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VZ ute project

General Information

Hi Team,

This is our VZ ute project (sons and I). It started from nothing really - our VY V8S work ute hit a roo and was written off. We purchased her back from the insurer for $300 and ripped out the engine, box and diff, pacer extractors, X force cat back exhaust, and the harness/computers for use sometime down the track.

We happened upon a VZ ute shell, SS seats and interior and FE2 suspension for a song. The downside – sprayed in rattle can white with matt black DIY “racing” features, tub shrouds done in matt black with a paint brush and skirts painted in hammer finish silver. WTF were they thinking?


So far we have been paying attention to the go fast bits. New VCM 262 Cam, springs, dual cam chain and sprockets, lifters and oil pump. We have also installed a mantic clutch, replaced the front rack, added a new radiator and converted the LS1 from cable to drive by wire. A new ECU was purchased from LS Extreme as the VY computer wasn’t transferable. An OTRCAI is ready to go on and a MAFless tune is in the wings. Missing the clutch line, an alternator (of course they changed) and a couple of O2 sensors to get her on the road.

The interior is in average shape – seats are OK but as with most 15 or so year old seats need some work; as does the wheel. There is nothing to play the tunes with either. Will add a behind the dash UHF for comms as she will be our quote and run around ute. Fastest quotes in the area.

Panels etc – straight as except for the front bar which has some deep gouges along with a lot of superficial cuts and bruises, May just opt to run a 5 poster to deal with the roos. Apart from that no real plans except for some decent paint. We will de-badge the beast and run her as a sleeper until we get the time and beer tokens together to do the paint work.

Any thoughts or recommendations appreciated.

Cheers n Beers



Good project there.

What is the convertible on the other side of the shed ?
That is the wife's old Ford Capri turbo. Had a leak in the passenger side door around the rag top. After much pain found out it had been in a prang. Sourced a shell and doing a rebuild. It is in the process of being reassembled. Shell has been stripped back to nothing , rust cut out and resprayed. Requires finish coats, clear and final assembly. No rush on that one as I am waiting until 2023 to put it on historic plates. No comparison to a V8 ute but fast and fun all the same. Cheers Jolls
Hello Jolls, looks like a great set up garage you and your son have for the project, I am never surprised how much damage is caused when Roo runs/hops in front of a car.look forward to seeing it when finished, well done.
Hello Jolls, looks like a great set up garage you and your son have for the project, I am never surprised how much damage is caused when Roo runs/hops in front of a car.look forward to seeing it when finished, well done.
Hi David, yes we are fortunate, converted part of an old shed. As for roos - second ute we have badly damaged or lost over three years to a roo. Building in rural areas has some advantages butcomes with a couple of drawbacks,
The ECU from LS Extreme can it operate a flex tune to run e85? Asking for a friend and how hard was it to change from cable to drive by wire?

Thanks in advance
Sorry Rob
I missed this post. The change for us was painful only because there was a problem with the harness. The LSExtreme ECM comes programmed to the VIN with the security disabled. Once we sorted the harness issue she started third go.

As for the tune - the ECMN is completely unlocked so I think you can tune it pretty much to however you want it set up. It would be worth a call to LSExtreme to chat over the possibilities - they may even set it up for you. I have found them to be very helpful.

As for changing from cable to drive by wire - in our case it was very easy because the cable car was the donor. We simply changed the throttle body and dropped it in the new shell. We need to change the alternator as well as they operate in the same manner.

Upgrading a cable car to drive by wire involves swapping over the harnesses. Not difficult to do - but time consuming. If you are doing a rebuild and restoration - well worth the effort.

I trust this belated response is helpful.

Cheers n Beers
Hi all,

So an update on the project progress. We hit a huge snag - we couldn't get the ECM to talk with the BCM. To remedy this we purchased a VCXDiag nano from obd2Australia to see if we could see why. Unfortunately it simply didn't work. After two weeks of trying different software configurations we gave up and the nano was returned for a full refund. We then purchased a second hand Ultrascan Plus but could not see the ECM - almost two months passed with us dicking around on the computer side of the house. The fact that we couldn't see the ECM with a professional scan tool really focused us on the problem though..

We suspected either an earthing issue or the harness. We checked all of the earths and found them to be good - but on pinning out the blue connector we found a pin with no power. We dicked around with the connectors, cleaned everything up and when we plugged them back in we had voltage in all the right places. Plugged in the scantool - identified a fault with the accelerator position sensor. We also found that we couldn't get the fans to actuate using the Ultrascan. Small problems - to be solved later.

Turned the key this afternoon and she coughed a little, did it again and she spluttered, third time she started. With a non functioning accelerator we couldn't take her for a run - but the cam we selected provides a nice gurgle, only to be spoilt by a a tinny note from hole in one of the cats (from scraping over speed humps). Another minor fix.

We will pin out the accelerator and get that working later in the week and with some luck will have her in for a MAFless tune within a fortnight.

We will focus on getting the go fast bits operating harmoniously and get her registered. I expect then we will have the fastest, and ugliest, quote ute in town. We will then turn our heads to making the old beast look a little prettier. Once we get the tune done I will post another update.

Cheers n Beers

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