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Old 03-16-2017, 03:27 PM   #1
m460mb383
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Default VQ38DE for beginners?

Hey guys. I'm going to try to ask this question as simply as possible and hope for the best results.

First of all, I'm a general mechanic and fabricator, but as far as my knowledge base, i've always been a chevy guy. Small block, big block, LS1 and so on. If someone tells me what vehicle they got their "LS1" out of, i'll know immediately if it was an LM4, LM9, LQ4 LQ9 LS1 early gen, later model, LS2 LS3 LS4 LS6 7 9 blah blah blah, and can tell you almost exactly what is in it, what to change out or swap between them to make power, blah blah etc....

When it comes to NISSAN?............ not a clue.

So here's the deal. Over the next year, I'm about to start on a project, which, for simplicity sake, i wont get into. But I've been researching engines for a while now trying to figure out what i want to use for said project. I need a V6, front wheel drive manual transmission donor car. Basically, the entire front clip is coming out and going "in the trunk" of another car (once i decide what i want).

On the way home today, i was behind a run of the mill car when i noticed an enticing badge... Nissan Altima 3.5 V6............ huh.....

So that got me to thinking, "I wonder if they sell Hot rodded Cam shafts, stroker cranks, valves, upgraded heads, intakes and all of that for the engine it has in it...

I got home and wiki'd the car. 270hp.. not bad to start with! Comes with manual transmission as an option! sold

Then i realized, these engines come in :





ALL of these cars, including the Z in some form or fashion, therefore, SURE they make all the hot rod / soup up stuff for them.



so. to my question.



can someone PLEASE give me an overall rundown on these engines? Obviously the Z would have the souped up version, but, realistically, are these all the EXACT same engine with interchangeable parts?



What makes one of them more or less power? I assume intake, exhaust, tuning mainly, but, i guess what i really need is "well, the altima has bad heads, the maxima has better heads but you really want (whatever....) you know?



Also, there is a 4 liter engine as well. VQ40DE, is anyone building those?



I guess another question is. say, for example, i did get the maxima or altima, would i be looking for Z "hot rod" parts for the engine? are all parts interchangeable between each of those cars listed above's engines (aside from piston's with various diameters and obvious things)?



I ask, because sometimes (often) they are not, whereas, an LSX platform, you can take an LS1, and put an LS6 intake on it, and LS7 heads, a crank out of an LQ9, with LS3 pistons, blah blah blah blah and you only need bore the cylinder appropriately. Is that the case here too?


Aside from that, i'm brand new to the forum, and i'm sorry to just jump in here and ask so much from you guys, but i do appreciate as much info as you'd like to provide. I feel like the VQ engine is the route i wish to go.



Thanks in advance for the help.

P.S!!!!! You may say "well why not go straight for a Z engine. " well... a maxima or altima engine seem to be cheaper and people aren't buying up those cars to soup them up, whereas, everyone knows what a Z is. Can't get it cheap, and i need the whole FWD donor car.
Also, despite everything i said, i really don't want to spend more than 6-7k on the engine to rebuild it if needed, and turbo it all said and the most i really hope for is 350-400hp to the wheels. Thanks again
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Old 03-18-2017, 11:28 PM   #2
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:26 AM   #3
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You're going to,discover very quickly that unless you go with forced induction, these motors won't make a lot more power than in stock form, and by far, the best motor to have in stock form is the HR version from a '07 - '09 350Z or '09> 370Z. It's that simple. You'll NEVER see 340-400 whp with one of these running normally aspirated.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:24 AM   #4
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Welcome and you'll also find the FWD variants are different than the RWD VQs. Parts are designed for different applications and low-cost swaps are not easily done. As drains says, The VQ35HR offers more performance, but has almost 80% different parts than any VQ before it. It's got more in common with the VQ37VHR than anything else.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:08 AM   #5
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Thanks guys.

And yeah I realize there are no n\a applications that bring out that type of output, and planned for a turbo as part of the build, but I'm also gathering that there won't be as many performance parts for the other versions of the engine, vs the Z engines, which may or may not mate up to the fwd manual transmissions. I don't know if I have ever seen a 400hp Maxima. I'm sure they exist but are far less previlent than a 400hp 350 or 370z. So maybe I need to go with a turbo Mazda 3 setup.

But I'm basically looking for something that I can find hot cams, reworked heads, forged parts etc for and has 250 to 300hp stock before I even touch it, v6, with comparable tq. Not sure I mentioned but its going in the "trunk" of an 03 mini. Current output for my car is 250hp (supercharged, tuned, suspension, blah blah) but is significantly lacking in tq since it's a small i4. The extra displacement and cylinders would do a LOT in such a small and light car. The 03 is smaller than the minis you see driving around now. Weight of my car is right at 2000lbs. 2100 full tank. Interior is mostly gutted for weight savings.

So if I had 300hp /250 tq from a stock v6 engine, it would be near motorcycle fast, and rwd. I just need to figure out which engine to go with, and find a car wrecked from the rear end to gut out, then start with the roll cage and engine mounts, using the stock front end of the donor car for measurements etc. Not too difficult really and would make an incredibly awesome track car.... Which is the ultimate goal, rather than spending 20k to build a reliable 300hp mini engine..
No joke. Mini engines are insanely expensive to build, and rarely top 300hp. That's why I'm getting away from it.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:21 AM   #6
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For a current FWD VQ V6 putting out 300 HP, I'd suggest the latest variant in the 2016-17 Maxima. It puts out 300 HP @ 6400 RPM and 261 ft/lbs. TQ at a low 4400 RPM.

Still...for building a track worthy car, the Z33/34 are good platforms to start with and a whole lot easier than adapting a Mini.
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:28 AM   #7
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The last thing I'll ever drive is a 300+ hp front wheel drive car. My wife had a Volvo T5R, and it was truly one of the most unsafe cars I've ever driven. I remember the first time I drove it and almost crashed it. I pulled out to pass another car on a 2-lane back road, and when I punched the throttle the torque steer pulled me to the right so quickly I almost nit the other car, and when I backed off, the damn rear came around like an old 911. Happiest day of my life was when she got rear-ended and the POS was totalled. She's got an Acura TL-S now, and it's not much better. There simply are no good FWD sports cars.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcains View Post
The last thing I'll ever drive is a 300+ hp front wheel drive car. My wife had a Volvo T5R, and it was truly one of the most unsafe cars I've ever driven. I remember the first time I drove it and almost crashed it. I pulled out to pass another car on a 2-lane back road, and when I punched the throttle the torque steer pulled me to the right so quickly I almost nit the other car, and when I backed off, the damn rear came around like an old 911. Happiest day of my life was when she got rear-ended and the POS was totalled. She's got an Acura TL-S now, and it's not much better. There simply are no good FWD sports cars.
Yeah I agree. When I had my shop, there were lots of guys bringing higher go fwd cars by for various Tig welding or whatever. I got to drive a lot of them, and I have always preferred red. I've been an American v8 guy for my entire life. But to reiterate, I'm going to gut the engine from the mini, sell it, and (in a very abbreviated explanation) cut a hole in the trunk, and put a (yet to be decided upon which,) v6 in the back, making it a mid rear engine, red car. They did this often in England back when rally racing was huge and when the "hot hatches" were more of a thing. That was before Audi started kicking butt with the all wheel drive cars in the late 80s, then Subaru etc. So my project is more of an homage to the past, but with more modern equipment. It will be just as much for "cool factor" as racing. I just have to decide which powerplant and trans to go with, and go from there. The Maxima engine and trans are at the top of that list so far. But... An engine that comes with a turbo stock, would help. Then I don't have to spend so much to strengthen the engine to handle it. Do they make a turbo Maxima? I guess if they did, it would be a 4 banger and I'm not much better off than my mini motor
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcains View Post
The last thing I'll ever drive is a 300+ hp front wheel drive car...There simply are no good FWD sports cars.
I agree...asking the front wheels to steer & accelerate, not to mention handle and decelerate while the rear wheels are hanging out is too much ...

wait? so you're making a mini a rear wheel drive car?

aside from being subscribed...I'd look into 350z DE engine based on the multitude of available options for upgrades...who know if the maxima, murano, frontier(4.0vqde) are comparable ... but you will have no problem getting both new & used aftermarket and OEM replacements as needed. Dare I say the DE 350z has more aftermarket support than any other nissan? and quite possibly top 5 supported vehicles overall? between mechanical, tuning, FI, there is an metric ton of options out there AND a multitude of self-help that you can find the trusty internets.

Last edited by bealljk; 03-19-2017 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 03-20-2017, 06:09 AM   #10
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Thanks! And yeah I'm at work so can't go into a lot of detail but, I plan to take a fwd car, Nissan etc, basically cut the entire car in half at the firewall after building a jig around key areas to keep everything square. Then start building a tube frame around engine mounts, shock towers etc etc and start stripping away the Nissan body from the engine and transmission, then once I have the inner cage built I can "cut a hole" in the rear of the mini and set the engine in, then start building the rest of the outer tube frame around the car. Obviously the old rear end from the mini goes away so does the mini engine etc. Gas tank goes under the hood. Firewall gets built around the engine in the trunk, and everything from the wheel hubs to the intake and everything between gets used from the Nissan except the original unibody crap. But the k member stays. Then wheels and a wide body kit goes on the car, etc etc. Finding the right inset on the wheels will be hard depending upon the width of the donor car. A golf or a Mazda 3 would still be considerably wider than the mini. A Maxima would be way wider. My car is the size of a Mazda 2 or a Fiat. Even a lotus is longer but shorter and those are tiny cars. That's a very short explanation to the mountain of work it will take haha. But, I've done similar in the past, and built tons of roll cages and high horsepower motorcycles (300 to 500hp Busa engine bikes turbo box etc) literally from the ground up, frame and all, etc, so it's not outside of the realm of possibility for me to accomplish it.... Over time.

Last edited by m460mb383; 03-20-2017 at 06:12 AM.
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