The SEMA show has always been about pushing the envelope of custom cars, and what’s more envelope-pushing than adding an entire extra engine? This twin-engined, Honda K-Series-powered Nissan 350Z on the ENEOS stand at SEMA is a radical project, and it should resolve some common issues with the Z33 platform, all while bringing all-wheel-drive to the party.
I like the VQ35DE, but I must admit, it has some problems. Oil consumption is a real issue for these engines, to the point where checking oil levels at every fill-up is critical to avoid coating a local highway in a chunky layer of metallic detritus. You can’t spell Superfund without ‘super fun’, right? Oil consumption is a frequent topic of discussion on 350Z owners forums, to the point where eating a quart every 1,000 miles is common. While a re-ring and new valve stem seals usually fixes this issue, swapping in two Honda K24s is certainly another way of remedying an oil-burning VQ.
This family of 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines found in everything from the Acura TSX to the Honda CR-V is fairly stout and an increasingly popular engine swap option thanks to massive aftermarket support, such as the Hondata ECUs this car runs. Of course, putting a K24 at each axle on a 350Z will require some serious fuel system updates, but that actually remedies another 350Z issue.
See, the factory fuel tank on a 350Z sits around the rear differential snout like a saddle, and that can create fuel starvation problems. With sticky enough tires and high enough sustained cornering forces, the little siphon feed in the tank can’t keep up, and flow to the fuel pump can be interrupted. Z1 Motorsports, a reputable Nissan Z aftermarket specialist, claims that fuel starvation can happen “when making long sweeping right-hand turns at speed with as much as 3/4 tank of gasoline on R-compound tires.” That’s, uh, not good. I only experienced this once in my Infiniti G35, which shares a platform with the 350Z, but it was a good reminder to keep the tank well-filled. This twin-engined car uses a Nuke Performance surge tank to run two fuel tanks, but the surge tank also prevents fuel starvation. Needless to say, this is an expensive but awesome piece of kit.
Even setting aside the unorthodox fixes for common stock 350Z problems, this twin-engined K-swapped 350Z is a fascinating and extensive project. The fabrication work needed to fit two transverse powertrains in a sports coupe that came with a longitudinal V6 is remarkable, with everything outside of the passenger cell tube-framed by builder MLZ Garage. Fitting Brembo calipers from a Genesis Coupe on the front axle is ingenious, and blending a 370Z Nismo bumper in with 350Z coachwork takes a remarkable amount of skill. It feels like the internet age meeting the glory days of Car Craft, and I’m 100 percent here for it.
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