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DATSANITI - '80 210 Wagon VQ35 Swap

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New member here, and new owner of a 1980 210 wagon. I know it's a B310, but where else would this go. I picked up this pile for $180. It's mostly complete, with a bunch of pieces in the back, but rusty has hell. The plan is to race in the Grassroots Motorsports $2018 Challenge, the annual budget drag racing and autocross competition for cars built under $2,0XX. I've been participating off and on since 2012 and it's a blast. This year there is an unofficial sub-class for station wagons, with the winner getting nothing but bragging rights and points taken from his IQ. What better candidate for a lightweight, cheap, competitive wagon than a Datsun? 


I'm planning to swap a VQ35, trans, and IRS from a G35. I know it's a tall order, but I'm no stranger to an angle grinder and welder. I'm hoping with the VQ being front sump, I should clear the steering link of the 210. Crossmember, tunnel, firewall, and probably even shock towers will likely get cut. It's snowing now and I'm too deep into my autocross Model A hot rod project to even think about touching this. I have a few leads on cheap donor cars that I don't mind keeping around for a bit, including one I might pick up this weekend. 


Lil Blue getting towed home by Big Blue



















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mmmmm I love the vq motors 

smooth and decent power 

power to weight there is off the hook 

cant wait to see some progress 

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  • 1 month later...

Are you going to maintain the G35's aluminum subframe and arm config? If you are and need any bushings, adjustable arms, or bits to go with it shoot me a PM. I can get you a great deal on stuff if you are.

Also, if that's an auto car, it's going to have a 3.357 gear in it. Yikes. 

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Correct, I will swap in the entire rear subframe, which is basically 4 bolts to the chassis. Have to fab rear subframe mounts to the Datsun body though, and convert rear to coilover using the Infiniti shock mounts.


Picture of a rear subframe




The front is trickier. Yes it has a subframe, but only the engine, steering rack, and part of the LCA connects to it. The UCA goes to the G35 unibody. I plan to simply cut the entire front clip including shock towers of the G35, basically everything ahead of the firewall, and graft that into the Datsun. This keeps all the G35 suspension/steering geometry and engine mounting correct. I've done something similar before, and it's way easier than designing a new suspension that won't be as good in the end. Then bolt Datsun panels back on and widen as necessary. The G is 6" wider up front, so we're talkin 3" box flares.


Picture of a front sub frame for reference



It's an auto car, so the gearing isn't great, but keep in mind the Datsun will weigh easily 1,000 lbs less than the G, which isn't a slow car in the first place. Rear pumpkins are interchangeable between G35 and 350Z, so that's an easy cheap upgrade if I think I need it.


I know I'm talking big without showing any progress, but I promise it will happen. I have a build marathon weekend planned April 7th with all my buds to chop up both cars and stitch em back together. If you're near Indiana you're welcome to join  :thumbup:  Until then I am daily'ing the donor car and enjoying the heck out of this VQ.

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This is gonna be awesome! Can't wait to see go together. 


As far as gearing, there are a million different gear options from cars that use the same R200 diff. 


We compiled the data on it last year. You can also get a 4.08, and 4.36 which were never a factory gear. The auto VLSD has a different ring gear offset so if you want to swap ratios, you'll need a manual LSD.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Another month driving the G35 to work and I still love this powertrain! I got new semi-sticky tires so I can put one good auto-cross on the G before I start the transplant. I did some test fitting and I like how the G35 wheels look inside the Datsun fender, so they will be carried over with the engine and suspension. Overall it's been a good car and I will definitely miss it, at least until I start the VQ-Datsun for the first time.




In exactly two weeks I begin the Datsun 210Z swap. If anyone is interested in cutting up a G35 and a classic Datsun into one crazy franken-mobile, PM me for build weekend details. It's happening April 7-8 in southern Indiana. B-Y-O-Angle Grinder!

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  • 3 weeks later...

That looks pretty impressive. :cool:


Caught the stream from time to time, but it was mostly whacking up the G so not much to see. The pics are a much better condensed version. :lol:

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Apparently youtube didn't like the background music from the stereo. The work space is nice, but now all my other cars have been exiled to the outdoors until I get the Infiniti shell scrapped. We had about 5 people Friday night and got the engine pulled after 4 hours. Saturday was 15 people on and off, and we got the fronts and rears of Datsun and Infiniti completely hacked apart. Interiors were also removed that day. Sunday was fitting the Infiniti front clip and engine into the Datsun, which fit surprisingly well. We didn't cut any firewall or trans tunnel. Just everything forward of the firewall. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

For some reason I dove into the gas tank for a bit. I plan to use it, but add a flange and in-tank pump setup scavenging parts from the G35 tank I still have. Surprisingly the tank poured out a mostly-clear but slightly red liquid that could easily be mistaken as gasoline. 


Then equally surprisingly the sender flange popped off with ease, and revealed a tank that is not completely coated in thick varnish. Just normal surface rust.


Another surprise, the Datsun sender reads a resistance change after a few quirts of WD-40 and a light brushing. I can re-use this!


Another day or four will be spent on the tank. In the meantime I have an IRS to mount. So I got to work cutting the frame-rail-like features that sit too low for the subframe's front mounts.


So much for rigidity. I'm sure I'll add it back.


Now it's time to guess and check. I guess with an angle grinder. I check with the parts. 


The rear bumper of this car is stout. So far it has been an excellent jacking point. I put few boards between it and my jack to get the body high enough for the IRS. I rolled the tires onto cardboard so I can slide it sideways by myself. 

Now it's time to check. Hmmm. It won't slide forward any further.


Because the UCA mounts are hitting more frame-rail-like features. 



It's darn close though.


So I cut some more out. (guessing)


And put the IRS back under. (checking)


Much better! Let's see how it all fits. A bit tight, especially where the UCA may swing to hit the chassis, but I think it will work. Also see one of the front subframe mounting points. I have to build to this and it doesn't look easy, especially if I want to keep a back seat.


Luckily the rear subframe mounting points are much nicer. They hang down a couple inches directly below some more frame-rail-like features. So I just need to build pylons. Note my calibrated furniture dolly. It keeps the subframe at precisely the correct ride height. 


The IRS under the Datsun really clears up some floor space. I should keep it that way. To my back is a gigantic pile of parts. The hot rod waits patiently.


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