How-to: VK-swap with Auto Trans

josx2 Aug 4, 2019

  1. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Posted March 27, 2019

    This wasn't meant as an official "how-to"....but, in porting over to XN, seems there's not one for an automatic, so I'll make this a pseudo-official how-to as I documented everything I did during my swap.

    if you're looking for a VK swap thread involving a 6-speed manual transmission, @XB3TERRA has one: https://www.xterranation.org/index.php?threads/how-to-6-speed-w-vk56.8899/

    The Why: Need more power...hoping for better mpg's. With all the mods, weight, etc added, Minion get about 11mpgs on average. Sucky. She's not my DD, but I use her for my photo business & tows a m416 trailer with photo gear, which on average, takes me 3 hrs from home (one way) at least once a month. And pulling our 1500lb m416 camping trailer doesn't help either ;-)


    The donor Titan
    • 2005 with 112k miles. It's up in NY with a buddy right now, and he'll be bringing it down
    • It's also a column shift tranny. The Ttitan transmission HAS TO BE a floor shift. More on this in Post #2 below....

    All this'll be done in my buddy's driveway as it's paved. I've got a gravel driveway, so engine hoist won't work too well. So Minion's gonna be out of commission from April 7 thru some-date-in-the-near-future....hopefully no more than a month. **fingers crossed**

    The exhaust system is getting completely redone also as my stock exhaust is showing it's age, has several small rust holes throughout the catback, and the muffler is crunched to all h3ll. I'm sure wheeling contributed to a lot of that LOL. As listed below, I'll be running JBA Long Tube Headers --> Cajun Catted B-Pipes --> Magnaflow 12580 muffler (2-2.25" in, 1-2.5" out) --> Ultraquiet resonator --> Tip. I dont' like/care for loud exhausts, but a nice low, deep grumble/growl works for me Plus...will have family in there also for long trips out camping, so I want to keep the cabin quiet.

    While I've got the engine bay wide open, I'm also gonna be replacing the power steering rack with a Detroit Axle rack. The stock one's not giving me any problems, but in seeing many forum posts & FB posts about racks needing replacement, i'm sure it's only a matter of time. So....what's another 280 bucks when spending several grand ;-)


    The shopping list....
    • Driven Desire/Brenan Becker
      • Titan Harness Conversion Adapter, Xterra Alternator/Starter harnesses, $350
    • Donor Titan
      • fuel injectors
      • starter
      • power steering pump
      • High Pressure Power Steering Line
      • Engine to Motor Mount Brackets
      • fan clutch, fan blade
      • lower radiator hose
      • water pipe
      • heater core hoses (may need to trim)
      • AC Compressor
      • lower radiator hose
      • lower water pipe
      • power steering reservoir and hose
      • O2 Sensor - Rear Passenger (or buy a new one)
      • Transmission - donor is a column shift, need floor shift, see more info below
    • Non-Donor Parts, Xterra parts
      • Valve body from floor shift tranny
      • O2 sensors (3) - Driver front/Rear, Pass Front
    • Pathy/Fronty parts for swap
      • V8 Pathfinder Fan Shroud - upper, part #21476-ZS20A
      • V8 Pathfinder Fan Shroud - lower, part #21477-ZS20A
      • 4cyl Frontier heater core fitting, part #92410-EA000
      • V8 Pathfinder upper radiator hose, part #21501-ZS20A
      • V8 Pathfinder AC Compressor Low Line, part #92480ZT00A
        • (DON'T use 92480-ZS21A, length is too short)
      • Xterra Alternator
    • Uprev & exhaust
      • CajunB-Pipes Stage 1 kit - Uprev, headers, b-pipes
      • Ultraquiet Resonator (cajun b-pipes)
      • Muffler - Borla 40349
      • exhaust manifold gasket (2), part #14036-7S001
      • b-pipe gaskets (4), part #20692-65J00
    • Misc/Maintenance items
      • R32 refrigerant
      • Tranny Fluid - Matic S, 16qts
      • Thermostat (170* 300zx), part #2120042L01
      • Coolant, part #999MPAF000P
      • 2xPCV valves, 8 NGK spark plugs, serpentine belt, Intake Manifold Gaskets, valve cover gaskets
      • Tranny mount (from Performance Lifts.com)
      • Engine Mounts (from CJD Racing)
    • While I'm in there....
      • steering rack (Detroit Axle)
      • steering rack bushings (Off-Road Gorilla)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    TerryD likes this.
  2. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Transmission & Valve body info
    - The swap REQUIRES a floor shift transmission. If you use a column shift transmission, the transmission will always start out in high gear & never shift.
    - In the event you source a COLUMN shift, you just need to swap in the Valve body from a floor shift Titan (or the one from your XTerra, or Frontier)
    -- You can also just swap the TCM from the floor shift into the column shift's valve body.​
    - It does NOT matter if you get a valve body from a 2WD or 4WD donor. what matters is that it's from a floor shift.

    [​IMG]




    Schematic of the bolts to remove to drop the valve body:


    [​IMG]
    - A, B, C indicate which bolts are of the same size. Bolt C is a very important bolt, it's called the "Alignment bolt", and that specific bolt needs to go back in that same spot. I'm no mechanic, and I don't know what it does...but it's important LOL
    - as you start to loosen the bolts, tranny fluid WILL pour outta there, so have something underneath to catch it
    - Once you remove the last bolt, the body WILL drop freely, so be sure to keep a hand under it.
    - Look up above the valve body and you'll see a green clip near the top of the housing. Disconnect that & the valve body will be free
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    TerryD likes this.
  3. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Xterra Engine Removal
    • Remove the front end as one giant piece
      - Leave radiator, AC condensor, tranny cooler, tranny fan, power steering cooler all intact on the crossmember
    • remove grill, bumper, and headlights
    • Disconnect both tranny lines from the nipples just above the oil cooler. Allow them to drain into a bucket while wrenching on other stuff.
      • (I folded a long piece of cardboard in half, and shoved it under the nipples to use as a ramp to guide the tranny fluid from the nipples down into a bucket.)
    • Remove the radiator drain plug (underside on the driverside end), and allow coolant to drain from radiator/engine block while wrenching on other stuff
    • disconnect power steering hardline from the softlines on both driver & passenger side.
      • Removing the battery gave my hand plenty of room to get down to where the hardline meets the softline on driver side
      • For driverside hose clamp, I found getting to it from under the truck was easiest. Passenger side is easy, from the front, coming in on side between body & frame rail
      • I used a TINY philips head screwdriver (a little bigger than jewelers size), and shoved that in gently between the two lines to help break the hoses apart, while working the softline off with the other hand.
      • I placed a long piece of cardboard, folded in half like a valley, running from under the driver side connection to a bucket in front of the truck as the reservoir will empty
    • release the AC refrigerant (I didn't wanna deal w/ going to a shop to 'safely' remove it...so I just let it loose into the atmosphere ;-) I'll take credit for that hole in the atmosphere above Minon)
      • Locate the high pressure AC port near the front driver side. It'll have a cap on it. Take an allen key that fits into there & can make contact w/ the valve.
      • Wrap a thick rag around the port with allen key stickign out of it. Then take a plastic shopping bag, & wrap THAT around the rag. Put on a couple rubber gloves.
      • Standing upwind (LOL), press & release that allen key quickly many, many, many times over. Gradually release the pressure/refrigerant that way.
        • Don't keep it depressed, or you're gonna just make a HUGE mess. The first minute or so, it WILL release oily refrigerant during that time
      • The rag WILL get cold due to the refrigerant. that'll catch the oily stuff too. The plastic bag is to just help contain the mess from bleeding thru the rag.
      • After a couple minutes, you'll be able to keep it depressed while the refrigerant escapes as a pure vapor
    • Disconnect AC lines
      • Driverside will disconnect from the radiator, passenger side will disconnect from the firewall
    • Disconnect the upper & lower raidator hoses from the radiator. Put the radiator plug back in. Should be fully drained by now.
    • Disconnect the wiring harness to the electric fan behind the tranny cooler
    • Disconnect the wiring harness going to the radiator (thermo sensor?). It's right by the tranny cooler fan harness
      • If I'm not forgetting anything else, remove the 12 bolts that hold the front crossmember in place (6 on each side).
    • Grab the crossmember, walk back slowly with it, and VOILA! front end is off!
    • Disconnecting engine harness from ECU
      • ECU has two harnesses going into it...top harness is the engine harness. To disconnect, while pushing in the little locking lever dohickey, pull the handle down
      • In the fuse box that holds the IPDM. in the front pass corner of it, you'll see a wire loom coming in. Disconnect the two harnesses (three? 2 or 3 LOL) from the IPDM that come from that loom.
      • alongside both IPDM fuse box & smaller fusebox (on the engine bay side of boxes), you'll find a big THICK wire loom that's clipped in place on a metal tab.
        • with a small flathead screwdriver to the backside of it, you'll find the indentation of where the plastic tab is located that keeps it locked onto the tab.
        • Push that tab in while pulling up on the loom to release it.
        • follow that loom back towards the engine about 12" & you'll find it attached to another clip. Release it from that clip also.
      • Pull the harness from the ECU out from underneath the small fusebox that's in front of the IPDM fusebox.
        • again, the following process worked for me...you may figure out a different way
        • (For whatever reason, I couldn't remove the smaller fusebox from the metal tab it was clipped to)
      • remove the bolt that holds the plastic leg of the smaller fusebox to the body
      • remove the bolt that holds the metal plate underneath the fusebox to the body. a 10mm on a swivel, and an extension works
    [​IMG]
      • With that metal plate now free, & the smaller fusebox able to be moved around a little, you'll find that the thick loom is ziptied-clipped to the metal plate. You can use some needle nose pliers to release that clip...or cut the zip tie. your call
      • The front pass corner of the IPDM box has a "door" that slides up (clips on either side of it) that you pull up & out to remove the portion of the loom from the IPDM box
      • Wiggle that big @ss thick loom out from the underside of the smaller fuse box
    • Disconnect grounding wire going to engine block
    [​IMG]
    • Disconnect the 12v power lead & harnesses going to the starter & the alternator
      • This is the other wiring harness you need to supply Brennan, along w/ the VK's engine harness. He mates the two together.
    • Pop the power steering reservoir off the mount. Just pull up with a little elbow grease
    • Disconnect the power steering low pressure soft line from the hardline (coupling is located under the oil filter ramp)
      • I removed the oil ramp to access coupler. You can squeeze a 10mm angled box wrench from backside between steering rack & crossmember to remove bolt on the left.
    • disconnect driver/pass coolant hoses going to heater core
      • driver side disconnects at the T-Fitting coming out of the firewall. Be careful..it's flimsy & can be easily broke
      • pass side disconnects from hardline in the general area of the heat shield. I used my screwdriver trick from the power steering lines
    • Brake Booster line...you need to keep this line. Connection to engine is on back of engine. PITA to access.
      • either disconnect from booster, than remove hose from back of engine after it's pulled & reattach to booster.
      • Or disconnect from back of engine after ya start pulling it out & have easy access to backside of it
    • Remove both driverside & passenger side cats. The primary ones DO get in the way when pulling the engine out
    • Disconnecting the shifter cable, there's a wide spring clip that holds the cable to the hanger (like the spring clips where the hard brake lines mate w/ the soft brake lines)
      - I used a lockjaw wrench, adjusted wide, and grabbed the clip width-wise & just wiggled it off
      - after you remove the bolt that holds the end of the cable to the shifting lever, push the cable assembly forwards, and it'll pop out of the hanger.​
    • Drain the transfer case before you remove the rear driveshaft from it. If the truck's angled backwards, fluid WILL leak out of the output shaft once the slip yoke is pulled out
      - plus, if you leave the transfer case attached to the tranny, and you're pulling the tranny out with the engine, you'll definitely pour oil​
    • Rear O2 sensor harnesses are a major B!TCH to disconnect!! have fun with those ;-) LOL
      - The end of the tab of the harness that plugs INTO the O2 sensor's harness gets depressed to release it from the O2 sensor harness (it's almost neglible to feel).
      - I stuck a flat head between the two harnesses (on the side), and twisted it while depressing that tab. Between that, and tryign to manually pull them apart, it'll budge​
    • Remove the transmission crossmember.
      - The transmission weight is supported by the engine, so the crossmember isn't needed to keep it from sagging at this point.​
    • Lower the jackstands to their lowest setting. The lower you make the front end, the easier it'll be to get lifting height on the engine while pulling it.
      - Place a floor jack under the tranny to help support it (and to use to guide it out) when it comes time to start pulling the engine.
      - remove the two engine mount bolts​
    Pulling the engine itself
    • SLOW AND STEADY wins the game.
    • While lifting, keeping the engine tilted so the block is high & the transmission/transfer case is low will help with this.
    • Constantly check all around engine block & tranny case to make sure ALL wires have been disconnected. Don't go testing the tensile strenght with the hoist!
    • It'll be a constant back-n-forth between engine block & tranny jack to adjust heights while pulling the engine out
    • Keep the floor jack aligned front-back with the truck so it has a straight line to move. The weight of the transmission on the jack will pull the jack forward as you pull the engine forward
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    TerryD likes this.
  4. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC

    BEFORE installing VK....

    • Exhaust headers
      • Per FSM, exhaust header gaskets go on a speific way. You'll see that they're shiny on one side, & black on the other side.
      • [​IMG] [​IMG]
      • they get installed with the black/coated surface facing OUTWARDS (towards the headers)
        • [​IMG]

    • Clean up the VK to make it look purty before it goes into it's new home
    • Replace your valve cover gaskets, spark plugs, oil filter
    • Fill up with oil & transmission fluid
    • REMOVE the power steering pressure sensor! (circled in blue)I destroyed it on the metal overhang that's located just behind the battery (circled in red). This damn mofo costs $100 to replace!!!
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    • Frontier heater core hose fitting:
    [​IMG]
    • It replaces the fitting circled in blue (you also remove the hard heater pipe that's attached to it). KEEP the stock fitting in the orange circle. I had pulled the wrong fitting as I wasn't sure which one it went on. Brennan cleared that up for me ;-)
    [​IMG]

    • The VK has two coolant hoses that route themselves back there. The hose that comes from the left-side of the engine (circled in orange) goes to the left pipe. The hose that comes from right side (circled in blue) goes to the right pipe (you'll need to trim this hose several inches to make it fit)..
      • The hose & attached fitting circled in red get thrown out. Pay no attention to the frontier fitting I've got X'd out....this is the pic I used when asking Brennan how the frontier fitting got put to use
    [​IMG]
    • There's also a little nipple right under the thermostat that doesn't get used & needs to be capped off....(red arrows point to it, and i've got the blue glove zip-tied to it)
    [​IMG]
    • To cap it off, you'll need a rubber bypass cap from this Dorman set. the one circled in red, along with a hose clamp.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
    TerryD likes this.
  5. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Filling the coolant system

    this part is importaint. the coolant system has to be vacuum pulled before adding coolant to it, in order to remove ALL air pockets from the system. Filling it thru the radiator & burping it doesn't do the trick. you are GUARANTEED to have overheating issues while wheeling if you do not vacuum-pull the sytem.

    I did NOT do a vacuum when I put the engine in. I just filled, burped, topped off. Went off-roading the next week and she overheated like a mofo. So i drained the system, pulled a vacuum & filled. Went offroading again....NO overheating issues.

    So....$70 for a vacuum kit. I got the OEMTOOLS 24444 kit from Amazon
    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Pulled the vacuum...then let it suck up the coolant.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
  6. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Post-Install mods

    Power steering line
    Had to cut the hard line going to the power steering cooler as it was too long....had bout an inch space between it & the p/s pully.

    [​IMG]

    O2 Sensors
    For O2 sensors, you can reuse the VQ's 2 front sensors, and the rear-driver sensor. Need to purchase the TITAN rear-passenger O2 sensor.

    (side note....the X front sensors are interchangable with each other. The Titan REAR sensors are interchangeable with each other. X's sensors are side-specific. so, in other words, the X's rear-driver sensor is the same as the Titan's rear-driver ;-) )
    The JBA long tubes have TWO bung holes for O2 sensors. One is closer to the engine block, but is placed in only 1 of the exhaust tubes. The second bung hole is further away near the flange, so all 4 exhaust tubes are already flowing into one pipe. I wanted to use the one furthest away, but the O2 sensor wiring wasn't long enough. Apparently the Titan Walker sensors have enough length...but I dind't want to spend the money on two new sensors if I didn't have to. So I just extended mine by 15". Soldered, heat shrink, and wire loom.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    AC Condensor Fan
    THIS was a last minute surprise to me that Brennan filled me in on...Due to the v8 Pathfinder shroud (and Titan fan blade), the e-fan on the backside of the radiator WILL NOT FIT as the shroud covers that area (and the fan blades would hit it too).​

    you MUST either get a pusher fan in the front...or go dual-efan setup on the rear (thereby replacing the clutch fan). At this point, Brennan said he doesn't know of a good pusher fan setup for the front. The e-fan setup he recommended is CJD's, but that things $600 and I"m not dropping that much! He said you can use the v8 Pathfinder one, but it requires fab'ing/welding mounts for it. I dunno how to fab/weld...but I do know how to cut & ghetto-rig stuff LOL So, gonna give this a shot....​

    [​IMG]

    14" universal electric fan. Supposedly ~2000cfm. As you can see...I cut away at the front brackets to make it fit. Because the fan is thicker than the space between the condensor & tranny cooler...the cooler doesn't fit. So, making lemonade outta those lemons....​

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    Zip ties to the power steering line just to keep the bottom from bouncing around.


    I already had the backside of the honeycomb of the grill shaved back quite a bit from when I was running a dual-tranny cooler setup with e-fan on the front side of the tranny cooler. So no problem there with getting the grill to fit back on.

    For now, gonna hook it up to a rocker switch inside the cab that I don't use that's tied to the key "on" position so it'll come on when i start the truck. I'll figure out how to get a temp-controlled switch.
    Disabling NATS security light after UpRev flash
    once you have NATS disabled, the red security light on the dash won't go away (red light of a vehicle with the pic of a key within it). Only two ways to have it go away - 1) get the NATS system reprogrammed by the dealership, or 2) cut a wire.​

    I went with option too....much easier & free ;-) The wire you cut is #23 on the BCM, which is a green wire.​

    [​IMG]


    ======================================
    END OF HOW-TO/TIPS
    begin 'logbook' section for the swap
    ======================================
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  7. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    ----------------------- Start of Transformation Diary -----------------------

    Posted March 27, 2019


    Exhaust (Cajun B-Pipes State 1 setup)
    - JBA long tube headers
    - Cajun heavy metal catted b-pipes
    - Borla 40349 (pic shows the Magnaflow 12580 that I was originally going to use, but not any longer)
    - Ultraquiet Resonator


    [​IMG]

    Borla compared to the Magnaflow...
    [​IMG]


    - 16qts Matic S
    - gallon OEM coolant

    [​IMG]


    Upper and lower radiator shrouds

    [​IMG]


    - valve cover gaskets
    - header gaskets
    - intake manifold gaskets
    - b-pipe gaskets
    - serpentine belt
    - low pressure AC line
    - upper radiator hose
    - PCV valve
    - heater core fitting
    - spark plugs
    - tranny mount
    - engine mounts
    - UpRev
    [​IMG]

    - Detroit Axle steering rack
    - steering rack bushings

    [​IMG]


    - +25hp

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  8. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Posted April 3, 2019

    Added a Nissan 300zx 170* Thermostat to the list as well. On TitanTalk, reports are that it keeps engine around 185ish. With UpRev tuning, apparently can really help to dial in fuel mappings or whatever.

    Stock thermostat is 190*

    very slight mod to be done to it...cut the cage off the bottom of it. Apparently that cage prevents it from opening ALL the way.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    **NOTE**
    do not run a 170* thermostat with a CSF/Stillen Radiator as that combo will run the engine TOO cool. Your options are:
    - Stock Thermostat with CSF/Stillen
    - 170* thermostat with stock radiator.

    Good thread for reading: https://www.titantalk.com/forums/titan-performance-modifications/150760-best-170-thermostat.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  9. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Posted April 9, 2019

    Minion's transformation has officially begun! :rockin:
    (did this the night before....in the pouring rain. But, under a 10x10 pop-up tent though :wink
    Total hours spent: ~5 hours


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  10. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Posted April 11, 2019

    removal update.....
    other than the fuel line to the fuel rail, and the low pressure power steering line (damn flange nut is seized. Soaking in PB blaster thru today), I've got the engine block totally isolated from the body of the truck. Engine Harness to the ECU, Power steering reservoir, and all other hoses have been separated from the body.

    For tomorrow night, the plan is:
    -disconnect the fuel line & power steering line
    - remove the cats
    - disconnecting the shifting cable from the tranny
    - pull the rear driveshaft
    - pull the front driveshaft
    - remove the tranny crossmember.

    Total hours spent: 4 hours

    I plan on leaving the xfer case attached, and remove that once it's all pulled out.

    If all pans out well, I hope to pull the engine/tranny/xfer case as one unit Monday after work. I head outta town tomorrow after work for the weekend.

    *fingers crossed*
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  11. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Posted April 12, 2019

    well...got everything accomplished last night that I had planned for in my other post!
    • disconnected power steering line
    • Found a thick engine block ground wire that comes directly from battery, so disconnected that(that's been added to the info section in the first post)
    • cut catback from the end of the secondary cats
    • removed nuts from driver/pass primary cat/manifold
    • removed front drive shaft
    • removed rear drive shaft
    • disconnect shift cable from tranny
    • disconnected rear O2 sensor harnesses
    • removed all nuts/bolts from tranny crossmember. Just left a bolt on each side in place to hold crossmember in place (it was around 1:30 am at this time, so will be hammering/prying at the crossmember Monday to drop it)
    Total hours spent: ~4.5-5 hours
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  12. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Posted April 17, 2019

    And it's out! Engine, Tranny, & xfer case all as one :rockin:
    Total hours spent: ~5 hours


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    major PITA too, in two areas...
    1) Had to leave the driver side primary cat attached as one of the nuts started to round. grrrrr. So that made it more of a PITA than anything working on getting that to clear the driver-side engine mount.
    2) And the fumoto valve I've got on my oil pan was another sticking point. Cause it hangs about 3/4-to-1" lower than the oil pan at about a 45* angle, the valve wanted to get hung up on the power steering rack hardline

    [​IMG]


    From a tip I read about by someone else currently doing their VK swap, the front end of the X was lowered all the way down to the lowest the 6-ton jackstands would go. This provided plenty of room for the hoist & engine to be lifted high.

    Also having the gas-springs for the hood was a big help also. It lifted the hood up higher than stock, and was easy to disconnect too to get a little extra inches of lift out of the hood. Didn't have to pull the hood off at all.

    With some back-n-forth finagling, I lifted the front of the engine block up high, and kept the xfer case down somewhat-low, being supported by a floor jack. Slow & steady did it, and lots of d*cking around with the primary cat...but was able to walk the hoist backwards and the floor jack simply came forward under the weight of the tranny/xfer case.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  13. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Posted April 18, 2019

    added info about necessary O2 sensors to the table in the first post.

    You can reuse the Xterra's Front/Rear driver-side and Front Passenger-side sensors.
    Rear Passenger sensor needs to be Titan (either new or from donor)

    The Titan's front sensors are swappable with each other (as like the Xterra)
    The Titan's REAR sensors are swappable with each other also (UNLIKE the side-specific rear sensors in the X)
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  14. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    Posted May 1, 2019

    the "while I'm in there" portion of this swap....removed the power steering rack, and installed the new Detroit Axle rack.

    Also pressure washed the empty engine bay as well....so now she's nice & clean and just waiting for the VK ;-)

    FYI - the Offroad Gorilla steering rack bushing kit does NOT fit the detroit Axle rack :-( I fought with one half-bushing for close to 45-60 minutes tryign to fit it into one of the bolt holes. Royal PITA when I was finally able to get it to pop in...only for it literally pop itself back out.

    once I was able to get the d@mn thing to stay in the hole, I couldn't get the metal sleeve to go into it. Tried as I might, even used a deadblow hammer, the thing wouldn't go in.

    I then had the struggle of figuring out how to push the Detroit bushing/sleeve back into the hole....finally got them back in, but what a PITA.



    Posted May 5, 2019

    Just after I posted about the problems I had with the bushings, I had given Angel an email to let him know that the bushings weren't working on a Detroit axle.

    He just got back to me with a pictorial how-to of how he was about to get them into his Detroit axle rack. Turns out, it is a PITA when using bare hands.... He showed making a mini-press outta a bolt/nut andfender washers to pop them in.

    So I'm gonna try again tomorrow night. Fingers crossed [​IMG]

    Here's OG's how-to PDF of doing the mini-press
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  15. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 6, 2019

    on Thurs (5/2), I reattempted the steering rack bushings using Angel's mini-press technique.

    It worked! Got the new SuperPro bushings installed, and the new steering rack mounted.

    Phase II of the swap begins!
    this past Friday night, I received the donor Titan! Appears she gave a lonesome telephone pole a hug....

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Took it for a test drive, and it feels great, engine sounds great, and tranny didn't have any problems.

    She even came with a little hidden surprise too!
    [​IMG]

    Still on the fence about whether I'm gonna TS the suspension at some point down the road, so it's up in the air if I"m gonna keep them, or sell them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  16. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 6, 2019

    So half of Saturday, about 3hrs of work, I got the entire front end pulled off, and all of the engine block isolated from the body/frame.

    And for about 6 hrs of work on Sunday, I'm 4.5 bolts away from pulling the engine/tranny/xfer case! :headbang: Need to take an angle grinder to cut one engine mount bolt from the underside (the 0.5 bolt), and then just need to remove the two bolts from each engine mount that keep them attached to the frame.


    [​IMG]

    Being it's from Vermont, there's a good amount of rusty nuts and bolts on it. It's nice not having to worry about putting the truck back together afterwards, so when needed, the sawzall made quick work of several pieces! And.....no d1cking around with wiring harness either.....*snip*snip*....disconnected!

    I'd work on pulling the engine tonight...but I gotta watch last night's episode of Game of Thrones ;-) LOL So, Tuesday will be the night of reckoning! Pull the engine harness off & get that shipped off to Driven Desire ASAP so I can get the converted harness back sooner than later.

    And while the harness is off getting retrofitted...I'll be tending to the engine itself:
    • She does have an oil leak coming from what I can only guess is from the seal of the lower oil pan. So I'm gonna drop & replace that pan & use an oil pan gasket.
    • I also need to replace the valve body with the floor shift valve body I got from my local pick/pull yard the other month. The tranny pan has some mediocre rust issues along the front lip of it, so i'm just gonna replace the pan & use a tranny pan gasket as well.
    • Work on removing the exhaust manifolds, and pray to God that I'm able to crack all the bolts/nuts loose and not have to drill/tap anything on the block
    • install the JBA long tubes
    • Replace all the spark plugs
    • Replace valve cover gaskets
    • Replace intake manifold gaskets
    • replace fan clutch
    • Give it a bath & clean it up good
     
  17. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 8, 2019

    as of late yesterday afternoon (Tues 5/7), it's out! :headbang: Phase II....COMPLETE!

    [​IMG]


    got this done a LOT faster than I thought it was gonna take me...I was expecting about a week or so. so....YAY! Having never pulled an engine before this project started....I've now knocked out two engine pulls in a span of 3 weeks :headbang: I don't care to ever pull another one again! LOL

    Monday night, I replaced the valve body's TCM with the TCM from the floorshift valve body I pulled the other month from my my local LKQ junkyard.
    Pic shows Donor's valve body with LKQ's TCM -|- LKQ's valve body w/out TCM -|- Donor's TCM

    [​IMG]



    Gonna be mailing Brennan the VK's engine harness & Minion's starter/alternator harness tomorrow for him to do the conversion. While that's getting done, I'll be cleaning up & doing maintenance repairs to the the VK.
    • Replace the oil pan, and use an oil pan gasket.
    • Replace the tranny pan, using a tranny pan gasket
    • Replace the power steering pump (oily muddy sludge all over the stock one)
    • Remove the exhaust manifolds
    • install the JBA long tubes
    • Replace all the spark plugs
    • Replace valve cover gaskets
    • Replace intake manifold gaskets
    • replace fan clutch
    • Give it a bath & clean it up good
    Also updated the initial post to update my prospective timeline ;-) Only 1 week behind as of now LOL
     
  18. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 9, 2019

    VK engine harness, & the Xterra starter/alternator harness have been shipped out to Brennan today! Let the countdown commence ;-)

    [​IMG]


    in the meantime.....i'll be prettying up the VK for it's soon-to-be transplant
     
  19. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 19, 2019

    Last night's fun...

    - took off the power steering pump as that's being replaced (oily muddy gunk all over it)

    - removed the alternator (as the X alternator gets used). But...that task had other plans in mind. Mounting bolt seized in the mounting bracket :frown: Only way to remove the alternator was to first shear the head off of the bolt. Then, took an angle grinder and cut that ear tab off of the alternator. Took a deadblow hammer to beat the alternator backwards off of the backside of the mount, in turn removing it from the pressed-in-bushing-nut-thing that the bolt screws into. No pics of that fiasco, but here's one of the alternator/power steering mount with the seized bolt. Read arrow points to where the ear tab & head of the bolt used to be. Blue line is the bolt inside, and on the left is that pressed-in-bushing-nut-thing that the bolt screws into. (power steering pump mounts to that top bolt that goes out of the pic)
    [​IMG]


    Once that was all done, gave it a bath first, then some scrub-brushing with purple power to clean up all the oily gunky mess.

    [​IMG]



    - Removed driverside exhaust headers and popped the valve cover off...surprisingly it looks really nice & shiny/clean in there! Looks like a small seal leak at the top left of the camshaft somehow caused a little bit of surface rust on it, as well as on the wall right behind it. I'm not sweating it.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  20. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 13, 2019

    weekend update....
    - removed pass. side exhaust manifold
    - replaced pass side valve cover gaskets
    - replaced all spark plugs
    - replaced intake manifold gasket
    - cleaned throttle body, replaced gasket
    - replaced thermostat & gasket
    - took a wire wheel to the entire tranny bellhousing & engine block to clean off as much of the salt corrosion as I could get.
    - replaced both PCV valves
    - mounted oil catch can on back of power steering reservoir
    - Both engine mount brackets were extremely rusty, so pulled them off & ordered replacements.

    at this point...not much more to do to it I'm now just waiting on:
    - alternator/power steering mounting bracket
    - oil catch can hoses & T-fittings
    - power steering pump
    - 7 replacement exhaust manifold studs/nuts

    Those'll come in over the course of the week. So more/less...will be ready to drop this thing in by the weekend......but can't. LOL Need to wait on Brennan to get my engine harness converted & sent back.
     
  21. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 22, 2019

    Got the bracket in for the alternator & power steering pump, so those two have been put back on the block

    - replacement exhaust manifold studs/nuts came in, so they've been put on & the headers have been installed. They look goooooood!

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    - catch can installed....a little bling-bling for the VK

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    - Also changed up the muffler too....went with a Borla 40349 instead. It's a MUCH smaller muffler than the Magnaflow 12580 too! it's reversible, so it's being used as 2-in-1-out. 2.5" in....3" out. Works perfect cause the b-pipes are 2.5", and the resonator (to be placed after muffler) is 3". Pic is the Magnaflow vs. Borla. In comparison to stock, the stock muffler is about 7" tall. The Magnaflow was about 6". The Borla is 4" tall! So I just gained 3" of clearance underneath! Hopefully no more bashing of the muffler!!

    [​IMG]
     
  22. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 22, 2019

    nd cause this deserves it's own post....
    I'm getting the VK harness back from Brennan on Thursday!! :headbang:

    so....FRIDAY NIGHT THE ENGINE'S GOING IN!!!!
    **fingers crossed**

    Saturday, I plan on taking her to the muffler shop to get the exhaust done up. Then dial in the tune with UpRev. And then alignment!
     
  23. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 28, 2019

    Weekly update ;-)

    Minion got a ride back to my house last week courtesy of AAA.
    [​IMG]


    While moving the old VQ onto my buddy's trailer, the engine hoist scratched up his driveway pretty good :-( So, I didn't want to mess it up any more than that when putting the VK in, so decided I'd tow her home. I've got a gravel driveway, but the guy who owns a small business across the street from me is really cool and lets me use his paved parking lot at times. So, that's where Minion got parked & the rest of the swap work resumed.


    And then on Thursday, the moment I've been waiting for....the converted engine harness came back!

    [​IMG]

    Wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be to plug all the connectors back to where they went. When I took it off, I tried to leave as many zip-tie clips attached so when I put it back on, I'd be able to figure out where the loom was run based off where the clips fell into place.
     
  24. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 28, 2019

    Fri night....the engine went in! and what a PITA it was, and took a long time. Had a buddy helping me too, I don't see how I could've gotten it in by myself. sloooow and steady...that's all I can say.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]




    There's one bolt, on each side, that's located directly underneath the JBA header.

    [​IMG]

    I still need to get it, but Brennan says the shorty/stubby version of this ratcheting wrench is the tool that'll get the job done
    [​IMG]
     
  25. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
  26. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 30, 2018

    OP has been updated...but for the A/C low pressure hose line, do NOT use part# 92480-ZS21A as listed in Brennan's how-to post. It's too short of a hose. The part number you want is # 92480ZT00A which is about 12" longer, and is angled backwards from the AC compressor (the incorrect part is angled forwards) I forget how I figured it out, but when I looked up the original part number on a nissan site, it said it was superseded by the -ZT00A part.


    so as my luck would have it, I got the AC lines all hooked up & pulled a vacuum. When I went to add refridgerant...the d@mn compressor clutch wouldn't engage! g'aaahhhh! So now had to order a replacement compressor which I pick up today. So tonight, I get to try to wiggle that thing out thru above the frame rail :-\. not looking forward to that.

    Lesson to pass onto others....CHECK the A/C compressor's clutch while ya have the engine out to ensure it works! I think you just need to pass a +12v current thru the harness to engage the clutch.


    ....aaannnnd got the muffler & resonator welded on this morning! :headbang:
    Muffler is in front of the axle....resonator is what ya see near the tip. I asked the guy to put the tip behind the bumper, & so it doesn't protrude down...didn't wanna bash it on the rocks.

    She sounds reeeaaallllly good! nice deep low growl...and not obnoxiously loud at all!
     
  27. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    May 31, 2018

    well....as my luck likes to go...the compressor is actually good. the way to test it w/out the engine on is to run a ground wire to the face of one of the bolt holes, and +12v wire to the single-wire harness. If it's good, the clutch will engage. Which is what mine did.

    So +12v isn't getting run thru the wire that goes from harness in the fuse box to the compressor. Troubleshooting this is a PITA. Wiring from inside the cabin to the BCM checks out. Wiring to the AC refrigerant pressure sensor checks out. hadn't checked the sensor itself. But just picked up a replacement one from local junk yard, so maybe that'll do it. :dontknow:



    June 3, 2018
    so after spending 3hrs on FB messenger with Brennan and his brother troubleshooting the AC clutch issue by checking wiring & what-not....they both determined that they think it's a bad ECU :-(

    [​IMG]


    I had even put in my stock IPDM (as I had replaced it last year w/ the updated version), and still didn't kick on the compressor. So it's not relay-related within the IPDM. only other source of the signal would then be the ECU.

    Luckily, my local yard had an '04 Armada and the ECU was still in it. So I snagged that thing yesterday & put it in Minion. Can't test it out yet until I get my UpRev license reissued by UpRev though. The license gets transferred to the ECU upon first upload of a tune file. And from there...it stays forever. Only way to get a license back is to flash the ECU back to stock ROM, which erases the license. Then request to have the license reissued to the cable from UpRev by supplying a couple of before-stock-flash & post-stock-flash screenshots along with a license report file.


    Also got the new license from UpRev. New tune from Joe (the UpRev tuner) for the new ECU. Uploaded the tune, started her up....and turned on the AC switch.

    Air Conditioning is now working!! Compressor kicked on as it was supposed to when I had the manifold gauges & refrigerant hooked up & ready to go.

    Only thing left to resolve (low on priority list) is my VCD/off & SLIP lights being constantly on. UpRev shows C1143 & C1163 codes..affiliated to the steering angle sensor. Pretty sure that's all jacked up due to the slightly tweaked angle of the steering wheel post-steering-rack replacement :wink:
    [​IMG]

    got it aligned last Friday...but lights are still on. Prolly gotta take it to the stealership to get them to reset/recalibrate it.
     
  28. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    June 5, 2018

    Minion's VK swap is DONE!!

    Just got the last tune file from Joe for UpRev...he said everything looks good and I'm good to go!!!
     
  29. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    June 13, 2018

    So went wheeling out in Tennessee this past weekend. Performance-wise.....truck did fantastic! Of the 4 rigs on day 1, I was the only one that didnt' have to get winched up 2 steep/slick/muddy hills :headbang: There was a built 1st gen X (w/ rear locker), 2nd gen X(w/ rear locker), crazy-bilt Fronty (aka the Nord....Ran the Petersons Ultimate adventure twice. 4 wheeler magazine wrote an article on it), and a mostly-stock Lexus (which..did surprisingly well!)

    I attribute it to the add'l torque from the VK, along w/ my Cooper Pro's aired down to 12psi ;-)

    however......

    she overheated like a mofo. As in....you'd burn your had if you touched the cover on my Volant airbox. As in...it popped the 60amp breaker in my engine bay that runs 12v to my bluesea fusebox inside the cabin (which took an hour to cool down before I could close the breaker).

    Everytime we'd stop for a period of time, I'd pop the hood to let her cool down. Couple times while wheeling I'd have to stop & rev the engine w/ hood popped to cool it down.

    Not wanting to spend close to $500 on Fab Bob's dual e-fan radiator setup...I spoke with Brennan...and he said that the coolant system had to be vacuum'd before adding coolant to it, in order to remove ALL air pockets from the system. Filling it thru the radiator & burping it doesn't do the trick. All the trucks he's swapped have never had an overheating issue as that's the way he adds coolant (and so does the factory, stealership, etc).

    So....$70 for a vacuum kit...definitely worth a shot over spending $500 for e-fans.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Good news is I don't have any leaks in the system either ;-) LOL Pulled the vacuum...then let it suck up the coolant. Now...I gotta find time to go to uwharrie near me to wheel & see how she performs.
     
  30. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    June 25, 2018

    so...now that it's been a couple weeks of having the VK under the hood, time to address the "why" aspect of why I did this swap...
    if you're looking for gained mpgs....doing the VK swap isn't worth it IMO. :frown: I'm sure Minion probably being about 1000lbs overweight doesn't help either. But the add'l power-to-weight ratio that the VK swap supposedly has doesn't amount to much at all in terms of fuel economy.

    I'm not heavy footed on the gas pedal. I don't punch it when the light goes green. Mixed driving of city/hwy....I'm getting maybe 12, 12.5 mpgs. Towing the 1200lb pig/m416 trailer (I pulled up the CAT scale weight...wasn't 1500lbs like I thought).....I got 11.8 driving 2hrs of highway at 66mph. yup....sixty-six mph....sloooooowwwww speed on the interstate. The other weekend, I drove 7 hrs to TN avg'ing about 70-74....about 10.5 mpgs.

    With the V6, as stated, I got about 10.5mpgs mixed (don't know about hwy as I seldom drove it for long distances without towing). Towing the pig on the highway for hours, I was around 9ish.

    Am I disappointed? yup. I wasn't expecting HUGE gains, but was hoping for maybe 15-16mpg's mixed, 13-14ish towing. Something that would've made a dent in the crappy mileage I'm getting now.

    If I could turn back time, I'd stay stock & wouldn't have sunk $7000 into this :frown: $7k worth of parts & the time spent on this to more/less get only better throttle response, better pick-up, and not-screaming-while-towing-the-pig-up-mountains wasn't worth it for me.

    She's still fun to drive. She moves fast & quick when I want her to. But it is unfortunately a disappointment to basically still be where I am in terms of fuel economy.

    Live & learn....that's all I can say ;-) Unfortunately not many people post/share fuel economy gains as it's always about the add'l power & torque the v8 provides. Well, hopefully this'll help shed some light on future/prospective swappers.....
     
  31. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    July 1, 2019

    I don't overly regret it. Maybe I had my expectations set a little high for the fuel economy. There just wasn't enough info out there about that for me to have made a well-informed decision in that aspect. The increased throttle response and the engine not screaming when hauling my camper is fantastic.... Just not $7k fantastic LOL

    Now off-roading capabilities.... There's a major difference not due to the additional power, but the insane about of torque the engine produces. I just went wheeling this weekend at Uwharrie, which has a lot of rocky and technical trails. I wheel in 4-lo, 1st gear (2nd or 3rd on easy straightaways) & don't skinny pedal too crazy. The torque from the V8 made me feel like I was just walking over that gnarly stuff, whereas with he v6, the engine definitely worked to get up it.

    Overheating issue.....
    I'm extremely happy to say that this weekend, I wheeled with AC cranking, 90-something┬░ NC heat, for about 4.5 hrs and hovered right around 200! That's just below halfway on the temp gauge! Climbed to 230 once (just below the hot range) going up a reaaalllly gnarly line, but my buddy's v6 temp climbed too, so that was good to know.

    After this....the ONLY way to refill the coolant system is with a vacuum. $70 kit off of Amazon. Brennan saved me $500 on fat Bob's dual e-fan setup by telling me to do it that way!
     
  32. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    37,919
    Location:
    Denver-ish
    So sexy. I want that VK so bad. But it's a long ways off.
     
  33. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    I'm still paying for.....LOL 6month 0% APR PayPal Credit, and Amazon Store Card to the rescue! I was able to recoup almost 1/2 of what I bought the Titan for by selling my VQ & trans, so that was a big help in that aspect.
     
  34. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    37,919
    Location:
    Denver-ish
    Hard to say no to free money!
     
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  35. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    i wish it were free!!!! $400ish/month payments suck!!
     
  36. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

    Messages:
    37,919
    Location:
    Denver-ish
    But there's no interest. That's why it's free.
     
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  37. josx2

    josx2 Bought an X Supporting Member

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Mebane, NC
    yeeeaah....a free loan at least ;-)
     
  38. maillet282

    maillet282 If you bleeding, Imma fix you Moderator Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,584
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    added to the Master list of How to's
     
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