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Engine Removal: 300ZX Manual Twin Turbo, RHD

08/06/2013 09:37 AM
Mike Duffy

I wrote these guides for my own use when I owned my 300ZX. I had the engine out of it so many times that I wanted a detailed guide to every step of the process so I didn't have to think about anything whilst taking it out or putting it in, and to make sure I wasn't going to miss anything. I got the whole process down to about 8 hours for removal or refitting using these guides.

The engine refitting guide is located here: 300ZX Engine Refitting

Engine Components
Engine Components (from Nissan Workshop Manual)

The below instructions are written to minimise the jacking of the car. The rear is raised once and the front is raised once. From my point of view, this makes life easier as I don't have much room to work with and the car's difficult to move around once you've started removing stuff. Also, this is a safety critical part of the job and I like to spend a lot of time getting the axle stands perfectly positioned and the wheels safely chocked.

  1. The first job is to remove the exhaust system. I do this by raising the rear of the car and removing the whole system in one piece. If you're not confident that you can remove the front CAT sections from the turbo down pipes easily, you may want to raise the front first and separate those with a bit more room available. The following instructions presume you're doing everything raising only the rear.
  2. Raise the rear of the car and secure with axle stands.
  3. Remove the bracket that goes across the centre of the car underneath the exhaust tubes.
  4. Unbolt the CAT sections from the turbo down pipes.
  5. Unhook all the exhaust mountings and remove the exhaust in one piece. You may wish to separate the exhaust between the CAT pipes and the centre section but I find it easiest to remove it all in one go.
  6. Remove the exhaust heat shield.
  7. Remove the bolts holding the propshaft to the differential. Some people advocate separating the propshaft at the centre bearing but I find it much easier to remove the whole thing. You will need the car in gear to lock the propshaft while you undo each bolt. To make each bolt accessible, take the car out of gear and turn one of the rear wheels.
  8. Support the centre bearing of the propshaft and remove the two bolts holding it in place. Lower the bearing slowly. The shaft will withdraw from the gearbox and the differential as the bearing is lowered. Make sure you don't let either end drop but lower it to the ground carefully. Pack the gearbox rear with rags to stop too much fluid emerging when it is lowered later.
  9. Now lower the rear of the car back to the ground. Jack up the front and secure with axle stands. N.B. Check that the crane you are going to use will not foul the stands. Move their locations slightly if necessary.
  10. Depressurise the fuel system.
  11. Disconnect the battery and remove from the car. Stand the battery on a wooden block, not the garage floor.
  12. Drain the engine oil and remove the oil filter.
  13. Drain the coolant from the radiator. You should also drain the coolant from the engine block but this can wait until the engine is out if you're struggling to get to the bolts.
  14. Disconnect the lower radiator hose from the bottom of the radiator.
  15. Remove the connector from the oil pressure sender under the car.
    Oil Pressure Sender
    Oil pressure sender with plug removed (photo taken out of car with sump removed)
  16. Remove the lower fan shroud.
  17. Remove the upper and lower radiator hoses.
  18. Remove the brackets holding the radiator in place.
  19. Remove the upper fan shroud.
  20. Remove the four big boost hoses.
  21. Remove the radiator overflow pipe from below the radiator filler cap.
  22. Lift the radiator clear of the car.
  23. Remove the fan and viscous coupling.
  24. Rotate the power steering pulley until the pivot bolt is visible behind one of the holes. Slacken the bolt off.
    Pivot Bolt
    Power steering pivot bolt
  25. Slacken the tensioner and remove the belt.
  26. Now remove the tensioner assembly all together and remove the pivot bolt that you previously slackened off.
  27. The pump needs to lie below the engine to make removal easier, so tie it to the anti roll bar to stop it moving around.
  28. Slacken off the air conditioning compressor tensioner and remove the belt. Remove the four bolts holding it in place. One of the rear ones needed a crows foot wrench to reach. (You may find it easiest to throw this one away when you reassemble it!)
    Bottom Bolts
    Bottom bolts and tensioner
  29. Tie the compressor to one side.
  30. Slacken the pivot bolt on the alternator and slacken off the tensioner. Remove the belt.
    Pivot Bolt
    Pivot bolt and tensioner
  31. Remove the alternator tensioner assembly and fully remove the pivot bolt, retaining the nut from the rear.
  32. Tie the alternator next to the power steering pump.
  33. Remove the water pump pulley (this should just pull off).
  34. Remove the Nissan cover from the top of the engine.
  35. Remove the throttle cables (pedal and cruise control) from the throttle valves. Also, disconnect the bracket holding them to the balance bar.
  36. Remove the six vacuum pipes from the balance bar and the vacuum pipe going from the plenum to the clutch servo just behind the balance bar on the driver side. The balance bar has four pipes on the driver side, one in the middle at the back for the idle control and one on the passenger side at the back.
    Vacuum Pipes
    Four vacuum pipes on driver side plenum and clutch servo pipe behind
  37. Remove the vacuum hose from the fuel regulator on the passenger side.
  38. Remove the fuel hoses and unbolt from the plenum.
  39. Remove the balance bar, retaining the gaskets for reassembly.
  40. Disconnect the two vacuum hoses from the side of the plenum, near the back on the passenger side.
    Vaccum Hoses
    Vacuum hoses at rear of plenum (passenger side)
  41. Remove the clips holding the wiring loom to the plenum on the passenger side next to the idle tube, so it is no longer attached to the plenum.
  42. Remove the idle tube from the hose going to the passenger side turbo inlet.
  43. Disconnect the small vacuum hoses from underneath the big boost pipes at the front. The ones that go to the boost control solenoids. Alternatively, if you have a boost controller fitted, remove them from the boost control solenoid.
  44. Disconnect the electrical connections to the following. It is helpful for refitting if the injector and coil pack cables are labelled before removal:
    • Throttle position sensor (2)
    • Boost control solenoids (one either side)
    • Fuel injectors (6)
    • Coil packs(6)
    • Earth connections to the plenum (2 along back of plenum)
    • Fuel temperature (near centre of plenum)
    • O2 sensor connectors coming up to the top of the engine from the turbo down-pipes (2)
    • Air regulator valve (passenger side, rear of plenum)
    • Detonation sensor coming up to the top of the engine from underneath the centre of the plenum
    • Valve timing control solenoid valves (one either side, cables coming up from back of inlet camshafts)
    • Water temperature sensors (2 in the water pipe at the front of the engine)
    • Crank angle sensor
    • Power transistor unit
    N.B. One of the O2 sensor cables and one of the valve timing control solenoid valve cables are usually attached to a metal bracket on the side of the plenum (driver side).

    This leaves two remaining connections behind the plenum on the passenger side, the Auxiliary Air Control (AAC) valve and the Fast Idle Control Device (FICD) solenoid valve. It is easier to remove and refit these with the engine slightly raised later on.
  45. Unbolt the wiring harness that is attached to the plenum at the rear. It is halfway between the centre and the driver side.
  46. Remove the dipstick.
  47. Unbolt the wiring harness from the plenum on the driver side.
    Waring Harness
    Wiring harness attached to plenum
  48. Unbolt the cruise control unit from the driver side bulkhead (the unit with the cruise control throttle cable coming out of it). Move this to one side to make the next job easier.
  49. Remove the lower of the two vacuum hoses underneath the driver side throttle body, and disconnect the bracket that the pipes run down from the plenum (it doesn't have to be removed, just out of the way for attaching the engine hoist). Remove the two vacuum hoses from the back of these pipes.
    Vacuum Hose
    Vacuum hose removed from front
    Vacuum Hoses
    Vacuum hoses removed from rear
  50. Remove the black metal boost pipes going from the turbo compressor to the intercoolers (via the boost pipes that you've already removed). You will lose some skin at this point!
  51. Disconnect the vacuum hose from underneath the front of the passenger side throttle body.
  52. Disconnect the vacuum hose from underneath the rear of the passenger side throttle body.
    Pipes underneath passenger side throttle body (shown with engine removed)
    Vacuum Hoses
    Another view of the vacuum hose at rear of passenger side throttle body
  53. Disconnect the PCV pipes from the black plastic induction pipes going from the air intake to the turbo inlets.
  54. Remove the black plastic pipes mentioned above.
  55. Unbolt the boost control solenoids so they can be removed with the engine (I've already removed mine so I'm not 100% sure if it's best to remove them with the engine or disconnect the hose going from the solenoid to the waste gate).
  56. Disconnect the vacuum hose directly underneath the previous two hoses that goes to the EGR system (I've already removed my EGR system so I only think this is correct).
  57. Disconnect the oil cooler hoses from below the big boost hoses (removed earlier) on the driver side. Plug the ends of these with kitchen roll to stop oil leaking out.
  58. It's now time to remove the gearbox. N.B. For this method of removal, we are leaving the gearbox under the car. Therefore, there is no need to drain the oil from it, remove the oil cooler connections or remove the electrical connections.
  59. Remove the electrical connections from the starter motor. Remove the starter motor from the transmission.
  60. Remove the clutch slave cylinder. Once removed, clamp the cylinder using a G-clamp. Otherwise, the fluid will leak out, air will enter the system and you'll have several hours of clutch bleeding to do when you put it all back together.
  61. Remove the bolt holding the gear stick to the selection mechanism. Remove the selection mechanism bracket from the gearbox.
    Gearbox Selection Mechanism
    Gearbox selection mechanism
  62. Now support the gearbox on a transmission jack. Make sure it's a good jack as you don't want to damage the oil lines and electrical connections that are still attached to the gearbox.
  63. Remove the bolts from the rear engine/gearbox mount.
    Rear Engine Mount
    Rear engine mount
  64. Lower the gearbox to get access to all the bolts holding it to the bell housing. Take great care when doing this as the engine will also tilt towards the bulkhead. Keep checking to make sure that nothing is getting trapped or potentially damaged.
  65. Remove the ten bolts securing the gearbox to the bell housing. The top two can be easily accessed by using three 30cm extension bars (as long as the gearbox has been lowered sufficiently). These are well worth buying as they are only about a fiver each and make the job so easy. Keep the bolts in order as they are all different sizes.
    Transmission Bell Housing Bolts
    Transmission bell housing bolts
  66. Pull the gearbox away from the engine. Once clear, try and keep the box as level as possible to stop excessive fluid leaking through the seals.
  67. Undo the nuts from the engine mounts.
  68. Attach engine slingers to either side of the plenum. There are two bolt holes half way down. Attach the slingers to the rear hole on each side.
  69. Remove the bonnet. There are two bolts either side holding it on. Don't forget to disconnect the windscreen washer tube.
  70. Attach the crane to the slingers and start to raise the engine. The driver side turbo sits below the steering column and you need to take care not to hit this with the engine. The engine needs moving slightly towards the passenger side on the way up.
    SAFETY FIRST!!! Make sure the crane you are about to use can take the load of the engine. Some sources claim the engine weighs in excess of 250Kg so a crane capable of lifting 500Kg should suffice. Also, check the rating and condition of all chains, slingers, etc. When the chains are in position, make sure the eye(s) cannot slide off the hook. Pull each chain in the direction it is pointing to make sure there is no risk of it sliding off.
    Engine on Crane
    Engine slinger location
  71. There are additional items to remove from the engine as it is raised so be very careful not to lift the engine too far until these are removed. They are as follows:
    • Heater matrix hoses (2)
    • The main live cable going to the starter is secured to the block at the back.
    • The earth strap is secured to the block at the back.
    • There are two remaining electrical connections behind the plenum on the passenger side (AAC and FICD valves).
  72. Continue raising the engine. Always raise it a little way at a time, checking for any missed connections. Take care not to hit the steering column or any of the items tied to one side (alternator, PS pump, air con compressor).
    Engine On Crane
    Engine being raised (my crane won't reach from the front of the car)
  73. Once the engine is clear of the car, remove the clutch and the flywheel. You will have to find some way of chocking the flywheel while you remove the bolts (strong flat screwdriver wedged in the flywheel teeth worked for me, but be careful not to damage the teeth).
  74. Now you should be in a position to attach the engine stand to the holes where the gearbox used to attach to the block.
    Attaching Stand To Block
    Attaching stand to block (nuts used to change length of oversize bolts in this photo)
  75. The stand I used is a fairly standard one, with 6.2cm of bolt thread needed just to clear the mountings on the stand. The lengths of bolt (10mm diameter) you will need with this stand are:
    • 10cm with nut
    • 8.8cm
    • 8.3cm
    • 8.1cm
    You will need to cut bolts down to this size to get the optimum thread penetration into the block. If your stand is different, subtract 6.2cm from the length and add the depth of your stand's mountings.
    Engine Stand Bolts
    Engine stand bolts