$50 – drilling of the 3.5 intake cams
$80 - JWT cam spacers
$50-125 - FPR
$50-$100 - misc. tools and supplies you will need - couple of tubes of RTV sealant, belts, fuel filter, hoses, etc.
Is there anyone that can do it for me?
Tilleys99 has a shop:
ELEVATED BODYWORKS - $3000 installed.
1330 North St Rt 934
Annville PA 17003
Stephen Max has also done some swaps for other people. I will do swaps for people in UT.
Where can I get an engine?
A local junkyard would be best. If you can't find something locally that is suitable try Car-part.com. Tilleys99 sells prepped 3.5's that are ready to drop in for either $1500 or $2000?
Can I use the 02-06 ECU?
Yes, but it’s a pain in the rear end and you basically have to rewire the car. If you choose this route, you’d better have a wrecked 02-06 that you can cannibalize parts from.
What are the pros of using a 02-06 ECU?
Better timing, E-gas, variable cam timing, 5-10whp more.
What are the cons of using a 02-06 ECU?
Wiring, higher cost, shitty fuel maps above 6000rpm, 100% throttle at 6000rpm really means only 80%. The fuel maps and E-gas problems are fixed by ECU upgrades.
What are the pros of using the 95-99 ECU?
Easy wiring, lower cost.
What are the cons of using the 95-99 ECU?
Crappy timing, fuel maps, lack of variable cam timing.
How hard could the wiring for the 02-06 ECU really be?
Here's what JCLAW had to say about that.....
"The thing that really f*cks everything up is drive by wire. Sure, you can simply swap in the main harness and not worry about anything else, but then oh no, the drive by wire harness is part of the body/electrical harness, a bunch of taped-together wires the size of your d*ck, pick and choose, find the good one, then you have to buy the steering column from a 02 Altima or Maxima, rip both apart, and try to fit the ignition equipment from the newer car in the older column, which leads to another problem.
Oops, the airbags are on the same harness, so won't work. Then oops, you're trying to fit the 02 Altima drive-by-wire gas pedal and it wont fit, it should be on the floor right where the steering column base is. No problem, just try to shape/weld some complex bracket there so the gas pedal is where it should be.
Then you have to drill 2 1-1.5" holes in your firewall, because the 02 Altima has more electrical hardware in the front than your 4th gen does, and those harnesses are essential because, remember, the drive by wire (10-12 wires I believe) is part of it, so you have to use it, that means you have to rip apart your entire interior, and hope to hell that the 02 Altima you got it from has a sunroof if you have one, if not, no more sunroof.
Then, you have to hope as hell the wires will plug into your electric door motors, and oops, they don't, so you have to buy the 02 Altima door motors for your electrical windows to work, that's in addition to the engine (1 grand), and another grand's worth of ECU, 3 complete wiring harnesses and an electronic gas pedal whose signal no one can crack. So you hope like sh*t that the electrical door motors from the Altima will fit in your 4th gen, but the f*ckers won't! So now you gotta weld complicated brackets into your doors (!!), thus adding weight to your car, just to make the f*cking window motors work!
Then you have to rewire all connectors for every single light in the car, and hope to hell the gauge cluster from the 02 Altima works in your dash... oops, it doesn't. No problem, right? Just cut the dash apart. Then you have to fit all the electrical hardware in the engine bay, in a platform that wasn't made for it.
Fans? Radiator? AC? Forget it. And the transmission? Nope, not the same sensor, plug is different, aw sh*t car won't start, you need the immobilizer. Big black box.
No problem, go back to a junkyard, if you can find one that'll sell it to you. Oops, sold. Get the immobilizer from another car, right? Sh*t, the ECU, ignition key, and immobilizer ALL MUST come from the same car, so if the immobilizer doesn't match the ECU and ignition key of the very same car, it won't start, ever, and since you don't have the same exact immobilizer, means you're quite completely f*cked now, doesn't it?"
But, but, I'd really like to have the better timing, better fuel maps.......
Get a Technosquare or JWT ECU and have them advance the hell out of the timing. Alternatively, you could get a E-manage Ultimate and do the same thing and be able to alter the A/F ratio.
Where can I get the 4G FSM?
What comes with a junkyard engine?
Full wiring harness, coil packs, exhaust manifolds, IM, TB, water pump, all sensors. They usually do not come with any of the accessories-starter, alternator, PS pump, A/C compressor.
How much power will I get?
Some mods: 230-240whp; 230-240wtq
How fast will it be?
With mods, low to mid 13’s in the ¼ and 5's 0-60. No mods, high 13’s. low 6's for 0-60.
Is it a direct drop in?
Yes, and no. Externally the 3.5 and the 3.0 blocks are pretty much the same and everything bolts right up. The sensors, fuel rail, and fuel injectors are not the same.
Can I use my 5 speed?
Yes, it bolts right up.
Can I use the 6 speed?
Yes, it bolts right up, but it’s a lot of work. The consensus is that it's not worth it unless your 5 speed has assumed room temperature.
The 5 speed is rod-driven and the 6 speed is cable driven. In addition, the flywheel is different. The 4th gen ECU will not be able to read the 6 speed flywheel. You need to hack a 6 speed flywheel to have the 5speed CPS ring to use it with the 4th gen ECU. You will also need to get different axles (CV joints). You will need to get the 6 speed tranny mount and bolt it to the frame. You will also need to get the 6speed shifter assembly.
Do I need to upgrade my clutch?
YES, at least a stage 1 clutch, stock 5.5gen, or Altima 3.5SE clutch. The stock 4th gen clutch will not hold the TQ the 3.5 puts out.
Can I use my autotragic?
Yes, but they're some debate whether the 4G auto can handle the power. Some say the 95-03 4spd autos are all the same and some say the 02-03's are beefed up. Autos in general usually take more TQ well and I think that a 4G auto should work fine, assuming it's in good mechanical condition.
What mods are recommended for the swap?
Headers or the 4th gen exhaust manifold with a y-pipe are highly recommended. This frees up around 20-25whp. Intake is maybe 5whp. UDP is also a good mod. I recommend the Motostorm UDP. The UDP for the 3.0L is the same except the 3.5L UDP doesn't have the timing ring.
Do the 3.0L headers (exhaust manifolds) fit on the 3.5 block?
Yes, everything matches up perfectly. If you're not using aftermarket headers, I highly recommend that the 3.0L headers be used since they don't have any precats in them.
3.5L stock headers with the 3.0L stock Y-pipe would be VERY restrictive. Don't do this unless you want to have potentially less power than your 3.0L had.
Can I use other 3.5 engines other than the maxima 3.5?
You can use the 3.5 from the Maxima, Altima, Murano, Quest, and I35. You CANNOT use the G35, 350Z, Frontier, or Pathfinder engines because they are RWD.
Does the Altima SE-R and the 04-06 Maxima engines really have more power? What are the differences?
The consensus is that they have a little more power due to ECU tuning and a slightly different IM. The difference is probably 5hp or less. The 04-06 Maxima engine has an external EGR valve, so it would be easier to pass emissions in most states with an external EGR than trying to convince them that the exhaust cams do it in the 02-03.
Can I use the TB (E-gas) that comes with the engine?
If you use the 02-06 ECU, you can use the E-Gas TB. If you use the 95-01 ECU, you will need to mod it to be cable-driven or use the 01-02 Pathfinder TB.
If you want a better 5th gear for highway cruising or want a more aggressive final gear, you can do what jclaw did and swap out the final gear and 5th gear from other transmissions. I'll have to find jclaw's thread for that.
Can I use the 3.0 heads on the 3.5 block?
Yes, but this is not what you want to do. The 3.5 heads flow better and get better HP and TQ.
Can I use the 00VI on 3.5 heads/block.
Yes, but the ports don’t match up. Many think the 00VI flows better, but no one's done a dyno yet. If you want to go this route, you should get pathfinder heads that have ports that line up with the 00VI IM. Putting the 00VI on the maxima 3.5 heads may lose you some power. I recommend using the 3.5 maxima heads and waiting for a decent IM from Kinetix.
You can read about the new Kinetix manifold here:
Can I use the 350z/G35 IM?
NO, it won’t have the TB in the right place and it won’t fit under the hood. In addition, the mounting holes don’t line up and the ports don’t match up. Thank you Nissan!!! The 350z IM may line up with 04/05 maxima engines, but you would still have to find a way to get it to fit under the hood and make a mount for the TB.
You can keep cruise control no matter what TB you use, as long as your TB has the CC throttle cable attachment.