Hi ggill123, Randy here. Here's a copy / paste version of my reply to legitimate007, who was asking on your behalf:
Hi legit, Randy here. Sorry, I'm not a Nissan expert. I can share two stories but they won't help this person.
I put a 1989 Dodge Dynasy 3.0L Mitsubishi engine into my 1988 Grand Caravan. The newer engine didn't use an intake air temperature sensor, so I just let it lay on top of the engine because it IS needed by the older engine computer. Has been fine like that for 15 years.
Had an early '90s Buick front wheel drive at school. Originally had a 1.8L. Someone put in a 2.0L. It overheated and melted. Students wanted to go back to the proper 1.8L. Used engine dropped right in and as I recall, worked with the same engine computer.
While I'm at it, there are some differences in the flex plates on Chrysler engines. The notches picked up by the crankshaft position sensor are different. The correct one must be used for the specific engine computer. I don't know of a way to determine the correct part except to reuse the old one when replacing the engine.
I would send them to a large salvage yard. There is likely to be someone there who will know. The mechanics at a Nissan dealership might know any differences too right off the top of their heads.
Now, ... To add to the story, after I sent that reply, it occured to me that I had a former student who bought a Maxima because it needed an engine. He found the proper engine but ran into so many frustrating problems. Rusted and broken bolts, stripped threads, deteriorated wiring harnesses, and when he got it running, it ran very poorly. It took him less than a week to remove the old engine and put the new one in, then he spent the last six weeks of the Engines class trying to fix all the problems and make it run right. He ended up gving up and selling it.
Since you mentioned the camshaft and wiring differences, I can suggest you also need to find out if the fuel pump will develop the proper pressure, the exhaust pipes will match, the transmission will bolt up, radiator and hoses are the same, air intake, etc. I wouldn't say it can't be done, but it will be a lot easier in the long run to just find the correct engine.
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 AT 12:20 PM