A Nissan Sentra Forum banner

1 - 20 of 158 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

This is just a project log for my 2004 Sentra that I'm VQ swapping. I work at a Nissan dealership and someone traded in an 04 spec V with no compression. I was in need of a new winter beater/daily so I bought it for $600. I had heard of VQ35 swaps before purchasing and was really interested in them, but after figuring out costs I decided the only way it could be done economically was to buy a complete VQ manual trans parts car, which are quite rare.
Here's the car:



I was planning on rebuilding the QR and as the first step ordered an OBX header from Amazon to eliminate the cat. As luck would have it, after a couple weeks Amazon never shipped the header and refunded me the money. At the same time, a 5 speed 2003 Altima showed up at the local insurance auctions. I took a morning off work and won the auction for $475
My donor:




It had been hit pretty hard and there was some casualties. After cutting away the front end I was able to program my Sentra key to the car and start it up to make sure everything was good.



The accident had pushed the frame rail over into the alternator, smashing it to pieces and taking a small chunk of the inner timing cover with it. The A/C compressor escaped any damage, the front primary O2 was bent, and the IPDM suffered some cosmetic damage.



Free!


The car had 213,000kms (~132k MI) on it but the engine has clearly been out before (some missing bolts and stuff...smh) and had junkyard marker on the intake manifold so I don't know it's mileage.

Fixing the timing cover:




New inner cover from a junked VQ at work ready to go on:


Also de-pinned and replaced the cracked connector for the front O2:


New inner cover on:


I seem to be missing some pictures, but I put a new OEM Nissan main timing chain, tensioner and guides in on reassembly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I placed the engine into the Sentra and got to work fabricating a passenger side engine mount.
I took cues from used tloof and cut the stock Sentra mount down to make a platform, and welded together a 4" spacer to raise the stock Altima mount up.




I got fed up with fabricating the mount and decided to just pony up and order a 2J Racing mount kit.



I tried to install the mounts which only resulted in frustration for me, so I decided to walk away from the mount issue and just focus on wiring it up.



Now I've barely got any pictures from the last couple months of puttering around with the wiring but as of yesterday, I got it to run!



I didn't get the first start on video, but here's the second:
https://youtu.be/ydzvS2EQPo0


So that's all up to date now.
To do list:
-purchase headers that will fit the Sentra chassis. Probably OBX VQ30 Maxima headers as the 02-03 maxima headers are no longer made it seems
-solder and tape all my wiring, trouble shoot an ECT (coolant temp) and ETC (throttle control) codes as well as hook up all the non-essential stuff like EVAP and fuel gauge etc. It's running in limp mode down with the bare minimum of wires
-figure out what I want to do for engine mounts
-install axles
-install radiator
-fab exhaust
-purchase and wire cooling fans. I don't think I'll be using the very complicated 3 speed factory fan setup, though that's an option as I retained the Altima IPDM
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
I can explain all the 2J mounts except the passenger axle bracket. The axle bracket on my vq motor didn't fit my spec v axle. I'm waiting on a production run of the z fever axle bracket. It would cost me about 100 bucks for another vq axle bracket and at 250 for the z fever piece it's a no brainer imo. All I'm waiting on is 2J to tune my ecu wit the nwp big bore throttle body kit and a 4" intake and then I can start mine. As for driving it I need either a vq axle bracket that will work with a spec axle or the z fever production run to finish
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
The axle bracket adapter that is supplied with the 2J Racing kit is to be used with a stock VQ MT axle bracket (which is different from a VQ AT axle bracket), not a QR bracket. Attached below is a picture with it bolted on my VQ engine before installing into my SpecV. The VQ MT axle bracket itself is moved rearward on the VQ engine mount bolt holes and then the axle bracket adapter is bolted to the VQ MT axle bracket and the VQ eng block. Note that I also added a small angle mount on the left side of the axle bracket to help stiffen the assembly (it bolts to the VQ MT axle bracket and also to a hole on the top of the oil pan just behind the axle bracket). View attachment 65926 View attachment 65927
As for the Passenger side eng mount, see the pictures below to get a good idea of how I did mine. I actually used a front QR mount (with delrin insert, but a stock rubber version will work too) bolted directly to the VQ aluminum mount on the front of the timing cover with a 5/16" plate spacer in between. I then bolt that to a 2"x2"x1/8" angle that is bolted down to the modified stock QR chassis mount bracket that I welded another 2"x2"x1/8" angle to. There is no need to use a stock Altima VQ rubber mount like Run Away is trying to do in this post. View attachment 65928 View attachment 65929 View attachment 65930
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
I recently got a 2JR-built VQ Sentra and @tloof helped me out with a couple of problems you might be having down the road:

  1. Overheating

    There was no way to keep the temperature down in city traffic with the stock Sentra radiator. I tried lower-temp thermostats, coolant additives, aggressive "burping" ... nothing worked. The solution was a 2-row aluminum radiator with two 12" slim fans. It has twice the cooling power and it solved the problem.
    .
  2. O2 Sensors

    The A/F sensor bung on the rear OBX header puts the sensor directly in front of the anti-sway bar, making it almost impossible to change sensors. Consider welding another bung at an angle away from that location.

    The front OBX header does not have a bung for the secondary heated O2 sensor on the front header. If you mount that sensor in the spare bung of the rear header, you will get CEL's for several O2 related DTC's. You'll need to weld one on in the area just below the A/F sensor to eliminate that problem and make the motor run better.

    All this should be done before you mount the headers to make the welding easier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I can explain all the 2J mounts except the passenger axle bracket. The axle bracket on my vq motor didn't fit my spec v axle. I'm waiting on a production run of the z fever axle bracket. It would cost me about 100 bucks for another vq axle bracket and at 250 for the z fever piece it's a no brainer imo. All I'm waiting on is 2J to tune my ecu wit the nwp big bore throttle body kit and a 4" intake and then I can start mine. As for driving it I need either a vq axle bracket that will work with a spec axle or the z fever production run to finish
I've yet to cross that bridge, but I'll be sure to document and failure or success I have here.
As for the Passenger side eng mount, see the pictures below to get a good idea of how I did mine. I actually used a front QR mount (with delrin insert, but a stock rubber version will work too) bolted directly to the VQ aluminum mount on the front of the timing cover with a 5/16" plate spacer in between. I then bolt that to a 2"x2"x1/8" angle that is bolted down to the modified stock QR chassis mount bracket that I welded another 2"x2"x1/8" angle to. There is no need to use a stock Altima VQ rubber mount like Run Away is trying to do in this post.
First off I'd like to say thank you for your posts detailing your swap, they are very helpful! I saw those pictures before I started building my own mount there, I didn't want to go with "solid" mounts as I was afraid of lots of vibration....the end goal I have in mind for this car is not a performance car so to speak, but rather something comfortable, fast, and built for under $3000. The stock front rubber mount would not be substantial enough to work as the side mount, the voids in the rubber are not in the correct spot. Hence why I used the stock Altima mount. But I will be revisiting my options there in the future anyways, I've kind of accepted I'll have solid mounts somewhere now.

I recently got a 2JR-built VQ Sentra and @tloof helped me out with a couple of problems you might be having down the road:

  1. Overheating

    There was no way to keep the temperature down in city traffic with the stock Sentra radiator. I tried lower-temp thermostats, coolant additives, aggressive "burping" ... nothing worked. The solution was a 2-row aluminum radiator with two 12" slim fans. It has twice the cooling power and it solved the problem.
    .
  2. O2 Sensors

    The A/F sensor bung on the rear OBX header puts the sensor directly in front of the anti-sway bar, making it almost impossible to change sensors. Consider welding another bung at an angle away from that location.

    The front OBX header does not have a bung for the secondary heated O2 sensor on the front header. If you mount that sensor in the spare bung of the rear header, you will get CEL's for several O2 related DTC's. You'll need to weld one on in the area just below the A/F sensor to eliminate that problem and make the motor run better.

    All this should be done before you mount the headers to make the welding easier.
Thank you for the heads up! What brand radiator did you go with? I'm trying to do this on the cheap...I see Mishimoto rads on eBay for $240, but also some no-name ones for just over $100....I'm a little leary on those.

I also have to figure out what to do for an exhaust, the only OBX headers available right now on eBay are for 89-94 and 04-08....obviously the 04-08 ones won't work, not sure if the 89-94 maxima ones will. Perhaps in the interest of saving money I'll just to go a junkyard and get a pair of manifolds from a 95-01 and fabricate a Y pipe? I know there's no off-the shelf option and i'll be re-working the Y-pipe in some way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
Thank you for the heads up! What brand radiator did you go with? I'm trying to do this on the cheap...I see Mishimoto rads on eBay for $240, but also some no-name ones for just over $100....I'm a little leary on those.
I bought a "ZAP" aluminum radiator. It is a direct fit for the Sentra. It cost $105 shipped. Later I found a similar model with two 12" slim fans and fasteners for $133 with free shipping.
(http://www.ebay.com/itm/151297708679?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT)
As of today, they have more than 10 available. I really don't understand the justification for a $240 radiator. Is it shinier? Is it a better grade of aluminum? Is the fit more precise? Maybe it is because of the name recognition. Who knows? I'm very satisfied with mine.

You'll have very little clearance with the 2-row radiator and the slim fans. The fans should be mounted as close together and as high and as far to the left (driver's side) as possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
^Perfect, thanks...that's a cheap fix.


Update from last Tuesday night's session working on the car. After my bad experience with 2J racing (thread found here) I made up a shifter bushing out of an old hockey puck I found in a traded-in car.

It just just a tad on the loose side so a single layer of electrical tape made it fit nice and tight.

Installed. It's not as nice, but it was free, took 10 minutes to make, and works....

Now that the car is running I wanted to see if I could get it moving under it's own power. I installed the drivers side axle (no pictures as it's all stock and boring) but ran into a snag on the passenger side. The 03 Altima axle bracket does not share the bolt pattern with the B15 axle.


I'll also have to relocate the water hardline to the oil cooler.

Which axle bracket do I need? Early VQ30 Maxima I seem to remember reading somewhere? A co-worker is parking a 2001 Maxima, I'll see what he's got. I'm also going to see if I can build a hybrid axle setup that uses the stock VQ midshaft and a shorter outer axle.


With that not working I moved on to trying to get the mounts to fit better. This is what I started with:

The offset bushing at the back has the hole down low, which doesn't work as the oil pan touches the crossmember and at the front jams the crank sensor up into the front mount:


So I took off the crossmember and clocked the offset bushing the way I was told to over the phone by Joe at 2J

Also put in the Delrin crossmember bushings


Put the crossmember back in, and here's how it lined up with the engine hanging naturally on the side mounts


Jacked up the back of the engine to try and line up the holes, but the arc in which the engine and transmission rotate the the two side mounts actually move it further back and nowhere close to the hole


So I tried jacking it straight up, and it's still too far back


In the end I rotated the bushing down a bit more and used the jack to push the engine up, but this is the best I could get


Which is still not acceptable as the oil pan still touches the cross-member. I may be following tloof's guide at mounts I think....


Oh, and I also placed an order for a cheapo set of eBay headers for 95-01 Maxima. $147 Canadian shipped from Amazon.ca, which is $50 cheaper than the cheapest I found on eBay (and over $100 cheaper than the same headers from Amazon.com). I'm half expecting I won't be receiving them...seems like a price error, too cheap, but here's hoping....
If they do show up, I'll be using OEM gaskets, replacing all the crap hardware, and cutting up the Y-pipe to fit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
The way you can tell what bracket is right is that the auto brackets have threads in the bracket for the 3 bolts that go into the axle. The manual brackets are smooth in the 3 for the axle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
The location that Joe drilled the rear motor mount delrin insert won't work on the VQ swap as far as I can tell. I don't know how he installed the VQ in his SpecV conversions, but I ended up making my own mounts & redrilling the rear delrin insert to work on my installation. My method centers the engine perfectly between the upper strut bar and the lower cross member with 3/16" clearance to both! From what Joe told me he lowers the VQ about a full 1" (which requires dropping the lower crossmember over 1/2"), whereas I only dropped my VQ eng 1/2" to get it centered (that requires lowering the cross member with 5/32" thick washers between the delrin cross member bushings & the frame). Also, the passenger side mount is critical to getting the engine in the chassis straight, which the plate type adapter that Joe sells doesn't do (it sets the engine in crooked with the timing cover end sitting closer to the radiator).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
The location that Joe drilled the rear motor mount delrin insert won't work on the VQ swap as far as I can tell. I don't know how he installed the VQ in his SpecV conversions, but I ended up making my own mounts & redrilling the rear delrin insert to work on my installation. My method centers the engine perfectly between the upper strut bar and the lower cross member with 3/16" clearance to both! From what Joe told me he lowers the VQ about a full 1" (which requires dropping the lower crossmember over 1/2"), whereas I only dropped my VQ eng 1/2" to get it centered (that requires lowering the cross member with 5/32" thick washers between the delrin cross member bushings & the frame). Also, the passenger side mount is critical to getting the engine in the chassis straight, which the plate type adapter that Joe sells doesn't do (it sets the engine in crooked with the timing cover end sitting closer to the radiator).
Great info! I was wondering how people were getting clearance between the engine and crossmember, I wasn't aware the crossmember was lowered. I was thinking of maybe notching the drivers side of the crossmember where the clearance issue exists and boxing/plating in the cut. Or just building my own crossmember, although it would undoubtedly end up heavier than the stock piece.

Worked a bit on the axles this past Monday.

Top is 2001 Maxima with 5 speed VLSD drivers axle, followed by 2003 Altima 5 speed manual drivers axle, then 2003 Altima 5 speed manual passenger axle, then 2004 Spec V passenger axle, then 2001 Maxima with 5 speed VLSD passenger axle

2001 Maxima 5 speed manual bracket vs 2003 Altima 5 speed manual bracket




It wasn't until after I had torched and pressed out the 2001 Maxima axle bracket that I noticed that it was cracked...so I'll have to find another one and this is just for fitment purposes



2001 Maxima bracket on the Sentra axle with the 2J spacer



Mocked up....the 2J racing bracket doesn't fit properly here either. Note the gap between the aluminum bracket and the stock axle bracket.


So I added a washer. Still not enough. Bolt has that springy feeling of something giving as you tighten it...


Two washer did the trick. Everything tightens down nicely with no more springy bending feeling...


Top bolt put in place too.


Two washers between the top bolt hole in the 2J bracket and the axle bracket as well to keep things even. Put in a grade 10.9 bolt and a nut on the back side of the axle bracket for the top hole.

Then I took it for a drive around the parking lot. No more pushing the car in and out of the shop every time I want to work on it!

Up next:
-Mount the ECU behind the glove box
-install battery tray with the bracket for the factory fuse box
-install a proper intake
-mount the IPDM in the space available. Most likely between the battery tray and intake
-once the location of all my control units are set, cut down wire lengths to fit and begin soldering and taping all connections
-finish wiring up the other non-essential bits

Random issues I hope will be fixed along the way:
-there seems to be a parasitic draw, the car will kill the battery in a few days
-the car is in limp mode and has a ~2500rpm rev limit, but none of the current codes should set limp mode

Here's the current list of codes

The only ones that shouldn't be there are the p0031, p0051, and p1800 codes. I'll have to diagnose the O2 heater codes, the p1800 is probably just a bad solenoid. I've seen lots of those go bad on customer cars.


I think my cheapo headers actually showed up too, I came home yesterday to a FedEx delivery slip for a 21lb parcel on the door so I'll try and pick that up on Monday. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Best of luck with this build. I really wanted to try but don't have the time to fab anything, so I have to stick to plug and play mods
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
Run Away,

I forgot that it is a '95-'01 VQ30 MT axle shaft bracket that has to be used to mate up to the stock SpecV axle shaft. I looked at trying to make a freinkenstein axle shaft using a VQ inner shaft with various SpecV's or Altima outer CV joints, but nothing worked out to the correct length & CV joint type (6 ball vs 3 ball types). It's best to just use the stock SpecV axle shaft assembly with the VQ30 MT axle bracket that is spaced rearward with the adapter bracket & spacer that Joe sells @ 2J Racing. I also had to add washers to get the adapter to seat correctly since the adapter bracket isn't milled to the correct thickness. I ran a depth dial indicator on mine and then went to Ace Hardware and measured washer thicknesses with a dial indicator till I found the perfect makeup thickness. Also the bolt lengths required are slightly different in each position, so keep that in mind as well. One thing to note is you need to grind a radius to the top rear side of the VQ30 Axle bracket to get clearance to the engine block, or it will just touch it and make lining up the bracket difficult. I also recommend that you add a small angle support to the rear hole of the axle bracket and tie it into the hole on the upper oil pan just below the axle bracket to increase the strength of the assembly (see attached picture). View attachment 66163
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
Run Away,

A few more suggestions on your SpecV VQ swap:

1) Do not use the '03 Altima VQ ECU & eng wiring harness for your swap. Go with an '05 350Z MT ECU, it is way better and good for an additional 30 HP over the earlier type ECU.
2) Do not use the IPDM, BCM, Multi-meter Amp Module, etc. from the Altima in your swap since all of those can be programmed out using Osiris UpRev software in the '04-'06 ECU's (this includes eliminating the immobilizer function).
3) Mount the ECU on an '04-'06 SpecV mounting plate that locates the ECU in the back of the firewall on the engine side in the SpecV's stock location...much better spot to locate it at!
4) Wire up your eng harness to use a hardwired ECU power relay & throttle motor relay the same as is done on the QR powered SpecV's, and use the stock AC relay & cooling fan relays in the SpecV's relay box that are wired thru the stock SpecV's eng room harness.
5) Stick with using the stock SpecV's fuse box powered directly from the battery terminal that is wired up to the SpecV's eng room harness.
6) Make your eng harness so that it is a direct plug in into the two under dash connectors & the two shock tower connectors for all power & instrument functions, etc. Makes for a much cleaner installation!
 
1 - 20 of 158 Posts
Top