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vipor 01-23-2010 05:08 PM

DIY: Oil Cooler Installation on a Nismo (Damper Included!) - vipor
One of the biggest issues I've seen with putting coolers on Nismo Zs is the Damper. Most opt to remove it all together, while some say all it takes is flipping the bar. I got it in my head that if my car came with the bar, it was going to keep the bar.

Another thing to keep in mind with the Nismo in regards to installing and oil cooler is the fact that the front end is somewhat different. Going into the install I wasn't sure what all would be different, but now that I'm done I like the way it turned out. I managed to complete the installation without moving any factory components. I did flip the damper, but it wasn't actually moved.

Parts List
As Modshack did (:tiphat:), I purchased all of my parts from Racer Parts Wholesale
Racer Parts Wholesale - Award Winning Online Catalog For Real Racers and Riders

I spoke with a them on the phone to ask some questions at one point and they were very helpful and knowledgeable. Add the $8.85 fixed-price shipping and it's hard to top. They also shipped out my order same day and I somehow received it a day early according to the tracking.
I actually ended up not needing 12 feet of the Socketless Hose, but I initially thought I would be safe with some extra in case there was a lot more necessary on the Nismo. I believe I ended up needing right about 9’, so order 10.
Total Cost: $437.40 (+ Shipping)

Bumper Removal
The Nismo bumper removes exactly the same as the normal bumper, the only difference lies in the splash guard under the car. There are more of the plastic clips to hold it up including a plate in the middle with some recessed clips hidden under it.

DIGItonium already made a DIY on removing the bumper itself, so please refer to it:

Getting Started
Thankfully, my brother is a mechanic at a local high-end dealership, so we were able to use the shop and all of his tools. They of course also have extra hardware (nuts, clips) to make mounting the cooler possible. If you do not have access to these parts make sure you get some. To make things easier on ourselves we also removed the wheels.
Bumper removed, car in the air. I will be mounting the oil cooler opposite the power steering cooler and routing the lines towards the passenger side.
Here you can see that the structure of the front end is the same, but the plastic panels that run vertically are much further forward. I had to come up with a new routing method.
I opted to mount the cooler with the bracket mounting in the front, so as to push the cooler back towards the condenser so I can keep the damper in place.
Test fitting the cooler. Things to note:
*The bolts attaching the bracket to the cooler are rounded and not recessed. This causes the cooler to be pushed (rocked) forward.
*The upper mounting flange on the cooler hits both the useless bracket on the middle support (passenger side of the cooler) as well as the condenser line (driver side.)

Hose Routing
We found cleanest way to get the (2) large -10 hoses around on the Nismo was to cut out a portion of the radiator support, below the damper and above the power steering cooler. A couple times with a large drill bit, then an air saw to get most of it, and a dremel to clean it up.
It’s a snug fit, and needs some finagling, but it works.
The back side can be seen here. We put some padding on the aluminum to help prevent some wear and tear.
The hose is mostly unseen. I did bend the horn bracket back towards the condenser some, but it did not make contact with it or anything.
The shorter hose runs behind, then above the longer. This helped the routing through the hole I made.
Facing the 90deg fittings down seemed to be the best bet as the sway bar was in the way. Had I used straight fittings, I probably could have come out above it, straight towards the front of the car.

Mounting the Oil Cooler
As I stated earlier, the bolts for the bracket caused the cooler to lean forward, and that wasn’t going to work. We got out the dremel and pitted the bottom of the support to accommodate the bolts.
Passenger side, middle of the car. The red is from a marking pen my brother used.
Driver side.
This is the useless(?) bracket that we trimmed maybe a 1/4” off the top off. The flange on the cooler was rubbing after we fixed the rocking forward issue.
Instead of messing with the refrigerant lines on the driver side, we opted to trim the cooler itself. Just cut straight in for the original mounting hole.
For some added support, we drilled a small hole on the driver side just above where the wire harness clips to the support for a zip tie to the upper flange of the cooler.

Final Assembly – Damper!
After flipping the damper so the fatter side was on the right of the car, I was able to slide it under the hoses and mount it in place. Oh no, it’s upside down! :rofl2:
Due to the cooler being so close to the damper, I got some fuel line and split it down the middle. I pinched it between the bar and the sides of the oil cooler. While zip ties were pretty much necessary for this, they were not necessary for the oil lines. Better safe. Here you can also see the zip tie on the driver side going through the hole I made. You can also just barely see the 3rd zip tie wrapped around the shorter hose, holding it to the vertical bracket.

Update on the Zip Ties

Turns out Aeroquip says that zip-tying the hose on the fittings is NOT recommended. I'll be getting under my car sometime soon and inspecting the fittings for any seeping or loosening. The ties will be getting snipped.

Finished Product!
Kind of dark, but here it is, all done! :happydance:
Here’s the view through the bumper. You almost can’t even see any of the AN fittings. Stealth-ish lol.

After everything was put together and I went and double checked that all of the fittings were tight, we lowered the car and filled her up. I used 6qts initially, then let it run for about a minute. Got the flashlight out and checked for leaks and when it looked okay, we topped her off. Total oil usage was right at 6.5qts. This is with a stock-sized filter, so if you’re using a Purolator or something you might need a smidgen more.

Hopefully this guide will help the Nismo guys out there, regardless of if the use a pre-made Oil Cooler Kit or put together their own as I did.

For reference, my drive to my brother's shop was roughly 45 minutes each direction. On the way out there I hit an oil temp of just under 200. On the way home I didn't see it touch 175. Already an improvement :tup:

Follow Up
The car still inches it's way up to the 185 mark or so during stop and go city driving. On the highway, however, I have yet to see it even reach 175. Granted, it's been cold here since I did the install and it rained most of that day. It dropped from highs of about 70 down to 55-60. It was actually right at freezing this morning and on the highway my temp didn't go over 160 (I'm only 11 miles away from work.)

Update 04/26/10
I pulled the front bumper off this weekend to work on my headlights and had a chance to inspect the front half (cooler side) of my install.

There were no signs of rubbing or wear, and the hose was still on completely. It did look like there was any tension pulling on anything, and there were no signs of sweating or seeping. All and all I'm still very pleased. :tup:

I'll be changing my oil in the next few days and I'll give the sandwich plate and fittings there a good look.

Update 05/25/10
So I changed my oil a couple weeks ago and I really took a good look at things.


I had inspected the cooler side when I did my headlights, and now that I got under my car I could inspect the plate and those fittings.

Still no leaks, wear, seeping, or sweating. :tup:

Switched to RedLine too :D

Trips 01-23-2010 05:32 PM

Nice detail write up Vipor.... :tup:

roplusbee 01-23-2010 06:57 PM

That is exactly what I needed to see. You are the man! Thank you (and your brother too) for giving us this gem.:tup:

Urbanracer 01-23-2010 08:10 PM

Excellent DIY viper....great info. About how long did it take you beginning to end? Rep points for you.:tup:

m4a1mustang 01-23-2010 08:28 PM

Very good!

vipor 01-23-2010 08:47 PM


Originally Posted by Urbanracer (Post 372122)
Excellent DIY viper....great info. About how long did it take you beginning to end? Rep points for you.:tup:

It took us right about 3 hours including doing a transmission and differential fluid change.

Thanks guys. I knew it was missing because I have been looking for it for a while.

m4a1mustang 01-23-2010 08:48 PM

What did you put in the transmission?

vipor 01-23-2010 11:55 PM


Originally Posted by m4a1mustang (Post 372166)
What did you put in the transmission?

Red Line Synthetic. 2qts MT-90, 1qt MTL.

henryv007 01-24-2010 01:08 PM

Vipor, Nice write up and pics. Job well done!

WhiskeyHotel 01-24-2010 03:05 PM

Very nice job. Question: Are you comfortable with the height above the ground of hose fittings exiting from the oil filter sandwich? They look pretty low - but photo perspective can be misleading.

vipor 01-24-2010 05:13 PM


Originally Posted by WhiskeyHotel (Post 372891)
Very nice job. Question: Are you comfortable with the height above the ground of hose fittings exiting from the oil filter sandwich? They look pretty low - but photo perspective can be misleading.

they hang almost exactly as low as the bottom of the oil pan and crossmember. it was a thought when doing the install, but i went with it anyways. the plastic splash guard under the motor hangs slightly lower and it was untouched in the area in question.

Dustin@Z1 01-25-2010 08:13 AM

Very nice...I m glad that we can finally put the NISMO 370Z oil cooler fitment mystery to rest.

Thanks Vipor!

vipor 01-25-2010 08:19 AM


Originally Posted by Dustin@Z1 (Post 373630)
Very nice...I m glad that we can finally put the NISMO 370Z oil cooler fitment mysetery to rest.

Thanks Vipor!

No prob :tiphat:

So long as you can mount it as I did and don't mind the fittings coming out the top it's pretty easy heh. I actually used less hose than Mod did on his non-Nismo install.

semtex 01-25-2010 10:14 AM

Nice work, vipor! +rep

ChrisSlicks 01-25-2010 11:08 AM

Excellent write up, good job. Between your write-up and Modshack's I should have no problem doing mine. +rep

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