It’s been a long road of prepping, but our Project LS350Z is full steam ahead! In case you missed our mission statement on the project, check the article here.
Christmas break is the perfect time to relax for most, but for us it was time to take a deep dive into getting our LS3 installed. Working on Nissan’s Z33 is more advanced than working on S-chassis cars. The engine compartment is fairly tight and to get the engine out, you need to remove the front core support or drop the K-member. We opted to pull the engine out of the top since there wasn’t going to be adequate room in our garage to remove the engine from the bottom.
The Z33 harness is best left on the engine and disconnected from the car, though we decided to remove the harness first (yeah, don’t do that). Our VQ has 175,000 miles and ran like a champ but has had a valve cover and rear main seal leak for the last few years. Needless to say we were coated in a thick layer of grime by the time the engine was out. Remarkably, all the bolts (including for the catalytic converters) were easily removed. Since we are converting our car to manual, the automatic shifter assembly was removed as well.
Prepping Our LS3
With the VQ out and the engine bay cleaned, it was time to prep our LS3 and TR6060 transmission for installation. The more common transplant transmission to install with the LS family is the T56. The reality is that T56s are getting harder to find at a reasonable cost. The TR6060, while being a remote shifter assembly, can be found cheaper in most cases with much lower miles. They were first introduced behind the LS3 in the 2010 and up Camaros, so worst case scenario the transmission is going to be seven years old. We were able to get a good deal on our trans from Formula Drift champion Michael Essa, who campaigned a Camaro in the 2015 season. A sequential was installed in place of the TR6060 in competition form and the Camaro only had 25,000 miles on the clock. The shifter location of the TR6060 sits back about 2.5 inches from the fourth-gen. Camaro T56 shifter location. We will need to shorten the linkage accordingly and mount the remote shifter assembly to the tunnel.
SPEC’ing Out The Clutch
Before we mated the engine to the transmission, we needed a clutch that would perform. The requirements were that it needed to handle the rigors of drifting, be street friendly, and handle over 700 lb.-ft. of torque. SPEC Clutch felt the Super Twin was going to be what we needed.
“Since the car is utilized daily and likely often in stop-and-go traffic, we chose our new Stage 1 enduro-organic disc material for this Super Twin,” said David Norton of SPEC Clutch. “The woven organic matrix also features some metal, graphite and Kevlar, and is bonded to a steel backing for the ultimate in non-sintered rigidity. This setup can take a beating and still be smooth and manageable.”
When we asked Norton about picking between single and twin disc setup, he explained, “A consumer benefits from a multi-disc clutch when the capacity of a single becomes insufficient or when drivability of a sufficient single disc unit has deteriorated to the point that the car is no longer fun to drive. The benefits are two-fold: higher capacity and better drivability. More discs mean more surface area, and more surface area not only provides a higher capacity, but also adds progressiveness to the engagement and, thus, a more streetable unit.”
Since our LS3 had an LSA crank, we needed to have the upgraded aluminum flywheel drilled for eight holes. Installing the clutch assembly is straightforward – new factory bolts were used to secure the flywheel. From there, we slid the clutch alignment tool through the discs and pressure plate, installing them on the flywheel. With a little thread sealant on the bolts, the pressure plate was torqued to spec (pun intended).
With this install we purchased a new slave cylinder. Be careful though as there were two different slave cylinders offered on the TR6060 – a short and long style. Additionally, there’s the possibility of having to add an additional shim (that’s included with the clutch kit) that installs behind the slave cylinder. To determine if you need a shim some measurements must be performed.
We previously installed the Fueled Racing oil pan and we will cover that in our next segment where we equip the engine with the oil pan, engine mounts, and get the assembly installed in our 350Z!