It has begun!! Titan VK56 swap in my '05!

The Gas and Diesel Engines - VQ40De, VK56DE, YD25DDTi, V9X, Transmission, Transfer Case, Oil, Differentials, Axles, Exhaust...

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BMXPath
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It has begun!! Titan VK56 swap in my '05!

Postby BMXPath » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:28 pm

After thinking about it off and on for several years, I decided last spring that a VK56 swap was in the future for my ‘05 Pfinder 2wd. I have owned her for almost 14 years and with 275K on the original motor and trans, I figured it was a great time for a heart transplant.
I started buying some of the less expensive parts and putting them aside whenever I had some extra $$.
Here is a list of some/ most of those parts I accumulated…
JBA longtube headers, Pre-Cool silicone coolant hose set, engine mounts, trans mount, serp belt, water pump, spark plugs, all new gaskets and hardware (bolts and nuts), oil change stuff, air filter, thermostat, coolant, p/s fluid, p/s hose, etc. This was a basic list. Once we begun the tear down and reassembly, my list got much longer.
I waited for my tax return to do the major purchases.
Here is my list of those items…
Engine, transmission, wiring harness, ecm, ac comp, p/s pump. I also purchased the fan shroud, fan clutch, and fan blade.
There are a couple of ways to do this swap. Most people buy a totaled Titan that still has a good engine and drivetrain. Sooo many of the parts are transferable from the Titan when you do it this way.
The other route (which I chose) was to get select items from different donor Titans. I have a friend that works at a certified salvage yard. He was able to pick parts with decent low mileage and in the condition we were looking for.
He got me the VK engine out of a 2010 Titan that had 136K. The trans came out of a 2014 with like 70K. He was also able to sell me them to me
with a one year warranty (parts only).
The fun part of doing it this way was we didn’t know how complete (or incomplete) the engine and trans would be until we got them. Turns out they were both lacking some parts. Salvage yards strip them down for any parts that can be sold separately. Btw, my donor parts had already been removed from the trucks and were just sitting in a warehouse.
So, some of the things I was lacking… Trans filler tube, trans dipstick, trans cooler lines, engine cam sensors, O2 sensors, engine mount brackets, and alternator and p/s mount bracket.
With the help of a couple of friends (who do LS swaps on the side), we tore her down on Feb 15th. And yes, I am hands-on for this project. All the mods I have done to my Pfinder over the years have been done by me. There was no way I wasn’t going to get my hands dirty for this!
I drove her into the shop that morning and in less than 4 hours the VK40 engine and transmission were sitting on the floor. We had also removed the grill, front bumper, headlamps, and radiator support.
The stock engine wiring harness for a Titan was modified by Brennan @ Driven Desire in Cincinnati. He is THE specialist in doing VK56 swaps in Frontier’s, Xterra’s, and Pathfinders.
Once I got my Pfinder apart I sent Brennan the starter/ alternator wiring harness from mine. He combines my harness with the Titan engine harness and makes it basically a “plug and playâ€.
He does an amazing job and the finished harness he sent me looks totally oem.
Currently, the project is about 85% done. It has seemed like a longtime since Feb but there are select weekends where me and my two buddies have been available to work on it.
At this point, we have literally worked on it on two Saturdays. One was to tear it apart, and one was putting the VK56 and trans in. I have gone out to the shop on my own a few times and put in a few hours here and there on some of the smaller piddly stuff.
We really need just one or two more solid Saturdays to finish it.
I will try to post some pics either this evening or this weekend.
I will also continue on this topic for any further updates.
Feel free to ask any questions. I have learned ALOT about this swap!


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palmerwmd
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Postby palmerwmd » Fri Apr 03, 2020 9:44 pm

OMG how cool is that!!!!

What a great home project to take advantage of the Wuflu isolation time!

Please be sure to take a LOT of pictures for us!!! :D

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BMXPath
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Postby BMXPath » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:04 am

VQ40 V6 engine and trans removal...
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Starter/alternator harness from my Pfinder removed to send to Cincinnati.
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New Titan engine harness after return from Cincinnati. My starter/ alternator harness is part of it now.
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VK56 V8 eng and trans mostly assembled shortly before installing.
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Look at those pretty JBA headers!!
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Shortly after getting the eng and trans bolted to the eng/ trans mounts.
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Latest picture shows a/c comp and alternator installed. Just need the hardware to mount the power steering pump and the new serp belt can be installed.
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underworld1001
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Postby underworld1001 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:35 pm

Holy hell, way to go! Thanks for the great pictures too. Always nice to see the work in progress.

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BMXPath
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Postby BMXPath » Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:37 pm

Underworld,
You're in Austin! I live in Cedar Park.

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patomwazi
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Postby patomwazi » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:24 pm

When doing this swap...does one need to change the suspension in the front, as i would assume the VK56 is way heavier than the VQ40

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underworld1001
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Postby underworld1001 » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:40 pm

BMXPath wrote:Underworld,
You're in Austin! I live in Cedar Park.
Nice man! I'm actually over here in Pflugerville, but just put Austin since everyone knows where that is. Plus no one knows how to pronounce or spell it half the time :D

Nice job on the swap man. Wish I had a lift in my garage, haha.

If there's anyone else in the Austin metro area and you need a lift this is a good place to go - https://diyatx.com/services-%26-rates.

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BMXPath
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Postby BMXPath » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:01 pm

It isn't my shop with a lift. One of the guys helping me has a shop.

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BMXPath
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Postby BMXPath » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:22 pm

patomwazi wrote:When doing this swap...does one need to change the suspension in the front, as i would assume the VK56 is way heavier than the VQ40
From my best calculations, the VK is less than a 100 pounds more than the VQ. Kinda hard to find that info though.
The steering knuckles/ spindles, upper and lower control arms, and the hub bearings are the same between V6 and V8.
I have already done other suspension upgrades that could be needed.
Installed H&R aftermarket springs. They aren't rated specifically for the V6 or V8 and are a lot stiffer and thicker than oem.
I installed the V8 front sway bar and urethane bushings about a year ago. The V8 sway bar is 2mm thicker. Approx 34mm vs. 32mm.
I also have installed the V8 front brakes. The rotors are 1 inch larger in diameter for the V8 than the V6.
The rear brakes between the V6 and V8 models are the same.
While I was at it, I replaced all 4 calipers with some pretty red powder coated ones. I also put slotted/vented rotors and Akebono brake pads all the way around.

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Thupertrooper
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Postby Thupertrooper » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:20 pm

That is awesome. mine only has 150k but i want to run it till it dies lol. This is the first vk swap i see for a pathfinder. great job

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BMXPath
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Postby BMXPath » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:55 am

An update and a few more pics.
Worked on it weekend before last and got a lot of stuff done.
Mainly the driveshaft installed, exhaust put together, some more wiring plugged in, finished the p/s pump install and serp belt is now on.
The driveshaft had to be shortened. I took it to a drivetrain place and they cut it 3/4 of an inch. The driveshaft literally wouldn't fit back in by like an 1/8 of an inch. Decided on 3/4 to give it some slack.
With the long tube headers and Cajun B pipe cats, I expected I would need to take it to an exhaust shop to get it tied into the exisiting flanges going to the muffler.
To my surprise it was almost a direct fit! Drivers side bolted up flawlessly. Passenger side was off by a little bit (less than 2 inches) but we were able to cut a pipe to get the flanges to line up.

Long tubes and Cajun B's installed. Yellow tape is just covering O2 sensor holes.
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You can see where the shaft was cut and rewelded to remove 3/4 inch. They cut it at the factory weld. I did sand the welds down a little smoother (after taking the pic).
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New serp belt installed!
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BMXPath
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Postby BMXPath » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:49 am

Oh yeah... Also reinstalled the rad support and front bumper impact beam weekend before last.
I have a long weekend off of work coming up and I have a list of small stuff to wrap up on my Pfinder.
My next li'l hang-up is to figure out the trans cooler and elect rad fan mounting. I will need to either modify/ fabricate to fit to the stock radiator support OR I might use a later model rad support.
Gotta check if the "facelift" rad support is the same size and has the same positioned mounting points.
Should have it about 95% done afterwards.

Aft3rburn
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Postby Aft3rburn » Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:02 pm

subbing to this thread! AWESOME AWESOME work!

One day I too shall frankenstein a VK in my pathy.. but not today or tomorrow:)

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smj999smj
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Postby smj999smj » Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:36 am

Is it just me or does it look like the V8 oil filter would line-up perfectly with the oil filter access hole in the factory skid plate, unlike the V6 filter, which is off to the side?

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BMXPath
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Postby BMXPath » Mon May 11, 2020 8:00 am

smj999smj wrote:Is it just me or does it look like the V8 oil filter would line-up perfectly with the oil filter access hole in the factory skid plate, unlike the V6 filter, which is off to the side?
The V8 oil filter doesn't line up at all with the V6 access hole. The V8 filter is on the drivers side of the engine block.


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