How to swap a 2007+ Altima 3.5L VQ35 engine, (also 2009+ Maxima 3.5L engine) into older cars. Including 2002-2006 Altima (3.5L) and 2002-2008 Maximas. This motor swap is referred to as the FWD HR SWAP!


FWD HR Engine Swap Kit

EPS Tuning Oil Gallery Gasket/Hardware Kit VQ35 FWD HR Head engine

There are a few things to keep in mind before beginning your swap:

  • It’s easier to do this swap if you have a 3.5 DE motor laying around, especially if you just pulled it out of the car. You will need to take some things off of the old motor to use on the HR. Without this, there are a few parts that you will have to buy in order to complete the swap.
  • There are some specific tools needed: An ‘E8’ torx socket, 5/16 Allen key, Loctite

Stripping the motor

Depending on where your motor came from, there may be a lot of ‘extra’ pieces still attached to it. Some of these will just get in your way while you prep your motor, some can’t be used for this swap.

  • Remove all accessories, which includes the alternator, power steering pump.
  • Remove any harnesses and brackets that are still connected to the motor.
  • Remove upper intake manifold (removing lower manifold is not necessary, but sometimes desirable. If removed, a new gasket should be used to reinstall).
  • Remove oil temperature sender:

  • Remove idler pulley/tensioner ‘spacer’ (seen below in red):

** The injector rail may also be removed, but that isn’t necessary.

Cover any openings

There will be A LOT of metal shavings and dust around the motor, depending on how you do the cutting and grinding that comes later. These absolutely CANNOT be allowed to get into the motor.

  • intake ports in the top:

  • exhaust ports on the sides of motor:

  • fuel injector ports if fuel rail was removed:

  • the open ends of any coolant hoses/pipes:

Modifying the motor

Some parts of the motor will need to be cut somehow (tools, methods and results will vary) to allow for proper fitment and function once it’s reinstalled.

** Because of some concerns about the integrity of the stock oil gallery gasket, we at NISformance strongly recommend replacing it in this step. **

  • when changing the oil gallery gasket, this is a good time to grind away the center portion of the power steering bracket before reassembling the front of the motor.
  • grind/cut away the center portion of the power steering bracket. This requires some aggressive cutting, but also needs some attention to detail (cutting too DEEPLY can weaken the integrity of the timing cover. Cutting too WIDE can weaken the remaining brackets that will be needed to hold the alternator):

  • grind/cut away a portion of the metal where the idler pulley/tensioner spacer was:

  • remove exhaust manifold studs at the rear most exhaust port (close to the trans). This requires an ‘E8‘ torx socket:

  • clean out the threads in the opposite holes using a ‘10×1.25‘ tap.
  • replace the removed studs into the newly cleaned holes:

  • remove lower oil pan.
  • remove upper oil pan.
  • use the oil pan from a 3.5 DE motor…but remove the windage tray. Add your o-rings and seals, and install upper oil pan onto the HR motor.
  • remove the HR water pump access cover, and replace it with the one from the DE motor

Adjusting the cam signal wheel

This is a VERY important step and it must be done very carefully for your car to run properly. You have to be accurate.

Apart from the wiring, adjusting the signal wheel is the most detailed work you need to do on the swap. It is important to be very accurate when cutting or grinding, and it’s also extremely important to assemble everything correctly at the end of this step. Pay close attention to the pictures and make sure that your work looks EXACTLY the same!

*You will need to modify your 5/16 Allen key by cutting the arm down so that it is approximately 3/8″ long. This is your ‘special tool’ that you will need to use in this part of the swap.

  • open one of the valve covers.
  • using the ‘special tool’, loosen the signal wheel lock nut and remove the signal wheel from the intake cam:
  • completely remove the inner nubs from the signal wheel without damaging the rest of the inner surface:

  • at the crank, turn the motor until two notches are visible at the top of the cam:

  • add Loctite to the flat inner surface of the signal wheel:

  • reconnect the modified signal wheel to the intake cam…be sure to place it at the proper angle (as shown below) and resecure the lock nut:

  • close and bolt down the valve cover
  • open the other valve cover, and repeat these same steps.

V2 Cam Sensor Signal Inverter Wiring

V2 inverters are single channel. One inverter is required for each camshaft position sensor.

Wiring for cam sensor signal inverter

Red wire - 12 volt power supply ( power going into the board )

Black wire - Ground

Orange wire - Signal out ( connects to existing wire on ecu side )

Picture below demonstrates the older style DE cam sensor plug that is cut off when wiring in inverter with required wiring

For V1 cam sensor signal inverter wiring please click