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Nissan 350Z V6 (VQ35DE), 6 speed - in Alpine

Discussion in 'Modified Alpine' started by shapeshaver, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. shapeshaver

    shapeshaver Donation Time

    Hello, first post but not a Sunbeam newb. I currently own two Series II's and owned another series II about twenty years ago. It had a Volvo P1800 engine with twin SU's on it and I drove it as a daily driver. (Would love to find out what happened to it if anyone in the Denver area might know of it. It was a grayish Greenish color with a small hood bulge.)

    I have never fully gotten over that car...or my street rodding past for that matter. Soooo....

    I have gone back and forth over the pros and cons of this swap? It is very tight and will require some Header art, master cylinder relocating, steering link mod like the ford V6, etc. But I think this would be a swap worth the extra work involved.

    My question is, has any one actually tried this swap?
  2. alpine_64

    alpine_64 Donation Time

    Never heard of anyone trying it, have you done any measurements?
    The alpine front cross member might get in the way, is the height an issue with the bonnet slope? what other ancillaries will the Nissan motor need and can they fit in the engine bay?
  3. jimfai

    jimfai Donation Time

    if you are going the ricer route why not the honda vtec from an s2000? i still think the brit that put a complete s2000 set up in his MGA is one of the greatest sleepers you will ever see.
  4. robertf

    robertf Donation Time

    It would be cool, I measured a vg30e when I was looking for swap candidates and I don't remember specifically why I passed on it. Maybe the vq35de is different enough to not be a problem.
  5. shapeshaver

    shapeshaver Donation Time

    I have the VQ30DE sitting in the engine bay. I am putting up photos on a web site so it is easier to discuss. I am not married to the Nissan VQ idea. But in order to keep the Alpine steering it is the limit as far as size I think. I like the S2000 engines a lot, but I am looking for more of a hot rod-ish application. If I go the s2000 route I will build a Locost instead of an Alpine. I know a v6 is not quite hot rod, but the steering issue limits the package size unless I want to build my own R&P IFS. Then I would go LS1 anyway.


  6. bashby

    bashby Donation Time

    I looked into a VQ35DE when I was considering engines for my S-V and it was too wide at least by measurements; if I recall it would not fit between the inner fenders The SR20DET would not even fit with the stock steering (exhaust manifold/turbocharger challenges) that is why I went with the CA18DET (still a bit of a challenge for the exhaust manifold).
    More power :) to you if it does! The Nissan 5-speed shifter comes out where the ashtray normally is I do not know if the 6-speed is longer or where the shifter lies.
  7. shapeshaver

    shapeshaver Donation Time

    bashby, I have seen the pics of your CA18 swap. It looks nice and I think it's a great choice.

    The VQ30DE fits fine between the fender wells. But it is literally the limit with the stock steering box. The arms clear and it has full lock to lock steering so far as I can tell without the transmission in the car. The front timing cover is very high and is just "fouling on the bonnet". If I drop the front of the engine a little then the upper part of the head hits the steering box. As it sits in the images the oil pan sits level with the bottom of the cross member. I have had it lower in the car but it has to be tilted a little to clear the unmodified steering box bolt. The exhaust port nearest the steering box is close. Not optimal, but not undoable as far as I can tell at this point.
  8. bashby

    bashby Donation Time

    Thank you
    Sounds like you have it figured out! My measurements were rough as I did not have a VQ35DE in my possesion and could not get really accurate dmensions. Definitely keep us posted as to your progress.
  9. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    Do you have the engine all the way down? The proper position leaves the center of the crankshaft 3 1/2" above the crossmember. You cannot go by the bottom of the oil pan. When the Duratec was correctly positioned, the oil pan was about 3 1/2" from the floor. Tilting an engine is not a no-no. My Duratec is tilted 3 degrees and works fine.

    I've also found it is very difficult to properly position an engine without the transmission attached. Typically, the clearances are so tight a misalignment of of a 1/4" or so will give the false impression an engine will fit. Also, do you have room for exhausts?


    PROCRAFT Donation Time


    We looked at the V6 also I believe its 60deg. when all was said and done we used a SBF, and built a new fromt crossmember after starting with a Tiger piece.
  11. shapeshaver

    shapeshaver Donation Time

    Bill Blue, I will check to see how far from the cross member the crank center is. I believe I can drop the engine more if I offset the engine to the passenger side enough to clear the steering box.

    I don't have a transmission to bolt to the engine so I cant test that part yet. As far as seeing if it is 1/4" misaligned, if you are referring to it fouling on sheet metal in the tunnel or firewall, I don't have those anyway. The car was cut up years ago to try to fit a V8 so the tunnel and firewall are gone.

    You ca see the car here. http://sunbeamliger.weebly.com

    If you go to the engine section you can see some images of the way it sits in the frame. It would appear to me there is room for a custom header. It is very tight with a small window of where the primaries would have to be routed because of the steering arms and the steering box.
  12. shapeshaver

    shapeshaver Donation Time

    I am open to building a crossmember and going V8. It is just a LOT of work to figure out the correct geometry and components. I'll tell you what, why don't you share your prints with me so I can save all that time. :)

    The one thing I liked about this NISSAN engine is the weight and HP potential of it. But it would be fun to have a V8 as well.
  13. Chuck Ingram

    Chuck Ingram Donation Time

  14. bashby

    bashby Donation Time

    shapeshaver: are you planning on using the VQ30DE or the VQ35DET? The title states VQ35DE but the posts state VQ30DE just curious...
  15. shapeshaver

    shapeshaver Donation Time

    I have a VQ30DE that I am doing the testing with. It is a FWD engine from a Maxima. If I can get this to fit I would pick up a VQ35DE out of a 350Z or Infinity G35. They are both RWD. The blocks have different engine mount locations, Starter locations, oil filter locations, as well as different oil sump styles. Other than that it is dimensionally identical from what I know. But this engine was $50 and the drive train from a 350Z will cost 1K - 2K. So I thought I would Do the research on this one first.
  16. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    I found it was difficult to properly locate the engine without the gearbox. Not so much as gearbox clearance, but lateral location. It is easy to have the engine setting slightly crosswise and not realize it. Of course it was crosswise for a reason.

    Do not think the starter will not be an issue. They tend to be in the way. Some installations are impossible with the stock steering because of the starter and was a very big issue with the Duratec 2.3 installation.

  17. shapeshaver

    shapeshaver Donation Time

    Yes, I see what you're saying. I guess I wont know that until I find a cheap trans core.

    I have marked centerline on the engine and on the car though and I think I at least have it pretty straight and centered in the car.
  18. shapeshaver

    shapeshaver Donation Time

    I found a six speed transmission, bolted it up, and put it all in the car. These transmissions are beefy and will hold a substantial amount of torque.

    (I would insert a picture here, but it is asking me for a URL. Cant I just upload one from my computer?)
  19. shapeshaver

    shapeshaver Donation Time

    Attached Files:

  20. Bill Blue

    Bill Blue Platinum Level Sponsor

    You have some really serious issues. Transmission length being #1. Removing the center crossmember (cruciform) is really a tough assignment on an Alpine as it is the heart of the car. If it were to be replaced, a person would have to make up a jig to hold the car in proper alignment. I don't see any way this could be accomplished in kit form. If you insist on using this engine, I think it would be prudent to use a different transmission.

    But moving into the engine compartment, some here (I'm leading the parade) do not consider an engine to be a "fit" if the firewall braces cannot be used. These are the braces that brace the firewall to the fenders. I don't believe it is necessary to use the stock braces, but something has to be used in order to hold the car in shape. I removed mine for several while the car was on a rotisserie. One side would not line up with the bolts, the other side, just barely. When it was installed the chassis pulled back into shape so the other side could be installed.

    Exhaust. I have nothing to say on this issue as I have trouble visualizing in 3D.

    You seem to be willing to consider to other engines. I can offer this info.

    The GM 2.8 V6 family will fit the space with the usual exhaust problems. Barry has looked into the situation and while he says it is possible to use restrictive stock manifolds or fabricate a "shorty" header, he prefered to switch to R&P steering. As I understand his position, this was done mainly because he does not like the Alpine steering gear. The usual tunnel mods have to be made to use a T5. But I believe this engine has potential to be the basis of a kit.

    Bill Atalla looked into the GM Ecotec and rejected it because of width problems at the front of the engine. He never explained this and I wonder if the problem is the block or accessories. In any event, I recommend contacting him to determine if the swap has any potential.

    Bill decided to use the Ford Zetec engine. I think it has kit potential. It fits the space and the exhaust is on the correct side.

    I installed a Ford Ranger 2.3 Duratec in my Alpine. I did this, thinking a kit could be offered, but decided no. It is a successful swap, but has these issues:

    Intake and exhaust must be fabricated.
    I had to relocate the alternator in order to fit a header. You might not, my header fabrication talents are nil.
    The crossmember must be notched to clear the oil pump bulge in the pan.
    The starter must be modified to clear the steering arm. An alternative would be to modify the steering location.
    Exhaust is on the wrong side of the engine.
    Oil pan is too deep, resulting in only 3 1/2" ground clearance. A new pan was fabricated, giving 5 + inches ground clearance.


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