The Nissan engine family

This information concerns various specifications for most modern Japanese Nissan engines thru 1997.


Type: 1487cc EFI OHC 8-valve 4cyl turbo
Power: 115hp @ 5600rpm
Torque: 123ft-lbs @ 3200rpm
Gearboxes: FWD 5-speed and 3-speed auto
Source: 83-84 Exa and Pulsar Turbo


Type: 1770cc EFI OHC 8 valve twin plug 4cyl turbo
Power: 135hp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 144ft-lbs @ 3600rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 5-speed and 3-speed auto
Source: 1982-83 Silvia ZSE-X and Gazelle


Type: 1809cc EFI DOHC 16 valve 4cyl
Power: 130hp @ 6400rpm
Torque: 119ft-lbs @ 5200rpm
Gearboxes: FWD 5-speed and RWD 5-speed and 4-speed auto
Source: RWD 1988-on Silvia, FWD fitted to late model Australian EXA's


Type: 1809cc EFI DOHC 16 valve 4cyl turbo
Power: 175hp @ 6400rpm (195hp @ 6400rpm 87-88)
Torque: 165ft-lbs @ 4000rpm (148ft-lbs @ 4000rpm 87-88)
Gearboxes: FWD 5-speed and RWD 5-speed and 4-speed auto
Source: RWD intercooled examples come from 89-91 180SX and Silvia turbo. Non-intercooled RWD were 87-88 Gazelle engines. FWD examples come from 1988 Auster 1800Xtt (also not intercooled) 


Type: 1838cc EFI DOHC 16 valve 4cyl
Power: 140hp @ 6400rpm
Torque: 123ft-lbs @ 4800rpm
Gearboxes: FWD 5-Speed
Source: 92-93 Sunny GTS and Pulsar GTi (note bluebird version had only 93kW)


Type: 1990cc EFI DOHC 16 valve 4cyl
Power: 150hp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 133ft-lbs @ 4800rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 5-Speed
Source: 1982-83 Silvia RS


Type: 1990cc EFI DOHC 16 valve 4cyl turbo
Power: 190hp @ 6400rpm
Torque: 165ft-lbs @ 4800rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 5-Speed
Source: 1984 Gazelle RS-X, Silvia RS-X and skyline RS-X


Type: 1998cc EFI OHC 6cyl turbo
Power: 145hp @ 5600rpm
Torque: 151ft-lbs @ 3200rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 4-Speed Auto
Source: 83-84 Leopard TRX


Type: 1998cc EFI OHC 12 valve V6 turbo
Power: 170hp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 159ft-lbs @ 4000rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 4-Speed Auto
Source: 83-84 Gloria V20


Type: 1998cc EFI DOHC 16 valve 4cyl
Power: 160hp @ 6400rpm (145hp FWD)
Torque: 138ft-lbs @ 4800rpm (178 FWD)
Gearboxes: FWD 5-speed and RWD 5-speed and 4-speed auto
Source: RWD 1993-94 Silvia Q's, FWD Presea


Type: 1998cc EFI DOHC 16 valve 4cyl turbo
Power: 205hp @ 6000rpm (180SX), 220hp @ 6000rpm (Silvia), 230hp @ 6400rpm (Pulsar GTi-R)
Torque: 201ft-lbs @ 4000rpm (180SX), 201ft-lbs @ 4800rpm (Silvia), 209ft-lbs @ 4800rpm (Pulsar GTi-R)
Gearboxes: RWD 5-Speed and 4-Speed Auto (1993-on Silvia and 180SX) 4WD east-west 5-Speed (GTi-R)
Source: Silvia K's and 180SX after 1993, 1991-92 Pulsar GTi-R 4WD


Type: 1998cc EFI DOHC 24 valve 6cyl turbo
Power: 215hp @ 6400rpm (auto 205hp @ 6400rpm)
Torque: 193ft-lbs @ 3200rpm (auto 195ft-lbs @ 3200rpm)
Gearboxes: RWD 5-speed and 4-speed auto
Source: 1989-1992 Skyline GTS and Cefiro Sedan


Type: 1998cc EFI DOHC 24 valve 6cyl
Power: 155hp @ 6400rpm
Torque: 135ft-lbs @ 5200rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 5-speed and 4-speed auto
Source: 89-92 Laurel and Skyline


Type: 2597cc EFI DOHC 24 valve 6cyl twin turbo
Power: 280hp @ 6800rpm
Torque: 271ft-lbs @ 4400rpm
Gearboxes: 4WD North-South 6-Speed


Type: 2498cc EFI DOHC 24 valve 6cyl
Power: 180hp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 165ft-lbs @ 5200rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 5-Speed and 4-Speed Auto
Source: 92-95 Cefiro and Skyline


Type: 2498cc EFI DOHC 24 valve 6cyl turbo
Power: 250hp @ 6400rpm
Torque: 217ft-lbs @ 4800rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 5-Speed and 4-Speed Auto
Source: 1993-on Skyline GTS-25t


Type: 2960cc EFI OHC 12 valve V6
Power: 180hp @ 5200rpm
Torque: 191ft-lbs @ 4000rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 4-Speed Auto
Source: 83-84 Gloria V30E


Type: 2960cc EFI OHC 12 valve V6 turbo
Power: 230hp @ 5200rpm
Torque: 245ft-lbs @ 3600rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 5-Speed and 4-Speed Auto
Source: 1983-on 300ZX turbo (considerably higher spec than Aust. Version)


Type: 2987cc EFI DOHC 24 valve V6
Power: 220hp @ 6400rpm
Torque: 205ft-lbs @ 4400rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 4-Speed Auto
Source: 96-97 Cedric and Gloria


Type: 2987cc EFI DOHC 24 valve V6 turbo
Power: 270hp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 270ft-lbs @ 4800rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 4-Speed Auto
Source: 96-97 Cima 30LV and 30TR


Type: 2998cc EFI DOHC 24 valve V6
Power: 225hp @ 6400rpm (200hp @ 6000rpm auto)
Torque: 200ft-lbs @ 3600rpm (191ft-lbs @ 4400rpm auto)
Gearboxes: RWD 5-Speed and 4-Speed Auto
Source: 1989 onwards 300ZX and Leopard


Type: 4130cc EFI DOHC 32 valve V8
Power: 270hp @ 5600rpm
Torque: 277ft-lbs @ 4000rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 4-Speed Auto
Source: 96-97 Cima 41LV and LX


Type: 2998cc EFI DOHC 24 valve V6 turbo
Power: 255hp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 252ft-lbs @ 3200rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 4-Speed Auto
Source: Nissan Leopard sedan around 1990-1991. No intercooler, single turbo


Type: 2998cc EFI DOHC 24 valve V6 twin turbo
Power: 280hp @ 6400rpm
Torque: 285ft-lbs @ 3600rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 5-Speed and 4-Speed Auto
Source: 1989 onwards 300ZX twin turbo. Note: had twin intercoolers


Type: 4494cc EFI DOHC 32 valve V8
Power: 280hp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 294ft-lbs @ 4000rpm
Gearboxes: RWD 4-Speed Auto
Source: 96-97 Infiniti Q45


Nissan has released some superb hi-power engines in recent years - and here they are, along with some background info on each of 'em. Note that all the power outputs we've listed are from the highest-spec versions of each engine. The suffix on the engine codes of Nissan engines is easy to understand:

E = Electronic fuel injection

D = Double overhead cams

T = Turbocharged

TT = Twin turbocharged

The huge Japanese car company has a widespread reputation for building extra strong performance engines with bulletproof bottom-ends and plenty of potential for more power.

Nissan V8s
The Nissan VH45DE and VH41DE motor, as fitted to the luxury saloon Infiniti, are the sole modern Nissan V8s. The VH45 V8 has a swept volume of 4.5 litres and produces a maximum power output of an easy 201kW at 5600rpm. Credited with the same peak power, the smaller VH41 (4.1-litre) version needs to rev to 6400 to match the '45.
Designed as a rear-wheel-drive engine, it is quite similar in specification to Toyota's 4-litre 1UZ-FE Lexus V8, but the VH45 in particular has a fatter torque curve for added flexibility. They are extremely quiet and smooth power plants with the potential for monster horsepower through their multi-valve alloy heads. Unfortunately, we have never seen any of these engines in modified form, but it would be fair to assume 280kW could be reached with simply a good exhaust, up-spec cams, slightly higher compression and a well sorted programmable injection system.

Note that a highly modified version of this engine design (pictured) is currently being used in the US Indy Car series, where it pushes out over 550kW!

Nissan Sixes
The RB series of engines are probably the most tweaked modern straight six cylinder in the world.

Released around the mid-1980s, the first of the RB engines got a single overhead cam, 2-valves per cylinder and were available in either 2 or 3-litre sizes. These engines made 97 and 118kW respectively, but they also came with a beefy turbo option to boost their power to 110kW (approx) and 150kW. These single cam engines aren't exactly the bee's knees today as some examples are nudging 15 years old, and their design has since been improved upon by the twincam RBDE series. That said, the larger RB30ET motor in a modified state has been noted for making some Serious Horsepower!

The RBDE engines feature 4-valves per cylinder, twincams and some also sport variable cam timing to top it off. This range kicks off with the little 2-litre RB20DE making 116kW at 6400 rpm, and the turbo 2 litre intercooled version pumping out up to 160 usable kW at 6400 rpm.

The next step up is the RB25DE 2.5-litre engines, which makes 142kW naturally aspirated or 187kW with its single intercooled turbocharger. Both feature a much higher flowing head than the 2-litre engine, and they have significantly more torque available to pull around large cars such as the R33 Skyline (in which they are factory fitted). R34 Skylines run even more modern versions of these engines, with power up - and emissions down - to match. Note that there was never a production twincam version of the big 3-litre RB30E.

The gun motor of the RBs is the RB26DETT, which is still being assembled on the production line to power Nissan's performance flagship - the Skyline GT-R. With its 2.6-litres, six throttle bodies, twin (simultaneous) turbos and massive air-to-air intercooler, the engine produces a conservatively-rated 209kW at 6800 rpm with 368Nm of torque at 4400 rpm. The hoons in Japan crave these motors, with over 1000hp not uncommon from the aftermarket tweaked racing GT-Rs. Another popular application for the RB26DETT in Japan is 0-300 km/h speed bowl sprinting!

We've already covered a more modest power-up of one of these engines in our "Nissan Powerhouse" article.

The other six cylinder design in Nissan's engine range is the VG series. These were first seen in cars such as the 300C and the 300ZX, and today continue to be fitted to both heavy luxury cars and sports cars alike. The first incarnation of the VG was a single cam-per-bank engine that came with different bore and stroke dimensions to vary the displacement from 2 to 3-litres. The 2-litre single cam VG made 86kW and the 3-litre bigger version scored more torque, taking its credentials up to 119kW at 5200revs.
These early engines, like the RBs, came with an option of a non-intercooled turbocharger, which increased power to 112 and 146kW for the two motors respectively.

Once again, Nissan upgraded to twincam 4-valve heads later in the production run and saw these power figures increase to 157 and 190kW. The atmo VG20 never got treated to the twincam heads but the 3-litre did, pushing its power up to 172kW at 6400 rpm. But the most potent of all the VG engines is the impressive VG30DETT, which is another simultaneous twin-turbo engine. Boasting a massive 388Nm of torque at 3600 rpm and a peak power output of 209kW at 6400rpm, this engine pushes last-shape 300ZX TTs along at a rapid rate of knots. It is also an engine that has been developed extensively - particularly in Japan and the US, where 400kW is not uncommon.

For those interested, the Australian-spec Nissan Pathfinder scored the biggest version of the VG series - the 3.3-litre VG33E. Designed purely as a torquey 4WD motor, it made 266Nm at 2800rpm and 125kW at a sleepy 4800revs.

As a further development of the VG engine, the all-alloy VQ versions were released primarily onto the luxury car market. Carrying on the same choice of 2 or 3-litre capacity, another engine of 2.5-litres was introduced. The mildest of these is the 2-litre VQ20DE with its 116kW, followed by the VQ25DE's 142kW and the generous 164kW of the VQ30DE engine. All peak power figures for these atmo engines are reached at 6400rpm.

There is only one VQ turbo engine - the VQ30DET. It matches the power output of the big Nissan V8s, with a 201kW rating that is achieved at 6000 revs.

Nissan Fours
There has been quite a few high-performance four cylinder Nissan engines produced in recent times. The first of these engines were all fuel injected, single cams that came with forced induction, which was in keeping with the contemporary '80s turbo era. Based on the old L-series engine, the Z18ET motor came with an overhead cam, EFI system, cross-flow head and a smallish turbocharger that enabled it to pump out up to 101kW at 6000 rpm. Interestingly, it shared many parts with the L-series motors, and its cross-flow head can actually be put atop of the bottom-end of the larger L20 motor.

Developed as a successor to the Z18ET, the CA18ET engine came out as standard fitment in various Japanese mid-sized sporty sedans. It produced around 105kW in its standard non-intercooled form. People craving for big power usually opt for the next model though.

Nissan's trick of upgrading to twincams and 4-valves was once again employed on the CAs, giving rise to the CA18DE series of motors. These free-breathing twincam engines made 101 and 130kW from their na and turbo versions respectively. In the aftermarket, we've seen a CA18DET fitted with a massive turbo (and plenty of boost), good sized intercooler and programmable management and the result was around 220kW.

The slightly larger capacity FJ20 engines were born into the S12 Gazelles (Silvias) and Japanese-market R30 Skylines in the early '80s, and even by today's standards made impressive power. All FJs were twincam 4-valve engines, and of course there were both naturally aspirated and turbo versions released. The atmo engine pushed 112kW at 6000rpm, and the turbo made up to 142kW at a higher 6400 revs. With the fitment of an intercooler, a big exhaust and some more boost, these engines are good for around 40% more power without any reliability hassles whatsoever.

The transverse 1.5-litre E15ET turbomotor came out at about the same time as the CA engine, and boasted up to 86kW at 5600 rpm non-intercooled. These engines came as standard fitment in Australian N12 Pulsar ETs and EXAs, and can be easily enhanced to make around 120kW without any mechanical problems.

A large capacity Nissan four is found the KA24E, which was initially released in 2.4-litre na single cam form to give a fairly un-inspiring 96kW. Again, this engine came released with a later version twincam 4-valve head, which was dubbed the KA24DE. This much sweeter engine came as standard fitment to Australian Bluebird SSS and American 240SX and made up to 112kW at 5600 rpm. Compare its peak power revs to other Nissan fours and you'll see it's a bit of a stump-pulling engine.

On the dinky side of things, the CG13DE as fitted to the English-built Micra kicks out 55kW at 6000 rpm and is noted for its entertaining revy nature. It's not been a commonly modified engine from our experience, but it does appear to have as much potential as any of the other Nissan engines. Who'll be the first to turbocharge one?

The latest four-cylinder design from Nissan is the now very popular SR series. First released in around 1990 and still current, these engines already sported twincam 4-valve heads and came in a choice of 1.8 and 2 litre capacities. The smaller engine is marketed primarily as an economy powerplant with its meagre power, but the big-brother SR20 lifts the performance ante hugely.

Beginning with a base power output of 108kW from the atmo engine, the top-line intercooled turbo version maxes out at an impressive 164kW at 6000rpm. This potent turbo engine comes fitted (in various specs) to such cars as the Japanese U13 Bluebird SSS 4WD, 200SX, late-model 180SX and Pulsar (Sunny) GTi-R 4WD. It is also currently one of the most catered for engines in the Japanese aftermarket industry - with hot cams, turbos, bolt-in injectors, manifolds and other pieces readily available. The potential of this engine for making more power is immense. We've seen one touch 254kW on an engine dyno using a T04 and external wastegate on a custom manifold, water-to-air intercooler, and Autronic management!


Write up supplied by Kev Shek

Many thanks to Kev Shek for supplying this write up for Club Nissan