05 Murano project: engine swap - Nissan Murano Forum
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#1 Old 10-31-2012, 04:27 AM
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05 Murano project: engine swap

So I'm the new owner of an 05 Murano. Long story short, my friend had a Murano with 215K on the clock. His girlfriend drove it while he was out of the country until it started kicking like a mule around 60mph and had a hard time starting. Dealership says the CC managed to get itself all clogged and has somehow burnt valves in the number three cylinder. Quotes him 8K for the new motor. He gifts it to me instead. Free 05 AWD Murano with a busted motor. It does(did) run. I drove it home from the dealer and it felt like it was missing a cylinder. Any load on the engine above 55mph would induce a jerk, presumably from the timing and the lack of control the ECU had over it.

I looked at just yanking the heads, new head studs, head gaskets, valve job, etc. But when I total up the cost of parts, machine work, etc, it's north of the cost of a good used motor which I picked up for 1400.00.

Fast forward to today. An 07 motor I purchased locally with 72K on it will be at my place this weekend. I have the front of the vehicle off, as I'll be taking the old motor out the top. I can tell this is not how they are installed/normally removed, but it is my only option. I'm pulling it out with the tranny attached which doesn't seem to be an issue. My brother in law works for Nissan corporate and confirmed the difference between the FWD and AWD engines is only the oilpan so I'll just swap those over.

I was just hoping to get a little confirmation on a few other things.

The timing chain at 72K should not be an issue. This is my understanding, correct me if I am wrong. The new(er) motor came from a car with front end damage but no damage to the motor so I am going with the notion I don't need to change the chain.

I have to replace the exhaust manifolds due to the busted cats. I am looking at either the OBX or Megan Altima headers and will just modify the tail section of the collector and put an anti-fouler on the rear sensors. I know people have done this with the OBX header but looking at the Megan Header it actually sits flat at the merge point and looks like a much better fit(For a product that doesn't actually fit mind you). My only concern is the sweep of the runners on the front manifold, namely, will they clear any obstruction. For 250 bucks I may just toy around with them anyway, but if anyone has any experience with the Megan headers, I'd like to know.

The drive shaft appears to be bolted to the output shaft of the transfer case. Does that output shaft yoke slip out of the transfer case? I won't be able to tell until I start to move the motor, and by then it will be too late to get at it without working on a motor dangling from a chain.

Since I'll have the new(er) motor on the engine stand for a while is there anything I should absolutely fix/repair/replace while it's out? I considered the water pump but have only gotten mixed messages from my research thus far. Also, my reading has pointed to some oil leak issue near the timing area. I am yet to find clarity on exactly what the problem is however, so any information about that would be appreciated.

Other than that I think I have it handled. The engine harness is about 90% removed. As I said, the front end is totally removed. I removed the condenser core since I saw no way to pull the motor forward with it in place. Hood is off, lights are out. The intake being held on by only 3 bolts and 2 nuts was a shock. I expected some totally obscured bolt to be hiding underneath it in the rear. The tranny data connector took me a few minutes to figure out, but overall the tear down has not too bad. Any little tricks or tips, other than the obvious "The motor drops out the bottom ya idiot" and "No kidding there aren't any lift points on the block" would be appreciated.

Thanks

/brox
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#2 Old 10-31-2012, 04:32 PM
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Simply put...WOW...

With everything you typed up thus far you're waaaaaaay over the heads of most individuals in here. The only other individual in this forum that might be able to offer any assistance is Turbizzy. He's a Nissan tech on the west side that has offered valuable information to us garage grease monkeys. Might want to PM him with your questions.

Good luck man! I'd absolutely love to see detailed pictures of what you're doing. Step by step instructions in swapping engine would be one hell of a massive writeup but would be an invaluable sticky to this forum!

Since it sounds like you're going to be one of the future mechanical gods in this forum, if you can figure out how to solve our oil consumption issues via the PCV system that would be huge! Seems that the 3.5's have a natural oil consumption issue but nobody can figure out why. But that's for another thread I'm sure!

After 142K miles, my MO is history. Now sporting a loaded silver 2012 Ford Edge Limited with 20" wheels.
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#3 Old 11-01-2012, 11:23 PM
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Almost as soon as I hit the submit button, I somewhat had that feeling, the feeling that I may be technically over the heads of many owners. That's fine honestly, as I am in no rush to complete this project considering it is literally an extra vehicle in the driveway. To be clear, this isn't my first time at a dance like this. I have swapped motors in 3 of the last 4 cars I have owned, currently building a 91 track only 240sx and have been "in the business" for two decades or more now.

I did purchase a header last night. Every car I have owned in the last 15 years has had a turbo on it, the 240 is getting one, so normally I spend big bucks on a header that won't crack the welds when I hang a big turbo on it, but considering that isn't an issue here, I decided to buy what looked like it would fit. As far as I can tell, the OBX header(Lifetime guarantee on that btw) has the collectors for each bank in a vertical orientation. Both the DNA and Megan are side by side, similar to an image I saw of something done by someone called cattman(sp?). Looking at the DNA and Megan header, I am inclined to believe they are actually the same part, same Chinese manufacture, one just has a "Megan" tag tack welded to it. I ordered the DNA header for 169 + 32 shipping.

Regardless of any of that, I know the headers will fit or can be made to fit. I expect delivery of them next week and have already lined up the welding that needs to be done. As far as the driveshaft/tranny, I'm just going to pull the driveshaft ahead of time. Even if the output shaft stub is protruding from the box, it won't matter because of how I'm forced to remove and install the engine.

I'm rifling through various sections of the interwebs looking for problems other owners have had and checking those areas at the moment. Still no luck with the oil leak complaint I read about but I'm still searching. If the issue is as simple as a PCV, I will probably just replace the pressure equalization pipe between the valve covers and place a "T" in the middle, run the T to a bung on the intake past the MAF to a catch can and have the catch can drain back into the pan by welding an -AN fitting on it. I'll have the pan off anyway so I'll probably weld a fitting on regardless.

I'll see what I can do about documenting some stuff. Not sure what the interest in it will be but it's not a problem. I am definitely building a CAI for it. I removed the air box silencer under the drivers wheel liner and it looks like I can get a 3" pipe down there with a K&N on it. Just have to weld up a flange for the MAF real quick and a few bungs.

/brox
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#4 Old 11-02-2012, 10:38 AM
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It's all over my head but I'm definitely intrigued and interested in your progress.

I'd like to get into a turbo 240 build one day.

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#5 Old 11-02-2012, 11:41 AM
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:eek:
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#6 Old 11-05-2012, 04:22 AM
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The new motor arrived at my place Saturday. Even though I had the entire weekend I did very little work on the Murano. Took a few pictures.



Front end off, front manifold removed. AC condenser had to get pulled as I stated earlier. The entire front of the car comes off in one piece. It is just attached by the 12 or so bolts (2 sides x6) on each side of the frame rail.



Inside of the old head. This motor had 215k on and for 215K I'd say it's not bad. Oil stains are pretty dark but honestly not that bad. I've seen motors with half that mileage look way worse.



Inside the new 72k heads. Much cleaner, less stain. In the photos they look more yellowed than they actually are due to the flash. This head looks like the owner changed his oil on time.



You can see the merge of the exhaust collector there how the rear manifold bends around and joins the front on the side, then into the pancake pipe. The OBX setup has the rear pipe come in on top of the front. The exhaust I ordered is side by side, like stock. The modification will be to the rear section anyway. The new exhaust will be here Tuesday.



So here is what is left once you remove the drivers fender liner, the airbox silencer and the headlight. Nothing. This is where the CAI will go with the filter behind the fender liner.



And this is my busted axle. Fortunately, it's a two piece axle so I only need the outer part which is cheap, like 70 bucks.



That stupid tranny data connector. It took me a while to figure this one out. The top is stationary and has a little tab you push down and then twist the center counter clockwise. There is a retainer on the bottom which is a red herring. It only holds the sensor in place but doesn't help you in removing the connector. You can see the cam grooves on the sides of the sensor.

All I have left is a few electrical connections, both axles and the heater lines. Should have those done tomorrow. The exhaust arrives Tuesday and I will be welding new bungs on it so that I don't have to modify the sensor wires. The exhaust hanger at the pancake pipe has been smashed against the frame making removal on the collector difficult. I'll figure some way to get it off and rebuild a hanger for it.

That's about it for now. I'll get some pictures of the new motor and the removal when I get to it.

/brox
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#7 Old 11-05-2012, 06:23 AM
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Holy guacamole!
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#8 Old 11-05-2012, 11:09 AM
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Thanks for some great pix. I've done my share of engine and tranny pulls, but not on a transverse motor.

At 72K I think you should do the water pump and any other item that has a target service life at up to 120K miles or so. For instance, spark plugs! Water pumps can last a long time or go out anytime, so I'd do it now while it's easy to reach. I thought about the starter and alternator, but if you can reach them OK when the engine is in place then I'd let them alone.

Are you installing new pre-cats below the manifolds? (Your email above makes me think so...) If so, that will require some fancy work with the exhaust unless the Altima headers are set up for the same exhaust configuration...which they hopefully are! Please tell us how that part works out.

I agree - new engine looks nice inside, although the color isn't as much a concern as any evidence of sludge.

Great project - please let us know how the engine pull works out since you're doing it out the top.

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#9 Old 11-05-2012, 01:16 PM
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Spark plugs and the water pump are things I replace regardless just due to the fact that they are cheap and easy to get at. The new exhaust will have no cats. There is no way I will put the pup cats back in or any cat on the manifolds. That makes less sense than putting the factory stuff back on honestly.

One of the valve covers on the new motor had a hole in it so I had to swap those so I'll pick up new VC gaskets I suppose. I can't think of much else to change so now it's just a matter of time. I am home all day but so is my 6 month old daughter who I take care of exclusively, so time is a very precious commodity around here. Hopefully tonight I'll get the remainder of the random bit off and have the motor out Tuesday or Wednesday.

/brox
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#10 Old 11-05-2012, 08:07 PM
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not bad for a noob with 4 posts.lol..schooling the rest of us, good for you !!!!

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#11 Old 11-05-2012, 08:22 PM
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I agree the placement of pre-cats right below the exhaust manifolds is stupid. There are documented reports of those failing and back pressure from the cylinders sucking loose abrasive material from damaged pre-cats back into the cylinders, causing damage. I repeat: stupid, stupid, stupid.

Will the computer work OK without them??

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#12 Old 11-06-2012, 06:59 PM
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Quite the task you have ahead of you, but what a terrific project to undertake! I look forward to following this thread and any further pictures you may post.

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#13 Old 11-07-2012, 03:48 AM
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So my wrenching partner Steve stopped by to help me with the axles and driveshaft today. Last night I got the AC compressor and alternator off and a few other bits. Currently the vehicle looks like this.



Pretty much the same frontal as last time but missing the AC compressor and alternator. Not so amazing. Until you take a look at what I can only call absolute stupidity. First I should caveat something. I said before I am not new to this, and by not new I mean I have worked at several fabrication and custom speed shops over the years. I worked along side a legend in the turbo industry for a couple of years before I retired. So I appreciate the "Schooled by the noob" comment. Makes me feel like I have started all over again.

Now onto utter stupidity. Let's look at the design for the AC compressor.



This is a picture of the accessory side of the motor. The AC compressor is held in by two bolts on the front of the motor and slides on a stud on the side of the motor. I wouldn't mind this, if the serpentine belt tensioner wasn't then bolted to the outside of the AC compressor. This means, you can't just slide the thing off, you have to completely remove the tensioner. On top of that, the coolant line for the oil cooler is bolted to both the inside and outside of the same AC compressor bracket. One of those is bolted to the block itself. A tremendous waste of resources must have gone into designing this setup, and the person who designed it should be fired.

Anyway, here is the new exhaust.



It's not bad. Welds don't look robotic but have as good of penetration as I expect for 25 cents an hour in China. 5 cent an hour Chinese welds are crap. The flange is welded interior and exterior and the interior weld is ground down. The rear section is it's own pipe and has both the rear O2 sensor locations. Those will get plugged and I'll bring them closer to the header collector, closer to stock, so I don't have to extend any wires. It totally fits under the motor, clears the frame, but looks a bit short. Not a problem. I'll just cut and weld in a new piece of stainless and adjust the other issue, the rear flange to the cat back, which is clocked wrong.



The front manifold in place. Just wanted to make sure it fit and didn't hit anything, and it allowed me to see if the merge collector would fit as well.

So we got what we set out to accomplish. Both axles off, driveshaft off, all electrical connections off. The driver's axle, not problem. Passenger side? Huge PITA. It is connected by a three bolt retaining bracket off the back of the motor. I thought it was two pieces but it came out as one giant piece, all the way out of the transmission. I'm not sure if it breaks down into two pieces but if it does, I didn't figure it out in the short time I spent looking at it.

The driveshaft was a complete joy. The four bolts that hold the driveshaft to the tranny output are torqued down to about 9000 ft. lbs. and only two are accessible from the bottom at one time. This means, once we kicked them and broke two loose, we had to spin the driveshaft, which is a big problem. It's in park, and has no battery. Since the tranny is electrical, I couldn't put it in neutral. So we had to hook up the battery, reconnect that silly spinning tranny data plug, set it in neutral, spin the shaft, then put it back in park to lock the shaft back in place, to kick the other two bolts off.

All that being said, it's not too bad. A little more complicated than your average 4 banger but not much. Other than the three motor mounts, the motor is ready to come out. I got my engine hoist but need to pick up a load leveler tomorrow and a few feet of chain. Probably have the motor out by this weekend, swap the tranny and other bits, clean the engine bay, re-tape and tuck the wires a bit, build the cold air, mod the exhaust, and should be good to go.

/brox
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#14 Old 11-07-2012, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
I agree the placement of pre-cats right below the exhaust manifolds is stupid. There are documented reports of those failing and back pressure from the cylinders sucking loose abrasive material from damaged pre-cats back into the cylinders, causing damage. I repeat: stupid, stupid, stupid.

Will the computer work OK without them??
No. It will almost certainly throw a CEL for Cat efficiency. Two solutions.

One, simulate the signal. The downstream O2 is just measuring cat efficency most likely as the upstream usually handles actual AFR(closed loop, non-WOT) feedback to the ECU. This means the downstream O2 is usually in a pretty small range so you can simulate the signal by various means.

Two, just put in an anti-fouler. Basically, extend the location of the sensor part of the O2 away from the exhaust stream by way of an extended tube of sorts at the bung. This has the effect of limiting the amount of exhaust the sensor sees and it therefore reads closer to normal, not tripping the CEL. I'll be using this method first unless if fails and then I'll just simulate it. seems there is plenty of room to use the anti-fouler on both manifolds even after I relocate the sensors to the stock location.

/brox
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#15 Old 11-07-2012, 04:13 AM
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WOW!!

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