Nissan Frontier Forum banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Anyone know if I can swap cams without pulling the heads off the VG33E engine (2000-2004)? It looks like a long distance to cover pulling them out the front. I'm looking for a way to be able to swap cams in/out easily to test their performance.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
I've never done this on a VQ but I have done other DOHC engines. I'm pretty sure after finding the correct crankshaft position, removing/arresting the tensioner, locking the cams, you can do like other DOHC engines and unbolt the timing gears and then the cam caps. The cams will lift straight up out of the saddles. Remember, the VQ has lash caps that will need to possibly be changed for the correct valve lash settings. Nothing very fast or easy here I'm afraid, Good Luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I've never done this on a VQ but I have done other DOHC engines. I'm pretty sure after finding the correct crankshaft position, removing/arresting the tensioner, locking the cams, you can do like other DOHC engines and unbolt the timing gears and then the cam caps. The cams will lift straight up out of the saddles. Remember, the VQ has lash caps that will need to possibly be changed for the correct valve lash settings. Nothing very fast or easy here I'm afraid, Good Luck!
This engine (and perhaps other SOHC engines?) doesn't have cam caps. That's the problem. The cams don't lift up and out. The head design (line bored solid structure) requires them to be installed (and removed) from the front of the head. You have to remove the rocker arms/shafts and lifter valve body/assembly, and then you can pull the cam out from the front. I wish they had cam caps!! :)

I wonder if they can be removed this way, or not. I may just have to try it and see what happens. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
The only VQ4.0 heads I have seen have 3 cam caps on either side plus the combination 1 piece front cap that helps transfer oil flow to the cam phasers. What you are describing to me sounds like an oil Ford Pinto or Opel Kadet cylinder head. They also have direct acting cam lobes which is why it has lash caps. No rocker arms or shafts that I can see, maybe my eyes are failing me::wink::
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The only VQ4.0 heads I have seen have 3 cam caps on either side plus the combination 1 piece front cap that helps transfer oil flow to the cam phasers. What you are describing to me sounds like an oil Ford Pinto or Opel Kadet cylinder head. They also have direct acting cam lobes which is why it has lash caps. No rocker arms or shafts that I can see, maybe my eyes are failing me::wink::
Hmmm..I've never looked at that engine (yet). The VG33E has rockers arms and shafts. :) See the attached image. :)
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Hmmm..I've never looked at that engine (yet). The VG33E has rockers arms and shafts. :) See the attached image. :)
My bad Mate, I was on about the wrong V6! I've not seen the VG33E heads before. Maybe you could remove the transmission mount and let the engine tip back raising the front?
I should have read your initial post a little closer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
The vg cams can be done with the heads on the block but the locating plates and their covers will be hard to remove from the back

I just did a cam swap to JWT S2 performance cams so if you have any questions I can help

How many miles on the engine?

Once I got my rockers off I realized I needed to pull the heads for machine work even though she ran just fine

My rocker shafts and arms all needed to be polished (I did them by hand) heavy varnish and some scoring on the rear most passenger exhaust rocker. I flushed out all the oil passages

You'll want to replace all 12 lifters even if they look good

If you're going with aftermarket cams you'll want to check end play, it isn't plug and play direct fitment even though they say it is

The locating plates set the end play and you'll screw up your top end without the right end play

My passenger side locating plate was too fat and I had 0 end play with the new cams. it was binding the cam. Instead of ordering a new one and waiting I just took it to a belt sander until I got it where I needed it to be

The 2 most important things for this job are going to be proper cam break in and proper cam end play, everything else is just clean, inspect and torque down

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
My bad Mate, I was on about the wrong V6! I've not seen the VG33E heads before. Maybe you could remove the transmission mount and let the engine tip back raising the front?
I should have read your initial post a little closer.
Hey, no worries! Thanks for the reply. Interesting idea about lowering the back side of the transmission, if necessary. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The vg cams can be done with the heads on the block but the locating plates and their covers will be hard to remove from the back

I just did a cam swap to JWT S2 performance cams so if you have any questions I can help

How many miles on the engine?

Once I got my rockers off I realized I needed to pull the heads for machine work even though she ran just fine

My rocker shafts and arms all needed to be polished (I did them by hand) heavy varnish and some scoring on the rear most passenger exhaust rocker. I flushed out all the oil passages

You'll want to replace all 12 lifters even if they look good

If you're going with aftermarket cams you'll want to check end play, it isn't plug and play direct fitment even though they say it is

The locating plates set the end play and you'll screw up your top end without the right end play

My passenger side locating plate was too fat and I had 0 end play with the new cams. it was binding the cam. Instead of ordering a new one and waiting I just took it to a belt sander until I got it where I needed it to be

The 2 most important things for this job are going to be proper cam break in and proper cam end play, everything else is just clean, inspect and torque down

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
Thanks for the reply! Thanks!

I picked up a set of used early model (84-87) VG30 cams. I haven't attempted to install them yet, but I do have heads sitting on the bench to test with.

Interesting about the lifters...I was just looking at those and wondering if I could "clean" them. I would imagine they could be disassembled and cleaned, but I've actually never dealt with hydraulic lifters before. :) I saw a thread with someone who took them apart and cleaned them.

Why do you feel you need to replace them? If so, what brand are you buying? I'm usually an OEM guy, but the cost (*cough*). I've seen the Sealed Power version. They are affordable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
Thanks for the reply! Thanks!

I picked up a set of used early model (84-87) VG30 cams. I haven't attempted to install them yet, but I do have heads sitting on the bench to test with.

Interesting about the lifters...I was just looking at those and wondering if I could "clean" them. I would imagine they could be disassembled and cleaned, but I've actually never dealt with hydraulic lifters before. :) I saw a thread with someone who took them apart and cleaned them.

Why do you feel you need to replace them? If so, what brand are you buying? I'm usually an OEM guy, but the cost (*cough*). I've seen the Sealed Power version. They are affordable.
The only OEM parts I went with we're lifters, all 12. They are the direct contact to the cam lobes so that's why I replaced them. Plus I read that you can screw up new cams.with old lifters.

I read in several places that you can run old lifters with your old cams, you can run new lifters with old cams, but you should never run new cams with old lifters

I was looking at the sealed power lifters like you are but I decided against it since it's such a critical engine part and even the oem lifters are a known problem in high mileage vg33's (cold start lifter tick caused by oil bleeding down)

It's really not that much more expensive if you go through a site like nissanpartsdeal, that's where I get all my OEM parts

The other OEM parts you'll need will be cam locating plates unless you hack it like me. But if they are too thin then you can't hack it and you need new plates (they make different thicknesses) . If they are too thick then you can take them to the belt sander like I did, but that type of thing is sure to be frowned upon by any engine builder

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
Screenshot_2017-06-20-16-58-50.jpg Screenshot_2017-06-20-16-58-45.jpg

These two pics have all the info you need to know about vg33 locating plates, basically they make 3 different thicknesses, a b and c

They don't list the thicknesses at the dealer or nissanpartsdeal they just call them a b and c so even a dealer won't be able to help you. But the info I gave you tells you what each one is

Pay close attention to the camshaft end play, nobody talks about it on the forums but you NEED it or youll be screwed. It doesn't need to be exact either. Theres a spec but in reality as long as you can see a slight end play just enough to see by eye you'll be good. If it makes a click noise back and forth that's probably too much and if your cam barely turns by hand then that's not enough, that's how I did it

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
One more tip to save you a lot of time removing the heads if you chose to: yank them with the exhaust manifolds (or headers) still connected, then you can screw around with them on the table in 10 minutes rather than spending a few hours taking them off on the truck . And put them back on off the truck also

Also: don't forget, once you get all the head bolts out you'll crack the head and damage the block attempting to remove the heads if you don't take out the small outer head bolts. There's one per head and they aren't in the rocker area. Driver side is outside next to the distributer and passenger side is in the back up against the firewall

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
The only OEM parts I went with we're lifters, all 12. They are the direct contact to the cam lobes so that's why I replaced them. Plus I read that you can screw up new cams.with old lifters.

I read in several places that you can run old lifters with your old cams, you can run new lifters with old cams, but you should never run new cams with old lifters

I was looking at the sealed power lifters like you are but I decided against it since it's such a critical engine part and even the oem lifters are a known problem in high mileage vg33's (cold start lifter tick caused by oil bleeding down)

It's really not that much more expensive if you go through a site like nissanpartsdeal, that's where I get all my OEM parts

The other OEM parts you'll need will be cam locating plates unless you hack it like me. But if they are too thin then you can't hack it and you need new plates (they make different thicknesses) . If they are too thick then you can take them to the belt sander like I did, but that type of thing is sure to be frowned upon by any engine builder

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
Interesting...hmmm...I'm glad you mentioned this whole issue (cam locating plates) now, as I'm sure I would have run into it once I began assembling the heads. I found this datasheet about how to do this (and the measurements of each locating plate) on this website:
http://engineprofessional.com/TB/TB111716-1.pdf (I posted the images below in case this site ever goes away).

I'll have to measure the end-play and sift through the various sets of head parts to see what I have. :) Looks like you can't buy the locating plates from Nissan anymore (not in the US), and I found a thread on the Nissan Pathfinders site discussing how he had to buy the locating plates from Japan. Hopefully I have all I need with the various extra heads. :)

I may investigate refreshing the lifters I have. I have three engines I'm building; 12 lifters each. $18 each will add up. :) There must be a way to inspect and clean them up (oil inside), assuming the bottom surfaces are nice and flat (and even). I did see on that thread on the pathfinder site, that somebody says the lifetime of the lifters was 80K-100K miles, but I think that's ridiculous. Somebody in that thread also states that they actually rotate while in operation to get even wear across the faces. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

I'll practice on cleaning them and see how they turn out. Two sets I have are low(er) miles; approx 150K. The other set is from a low mileage JDM engine I bought for research. It has the typical 50K-65K miles.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
Interesting...hmmm...I'm glad you mentioned this whole issue (cam locating plates) now, as I'm sure I would have run into it once I began assembling the heads. I found this datasheet about how to do this (and the measurements of each locating plate) on this website:
http://engineprofessional.com/TB/TB111716-1.pdf (I posted the images below in case this site ever goes away).

I'll have to measure the end-play and sift through the various sets of head parts to see what I have. :) Looks like you can't buy the locating plates from Nissan anymore (not in the US), and I found a thread on the Nissan Pathfinders site discussing how he had to buy the locating plates from Japan. Hopefully I have all I need with the various extra heads. :)

I may investigate refreshing the lifters I have. I have three engines I'm building; 12 lifters each. $18 each will add up. :) There must be a way to inspect and clean them up (oil inside), assuming the bottom surfaces are nice and flat (and even). I did see on that thread on the pathfinder site, that somebody says the lifetime of the lifters was 80K-100K miles, but I think that's ridiculous. Somebody in that thread also states that they actually rotate while in operation to get even wear across the faces. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

I'll practice on cleaning them and see how they turn out. Two sets I have are low(er) miles; approx 150K. The other set is from a low mileage JDM engine I bought for research. It has the typical 50K-65K miles.
I saw the post where the guy had to get them shipped from Japan,

But I saw them in stock where I buy my oem parts at nissanpartsdeal

They're so cheap you might as well buy one of each just in case so you won't have to wait

What did the jdm engine come out of, is it forced induction? How much and where did you order it from?

I would definitely not use the lifters from a 150k engine unless you want a lifter tick

My original lifters got the tick around there

The jdm lifters might have a chance though



Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I saw the post where the guy had to get them shipped from Japan,

But I saw them in stock where I buy my oem parts at nissanpartsdeal

They're so cheap you might as well buy one of each just in case so you won't have to wait

What did the jdm engine come out of, is it forced induction? How much and where did you order it from?

I would definitely not use the lifters from a 150k engine unless you want a lifter tick

My original lifters got the tick around there

The jdm lifters might have a chance though



Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
So, I came across this article on Xenocar.com website and gave it a try myself last night:
XenonZcar.com Z31 Rebuilding Hydraulic Lifters

It was really interesting to see how all the old oil and gunk is trapped in the bottom of the lifter body. I imagine this oil is NEVER cycled out from the lifter body, throughout the life of the lifter, and cleaning out the lifter and replacing all the oil in it will make them good as new.

I inspected everything inside the lifter assembly as described in the article. I made sure all the oil was out of the check-valve assembly and the springs were still nice and strong. :) I cleaned them out using LA's Totally Awesome Cleaner (strongest cleaner I've ever seen that won't damage aluminum or other metals with extended use).

I'll put them back together today with 10w-30 oil and they should certainly last a good long while.

BTW - I also compared a set of 150K mile lifters with that of the 50K mile lifters. Surprisingly, the 50K mile lifters didn't look much better (of course, I only opened one of those so far). I imagine the condition can all depend on the level of care the owner took with oil maintenance. The 150K mile set I have had blown HG's and there was evidence of coolant mix in the lifters. On the 50K lifter I opened, it gave me a little trouble getting the check-valve assembly out. Not sure why yet. Could be they had a better oil seal (no coolant residue from blown HG's like the other set). I'll finish cleaning all those out today and report back if I had the same issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
It would be good to resurface the two contact points with 2000 grit by hand lightly also, just polish them up so the new cams have a fresh surface, while youre doing that you might as well resurface the rocker feet too

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
It would be good to resurface the two contact points with 2000 grit by hand lightly also, just polish them up so the new cams have a fresh surface, while youre doing that you might as well resurface the rocker feet too

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
Yeah, that's probably a good idea. I can see some light scratching on them. I'll have to look at the rocker feet too, but I imagine the same there. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
Yeah, that's probably a good idea. I can see some light scratching on them. I'll have to look at the rocker feet too, but I imagine the same there. :)
How are the rocker shafts? I had slight scoring on all of mine, the #5 exhaust was the worst and I had to spend a bunch of time resurfacing it

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
View attachment 249321 View attachment 249329

These two pics have all the info you need to know about vg33 locating plates, basically they make 3 different thicknesses, a b and c

They don't list the thicknesses at the dealer or nissanpartsdeal they just call them a b and c so even a dealer won't be able to help you. But the info I gave you tells you what each one is

Pay close attention to the camshaft end play, nobody talks about it on the forums but you NEED it or youll be screwed. It doesn't need to be exact either. Theres a spec but in reality as long as you can see a slight end play just enough to see by eye you'll be good. If it makes a click noise back and forth that's probably too much and if your cam barely turns by hand then that's not enough, that's how I did it

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
By the way, I noticed on this diagram that there are four locating plates, yet they only provide the measurements for the first 3 of them. :) What about locating plate #4? Is there a missing letter to identify that plate? "C", maybe? I have the letter "C" on one of mine, and no markings on all the rest (multiple sets of heads). :)

Also, Aera Engine Builders don't match the letter with the same thickness as the FSM in these documents. Did they make an error in this document?

Aera suggests:
#1 - No identification. No Measurement.
#2 - Marked "A". Measures 0.018mm (0.0007")
#3 - Marked "B". Measures 0.029mm (0.0011")
#4 - There is NO indication what the marking is on this cam plate. Measures 0.040mm (0.0016")

Nissan (FSM) suggests:
#1 - Marked "C". Measures 0.02mm (0.0008")
#2 - No identification. No Measurement.
#3 - Marked "A". Measures 0.03mm (0.0012")
#4 - Marked "B". Measures 0.06mm (0.0024")

These numbers are consistent across all the Nissan FSM years.

Thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
By the way, I noticed on this diagram that there are four locating plates, yet they only provide the measurements for the first 3 of them. :) What about locating plate #4? Is there a missing letter to identify that plate? "C", maybe? I have the letter "C" on one of mine, and no markings on all the rest (multiple sets of heads). :)

Also, Aera Engine Builders don't match the letter with the same thickness as the FSM in these documents. Did they make an error in this document?

Aera suggests:
#1 - No identification. No Measurement.
#2 - Marked "A". Measures 0.018mm (0.0007")
#3 - Marked "B". Measures 0.029mm (0.0011")
#4 - There is NO indication what the marking is on this cam plate. Measures 0.040mm (0.0016")

Nissan (FSM) suggests:
#1 - Marked "C". Measures 0.02mm (0.0008")
#2 - No identification. No Measurement.
#3 - Marked "A". Measures 0.03mm (0.0012")
#4 - Marked "B". Measures 0.06mm (0.0024")

These numbers are consistent across all the Nissan FSM years.

Thoughts?
Interesting,

I don't know what to tell you, because I didn't need to use the information as I just hacked my plate that was too thick on a belt sander lol. But I would go with the fsm measurements over the aftermarket measurments

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top