Nonetheless, issues such as weight distribution/balance, dynamics and handling, stopping power, traction control, available budgets, and others should be the governing factors where 300 ZX engine transplants are concerned. But then again, because there are so many possibilities, personal preferences are likely to affect the decision more than any other single factor, so consider the list of successful engine replacements below, but bear in mind that some of them are from the JDM market, so they may not be emission legal.
Off course, this list is not exhaustive, and is presented here for illustrative purposes only. The level of difficulty, modification, or attendant costs will vary with each option which makes it impossible to offer advice in this regard, except to say that you should be prepared to fork out anything from a few thousand dollars, all the way up to 60 000 dollars or more to arrive at a car with no driveability issues.
Some engines on this list are turbo charged versions of naturally aspirated variants ( the first 6 items), which is perhaps the way to go, since these transplants are likely to be the easiest and cause the fewest headaches. Nevertheless, here are some possible choices:
Due to the large number of possible candidate engines, it is impossible to provide detailed parts lists for every possible choice or circumstance, but in general terms, you will need, or at least need to consider the following:
Consider the Value of Your Modified 300zx.
Merely having a new, transplanted engine is NOT going to add to the value of the car. Therefore, it is important to do the best job you can, after which you should have the car appraised professionally. It could turn out that your “improved” 300 ZX is worth less with the new engine than it was before the transplant, so be careful of what you wish for!
And of Course, Use Common Sense.
There is no point in spending thousands of dollars on an engine (and its fitting), if that engine is going to take as much money again to get to deliver significantly more power than the stock engine. If you want to beef up the power of a normally aspirated 300 ZX, stick to either the VG30ET or VG33ET options, since they are the cheaper than almost any other engine to tune and develop. Unless of course, you decide to go with a SL7, in which case you do not have to spend anything on performance-boosting modifications.
If you do not have the required skills or knowledge to perform an engine swap, do NOT attempt it! You will run into unforeseen fitment issues, incompatible parts, and other headaches that could ruin the entire project unless they are resolved in a safe and efficient manner. In the case of the 300 ZX, there are no write-ups, how to guides, or other resources to help you through the process. Which means of course that there is plenty of room for mistakes, ill-considered modifications of safety critical components, and even possibly fatal miscalculations of the forces involved with large V8, or other high performance engines.
Unless you are an expert mechanic, or otherwise experienced in engine transplants, the best thing to do would be to stick to the stock 300 ZX engines. For one thing they fit, and if they have to be removed for modification or rebuilding, they will bolt right back in without the need to modify anything.
While it is possible to fit almost any engine on the planet into a 300 ZX, you might end up spending more money and time than you have available only to achieve likely unsatisfactory results, which leaves you with only two other options; buy a 300 ZX with a transplanted engine, or, if that does not appeal to you, stick with the stock engine, and spend your money on performance modifications instead.