Nissan 350z Modified Complete Guide

"A complete guide to 350Z performance upgrades"

If you want to make your 350Z even more unique, the answer is modifications.

Whether it's a minor modification such as reducing the weight of the car with lighter wheels and tires or fitting a turbo kit, there are many things you can do to change your car for the better.

This guide will give you some information on how to modify your 350Z and what modifications are available.

The 350z is, without doubt, the best opportunity you will get, especially when it comes to affordability, looks and outright performance.

The good thing about the 350z is that the parts are well priced, so you are in the best opportunity to keep within budget when it comes to modifying your car.

What also makes the 350z is that the stock vehicle is impressive from the start but left plenty on the table to have a tinker with and get so much more out of it.

In this article, we will discuss everything from wheels, turbo upgrades to your simple bolt-on mods and talk about how to get the handling perfect.

350z Performance Modifications

The Nissan 350z stock car is an excellent car with a good amount of power at your disposal, but under the bonnet hidden in the Nissan 350z Z33 is the impressive V6 engine.

Best 350Z upgrades

When talking about the ultimate modifications for your 350Z engine, we are going to focus on the upgrades that give the biggest return for your cash.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your 350Z. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best mods for your 350Z

  1. Brake Mods - Improve your ability to stop should be near the top of your Mods list.
  2. 350Z Suspension Upgrades - Replacing worn bushings and shocks radically improves your 350Z handling Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  3. ECU Tunes - A remap provides the most power in terms of cost, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  4. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  5. Turbo upgrades - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Typically one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  6. Intake and Exhaust Upgrades - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  7. Fast road Camshafts are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.

350Z Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Drilled & smoothed airbox, Fast road camshaft, Sports exhaust manifold, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Panel air filters, Intake manifolds.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, high flow fuel injectors, induction kit, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Twin charging conversions, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression.

It's an engine that has an incredible amount of potential (that goes for both VQ35DE or VQ35HR)

The same goes for the suspension, including the styling of the original car, and with a few subtle tweaks to the styling the car can look even more incredible and increase the performance on its own

350z Wheels

Talking about wheels in this article can be hard to get across, as this one is all down to personal choice; this can also be a sticking point for some people. So ask yourself:

  • How do you want the car to ride?
  • What style are you trying to achieve?
  • What are you willing to sacrifice performance over-styling?

When it comes to the size of the wheels, there are a few things to consider before you buy:

Wider wheels look meaner on the car and do not give as good stability, so if you plan to go for a high-speed track event, maybe it's an idea to go for the narrower wheel.

Bigger wheels are generally heavier and lower profile tires give a much harsher ride, so won't add much to the handling. Everyone seems to want to sick on the largest rims they can find nowadays so their car looks cool.

On the other hand, if you're just planning on driving the car hard down the fast lane, you can go for the wider wheels as they will look meaner and are better into the corners offering shed loads more grip.

To get an idea of what size is right for you, you just need to take a look at your taste, if you like something bigger maybe it's time to think of some wide wheels, and if you like something smaller then maybe the performance of wider wheel is not what you are looking for just make sure to get the perfect wheel fitment.

Also, when it comes to the brand of wheels, there are many different options from big brands such as VMR or even Z1 wheels, which have a good range available in all sizes. However, they do come at a cost.

Coilover Kits

So we have taken care of the wheels. It's time to consider upgrading your suspension. Getting some high-quality coilovers will give you the ability to create the perfect ride for your car.

Coilover suspension is a drop-in solution, which means whether you have springs or shocks, they take the place of the original unit.

Unlike the lowering springs kit that gives a lower ride height, which are also easier to fit, and they just don't offer as much control over the suspension. Instead, the Coilover suspension allows you to fine-tune the car to just how you like it.

A few great brands worth doing your research on KW Variant 2, Fortune Auto 510 Series, to BC BR Series. So take your time and get what fits your budget and driving style, as some will be great for track and some great for all-around use.

350z Air Suspension

So if you want the flexibility of changing how your car drives more regularly, then we have air suspension. The advantages of air suspension are the fact you can lower and raise your vehicle at will.

The benefits of lowering your car are that it gives the internals more room to breathe resulting in better performance and haul ass when you want.

Still, if you are not interested in showing off and enjoying a stiff ride, maybe an air ride kit is not for you. We won't go into air suspension versus coil overs in this article, and there are some pros and cons to both.

Nissan 350z Sway Bars

Sway bars are also called anti-roll bars or stabiliser bars; these are designed to reduce the body roll as you are going around corners. It is common to hear 350z car enthusiasts talk about the body roll the car has from standard.

So getting upgraded sway bars can reduce body roll optimally somewhere in the region of 40%. With these Mods, you can even adjust the stiffness, giving you even greater control, and all of us car enthusiasts love the ability to make minor adjustments to find the perfect balance.

So getting these performance parts fitted to your car is a must for all 350z owners.

Camber Kits

Camber kits can solve a problem you didn't realise you had, especially when lowering these vehicles.

As standard, the 350z doesn't have adjustable camber, leading to problems with the alignment of your tires and the uneven wear that lowering your car can have.

Camber has a big impact on the cars cornering grip so it is important to set this up correctly, especially if you have altered the wheel dimensions.

Having these fitted means, you can reduce your car's camber, increasing the mileage you get out of your tires or increasing the camber, which can improve overall track performance and stops excessive scrubbing when your car is lowered.

350z Strut Brace

Some call it a "strut bar" the job of a strut bar is to reduce chassis flex and increase steering responsiveness.

The 350z strut brace is a direct bolt-on part installed without any drilling or cutting of the bodywork needed.

As cars get older the original factory set alignment can wander a little, so a brace pulls this all together nicely and tightens everything up.

Some other great benefits are taking weight off the front wheels, which gives better braking efficiency, but with all this said, the strut braces won't turn your 200hp car into a 900hp car just like that.

But all these little upgrades will add up, and make sure you get out on track and see how it feels.

Nissan 350Z Performance Exhausts

What I love about aftermarket exhaust systems is without doubt the fastest bolt-on upgrade you can get for your 350z.

This will be giving you some noticeable performance upgrade, plus the awesome look of a stainless steel exhaust.

The reason a performance exhaust system can help increase the performance is that a stock system is designed to be as quiet as possible, which can reduce airflow, where performance exhaust systems are made of stronger and bigger piping, and increase airflow and with the great combination of engine mods can see your sports car come alive.

There are many aftermarket exhaust systems on the market for the Nissan 350z, don't be shy to spend some good money on an exhaust system, as a well made exhaust system will last you years, as they are made using higher quality stainless steel and better welding. So make sure to get a recognisable brand that you will not last.

Test Pipes

Test pipes are an excellent value for money performance part; these effectively replace your catalytic converter.

A Test pipe is a straight-through design, from the engine to the exhaust, so they do not help with backpressure but allow more flow to go through your system for better air intake and exhaust.

The benefit of test pipes is they are cheap performance parts that can make good gains on your car, plus they can only take about 30 minutes to fit if you are doing it yourself.

For 350z owners, if you are using them for street use and allowed them, then these are perfect. BUT IN MOST COUNTRIES AND STATES THIS IS NOT A STREET LEGAL MOD.

Please make sure to always do your research on your area before you purchase, 

Y Pipes For Nissan 350z

These are Y shaped pipes that connect the two exhaust pipes that run from your mid to backbox. On a 350z, a Y pipe bypasses the catalyst converter and allows the exhaust gases to flow more freely, which creates a louder exhaust note.

These devices are used in racing to give your engine more power as they remove back pressure created through the catalytic converter.

So this will become a preference on which you would go for a test pipe or a Y pipe.

Most people who go down this route only do so once they've got a performance exhaust fitted, and most do not require an ECU remap etc., as you can get some good figures with bolt-on parts alone.

Just make sure if you are going for a test pipe or Y Pipe setup, then ensure there are no silencing issues. Or, if you live in an area where silencers are required, please check with the local authority first before purchasing any of these.

Exhaust Heat Wrap

So you are slowly making your Nissan 350z a beast of a machine.

You have the wheels, the lowering springs, and you have found the dream performance exhaust.

Then the next part is to protect the car from extreme heat and make the exhaust more efficient. Exhaust heat wraps are designed to protect the exhaust from heat and make it last longer.

So when your car is making more power, it will produce more heat!

The hotter the exhaust gets after a few runs at the track or on the streets can melt the pipework and lose precious horsepower.

So don't be shy in getting an exhaust wrap kit because there's no point spending all that money on a nice system for your Nissan 350z Z33 if it is just going to melt together over time!

Just remember wrapping your exhaust with heat wrap won't stop you from reaching high temperatures but will give you much fewer problems.

If you skip this step, you will be replacing the performance exhaust systems yearly if you don't look after them.

It doesn't just save your exhaust systems. It also helps improve your engine overall power gains as it will help keep the engine bay temperature down.

The little things like an exhaust wrap which are inexpensive, can make a difference in keeping these incredible sports cars in excellent condition. So don't miss this step as it is the performance upgrades that get overlooked.

Cold Air Intake System

This and the exhaust is one of the first steps all 350z owners should take; having performance parts that work in harmony together is key to increasing the 350z peak power.

A cold air intake system is a great way to free up your airflow and allow more oxygen in the engine, increasing power with little effort.

The cold air intake systems work by sucking in cooler air from a more efficient position under the hood.

Some of these air intake systems are made using high-quality materials meaning they will last for years and other brands use cheaper performance parts that break after time.

We see a lot of Nissan 350z cars as some sellers don't want to spend money on their brand or lower quality performance parts, cutting corners to get them out fast.

I sound like a broken record, but when it comes to quality; I will repeat it; from a suspension upgrade to an intake system, it is essential to avoid cheap aftermarket parts and get the quality the 350z deserves.

The age old mantra "buy cheap, buy twice" is certainly true of 350z parts.

Plenum Spacer

Shortly after the Nissan 350z, the enthusiasts and tuners found a way to make the engine perform better by allowing more airflow within the stock intake system. This is good for many reasons: performance gains and a faster-spooling turbo that will help you get those higher horsepower numbers.

The intake Plenum spacer also helps extend your gas mileage and improves the power curve as well. Now with all these great reasons to get a plenum spacer, there are still some cons.

They take time to install and don't come cheap. They may not be needed if you haven't modified your 350z at all but can help out when having already installed other performance upgrades like exhausts, intakes and cams, etc.

If you decide to get plenum spacers for your car, you will need to reset the adaptations. Otherwise, it might run worse than it did before, so don't let this problem go.

Nissan 350z Headers

Nissan 350z Headers or Exhaust manifolds are easy to install and bolt-on after replacing your stock exhaust header/manifold.

This is important as it will give you more torque.

It does not need any additional modifications and can be combined with an air intake system for the best effect under the hood performance upgrades.

Nissan 350z Turbo Kit

So all car enthusiasts, when they think power, they think big turbo, well they are not wrong. Upgrading and adding a turbo can give you more power, but if not done correctly, it can cause much more damage to your engine. 

And you don't always need to upgrade to a turbo, so don't upgrade it for upgrading sake. The stock Nissan VQ35DE or VQ35HR naturally aspirated engine is perfect for town driving.

If you are looking at a turbo, the good thing is the VQ35DE and HR stock engines have been known to take up to 400hp at the wheels. The HR engine can take a little more, all on standard internals, which gives you great confidence with the work you carry out the car can take most performance increases.

There are many brands in performance parts so make sure they are good reputation-wise for turbos, so do your research. There are a few things you ideally want to have carried out before having a turbo fitted, which are an aftermarket exhaust system, if able to a test pipe or a Y pipe and ideally a performance air intakes system.

Supercharger Kit

Suppose you don't want a turbo for your 350z, then how about a supercharger for your vehicle. Superchargers provide a more top-end pull, with most parts being bolt-on.

They have been known to give you more top-end power and are more controllable than a turbo; they also don't need exhaust or air intakes system upgrade for the best performance gains from them.

Superchargers for the Nissan 350z offer good value compared to others, including other brands like Volkswagen. This is because it's mod-friendly and goes hand in hand with engine modifications kits too.

So if you're looking at gaining horsepower and you want more out of the 3.5L V6, then I would go down the supercharger route over a turbo kit.

You can even get small compressors that will increase low-end torque and high-end hp numbers without damaging any internals.

350z Performance Brakes

So you have been adding all these 350z performance parts, you need a brake upgrade. Upgrading your brakes provides a much needed extra layer of safety.

The stock brakes are still good, but it can be better to have something more responsive and match your brand new engine power output when adding the upgrades above.

Performance brakes are needed because we are tweaking the car's performance to what is maximum.

The car can now handle more, so it's time you change your brakes for something bigger and beefier, which will provide much needed increased stopping power and a better feel with control.

Performance Brake Kits

You don't need to spend big big money on braking systems, and actually, with stock 350z, you have already got good braking power but just can't match the engine's speed.

But if you are like me and love adrenaline-pumping stuff, then why not upgrade the old stockers with some new aftermarket ones for added safety, best results and warranties that come along with them too.

Side note don't just upgrade your callipers, and we are talking about brake discs and brake pads.

These performance parts can hugely help your stopping power, so make sure your brake pads and discs are reputable brands known for the build quality.

Hydraulic Handbrake

Whilst we are talking brakes getting hydraulic handbrake for those looking at drifting, this is the must-have because although your vehicle's standard handbrake might be good enough for parking lots, they just won't handle the track.

350 z cars come with cable handbrake systems, so upgrading your handbrake from cable will be a blessing in disguise. It will make the engaging breaking much more dialled in and controllable. Plus, with them being hydraulic, you can adjust the pressure needed to hold them on track which is better for modding.

As Mods go, this is a fun one. Yes, it doesn't give you an increase in performance, like having the intake plenum fitted or increasing the driving experience that lowering springs brings to the table. But it does help you get the perfect wheel lock for the perfect drift.

Nissan 350z Braided hoses

If you are going all out, getting bigger callipers, brake discs, and brake pads, this is a must. Also, braided brake hoses are so much better than standard hoses because they will resist pressure, won't stretch, and withstand heat up to 500 degrees Celsius, which will help control the temperature of your brake fluid.

Braided hoses are an excellent upgrade for any performance vehicle as they will provide extra cool running and provide better looks than your old rubber hose style ones, so why not get some stainless steel braided hoses.

Let's Talk Clutches

When you are raising the engine's output with all these mods, you will need to upgrade your clutch, as the standard clutch just won't be able to handle the extra load. The stock clutch is not designed to take the power of a high-performance engine. When you upgrade your car, make sure you get a 350z performance clutch.

It will be built for added torque capacity and has steel discs made from heat-treated materials, which can withstand higher temperatures and overslip types.

As with everything when you are planning your Nissan 350z upgrades to list, it is crucial to put a plan in place and make sure when you upgrade your clutch, it is future-proofed, as this can cause you a problem down the line if you don't plan for this, you won't want to put in cheaper clutch parts that cant handles the power later on. So plan.

Nissan 350z Body Kit

This is a broad subject, but I want to focus on three main areas, the rear wing, the front lip and the rear diffuser. Yes, the Japanese do know how to design a car, but as with the Nissan 350z engine, we need to add a little to help it on its way.

Front Lip:

Lips are always a must-have for any performance car, and they help capture the airflow and push it towards the floor level, creating more downforce that helps take away the lift effect. This can make any changes to how your vehicle behaves, so get some research done before choosing any of these kits as there is so much choice available.

This helps create that ground-hugging look, ok it won't be a Formula 1 car, but it certainly looks the part. As with all 350 z, the choice is abundant, so take your time and find the look you are going for.

350z Wings

You will see there is a huge selection of wings available for these vehicles, but don't let that put you off.

There are so many reasons why you would fit your 350z with a rear wing, from having a small trunk lip that can change the way the rear looks or add some subtle styling that can make your car stand out. This style is excellent for good old street use as it will be a head-turner.

Rear Diffuser

On a 350z is a must-have upgrade as it can be a great help with adding style and slightly improving downforces, like fitting the front lip.

This helps reduce lift. There are so many diffusers for you to choose from that it would take ages to list them all, but there is one common trait with most of them: they look perfect on the car.

Rollcage

Getting a roll cage for your 350z is an upgrade worth considering if you have gone all the way, from plenum spacers, performance clutch to even a supercharger.

That then means a roll cage is essential if you will be taking the 350z to the limits on the track. A roll cage is an excellent addition to any vehicle as it will give you more driving confidence and peace of mind.

So what does a Nissan 350z roll cage do for your car? If you are going to be hamming it up on the track, this will help protect you if you have an off or just want that extra security during high-speed cornering. 

350z remap

So I have left this until near the end for many reasons; getting the 350z remapped is only worth it if you have upgraded the car's exhaust, air intake, injectors to camshafts and so on. At this point, it might be worth getting your 350z a remap.

Having a remap has so many benefits; it can help get more power out of the engine, help you with MPG, and make the engine run smoother. So if you have already upgraded various parts of your car, it will be worth getting a remap.

So there you have it a complete list of upgrades and parts to get for your 350z; if you are planning on giving your car any of the mods above, just remember to always plan. For example, if you are planning to get a performance exhaust before you make the purchase ask yourself if you will get a test pipe of Y pipe.

This article covers a lot and shows the power that a 350z has at its disposal, so go through the list, make a plan and create the dream 350z. Comment below; what will be your first upgrade? Join us in our forums to discuss all things car related and swap tips with other 350z owners.

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