Nissan HR16DE Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Nissan HR16DE engine!"

Let us provide a guide to HR16DE tuning and highlight the premier mods that work. Nissan HR16DE have loads of potential and with the optimum modified enhancements like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will greatly enhance your driving fun.

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

The HR16DE was upgraded in 2006 with adjustments to the idle control, cam revisions, a lower idle speed and cam surface improvements aimed at improving economy and efficiency.

104 to 117 hp 117 lbft

  • Nissan Sentra (Egypt)
  • Nissan Micra/March K12 Sport SR & 160SR
  • Nissan Micra C+C
  • Nissan Micra/March K13 (South America)
  • Nissan Wingroad
  • Nissan Note
  • Nissan Cube (Europe)
  • Nissan Bluebird Sylphy (In China)
  • Nissan Tiida (In China, Thailand and Global Oversea Market)
  • Nissan Qashqai: 115 hp  118 lbft
  • Nissan Latio
  • Nissan Livina/Nissan Grand Livina
  • Nissan Versa
  • Nissan NV200
  • Nissan Juke
  • Nissan NV200 Vanette
  • Nissan Kicks

Tuning the Nissan HR16DE and best HR16DE performance parts.

Best HR16DE parts

Just because particular tuning parts are are common on HR16DE it doesn't mean it is good, instead we'll concentrate on the top tuning parts that will give your HR16DE the best power gain for you money.

Instead of us falling into the common "if it's shiny and makes more noise it must be good" mentality of many car sites and tuning magazines.

The camshaft profile plays a big part in the engines power output so camshaft upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake and exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen camshaft profile, so large bhp gains are on offer for camshaft upgrades.

Fast road camshafts normally increase the power across the rev range, you could drop a little bottom end bhp but the top end will improve.

Race camshafts, increase the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

A Competition cam will just annoy you whilst on the daily commute, because the lumpy idle will make the car prone to stall and smooth driving at low rpm becomes impossible. If you are developing a track car this doesn't matter as you are in the high end of your RPM range anyway and that is where you want the power to be.

You should ideally match your torque band to your usage of the car so for a typical daily driver stick with a shorter duration HR16DE cam

Different HR16DE engines respond better to different camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The engine timing and injectors and fuel pump also will make differences on the torque gains you'll hit.

A longer valve duration can alter the torque band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

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Best Engine Mods for your car

  1. Mapping - remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
  2. Fast road cams are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they're doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  3. Intake and Exhaust - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Sports exhaust header/manifold, drilled & smoothed airbox, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters, Intake manifolds.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, induction kit, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injectors, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Competition cam, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Twin charging conversions, Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Review your options and then buy your parts and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

ECU flashing helps release the full potential of all the tuning parts you've fitted to your HR16DE.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but the outcome usually depend much on the tuning parts you've done and the condition of your engine.

It is the whole point to any car tuning job to push air into each cylinder

Your intake manifold will direct the air during the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

The shape and flow characteristics of the Air Intake manifolds can make a substantial change to fuel delivery on the HR16DE.

It's not uncommon that intake manifolds are needing a performance upgrade, although a few manufacturers provide decently flowing intake manifolds.

Adding a HR16DE larger valve kit, carrying out HR16DE port enlargement and head flowing will also improve performance, and significantly will raise potential for raising the performance increase on other tuning parts.

Turbo upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your HR16DE

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes superb power gains but probably not worth the effort involved on the HR16DE blocks.

It is not unusual that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on the HR16DE when loads more air is being sucked into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited bhp and torque at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more challenging to install. We have this guide to twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

Don't overlook the need to increase the fuelling when you are increasing the bhp and torque - it makes the car more thirsty. It makes sense to over specify your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% when specifying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and allows you some spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

All the following flywheel power targets will assume an injector duty cycle of 80% and a base of 58psi of fuel pressure at idle.

4 Cylinder NA (naturally aspirated) engines

  • 58 PSI 285cc/min 200hp
  • 58 PSI 426cc/min 300hp

Exhaust

You may need to increase your exhaust if your current exhaust is actually creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust flow rate is ok even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts increase the flow of gases through the engine.

But if your exhaust pipe is too big, ie: it's over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a great deal of the flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Usual exhaust restrictions can be traced to the filters installed, so adding a faster flowing sports alternative is the answer. This keeps the car road legal and will flow much better due to it's higher internal surface area and design, so has the added benefit of keeping your car road legal. The alternative decat should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars..

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the HR16DE

The HR16DE engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

Regular oil changes are vital on the HR16DE, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your HR16DE engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our HR16DE owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which parts work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these HR16DE tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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