In our last edition of Project 350Z we started to assemble our VQ35DE and got the bottom end pretty much done. Now we finish off our engine and take it to Church Automotive Testing to get our factory ECU tuned using the UpRev Osiris tuning package.
When we last left off on Project 350Z, we were in the process of assembling a group of parts to enhance the durability of our project car. As we stated before we were not looking at building the ultimate naturally aspirated VQ35DE but simply a more durable one that could hold up to a life of track days, drift days and stunt driving practice days. If we could get a little more power out of the engine while we were in there, all the better.
Our Project Z was a pretty good example of what a naturally aspirated VQ35DE could do. However, our VQ had become old and tired. It was worn out from a lot of minimal maintenance street miles, track days, drift and professional stunt driving practice and had started to develop some rod knock. Luckily we were able to stop before serious damage to the engine internals resulted. However an engine rebuild was in order.
Our objective in building this engine is not to build the most awesome NA VQ possible or even to get tons more power, but rather to perform an economic build to address some of the VQ's durability shortcomings, replacing stock parts when necessary with some good quality aftermarket bits.
MotoIQ Staff Report
Furious 7 stunt driver has taken over the controls (and ownership) of MotoIQ Project Nissan 350Z! Our 350Z project was originally built as a reliable street/track performer, but like any car with an overworked odometer the miles have been stacking up and the original engine finally threw in the towel. It's no surprise either, as it has been in the hands of stunt driver Jay Lynch for almost the past year. Jay has not only been using the car to work on his stunt driving techniques, but Jay has also been using the car to pass down his driving skills to his daughter Brionna Lynch.
If you have been following the progress of Project 350Z as of late we have been testing and running the gamut of your typical bolt on performance parts to see what kind of gains could be expected for a well tuned but lightly modded VQ35DE. With an intake, exhaust, headers, intake manifold, cams and valve springs in place, it was time to get into the ECU and tune for our specific combination of parts.
To perform the final touches on Project 350Z we headed to Church Automotive Testing, a licensed UpRev Tuner to have our car dialed in.
We are reaching the limit of easy bolt on performance gains with Project 350Z. In looking over the offerings from MotorDyne Engineering, the folks that bought us the intake manifold spacer which made such an awesome difference. we noticed that they had a lower intake manifold plenum available for the VQ35DE that would work for both the Rev-Up and original intake cam only variable cam timing engines.
In our last trip to the dyno, we tested AEM's Short Ram intake on our 350Z. We were surprised to find a small but definite power increase over another leading intake that was already on the car. Since AEM makes a long runner Cold Air Intake as well as the Short Ram, we decided to test that as well as an interesting contrast between the two vastly different intake designs.
We have been working on getting more power out of Project 350Z's VQ35DE engine in our latest series of articles. With success coming bit by bit, we decided that we had to give the oiling system a little help. Some 350Z's with highly modified suspension and sticky tires have suffered from engine oiling issues when driven on the track hard. The oil had simply sloshed away from the pickup under hard cornering allowing the oil pump to suck air. Since engine bearings are made of soft metal and depend on a hydrodynamic layer of pressurized oil to prevent damage, any interruption of oil pressure caused damage very quickly.
When we first got Project 350Z as a well used and beat up car, one of the mods the car came with was an Injen Cold Air Intake. Since Injen intakes have a pretty decent rep we simply left in on the car. However, when we installed the intake manifold spacer, we noted that the manifold was full of dirt and that our engine was a little low on compression for the amount of miles that it had.
So far we have tried some easy bolt ons like a manifold spacer, headers, high flow cats and exhaust on our 350Z all with good results. Naturally at this point it is time to change camshafts to get more bolt on power out of our VQ35DE engine. One thing that discourages many people from going this route is that changing cams on a VQ engine is quite a big job. Having two banks of cylinders and 4 cams is a lot of the reason. It's not super hard technically but it requires at least a couple days of wrenching and some care has to be taken to avoid problems.
Time consuming or not, camshafts are the next logical progression in the evolution of Project 350Z so we asked our friends at Jim Wolf Technology or JWT to provide us with some of their excellent C2 cams. We chose the C2 because they were probably the biggest practical camshafts that would work in the stock bottom end engine.