Nissan RB30ET Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Nissan RB30ET engine!"

The Nissan RB30ET are popular engines and with carefully picked tuning upgrades like remaps, turbo improvements and camshafts you will dramatically maximise your driving fun.

We shall detail the best approach to RB30ET tuning and report on the best upgrades.

History, Power & Specs of the RB30ET Engine

  • RB30ET - fuel-injected single-cam turbo
  • 150 kW (201 hp; 204 PS) @5,600 rpm, 296 Nm (218 lbft) @3,200 rpm)

Enterprising tuners created an RB30DET version also known as the RB25/30 or RB26/30

Read more at:

Tuning the Nissan RB30ET and best RB30ET performance parts.

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Best Engine Mods for your RB30ET

    1. Engine Tunes - engine tuning/remapping provides the most advantage in terms of cost savings,  aftermarket ECUs, and piggyback ECUs are all alternatives.
    2. Fast road camshafts 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 Upgrades - 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. Turbo Mods - forced induction upgrades 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.

RB30ET Tuning Stages

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

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

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

Best RB30ET upgrades

When talking about the top modifications for your RB30ET engine, we are going to concentrate on the upgrades that give the best power gain for you money.

Fast road cams come into their own at the top end of your rev range, and are better suited on petrol engines, than diesel ones, but we've always seen top end power gains through performance camshafts if done properly.

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 commonly raise the torque throughout the rev range, you might lose a little low down bhp but your top end will be higher.

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

On a daily driver it makes a lot of sense to optimize your engines power to your typical driving style.

I would be surprised if you find a RB30ET Race cam is a pleasure to live with when driving around busy urban areas. This is because a competition cam causes a very lumpy idle, and makes the car more prone to stall or jerk along in stop start traffic, sadly though many ignore this and end up ruining a perfectly good car and having to revert back to a fast road, or OEM cam profile.

Some RB30ET engines respond better to less aggressive camshaft durations so view each engine as unique.

The engine timing and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the torque gains you'll achieve.

Altering valve durations 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.

One thing re all the rb30s because the motor is taller lots of things need modding - belts chains and anything that bolts to the head directly or indirectly is a fair bit higher.

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

A remap helps release the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your RB30ET.

(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.)

Some of our members have used the following aftermarket ECU's to good effect in their projects. You'll generally find harnesses available now for most of the aftermarket ECU options for these engines.

      • Haltech Elite 1000/1500
      • LINK G4X
      • Syvecs
      • Megasquirt

An aftermarket ECU is harder to setup but gives better performance and helps you optimize the timing and fuelling to a fine degree of accuracy - we suggest you go for the Link G4+ (or a G4 with an external knock control unit) or the better but more expensive Syvecs ECU (the upgraded data logging feature is extremely useful)

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 power output often vary depending on the modifications you've done and the condition of your engine.

It is the main goal to any performance tuning job to push air and fuel into your RB30ET

Intake manifolds take the air from the filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Structure and flow rate of the Intake manifold can make a substantial change to fuel atomisation and engine efficiency on the RB30ET.

Commonly we find the air intake manifolds are needing aftermarket tuning parts, although a few car makers provide decently flowing air intake manifolds.

Fitting big valve kits, getting RB30ET port enlargement and head flowing will also increase bhp, and importantly will afford you a better bhp increase on other upgrades.

RB30ET Turbo upgrades

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes massive power gains.

When your motor has a turbocharger tuning mods are more reliable and you'll see that turbo engines are made using uprated components.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some just sufficiently able to handle stock powerDiscover these limits and fit better pistons and crank to handle the power.

We've seen guys spending a loads of money on turbocharger upgrades on the RB30ET only to watch the engine block catastrophically fail on it's first outing after it's completed.

Bigger turbo chargers commonly suffer a bottom end lag, and low capacity turbo chargers spool up quickly but don't have the top end torque gains.

In the last 10 years the market of turbochargers is always evolving and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, allowing the vane angle is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust flow into 2 channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbo. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the RB30ET when loads more air is being fed into the engine.

You'll see that 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting torque at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large power gains, although more difficult to install. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.


Don't overlook the need to increase the fuel delivery when you are increasing the performance - it makes the car more thirsty. Don't forget to over specify your injector capacity.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% capacity when specifying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and provides a bit of 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.

RB30ET Performance Exhausts

You should look to improve your exhaust if your current exhaust is actually creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you'll see your flow rate is fine 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 generally help improve air flow from the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too wide or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Usual exhaust restrictions are traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a freer flowing performance catalyst removes the restriction. We note that performance cats perform similarly to decats and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decats or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars.

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the RB30ET

The RB30ET 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 RB30ET, 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 RB30ET engine please join us in our friendly
where you can discuss with our RB30ET owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks
of each modification.

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