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Project LS350Z - Introduction to Our Soon-to-Be LS3 Z33

For the first time in Super Street history, we are going to document the build of an LS engine into a tired Z33 chassis.

Mark Gearhart
Sep 22, 2016

As automotive journalists, it’s our duty to keep our readers educated on the latest trends in the market. There’s been one aspect that we can no longer look away from – LS engines in everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Porsche, FR-S, S-chassis, or even Civics, gearheads have found ways to stuff the compact yet potent engine in virtually everything. So we will have to tell you purists up front, this project car segment might not be for you!

Outside of the aforementioned S-chassis swap, the second most popular LS transplant vehicle is the Z33 platform. A variety of companies make full mount solutions, giving a more modern but still affordable chassis to install an LS into.

350z1 Photo 2/7   |   Our sad Z33 is connected to the ground on all four corners via spider webs. The last time the car saw action was on the back of a flat bed with a cracked radiator.

Case in point with our 2003 350Z, now dubbed Project LS350Z. Our goal with this project is to build a reliable street/drift project car that we can drive to and from the track without issue. We’ve owned this Z33 since 2005 and it has been a good vehicle to us. Other than leaking oil like the Exxon Valdez, it’s had very little mechanical issues. With 146,000 miles on the clock the VQ35DE is getting tired. Not to mention that the automatic has been shifting hard enough to induce a mild case of whiplash. Part of this transplant will be performing an automatic to manual conversion.

LS3.JPG Photo 3/7   |   What, you don’t keep LS3s by your washer and dryer, too?

From another article series from another lifetime we have a fully built LS3. The LS3 is a brand new, stock displacement build that features a forged rotating assembly and an 11:1 compression ratio. On the engine dyno the motor made 566.3 horsepower and 515.3 lb.-ft. of torque on a FAST 102mm intake, though with the sacrifice of bottom end torque, made 605.4 horsepower and 496.7 lb.-ft. on a Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold.

Engine dyno Photo 4/7   |   On the engine dyno the motor made 566.3 horsepower and 515.3 lb-ft on a FAST 102mm intake and mid-700s on nitrous, though we have been toying with idea of adding boost.

To make this swap possible, we teamed up with the folks at Fueled Racing. They build virtually every part you need to swap an LS engine into 350z (among other chassis as well). Their complete installation kit comes as a full package – engine and trans mounts, driveshaft, power steering lines, oil pan, oil filter relocation kit, and headers. Fueled Racing also supports a gaggle of different transmission configurations with supporting trans mounts and driveshafts.

Fueled Racing1.JPG Photo 5/7   |   Here’s the Fueled Racing complete installation kit sans the headers, which we will be receiving soon.

Our transmission of choice is actually a 2011 Camaro TR6060 that came from 2013 Formula Drift champion Michael Essa’s Camaro he campaigned in 2015. Essa opted for a sequential and thus the TR6060 had been sitting in the back of his shop for some time. Needless to say we got a good deal on it!

Stay tuned as we bring you more from our Z33 build and we might even have a few surprises in store for our readers along the way.

Fueled Racing2.JPG Photo 6/7   |   The Fueled Racing billet aluminum engine mounts are really nice.
JE6 0657.JPG Photo 7/7   |   Fueled Racing has an optional clutch master cylinder upgrade to provide the additional fluid to move the larger slave cylinder. It was especially needed in our case since we are doing an auto to manual conversion.
By Mark Gearhart
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