Nissan MR20DE Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Nissan MR20DE engine!"

Our aim here is to detail the best approach to MR20DE tuning and provide tips on the best modifications for your car.

Nissan MR20DE provide a fun base for your project and with carefully picked motorsport upgrades like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will really improve your driving pleasure.

History of the Engine

The MR20DE found it's way into many Nissan and Renault verions, and came in a few power figures depending on the application.

  • 131 hp
  • 135 hp
  • 138 hp

It was fitted to the following models between 2005 and 2020

  • 2005–present Nissan Serena
  • 2005–2012 Nissan Bluebird Sylphy
  • 2006–present Renault Clio
  • 2007–present Nissan X-Trail
  • 2007–present Nissan Qashqai
  • 2008–2014 Nissan Teana(J32)
  • 2007–2012 Nissan Sentra
  • 2013–present Nissan NV200
  • 2007–present Renault Laguna
  • 2008–present Renault Safrane
  • 2008–2016 Renault Mégane(III)
  • 2009–present Renault Scénic
  • 2005–present Renault Samsung SM5
  • 2009–present Renault Fluence
  • 2009–present Renault Samsung SM3
  • 2009–present Renault Latitude

 

Tuning the Nissan MR20DE and best MR20DE performance parts.

Best MR20DE mods

The best MR20DE mods on an engine are sensibly the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular MR20DE mods, they need to be cost effective.

Significant gains on the MR20DE can be made from camshaft upgrades. Altering the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the torque and power output.

Fast road cams commonly boost the power across the rev band, you may lose a little low end power but top end will be higher.

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

In a daily driver must carefully try to match your bhp range to your preferences.

I'd be amazed if you have found a MR20DE Race cam is a pleasure to live with when on the daily commute.

Some MR20DE engines respond better to mild camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ecu map and fuelling also have an effect on the power gains you'll achieve.

Longer valve durations can alter the power 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.

Stage 1 mods: Panel air filters, Intake headers, Fast road camshaft, Sports exhaust manifold, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

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

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

Review your options and then acquire your upgrades and set yourself a power target to void expensive mistakes.

ECU flashing helps release the full potential of all the upgrades you've fitted to your MR20DE.

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but the outcome usually rely on the upgrades you've carried out and the condition of your engine.

It is the main goal to any engine modification task to push fuel and air into the MR20DE engine

Intake headers transmit the air during the suck phase from the air cleaner and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders.

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake can make a big difference to to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the MR20DE.

Most air intake manifolds are needing aftermarket parts, although a few OEM provide decently flowing air intake manifolds.

Larger MR20DE valves, doing a bit of port work and head flowing will also raise bhp, and as an added benefit will allow you to get a better bhp increase on other tuning parts.

Turbo upgrades

NASP 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 MR20DE

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.

It is not unusual that there is a limitation in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the MR20DE when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

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

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more complex to setup. We have this article covering twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling

Don't forget to boost the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. It makes sense to be generous with your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add another 20% when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and provides a bit of spare capacity should the engine require 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.

Exhaust

Only look to increase your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually causing a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you should find that the exhaust flow rate is still 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 can help balance the flow of air through the engine.

But if your exhaust is too large, ie: over 2.5 inches bore, you will lose a lot of your flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Common exhaust restrictions come around the filters installed, so adding a higher flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the MR20DE

The MR20DE engines are generally reliable and solid as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Regular oil changes are vital on the MR20DE, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

For more information on Tuning your MR20DE engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our MR20DE 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 them on each model of car. Comments are used to improve the accuracy of these MR20DE articles which are continually updated.

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