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Author Topic: 88SE revival and eventual VG33E conversion  (Read 9253 times)

Offline iceageg

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Re: Im gonna try it: VG33E into 88 SE
« Reply #20 on: 01:07:26 PM / 23-Dec-13 »
My biggest worry is whether or not the vg30 bellhosuing will fit the 3.3 motor without mods.  Anyone know this off hand?  Once thats solved I still have to ensure flywheel, clutch all fit together.  :opps:

My wife and I did this swap on a 92 pathfinder and had ZERO complications with the bell housing, clutch or flywheel.  Everything fit together perfectly with zero complication or fabrication.  You should have not concerns about this.

Ill be using the stock ecu as Ive seen discussed long ago that the ecu should compensate the extra volume just fine.  The vg30 and vg33 are nearly identical besides their minor differences (plenum, sensor locations, little stuff).
Just unplug everything and keep the harness 100% intact.  When you pull the VG make sure you keep all of the sensors and plugs that are on the old engine and simply reuse them on the rebuilt VG33.  Shouldn't have a single wire to solder/crimp.  Your ECU should be just fine, at least until you start to mod it heavily.

How the mounts, ac, and wiring goes thats unknown until I get to pulling the stock motor out next weekend and get to see them side by side. 
Also of note, the VG33 crank has a larger diameter snout.  The VG30 crank pulley will not fit onto it without one of Mr. 510's adapters.  With this $90 adapter you can keep all of your old accessories and mount them in exactly the same place as before using the same brackets and hardware as before.  In addition, you get to use the 90,000 mile "round tooth" timing belt!  The only complication you should run into using the VG33 large snout crank is that the crank decides which oil pump you will use.  Which decides which pickup, pan, and oil filter location you end up with.  Slight modifications will have to be made to the water pump to accommodate the VG33 oil pump and I had to craft my own tensioner for one of the belts.  Re-using the VG33 crank avoids all this but you loose the longer life timing belt.  In the end I went with the VG33 crank myself.

Also of note, the head design on the VG33 is better but the cams in your vg30 are better so you will want to mix-n-match those out.  The VG33 heads also use larger/stronger exhaust manifold studs so you may have to do a little grinding to the holes in your VG33 exhaust manifolds/heads to get them to fit.  Just enough to clear the larger studs.  Nothing drastic.
I was afraid all the five gallon buckets of pain stacked four high were going to fall over

Offline Mr Amber Shades

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Re: Im gonna try it: VG33E into 88 SE
« Reply #21 on: 04:12:16 PM / 06-Jan-14 »
Thread Revival!!!  Also could this be moved to build threads?

Ok so long story short: Went through hard times, got out of the car scene, moved, this and that and now I'm back. Through it all I managed to keep the car and motor still. Lol

I had to do change ups in some things so it starts Fresh from here.  I had already started a build thread on a diff site so I'll compile it onto a mega update post.  Enjoy!

Alright guys I managed to get out of my slump and back to wrenching and doing work.  With the help of some friends we made a make-shift work area in my driveway.  Got no shed/carport due to funds so most off my shit is kept in a van to keep it from getting rained on.  Shed will come later when funds are right.

Today after setting up shop ghetto style with a tarp held up with nails, straps, a fence, and the van holding a corner, we set to work.  There were several hold ups but we managed to get the motor pulled out.  Pain in the ass cause the bottom side was dirty as shit, old school vac,setup so it has to have a million vac lines and other shit, plus its been like over 2 years since I've done serious engine work.

Plan is to swap the vg30e out and stick a vg33e in.  There will be some makeshift stuff done.  The transmission will be a ka gear box with the 3.0 bell housing.

Enjoy the pics and give your input

Then after a  few month period of nothing
So how about an update.  School and work have been getting in my way along with other shift.  Oh well.  Some progress has been made.
Since my last post, the car has mostly been mostly sitting.  Got a shed/workshop put in a few weeks ago at last (been at this house for little over a year) and that has jump started my work ethic.

What's been done in the past few weeks and where it stands now:
-VG30e motor and trans pulled out.
-stock motor is getting a partial work over.  All intake seals, valve cover gaskets, rear and front main seals, oil pan gasket, and timing belt will be replaced once i finish cleaning the motor. 
-not replacing head gaskets or opening the bottom.  Those were fooled around with before I got the car.  Thanks receipts!  Even though that was like 3 years ago now, its still only been a few hundred miles.
-Suspension tophats and bearings replaced.
-new ball joints, lca's, tie rods
-all front suspension bushings and links (except new stock lca's) are prothane
-cleaned engine bay some, painted hightemp/rust resist over all the exposed areas.  Wasnt too bad for 25 years.
-Rebuilt rack & pinion
-valve covers repainted
-intake cover soon to be repainted
-rear sway bushings replaced

Note: I'm doing this to the motor cause it still has plenty of life and I want to keep driving it while I do a full and proper total rebuild on the VG33e I've been lugging around.  I also have to make a new wire harness for it.  Going to be running it true obd2.

Next steps:
+Finish cleaning all the intake stuff then put it back together with new seals.
+replace belts
+swap KA gear box onto vg30 bell housing.
+Replace rear lca bushings (paint in the ass due to them being huge, and a lot of stuff to be dropped)
+replace rear subframe bushing
+Weld up a whole new exhaust
+Put motor back in

Once all the motor stuff is done and put back in, the rear suspension stuff happens.  The last two phases of this phase of the car will be the interior and then some body work.  I got brand new interior carpet for the car.  Real Nissan oem.(new as in never used, been sitting in a nice facility somewhere) Jackpot.  Going to line the entire interior with sound deadening.  The stuff I'll be using isn't as thick and heavy as Dynamat brand.

Pictures to show stuff off:

I used a 280z/300zx master kit which just so happens to fit 90% of the bushings on the 200sx.

Engine bay before I cleaned it

That's it for now. 

.... Days later.....

Minor update

Took more of the motor apart, did more cleaning. Not as much done as I would have liked but some progress is better than none.

Pictures. This batch sucks because my phone was on some shitty setting. Pictures in my last post were from same phone.

Engine bay after cleaning and patch work

Top of three block with intake plenum off. There was 1/2" thick grime and enough acorns to plant a small forest.

This is a shot of the worst/dirtiest intake. Not bad at all. All the others look much better. You can see how wonderfully clean the valve is :)

This is the intake plenum all cleaned up. Notice the darker surface on the left. That was thee only carbon and soot covered part. Any ideas why?

Fuel rail and other half of intake. Still needs to be cleaned.

Comparison of old suspension top mount vs new. Suspension is going to feel much better

Vg33E still waiting patiently

Hopefully more to come. Wish I had a second set of hands on this thing more often. My gear wrenching buddies are gone due to moving and whatnot.

....A little time later....

Figure it's time for an update.  Since the last update I had mostly done minor things with the car here and there.  Last week I really turned it up and was working on the car every day I had off. 

I got the bad bitch put together and running.  There is of course a bunch of little things I still have to get done before It's even where I can drive it without sweating my nuts off that something is going to go wrong.  :-[ Any who, I'll ramble off the technical stuff with pictures. 

I'm missing all kinds of nuts and bolts which was real annoying.  I'm sure a few are misplaced due to how long I took with this build and was kinda messy with it.  I'm still developing my work area.  That being said, I need to get a few such as a nut to lock the tie rod to the rack and pinion.  Driver side doesn't have one.  I'm pretty sure they got tossed by accident with the old tire rods, oops.  I gotta get the car aligned as its only aligned from eye balling it some.  Once my spark plug wires come in, I'm going to replace the plugs, wires, cap, and o2 sensor as the exhaust smells too rich still.  For all I know egr could be a culprit too.  Thats on the list to get deleted anyways.  I need to get to replacing the fuel filter and taking another look at the vacuum system.  Nissan sure loved using vacuum in copious amounts.  With all the under the hood things addressed, maybe my issue with it being somewhat difficult to start when cold.  Few cranks to get it running, but dies after idling for a few seconds unless I give it throttle for about 10 seconds or so, then it runs alright on its own mostly.

Valve cover when I got it all cleaned.  I don't have a close up of it painted but its a nice red.  I didn't do anything fancy

motor mostly together.  This is where it sat covered mostly

Frankensteining a transmission.  VG30 bell housing with ka24de gear box

Soaring high

Getting it in took time and proper use of angles but went smoothly with exhaust up to cat and trans included

All hooked up

This is what I had to do to the trans tunnel.  The interior pieces will fit alright on it with a different boot though.  Whats nice is its moved almost 3 inches closer and lets me use the s13 shifters instead of the giant telephone pole mine had. lol

How it is now (hood is back on actually)

Thats where things are at now.  I still got a lot to do and thats just motor/trans/suspension related just to get the car driving normally.  Im hoping to get it running just good enough this weekend.  I sold/got out of my DD so thats a nice chunk of money I save hats not going to payments, buuuut I need to make sure this thing is reliable enough for a while. That's college life yo  O0  I still haven't even touched the VG33E yet. It's a big project but thankfully I can work on rebuilding the vg33 and still drive the s12.  I wonder how long this partially redone vg30 will last now.
Post Merge
Right now I'm battling several issues with the car.  It's drivable but not a clean kind

-It's running super rich.  I smell it, and i can see it on the gauge which even though its clunky and old,. I can see it drinking the gas like a pig.  Also with some exhaust leaks I need to find which is terrible to drive with as it seeps into my clothing :(
-Takes a million cranks to get it to turn over then its a few sputter attempts before it fires up with life and runs fine (first 30 sec needs extra throttle before it idles on its own).  I've already ordered a PRW-2 for the ignition but I'm still working with whatever else to get this problem fixed.
-Suspension feels kinda shitty.  I know the prothane bushings will stiffen things up but this is ridiculous.  I am running canuck lowering springs with stock style shocks and struts (gabriel in the rear, basic kyb up front) and I think thats the culprit.  The suspension makes me feel every little bump in the road.  but the handling in turns is excelent.  Grips like it has claws (Bridgestone Potenza grid tires).  So I should probably look into the mr2/foxbody shock and strut upgrade
-Need to get right fluid for trans.  Using stuff I got from oreilly's and some lucas trans fluid, but thats only temporary to clean the trans out because it was sitting and I know the previous owner of the ka trans didnt do regular maintenance on it.  I need to get some of the right stuff but its hard to find local and expensive to order online.
-Replacing carrier bearing soon once it arrives in the mail.  The drive shaft beats around pretty bad between 5 and 15mph

Thats all I can remember at the moment.
« Last Edit: 04:39:59 PM / 06-Jan-14 by Mr Amber Shades »
A car that verbally tells me i forgot my keys in the ignition?  That's pure 80's gangster right there!

Offline motavated

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Re: 88SE revival and eventual VG33E conversion
« Reply #22 on: 05:03:13 PM / 06-Jan-14 »
Good work my man! I love my s12 and the vg30 engine is bulletproof! I am having a hard time myself but I really want to do this exact same thing to keep me active and work hard to new goals. Love your car. I wish mine was like yours right now. But I must push on!!!!

Btw, I just graduated with my BA. Looking for work so I FEEL YAH BRO! GET AT IT!!!!!
« Last Edit: 05:06:32 PM / 06-Jan-14 by motavated »

Offline Mr Amber Shades

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Re: 88SE revival and eventual VG33E conversion
« Reply #23 on: 09:25:15 AM / 12-Jan-14 »
Did a few more things with the car to resolve issues.  Got a likst of culprits and what not so it's a lengthy process.

Replaced the carrier bearing aka support bearing.  Also did a neat little ignition control unit upgrade thats the cheapest thing I've done for a noticeable upgrade.

Old support bearing vs new

This little bad boy is the prw-2 ignition control module that is a nice little upgrade item for guys running VG motors with older stock ignitions. This is found in most 90's V6 nissans (vg30e) Cost all of $8 on ebay.  Neat trick from the z31performance guys.

This is the ignition control module wired up.  The old one is on the top right.  This upgrade made a noticable difference in starting the car, idle, and throttle response.

With these things done I no longer have the driveshaft hammering around when I'm getting up to speed and my ignition system seems much improved so I may have fixed my cold start issue.

Next things to fix is why my car is running so rich.  Like really bad rich that I see my gas levels dropping with just minimal driving. Got a new o2 sensor on the way so hopefully thats it as I have done everything else I can for checking vacuum, timing, new plugs, wires, egr delete.  There is an exhaust leak before the o2 sensor either at the header or where that header connects to the down pipe.  It shouldn't affect the o2 sensor like that but the smell gets in the cabin so thats another thing to fix somehow.

Also I need to take the car in to a driveshaft shop to get it balanced.  It vibrates a lot now unless I'm driving at highway speeds.  Just had the alignment done and it's only started doing this since getting the support bearing replaced (which fixed the horrendous knocking the driveshaft would do)
A car that verbally tells me i forgot my keys in the ignition?  That's pure 80's gangster right there!

Offline Mr Amber Shades

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Re: 88SE revival and eventual VG33E conversion
« Reply #24 on: 04:58:31 PM / 16-Jan-14 »
So doing code diagnostics and had codes 13, 23, 33 a few days ago.

So to take care of code 33 i replaced the o2 sensor. 

Still getting code 33 along with a few additions. code 14 and the dreaded code 31

13 - engoine coolant temp sensor
14- vehicle speed sensor
23- idle switch (I beleive this is an automatic ecu thing only.  This is an auto to manual converted car)
31- ECM.  I dont have my FSM on hand but I do remember its solution to code 31 is to replace the ECM :(
33-  heated o2 sensor

Welp, thats it for now.  Just gremlin work.
A car that verbally tells me i forgot my keys in the ignition?  That's pure 80's gangster right there!

Offline Colonel Gustard

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Re: 88SE revival and eventual VG33E conversion
« Reply #25 on: 01:57:00 PM / 30-Jan-14 »
Get a Nissan head temp sensor, that alone fixes alot of issues, well it did for mine at least
"Certified Member of SoCal Parts Alliance."

what the hell is camber?

I thought about my s12 and the parts i want to put in her :P

Obviously, you have yet to meet Colonel Gustard.
I saw some of his posts, he seems like more fun than a barrel of hookers.

Offline Mr Amber Shades

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Re: 88SE revival and eventual VG33E conversion
« Reply #26 on: 04:09:58 PM / 30-Jan-14 »
Alright so I've done a few things and made an AH HA! discovery that could help us all with this.

Replaced the cylinder head temp sensor and got all my codes cleared.  Showing just code 55  :yay!:

I replaced the cylinder head temp sensor and this is how i did it (SUPER EASY):
-remove top half of fan shroud and clutch fan
-remove front timing cover (bunch of 8mm bolts that arent hard to get out)
-peel back the back portion of the timing cover.  This can be done simple with some snips/cuttens and a pair of pliers. Its below cam gear driver side right below the mounting screw point of the timing cover. 
-Break the stock plug with a hammer and long chisel or screw driver.  We'll be replacing the plug.  Break the tempo sensor plug plastic cap too.  This allows easy removal. 
-either a long 19mm or 21mm with extension gets its perfectly and screws it out.
-Best Part: The replacement sensor i bought was conveniently designed where the plug allowed a long well socket to fit over it perfectly so installation is a breeze. On rockauto: KEMPARTS Part # 140703
-Get a replacement harness plug.  Salvage from another harness or buy online.  rockauto gots them.
_peel back cover and tap into place with hammer and extension
-put everything back on in reverse order.

In this picture the red plug is the replacement plug I wired in since the stock one was rotted.  Behind the plug youl see the temp sensor installed. Next to/ around the plug youl see where I peeled the cover back to give a good opening ot the sensor.

While I was in there I also replaced the thermostat and fixed a leak I had.  All leaks fixed!  Only the engine related ones.  Interior ones are later :/

I screwed around with adjusting the transmission mounting and driveshaft prolems. 
First off I think I had it mounted too high with the trans mount.  Lowered it and redid the mounting a little.  No pics of it yet unfortunately
Rotated my drive shaft halves 180 to see how that effects the vibrations.
These changes helped with the vibrations some but not solved yet.  Thinking I'll still need to make the trans mount more solid and get the driveshaft professionally aligned.

I'm still suspecting I'm getting bad mpg and the exhaust still smells kinda rich.  I can't figure my mpg because the speedo suddenly stopped working.  odometer too.  Another hassle to fix.  lol
« Last Edit: 04:12:54 PM / 30-Jan-14 by Mr Amber Shades »
A car that verbally tells me i forgot my keys in the ignition?  That's pure 80's gangster right there!