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How To: Crossmember Swap

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  • How To: Crossmember Swap

    As I haven't seen any actual guide to how to swap crossmembers in a Z31, I figured I would write one. This is very useful for anyone wanting to do the coveted NA2T swap. This write-up is relevant to anyone who has already removed their engine!

    Tools Needed:

    Penetrating Oil (a must)
    Propane or MAPP Gas torch
    10mm socket
    14mm socket
    17mm socket
    22mm socket
    14mm wrench
    22mm wrench
    breaker bar
    socket wrench (appropriate to your sockets)
    lugnut wrench
    jack stands (rated for vehicle)
    jack (rated for vehicle)
    vice grips (maybe)

    1. The first step is somewhat time consuming, but far from difficult. Start breaking loose your front wheel lugnuts, but do not remove, using your lugnut wrench. Once this is done, position your jackstands at the proper lifting points along the body of your ZX, and then jack up the front of the car and position on jackstands. Once the vehicle is properly lifted, remove your front wheels completely.


    2. Soak everything with penetrating oil! Soak the outer tie rod ends, the lower control arm bolts, the crossmember bolts, the swaybar endlink bolts, and the tension rod bolts. Soak all of it, every single bit again and again. If it isn't dripping, it isn't soaked!

    3. Take your 17mm socket and breaker bar to the tension rod bolts. They are located underneath the control arm. Some gentle persuasion, and a thorough soaking (if you followed step 2!), and they should come loose quite easily.

    4. Using your 14mm socket and socket wrench, remove your swaybar endlinks. These will be stubborn! I ended up using a pair of vice grips on the top bolt, and worked the lower nut off with a socket wrench after some heating with my propane torch. Once both sides have their tension rods and swaybar endlinks disconnected, you should see this...

    Last edited by albionwanderer86; 10-26-2017, 01:28 PM.
    1985 300ZX Z31 2+2 VG33ET (building)

  • #2
    5. Using your 10mm socket, unbolt the brackets holding the A/C and power steering lines to the front of the crossmember. With this done, use a 14mm socket to unbolt your power steering rack from the crossmember. Position a jackstand or jack underneath the power steering rack to prevent any strain or damage.


    6. Using your 22mm wrench, 22mm socket, and breaker bar, remove the bolts holding the lower control arms into the crossmember. You have to be creative with getting the wrench and socket combo in place to remove these bolts, but the steering rack can be moved out of the way to make room rather easily now that it is unbolted. With the lower control arms unbolted, use a hammer or prybar to lower them out of the crossmember itself. They may take some persuasion.

    Last edited by albionwanderer86; 10-26-2017, 01:36 PM.
    1985 300ZX Z31 2+2 VG33ET (building)


    • #3
      7. Using your 17mm socket and breaker bar, remove the four nuts holding the crossmember in place. Before you do this, use your jack to hold the crossmember in place, otherwise you can have some real fun! Again, with proper soaking of penetrating oil and some light heating from a propane torch, mine came loose fairly easily. I used the jack to slowly lower the crossmember out of the car, and pulled it clear from underneath.

      8. Congrats! You've removed your crossmember. Now, get your new crossmember, and do the exact opposite for installation! Torque specs for the crossmember, lower control arm, tension rod, and swaybar endlink bolts can all be found in the FSM.

      NOTE: I actually removed the crossmember out of my Turbo parts car for this tutorial, most will be removing and replacing the crossmember in their NA. I also did not support the steering rack during this process (though I advise you do previously in this write-up!) due to the fact that the car is being scrapped afterwards and the steering rack is shot to begin with. I highly advise removing your engine before attempting to swap your crossmembers... it makes things 1000x easier. You can also unbolt your outer tie rod ends from the knuckle, though I found it unnecessary.
      Last edited by albionwanderer86; 10-26-2017, 01:40 PM.
      1985 300ZX Z31 2+2 VG33ET (building)


      • #4
        Awesome guide, very well explained. Thanks for the effort and sharing Albion.