Viability of a drivetrain swap on a Nissan Cube in the US?

Skeletoaster

New Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
7
Location
United States
This is a bit of a silly question for a silly idea, but I'm not too knowledgeable on this. Essentially, if I had any third generation (Z12) Nissan Cube in the US, would there even be parts available to me to be able to swap the drivetrain from FWD to RWD?
 

MWF

Now needs wood
Joined
May 29, 2008
Messages
27,185
Location
MWF HQ, Ukadia
Car(s)
MX-5 1.8i Indiana SE, Seat Win-biza FR Cupra
I'd say anything would be possible if you were determined enough but you'd need to put in a much more powerful motor than stock otherwise converting to RWD would be a pointless exercise.
 

bone

"bangle for president"
DONOR
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
16,177
Location
belgium!!
Car(s)
Volvo V40 & Yamaha Banshee
everything is possible, but you won't find any "off the shelf" parts for it

and you'd probably end up with a ruined car anyways...
does a cube even have a transmissiontunnel?
you need to get the driveshaft to the rear...
 
Last edited:

Skeletoaster

New Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
7
Location
United States
I'd say anything would be possible if you were determined enough but you'd need to put in a much more powerful motor than stock otherwise converting to RWD would be a pointless exercise.
Well, yes, I wasn't even considering the idea of keeping the stock engine.

everything is possible, but you won't find any "off the shelf" parts for it

and you'd probably end up with a ruined car anyways...
does a cube even have a transmissiontunnel?
you need to get the driveshaft to the rear...
I don't think the cube has a transmission tunnel, but that's perfectly fine, I'm entirely capable of fabricating and installing sheet metal parts. I know how to form sheets the old fashioned way (with a blacksmith shop), and I happen to be a skilled welder.

Anyway, thanks for the responses guys. I wasn't really sure if the idea was possible. I'm sure it would be more practical to keep it FWD and just upgrade it normally, but that doesn't seem nearly as fun to me. I'm actually weighing between the idea of installing a mid engine instead of a front. Since the cube has so much interior space, you could put pretty much any engine in the middle. Hilarity would ensue.
 

Viper007Bond

Chicken Nugget Connoisseur
STAFF MEMBER
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
31,051
Location
Portland, Oregon
Car(s)
2008 Dodge Viper, 2006 MB CLS55 AMG
Anything is possible. All it takes is money, time, and skill.

There's a Saab out there that has Viper running gear for example.
 

bone

"bangle for president"
DONOR
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
16,177
Location
belgium!!
Car(s)
Volvo V40 & Yamaha Banshee
^is that thing actually driven from time to time?

i haven't seen a single photo of that car, where the brake discs aren't rusted...
 

Cavi Mike

Active Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2010
Messages
263
Location
NY
Car(s)
1986 325e, 1987 Corolla, 2000 328Ci
I love all the patronizing and (ironically) childish replies that "anything is possible" and blah blah blah but obviosuly no one actually read the question. He asked if there are parts available to do the swap, he didn't ask if it was possible.

The answer is no. Not at all. Even on cars that had AWD options, the rear of the cars are typically completely different, with different sheet-metal stampings specific for the rear-drive setup. That would require the rear floor of the car to be cut out and replaced with the floor from the AWD model.

It's not happening, sorry.
 

Skeletoaster

New Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
7
Location
United States
I love all the patronizing and (ironically) childish replies that "anything is possible" and blah blah blah but obviosuly no one actually read the question. He asked if there are parts available to do the swap, he didn't ask if it was possible.

The answer is no. Not at all. Even on cars that had AWD options, the rear of the cars are typically completely different, with different sheet-metal stampings specific for the rear-drive setup. That would require the rear floor of the car to be cut out and replaced with the floor from the AWD model.

It's not happening, sorry.
Thanks for the straight answer. Though I accept partial responsibility for the failure to answer the question specifically, because I wasn't as accurate with the thread's title as I could have been.

If sheet metal is the only obstacle, then that is really no big deal. I can make my own custom floors if I want to. I've got the metalworking and welding skills and tools for the job, so I'm not quite discouraged yet.
 

Skeletoaster

New Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
7
Location
United States
I love all the patronizing and (ironically) childish replies that "anything is possible" and blah blah blah but obviosuly no one actually read the question. He asked if there are parts available to do the swap, he didn't ask if it was possible.

The answer is no. Not at all. Even on cars that had AWD options, the rear of the cars are typically completely different, with different sheet-metal stampings specific for the rear-drive setup. That would require the rear floor of the car to be cut out and replaced with the floor from the AWD model.

It's not happening, sorry.
Thanks for the straight answer. Though I accept partial responsibility for the failure to answer the question specifically, because I wasn't as accurately descriptive with the thread's title as I could have been.

If sheet metal is the main obstacle, then that is really no big deal. I can make my own custom floors if I want to. I've got the metalworking and welding skills and tools for the job, so I'm not discouraged yet.
 

EyeMWing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2008
Messages
4,881
Location
MD, Amish Country PA
Car(s)
Many things, none of them working.
"Parts available" means "Do you have plate steel?" in some circles.

A much more practical question than "can it be done", however, is "will it be legal to drive it on roads" and that's highly state dependent.
 

CrzRsn

Mr. Fedewhatever
DONOR
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
16,577
Location
Motor City, Michigan
Car(s)
13 Ford Mustang GT, 17 Ford Fiesta ST
The answer is no. Not at all. Even on cars that had AWD options, the rear of the cars are typically completely different, with different sheet-metal stampings specific for the rear-drive setup. That would require the rear floor of the car to be cut out and replaced with the floor from the AWD model.
Now hold on a minute, I'm a bit skeptical of your claim here. Different sheetmetal stamping is added complexity (read: cost) so I'd find it hard to believe Nissan would do that for a mainstream model like the Cube. I'm actually working on a related issue at work right now and its all about adaptability. Hell, even some cars that are FWD only have driveshaft tunnels because they share a platform with AWD/RWD cars. If a RWD Cube existed, it would be possible to just buy all the correct powertrain/drivetrain parts and do a straight swap. It wouldn't be easy, cheap or quick, but definitely doable. But since theres no such thing, its a much bigger challenge.

EDIT: Did some digging around. I can confirm the FWD and AWD Cubes have the same floor - so no cutting required for a driveshaft.

AWD:


FWD:


There is some difference around the spare wheel area, however that seems minor and rests on top of the actual structure.

 
Last edited:

Skeletoaster

New Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2015
Messages
7
Location
United States
Wait, I thought the only AWD capable version of the cube utilized electrical power for the rear wheels in order to save on the space that would otherwise be taken up by a normal AWD drivetrain. Is that not the case?
 

CrzRsn

Mr. Fedewhatever
DONOR
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
16,577
Location
Motor City, Michigan
Car(s)
13 Ford Mustang GT, 17 Ford Fiesta ST
Huh? I didn't know that. But it looks like you're right - I cant find any sort of driveshaft parts





That said, there still is clearly a tunnel - perhaps used on a different vehicle with the same floor.


EDIT: Hmmm, looks like the floor is Cube only. Another possible explanation is that in the early design phases they planned on a conventional AWD set up, but that got canned after the basic architecture was finished - that too is possible. Barring that, I'm not sure.
 
Last edited:

C53A_4G63T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
Messages
843
Location
Farmington, Connecticut
Car(s)
99' Infiniti Q45t, 89 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo
Japan has an AWD cube. They will have just taken the Jap car and modified what needed to be done to work in the US. Redesigning the floor pan is a waste of time.
 

bone

"bangle for president"
DONOR
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
16,177
Location
belgium!!
Car(s)
Volvo V40 & Yamaha Banshee
Japan has an AWD cube. They will have just taken the Jap car and modified what needed to be done to work in the US. Redesigning the floor pan is a waste of time.
Read before posting!

In the AWD cube, the rear wheels are driven by an electro engine. It doesn't need a transmission tunnel either
 

bone

"bangle for president"
DONOR
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
16,177
Location
belgium!!
Car(s)
Volvo V40 & Yamaha Banshee
^i challenge you to find one car where that isn't the case :p
 
Top