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Old 12-02-2013, 12:04 AM   #1
jktucker
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Dizzy 2004 Vue 4cyl VTI swap to 3.5L AWD?

You might call me crazy, but it wouldn't be a hobby if it made sense. I am looking into a way to get into a Vue cheap. So, since there are several '03 and '04 Vues with broken VTI transmissions, I'm looking into options. I've seen the threads on replacing the tranny with a 5 speed, and also with a FWD tranny. Has anybody tried to swap the whole powertrain from a '04 3.5L? If I can get a wrecked '04 with the 3.5L Auto AWD, I should have all the parts I need to convert a '04 VTI 4cyl to the 3.5L Auto Correct? Has anybody tried this? I assume I'd need the motor (with accessories and mounts), trans, driveshafts, computer, and harness. Probably need the cradle also. What about the radiator, rear end? Has anybody tried this. I assume this would work for an '03 going to the 3.0L, but that 3.5L is pretty attractive.
If anybody has tried this, I'd like to hear what they found out. There is a wreck up for auction on 12/4 with the 3.5L, and just trying to determine whether I should consider this project.
I do have extensive experience with rebuilding wrecks, including several S series saturns, and a '07 GMC Duramax that I completely disassembled in order to replace the frame and firewall, so I'm not afraid of much. Just don't want to get into a money pit.

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Old 12-02-2013, 06:04 PM   #2
surfstar
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Default Re: 2004 Vue 4cyl VTI swap to 3.5L AWD?

I can't imagine it would be worth any amount of $avings for the hassle involved.
Vues already have a low resale - find a 3.5L for sale and talk them down b/c it needs a timing belt and has a known weak trans.

...
2005 Dragonfly Green 2.2L MTX Vue

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Old 12-02-2013, 07:12 PM   #3
jrw1621
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2004 Vue 4cyl VTI swap to 3.5L AWD?

What about taking body damaged 3.5L vehicles and repairing them with cheaply bought CVT vehicle pieces?

Buy a '04 3.5L Vue that has had front end damage. Replace the front clip of the 3.5L with parts from a CVT equiped Vue. Keep to the common colors and your body panels will match up easily (no paint.)

As noted, much of this is flawed my the fact that Vues have low resale.
I bought my '03 Vue 2.2L manual trans from a guy that intended to flip it. He bought it with a bad engine, put an engine and clutch into it and priced it at $4k on Craigslist. I watched it there after he balked at my offer of $3k.
I later noticed he put it up on ebay where I bought it for $2.4k

The flaw for him was that he over estimated the markets desire for a manual trans Cute-Ute from a brand that the public has largely forgotten about. If they have not forgotten then what they remember is advise to avoid Vues due to bad transmissions. They are not informed enough to distinguish between CVT and non-CVT.

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Old 12-03-2013, 10:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2004 Vue 4cyl VTI swap to 3.5L AWD?

I just did a vti to af23 swap, went well and works great.

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Old 12-12-2013, 12:17 AM   #5
jktucker
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Default Re: 2004 Vue 4cyl VTI swap to 3.5L AWD?

Thanks for all the advice. You're probably correct that this is a dumb idea, but I found another post from somebody who put a '06 drivetrain in an '03 Vue and it went well for them. I found an '06 Vue that was hit in the rear for $1300, so I bought it. Guess I have my winter project now I'll try to post something when I get further along in the project.

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Old 05-04-2014, 11:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2004 Vue 4cyl VTI swap to 3.5L AWD?

In case anybody is looking at these threads later, wondering what to do about their VTI Vue, I thought I'd post the results. In the end, I have a '03 Vue, that is more '06 than '03. It runs good, but it was a lot of work. I probably put 60 hours into the job over 2 months, but it's done now, and the results are good.
As it turns out, there are basically two main wiring harnesses throughout the vehicle. It may be a different story if I had a '05 donor car, but basically there was no convenient way to simply use the engine harness from the '06 and put that into the mail fuse block under the hood. The difficulty was the PCM, which has one connector that connects to the main body harness, and the other to the engine. While it may be possible to splice the '06 PCM harness into the '03 harness, I elected to remove the entire '06 harness and put it in the '03. This, of course, required removal of the entire interior of the car, including the dash. Yes, as mentioned with the earlier posts, this is probably more work than the car is worth. A friend of mine did the 5 speed conversion, and that was much less work. He bought an '03 wreck with a 5 speed for his parts. Of course, doing that swap meant the car is now a manual trans car, and you lose the AWD. I considered the AF23 swap, but again you lose the AWD.
In the end, I swapped everything, wiring harnesses, interior, seats, dash, front suspension, rear differential, fuel tank, air bags and modules, etc. The only '03 parts left on the car is basically the body and rear suspension (my '06 was hit in the rear, and the rear suspension was damaged).
There were no huge hurdles to overcome, but it wasn't just disassembly and re-assembly. The first issue was the air bag module mount under the console. This simply required removing the bracket from the '06 and welding it into the '03. The second issue was I used the door panels from the '03. The wiring harness in the doors are different, so I had to splice the '03 wiring for the door lock switch and window switch. In hindsight, it would probably have been easier to swap the door panels with their switches. The third issue was the front harness. The harnesses have several differences, and I ended up splicing the two together. A simpler approach would have been to use the '06 harness and just not have lamps in the side marker lights. These lamps are in the '06 harness, but the '03 uses two lamps instead of one (one in the side marker, and the other part of the headlight assembly).
I hope this helps somebody who may be considering what to do with their VTI Vue.

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Old 05-05-2014, 09:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2004 Vue 4cyl VTI swap to 3.5L AWD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jktucker View Post
You're probably correct that this is a dumb idea, but I found another post from somebody who put a '06 drivetrain in an '03 Vue and it went well for them.
Is this the thread?
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=174084

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Old 05-12-2014, 12:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2004 Vue 4cyl VTI swap to 3.5L AWD?

Yes, that was the thread. His thread is much more detailed on what needed to be done, and I'll concur with everything he said. For the rear bolts for the cradle, I used riv-nuts instead of fishing a nut inside. I made an adapter to my rivet tool, and was able to get the four 8mm riv-nuts in without too much issue. Basically, both of us swapped the whole cars. In my case, the car was hit in the rear, so I was able to use the entire front cradle, including radiator, etc, and I was able to use the air bags and seatbelts without issue.

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