Got a burning question or simply need some advice with problems you’ve encountered while wrenching on your current/future projects? Ask our automotive guru Eric Hsu anything—literally, he’s going to answer every single question, as long as it’s automotive related.
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Practice What You Preach
I happened to browse the latest June issue of IT and came across the ARK BNR32 you are building for this year’s WTAC in Australia. I was surprised to find out that you’ve decided to ditch the RB26DETT engine and replace it with a Nissan VQ35DE. I know you’ve preached in the past to not “reinvent the wheel” with engine swaps and costly makeovers but you seem to be going back on your words with this new project. Care to share your thoughts and reasons on why you decided on taking the potent RB and swap it with the VQ?
-Brian King, via importtuner.com
When I give advice in Question IT, I have to take into account the average person’s abilities and resources. I want people to enjoy their cars and not create expensive money pits that they’ll come to hate or dislike rather than enjoy. In general, if you’re writing a columnist on how to swap an engine, then chances are you have no idea how to. Sure, the average person could take the time to learn, but it’s not like you’re learning how to play a board game that costs $20. The person would have to take a lot of time and thousands of dollars that he could be using on other fun things like chicks, wheels, and going out or just enjoying his car as much as he can with the existing engine platform. Also, I firmly believe that engine swaps should be based on logic. Oftentimes swapping a heavy longitudinal straight-six engine into a front-wheel-drive platform (or even rear-wheel drive) is not a swap that I would consider logical due to costs, physical space limitations, and the fact that the swap would ruin a car’s handling.
In our case, we have a financier, a team of engineers with access to CAD workstations, complete workshops, machine shops with CNC and CMM machines, and several badass mechanics. So our situation is considerably better than the average person reading this magazine when considering the fact that we have the ability and budget to redesign the car to our purposes. In this particular case, replacing the tall, heavy, smaller displacement RB26 with a more modern, compact, and lighter weight VQ35HR is a logical swap for the BNR32 Skyline GT-R. Plus we have a goal: to build the fastest time-attack car in the world. We’re not building a car to blast around on the street or to have some cool-looking forum signature.
Stroked Engine Advantage
To stroke or not stroke my 4G63 Evo IX engine—that is the big question I have been debating for the last few months with my upcoming engine rebuild. I can see why owners have favored stroking their engines to bump up the factory 2.0L mill for improved boost response and bottom end torque, but are there any drawbacks on increasing the displacement for a daily driven car that’s occasionally taken to the track?
This is a topic where depending on who you talk to, you’ll get a different answer. I believe increasing stroke to a certain degree is a good thing. Increasing the stroke too much will increase piston and bore wear, reduce the engine’s maximum rpm, and make an engine rougher. It’s also important to take into account the purpose of the engine. For racing, I believe that in the 4G63’s case, increasing the stroke to the popular 94mm would be a good thing whereas increasing to 100mm would be too much. A 94mm stroke is a good balance and offers gains on the bottom and top ends of the powerband without much sacrifice (other than your wallet getting thinner). For the street, a 100mm stroke would be fine if you keep the revs under 7,000 rpm. Setting the limiter to 7,000 rpm is the key to preventing excessive wear on the engine and keep it alive longer. The engine will be a little rougher and have some more vibration, but if you’re OK with it, then go for it.
I own a ’06 Infiniti G35 coupe 6MT. I’ve only had it for a couple of months but the previous owner did hardly any maintenance. The mileage is increasing so I hoisted the car on some jackstands to do a tranny and diff fluid change. Unfortunately, both fill plugs are extremely tight and already almost stripped. Before I yank on it anymore, do you have any tips for how to get it out? It’s a 10mm hex Allen socket. I called a few shops but they were not really any help, basically just saying bring it to them so they can make some money. Any help is much appreciated and keep up the great work!
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
If I remember correctly, the 6MT trannies have a drain plug with a flange that protrudes from the casting. You can grab a metal file and file two flats on the drain plug. This will take some patience of course, but then you can file the flange of the plug to fit a standard open wrench (e.g. 19 mm). If you have more money than time or have no patience, then your only other choice will be to go to one of the shops and get it removed. I’m pretty sure they aren’t trying to rip you off either. This kind of work is a pain in the ass and prevents them from simpler work that makes them good profit margins.