Nissan 300zx / Fairlady Z32 Free Downloadable PDF Factory Service Manual / Repair Manual
Model Years: 1989 to 2000
Chassis Code(s): Z32
1 Workshop Manual Available (See Below)
Nissan Fairlady / 300zx Z32 Factory Service Manual
Factory Service Manual / Workshop Manual for Z32 series 300zx / Fairlady Z. Contains specifications, repair and maintenance information.
Nissan Z32 300ZX common engine repair tips and information
The Nissan Z32 300ZX / Fairlady Z was made by the Nissan motor company and exported to many international markets during the years 1989 to 2000. The car was a great success and many were sold, however there is also downsides to this vehicle, mainly when it comes time to repair them.
The engine bay is horrendously crammed together, the 3 litre 6 cylinder VG30DE upon first appearance looks like it only barely fits the space provided, the VG30DETT (Twin Turbo) is even worse. When fixing almost anything in the engine bay you will need a lot of time and patience, small hands and arms are an advantage! unfortunately I was not so advantaged in my times dealing with them, and much cursing was made during that time ;)
Regarding reliability, the engines are well built and for the most part reliable, however they do suffer head gasket problems and the majority I dealt with over the years were presented for this type of repair.
Now take note, this is only tips regarding the process not a guide, you will still need a workshop or repair manual for the details to carry out the entire job, do not think this is all there is to it, there is a lot more! I'm just giving some basic advice here not full instructions.
Some things to consider before attempting a head gasket repair are that the engine is a quad overhead cam 24V setup, you should have good knowledge of how to align cylinder heads with an overhead cam setup, setting the timing is critical (I know to most of you this is common sense, but believe me there is a lot of people who do not know this and still attempt it!).
I could go into detail about removing the top engine cover, the intake manifold, efi gear, etc but I will be here all day. I'll take it you have done cylinder heads before on a V shaped engine, or at least replaced the intake gaskets or fitted a new exhaust manifold. If not then I seriously suggest you consider paying someone to do this.
Before even thinking about going ahead, everyone should read the complete workshop manual for the engine (click here for a Z32 300zx repair manual resource), you may prefer to purchase a paperback version of the manual however this one seems complete and has all the details required.
After removing the radiator and dropping the water hoses, you can now gain some (very limited) access to the front of the engine, this can sometimes be enough but if not you will need to remove the front bumper, re-enforcement bar and air condenser NOTE: release the gas from the system first slowly at the high side tap, then remove the dryer and following that the condenser. To be safe do not breathe the gas or smoke a cigarette when you release it! You will need your air-con system re-gassed following this and possibly new seals for the fittings you have removed. Following removal of the previously mentioned components you can gain much better access to the lower front of the engine.
I usually found that removing the spark plugs and taking the engine manually to cylinder 1 at TDC (Top Dead Center) on the lower timing marks before removing the heads gives an advantage when it comes time to double check and refit. If you are installing new heads or having the old ones machined then you can ask they be set to suit 1TDC by the company / engineer before you pick them up. More details of this process is in the repair manual.
Have a brand new timing belt ready to go, it's extra work but it will save you thousands in repairs should you poorly decide to reuse the old one and it snaps or strips. Now to gain access to the timing belt, remove the clutch fan, water pump pipes, loosen the power steering pump and air compressor so you can remove the lower belts, then remove the front pulley. After this you can remove the front timing covers and have full access to the timing belt.
When looking at the timing belt, you should notice there is many little lines on the belt which must be against the marks on all the gears, when you get to the point where you need to fit the new belt, if you can not line every single one of these up then you will need to remove the belt and try again, some belts will have an arrow showing which way the front is, if your new belt does not have this line and you can not line up the marks then the belt is likely the wrong way around. It helps to have someone hold the belt in place on the top cam gears while you make sure they are all lined up. Once you are sure they are all lined up, tension the timing belt as per the specifications in the workshop manual and turn the engine over by hand to make sure the belt is turning correctly and is lined up exactly with all the gear teeth. If even one of these is off and you put the engine back together like this, you will strip the belt and most likely cause major damage to your engine.
For the full details regarding the process of removing the heads, refer to the manual. These are just some tips to make the process more efficient for people who are new to these cars, the process outside of these tips is much the same as other vehicles with similar engines, detailing all the steps for the actual removal would be pointless as this is where the manual comes into it's own, even as a mechanic you still refer to the manual at this point for torque sequences and other critical technical information.