Nissan Pathfinder VG30i EFI Swap

Nissan VG30i EFI Swap Part 2 – Bolting up the EFI

In the last post we removed all the parts for the MPFI swap from our donor 1995 Nissan Pathfinder “The Cheapfinder.” Now the time has come to put the Pathmaker Rig under the knife and pull off all the TBI parts so I can bolt up the parts off the 95.
The list of parts you need to remove is essentially identical as in Part 1 so head over there for all the details and we’ll pickup this from a torn down VG30i.

If you don’t yet have it, head over to to pick up the FSM – Factory Service Manual for your Nissan, it will answer a lot of troubleshooting questions you may have. Best of all, its totally free!

Click HERE or scroll to the bottom for a video on the whole project.


With the intake manifold off one of the first things you’ll notice is there is no place in the valley on the block to mount your knock sensor. Its going to have to be bolted to the underside of the plenum. Your 1987-1989 VG30i does not have the threads on the block for it.

You’ll have to be a lot more careful on not dropping things down your intake ports on the engine as you go, because one of the first things on the list you’ll have to do is cut 1/2″ of length off the 4 studs that come out of the block that used to sandwich the intake manifold and bolt on the carburetor. I had to learn the hard way that they stick too far through the intake manifold and will keep your fuel rails from seating down properly unless you trim them.

Once the studs are trimmed you can remove the covers on your ports and put on the intake manifold gasket and bolt up the intake manifold with the 4 studs and 6 cap screws. Bolt the upper rad hose connection to the front of the intake manifold. Hook up the fuel lines and the fuel injector connectors. It would also be a good time to bolt your new throttle cable up. I didn’t do it until the plenum was on and its much harder to reach!

Put on the new valve covers. Set your engine at TDC (you did that before you removed the old distributor right? I sure didn’t!) and reinstall the distributor as per the service manual. Before putting the Intake plenum on I made sure to mount the knock sensor to one of the bolts on the underside as close to the intake as possible. Then it’s time for a new intake gasket and to bolt up the plenum. Don’t forget the IAC Valve plug and the hoses on the bottom of the plenum near the firewall.

I have no emissions on my rig and no need for an EGR so next on the list was to make up a cap for the EGR port on the side of the plenum and to plug the EGR pipe off the exhaust. Don’t forget there is a small vacuum line that runs off the EGR that you’ll have to cap off. I have an aftermarket 170amp Chevy 3 wire Alternator so I had to modify my new alternator sub-harness before plugging it in. If you have a stock Alt then just plug in the ’95 sub-harness. You can also swap the Starter harness at this time.

Unfortunately the O2 sensor will require a bit of welding. The 1987-1989 O2 sensor is a 12mm thread and the new O2 sensor has an 18mm thread size. You’ll have to thread in a bolt to the old O2 sensor hole and weld it up and then drill a new O2 sensor hole and weld on an O2 sensor bung or an 18mm nut. The O2 sensor wire plugs in to the harness near the passenger side firewall in the engine bay.


Time to feed the ’95 Pathfinder wiring harness back through the firewall and the drivers side fender, laying it out approximately where it goes. Next start plugging in all the wiring connectors in the engine bay (you labelled them all right?!).  Lay the harness back up and over the dash and start running the bolts in and hooking up all of the connectors as you go.

At this point if you’re wanting all of the switches in the dash to work you’d install the round dash from the ’95 donor but I like the look of the square dash and this is just a trail rig. Surprisingly the gauge pods are the same dimensions so I learned I can use the round gauges in my square dash! The wires coming off the pod were shorter so I drilled a few quick holes with my hole-saw and slid the gauge pod in and bolted up the dash.

Start chasing all the ground wires, once again the FSM from NicoClub is extremely valuable. There is 5 total grounds in the engine bay, 3 off the main harness, one off the Alternator and one off the Starter (that goes directly to the negative battery post). The interior has 3 grounds off the main harness, one beside the ECU and one near the kick panel in both drivers and passenger footwells. There is one final ground on the rear sub-harness near the passenger side.

Next I plugged in and bolted back up the steering column ad it was time to test the key. Of course I’m a terrible mechanic so my rig didn’t start on the first try, I had to recheck my TDC, go over all my grounds again, wire up my aftermarket fuel pump and finally at that point the Pathmaker rig fired back to life! At this point I got to find out all of the hose clamps I forgot to tighten as coolant started dripping off my block. Since it was running reliably it was time to button up the rest of the interior, mount my ECU back behind my glove box and put the timing light on the rig. 

Congrats! You now have EFI on your Nissan!

Check out this video for more in-depth info on the VG30i EFI Swap:

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Time to get the Pathmaker back out on the trail!
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions feel free to let me know at the bottom of this post!

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