Turbocharger Transplant


Asked by Jun 25, 2009 at 11:08 AM about the 1985 Nissan 300ZX

Question type: Car Customization

   I had a 1985 Nissan 300ZX Turbo sitting in our garage. Floor panels, beams, plates, and underbody were rusted considerably (the welding job would take lots of $). The electronics faults would take more than days to fix on my time (the car's electronics and mechanics just failed after we brought it over by flatbed). Also, the engine had over 200k miles.
   Later, my dad and I found an '84 Datsun/Nissan 300ZX. The car had 120k miles on it and we thought it would be great to install our current Z31's turbo.
   Now, we plan to transplant the '85s factory turbocharger assembly & components to the '84. They have the same engine (Turbo/Non-turbo:VG30E/VG30ET respectively). The things that we were most concerned of was the fact that the '84 was a 2+2 (longer exhaust tubing) and it has a digital dash/meters.

   Will this transplant work?

   What should we do to make this transplant possible to succeed?

6 Answers


1. when you install the new header + turbo on the old non turbo engine, do you have enough space in the engine bay? 2. instrumental cluster should not be an issue, just add another boost gauge. 3. exhaust = rework and you should take into calculation that the turbocharged engine need a little bigger diameter exhaust. 4. do not forget that the non-turbo engine has higher compression ratio, if you just bolt the turbo and header right on, expect engine knocks. in my opinion the only major problem is that the engine bay has enough space or not, all other possible issue could be dealt with without much hassle.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

I would just pull the entire motor and ecu from the donor car, that would greatly simplify the process. Save the old engine and ecu for a backup or you can build up as your financial situation permits. Running too high a compression on a forced induction motor will definitely lower engine life and if its too high you could detonate your motor beyond repair, so if your dead set on sticking with the motor in the car - take the pistons, crank. rods, heads, cam(s), and ecu from the donor car and use them in the build. The exhaust is a wash, you can weld one up or have one done relatively cheap.


1. From '84-'89, I think Z31's had very similar dimensions, except the fact that 2+2 s were 8in. longer, 1in, wider, and fractions of inches larger in other areas. 2. Your right about that one. 3. That could be arranged 4. Then how can they be the same engine? VG30E, VG30ET *Thanks, Ill check the Haynes manual for other stuff.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Roughly how much does labor cost if I took the engine apart and have a shop rebuild it?


Glad I could help. about the engine, of course they are the same block, however they vary in details. non-turbo engine needed to run on higher compression ratio or else they'll have bad fuel consumption rate and low power output turbo engine use lower compression ratio so that when turbo start boosting the engine won't run on too high compression I have no specific knowledge about the VG series but I do know a bit about Nissan's SR20 Series. SR20 has 2 non-turbo variants (SR20DE) and 5 turbo variants(SR20DET + SR20VET). All of them are difference from each other. The difference could be in cylinder head design or thickness of gasket or piston design. If possible I would suggest using the whole VG30ET, change the needed parts and re-wire. That should be the most simple way.


That can vary widely depending on the builder, how much they actually check, machining, and a half dozen other variables For that you'll have to ask around locally and see what's best for your budget.

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