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350Z buyers guide

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Seems a number of people are starting to move to Zeds...so i've decided to take a leaf out of 51CAZ's post and put together a Z33 buyer's guide to try answer all the common questions...feedback appreciated as the following is only my own experience / research conducted when buying my Zed...



The Zed is available in convertible and coupe, each in track and touring specification. Major differences between Track and Touring is that the Track edition has brembo brakes, VDC, front-lip and rear spoiler. Power outputs are the same. The early Track Zeds (2003-2004?) had harder suspension. From 2005 Track and Touring Zeds share the same suspension package.


I don’t know much about the convertibles except they’re heavier and slower due to the need extra chassis bracing, but they’re also meant to handle just as well as the tin-top.



Zeds came with a slew of different wheels. Original touring Zed standard issue is a 17-inch wheel, with Track Zeds getting 18’s, which were then changed with the anniversary Zed onwards. At some stage the touring Zeds also copped 18’s. Tyres are 225 Front / 245 Rear. Nissan also offered 18-inch Rays forgies as an option.



Not much difference between the Zeds. 2006-current models got revised front-bars, LED tail-lights and Bi-Xenon lights. My 2005 Anniversary has Xenon lights, but I’m not sure they were factory issue.



Key differences in engines as follows


Original Z33 Zed (VQ35DE)

- 206 kw, 6750rpm

- 10.5:1 compression ratio

- Roughly 145 rwkw stock


2005 Anniversary (VQ35DE Rev-up)

- 221 kw, 7000rpm

- Revised camshaft profiles

- Variable timing

- 10.5:1 compression ratio

- Roughly 155 rwkw stock


2007 Zed (VQ35HR)

- 230 kw, 7500rpm

- Major engine refresh as tooling is prepared for GTR’s VQ37 engine.

- 11:1 compression ratio

- New intake design with twin air boxes

- Roughly 180rwkw stock (?)


Interior Trim

initially criticized for poor interior trim, each iteration of the Zed has had minor and major changes to the interior.


2004 – Changes made to cubby-hole door

2005 Anniversary – Minor material changes

2006 – Big interior change addressed sunglass holder, centre-console layout and material, switch-gear, extra leather stitching on doors.


Personally the only issue I have is with the plastics around the power-window switches; they scratch easily and aren’t perfectly fixed on my 2005 Anniversary. In my opinion the “dodgy interior / loud coarse engine” complaints are coming from reviewers who are either used to or comparing the 350Z to its more expensive, European rivals.



Not sure about this on other Zeds but the paint on my 2005 is immaculate. When I spoke to the guys at Final Inspection (professional detailer), they tell me the Zed’s paint jobs are by far the best Nissan has ever done, with thick even clear coat and good colour clarity. I hated the paint on my 2002 S15.


The blacks of the Zed were changed in either 2005 (anniversary) or 2006 and 2007, not sure about the other colours, I didn’t check. I think they introduced the pewter in 2006 and there’s that wacky hyper-orange for 2007.



As with all cars, there are a series of small issues with the Zeds, the biggest one to look out for is excessive oil consumption in 2005 / 2006 models, rumored to be due to dodgy piston rings. According to Nissan, this does not affect all 05/06 Zeds, just some. Nissan USA have begun the process of replacing affected engines with a “version 2” engine under warranty. I didn’t know this when I bought my 05 Anniversary and am currently going through oil-consumption testing with Nissan Oz.



Zeds are very well tuned from factory and full breathing mods yield relatively little compared to turbo Silvias and Skylines. One of the biggest restrictions for 2003-2006 Zeds is the intake plenum. This can be fixed via a spacer or full upper and lower replacement plenum assemblies and gives a good gain through the rev range and also eliminates the 4500-5000 rpm flat spot inherent in these models. My experience has been that full intake and exhaust mods (high flow filter, plenum, extractors, high-flow cats, exhausts) will give you about 15-20 rwkw with a good pick-up in the mid-range, an ECU tune may give another 2-5 rwkw.


Boosted Zeds are starting to appear as this is the best way to get power out of them. Twin Turbo kits are available for around $15K fully installed whilst supercharged kits can be put in for around $10K. Power ceiling for the Zed before you have to start making major changes to compression ratio, con-rods, drive-train, etc is around 280 – 300 rwkw.


Turbo and Supercharger kits have not been fully tested with the new VQ35HR.


Note: Aftermarket camshafts do not seem to be available for Z33’s with variable valve timing.


The stock suspension is really well tuned, though those coming from a Silvia will really feel the difference in weight. Upgraded sway-bars make a much more responsive package. The stock Zed will understeer a bit at the limit.


Note: Spring rates were changed at some point, 2005 I think, with a relatively stiffer spring at the rear.


My Conclusion (possibly biased)

If you’re buying a Zed to go down the N/A path (or do little tuning to it), then the 2007 VQ35HR Zed is definitely the one to hold out for, power at the wheels stock is much higher than VQ35DE Zeds and it seems that the engine has some scope to rev harder than the 7500rpm limiter.


However if you’re looking to walk to dark side of the boosted empire, then an earlier Zed is better, with lower compression ratio and much more testing and development on the VQ35DE.


I went for an 05 because I felt the higher-lift camshafts would give better power gains with some force induction, though I wasn’t expecting to have dodgy piston rings. Your best bet for a boosted car is probably a 2002-2004 Z33, they’re cheap(er) and the engines have proven to be very reliable, plus you can upgrade camshafts.


I also chose a Track-spec because the Brembo’s do a great job of stopping the car and are awesome on the racetrack even with standard pads. It’s also handy to have VDC when it’s p!ssing down in Melbourne and you have 5% tread left on your tyres.


Personally I think the Zed is one of the best value cars around at the moment, but you either love it or buy an RX-8.

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with an 03 zed, They do have issues with gearbox sinchros


Also the VDC on the Track-spec is not able to be turned off without running some additional wiring, Pressing the VDC button will limit the effect but not take it away completely.


05 touring got 18's standard



A boosted 350z is a fantastic machine But very pricey


With 03 and 04 Track and touring models people thought they ran different suspension as the track felt a lot harsher, The only difference was the tyres.



A 350z will not allow you to do a proper burnout unless your remove the brake light fuse, as when the ecu see thats your apply the brakes and throttle it closes the throttle body and starts to apply the brakes. If you continue and you have a very strong driveline, you will SNAP your stock axles :(


Also around the ~300rwkw your standard axles will start to go as well.


~300rwkw is when most standard stuff needs to be upgraded.



Also when the revs are approaching red line the throttle body's start closing so that rev limiter is not as harsh.

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with an 03 zed, They do have issues with gearbox sinchros


Also the VDC on the Track-spec is not able to be turned off without running some additional wiring, Pressing the VDC button will limit the effect but not take it away completely.


Hi I'm new to the forum. Btw just wondering what everyone's thought on this thing. I wonder if it's worth while. Looks like an awesome piece of kit. :)







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with an 03 zed, They do have issues with gearbox sinchros

I think that is problem with all Zeds, as I have just gone through my first gearbox rebuild (2005 Anniversary), changing synchros 5 and 6 plus a selector fork for 5th and 6th. Possibly user error or just wear and tear from track days.


Also the VDC on the Track-spec is not able to be turned off without running some additional wiring, Pressing the VDC button will limit the effect but not take it away completely.

I'm not sure about this one, maybe, I have felt some interesting responses from the car, but I think it's ABS rather than VDC. The only time I've ever felt the car behave this way is on brakes after a high-speed sweeper. it could be VDC activating ABS in a strange way or just ABS playing up. I haven't been able to compare notes with a touring Zed in the same spot, so not sure. If you drive a touring Zed and have have been to Winton or Wakefield, would love to hear from you...as I get this issue at Winton sweeper and braking at the end of the straight/kink at Wakefield.

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