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 Post subject: GUN180 VQ30det 180sx
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:46 am
Posts: 17
Location: Tasmania
Hi guys, thought I'd kick things off around here with a build thread.
I don't have time to do a full write up just yet but I'll get around to it ;)


The car is a 91' 180sx that had a CA18det auto originally, it had been converted to manual before I bought it and I spent a coupla years drifting it with this motor before I decided to look into doing an engine conversion.

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I found a VQ30det for sale locally (Tasmania) that already had a 350Z 6pd attached as it had been swapped into a 350Z.
There where quite a few bits missing/ broken etc. and I've spent the last 2yrs researching and acquiring/ building parts for the swap.


My build technicaly kicked off in 2011 when I found and purchased a VQ30det that was stored in a blokes shed only 30 minutes from where I lived.
I only found out about the motor when discussing the videos I had seen on youtube of the Maytech sileighty with a friend and said that i'd like to do this conversion myself.
My friend said he had another mate that had one of those engines that was in a written off 350Z he had purchased to fix his 350Z.

This bloke had bought the Z sight unseen from an auction site because it was advertised as a turbo 350Z, he was expecting it to be a VQ35 with bolt on turbo kit, but someone had actualy converted it to VQ30det... he was uninterested in the smaller 3 litre and left it sitting in his shed still attached to a 6spd gearbox!

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I then purchased a 180sx shell that was beyond repair just to use for dummy fitting the engine while my 180sx remained on the road (I knew this was going to be a long build and didn't want to disable a perfectly usable car)

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The plan was to mount the motor on a stock crossmember, I have seen other builds done differently where people mod the crossmember to suit the stock mounts... I don't think theres a wrong or right way to go about it, but I wasn't going to be the one cutting and shutting or building custom mounts, that job was up to a friend who was going to be doing all my fabricating for me (I can't weld and don't have the gear for it) so the decision was his to make custom mounts.



I started off by finding some universal rubber bushes...
These are Kelpro brand, but I can't remember the part number!

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Then we positioned the engine where I thought I had just enough room in all the right places and used some nice thick plate to fab up some mounts...

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Unfortunately I seem to have lost some photo's as I can't find any of the mounts fully finished or the gearbox cross member that was measured and made at the same time! :roll:
I will get some pics of the gearbox cross member next time I'm under the car...

A new shortened shifter bracket was also made at this stage and the shifting rod shortened so that the gearstick wasn't back between the seats!
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You can see the 2 brackets welded together here where the shifter attaches, there was a rod in-between them, I cant remember the exact length of the rod but its over 4"
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Here is someone else's photo of what the stock shifter rod looks like next to a shortened one (picture comes from this site https://sites.google.com/a/vq240z.com/www/home)
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When lining up an engine and pulling it in and out of the engine bay constantly, it pays to get yourself some proper engine slingers to attach to your engine and lift it about, I got these from my local Nissan dealer for $75 (from memory)
They are to suit a VQ35de, but with the intake pipe removed from the throttle body they fit the VQ30 just fine :D
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In previous pictures of the engine and in the last pic you might notice the gaping hole in the timing case!
This engine come from a wrecked 350Z... unfortunately the damage was frontal and the radiator had pushed back into the fan and busted the hell out of the front of the motor :(
I wasn't too concerned at the time as this was a reasonably priced engine and gearbox package at just under $2k... I've yet to see a 350z 6 speed gearbox in Australia under $1600 second hand...

I was intending to fix up the motor... even went as far as to purchase a brand new front cover! but the parts a had to replace started adding up, it needed a new sump as it had busted where oil cooler/ filter bolts up, new harmonic balancer as it had a few chunks missing and a few sensors where also absent.

It worked out cheaper to just get another motor off Ebay! (its sitting next to the shell in that last pic if you didn't spot it ;) )
I got one delivered to my door for $1000 and it had all the bits my busted one was missing, only thing missing was a MAF (they run the same Mass Air Flow sensor as a series 2 R33 skyline for those that aren't aware)
Now I also have a lot of useful spare parts! :mrgreen:

Now all the mounts etc. where made and I was happy with how it was all going to come together it was time to pull the trusty old CA18det from its home...
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Before fitting the Big VQ in the little 180sx engine bay there where a few small jobs to do...
this included sorting the power steering as the pump is on the complete opposite side! I completely removed the 180sx factory lines, return, feed, even the hard lines on the back of the steering rack itself had to come off!!
I then custom mounted the factory ps reservoir on the opposite strut tower, then I spent some $$ at my local pirtek having some custom lines made up, the factory high pressure hard line from the steering rack was shortened and fitted with a new male fitting (welded on) and they made up a new high pressure hose to screw onto that using the factory banjo fitting on the ps pump outlet end (also keeping the factory pressure switch and dampener)
The low pressure return line was a lot easier as was the pump feed line, all that is required is the right length of the right diameter hose and some clamps, the factory return hard line leaving the rack can be used as it has a join in it in a good enough spot anyways :)

In this picture you can see the fitting where my high pressure hose gets connected
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The custom positioning of the fuse box and reservoir and the rest of the low pressure lines (you can also see the factory fuel lines/ filter... these are still used)
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And here is the high pressure hose attached to the pump, the hardline that belongs on the rack is actualy on the end of the hose in this pic
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I also had to purchase a new clutch master cylinder, my original one had the clutch line exiting straight down, it hits on the alloy water pipe at the back of the motor in that configuration, thankfully some models have the line exiting the side like this, then I used an R32 GTR Braided clutch line from HEL Performance to join it to the 350Z clutch slave cylinder :D
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There where a few other details to sort through on the motor before dropping it all in too... Like taking the gearbox off the damaged motor and fitting it to the new unit..
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And sorting out the Alternator and starter motor wiring etc.
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I also made the decision to keep the stock dump pipe in place because I'm a tightarse and didn't want to pay for a custom job :oops:
No room for an 02sensor though, so I just put a bung in there and ground back lots of excess metal (track cars don't need good cruising fuel trim anyways :lol: )
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Motor is now ready its new home and the new home is ready to receive it! :mrgreen:
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Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the instillation, I kind of just got stuck in getting it done...
It mostly went in without too many problems but having used a beat up old drifted to death and hacked up shell as a template to dummy mount the motor did have its drawbacks :?
Putting the motor in my 180sx was a bit more complicated than putting it in the shell, I still had the radiator support panel that we had to clear, and my gearbox tunnel hadn't been "enlarged" for a bigger gearbox!
So we had to do some "massaging" of the firewall (I hadn't been using the factory cross over pipe heat shield before, now I was and it was sitting hard on the firewall) and the tunnel with a BFH.

Other pieces of the puzzle started coming together after that, the radiator was dropped into place, I used an R32 Skyline PWR radiator and slightly shortened R32 top hose.
A custom crossover pipe for the bottom outlet was used with a modified hose.
The heater hose outlet and inlet on the motor where capped (it wouldn't have been too difficult to do custom hoses if I wanted working heaters).
All the vacuum lines etc. where hooked up.

An R31 skyline throttle cable was used as it had the length required (actually a bit too long) and the right mounting hardware on the pedal end, it did however require a custom bracket mounting solution at the throttle body end.

I installed an ebay FMIC that had inlet and outlet on the same side... I will eventually modify the plenum and change this setup.
The intercooler pipework is made up of aluminium pipework that came with the cooler and ss pipework cut up and re-used from the CA18det, basicly whatever I had lying around the shed! (I did mention I was cheap yeah?)
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I installed the factory tail shaft to measure it up and take it away for lengthening and to get the right slip yoke mated to it (I used the slip yoke from a second hand infinity G35)
I decided to stay 2 piece for this length tail shaft, using the factory rear half and only modifying the front half.
This is how far off the factory shaft was. (you can also see how close the shifter is to the factory position in the pic)
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It was then time to tackle the wiring... now I cant remember how long it took, I think I've blocked most of it from my memory!! :evil: I have never been great at electrical stuff, I had however taken the time to prepare for it, printing out all the diagrams I might need and working out how I was going to make it all work! (I even had some wiring practice while converting Sheridan's R32 skyline to RB25det using the factory RB20det loom and power FC ECU)
In all honesty it wasn't that difficult, like most Nissan motors from this era, its only a matter of supplying power to a few wires, hooking up a start signal and fuel pump signal and it'll run ;)
I also had the benefit of not having to wire in any gauges 8-)
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A LOT of the wiring from the factory loom was stripped out completely as it was un necessary auto trans related stuff!!
It could still use a tidy up, there are still plugs in the loom that aren't required (like the solenoid plugs for pollution gear etc. at the front of the motor), but I've been toying with the idea of rebuilding my spare loom with just what's necessary to run the motor and to suit the car better (routing wise)... 12 months on and I still cant bring myself to tackle another loom though!! :lol:


FINALY the conversion was ready to run for the 1st time :D , It all seems like it was pretty easy looking back at it and doing this build write-up... I'm sure there where plenty of small things that held me up more than they should have and I'm just forgetting them now and there was a lot of procrastinating over decisions on how to tackle certain issues... I also had my fiancés drift car to maintain AND convert to RB25det (that happened just before I dropped the VQ in GUN180 for the 1st time) The build is also still far from complete, there is still a fair way to go from this point, But I'll leave that for other post in this thread ;)

So here are a few video's of its first start and its 1st trip outta the shed under VQ30det power!! :twisted:

1st Start video

1st Drive video


And a few pictures of the first drift practice day after the conversion...

Loaded up ready to go, called in to see the guys at Confidyne Motorsport
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DORIFUTOoo!!
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There are probably heaps of details I've skimmed over, missed out or just plain forgotten, If you have any questions about my build, or need advise on how to troubleshoot issues with your build don't hesitate to ask! 8-)

I'll update the thread over time with phase 2 of my build, the car is stripped and caged now... full racecar spec :lol: I also had a turbo expire before the end of last year!
The car is in the middle of its 1st full competition season now, you can keep up to date with my drifting by checking in on my YouTube channel HERE

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Last edited by GUN180 on Mon May 18, 2015 12:14 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: VQ30det 180sx GUN180
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:08 pm
Posts: 35
G'day mate,
great to see another person on the forums, hahaha, was getting a bit lonely by myself!
Will definatley be following this.

Have you done any mechanical mods to this, or will it be run in stock form, turbo/injectors etc?
I might have to put up a start to my build thread too!

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Vq into a 180sx ongoing project!

Website http://www.vqturbo.com
Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/802123023211128/


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 Post subject: Re: VQ30det 180sx GUN180
PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:46 am
Posts: 17
Location: Tasmania
Initially it will be completely stock, just to keep things simple.
I'd rather have it all running right and know everything was good before I started modifying...
I don't have major plans for upgrades anyway... The whole engine and gearbox mount setup is based on having the stock turbo and rear exhaust crossover pipe, so I'll probably go for a highflowed stock turbo some bigger injectors and nistune when the time comes.
I'm not realy after mass amounts of power, just enough to have fun drifting 8-)

As of tonight I've pretty much finished the wiring, just have to double check everything and hit the key, battery is on the charger ready for a test start tomorrow!

Tail shaft will be ready Wednesday, there's a drift practice day on Saturday... Baring any teething issues I might be able to give the motor it's first shakedown!!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: VQ30det 180sx GUN180
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:11 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:09 am
Posts: 3
either of you guys still around?


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 Post subject: Re: VQ30det 180sx GUN180
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:08 pm
Posts: 35
db_s13 wrote:
either of you guys still around?


Yeah mate we are.
I know Gun180 just had some work done and its regularly being used, hes just to lazy to come update his busild threads. Might be time to call him out and get him online! haha

ill link his utube feed, so you guys can checkout that sweet VQ sound
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw7ZYC ... jjBxw/feed

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Christian
Vq into a 180sx ongoing project!

Website http://www.vqturbo.com
Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/802123023211128/


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 Post subject: Re: VQ30det 180sx GUN180
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:46 am
Posts: 17
Location: Tasmania
So my last post was just over a year ago now... Pretty slack of me! but in my defence I had tried a few times to update my thread once the car was running but there where some issues with the forum at the time and unkn0wn was endeavouring to fix it for us... also there weren't too many users, so I didn't see it as urgent to keep the thread updated anyways :?

unkn0wn wrote:
hes just to lazy to come update his busild threads. Might be time to call him out and get him online! haha

Not just lazy... More like too busy enjoying the "my conversion is finished" life!! ;)

Anyhow, the car was running not too long after my last post, although not for the drift practice day I mentioned in that post!
I had teething issues getting it to fire, it would crank and there was fuel... but no fire :x

It turns out I had only rotated the rear crank sensor 90 degrees to clear the clutch slave cylinder, the magnet in the sensor is rectangle shaped and when turned 90 degrees it will see 2 timing teeth at the same time (the one entering the sensors path and one leaving it's path!), meaning no gap in the teeth and no timing reference for the ECU!!!! :oops:

This was not the 1st thing I checked and only discovered it a couple of nights later after checking every earth, sensor plug and generally the whole freaking loom!! :roll:
Eventually I figured it out after eliminating every other possibility, therefore narrowing it down to an issue with that sensor :lol:

Here is a (link to a) video of the 1st startup, I got my fiancé to start it for me while I hid behind the camera!
VQ30DET 180SX 1st startup

My 1st post has been edited with some more build info... it's a start, I'll try and get more done when I have time to go digging for old pictures and uploading them 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: VQ30det 180sx GUN180
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:46 am
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Location: Tasmania
In my 1st post I've made it look like in the end I got the engine running, drove it out of the shed & took it drifting! :lol:

I can garantee that's not how things happened... I took it for it's first few short shakedown runs up and down my local road, fire extinguisher and toolbox at the ready lol
Very duanting, but exilerating experiance! all the noises and smells that your not quite sure of :?

Once I started getting used to it, and pushing it a bit harder I noticed that after the initial rush of responsive awsomeness, as the boost started building, it felt a bit week... no, it actualy felt very week, and if you went full throttle it would cut out as it hit full boost :(

So I spent some time trouble shooting, going over sensors and vacuume lines...
The cut seemed like a boost/ fuel cut, but how/ why, how would the ECU know the boost level, why would it cut fuel at factory boost anyway?..

1 sensor I had not hooked up was the manifold pressure sensor, the one I had with the motor had a busted vacuume line nipple and I was told by a friend (respected mechanic that has extensive nissan experiance) that it was the same MAP sensor as found on a few other turbo nissans including series 1 S14's and it wasnt required and you can run fine without them because the ECU works off the MAF anyways!
Turns out he was part right and part wrong... I just happen to own a series 1 S14, so off came its MAP sensor to be tested on the VQ30, The S14 happly chuffs away all day everyday without it and with it plugged into the VQ30det it no longer cuts out at full throttle boosting!!! (the plug for the MAP sensor is the same shape as the MAF plug and also on the same part of the loom for anyone missing one and wondering)

Unfortunately, even though it was no longer cutting out, it was still week, as the boost built it actualy felt less powerfull!! :|

A trip to the dyno proved my problem, 116rwkw!! more boost made less power, even turning it up to 12psi made no difference :evil:
Discussing the possible causes with my tuner we decided it was best to order a nistune for it so he could have a look and sort it out properly...

But once I got home I couldn't just let it go... so I started googling, trying to come up with answers, and I did, one thing led to another and I worked out that it could possibly be running in limp mode or a knock map.
So I started googling about knock sensors and knock maps and possible workarounds, turns out VQ30de powered vehicles in the USA have a habbit of throwing an engine warning light with an ecu code for faulty knock sensor... over there if you have a check engine light or "cel" it has to be cleared or you will fail your "smog check"... so they come up with a solution of using a small resistor in the knock sensor plug on the ECU side of the loom to mimic a happy healthy not knocking sensor... I had to try it!! :twisted:

It friggen worked!, no more limp mode, it pulled like a train! :D

I took it back for another dyno run to check and make sure there was no knock as I now had no knock protection, It was sweet, even at 12psi! 170rwkw

THEN I took it drifting 8-)

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After a practice day at Baskervile Raceway and round 3 of the 2014 drift series at Symmons Plains it was quite evident that I had a massive ratio mismatch with the 6spd 350Z gearbox and my stock 4.36:1 ratio LSD... normaly a 350Z runs something like a 3.5:1 ratio diff!! I was drifting fast corners in 5th gear and having to try and change back to 4th in medium to slow corners! :o
I was also taking off in 2nd and had about 200kp/h top speed! :lol:
I knew this was going to be a likely problem, but didn't want to put a better ratio diff in until I knew for sure what ratio I was going to want... I would probably have gone for a 3.9:1, usualy easy to find out of an auto S13/14 model, but had I have done that I still would have had speed/ gear matching issues.

I decided 3.69:1 was the ratio I wanted, out of an ADM S14 or S15 and it didn't take long to find what I was after localy, so I purchased a second hand NISMO GT-PRO 2WAY LSD in an S14 ABS housing!
The diff come with receipts from when the 2way centre was installed, and was in pretty good condition... the centre had been installed by confidyne motorsport!! :lol:

Being an ABS housing diff the input shaft snout is about 20mm longer to accomodate the ABS sensor, the tailshaft has to be shorter to fit it!! Thankfully my decision to stay 2 piece tailshaft had paid off as all I had to do was replace the rear half of the tailshaft with the rear half from an ABS 180SX :D

I also ordered some new GKtech V3 camber and toe arms for better alignment, so off to Confidyne to borrow thier hoist! (and their mechanics... rarely do I use thier hoist and they stand and watch, they tend to just take over lol)
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My VQ30DET NISTUNE that had been ordered when I had issues with no power had also arrived, so it was installed and the car was chucked on the rollers for some tweaking (I had wired in a consult plug to the ECU using M-SPECs wiring diagram ready for this occasion)

The end result was 180rwkw with 12psi of boost, unfortunatly the boost doesn't hold all the way till redline, it drops off back to about 9psi... (you can see the torque drop away as it happens) we assumed at the time that this was because the factory dump pipe I had kept on it restricting it at higher RPM. :oops:
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Blue line is low boost 8psi
Red Line is high boost 12psi

The final power output isn't a massive gain, low boost is basicly what it made on high boost before tuning! Bigger gains where made in the middle on high boost, where it matters, and still safe as houses without any knock or being too close to knocking, it drove so much better after the tune too!! 8-)

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Last edited by GUN180 on Sat May 23, 2015 11:54 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: VQ30det 180sx GUN180
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 7:35 am 
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GUN180 wrote:
So my last post was just over a year ago now... Pretty slack of me! but in my defence I had tried a few times to update my thread once the car was running but there where some issues with the forum at the time and unkn0wn was endeavouring to fix it for us... also there weren't too many users, so I didn't see it as urgent to keep the thread updated anyways :?

unkn0wn wrote:
hes just to lazy to come update his busild threads. Might be time to call him out and get him online! haha

Not just lazy... More like too busy enjoying the "my conversion is finished" life!! ;)


Hahahaha, i know and it looks like alot of fun.
I checked my email archives last night, I got my Vq around Jully 2011 and i've never once started it :(

Did you weld an AN fitting directly to your PS line? - thats not a bad idea!

I recently got a r33 clutch master, shorter type with the outlet at the bottom...then when i moved the engine back, the water pipe was right underneath it.
so now ive ordered a s14 type with the side outlet (looks like yours)
did your line have a fitting with an angle from the master? or is it the straight type (so your line shoots along the firewall?)

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Christian
Vq into a 180sx ongoing project!

Website http://www.vqturbo.com
Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/802123023211128/


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 Post subject: Re: VQ30det 180sx GUN180
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:46 am
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Location: Tasmania
unkn0wn wrote:
did your line have a fitting with an angle from the master? or is it the straight type (so your line shoots along the firewall?)

Clutch line comes out straight from master cylinder... This suits my setup as the 350z slave cylinder is on the passenger side
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unkn0wn wrote:
Did you weld an AN fitting directly to your PS line? - thats not a bad idea!

The power steering line fitting was done by pirtek, they either soldered or brazed the fitting to the line ;)


My original build post is now COMPLETE!!

I won't add anymore to that post, but will make a new post on "PHASE 2" of the build latter in the thread, as the car is a little bit different from when I initially got it running ;)

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 Post subject: Re: GUN180 VQ30det 180sx
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 1:52 pm 
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Posts: 24
how close is your sump to the subframe? I haven't fit mine into the car yet, but it's extremely close and I'm hoping that means I won't need a bonnet bulge


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