JDM Engine SWAP

Prime

Shut up Baby, I know it!
Admin
Location
Denver Adjacent
Anyone ever install one? I know there are things that need to be changed over, just checking to see if anyone has had any experience with one. I would like to put together a "punch list" for what has to be changed before I get started. Would have liked to find a low mile domestic engine but was having NO LUCK. Here is why I am asking....http://www.clubxterra.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=142953
So is the only reason the lack of available vg33 donor trucks? Or is there some kind of advantage to the JDM vg33?
 

OnceBitten

Test Drive
Location
West Virginia
Here is what I have found so far that "may" need to be swapped form the original engine to the JDM.
1. Top intake plenum
2. Coolant Lines
3. Accessory Brackets
4. Crank Sensor
5. Engine wire harness (a few pcs may need minor mods)
6. May need to "shim" starter
7. Remove Flex plate and bushing from crank and install flywheel and Pilot Bearing

I also plan on replacing the timing belt/tensioner and water pump as well as installing a new clutch kit.
 
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OnceBitten

Test Drive
Location
West Virginia
seems like a lot of work..
I'm kinda looking at it like a "longblock" but MUCH less $$. A rebuild or remanufactured engine longblock is 3K minimum and I have to swap everything over anyway plus all the gaskets etc. All the other stuff that comes with the JDM (alternator, brackets, AC compressor, etc) is just extras that may or may not be useful to someone. In the end I should have a pretty clean X with a pretty fresh engine.
 

Muadeeb

Bastard Admin from Hell
Admin
Location
Dallas
Yeah, you're looking at at least 5k of you do a motor swap yourself, and that's including gaskets, belts, hoses, spark plugs, exhaust manifolds, cats, and a few other odds and ends
 

granitex

Skid Plates
Founding Member
Location
Columbus OH
I have seen it done in less than a day, to put the new one in. That is with swapping all of the front accessories and wiring. The guy that did it is a wrenching gobble and knows the vg better than I know my kids, So for most people I would say it is about a three day job to do it in a driveway, but it can be done.
 

OnceBitten

Test Drive
Location
West Virginia
Engine has ARRIVED

Engine arrived yesterday and this is what I had after removing the "shrink wrap"!
 

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OnceBitten

Test Drive
Location
West Virginia
A Few More

A few more pics. I was VERY pleased with how NEW the engine looks. I was told it would have between 30 and 50K miles on it. It looks MUCH lower but who knows. It has not been "cleaned up" and everything looks GOOD. If it runs a good as it looks I will be very happy. Unfortunately I will not be able to get started until next week or weekend at the earliest. BTW it was $899 SHIPPED!
 

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baddadjokess

Test Drive
Location
South Florida
Im about to put a JDM VG in myself. Tomorrow I'm gonna start stripping all the things that need to be swapped out off the JDM motor, hopefully I will be able to do finish and have the X running again by this weekend because other than tomorrow night, I only really have Saturday and Sunday. Please, any info as far as exactly what needed to be swapped out and changed that you find LMK because I have no idea what Im doing lol.
 

Muadeeb

Bastard Admin from Hell
Admin
Location
Dallas
The only person here who _might_ be able to help would be Ronin, but he hasn't been active in a while. He swapped a TD into his X, but I couldn't tell you if he knows the difference between the JDM and USDM VG engines.


Best I can offer is to put both on a stand next to each other and look real hard. Squinting not necessary.
 
If your the first man take lots of pictures and we will start following and this will be our guide later the community thanks you. Where did you find the motor?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

baddadjokess

Test Drive
Location
South Florida
Any update on this? I'm closing in on swap day and I still no idea wth I'm doing. But I guess like Muadeeb said, pull out, compare, swap over. Drop. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
 

rey619

Test Drive
Location
San Diego
Due to lack of online info on the VG JDM engine swap, I've decided to revive this post and hopefully help someone out there who is contemplating the project. Our trucks are up there in age and most domestic Xterra and frontier engines have extremely high milage, a JDM engine is definitely the better option and relatively inexpensive.

Post #4 basically identifies the necessary steps to complete the swap with maybe a few additional things. I did not encounter issues with the starter, so didn't need an additional spacer other than the original starter bracket. Also since the intake manifold is being swapped, I managed to utilize the original wiring harness without modifications to the connectors.

See steps below;
- swap rear of engine coolant lines (two hard lines)
- swap Knock sensor ( or relocate if you wish since it's a pita to access )
- swap accessory brackets
- swap upper intake manifold ( use new gasket )
- swap harmonic balancer if not identical to original.
- swap MT flywheel or Auto flex plate

Things to consider prior to installation;
- New rear main seal
- New crankshaft front seal
- New water pump
- New thermostat
- New timing belt kit
- New oil pan gasket ( gasket set includes two halfmoons & rtv )
- New valve cover gaskets ( known to leak )

This all seems like a ton of work but in reality it's quite easy, as long as it's done with the engine outside the engine bay. Take your time and have a checklist to follow along.

I recently completed my 4WD low mile trans swap along with the JDM engine install. While there, installed a front Lokka. Unfortunately did not take many pictures of my progress due to being on a tight schedule, but feel free to ask me questions.

Happy wrenching!
 
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