Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Problems, ideas and comments specific to engine swaps.
master-O-turbonics
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by master-O-turbonics » 27 Aug 2010 17:26

jonesmechanical wrote: (I think that motor may be non interference and the pistons were built up around the valves to maintain the compression ratio)
The VG33 is definitely an interference motor. If your timing belt breaks, the whole engine is toast. I've got one in my 04 frontier and had an acquaintance that had to get a new engine because the timing belt snapped on the highway, locking up the motor at 75mph...with an auto trans.

jonesmechanical
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by jonesmechanical » 07 Sep 2010 19:10

Hmm, I will be confirming this soon.

Magic Carpet 510
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by Magic Carpet 510 » 12 Sep 2010 08:45

Any updates Jones?
You run a dyno lately Colton?
Ron Clifton
Winston Salem,NC
71 510 VG30, next step...turbo!
Making a Sasquatch sized carbon footprint and loving it!

jonesmechanical
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by jonesmechanical » 18 Sep 2010 10:47

master-O-turbonics wrote: The VG33 is definitely an interference motor. If your timing belt breaks, the whole engine is toast. I've got one in my 04 frontier and had an acquaintance that had to get a new engine because the timing belt snapped on the highway, locking up the motor at 75mph...with an auto trans.
I am sure you are correct. BUT......Drum roll please.......

NO PISTON CUT VALVE CUT RELIEFS REQUIRED TO RUN VH45DE PISTONS!!!!!!

Why this information isn't out there, I don't know. I would love to have someone actually tell me otherwise. I have heard the rumor (BS, I have confirmed it) that you have to assemble and disassemble the motor trial and error to "fit and clearance" the pistons so they clear the valves. I do not believe you could make the 45DE pistons in the VG33 motor non interference, so with all of this, I don't know what the point of doing any cuts in the pistons is.

I spoke with the engineer that worked on the Pathfinder build that is the most complete source of the VG34 builds, told me that the owner actually did the relief cuts for "more valve clearance, and to lower the compression ratio so he could run 87 octane". That build was more about torque and off road ability than anything else according to JWT.
That is not what I am going for. I will only run 91+ in my car, and the higher compression ratio the better (even without the valve reliefs, I don't believe that it will hit 10:1.

So, the motor is now ready for final assembly. I will be working on that over the next few weeks as a trusted friend and I both have time.

All of this information I found out over the phone in talking to my machinist, and I then called JWT to get a new Cam (had some adnormal wear on the dist. gear drive). Clark (the machinist) has actual clearance specs at TDC and a degree range on the clearance, I will get that next week from him.

Also, in talking to JWT, I spoke to them about the ECU tuning. They said they can build me a M30 plugin upgrade on the computer that would allow me to have an access/diagnosis port that I could hook up to a computer. I don't think that I could do any programming through it (which I would value). Maybe having that ECU would make it possible to plug and play a stand alone later. The tech at JWT also confirmed that the newer ECU fires the plugs more accurately (non wasted spark), and I think that he told me that the computer has more resolution/speed. Well, I have lots of time to figure that out.

Thanks for your patience with this, I have been moving really slow on it, and have not been in a rush because of Business and Family Commitments. I hope the results of this vg34 motor build are rewarding. Thus far, I will have spent $2200 on all of the machining, head work (all new valves, porting, guides, lifters), bearings, gaskets, head bolts. balancing and blue printing. $320 for a new cam (the passenger side was good), $350 on pistons and rings, $100 on rods.

Other expenses:

New oil pickup and oil pan from Experimental Engineering: $500 (I think that oil starvation was the cause of the failure as Kelvins oil pan was good, but did not have any baffles in it).

ECU from JWT: $600+ depending on what they do.

New Radiator with integrated oil cooler: $400

New VG30ET oil pump: $75

In all, looks like about $4000, plus cost of a junkyard VG33e.

In all, I hope that I inspire others to do cheap VG34 conversions on a good running vg33 motor with a simple over bore, VH45de pistons, and VG33de rods. If that is all that is done, then I would think it could be done for less than $1200 including a tune.

cjr198car
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by cjr198car » 18 Sep 2010 11:08

Great info with regards to the pistons!

I have not been to a dyno, but the car is ridiculous fast (it seriously makes my heart rate speed up) with the colder temps we've been having in MN...

I need more clutch, stronger diff, and wider tires if Im going to turn up the boost/add an intercooler.

jonesmechanical
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by jonesmechanical » 18 Sep 2010 17:05

I am sure your car is ridiculous. Massive torque I am sure. This was really the low laying fruit for me. I think that a vg34 upgrade in the smurf is going to compliment it perfectly, not requiring a total upgrade of the drivetrain. I have never been disappointed with the performance of the vg30 in my car, even having owned much more powerful cars, along with my turbo charged M coupe. If this thing can hit 200 wheel at this altitude, I will be stoked and I think it will satisfy me.

On of the things I will be doing though, is calculating the exact compression ratio so I can have some custom piston built for low compression for a future FI upgrade involving this motor. I don't know if it will ever happen, but I want to know the engineering behind it.

Also, if I don't give JWT an exact compression ratio, I wouldn't have much confidence in the tune.

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chunstone
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by chunstone » 18 Sep 2010 21:59

Mr Jones,
I'm watching this thread and would be interested in the specs with the cams you will be using.
I have Isky stage 2 camsin my VG30 wagon. I just replaced the engine with a used "stock" engine using the same intake manifold you have and EE headers and put out 170 hp, 180 TQ on a Mustang dyno. Those 2 items cost about a $1000, but add about 35 hp according to Doug at UP Motors, that did the dyno test. One of his employees has a stock VG30 and put down 135hp at the wheels.
I appreciate that you are contributing to this forum on your build.
Thanks.
4 link VG30 wagon, Stage 2 cams PP heads headers.
170 hp-180 tq
Call Doug at UP Motors, Tacoma, "engine swap elite"

qwik510
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by qwik510 » 19 Sep 2010 03:48

jonesmechanical wrote:

Other expenses:

New oil pickup and oil pan from Experimental Engineering: $500 (I think that oil starvation was the cause of the failure as Kelvins oil pan was good, but did not have any baffles in it).

I am sure you are probably aware of this but just in case......

The VG30 and VG33 use different oil pickups. The location on the block where the oil pickups bolt to is different and I could not use the VG30 pickup on the VG33 block. When I decided to switch from the VG30 install to the VG33, we had to modify the VG33 oil pickup to work with the Team Thump VG oil Pan.

I always see Dave Carroll's stuff advertised as VG30 stuff so I am not aware if he also provides VG33 stuff.

Keep the updates coming. I am looking forward to seeing the new heart of smurf start to beat.
Enjoy The Ride!
David
ImageImage

jonesmechanical
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by jonesmechanical » 20 Sep 2010 21:11

chunstone wrote:Mr Jones,
I'm watching this thread and would be interested in the specs with the cams you will be using.
I have Isky stage 2 camsin my VG30 wagon. I just replaced the engine with a used "stock" engine using the same intake manifold you have and EE headers and put out 170 hp, 180 TQ on a Mustang dyno. Those 2 items cost about a $1000, but add about 35 hp according to Doug at UP Motors, that did the dyno test. One of his employees has a stock VG30 and put down 135hp at the wheels.
I appreciate that you are contributing to this forum on your build.
Thanks.
That is great information. I think my VG with the bolt ons was about that, maybe a bit less because of the altitude. At Miller Motorsports park on the front 3/4 mile straight, porsche boxters couldn't pass me unless we were either over 100 mph (aero issues lol), or I let off. I kick my self for having ever dyno'd it. I am not a big fan of dyno numbers, but now, I wish I had some sort of baseline that was relevant. Even at that, dyno numbers change depending on conditions.

In theory, just gaining 10:1 compression would have to be a significant bump in torque and HP (i don't know, say 10%, assuming you have a proper tune to take advantage). Then, a 13.3% gain in Displacement. Would it be unreasonable that apples to apples, if a vg30 made 170/180 hp/tq at the wheels, it would then make 210/220 hp/tq at the wheels doing the vg34 conversion? I think so. At my altitude, I really think that 200 wheel is a bit optimistic at 4500 ft. If this was the price is right, I would guess 175/190 wheel hp/tq. Elevation SUCKS. In the end, its all about the gains, which I will never really know exactly. If I hit 200 wheel, that would be almost too good to be true. For peanuts the DIY'er (at sea level) could have 220 to 230 wheel and torque to boot, N/A seamless power in a 510. Thats perfection. Fun to speculate. Truth will prevail and I will dyno it right away, first thing.

All of you, feel free to speculate. I am a realist with high hopes.

I have already been in touch with Carter Boad @ EE and he knows what it takes to make the pickup work with the VG34 conversion (really just a vg33). Haven't ordered it yet.

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510wizard
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by 510wizard » 21 Sep 2010 07:00

Just a little input on hp a high elevation. Here at Reno, we too are at 4500'. We lose 15% compared to sea level using the same make of engine dyno on the same engine. So, you are close at 170 hp, I calculate 178 if you are getting 210 at sea level. But at elevation, you can advance the timing which will help some.

jonesmechanical
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by jonesmechanical » 11 Oct 2010 17:32

I haven't started the Assembly yet, Hopefully this next week. I did find out something very interesting:

The VQ30de (newer nissan maxima) pistons have the same wrist pin diameter (22mm) and bore size (93mm) that would net the same 3.4 liter displacement, but would drop the compression to a boost friendly 8:1!!! So, same rods (vg30de) just a piston swap and you have low compression!!

Thanks for the great input on elevation and dyno comparisons. I think I will be in the 175 to 185 HP range up here. We will find out some day.

jonesmechanical
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by jonesmechanical » 16 Oct 2010 14:21

Well, I started assembly today with my good friends Zach and Jr. It was a lot of fun. We spend about 2 hours with final cleaning and figuring out what we had left. Last night I down loaded the factory service manual for the vg33 pathfinder for all the torque specs and clearances.

The ring set from Hastings was sized, and it turned out that one of the top rings was just over spec, and having two extra set of rings proved very handy (they only sell the rings in a set of 8 for the infinity V8 motor). Avoiding that one ring, everything sized up perfect with out having to do any adjustments.

Here is a pic of the rods and pistons. I am missing the c retainer clips for the wrist pins, either they werent provided, or that have been misplaced. So, I'll have to track those down.

Image
Image

One interesting thing about the pistons is that the skirt is a larger diameter than the ring landings. Maybe this is typical of pistons, but I did notice that. Almost like the skirt fits really tight, and the ring landings come in a bit. Also, the vg30de rods have oil squirters on them!! I didn't realize this until we were looking at the rods close to find the front/back orientation.


We installed the crank dry and check the tolerances with plastigauge. Everything was perfect.

Here is a pic just before dropping the crank in:
Image
Image
Image

Zach is a tremendous help. Its been a while since he has assembled a motor, but he jumped back into right away. By his nature, he is very meticulous and thorough. The only back tracking we had to do was oil the threads of the main bottom end bolts for torquing. Also, Clark, the machinist drilled out and tapped the oil galley passages on the crank, then had allen plugs for them. We cleaned out the crank a final time then locked the plugs in place with thread lock.

Image

So as is sits, the crank is in and torqued down, the pistons are loaded with rings. Thats it for today. We still have to put the rods/pistons together, clock all of the springs, and find those retaining clips.

I imagine by the end of the week we will have the heads on. I need to locate some adjustable timing gears, get the oil pan and pickup ordered, get the radiator/oil cooler ordered from Ron Davis.

I received the ECU this week from JWT with the 3.4 liter 10:1 programming along with the M30 ECU Upgrade. I also need to located a new MAF from a nissan maxima for that setup.

Magic Carpet 510
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by Magic Carpet 510 » 02 Dec 2010 09:40

How about it Jones, is the Smirf busting buggs yet???

I want to thank you for all the work you have done in this thread, it has been fantastic!
Ron Clifton
Winston Salem,NC
71 510 VG30, next step...turbo!
Making a Sasquatch sized carbon footprint and loving it!

boring-hop-yard
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by boring-hop-yard » 05 Dec 2010 16:36

Anybody know the outcome of the build?
Do you need to clearance the Q45 pistons ?
Intresting how the thread died in the middle of the build.

jonesmechanical
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Re: Has anyone here actually built a VG34?

Post by jonesmechanical » 07 Dec 2010 20:14

short block is built. Just got the cam gears the other day (adjustable). I haven't done much lately with some family health issues, and a business that is busy right now (gotta strike while the iron is hot).

I have been really trying to get dave involved over at vg30.com to help me with a oil pan and oil pick up, but communication is slow. I'll have to drop him a line. I may just have to use my old one and just wait till later to build a new one.

I have not lost momentum, just taking a bit of a break. Its got to be back together by the spring.

Another forum member (Kurt Hafer) forwarded me some great old information previously $$$$$ VG34 builds, Lots of good reading:


Saw your post in Eric Straw's build thread on 510 realm. Thought I'd chime in.

Although I have Spreadbury's vg30et "Strutless Wonder" in my garage for the past 8yrs, it dynoed 270rwhp and333rwtq w/ a stock motor, stock T3 turbo, stock injectors, stock 300zx plenum, but JWT ecu, Nismo Euro cams and headers.

My best friend Tom Dockery ran his orange 510 w/ several NA VG setups until he went thru 3 Rebello VG motors in a row and decided to go SR. His postings to the BB list detailed Rebello's engine dyno numbers, which I'll paste below. I've always thought Rebello's engine dyno was a bit optimistic, and Tom's last rwhp was 234 shows that to be the case, assuming 18-20% driveline losses. These were no expense spared, $5-8k longblocks, plus TECII, custome headers, etc. His last blown engine currently resides in my garage along side a fresh Nissan vg30 longblock. Plan is to use his heavily modified heads w/ eurocams on the fresh longblock hoping that the compression isn't too high to run the NA motor as a lower boost reliable turbo motor in my car w/ a new turbo (maybe the new Borg Warner stuff just reveals at SEMA?) and new headers, injectors, and Nistune. Someday.

I'd also love to pick your brain about Racelogic traction control. I think I saw you mention somewhere that it won't work w/ low-impedence injectors (what I run). I'd love to get it for my car, but would need to get new injectors... I think Brad in VA has Racelogic on his 510 IIRC.

Good luck w/ your new motor!
We vg510 guys are a rare breed.

Best,
Kurt Hafer
Menlo Park, CA

Anyway, here's snippets of Tom's dyno postings from yrs ago from my archives. I'd be happy to set you up to talk w/ him. I see him every week as he lives just 10mi from me :

---snip----
So my very tired VG30E, with long tube headers and a tune-able TECII produced 160 WHP. My built, VG34E, before I pulled it out produced 234 WHP.
---snip---
Stock, tired VG30e:
When my VG30E was stock it made 161 HP at the wheels. This was with the 84 300ZX plenum, 60mm TB, Electromotive ECU and long tube, equal length headers. We played with timing and fuel curves to get there. I think if you added a Pathfinder style plenum you would get about 5- 10 hp and a better power curve. 190 seems like a friendly dyno run. I will say, my 160 was from a very tired, 160K+ motor.

Tom

----snip---- 2/16/2001 VG34 engine #1 post:

For those still interested in VG30 hp projections here is how my discussion with Dave Rebello went. I dropped the heads off this morning ('85 VG30 head and a '97 VG33 heads). The first thing and he and Eric (I think that's his name), the head doctor at rebello's, did was stick their respective fingers in the ports and declared the VG33 the winner due to port radius/shape, despite the smaller exhaust port. He agreed to flow both heads and see which was the winner from a CFM perspective by they both felt in the end the VG33 was the head to use.

I told him as I told you all last night, the goal was 250 crank hp at 5000rpm and 240+ torque at roughly 4000 rpm. His comment was "with a little port work and one of the Isky cams from Nismo we should see 275 hp and 260+ torque. His concern was the Headers he and I decided on way back, sawing they might be a little small for the much above 275. When we decided on the header design back then I was looking for future headroom, but for 240 hp not the 275. We will have to see where this issues goes. He is also to going to review the improvements that might be possible with we bump the bore by 0.060" creating a VG34, and pumping the CR to 10 or 10.5:1. Noting the plan was to stay on pump gas.

On another note, he seemed very interested in proving these figures out on his engine dyno, especially given I was running and Electromotive system. He felt (and I would tend to agree) tuning the TEC II on and engine dyno rather than a chassis dyno should be more effective.

Stay tuned for more data.

Tom Dockery
------snip-----

1/26/2002 post:

Well for those of you who have been tracking the VG34 story we now have it back together and have dyno numbers for the record. To refresh the memory cells this is a VG33, punched 60 over, with 10.5:1 pistons, Isky cams, and a fair amount of head porting. The crank is old style VG30, eagle rods, and 300ZX plenum.

We learned several things along the way, first we were able to get as high if not higher HP and torque with 91 octane pump gas (compared to race, leaded gas). We ran race gas for several runs, didn't tweak the TECII system as much as we did with the street gas but the numbers suggest we wouldn't see any real advantage. Then again, this is not a really high compression set up.

There was about 5-10 hp variation based on the location of the air filter. This was large in part to the location of the velocity stack (funnel part of the air filter). Having the filter connected directly to throttle body produced the best figures. In the car this will produce some challanges but we will figure something out. Feeding this arrangement in the car will also need tooling so that the air is cooler of course.

At first we ran my muffler which a staggered inlet, outlet 14 inch borla (3" in and out). We later switched to a 3" straight through muffler (not sure which brand). This produced another 5-8 hp. It wasn't really any louder but then again the number of times we ran the dyno up the flag pole my ears weren't all that sharp but the end of the day.

So here is what you really want to know. The max the best figures we got were 283.8 hp at 5900 rpm and 270.5 ft lbs of torque at 5000 rpm. We did a lot of tuning wrt timing and fuel patterns to get consistent , smooth curve runs, and I suspect the set up we left with is a about 280hp and 263 ft lbs of torque. Should be way too much fun either way.

On the lastest subject, I run fluid mounts on my car.

Special thanks to Dave and Rick at Rebello's and Vic Sias for the Tec tuning.

Tom Dockery

---snip--- 4/9/2002 post on head flow:
I ve seen some difference in preference with respect to which heads are best. However, Dave Rebello flow tested an 84 300ZX VG30 head and a 97 Pathfinder, VG33 head for me during the recent rebuild. Dave was quick to comment on the shape of the ports in the later head (VG33) being much better. This he felt would lead to a better flow. As the conversation went, he felt this would be true dispite the larger exhaust port on the VG30 head. The flow testing proved this observations true. However, to get the heads to flow enough CFM to reach the 270HP/270 Torque targets the intake port still required a lot of work. In the end, dyno numbers proved the power figures were obtained without intake or plenum modifications.

-----snip-----5/6/2004 2nd VG34 motor dyno report:
Yesterday I was at Rebello's for the first firing of the New engine. It didn't go as planned as there were several fixture and hook up issues but I did get to hear it run and see confidence building oil pressure numbers. As a bonus I also got to see Ralph for the first time in nearly two years. He arrived delivering parts for someone's project. It was nice to compare our common engine failure stories.

Today, without me being pressent, Brian and Dave completed the Dyno testing. The numbers are really exciting. Assuming the engine stays together, the ride will be even more of a treat.
In general both torque and hp tracks 5-10% higher with lower rpm peak torque and higher rpm peak hp. The peak hp was 302 at 6400 rpm, where on the previous run engine was only generating 278 hp at this rpm. In the previous build/run, the peak hp was 283 at 6100 rpm. This time the engine was still creating 272 hp at 7165 rpm. When you look at the curves, the area spread between the two runs beyond 6000rpm is truely exciting. The engine should pull like a mule. But speaking of pulling, the peak torque is somewhat of unknown. As before, the guys don't record anything below 4300rpm (I don't know why). But at that stage (4300 rpm) on the new set up, the torque figures are dropping indicating a peak below this rpm. But compared to the old set up the curve is still tracking 10-12 ftlbs higher than before. So before the peak torque was 270 ft lbs at 5100 rpm. This time at 5100 rpm it is pulling 274, but the that is on its way down, not up. Brian said he remembered numbers above 280 ft lbs but they were around the 4000 rpm range.

So there are two differences between the old set up and this one. The Pathfinder plenum and the 320 cc injectors (over 270). The latter from my perspective( and those of the guys at RC Engineering) shouldn't make a difference. Both injectors should be tune-able in the 300 hp range with my engine. This leaves the plenum. These results track pretty well with Sly's comments. He said they had seen 20-30 more hp on turbo cars and 1000 more RPM band when moving from the old style 300ZX plenum to the truck plenum. These numbers aren't far from mine even in NA form. The dyno variance could be an issue but even the air density today was 4% lower than those recorded on the the first set up.

So what about the oil pressure......... during the initial start up yesterday, the oil pressure stayed in the 60-75 psi range, at idle( 1100 to 1200 rpm), at temp, and during runs as high as 4000 rpm. The comments today where, it stayed above 60psi during all phases and oil temps above 200 degrees. Last summer with oil temps approching 200, and 3000 rpm, I was looking at 40 psi. On the dyno, there is a shit load of -10 line routing to their cooler and external filter, probably 3-4 times the line length I will see. The associated pressure drop this creates is 4-6 psi from their testing.

Am I happy? Yes. I am anxious to see it in car? Yes. Am I still nervous? Yes.

Tom

---snip---1/25/2007 chassis dyno report:

The numbers were not a high as I had hoped but I ve always known that Rebello's dyno numbers have been critized as high. Today on the dyno the peak hp was 220 at 6100 rpm and peak torque of 222 at 4200 rpm. The hp numbers are about 30 less than I hoped and the torque about 10. The fact that it created more torque than hp is something I didn't expect. The nice feature was the engine created over 200 ft lbs between 3200 and 5700 rpm. nice power band.

Well, I may have to rethink my approach. Not sure I can give that much power up to those SR20DET winnies. Okay to to you but not them.

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